The Delphi Podcast Host Jeremy Parris is joined by Michael Wagner (founder of Star Atlas). In this episode we explore not only what Star Atlas hopes to achieve in the future, but what they’ve already accomplished to date.
The Delphi Podcast Host Jeremy Parris is joined by Michael Wagner, Co-founder & CEO of Star Atlas. In this episode we explore not only what Star Atlas hopes to achieve in the future, but what they’ve already accomplished to date. We dive deep into the P2E weeds and imagine what a future looks like where someone could be a “space pirate” for a living. Beyond that we touch upon their upcoming TGE (token generation event) and what to expect next from the project.
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Every Delphi Podcast is dropped first as a video interview for Delphi Digital Subscribers. Our members also have access to full interview transcripts. Join today to get our interviews, first.
(00:00:00) – Introduction.
(00:03:59) – First Question: Star Atlas overview.
(00:10:15) – What players might be able to vote on in Star Atlas DAOs.
(00:12:41) – Start Atlas feature releases.
(00:15:33) – The challenge of crypto game design.
(00:19:11) – What gameplay for Star Atlas will look like.
(00:26:02) – Michael’s thoughts on the future of Star Atlas.
(00:27:14) – The story behind Star Atlas.
(00:30:50) – On the community that has evolved around Star Atlas.
(00:34:04) – Star Atlas poster sale.
(00:38:45) – $ATLAS and $POLIS token sale.
(00:41:49) – What’s on the roadmap for Star Atlas.
(00:45:05) – In-game high stakes PvP.
(00:49:19) – How to get involved in Star Atlas.
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Jeremy Parris (02:14):
All right, guys, welcome back to another Delphi Podcast show. This week we are joined by Michael Wagner of Star Atlas. Michael, absolute pleasure to have you on the show. So how are we doing today?
Michael Wagner (02:25):
I’m doing fantastic, man. Jeremy, it’s always a great pleasure chatting with you. The Twitter space is on the Play-to-Earn model. Last week was really enjoyable, and looking forward to hearing that one come out to the public. Yeah. I mean, it’s always great to chat with you, and thank you for having me on.
Jeremy Parris (02:39):
Absolutely, man. Hopefully we’ll have that show released before we drop this one. So it’ll actually lead into this podcast perfectly. It’ll be a little bit of a primer and get people’s Play-to-Earn and metaverse brain working. If people are hearing this after that show, man, we got to give them an update. Can you just let us know what happened with the hurricane because that really caught my imagination, and I imagine it might catch some other people’s as well?
Michael Wagner (03:04):
Yeah. Well, life must go on and the metaverse can’t be slowed down. So I was in the middle of just a category one hurricane down into loom last week and survived. I made it through. It was really kind of a non-event for me. We were in a pretty safe shelter and I just jammed away to work all day, but the chaos outside was pretty bad, we couldn’t tell inside, but there was quite a bit of damage into loom. If you’ve been there, it’s a lot of older style kind of stick shelters. Even the place I was staying was kind of this tree house of sorts, and there was some significant damage, but I made it through unscathed.
Jeremy Parris (03:44):
That’s wild, man. Well, I’m glad you made it back state side anyways and everything’s all good, but let’s dive on in, man. So Star Atlas, some people that might be listening might not be as familiar with the project. So if you could just kind of an intro and overview of what this awesome game is that you guys are building, would love to hear it from the man himself.
Michael Wagner (04:04):
Happy to amend. So Star Atlas is a really big vision, and the goal behind it is to be truly transformative across not only the gaming industry, but tackling so many concepts around the metaverse. And so what we’re building is really multifaceted, the first of which is a AAA gaming experience. And the genre bar game, it’s space-themed, massively multiplayer online games. And so the general game play pillars include things like space exploration, territory control, political domination, and it’s all enveloped in a grand strategy genre video game.
Michael Wagner (04:42):
Where we strongly differentiate ourselves is when we started to conceptualize this back in mid 2020, we set out to develop one of the first, if not the first AAA gaming experience that integrates crypto and blockchain. And so for us, we’re building an Unreal Engine 5. We have early access to the engine, and this is going to deliver just such an incredible gaming experience, cinematic quality graphics, the best physics engine really in the space.
Michael Wagner (05:12):
The idea is to allow people to escape into this digital world, this virtual universe and immerse themselves and feel like they’re truly there. Especially when you start to enhance that with things like VR experiences and even simulated flight through motion simulators, should you possess one? But what’s really cool is we’ve enhanced that video game model which I should note, it’s probably most comparable that something like EVE Online or Star Citizen more recently. That’s kind of the category of game, but we’re enhancing that with a number of blockchain mechanics that include NFPs, the non-fungible tokens.
Michael Wagner (05:49):
So the player has true asset ownership over the items that they possess in the game. That includes things like your ship and your crew members, virtual land, buildings and structures, components, virtually everything that exists within this world is going to be able to be owned by a player. So we take that a step further and we include two crypto native assets or crypto tokens, if you will, that managing control both the game economy. So that’s the Atlas token. That’s the transactional currency, kind of the inflationary currency. It’s also the primary reward mechanism for players as they’re engaged in game plays. That’s where we get the Play-to-Earn dynamic within Star Atlas.
