We have the inside scoop on the next innovative Web3 project coming from some of the most ambitious trailblazers in gaming and entertainment. This episode features Lisa Sterbakov, producer, Hugh Sterbakov, creator, and Brian Turner, co-writer and game designer at Armored Kingdom, the multimedia entertainment universe encompassing comic books, an animated series, and an NFT-based card game. The three chat with hosts Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger to share the origin story behind the game and how they’re developing it to suit the needs and wants of players in the space. Stay tuned to learn about this exciting project and learn about Coinbase’s first 3D PFP-NFT project. Plus, don’t miss the special giveaway at the end of this episode.
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Armored Kingdom, The Multi-Platform, Immersive Universe Where Legends Are Created, Plus: Coinbase’s New CG Design, And More…
NFT curious readers, stay tuned for this episode and find out how Armored Kingdom is the next innovative Web3 project coming from some of the most ambitious trailblazers in gaming and entertainment and how one of our guests’ prize possessions represent his closeness with two of his best friends in real life and find out about Coinbase’s first 3D PFP-NFT project. All this and more on this episode.
Don’t forget that we put a little soiree called NFTLA that brought out thousands of the world’s most innovative doers in the NFT space. Head to 2023.NFTLA.Live to get on the whitelist for tickets to our bigger, bolder, and better but also just as an intimate and impactful event happening in Los Angeles from March 20th to 23rd, 2023. See you there.
This episode features Lisa Sterbakov, Producer, Hugh Sterbakov, Creator, and Brian Turner, Co-Writer and Game Designer at Armored Kingdom, the multimedia entertainment universe encompassing comic books, an animated series, and an NFT-based card game. Let’s hear a little bit about each of them. Lisa, since 2014, has partnered with Mila Kunis and Cami Curtis on their Orchard Farm Productions.
In the company’s first year in operation, Lisa sold six shows into the development of every project they took out to the marketplace and has since continued at a similar pace. On the cutting edge of the industry, Mila and Lisa launched three web NFT projects, Stoner Cats in 2021, The Gimmicks, and Armored Kingdom in 2022, and do not plan on stopping there. She is married to writer Hugh Sterbakov and balances her career and parenting, having two young girls.
Let’s learn about Hugh. Well-versed in the comic CCG and gaming spheres, Hugh is a multiple Emmy Award-nominated writer and Emmy-award winner alongside being a game journalist, novelist, comic writer, screenwriter, and producer. When he isn’t designing intricately-detailed fantasy worlds across multiple mediums, he’s bragging about his custom hyper-limited Robot Chicken MTG card. He is married to producer Lisa Sterbakov and parents alongside everything else in his busy career.
Finally, Brian lives for a solid and organized spreadsheet and has applied his fixation on mechanics and game design aptly while fleshing out the Armored Kingdom card game to accompany the project. Pulling double duty as a writer on the project, Brian is known outside of his Web3 work as a Humanitas award-winner writer, producer, show creator, and animation production expert. It’s great to have this wonderful crew on the show. Welcome, everyone.
It’s great to be here.
That’s quite a group we’ve got going here. Welcome. We’re so excited to learn a little bit more about everything you’ve been working on, in particular, Armored Kingdom. The idea here or the vision is to help shape the fabric of Web3 storytelling. You’re well on your way to that but let’s take a step back and ask, “How did this thing come together?” Give us the origin story.
We love an origin story because we are all storytellers. I was doing a burlesque show when we met. That was a huge part of us getting together. It was my burlesque show. That was many years ago. How did this come together? Mila and I have been producing traditional stuff for a long time. We came into Web3 with Stoner Cats. We’re like, “This is awesome.” We’re major nerds. Nobody gives Mila credit for being the nerd that she is.
You look at the three of us and you’re like, “They seem like nerds.” If you look at Mila, you don’t think that but trust me, she is. All four of us played World of Warcraft to an unhealthy level many years ago. We played a ton of tabletop games. It was what we have done. We have been big nerd gamers forever. When we started getting down the road of Web3, gaming seemed to make so much sense.
Several years ago, Hugh come up with this big world and storytelling universe but for a toy product. He thought of it as a physical toy product like Skylanders in that world. It sat there for a little bit. We love the idea and the story but we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. After we did Stoner Cats, he came to me and he was like, “Do you think Armored Kingdom works in Web3?”
I immediately say yes. I say no to everything but it seemed like it makes total sense. I quickly realized that in addition to the NFTs, story, comics, and animation, it also was the perfect ground for TCG. We brought in Brian who had this incredible game design. Both Hugh and Brian are new to Web3. In looking at the possibilities, I was like, “I can take all of these nerdy things that I want to do on a tabletop and make it better, cooler, and more awesome in this blockchain space.”
