Merge provides an adventure game set in a post-modern, post-human world. It comprises 3D-P or "Printy's" mission to find his off-world creator. The progression system includes minigames, upgrading Printy throughout the game, and a competitive endless mode embedded in an online community.
In the game, you will find 3D print (.stl) files, now dubbed "Styl Files." They contain parts that will increase Printy's abilities! When you find Styl Files, you will Merge the virtual and phsyical by also 3D printing the part in real life. These collectable parts are integrated into gameplay by containing clues.
Not only will you be able to progress further in the story or unlock new minigames, you will gain a physical reward as well. You will have a cutomizable Printy model. When you find Styl Files in the game, these files will also serve as new accessories - perhaps a sword or a hat - to customize your Printy.
Your adventure begins on a post-modern Earth, abandoned by humans with only mankind's creations remaining to show for their past. Humans now live in colonies orbiting the Earth in space. They could bring only their most crucial belongings in the move. You are 3D-P, or as we've lovingly nicknamed it, "Printy." Printy was once upon a time a simple 3D printer belonging to the controversial scientist Dr. Frank. Lacking in emotional interpersonal connections, Dr. Frank secretly began experiments to create not just an artificially intelligent robot, but a sentient companion. Unfortunately, the increasing inhospitability of Earth's climate prompted the off-world emmigration of all humans. Unable to bring any nonessential belongings with him, Dr. Frank left before discovering his success.
You awaken as Printy in Dr. Frank's home lab with only a simple wheel base on for mobility. You are on a mission to reach Dr. Frank in his particular space colony. But first, you must find Styl Files to 3D print your own upgrades and increase your collection of tools and abilities.
What does it mean that 3D printing is an additive process? Firstly, you design 3D models on your computer using the software of your choice, and you save this design as a .stl file. You then load a spool of plastic – color of your choice – into your 3D printer. The 3D printer contains a part or device called an extruder. The plastic thread is pulled into the extruder, which melts the plastic and lays it onto a grid within the 3D printer. The extruder continues to lay one layer on top of another (Hint: This is the "additive" part) until a 3D shape is printed.
The initial project proposal was when we first presented the idea of using 3D printing technology to enhance the gaming experience. At this stage, neither Printy nor Merge had been named, but we knew that the game would likely be adventure-style. We also knew that 3D printing would aid in progression of the player through the game.
At this stage, we present the story of Printy and how Printy will be upgraded by finding .stl files in-game. 3D-printed items will both contain clues on to move forward in-game as well as serve as parts for customizing the player's own 3D-Printed Printy model.
Here, we have an actual version of the Printy model. We also have the full story of the game finalized. We offer a clear explanation of how mini games will tie into the story and into endless mode. We discuss how endless mode emphasizes a competitive and community aspect with team and a high-score reward system. At this stage, we have also spoken with a local gaming café, the Rook and Pawn.
Merge presents live at SLAM at the booth AND on stage! On stage the full project is explained. At the booth, you can play the game demo, take our quiz for team placement, make your own Printy and get a picture at our photostation. Share your creation on social media with #MyPrinty