Michael Wagner (06:30):
We also have a governance token which is strongly, it’s very robust. And so POLIS is our governance token. Well, it’s executed through a hierarchical tier system model of DAOs. So there’s the external DAO, which drives things like game development decision-making, it also has implications for economic changes in the future, asset release schedules, inflation schedules, generally the broader game economy and how we develop as a design studio based on the player votes and proposals.
Michael Wagner (07:05):
So within the game though, there’s also this political strategy component, and we have, as I said, a multitier system. So there are three factions and each one of those factions has a faction DAO that players can get elected to, there’s regional DAOs that are more in like local clusters or solar systems, or even just local planets. Regional DAOs will manage the economics of those regions. And then we go all the way down to the player guild level, which we call decentralized autonomous corporations, DAX. The players themselves will be able to manage guild, treasuries and implement a voting system in a purely decentralized fashion.
Michael Wagner (07:42):
All of these things are going to take some time to create, but this is the vision that we’re trying to implement. So those are the two cryptocurrencies. And then on the other end of it, we are also integrating DeFi components throughout the game as well, that will allow players to participate in LPs, liquidity pools, automated market-making, otherwise yield farming as well as participate in things like lending pools, and probably what is comparable to the scholarship model and Axie Infinity where people can purchase on in these assets even if they don’t intend to play because they can rent them out or lease them out to other players or to real players and generate a residual income stream for themselves. I think the implications for attracting capital into the metaverse is enormous because of that dynamic. It’s an entirely new asset class that’s being created for people to invest in new forms of assets.
Michael Wagner (08:37):
So, the DeFi is really important to us because we want players guild to maximize returns. And as they earn revenues for the game, they can then deploy that into yield bearing instruments, such as these liquidity pools and actually compounds the return for themselves. And so those are the blockchain mechanics and the game play itself. I mean, it all evolves later into the metaverse, which is, where I was talking about the POLIS or Star Atlas DAO, it’s actually turning this environment, this virtual world over to the player base, over to the governors of the token over time and allowing them to [inaudible 00:09:19], how people can contribute and how people can extract and create their own value in metaverse.
Jeremy Parris (09:24):
Yeah, man. I mean, that’s a lot to unpack, especially if you’re new to Play-to-Earn. I mean, if you were a lame and just listening to that, you’d be thinking what is this whole brave new world. But for somebody a little bit more crypto native, I think what it kind of translates into is no matter what you want to do, there’s going to be a place for you in a game like this, especially with all the different levels of DAOs and that sort of thing. So if you want to be a senator in a certain sense, you could engage with a little bit of a higher level DAO and you could really work your way down into the nitty-gritty as far as being a space pirate or something like that.
Jeremy Parris (09:59):
So I think that’s something that’s really exciting about Play-to-Earn opens up. You open up these really rich ecosystems that have never really existed in a game before. I mean, maybe Eve to a certain extent, but I think something that people underestimate are the DAOs and how much a player will actually be able to influence these games. As far as the DAO goes, what are some things that a player might actually be able to vote on and influence? Can we dive in there a little bit more?
Michael Wagner (10:29):
Yeah. Certainly. I do want to touch on that last comment that you made because I think it’s really poignant and it is a great point. One thing, and I’m going to make a very bold statement here though. We talked about this a little bit on that Twitter Spaces, but while we’re creating this video game, it is far more expensive than a video game. And so we’re introducing experiences that players can engage in and have fun and get that escapism value, earn revenue. But in the long-term, and while we have all of these different career paths that people can undertake in the metaverse, including exclusively being a minor, exclusively being a data runner, exclusively being CEO of a DAO. All of these things people can do that we create.
Michael Wagner (11:12):
In the future, the job creation, and I mentioned this on Twitter Spaces, I do think that the metaverse will become the largest job market economy in the world, because anybody can come into it. And so that might mean that somebody buys a shop that exists only on one planet and they sell goods through that shop. I’d like to use the example of Nike, Nike has a presence in the metaverse and they have these shops set up all over the universe. They could sell physical shoes through the metaverse itself. And if you purchase a pair of physical shoes, maybe you get an NFT that is a digital replica of the shoes that you bought. So the shoes get delivered to your physical experience and the NFT lives on your avatar in there. So I think that the metaverse is going to be extraordinarily disruptive to things like e-commerce and also to people’s ability to create these unique opportunities for themselves that live outside of the mechanics that we’re introducing. It’s just a giant sandbox for innovation.
Michael Wagner (12:11):
So with that said, just quickly to touch on the external polo style, the biggest things decisions that players will be able to make votes on are as I said. So economics are big and we felt a lot of effort and energy into designing the economics of the game, as well as the tokenomics. So asset release schedules, how often can we meet new shifts? That should be based on how many new players do we have in the game, and how rapidly is this growing and how much capital is on the sideline is trying to come in.
Michael Wagner (12:41):
Also, feature releases. We’re developing this out in a modular system, so people won’t be waiting five to seven years for us to release a completely packaged product. The first product to come out will be a showroom where you’re in Unreal. It’s in 3D space, and you can view all of your assets, almost like a hanger, but you can view them in 3D space. It’s limited functionality, but you can at least walk around in that world and experience it. We’ve been to like a ship yard module where it’s on a central space station. We have racing modules that we want to introduce, and there’s a number of other concepts that we have, and we’re just going to be releasing these as packages. So players continuously get new upgrades to the gameplay and all of their assets can live across these experiences.
