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THERE.com Designs Kiwimonk Design by Kiwi_G

When I was 15, I started creating in-game designs for the THERE.com online 3D world. THERE provided a phenomenal platform to hone my Photoshop skills, sell products to a global community, and manage all aspects of an in-game auction system.

Over the next four years under the username Kiwi_G, I would develop the brand "Kiwimonk Design," which became known for its playful, detailed, themed buggies and other vehicles. After 70+ unique designs with 3000+ units sold in addition to custom projects, I was incredibly fortunate to have my work featured on various gaming news sites and have a fan club of 200+ members who would receive special offers and announcements.

I broke into the designer scene with an over-the-top "Holiday Sleigh Buggy" which went on to become a collector's item that sold in auctions for over $100. I would go on to produce a number of limited edition holiday themed buggies in addition to other mini-collections of virtual designs: BMW replicas, Kiwimonk Racer, and Superheroes.

Each paintjob was created in Photoshop on top of a provided painter template and optimized for three different levels of model detail in a proprietary Previewer application. Items were then submitted for approval with an associated submission cost (handled through a virtual currency known as ThereBucks, $1 = $T2,000). Designers could then list items (which possessed a wholesale cost) for sale in an auction system.

I priced my designs based on a number of factors: whether or not it was a limited edition, how many copies were to be released, the average market price, sales needed to break even etc. Third party sites enabled me to convert Therebucks to cash through buy back programs at a slightly higher exchange rate.

THERE also provided my first exposure to 3D modeling as I used a freeware CAD software to model the Kiwimonk: Toilet Bike, a task that involved optimizing the number of polygons to meet rendering specifications, mapping out the texture file, and creating the paintjob. All of my designs were showcased on my personal site at the time, which playfully mimicked THERE's auction pages.

THERE.com eventually filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 due to an unsustainable revenue model despite having an extremely large user base.

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