3D printed game character
A 3D printed model of a Sandboxr character
Japanese tech giant, Sony has filed a patent for a system which would allow video game characters to be 3D printed.
Sony has been regarded as conspicuous in its absence on the 3D printing scene as an innovative technology brand. But it now appears to be ready to use its vast video-gaming experience to meet the growing public demand for 3D-printed products. Hardcore gamers are often enticed by their favourite virtual characters, especially in roleplaying games such as Minecraft and World of Warfare. Thus, this development could mean a huge advancement in video game merchandising.
The patent application, initially filed in April 2015, detailed a ‘device and method of selecting an in-game object for 3D printing.’ There is currently a group of seven inventors working on this device for Sony Computer Entertainment in the UK and Japan.
Their method involves periodically rendering a virtual environment of a video game for display at a succession of points in time. The information recorded enables visual reconstruction of at least part of the virtual image targeted. A predetermined set of values, also periodically recorded, enables the model of a selected part of the rendered virtual environment to be generated and configured for 3D printing.
The programme will record 3D data, allowing the user to extract, customise and 3D print their favourite video game characters. According to the patent, all the user needs to do is select an object, modify it to their liking and either order it, or print it in their own home. Gamers will even be able to 3D print a whole scene. For example, at times of virtual war, the gamer would be able to print a 3D model of the in-game characters doing battle at critical point of the game’s storyline.
The extensively detailed patent also explained how the system would 3D print two-dimensional objects on a screen. As with the 3D printing of realistic objects, the device would have to create multiple renders from a number of angles within the virtual world. With multiple photographs being taken from multiple angles, it will be made possible to create a 3D model of a character and/or scene.
While 3D printing and gaming have demonstrated a high level of compatibility through a range of projects, no major corporation has ever released plans for a product of this magnitude.
With Sony’s intentions clear, to bring video game merchandise to their customers with 3D printing, additive technology could be brought to a wider entertainment audience than ever before.
Sony did not specifically mention the Playstation series, but it seems this would be the most reasonable use case for any 3D printing system.