Past, Present and Future of the Realm
  1. Time to reflect
  2. The team’s determination to build the Realm
    1. Mateo’s vision and drive to create the Realm
    2. Keeper of the Realm
    3. Who is Ade and what did it take?
  3. Double down on building

Time to reflect

As the market is cooling down, we feel like it’s time to reflect. Reflect on our past; where the team came from, how our vision was born and how we can continue to bring Akuma to life as best we can. During these turbulent times, we acknowledge the need to reflect how the community has reacted to certain events, shine a light on what’s happening behind the scenes and elaborate what we’re building together. This allows creators, like ourselves, to innovate, create and test new stuff for the future. It’s times like these that shape a brand’s future.

Our developer, Ade, compared Web3 and blockchain with a new frontier. A frontier that will change the way we live - much like the Wild West has in the past. As new technologies arise, some cowboys take advantage. But when dust settles, the true pioneers will take control to shape the future of this powerful technology. We believe that reflection is necessary for our growth, so we can shape the future to our vision.

A ring forged with precious ore, cursed by Akuma - By Mateo Almonte
A ring forged with precious ore, cursed by Akuma - By Mateo Almonte

The team’s determination to build

From the offset, we knew that there was a long and dire road ahead of us to create the world we had envisioned. As our story unraveled, many unforeseen circumstances crossed our path, but we overcame them time and time again with great determination. Our team has, quite literally, worked day and night to build Akuma. A creation that we - and the whole community - are proud of…

Mateo’s vision to build the Realm

Mateo is the visionary artist of Akuma Origins. He’s a young, talented artist with an extensive and diverse portfolio. From diverse fonts and dynamic logotypes, to his iconic signature illustrations. His creative playing field keeps expanding, thanks to fascinating collaborations with artists such as RhymezLikeDimez, Defaced Studio, Cochise, Off Canny, Jack Manifold, and many more…

As a freelance artist he has gathered a lot of experience creating artwork for other people and projects. His previous work and experiences directly, or indirectly, lead to the creation of his own vision - Akuma Origins. Mateo started drawing the first Yokai traits in September 2021. The last trait was finished 2 days before the reveal. An estimated 150 unique traits were created, each existing in 8 different colors, adding up to a total of about 1200 different traits for our Yokai.

8 base colors of the Yokai
8 base colors of the Yokai

Here’s a quick recap, to give some more insight in the design process of one of the traits. First, a sketch is made on top of a ‘naked’ Yokai to see if it fits the Yokai. When the sketch is finished, the thick outlining of the trait is made - forming its final shape. Afterwards, the coloring and shading are done. Mateo uses his own secret way of shading and soft brushing shadows into his artwork to breathe life into the traits, and make them look 3D. Some traits even took more than 24 hours to complete.

Let's talk about the 1/1’s and unique Yokai. One of our legendary Yokai took up to six whole days from sketch to completion. The Dovah Priest legendary Yokai was supposed to be a collaborative piece between another artist and Mateo. But unfortunately, the collaboration couldn’t happen due to unforeseen reasons, so Mateo decided to start all over again from scratch. The Dovah Priest took over five days to create and was finished right before the reveal. Mateo did a 24-hour long drawing session to make the final cut-off so he could bring The Dovah Priest to life into the Realm.

Only two days after the reveal of the Yokai army, Mateo started creating the companion Devils. Mere weeks after the initial drop, most Devil traits have been finished. This is a true testimony of his determination to build the Realm he envisioned. It proves the tenacity of a young artist who wants to share his perspectives with the world - and the community.

Keeper of the Realm

The creation of the Realm needs to be protected at all costs. Bernard, also known as the Gatekeeper is the brains behind Akuma Origins. As the (literal) gatekeeper to the Realm, he oversees the engineering, management and business aspects of the project. Every individual entity needs works together flawlessly. For him, one thing is certain: as long as the community is happy and thrives, the sky’s the limit for Akuma.