Jeremy Parris (13:29):
Now as those modules begin to come online and be released, will players be able to actually start accumulating assets that will be able to be used in Star Atlas, the core game itself? Will people be able to interact with the future full game through those modules?
Michael Wagner (13:47):
It’s a great question and I love it. As if what we’re building isn’t already complex enough, we’re actually building out two concurrent product lines because we wanted to [inaudible 00:13:59] the process and something that’s playable soon rather than later. And so we’re actually developing out this web app which we call a mini-game, and it’s an in-browser experience. The registration process for this mini-game will be coming up in about a week, actually. Early September we’re going to be opening this up. And so along with that process, our Galactic Asset Offering, which is when you’ll be able to buy all of your ships and land and characters, all of those NFTs that I talked about. But those will be deployable within the mini-game by October or sometime in October. So you can actually start putting your mining assets down and partaking in ship missions and earning off of that gameplay.
Michael Wagner (14:39):
Now, concurrently we have an entire team that is a full production team working in Unreal Engine. Once we get to the point where players can transition into the full metaverse, their assets will carry right over. That’s one of the benefits and beauty of working on chain is that, that is our central database. Well, decentralized databases, it’s all of the on-chain activity. And so all we need to do is have the game clients correspond and communicate with the chain data. And so the real benefit is, yes, the compute requirements are going to be hard or high for the Unreal Engine version of the game, but if you don’t have access to a gaming rig, you can still play the browser experience, and everything that happens in browser will carry through to the 3D game, and vice versa. So it’s actually still a single world, just a different way to act.
Jeremy Parris (15:32):
Does that make designing a game like this even more complicated from a crypto side of things? Because you’re almost having to design the assets now, keeping in mind that they still have to have relevance a couple of years down the line. That in and of itself seems like a huge challenge. In our Twitter Spaces, we kind of talked about how you guys are faced with challenges that normal game studios don’t have to run up against, that’s sort of the shoulders of the giants we touched upon.
Michael Wagner (16:01):
Sure. I think it is absolutely a challenge. Everything we’re doing is very challenging and it’s very [inaudible 00:16:09]. This hasn’t been done before, but I also think that that’s a major competitive advantage for us. Once again, definitely listen to our Twitter Spaces because we did talk about it extensively, but how difficult is it going to be for a traditional gaming studio to move into the metaverse and introduce blockchain? I think we have a significant advantage because my personal background being in the field for nine years now and launching multiple companies, and the subject matter expertise that we have working with crypto and understanding the crypto community and understanding the technology gives us a huge leg up and the revenue models, the business model behind a decentralized universe is significantly different from how traditional gaming studios operate.
Michael Wagner (16:52):
Maybe going back to my earlier points, the traditional model is very walled garden and also very transactional. I’d like to use the analogy of just renting a house versus owning a house. So traditional model, you’re essentially renting assets and you get to use them while you’re playing the game. But when you leave, you leave everything behind. So it’s a pure cost. In our model, it’s very much ownership-based. It’s the same as buying a house because you retain that asset. And if you decide you want to stop playing later, you can turn around and sell that asset on the decentralized marketplace. So that’s what we’re moving into. I think that’s going to be very difficult for traditional game studios to transition into and evolve themselves into, versus us starting from scratch with all of this expertise, as well as expertise in game development and just propelling ourselves forward from a fresh start.
Jeremy Parris (17:43):
Absolutely, man. I was talking to a friend today and the way I kind of made the analogy was when we were kids and you used to build up different actual box games and you’d get five or six of them and then you’d take them to GameStop and exchange them in, that’s the light version of what we’re actually building toward, what sort of NFTs and assets, which is why I think it just clicks with younger people. You know what I mean? Because we’ve already been practicing that to a certain extent, but this is that on space steroids, I suppose.
Michael Wagner (18:13):
Yeah, man. I think a lot of us, it’s amazing to see the progression in technology obviously, but thinking about when I was growing up and playing with Nintendo and PlayStation and Sega and Super Nintendo, just to see how far we’ve come. But the other part of that is just how intuitive this is to the youngest generation, kids that are two or three years old that are playing around on an iPad and they’re able to navigate to the app that they want to use and play the game before they can even talk. Kids that are eight, nine, 10, 12 that are playing Roblox or Minecraft. The concept of gaining and creation within games is so native to the younger generation that they really flock to things like cryptocurrency. And this for their generation, I think this model of Play-to-Earn is just going to be so attractive.
Jeremy Parris (19:11):
Man, absolutely. I guess just to kind of provide more of a foundation for Star Atlas as well, just maybe somebody who is listening to this right now still hasn’t dove too deeply into the game, what do you anticipate some of the actual gameplay for Star Atlas might look like? I understand that’s a very broad question. So could you maybe talk about some of the different factions, do these factions exist on home worlds, and then you expand out from there, almost like in World of Warcraft, you kind of have your different sectors. What could we actually expect as far as the gameplay goes in Star Atlas? Once again, I understand it’s a very broad question.
