I was ecstatic the day my friend gave me a DOTA2 beta invite. Having been a fan of the first DOTA (Defense of the Anicents) game, DOTA2 filled cockles of my heart with warm nostalgia.
It also filled all my free time. For the past three months, (as semi-evident by my lack of posts and spiffy projects), I became entrenched in the world of the Radiant and the Dire, ganking enemies, buffing allies, causing general ruckus. I also met a lot of awesome people like one of my friend’s internet posse. We team up nightly for epic games.
When Valve brilliantly released their DOTA workshop, allowing user-made models to appear in-game, I was thrilled. I’d dabbled in 3D-modelling as a bright-eyed youngin’ and was super interested in building custom gear for some of my favorite heroes.
My first time in the workshop, I made an amazing discovery:
VALVE SUPPLIED THE HERO MODELS!!!
They kindly offered models of the DOTA heroes in convenient formats, which inspired me to 3D-print mini-figurines.
Behold my adorable mini-Furion (Valve calls him Nature’s Prophet):
He’s a cute 1.5 inches tall with all sorts of nifty details that my phone camera cannot capture.
Currently he stands guard at my desk with a mini-keychain Crystal Maiden (with a giant head hole for threading and everything!).
Using Sculpteo to print, the total cost for printing (and shipping) was $15.20. Crystal Maiden came for free, thanks to their nice folks at giving away keychains.
How-To 3D-Print Your Own Mini DOTA2 Hero:
1. Download a model from Valve’s DOTA2 Workshop. Picking a good hero to 3D print is tricky. A lot of heroes lose their personality when untextured. Also, a lot of heroes have tiny components which are too fragile to be printed.
2. To 3D print using commercial services like Sculpteo, the model needs to be in an OBJ file (which comes with some heroes) or a STL file. Since all heroes come with a Maya file, Maya can be used to export the heroes into STL (only with newer version of Maya) or into OBJ (any recent version of Maya). Heroes can also pose, by moving the various skeletons. I made my Furion hold his staff.
3. After exporting into the appropriate formats, the model needs to be checked to see if it conforms to a manifold (Shapeways has a nice, simple article on manifolds pertaining to 3D printing), has holes, has inverted normals, and has other similar non-printability problems. A lot of commercial services will do that check automatically upon upload. So will netfabb Basic.
4. I uploaded my Furion to Sculpteo, scaled it accordingly, and hit print, and 3 weeks later, VIOLA! Sculpteo offers a really nice check unprintable thin components and a real-time scaling for price adjustments.