A little while back I spent some time modeling a small set of dungeon tiles with Blender. I first posted some snapshots of these tiles over at the Cartographers' Guild. And later I ended up creating a few dungeon maps with these tiles which can be found at DriveThruRPG and its sister sites.
Dungeon Tiles Snapshot
And while I thought that these tiles looked pretty decent I still wanted something more. This longing was probably rooted in the fact that no matter how nice those tiles looked on screen they couldn't quite measure up to something like the fantastic tiles of Dwarven Forge. It does make a difference after all if you can touch them.
Sadly I'm not much of a sculptor if the sculpting is not done with a 3d modeling software. I blame my clumsy fingers. And for the longest time I did not consider the possibility of having tiles created using a 3d printing service. From the early days of 3d printing it has been rooted into my brain that this process is crazily expensive. Still I decided to look into it again. And while 3d prints are still expensive they are much more affordable now.
And while I have little hope that the prices of 3d printed tiles could match those of cast sets I decided to look into the possibility anyway. The first step will be redesigning those tiles. Design for print is after all something different then design for rendering. A first attempt at such a redesign is the blank 2 x 2 plain floor tile.
Example Tile Redesign
Now I have to look into how expensive such prints would be. I guess I'll try Shapeways first. If one of you can point out a decent competitor I'd be grateful, but from what a quick search on the internet revealed they seem best suited at first glance. Next I'll have to try and assemble at least a little dungeon from printed tiles. And, of course I still need to find out if there is any interrest in such products at all. Having a few tiles for myself is fine, but if other people were interrested in them it would be even better. Thus let me ask you right away, would you be willing to invest into custom printed dungeon tiles? Would the possibility to assemble your own sets tile by tile outweigh the higher cost compared to large sets of cast tiles?
I'm looking forward to some feedback. And just maybe this could become a slightly bigger project for next year.