This Is Not an NFT Art Fair

Computer game · 3D · ui/UX · research

A computer game that presents a speculative NFT art fair in a virtual world. The setting assumes a future where NFTs have become embedded in the arts, so that players can see the potential implications of using them and then decide for themselves whether they support the technology.

DAAPWorks 2022 Director's Choice Award for Interaction Design

Download the game here

See game build documentation here

See case study here

Game Trailer

Music by Kevin MacLeod


Sample of the gameplay, showing the reception room and first gallery


In the game, the player can walk around the gallery, inspect the NFTs for sale, and talk to characters scattered throughout. Through these touchpoints, the player learns more about how NFTs have developed in this speculative world, and the pros and cons of their use.

By setting the project in the future, I wanted to emphasize the possible ramifications of using NFTs. For better or worse, buying an NFT of a JPG doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Some think that NFTs will eventually revolutionize how digital commerce works, so it was imperative that I showed a glimpse of what that might look like.


Collage from selected samples of my research

Research was done through reading related literature, looking at memes, conducting interviews, attending NFT-related events/talks, and striking up conversations about NFTs with the people around me.

After analyzing my research and organizing my findings, I was able to narrow down which subtopics were the most critical to address in my game. These subtopics included the metaverse, environmental impacts, finances in art, and digital ownership.

These NFT subtopics I singled out directly informed the concepts behind the NFT artworks, the characters, and the dialog.

Sample of my photos and notes from the Art Institute of Chicago

I also visited several art museums and and took notes on how the art was presented. These findings informed the level design of the game, which exaggerates the scale of a contemporary art gallery.

Visual Design Process

Initial concept art

With the exception of the music and a few premade game assets, everything in this game was produced by me, based off of my extensive research into this topic space. The game deliberately uses a style and color palette that is evocative of the language of tech.

Rounded edges, monospaced typefaces, and flat geometric shapes are examples of game elements inspired by the design of brands like Meta or IBM. These elements help make the game's speculative "gallery" seem more real.

Selected UI/UX mockups

The tech inspiration was especially apparent in the player interfaces throughout the game.

The interfaces are designed with the assumption that in this speculative future, interactions usually associated with video games—like examining an object more closely—have become commonplace in digital art showcases.

Selected 3D model sketches

The 3D models were created in Cinema 4D and imported into Unreal Engine. The models were generally made using simple shapes combined together, so while creating these assets I had to negotiate between realism and what would read most clearly.

Game Creation Process

Visual scripting screen and screenshot from an early game prototype

The game itself was created in Unreal Engine, which I learned to use in order to complete this project. Coding for the game's interactions were accomplished with Unreal Engine's visual scripting system, Blueprint.

I created a prototype of the game with basic features and tested it with users before moving on to the final version. Throughout the build process, I sought feedback from a variety of players to ensure that my game would be accessible even to people who don't play computer games.

For more detail on how I made the game, click here.