Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) isn’t just a former professional basketball player who won four NBA championships. He’s an acute investor, brilliant businessman, and is well-known for his generosity and kindness. Speaking to Han Lee (MelonApple) and Chris Tapia (SEGA), they tell the story of how ASTRALS came to be. “Shaq was scrolling through Instagram looking for an artist for a DJ Diesel NFT. That’s when he found Damien Guimoneau.” Damien sculpted Simba, Rafiki and Scar in the latest Lion King movie. He also worked on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Godzilla 2, and Ghost in a Shell, bringing his art into these cinematic universes.
“Shaq went into Nick Fury mode and assembled a team, bringing in Brian Bayati, Myles O’Neal, and Chris Tapia to start laying the foundations for what would eventually become ASTRALS. Han Lee, EGGO, and Shaman8 were brought in to assist with technical and creative development.” With Damien putting together the art and vision for a 10,000 piece collection, something out of this world was born.
ASTRALS vision is to “bridge the gap between Solana and the universe” through fun and innovative experiences, such as ASTRALS: Way of the Soul (Play-to-Earn strategy game), Astraland (metaverse) and the latest addition: Astrapon, a gacha game.
Astrapon came out of listening to their community — “we had many calls from our community to hop on the raffle train when it was hot and fresh, but we were advised against it by our legal advisors due to possible compliance issues surrounding running sweepstakes where the “winner(s) are determined purely by chance, with some form of consideration required" — the result is a system that makes everyone a winner. As opposed to a “reskinning of the traditional Solana raffling system.”
Astrapon is a Web3 capsule toy machine full of NFTs from popular collections, including Boryoku Dragonz, Communi3, ASTRALS, and more. “We have also added a new collection of Astral Toys that will earn a share of the $GLXY that players spend on rerolling the Astrapon. These toys will also be playable in the Astraland metaverse as a companion in the future.” Some prizes that folks can look forward to in the first Astrapon are a Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT and a Signed Shaq Shoe NFT that can be redeemed for the real thing. The team is also planning for IRL merch to be won ranging from clothes to vehicles. What Astrapon represents is a new way to mint and collect NFTs. With the attraction of degen mints in the bear market, Astrapon is in tune with the zeitgeist as participation is about a tenth of the price of a regular mint, giving each user opportunities to win something cool or to walk away with at least something of value.
Han Lee (MelonApple) and Chris Tapia (SEGA) speak to us about building out the ASTRALS ecosystem with experiences and utilities, GalaxyDAO and their metaverse vision:
ME: Since mint, ASTRALS have introduced a variety of NFT innovations. One of which is the Signature Shaq Pass. How does that work?
The Shaq Signature Pass is an exclusive series of NFTs that can be used to sign your Astral permanently with the signature of the legend himself. There will only ever be 50 of these in existence, and they can be earned by participating actively in the community or bidding for them in Magic Eden auctions using $GLXY (all $GLXY used in the auction is added to the treasury). If you’re lucky enough to own one of these super limited NFTs, you can head over to our staking site (stake.astralsnft.io) to sign your Astral. Warning: doing so permanently burns the Signature Pass.
The Shaq Signature Pass is the first consumable NFT of its kind, and the signing technology is one that we think will have wide-ranging applications. From sports NFTs to celebrity-endorsed NFTs to simply adding badges and frames to existing collections, this sort of technology has the sort of flexibility and scalability that has the potential to be integrated into any NFT project. We are excited to bring this technology to life as we work with our partners and collaborators in the coming months.
ME: We’d love to hear about the community’s involvement in Galaxy DAO. How is Galaxy DAO different from other NFT DAOs?
Galaxy DAO has been operational for around 2 months now, and in that time we’ve had millions of $GLXY used to help make decisions about how the treasury should be used. Recently, our DAO denied a $100k USD proposal to sweep the floor of ASTRALS or a $40k USD proposal to purchase dust for duppies, whereas they passed (with >99% approval) a $250k proposal to launch Jidan Studio and fund the development of ASTRALS: Way of the Soul, the ASTRALS strategy game. This shows that our community didn’t want immediate value and was more focused on longevity in this space.
Some other proposals that have been proposed and passed by our community include modifications to $GLXY staking mechanics, the use of ASTRALS in our treasury to help promote our brand, and implementing security measures against flash loan attacks that could compromise the DAO’s integrity in decision making.
One way that Galaxy DAO is different from other existing NFT-based DAOs is that it is completely decentralized and no-one has direct access to the treasury funds. Even the founders have to play by the rules. Transactions must be added to proposals and passed before any funds are moved.
ME: What is ASTRALS’ vision for the metaverse?
There are so many metaverses that are being developed that we can’t say with 100% certainty that our metaverse is completely unique, but hopefully we can shed some light on why we think Astraland will be special.
Firstly, our core design philosophy is that a metaverse is a space where the users dictate the content, rather than the game development team. We are designing a super high-quality metaverse in Unreal Engine 5, tailored to experiences that the users themselves can create. In this way, it’s reminiscent of the age of Starcraft and Warcraft’s “Use Map Settings” dominance in the gaming world. To demonstrate how powerful user-driven content can be, it’s a well-known fact that games like Dota and League of Legends were actually based on games created in Warcraft. We want to empower our team, staff, community of holders, and the larger Solana ecosystem to be able to exercise their creativity in designing their own experience within Astraland and be rewarded for that effort.
Secondly, we are designing our metaverse to be highly flexible and customizable. Astraland may be a space that is smaller in comparison to some of the larger open world metaverses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t optimize that space to be used in a million different ways. The beautifully sculpted and textured environment of Astraland has been designed with the intention of being able to be used as a first-person shooter map, concert venue, community meeting area, business meeting room, educational facility, art gallery, and animation studio. When designing their experience, creators can exercise the full extent of their creativity and incorporate blockchain elements such as issuing consumable tickets to specific server instances, airdropping NFTs to concert attendees, and so much more.
Thirdly, our modus operandi is very much like Toyota, which creates small batches of cars at one time, compared to mass manufacturing processes which create large swaths of cars at once. We will be adding features on an on-demand basis instead of a “I think people will want this” basis in order to save on development time and resources, and to help us make product-market fit happen a lot faster.
Join ASTRALS on the ride of a lifetime, as they bridge the gap between Solana and the universe.