Unofficial, it seems: printed via Shapeways, using their "sandstone" (a.k.a. zCorp prints) material. Super fragile is zCorp usually, but you can soak it in superglue solution for toughness, if you felt so inclined.
Commentary later, I have to get my lego-obsessed 4yo girl into the shower.
Update 1: BrickBlogger has done a comparison between LEGO Friends and the normal minifigs. (As is often the case too, only skin shades lighter than a cafe latte are promoted. According to the logo, anyway. Grot.)
I was on a panel yesterday at Osbourne & Clarke's annual Interactive Entertainment event, a very cosy thing stuffed with CEO types, so lots of strategic talk. Chatham House rules too, so lots of honesty, which made it superb.
At one point in the discussion I threw up the stat that TV is ageing - average age 57 or so - and that this is a bad thing for TV. Nicholas Lovell shot back that the average age of a gamer is - something like? - 43, and on we went. I didn't have the speedy-brain moment to dig into why this is important, however: while the average age of a tv-watcher is 57, the mode is probably only about 55. Most telly is watched by over-55s, and by an extraordinary amount: 35+h plus a week, compared to sub-15 for under 16s. Plus the 55+ group is numerous, and the under-16s less so. Skew.
For games, the opposite in consumption pattern is probably true. I say probably, because I'd love to see data here, but we do know that committed gaming tends to be done by the young, and/or by folks at lunchtime/ weekends, and the retired. Employed people and parents have less time to play, and their profile is thusly a bit different. At a guess, I would say while the average age of a gamer is 43, the time-spent will be the flip of TV: most gameplay by hours per week is done by younger audiences.
It's for this reason that broadcasters should always be interested in games: if they lose out reaching their younger audiences, will those people care about them as they get older? If they have a public service remit to reach target audiences with relevant material, in younger folks games are as relevant - if not often more so - than TV.
MAQET is an indie, SF-based designer toys outfit, using 3D printing to create gorgeous figures like Heathrow the Holiday Hedgehog:
The finish on these things looks incredible. I've asked them how they do it, but it's some "special sauce" situation: they won't say. It's "Plastin(R)", but googling that turns up nothing useful. Whatever it is, it's paintable to a very nice finish!
MAQET's business is make-your-own (hand-mods are slurped onto the figure somehow, I suspect as a texture) and paint-your-own digitally, two new versions of the self-mod tradition in vinyl toys which usually involves markers, paint, and lots of screw-ups on a very expensive toy. This way, you get to get it perfect.
No news yet (I've asked) on the makeup of the "eco-friendly, porcelain-like material" though or whether it's suitable for children, but I suspect not at this stage, if only for fragility reasons.
Westeros - the land of Game of Thrones - is classic (brilliantly executed) Knights & Kings fantasy, reminiscent of many an MMO. And here's one of the showrunners - at least (it seems) a cartoon MMO player.
I wonder if HBO might eventually venture into gameworld with something fun for Game of Thrones? GoT Season One cost as much to make as World of Warcraft is rumoured to have - about $60m.
Inspired by the wonderful Bonniegrrl's original Star Wars wreath, I thought I'd have a go at similar this year. Last year, having seen hers, I bought the base woven-twig garland down Columbia Road, but it then sat in our shed until this year: didn't have the necessaries, but I got round to it finally yesterday.
2 x 1m garland of fake ivy
Spool of red ribbon
Bag of snowy fir cones
Spool of florist's wire
Bag of florist's berry wires
Assorted Star Wars characters (I got the Hoth set. Wintry!)
Any shiny/trad stuff: I got baubles and cinnamon sticks.
Glitter spray, paint spray if you like too, but it's not necessary.
(I got the lot from Amazon.)
Glass baubles. Those were a mistake. I fumbled (and smashed) three during the making, and had to hop about in bare feet swearing until I was brought my crocs by a patient other half. The ones still stuck to the wreath are from the first build.
Didn't have but could probably have really used:
Hot glue gun?
Those little plastic-coated twisty wires. Florist's wire is skinny and fiddly.
It took about 2 hours total, but I did it twice: the first time I kinda rushed it, and the groups of cones/characters and cinnamon sticks were all a bit haphazard and loose. It was then I realised that I needed some greenery, and also the ribbons - not just decorative, they're awesome for really securing down your groupings of cool stuff. Very much the thing that holds it all together, the ribbons.
It started like this, securing the main dudes, but on rebuilding I secured them after the ivy.
Seeing as this is my first go, I'd say it's not too hard. Take it slowly, start with the ivy, and take your time securing the bundles. And don't use glass baubles.
Now I have to buy and screw in a hook big enough to hold this thing for the front door, heh.
I bought two, thought you might like to see what they look like. I had them printed at Shapeways, in "sandstone", which is their euphemism for zCorp printed stuff.
It's somewhat well named: the end result is very sandpapery to the touch. But it's also chunky and satisfyingly solid. I wonder if the end part has been dipped, in some kind of glue perhaps, to make it feel this way.
They cost me EU16 each a few weeks ago which means a full set would cost quite a lot. But that's in 2011, as this stuff is emerging; by this time next year, the price will be lower, and we all know that true boardgame geeks would spend a fortune on the right sort of object for play anyway - right, Games Workshop?
The pieces on Shapeways are here, btw. I'm also curious as to whether or not the makers of Settlers would ever sue over this sort of thing. After all, it's not a copy of anything, but an interpretation, and an improvement, too.
Privates was a landmark for us for all sorts of reasons. Sex Ed theme and content. PC downloadable game. First C4 commission for Size Five Games (then Zombie Cow Studios), first commission for them ever, I think.
Many congrats to the team of ooh, 4 including the sound contractor? who built the game, to Channel 4 Education and Janey Walker (then Head of Education) for not stopping me from commissioning it, and to the brave and wonderful BAFTA jury, whoever you are. Thanks :-)