I was just catching up on the gamescom content on Xbox Live and amongst all the variants of Call of Duty and other shooters there was a trailer for Skylander:Spyro Adventures
I must have missed this too in the E3 2011 press as it is an interesting evolution of the offline/online interactions in games. The game comes with physical toys, 3 or them who are characters from the game. They are amongst a large set of character collectibles. So unlike many games now with DLC that you buy to unlock new features, here you get a toy that act as your unlock. Now we have seen things where the to has a code on it to unlock features, kinectimals being the most recent and some of the pet virtual worlds with cuddly crossovers. This toy is, however, active. You place it on a peripheral base and that detects the toy, but the toy (or some online key combination with the specific instance of the toy) keeps its stats and experience. The aim being you can take you version of the toys to a friends has, and play on.
Again this is not totally new (what is!) as the old dreamcast version of Sonic had a Chao “Tamagotchi” in the VMU (a detachable battery pack/and LCD mini screen on the controller). That was of course a good few years ago, before we had such great connectivity and high end consoles.
The merging of online and offline and considering your brand and the experience as a real interlinked one is certainly a growing business direction in entertainment. Just take a look at how huge Moshi Monster has become (you can find mine at http://www.moshime.com/epredator). Much of this comes from the idea that things are experiences to be shared wherever you are. It is ironic that the video games that were once though to be isolationist, selfish experiences once connected to the internet have become a massive social movement with a knock on into what people might think of as regular product.
You can probably see too that the natural extension of this online/offline activity is for the online activity to create the offline for you with 3d Printing. It would be great with this Spyro example if after playing it was obvious you character had levelled up as you toy now had some new armour on it you got from your friends 3d printer after playing the game?
@asanyfuleno spotted it on the Llewblog this weekend.
We had been talking about 3d printing and modelling things in situ in unusual environments. Then this popped up.
When I talk about 3d printing to people and suggest that it can be distributed across the planet to solve all sorts of issues there is usually the challenge of power and raw materials brought up. Here Markus Kayser powers with the sun, bit electricity to drive the steppers and the power of the sun to melt the abundant raw material of sand. This is also combined with some human intervention. Tools do not have to be completely automated if a quick bit of hands on solves the problem.
It’s like a real life Minecraft crafting table!
@andypiper pinged me and said was I aware of this upcoming event. I was not but I know if I had of been paying attention I would have been straight on the case for this. http://btween3d.co.uk/ is an upcoming event, the content of which is being formed right now that is aiming to reclaim 3D and push forward the sort of experiences that we can grow from various combinations of ideas and technologies. Not just sitting with specs on in the cinema.
It is something that I think we need to do, which is why I often finish my talks with the picture of an ecosystem of content and inputs/outputs and transformations.
Virtual worlds and data augmenting physical worlds, augmenting other virtual worlds and also 3d printed goods from environments affecting the interaction in a physical environment which in turn alters a virtual or augmented environment. Its a loop. It challenges where the boundaries of “3d” or immersion are. It stops people thinking that everything is in one place or done one way. It also points the way to a vast set of new uses and interactions and businesses to grow.
As an example, take Alice Taylor / @wonderlandblog and her startup Makieworld. Here Alice is creating a business to allow people to build their toys and 3d print them out. Now what happens when that toy is then part of another digital capture experience, e.g. being held whilst an xbox kinect mocaps the player. The previously digital to physical has become digital again.
It is a fascinating loop, with no particular end point or start point. It has had me pondering it for some time, and each pitch I give it becomes more obvious to me this is where we are heading. It’s not just AR layers, not just games, not just virtual worlds for meetings, not just social media, not just location based services, not just 3 visualization, not just printing a 3d model. It is all of those, with stories and meaning intertwined where we need it as humans to get benefit and pleasure.
On friday I had a trip to London, talking finance, equity shares, next steps for a major project all very heavy stuff. On the way back from the meeting one of my good friend and business partners and I stopped by at The Royal British Society of Sculptors on Old Brompton road.
The outside of the building had a reactive sculpture that opened mechanical umbrella type flowers that wound up the side of the building like a vine so I knew this would be interesting.
Inside the main exhibits were suitably technical yet artistic. One was the wearable tail, a robot fashionable tail that was really more like Second Life than south kensington. Others were water bubbles generated in a tank to create the shapes of numbers, which was a forerunner of the glowing ball structures that rise and fall with the stock market at the London Stock Exchange.
Out the back there were a set of design concepts for a competition that would be the next installation to replace the flowers out front.
I was immediately drawn to this model By Bruce Gernand FRBS
It was a computer designer 3d model that had been rendered using a 3d printer in order to be able to see the concept before it is rendered in full size aluminium.
So there I was in a sculpture society looking at a physical rendition for a virtual model that would become a full size one. That was the winner for me as you can imagine.
I left a comment that I would like to be able to share the experience of exploring the virtual model as well as seeing the physical model.
With HP doing deal with Stratasys moving into the 3d printing market this sort of thing will become a lot more common!
I was just typing an explanation of 3d Printing in one of the networks I frequent to help some people get a handle on 3d Printing.
It struck that the “just in” prefix worked quite well. We are all used to the notion of Just In Time when talking about stock levels in a shop or factory, having the resources you need when they are needed and not holding too much redundant and expensive stock.
With 3d printing we add the layer of it being just in time by its very nature, but it is also where we need it so it is Just in Place.
Just in Time, Just in Place with Just Enough Quantity seems to work for 3d printing?
I just received a sample from Objet of the results of their new PolyJet Matrix(tm) 3d printing technology. Why is this important? This particular technology means that in one pass an object can be constructed of several types and forms of material. In the example sent through, a rendering of Zebedee from the magic roundabout the various components all feel very different. Given my original 3d print sample was a small ABS plastic box from a few year ago things have really come on.
The hat and nose are actually made of a rubbery substance and soft to the touch, the spring flexes when you push on the sides of it and the body and head have some intricate detail and colour to them (such as the tiny buttons on his front).
It was an Object printer that was used by the creators of the Coraline movie in a very interesting way too.
There is a whole stack of information in particular on the entry level 350 printer here and you can follow @3d_printers on twitter.
I am even more convinced than ever of the impact of this sort of technology when combined with the digital design and distribution channels we have. It will continue to get cheaper, better and faster and as in my previous post about some uses of the printers we have a whole host of new business and entertainment uses to consider over and above pure manufacturing of products. This is akin to the differences in virtual world technology usage of mirror worlds and mirror builds compared to more expressive and unusual environments. Mix that all up with Augmented Reality applications and we have one very interesting leap and trends forming.
As experts in the field of design in this space also warn such as csven on ReBang there are responsibilities in learning to design these sorts of products. Making people aware of the opportunities in their product design profession will bring along safe usuable products.
Either way, like virtual worlds and Augmented Reality, 3d printing is not going away, in fact they are on a march together it would seem. So join the march I say 🙂