BuildBee is a 3D printer software company, that has built a cloud-based platform, that gives creators access to 3D printing through the cloud, so they can create with 3D sculpts, without having to own a 3D printer.
Using a 3D printing service like BuildBee could help your prototype get away from the “Borrowed components” stage, and get your custom sculpt printed, or you could use some items from their asset pack, which I’ve had a few things made so that I can show them off for you.
First up is a few different things seen here; on the left is a series of fruits and vegetables, which came out with some great detail, and give a great tactile feel, as for example each individual grape can be felt by the finger when touching it. This can be preferable to flat punch card for some players, as tactile experience is one of the reasons that board games win over video games.
In the centre row is a shield, sword, helmet, and a bow which is the core for a lot of fantasy war themed games, and can easily replace punch card, especially because it’s outer shape is readily discernible from a series of discs compared to most punch card tokens.
These were the ones that really caught my attention, it’s subtle but from left to right is water, earth, fire, wind. This can easily fit into any magic themed game.
BuildBee has put a lot of effort into this first release to make it appeal to a wide variety of genres and themes:
With more packs planned for future release for free and for Pro and Enterprise BuildBee users, this new service could be something that levels up your rapid prototyping game to get you from concept to prototype faster, and ready to playtest your new cool idea sooner!
Comments from Kris
Kris isn’t a game designer, but he is an avid fan of 3D printing and has done an awful lot of it. He printed the pieces used in the above review for Keith.
After using Buildbee for a bit, I can say I am not a fan. Buildbee is a service, instead of a free-standing slicer program. The combination of an overly simplified UI and locking a lot of normal slicer functionality behind a paywall doesn’t sit well with me. To use Buildbee, you have to have an account and you have to be connected to the internet. Everything Buildbee can do can be done with a regular slicer. I use Ultimaker Cura as my normal slicer, and I prefer it a lot more.
As for the range of models available, they are fine. Simple in design, they can be printed easily. But there is nothing special in there. An equivalent of all those models can be found on other sites, such as Thingiverse. And those other sites, there is a lot more on offer, including items designed for specific games. Thingiverse has many thousands of printable items, for a range of different styles of printers, and all for free.
Buildbee could be good for someone who is very new to 3D printing. But everything it offers can be found elsewhere, and most likely for free. It has been designed for use with their own range of printers and filament materials. You can use it with other printers and materials, but you either have to pay to unlock more options, or “make-do” as best you can with the free presets.
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