Apr 24, 2023 - 10 min read
The Sandbox Q1 2023 Project Update
2023 has already been a strong year of new developments and growth for The Sandbox. As our team continues to trailblaze into the open metaverse, we are proud to share this summary of notable progress completed during Q1 with our community of creators, players, and collectors around the world.
To everyone reading, you are who we are building for.
We are grateful for your endearing support and the voiced feedback that has helped guide the updates outlined in this recap.
Let’s dive in!
- Game Maker — Launched a slew of updates with Game Maker 0.8 and saw nearly 30,000 downloads of the application and over 10,000 experiences created.
- VoxEdit — Added enhanced multi-selection features, improved hotkeys and contextual menus, and workflow-focused upgrades.
- Marketplace — Creators made over 34,000 ASSETS with VoxEdit and sold 4,119 NFTs on the Marketplace.
- LAND — First land sale of the year (more coming) grew our community to 23,500 LAND owners (+2%). Voxel Madness LAND Sale brought new Estates owners: Invincible, Madballs, Dungeon Siege, Habbo Hotel, Kongregate, Cut the Rope, Tap Nation, Ledger, Dogami, Alien Worlds, Voxies, Playground Studios and generated $1M worth of SAND sales in primary sales and a massive 24x24 Estate XL sold for 750,000 USDT, the biggest virtual estate NFT transaction of 2023!
- Map — Logged 6.1 million map interactions, improved rendering process, and made it easier to identify Premium LAND.
- Events — Over 100,000 unique players entered the metaverse this quarter, generating 1.73M experience visits on their way to completing 19 million quests and playing over 446K total hours across 25 Events and a total of 54 experiences and earning over 2.7M SAND Rewards + Valuable NFTs.
- Avatars — Over 150,000 avatars customized and over 20,000 avatars equipped.
- Game Client — Greatly expanded the actions that avatars can take and revamped our UX and UI.
- Account Creation — Enabled non-crypto native users to register for an account with just an email address and password, no wallet needed anymore!
COMMUNITY & ECOSYSTEM
- Partners — Welcomed 20+ partnerships to our Ecosystem and added resources in the form of an Agency Directory and a Partners Resources hub.
- Community Moments — Hosted 7 virtual AMAs and met up IRL at events like NFT Paris, GDC San Francisco, and DJ Snoopadelic At l’Arc.
- The Sandbox Germany (Sviper) — Acquired Sviper Gmbh, a German game development studio founded in 2016 known for creative excellence.
The Sandbox has never felt more alive! We kicked off 2023 with a bang, launching an abundance of new developments to upgrade our diverse group of product offerings.
Game Maker 0.8
Upgrading Game Maker continues to be a primary focus of our development team. With each new version, we’re adding features to ensure that, no matter how crazy your game idea is, Game Maker will be your go-to platform to turn it into the next great metaverse gaming experience!
In Q1, Game Maker was highlighted by:
- Nearly 30,000 downloads
- An average of 6,400 monthly active users created
- An average session length of 57 minutes
- Over 10,000 experiences created with Game Maker and 75 experiences shared to the gallery
To continue the growth of those results, our new version of Game Maker rings in the beginning of a new multiplayer-first focus for development that we are bringing to the remainder of 2023. In 0.8, we separated singleplayer and multiplayer behaviors and components; moving forward, all components and behaviors will be migrated to their multiplayer counterparts.
With Game Maker continuing to be a core component of our development roadmap, upgrades in Q1 were plentiful. Our additions to the platform are summarized below:
Behaviors and Components:
- Enhanced visual FX and lighting
- Timed events
- Crowd event
- Audio streaming
- Weather switcher
- Post process effects
Performance Enhancements and Fixes:
- New techniques to reduce network lag
- Bandwidth optimizations
- Improve Game Server performance
- Audio system improvements
Additional Features from the Latest Patch Releases:
- Added single player support for the Play Sound and Pickable Component.
- Implemented a new Multiplayer simulator enabling users to test out the WIP experience directly in the editor.
- Improved performance and bandwidth for multiplayer support.
- Introduced a new search and filtering feature to the Draft Gallery.
Looking ahead, we will continue to bring powerful enhancements to further empower game builders using the Game Maker platform. Some additional upgrades already slated for a 2023 release include: a grid and snapping system, an asset replacement tool, a refreshed home page, a new gameplay section in the editor, and the ability to duplicate and rename your experience directly in My Drafts.
In the first quarter of 2023, VoxEdit introduced a series of updates that significantly improved its capabilities, making it an even more accessible and powerful tool for artists and creators. For the TL;DR of our latest noteworthy improvements, take a look at the YouTube recap video HERE. For the full scoop, dive into our detailed recap:
Enhanced Multi-Selection Features
Effortlessly select multiple models, nodes, and layers for faster editing; perform actions like rotating, deleting, and renaming on multiple items simultaneously.
Improved Hotkeys and Contextual Menus
New hotkeys streamline your workflow, making common tasks faster and more efficient; contextual menus provide quick access to the tools you need when you need them.
