Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kickstarter Launch Detected

by SandWyrm


You might remember me mentioning Sandboxr in my last post on 3D printing. Well, they've launched their Kickstarter. So there's a lot of new stuff to see. Including the future of custom gaming miniatures. Select an animation, scroll to the pose you want, add some weapons and... GW dies.

32 comments:

  1. As will the rest of the miniature gaming companies. Once the 3D printing becomes the norm, who knows what will survive.

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    1. Yeah, I'm really not being fair. GW will last longer than Battlefront will. They at least have the systems in place to compete on price with bulk plastics. Even if they don't yet have the leadership they need to take advantage of it.

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    2. From what you've described previously, it sounds like Battlefront is already fighting a losing war (just from the miniature perspective) with PSC.

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  2. Thanks for the link on this one, SW - really enjoyed watching through these videos.

    What do you think about their business model? Will 3D printing services become widespread enough to support the company, or is is more the longterm thinking?

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    1. Shapeways is already making money doing this same thing for general 3D printing. Sandboxer is just taking it to the next level (in color), with an obvious focus on gaming minis.

      Expect them to release an Dev Kit for independent artists to create anything they want, animate it, and offer it up for customization and sale on their site. Over time, there will be a LOT of not-quite Space Marines for sale. Bet on it.

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  3. For now we'll begin to see the death of skirmish games first. This video was amazing...

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    1. Oh, the GAMES will survive, and even prosper. But the traditional GW retail model is going to go extinct. Folks will buy games, then look around elsewhere for the figures to use with them.

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    2. Or I should say... The GOOD games will survive and prosper.

      The poorly written games, which are really only thinly disguised ploys to sell expensive models, won't survive once (legal and illegal) alternatives become available (in full color) through 3D printing.

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  4. As cool as this is, I think there will still be a market for plastic kits and traditional minis - and I think that companies will learn to adapt by perhaps selling designs which you print and pose yourself. Sculptors are already doing most of their designs digitally so i think the transition will not be energy-intensive. I mean, the music industry didn't die when writable CDs and downloadable mp3s became the norm.

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    1. There will still be a market for plastic kits, just not a lucrative one. Certainly not one that can support the structural inefficiencies of a GW, or the adherence to outdated methods of a Battlefront.

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    2. Hmm, not sure what you mean by "structural inefficiencies." Can you elaborate on that?

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    3. The Plastic Soldier Company is 2 guys and a computer. That's the kind of middle-volume garage business that GW will eventually have to compete with. Plus the even less centralized 3D printing community that is in its early stages of forming.

      From a technical standpoint, they can compete. Kicking out plastic kits at competitive prices. They have that ability on the design and manufacturing end.

      But what about the bloated overhead of the company? They have a retail arm that's on life support. They have management and investors that are addicted to dividends and stock valuations. Can the company survive selling kits with PSC-like profit margins?

      Not without a buyout, massive layoffs, and a painful restructuring. They simply aren't efficient enough. See Kodak or Motorolla as examples of once-great companies that couldn't adapt to a new marketplace.

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    4. Gotcha. Well, guess it's time to enjoy the hobby now. I for one would never get into 3d printing...not enough time. I'd rather just buy kits.

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    5. You'll buy 3D-Printed 'kits' online and have them delivered to your door. You won't have to do any more modeling on a computer than you'd want to.

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  5. Hi SandWyrm, that video has very interesting implications. I believe you now, that the hobby will become for most people posing their models on a computer and then colouring them in. I could do that for hours!

    Personally I really enjoy the phyical act of painting, and I think nothing will ever beat a hand-painted model, so if I were to have models printed I'd get them printed colourless. I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm betting the armies of the future will be of two types: pre-coloured and hand-painted.

    I think one of the best implications is for sculptors rather than CAD workers. Sure, you could play the game of posing your dudes and printing them out, but a person with actual talent could sculpt in real life, and then scan, and then mass-produce without the hassle of moulds and casting.

    I actually have a friend who is part of a consortium that bought a 3D printer. They're very expensive, I doubt we'll ever see them in every house. I've been trying to convince him that there's money in mini games so I might send him that link.

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  6. Nah, just sculpt on the computer. It's actually easier/faster than doing it by hand.

    http://pixologic.com/

    And that software has been around for 10 years now. Used it. Taught it. Works great!

