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MetaMundo has launched its 3D NFT marketplace for the metaverse with a focus on primary art sales.

The marketplace allows you to collect and own metaverse scenes and assets as NFTs, and it is compatible to use in multiple virtual environments such as Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, The Sandbox and Spatial.

MetaMundo is operating the marketplace for primary sales of 3D imagery for use in galleries, villas, music venues, parks, avatars, vehicles and more. 3D artists, architects and designers can sell their 3D scenes and assets on MetaMundo’s marketplace, directly to users of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One

JPEG-based NFT marketplaces are common. But this kind of 3D art marketplace is unique and it tackles the problem of creating an open metaverse — interoperable assets across engines and worlds, said cofounder Finn Hansen, in an interview with GamesBeat.

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“It’s important that we are enabling talented creatives, 3D artists, to shape these experiences and be at the forefront of building the metaverse, which really needs to be built because we’re right at the beginning of its existence,” he said. “Today, if you buy a 3D asset on one of the marketplaces that are typically tightly coupled with one virtual world, most of the time you can’t use those files in other worlds.”

Interoperability

Different versions of the same 3D image.

The company believes there is some progress on interoperability with standards bodies coming into existence. Avatars in particular should become corss-platform, so you can take your identity from one place to another.

“Everyone’s going to need an avatar, and I think people will have multiple avatars, depending on what mood they’re in, what kind of setting they want to go to, and how they want to express themselves,” Hansen said. “You will want to choose your outfit and your wearables. Vehicles will be interesting.”

MetaMundo is supporting standards like Pixar’s Universal Scene Description, which has been adopted as an open source standard for 3D asset sharing.

The company made it possible to make 3D game assets available as NFTs. It built a custom-built 3D viewer where you can see the different interoperable versions of the same 3D asset for each environment. It took over a year of development to build.

“There is fundamentally a content problem in the metaverse and that’s something that we’re setting setting out to change,” Hansen said. “We’re doing that through partnering with talented 3D creators, designers, architects, as well as brands to help shape what these experiences are and help imagine what the metaverse can be. The beautiful thing about the metaverse is that it can really be whatever our imaginations can come up with.”

MetaMundo partners with a curated selection of 3D creators, active in design in the metaverse and real-life, as the celebrated NFT artist Dutchtide, the American modernist architect Luis Fernandez and metaverse architect Mila Lolli. At the onset of the launch, MetaMundo will have weekly curated NFTs drops. Each has an in-depth editorial interview.

“MetaMundo’s vision is to facilitate a beautifully designed, interoperable, and open metaverse — an immersive 3D social internet, where everyone can own and build parts of it through blockchain technology. The marketplace launch is our first major step towards realizing this vision,” said Hansen. “For the first time, we have enabled metaverse users to collect high-quality 3D scenes — minted as NFTs — for use across many virtual environments.”

The inaugural 3D NFT drops include: A Brutalist-architecture-inspired Japanese Zen Art Gallery, by the Netherlands-based artist Dutchtide; and a sprawling ocean-side luxury villa, recalling the work of Adolf Loos and Mies van der Rohe, by Luis Fernandez. The gallery will be auctioned as a one of one edition; the villa will be available for purchase from an edition of 100 NFTs.

A marketplace built for 3D NFTs and interoperability

That’s 3D art, not a picture.

MetaMundo has developed its own NFT built on Ethereum, specifically designed for 3D files and metaverse interoperability — solving a number of problems with 3D files, the metaverse and NFTs. Through a flexible metadata structure, multiple 3D files can be included within one NFT.

“We’re solving the lack of NFT interoperability through a unique architecture we’ve developed which features a versatile and extensible NFT metadata structure, supporting multiple 3D file versions and offering the flexibility to add additional file versions later to enable future-proofing as 3D technology evolves,” Hansen said.”

