Are miniatures and dungeon tiles going the way of the dodo?

Or at least their profitability? 3D printing is becoming more and more of a thing, and by the time 5th edition comes out they are probably going to be extremely affordable. Everyone makes a big deal out of their ability to print of guns and other such naughty stuff but I think their potential useability in our hobby is being underplayed.

In five years no longer will people have to pay and arm and a leg to get the plastic miniatures in randomized packs. You'll be able to select the miniature that YOU want and print it out right in the comfort of your living room. Same with dungeon tiles.

What effect do you think this will have on D&D Next? 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
I prefer to see roll-out flexible touch-screen LCD displays that can project images in real time and be uploaded with interactive maps that allow players to move their virtual pieces on the table. It is only a matter of time before flexible touch-screen gaming mats make it into the TTRPG realm.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
I think you've kinda proved exactly the opposite, 3D printing will make minitures even MORE important and make dungeon tiles even MORE important for D&D games. Just because you can print something out doesn't mean that it's expertly painted. Hopefully in the near future you'll be buying MORE from companies like Dwarven Forge for bigger and more awesome table top dungeons. And hopefully what 3D printing does is lower the cost for the rest of us. What does that mean for D&D? That it now caters to a much larger group of people interested in playing with cool dungeons as well as the normal theatre of the mind people that choose to not play with any miniatures.
I prefer to see roll-out flexible touch-screen LCD displays that can project images in real time and be uploaded with interactive maps that allow players to move their virtual pieces on the table. It is only a matter of time before flexible touch-screen gaming mats make it into the TTRPG realm.



ROFL, I would also like a $20,000 flexible touchscreen to play D&D on. Who the heck uses pencil and paper these days?

I just hope beyond hope the Star Trek Holodeck gets invented before I die. 
Holodeck?  Eew.  That thing malfunctions almost as much as the transporter and is a fraction as useful.


Anyway, yeah... accessable 3D printing wouldn't remove minis, it would just change distrobution methods.  Prepainted plastic minis still look good out of the box, which you can't do with a 3-d printer... and somebody still has to do the sculpt to begin with.  This isn't going to be a problem for WotC or Reaper (which makes the "pathfinder" minis), it's going to be a problem for Games Workshop having to deal with people who scan and replicate a sprue rather than buying 10 boxes of little army men for their army.

So really, I think the alarm bells should be ringing in the next hobby over.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

I prefer to see roll-out flexible touch-screen LCD displays that can project images in real time and be uploaded with interactive maps that allow players to move their virtual pieces on the table. It is only a matter of time before flexible touch-screen gaming mats make it into the TTRPG realm.



ROFL, I would also like a $20,000 flexible touchscreen to play D&D on. Who the heck uses pencil and paper these days?

I just hope beyond hope the Star Trek Holodeck gets invented before I die. 


 C'mon man. Of course when technology is breaking out at the cutting edge it's 20,000 like LCD's and flat panels a number of years ago. Heck a 25 MB External Hard Drive used to cost over $5,000.00. The fact that the Nintendo 3DS can project digital images without special eyewear at a reasonable cost is proof of  concept.

It is only a matter of time before flexible touch-screen 3D LCD screens become a standard household fixture.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
I sincerely hope 3D printing gets to the level someday that someone could use an online tool like the character creators you find on MMO's, design your characters appearance, and then order a 3D printed version of that character (whether it's in a single solid color or, even better, comes already colored). The great thing about 3D printing is that you would be able to make miniatures to order. You won't have to gamble on a weird miniature which would turn out to be unpopular and which will end up sitting around on miniature racks at gamestores everywhere as hardly anyone buys them. You spend the money to design the figure, of course, but after that you only print enough to meet any orders or demand. It'd also be great if fans could get their own character designed on a computer, save the file, and then e-mail it off to the miniature company which'll just print it for you. There're so many possibilities, and I sincerely hope that 3D printers are developed enough that they're able to meet those possibilities.

And yes, if they do get to that point then I'll totally get a 3D scanner, scan up some Space Marines, and then print off a couple thousand of them. 
The future of fantasy miniatures are the 3D printers. 

