Where Are They Now - Sneaky Slamberts
One year later
January 31st, 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of the Sneaky Slamberts mint. Since then, they've had a change in ownership and a pivot in project direction. I caught up with the current founders to talk through the last year and where they are now.
ST0NEEATER from the United States. Fan-turned-Mod-turned-Project Owner of Sneaky Slamberts over a span of about 5 months (Dec 21 - Apr 22). Found Sneaky Slamberts pretty early into his SOL days, loved the unique art & fantasy-game style of the project, and dove head first. Was a big supporter of the roleplay vibes of the community. Currently oversees the creative direction of the project, community management, and a bit of blender modeling for their 3D World.
Jazzulay from the Netherlands. A 'Jack of all trades' with the sleep schedule of an American vampire bat. The main artist of the current version of Slamberts. Also does some of their game development, 3d modeling, and lore writing/world-building.
Original Mint Details
Date: January 31, 2022 Mint Price: 0.97 SOL Supply: 3,483 Current Floor Price: 0.35 SOL All-time High: 1.38 SOL
1. First things first. Sharing whatever you're comfortable sharing, what happened with the old team?
Jazz: The old team basically burned themselves out due to having quite ambitious ideas, high expectations, and a high work rate. They approached the NFT space perhaps with a bit too much confidence in the maturity of the space at that time, and tried to stand out by being (and working) a bit 'off-meta'. Full-bodied weird creatures in a PFP era of Solana were already quite a leap. Combined with a heavier focus on organic growth rather than marketing and joining the flow of the ecosystem, the result after the initial launch was perhaps a bit underwhelming, causing them to work even harder and deliver their roadmap at a much higher pace than intended. In turn this created some conflict and mental health/stress issues within the team of founding members and they decided to no longer continue developing the project beyond the promised points of their roadmap. After that, they assisted in the transfer of the project and related tools to Stone and the community.
Stone: In retrospect, you could see things play out: decreasing communications, brief updates about their declining health, and family situations. The exodus happened quite suddenly one morning. Long story short, I took over and refused to let go when other teams came in. I formed a coalition of like-minded individuals to keep the project active, and have been exploring different ways to enjoy this digital fantasy land we love.
2. So the original team leaves. The two of you step in. Walk us through the first few months of your taking over.
Jazz: After Stone was handed the keys to the castle, he assembled a new team called 'The Sneaky Syndicate' comprised of loyal community members and old moderators, and we sat down to write the roadmap for the project. The focus of Slamberts remained the same, a lore-based, art and gaming project, but with more emphasis on the visual side of things. Since the start of Slamberts, there was always community talk of a board game and more ways to interact with the world that was already established. With a heavy focus on keeping this a community input/feedback-run project, we soon started playtesting the first version of the game. During development, we ventured more and more into Unity in order to have the game be playtested digitally, and from that spawned a new branch of Slamberts. A 3d world where you could run around as a 'bert. This was initially just a joke/test that launched as an 'overly complicated board game launcher' but after gauging the community response we decided to expand the development of this world into a full game. Another big factor in Slamberts was the unique art style of the 'berts. With the original artist leaving, the fear was that Slamberts would forever be stuck art wise. Up until that point I had only drawn some quick 'fan art sketches' for Slamberts, so we made sure to show our community that we could continue all facets of Slambert with this new team. From scratch I drew a Slambert based on an in-joke of my love for metal gear solid, that mimicked the style of the 'berts, whilst also adding my own spin to it. This 'bert (Solid Slambert) became the first of an ongoing series of 1/1's called 'the Legendary Collection' that our community can win in raffles held in our native token SLAM. From that moment onwards, we have steadily been building these multiple facets that make up the project and world of Sneaky Slamberts. We added another member to the Syndicate to focus on game development (with multiplayer gaming in particular) and started building bridges with other projects and communities like Gooney Toons and Bitfreaks, to strengthen our bonds within the SOL ecosystem.
