Today, we’re delving into another Enjin Early Adopter, the Makerverse project, with Patrick Mockridge taking the helm. The term ‘verse’ means line, so it’ll be great to see where this line of questions will take us. Already, Patrick is well known for his in-depth discussion and ‘suffer no tom-foolery’ attitude on Telegram, so I’m sure this will make for an insightful and thought provoking interview. Now let’s get on with it. Ding Ding!
Hi Patrick, thanks for the time today. First of all, I feel the idea of Makerverse is huge, previously you mentioned it can disrupt the space of supply chains, manufacturing, and engineering, to name a few. So I gather it would be hard to summarise the concept into a couple of paragraphs, but if anyone can, it’s you. What’s the elevator pitch you give normally?
Makerverse is a puzzle of three main parts:
1) A robotic engineering simulation environment in Unity that requires no knowledge of code, no knowledge of command line to design, build and simulate robots.
2) A Massive Multiplayer Collaborative World where gamers collaborate, compete, build things and carry out missions together.
3) A peer to peer marketplace of robotic engineering designs
Coming from an engineering background, but having a lot of gamers mostly reading this, can you briefly explain how you will ‘gamify’ the engineering world? And how does the Unity Game Engine and Enjin help this process?
Gamifying engineering gives everyone a window into the world of technology, of solving problems, building machines and robots. Unity is capable of building the most intuitive and immersive engineering environments, taking what is only currently available to the few, and giving it to the many in a way they can clearly understand.
Makerverse will become like the GUI of engineering, the clear and intuitive Graphical User Interface that allows people to build things without having to punch in numbers and equations, nor write any code if they do not want to.
When we combine this with the Enjin Platform, we create a global peer to peer engineering marketplace that anyone is able to access, where anyone is able to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
I saw you explain once, a sort of customer mapping journey on what you expect a person to do on your platform. I think it went ‘Make the robot, mint the robot, own the robot, buy and sell the robot.’ For someone new travelling through the Makerverse, are you able to expand a little more on this journey?
Different people will have different journeys, much like EVE Online, much like our own lives. Not everyone is technically minded, some people are more interested in the thrill of the immediate competition, or maybe just having a steady low skilled job as a way to become part of a wider group.
What we are building is a whole new digital universe, where people get the benefits of the ‘digital nomad’ economy without having to be a top 10% coder. And they will be able to pick their own roles, if they want to test aerial drones to the limit playing a ‘Rocket League’ format they can be paid to do that, if they want to build robots that can farm vegetables in the desert, they can do that too. It is a very expansive vision where almost everyone will have a journey, have a place.
On your website, you make the statement that the Enjin Platform will become the premier blockchain solution for digital asset management in simulated 3D environments, and I agree. Can you explain a little more on why you believe this to be the case?
I believe that it currently is the Premier blockchain solution for the aims of Makerverse and will continue to be for some time. Enjin are unique in the blockchain sphere because they focused hard on building a concept that was both simple and solved a key problem in the gaming industry . That same problem in gaming also exists in engineering, but gamers seem to be more willing to solve their problems, to take risks in order to reap the rewards.
Your team will be bringing out a white paper soon to provide us a better understanding on the Makerverse project. What can we expect from your paper?
Everyone involved in our White Paper has very serious business, professional and/or academic experiences and credentials. We will lay out our vision with supporting references, referencing the problems we see in the market in academic terms wherever possible, making our core assumptions clear.
Our white paper will be the solid foundation upon which all our subsequent engineering and communication decisions are made.
Looking at the pedigree of your team, I can see you definitely have a vast experience to execute this immense industry changing project. I got to ask first though, who is Dr. Manhattan? Is that a joke? But more seriously, what kind of timeline are you expecting before your marketplace has a Minimum Viable Product?
We need to raise some money for a minimum viable product. Even Dr Manhattan needs to eat and pay his mortgage. When we have some money, he can start work. It is important we set up the core team with the right people from the very beginning, and make sure our core senior developers are very experienced with a good breadth of experience.
Previously, you mentioned this project requires roughly $200,000 to get this project to a point of MVP. Other Early Adopter games have been doing presales of items, and some with great success, 9LA has made well over the $100,000 mark I believe. How does your team intend on getting funding? Presales? Governments? I heard you actually declined an offer from the UK Government.
I am still thinking about this. Until we have our messaging straight, it is hard to then make a case for people to hand over serious amounts of cash. So White paper comes first, then making sure that we create some good content marketing, and getting our message clear.
Also with the downturn in crypto, it has killed a lot of the appetite for the early stage blue sky projects. So we need to present our case much more thoroughly.
One of the things I love about the Makerverse concept, is that it is very community-centric, and has applications that have a positive impact on our broader consumer footprint, such as automated recycling and open source manufacturing. I feel it has a great ability to decentralise industrialisation. What would be the top 5 applications that you foresee a Makerverse marketplace achieving to create a more sustainable industrial ecosystem?
1) We bring down the cost of automated manufacturing by 90%.
2) In the same way the Bitcoin decentralises finance, Makerverse decentralises the engineering and ownership of autonomous machines.
3) We lower the barriers to entry into the engineering profession by a factor of 10 or more, giving millions of people a window into becoming a creator of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as opposed to becoming a victim of it, just have their job become automated.