Do you imagine fan-art creating pieces of playmobil toys to create a version of D&D?  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

there will be im sure some sort of optional module covering a more tatical game. as to the 3d printers i hope in a way they dont take over, unless the sculpters of the minis can sell designs online for their work. its a dying art and to lose it because people can print out their minis at home would be tragic.
I'd be happy for a start with a A3 sheet of e-paper for black-and-white maps.
I sincerely hope 3D printing gets to the level someday that someone could use an online tool like the character creators you find on MMO's, design your characters appearance, and then order a 3D printed version of that character (whether it's in a single solid color or, even better, comes already colored).

Isn't there already a company that does that for your WoW-Character out of the armory?
And yes, if they do get to that point then I'll totally get a 3D scanner, scan up some Space Marines, and then print off a couple thousand of them. 

I'd really love to see at what point in their future risk management plan GW has set the point where customers will not only pirate their army books but also their miniatures. Because it's sure that this time will come, we just don't know when exactly.
unless the sculpters of the minis can sell designs online for their work.

You can bet that they will and unfortunately you can also bet that pirated design files for your 3D printer will be downloaded from pirate websites right along with the pirated rule books.
one thing i also wanted mini fans to remember is kickstarter. there are tons of mini companies making stuff with kickstarter and for most dropping under 200 or 300 will get you like over a hundred minis easy. so support the producers directly that way.
    A 3-D printer is a toy.  It will make inferior product at high price.  Note you can make a lot of products, and don't because the pros do a better, and cheaper job.  You can buy a 3-D printer, but the pro will be using a 3-DDD, and you will likely only make a dozen or so figures.  They can end up costing you $100 a figure.  Our pro is making thousands and would have a cost barely above the wholesale cost of the raw material. 
    Now the fun of doing it yourself, or a desire for a special design, might justify the idea, but for the vast majority of players, it's a loser.
A 3-D printer is a toy.

The current ones are. (or at least the current ones you can get for a reasonable price)
  It will make inferior product

Like home taping before whole CDs could be copied? Just wait until the $$,$$$ 3D printers will cost only $$$
at high price.

Yeah, I remember when we still bought the memory for our PCs by the megabyte and CD-burners were unaffordable.

Just give it 5 years (an aeon actually in IT time) and see what 3D printers for the average home user will be able to do then while only costing a few hundred $
    A 3-D printer is a toy.  It will make inferior product at high price.  Note you can make a lot of products, and don't because the pros do a better, and cheaper job.  You can buy a 3-D printer, but the pro will be using a 3-DDD, and you will likely only make a dozen or so figures.  They can end up costing you $100 a figure.  Our pro is making thousands and would have a cost barely above the wholesale cost of the raw material. 
    Now the fun of doing it yourself, or a desire for a special design, might justify the idea, but for the vast majority of players, it's a loser.



Well techolegy will get cheaper but at this point you are right that it to expensive to get a realy high quality 3D printer.

But i think the profesionals will start to use it.
I wonder how long it will be till you can walk into a games workshop and order any model they ever created, then come back 30 minutes later and pick up your printed model.


 
I wonder how long it will be till you can walk into a games workshop and order any model they ever created, then come back 30 minutes later and pick up your printed model.

And I fear 3 years after that the pirated will just copy to pirate bay or whatever is current then and download the orc army book together with the cracked version of the orc army blueprint.

On the legal side I can easily imagine GW selling DRM protected blueprints that allow you to print 15 versions of the model you just bought digitally with your own 3D printer


In five years no longer will people have to pay and arm and a leg to get the plastic miniatures in randomized packs. You'll be able to select the miniature that YOU want and print it out right in the comfort of your living room. Same with dungeon tiles.

WotC could return D&D Minis to profitability by just removing the random factor. Games Workshop and Reaper (and Ral Partha/RAFM before them) have consistently gotten my miniatures dollar because they don't have the stupid randomness of booster packs, and WotC's inexplicable choice of figures.

