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Questions About Digital Building

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Mette Hansen from the LEGO Community Team recently shared this message with the Ambassadors:

Hi all,

 

Here is a message from our colleague Kari from LEGO Digital Games, working on the game LEGO Worlds. She would very much appreciate any help from you with the questions below. You're welcome to answer in this topic directly and if you know any passionate digital builders you would like to share the questions with you're very welcome to do so:

 

"Soooo… after running the LEGO Worlds Rebrick contest, and for me to basically understand the digital building experience/community a bit better, I hope it’s okay that I share some questions here.. I am Kari, and I work as the Marketing Lead on LEGO® Worlds on the LEGO side of things.

 

Digital Tools:

It’s my assumption that Fans use CAD tools to:

· Build without constraints of having enough physical LEGO bricks

· Use to prototype a picture you then build as a physical model

· Create building instructions to share

· Create some of the most compelling presentations on LEGO Ideas

 

Correct me if I am wrong, and please speak out what you use it for, everything is appreciated. I am especially also curious around the process of using digital building.

 

Questions:

Are there other reasons why you build digitally?

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

 

Platforms:

I like to build in LEGO Worlds… especially after we have updated the UI so I can use my controller in a more efficient way. I know there are many platforms out there… LDD (which is our own platform), LDraw etc.

 

Questions:

What platforms do you use?

What pro/cons do the platforms have?

 

Gaming And Building:

I know Worlds is a gaming experience but I see this as huge opportunity to create wonderful Worlds, not just models, where there are no brick limits. I might be wrong, I have also worked on the game for quite some time now so might be a bit biased.

 

Questions:

How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?

Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

 

Community and Digital Building.

I have looked but can’t seem to find a community group that is centered around digital building. It might be that the need has never been there, but seeing how digital becomes bigger and bigger I could imagine a digital building community.

 

Questions:

Has there never been a need for a community like this?

Is it not as exciting as physical building?

Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions! I would like to go into a deeper dialogue with some passionate digital builders - so if you're interested in a further dialogue on this or know anyone who is, please just let me know.

 

/Kari"

For the record, this is the same Kari that used to work on Bionicle and that we interviewed here.
  • Upvote 3

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I'm a huge fan of digital building. I mostly use LDD and render using Bluerender whenever I feel the urge to do so. LDD allows me to escape the confines of a limited inventory and colour palette, offering me more bricks than I would have in real life and allowing infinite amounts of the same brick to be added.

 

I also find that building in LDD is just as fun as building in real life. An added benefit of LDD is its huge potential when it comes to collaborating with other builders. For instance, TheOneVeyronian and I jointly built a massive chess board populated by characters from light and dark factions. Even though we've never met in person, using this medium has allowed us to produce an incredible piece of art that could not have been made otherwise.

 

I see great potential in LDD as not just a stationary building tool, but also for its world-building possibilities. Granted, I have never attempted to import LDD models into game engines or anything like that, but it's something that I would love to try in the near future.

 

:tohu:


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"Welcome to Valhalla, Warrior."

 

Recent MOC's: The Headless Horseman (BBC71 Finalist)    LDD CCBS Chess    The Shadowed One (BBC69)    Nydoretha (Netherealm Empress)
 

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I don't often use my computer to build.  When I do, I usually have a reason in mind - if anyone remembers those PokeMOCs I did a while back, those were ideas for a game.  Most of the time I already have a physical model, or parts of it, then I recreate it in LeoCAD.  For one of the PokeMOCs, Crobat, I made him with the wrong color scheme then I 'corrected' it once I had him on my computer (I didn't have enough purple).  So I guess that falls under not having enough physical bricks.

 

I wouldn't use my computer for a big creation.  Just thinking about moving all those bricks into place with a mouse/trackpad makes my hand hurt already =P

 

My platform of choice is LeoCAD, mainly because it can export to .obj files.  It's okay, but it's slow - which is the main reason I don't build with the PC that often.

 

How do I feel about Lego Worlds?  I wish I had enough money to get it =P  I think it's cool, but the controls would have to be perfect.  As I said I think it's hard to build with a mouse.  Would I still be using something else, then recreate it in the game?  Again, it depends on the controls.


