Diving into the Metaverse with ZEPETO
Asia’s leading metaverse platform, ZEPETO, has hundreds of content creators selling virtual items on their platform. Let’s dive into how they are using Unity to attract more and more content creators.
The “metaverse” is a portmanteau word that combines the prefix “meta” (which means beyond) and “universe” and it refers to virtual reality spaces that humans can exist in made up of computer-generated environments. “Unity believes that the metaverse is billions of micro-universes tied together in one,” said our CEO John Riccitiello. He believes that there won’t be one company that prevails but a world where diverse forms of micro-universes coexist. The metaverse is already upon us, and we are expecting to see an increase in real-time 3D.
ZEPETO, an example of Unity’s metaverse
ZEPETO is a 3D avatar platform with a sophisticated metaverse. ZEPETO users buy virtual items on the platform using the platform’s currency and meet their friends virtually. Celebrities like Selena Gomez and BLACKPINK have already begun to build deeper connections with fans by hosting fan meetings and events on ZEPETO. Brands like Gucci and Nike are launching their latest fashion items for ZEPETO users, allowing their customers to have unique and highly personal online experiences.
ZEPETO also hosted a conference, Unite Seoul 2020, for Unity Korea in the metaverse. Users experienced the Unity exhibit space, purchased Unite Seoul event items for their avatars to wear, took pictures with users connected on the same map, and watched sessions prepared by Unity. They freely travel back and forth between the metaverse and the real world to experience both spaces. With over 17,000 attendees, Unite Seoul 2020 with the help of ZEPETO became the most registered event for Unity Korea.
Engine that a designer can learn easily
The CEO of ZEPETO, Dae-wook Kim, previously created two of the biggest camera apps – SNOW and B612 and . ZEPETO was founded while developing tools for those camera applications. This new avatar platform required experimental functions for the designers and effective communication tools for developers and designers to collaborate. That led Kim to tap Unity for building the avatar platform and its capabilities to produce a variety of items within ZEPETO. Unity offered the additional advantages of a low barrier to entry and ease of use for non-developers.
ZEPETO Studio is a platform within ZEPETO that allows users to create and sell virtual items. Some templates and guides help users create unique clothes, accessories, etc. Unity’s 2D graphic image editing enables users to get creative and publish their work with just a basic understanding of 3D modeling. Unity also makes it easy for current 3D design and modeling to access the entire process of 3D item customization of modeling, rigging, and UV and texture mapping.
The following actions occur when creating a virtual clothing item: The clothing item is placed over a default BaseBody. Due to the mesh overlap between the clothes and BaseBody, the number of polygons and the entire file size increase. By utilizing 3D masking, unnecessary meshes can be eliminated because the black-colored areas are disregarded when converting into Prefabs. Unity does not have to render them, and we can reduce the number of polygons and the file size.
Once the 3D masking is complete, you can check for any issues by checking the FBX modeling file and PNG texture file on Unity. Once the Prefab file is extracted and connected, you can see a ZEPETO character wearing the clothing item in the game window. After the final review, you can upload your clothing item saved as a ZEPETO file extension to ZEPETO Studio.
Users are key for the ecosystem
ZEPETO’s CEO, Kim, was excited to share that many elements are being prepared to expand the range of activities available within ZEPETO. Kim stated, “we see content creators collaborating with one another freely and creating a culture that’s unique to ZEPETO’s metaverse. It is our job to continue fostering this collaborative environment and empower our users.” He believes that active exchanges between content creators and consumers will establish a positive virtuous cycle that is a self-sustaining ecosystem.
You can learn more about ZEPETO by visiting their YouTube channel.