I have been fascinated by the Metaverse for a long time. It started in 1997 when I read Neal Stephenson's seminal novel, Snow Crash and got blown away by his rendition of the future of the Internet. This also got me reading other cyberpunk novels by William Gibson and Ernst Kline who introduced me to this fascinating , often dystopian rendition of this 3D virtual world which was the literal future of the Internet.
I decided to begin my entrepreneurial journey soon after I graduated from NID in 2001. I was doing a number of things including product and automotive design, graphic and web design and stuff but my mind kept coming back to how I could possibly start a company that does Metaverse development.
It was only around 2005 though, that I started working on shared 3D experiences in virtual spaces with a client and mentor called Markus Schneider, who owned a small robotics and automation firm called DeltaDrive. As part of my learning, I was helping design simple 3D spaces for simulation and visualization using VRML and Rhinoceros 3D.
Markus introduced me to Active Worlds and Second Life for building more sophisticated environments, the latter world still being a place I head to occasionally till date. I was fully hooked by then.
In 2006 I decided that I wanted to start working on building virtual experiences and metaverse development. Got together with a group of friends and set up a company called VR1 Metaverse Development (' We Are One' - get it?)- The website was vr1world.net which I really thought was clever at the time.
We bought an Island in Second Life and called it India. The big problem was that this was 2006 and nobody had heard of either virtual reality or the metaverse, so we shut down a year later due to funding and operational issues.
And then in 2007, Second Life boomed. Suddenly everyone was talking about how awesome virtual worlds were for everything from retail to real estate. I had set up my own company called Trimensions Metaverse Development by then, and because it was practically the only agency in India offering development services in Second Life we got a lot of attention. And business.
Ironically enough, my first real Metaverse client was the dairy giant Amul, who wanted to set up a virtual ice cream parlour in Second Life. Definitely a company I had not expected to see in a virtual world!
Their space was one of the longest running we'd ever built though, going on for about three years and pretty successful. Trimensions did get a lot of other clients but Amul was special to me and still is :)
Those were good days, we were building out tons of spaces for clients all across the industry, as well as creating fun spaces and experiences just for the heck of it.
And then the boom died down a couple of years later, because people realized it actually took quite a lot of bandwidth and tons of computing power to actually run Second Life and there were hardly any people in India back then who had either.