Avatar by Nicholas Anderson (NickonAquaMagna)

My blog: The Jaga's Nest

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I use LDD all the time to build models or to quickly try out a concept that would otherwise take me hours to find all the right bricks for.  I am also stuck in a mind set that every model I make has to be set compatible so having a feature that tells me how many pieces I've used is invaluable.  Using a digital format also means I am able to render a model and place it on an appropriate background.  So I guess I use LDD to make unofficial LEGO sets, a good example of this would be my recently denied LEGO Ideas submission Lothlorien.

 

The digital building experience, for me, usually starts with a concept that I have thought out in my head for awhile until I feel I can build it.  Then I build the model and sometimes I will build a function with actual bricks to make sure it will work for the model.  After the model is complete, I may gather/buy the necessary bricks to build it if I feel the need for its physical presence.  If I run into any structural problems or am simply updating a model, it is also invaluable to be able to try out different solutions/parts without having to take apart the actual model

 

As for LEGO Worlds, I don't play many games so I must admit I don't know much about it.

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Well, I use LDD to build something whenever I feel like it. I also use it build the mixel mixes me and/or my brother make so we remember how to build it.

 

I do however find it weird that pieces like the 2-sided 1x2 hinge piece are only in extended mode when I want to use it in regular mode which allows me to use printed pieces like mixel eyes.

 

That's my commentary.


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Question 1: The primary reason why I build digitally is to build things I couldn't build otherwise. Sometimes this is because the correct parts don't come in the right colors, but other times it is just because I don't have the parts in the right colors myself (and hope to have a finished model together before making the necessary part/set orders). Additionally, I often attempt to build actual sets digitally. Sometimes that is done with instructions, to give myself an idea of the parts and techniques used in a set I have not gotten yet (from themes I prefer) or do not plan to get (especially in the case of large models from themes other than those I collect). But sometimes it is also done without instructions—when early pictures of sets are released by Lego or shown at Toy Fair, I enjoy trying to reverse-engineer those from the pictures alone, which not only gives me a "preview" of highly anticipated sets, but also allows me to notice things I might not have noticed otherwise (like specific techniques or even new parts which only become obvious when the current digital parts selection is insufficient to correctly build the model). A third, final reason why I build digitally is to create a record of my own physical MOCs. I can't keep all my creations together forever or I won't be able to make use of the parts, so often if I find myself needing the parts to an earlier MOC I build it on LDD first so that I have a record of how that MOC was built, in case I ever want to build it again.

 

Question 2: The main platform I use is Lego Digital Designer. While LDD has its shortcomings (such as sporadic parts updates and bug fixes, and an inability to create custom decorations or create high-quality, photorealistic renders), the ease of use far outstrips other digital building programs. Additionally, LDD used to be much quicker to update with niche parts like CCBS than other programs, but with LDD updates becoming less frequent that is not always the case anymore. The lack of regular updates is one of my biggest complaints I have with LDD, along with certain parts like mini-doll body parts and accessories being completely absent even years after being introduced.

 

Question 3: I first learned about Lego Worlds on the Lego Inside Tour last year, and was extremely hopeful for it—not just because of the software itself, but because in my eyes it offered the first real chance to potentially provide a new revenue stream to LDD since the closure of Design By Me. However, I have not gotten a chance to play the game myself yet, because the beta is not available for Mac, and I use a MacBook as my primary computer. And from what I have seen and heard from others, I think that the limitation to vertical stacking (rather than sideways building and similar advanced techniques) might limit my enjoyment of the program somewhat (though I would still be eager to try the program myself if I had the chance). In any case, it would not replace other digital building programs for me by a long shot.

