Imagine you have a huge empty space, the size of a major city, such as London. The task is to build and develop a whole new city, so innovative that it leaves people coming back time and time again to discover new experiences.
Building can be a slow process, and access to a task force possessing the necessary level of skills to achieve this can also be limited, as well as costly.
So, how do you successfully complete this mission within a reasonable timeframe?
Do you partner with some reputable gaming studios to integrate some revolutionary blockchain gaming content into Decentraland?
… Or do you create a team full of experienced in-house staff, whilst constantly adding industry experts to the team?
… Maybe you run a GameJam / Hackathon and offer an obscenely huge prize pot to attract some of the best developer talent from around the web, say… $250,000?
… Or perhaps you create a Builder tool which makes placing a library of pre-designed objects super easy to do for the average person?
Decentraland has done all of these, and with a fair amount of success. Much more is needed, but still, the foundations have now been laid and outline a great model from which to further grow and develop on a professional level.
This is all well and good, but there is something else which is equally as important, and actually quite special, that is currently blossoming in various corners of the Decentraland community.
In order to help achieve both personal development, and the collective goal of constructing a whole new decentralized (eventually) world…. the community is educating and investing in one another.
Education of the SDK is Key
In order to build more interactive and complex scenes, realistically you need to build using the Decentraland SDK (Software Development Kit). However, this requires a certain level of experience using complex programs such as Typescript and Blender. It also assumes that one knows how to setup things like node.js, apply colliders and animations to models, or host on a private server. All this is not only baffling to the average user, but also daunting to those having never learnt anything similar.
That is all about to change, because apart from the countless hours members spend helping one another in Discord, the community is developing these skills from within.
The Decentraland University district is running a FREE, 10 week live course (click here to view the course) which teaches anyone, regardless of prior experience, how to use all the required tools to create amazing scenes in Decentraland. Designed and orchestrated by the knowledgeable wizard that is Carl Fravel, you can follow the course either live (ending 28th Sept 2019), or by following the recorded live sessions, all at a pace that suits you. DCL Plazas is working together with Carl to host the full course here.
As a result, this valuable course is already on the way to producing over 50 new homegrown developers, each of whom is on their own journey to developing their own personal skillsets, and eventually utilizing these skills to bring their own individual creativity to the Decentraland platform. It is also important to note that those who complete the course will now find themselves equipped with a toolbox of transferable skills, each of which could easily be applied to other projects, or even used to help change or further their personal career offline.
Extra Boost From Decentraland
Spotting an opportunity to further add value to community development, Decentraland is backing this up by encouraging further peer-to-peer content.
In recent weeks, the official Decentraland blog has hosted guest articles from several experienced community members with well written articles teaching others how to perform particular tasks (usually coding). You can view them here.
And there’s more…
Taking things one step further, skilled members from within the community have also been invited to run a series of workshops live on Twitch. Lessons range from a simple introduction to Decentraland for newer members, right through to adding Decentraland transactions to the blockchain. You can view these videos here.
But that’s not all…
Finally, Decentraland have also released a series of professionally curated videos which teach some of the more complex coding elements, but in a simple, easy to digest manner. This video series features all the necessary steps to create an ‘Escape Room’ style game. You can view these videos here.
By taking the educational approach, Decentraland is nurturing talent from within (like no other crypto project) and creating an army of loyal developers.
Would “James at the Watercooler” have the patience to learn how to use the SDK? Probably not. Some would say this could be a barrier to on-boarding new users to the platform. However, with a rising number of dedicated developers being educated from within the community, this would also bring with it a new breed of ‘skills for hire’ for people like James. It’s certainly not the only way to jump this hurdle, but it’s a step in the right direction.
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