Recorded conversation of Lieutenant Wenn and Agent M4 aboard Unity BTOL x4: Memories of the past and updated field report for the mission.
Memories of the past /// Metaverse in Light-speed Expansion /// Immersive Blockchain-powered UE5 Experience“In the game of creation, good and evil are not the players, but just another two pieces.” — Odette, Matron of Oxir
After encountering Mr. Sbugolz on Liblit, M4 (known to ordinary space explorers as Yago) and Wenn turned their Busan-made Thrill of Life toward the deeper reaches of the High-Risk Zone. Their next objective was the territories under the direct influence of Jorvik pirates. Soon enough, they would need to tread very carefully, even with the ‘invitation’ on Wenn’s arm.
“I swear, Wenn, if I had to hear that KIKIKI again for five more breaths, I would fry that Punaab and use him as bait for the Peli of Drey,” said M4, mimicking himself catching one of the famous fish on the spa planet.
A quick smile found its way to the Lieutenant’s face. He remembered how the Punaab would spill thousands of profanities every time his friend mentioned the word ‘hero’.
They had delivered Mr. Sbugolz, his henchman, and their escort to one of the many safe houses that ATMTA had secured on different moons and stations across deep space. Fun fact: the ustur were not called Henchman 1 and Henchman 2, but instead had very proper ustur names, Pock.iddt and Swer.iddt.
“Wenn, I see some curious patterns in the outer part of this system, should we be concerned?” The agent asked while looking at the console.
Lieutenant Wenn was lost in thought.
“Wenn? Wenn, Weeennnnnn, answer me, Wenn!” said M4, poking Wenn’s face.
Wenn slapped Mierese’s hand. “Yeah, huh, sorry. Was wondering about how all this is playing out,” said Wenn, his eyes still fixed on the horizon.
Yago could see that somber look that Wenn’s face would get when he started to think too deeply. Yago had seen the Lieutenant look like this too often since he’d joined ATMTA roughly one year ago. Yago was beginning to worry about his childhood friend.
“What’s wrong, Wenn? Are you trying to scare the Thionae with your glare? I’m afraid that won’t do the trick. I guess you’d need something on the Titan level to have a shot at him,” Yago said with a hint of a smile.
Wenn’s expression softened at the mention of the legendary being. “We had this conversation before, Yago. There is no such thing as the Thionae.” Wenn dismissed his friend’s idea with a smile of his own.
“Says the oh-so-knowledgeable Lieutenant Wenn. But I will let you know that my friend’s cousin knew someone who swears having seen it eating one of the Jorvik patrols, and it wasn’t pretty,” Yago affirmed in a severe tone.
“OK, I can’t argue with such a reliable source. You can mark me convinced,” said Wenn with all the sarcasm he could muster.
Silence filled the modern Busan ship, but after about thirty seconds, it was interrupted by the soft voice of the ship’s computer: “Good afternoon, agents. ATMTA sends you the development report. Please open the link here for the complete information, or should you prefer, I can run through the most relevant updates.”
Agent M4 quickly intervened: “Please read out only the most relevant ones” and then continued:
“Wenn… do you remember how we met? Two lonely kids in the dumpsters of the Salvage Yards, bruised, hungry, and cold. But look at us now, though! True heroes! Like the ones in the stories you had read to us so many years ago!” Yago said with a genuine smile.
Wenn didn’t answer immediately, unfastening his seat belt and making a few steps to put his mind at ease with a mug of Ko’fy. The soothing smell of the warm, ancestral drink of the human race filled the room before Wenn answered:
“To be completely honest with you, Yago, I have my doubts.” He handed the Mierese a steaming hot cup before proceeding.
“We have indeed left the Salvage Yards, but I’m not sure the Salvage Yards left us…” Wenn said while looking out at the beautiful horizon of colors that shone in the stars.
