CES: Dimension X Demos Bonfire Virtual Story Creation Tools

For the most part, exhibitors in the Gaming and Metaverse areas at CES 2023 didn’t touch on the latent problems with consumer adoption of the metaverse. While worlds like “Fortnite” and “Roblox” that draw consistently high MAUs do so because they offer fun mechanics, the many metaverse platforms on exhibit generally did not provide compelling reasons for why companies — much less consumers — should spend time in their worlds. Dimension X’s booth was a standout on the floor, however, as it showcased Bonfire, a soon-to-be-released tool to enable the seamless creation of narrative mechanics within virtual worlds.

Bonfire offers a drag and drop visual creation engine that is built to support narrative interaction. The problem to solve, according to Dimension X’s co-founder and CTO Kyle Ringgenberg: “I built this gorgeous world and brought my people into the world, now what?” The tool offers a visual story tree that enables creators to easily encode branching logic for interaction within the world.

The foundational units for the front-end narrative builder are Sparks, which take a visual asset (any glTF file can be pulled into the system) and pair it with a behavioral logic script that accounts for cause and effect.

Within a given instance, this allows assets to change states based on how they have been interacted with. Sparks can fall under a number of different categories (environment, animals, weapons, etc.). Bonfire comes with pre-programmed categories and inheritance structures for these categories, but savvy users can use the system to program their own.

Currently, Bonfire’s use case is targeted towards smaller, curated experiences within virtual worlds created on their native platform. The team has seen interest around enabling “Dungeons & Dragons”-style experiences, or educational offerings where teachers can lead their classroom through space.

By using Sparks as their baseline asset type, however, Bonfire is building a system that accounts for the ways that an asset exists in the context of story — enabling an important experiential unlock for virtual world creation.

Although the current functionality is limited to its native app, a key feature on Bonfire’s roadmap is the launch of an SDK that will enable Sparks to export to other experiences. This would make it easier for creators to deploy narrative experiences and interactive quests within virtual worlds, while ensuring that narrative interoperability is aligned with technical interoperability.

Set to have their open release at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this March in San Francisco, Dimension X is planning to roll out a private beta even sooner, targeting creators who attended the Metaverse Creator Summit last year.

Dimension X is a Silicon Slopes company with offices in Dallas, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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