Exciting Additions to Improve Your Workflow
Fast animation search with keyboard shortcuts; easily move voxels based on the camera view using keyboard arrows; set keyframes on selected nodes with hotkeys for enhanced control.
Performance Enhancements and Fixes
Faster loading times for large models and templates; improved viewport refresh rate and more responsive tools; numerous bug fixes and enhancements to ensure smooth, reliable operation.
New Features from the Latest Patch Releases
Animation offset function for greater flexibility in your animations; delete backup models feature to declutter your workspace.
With these updates, VoxEdit continues to evolve as a powerful and user-friendly tool for creating and editing voxel art and animations. We look forward to continuing to launch new enhancements to elevate your creative experience!
Highlighting our strong Q1 start to 2023, over 34,000 ASSETS were created with VoxEdit and 4,119 NFTs were sold alongside 21 new collections that joined our marketplace. Additionally, five already-existing collections expanded with new assets, which you can now view live: WBDD Spinnin’ Records, Parisland, Creator Fund, Sandstorm, and The Quests of Triloga.
With the marketplace, our goal remains to create a platform that offers a vast selection of assets and provides real value to our users. Upgrades to look forward to later this year include a partners spotlight section on the home page, custom NFT stores for creators, and further improvements to the search experience.
We are committed to continuously adding new assets to offer creators and collectors and will incorporate new utility features into assets to provide additional holder benefits whenever possible.
As we have continued to grow closer to the full launch of The Sandbox, our diverse community has grown up by 2% with over 23,500 LAND owners around the world. After a successful series of LAND sales in Q4 22, Voxel Madness was also a resounding success in February. Here are some highlights:
- Over $1M USD worth of primary sales across 454 LANDs and 12 ESTATEs sold on auction on OpenSea
- 138 first-time buyers joined the LAND owners community
- Voxel Madness LAND Sale brought new ESTATEs owners: Invincible, Madballs, Dungeon Siege, Habbo Hotel, Kongregate, Cut the Rope, Tap Nation, Ledger, Dogami, Alien Worlds, Voxies, Playground Studios
A massive 24x24 ESTATE XL sold for 750,000 USDT, making it the largest ESTATE NFT transaction of 2023!
To get a full recap of all we accomplished on behalf of LAND owners in Q1, be sure to check out our recently-published LAND Owner Roadmap Update Q1 2023 Medium blog post.
Owning LAND is not only an opportunity to experience the metaverse in a unique way, it’s also the path to helping create it. Moving forward, we will continue to find and execute ways to improve how we deliver value to LAND holders as they continue to patiently wait.
Additional LAND sales will be scheduled throughout the remainder of this year, with some parcels located in prime geographical and cultural hubs. We’ll also continue to announce more partners that will make building on LAND even more exciting. Prepare to give your new neighbors a warm welcome!
Your guide to the metaverse continues to be the second-most active section of our site (after the events section), logging 6.1 million interactions! Giving you a birds-eye view of all things Sandbox is a utility that is easy to take for granted, but we recognize the map as an incredibly valuable tool that is essential to continue upgrading. The map’s journey into 2023 has been one marked by notable improvements, each contributing to a better experience for metaverse travelers.
Performance & Core improvements: The map is getting ready for the next big milestone! We improved the rendering process to support better image resolution (more logos everywhere), and better zoom level. This core rework allows us also to update the map near to real-time when users modify their logos.
New LAND Preview: We have a new LAND preview that makes it easier to identify Premium LAND.
More upgrades will continue to roll out for the map in the coming months, but you don’t have to wait too long to get the first! In the next few days, we will launch neighborhood view: a new navigation tool that enables users to zoom into neighborhoods easily.
Later this year, users will be able to find and play experiences on the map, place LAND on sale and buy LAND directly on the map, and also see improved OpenSea integrations that show real-time LAND sale information.
Oh, and between you and us, we’ve also been secretly working on our next big release…
As game developers, nothing brings us more joy than seeing our community immerse themselves in The Sandbox; during Q1, you all did exactly that! Over 100,000 unique players entered the metaverse this quarter, generating 1.73M experience visits on their way to completing 19 million quests and playing over 446K total hours across 25 Events and a total of 54 experiences and earning over 2.7M SAND Rewards + Valuable NFTs.
Let’s recap how you played!
Now that’s how you play and earn!
In Q1, we also launched a new monthly event format called Festivals, which took place in February and March and attracted more than 100k players. 42.7K players won Mystery Boxes with amazing NFT and SAND rewards.
As we head into Q2, there’s more incredible action to get excited about. Here’s a brief sneak peek of what’s coming next for you to experience: April Festival, May Festival, Game Client 0.8 Launch Event, and Alpha Season 4
Your metaverse identities keep getting better! With improved features geared toward optimizing the customization experience, 2023 has ushered in a new era of avatar creation. So far, we’ve seen:
- Over 150,000 avatars customized in the Avatar Manager
- Over 20,000 avatars equipped
- Fun fact: Most popular predesigned avatars — Lucy, Z Boy, Casual Nikki
In Q1, accomplished improvements to the avatar experience included:
- Viewing: New navigation improvements and tools enable users to zoom and rotate the avatar model in every direction.
