Thursday, September 27, 2012

The future of gaming?

Image from Formlabs.
I saw this story on WIRED about a new 3-D printer that uses light instead of heat to create objects.  The Formlabs company's Form 1 is a high-resolution, low maintenance device that allows users to print three-dimensional objects like wargaming miniatures.  The company's doing a Kickstarter to get the device into production.

Coincidentally, on The Miniatures Page, there's a discussion about 3-D printers.  Putting aside the intellectual property issues, I see these home-office fabrication devices as a boon to miniature wargamers who happen to be early adopters.  While it will be easy to scan and copy existing sculpts, I know that gamers and artists will also use this type of device in new and imaginative ways--and since electronics get cheaper every year, I can see this gadget soon costing about the same as a laser printer.

Right now, there are a number of designers who sell wargaming figures on Shapeways.  Soon more of us will be creating our own at home.  How do you see 3-D printing affecting gaming?


Anonymous said...

Someday, most homes will have a 3D printer of some sort. They'll eventually get so cheap that they'll be almost disposable, like deskjet printers or dvd players today. For gamers that like to use miniatures, they'll be a boon: print your own minis, terrain features and dungeon tiles.

-Ed Green

Anonymous said...

The printer needs to print a material that's strong enough to paint and use at the table, so at least as good as the WotC plastic figures but hopefully something more like a hard resin could be available.

The material needs to be cheap enough that printing your own plastic figure is cheaper than buying one off the internet (with shipping).

The device needs to have no locks on what files it can print, no DRM is what I mean, or else we need third-party drivers that don't care about what's in the file.

If any of those things hasn't evolved yet, it's not useful to us.

HoldFast said...

Absolutely! I've scoured the web desperately looking for some sci-fi infantry models that appear, well, futuristic?? So many I've seen have high tech body armor but so very 20th century weapons. And nobody makes female models in full body armor, if you understand my meaning. Just can't find the right look, so I want to create some original 3d models and have a 3d printer service make them up.