Set in a dystopian future, these bio-robots are bringing a never-before-seen sheen to NFT collectibles.
URS, an ambitious new project, aspires to change the game when it comes to collectibles.
Since 2020, collectible artworks have made a splash with the eye-watering prices garnered for generated and often similar-looking icons. The controlled scarcity of pieces and the automation of the creative process have sometimes led to aesthetically unremarkable work that nevertheless sells well.
In this sea of artistically bankrupt clones like Ether Rocks and Weird Whales, URS represents something phenomenal. It’s founded by creatives and is committed to creating an artistically curated series of collectibles.
The project, dreamt up by a team of creatives and technologists based in South Korea, is also one of the first big Asian collectible series in the world.
We speak with The Project URS, and their founder Theaterstory about the story behind URS and how it works.
Tell us about URS, how it was conceived, and under what circumstances?
URS, pronounced “Yours”, is a revolutionary new generative art collectible series that has its own beauty as digital NFTs. We’re trying to focus on the core values of generative NFT art. The pieces are generated algorithmically but also curated aesthetically to allow collectors to own a unique piece of art. Our team is comprised of 3D specialists, skillful illustrators, conceptual fine artists, expert art & creative directors, and experienced developers.
We began organising when we realised many artists were creating NFTs without really understanding blockchain technology. Artists were being wrangled in to help out with collaborations but they weren’t fully appreciated for their abilities. There’s a tendency for generative art projects to be led by NFT community leaders and developers without focusing on the ability or performance of their creatives.
As an artist myself I saw these shortcomings and wanted to create something new and meaningful, but it was too difficult to cover all aspects of blockchain alone. Most of my artist peers faced the same difficulties and so I felt like we needed to come together as a team of professionals from various fields to make this happen and pave the way for more quality art pieces.
This is our biggest advantage — URS is driven by artists.
Thanks to this, we have the creative know-how to produce an entirely new world including its historical background, character design, and also meaningful social commentary. Internally, we also dedicate a lot of time to pruning and substantiating the need for each arm of URS.
What were the influences behind the creation of this futuristic world?
Here’s the in-universe story behind URS (Underground Robogenetic Survivalist):
It’s the year 2130, 62 years have passed since the world was devastated in the last of a series of nuclear wars. Since then, an uncontrollable virus has caused a pandemic which threatens to kill the remaining survivors. Humans fleeing from these calamities created enclaves underground in order to survive.
This subterranean lifestyle eventually led to the discovery of wormhole-like warp gates which created pathways to travel across space-time. Leading to unpredictable destinations, the doors also removed the possibility of return.
The last humans managed to create a special surveying robot called URS, which was implanted with human DNA. Resilient to the nuclear radiation with inorganic bodies impervious to the virus, the URS were sent above in humanity’s place. They were directed to forage necessities like food and materials to build a device for a planned future mass migration.
The URS are bio-robots and thanks to the human DNA within they have all the similar characteristics to humans: body characteristics, emotions, and thinking. The number of them produced will be limited to 10,000. We invite you to enter the warp gate join us on an adventure!
One of the important distinctions you are trying to make with the project is that the works are curated. Can you walk us through the process of curation? What decisions and changes does the team make to the algorithmically generated content?
Our art team has made almost all aspects of the URS including the default 3D models, skins, clothes, and eyes. Other 3D assets were also collected and painted with their artistic judgement. We’ve curated them to look universally pleasing — each will perform beautifully as individual art pieces even when mixed randomly. During the process, we had to remove almost a quarter of the skins we created. It was heart-wrenching but we found it necessary and made the decision after putting it to a vote. Most of these NFTs will be created generatively but we are planning also to include some unique, specially customised pieces.
How will this collectible project work?
One of the biggest obstacles that the community faces when purchasing collectible NFTs is the gas war. Our development team has come up with a ground-breaking idea to solve it.
Here’s our plan and strategy for the upcoming URS sale.
Total 10,000 URS NFTs will be minted.
50 URS will be allocated as reserve.
9,950 URS will be on sale with the price of 0.08 ETH.
URS Sale Plan (Total 9,950):
Pre-sale: 5,000 URS. Pre-sale is available only for Mint Pass owners. A Mint Pass owner can have an option to buy up to 5 URS NFTs in the pre-sale round which will be opened for 12 hours right before the main sale. A Mint Pass NFT is not transferable and can be used for some opportunities that the URS team provides in the future.
Main sale: 5,000 + @ (the amount that is not sold in the pre-sale) URS.
Okay, what happens after that?
The main sale will be conducted by raffle, it starts once the pre-sale is over and will continue for 24 hours to allow people to participate without spending too much on gas fees. URS buyers will then deposit ETH to the raffle contract based on the amount they want to mint URS.
For instance, if a quantity of 5 URS is desired, a pre-deposit of 0.08×5=0.4ETH would be required to enter the raffle. Raffle winners can claim their URS, and the others who didn’t get the chance can claim their deposited ETH to their wallets.
Mint Pass distribution plan
A Mint Pass is untransferable, but one can hold multiple Passes. Mint Passes will be claimable on our website for the winners.
400 will be allocated for the lucky draw winners in the discord.
550 will be distributed for the active contributors in URS Discord and Twitter.
50 will be used for marketing purposes.
Could you walk us through an example?
An example of how this might work —
Thomas had a Mint Pass. He participated in the pre-sale round to buy 5 URS without competition. And then he deposited 0.8 ETH in the main sale to buy additional URS. He won, and claimed 10 URS, *and got 15 URS total with pre-sale and main sale.
Jessica didn’t have a Mint Pass. So, she deposited 0.8 ETH to buy 10 URS in the main sale. She got 5 URS and claimed 0.4 ETH back.
Alex deposited 10 ETH in the main sale, but unfortunately, he didn’t win any, so he claimed his deposited 10 ETH back.
Your team has talked about a pronounced “vision” for The Project URS world. Any chance that you could share with us some details about what that vision is moving forward?
We are working on a basic road map starting with URS Merch Sales. This will be followed by other initiatives like URS Friends (Adventure companions), Into the Metaverse, and then URS Gaming Launch.
URS is continuously developing and already moving forward with a plan for the creation of secondary products based on our first launch within this metaverse. With the high production standards that we’ve set for ourselves in this project, we’re also planning for the possibility of collaborative expansion in future projects. We try to keep in touch with other generative project groups to build a resilient and secure community together which is also open.
With our ambition and vision for growth, we believe that The Project URS is a one-of-a-kind opportunity and investment. Our early adopters and supporters will be richly rewarded so be sure not to miss out on this chance!
How does this vision within the world you are fashioning relate to your overall vision for the entire project and perhaps it’s place within the arts scene in the coming years?
If you take a look at what we’re producing right now you’ll see right away that our works are different from the other generative artworks. With respect to 3D rendered avatars, we don’t know if that will become a trend but we do think that it’s essential to get involved in the metaverse in the future. We would like to have greater scalability and eventually find a place for our 3D avatars to function as game characters within the coming era of the metaverse. Our artists and developers are incredibly passionate and we are all pioneers. We’re hoping that the readers will see the potential of this dream as we do and help build this world with us.
The Project URS team is also contactable on their Discord channel for more questions.