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LDD or Physical MOCing?


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#1 Offline Waaja

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 10:57 PM

Hi, I've no idea where to place this topic, so I hope I've got the right place :)

 

Anyway, I've been posting my MOCs online as I've been delving into Lego Digital Designer, which most of you know is a program which allows you to build virtual Lego sets. For someone like me who suffers from a lack of parts to work with, LDD is a welcomed program from Lego. There's no limit to how many pieces you can use. There's little limit to what colour of piece you want.

 

So here's a thing to discuss: Do you prefer LDD over physical MOCing? Why? Is there anyone who has placed down their Lego pieces and wholly use LDD for building?

 

For me, LDD has taken up my MOCing time for now. The frustration in first learning how to use LDD, and then later in using it can be quite prominent at times ("Why can't this piece fit in here? LDD, WORK YOU"). And there's another problem: missing pieces. Many pieces such many old Bionicle Pieces are not present in LDD. I know LDD caters for parts that are still in production, but even newer HF parts, Furno XL's cloak is missing D:  

 

Finally, there's also the joy of actually fitting the Lego Bricks together BY HAND. Sure, LDD has some nice sound effects when you're selecting or fitting pieces together, but the satisfaction of actually building something by hand, and getting to hold/play it in the end, cannot be reproduced by LDD (since the service is disrupted).

 

Here are my thoughts, now lemme hear yours! : D


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#2 Online Click

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 11:22 PM

Personally, I prefer physical MOCing. I'm not a person who can just look at the tabs and figure something out. I usually have to have the pieces physically in front of me to see how I want them to fit together. There's also the advantage you mentioned, that some things work better physically than digitally.

 

There are a lot of limits to this though. I don't have every part listed on LDD, so I usually use LDD when I'm trying out a new build, but am planning on ordering a few pieces to finish it. I can plug it into LDD, see how the design looks, test out new color combinations, and find out if I really need the pieces I thought I did. It is terrible when I wait a few days for pieces, only for them to arrive and I figure out the design looks terrible or some pieces are not quite the size I thought they were. For these problems, LDD is invaluable, but I've rarely built an entire MOC in it.


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#3 Offline ~The 1st Shadow~

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 11:33 PM

I use LDD when I want to test out an idea for something before actually building it to help me get ideas. Otherwise, physical MOCing. LDD isn't always reliable when it comes to the placement or orientation of parts, in addition to being hampered by a lack of all the good pieces from days long past.

 

My choice of medium for my comics should be evidence enough of my take on it. :P

 

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#4 Online xccj

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 11:36 PM

I would probably vote for physical MOCing too. LDD is terrible for constraction, because it's often quite hard to get the angles on ball joints just right, not to mention the lack of decent pieces it has. I mainly use LDD as a testing ground for new designs when I'm ordering pieces (like, hey, this store has this part, can I get it to work this way in a set, let's try it in LDD... hmm, no go, guess I'd better not buy it.) I've also gone the opposite route and remade some of my MOCs using LDD, both as a way to share instructions and keep a digital copy saved. But while LDD is nice for design, I still prefer having the finished model in hand.

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#5 Offline Collector1

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 11:55 PM

I prefer physical mocing simply because there's more physical pieces than there are digital. 


Edited by Collector1, Jun 18 2014 - 12:11 AM.

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#6 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 12:05 AM

For someone like me who suffers from a lack of parts to work with

If you REALLY familiarize yourself with LDD, pretty much everyone has a lack of parts compared to what's possible in there. :evilgrin:

 

LDD, but aided by, and aiding, the plastic. Ideally you would want everything in LDD to be possible to make in plastic, and vice versa. And if you want something you design in LDD to actually work as a toy, whether somebody ever actually builds it or not, you do have to know the little things about the parts that LDD doesn't tell you (and apparently in some cases the programmers don't know). Like whether a piece has friction or not; it might look great digitally but fall apart in seconds in real life, or that you can attach a stud to the inside of those metallic headlight-reflector bowl-shaped pieces, not only the outside like LDD thinks.

