3D PrintMaster Simulator Printer Review
3D printing has been a bit of a hobby of mine for around a year now. Having a magic plastic machine in the house has saved us a fortune in buying random plastic objects and even though I’ve been doing it for a while now, I still find it to be pretty much sorcery. This simulator title from Midnight Games, developer of Car Racing Highway Driving Simulator, real parking driver sim speed traffic deluxe 2023 and Outcasts of Dungeon: Epic Magic World Fight Rogue Game Simulator (no, I’m not making those game names up) is billed as being “a realistic and in-depth simulation of the exciting world of 3D printing”, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares to my real-world experience of fused deposition modelling.
3D PrintMaster Simulator Printer opens up without much fanfare and immediately gives you the option of either Creative mode or Career. There’s not a huge difference between the two, other than the fact that Creative mode starts you with $1,000,000 and Career mode starts you off with $1,500. The first thing you will have to do is acquire a printer, and in Career mode, the game helpfully tells you which items to buy. Most of the items are named incorrectly, such as ‘rotors’ instead of motors, but that’s OK because two out of the nine parts are correctly named.
Once you’ve ordered all of the parts you need, they will arrive haphazardly on your doormat, waiting for you to open and assemble them. Assembling them is about as frustrating as assembling a real 3D printer, except in the real world, I never inadvertently jammed my printer into the ceiling. I've also certainly never had a printer mysteriously float up into the ceiling, never to be seen again. When I eventually worked out that you can only rotate objects in two directions, it became a little easier to get things assembled. I diligently got out my wrench and “hexagon” to fasten the “rotors” to the “FDM” and such, and assembled the magical plastic machine of my dreams. The tools that you need to use can be picked up from a table, but you can’t put them back down there. You have to drop them directly on the floor and then drag them to a table if you want them to end up sitting on it. That doesn’t always work and sometimes they will just drop directly through the table. This also applies to all other objects in the game, because apparently collision detection is for losers. It’s only a small detail though, and the lack of any sort of physics doesn’t stop this being a “realistic and in-depth simulation”.
One of the things that most 3D printing enthusiasts learn pretty quickly is that whilst the technology has come a long way in a short time, in most cases you are going to need to do quite a bit of tweaking and calibration to get things to print how you want them. This is, after all, quite a precision process, with sub-millimetre plastic being melted into precise shapes one tiny layer at a time. But this “realistic and in-depth” title does away with all of that, and apparently, your printer works immediately out of the box with absolutely no setup at all. It doesn’t even need a power supply to be connected: the visible plug socket on all the machines is purely a decorative feature.
So once we’ve taken out all of the setup needed, we’re left with the small matter of making objects. In the real world, this is usually done by a piece of specialist software known as a “slicer” and it’s a relatively simple process. There are still challenges that you face though, you need to make sure that objects are oriented properly and have support for features that might otherwise be printed in mid-air. That step is also done away with here, and instead all you need to do is go into your emails, accept and order, and tell it to print. Everything else is done for you. Did I already mention how this is billed as a “realistic and in-depth” title? I should point out that orders start to arrive the second you start playing. Because who doesn’t open up their Etsy store before they’ve actually bought any materials?
Once the object you’ve created is finished, you need to get them to the customer. Much like in real life, this is done by taking it to a desk, conjuring a box out of thin air, and then using the power of your mind to ensure that it magically makes its way into the box — which, of course, seals itself shut instantly. At some point shortly after you have done this, the customer will appear inside your house asking where their order is. As you might expect, they (and their order) will instantly disappear when the box is brought close to them. I was particularly impressed with this “realistic” depiction of the 3D printing process. Some customers will want their objects painted, which can be done by placing it on a desk and waiting for three seconds, but I didn’t bother with this once I realised that there was no penalty for not painting an order that was meant to be painted. If customers are going to dematerialise with their order, whether it’s correct or not (and pay the same amount either way), then why bother doing it correctly?
You can repeat the above steps a few times until your printer runs out of plastic, at which point you will have to remove it from the desk and put it on the floor in order to change the spool, because that’s a “realistic and in-depth simulation” of how things work in real life. You know, just like how you have to put a regular printer on the floor to put more paper in it, or how you can’t empty your kitchen bin without taking it into the downstairs toilet. The first time I tried playing, I couldn’t work this out and ended up buying a whole new printer second-hand. Most of the parts were missing however and I had to buy them manually. I know that it’s always best to be careful when buying used goods, but I’ve never had an item arrive from eBay without any of the electrical components inside at all.
Once you’ve finally worked out the trick of dumping the printer on the floor to change plastic, you’ve pretty much mastered the game. It’s just a case of repeating that same process. You can buy more machines to work with, but it’s pointless to do so because the process of packing up an order and getting it to the door ready for the incoming teleportation of a customer takes about as long as printing an object does. This means that it’s easier to just set an item printing while you box up the prior one. In the real world, where larger and more complex prints can take multiple days, those trying to earn money from 3D printing would be wise to invest in additional printers, but if it’s going to take a few seconds to print an entire violin, there’s no need for more than one machine. Just in case you didn’t catch it earlier, this is a “realistic and in-depth simulation” apparently.
There are a number of other faults with 3D PrintMaster Simulator Printer that I haven’t mentioned. Screwdrivers and “hexagons” (what this game called Allen keys) are used by holding them in front of your face at a 45-degree angle and just staring at the screw until it feels sorry for you and screws itself in. There are a few very low quality recordings of royalty-free songs playing in the background, all of which start and end abruptly for no reason. There are shelves and drawers everywhere, but you can’t use any of them so you have to just stack things up on the floor or on tables (assuming they don’t fall through). Ultimately, I have absolutely nothing good to say about it. It’s about as accurate a portrayal of 3D printing as Mario Kart is of French Renaissance art. I’m not sure that Midnight Games knows what “in-depth” means; this simulation is about as deep as a paper cut — and as enjoyable as one too.
3D PrintMaster Simulator Printer (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is unenjoyable, but it works.
This is a terrible piece of cheap shovelware with no realism, no entertainment value, and nothing to make it worth buying