Arbiter Rex on becoming a vampire & exploring your unearthly & dark origins with Blood Vessels (Episode 307)
Arbiter Rex from Wirtual joins us to discuss on becoming a vampire & exploring your unearthly & dark origins with Blood Vessels.
Arbiter Rex, or Rex, has been working at Kongregate for 10 years on a variety of games both web and mobile. He’s excited to bring Web3 tech into web games and to make fresh ideas come to life.
Interview managed by: www.Podcagent.com
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The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:16:28 – 00:00:40:18
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crypto. Your host here, Richard Carthon . And today we’ve got a special one for you. So not only is this a game that brings some really unique NFT plays with it, the backstory I think is super unique and one of a kind. And you don’t really see this happening even in the Web 2.0 space. So I’m excited to bring on arbiter Rex, who’s with blood vessels, and he’s one of the producers endgame leads. How are you doing today?
00:00:40:28 – 00:00:42:06
Arbiter Rex: I’m great, Richard. How are you.
00:00:42:25 – 00:00:52:12
Richard Carthon: Man? I’m great. I’m really excited to learn more about this project in which I have building. But before we do that, I wanna learn a little bit more about you. Can you give us just a little bit of background on yourself?
00:00:52:24 – 00:01:35:11
Arbiter Rex: Yeah. So I have been working in games for about 11 years. I started in college, worked on a game with a small group that eventually made it to console. We made a console game, which was cool. I joined the team here in Chicago after that that made CGS, Mobile Web WebEx, and then we hooked up with Congregate and produced a bunch of really fun mobile games, and then Target purchased that company and we came out of that mothership and I moved through there as a producer and now producer and lead and blood vessels are one of our new Web3 games that Target is working on.
00:01:36:22 – 00:01:37:07
Arbiter Rex: Yeah.
00:01:37:24 – 00:01:57:11
Richard Carthon: That’s cool. So you’ve been in the gaming space for a long time. You got to go through an acquisition, which is always really cool and you didn’t get to take the lead on a new game. And one of the elements of the game is bringing in some of the web3 elements to gaming. So, you know, what was that first introduction to the crypto blockchain web3 space?
00:01:57:22 – 00:02:28:15
Arbiter Rex: Yes, we’ve been wanting to get into that market for a while and how we do it and what the right way to do it is, was always on the board. You know, we have a lot of awesome web, two games, really great space, we have a lot of mobile games. What was our break in three? We have the first, which is really cool, but it is, you know, web two, web three, what’s something that’s completely web three? And so that’s what blood vessel is. It’s it’s a game that’s made to be part of the space from the start.
00:02:29:16 – 00:02:57:01
Arbiter Rex: And the idea is to build a strong discord community that is like really into what we’re doing the game for, making the stories we’re telling and then also wants to tell us what they want to play, what they want to do with their characters. So yeah, Blood Vessels is a really unique project. It’s an open world narrative game with RPG elements, so tabletop role playing game elements and it’s all played via discord. Yeah. Yeah.
00:02:57:19 – 00:03:30:29
Richard Carthon: So I think that in itself is its own unique entry, right? So you’re going through the path of discord. A lot of people in the Web3 space are on discord, especially around community building. A lot of them are engaging within discord. So you’ve you’ve kind of taken that and you’ve tailored a game around that. So, you know, as I was looking through it, Blood Vessels is a community driven experience, set and forgotten era of Chicago’s history. We get to explore, decide the fate of the scary world of brink of new era. Now, I think just that alone was like captivating for me.
00:03:31:01 – 00:03:48:11
Richard Carthon: But then we all going levels deeper is by having like the gaming characters where they kind of go into like two different types where you have your apex and hybrid. So can you kind of unpack like the, like the story around like what, what is centralized around the game?
00:03:48:22 – 00:04:26:15
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, absolutely. So blood vessels, like you said, takes place in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition World Fair, 30 years before that was the Chicago Fire. But an interesting piece of history is that not just Chicago burned that map. There was fires all around Wisconsin and Michigan. There’s tons of fires. And after these fires, these vampires emerged. And these vampires are what we are creating. That’s the NFT, the character that we want players to pick up. And so these vampires split into Apex and hybrid of the Apex vampires or more, you know, Bela Lugosi, Dracula, seductive, regular humans.
00:04:26:21 – 00:04:56:22
Arbiter Rex: And the hybrid vampires are kind of grody, weird. They show their monstrous mass on the outside. Monsters, the teas themselves, the vampires are made out of two sets of traits. There’s the art traits. So what sort of hair eyes, background, that fun stuff. Or in the case of the hybrids, mutations you get and then there’s game stats attached to those as well, like strength, speed, intelligence, those things are used in the gameplay portion which occurs on the disk.
