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Role Playing (Games) Technology

How They 3D Print Your WoW Character 54

WoW Insider had the chance to sit down with Ed Fries, the founder of the new and highly unique business FigurePrints. Fries is best known for his work at Microsoft on the original Xbox, but he hasn't been idle since he left the company in 2004. His newly launched service allows World of Warcraft players to 'print' their characters out as 3D sculptures. He and blogger Mike Schramm discuss the origins of the company, and the process used to make the figs: "At heart, it's basically an inkjet printer, which is pretty cool. It actually uses HP-11 inkjet printheads. But instead of printing on paper, it prints on a thin layer of plaster powder. So you have to imagine that there's a bay with a platform, and a spreader bar comes in and spreads a very thin layer of plaster powder, which has the consistency of flour. So it gets spread onto the platform, like a sheet of paper. And then the printheads come out, and they print right into that plaster. It sets the ink on top of it, and like paper it soaks into it-that plaster hardens."
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How They 3D Print Your WoW Character

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  • Price subjective? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tink2000 ( 524407 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:30PM (#21671921) Homepage Journal
    Not in my mind: $115 could get me more than 10 months worth of game time.
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:32PM (#21671963) Homepage
    If this isn't news for nerds, I don't know what is.
  • by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @12:49PM (#21672289) Homepage Journal

    Not in my mind: $115 could get me more than 10 months worth of game time.
    Well, the alternatives, if you want something like this, are either learn to sculpt and paint a figure yourself, or pay someone else to do it.

    If you were to hire a modeler to do it, most likely they'd be able to take some shortcuts to reduce their workload (for instance, using recast parts from existing figure kits to make the basic body form) but it'd still represent a whole lot of work. $100 would probably be a bargain if you went this route... The results you get would depend on how much you're willing to pay, and how committed the modeler is to getting it right.

    If you were to learn to do it yourself - obviously this is a significant investment of time and effort for most people. You could very likely wind up with a lesser monetary cost, but a much higher cost in terms of effort and time spent on the project.

    As someone who's accustomed to $30-$40 mass-produced model kits (and first-run resin kits priced over $100) I'd say a custom-manufactured figure for about $100 ain't too shabby, if you want one.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @01:17PM (#21672845)
    Must agree. I'm also a modeler (mostly figure and sci-fi subjects. I do a little WW2 and modern general aviation too), and being used to the cost of resin garage kits, this doesn't seem all that bad. To put into perspective: I paid $80 for a 1/72nd scale BSG (New Series) Viper Mk II kit that is about 5 inches long. I've seen PLENTY of figure kits go for at or above $200. Dropping $100 on a nice little figure like this is not bad at all.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:01PM (#21673555) Journal

    What better way to remember the complete waste your life is sitting in front of a computer for hours and hours each day...

    "Oh I've wasted my life..."

    As opposed to someone whose life is so meaningfully spent trolling a message board? Oh yes, that's _got_ to be some achievement and valuable skills for life. How I envy you, sir ;)

    Newsflash: yes, the _whole_ purpose of it is to waste some time in a fun way. We already know that. And I'm writing that as someone who doesn't even play WoW any more.

    Thing is, humans weren't built to sit and stare at the walls. Even spreading some fresh paint on them and watching it dry, isn't actually all that exciting ;)

    So we find things to fill our time with, that's more fun, and preferrably something different than what we do at work. You know, so those parts of the brain get some rest and some time to index and pre-process the information into permanent storage.

    So some people sit at the couch and watch football. It's technically time wasted, but if they have fun there, that's what matters.

    Some spend their life playing prom-queen, yakking the most recent gossip, and playing a complicated game of who's-popular-with-whom. It's rarely as useful as its proponents make it sound. Most of those people will give even less of a damn about you in a pinch, than your guildmates in WoW. Not saying that the latter is some gold standard of human empathy and helpfulness. More like that a clique of wannabe prom-queens is even more likely to just worry about their own "score" in that fucked-up game than about your problems.

    In effect, that's mostly just another way to waste some time in a more entertaining way than watching paint dry.

