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ArcanEngine - Build & 3D Print One-Of-A-Kind Tabletop Minis project video thumbnail
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CA$ 4,288 pledged of CA$ 68,000 goal
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By Zach Hill
CA$ 4,288 pledged of CA$ 68,000 goal
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About this project

Tabletop gamers, how many times have you come up with an amazing character concept only to be disappointed by the fact that it only exists in your head? You scoured the game store for a suitable miniature and you checked dozens of websites. Heck, you even tried repainting a few minis that were sort of close to what you were looking for. But still, something was missing.

Enter ArcanEngine, where we’re developing the technology for you to build and 3D print a miniature that gives you exactly what you want. You start by looking around our library of 3D pieces for the body pose, weapons, armour, accessories – anything, really. You pick your favourites, and use our simple app to organically fit those pieces together exactly the way you want them. Once you’re happy with the digital version of your mini (which you’re able to show off to your friends online) you’ll be able to order it 3D printed and shipped right to your doorstep. A perfect, one-of-a-kind miniature that you have built yourself! If you have your own 3D printer, you also have the option of downloading the STL file and printing it yourself.

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Who Is This For?

You may think this an obvious question. Tabletop gamers, of course. You are correct. But it's more than that. This is also a place for 3D artists with their own vision. Years ago, when I graduated from my Animation program, I saw so many talented artists having to work unskilled labor to make ends meet because they couldn't find a job in their field. Even the ones that found work often got laid off after the "crunch" that is so common in games and visual effects. That sucks. But the average bear has no use for a digital model, so it's not like they could just sell their art on Etsy to get through those cold winters.

But then 3D printing became a thing. Now those digital files can become real objects. People can use that. Gamers would love to pay artists to create custom miniatures, but most don't have the thousand dollars it would require to make a whole one. However, if artists were to make individual, reusable pieces that they sell for a buck and a thousand people each buy one, now we're getting somewhere!

All tabletop gamers have vision, but they don't all have the artistic or technical skills to achieve that vision. 3D artists have those skills and love to put them to use. They are squeezed by big companies to produce ideas that are rarely creatively fulfilling to them and they often get left in the cold. This product will allow an artist all the creative freedom s/he wishes, and like-minded gamers will have amazing artwork to add to their characters, without needing that requisite skill. It's a perfect symbiosis.

Why Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is an ideal way to be accountable ONLY to the people I care about (that’s you ;D). The traditional investment route doesn't suit a project like this, where our ultimate goal is community ownership. I want our users, our artists and the tabletop community to always be the highest priorities, and not just our bottom line.

The Story Thus Far...

I’ve been working on this project for more than a year. I was keeping track of 3D printing at the time and it dawned on me that I could use it for character miniatures. I made this the focus of all the projects in my business program, and consulted with many mentors and experts along the way while doing my own tests. All the tech pieces are out there; it’s just a matter of putting them together in a neat package that we can use.

Once I was satisfied that it could work, I delved into Vancouver’s robust tech scene. I really wanted to hire an established development house for this project because of the accountability & reliability they bring to the table. I interviewed with many excellent studios to find the perfect fit for this project and I found that in Skyrocket Digital. They are punctual, professional, highly skilled and really get the essence of this project.

Use of Funds

The costs behind this campaign are as follows:

  • Developing back end tech & getting website up and running – 74%
  • Operational costs for the first 6 months – 4%
  • Reward Fulfillment – 14%
  • Kickstarters Cut – 5%
  • Amazon Payment Processing fees – 3%

Rewards

Seed Model Packages

We'll be getting the ball rolling on the marketplace by generating as many models as we can to serve as backer rewards and samples for artists. Of course, the higher the tier you choose, the more models you get. In total we'll be essentially producing all the items you would find in the D&D players handbook, enough character poses to make use of them, and some fun extras we thought of ourselves, like magical effects and special themed bases. The premium tier is looking at 170+ pieces after all is said and done.

And remember, if you choose THE EPIC ARTISAN Tier or higher, you get to tell us to build 5 pieces of your choosing, and you'll get the models that fellow backers work with us to make as well, adding about 110 special pieces if all those tiers sell out. Finally, in THE MASTERS OF THE MINIVERSE tier we'll make a whole character for you with as many pieces as your character needs (within reason).

What are you gaining by getting these? Non-backers who find us once we're up and running will be purchasing models on a piece by piece basis, while you get to use all of them as if you already paid. Even if every piece was only a buck each (the complicated ones may be priced from 3-5) you're still getting a huge deal by getting in early. 