That’s how it came together along with their partner, Sharad, at Liquid Comics who is making our incredible comic books and animation. We’re getting into that, too. That’s the way it all came together. The vision is the story feeds the game, which feeds animation and comics. All of those things feed each other. You could be immersed in this universe. There are lots of different ways to enter.
Having done a 36-hour fast, I’m pretty hungry for all those things. Sign me up for that type of dinner. That sounds pretty tasty. Let’s give our readers a little bit more of an overview of this entertainment universe. You started to tell us about the vision but let’s unpack it a little bit more. What’s going on there?
I came up with this. I was cohosting the Activision Podcast. We were focused a lot on Skylanders. I have a wide variety of gaming interests. I looked at what they were doing with the toys to life and the way the action figures interacted with the video game. I thought I could do this better and maybe a little bit more mature. I created what would have been a toy line focused on the armor that all the different characters could wear. The armor would have various rarities and level-up abilities that would interact with mobile devices and video games. I had a whole big thing.
Being a story guy with story background, I created a whole universal mandate and all the characters. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a medieval fantasy world with the edge of this special arm of this powerful and magical armor. I pitched it to Nickelodeon. Everybody was concerned about the cost of the action figures because my idea was to fix these armor with magnets. I put it on the shelf for a while, thinking that I would come back to it someday.
When Lisa started this web thing, I looked at what NFTs could do and thought that they could substitute for what I wanted to do with the physical armor that could fit on these action figures. I suggested it to her. She loved it. It’s not all that different from Game of Thrones. It has less magic than Lord of the Rings. I love mixing genres. I’ve written horror, Westerns, and all sorts of stuff.
I wanted to add this element so that at the end of the first issue of the comic and the setup of the world, you’ve got these warring factions in this medieval world. A spaceship shows up above them. It’s not so much what the spaceship is going to do. It’s what the effect that has on the people on the ground. We’ve got these anthropomorphic jungle creatures and amphibian creatures that live under the water. They’re at war. What effect is the spaceship going to have on it?
I look at the end of Watchman. Spoiler alert, this cataclysmic event solves large problems going on in the world. It’s how our factions could scramble to handle that. I’m a story guy. I’m gung-ho with the comic book and the creation of it all. Brian is helping me co-write. Everybody is doing their thing. Lisa is the producer behind the NFT project. Brian is working on the games. We’re all working together to develop this thing and get it out there. We’re super excited about it.
I love that juxtaposition that you do of throwing these strange things together. I’ve heard before from people who are more talented than me at storytelling that oftentimes, the story evolves from putting the characters together and how are they going to react to one another. I love the idea of the aliens, the medieval folks, and whatnot coming together.
I teach screenwriting. The first thing I say is, “You’ve got to start with characters.” A premise is wonderful to start from. As soon as you have that basic premise, you’ve got to figure out your characters because that’s what the audience is going to relate to. That’s their avatar in the story. You can’t gloss over that. That’s what we’re focused on here, which is why I’m so excited to get more of the comics out there. Instead of showing the logo and talking about NFTs and tech stuff, we get people to fall in love with their characters because they’re great. We’re super excited about them.
Let’s hear about the comics a little bit more. You have several pullouts here. Issue 0 already dropped digi-physically with a little bit of nod to you wanting to do things in the physical world. You’ve got more issues in the cooker. Give us some details about the comics themselves.
The first issue sets the tone for the world. It ends with the Skyship arriving. We have a few issues to go into the backstory of each of the races like the Kingdom of the Horn, the Humans, and the Costraca. We come around to tell the next part of what happens after the Skyship arrives. Everything we’re putting out takes place about ten years before the main story.
The main character of the whole franchise is in the first issue as a little girl. She’s narrating it. Ten years later where the bulk of the story takes place or the real narrative, she’s eighteen. She’s the first knight of Humans. She wheels their most powerful weapon. We will talk about these armors and weapons that are the rarest NFTs you can get. They have special abilities.
Once we get all this premise building out of the way, which the comics are, we’re going to lead into this animated series, which is going to tell the main narrative of what happens from here and put together a team from each of the races. It’s like Magnificent Seven with Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a team of misfits and people who don’t belong together and don’t even necessarily like each other but they’re on this common quest for survival and the future of all of the races. It’s going to be great.
How many issues are there? Is it right that there are only five issues of the comic itself?
There are five issues of the comic counting Issue 0. There are issues 0 1, 2, 3, and 4. Is that right, Brian? Is there a fifth issue?
There’s the sixth one that’s not part of the original canon. It’s the Warri issue.
There is Issue 0, then there are 3 issues, so there are 5 issues. If the sixth issue appears, don’t hold me accountable.
They have already written all of these. I love that he’s like, “How many are there?” They have already written them. They’re in production. The next issue is already done.
It’s the Issue 0 thing that throws everybody off.