 

Question 4: For the most part, discussion of digital building seems to take place primarily on larger Lego fansites, or in the case of third-party programs like LDraw, in communities dedicated to those specific programs. For me as an LDD user, the primary place I discuss digital building with others is the "LDD and other Digital Tools" subforum on Eurobricks. One issue I've noticed with the lack of a dedicated community is that there is VERY little communication between end users of LDD and the developers. The aforementioned Eurobricks subforum used to have an indirect method of communicating, via the Lego Ambassador program, and that was used for several productive purposes including submitting bug reports and creating a list of high-demand parts to submit to the developers to hopefully be programmed into the software. Because of the redesign of the Lego Ambassador Network, those channels are now closed off, and there is no easy way to submit feedback. Users on Eurobricks can still use the forum to try to troubleshoot each other's issues and/or discuss news about updates and the like, but now there is no easy way to make inquiries about LDD with any sort of official channel except for the main Lego Customer Service team, which is usually poorly informed or connected regarding Lego Digital Designer and the issues that matter to its users.

  • Upvote 3

Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

Aanchir's and Meiko's brother

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Correct me if I am wrong, and please speak out what you use it for, everything is appreciated. I am especially also curious around the process of using digital building.

Questions:

Are there other reasons why you build digitally?

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

 

Platforms:

I like to build in LEGO Worlds… especially after we have updated the UI so I can use my controller in a more efficient way. I know there are many platforms out there… LDD (which is our own platform), LDraw etc.

Questions:

What platforms do you use?

What pro/cons do the platforms have?

 

Gaming And Building:

I know Worlds is a gaming experience but I see this as huge opportunity to create wonderful Worlds, not just models, where there are no brick limits. I might be wrong, I have also worked on the game for quite some time now so might be a bit biased.

Questions:

How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?

Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

 

Community and Digital Building.

I have looked but can’t seem to find a community group that is centered around digital building. It might be that the need has never been there, but seeing how digital becomes bigger and bigger I could imagine a digital building community.

Questions:

Has there never been a need for a community like this?

Is it not as exciting as physical building?

Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

  1. The only other reason I build digitally is when I don't actually have access to my LEGO at that time. I guess that kinda falls under the "Build without constraints of having enough physical LEGO bricks" category.  It's mainly lack of bricks/prototyping for me.

     

  2. LDD for me. I have used LDraw and a few others long long ago, but have found LDD generally the easiest to use. Overall it's a great tool, and my only issues with it are;

    a) It has a really narrow Field of Vision (FoV) which can make viewing the model difficult.

    b) Lots of bricks that I would like to use aren't on the list. Generally these are older pieces that are no longer used in current sets, so I can understand why

     

  3. I LOVE LEGO Worlds.  Will I still import models into the game rather than building them in LEGO Worlds?  Probably.  I find the controlling the building process in 3nd person pretty difficult, and find it a lot more difficult to navigate to the bricks I want to put use.  As I have to use the lowest resolution settings possible to play the game, it can often be difficult to tell which brick I'm selecting (a 2x2 black plate looks pretty similar to a 4x4 black plate when your resolution is 640x480 px...)

     

  4. I can't say I've ever looked for a website about this.  I guess the closest thing I've experienced was visiting other players properties in LEGO Universe, where awesome properties would be visited in huge parties to check the place out.  Is it not as exciting as physical building?  I don't think that's the issue.  It's a different experience entirely.  With physical building, you're searching to find that piece you need at the bottom of the tub, and if you can't find it/don't have it you have to improvise some other way of achieving the build.  It's also a lot easier to randomly build something when bricks are in your hand.  With digital building you've got to be pretty clear from the beginning what you want to achieve.  The process I find is more that I'm having to find more ways to make the build more efficient, use more effective methods, and perfect any snot/sideways techniques that I might not have the pieces to do in a real set.

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Well, I use LDD to build something whenever I feel like it. I also use it build the mixel mixes me and/or my brother make so we remember how to build it.

 

I do however find it weird that pieces like the 2-sided 1x2 hinge piece are only in extended mode when I want to use it in regular mode which allows me to use printed pieces like mixel eyes.

 

That's my commentary.

In extended you should be able to use the decal tool under the paint bucket drop down menu to put the eye print on the parts.

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Correct me if I am wrong, and please speak out what you use it for, everything is appreciated. I am especially also curious around the process of using digital building.

