Discounting video games as mere recreation, or gamers as out of touch with reality, is treacherous ground these days, as the creativity and imagination — as well as real, tangible activities and groups — associated with games continue to flourish. As the stories and characters are allowed to jump out at us from the hand of the digital designer and become parts of our lives for a time, we experience a variety of different cultural experiences as well as the normal journeys, battles, and even funerals.
A rich part of the pageantry in gaming is in the vibrant costumes, which are appropriately epic. FirstKeeper, an RPF member, is a professional 3D character artist who decided to use 3D printing to accentuate some of her costume design inspired by video game Heroes of the Storm. The game is team-based and allows the players to build and customize their heroes, and is described as “an epic, off-the-wall team brawler” where players have an infinite supply of heroes and universes. One is able to choose abilities, specialties, and fighting styles.
FirstKeeper is experienced with designed garb and engaging in cosplay, but says that with each design she likes to learn something new. Focusing on the character Valla, who is known as the demon or vampire hunter, she had her work cut out for her with some pretty ornate threads for the revenge-seeking warrior who survived a demon attack in her youth, has fought some pretty nasty dudes, and now… must fight Death himself.
FirstKeeper’s intention was just to make a hat, but she explained that she became so engrossed in the project and in employing her new 3D printing skills that she ended up taking on a project that lasted more than six months. Using a variety of design techniques and materials, she moved from the hat to the chest piece, using two different thermoplastic materials: Worbla and Wonderflex. With some help from styrofoam balls from the craft store, and easy-to-use Worbla material for the round bra shapes, she moved on to the rest of the torso, with use of Wonderflex due to its strength. She added accents with leather straps and gave the costume that medieval gaming look with a leather finish that added gloss.
Other parts of the very impressive Valla costume were hand-sewn with a great deal of leather working and an enormous amount of artistic creativity one would expect from an experienced costume designer.
For a demon hunter, a critical part of an ensemble is the armor. FirstKeeper turned to 3D modeling (using 3dmax and Zbrush) and 3D printing for the shoulder, chest, and leg armor. Using her da Vinci 3D printer, FirstKeeper printed out the pieces in ABS. The left shoulder piece was her first attempt, and it required a bit of a learning curve as she tried wood glue to bond the 9 pieces of the spaldron (which was “definitely a mistake”), then turned to Bondo and, finally, to ABS juice and sanding. With this knowledge, the rest of the construction for the final 3D printed pieces went much smoother. The right shoulder, glove, hip, and leg armor all received the same treatment, and all the pieces were covered with leather and acrylic paint to get the final look. The skulls on her hat and crossbow, as well as a belt buckle, were all also 3D printed. She detailed all her work on her Facebook page with photos and descriptions, as well.
We have reported on a great number of fashion items and dresses created with 3D printing, but this is the first we’ve seen designed to fight off hellish creatures and demon hordes. Go get ‘em, Valla! Check out more photos from the process, as well as the final Valla costume, below.
Have you used 3D printing to make anything from a video game, like part of a costume, hat, or figurines? Tell us about it in the Valla the Demon Hunter forum over at 3DPB.com.