For our event, we have days 0, 1, 2, and 3. We ran into the same thing over and over again, “What do you mean by Day 1, Tuesday, Wednesday, or the 28th?”
Sometimes something sounds like a good idea, and then you can’t undo it. You’re writing issue three. Issue 0 sounded like a good idea when you put it down. Now, you’re like, “What did I do? What is going on?” That’s where I am in that regard but then I can say that about most of the things in my life except marrying Lisa.
Hearkening back to the Stoner Cats, try to communicate this zero thing to people while they’re stoned. You’re going to get even further off the deep end there.
Let me ask a little bit more about the animated show. In terms of the comics, everything is done. The story is written. What’s the game plan here for the animated series? Is that a direct reflection of the comics? Is there something more? Is it an extension? Tell us about it.
The animated show will take it off after the last comic ends. All of the comics are backstories. They’re experiencing our life. From that point, the animated series takes on from there.
The comics are a prologue in building the world for the animated series, which will be the main narrative.
It sounds as far as the animated shows are concerned that there’s not necessarily an end preplanned here for an evolutionary thing as the world develops.
I always like to say, “We know what the end is unlike maybe Game of Thrones.” We want to tell as many stories as we can before we get there but we know what the end is. We won’t betray that and fumble the goal line the way a lot of these sci-fi franchises had.
Armored Kingdom: Once we get all this premise building out of the way, which the comics are, we’re going to lead into this animated series, which is going to tell the main narrative of what happens from here and put together a team from each of the races.
We’ve got the first two seasons mapped. We’re ready to go with it, especially with animation. You need a lot of lead time.
It’s a world like Star Wars. You could go across the world and tell a different story with different characters. The setup of this magical armor or this magical ore that is setting everything in motion and everybody is revolving around it can be used anywhere. It’s a lot of fun.
Brian, let’s talk a little bit more about the CCG gaming system, which lies at the heart of Armored Kingdom. What does some of the mechanics and goals of the actual game that you designed here?
I want to start with a caveat saying we’re still in the coding and testing phase. Anything I say here is aspirational. Don’t come back six months from now and be like, “What happened to this thing?”
I want to fly around space with the aliens. That’s all there is to it.
I like to describe it as more like Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a role-playing game than it is like Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon and those kinds of games. One of the crushing moments going back to Hugh, Lisa, and I playing World of Warcraft was when The Burning Crusade came out. It’s this first major expansion. By that point, we had top-tier gear on all of our characters. We would go through the portal into this new world. We were out at midnight buying the game at the initial drop.
We go through the portal. There’s a random monster walking across the desert. We kill it. You get this green common item that has better stats than the stuff that you’ve been wearing for six months. That was like seven raids of a major dungeon to get to roll on to win. That hurt. It’s the idea that this new common stuff is better than my stuff that makes me. The Web3 aspect of this whole thing gives ownership to the players. What I wanted to do is have your equipment evolve with you.
It’s not that your flaming sword is the same as Bob’s flaming sword. If you’ve been using your flaming sword for six months, your flaming sword is different than Bob’s flaming sword so that you have some feeling of ownership. Additionally, there’s the time you put into your equipment. If there’s a secondary market where people are trading this stuff up, if you put six months into making this one sword awesome and decide to get rid of it, it’s worth more than the sword that someone opened two days ago.
Much has happened in the spaces since Stoner Cats dropped. The gaming side of this phase has evolved so much. It sounds like you’ve taken some inspiration from those before you. You’re also adding some additional enhancements. We always talk about how important is when it comes to the gaming side of Web3. It has to be an awesome game that people enjoy. Can you talk a little bit more about how you’re going to make it fun?
One of the things that people underestimate in these games is the bells and whistles that come along with the game. The core of the game has to be fun. For example, you want to earn things to show off how much you’ve played and how good you are. These are achievements. If I’m online playing a game and you have an achievement, I don’t know that you have that achievement unless I go look you up. No one looks you up.
One of the things that we wanted to put in is this. On the PVP side of things, they’re fighting in an arena. You’re head-to-head with your opponent but there’s no reason that you can’t have a pile of skulls behind you that represents how many people you’ve killed. As soon as the battle starts, your opponent goes, “This guy has got 1,000 skulls piled up behind him. I’m in trouble.” Those aspects make the game super customizable and fun. It allows you to feel like it’s you doing the battle as opposed to you controlling a character that controls an army that is doing a battle.
Brian, do you want to talk about the Simultaneous Turns?
This is one of the mechanics that work perfectly on paper. We will see. One of the things that annoy me in games like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, not that magic is wrong, is it’s your turn and my turn. On your turn, you’re on offense. In my turn, I’m on defense. In my turn, I’m on offense. On your turn, you’re on defense. That is not how things work in reality. I have managed to come up with a system where we’re both on offense and defense at the same time. We’re both making decisions not knowing what the other person is doing.