Michael Wagner (19:47):
No, I think it’s a great question though. Maybe I’ll take this opportunity just to plug our white paper and our game economics paper, they’re both on staratlas.com. Highly recommend reading through both of those because they talk a lot about the various careers that people can take within the game. But we do see this as being kind of a specialization-driven economy where … I’ll make a quick aside, which is, I was having a great conversation in our Discord channel with community members and they were concerned that we were going to introduce a kind of fiefdom system where whales could come in and buy up all the land and then the minnows, so to speak, can’t get in and actually play.
Michael Wagner (20:28):
But my argument was that’s actually a really positive for the global population. Not necessarily that we want fiefdoms, but think about the amount of jobs that are going to be created. And if it means that somebody can come into the game and buy a lot of land, that they don’t want to work or don’t have the capability to work, they can hire minors, they can hire shippers and freighters, they can hire security. I mean, they can hire people to go explore new land. They can hire people to do all of these things. That means now there’s a job for somebody that wasn’t available in the past.
Jeremy Parris (20:58):
Yeah, you need those whales to come in, lay a foundation, provide liquidity and be able to bootstrap some of these major operations because a bunch of minnows can’t build an empire, or it might be a lot more difficult so to say.
Michael Wagner (21:13):
Definitely. I think this is a good segue into how the faction system work would work. But I do want to caveat that and say that the space in Star Atlas is huge. So everybody will have an opportunity to get in. We’re starting with assets that start anywhere from $5 to $20. So everybody can purchase some land. Everybody can purchase a ship and play. Sure, it’s not going to be able to compete with the 1,500 meter mother ships that are in the game that might cost five or $10 million to buy. Your revenue potential is kind of based on the amount that you’ve put into the game, but every player also has the opportunity to reinvest their earnings back into bigger and better ships and more land and better efficiencies across their operations.
Michael Wagner (21:56):
So with that said, we’re not striving for a Whale dominated economy. In fact, one of the mechanisms that we’ve introduced is the land value tax. What this accomplishes, it’s really just very much like property tax operates today, in that if you’re sitting on a parcel of land there’s a recurring cost to holding it. What’s important is if you’re not actually deploying assets on that land and earning from it, then it’s just a constant burn rate on you. So whales in theory won’t be able to come in and just buy all of the little land and hold it so that they can flip it later because they’re just going to be burning so much revenue. So people actually need to be engaged using those assets in a game or else they risk bankrupting themselves.
Jeremy Parris (22:43):
That’s really cool. So you’re incentivizing these whales to actually go ahead and build those empires so that it could begin to stimulate the rest of the economy surrounding it and begin to produce these jobs.
Michael Wagner (22:57):
That’s right. Once again, even if it’s not their intention to actually play the game, what it does create is countless jobs for people all over the world that can benefit from the economic incentives in the game.
Jeremy Parris (23:10):
Also, if somebody doesn’t want to … I guess maybe the way the people or that person, that could have been thinking about it, if they don’t want to be under that boot heel then they could go out into space and explore and be a space pirate or a mercenary. There’s plenty of other opportunities in the world of Star Atlas as well.
Michael Wagner (23:30):
Without question. The other point that I would make here is that this job economy is going to be the most competitive in the world as well. Because we in physical space are trapped within our geographic borders. We’re seeing this a lot with Ace and with yield field gains in the Philippines, how they were able to leverage Ace to survive the pandemic and the shutdowns that were going on. People were losing their real jobs. In fact, what they discovered is they were making three times the amount of money playing Ace, then they were working a job in the local economy.
Michael Wagner (24:06):
And so not only that, but players or whales won’t be able to create these fiefdoms because if they’re not economically incentivizing their employees, they’re just going to go find someone else that will. And so there’s going to be an enormous amount of job creators, which means you have to pay fair wages.
Jeremy Parris (24:25):
Well, this is something I’ve been really stewing on myself recently is by the time Star Atlas comes out, I would imagine VR capabilities will be a little bit more advanced than if you could plug into Star Atlas with a VR headset and you’re on Unreal Engine 5, that’s coming pretty close to real life in space. How engaging and hard is it going to be to unplug from that? This is where when you zoom out five to 10 years in the future, we are truly living in a different world. I don’t think some people have quite put all those dots together yet.
Michael Wagner (24:57):
I think that planning time to be alive. It is so exciting because that’s the future potential reality. I’m a bit of an extremist on this, the big gamer, but because I’ve been so busy I haven’t been playing. But a lot of people have been to GameWorks or Dave and Buster’s, and you don’t know there’s motion simulators. Whether you’re in a race car or you’re on a motorcycle or something, you get the sense of being there. I mean, I’m buying this six degree of freedom, motion simulator for my house, I’m going to have my VR headset on with my hooters throttle and thruster, and it will feel like I’m actually flying around in space and getting into dog fights and [inaudible 00:25:39] battles.
Jeremy Parris (25:41):
Yeah. So this is where I’m worried though because once it becomes that good, man, I’m just going to be plugged in that thing, 18 hours a day, making my fake Internet money. You know what I mean? Even for me, it personally worries me.
Michael Wagner (25:57):
I mean, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to run the company if I’m stuck.
Jeremy Parris (26:02):
So on that note, man, this is actually kind of segues perfectly. When you look at Star Atlas as a project, this is obviously just to get the core game launched a couple years out. When you think about the future of Star Atlas, this thing is, it could be thought of as almost immortal in a certain sense once it gets up and spinning and possibly even the DAO gets introduced. How do you think about that?