You can check out what the packages will contain via these links:

Starter Package

Deluxe Package

Premium Package

Questions to further clarify this are always welcome.

Milestones

We wanted to be active during the campaign, so we've thought of some mid-campaign milestones to keep things interesting!

Milestone #1

We were producing a web comic that was going to be part of the project, but we left it out so we could focus on the primary product. We still have some materials though, so we thought we'd release them and if our backers like what we've done so far, we'd love to add in those weekly shenanigans once everything else is up and running smoothly!

Milestone #2

At this level we're going to release a survey to all our current backers allowing them to tell us what kinds of pieces they'd like to see. We'll then take your top 5 picks, build them and add them into all the model packages! But you only get the survey if you're already a backer when we hit the halfway point, so get in right away if you want your voice heard!

Milestone #3

 At this milestone we'll release a PDF to all our backers that gives you an overview of how 3D printing works as well as some best practices for when you're building your character. There will also be a section for artists that details how best to go about designing pieces for the marketplace so they can hit the ground running.

Milestone #4

Once we know we're funded, we don't have to worry about cost of reward fulfillment skewing our benchmark, so we'll open things up for you to add extra items to your pledge. Kickstarter allows you to alter your pledge level at any time, so it's all good!

Stretch Goals

In an effort to set the initial cost as low as possible, we’re leaving a few things out of the first version. Making our stretch goals will allow us to implement everything right away. 

(Note: these are all things we will eventually incorporate anyway, but they’ll take a lot longer to roll out without the stretch goal funding)

Stretch Goal #1

Automating more of our manual processes so you get your stuff even faster!

Stretch Goal #2

Open up the site so all 3D artists can start uploading and selling their awesome ideas, compounding the possibilities for what you can do with your mini!

Stretch Goal #3

 Version 2.0! Our first version is all about function. Making this goal will allow us to take the time to make everything REALLY pretty and optimize the experience so you’ll never want to leave.

Further Stretch Goals!

We'll keep thinking of more stretch goals as they funding comes in, like creating even more models for the initial seed, upgrading your rewards and coming up with even more awesome features!

Risks and challenges

Anything worth doing comes with a modicum of risk. This is a new application of technologies that have only existed for a very short time. There’s always the chance that something unexpected will occur and delays are almost guaranteed when wrestling with new stuff like this. That’s why I've spent the last year testing and re-testing the concepts involved, with my own dollars, so that I could bring this idea to the community with the utmost confidence that their investments will be worthwhile.

Thanks to my annoyingly safety-conscious upbringing, I've become somewhat of an expert on risk mitigation. I've seen one or two attempts at a similar concept (even one here on Kickstarter). I've learned from what they've done, both right and wrong, and planned accordingly.

Our open marketplace is one key difference. I don't care how proficient you are as an artist, or how quickly you can make stuff - there are just too many unique ideas out there for one person (or even one company) to account for them all. Democratizing the process ensures that there is maximum chance that you find what you're looking for. And that way, everyone can have a slice of the pie. Delicious pie.

Another major difference is that we've moved the heavy lifting of the actual printing and shipment to someone else. Shapeways.com (a company dedicated to 3D printing) has an API (programming code) designed to stream our service into their fulfillment infrastructure so everyone can stick to what they do best. Trying to do all that ourselves is just a recipe for disaster.

Finally, the initial seeding of the library for your rewards will be a feat of epic proportions. We’re not going halfway with this, there are going to be a LOT of models for y’all to play with when the product launches. That aspect probably has the highest probability of falling behind schedule but rest assured, if that DOES happen, we'll throw in some extras to make up for the delay.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $5

    Tier 1 - THE 3D-CURIOUS

    - Digital file of a print-sized thank you certificate with your name and our official stamp of approval!
    - Access to contributor-only updates and extra digital rewards like our "How To" pdf that's a crash course in 3D printing and best practises for making characters
    - Your name in the “Contributor Shrine” section of our website

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    Pledge CA$ 15 or more About $14

    Tier 2
    - THE WARRIOR-POET

    - Tier 1 Rewards
    - Reserve your website user name (first come, first serve)
    - Digital postcard thank you with a personalized haiku, written by us to be passed along in your family for generations.

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    Pledge CA$ 18 or more About $17

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* - THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF GREATNESS

    - Everything included in Tier 3, but for less!