For example, if I’ve got a sword and a shield and you’ve got two axes, you can be pretty sure that I’m going to block one of your axes with my shield because it’s a shield. What else am I going to do with it? You have to plan your attack based on what you think I’m going to do. I have to plan my attack based on what I think you’re going to do. Once we both committed it, the game sorts out what happened. We get to see. It’s a lot more dynamic. It’s a lot more like chess where you’re playing the other player more than you’re playing the pieces.
There are elements of Magic: The Gathering in there, poker, and all that. It’s the game theory elements of it. I could see that evolving in some cool ways.
I love these alternative creative gameplay tactics as well. We had on Boss Fighters, which takes a person with a virtual reality headset and set up and makes them the boss of a game, whereas the people on their PCs playing the game get to be the players of the game. The boss gets to throw them around and do all this cool stuff. I love seeing all of these creative applications of things. Can you talk to us a little bit about partnerships? You have such deep connections in all these spaces. How does this all play into your plan coming forward?
Coming from the side of the world that we come from, partnerships are everything. In the movie that Mila and I have coming out, there are three different production companies. There’s a studio. This is how we work. You work in collaboration with other people. We have a game collaboration that we’re not announcing yet that we will be announcing probably in September 2022. That is already deep in work. That’s fun.
Are there any hints?
When we were talking to people, Hugh saw the name of one of the people in our meeting and went, “That guy is a legend.” That’s the only hint I’m going to say.
Years ago, I used to wait for the video game magazines when they were still in print. When I first moved to LA and I was starting as a screenwriter, I used to write screenplays during the day and review games at night. I interviewed this guy.
Mario and Luigi. We have them both.
Liquid Comics is an incredible partner and always has been. They are part of this process as well as us. We’re already in conversations about who our distribution partner will be for the animated series. We can make it ourselves. Between Liquid and us, we don’t need a separate studio but we will not be distributing it ourselves on a website. It will be distributed in a more traditional way.
Does that mean the Web3 audience has to go back to Web2 to see the content?
We will make sure along the process that we continue to lift the veil of the process of the way that we build the animation. If you look at both The Gimmicks and Stoner Cats, you get to see what we’re making all the time. We don’t want to spoil the story for people but we do want people to be able to see what we’re doing, understand where we are, and be part of that process. We are going to continue that ethos along the way. Everybody talks about how you onboard normies. You onboard normies by going where they are. They’re not here yet.
Honestly, I would be fascinated to learn about the genesis of Stoner Cats and what you’re thinking here in great depth at some point. Since we’re only a highway away from each other, we can figure that out. I give you such kudos for being such a pioneer in this industry and taking on the next challenge. People want to know how this gets done. Most of the people that come on our show say, “We tried this and it worked. We tried this and it didn’t work.” There are a lot of unknowns here. I asked my question with an appreciation for the journey that you’re on.
With Stoner Cats, we tried a lot of stuff. In some of it, we made some assumptions. Some of them were good and some of them were bad. We learned a lot. You can’t know how to do it until you do it the first time. None of our peers are doing this. It wasn’t a thing that was even on anybody’s radar. We had to create systems and put things in place that never have been put in place before. We have contracts with actors for Web3. That didn’t exist. It does now. That’s fun. We took that, iterated it with The Gimmicks, and had it more interactive.
It’s like, “How can we iterate again?” We take the things that we learned that work, improve them, and make them better. It’s like that SaaS model where you’re like, “I’m going to keep trying this shit until we find the right thing.” None of us know what the thing is that’s going to become the massive breakthrough. I’m excited. I’m going to keep trying to be part of whatever that thing is that breaks through to the mass market.
That’s music to our ears. They’re lean startup folks over here. Development is all near and dear to our hearts. I love to see that. Also, I’ve got to ask. We had Gareb Shamus on the show talking about HeroMaker Studios. I imagine you cross paths in a number of different ways. I can see some synergies there for sure. Are there any conversations about what you each are working on?
What’s funny is Sharad and Gareb were at some event. Sharad is our comic side. They have known each other forever and ever. Certainly, we want interoperability in lots of ways, whether that’s with the story where we get to do story mashups. We did it with Stoner Cats, Gimmicks, Deadheads, and SupDucks. We did a full mashup episode that we produced. We want to do that with a story but we also want to do that with gameplay. How do our pieces work with somebody else’s pieces? We don’t know that yet. We so desperately want that for ourselves as fans and as nerds. We want to do that ourselves.
One of the reasons I get so pumped about hearing you talk about it is your background and capabilities to go execute against this. We can all have ideas and visions but execution ends up being everything. Speaking of executions, we look at your roadmap. What’s next? What’s on the horizon here that we can talk about?