For example, the only Hutt in Star Wars Minis was Jabba. In an RPG campaign, however, you were a lot more likely to run into one if plot demanded it. Because there was no generic Hutt miniature, someone who didn't want to buy one had to proxy. A crab droid looks nothing like a Hutt.
I remember back in the dark ages of the mid (oe perhaps early) 2000s when I first heard about 3D printing... Except then it was called "Rapid Prototyping" and was performed by a gigantic machine to laser a vat full of resin sand until an object was slowly, layer by layer formed.  The device must have cost its owners (NASA) tens of thousands and was cool and new enough to be featured on the Discovery Channel.  Some years before that, I was at JPL and got a chance to own the product of this strange and magical device: a blocky mostly plastic model of an asteroid.  But it was cool, because  a machine hat just taken probe flyby data and used freeking laser beams to reproduce a scale model here on earth.

Now you can get a cheap 3D printer (probably good enough to spit up orcsm thoguh they will have somewhat poor detail due to layer thickness) for under a thousand dollars, and it can sit on your desk.

This is a product that is coming to consumers.  It may not be viable at the moment, but I suspect it will soon be a commonly owned hobby item, if not a household one.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

WotC could return D&D Minis to profitability by just removing the random factor.


I don't remember who, but someone posted the "law of minatures":

* cheap
* big range of models
* non random
-> Pick two of the above

Paizo is currently doint their own randon prepainted minis. At a price that WotC was yelled at for trying to increase DDM prices to a similiar levels (yet to be fair, DDM customers were used to the lower price levels so they really felt the increase, the Paizo minis directly started at that level after the hiatus since the end of the DDM line, so people didn't get this feeling of the ever increasing price per mini).
I'm not sure I'd agree that WotC minis are cheap, considering how you have to buy potentially cases of boosters to just get a complete adventuring party and enough monsters for a game. Ever try getting enough clone troopers or stormtroopers?
there will be im sure some sort of optional module covering a more tatical game. as to the 3d printers i hope in a way they dont take over, unless the sculpters of the minis can sell designs online for their work. its a dying art and to lose it because people can print out their minis at home would be tragic.

there already exist sites where you can buy 3d computer models made by other people, though ni can't think of any names off the top of my head.

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

    A 3-D printer is a toy.  It will make inferior product at high price.  Note you can make a lot of products, and don't because the pros do a better, and cheaper job.  You can buy a 3-D printer, but the pro will be using a 3-DDD, and you will likely only make a dozen or so figures.  They can end up costing you $100 a figure.  Our pro is making thousands and would have a cost barely above the wholesale cost of the raw material. 
    Now the fun of doing it yourself, or a desire for a special design, might justify the idea, but for the vast majority of players, it's a loser.

home industrial production sytems, ipads, itunes.  Three things someone saw on Star Trek and said "I want that",  we already have 2 of these, we will inevitably have the third as well.

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

I'm not sure I'd agree that WotC minis are cheap, considering how you have to buy potentially cases of boosters to just get a complete adventuring party and enough monsters for a game. Ever try getting enough clone troopers or stormtroopers?



Merric's Law states you can have two out of the three following: cheap miniatures, non-random, and wide variety. The WotC and Pathfinder minis have generally been cheap and had a wide variety. The money is made on it being random: though every common mini is generally inexpensive, getting all of them is expensive.

Warhammer, in my experience, aims for wide variety and non-random, with a much higher price tag per mini. Both have their pros and cons. For me (someone who wants them all and doesn't like to paint his own minis), I'm not a fan. 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Buying a 3d printer isn´t necesary. Only it could be used in a copy shop, or maybe a toy shop itself in a future.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

3D printer is like a personal sculpting machine?

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Or at least their profitability? 3D printing is becoming more and more of a thing, and by the time 5th edition comes out they are probably going to be extremely affordable. Everyone makes a big deal out of their ability to print of guns and other such naughty stuff but I think their potential useability in our hobby is being underplayed.

In five years no longer will people have to pay and arm and a leg to get the plastic miniatures in randomized packs. You'll be able to select the miniature that YOU want and print it out right in the comfort of your living room. Same with dungeon tiles.

What effect do you think this will have on D&D Next? 


While 3D printers will be more common, you still need blueprints and plans. Someone still needs to scultp/draft the minis. 

I can see this being bad for Reaper that still relies on trained sculpters. While they can scan in minis, companies that have drafting software and sculpt digitally will have an easier time producing blueprints.
While WotC does produce their minis digitally (as does Paizo/WizKids), WotC doesn't react swiftly to new technology. And releasing blueprints would risk people pirating their models. I can see them selling mini designs eventually, but only after smaller companies have proven it's a viable market. 

