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April 2021 – Development Update

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After 19 active COVID cases in our development studio (including our Head of Art, Head of Development and Head of Production), February was a month of disruption. Before we talk about the update, a big shout out to the team for rallying around and keeping everything moving. Everyone is back on their feet and thankfully no serious cases involving hospitalization.

And the guys who insisted on working from home even when sick — it’s madness, you should NOT have, but unbelievable dedication and we thank you for it!

In summary, we had to re-prioritise in Feb/March to an extent, with multiple hack attempts, with people seeing if they could knock out our infrastructure. So a lot of resources were spent on reinforcing our security and working with whitehat hackers in covering multiple cases. Also, there was a big initiative on making our tech scale faster, optimize everything under the hood to deal with the huge influx of new users to the platform.

And after extensive planning, partnering and expansion — we are providing our 2021 roadmap!

The Ecosystem

1: The Marketplace

Homepage Interface

The new homepage for Terra Virtua is here. And yes, it took us a while to update, but we took feedback from our community and focused on what they wanted.

Our most popular “Get to know Terra Virtua” video still holds the place at the top spot, but rotates with a marketing banner, to allow users to directly navigate to our most anticipated attractions.

Then comes the Collectibles section, giving direct access to users to their favourite IPs and brands. That is followed by a direct landing entry to our marketplace section featuring Art.

The product ecosystem then follows, giving direct and easy access to our 3D Terra Virtua Art Gallery, PC environment (which now consists of Fancave and Terradome in single DLC), and our amazing augmented reality inventory viewer app for Android.

Go check it out here and let us know what you think!

New Homepage UI

Queuing System

When a new drop happens, an overwhelming amount of people jump onto the website and try to purchase a particular item or product. As we have seen in the NFT space, this can often knock down entire infrastructures. We have added a sophisticated queue management system which puts people in a line, with wait times — and allows everyone a fair chance of getting what they want.

Line system for Terra Virtua

Blind Auctions

We are almost done developing a blind auction system that will be available for our 4 auction events this month. This will allow all of our users a fair chance to bid for the rarest and high-value items directly on Terra Virtua, without it ever being available on the marketplace. Once the bid is closed, Terra Virtua will directly be contacting the highest bidder for asset transfer.

(There are some exclusive Godzilla vs. Kong assets that will only be available via blind auctions!)

2: vFlects Generation 2

vFlects, the brand ambassadors of Terra Virtua, have surprised everyone with their popularity. All the 12 families for the first generation vFlects launched during the past 12 months, were sold out and they have seen a huge boost in prices during last month on our secondary marketplace. (A $6-$9 vFlect has sold upto an average of $100-$150, with few even selling for $500-$1000 on secondary sales.)

So here is time to welcome our much anticipated 2nd Gen vFlects. With updated new rarities and quantities, these 2nd Gen vFlects are going to add to the mythology of the Terraverse, in the most amazing ways you can imagine.

(For also those of you who have bought 1st Gen — you have the rarest of them all!)

And another note — we just dropped the new family and they are selling incredibly fast. Thank you everyone for embracing them! Some unique collaborations with studios are coming through soon as standalone subsets — and will be part of the v2 staking pools. Stay tuned.

First release of 2nd Gen vFlects

3: Secret Project 😉

Something not seen before in the NFT space. A fantastic little bit of engineering and a new use case for NFTs. Launching in May, 2021. And that’s all we’ll be saying about it for now!

4: Terra Virtua Events App

We have developed a brand new app focused on social, sharing and fun. Be part of the launch of a new movie, concert or social event.

Built for iOS and Android devices — it’s in review with the relative app stores and will launch within April 2021.

Filters, watch parties, unique event-based collectibles.. .this will be the app you need to have!

Upcoming Terra Virtua App

5: Prestige v1 Pools

This one is a little behind, we aimed to launch staking in Q1, but we will be bringing this online as soon as possible — aiming for the end of April / beginning of May 2021. We will provide enough notice to everyone so they can unbond any staking positions so they can then participate in this. We will provide 3 weeks notice before rollout so no one gets left out.

We know everyone has been waiting for this and hopefully, you will love this first implementation. Prestige v2 is going to be even more exciting and will follow on soon!

THE SYSTEM

1: Blockchain Restructuring

We have been working for the last few months to bring Openness to our main NFT contract, enabling our users to sell/trade their Terra Virtua inventory on external marketplaces

The challenge was to enable our ETH user base with this functionality, while maintaining the flawless UX for our FIAT user base, within a similar system flow.

Phase: 1 — Event-Based System — Existing Closed

“The purpose of this is to add a script watching layer on our existing contract to be able to monitor “Transfer” events on blockchain for every single NFT minted by us. This would technically allow the system to maintain past logs, Transactions Data and status of every item in our DB on runtime.” — CASE

We’re finally ready!

A group of Beta Testers has already been selected and set up from our community, and we’re opening up Beta Testing in the next few days. Once they’re all happy and confident, we’ll be pushing it to our main servers, enabling Interoperability!