00:04:57:27 – 00:05:29:24
Arbiter Rex: We’re actually developing technology that integrates with discord that will be able to reference the images in their stats and use those to help well, to help reveal the world. The first bit of gameplay we’re going to have is called narrative gameplay. So players will be able to take their vampire and tease. Into the discord and kind of explore a more on Rails adventure where they will use their vampire stats to roll dice and determine successes and failures for an ongoing story.
00:05:30:13 – 00:06:01:07
Arbiter Rex: And then we’re also developing a little bit of a exploration, almost an open world, sort of feeling within the discord where you can actually walk around and check out the white city with your vampire and get into weird situations and stories, hopefully setting that with more narrative gameplay and then the far, far future. The idea that really excites me is trying to get that tech into the players hands so that they’re the ones. The owners of the vampires are the ones making the stories. It’s us right now.
00:06:01:09 – 00:06:11:08
Arbiter Rex: But the idea is to have a community that’s just building games and running games for each other with their vampires. So yeah.
00:06:11:20 – 00:06:44:17
Richard Carthon: I was going to say like this is a really interesting vision as you look at a lot of games who are having success right now that have that open world appeal. Usually a lot of the earlier stories and settings that are put in place, you kind of give this foundation and then you then add tools for them to then go explore and start building themselves and then they feel empowered to do that. I think it’s a unique way of getting that started to where, you know, you have your traditional game. But I know I keep emphasizing this, but I think what’s really cool about this is that you are doing this exclusively through discord.
00:06:44:19 – 00:06:56:14
Richard Carthon: So my my question around that is what made you make that choice? And then how are you tailoring such a dynamic experience specific to this environment?
00:06:56:26 – 00:07:43:15
Arbiter Rex: Yeah. So the choice definitely it’s a unique path. And like you said, a lot of a lot of projects use discord, a lot of a lot of things use discord as a as a silo or the idea behind blood vessels is to not necessarily silo it, but have everything take place within the discord. So, yeah, just trying to have a one stop shop for both the game and the community rather than having multiple places and discord offers a lot of it’s a pretty fun sandbox to play. And there’s, there’s some cool stuff that can happen, like some cool tech we can create around it that emphasizes the game but emphasizes the promise of your vampire that helps create that sort of exploratory story adventure that you see around more traditional like tabletop roleplaying tables or
00:07:45:19 – 00:07:52:15
Arbiter Rex: spaces like critical role, or do you see more traditional stuff like that hopefully happening within our community?
00:07:54:07 – 00:08:04:02
Arbiter Rex: And just to touch on real quick what those kinds of games are is the indie tabletop propane games. Those are those are like. They are like a.
00:08:06:15 – 00:08:37:20
Arbiter Rex: Group storytelling version of RPG videogame RPG. There is a person usually leads a group and then there are players play in the group. See what their characters do for blood vessels. Obviously it’s going to be we can’t run that for everybody. So we created a narrative story. Bass That kind of acts like a Choose Your Own Danger adventure, where players will get into trouble and we’ll have to use the stats of the NFC to get out of trouble. So it was that. I’m sorry, I got that.
00:08:38:03 – 00:09:08:27
Richard Carthon: That’s that’s a that’s a no, that’s a really good explanation. I want to kind of expand on that so far. But a big craze that’s out there right now for anyone who’s watched Stranger Things the latest season. And hopefully this is no spoilers, but in the latest season, they have a moment where they play Dungeons and Dragons and you’ll notice that one of the the people are the guide and who’s trying to defeat Beckner. And then you see in the game and like in the moment when they’re going through that, that’s kind of that scene is very similar to that around the game, around blood vessels.
00:09:08:29 – 00:09:10:24
Richard Carthon: But you say that’s a pretty good description.
00:09:11:03 – 00:09:37:03
Arbiter Rex: Yeah. Yeah, there are there will be an owner of a blood vessels next. He has a character that will get them access to discord rooms that are just for owners of the vampires. And then those owners are able to go on these adventures to influence what adventures are going to come next. Tell us what they’re into. Ideally, we’re writing content. We’re creating content for the base. It’s extremely like dedicated into this players that want to run
00:09:39:10 – 00:10:09:25
Arbiter Rex: and make more stuff. So yeah, exactly. I think the Hellfire Club is a good example of what we’re trying to do writ small, writ large, trying to create an entire discord community of people that are very into these characters, into these attacks and this gameplay mechanic and, you know, encourage us to build more utility, build more fun game modes. For instance, our communities, every every day in our community, they talk about hunting, people hunting, you know, vampires hunting mortals.
