With the development of the metaverse in its’ infancy, many of you are curious to know how to build something of your own. After some research, I was able to put together this beginner’s guide to help you out.
To begin building in the metaverse, there are three simple steps to get started. Decide what you want to build, choose a metaverse platform that best suits your needs for building, and then start building.
By knowing which metaverse platform best suits your needs, along with knowing what you will need to build in the metaverse, you can start building something spectacular today.
How to Build in the Metaverse
1. Decide what you want to build
The first thing you must do is decide what you want to create. Similar to the real world, there is an endless amount of assets you can create in the metaverse. From architectural structures to virtual merchandise and even your own games, the metaverse enables you to do it all from the comfort of your computer.
In general, there are two types of builders you will find within the metaverse: Scenes and Wearables. Scenes are considered to be architectural structures and landscapes, and Wearables are digitalized merchandise and other assets that don’t quite fall under the architectural realm.
Depending on what you want to build, as well as your skill level, some metaverse platforms may be better suited for you. Additionally, some metaverses will require you to pay fees to submit your creations for approval to use within the metaverse. These are a couple of main factors you should consider to better help you determine the best metaverse suited for your goals.
2. Choose a metaverse platform
After some consideration about what you want to build, you will need to find the platform that best suits your creative needs. There are numerous metaverse platforms that you can utilize to start building, so let’s walk through some of the most prominent metaverse platforms available today.
Decentraland is currently one of the most popular metaverse platforms. Brands such as Estee Lauder, Dolce & Gabbana, and Forever 21 have even held virtual events in Decentraland. With this popularity comes the ability to create your own structures and wearables.
To experience the full potential of building in Decentrland, you will need to make sure you have a Metamask wallet and Decentrland’s native currency; MANA. If you simply want to build a structure for fun, however, you can do so without either.
Building in Decentraland is split into two categories: Scenes and Wearables.
- Scenes: The Builder is an easy-to-use visual editor tool that lets you create and publish Decentrland scenes. The editor runs on your browser, meaning you don’t need to install anything to successfully build something.
Whether it be a building or some other type of landscape, your imagination is your only real limitation. Well, that along with ensuring the scene you are creating matches the same shape of the scene you are planning to build on.
To publish a scene you have created, you will have to log in using your Metamask wallet or another acceptable Web3 wallet. Additionally, you can only publish your scene to LAND or Estates that you own in Decentraland. If you don’t own any LAND or Estates, then you can apply with your scene to be deployed on LAND that belongs to someone else.
- Wearables: If you want to try your hands at designing some virtual wearables, then you can do that too. Wearables are considered to be various items of clothing, accessories, and body features that can be used to customize the appearance of Decentraland avatars.
Wearables are represented by NFTs. This allows a finite amount of different wearables to be created, or minted, on the blockchain, similar to the LAND.
Wearables can also be sold by the creator, however, you must get approval from the Curation Committee before minting any wearable as an NFT. Additionally, the fee to submit a wearable item is a flat fee of $500, which was set by the Decentraland DAO.
Creating wearables in Decentrland is more difficult than building scenes and requires basic knowledge of 3D modeling. If you plan to create your own Decentrland wearables, make sure to check out the complete overview on their site.
Cryptovoxels is a Minecraft-inspired virtual world on the Ethereum blockchain. In this metaverse, users can buy virtual land, build stores on that land, create avatars, and fill their own art galleries with NFTs.
The Cryptovoxel metaverse offers a unique feature called Free Space for people that do not have a plot/land in CryptoVoxels. That way you can still explore what can be done and build in CryptoVoxels. Technically, these Free Spaces are not in the Cryptovoxels world but you can build voxel scenes there and/or import voxel work you’ve created on voxel art editors.
Owning your own land in Cryptovoxels is the best way to build your own structures. You can buy your own parcels directly from the Cryptovoxels website.
Cryptovoxels utilizes an in-world building program called Voxel Builder, which lets you easily create and edit 3D voxel graphics in your browser. The program is easy to use and allows owners of virtual land in the game to build structures and NFTs.
Some other voxel building programs that work with Cryptovoxels include:
- MagicaVoxel: A free 8-bit voxel editor and path tracing renderer. It is the most popular program for artists because it has a very powerful rendering program inside of it that allows artists to play around with lighting and effects easily.
- Goxel: A free program that allows users to create and edit voxels with an easy-to-use editor interface.
- Voxelshop A simple software for OSX, Windows, and Linux to modify and create voxel art.
