Meta-Universe Project Team|Xu Han Liu Zijie--Underground Insect City

Project Background


We live in an expanded world that includes the coexistence of real and virtual scenarios. At the same time, the world of communication, dominated by image culture, is transforming into an interactive world in a digitally driven society. As science and technology reach a singularity moment, the Metaverse is revolutionizing the future of society with its unique characteristics. As a new type of Internet application and social form generated by integrating new technologies such as blockchain, Metaverse will bring new opportunities and development, both in the development of new scenarios, new products and services in future digital life and in the upgrading of digitalization, networking and intelligent transformation.
The metaverse is a term used to describe the future iteration of the Internet, consisting of persistent, shared three-dimensional virtual spaces that are linked into a perceptible virtual universe - the next generation of the "physical Internet".
The metaverse breaks the limitations of space and may allow most people to experience world travel virtually, interacting with family members in distant countries with high quality; or learn new technologies directly in a virtual environment, practicing until they master the right way.
In this collective virtual shared space that transcends geographical limitations, we focus our research on a multi-user virtual environment in which users create three-dimensional environments and objects and interact in them with virtual avatars, with the aim of giving experiencers a first-hand experience of the culture and historical heritage of science and technology through architectural composition and historical evolution scenario construction.

Project Description

Metaverse Capsule

This project is led by the Design Future Group of Tsinghua University's Academy of Fine Arts, and aims to explore how the metaverse changes the way we connect, perceive and experience the world around us by constructing a metaverse science popularization vehicle "capsule capsule", trying to refract reality, experience reality, shape reality, improve reality in virtual space, and provide solutions to realistic challenges through virtual experiments. We try to refract reality, experience it, shape it, improve it, and provide solutions to realistic challenges through virtual experiments. Metaverse-related technologies are currently being used in architectural real estate demonstrations, industrial manufacturing processes, and medical research.
We will use the "capsule capsule" carrier and the VR, AR and MR technologies covered by XR to continuously explore the practical application scenarios of the metaverse, so that the experiencer can enter different scenarios and life areas with a new digital identity and interact with different characters, environments and objects, thus studying the new digital civilization generated by the virtual fusion space.
At the same time, we will improve the mobility and accessibility of the capsule, so that more users can have access to the metaverse technology and try to explore whether we can find the entry point to the educational metaverse by improving the physical quality and experience in the virtual world.

 ✦ Author Bio

Xu Han

Tsinghua University Bachelor's Degree in Architecture, Class of 2018
Second Degree in Digital Media Art, Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University

In 2018, she entered the Department of Architecture, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University for her undergraduate studies, and started her second degree in Digital Media Art at the School of Fine Arts in 2019. she received her master's degree exemption from the Department in 2021.
Interest in systematic design methods and process derivation programs.

Liu Zigai

Bachelor's degree in Electronic Information from Tsinghua University
Second Degree in Digital Media Art, Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University

The research interests are blockchain technology, chain tour, and meta-universe.
2020.6-2021.11 Defi (decentralized exchange) product development as a full-stack developer at web3
2021.12-2022.1 Participate in Polygon hackathon for Web3 chain tour development
2021-present In charge of the THUBA bootcamp series NFT (digital collection art) distribution at THUBA (Tsinghua University Blockchain Association)

Interview Content

When did you first become involved with the metaverse?

Liu Zidai: I first learned about the meta-universe around 2018 to 2019. At that time, I watched some propaganda of "Top Gun", and some of my friends got rich speculating on coins, so I also started to understand some blockchain technology and meta-universe related information.
It was around 2020 that I came into contact with the meta-universe. At that time, I saw a remote job that required skills that matched my own, and I just had the summer to spare, so I submitted my resume.

Why did you choose to do this project?

Han Xu: The topic requires us to build a space that can accommodate a virtual body, and to explore the relationship between human beings in the future society, which is more related to my major, and I want to explore and design the space and formal logic in the project. At the same time, based on my interest in sandbox games, open worlds, role-playing games, etc., I also wanted to work with students with strong technical skills to build an independent and complete small world with its own set of operating rules through this project.

Figure 1 Underground cave world

As a background in digital media art, how do you define a meta-universe builder?

Liu Zidai: I think the difference between metaverse and pure digital space is that metaverse should have some substantial connection, for example, with the support of blockchain technology, the difference between metaverse games and ordinary games is that the currency system of ordinary games is purely a string of data in a database, and the only connection with reality is that the game provider gives players an open top-up interface, while the currency system in metaverse games The currency system in the metaverse game is cleverly linked to the real world fiat currency in the form of cryptocurrency, NFT, etc. The game currency and the fiat currency are mapped to each other, and there must be such a substantial connection to be able to say that it is a metaverse.
The linkage is not necessarily in the economic direction, for example, it can also be a high degree of human-computer interaction, perceptual linkage, such as in "Top Gun", the digital world like in "The Matrix", the digital world they depict, at the level of human perception, a high degree of virtual-reality linkage has even reached the stage of virtual substitution for reality.
It can also be on a cultural level, for example, transferring some valuable heritage from the real world to a whole new virtual space.

