vTell: tell a new story.
vTell is an augmented reality platform built for expression through avatars. On the app, each avatar has their own CHANNEL. Owning an avatar allows the user to pose the avatar on the app, capture them using the in app camera, and then post their creation to the character’s CHANNEL.
A Character’s CHANNEL works much like a traditional social media ‘story’, where sequential posts are aggregated and played for other users to view. In the same way social media users are able to create a virtual persona or brand, vTell users will be able to create a narrative for their characters through developing their characters’ CHANNELs.
In addition to providing the first social medial platform specifically designed for avatars, one of our teams underlying goals has been to incorporate open blockchain technology into our app. By doing this, we hope to create new, dynamic environments for our users to create and share, while also delegating ownership of data back to our users.
vTell was first created out of our team’s love for traditional animation and anime, as well as an appreciation of social media’s ability to drive online personas. In synthesizing these two influences, we created three initial goals:
- Develop an AR game/creation engine focused on storytelling using tools from traditional anime and social media.
- Provide a platform that acts as a bridge between social media and gaming.
- Leverage blockchain technology to allow users to acquire ownership of their content.
The vTell Creation Engine
The foundation of the vTell platform is its creation engine. The engine allows users to create augmented reality scenes using various two dimensional and three dimensional effects. After selecting an avatar for a scene, a user may select an “effect.” Each effect is specifically designed to place your avatar in a computer generated scene to help foster content generation. For instance, the “speed” effect places your avatar against a classic anime motion background where, upon recording a scene, the avatar itself is made to sprint. The user may add their voice or text to the recorded video to add their spin to the creation.
One of the prevailing themes from social media over the past 15 years is the rise and now ubiquity of the “story” media type.
A stories is usually a short, automatic sequence (autoplay) of images or videos that is divided into several sequences, which is accompanied by backgrounds, music, texts, stickers, animations, effects and emojis. The aim of stories is to tell a story (e.g. an everyday experience) or to convey a message.
In order to allow users to develop narratives for their characters, the vTell team chose the stories content type, with the intention of adding techniques from traditional animation, comics and anime. This was done out of an awareness of the similarities between both types of media in terms of how an overall narrative is formulated by readers/users:
“[A comic is defined as] Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer”
― Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
However, one notable deviation vTell takes is the abstraction of the ‘story’ away from a given user (or their username), and instead combining it with an avatar. As such, the content generated is aggregated on the avatar’s CHANNEL in the app, and the CHANNELs belong to a given user. A user can create a CHANNEL by uploading their VRM (.vrm file type) on the iOS or web app.
If a given avatar is part of an NFT collection, a user will be able to connect their web3 wallet to the CHANNEL through a verification process. In this way, CHANNELs will be ownable and tradable on third party marketplaces along with the Avatar, as they are both represented by a single token. Furthermore, each NFT collection will have their own designated community CHANNEL where a token holder can post too. Although all users will be able to view the community channel, its curation will be reserved for those who own the requisite NFT tokens.
A Bridge to the Metaverse
Individuals are spending increasingly more time in virtual worlds. This trend is accelerating with the introduction of open worlds on the blockchain. In many instances, users of these virtual worlds are expected to chose from default avatar characters, or bring along models of their own creation. Custom characters add an element of depth to these experiences, however, as of today, there is no streamlined process for a user with little technical skill (or time) to acquire a 3D model and then ‘plug and play’ into a virtual world. In other sectors of the industry, phenomena like “Vtubing” show a potential for 3D characters to be used for social media content creation; however, interoperability between those social platforms and the virtual worlds are all but nonexistent.
In order to bridge the gap between these closely related sectors, vTell aims to be a launching pad for users to acquire online avatars, develop their online persona on our app, and then plug and play into a game through partnerships with other virtual worlds using blockchain technology.
Over the coming months, our team will be releasing our plan to integrate our app with the budding web3 world. However, our first goal in this area will be to incorporate existing NFT collections that utilize VRM avatars to provide additional utility to these already exciting brands. For more information on this, follow our twitter page.