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    1. But it lacks the feeling of actually carving it with the hands. As someone who is artistically inclined, I have to say that painting digitally can get some cool effects, but it's a totally different sensation to getting your hands dirty with paints and canvas.
      Same with sculptors. I'm 100% sure they love the feel of sculpting physical objects with their hands and watching it take shape in he world in front of them. Otherwise the wouldn't do it.

      That's the thing with art, the point is not always just to find the fastest and easiest way to get the result. Some people grow their own grain and bake their own bread, even though they could buy it sliced at the store.

      Anyway that's all beside the point though :)

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    2. There are haptic devices that would work with Zbrush, so it's be more like real scupting. It's also possible to undo errors and do all the other neat things CAD allows.

      If you really like physical sculpting there's also some really nice 3d scanners now so you could get a mesh into the PC that way.

      The edge the PC and printing has is you can make one object and then duplicate it really easily.

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    3. You love whatever method you're used to. Me? I've done both, and I prefer modeling/sculpting on a computer. I can actually do better work on one, because I can go back and tweak proportions without losing the details that I've made.

      Need to make a jaw bigger or more square? Grab a big brush and pull/shape it. Doing so doesn't wipe out the 4+ hours you spent on the lips, or the cleft of a chin.

      Need to smooth something out? There's a brush for that too. Click. Done. You don't spend 15 minutes sanding or smoothing something. Only to lose that time because the jaw is too small. :)

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  7. Well, now that GW made sure to break their market and prevent sales, 3d printing will be a necessity if one wants to continue on this hobby w/o paying 50 bucks for a 5 man squad of whatever

    http://www.miniwargaming.com/content/games-workshop-prohibits-online-sales-sales-bitz-and-more

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wn5gq2srlbvxs6l/mhXkq4nVgZ

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    1. I also noticed after reading that selling bits isn't allowed by GW anymore. Good isn't it?

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    2. Nor selling from company-to-company.

      The immediate effect of that new policy will be to drive bitz prices up. They won't eliminate that market, they'll just force those guys to buy the kits they want to chop up through a regular distributor, instead of directly from GW. We'll pay more for meltaguns & whatever, but they'll still be available.

      The more interesting thing will be the backlash (or lack of it) here in the US. Because I think the real target of this policy is the companies that are currently selling to Australia and other overseas locations. Where GW's prices are unreasonable. Particularly those companies that ship from Britain/EU.

      GW wants to shut down Wayland Games and others that use sales to front companies to get around GW's official embargo. But going after Wayland without a low-risk USA trial balloon, would risk a big backlash from Wayland. Who's something like 10-15% of GW's UK sales. So they're trying to boil the frog slowly.

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    3. True, bits will be sold after their newest embargo. Not that it affects us from Brazil, since people here found ways to get GW w/o GW getting on our way for sometime now.

      Shame really, I liked 40k and was even thinking of getting some Tau. Guess the chinese will be richer now.

      Also, now I'm sure that GW will never ever come to Brazil or have a sales rep here since we have laws preventing this behavior.

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    4. I'm quite fond of the anti-billboard laws in Brazil (or at least San Juan). Wish we could get something like that here. :)

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  8. They can't stop ebay. Sell "in store" to an front company then use the ebay company to sell the products online.

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    1. You should read the PDF GW sent out.

      They gotta stop 'dem 'Freeloaders' from damaging their IP. Did we mention IP? We're protecting our IP. IP, IP, IP...

      "Can you show me on this picture, Mr. Kirby, where they touched your IP?" :P

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    2. I though of that too but they are saying no to sales from company to company, so one might not be able to have a store selling to someone selling on e-bay because the person who bought it is not a consumer.

      Thing is, I can't believe that the US doesn't have any free commerce law or something like that, preventing a company from interfering with who another company may or may not sell a product to, or even from refusing to sell a product already being sold to the public.

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    3. It's unenforceable on the local level anyway. Is GW going to start going through the books of each FLGS? Fat chance of that.

      Make no mistake, this is aimed at the big players, not the little ones.

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  9. Yeah a Chinese wall wouldn't get around the legality, but it would make a dumb policy completely unenforceable.

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  10. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/photon-3d-scanner

    Don't even need to be a very good caster to copy now. All for 499usd

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    1. Nice.

      The software has existed for years to build a 3D model from a series of photographs. When I did some work for P&G scanning products for virtual shopping systems, we used a rig with 3 digital cameras and a turntable to capture 30 or so pics of an object to build from.


      This rig automates that system and probably takes 100 or more photos for a higher quality mesh.

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