 

But I build tons of things without worrying about if they could be plastic. If you use it as a 3D digital design program that does most of the work for you, that doesn't really matter anyways.


Edited by bonesiii, Jun 18 2014 - 12:09 AM.

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#7 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 12:28 AM

LDD: Kill it with fire!

 

Okay, yeah, it has more colors and more parts than I do, but that doesn't outweigh my long list of complaints. For one thing, actually building real Lego in real life is at least 20X faster, since you don't have to drag the piece over, then turn it, then adjust the camera angle. On an actual Lego MoC, that's seconds. In LDD, that's minutes, since yonder glitchy brain always turns the parts (and then the camera) in the wrong direction (and then have to do it over). :P 

 

Not to mention trying to find the right part in those tabbed lists that seem to take mortal eons to load. And the program is terrible with large models, and the pieces don't always connect as I think they should (and know they can in real life). I also miss (esp. with HF models) the feeling of the parts in my hands. 

 

I think the reason I haven't uninstalled it yet is because of the super-cool MoC backgrounds and the fact that I'm too lazy to learn how to photoshop them behind real MoCs. And the parts, I guess.


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#8 Offline The Phantom Terror

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 07:25 AM

I prefer physical MOCing because I visualize things better when I'm holding them. With LDD, it's harder to do because there's a certain amount of distance that parts need to be away from eachother, and you can't manipulate some of the bendy stuff really well.


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#9 Offline Smooth Jazz

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 09:38 AM

I would have to go with physical MOCing, mostly due to the reasons of time, appearance, and just being able to feel what you are doing. As for the reason of time, it is based on the fact that I build technic-heavy builds, which would take much longer in LDD.

 

Also, I hate how LDD doesn't let you directly put a hand socket in a Vahki hip for a waist joint.


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#10 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 09:52 AM

I like physical MOCing but I find LDD essential more and more lately. Partly because my Lego collection is a mess and poorly organized, and partly because, yes, LDD offers so much more freedom. With LDD I can use parts I lack, or even parts in colors that don't exist if I'm designing set concepts. The only thing LDD gives me trouble with is constraction building, since angling parts on three axes is tricky, so I keep my Hero Factory collection close at hand for when I want to create those sorts of MOCs. But otherwise I greatly prefer LDD.
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#11 Offline Blizzard Hazard: Valendale

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 12:54 PM

I prefer physical because staring at a screen for too long can be harmful, and I like to walk around with my creations after I build them. On the other hand LDD has the advantage of providing parts in colors that don't exist or are hard to find in real life.


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#12 Offline Great Mask Of ????

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 01:12 PM

I find that recently I've been building things physically and then digitizing them in LDD, and even building official sets on it. Overall though, I am split between the two.

LDD has the advantage of building away from home where I clearly can't bring my collection, having limitless part options, and using pieces that can't ever break (looking at you, 2009). On the other hand, building physically means that I can easily tell how fragile or top heavy or swooshable something is.

Both have downsides, like LDD's annoying ball joints and slight lack of parts, and real life part limitations and breakage. I don't really mind though; in the end, I'm still building with Lego.


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#13 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 01:38 PM

LDD offers some advantages over physical building, and can be extremely useful in certain situations. Other times, physical building offers obvious advantages. Using a combination of both can be extremely useful. I could not have built Caitlyn Gauss XL if I hadn't first reverse-engineered this MOC that was photographed at LEGO World 2013 in Copenhagen, and I would not have been able to reverse-engineer that MOC without a combination of digital and physical building. I used physical bricks when I had to figure out tricky angles or test out the model's articulation, but I didn't have the bricks I needed in anywhere near the right quantities to recreate the entire thing physically.

LDD is also a valuable tool for me because I can use it to create a permanent record of how a particular model was built. It is normal for me, after building a physical model I'm very proud of, to recreate it on LDD so that if it comes apart I will always be able to reassemble it. Even if LDD's automatic instruction manual generation is extremely screwy, it's easy to rebuild a model if you have a digital copy to reference, the same way you can easily duplicate a model if you have a physical copy to reference.