Somnium Space is another popular metaverse with great potential for creators who are itching to build something in the metaverse. It’s important to note that the only way you are able to build in Somnium Space is if you own LAND.
Aside from the need to be a LAND owner, building in Somnium Space is super simple and requires no coding skills. However, you will need to download Steam to use the drag and drop editor tool to build in Somnium Space.
You can also run the drag-and-drop tool in test mode, to do so, simply select PC Client to enter the builder. What makes the Somnium Space builder stand out from other metaverses is the easy-to-implement video and audio options, which add a unique experience to any scene.
The Sandbox is a gaming metaverse that exists on the Ethereum blockchain, and it allows users to own every asset they create in the game. This game gives non-tech savvy users the ability to create, use, and sell their own virtual reality NFTs.
This game is at the forefront of making the metaverse a more user-friendly space by enabling users the ability to create awesome virtual assets, without the need for coding. This simple editor is called VoxEdit.
Here are the most popular features of VoxEdit:
- Allows players to create NFT game assets.
- The ability to buy and sell your creations using The Sandbox’s very own marketplace.
- Includes a program called Game Maker, which enables players to build 3D games without the need for any coding skills.
The Sandbox allows you to own everything you create in the game by automatically converting every in-game asset to an NFT. By converting everything made in The Sandbox into an NFT, users can export them to the marketplace to sell.
The seller uploads the NFT to the marketplace and defines the NFT’s rarity and importance in exchange for SAND tokens (The Sandbox’s native currency). There are a lot of opportunities for creators to earn some serious income, in The Sandbox game.
3. Start creating
After you have chosen a metaverse platform that you believe best suits your needs, it’s time to start creating. If you have minimal experience creating digital assets or 3D models, it will take a while to get the hang of it.
I was practicing my metaverse building skills in Decentrland and it took me about 30 minutes to build a super basic 4-walled structure with a door, a roof, and some trees to tie it all together. Is it pretty? That’s debatable.
Of course, as with anything, you will only get better with practice. Getting started is usually the most difficult part, but once you begin to understand the different controls and how to navigate the platform, you will be a pro in no time.
What Do You Need to Build in the Metaverse?
All you need to build in the metaverse is a capable computer and a solid internet connection. For the best experience, however, you will need to have a Web3 wallet like Metamask to create an account and trade your metaverse creations on an NFT marketplace.
If you are simply looking to create something in the metaverse for fun, then you will only need a computer and an internet connection. But, if you want to take full advantage of building something in the metaverse, including buying your own parcel of land and selling your creations, then you will need to get a Web3 wallet and the proper cryptocurrency for the metaverse you are building in.
With a small investment, you can create NFTs and sell them on one of the many NFT marketplaces. In general, you don’t need to have any coding or programming experience to build in the metaverse.
Although, since some metaverse platforms do require that you have some basic knowledge in 3D design, you will benefit from watching Youtube videos or even taking a 3D design course on Udemy.
How Much Does it Cost to Build in the Metaverse?
The cost to build in the metaverse ranges from $0 to over $1,000, depending on your goals. The main costs to build in the metaverse include a computer, internet, virtual land, transaction fees, and any other fees required by a metaverse to submit your work.
The largest barrier to building in the metaverse right now is the cost of land. Currently, land ranges from 1 ETH to over 5 ETH ($3,000 – $15,000). If you don’t have that kind of budget, you can still practice honing your metaverse building skills with free software such as Decentraland’s Builder and Cryptovoxel’s Free Space.
Moreover, every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain includes gas fees that are paid to miners. Miners are the entities that verify transactions on the blockchain. These fees are referred to as “gas” because they are the “fuel” that keeps the blockchain running.
That means if you want to mint your creation as an NFT so that you can sell it, you may need to pay these gas fees.
Creating an NFT requires two steps, minting your NFT and listing your NFT for sale. Outside of metaverses such as Decentraland and The Sandbox where you can create and use your NFTs in the games, many new NFT creations will have to be listed on an NFT marketplace, like Opensea.
If you are just beginning your journey into building in the metaverse, you might be better off using one of the free options to develop your skills. Then when you are ready, you can invest more money into creating digital assets to earn a profit.
The metaverse is really the new-age wild west. It is in its infancy with so much promise and so much possibility. Every day, new companies are getting into the metaverse world through investments or by creating their own metaverse structures.
The fact that the metaverse is still so new means that we will need a ton of people with expereince in building and desiging different aspects of the metaverse.
From cities to individual buildings, and even basic assets like clothes and other merchandise, we will need people to create all of it. What better way to get a head start then buying trying it out for yourself? After all, now you know how to get started.