Michael Wagner (26:26):
I love that. I love the term a model that you used, and I just think of it as a perpetually evolving organism. We certainly foresee a future where once this gets completely decentralized, where we are not the organization that is tasked with game development going into the future. It would be entirely possible for the DAO even to say Star Atlas design studio is no longer the monopoly that controls which assets get created. They can actually vote us out as the core developer and vote someone or multiple teams into continue building it out. As a result of that, it also means that we aren’t the ones that are exclusively maintaining the product for forever. So this metaverse could be the forever metaverse that just grows and expands and evolves for the next 1,000 years, right?
Jeremy Parris (27:14):
Yeah. No, that’s insane to think about. As you’re explaining that, I actually kind of want to rewind and start with the seed, because I’m sure you’ve answered this question before, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the story of myself. What planted the seed of Star Atlas in your head? Is there a Star Atlas origin story?
Michael Wagner (27:33):
So it kind of goes back to, first and foremost, like I said, big computer nerd, big gamer growing up, and this is really in the 90s. I talked about this a lot on previous shows, but we had a group that was called the [Learnarchers 00:27:46].
Jeremy Parris (27:46):
It’s a great name.
Michael Wagner (27:51):
Every weekend we actually hold a domain, Leanarchers.com still to this day. But we would bring our computers to somebody’s house and there’d be 15 of us in a basement strewn across somebody’s living room and kitchen and we were multiplayer gaming all night. This is like Doom and Quake, Quake II Tribes, Half-Life, all of the games that were kind of coming out in the 90s. It’s because Blake broadband wasn’t really widely available. That was the only way you can multiplayer. Obviously it’s much more accessible now to do it all online, but being hardcore gamers and then having this background in crypto, as I said, starting in 2013, being involved in almost every facet of the leading industry work, launching my first company.
Michael Wagner (28:36):
And then through the first company meeting Danny Floyd and Jacob Floyd, the brothers, Danny Floyd is our chief product officer, Jacob Floyd is our chief technology officer and they played those same roles at Tokes, the crypto and cannabis company. And then also I just want to make sure I mentioned Pablo Quiroga, is our chief revenue officer. He’s a guy that I’ve known for a long time. So he’s coming in and managing things like marketing comms and PR, but as well, defining out revenue opportunities. But having connected with Danny and Jacob and being of a very similar mindset and just working really well together for a number of years, over four years now, we saw the trends that were taking place mostly in DeFi and NFTs, but more on the collectible art side.
Michael Wagner (29:24):
And then seeing some of these more, I really don’t want to sound disparaging, but what I would consider kind of rudimentary blockchain games, its still very nascent. But what we saw was a lot of card-based games or turn-based games, but we didn’t see anything that was of AAA quality that would be attractive to that mainstream audience. And so for us, we just came up with a site. We were like, “We should create a blockchain game because we can do this really well.” And Star Atlas was born. It’s amazing that … I have kind of a funny story about the domain because I’m super happy that we hold staratlas.com and then a bunch of other names, but Star Atlas was previously like a stargazing application, like Google Sky.
Jeremy Parris (30:08):
Michael Wagner (30:09):
We started conceptualizing in June. I want to say by August we had a bunch of the pre-production planning done and the name, and I just happened to do a search for staratlas.com, and it had just been released from that stargazing app. And so I immediately bought that domain. It’s unbelievable that the timing worked out for us so well, that domain was available. And that was it, man. That was the genesis of our metaverse and we were off to the races.
Jeremy Parris (30:36):
You could say it was literally written in the stars, Michael. But man, it’s crazy to think about … because I remember those LAN parties. I remember going to the local library. I remember just being up all night on your Mountain Dew, your Monster Energy drinks, all that good stuff. And so does it surprise you, or has the community that has evolved around Star Atlas surprised you? Because that’s what we went from, not that long ago, it was from LAN parties to however many people you have in your Discord right now with actual guilds already forming. Has that been a complete surprise in this whole process because it blows my mind?
Michael Wagner (31:15):
I want to say yes. The Mountain Dew, I have experience of entire refrigerator empty down and it was nothing but Mountain Dew. So we were the nerds. We weren’t like the crazy party kids drinking beer, we were drinking Mountain Dew.
Jeremy Parris (31:30):
Michael Wagner (31:30):
You’re right. You could be up 48 hours and you didn’t sleep until Sunday night when you got home and you had to send your computer back up. So our community has been absolutely amazing, and I’m super grateful for all of the support that we get from them and encouragement that we get from them. We currently have almost 60,000 people on Twitter. We have, I think approaching 20,000 in Telegram, we have over 20,000 at Discord. And to your exact point, as early as February when we launched our Discord and there were only 300 or 400 people in there, clans were starting to form, guilds were starting to form and recruit. Of course, we cultivated that. We created a separate channel so people could do their own marketing of their own guilds.
Michael Wagner (32:12):
We think that this social aspect is really pivotal to the experience that people are going to enjoy in the metaverse. Once again, even if you’re not engaged in space flight and PvP and building out land, or even working on a business in the metaverse, you can just come in there and walk around on a space station with your avatar and interact with other people. That could be your entire social engagement, is just the universe. And so we think that being social externally is just going to continue to feed and enhance the metaverse experience.