One advantage digital building sometimes offers is that you can create the exterior shape of a model and THEN come up with ways to give it a sturdy structure. Because it is not affected by gravity or other forces, a digital model will hold its shape while you experiment with different ways of attaching the separate sections. But you have to build the model physically if you want to put its structure to the test: there is no alternative to physical building if you want to fully understand how well the model will be able to support forces including (but not limited to) its own weight. I first started designing Delwyn Buckler as a digital model to get the facial details right. I designed the entire head digitally, then ordered the parts I needed to build him physically, adding a chest and shoulders to create a more complete-looking bust. I then designed his hairdo using a combination of digital and physical building.

Digital building is also a fantastic way to experiment with different color palettes without having to completely disassemble and then reassemble a model, or buy parts in rare colors without knowing for sure that you are going to use them. Delwyn Buckler, who I mentioned above, was originally designed in Medium Stone Grey, but as I got further and further with the build I was able to experiment with different color schemes and investigate which parts were available in which colors. Eventually I realized that white was the ideal color for building the face since, at the time, it was the only color which 88293, 98138, and 11477 were all available (today, of course, I could build him in Medium Stone Grey if I wanted to, since 11477 is finally available in that color).

Even the official LEGO designers use a combination of digital and physical building in their work. Digital building can be a useful way to find the most efficient way to construct a model. On LEGO Digital Designer, you can use the "Export BOM" tool to instantly generate a parts list for a model. So while LDD has a bit of a learning curve and is by no means a perfect simulation tool, it is still an exceptionally valuable one to learn.

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#14 Offline Bfahome

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Posted Jun 18 2014 - 04:02 PM

It really depends on how limited my collection is at the time vs. how many connection rules I want to break.  Right now I have no LEGO parts with me at all, so it's really my only option.

 

(Though I've busied myself with other projects too, so that sort of fills the gap a bit.)


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#15 Offline Vorahk1Panrahk2

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Posted Jun 26 2014 - 01:43 PM

I think for the most part building in real life is more ideal. It allows you to 'cheat' and use pieces in ways that LDD is not programmed to do so, and your models in real life are affected by forces like gravity and friction that aren't incorporated into LDD. That's a plus for those who build exclusively digital models, but if you want to reproduce them physically then those forces become pretty important.

 

All that said, LDD has its advantageous. I've been using it recently because it allows me to work on my own building abilities while not being limited to what parts I own in real life. One could argue that the real life limitation is what allows you to become a good builder, but I think having enough parts to try out different techniques is equally beneficial.

 

LDD has it's issues. Finding pieces can be annoying and the graphics don't really reflect how pieces look in real life (especially in the menus) but it's still a good tool.


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#16 Offline Kopekemaster

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Posted Jun 27 2014 - 05:07 PM

Physical MOCing, by far. I used LDD for a while after it started up, just playing around, but found it too frustrating to use for anything serious.

Also, there are certain "illegal moves" that you can do physically, but LEGO doesn't really want you to do, so you aren't able to in LDD.


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#17 Offline Watcher on the Walls

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Posted Jun 27 2014 - 06:33 PM

I can't stand LDD. For real. It gets really complicated at times, and I find it not too cheap to actually order, or maybe that's just me. I also find physical MOCing much more "fun", I guess, like actually experimenting with your own hands rather than a computer.
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#18 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jun 27 2014 - 08:17 PM

LDD is perhaps the most intuitive Lego CAD program available, from my experience. Unfortunately, it doesn't do well with constraction building, since it's difficult to hinge things along three axes. But I still am quite surprised at the number of users here who report frustration with it.

