Written interviews with NFT projects on the Cardano blockchain
Link to the interview on my Medium
This week’s Cardano NFT project is building an educational and fully on-chain game that uses real astronomical data: Stellar Hood.
The previous guest was a project building a gamified multimedia ecosystem inspired by the manga and anime world.
This initiative is a point of reference for NFTs on Cardano and every week or two we will invite someone to answer some questions and give us an update directly from within the Cardano community.
Cardano NFT project Stellar Hood is fully on-chain
Hey, glad to have you here. Please introduce yourself/your team, where are you from, what are your backgrounds?
Thank you for having me! I am Egon, a German science-fiction enthusiast and PhD physicist. In my early days I worked for an astrophysics institute and later for the automotive industry.
My crypto-career started in 2016, where I began to research blockchain technology. In 2019 I joined the Cardano community as the NOVA stake pool operator on the Incentivized Testnet (ITN).
With the Mary hardfork in March 2021 I began to investigate the technology behind NFTs and decided to create my own NFT project, the “Stellar Hood”. A few months later the “Nervous Unsig Combinator” and “What Lies Within”, a collab project, followed.
What is Stellar Hood, how are you integrating NFTs and why have you chosen Cardano?
Established in June 2021 Stellar Hood was initially created as a set of 6505 educable trading cards, which are based on real astronomical data. That means that every single Stellar Hood NFT card represents a real extrasolar planet or star that can be found in our stellar neighbourhood.
You can compare your Stellar Hood card attributes like planet size, orbit or discovery date and others with information you can find in astronomical catalogues or just wikipedia.
Besides of the educable character this project has also some very unique technical features:
It is the first project to use the fully on-chain technology which I have developed, and which paved the way for all the other on-chain projects that followed. Furthermore, the Stellar Hood cards are interactive! You can rotate and zoom your 3d solar system and switch between the different planets to see their details.
As one of the first established gamificated projects Stellar Hood provides a full spectrum gamificated utility for its NFTs: Each element of the game (e.g. planets, stars, space-stations, starbases,modules, citizens …) are NFTs in your wallet, which grant you extensive management rights and in-game bonuses.
The Stellar Hood browser game is also a platform for other NFT projects to showcase the project by exposing and distributing their NFTs or utility tokens in-game. There are different options for Stellar Hood players to interact with integrated projects, like harvesting project tokens as in-game resources, using the citizen/creatures NFTs and their traits as space citizens in-game and visiting unique designed project space-stations.
Cardania’s Citizen NFTs can be used in Stellar Hood
What does it mean that Stellar Hood is fully on-chain? What are the pros and cons of building this way?
After researching for a while, I understood that NFT projects that claim that their NFTs “live on the Cardano blockchain” or “are built on the Cardano blockchain” are not actually “on the blockchain” but instead have their content stored on IPFS. Although IPFS is a decentralized storage solution itself, I was not satisfied with the misconception of the term “on-chain”.
I started to research the possibility of storing the NFT content on the blockchain itself, to not be dependent on anything else than the blockchain. In May 2021 I presented the first prototype of a fully on-chain stored and executed NFT, which led to the Stellar Hood project.
Fully on-chain means that the entire NFT, including its thumbnail and its interactive, static or generative content is stored on the blockchain itself instead of using external storage like the projects did before. Due to this fact fully on-chain NFTs can never go offline, as long as Cardano persists!
The disadvantage of being fully on-chain is the limited space, which is approx. 16kb per NFT (which is insufficient for the most images), and the lower accessibility: NFT browsers must support fully on-chain NFT representation. As I have started, no one did. Today most of them do. At that time Smaug helped me a lot by being the first to support fully on-chain NFTs on pool.pm.
Planets, stars and other celestial bodies are based on real data
How can blockchain technology improve and evolve traditional gaming? And why do you think there’s so much scepticism towards NFTs in the gaming community?
I think NFTs are a great opportunity to re-invent gaming. In my opinion gaming has developed in the wrong direction for the last decade. As for today we see big gaming companies controlling both the content of the games and, which is more important, the players’ progress in the game. We have already seen big online-game servers going offline and game platforms limiting access to already purchased games.
When a game “goes offline” the gamer loses the money he has spent buying this game and probably any DLCs or in-game content. More importantly the gamer also loses all the life-time he has spent playing this game and levelling up his stuff. This is a very unsatisfactory “state of the art” condition which can be resolved with NFTs.
Tokenizing game content will allow gamers to keep control of their gaming. Project interoperability, as introduced in Stellar Hood, allows players to use their NFTs in different game projects which provides an immense added value. If a game stops development, the NFT can still be used in another game. With the new standards, NFTs can even have levelled up attributes. Cross-chain operability will expand the possibilities even more. After all, the player can decide to sell his levelled up NFT, in the best case at higher prices, and that way be rewarded for the time devoted to a game.
Giving the control of the game content and progress back to the gamers will increase the adoption of tokenized gaming. On the other hand, we already see scepticism towards NFTs in the gaming community. Due to the extensive use of DLCs and buyable content, traditional gamers are concerned about NFTs bringing the pay2win topic to a whole new level. We have to build our metaverses carefully to avoid that. Currently, the NFT space as a whole is a Wild-West space and I understand the concerns.
Awesome contribution. Any closing remarks? Where can people learn more about Stellar Hood?
The first place to learn more about Stellar Hood is the homepage. Here you can find the features, the roadmap and links to the game, the Discord server and the NFT shop. The next step is to join the Discord server, where you can find advanced tutorial documents and videos and also a very kind community eager to help newbies. Do not hesitate to ask your question in the chat and participate in community events!
Also good to know: The Stellar Hood game is embedded in a continuously told story-lore which can be experienced as an in-game storyline and also as an NFT ebook “Journey to the Stars”!
There’s a rich lore in the Stellar Hood universe
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the people interviewed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOG. Moreover, this content is for educational purposes, it doesn’t constitute financial advice.