Yago quickly changed into a mix of confusion and concern for his friend’s grave tone, but before he could reply, the computer’s smooth voice said:
“First update — Showroom. The pride and joy of ATMTA is reaching its final building stages. Elegance, sophistication, and interactivity are the words chosen by our engineers when describing the beautiful, Unreal Engine 5 world that unfolds before our client’s eyes, as you can see from the following image:
Night skies over the Showroom /// Unreal Engine 5 Enabled Metaverse /// A cycle of immersion nears completion
“ Wow…” Both reacted as the hologram of the Showroom appeared in front of them.
The computer AI continued: “The most relevant update of the week is the user experience on the blockchain front, which is complete, together with the required wireframes.”
As the voice ceased, Yago questioned with a hint of preoccupation in his voice: “What do you mean about the Salvage Yards still being with us?”
Wenn paused for a second, trying to organize his thoughts, then proceeded: “Yago, do you remember when we found the old data logs, and we managed to uncover the stories about heroes?”
“Yeah, sure! Those are by far the happiest memories I have of those days. Even though we all struggled a lot, your tales kept everyone going. Xannah especially smiled whenever you mimicked the villain’s voices,” the Mierese said, himself smiling gently.
Wenn felt as if daggers were piercing his heart at the mention of Xannah’s name, but he took a deep breath and answered:
“If I could go back in time, I would never have opened those records. Those fairy tales deluded us, Yago. Making us think that good and evil are the two principal acting forces in the universe and that good would always triumph.” The Lieutenant progressed, full of resentment and without a pause, as if spilling every sentence:
“We live in a prosperous space age, where the marvels of technology enable us to build colossal vessels that dwarf some planets, yet do you know what didn’t change, Yago?”
“Humans, Mierese, Ustur, Punaabs, and every other race in the universe has the same moral standards my ancestors had in those fairy tales we loved. Greed, Yago, it seems to be engraved in mortal beings’ souls, as if POLIS was the only true creed of existence.”
Yago looked into the eyes of his old friend, and although his face showed hatred, his pupils did not lie about the contents of his heart.
Desperation. Yago suddenly realized how deep Wenn still kept the pain of their past under all the analytical tone and coolness of his manner. The boy who had lost everything in the Salvage Yards 14 years ago was still there.
Before Yago could say anything, the voice of the console announced:
“Second update — Galactic Marketplace. The main gateway into ATMTA goods and services, we hope to offer the galaxy the most exciting and user-friendly experience in technology acquisitions. This week we have some exciting updates!”
As soon as the console finished his refined sales pitch, five simple words appeared in a hologram:
ATLAS Staking Program Building Started.
The console continued: “One of our most sought features, the Atlas Staking program building, has officially started. This entails that we will now submit the marketplace program for an audition while creating mock-up data in devnet to prepare for the front-end/blockchain connection.”
A small piece of Wenn’s mind was feeling proud of those developments. He worked hard for the ATLAS Staking in his time at ATMTA, but the overwhelming guilt denied him from celebrating anything.
“Wenn, it’s not your fault. Nothing that happened that day was your fault. However, what you are saying is only partially true. The COP, even though not perfect, has brought an age of prosperity and relative peace to the galaxy. Although there are undoubtedly many villains, there are also heroes, like the one who saved us after that day,” Yago added, without a hint of the playful Mierese that was his customary manner.
“Third update — System Polishing.” Most onboard computers are programmed to avoid interrupting conversation, but this one seemed to actively seek it out. “ATMTA is always striving to provide the best experience for their users, and System Polishing ensures that we are doing better for you every day!”
“Here are the relevant updates of this week: Bugfix: Marketplace orders placed with three decimals of precision appear to be successful when they are not. Features: Cookie enhancements and Torus wallet integration,” the AI cheerfully said.
Wenn replied to his friend, talking over the computer update: “I certainly can’t deny that there are forces of good in the universe, such as you, Clonk, and Pethros, who sheltered and educated us, giving us a purpose after everything was gone. But you guys are the exception that confirms the rule, I’m afraid.”
