StellarHood NFT Interview
Author : Conward Swift
Stellar Hood is an interactive, on-chain Cardano NFT (CNFT) project! Make sure to check out their links at the bottom of the page!
Conward: Hello Egon, it’s nice to have you on the show, and thank you for taking the time to talk with us today and answer a few questions about the work you’ve been doing with Stellar Hood and within the Cardano community!
Egon: Thanks you for having me.
Conward: So, there are a couple of questions that I always ask. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself—your background, what drew you into crypto in general…?
Egon: Hello, I am Egon! I’m a PhD physicist working in the German automotive industry, and, since 2016, I’ve been into crypto.
In 2019, I joined the Cardano community where I have running the NOVA stake pool since the Shelley initial testnet. With the Mary hardfork and Cardano’s new token capabilities, I decided to create my own NFT project, Stellar Hood. A few months later, I created the “Nervous Unsig Combinator.”
Conward: Could you give our audience an explanation of what Stellar Hood is?
Egon: The Stellar Hood NFT project was created as a set of 6505 educable trading cards, which are based on real astronomical data.
That means that every single Stellar Hood NFT card represents a real extrasolar planet or star that can be found in our stellar neighborhood. You can compare your Stellar Hood card attributes like planet size, orbit, or discovery date and others with information you can find in astronomical catalogues or Wikipedia.
Conward: What makes Stellar Hood NFTs different from other NFT projects?
Egon: Besides the educable character this project has, it also has some very unique technical features. It is the first project which uses the fully on-chain technology that I have developed.
What this means is that the entire NFT is stored on the blockchain itself instead of using external storage like many projects have done previously. Due to this fact, Stellar Hood NFTs can never go offline as long as Cardano’s Blockchain persists! Furthermore, the Stellar Hood cards are interactive! You can rotate and zoom your 3D solar system and switch between the different planets to see their details.
Conward: Where have you been drawing inspiration from and what has been most challenging about this project?
Egon: As I came into the CNFT space, I wanted to know what is meant by “NFTs living on the Cardano Blockchain.” So, I did some research. I wondered that many NFTs are actually not stored on the blockchain itself. Instead, a referral link to an external storage, usually a InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), is used. I took this personally.
I decided to challenge myself by figuring out if and how it would be possible to remain fully on-chain. There were basically two aspects of that challenge. First, the whole NFT must not exceed the Cardano transaction limit of 16kb. 16kb is insufficient for most images. The second aspect is that an developments or technologies used must be widely supported, but at this time, pool.pm offered no possibility for on-chain NFTs.
As for the first aspect, I took my inspiration from the well known .kkrieger Project, which in the early 2000s created a full featured FPS game which fits in only 96kb. The techniques used there are based on the popular 90s to 2000s demo-scene techniques. It took hundreds of hours of hand-optimizing my code by using those techniques to fit my home-made 3D engine into those 16kb.
For the second aspect, a lot of persuasion was needed. It was helpful, at this time, the CIP25 proposal was nearing completion, and some of the features that I needed were being discussed in an internal NFT developer telegram group.
Conward: Is it difficult being the sole developer of this project?
Egon: Oh yes. I have underestimated the time it takes. Besides the technical work on the NFT itself, you have to manage your community and do a lot of public relations and social media. Now, after the Stellar Hood cards are sold out, my workload increased even more by regularly adding features like the new Stellar Hub. The Stellar Hub being a community driven self-service hub where users can connect their wallets and claim owner rights on their stars and planets. They can even propose renaming of entire systems!
Conward: Pardon my limited astronomy knowledge, but are all the NFTs based on real planets and stars, or are there some custom named ones?
Egon: They are all based on real celestial bodies. Most of them are named after star catalogues or missions plus numbers. An example would be “Kepler-12345”, but some of them have been custom named by the real discoverers like the Kapteyn’s Star.
Conward: How do you determine the rarity of a planet or a star?
Egon: On the initial presale and the mail sale, I have introduced a rarity classification based on the planets habitability, rare star types, and distance, but this is not the only way to classify them. The community already started their own classification based on other attributes. For example, Stars, in rare star constellations, seem to be more popular than others. You can find advanced rarity statistics on the different attributes on tokenref.
Conward: How many planets or stars can on NFT have?
Egon: The NFTs are grouped into star systems. Each star system has at least one star and one planet with a maximum of 8 planets.
Conward: How did you make the interactive features of the NFT work with the blockchain? For example, how did you code the interaction into an NFT when it is displayed on pool.pm?
Pool.pm just reads the raw datauri on the blockchain and forwards it unprocessed to the browser, where it is rendered. There is no technical difference for the browser to use datauri instead of common source-links.
Conward: Will more stars be added if all existing tokens are sold out?
Egon: Now that all NFTs have been sold, season 0 of Stellar Hood is over. If and when the next season will be released has not been decided yet. I am currently fully occupied with working on some smaller and larger collaborations, the Hub, and building up the community.
Conward: Now for some more fun questions so that our viewers can get to know you better. What is your favorite celestial body or galaxy?
Egon: Definitely Sagittarius A, which is the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy! As for the galaxies, my favorite one is our neighbor galaxy, the “Andromeda Galaxy.” It’s my favorite because one day it will collide with our galaxy, and also, I am a big fan of the Gene Roddenberry TV series.
Conward: What is your favorite Stellar Hood NFT?
Egon: I love the custom named “Musica” system, because I am playing piano and also this system has a unique look. Furthermore, out of coincidence, this system has the card id #1000 and a system id of 404 which is quite interesting as I love numbers.
Conward: If you could have your own planet, what would you name it and what kind of environment would it have?
Egon: I would name it after my daughter, and it would be a “Gaia World.” A paradise of a planet!
Conward: This has been super informative, and I really appreciate you taking the time to chat today. Before we go, how can listeners get involved with what you’re doing, or how can people best support you and your team?
Egon: Thank you Conward for the opportunity and your questions.
Because of the space setting of this project, it lends itself to be gamified. For the next steps, I have entered a gamification partnership to add usability to the project. This will be a long-term project, which is in the nature of proper game development.
People can best support the Stellar Hood project by joining our discord server and sharing their solar systems in the cinematic view (which can be obtained by card holders only in the Stellar Hub) on twitter! Also, a good way of supporting the community building is to connect your wallet in the Stellar Hub and trade your cards to help the other community members to collect their systems.
— The Cardano Convo Podcast —
Listen Notes: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/the-cardano-convo-crypto-loops-If9A2-EHaKb/