Saturday, March 7, 2015

Visit to PAX East: Part 2: Lending Libraries and 3D Printing

One of the coolest things about PAX East from a librarian standpoint was the amount of pop up libraries. There was a Table Top Gaming Library where anyone could check out and demo a board game. There were also reserved rooms with a Free Play Console Library, Retro Console Library, and Handheld Gaming Library where anyone could check out a video game and play with their friends on provided consoles. These rooms were filled with people, so much so after the exhibit hall closed that I didn't even get a chance to get in. What about taking those old working gaming consoles from home and building retro kits to circulate at the library? Who doesn't miss playing GoldenEye for the N64 on multiplayer? Does your library host a game night for adults not just teens? Trust me the demographic at PAX East was mostly game obsessed adults 30 + yrs old.
Most libraries have board games available to play, usually in the Teen Area but when is the last time they were updated? or actually allowed to circulate at home? Highly involved board games are not cheap these days with price tags well into the $50-$100. Where else but a game store can people try out games before they buy? We have a board game night for adults one Thursday night a month here at the library. What I love most about the program is people bring their favorite games from home (in some cases, games that they finally have enough enthusiastic people to play) which is how I learned to play Kings of Tokyo, Timeline and a new favorite, Libertalia. The sheer amount of board games have exploded these days and some of that is attributed to websites like Kickstarter and the consumer 3D Printer. 
I attended an interesting PAX panel on 3D Printing and Gaming.  3D Printing will affect many aspects of production and careers not just engineers. The talk opened highlighting artists on Etsy who can design and sell their own board games with customized pieces. Even companies represented in the panel like Cool Mini or Not  3D print all their initial pieces to their tabletop games in house to check for design issues then send them to China for resin molding which saves them time and money.  This could become the industry standard. Design software companies are jumping on board as well. Nervous System designs software to generate beautiful patterns based on natural mathematic computations to use in clothing, jewelry and more. This dress is printed entirely as one piece from a 3D printer using that software. Like the Oculus, this is another field where the sky is the limit.  Stereolythographic printers like Form Labs will allow intense detail and quality with a multitude of printing materials.
A few interesting names were dropped during the presentation like MIT's Skylar Tibbits on 4D Printing and artist Cosmo Wenman who 3D prints recreations of famous sculptures from art museums. I cannot wait to see the 3D printer that will be made in the next 2 years with how quickly technology advances these days. It all begins with learning CAD software, which any library can host right now using Lynda tutorials and free programs like AutoDesk apps or Tinkercad.  Patrons of the library could use a library 3D printer to create the next successful table top game or a fashion statement.


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