Each NFT sold on MetaMundo includes a bundle of 3D files compatible with Decentraland, The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, Spatial, VRChat and more. Over time, new 3D files can be added to the NFT, which are compatible with emerging metaverse environments. MetaMundo takes the 3D file developed by the creator and puts it through a conversion and optimization pipeline, resulting in the creation of multiple metaverse optimized 3D files.

“MetaMundo addresses the immense demand for creating vibrant environments and virtual cities within the metaverse, by providing a solution that is both scalable and creative, which is also compatible with The Sandbox,” said Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer at The Sandbox, in a statement.

Intuitive user experience for collecting 3D NFTs

Japanese Zen Garden art by Dutchtide.

Most of today’s NFT marketplaces were originally designed and built for collecting 2D NFTs.

“The future of the metaverse is going to be a fragmented smorgasbord of different types of experiences,” Hansen said. “We want to cater to that and ensure that when you buy an asset from a creator or a 3D asset, and you want to go and use it, it’s going to work.”

He added, “We need to be sure that the 3d models we are selling do not become unusable in the long term. We can adopt new file standards if they emerge. And as 3D rendering technology changes, and so on, we’re still able to deliver interactive functionality across on these these different popular virtual environments.”

With the fast growth of the metaverse and 3D virtual environments, MetaMundo has designed and built a user experience geared specifically towards collecting 3D NFTs. The MetaMundo marketplace allows users to preview and interact with the 3D files bundled within each NFT, via an immersive and interactive viewer, before collectors make a purchase.

“With the launch of MetaMundo, we are excited about the possibility of being able to collect 3D scenes that work across multiple metaverses,” said TJ Kawamura from Everyrealm, in a statement. “The unique feature of MetaMundo’s NFTs makes it incredibly easy for everyone to build on our land and create engaging metaverse environments from today’s leading 3D designers.”

Back in November, MetaMundo raised $2.7 million in funding from metaverse funds and angel investors. The lead investor was Animoca Brands, with Hypersphere Ventures, Digital Currency Group (DCG), OP Crypto, Metacartel Ventures, Everyrealm, Marshland Capital, Own.fund, Polygon Studios, Ascensive Assets, Sfermion, D1 Ventures, Cryptomeria Capital, Red Beard Ventures and Metacollective.

MetaMundo is a British Virgin Islands-based online marketplace, with a dozen employees. MetaMundo is built on Polygon, the eco-friendly blockchain, which means the minting and selling of the assets will have very low gas fees compared to Ethereum and will use a lot less energy.

What kind of content will keep people coming back to the metaverse?

“We think about that a lot. So this is really at the forefront of our minds. We obviously have these conversations with creators as well. And we will also be focused on further optimizing our 3D model optimization pipeline,” Hansen said. “We will make sure that they work across these different environments. Creators will come to us or brands will come to us with an original high fidelity 3D file. We will then take the file, make copies, convert and decimate it through 3D model optimization pipeline. And then at the end of it, we have a bundle of files, which we work with the metadata structure as an NFT. We will continue automating that pipeline.”

As for metaverse-like worlds that are emerging, Hansen said he was excited about Wilder World, which is built on Unreal Engine 5 technology. He is also excited about The Sandbox, Nifty Island and Otherside — First Trip, from Yuga Labs and Improbable.

The crypto winter and NFT resistance

3D art for the metaverse.

I asked Hansen about what it’s like to operat amid the current cryptocurrency winter.

“We’re a team of builders, so it doesn’t affect our focus on continuing to build the best possible platform for talented 3D creators and brands to launch interoperable 3D metaverse scenes and assets,” he said. “Yes, there is less demand right now for NFTs, but we have a clear long-term vision to enable metaverse building. There will always be demand for interesting, high-quality 3D experiences and this is what we will continue to focus on delivering.”

I also asked what he thinks about resistance from hardcore gamers to NFTs.

“As more and more 3D design talent and triple-A game development studios start leveraging NFT technology, we’ll see more high-quality NFT games and experiences that are fun, social and engaging,” Hansen said. “This will be key to winning over the hardcore gamers.”

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