- Still Minting: In the Avatar Manager’s shop, you can now see which collections are still minting.
- Persistence: Save your last custom avatar design so you don’t lose it if you equip another avatar.
- Unrevealed: View unrevealed avatars that you minted inside the “My Avatars” tab.
- Performance: Enjoy shorter loading times when browsing and previewing avatars.
Avatars are your vessels to journey through the metaverse; we’re here to continue improving every aspect of your experience. With new OpenSea integration, equipment try-on before purchasing, and equipment loadout customization coming to Avatar Manager, there’s tons to look forward to as 2023 continues!
The main pillars of Game Client 0.8 are avatar 3C’s and emotes, and a revamped UX and UI.
New avatar 3C’s expand the actions your avatar can take:
- Swim on liquid blocks.
- Tap the Z key to sheathe the currently equipped weapon.
- Tap the C key will make the avatar start crouching.
- Hold down the C key to make the avatar drop to the ground and start crawling.
- Tapping the C key while sprinting starts a slide.
- Attacks redesigned.
- 3rd person camera and audio were improved.
The interfaces were improved, including new functionality:
- Inventory UI and UX were greatly improved and the system was extended to support some multiplayer features.
- Players can now equip cosmetic items in multiplayer experiences.
- Refreshed the UI and UX for the main menu.
- Implemented a scalable interface for players to navigate through all the screens available in the game (map, inventory, NFT scan, etc.).
- The new minimap displays information about the current experience, the player’s position/orientation, and the player’s surroundings.
- A new map was added that showcases surroundings and allows players to travel without quitting the game.
- Improved our completion screen’s flow, along with a full-fledged UI/UX redesign.
- Expanded our emote wheel with new categories and several new emotes and dances.
- Visuals have been enhanced with the addition of features like day and night cycle, post-processing VFX, and additional VFXs.
- New Social UI and UX including exciting new features like a new chat re-work, chat settings, and emoji menu.
- Added do not apply feature.
- Per-experience asset bundles to improve loading times.
- Major improvements were made on bandwidth for smoother multiplayer experiences.
Our team recognizes the importance of reaching mainstream audiences outside of the crypto-native Web3 space to grow our already-blossoming community. To do so, we have launched an exciting new feature to usher in the next wave of adoption!
New users can now create an account at The Sandbox by using only email and password — no Web3 wallet required. This update provides less friction for non-crypto users while also forming a Web3 onramp for them, as connecting a wallet after registration can be completed at any time.
COMMUNITY & ECOSYSTEM
Heading into Q2 2023 and beyond, we’re continuing to launch new ways to grow our community, drive value to holders, and improve communications with added transparency and updates. During Q1, we completed the significant groundwork required to bring those updates to our ecosystem.
To continue delivering epic playable content, we forged over 20 key partnerships with value-aligned brands to build the open metaverse.
In addition to adding new partners, our Q1 saw these achievements:
- Launched Agency Directory, which has already generated over 100 inquiries.
- Launched the Partners Resources Hub to help agencies & studios develop their expertise through guides & workshops.
- Added 120+ agencies to the partner’s program, like Coinhouse, Ledger Enterprise, Havas Play, and Influential.
Our metaverse is one for all to enjoy, so we couldn’t be more excited about all of the amazing brands that we’ve been able to welcome recently! With many more partnerships currently in our pipeline, it’s time to get amped for more incredible content heading your way in the coming months.
There is no Web3 without community, and what a community we have! After traveling to events around the world and meeting online, there’s no doubt that the start of 2023 will be remembered by how it brought us all closer together.
Connecting with our community to grow relationships, collect feedback, and share joy through our collective love for The Sandbox and Web3 is invaluable to our team. These experiences bring the metaverse to life like no other! Everyone is looking forward to connecting further across the rest of 2023 — we hope to see you at our next event.
“The Sandbox Germany” (Sviper)
Nothing is more essential to fun, engaging playable content than the talent needed to create it! In February, we announced our acquisition of Sviper GmbH, a German game development studio founded in 2016 highly regarded for creative excellence.
We couldn’t be happier to continue developing The Sandbox with our new friends in Germany! With a year of collaboration already under our belt, we’re ready to take things to the next level during the remainder of 2023. If you want to join our efforts with the Sviper team, check out available job opportunities here.
Onward, to The Metaverse
As we continue to work towards fully opening The Sandbox, our team is more energized than ever to build the platform that our incredible community deserves — one that shines as a world-leading virtual space for limitless creativity, innovation, and gaming.
Stay tuned to our social media accounts for updates on upcoming upgrades that will bring us even closer to turning the vision of The Sandbox into a reality with a lasting legacy in the open metaverse.