00:10:10:03 – 00:10:27:00
Arbiter Rex: And there is no hunting mechanic yet. But it really makes sense to create one to help. Like that’s what the community wants to do. They want to do that stuff. And so that informs us about what stuff they want to make. So we’ve added that to our list. Like how can we make hunting actually, you know, is in the game very fun, even if it’s just a daily check in.
00:10:28:16 – 00:11:09:06
Arbiter Rex: We’re taking all of our our game knowledge that congregates, accumulated over the years of our community, all of our business knowledge and kind of putting it into blood vessels and these other projects to see what we can do to create really fun games in this space and games that are. Able to be played like right after purchase, right. So the idea is that once the the users have their vampire, it’s not not long after that the first narrative story drops that the first utility is usable and that soon after that we’re working on a demo of that white city thing that I have mentioned, and then more narrative stories, the idea being that, all right, you got your band, let’s get them out there.
00:11:09:08 – 00:11:13:00
Arbiter Rex: Let’s use let’s let’s let’s stand on other players and show off how good you are.
00:11:13:17 – 00:11:50:20
Richard Carthon: Which is which is, I think, a good approach to it because there’s been several NFT products that have promised a game, but the game has never appear appeared and we understand are for for those who are in the game can be to understand that a good game takes a while to build. But I think by building the really good game and then by dropping you’re in a so where they align at the same time to where you get the emphasis and you get immediately can start playing. I think that’s a good strategy and I think it will be advantageous for your community. But we’ve you’ve touched on the word and I have to and I want to spend time here now on community and how important this is to to build a strong community in general.
00:11:50:22 – 00:12:08:07
Richard Carthon: But a lot of people do it around a discord. And for the purposes of the games, this is being played through discord. Your community lives there. So how has it been to create your initial community and then be able to take feedback from that and be able to tailor it around the development of blood vessels?
00:12:08:19 – 00:12:57:09
Arbiter Rex: Yeah. So the blood vessels community is is an organic community will be one that we have to start from the base from, from nothing. We had to grow it to find people who are into vampires. You to find people who were in a horror with people who were in the games, were to the web3 space, were willing to jump into another project, another one that just looks like, is this enough? This is good for these vampire attractive or these for these things. So, so growing that from the from nothing to something has been a really interesting journey, just trying to figure out what would appeals, how do we get people into this, what, what kind of ads, what kind of marketing, what kind of way we can frame vampires that is going to reach the audience we want because the audience we want are people who are going to be very engaged, and the audience we have right now look like they’re going to be that engaged playerbase.
00:12:57:11 – 00:13:28:11
Arbiter Rex: But we’re growing that and I’m just excited for when we hit the Discord with a demo. You can actually check out The Discord right now and create a beta vampire, which will give you stats like a vampire that you purchased will help. And then you can do things like skill tests, so you can test out a little bit of like what the game means, what a skill test mean, what is this button? Do play a bit, but then we plan on getting in a inferno.
00:13:28:19 – 00:13:59:19
Arbiter Rex: Sorry, a inferno. As the name of the narrative gameplay that’s going to drop on March. We’re planning on getting a demo gameplay out that players will be able to use their beta vampires on in our discord. So you can just come make a beta vampire test out the game a little bit, see what it’s like to get an idea of what future utility will be. So yeah, just showing the I mean, showing is showing up, showing up to your community, letting them know you’re logging in, you’re ready, you’re working today hosting our drops. We have an AMA today that’s going to be exciting. Yeah.
00:13:59:21 – 00:14:09:06
Arbiter Rex: Just being engaged and remembering that, you know, to get your community pumped, you have to be pumped and over our blood vessels. We’re pretty pumped about what we’re making.
00:14:10:10 – 00:14:18:16
Richard Carthon: Definitely. And you brought your email and you have a couple exciting things on the horizon, and I believe you have a couple that you are able to share with us today.
00:14:18:28 – 00:14:49:11
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, right. So our mandate is going to be October 26th, Wednesday, October 26, in the spooky season, but not to movies. We’re not on the 31st, it’ll be the 26th, and we’re going to be dropping a pretty small bullet first. So only 250 vamps at first. Pretty exclusive. So we’re growing our allow list right now. We have contests going on, on our discord and usually on our Twitter to grow that there’s a small group that is getting bigger.
00:14:51:04 – 00:14:56:20
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, yeah. Those are some important. Well, I mean, that date coming up is extremely exciting.
00:14:57:08 – 00:14:57:24
Richard Carthon: Definitely.
00:14:58:03 – 00:14:58:18
Arbiter Rex: Yeah.
