The past days I had the pleasure to discuss with Andrew Prell, Founder, and CEO of Convergence of 4 Dimensions LLC, the company behind the ambitious XR project Silica Nexus.
We had an enlightening conversation and he was more than willing to answer a lot of questions regarding the future of the project.
The plan goes like this: Players will be able to exchange tickets earned through real-life arcade machines for in-game NFTs using Silica Nexus software located in various arcade shops. Moreover, players can trade their in-game assets using the Silica Nexus marketplace with the native cryptocurrency called DROID.
But that’s not all, Silica Nexus aims to connect all the games and offer an unapparelled gaming experience using any supported device, giving breath to the “Ready Player One” style.
Without further ado, let’s skip to the interview!
Andrew, Give us some information about your self, we know that you are a pioneer of VR technology in the 90s. Our readers would love to know more.
I am the founder of Convergence of 4 Dimensions LLC, creator, director, developer, and inventor. I have created companies, technology, hardware, software, video games, websites, broadcast game shows, and patents. I love experimenting, developing and inventing new things and ways of doing things in everything I do. I wrote a Medium article on how we want to gamify VC and how doing with tokens is far better than with cash. I began working with VR and advanced technologies in 1988 at Autodesk. I am currently developing XR Technology and a Player Acquisition Engine (PAE) using Blockchain and NFTs.
- 84-85 Manager Software City Louisville: age 17 – 18
- 85-86 Micro Mart Louisville Computer Sales and Assistant technician. Age 18 – 19
- 86-87 CAD Supported System specialist for Louisville CBM Computer Centers.
- 87-88 CAD Supported System Director for CBM Computer Centers. (187 stores) where I was paid by HP as the HP east coast industry expert for CAD systems and plotters. Age 19 -20
- Tested in the top 5% of the world 1987 in the IBM PS2 certification tests at age 19.
From 1990 – 96, I was the Founder and CEO of Alternate Worlds Technology, Inc. (AWT). For the first few years I stumbled around giving VR Demos trying to find a product when I stumbled across an early version of Wolfenstein 3D from Id Software. I knew EXACTLY what that was when I played it for the first time. I hacked it together to make it work with a tracker and HMD and fly down to Dallas to try and talk id out of the source code. They played their creation in my VR hack (we are talking soldering a joystick to a PC keyboard kind of hack). They loved it and agreed to give me the source code and Tom Hall for a week to help make levels. From that, we created the first US Manufactured Virtual Reality Arcade System, The Reality Rocket, with Wolfenstein VR, Blake Stone VR, CyberTAG and his 2nd Gen VR game – Xenomorph based on the pixel planes technology from UNC. When creating Wolfenstein VR, I came up with the Blind Device Communication Theory to ALSO make the 1st – first-person shooter multiplayer. This version we called CyberTag and it was networked over TCPIP. John Carmack and Jay Wilbur of id Software came to Kentucky and would not get out of the VR Cybertag systems for like 4 hours. John went back to Dallas and wrote DOOM.
At Agora Interactive in 1996 – 2001, we created a software venture enabling live interaction in social media. I partnered with Bell Labs, Lucent/Avaya, Compaq, Quest, and Computer Associates. We were Charles Wang’s personal pet project. The technology we created there has been called a cornerstone of the modern-day internet, see issued US Patents 6,941,344 and 7,237,006 Method for Managing the Simultaneous Utilization of Diverse Real-Time Collaborative Software Applications. I also am co-inventor with Jonathan Cowan, Ph.D. on issued the US patent 5,983,129 Method for determining an individual’s intensity of focused attention and integrating the same into a computer program (Brainwave Joystick patent).
Glad to see that you are always pushing forward for innovation since your early days! From what I understand, Silica Nexus is a project that you have “developed” in your mind through the past years. How did you come up with the idea of Silica Nexus?
The roots go back to the early years playing Dungeons and Dragons. I got into D&D around the same time I got into computers in middle school. We took a field trip to Porter Paints where they had an IBM Mainframe. The computer programmer and I sat and played the original Adventure while the rest of the class finished the tour. My teacher, Martha Ash told me “when I find computers, I would find myself.” From then on, I wanted to figure out how the computers could allow my friends and me to better experience the fantasy world of D&D without all the books, charts, graphs, and dice. Have the computer handle all of that in the background and we just experience the world together.
I created a concept of the “Story Teller Compiler” and have evolved it ever since. In the 90’s I worked on the VR frontend interface part and came up with “Blind Device Communion Theory” for the networking part over TCP/IP. In the late ’90s through the mid-2000s, I worked on the infrastructure part. Now, with the strength and speed of the modern internet backbone and local loop, 5G on the horizon, it is time to bring it all together. The one-piece that was missing we had to design in 2014 was ‘Contextual Based Interfaces’ and combine it with my ‘Blind Device Communication Theory’ to make true Cross-Reality possible.XR is as much, if not more, new game theory, game rationale, the why and wherefore, the roles and responsibilities of what and how you interact in the environment, then it is the technology. The technology part is the easy part.