The comic is done and will be out shortly. We’re playing with how we drop things. The first comic we funded was in NEAR because we’re doing NEAR so that nobody even had to touch anything crypto themselves if they were new. We wanted somebody who had never had an NFT to be able to put in their email address, mint and have their first thing in their wallet. We’re trying to make sure that seems smooth and easy in our next drop. It’s there while allowing them to experience the part of putting in a little bit in the air.
The great thing is it is $10. You can mint a ton of stuff because it’s low gas. We were going to keep these all free. All the comics will be free. For the first people who were there with us playing this game, it will be free. We want to make sure that what we have here is great and is working and that the people who were there at the beginning get to experience it first. That’s part of it.
We are also starting work on a tabletop RPG. Brian has written them before but we’re working with people who do this professionally to help write that with us. We have a dungeon master. She will be DMing, “We will do it on Twitch.” We will be able to have the whole community have fun playing in this universe while we’re building our game. We want our community to be able to be immersed in the universe as we’re doing that game build.
I come from the world of Hollywood. I have twenty years spent in development, rewrites, and getting hired. Nothing ever goes right. It’s so hard to get $1 in Hollywood for development, let alone get something made. In this world, people get behind this, believe in us, and invest in us. We have no bosses. We have nobody to tell us no and spank us creatively. There are no studio executives, money, and people putting their thumbprints, “The main guy should be an octopus.”
Armored Kingdom: One of the things that people underestimate in these games is the bells and whistles that come along with it. To give an example, you want to earn things to show off how much you’ve played and how good you are.
That’s the nonsense you get. I wrote a novel about werewolves. I had this development executive say, “I don’t like werewolves. What if it’s demons?” Did you read the thing? The whole thing is a love letter to the mythology of werewolves. This is super exciting. We’re creatively free to do whatever we can think of. That’s a wonderful situation to be in. I wish that upon any creative person.
We brought in Lindsey McInerney. We stole her, frankly. She did the Stella Artois ZED Run horses. She was the first person to put a brand in the metaverse. We were like, “Come with us. This is going to be awesome.” What’s amazing about her is that we’re creative. We have an idea. We’re like, “What if it’s this?” She’s like, “Why not? Let’s try it.” We aren’t limited by what we think the tech can do. We get asked for things that maybe nobody has done yet, which is fun.
It’s so amazing what’s possible here. As you’re thinking creatively and reflecting on what you’ve seen in this space, we always like to ask our guests this. What projects and concepts in Web3 have been most inspirational to all of you?
This is something that’s probably controversial. This downturn was hard on a lot of people. I am interested in projects that are not about using the blockchain to make speculative assets. I’m interested in projects that use digital ownership that mirror it in ways that we do in real life or things that we normally do.
We play games, consume content, tell stories, take those experiences, and make them better through that technology. We have decided that these things are the value of a certain thing. It’s speculative. I’m sure people have made a ton of money. I know they have. People have lost a ton of money. I don’t think that’s the best and highest use of blockchain in my opinion.
When I see people who are doing things that are taking our normal thing and making them better, then gaming is the thing. This is a game piece we want to own the same way I own Magic: The Gathering cards. I own them. We have sold Magic: The Gathering cards that we have had and traded them with all those experiences that you get to do with Pokémon or any other physical thing. We now can do that.
When I’m leveling up my character and I decide that I don’t want to play the flaming sword anymore, I can sell it as opposed to when I’m in World of Warcraft and my bags are dead. They just sit there. This is a much more interesting use case to me as opposed to, “Let’s drop the rarest thing and hope that it goes to the moon.” That’s not interesting to me. I don’t want to create speculation. It also creates a game that people can’t afford to play. I want a game that people can afford to play.
A lot of your inspiration comes from the traditional gaming and entertainment space and trying to bring some of that energy here. I appreciate what you’re saying. When we reflect on the industry and what we want to do with the next NFTLA, it’s all about mainstream adoption and building bridges. That comes from real utility. This has been a consistent theme on our show. You will be happy to know all the guests are committed to bringing true utility to the space. We have a pretty exciting road ahead and some amazing pioneers like yourselves helping to get us there.
That’s so exciting. What are you going to explain to these guys? When we were doing starter kits and explaining them to these guys like, “This is what it is,” everybody who first hears it goes, “I’m not paying $100,000 for a JPEG. That’s crazy.” They’re never going to get that. There is a space for that and a place for that. It just isn’t what we’re ever going to be doing.
This is all the evolution of a disruptive form of technology. We’re so early. This is part of what we’re seeing. There’s creative destruction. That process is all happening before our eyes. We’re all a meaningful part of it. Let’s shift gears. Let’s move to the next segment and talk a little bit about some questions we call Edge Quick Hitters. It’s a fun and quick way to get to know you a little bit better.
