Print Your Favorite Game-Character Action FiguresCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 31, 2012 12:09PM
With the release of the Source Filmmaker beta, everyone with a Steam account has the ability to craft movies using the models within Team Fortress 2 and other Source games made by Valve. By playing and recording movements within the software or manually moving joints, any motion can be created in the computer. What if you wanted to have a real Heavy or Pyro for some stop-motion fun? Thanks to researchers at Harvard University, we may soon have the ability to 3D print any animation model at the press of a button.
By putting down layer after layer of plastic, 3D printers can create a variety of complex shapes, and are very useful for rapid prototyping. However the designs have had to be designed for 3D printing in the past, because not all animation models are realistic. Sometimes the skeleton of the mesh reaches outside of the skin or limbs clip through the body, which would be a problem for a real figure. What the researchers did though was create algorithms which can analyze the animation joints of a model and determine which are required. Then it will play with the size of the joints, to ensure they do not conflict with each other, and will even remove joints if the conflicts cannot be resolved otherwise.
As the nature of this software is to generate a model from any game character, it is not too surprising the researchers went to the game Spore for the models. One of the intriguing aspects of Spore is its ability to generate almost any creature the player can imagine, given the resources in the game.