“Regarding the COP, even though their ideas are noble, the crushing reality is that their so-called safe zones only encompass a minor part of the galaxy, amassing wealth only in those regions. Yet other areas scrape for a few ATLAS. They are also not in any way a monolithic formation of good beings. You would be ashamed at what I heard regarding the outer world’s denizens at the Officer’s Academy of the COP–”
The AI suddenly spoke, now in a louder tone, saying: “Lieutenant Wenn, as established in the code of conduct of ATMTA employees, article 324, section I, it is strictly prohibited to ignore the announcements of ATMTA industries during peaceful travel. Please pay attention. This is considered a warning with legal ramifications.”
While not caring to hear an answer, the insolent AI continued as if nothing had happened, switching back to a cheerful tone:
“Fourth update — SCREAM. One of ATMTA’s hottest products, the project with the code name SCREAM will allow our players to have meaningful progression with ships and work together within their faction to achieve shared goals. SCREAM prioritizes community-building by working with factions through fun use of vessels, immersive 3D graphics, and closed-loop gameplay.”
After what almost seemed like an intentionally dramatic short pause, the AI added: “The most relevant feature for this week’s update is that we are on week three of the prototyping of SCREAM while also onboarding ATMTA Sr. Director of Economy and the Director of User interface to collaborate with SCREAM development.
Wenn breathed, waiting for the console to end, before saying: “You are wrong, Yago. I sincerely appreciate the fact that you don’t hold me accountable for what happened with Xannah and Clonk, but it was my fault. If I hadn’t babbled on that day at the fair, those Bounty Hunters would never have discovered us in the Salvage Yard. This is an objective fact, and nothing that you say will change this.”
“I don’t understand humans at all,” thought Yago. The lamenting Lieutenant in front of him couldn’t accept that fate had placed him in this situation so that he would rise again to claim his rightful place. Nothing he did could have changed this, the Mierese knew, because some events are in the domain of the Almighty Ones.
“The will of the gods can’t be changed, Wenn. Their fate on that day was written in advance. But, for better or worse, we all have a role to play in the grand plot of the universe, and ours is the role of the heroes. The sooner you accept this, the better.” The Mierese tried to soften the delivery of the harsh truth with a smile.
“Fifth update — POLIS DAO.” The computer said, and Wenn could swear he could feel a boastfully victorious tone coming from the AI voice:
“ATMTA state of the art protocol for galactic governance. Those interested in exercising power will be able to submit proposals and exercise voting rights on public submissions. Additionally, once deployed, those wielding POLIS power will be allowed to engage in a variety of contracts in line with their political resolve, both short and long term, and earn in-game yield along a curve based on the maturity of stake.”
“This week, the most relevant update for the DAO project is that the reward algorithm details are complete while we have onboarded yet another engineer to the project,” the console chirped jovially. “This completes yet another successful transmission.”
Wenn’s outlook wasn’t as bright. “I wish I could accept such a comforting way of comprehending reality, Yago, but I’m no hero.” Wenn sat with a blank face. A faint “ping” sound emitted by the ship’s radar quickened in pace, pulling him back to the present. He scanned the controls.
“We’ve got company.”
Weekly Project Report
See the full report in the Official Star Atlas Roadmap here.
See previous weekly reports here.
Project: Showroom Alpha
Concept Art: DONE /// Art: BUILDING /// UX/UI: BUILDING /// Game Design: DONE /// Blockchain: PROTOTYPING /// Game Play: BUILDING
Updates: Alpha quality is in progress for all art-related disciplines /// UX is locked. We are working on Title Screen, In-game Menu, and Fast-Travel mockups /// Blockchain UX is ready, and the wireframes are done. Engineering dept. to start working on wallet and authorization flow /// Save/Loads, UI logic, and Ships spawning/assignment to Landing Pads currently in progress
Upcoming activities: Continue to work on Alpha-quality for all environment depts: Level Art, Props, Vegetation, Lighting, VFX /// continuing the mockup creation for all features and their integration to the game while starting auth. windows and ingame menus /// Wireframes to be tweaked after first tests as UX is adjusted. UI will be started after the concept lock on the title screen /// UI preparations for the test of the gameplay core features.