Questions:

Are there other reasons why you build digitally?

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

 

Platforms:

I like to build in LEGO Worlds… especially after we have updated the UI so I can use my controller in a more efficient way. I know there are many platforms out there… LDD (which is our own platform), LDraw etc.

Questions:

What platforms do you use?

What pro/cons do the platforms have?

 

Gaming And Building:

I know Worlds is a gaming experience but I see this as huge opportunity to create wonderful Worlds, not just models, where there are no brick limits. I might be wrong, I have also worked on the game for quite some time now so might be a bit biased.

Questions:

How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?

Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

 

Community and Digital Building.

I have looked but can’t seem to find a community group that is centered around digital building. It might be that the need has never been there, but seeing how digital becomes bigger and bigger I could imagine a digital building community.

Questions:

Has there never been a need for a community like this?

Is it not as exciting as physical building?

Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

  1. The only other reason I build digitally is when I don't actually have access to my LEGO at that time. I guess that kinda falls under the "Build without constraints of having enough physical LEGO bricks" category.  It's mainly lack of bricks/prototyping for me.

     

  2. LDD for me. I have used LDraw and a few others long long ago, but have found LDD generally the easiest to use. Overall it's a great tool, and my only issues with it are;

    a) It has a really narrow Field of Vision (FoV) which can make viewing the model difficult.

    b) Lots of bricks that I would like to use aren't on the list. Generally these are older pieces that are no longer used in current sets, so I can understand why

     

  3. I LOVE LEGO Worlds.  Will I still import models into the game rather than building them in LEGO Worlds?  Probably.  I find the controlling the building process in 3nd person pretty difficult, and find it a lot more difficult to navigate to the bricks I want to put use.  As I have to use the lowest resolution settings possible to play the game, it can often be difficult to tell which brick I'm selecting (a 2x2 black plate looks pretty similar to a 4x4 black plate when your resolution is 640x480 px...)

     

  4. I can't say I've ever looked for a website about this.  I guess the closest thing I've experienced was visiting other players properties in LEGO Universe, where awesome properties would be visited in huge parties to check the place out.  Is it not as exciting as physical building?  I don't think that's the issue.  It's a different experience entirely.  With physical building, you're searching to find that piece you need at the bottom of the tub, and if you can't find it/don't have it you have to improvise some other way of achieving the build.  It's also a lot easier to randomly build something when bricks are in your hand.  With digital building you've got to be pretty clear from the beginning what you want to achieve.  The process I find is more that I'm having to find more ways to make the build more efficient, use more effective methods, and perfect any snot/sideways techniques that I might not have the pieces to do in a real set.

 

 

I couldn't disagree with your last point more. It's much easier to generate concepts in LDD, and is almost always simpler to substitute parts for others in LDD vs real life. In LDD it's much easier to make different iterations of a certain design, so the refinement process is definitely less complicated. To each his own, I suppose. That doesn't change the fact that physical LEGO is my one true passion in life :P

 

:tohu:

  • Upvote 2

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"Welcome to Valhalla, Warrior."

 

Recent MOC's: The Headless Horseman (BBC71 Finalist)    LDD CCBS Chess    The Shadowed One (BBC69)    Nydoretha (Netherealm Empress)
 

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I build digitally to prototype an idea I have so I can see what direction the creation is going and what kind of parts I might need to order to see it realized in real life. The advantage is, of course, that I might not own those parts, allowing me more freedom as I prep to physically build. Very rarely do I return to the digital model after I start building it with my own collection, as at that point I can play around with shapes and parts in real life. While the color palette provides more freedom, working outside what is readily available hinders the final, physical model from being realized.

 

I use LDraw when I build digitally. I had been using LDD since it arrived in BrickMaster, but after a few updates I did not find it as appealing as I had before, more constricting actually, so tried LDraw and have never looked back. In particular, I appreciated how LDraw handled putting bricks at angles like when using hinges and brackets, which was more flush. I have heard that LDD gets continual updates, but have no need to stop using LDraw.

