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weird open idea for games - those 3D printers becoming more common

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Jusr an open posting about what those  3D rinters might do for computer games (and games in general)

 

The way the technology is going they will have these machines alongside the picture printers at specialty and general shops sooner than later.

 

Custom props for a game --  to fondle while a level is loading  ?

 

'skins' for game controllers matching the games theme ??

 

all kinds of game paraphernalia (patterns) you get with a game to be 'printed'  (some future mechanism to block easy cloning/copy limiting)

Edited by creeper

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It'll sure make tabletop wargaming a lot cheaper. I could also see video games coming with printer designs for models from the game, the way collector's editions sometimes come with collectible models, but with no extra production and shipping cost.

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I don't think we are close enough for this to be common place, maybe in a decade or so, but i'd be highly doubtful we'd see dev's doing this anytime in the next few years.

Edited by slicer4ever

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Assuming they became common-place and the operating costs weren't overly high they would be fantastic for table-top gaming, and you could certainly produce accessories (figurines, controller covers, etc.) for video games, but they're not really something that's directly applicable to video game design unless you intend to produce something similar to Skylanders -- a video game which utilises physical models -- where players are able to create new characters/content.

 

 

They're definitely still quite a way from being common however, with even the cheapest printers costing around $1000 or more and operating costs also being reasonably high.

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They take their time to "print" stuff. Unless your game takes hours to load a scene, I don't see them printing directly usable things for a game.

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I foresee downloadable board games,  Sites springing up, like open-source-boad-games.com, where people post an ad for their board game, along with the rules/how to play, and include a download link for the 3D Objects as needed by various 3D printer applications.

 

I can also imagine Pausing a game (or a game in replay) and selecting the key parts, like two characters in a clash.  Then instead of saving the screen shot, you save the scene in a 3D printer compatible format.  And part of the game is to actually help you make really awesome 3D action models/scenes.

 

I don't foresee this as large scale, but heavy enough for major board game companies to feel worried, though not at a significant loss.  Marketing and shelf space is a huge part of how games sell successfully.

Edited by Dan Violet Sagmiller

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They take their time to "print" stuff. Unless your game takes hours to load a scene, I don't see them printing directly usable things for a game.

 

 

I first saw this technology like 20 years ago and its become easier to do and faster and will probably become alot faster yet (and cheaper).

 

Timeframe may be something like in next 5 - 10 years

 

Most likely you would not own the machine yourself but would go to a machine at your local supermarket like the way they have photo printer machine now.

Edited by wodinoneeye

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Player Awards?  You gain the 3D Model printer version while you get some other award in the game.  

 

How to make them uncopyable (so you dont just post the pattern on the internet for anyone to make the same thing)

 

The machines (store owned) would get the pattern (3D construction instructions) downloaded on-the-fly as a temporay data (part of the app that runs the machine)  It could be controlled that way.  The store would get part of the profits and carry the expense (neat way to get people to their store when then spend fortunes now on advertising to do the same thing .....)

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It is an interesting resource open to designers, and there are companies looking to roll out 'fabrication' centres in various places we already go for printing services. Saw something a few weeks about about Staples or another business supply chain apparently planning to start adding such services to their stores in the next while. Things are only getting faster, more reliable, and cheaper.

 

Something that looks really promising are multi-head print'n'mill setups for composite materials. One of my friends has a neat one setup that combines an automated stock milling machine with a set of robotic arms UV cure epoxy heads, and wrap spoolers for fibreglass or carbon fibre. When you set up a 'print job', it will begin by milling aluminium stock parts (if used in the model), set them aside, and start constructing stuff out of thin layers of fast UV cure epoxy and fibre strains.

 

The real neat trick is that is uses multiple cutting heads as well as printer heads along with the fibre spooling. It will print and mill in one setup, so rapidly lays down material in a semi-rough fashion, and then come back and do fine finish details by removing excess material and polishing. The coolest part is that not only can the machine mill its own parts, but the arms can actually be turned so that it will assemble the copy of itself (And will bring the new robotic arms online to help finish... Originally had the problem of not actually being able to reach the far side and needed someone to turn the piece around.), and after building your second copy, they can be linked to share parts fabrication between each other and pass stuff back and forth. (Plus they can daisy chain!)

 

Something the size of a human hand can be done in about 30 seconds if voids are allowed.

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