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    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $24

    Tier 3 - THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF GREATNESS

    - Tier 2 Rewards
    - Closed Beta Access
    - Starter Model Package: Free access to enough models to get you started, with 5 sample character combinations pre-built for you! (Approx 32 models)
    - Print your first figurine at-cost

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    Pledge CA$ 29 or more About $28

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* - THE MEANING OF LIFE

    - Everything included in Tier 4, but for less!

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    Pledge CA$ 42 or more About $40

    Tier 4 - THE MEANING OF LIFE

    - Tier 3 Rewards
    - Deluxe Model Package: Even more character elements you can access free of charge! More Poses! More Weapons! More POSSIBILITIES! (Approx 93 models)
    - Print your first 3 figurines at-cost

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    Pledge CA$ 49 or more About $47

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* -THE TEE'S THE THING

    - Everything included in Tier 5, but for less!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 64 or more About $61

    Tier 5 - THE TEE'S THE THING

    - Tier 4 Rewards
    - The coveted ArcanEngine T-shirt (AVAILABLE AT THIS TIER ONLY!)

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    Pledge CA$ 69 or more About $66

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* - THE DUBLOON & THE GOON

    - Everything included in Tier 6, but for less!

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    Pledge CA$ 88 or more About $84

    Tier 6 - THE DUBLOON & THE GOON

    - Tier 4 Rewards
    - Personalized 3D-printed plastic coin! Your choice of black, white, red, purple, pink or blue! (limited to 2 names with up to 13 letters each)
    - Sample Figurine printed in Frosted Ultra Detail (Choose from one of the characters in the Starter Pack)

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    Pledge CA$ 89 or more About $85

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* - THE DRAGON'S HOARD

    Everything included in Tier 7, but for less!

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $95

    Tier 7 - THE DRAGON'S HOARD

    - Tier 6 Rewards
    - Premium Model Package: Free access to our whole initial seed. More weapons, poses, armour, critters and magic effects to help you achieve your ultimate vision! (Approx 171 models)
    - Print 6 figurines at-cost

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    Pledge CA$ 105 or more About $100

    *EARLY BIRD SPECIAL* - THE CHALICE OF ULTIMATE HOLDING

    - Everything included in Tier 8, but for less!

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $143

    Tier 8 - THE CHALICE OF ULTIMATE HOLDING

    - Tier 7 Rewards
    - Personalized 3D-printed Dice Holder: Holds up to 3 sets of standard dice. Would also make an excellent Christmas tree ornament. (Character limit 8 letters per face, 4 faces available)

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 225 or more About $215

    Tier 9 - THE EPIC ARTISAN

    - Tier 8 Rewards
    - Work with Zach to design 5 special pieces for the marketplace - You can finally give your character that fruit hat you've always wanted!
    - Free access to all pieces designed at this tier - the more backers, the more free pieces you get.

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    Pledge CA$ 330 or more About $315

    Tier 10 - THE KING'S COIN

    - Tier 8 Rewards
    - Your personalized coin upgraded to be cast in Bronze, a tribute to an ancient relic, crafted through an anything but ancient method.
    - Purchase all your Miniatures at-cost for the first 6 months after the site goes live.
    - Permanent access to all in-house items we add to the marketplace for the first 6 months after the site goes live.

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    Pledge CA$ 550 or more About $525

    Tier 11 - THE MASTERS OF THE MINIVERSE

    - Tier 10 Rewards
    - Work with Zach to design your whole character from the ground up. (small or medium size, in D&D terms)
    - Print your character in solid silver or gold plated brass - a miniature trophy!
    - Permanent access to all in-house items we add to the marketplace for the first year after the site goes live.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1,000 or more About $955

    Tier 12 - 3 RINGS FOR THE ELVEN KINGS

    - Tier 11 Rewards
    - 3D-printed ArcanEngine ring, in your size
    - Purchase all models at-cost for 1 year
    - Free access to all additional in-house items added to the marketplace for 2 years after the site goes live.

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    Pledge CA$ 5,000 or more About $4,774

    Tier 13 - ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL

    - Tier 12 rewards
    - Upgrade your 3D printed ring to to a custom design engraved with the message "Contributor Supreme"
    - Purchase your miniatures at-cost for 2 years
    - A 5 minute youtube video featuring us grovelling in thanks! Poetry will be recited, recounting your endless magnificent attributes!

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Funding period

- (31 days)