During the first 6 months of Akuma’s creation, Bernard was an engineer by day and Gatekeeper by night. Most of the early work was done after the 9-5 hours, during the night, in lunch breaks and basically anywhere a couple of minutes of down-time occurred. Eventually quitting his stable day job to fully pursue Akuma’s vision. But even his mind - and the extensive mapping and planning of the project - could not have prepared him for the long road that lay ahead. From fighting Covid-19, including high fevers and physical pain, during the release of Akuma Origins to going over each single Yokai by hand to make sure they weren’t flawed. A process that essentially meant another sleepless night for him. Nothing could stop him from doing what he loved the most, completing Mateo’s vision of the Realm. It only proves sheer dedication and motivation to pursue the vision.

An enforcer carrying valuable information, taken over by Akuma - by Mateo Almonte
An enforcer carrying valuable information, taken over by Akuma - by Mateo Almonte

Besides determination, Akuma Origins has proven to be a test on how to cope with change and the flexibility to adapt to said change. For example, only 12 hours before the release, we were hit by an unplanned upload limit in IPFS. Simply paying for more capacity didn’t work so Bernard and Ade subsequently needed to find a solution ASAP. This issue was solved by Ade by amending the source code of the IPFS uploading tool bypassing its limits. In doing so, breaking the limits became a theme of Akuma.

Who is Ade? - What did it take?

The life long tinkerer and builder of the Realm. Without Ade, none of this was possible. At first, it was very hard to find a suitable developer or development team for Akuma Origins. The artwork was nearly finished, the concept was created and just the glue was missing. In the first month of 2022, it was Gatekeeper’s full time job to find a developer capable enough to match our high standard and very elusive (and honestly quite annoying) requirements. About 6 weeks before the launch we found Ade. A discovery that would change Akuma Origins forever.
**Ade was intrigued by Mateo’s artwork, and agreed upon the challenge of being our lead developer. There were two big challenges - creating a gas efficient smart contract and developing the art engine to build the Yokai. Easy right? (spoiler: no)

While Ade started the development, Mateo and Gatekeeper opened up the discord to slowly build the community. By then, we had no launch date in mind but were aiming for the end of march - at that time, in about 6 weeks. An eternity in the WEB3 world. Due to the complexity of the art, it took about 5 weeks and 30,000 lines of code to finish the art engine. Thanks to the genius Ade, the army was finally being shaped. About three days before the launch, Gatekeeper was diagnosed with a very bad case of Covid-19 and there was still a lot of work to be completed on the development side of things.

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Ade fiercely tinkering on the Yokai Army - by Mateo Almonte
Ade fiercely tinkering on the Yokai Army - by Mateo Almonte

Right before the mint, Gatekeeper decided to do a final check to make sure the minting process would go as smooth as possible. This test came right after a 20-hour development session. Everything seemed fine, so it was just a case of going through the motions. Until the DApp completely broke 1 hour before minting.

I’m a pretty calm person in nature, so usually when something goes wrong I can keep a pretty cool head and tackle the problem bit by bit, eventually coming to a solution. But when the DApp broke 1 hour before minting - I had my very first case of stress coding. That was quite the experience - WhoIsAde?ADev

Minutes before the deadline the DApp was fixed, ready to be deployed for minting. In the next 72 hours to come, Ade and Gatekeeper’s patience and determination were tested again. Making sure that the reveal would go as smooth as possible, they spent the next 72 hours going over the whole collection by hand for quality control, pushing the limits of IPFS and pushing their sleep deprivation to the absolute max. You can read all about it in this article.

Right now, Ade is already working on the future of Akuma Origins. Developing new mechanisms for the Little Devils and exploring new ventures to take Akuma to the next level.

Double down on building

The past few months have been interesting, to say the least. It was a treacherous adventure, but we’re really proud of everything we’ve accomplished together, as a community. We had to make some tough decisions, like quitting our full time jobs, but as it turned out it was the right call for us to make.

We came to the conclusion that Akuma is something unique. A one of a kind project that inspires a whole community and brings its members closer together. Akuma proved to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to create something we’re truly passionate about in a new frontier, still discovering all the wonderful possibilities together with the community.

It is time to double down on our vision and push ourselves to the limit time and time again to build the Realm together with the community, for the community.

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