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decent.land’s Land NFTs Offer a “Shared Cosmic Mythology” to Explore

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A unique subset of flourishing digital assets with applicability ranging from fine art, to music, gaming and many more, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are rapidly becoming popular in the Web 3.0 space. Since its advent in 2014, the industry has grown to $3 billion and is predicted to hit $13.6 billion by 2027.

NFTs with utility are also seeing a boom, and decent.land – a protocol for building social network platforms – is now making entry into land NFTs, focused on creating a culture of value through arts and lore rich in artistic concepts and philosophy.

decent.land is creating a planet that will be released to NFT collectors soon. It comprises four continents; each at different stages of technological advancement. It has flora and fauna, energy sources, aquatic bodies, xenobiology and unique landscapes. These remarkable features make decent.land different from most NFT land projects, which Justin Murphy of the Other Life podcast described as “… empty vessels with a lot of hype and a ton of fundraising”.

Beyond providing bragging rights and a profitable investment for potential collectors of decent.land planet NFTs, Lee David Tyrrell, the Art Director of the decent.land project – whose job it is to build the world and lore of the planet – wants buyers of the NFTs to explore the rich lore. The story of the discovery of the planet is presented through prose, podcasts, original music and NFTs.

Arweave News had a chat with the team members behind the decent.land NFT project, Lee David Tyrrell, Art Director and Darwin, pseudonymous CTO of decent.land, on the upcoming land NFTs.

First, I would like you to tell me briefly about the project – what is the ideological concept behind the decent.land NFT land project, and how did it come to being?

Lee: I think Darwin is far better equipped to answer this question, but it does lead me to a couple of things that I can and should discuss.

As I type my answers to this interview, I am extremely new to the project. I’ve only been brought on board in the past couple of weeks, and I was hired partly because I do not have a background in NFTs or the crypto community. So much so, I wonder if “the crypto community” is even a viable phrase to use. But I’ll go with it!

I’m still learning about the world, and I want to; I’m an ever curious person. But, what I bring to the Decent Land NFT project is a strong creative eye and an ability to build worlds quickly, consistently and in a way that works for the algorithmic art generation that this project will utilise. The fact that I don’t have a background in NFTs — I believe — is what allows me to express my creativity as an art director so effectively when it comes to Decent Land.

I am unaffected by any prevailing concerns throughout the crypto community (there it is again!), and can concentrate entirely on designing a planet from the ground up without any constraints or prejudices. From what I understand, the project was already well established on the technical side — the side I don’t understand — before my hiring. I was brought on to bring potentially cold code to life, and my lack of association with that code is precisely how I do so.

This is a long, roundabout way of saying that I can’t answer your question with confidence. I’m new to the project, and still learning about the potential of NFTs like this. But I think my relative distance from the technical conception and intentions of decent.land are an oddly positive aspect of my role. In many ways, buyers will interact with a world that I’ve built, but left entirely to them and their purposes. I enjoy that disassociation, and believe it adds a new layer to the depth of this project.

Darwin: In decent.land, it’s necessary to have a DLT (decent.land token) to open up a new community on the platform. We came up with the idea of land NFTs as a way to avoid charging a set DLT price for this. Lands are scarce objects which can be traded on the secondary market, leaving participants to decide what they’re worth, and not us. This is in line with our unregulated approach of not getting involved with the market side of the platform.

What makes this NFT project different from others and what advantage does it have over others? How unique is this project?

Lee: Again, there’s a lot that Darwin can cover here from a technical standpoint. The two of us are somewhat yin and yang in our differing roles. As much as we discuss the creative side, we also discuss the technical side. I try to keep up to the best of my brain power, and I’m learning a lot. I know enough to know that there’s plenty Darwin could mention here, and I’d love to give him the chance to do so.

From my side, decent.land is singular in a vast number of ways. Again, I’m no expert on NFTs — and pre-existing land projects — but I believe that what we’re doing is extremely unique. We’re meticulously designing a planet at both the macro and micro levels, whilst furnishing it with an in-depth background lore; expressed through both prose and podcasts.