Phase: 2 — Event-Based System — Existing Open

“A step further from above, this will be an addition to Step 1, adding an additional Logic Layer for Open Transfers. The purpose is to add a FLAG for any/every kind of payment/transfer request or validation for any internal or external user at runtime.

This also includes maintenance of internal providence records of all sorts of transfers (internally or externally). The major part of this phase is dependent on relaying our Database an accurate and runtime record of all Pending Transactions (Buy/Sell/Exchange/Transfer/Auction) to/from/for our existing payment and NFT contracts, from both internal and external marketplaces, (and for all FIAT and ETH users simultaneously).” — CASE

Phase 2 is completed now, and ready to go out to the beta testing group.

Exporting NFTs from the Terra Virtua Ecosystem

With this deployment, every single NFT bought via the Terra Virtua ecosystem will eventually be open to external trades (like on OpenSea) or Open Direct Transfers for ETH users.

Interoperability will make Terra Virtua NFTs compatible with regular NFT marketplaces, but once they are ‘open’ you will not be able to use them inside our ecosystem. However, you can always bring them back anytime you want. Also, anyone who has bought them externally and connects their Metamask to Terra Virtua, or transfers it to an already connected one, will be able to interact with them in our amazing Terradome, Fancave and Augmented Reality applications.

2: Backend

Release Scheduler

One important demand from our community was to schedule and inform them about drops. Since we didn’t want to flood your inbox with drop emails, we’re working in the background for an internal system module to schedule all the releases for a set period of time. This is complete and now deployed on the live system, and users around the globe will be seeing scheduled drops on various time zones.

That’ll give everyone a fair opportunity to grab unique collectibles, even if they miss the Discord, Telegram or Twitter announcements.

There is also a Drop Schedule, now being set up on our blog, to help you time your clocks to important upcoming drops.

Gas Price Margin issues

In the last couple of months, not just our users but everyone around the globe has been affected by rapid ETH Gas Price fluctuations.

Currently, what happens is that if a certain transaction has a lower gas value when it leaves the system queue to be transmitted to a transaction pool, and ETH Gas price suddenly spikes, it gets moved into a Pending Transactions queue on ethereum and does not get processed unless the gas rate comes down to the set limit on the transaction at the time of transmission. Resultantly, it creates a queue on the main contract layer even for those transactions which came in later with higher gas values.

To resolve this issue, we’ve now implemented a genius (no, it’s not showing off, it’s actually genius) solution of dividing our Contract Logic Layer into multiple Transfer contracts at various Gas levels.

This will allow the transactions to be divided into various transfer queues rather than one, and whatever transactions get through at higher/required Gas values, the Contract Logic layer will transmit the info to the Base layer, and the item will be transferred to the users almost immediately.

The solution is already tested and deployed and will soon start functioning on most of the transaction types on the marketplace by 20th of April.

In simple terms, it’ll mean a lot less waiting to get your hands on your favourite digital collectibles!

3: System Optimizations

Security: We are working hard to improve our security layers to more advanced levels. There is a Bounty Program in effect for whitehat hackers to test and report every and any kind of system vulnerabilities, rewarded according to the risk level of their findings.

Load Optimization: Item Detail and Cart queries are two of our most system heavy actions. First deals with a huge lot of display data queries (from item type to visual and text metadata) while later deals with “Transactional Status” of the item at runtime. In the last couple of months, our engineering team has been hard at work to optimize these two specific load cases, to ensure every incoming user gets the best marketplace experience. Moreover, these ongoing system optimization activities are a huge part of our next development strings for APIs, DB, Server-side integrations, Cache and display/sorting Filters.

Pending Payments: A new system module has been developed and already integrated into the marketplace to deal with pending payments on secondary sales for offers and auctions. If due to any reason a credit card is declined or a FIAT wallet doesn’t have sufficient funds, the buyer now gets a 24 hours window to manually process the payment and get their items from the seller. This interface action gets available in Activity Tab under Profile, in case you’ve any item in a pending payment state, alongside notifications.

4. Roadmap

And last but not least, here is the 2021 Development Roadmap for Terra Virtua. This features our key milestones. Do note that this isn’t everything in development as there are some features and new products we want to keep under wraps 😉

Some of the later features might be reprioritised in response to user feedback.

This quarter’s stuff is being worked on full tilt already. And there is a bunch of stuff there we can’t talk about as yet. Some of the areas involve partnership integrations, and some are projects we are working on which expand the NFT use case which we cant even mention here.

Also we will be establishing a working group with some leading chains and independents to help solve the metadata issue in NFTs. The more sophisticated they get, the more the metadata in itself and the way it is viewed independently needs to be addressed. No more rug pulls — the data needs to be locked, immutable — but also independently viewable. What’s the point of it even being secure if the model or item is so complex it cannot be viewed outside of centralised ecosystems? Things are moving fast and this part isn’t. It’s a key concern and we are working on initiatives around this problem.

That’s all for now. Be safe and stay Virtuan!

Jawad and Azeemi

*article originally published on our Terra Virtua Medium channel here.

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