MAKE readers may not be strangers to 3D printing, but there’s a large segment of the gaming population who hasn’t experienced the pleasures of bringing the digital world into the physical one. With 3D printing services like Shapeways or Sculpteo, artists, engineers, and the curious may by able to bypass the expense and technical overhead of owning a printer, but knowledge of modeling and texturing skills, not to mention artistic abilities, are still required.
Berkley Frei and TJ Young hope to break down these barriers and bring the promise of 3D printing to the game-playing masses with web and mobile app Sandboxr. The program allows anyone to select from a library of game characters and props, pose them into a scene by scrubbing through the model’s provided animations, or directly manipulate the characters into a completely unique pose. When you’re done, you submit your scene, and soon receive a custom color statue of your favorite game character in your mailbox (the physical one, the one outside your house).
Game developers can create their own storefronts, too, with characters and props from their game, and the service has great potential for providing physical rewards for in-game achievement. Imagine a game where every time you defeat a boss, you unlock that character’s model in Sandboxr. You can then order a print as a trophy rack, or fashion them wearing a tutu, signifying your total dominance of your enemies. Or a game could allow you to pose and outfit your in-game character in their best gear. The possibilities are fun to imagine.
Sandboxr is currently running a Kickstarter campaign and a closed beta, so if the idea of broadening the audience of 3D printing to kids and gamers excites you, you can help get the venture off the ground.