In my role, I am worldbuilding an entirely fictional globe and its four major continents. That means mapping each of them as a meticulously designed mainland, from the “Google Maps” satellite scale to the smallest details at ground level (such as clams or conch shells found on a beach). Suffice to say, the job is huge. All four continents vary wildly in their climates and native flora, and I’m responsible for their creation. That means detailing a vast glossary of “objects” — like “clam”, all the way up to larger elements like “mountain” — that can then be rendered into individual sprites by artists. Then, they’re algorithmically generated to form a landscape accurate to my descriptions, depending on the continent.

The vast majority of the flora and fauna I detail are fictional, new creations, and this kind of bespoke worldbuilding seems fresh for such collections. Once again, I admit I’m ignorant — to a certain extent; it’s true. But I know, at least, that the novel I’m writing — and the podcast I make alongside it — have never been aspects of land NFTs, and I take great pride in my work.

As new as this is for NFTs, it’s an equal revelation for my writing. I’ve never attempted a project like this, and my novel of lore is rewarding. It’s proving itself an invigorating shot to the growth of my skills as a writer.

Darwin: We’re particularly excited to have Lee on board as the Art Director for decent.land because it fills a gap that we’ve seen is wide open in the ‘land NFT’ genre – most projects, including the recent Otherside land drop – consist of generic, boring excuses for land and a cop-out where attention to detail and lore is concerned. 

You have published two chapters already about the planet that is being explored by some explorers in arks. You have given detailed descriptions of the planet; its flora and fauna, energy source, aquatic bodies etc. It is a different world in itself.

When the NFTs are released, how do you want potential buyers to interact with it? What are the features in terms of art and meaning or substance do you think should stand out to potential buyers of the NFTs and the entire NFT community?

Lee: Again, I’d better yield to Darwin here, in case he has anything to add. I know that — of course — decentralisation and similar concerns are at the heart of decent.land (hence the name), and they have been since its inception. With those thoughts, we reach my favourite juncture once more: ignorance. But I know how important such ideas are to decent.land, and Darwin will certainly have more to add.

From my perspective as the art director — concerned with worldbuilding and lore — my keyword is exploration. I’m putting a lot of effort into creating an actual alien world, full of fantastic xenobiology and marvellous, impossible landscapes. I want buyers to lose themselves in the various alleys of my imagination, and the surely striking work of any artists attached to the project. My grandest wish, for decent.land, is to establish a rich legendarium — a shared cosmic mythology — that buyers, readers and listeners explore; together, like my nomadic travellers.

Through the use of prose, podcasts, original music and — most importantly — the land NFTs themselves, we’d like to establish a viable globe that visitors want to spend time in. Darwin and I have already brainstormed a few ideas for sequels, and I’m beginning to feel like decent.land will follow me most of my life. I’m inspired by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, and other great scribes with strong worlds. The Star Trek franchise, Hitchhiker’s Guide and even Discworld — to a point — are all touchstones for my novel of lore. I hope my approach pans out, and our buyers enjoy the final results.

To finish answering this interesting question — and I know my responses are long — I’d like to mention a deliberate progression I’m aiming for in my work. I plan to mirror the growth of humanity, as my novel’s nomads explore. Each continent is at a varying stage of technological advancement; from a primordial land of rocky volcanos to a digital techscape with hard-light cities. Deeper themes will present themselves as I delve further, of course, but I know I’d like to comment on humanity and its foibles. A beating, moral heart will be at the centre of decent.land. I sincerely hope that substance will pervade its every corner.

Darwin: From the perspective of bare essentials, decent.land’s land NFTs are utility tokens that allow their holders to start their own community on the platform. There will be several tiers of land and the higher tiers will encompass the lower. For example, a continent contains several archipelagos, which contain several islands. The utility of owning an archipelago is that when a community inhabits one of its islands or settlements, the fee paid to start that community flows back to the land owner. For DAOs, it pays to own an island, and could even be seen as an asset for long-term income or fundraising. 

I read your Medium post and I felt like I was watching a sci-fi movie adventure. Are there plans to make a movie or game out of this?

