In this new section, we will take a closer look at new NFT artists, and after searching the bright and dark corners of the internet, we came across the 29-year-old Russian artist called, Vladimir.
make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy this conversation I had with this indie developer and digital artist.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I was born in Russia, and since childhood I have loved to draw, play video games and all sorts of board games, especially trading card games like Magic: The Gathering. Despite the fact that I received a technical education, I have been engaged in creative work almost all my career.
At the moment, I am the head of a small indie studio called GameLiberty. Two years ago, we released our first commercial project: the digital board game Fated Kingdom.
Fated Kingdom is an old school digital board game sandbox for 2-4 players with shared physical space and no rules enforced by computer. The Kingdom of Kinmarr is falling apart, and to survive in these dark times, players need to roll the dice, draw cards from the decks and move along a game board.
How long have you been making art and where does your inspiration come from?
As I mentioned earlier, I have been drawing since I was a child. But I have been working at a professional level for about 5-6 years. At first, I carried out orders for third-party customers, but then I gradually began to work on my own projects.
As for the sources of inspiration, it is a very difficult question, since I am a very enthusiastic person. However, I am mostly inspired by video games, movies, books, even board games.
For example, Fated Kingdom was inspired by classic board games from the 80s, such as Talisman. And her visual style was created on the basis of Slavic painting, known as “lubok”.
My current project, the Rogue West card game, has a whole lot of sources of inspiration. Initially, the idea of the game arose after watching the horror film “Bone Tomahawk” (2015) directed by S. Craig Zahler. It’s not about zombies, but about cannibal Indians, but I was hooked by the dark, hopeless plot and the tragic narration.
I also really love the “The Walking Dead” TV series and especially the original comic books. In general, I love comics, but not superhero ones. I’m a big fan of Mike Mignola and Guy Davis. “Hellboy” and “Baltimore” are my favorites! In many ways, the visual style of Rogue West is inspired by these comic books of these authors.
As for video games, I really like trading card games (MTG, Hearthstone, Gwent) and projects in the “Roguelike” genre. I should also mention Darkest Dungeon from Red Hook Studios, which is also inspired by the work of Mike Mignola. My card game has a very similar style.
Can you tell us how and when you caught sight of NFTs?
I have been following the development of cryptocurrencies for many years, but I discovered the Non-Fungible Tokens phenomenon only in February of this year. As a big fan of TCGs, I immediately realized that NFT is the perfect tool for creating digital trading card games that are close to real ones.
In addition to this, I have adored the card game Magic: The Gathering for years. I have a lot of experience in TCGs. So I decided to do something similar, but in my own unique universe.
However, the Rogue West universe did not begin with cards, but with concepts. One of them became the first NFT that I put up for sale. This artwork is still available on Foundation.
What benefits does NFTs give you as an artist?
From the artist’s point of view, NFT is a great tool for creating your own brand. No need to look for third-party representatives, no need to work for someone in the hope that the boss will appreciate you and give you the long-awaited freedom of creativity.
For me personally, this is a key factor, because I fundamentally try to work only for myself. Yes, some people prefer just getting paid in the office, but a truly creative person wants more freedom.
From a technical point of view, NFTs are also extremely interesting. Especially when it comes to projects involving collecting and utility. For example, using NFT, you can easily check which cards a player owns. To do this, you do not need to create a special server or database, it is enough just to issue cards in the form of tokens and give people the opportunity to buy them. All the necessary information about ownership is stored directly in the blockchain, and this makes it very easy to work with the data.
What projects are you working on right now?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on Rogue West: Crypto Trading Card Game. Unlike other digital TCGs, our cards are NFTs and issued in strictly limited quantities, so they have a real collector’s value.
In modern digital card games, all data is stored on the developer’s side. This means that when you buy a booster pack or a single card, you don’t really get anything but a record on the server. No server – no cards. One click of the dev’s finger and all your investments are gone. And this has already happened with a lot of games that have closed for a variety of reasons. This is what centralization leads to.
People bought physical products that belonged to them. Players could freely dispose of their cards: buy on the secondary market, sell to other people, and simply exchange for other cards or other things. This is true ownership. For a long time, such freedom in digital TCG was only a dream. But now, with the power of blockchain and decentralization, we can fully transfer the experience of physical card games, while retaining all the advantages of the digital world.
Right now we are working hard on the first prototype. This is not a full-fledged game, but a minimal set of functions that will become the basis of the project.
At the moment, we have a fairly small team, so flexible, iterative development is the most effective. This means that after the prototype is released, updates will be small, but frequent. This way we can be sure that everything works as it should.
The public version of the prototype is expected to be released this Fall.
And that’s how our conversation ended.I am completely convinced that this is an artist who is facing a very bright future.
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