While most people who spend time in the virtual world of video games appreciate the freedom and satisfaction of escaping the real world and its obvious limits, there’s something affirming about having concrete evidence of that imaginary life. For players of the wildly popular video game Minecraft, 3D printing is making it possible to make material what has formerly only been virtual. That is, players can get 3D printed avatars that resemble their virtual, Minecraft selves.
Southern France-based FabZat and the popular site Minetoys announced recently that they are making it possible for Minecraft players to “create USB flash drive avatars and order King Size 3D printed avatars 200% larger on the FabZat-powered Minetoys website.” Players of Minecraft can get on the Minetoys site a customize their avatars, blocky looking characters that resemble the oddly or, more accurately, ironically low-tech, textured, cube-like, pixelated figures in the game.
Minecraft was released in its alpha version in May of 2009 and then the full-blown version became available in November 2011. Progressively, different versions — for Android, iOS, Xbox, and so on — were released and this award-winning game in which players “build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world” became, in essence, a global phenomenon. Minecraft allows players to explore a virtual world, gathering resources, crafting, engaging in combat, and even flying. There are no specific “goals” in the game, so you are basically free to choose how to play it, although there is a sort of award or achievement system. It’s possible to play in single-player mode or to join other players.
According to FabZat, which specializes in ‘generating new revenue for game developers and publishers through merchandising and 3D printing,’ more than 70 million copies of Minecraft have been sold around the globe, so the interest in or even demand for real-life representations of virtual world selves is pretty high. Minetoys, which is “a pioneer in custom avatar creation,” has been using 3D printing technology to create Minecraft avatars thanks to FabZat, but in mid-December the collaborators made it possible for Minecraft players (and the people who love them) to, says FabZat, “print a Minecraft avatar with USB flash drive capabilities to store and share files.”
What does this mean exactly? It means that Minecraft players can use the Minetoys site to customize, preview, and 3D print the full color, highly detailed, and hand finished figurines, which are surprisingly budget-friendly, starting at $19.99 per figure.
Pleased with his company’s new offering to Minecraft fans around the world — as global shipping is available — FabZat CEO and co-founder, Florent Pitoun remarked:
“We’re proud to offer break-through 3D printing technology and support for fans of the Minecraft global phenomenon. Our partners at Minetoys provide such a seamless customization experience for players as well, and we couldn’t be happier with the new products that we’re releasing today for fans worldwide.”
The Minetoys website is incredibly user-friendly; you can get creative and customize your avatar, even entering your Minecraft username so you can customize in sync with the game itself, or you can browse the gallery and get a little bit of help in pulling together an avatar you can live with. Minetoys has been around since 2011, the year of the official release of Minecraft at Las Vegas Minecon. Since then, they’ve printed “thousands of toys” and created a new website in 2014. 2015 has been a banner year for them and the company promises more great offerings in the coming year.
Meanwhile, check out their website and, if you haven’t ventured into the world of Minecraft as yet, there’s no time like the present. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Minecraft Avatars forum thread on 3DPB.com.