It takes years of planning and expertise to come up with something like this. Most of our readers are familiar with the “Ready Player One” Movie, which is basically what Silica Nexus is trying to achieve, along with other projects. Cross-Reality (XR) is a new term for most users, Tell us what a player could potentially do in an XR Environment such as Silica Nexus’s and of course, how to do envision the future of your project?
- Phase one is the PAE (Player Acquisition Engine)
- Phase two is SARA (Silica neXus Augmented Reality App)
Those are what we are focused on now.
True Cross Reality / XR is cross-platform and cross-interface. Let’s say in the future we are creating you were at Disney World in a new $20M simulator doing barrel rolls in an X-Wing Fighter, your buddy could be your co-pilot R2D2 on his cell phone. Different interfaces, yet the same experience and you can communicate.
Another way to look at it is in the military and you have the binoculars, you are the scout. If you have a sniper rifle, you are the sniper, if you have a tank, you are the tank commander, and if you have an F15, you are the fighter pilot. Everyone can communicate and are in the same battle, yet they all have different roles and responsibilities based on the equipment they bring into the experience.
We are only beginning to understand the possibilities. The more you give creative people the more they surprise you. I can’t wait to see what they come up within 6 years from now.
That is definitely a plan to enhance the gaming experience, Andrew! From Atari and Nintendo 64 consoles to Cross-Reality. A wonderful Journey awaits us! Let’s talk about the Player Acquisition model which is a big aspect of the Silica Nexus. Games spend million to acquire and retain players, Can you tell us how the PAE will help games to get and retain new players?
Can’t do much about retaining players, if the game sucks, the games suck, that is for the developers to listen to their players to make the game better so the players want to bring their friends. Where we come in is getting the players to your game in the first place. The PAE works off of human behavior. What do you do when you get a new toy? Better yet, when you choose a new toy? You want to play with it right? How do you play with a video game item – In the game, right. So the trick is where do you find enough players each and every month and have them select your game items over something else?
In the out-of-home Entertainment (Arcades, Family Entertainment Centers, and Theme Parks) 500,000,000 players trade prize tickets for prizes that suck. This is the only time in retail, people spend their money without knowing what they are spending it on, what they are taking home with them. We put our Prize neXus (a digital vending machine) at the prize counter, so players can choose digital prizes, NFTs from games. Game companies trade their NFTs for players. This becomes no out of pocket marketing money for Player Acquisition.
Once players enter the neXus, they can get more NFTs from our Marketplace, sell NFTs in the Auction House or trade them with other players in the Trade Zone. All without Gas fees.
Developers come to us because it can get prohibitively expensive to transfer 1M items to new players. With the neXus, they mint them into their neXus wallets and we take it from there at no cost to the developers.
So, the games will be able to mint their own in-game assets through the neXus? What blockchains is the Silica Nexus going to support and how can developers mint their assets through the NeXus?
Silica neXus strives to support all Blockchains. Currently, the plan is for developers to mint their own tokens directly into our wallets or transfer their tokens into the neXus. However, in the future, there are plans for developers who are plugged in through our API to allow the nexus to mint the NFTs for them as needed.
Where does blockchain fit in your tech? Rather than the DROID token, the marketplace and the NFTs, is there any other use case for blockchain technology in Silica Nexus? I assume Silica Nexus does not solely rely on the blockchain right? There should be some centralized servers etc.
At this point, it makes sense to secure the video game items and the virtual currency for the games with the Blockchain. We want to evolve into a decentralized organization, however, we need it fully operational to see what can / should be automated.
That’s a wise choice, to begin with, Andrew. Let’s talk about the Arcades, are those developed by Silica Nexus or you provide the software? Also, what type of arcades should users expect and which places in the world?
The arcades, family entertainment centers, and theme parks are the ones that exist today. We will be showing off at IAAPA in November and we expect to take Initial orders there.
Which ever locations We feel have enough traffic to support the system we will put them in Worldwide.
Watch a video of the MaxFlight Dancing Machines that Silica Nexus is working with!
Are there any other funding rounds besides the LAToken IEO.
We plan on funding a DROIDBNT Relay Token on Bancor. We are taking loans from specific backers where we are offering the greater of 6% interest or the profit from their portion of the Relay Token as their interest. We do this to grow our liquidity depth to a respectable level. We are also doing an equity round currently.
How many people are currently working for Silica Nexus? From your website, I can see that there are a lot of professionals in their field in your team!
There are different levels of “Work” going on. We have 22 people on 4 continents that are direct contributors to the Silica neXus Project
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Convergence is working hard to bring quality to our ecosystem. We will be signing up operators (Family Entertainment centers who exchange tickets for prizes) at IAAPA in November. They will bring liquidy and stability to our ecosystem.
Where do you see blockchain gaming in five years from now?
I see blockchain gaming in the mainstream, it will be the norm. All the top AAA publishers and developers will be working on new innovative ways to interact over the blockchain.