November 8, 2023

IlyaVerse: A Case Study in Building Interactive Worlds

min read

In the world of illustrations, digital collectibles, and adorable GM GIFs, Ilya Kazakov is a verifiable legend.

But beyond being an artist with decades of experience and an illustrator with an iconic style, he's also immersed his skills into building worlds in Buenoverse.

Appropriately named after himself, Ilyaverse is an adorable world featuring Ilya's signature Kawaii-like style and many of his usual cast of characters. It's a sprawling landscape packed with charm, making it the ideal space to explore.

Aside from the beautiful artwork and professional-grade illustrations, this world has a magnetic energy that pulls visitors deeper into its story. With fascinating characters to chat with, mysteries to uncover, and beautiful scenery to immerse yourself in, it's not a surprise that IlyaVerse continues to be the most visited Buenoverse.

While Ilya has years of design and creative experience, anyone can create a world as inviting and intriguing as IlyaVerse. To show other creators what's possible with this tool, we asked Ilya a few questions about his insights with building virtual worlds, and how all creators can apply his techniques and build their dream world.

Ilya’s Journey into Buenoverse

Ilya started mastering his artistic craft when he was a child. It was in 2005 when he put his creative skills into commercial illustration and began his professional career.

After creating art for more than two decades, Ilya has expert-level knowledge with numerous creative products, but it was by chance that Ilya discovered Buenoverse:

"I learned about Buenoverse from Pablo's Twitter. He announced the launch of a super cool tool where you can create your own worlds. This inspired me, and I was excited to test it out."

Ilya jumped into Buenoverse and quickly found himself engrossed in the world-building process. While building out his virtual universe, he was immediately impressed with how easy it was to use.

The friendly (but sometimes devious) characters of IlyaVerse.

Buenoverse is very easy to use, and one of the most intuitively thought out tools I've used. It has really amazing UI/UX! It's clear that the designers and developers of Buenoverse are real professionals.

With his impressive design skills and general knowledge of creative products, his testimonial of Buenoverse's user-friendliness shows that anyone can build a world regardless of technical skills.

Getting started building IlyaVerse

One of the more challenging parts of creating a world is forming a theme or concept for your space. To make a world more enticing to visitors, it helps to have consistent visuals and a storyline that's easy to understand.

When it came to IlyaVerse, the world and its non-player characters (NPCs) came directly from his portfolio of adorable illustrated creatures and his hugely popular NFT collection.

Illustrations from Ilya's portfolio.

These iconic visuals and recognizable NPCs are an immediate draw for fans of Ilya's work. They turned IlyaVerse into a distinct space that felt like home for collectors of his art and fans of his NFTs, which was a brilliant strategy for building a space that visitors would be excited to explore. Here's what Ilya had to say about it:

IlyaVerse is based on my characters and NFT collections. Eventually, I will make additional rooms that will only be available to holders of these NFT collections. I think it will be a lot of fun.
Avatars and NPCs hanging out in IlyaVerse.

While not all world builders will start with a large community, new creators should note how Ilya had a foundation of characters and style before he started building his world.

Pro tip: before creating your world, consider the characters and style you want to use. This will help facilitate the world-building process and help build the storyline for quests and adventures.

Hidden surprises everywhere

One of the reasons it's so easy to spend time in IlyaVerse is that there are tons of surprises to uncover. From the second a visitor steps into the world, they can immediately start to collect items, trade them in for collectibles, lose or gain XP points, and dive in and unlock more of the world. By giving players more to collect and trade, Ilya turned his world into an interactive game.

The collectible items, XP points, and item-gated conversations offer clear goals, challenges, and a sense of accomplishment when those goals are achieved and encourages users to participate and stay engaged.

A friendly character with their stash of coins.

More specifically, players can collect coins and XP in Ilya's world to "purchase" things like water, juice, X water, and catpuccinos. Being able to collect and unlock these items keeps users coming back, as they are motivated to see what else they can uncover.

Pro tip: If you want your visitors to return for more of your world, tap into their intrinsic motivation with collectible items, XP points, and token-gating your quests.

A world of chatty characters

With a long list of adorable characters from previous projects, Ilya filled his world with NPCs that guests can interact with. While some of these creatures don't have much to say, others offer visitors extensive conversations that can uncover secrets in IlyaVerse.

Ilya knew that dialogue with NPCs is a powerful tool for immersing players in the virtual world. Armed with this knowledge and the easy-to-use dialogue tools in Buenoverse, the NPCs in Ilyaverse provide visitors with valuable information, guide them through quests, or reveal crucial plot points.

When we asked Ilya about his characters and if he had secret tips for visitors, here's what he said:

"Don't offend Fordy! He is your assistant and fren, and also, be careful with Axo; he can deceive you, haha."

In other words, these NPCs are crucial for visitors who want to get the most out of IlyaVerse. Most importantly, Ilya took the time to give each NPC a distinct background and role in the world, which makes the interactions with these creatures feel more dynamic.

Pro tip: Creating dialogue for your NPCs is super easy to do and is a quick way to make your world more captivating and believable. It not only enhances immersion, storytelling, and character development but also fosters player engagement, enriches world-building, encourages social interaction, supports gameplay mechanics, and creates emotional connections.

Ilya's advice for other world builders

While Ilya is an immensely talented artist with years of creative experience, his world is an ideal case study for creators of any level.

Given what IlyaVerse can teach other creatives about world building, we also asked Ilya what are the most essential tips for creators getting started in Buenoverse:

"First, you have to make your world one you would be interested in exploring and a place you'd like to hang out. Second, don't be afraid to experiment! Buenoverse tools are simple to use for all types of creators, and you can make very cool and unexpected worlds. Let's Go!"

With incredible examples to provide inspiration and a powerful set of tools, it's easier than ever to turn your dream worlds into reality.

Go live the Ilya experience.
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