Friday, September 2, 2016

Custom STO Miniatures

Ah, miniatures.  For many, visions of elven archers, dwarven axe-wielders, and a sundry of monsters of all sorts comes to mind when one mentions "miniatures".  But there are so many, many more types of  those detailed, small-scale, often die-cast (at least, back in 'the day') figurines used in many RPG game-play to represent your character* on the play-field.

For instance, long before the "MechWarrior" video game franchise, there was (and is, I guess) the board game "BattleTech" (on which "MechWarrior" is based).  And seeing as how it was/is an RPG, there are miniatures.

But these miniatures, like most, are mass-produced with untold "clones" out there.  Having a custom-made miniature was pretty much out-of-the-question, unless you happened to be (or at least knew) a sculptor.  Until recently, that is.  A while back, Geoff Hanna brought to our attention a website that would let you design your own miniatures.  Within certain limitations, of course.

Well, STO has gone and done something unique** in the MMO world.  They have teamed with a company that will (coming soon) 3-D print copies of your STO ships (or even just one copy of one of your ships, if you like)†.

And not just the base model of the ship(s) in question; oh no - that would just not do...

As you may (or may not) know, each ship in STO can be customized.  Each ship "class" can have several different variants.  But beyond that, you can "mix-and-match" certain parts of your ship.  For instance, you can have a 'variant A' hull, 'variant B' saucer (for Federation ships, at least), 'variant C' nacelles, 'variant D' pylons (the struts that hold the nacelles), etc.††

On top of that, you can customize the window types, material types, and colors (though I've never been able to 'preview' what different elements are affected by the color selection - even choosing bright red from the original black, it looks the same; but maybe that's just an in-game, preview glitch).  There are even different 'decal-like' patterns that can be applied to the individual sections (hull, saucer, nacelles, etc.).

So each ship - and there are over 400 different classes of ships in the game - can have literally dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of variations.

And you can get an exact‡ replica of your ship as a miniature, with all the variations you have.

Or at least, you will be able to "soon".  And if you ask me, that is PDC‡‡.

* Whether your "character" was an organic being, a robot, a 'mech-suit', or a vehicle of some type.

** As far as I know, right now, no other MMO has an offering like this.  At least, not yet.  I can only assume others will be offering a similar service "SOON™".  Especially if there is money to be made (which is not, in-and-of-itself, a "bad" thing...).

† For a fee that is yet-to-be-determined, of course.

†† Assuming there are actually (4) class variants.  The number of variants will vary, but most have at least three.

‡ Well, as 'exact' as one can from a 3-D printer.  I'm sure they may be some resolution limitations that may not quite capture all of the 'picture' nuances.  But that's just nitpicking.

‡‡ That would be "Pretty Darn Cool" (non-expletive version for all the young eyes out there).

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