Jeremy Parris (32:49):
Just a quick question and then I want to shift gears, but I don’t know if I’ve ever actually asked the founder this question, but does having a community like that behind you and pushing you, what kind of fire does that give you as a founder and somebody building this game out? Is that a tangible asset that the community gives you?
Michael Wagner (33:06):
I should check with my PR team before responding here, but it’s definitely a double-edged sword. We have a lot of very supportive people. I think we also have … Look, people are excited, we get it, they want the game and they want it now and they wanted it last year. We’re presenting this vision that is just so compelling for people to play and they’re very hungry to get in and play. Trust me, we’re very hungry.
Jeremy Parris (33:32):
I’m hungry, dude.
Michael Wagner (33:34):
And so are we. We can’t wait also. But the whole team is putting in 16 to 18 hour days. I think our track record really speaks for itself. Considering we formally announced in January, in seven months later, we’ve executed on a digital art campaign that was reversed. We launched our full NFT marketplace. We have full Serum Integration where you can see the order books on all of these assets, white paper, economic paper. So many parts.
Jeremy Parris (34:04):
None of that stuff’s been just hastily thrown together. Those are all products that have been fully formed, they’re very intricate. There’s a lot of moving parts. It’s not just something thrown together by a couple of dudes. This would be a great time to talk about … Can you just talk about the poster sale you guys had because that alone was a massive event?
Michael Wagner (34:23):
Yeah. Thank you. That kicked off in April, April 24th was the initiation of that. And so we called it ReBirth: Genesis of a Metaverse. The whole idea was over a 14 week period, each week we were going to drop what we call a Meta-Poster, which is a multimedia piece of digital art. Along that process, we were revealing some of the backstory, all of Star Atlas so you would get an understanding of how we got from where we are today, all the way up to the year 2620, which is the year that Star Atlas was misplaced. Now, we enhance that experience though.
Michael Wagner (34:58):
We partnered with Shape Immersive out of Vancouver to create augmented reality experiences on every one of these. And then on top of it, we added audio soundscapes to each poster as well and partnered with Bassjackers and Blond:ish and Ricky Desktop, Kill Corcoran from Star Focus. And so we got a child. We also had Deadmau5 on our final poster. So we’ve got some major talent that we collaborated with for this event. The idea was, of course it generated revenue for us. It’s the first event that we hosted. It generated revenue, which we can use to go and continue to build the game and the experience that everybody wants. But it was immersive, and that was the most important part is, as I said, we’re building everything iteratively. And so the first experience, the ability to capture a moment in time to capture history, which is the beginning of this concept of the Star Atlas metaverse, that was the kickoff.
Michael Wagner (35:52):
So every week we sold a poster for 14 weeks, it was an enormously successful campaign. The kind of final value adds that we introduced there is first and foremost, there was a tier system. And so you would have to own all of the posters from one through a various tier. There were six tiers in total, but each one of those were accompanied with various Lou Drops that were valued, essentially close to what you spent on the poster itself. So for example, poster one, Discovery of Iris was $64. But in return you got $58 worth of game assets, including a ship, land, mining claims, mining drill, custom skins, custom emotes that are exclusive to that campaign. Like I said, it was valued at $58.
Michael Wagner (36:37):
So in reality it was the one package that you could buy that got you everything you need to play the game and you also get this collectible. Now, we also believe in future potential and driving utility to even collectibles through various campaigns. And so what we’ve also done is added a ticketing system to ownership of these posters into the badges that you receive as rewards. Those tickets are allowing people to get exclusive access to FTX.com, which is where we’re, excuse me, hosting our IEO as well as on Raydium and Apollo-X.
Jeremy Parris (37:14):
Before we go to the token you guys have, coming up, I just want to kind of jam on the posters just a little bit longer. So have people already been airdropped those extra assets or do you have to hold that poster when the game launches? If I were to go to the secondary market right now and pick up a poster, would I get those assets or how does that work?
Michael Wagner (37:36):
You are lobbying the softballs, and yes. So our snapshot, I believe today, well, by the time people hear this they won’t be able to [inaudible 00:37:47]. We take our snapshot on August 25th at 8:00 AM PST. So that’s less than 24 hours from now. There is still time to go out and buy posters if you were to buy today. In advance of that snapshot, you get the tier reward and you get the access to the token sales.
Jeremy Parris (38:04):
Okay. So you would get the ships and the assets before that snapshot or after that snapshot, you would just have the collectible if you bought it on the secondary market.
Michael Wagner (38:13):
That’s right. That’s why I do want to stress the point though. We believe in perpetual utility. It’s not to say that we if we run a season in the future, it’s very likely that we tell people that if they own one of the rebirth posters or one of the legends posters or some of the assets they’re in, that they get some kind of exclusive access. That might mean early access, it might mean that there are assets that we sell that are only available to people holding the posters, any number of ways that we can create that value going into the future.
Jeremy Parris (38:42):
Yeah. It’s one of those really, really cool tools that have never been available in a community curation toolbox before because it’s one of those breadcrumbs of the Star Atlas history, and that’s what’s so exciting about it. But to shift into your upcoming token sell, you got two tokens going on sale. Walk us through that, man. Do people want to get involved? What’s the best way? However, you want to start kicking that off.