00:14:59:00 – 00:15:35:28
Richard Carthon: Yeah. And so you have a way for people to get on the list, which is great, which when they’re able to mint, you are one of those few that are beyond that exclusive list. So that’s exciting for for everyone that’s looking to go and check that out, get more information you got to blood vessels that I oh, make sure you go check them out and follow their socials as well. But you know, Rex, you’ve been in this gaming space for a long time. You’ve been able to see how games have evolved in Web 2.0. And now as they’re evolving into Web 3.0, what do you think is going to be crucial as we kind of go into this next phase of bringing gaming to the Web3 space?
00:15:36:11 – 00:16:06:11
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, I think the thing that makes me most excited about gaming in the Web three space and what congregates doing with its platform with blood vessels, is this the true owner? True ownership is something that gets hammered a lot with this tech benefits. But honestly, it seems like the most exciting thing is having your cool thing and being able to use that for this thing in a different context. I have a sword, a diamond sword and one game. It’d be really great if that meant something in a different thing.
00:16:07:04 – 00:16:44:24
Arbiter Rex: And more importantly, if that’s the game I have, the diamond sword comes with that diamond sword comes from that game goes away. I get to own that sword. That’s my piece. And that’s not something that anybody in the digital space has really had that confidence in for a very long time or ever. Right. If you played a game on mobile or played a game on a console or an MMO, you could invest tons of time in that. And then that just goes away if the server is closed because that company doesn’t want to make that game. What the most exciting thing for me, like I said, is those those toys, those bits go to you, the user, the player, and you get to keep that.
00:16:44:26 – 00:17:01:20
Arbiter Rex: If that game goes away, that’s fine. But you still have your trophies, you still have your characters, whatever that reminds you of that. Or maybe you can flip it and actually make a profit. And that is that’s exciting. The true ownership of the toys, the pieces of bit of the game parts is exciting.
00:17:03:06 – 00:17:34:02
Richard Carthon: Yeah. Just just as is I think one of the things that the trophy piece of it there is so many games where I’ve spent a tremendous amount of my time that I wish I had something that I could like personally just be able to go to and be like, Yep, I did that and that was a really great experience, etc. And a voice that can’t it just didn’t exist. And now we have that. And on the other side too, there’s, there’s people who like to flip, like there’s people who go and do a ton of work and would love to flip like this level 99 for it. And then you have this new but it comes out that’s level 20. They’re like, Oh, I’d love to buy that from you.
00:17:34:04 – 00:17:35:22
Richard Carthon: Like, Great, here’s my price. Here you go.
00:17:35:25 – 00:18:09:16
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that grind mentality is already been that’s all that’s always been there for games, right? Diablo and other games where you’re actually like, you go in, you got to spend time looking for the right stuff. Now you get that piece like, what does that what does that feel like? What does that what can we do? The thing that excites me is so I have that diamond sword, but it’d be really cool if this other game uses that diamond sword and another game uses that diamond sword. And if you can build sort of an ecosystem that uses that, actually, that plays with the uses, the toys that you have use, the pieces that you have in a fun and novel way.
00:18:09:18 – 00:18:17:05
Arbiter Rex: I think that that’s where that’s where the most excitement around Web3 gaming comes from. For me. Yeah.
00:18:17:19 – 00:18:43:13
Richard Carthon: And I think that’s going to get to a moment and I think we’re just at the beginning of it. And I think blood vessels is going to be a really interesting place to start. But, you know, as as we kind of wrap up here, man, I appreciate all the really good information you’ve dropped on this. And I would like to wrap up with a couple of fun questions. The first one being, you’ve been in this space for a long time. You’ve been building blood vessels now for a while. If you go in part, a couple of pieces of wisdom to yourself. When you first started building this, what would you tell yourself?
00:18:44:28 – 00:19:18:08
Arbiter Rex: Stubbornness is tricky and can be a good a good filler for being brave when you need to be. And it’s tricky because everyone says it’s hard. It’s hard work, literally, because you have to put time into it. But it’s also hard work because worth putting yourself and your ideas and projects out there trying to see if people are going to come to it and being stubborn or at least open pushing when it feels like you really want it. The voice in your head is saying, maybe we should pull back or maybe we should try and change it.
00:19:18:13 – 00:19:50:21
Arbiter Rex: That’s that’s the trickiest things getting getting past that. But it’s worth it. What is it? The valley of despair that happens on the way to creating a project, but not battling with. Yeah, yeah. The peaks and valleys now that we ever got to lower blood vessels. But just being part of something new at the start, like blood vessels is it’s a new project the team made working on. It is interesting because it’s one assembled for it from all of our different groups within the company. So it was kind of a Avengers moment from inside.