We’re looking for short, single-word, or few-word answers from you but we may dive a little bit deeper here and there. There are ten in total. What are we going to do with the three of you is work our way through and rotate one by one across these questions. We will see what we come up with. We may have some follow-ups. We will see. Here’s question number one. Lisa, we will start with you. What’s the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
I remember buying the cassette tape for Starship’s We Built This City so that I could play it in my little cassette player that sat on my water bed.
Was it 1985?
It’s somewhere in there. I bought it with money that I had gotten and saved. That’s how old I was.
Those were doubloons. It’s some ancient currency as well.
I’ll double-check the year because I have that cassette in my garage. I’ll find it and send it to you. Here’s question number two. Hugh, we will go with you. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
When I was very little, I learned to read comic books. It has been my whole life. Even when I was ten years old, I got hired at the local comic book store. They would only pay me in comics. I started wheeling and dealing comics even back then. There was a Dark Knight collection book that was super rare that I wanted. My dad wouldn’t let me get it. There was a guy at one of the comic conventions. He was always there. He had one. Every month, I would bring a little stack of comics and slide it over to him. They would accumulate in a trade to get that book. I sold a bunch of comics to get that book that I desperately wanted.
Brian, we will go with you. Question three, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
The most recent thing was a new Mac mini. I needed to upgrade my setup because new games are coming in. I’m going to have to start playtesting.
I have to get my eye on some of those new ones as well. Is it working okay for you so far?
Lisa, back to you. Question four, what is the most recent thing you sold?
I sold a [00:38:08] amulet.
That’s not too shabby. Question number five, Hugh, what’s your most prized possession?
Aside from my kids and my wife, I’ve got the first appearance of Spiderman. When I was young, my best friend passed away. To name-drop, now I’m best friends with Seth Green. He’s famous for customizing figures. He made an action figure of my friend who passed away in a Star Wars flight suit. He put it on a card and made it look like an actual action figure. Every time I look at that, it’s important to me because these are my two best friends sharing their love for me.
Here’s question number six. Brian, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience that’s currently for sale, what would it be? What do you have your eye on?
It’s a ranch. I’ve got to get out of LA. It’s too hot and too crowded.
Do you have a location in mind?
I’m looking at Idaho but who knows?
Is there going to be horses, cattle, and stuff? How deep are going to go?
You’ve got to throw some goats on it so it counts for tax purposes.
Here’s question number seven. Lisa, back to you. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
It would be sticktoitiveness. Get it done. I once quit a job years ago. They hired four people to replace me, and then they shut down the division because nobody could do it. I will continue to do it until the job is done to the detriment of my family, myself, my general health, and my well-being. It’s the ability to discuss, put my head down, and get it done.
Josh is like, “I understand that completely.”
I’m not going to comment on Lisa’s other traits. This is the action figure that Seth customized. I can’t get it clear, but you can see it. That’s my friend’s name. He did a good job with the likeness. You can see there’s this photo, and there’s the figure. He’s talented at making action figures.
Armored Kingdom: We will make sure along the process that we continue to lift the veil of the way we build the animation.
Hugh, question eight, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
It’s my lack of emotional control. I’m much better in my older age. Lisa has such good control of her emotions. She’s able to keep calm and get things done. When my fuse is lit, I sometimes lose focus on what the prize is. I wish I could have back a million times in my life when I’ve lost sight of the price.
Here’s question nine. Brian, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I took my dog for a walk to try and get him to calm down.
Those are similar personality traits. What dog is it?
It’s a beagle.
A rambunctious beagle sounds good.
He’s about two years old in 2022. We got him during the insurrection. We drove up to the breeder. They were giving a big speech at the Capitol. I talked to the breeder, picked up the dog, and got back in the van to drive home. It’s like, “They’re breaking into the building.” I’m like, “What?”
Does the beagle howl with the sirens when ambulances go by similar to my neighbor’s dog every single day?
He doesn’t. I’m three beagles in a row for no howling.
Here’s the last question. Lisa, back to you. What are you going to do next after the show?
I have a little extra time. I’m going to do some work. Hugh is going to pick up one of the kids from music camp. I’m going to make us all dinner so that so it’s all ready to go when everybody gets back.
When you say, “Us all,” does that include Brian or not?
Brian only eats apples and candy. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s not okay.
There are candy apples probably.
The apples only help to poop out the candy.
There’s a system. That was Edge Quick Hitters. Thanks so much for sharing with us. We appreciate it. The word is we’ve got a pretty special hot topic too queued up. Eathan, what do you say?
None of us know what the thing is that's going to become the massive breakthrough. We’re going to keep trying to be part of whatever that thing is that breaks through to the mass market. Click To Tweet
Let’s do it. Onto hot topics, our sponsored hot topic is featuring one of Coinbase‘s first NFT releases. Coinbase is thrilled to announce the first in a series of collectible NFT celebrating the art and possibility of CG design from the eclectic mind of veteran designer Misoo and Daz 3D, the graphic studio that powered Batman Cowl, RTFKT, and CloneX comes Cubits, the first in a series of limited edition NFT releases celebrating the art and possibility of CG design and foregoing the automated approach of algorithmically-generated NFTs.