Michael Wagner (39:08):
Yeah. So this is the official token generation event where Atlas and POLIS first becomes available. Quick caveat before we get into it, it’s not the only way you can get into Star Atlas, owning the tokens are just one component of the entire economy. So Galactic Asset Offering, it’s coming up after that. Anybody is going to be a bit able to buy ships and land and all of the other NFTs. So the token sales just allow people to purchase the assets that give them rights to governance, so that’s POLIS, or the transactional currency in the game.
Michael Wagner (39:40):
So let’s think about the land value tax I mentioned earlier, that is going to have to be payable in Atlas. What that does is that actually flows. It’s paid into the POLIS stout. So all of the activity where there are any operating costs. And this could be refueling your ship, repairing your ship, purchasing consumables through NPCs and any array of activities that people engage in within Star Atlas metaverse, it’s all based in Atlas Currency.
Michael Wagner (40:11):
So all your operating costs including taxes have to be paid in Atlas. All of that capital flows into … Normally in a traditional game, that would just be destroyed out of circulation if you pay an NPC to buy an item or repair. That’s one of the ways that they try to manage, but there’s also just [inaudible 00:40:28] and predominant across most virtual worlds. We combat that because of finite supply of items and limiting the emission curve of Atlas into the economy. So we won’t have hyperinflation, is the point. At least it’s not in our model.
Michael Wagner (40:46):
But all of that flows into POLIS DAO. So that’s where players will be able to utilize both of these. Well, your first ship mission, you’ll probably get a full tank of gas, so to speak. But once you complete it, you’re going to have to refill the ship, which means you either earned Atlas off of completing that mission or you have to buy it externally so that you can continue to operate. So Atlas is really the operational currency across the metaverse [inaudible 00:41:19], both externally and [inaudible 00:41:21].
Jeremy Parris (41:23):
That makes sense. Of course, people will still be able to get these two tokens off the secondary market after the sale and still be able to engage with the tokenomics that way as well.
Michael Wagner (41:37):
Yeah. I mean, this is another one of those areas where we just have to be careful legally. I mean, we don’t have any influence over who lists the token, right?
Jeremy Parris (41:45):
For sure. Yeah. No, of course, absolutely. This would be a good time to say that you guys are also on Solana, just in case people are looking to prep up some this is and that’s and all that good stuff. So just a little bit of extra information there. And so looking forward, man, after your token generation events, what other sort of milestones do you guys have upcoming that you’re really looking forward to?
Michael Wagner (42:08):
Yeah. Actually again, I mean, this will be out there by the time this gets released. So I guess I’m comfortable dropping the Alpha, so to speak, but we have our new website and we have a cinematic teaser trailer coming out within 24 hours. This is going to be absolutely epic, both experiences, the website and the teaser experience, they’re going to be epic. So that’s within 24 hours. That takes us up to the close of the TGE in early September, our Galactic Asset Offering as well as opening up the registration process for the mini-game. So the profile creation for the player, it will be faction selection. And we did kind of skip over that, we can always go back to it if you want, but there’s three different factions in the game and it very much operates as kind of the rock, paper, scissors dynamic.
Michael Wagner (43:03):
I’d love to also talk about the high stakes PvP, but nevertheless faction selection. And then we also have a unique naming service that we’re introducing that’s kind of similar to an ENS or SNS [crosstalk 00:43:17] service that allows people to secure their own usernames and leaderboards, if I didn’t mention that. So from that point though, the very next deliverable is ship missions. And so this is what people will be able to deploy a ship, complete a mission and earn some reward. That could be Atlas directly, it could be a new crew member if you rescue someone from space, it could be an NFT that you’ve salvage, or it could be ore or mineral or any number of things within the game that people get rewarded with for completing missions. The cost input to that again is you have to have fuel in your ship to be able to go take on the missions.
Jeremy Parris (43:52):
Michael Wagner (43:54):
From there we expand into land ownership and mining configuration, where you can place mining rigs, you can equip your mining drill, you can equip your defenses. It’s kind of like a crafting gameplay loop. And the whole concept behind mining is that you extract this raw ore from the planet. That can be refined into input materials, higher level materials and other refined materials that ultimately go into the crafting of new NFTs. And so there will be a blueprint associated with each one of the ships in the game. And if you collect the materials that you need, you’re able to mint that new NFT for yourself, and you can either use it or you can sell that on the marketplace, thereby creating the revenue stream for the player.
Michael Wagner (44:40):
And then ultimately we also have orbital space station, which compliment what takes place on the land. That has trading decks, economy decks or marketplaces in-game, it has hangar base, it can have a fueling station on it, refinery deck, all of these things that are also crafting-oriented. But what’s cool about it is the owner of that asset, say they have a fueling station, they can allow other players to come and refuel through them and they can take a cut, or they can mark up the [inaudible 00:45:10]. And so they’re also collecting revenue by allowing other players to access their assets in space.
Jeremy Parris (45:15):
It really just highlights, like you could have a career in Star Atlas. There’s so many different things to tap into. And if you have the creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit, you could really do some crazy things. That’s incredible, man. Let’s just quickly touch upon that high stakes PvP. While we’re kind of jamming on that sort of thing, what could people look forward to there, because that sounds spicy?