00:19:52:01 – 00:19:53:27
Arbiter Rex: It’s, it’s, it’s you’ve got to be.
00:19:55:23 – 00:19:58:17
Arbiter Rex: A little stubborn, but a little.
00:20:00:21 – 00:20:10:16
Arbiter Rex: Soft accepting. Really ready to roll, ready to take on ideas. Also ready to say no. I’m kind of all over the place here. It’s a lot of lessons.
00:20:12:00 – 00:20:27:06
Arbiter Rex: But they’re all critical. I mean, you have to have the conviction and have the steadiness, but you also have to be willing to take in new information and make small pivots without deviating completely off the path, but enough to get you back on track.
00:20:27:22 – 00:20:39:03
Arbiter Rex: I think persistence is probably a better word than stubbornness because it implies more nimbleness maybe in working. But yeah, I think that’s right. Exactly. I think persistence and conviction.
00:20:40:19 – 00:20:51:12
Arbiter Rex: Trying to tell people what your project is and what the stuff you’re working on without sounding too bonkers is is fun and a fun challenge.
00:20:53:04 – 00:20:59:27
Arbiter Rex: Communicating what we’re working on. Communicating what the project is is also been tricky because we are
00:21:01:12 – 00:21:14:12
Arbiter Rex: pitching people in a very unique game, discord, RPG game with vampires that take place in the past. What does that mean? Well, happen and in its final find out, it’s pretty easy to get it. So. Yeah.
00:21:15:21 – 00:21:58:06
Richard Carthon: So the two takeaways. Be persistent in your conviction, but be able to take in enough information to to pivot when when necessary, but also effective communication around what it is that you’re building and why people should care and having that be. It’s a unique challenge. I agree with that. Even with people and established brands, people always rebranding themselves, people always trying to see how eBay evolved over time and how do they position it to their audience and what they’re trying to do. So I think that’s just a really good reminder around always be figuring out how you can, with as few words, be as impactful as possible with why someone would want to be a part of what you’re building.
00:21:58:08 – 00:21:59:29
Arbiter Rex: So definitely appreciate that.
00:22:00:13 – 00:22:19:22
Arbiter Rex: I hope I hope we did a good job of showing that off your blood vessels because I Love Vessels is a really, really cool, unique out of this world sort of thing that we’re doing. And I really want it to just keep growing. I really wanted to be this this weird space that just keeps getting bigger and bigger slowly.
00:22:20:23 – 00:22:39:16
Richard Carthon: Well, it sounds like you’re building the community to do it. And if I know anything about the Web three space, you get a good community in it and it has some initial success and nothing but upside from there. So excited to see how it all pans out. But you know, what is the final thought, Rex, that you want to make sure that you want to leave with all the listeners here today?
00:22:41:03 – 00:22:41:25
Arbiter Rex: Final thought.
00:22:43:26 – 00:23:11:04
Arbiter Rex: Yeah. Go out, check out new things, dig into projects, dig into things that you you’re not sure that you would like. Just look at them. Check out things. Because you expand your horizons. You expand the stuff you might not know you actually like or you might not know that actually interested. So dig in. Expand. Look around.
00:23:12:21 – 00:23:19:11
Arbiter Rex: Projects. People, places. Everything. Media. Dig into this and enjoy it.
00:23:20:20 – 00:23:51:16
Richard Carthon: For sure. I think that’s a great final thought. I know I’m trying to always expand my horizons and learn new things and be around new people just to get changing perspectives. And you never know how one conversation can change the. Path of your life and what interests you. So that’s a great final thought, Rex. Again, for all those who are listening to learn more information, make sure you go to blood vessels that i o. But rex, what are some other ways that people can learn more and also connect with you?
00:23:52:00 – 00:23:55:15
Arbiter Rex: Yeah, we’re on we’re on Twitter, we’re on Discord.
00:23:57:12 – 00:24:08:22
Arbiter Rex: We’re at blood vessels. Audio Discord and Discord. Doug Ford slash blood vessels. We’re on Twitter blood vessels, NFT and medium blood vessels, not medium
00:24:10:11 – 00:24:19:24
Arbiter Rex: drawer. Great places to check out the art to check out the Lord. Join the discord. Make a beta vampire, start rolling some dice, interact with our community. Yeah.
00:24:20:28 – 00:24:27:09
Richard Carthon: Perfect. Well, again, thank you so much for spending time with us. Thanks for all the information. And of course, to everyone listening, stay cryptocurrency.
00:24:28:20 – 00:24:52:06
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