Perhaps my positive experience is related to my building style. I generally try to avoid "illegal connections" altogether, in part due to my desire to become a Lego set designer (which encourages me to think about my designs like actual set designers do, with similar constraints). I also tend to prefer newer parts to older, outdated parts in my MOCs, so the lack of parts like Bionicle parts or decades-old windscreens doesn't bother me greatly. Finally, my collection is poorly organized and I lacked access to it for several years while I was at college, so I relish the ability to have practically any part in any color at my disposal (although I generally do try to limit myself to parts in colors that they exist in).


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#19 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Jun 28 2014 - 09:41 PM

I haven't used LDD since it first came out. At first, I was enamored with it, but even at a young age I came to realize its limitations.
 
It has obviously improved greatly since then, as examples on this site attest, but to me, LEGO is about the challenge making something aesthetically appealing while meeting the challenges of limitation inherent in one's own collection as well part shapes and the colors that said parts have come in. It's a matter of finding what works within some fairly severe limitations, and LDD's main attraction makes this challenge somewhat easier.

 

By no means would I consider myself anti-LDD, but I'm not as thrilled about it as some other folks are, mainly because at this point I still have access to a collection.


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#20 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jun 29 2014 - 03:27 PM

I haven't used LDD since it first came out. At first, I was enamored with it, but even at a young age I came to realize its limitations.
 
It has obviously improved greatly since then, as examples on this site attest, but to me, LEGO is about the challenge making something aesthetically appealing while meeting the challenges of limitation inherent in one's own collection as well part shapes and the colors that said parts have come in. It's a matter of finding what works within some fairly severe limitations, and LDD's main attraction makes this challenge somewhat easier.

 

By no means would I consider myself anti-LDD, but I'm not as thrilled about it as some other folks are, mainly because at this point I still have access to a collection.

 

I completely agree with the idea that limitations are essential to good Lego building, but what I like about LDD is that I can set my own limitations based on what I'm building at the moment. If I'm building something I intend to build with my own pieces, I can limit myself to parts I know I have, without having to dig all those parts out right away, or take some of my built sets and MOCs apart, if they contain a part I may or may not need (for example, my newest BrickFair name badge, based on Cloud Cuckoo Land, was designed on LDD before I scuttled my Cloud Cuckoo Palace set for the necessary parts). If I'm building something I may want to construct in the future, then with the help of databases like Bricklink or Brickset I can use any parts that exist (for instance, I have some large-scale MLP models designed on LDD which I hope to one day build and sell). If I'm trying to create a model that could, conceivably, be released as a set (whether through Cuusoo or simply in a hypothetical future Lego theme), I can broaden my limitations even further, by including a limited number of recolors that don't exist but would be essential for such a model (I have many such models built on LDD, ranging from licensed sets based on properties like the Legend of Korra or Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney to sets based on existing Lego themes, like an Invasion from Below battle machine for Stringer, a Ninjago Advent Calendar for Lego Ideas, and even a WIP minifig-scale Galidor set).

Beyond that, there are several practical uses for LDD that involve less creativity but are useful in other respects. When I do need to take apart a MOC for its parts, for instance, I often try to build in on LDD first so that I can rebuild it if I should ever want or need to do so. And I have built a great many official Lego sets on LDD—it gives me a taste of sets or themes I don't have (both older ones I missed out on and newer or even future sets I'm considering buying), it provides excellent practice with the program that helps me to get around issues or quirks, and with the help of Lego Ambassadors on Eurobricks it helps me to troubleshoot the program (so that techniques used in sets but disallowed on LDD itself can be programmed in, and bugs and brick errors can be reported and fixed).


Edited by Lyichir, Jun 29 2014 - 03:27 PM.

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#21 Offline veeder

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Posted Jul 03 2014 - 02:22 AM

I prefer physical MOCing. I really don't like LDD that much as it fails to work for me half the time, and building my own MOCs means I can actually see what it looks like in real life.


