The future of the tabletop hobby may be here.
Proxy Army recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, Proxy Wars. It is a game system and miniature collection, but it is also a lot more. Behind this all exists a service, one that could possibly be the beginning in a revolution in how the hobby is accessed by hobbyists.
As the Kickstarter page explains:
Proxy War is bringing tabletop gaming into the 21st century, letting gamers create fully custom models online, and then get them 3D printed in ultra-fine detail. Log onto a database of parts, select chassis, torsos, limbs, weapons, mutations, powers, and technology, and clip them together into a unit that is uniquely yours.
Not only are highly customisable miniatures available, printed using 3D printing technology, but also Proxy Army is offering a totally unique service. Their designers and 3D modellers will work with hobbyist to create original miniature sculpts. Not only will hobbyists be able to get 3D prints of these models they have helped create, but they gain a small portion of the sale of these miniatures to other hobbyists.
We talked to Tristan from Proxy Army about the Kickstarter.
How much experience has the Proxy Army team had with game development, miniature design, 3D printing and creating digital programs?
Between the five of us, we have over twenty-five years of experience with 3D printers, miniature design, and game development. We all know a lot about a little and a little about a lot, but we’ve managed to put together a well rounded and experienced team. Our 3D modeling staff includes ex-Hero Clix and Games Workshop employees, and on the technical side, our 3D printing staff have worked on everything from Cornell’s cutting-edge 3D printing projects to bootleg tabletop miniatures.
What is the Kickstarter’s aim? Are you primarily looking to launch your game system and miniatures, or is this a way to establish your 3D printing service?
Our Kickstarter is mostly to flesh out our 3D printing service. Right now, we can handle a few prototypes a week, but with the money raised on Kickstarter, we’ll be able to produce much larger production runs of individual fully custom miniatures. The funds we take in will go to finishing our software’s user interface and expanding our database of model designs.
Are the rules and miniature designs already created? How much work is there still to do on the game system?
The rules are already created—though we want to do a bit more spit-and-polish playtesting before release. Our miniatures service works, but the user interface for our software is incomplete (eye-gouging is the technical term), and our model database isn’t as fully populated as we’d like it. The money we’re raising in our Kickstarter will go to finishing the software UI, and populating our database with more designs.
What about the digital component, which will allow the creation of custom models? At what stage of development is this in?
To quote our art director, “It works, it just looks like you’re flying the space shuttle.” There’s already a ton of software out there that lets you manipulate 3D models, the key is making it accessible and usable by people who don’t know anything about 3D modeling. Our back-end development is done, but we still need to simplify and clean up the user interface before it’s ready for release.
Do you currently have the facilities to create the 3D prints that you are promoting, or will the Kickstarter help you reach this capacity?
Right now, we buy bulk printing time from an industrial print shop. We considered buying our own printer, but in the coming year, a lot of major patents on 3D printing technology expire, so we expect the prices to drop pretty sharply. We might buy our own printers after things have settled down, but for now, we’re happy to buy time on larger industrial machines.
What will you do if the Kickstarter campaign does not fund? Will we still see a Proxy Wars game and miniatures, as well as the 3D printing service, at some point? Or does all this depend on successfully raising enough money?
It’s not a question of if we launch Proxy War, it’s question of when. Obviously, a successful Kickstarter will help us launch sooner, but even if it does not fund, we have enough in-development games clients to keep ourselves afloat, and we’re gradually growing our database and refining our software. 3D printing is the future of the gaming industry, and we’re determined to make that happen.