Therefore, metaverse design should also start from the perspective of mapping reality to the virtual, where we map our perceptions in the real world and the products of the real world into the digital space in a new form, which is how I define metaverse design.
As an information-related professional, I mostly start with technology when building my meta-universe.

✦ Work Focus

What research and advancement has the program undergone during the design process?

Xu Han: In terms of design, I first explored the methods of social and cooperation-based multiplayer game design, categorizing them into "common goals", "world enrichment" and "win-win cooperation". The three categories are complemented by the study of excellent game cases. Based on the research, the design plan arranges the background in a dark and confined cave, and uses three insect races with different forms, abilities and personalities to symbolize the diversity of individuals in reality. The races develop alone, cooperate together, and avoid confrontation, and these behavioral relationships are a microcosm of interpersonal relationships in contemporary society.

At the beginning of the project, Liu Zijia and I were more interested in what the concept of "metaverse" was, and we agreed on "multiplayer games", "emotional healing" and "building We came to a consensus on "multiplayer", "emotional healing", and "construction experiments" - we came up with an idea of using various building materials to construct buildings. Then, based on the concept of "social experimentation," we created a checkerboard-style world that focused on mapping the development of real-world civilizations and reinforcing the influence of geography and resources on architectural style. The teacher suggested that we should retain the hexagonal system, the architectural synthesis, and explore the conceptual and organic nature of architecture, as well as the life and emotional meaning represented by architectural expansion.

Figure 2 Program advancement timeline

What are the main mechanisms in Insect City Underground? How are they represented?

Xu Han: The program is based on "cooperation and symbiosis", and its mechanism follows the principle of "hand in hand": the cave is dimly lit, and space and resources are limited, which is the objective condition; and the three races follow certain rules to cooperate, or explore, or collect, or build, to gradually expand the habitat to bring light to the underground world. The three races work together in the cave according to certain rules, either exploring, gathering, or building, gradually expanding their habitat and bringing light to the underground world. Players play the role of shiny insects, the process of cave construction and socialization is also the process of finding social partners and building spiritual support in the virtual world - the name of the program "Underground Insect City" was born.

Figure 3 Three different races

The specific mechanisms can be divided into three parts. One is the exploration in a multi-layered world. Horizontally, each level of the cave has a dominant ecological theme, surrounded by dimness and limited space and resources. Players need to make full use of the space of each layer, step by step, resource collection and accumulation, building construction synthesis, and repair the access to the next layer, to achieve the long-term goal of world exploration and territorial expansion. Vertically, the ecology, theme color, and resource distribution of each layer are different, stimulating the player's desire for exploration and making him go "deeper" through collaborative cooperation.
Second, the collection and construction. The resource distribution is based on limited space, which limits the player's development from the numerical design. Resource blocks of various shapes and sizes are involved in the construction of the scene, requiring players to collaboratively collect them, mainly for construction and expansion. The synthesis of high-level buildings is inseparable from the participation of low-level buildings of each race, which requires each race to plan the layout of buildings, territory planning and other elements, "common" construction, and synergistic synthesis.

Figure 4 Resources to be collected collaboratively

Third, social interaction. The goal-oriented behavior of exploring, collecting and building is stronger, and the gameplay emphasizes "hand in hand". In contrast, the social function returns part of the game's free space to players, giving them a platform to chat and interact, and echoing the theme more directly through players' spontaneous behavior patterns. At present, the program has made certain conceptions on the way of player diversion, including room search, race distribution, power balance, etc., but there is still room for further in-depth design of more specific "player-player" direct interaction design.

Figure 5 The multi-layered cave world

The regret of this project?

Liu Zidai: After we finished the prototype development of the game, as we previously used external software to model the model, during the final development stage, we found that the imported model could not be used directly. Additional texture mapping had to be created. We eventually chose to recreate the model in Roblox. Due to time constraints and lack of proficiency in Roblox modeling, this resulted in our final product having room for optimization in terms of visual presentation.

What is your favorite metaverse designer/work? How do you get inspired to create?

Liu Zidai: My favorite meta-universe designer is sartoshi, who has produced the mfers series of NFT works. From mfers I feel the romance that is unique to web surfers.

Figure 6 mfers series NFT works

In the future, how does metaverse creation relate to personal development paths?

Liu Zidai: At present, the topics that content creators can create in the metaverse are still relatively limited, and there is not yet a unified paradigm for games, music and other metaverse fields. I hope that my future industry is related to the infrastructure of the metaverse field, based on which more content creators will be able to create more freely.

Introduce a book that you want to read

Xu Han: I plan to read Eisenman's "Perspectives on Modernism" a few more times, hoping I can keep my feet on the ground and look up at the stars.

Team Introduction

✦✦ Creative Director ✦✦

Fu Zhiyong

✦ Undergraduate team ✦

Li Yuelin
Liu Zigai
Xu Han
Su Yi Fang
Shu Yufan
Scroll to Top