Lee: What a dream come true that would be! I’ve never allowed myself such idle dreams, and I know my place as a budding writer; A Decent Land is my first professional project after all. But don’t get me wrong; it’s an inspiring thought! And one that — partly — informs my approach.

I am a huge video game nerd, and have been since childhood. As a big fan of real time strategies and RPGs, I’ve been practicing worldbuilding on small and large scales for decades. I used to adore creating fake scenarios on Command & Conquer: Red Alert or the first Age of Empires, in the heady days of Windows Millennium Edition. Similarly, I can lose myself for hours in expansive games like Tropico, trying to construct a viable society. On a smaller scale, I grew up on The Sims, which I think informs my eye for detail. RPGs are wonderful journeys, with exploration as par for the course, and the kind of holistic worldbuilding in games like Final Fantasy is a major inspiration for my work for decent.land.

A film or television show of meticulous object and flora descriptions would make for an odd watch indeed, but as a fan of experimental media I’d personally love to see it! Instead, I think a video game is ideal; especially with our interest in sprite art. Fingers crossed, with no expectations, ’cause I’d be the first to play it!

Could you clarify a few things from your prose about the project for your readers: The planet, Decent Land, which is being explored has four continents, including Yowunas Maias which is the first to be discovered and explored, right?

Lee: I’m glad you’ve asked this, because it shows my need to add a little extra clarity on this point; perhaps in my upcoming third chapter!

You’re dead right about the four continents, with one being Yowunas Maias. The other three are as yet unnamed, and the fictional explorers at the core of my lore will visit them slowly (in sequence). They’re starting with Yowunas Maias and, to break the fourth wall, that’s partly because we — the team behind decent.land — are currently concentrating on its construction. We can’t move on to defining the others until Yowunas Maias is complete.

That said, the remaining three are briefly described in Chapter One — Arrival. For now they’re on hold, until our explorer friends have exhausted the resources of their opening destination. This also plays into the theme of technological advancement I mentioned earlier. Yowunas Maias is the most primitive continent. It’s important — I think — for a project like this, to not try to run before walking; to not bite off more than we can chew, and all those other clichés.

“Decent Land” refers to the planet, the entire globe that the continents call home. The three unnamed continents will all receive their own monikers in time. There’s something appealing to me about leaving a planet anonymous, and calling it only a general phrase — like “Decent Land” — and there’s more to it than that. Naming an entire planet that will be fleshed out in the extreme seemed like too much of a responsibility for my shoulders to bear. It would have to be good. Really good. And I didn’t trust my instincts at the time of writing Chapter One. So, I went with the simple “Decent Land”; after all, it’s the name of the project. There’s something biblical, too, in its tone. The lore leans into religious themes, and I suppose that “Decent Land” — to me — is evocative of terms like “Promised Land”.

So, to end with a straight and simple explanation:

Decent Land is the “name” of the planet, and it’s home to four continents of varying climes.

One of those continents is Yowunas Maias, and the others… We’ll see. In time!

Lee: With my long answers, and Darwin coming to the rescue for technical details, I feel we’ve covered the basis of Decent Land well. Your questions were invigorating, and they really got me thinking. I thank you for your interest in this project, and hope that it piques the interest of readers too!

There will be much more to discuss as our Decent Land grows, and I look forward to revealing further details as they happen. I know that, behind-the-scenes (so to speak), everyone involved is inspired and talented. For my own part, I’ve never been this driven. I believe we’re going to make something beautiful, unique and interesting; hopefully, something that will capture people’s imaginations — as it has mine — for quite some time to come.

The only other thing I’d like to say is this: if you are intrigued by this project, there are aspects of it you can already delve into! Of course, you can follow both decent.land and myself on Twitter, as @decentdotland and @greent128 respectively, for regular updates. More immediately, two chapters of my official lore are currently available to read, with more to come soon. You can check out prose for A Decent Land here. If listening and audiobooks are more your thing, don’t forget about the podcast! Dramatic readings of lore chapters — complete with original music — are available on both Anchor and Spotify.

Take small steps into this world along with us, and I promise we’ll find great treasures together.

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