 

I have followed LEGO Worlds very little. From what I gather it is similar to Minecraft, which I do not build in because I would rather build in real life to show off my creations for friends and displays. There is an opportunity cost, so to speak, between building digitally and building physically, which for me is the end goal.

 

I have seen digital creations hosted in LEGO communities like Flickr, but rarely are these highlighted in places such as The Brothers Brick. Physical models gather much more attention.

 

As for comparing digital to physical building, in regards to communities and experiences, I see a big difference. For me, physical building is more impressive because it shows what one can do within the constraints of their own collection with the parts and colors LEGO has produced. This can be unbalanced due to varying sizes of collections and wealth, but those constraints exist nonetheless. Digital creations can not be shown off at AFOL events. Seeing a physical model, either IRL or online, with shadows, a set up, differing poses, and perhaps an environment or background make the model more engaging. Physical models always gather more attention from me.

 

-CF


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Are there other reasons why you build digitally?

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

 

I can't think of any other reason I use LDD. Mainly, I just use it to slap a few parts together to test out a certain design or color combination or to test parts compatibility.

It really depends on when I use it. Sometimes I use it to see if I can get a certain look out of some parts, giving me a starting point. During a build, I might test something out to see if it works with my vision. So, I'll say all the way through.

 

What platforms do you use?

What pro/cons do the platforms have?

 

So far, I only use LDD.

I love the huge number of parts and colors available, but there are a few "legal" connections that it doesn't recognize, unfortunately (such as a stud attaching to a Technic pin hole), which can limit some of the designs I try to work with.

 

How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?

Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

 

No idea. Never bothered to use it.

 

Has there never been a need for a community like this?

Is it not as exciting as physical building?

Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

 

Digital building is a good counterpart to physical building, and it really can help the process. I have seen members of the online community use these platforms for some excellent collaboration projects before, so I think it could be expanded upon.


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Well, I use LDD to build something whenever I feel like it. I also use it build the mixel mixes me and/or my brother make so we remember how to build it.

 

I do however find it weird that pieces like the 2-sided 1x2 hinge piece are only in extended mode when I want to use it in regular mode which allows me to use printed pieces like mixel eyes.

 

That's my commentary.

In extended you should be able to use the decal tool under the paint bucket drop down menu to put the eye print on the parts.

 

Wow. Did not know you could do that, thanks! (I need to start building mixels in extended mode)


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Well, I use LDD to build something whenever I feel like it. I also use it build the mixel mixes me and/or my brother make so we remember how to build it.

 

I do however find it weird that pieces like the 2-sided 1x2 hinge piece are only in extended mode when I want to use it in regular mode which allows me to use printed pieces like mixel eyes.

 

That's my commentary.

In extended you should be able to use the decal tool under the paint bucket drop down menu to put the eye print on the parts.

 

Wow. Did not know you could do that, thanks! (I need to start building mixels in extended mode)

 

Yup. There are a lot more options that way, too, though both modes have their perks and even I sometimes switch back into standard mode to pick prints without having to worry about which print goes on which color of a part.


Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

Aanchir's and Meiko's brother

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Well, I use LDD to build something whenever I feel like it. I also use it build the mixel mixes me and/or my brother make so we remember how to build it.

 

I do however find it weird that pieces like the 2-sided 1x2 hinge piece are only in extended mode when I want to use it in regular mode which allows me to use printed pieces like mixel eyes.

 

That's my commentary.

In extended you should be able to use the decal tool under the paint bucket drop down menu to put the eye print on the parts.

 

Wow. Did not know you could do that, thanks! (I need to start building mixels in extended mode)

 

You can also copy and paste between them, so you don't have to rebuild them.

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I'll bite.

 

Digital Tools:
It’s my assumption that Fans use CAD tools to:
· Build without constraints of having enough physical LEGO bricks
· Use to prototype a picture you then build as a physical model
· Create building instructions to share
· Create some of the most compelling presentations on LEGO Ideas

Correct me if I am wrong, and please speak out what you use it for, everything is appreciated. I am especially also curious around the process of using digital building.