That said, I think eventually WotC will be an excellent source of mini designs. They have the IP for a really large collection of figures.   

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

In five years no longer will people have to pay and arm and a leg to get the plastic miniatures in randomized packs. You'll be able to select the miniature that YOU want and print it out right in the comfort of your living room.



Wow.  With the exception of printing my minis in my living room, welcome to about 1980.

Believe it or not, there's an entire industry out there that allready specializes in selling individual, non-blind, non-WoTC produced, minis to people. 
Who knew?
1,000s of companies.  Making every type & quality of model you could want.  Some metal, some plastic, some resin.  Some are even pre-painted!

If only there were a way to look them all up & have the models you want shipped right to you.
Oh, right, I seem to rember Al Gore claiming that he'd invented just such a thing.  Called it the internet or something.

Same with dungeon tiles.



Well, not only are there companies that do this?  But there's no end of graphics programs for your PCs where you can create your own.  Coupled with a $20 color printer from WalMart....



All sarcasm aside though I really am excited to watch the growth of the 3-D printing. 
I thought it had amazing potential almost 20 years ago when it was waaay beyond practical anywhere outside of the manufacturing industry.
Unfourtunately I think it'll still be impractical as a general public item in 5 years.  So the commercial minitures industry will still be around.
I'm not sure I'd agree that WotC minis are cheap, considering how you have to buy potentially cases of boosters to just get a complete adventuring party and enough monsters for a game. Ever try getting enough clone troopers or stormtroopers?



Yes.  It was as easy as logging onto Troll&Toad (or other such sites) & buying them for .50 - $1.00 apiece.
Believe it or not, there's an entire industry out there that allready specializes in selling individual, non-blind, non-WoTC produced, minis to people. 
Who knew?
1,000s of companies.  Making every type & quality of model you could want.  Some metal, some plastic, some resin.  Some are even pre-painted!

There's a difference between buying a miniature designed by someone else which approximates whatever I might want, and getting a miniature which represents a character that only exists in my imagination. For instance, I have a drawing of a knight in heavily lion themed armor that I had an artist draw for me based on what I wanted for my character, as well as putting that character on a Dire Lion mount, which you can see below.



   
Sadly, no matter how often I looked, I have NEVER seen that miniature sold anywhere by anybody. Strangely enough, nobody seems to have made a miniature of the character which I conceived of in my own mind. Then I saw THIS piece of artwork on DeviantArt and I thought to myself "Wow, I'd love to have a miniature of this guy."



But again, strangely enough, no such miniature existed. Peculiar, isn't it?
Isn't there already a company that does that for your WoW-Character out of the armory?

Yep. FigurePrints. www.figureprints.com/ I can't wait for the day that 3D Printer technology is so accurate that they'll be able to print out figures like that but on a smaller scale appropriate for tabletop gaming.  

A 3-D printer is a toy.

The current ones are. (or at least the current ones you can get for a reasonable price)
It will make inferior product

Like home taping before whole CDs could be copied? Just wait until the $$,$$$ 3D printers will cost only $$$
at high price.

Yeah, I remember when we still bought the memory for our PCs by the megabyte and CD-burners were unaffordable.

Just give it 5 years (an aeon actually in IT time) and see what 3D printers for the average home user will be able to do then while only costing a few hundred $

Exactly. DVD players used to cost hundreds of dollars, now you can get a cheap one for $20. Technology improves and becomes cheaper with time. The same will be true with 3D Printers.
Personally i can't wait for 3d printers to become afordable. Then I'll finally use my knowledge of 3d modeling for something fun and not work related :P But on a side note,in college we used CNC machine to make our own chess figures. Lots of fun to see a block of metal turn into nice figure. I think  you could make the mini that way if you have time and will to make model for machine and you get solid metal model. 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

We only used mini's for PCs. MOnsters were always colour counters - print out as many as you like, stick them on a bit of cardboard. Need 30 ogres and 10 mind flayers? Not a problem. You can re-use them or write HP damage straight onto them, too.
Other option could be the creation of a D&D line of Kre-O minifigures.

