New Play-to-Earn ED3N game hypes launch in Austin, TX

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via Instagram.

“Find the astronauts with plant backpacks to learn more about ED3N,” the latest Tamagotchi-inspired game from SoCal-based Interplay Entertainment wrote in an IG caption this week. “See ya at Consensus!” 

The photo: two women smiled in all-blue outfits reminiscent of space suits, holding cans of dirt with real flowers sprouting from them. They took to the Dcentral Conference floor in Austin, TX, yesterday to promote ED3N, a fascinating new sci-fi evolutionary NFT project that blends multiplayer gaming with DeFi principles. In its fullest form, the game will eventually grow into its own self-sustaining ecosystem. It all starts after ED3N launches at a later date, TBD this year. 

A March 31 blog post from ED3N offers more backstory into this latest project by the creative team behind Interplay Entertainment’s Earthworm Jim TV series. “As the Lizard Dominion have expanded their grip across the stars, they’ve taken the opportunity to ship their terraforming cans through stellar gates,” the release reads. “Inside each 3D rendered can (complete with its own origins and lore) is a programmatically generated single seed or larva from an alien planet.”

Their endeavor will launch with an Ethereum-based NFT collection of 10,000 unique cans of dirt–as projected into space by the Lizard Dominion. Each variation stems from one of 60 planets in the canonical Earthworm Jim TV Series universe. “The incubation phase begins when the first Can NFT is minted,” ED3N’s site explains. “At some point after the last Can NFT is minted, the Cans may be opened to progress ED3N’s gameplay phase.” 

Inside these cans, new owners will discover nascent organisms–either plants or larvae. “Each will grow and develop in real time thanks to the soil’s unique mineral characteristics,” the blog post says. “Through interaction and gameplay users will be able to evolve the can’s contents into something far greater. They’ll also need to consider hunger, thirst, sunlight, and radiation to keep their seed or larva happy and healthy.”

ED3N classifies creatures created from these original 10,000 NFTs as 1st Gen. “Each 1st Gen creature originates from one of 8 different planet types: Water, Ice, Rock, Green, Fire, Gas, Electric and Shadow,” their site says. “Planet Types are sub-categorized by the types of ions and minerals they encompass. These variants have an impact on the genetic makeup of their residents and influence their survivability in different environments.” Owners can also manipulate six atmospheric elements, from light and temperature to gravity, as well as even music, to uniquely shape their own creations.

Sample Cans from the ED3N site.

Once these 1st Gen beings blossom, players can begin working together. “Through crossbreeding functions, genetic boosts and spores, Creatures can be merged or mutated into more complex lifeforms,” ED3N’s site says. 1st Gen creatures can never die. However, they will have the power to spawn 2nd Gen creatures. These will be unique and more varied but also more fragile. As 1st Gen owners sell their 2nd Gen creations to new players buying into the game the only way left, ED3N’s population will naturally climb.

More players mean more connections. They can team up to form a wild or artificial garden, likened to group staking. Once the gang tops more than ten members, it’s managed by a vote, DAO style. “Hive will allow for a wider and greater number of genes to be mixed,” ED3N’s site says. Staking incentivizes the creation of 2nd Gen creatures so that new players can be brought into the community.”

Eventually, ED3N will yield a self-sustaining Play-to-Earn model. “At a future stage of development, our goal is to launch an in-game currency: the DIRT Coin, which may be earned by staking ED3N NFTs,” their site also says. “DIRT coin could be used to purchase new genes from the Genetic Market and/or perform monetary transactions within the ED3N ecosystem.”

Every known universe incorporates entropy–life can’t last forever. “Our plans similarly do not allow for unlimited combinations, genetic mutations, or growth,” their site says. “Genes purchased on the genetic market can be either DNA-assimilated (on) or DNA-stored (off) for possible use later on.” Storing too many genes causes a breakage that can either result in presumed death or “fantastic mutations.”

“Following launch of the full game, ED3N creatures will reflect their owners’ individual obsessions and personalities,” ED3N’s site says, pontificating on the possibilities. Ultimately, its players and investors have self-determination. “One could engineer a gothic flower, team up with others to build large bioluminescent forests that hum cryptic tunes, or just groom creatures of all shapes and colors.”

The pre-release White List is open, and minting will allegedly start soon–your opportunity to get in on an interesting community simulation, epitomized by the biological process of building an ecosystem. You can also join ED3N’s Discord, and check out their giveaway app celebrating the game’s looming launch with exclusive NFT giveaways on Polygon and a chance to win DIRT points by helping grow the burgeoning community.

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Vittoria Benzine

Vittoria Benzine is a Brooklyn-based art writer and personal essayist covering contemporary art with a focus on human contexts, counterculture, and chaos magic. She contributes to Maxim, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn Magazine, and more.

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