We caught up with Rocketmakers – the Bath-based agency which designs, develops and deploys award-winning apps, websites, and software for startups, scaleups, and large innovative organisations – to discuss the expansive topic of the metaverse and learn more about their latest piece of software and virtual environment experiment, Beam

The team has created a 3D CMS and analytics platform that ‘beams’ content into 3D worlds, instantly and seamlessly, and delights users with experiences that can adapt and evolve.

Beam was built to enable businesses to create personalised, immersive content without having to build the software themselves. As CEO and Founder of Rocketmakers, Richard Godfrey says, “just like you might do with a WordPress for a website, Beam allows you to do that with 3D environments,” opening up content creators to a new realm of possibilities.

Richard explains that presently, creating 3D environments requires three things: the resources to hire a developer, the luxury of time and the necessary skills. Once this is created, they’re also really hard to change. Enter Beam: “Our developers have created it once and then a content manager can come in and edit the visuals,” says Richard.

Essentially, Beam transforms 3D experiences instantly using a simple to use web tool, with no need for a developer. It can deliver fresh content anytime and can be easily customised for different audiences.

To learn more about Beam, its origins and to see a demonstration of it in action with the custom made Castle of Cans, watch the full video here.

“As a mission statement, we want to be democratising the metaverse. We want to make sure that it's not just a small amount of people at the top that can do it.”

Vince Cox, Product Manager at Rocketmakers

What is a virtual environment? 

Conversation around virtual, or 3D, environments has escalated recently. With Facebook changing their trading name to Meta, as it branches into the world of virtual reality (VR), and the first ever Metaverse Fashion Week taking place last month, it’s undeniable this technology is incorporating its way into our everyday lives. But not everyone will be familiar with the concept and what it actually means.

So,what is a virtual environment? Vince Cox, Product Manager at Rocketmakers, tells us, “Usually when we talk about virtual environments, we’re referring to an online space with some kind of social element that other people are involved in too. 

“An example of a solid virtual space would be where you can strap on a headset, go and talk to your friends and create yourself a virtual avatar.”

Richard adds to this definition, “It’s an open space where you can go into one environment, you can have an experience, and then you can move seamlessly into another environment – all of that is a much bigger experience, and perhaps a more realistic, spatial experience than you get on the 2D web pages today.”

Although virtual reality isn’t a new concept, the accessibility of 3D worlds has seen a surge in recent years, perhaps propelled by the pandemic and our efforts to connect with one another from afar. Richard reflects that, “It’s worth remembering that people have been talking about VR since I started to do these things back in the 90s. It had always been that a little bit further ahead, people waiting for it, but now technology is getting much, much better. 

“You’re seeing things shrinking, and you can imagine that you won’t have these huge goggles to deal with; it’ll be a pair of glasses or the equivalent there. We’re also seeing things like 5G coming along where you get this kind of low latency and you can move a lot of information very quickly into spaces,” all of which will have an impact on the future of VR.


What does the future hold for the metaverse?

Our Crew

As such an emerging piece of tech with uncertain and debatable future, we wanted to hear what Vince and Richard’s predictions were. 

Richard highlights the significance of big companies like Facebook and Microsoft taking this tech seriously, seeing this a gateway to the next phase of 3D worlds. He tells us there is a “bigger picture where people are seeing it as being ultimately, the future of the Internet as we know it.”

If the likes of Facebook see value in this, Richard believes that others will follow. He says, “Frankly, people want to move to that next generation… I think we’ll see an acceleration that perhaps we haven’t in the last 20 years.”

Vince adds his observations about the changing attitudes to how we interact with virtual environments: “I think it’s interesting to see that the level of engagement younger people have with 3D worlds is a lot different.” He predicts that as Gen Z becomes more of the workforce and continues to grow their influence on technology, the prevalence of the metaverse will increase.

“It looks like the market for this kind of thing is going to grow exponentially over the next 10 years, and I think it would be silly to not think about that at least consider the possibilities,” says Vince. “It’s really hard to know exactly where it’s going to end up, right? Everything is in flux at the moment. 

“I think what we’re seeing at the moment is a push towards decentralisation. Developments in blockchain and NFT’s are actually providing a more decentralised platform for emerging technologies. 

“I think what we’re likely to see is a bit more kind of interoperability between different virtual spaces and online places, with a much smoother transition between one and the other. That will, I think, lead to greater uptake in terms of people using it and players in the virtual world, in the metaverse I should say.”

It’s a huge topic to tackle, with no clear cut answers on what it will materialise into, but Rocketmakers is certain in that its work in 3D worlds, or the metaverse will align to their core values as a company. Vince tells us, “As a mission statement, we want to be democratising the metaverse. We want to make sure that it’s not just a small amount of people at the top that can do it.”

Thanks to Richard & Vince for taking the time to talk to us about the Metaverse and their product, Beam. To get more insights on their thoughts and see Beam in action, make sure to check out the full video interview here.