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#22 Offline Chronicler06

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Posted Jul 25 2014 - 08:20 PM

Even though I have not yet gotten around to downloading LDD, I can actually see myself using it more frequently than physical bricks. Whenever I build something I like, I prefer to simply leave it as it is and put it on a shelf. The real problem I've had is that over a few months, anything I leave untouched gets dusty and I have to clean it off. I'd like to try building a lot of things, but I don't want to have to go through the trouble of wiping off dust every year or so. Obviously, this problem doesn't exist with digital creations, so once I finally do download LDD, I think it's fair to say that I'll be using it a lot.


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#23 Offline ankyfdarkness

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Posted Jul 30 2014 - 08:30 PM

LDD has never been a favorite of mine. LEGO is a physical toy, and just isn't as enjoyable as a digital medium to me. The feel of bricks snapping together is so awesome. It is a feeling LDD doesn't give me. :P


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#24 Offline Waaja

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Posted Aug 11 2014 - 05:44 AM

LDD has never been a favorite of mine. LEGO is a physical toy, and just isn't as enjoyable as a digital medium to me. The feel of bricks snapping together is so awesome. It is a feeling LDD doesn't give me. :P

I second that; after the joy of having unlimited pieces die down, you'd feel your fingers twitching from not having to pry pieces apart... XD


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#25 Offline Heir of the Chronicler

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Posted Aug 11 2014 - 09:24 AM

I've never used LDD, and never thought I would. That's changed, recently, as I have a few large system MOCs in mind which I know I'd need to buy parts for... so, I'd design it in LDD to get a parts list, pull together what I already own, and then order the rest.

 

... LDD does provide a parts list, right? :???:

 

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#26 Offline V-N

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Posted Aug 11 2014 - 10:22 AM

I haven't used LDD in a long time, but I definitely preferred physical MOCing. Of course, much of my MOCing was with Technic, which is probably significantly harder than using System. I actually think LDD can be pretty great for System- but it still doesn't beat the real thing.


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#27 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Aug 19 2014 - 10:50 AM

I've never used LDD, and never thought I would. That's changed, recently, as I have a few large system MOCs in mind which I know I'd need to buy parts for... so, I'd design it in LDD to get a parts list, pull together what I already own, and then order the rest.

... LDD does provide a parts list, right? :???:

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#28 Offline Liopleurodon

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Posted Aug 19 2014 - 01:18 PM

I usually prefer physical MOCing, but if I need an unlimited amount of parts, I use LDD. :P


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#29 Offline Space: Ocean of Awe

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Posted Aug 22 2014 - 12:51 AM

Certainly physical MOCing. I used to use LDD a lot, and though it is terribly frustrating trying to get things right, and much slower (other than the fact that you have almost any piece you want at your fingertips), i found it very calming. Silence but for the click of a mouse and the simple sound effects afforded by the program; the unending greyness of the background, and the dioramas - those I loved so much. I used to just look at the mountain diorama, listen to the wind, and feel so calm. LDD is, to me, a balance of calm and frustration, plenty and limitation.

The latter of the two pairs are the reasons that I prefer physical MOCing, and the fact that it is also a wonderful experience; to know the contents of each box - I cannot list each piece and colour contained within a box, but I know where to search for one thing or another. It's embedded in my intuition; something somehow tracks these things in my mind. And the limitation is also liberating, I must ask myself : "what can I do with these pieces?" And when I buy a box of Lego there is much pleasure in the novelty of searching through it for the first time, taking stock of what is present, what gems lie within. And once complete, a plane should not be frozen onto a collection of pixels - it should fly! Be swooshed through the air! Cars need to be driven, a house lived in.

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#30 Online John Smith

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Posted Sep 12 2014 - 09:57 PM

I prefer building by hand, but for creating large things, I actually prefer Minecraft over LDD. Obviously it's not quite the same, and it doesn't have as many specialized pieces, but I find it much easier to use. Plus you can walk around inside any buildings you make!


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#31 Offline randomreviewerbros

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Posted Sep 16 2014 - 05:49 AM

Physical MOCing is alot more fun than LDD, because you actually have the thing youve built in front of you and its so much fun to look at, knowing you actually own this one of a kind build as no two MOCs are the same.


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