Questions:
Are there other reasons why you build digitally

The first one in this list, definitely. Haven't done the others, except back when LDD had the ability to purchase your MOC as a set I did use the instructions once I had the physical set, but that's a moot point now.

 

Other things I use it for are to make digital records of plastic MOCs I've made (albeit sometimes improved to make up for lack of bricks, both lack of plastic and digital models lacking in LDD), as an easier illustration planning system for sci-fi stories I'm writing, mental exercise, and of course just plain old fun!

 

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

Depends on the purpose. I've done all three of these, both for my sci-fi stories and my Bionicle fan fiction. Most of it is all-digital, though.

 

Questions:
What platforms do you use?
What pro/cons do the platforms have?

LDD extended. I did a little bit in LEGO Universe before it went offline too. Also used the original LEGO Creator (the digital builder, not the later plastic line by the same name); that's the one that really got me into it. But LDD is the one that made it really work for my purposes.

 

The biggest con of it, for a Bionicle fan, is lack of the major classic Bionicle pieces!

 

For non-Bionicle building, though, it is very good. And it has enough to make some great mixes of system and Bionicle/Technic style, which is what I usually prefer.

 

It could use a proper RGB/HSL color settings system, though, rather than relying on preset colors.

 

Oh, I also tried LDraw once, but didn't actually build anything with it. Didn't like it much.

 

Questions:
How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?
Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

As I got a much more time-consuming job last year I haven't followed this, and know pretty much nothing about it. I will say LU going offline and taking away what I'd built there (which, thankfully, wasn't much, but many people had massive and awesome MOCs on there) was a huge disappointment (though obviously they had no choice financially), so I would hope this wouldn't be anything like that. It sounds like you're saying models could be exported (if they can be imported), though, so that would be nice.

 

Questions:
Has there never been a need for a community like this?
Is it not as exciting as physical building?
Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

Well, as staff of a major Bionicle community, I may be biased, but I think there's always a need for such things.

 

But in terms of percentage of what I make digitally, most of it is not (currently) meant for posting publicly; I use both LDD and bricks for my sci-fi stories as planning tools. The end result of those designs should ideally not be LEGO at all; it's just that LEGO is the best tool to quickly get what I'm imagining in my mind into some kind of form. And also helps shape what I'm imagining as well, and come up with something that looks awesome in the end. You can't say either for any other 3D design program out there, mainly because only LEGO has the built-in "vocabulary" of pre-made parts in a wide variety designed precisely for building. Of course, you have to accept the limitations in appearance that those produce, especially the studs -- which works fine for planning-stage purposes for me.

 

The small amount of what I make that I post publicly is just for fun and mental exercise, or occasionally to do the same basic purpose as with my non-Bionicle sci-fi, but for Bionicle fan-fics. And for my purposes, BZPower suffices just fine for that.

 

I've also posted some of it on deviantart. If you want to know a community revolving around digital, I guess it would be the latter (one of the many niches there), but there are also other Bionicle art communities out there, and digital is sort of subsumed into that. It's not so much that there's a community as that there are subgroups of various LEGO communities, and sometimes subcommunities of the LEGO subcommunity of art-in-general sites like that.

 

And in many cases, digital is just one medium; we're not necessarily limited to "I'm a LEGO digital fan, that guy over there's a LEGO sketch artist, that guy's a plastic MOCer". I do all three, and I'm not at all the only one. So we may feel too limited by a digital-only community.

 

I posted some of my LDD stuff to the official LEGO site for that in the early days, but as new stuff was posted so frequently, even really huge MOCs get pushed off the front page almost instantly, so virtually nobody ever sees it, and that's basically a huge gamble that isn't worth the time. That system actually punishes working harder on a MOC, basically, in effect (though unintentionally, I'm sure), unless you happen to get lucky. The only thing of mine that ever got any attention there was my monocycle MOC, and that was only because it was a winner in that contest to have example default models built-into LDD itself (for a while). It's hard to imagine a digital-focused community ever working any other way, so it may just not be practically possible. Unsure.
 

 

As for the comparison between physical versus digital, that's a tricky question.

