3D Printing Models From Video Game





Introduction: 3D Printing Models From Video Game

About: Constantly improving the craftsmanship

This instructable is one of my approach to bring digital object into the real world. I 3d printed ships from online game EVE ONLINE to make scale models.

Eve Online is a player-driven, persistent-world massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in a science fiction space setting, developed and published by CCP Games. It is one of the few games that is displayed as permanent collection of video games in the Museum of Modern Art.

The process is consist of 3 parts : Extract model, prepare and 3d print model from the game , paint and post finish the print and construct the display stand.

The finish model is as realistic as the official scaled model that is included in the collector's edition. ( the largest ship on the back )

Step 1: Extract Model From Game

Here I used the Triexporter program to locate the model file from the game Set the folder to Program/CCP/EVE/res then open res subfolder. then pick the ship model that I like. I picked the files that contents the high detail. though, a lot of the detail in game is from the texture that is added to the model. there is still a significant amount of detail on the model. export it to obj file then open it in Meshmixer.

If you dont have access to the files there are many ships from EVE ONLINE that can be downloaded from thingiverse.

Step 2: Prepare and 3d Print the Model

Import the models in meshmixer. adjust the orientation and use the edit function to make the model solid. I bump up the resolution to the highest so all the details are preserved. save it as STL file then I import it to Objet connex 500 3d printer to print out the model. the material I used for it is ABS because it is less likely to be broken or chip. I printed 2 models one frigate ship that is 3in and a battleship that is about 6 inch long. clean it with rubbing alcohol. ready for painting !

I attached the ships that I printed.

Step 3: Painting 3d Model

Let the model dry and clean. apply metal shimmer spray from Krylon brand. I pick this spray because it applies evenly and the metallic finish is very realistic, not too dull not too sparkling. After a good coat of metallic spray it's ready for the weathering technique.

There is a lot of techniques involved in weathering and visual effect. the space ship model is considered very simple to apply. the fundamental is to build up layers of color that mimic the patina that developed on metal over years of expose to the environment. I used old paint brush, permanent marker and kitchen towel to do the trick.

the paint i use : Watercolor ( yellow ochre, burnt sienna) Fluid Acrylic ( carbon black, silver, iridescent gray )

1 .apply a watery layer of yellow ochre and burnt sienna all over the model. let it stay for a few minutes then gentle whip the paint off with paper towel. this will change the tone of the model to slightly rusty

2. apply tiny amount of black + gray acrylic paint with the tip of the old brush. focus on the nooks and crannies on the model. this will imitate the dirty and grease that build up over the ship.

3. apply another yellow ochre, and brunt sienna with the tip of brush this time use less water, apply randomly. it will imitate the rust and patina that developed on metal.

4. use a marker with 0.1 tip to paint the edges of the ship, it will add depth to the model , also imitate panels and doors that on ship.

5. use a toothpick dip with tiny silver paint and roughly apply to the edges that face outward. this imitate the paint that is broken off and the barely metal shown.

Repeat this 5 steps in any manner to get the desired finish. let dry of each layer and whip excess off with paper towel.

Step 4: Make the Base

the base is made with cardstock and plywood.

I first model the base in 3ds Max. then convert it to a DXF file. from there i layer cut the pattern from card stock.

glue the with pattern together with rubber cement glue. I spray painted with with hammered finish paint. the acrylic plate is also laser cut. 3x3 inch for the small frigate ship and 3x 6in for the battle ship. the bottom of the cardstock base is hot glued to a 1/4 plywood to add strength.

for this two ship i have also add a battery pack with switch that hide inside the base. it powers a LED to illuminate the acrylic plate.

Step 5: Finish!

the ship model is finally attached to the acrylic plate with super glue. now it is complete!

The finish model has a lot of definition. in comparison to the official collectible model it really is just smaller but I get to choose whatever ship I want! The blue led add some deep space accent to the display. and the weathering technique will hide all the artifact from 3d printing.

Overall, the model turned out very well done. this small project helped me understand that with good method 3d printer can bring digital object to the real world.



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15 Discussions

Anyone know if it is feasible to 3D print player's characters from Star Wars The Old Republic (swtor)? I've heard it might be difficult to mesh that type of file but not informed enough to know for sure...

Absolutely lovely! But I wonder if you could do the same with Homeworld models? They had paper model templates for a while, but those have since vanished into archives.

1 reply

Yeh I have only tried to extract models for EVE online. the game company seems very open about their model assets.

Your "Amarr Battleship" is a Caldari Carrier called a Chimera.

Really nice idea, looks like great results too

Deffo think this has lots of possibilities including Star Wars, Halo, and more

Me thinks a Delorean versions but maybe using opposite magnets poliatiries would be epic and give that floating effect

forgot to mention , set the folder to Program/CCP/EVE/res. then open from there

My res directory is empty. Tried to look on my computer for other directory but i'm non able to find the tree structure you show in your pictures...

Got other directories with CCP, but none with the res/.tri files listed.

Game works fine. So I'm wondering where i can find those files...

I got it working.

First you have to download "granny2.dll" in the same directory of triexporter.

I'm using windows10, so you have to set the folder to : "C:\Program Files (x86)\CCP\EVE.

Follow this link otherwise: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=6029440#post6029440

Great man, yeah I think I read the forum to get the idea too. now you can print your own ships!

This is definitely a fun idea!
Tip for those wanting to print models with coded animations (such as characters): you will have to pose the models before you print them, or else you will get a character with ramrod - straight arms and legs, which will probably look stupid on a pedastal.
This can be done either by using armatures (aka skeletal constructs bound to the mesh) or by moving the vertices by hand in a modeling program.

you should make a video on this

That's very cool, this could work with rifle models from large video games!