3D printing is undeniably one of the coolest technologies to reach the consumer market in the past five years. And yet, at first glance, it is not one that has much to do with games. While there may be significant overlap between game enthusiasts and those interested in 3D printing, there aren’t many direct links between the two. That said, there are are many reasons why gamers love 3D printing, and we discuss five of them below.
1. You can create unique figurines
The most obvious attraction of 3D printing for video game enthusiasts is that it can produce figurines that would not exist otherwise. This is perhaps most relevant for games that resemble table games, such as the “5 amazing games like D&D you should definitely play” that we highlighted in another recent article. For these games, you can design character models (or download them, if you can find available models) and print them – either as souvenirs, or to design your own table version of a game.
2. You can do it quickly
Something like the idea I just mentioned can also be done quickly. If you come across a new game you love or are in a hurry to finish a table game project based on a favorite video game, you have options that can lead to rapid production. First and foremost, professional 3D printing services have become much easier to access and use. A look at the manufacturing methods by Fictiv such as 3D printing and a few similar options reveal that products can now be acquired “at unprecedented speeds” – sometimes going from design to completion in just a day or two. Alternatively, if you invest in your own 3D printer, you can naturally arrange for the designs to take place in your own home – although the good ones are not cheap, and you will also have material costs to consider.
3. Your playroom can be amazing
Beyond figurines or game adaptations, 3D printing also opens up a world of decorations and furniture. Whether you are using existing designs or learning how to create your own, you can use technology to fully customize your gaming space. For some, this could mean increasing console or television configurations with interesting features; for others, it could mean printing important symbols or objects from favorite games to adorn shelves, walls and tables; and for others still, it could even mean the impression of replicas of old consoles, purely as decorations. Either way, 3D printing (and a little creativity) gives you just about every option you could hope for.
4. Game accessories can be customized
Similar to the decoration, the game accessories can also be personalized via 3D printing according to your preferences. The best example of this idea in action could actually come from IKEA. CNET says the company’s Uppkoppla line, which basically includes a series of bizarre but useful 3D-printed innovations designed to make gamers comfortable. The product line includes things like wrist support and softer keys for PC gamers, and can simply inspire you to imagine some of your printable designs that can keep you comfortable. In the meantime, you can also consider customizing more essential gaming accessories, such as your own keyboard, joystick, or mouse.
5. You can (one day) bring the games to life
It is more a concept close to the future than a current idea. But one day, you may be able to print 3D game figurines with electronic capabilities, so that, in a way, you can bring the games to life. At present, although technically feasible, this would require a great deal of technical know-how. However, 3D printing is already progressing to support projects with more advanced features. Digital trends‘Article on 3D printed prostheses highlights the most interesting examples. Basically, we now see artificial limbs printed in 3D and built to allow for various physical abilities. Obviously, this is a much more important application of technology than anything related to gaming. However, one can also see that it is not a huge switch from printed prostheses to play figures with the ability to imitate human or animal movements. In a few years, players may be able to stage Super Smash Bros battles with physical figures, or even create small platform levels for the characters.
Most of these ideas still require a lot of effort. The design of 3D printing is not something you learn overnight. However, from figurines to decorations and accessories passing by some exciting future possibilities, there are finally many savvy players to get out of this technology.
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