3. Game development is no easy task, nor a cheap one. Given how most NFT-based games have faired so far, what about your game makes you believe it was the right course of action moving forward?
Jazz: Indeed, game development takes a long time and a lot of hard work, and I would say most projects that promised a game, either underestimated that or are not effectively using the opportunity that the NFT space and indie game development offers. The beauty is this direct connection with your player base DURING development. Allowing for the devs and players to test together, showcase the alpha demo, and immediately incorporate feedback. Projects like Bitfreaks and Everseed have been doing a great job at this and it reflects in their communities and to an extent floor price. For us, the main focus is being ready and experienced when gaming and blockchain meet on a mainstream stage. With companies like Square Enix showing a major interest in blockchain gaming, the best you can do as a gaming project now is to get ready for the future. A lot of gaming projects right now are focused on the 'play to earn' or 'wagering' side of things, because at the moment, NFTs = Get rich quickly. But in my eyes, they often leave the fun and great gameplay by the wayside, because they are catering to the wrong audience. Once blockchain gaming becomes bigger, I'm confident the focus will shift from the dollar signs to the tech and possibilities it offers. Your unique characters, traits, and skin in-game are yours and your progress in games can be used, traded, and displayed outside of the confines of that game (aka your wallet or partner projects/metaverse possibilities) So for the Slamberts game we try and focus on the fun of gaming with the added integration of blockchain tech and NFTs. It's a great way to tell stories, make your Jpegs come to life and have people interact with their prized possessions in a way that will be far more sustainable into the future than just during the gold rush era of NFTs.
Stone: Game development is not easy, but we've substituted passion for money. Thanks to people like Jazz & Mackini, we were able to realize much more than I ever thought possible, usually starting from little upfront know-how. We tend not to worry about what other gaming projects are making or chasing the hyped mechanics of the hour. We just build what we want. Sometimes, it's a really intricate building. Sometimes it's playing tag with a traffic cone hat. Sometimes it's a chaotic game of explosive soccer. We've found mediums through which our community can invest their imaginations, and we find a way to bring that imagination to life.
4. What is the biggest lesson you learned from being a part of this project (whether before or after you took over), and what advice would you give to another project in a similar situation?
Jazz: For me personally (and to an extent the project) the biggest lesson is a John Lennon quote: "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." No matter how well thought out your plans are, life happens and you need to be able to be flexible and learn to adapt to whatever comes your way, while not losing sight of the end goal you are working towards. I started with Slamberts as a newbie in the NFT world just as a part of the community, and a few months later I was the main artist, a project lead, and a game developer. After that came the wild water rapids of actually getting a project to where it needs to go, and you just have to learn to roll with the punches, the rise and fall, success and disappointment and get yourself and the holders to the finish line. It's a wild ride, but the process of learning and making your way through it is worth it without a doubt.
And as advice for other projects, I'd say: Keep communicating. with your community, with your team, and with other projects. Even with all the money flying around in this space, it still mostly leans on the 'indie dev' side of things. Most people can be patient, but patience does not equate to silence. So share what is happening, talk about the good and the bad, and be honest. That way you have everyone on board, and everyone knows where they're headed! And also (in regards to the lesson), keep your end goal in sight. Doesn't matter how you get there, but if you believe in what you are building then don't lose sight of that. Sometimes you just need to take a small detour when the planned path is blocked.
Stone: Biggest lesson for me is to surround yourself with people who share your passion and vision. Slamberts could not have survived the last 9/10 months if we were only driven by financial gain (because it is very little!) Our team loves Slamberts, both the project and the people, and we will not abandon them. It also helps when there are doubts, which I've had my fair share, about my abilities to contribute towards Slamberts. Thankfully, I have supportive people who have built a home base with us, and they've been a crucial source of inspiration since the SLAMpocalypse.
Check out Sneaky Slamberts and keep an eye out for their game!