    Some people go sit on a lake's edge with a fishing rod, and pretend that it's some valuable survival skill (it isn't), or could feed a family (it doesn't), or that it builds character (it doesn't.) See, that thing doesn't really scale. We're too high a population, to feed ourselves with a fishing rod, and a too fucked up economy to buy anything with money earned selling that fish. The only way to make any money with fish is with either a fish farm, or a big fucking ship with nets and huge fridges. Unless you can afford either, you will _not_ keep your family fed with fishing, even in the most fantastic scenario imaginable.

    Nope, that's just another way to waste some time in a way that the fisher finds more fun than watching paint dry.

    Some people spend half of their free time fiddling with their car, and pretending that it makes them Real Men. Oh, and usually it comes with some pretense that it saves them such a huge heap of money. Newsflash: if it were about money, then get a second job in that time, and take your car to a mechanic when it breaks. Saving maybe 20 bucks on repairs even 1-2 times a year, at the expense of spending hundreds of hours in the garage per year, doesn't actually work out as great money/hour even in the poorest countries.

    So, nope, that's another way to waste some time in a more entertaining way than watching paint dry.

    Some go out in some god-forsaken woods or on some god-forsaken mountain and pretend that they're learning such great skills in the process. Well, yes, they do, except the catch is: the only times they'll ever use those skills is when they next do that highly unnatural exercise. There is _no_ time in a city when you'll have to find your way by seeing which side of the trees the moss grows on. And if you're into finding your way by the sun or stars, good luck with having line of sight or visibility for either. And here's another fun thought: you want _practical_ orientation skills? Get a GPS navigation sytem and learn to use it. _That_ is where orientation is at nowadays. So, anyway, it's skills that are in practice just as useful as my WoW skills: useful only when you go there again.

    Yup, you've guessed my verdict: it's just another way people spend their time to h

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @02:51PM (#21674513) Journal
    Well, I guess it boils down to whether you need it or not. Bang/buck is a very variable thing, especially in a matter of personal tastes where everyone has another idea of what the "bang" is.

    If you're into such figurines, yeah, it's not a bad price at all. If you don't, then it is.

    If you always wanted such a figurine, yeah, it beats sculpting one yourself. But even there it forks. For some people it's doing it that's the fun, not the owning the figurine.

    E.g., a lot of tabletop wargame players actually are more into modding and painting the figurines than in actually playing with them. Actually playing a, say, 2000 point battle, is half way an occasion to show those figurines off, and half way an excuse as to why they're doing it. But some have painted 10 times the figurines they'll ever need, and have plenty they've never used.

    So I guess everyone's mileage varies.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @03:59PM (#21675475) Journal
    It depends on the guild, I guess.

    On one hand, yes, the average WoW player seems to not care about anything except epic loot. I won't argue with you about that. It _is_ the truth.

    On the other hand, I've ended up in a guild where "epic" was a forbidden word on the guild channel. Mostly formed out of people who had enough of the raiding guilds drama and obsessions. Some had founded a guild, and ended up kicked out of it, because they couldn't take part in _every_ _single_ MC raid. (Yeah, it was before BC.) Which I guess just confirms your point about most guilds.

    But the fact remains, you do have a choice of people you associate with. If hanging around with a bunch of virtual sociopaths, who care only about their precious loot and who see your only value as helping them get it, starts to get on your tits, you can always find yourself a different group.

    Of course that might mean kissing goodbye the chances of getting the missing pieces of your top tier gear. So I guess it's time to ask yourself what your priorities are.

    Me, I actually found it a lot more fun to hang around people who actually act like a bunch of friends. I was actually glad to be rid of "contribution points", planned raid nights, peer pressure, and all that stress. It's actually more fun (for me) to know that if, say, my engineer made a rifle and scope for some newbie hunter, it's just, you know, because I like helping newbies. Not for 2 contribution points, not because they might have a high level alt to help me in return, just because I was bored enough to make a rifle for a newbie. Or maybe I'll go run a perfect stranger warrior through RFK for their armour quest instead of doing the raid of the day. Just because they asked politely and said "please." Pick their hunter friend too, because he wanted to tame one of those boars. Or whatever.

    But I guess everyone's mileage varies, so I'm not saying that everyone should swear off their epic gear. Just saying that such guilds do exist. Whether you're crazy enough to actually want to be in one, that's not for me to decide.

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