Each of the 500 Genesis Cubits is meticulously hand-designed by the artist. These colorfully emotive, playful, and expressive Cubits are inspired by Yuga Labs’ Meebits, Lucas Zanotto’s MoodRollers, and a healthy dose of anime to instill positivity and inquisitiveness in all holders. We are welcoming Misoo and Kirsten from the team. We’re going to get a little bit of intel from them on the project. Welcome, Kirsten and Misoo.
Thank you both so much for joining us. It’s a special episode of so many talented folks like yourselves doing so many cool things in the space. We would love to learn a little bit more about this Genesis collection and some of the utility that you’ve baked into it.
Thank you. First of all, we’re super excited to be here and be one of Coinbase’s first PFP drops. Not only are we following your last guests but we’re also following Bill Murray in this drop. It seems serendipitous that both of these are happening on the show. Our drop is happening. Who else better to follow than Bill Murray? Daz 3D is a force in CG with a global community of AAA talent. We have been around for two decades. We have a marketplace. We sell 3D assets.
We have proven this with RTFKT, our drops with CloneX, and partnerships. We’re uniquely positioned to curate world-class collections. This isn’t the first. There will be more but we should hear a little bit more from Misoo because he is the creator. He did these all by hand. This is not a generative collection. They are all different. There are 500 of them. As Hugh, Lisa, and Brian were talking about, this also tells a story. We love storytelling. Misoo, do you want to give us a little bit of the background of how these little crazy cute guys came to be?
Thank you very much. The first thing I want to say is that I’m so honored. I started to be one of the first artists to release an NFT-PFP project on Coinbase. I spent a lot of time creating these little Cubits but I never thought that I can luckily be chosen by Coinbase and be able to launch the release at this early age. I’m following Bill Murray. He’s a famous comedian. I never saw his movies but I know he’s a big deal. I’m super excited and honored.
Our other guests here know Bill Murray.
They know more about Bill Murray than the rest of us.
I will be checking out his films after.
It’s a testament to this cool concept you’ve built out. These guys look so cool. Coinbase is very fortunate to have you all in the mix.
Let me ask. Process-wise, Coinbase is a behemoth in the industry. They have entered into the world of NFTs here. What was that process like being courted by them or interacting with them? How did that work?
We have created partnerships with a lot of online bases and had a few launches. We have been excited to have that partnership with Coinbase and create that relationship. How many have they released? There are not many. We’re coming in as the first PFP collection.
You’re riding off of the momentum of your previous work, successes, and those partnerships, which are so important. I would like to know in terms of the timeline for other folks interested in doing something like this or collaborating with Coinbase from inception to completion. You’re about to launch. What timeframe should people expect?
I have to be honest that they came to us. We said, “We have a spot earlier. Can you launch on Friday? We would like this to happen.” We were all set and ready to go. Here we are.
That’s super quick.
That’s like the UFC fighter that decides to get in the ring with no notice. When you’ve got the opportunity, you grab it by the reigns and get it done.
They have been such a great partner. They’re supportive of creating the launch and how it’s going to happen. It has been awesome.
Armored Kingdom: We wanted somebody who had never had an NFT to be able to put in their email address, mint, and have their first thing in their wallet.
Let’s touch on utility in the future. What do you think about utility as it pertains to this project? What’s on the roadmap? What are the opportunities going forward?
We have a lot of things up our sleeve. This is not the first thing that we are going to release. We have some possible bonuses for people. The price is set at 0.07 ETH. That’s pretty attainable for most people.
That’s an accessible price point, which is great. It sounds like there are a good number of connections to your other projects. One of the benefits of launching several successful projects is the ability to intersect them in different and interesting ways as you take individual communities and bring them together into a global community. We were talking earlier about the meta-purpose of projects and trying to get people into the space and tapping into the fun. We were talking about gaming before. How do we attract more people into the space? I’m curious. In terms of building a community, what are you doing on that front to bring people that this is their first NFT into the space?
We have the Discord channel and Twitter. We have done this before. We have a huge creator-artist network. We have almost 1,000 artists who sell in our store. We’re hoping that by helping back Misoo’s project, we can do the same for future artists and give them the opportunity to get in the space, showcase their work, and represent not only our community but also bring others into the space. We have someone from almost every country. It’s pretty cool.
That is amazing. If people want to follow the drop and everything that’s happening, where should they go to follow the progress of the project?
They can find Misoo and us on Twitter and Discord.