4) War games can be organised to supply robotics as a service to the real world, in a flexible crowdsourced manner.
5) Users will get paid to game!
Last year, Microsoft ported a ROS (Robot Operating System) into Windows 10, and Amazon also launched its AWS Robomaker, so the big boys are pushing this concept. From what I can tell, it’s not an actual operating system, but can you briefly explain what ROS is, and how it will be utilised by Makerverse?
ROS is a suite of open source tools used to build and test robots both in simulation. Users are able to port the exact same functionality into real life robots.
While its aims are noble, ROS still requires a great deal of computer science knowledge and experience. The learning curve is steep. From my own research I found that ROS developers almost never receive money for their efforts; and even if a viable prototype is created using ROS, ROS doesn’t make it any easier to commercialise your ideas once they are working.
Makerverse as a concept resulted from my experiences using ROS, identifying what it does do well and improving upon what it either does not do well or does not do at all.
It’s a sad reality that a majority of projects fail in this world due to a variety of reasons. I think your terminology was ‘believing that dog doo-doo can turn into candy magic’ ha. Love that line. But with that in mind, what precautions and planning has your team implemented, so that you aren’t another start-up that only starts and doesn’t get to finish?
The main thing is to be lean, only spend money when it needs to be spent, but mostly build a passionate community that gets behind this idea, understands the benefits of doing it.
Startups fail when they aim to sell 100 candies but only sell 60 and they needed to sell 70 to pay wages and rent. This is different, anti-fragile. It runs on the passion of good people who want to put their talent to best use.
It’s clear to see that each member of Makerverse brings something to the fold, and are also working on their own projects too, like Cubespawn. Can you expand on that a little more, and what are your other team members up to, outside of the Makerverse?
Loïc is an Economics Professor at ISTEC is Paris, David is big into the blockchain community in Vancouver, John is one of the biggest names in robotics in the whole world.
To paraphrase Ron Burgundy:
I don’t know how to say this but uhhh… they’re a pretty big deal.
Love it. Well taking the lead from the best anchorman in history I’ll pass it over to the community now, as they have a real interest to find out more about what you’re up to. So the next set of questions come from members of your telegram community.
Nathaneil McDougal (@Nathaneil)
Will Makerverse implement a simple VR UI for robot making, akin to Google Brush, that allows 3D drag and drop for fast prototyping?
Yes, If we could make it as seamless and intuitive as ‘The Google Brush of Robots’ that would a really superb finished product.
How is Makerverse going to be involved with the Enjin multiverse and other Early Adopter collaborations?
We’ll see. I’ve had some interesting conversations already, but nothing formal yet. I want to see how this ‘Multiverse’ concept plays out.
Darstara MvB ♀ (@Darstara)
Patrick Mockridge and CubeSpawn, I like the new world you envision with this technology and the way Enjin can secure IP rights for you and gamers who design blueprints via the Makerverse game! Brilliant!
This is my question for you : Why support the military with AI robot strategies for war while they are the strongarm of the centralised? Do they have any place in the new decentralised paradigm?
Sure, robot assistance can be provided for disaster relief, but for war? Will wars never end no matter the paradigm shift?
Also will the strategies of war games you plan for, reflect this shift away from centralisation? Would it be a slightly different genre than the regular war game?
The military today is not performing its basic function of keeping us safe. Of defence of the nation. I think this gives more extreme groups like the NRA a lot of leverage, when their core message is very blunt, not very intelligent. But when basic security such as border control, immigration management, picking and choosing our real enemies foreign and domestic has become so haphazard, and also so controlled by the whims of democratic politics, you cannot blame people for falling into the arms of NRA and alt-right politics.
So, the answer for me, is for the masses to become more positively engaged in the creation of things like defence policy, transport policy, municipal infrastructure policy, to engage in more constructive debate. We are already trying to encourage this with Makerverse, get the community involved with our marketing agenda, help them to understand how hard our message is to sell. That there are no easy answers. This, I think, encourages honour and discipline more widely. Takes the power away from the social media rhetoric, the shaming and blaming and moves mass discussion more towards creating a constructive range of solutions to the problems we face.
This applies to not only defence but many other contentious issues to which people are currently unable to organise meaningful alternative policy solutions for.
If we created a robot in Makerverse could we sell it to a user in Alterverse? So we can create our own digital item and then sell it to other game users?
Question 1: Compatibility with things outside Makerverse would be easier than reverse compatibility into Makerverse. We don’t want people bringing fire-breathing unicorns into an engineering simulator, for example.
Makerverse is fundamentally an engineering simulator. So we will have to be quite strict with what is allowed in, what isn’t.
Question 2: Yes. Absolutely yes the peer to peer marketplace is a cornerstone of the platform.
OK, back to the desk. It’s great to see Enjin and blockchain solutions in general ignite such interesting concepts and creative genius. It’s a real pleasure to chat to someone as knowledgeable as yourself, and someone who’s followed blockchain for so long. Is there anything else you’d like to add for our readership to take home with them?
The world sucks in a lot of ways for young people. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can beat the system, we can take back our future.
I recently found out what FTW meant;) So I’ll leave it at that. Should you want to keep up with the progress on Markerverse, and be a part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
P.S – If you’ve got any questions you’d like to contribute to future Meltelbrot Articles, please join this telegram channel, and I’ll do my best to get them answered.