Michael Wagner (45:39):
Sure. So to set the stage, as I said, three factions, we have MUD which is a human race. We have ONI, which is a set of alien races. And then we have USTUR, which is a hyper specialized futuristic android race of people. Now, as you enter a faction, you can play as any of races. But the factions in the game have security zones kind of associated with them or the whole universe, the Star Atlas, the Star Map, which is its namesake has at least three different security zones. So a player lands on one of the central faction space stations. That’s where they start, and this is a neutral zone or a risk-free zone, learn how to play the game. You can’t be attacked by other players. The rewards there are going to be the lowest anywhere, but it’s also very low-risk.
Michael Wagner (46:27):
As you get more brave, you can explore out into medium risk zone where PvP will exist. However, getting destroyed just means you have to respond and you’ll have to repair your ship if you get killed or refill your ship again. But otherwise, it’s relatively low-risk, but the rewards are higher there. Now, what we think is one of the coolest mechanics is Hardcore mode in a game, and that’s when you explore out into deep space or high-risk zone, and there’s very little NPCs policing there. There could just be bands of pirates out there ready to attack and destroy you.
Michael Wagner (47:04):
When you enter into that zone, you’re actually assigning over all of your assets via smart contract into a collateral pool that we hold. And if you get destroyed, we actually burn your NFT, we destroy the assets. What we do is take some of the items that are on that ship and the player that won the engagement, we deliver those to the other player. So it’s very, very high stakes. It’s betting pink sheets to go out into deep space. I would … So all of the best materials, all of the rarest materials, all of the best revenue in the game, it all lives in deep space. In fact, the factions are all centered around where all of the biggest materials are. So the first poster of ReBirth was Discovery of Iris. It’s this planet that is just a giant, like gemstone dense rich mineral, and that’s in deep space and people will be competing there and we’ll see entire fleet destroy.
Jeremy Parris (47:57):
Man, I can’t even begin to think about the esports that are going to sprout up around this, watching that Twitch stream of this guy on a million dollar ship with his fleet surrounding him. All right, boys, here we go. We’re about to cross that boundary. What’s coming? The entertainment value of that alone is absolutely mind-boggling. That’s where I guess some of the guilds and the different alliances will really start to come into play as you make these raids into this deep space, so to say.
Michael Wagner (48:26):
So let’s just talk about that too, because not only are the jobs created within the metaverse, but think about the average or just a high profile streamer that now makes a career out of streaming what’s going on in Star Atlas, and they live outside of the game. They might just be commentating on it or watching somebody else play and commentating on top. I mean, the repercussions of what we’re doing are so vast and expensive in a way that jobs will be created in the world. So deep space is going to be scary, but the rewards out there are commiserate.
Michael Wagner (49:00):
I think what’s really cool is Eve Online has a bunch of videos where there were these massive battles in space and people were losing millions of dollars worth of assets. But the difference is they weren’t able to truly extract that asset out of the game. It was based in [inaudible 00:49:15] Eve. But in our case, we don’t have accurate representation and valuation of what actually got destroyed because these external marketplaces where they’re tradable, we’ll know what they sold for last in real dollars. So it should be super exciting.
Jeremy Parris (49:32):
It’s absolutely insane. Michael, I know you got to run here, man, but I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and talk about Star Atlas. If people want to get involved in Star Atlas, what’s the best way to get involved? Is it the Discord? What would you recommend people just kind of getting their feet wet in Star Atlas?
Michael Wagner (49:48):
Highly recommend Discord. So all of our social links are available on staratlas.com. That’s probably the easiest way to get them. I’ll just share. Discord is discord.gg/staratlas. We have the vanity URL, so that’s an easy way to get in. But we’re very active on Telegram, on Twitter and in Discord. But the best place is Discord because that’s where all of the communities are forming, and people are very active in responding to your questions, as well as our community leadership that are in there responding to questions.
Michael Wagner (50:18):
I have a channel specifically for people to ask me questions. And then we also do … Every two weeks, we’re more frequently recently, but every two weeks we do a town hall in Discord. Most recently we have 460 people in the town hall and we allow live Q&A. So if people have questions about the game, we pull them up on stage. So it’s like Clubhouse or Twitter Space, everybody’s kind of doing this now. But we bring them up on stage and they can ask their question. And the leadership team from Danny, Jacob, Pablo and myself were all up there and answering questions and just making sure people are informed.
Jeremy Parris (50:51):
Yeah. No, we’ll definitely link that in our show notes and I can’t recommend the stage enough. I’ve been to a couple of you guys’ town halls and they’re absolutely illuminating, and it’s probably the best way to get sort of the latest Alpha News updates. Yeah, get your questions answered. Look, Michael, I can’t wait to be a space pirate with you one day in the metaverse, so I got to make sure I get a cool motion rig with you. But really appreciate you coming out and taking the time, sir, and really look forward to what you guys are building. We’ll have to do this again soon, sir. This was a lot of fun.
Michael Wagner (51:22):
I fully expect Delphi to have a big presence in the Star Atlas metaverse, I hope so. But Jeremy, always great talking to you. I really appreciate you bringing me on, and we’ll catch up soon.
Jeremy Parris (51:32):
All right. Cheers, Michael.
Michael Wagner (51:33):