Exquisite Land - How It Started
Exquisite Land is a collaborative pixel art drawing game that popped out of the shared brain of 5 internet pals who sometimes work as a squad under the name Buzzard. The birthdate of Exquisite Land, or XQST, was August 30, 2021, and we’ve got videographic evidence to prove 1) we know how to think together, and 2) we’re the weirdos who came up with this creative experiment.
Prior to XQST, Buzzard was building a communication tool that would allow us to experiment with building blockchain tech and on-chain media storage. When we stumbled into XQST, it came at a good time—our work had become a bit laborious and we were itching to do something more fun.
XQST checks a lot of boxes for us:
game dynamics form the basis of the product
built on-chain (Ethereum)
open and accessible to most people who have a crypto wallet
includes social dynamics of coordination and collaboration
fun and improvisational
helps us explore the materiality of the blockchain media: composable and natively networked
How XQST Works
If you didn’t get a chance to participate, yet, here’s a quick overview on how Exquisite Land works. The premise of Land 01: Terra Masu is we started with a shared square canvas comprised of 16 x 16 tiles, or 256 tiles total. These tiles were all blank to begin, with the potential of being drawn in with a simple pixel editor. Each tile is 32 x 32 pixels. And the pixel editor contain a 16-color palette to work with.
We seeded the drawing of the tiles by granting each of the 5 XQST founders a tile in different areas of the canvas (tiles 0,0 3,13 7,7 12,13 11,5).
The way additional tiles were given out is through the completion of drawing a tile—once a tile’s art work was minted to the blockchain, any open neighboring tiles to the north, south, east, west, were then available to invite new people to draw by generating and sharing a special QR-coded coin. We made sure folks couldn’t be their own neighbor to encourage inviting more people to join in the fun.
The collaborative drawing of the canvas was live from mid-November through December 31, 2021. To participate, you only had to receive a coin, claim a tile, and draw a masterpiece that extended from your neighbors drawn tiles. Joining the Discord server was optional, but proved to be a good time—we built a respectful community with genuine interest and support in the project.
What to Expect Next for XQST
When we first set-out to launch XQST, our vision was to experiment with one season comprised of 12 canvases. Land 01: Terra Masu is only just the beginning. We never wanted all of the canvases to be exactly alike, so we designed XQST to allow for changing certain elements of game play, like: color palette, coin and coin claim graphics, location and recipients of seed tiles.
We are also interested in incorporating economic levers into XQST, but feel strongly that leading without incorporating money is wise. If we can figure out how to build value into the product over more than just one canvas, we’ll better understand the dynamics of both the product and the community supporting it. From there, we believe incorporating tokens or other financial flows will be easier.