Project: Galactic Marketplace
Blockchain: BUILDING /// UX/UI: PROTOTYPING /// FRONT END: PROTOTYPING
Updates: ATLAS Staking implementation started /// Keep assisting front-end engineers with prototypes and coordinating with COMM to prepare to reach out to users /// Ongoing prototyping of the core user flow (4th week).
Upcoming activities: Submit marketplace program for audit. Create mockup data in devnet to prepare for front-end/blockchain connection /// Conduct user testing, keep creating high fidelity design for the final implementation /// Final touches on prototype. Address feedback from user testing and start final implementation.
Project: System Polishing
Bug fixes: Marketplace orders placed with three decimals of precision appear to be successful, when in fact they are not.
New Features: Cookie enhancements /// Torus wallet integration.
Upcoming features: Bundle of GDPR compliance features /// Redesign of play.staratlas.com menu system to enhance UX /// CHORE: updates for April 6 ship drop /// Refactor Cookie and Legal Models/VM.
Known issues: Player net worth not accurate on profile /// Badges not available on player profile /// Ships can’t be withdrawn from Faction Fleet if a rent account is missing /// Ledger changed address path changed /// Countdown timer cut off in build 161.
Project: SCREAM v1.0
Game Design: PROTOTYPING /// Blockchain: PROTOTYPING/// UX: PROTOTYPING /// UI Design: BUILDING /// Economy Design: R&D /// Front End: PROTOTYPING
Updates: Continue to define explicit requirements for core gameplay mechanics and game systems design /// Testing and refining two existing prototypes. Started prototyping a new net program /// Continuing to refine user interaction flows and low fidelity wireframes /// Onboarded UI Director. Started building concepts for SCREAM views /// Onboarded Sr. Director of Economy. Continuing to assess the economic implications of net new gameplay loops and features /// Adding more high-fidelity functionality to WebGL prototypes. Building Proof of Concept to validate core gameplay loop
Upcoming activities: Continue to define explicit SCREAM requirements for core gameplay mechanics and solicit feedback on net new features and rewards structure /// Test and refine prototypes across all SCREAM teams and stakeholders /// Prototype the game views and all of the interactive elements /// Continue to analyze the economic impacts of SCREAM /// Continue to add additional functionality to existing WebGL prototypes.
UX/UI: PROTOTYPING /// Front End: PROTOTYPING /// Blockchain: BUILDING
Updates: Finishing proposal and treasury views /// Unstyled Proposals UI is almost complete. Governor SDK integration complete. Proposals SDK integration in progress /// Additional engineer onboarded; reward algorithm details finalized
Upcoming activities: Feature lock wireframes /// Continuing SDK integrations, unstyled UI for Profile, and more pages /// GATEv1 (code name for the Solana Rewards program and off-chain tooling) prototype completion.
ABOUT STAR ATLAS
Star Atlas is a next-gen gaming metaverse emerging from the confluence of state-of-the-art blockchain, real-time graphics, multiplayer video games, and decentralized financial technologies.
Using Unreal Engine 5’s Nanite, real-time graphics technology allows for cinematic quality video game visuals. In addition, blockchain technology using the Solana protocol establishes a largely serverless and secured gameplay experience. Non-fungible tokens obtained and traded within Star Atlas create an economy that replicates tangible world assets and ownership. To learn more, visit StarAtlas.com, join a faction at Play.StarAtlas.com and send your spaceships on a deep space mission by enrolling them in a Faction Fleet.
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MUD Recollection of the Past: Star Atlas Roadmap Scan #03 was originally published in Star Atlas on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.