But if I could, I would rather classic paper figures because they are cheaper...

 


But I wouldn´t be surprised if in the future the agumented reality would replace the board games.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Believe it or not, there's an entire industry out there that allready specializes in selling individual, non-blind, non-WoTC produced, minis to people. 
Who knew?
1,000s of companies.  Making every type & quality of model you could want.  Some metal, some plastic, some resin.  Some are even pre-painted!

There's a difference between buying a miniature designed by someone else which approximates whatever I might want, and getting a miniature which represents a character that only exists in my imagination. For instance, I have a drawing of a knight in heavily lion themed armor that I had an artist draw for me based on what I wanted for my character, as well as putting that character on a Dire Lion mount, which you can see below.

Sadly, no matter how often I looked, I have NEVER seen that miniature sold anywhere by anybody. Strangely enough, nobody seems to have made a miniature of the character which I conceived of in my own mind.



That's easy enough to do already with a mounted mini that comes seperate from the horse and a metal lion mini. 
However, being able to just mod the blueprint and move the mounted figure atop a lion and replace some armour features would be lovely. 

I imagine that will initially be a per-mini order handled by special order (buisnesses set up where you pick options and they ship the mini) and later it will spread to the home.

Then I saw THIS piece of artwork on DeviantArt and I thought to myself "Wow, I'd love to have a miniature of this guy.

But again, strangely enough, no such miniature existed. Peculiar, isn't it?


That one might be trickier. But get a saw and you're good.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

Also check out my books at 5mwd.com/publishingIncluding Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuildinga compilation of my blog series on Worldbuilding.

 

Yeah, I think you missed the point. The Dire Lion mount and decapitated knight is one thing, but nowhere will you find any miniatures with those exact features. That's the advantage that a 3D miniature printing business would be able to offer, once the technology gets good enough that you can create fine enough details. Then you'll be able to have the exact character that you have in mind printed up in whatever pose or position you'd like them to be and mailed to you. Even if it can't be made available in color, at the very least you'd still have your precise model and can paint it however you like.
I've removed content from this thread. Posting about real world politics is a violation of the Code of Conduct

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Other option could be the creation of a D&D line of Kre-O minifigures.

But if I could, I would rather classic paper figures because they are cheaper...

 


But I wouldn´t be surprised if in the future the agumented reality would replace the board games.



paper models where also easely storable 
Or at least their profitability? 3D printing is becoming more and more of a thing, and by the time 5th edition comes out they are probably going to be extremely affordable. Everyone makes a big deal out of their ability to print of guns and other such naughty stuff but I think their potential useability in our hobby is being underplayed.

In five years no longer will people have to pay and arm and a leg to get the plastic miniatures in randomized packs. You'll be able to select the miniature that YOU want and print it out right in the comfort of your living room. Same with dungeon tiles.

What effect do you think this will have on D&D Next? 




I think this will be a net positive. Randomized packs only work for magic the gathering card game. I don't want to buy 10 packs to get one barbed devil and have 25 dwarves I am not going to use. I want lots of monsters, not heroes, so I can stock my dungeons. Being able to select the mini I want and pay a reasonable price would be a huge service. I would buy several minitaures if this option were available.
And one alternative way to get the custom minis you want is to find artist who makes minis and is willing to make it for you. Yesterday I was on the local SF convention and there was a small table whith some minis from art studio who paints and models minis for wargames. One thing that sadly wasn't for sale is 15 cm figure of terran space marine the guy made from scrap plastic. That kind of things will be more afordable when you can 3d print them yourself. 

P.S. would post link to fb for pic but don't know if it's against the rules. 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Just because you can print something out doesn't mean that it's expertly painted.

Why is that important?

"This one is Fred's guy, this one is Bill's guy, and these pennies are the monsters" works just fine without daVinci doing the paint-wash.

3D printing is already upon us in ways previously inconcievable. I'm assuming y'all haven't heard about the international commotion being wrought by the U.S. consumer's ability to 3D print an operable handgun?

Danny

3D printing is already upon us in ways previously inconcievable. I'm assuming y'all haven't heard about the international commotion being wrought by the U.S. consumer's ability to 3D print an operable handgun?

 

It's only "operable" in the sense that a bullet falls out of the end.