That’s awesome. We’re excited about this drop, and our audience should be too because you have decided generously to give away two NFTs. Thank you very much for that. We appreciate it. We will share some exciting details about that contest on social. Readers can check out our socials to get all the deets there.
Cubits is the first PFP drop on Coinbase. That’s exciting. Congratulations on that. It’s one of the first few ever. Is there anything else before we break out here?
I want to remind everyone that we are partners with RTFKT, CloneX, and also Batman. If anyone wants to check those out, the Cowls were released. There are all crazy stories. They look amazing. Thank you.
Thanks so much for joining us, Kirsten and Misoo.
Nice job. We love the Cowls. Hugh is such a huge Batman fan. I was like, “I’m buying you an NFT. This is your very first NFT.” That was his first NFT.
That’s awesome. Thank you.
It wasn’t a Stoner Cat. It was a Bat Cowl.
These are both revolutionary projects that you are part of. We were fortunate to have Warner Bros at NFTLA announcing that project. What RTFKT has done for the space has been incredible. It has made a lot of my friends very happy with collecting NFTs. Congrats on all of your achievements so far in this next step on your journey.
Thank you so much. We’re excited to be the first PFP launch on Coinbase.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for joining. We will talk soon. Hugh, that reminds me. Did you check out the Cowls and the whole setup over at NFTLA? I don’t know if you talked about that at all.
We didn’t make it to NFTLA.
That was so cool. We will have to do something special for you. We’re going to have a lot of fun things queued up.
Once you have kids, you don’t get to do anything fun at all. It’s over.
You seem to be having a lot of fun.
You should see Lisa shake one of our kids for a week. Your idea of fun is redefined.
At least half of the comic books were written while Hugh was sitting in a parking lot waiting for his kids to get out of music practice.
I have to ask, Hugh. Is it a particular instrument or singing? What’s the music course?
She plays guitar and piano. She’s in a band. She’s thirteen in 2022. She’s cool. It’s annoying. She’s doing Nirvana covers.
That’s grunge. That’s nice.
She calls me, “Bruh.” She’s pissed off about everything. She’s on TikTok all day. We watch movies. She talks over them and then asks me what happened. If I refuse to answer, she says, “Bruh.”
She’s going to listen to this. She’s awesome.
She’s not. She doesn’t care about anything I do.
There’s a story forming here. I could tell already there’s something happening here in the background. I’m waiting for the screenplay on that one. That’s about it for this episode. We could spend probably all day talking about this stuff. It’s super fun. We do want to make sure we’re directing all of our readers appropriately to the right place to follow you, Armored Kingdom, and everything that you have going on. Where do we tell them to go?
Certainly, go to ArmoredKingdom.com. You can read the first comic. You don’t have to own it to read it. You can read the first comic. There are links to Twitter and Discord there. I’m @LisaSterb on Twitter. Brian and Hugh, what are you on Twitter?
I’m at @DarkHugh on Twitter. I’m not terribly active but you can find me there.
Both guys are in Discord all the time. They’re talking to people about the story. They’re in there engaging pretty regularly with the Discord team.
We’re having a terrific contest on Discord where people are creating creatures for our world. We would love it if more people came. If you have a little bit of creativity in you, there’s a good chance that one of your ideas could be a mini-boss in a game later on.
Armored Kingdom: We want our community to be able to be immersed in the universe as we’re doing that game build.
It’s to help the contest to design a creature for our world. There are limitless possibilities. We do that all the time. It’s fun.
It sounds like it’s such a fun and engaged community that you are there present. It takes time to do that. It’s a testament to your commitment to that community. Check it out and get in the Discord.
We will give away signed copies of the comic. On that note, there’s a segue.
I appreciate it. To take a huge cue there, we are doing a giveaway for this episode. It’s going to end up being five physical Issue 0 Armored Kingdom comics signed by the team. This is crazy. It’s an amazing giveaway. Keep an eye out on our socials for all the details on how to have a shot at winning these things. You’re super generous. We do appreciate that. That’s going to be something you want to score for sure. Keep an eye out. We will get the deets out to you.
We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks for exploring with us. We have space for more adventures on this starship, so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Also, check us out on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Armored Kingdom
- Stoner Cats
- The Gimmicks
- World of Warcraft
- Liquid Comics
- Issue 0
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Magic: The Gathering
- Boss Fighters – Previous episode
- Gareb Shamus – Previous episode
- HeroMaker Studios
- ZED Run
- Daz 3D
- Batman Cowl
- Discord – Daz 3D
- Twitter – Daz 3D
- Twitter – @Misoo3D
- Twitter – @ArmoredKingdom
- Discord – Armored Kingdom
- @LisaSterb – Twitter
- @DarkHugh – Twitter
- Spotify – Edge of NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
About Lisa Sterbakov
Founder / Orchard Farm Productions / Stoner Cats / The Gimmicks