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  3D Data Ripper Helps Make Virtual World Real  
Posted 2006-01-24 by Tony Walsh
Boing Boing brings word of an amazing project underway via Eyebeam R&D: In short, game objects are ingeniously copied via software and then used to make real objects with a 3D printer--you can read a more accurate explanation here. This is bleeding edge stuff. I'm in awe. Here's how it works: 3D data is captured on its way to a Windows-based PC's OpenGL library, allowing the virtual object to be copied and presumably extracted from its game surroundings. The resultant virtual 3D object is then printed in real-world 3D using a fabricator. So far, a character from World of Warcraft [pics and info here] and Second Life [pics and info here] have been made into real statuettes this way.

This development indicates that it's possible to pirate video game content easily, as well as make backup copies of original intellectual property created in Second Life, which is a big, big deal for creatives like myself. Many real-world art, design, and business applications here. Still stunned...

Update: Csven of reBang was already experimenting with this stuff last year (he even predicted the fabrication aspect), and has posted some details on his previous work as it compares to Eyebeam's project.
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Comment posted by Jos 'Hyakugei' Yule
January 24, 2006 @ 4:48 pm
That's DAMN cool - great quote from the site "In other words, a 'screen grab' or 'view source' operation for 3D data". Nice.

Hooking this up to the fab' was genius.

Saying that "it's possible to pirate video game content easily" is true, within some bounds of what you mean by pirate. You don't get the textures. You don't get any bone/animation data.

I'm sure there are some game publishers that are going to be, if not already, looking at this technology very closely.

Comment posted by csven
January 24, 2006 @ 9:35 pm
I thought you caught this, Tony:
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
January 24, 2006 @ 9:53 pm
You know, I never did read your original post about this -- instead, I ended up reading a bunch of bits and pieces about it (I think via the SL forums and/or New World Notes) without understanding exactly what you did with that famous rocket launcher. I had the idea that you somehow imported a Quake 3 rocket launcher into Second Life, and while I thought that was pretty cool, it didn't bowl me over -- hence why I never posted about it before.

If I understand your original post correctly, last year you used a process similar to (or exactly the same as) what Eyebeam has employed to capture the 3D data for the rocket launcher, and predicted the use of a fabricator in recreating game objects. Is that correct? I'll update my entry when I hear back.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
January 24, 2006 @ 9:57 pm
Ah, I just caught your latest blog post that answers my questions.
Comment posted by csven
January 24, 2006 @ 10:12 pm
Actually, I've gone a bit further. I've made the geometry "solid" for manufacturing. The data they get out is strictly external "skin" (also called a mesh "surface"). Going to manufacturing typically requires the ability to add in the limitations imposed by those processes (i.e. parting lines, draft, shelled wall-thickness, aso). Going to "solid" geometry allows those kinds of modifications to be made and verified. So while people can grab this data, there's little chance of manufacturing it without going through the process I took it.

But it is cool. HijackGL didn't like prims.
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