 

Playing with the plastic bricks can be a lot of fun, but the inherent limitations in amount of bricks you want and colors is a big problem. LDDE fixes both of these... sort of. Certainly much better than I can afford in the bricks. Plus the space limitations, and that you don't have to worry about "Should I take it apart?" or "Should I take the time to make directions before I do take it apart?"

 

That said, if I could afford space and plastic to build everything I make digitally (at least the ones meant to actually withstand gravity; I do some things that aren't meant to do that, just for the 3D art of it and so forth)... and have them all in museum glass to keep out dust.... and actually somehow have the time for that... there would be no question I'd want that.

 

But I'm not rich, and I will die of old age or something else at some point... so you have to be realistic.

Edited by bonesiii

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Digital Tools:

It’s my assumption that Fans use CAD tools to:

· Build without constraints of having enough physical LEGO bricks

· Use to prototype a picture you then build as a physical model

· Create building instructions to share

· Create some of the most compelling presentations on LEGO Ideas

 

Correct me if I am wrong, and please speak out what you use it for, everything is appreciated. I am especially also curious around the process of using digital building.

 

Questions:

Are there other reasons why you build digitally?

Where and how in the process do you use digital building - beginning, end or all the way through?

I think the list provided is well-founded. I use digital building to form massive objects using tons of parts that I don't have (think 1500 torso length snakes and giant hand structures out of CCBS parts, for example). Digital building allows me to "save" builds for later use easier than tying up my parts collection with the models and having to go buy more. Also I can "copy" and "paste" whole blocks of parts easier in the digital realm, allowing me to generate these builds faster.

 

I also use it for parts in colors that don't exist or ones that I don't have.

 

Therefore I use it at the end of the process - I usually use my collection and sketches to realize detailed sections of the build, and then use rebuild the sections in the software and put them together.

 

Platforms:

I like to build in LEGO Worlds… especially after we have updated the UI so I can use my controller in a more efficient way. I know there are many platforms out there… LDD (which is our own platform), LDraw etc.

 

Questions:

What platforms do you use?

What pro/cons do the platforms have?

I started out using the Hero Recon Hero Creator back in 2011 (it's always back in 2011 :P). I appreciated the variety and simplicity - it was a good introduction.

 

These days I use LDD, despite my gripe list. And yes I have a gripe list, which you are now going to hear.

 

1) Panels are organized non-intuitively. I just want a panel with just the CCBS and Technic parts. Better yet, I want the parts organized by theme. Yes, I know that's insane (and a programming nightmare), because some parts are in multiple themes, but if I have a part from Lewa, and I know it's from Lewa, then that knowledge should help me find the part instead of having to go through 3 categories. I gave up using standard mode long ago because of the 15 colors of the same part being listed as separate parts, which made me want to punch the screen more than once.

 

2) I expect the model to turn the way the camera arrow goes. If I press the up arrow, the model should go up. If I press the down arrow, the model should go down. I'm terrible with directions, but whichever way the camera goes is the opposite way that normal human beings think of direction.

 

3) LDD is a system resource/memory hog. I bought a computer in 2007 that was top-of-the-line and the only way it ran was really really slowly. (Think sloths in Zootopia.) These days I have an even better computer than that, and it runs okay, but come on.

 

4) I love the view mode printscreen feature of LDD, but 94% of the images it generates look really crummy. You need a separate rendering program for your designs to look worth a darn. Then I crack open Lego Ideas, and I see an epidemic of these printscreened images, and I'm thinking, Life is hard. Would it kill the programmers of LDD to include a rendering section?

 

On the plus side, it builds intuitively without having to do math, and the variety of tools increase build speed greatly. It's all well and good until I turn the camera the wrong way, use the hinge tool to accidently put my build up in the air, and press the wrong arrow key when trying to insert a part AGAIN. But that is probably my own fault - I'm terrible with directions.

 

And yes, I probably have impossible standards. The world ain't perfect, so sue me.

 

Gaming And Building:

I know Worlds is a gaming experience but I see this as huge opportunity to create wonderful Worlds, not just models, where there are no brick limits. I might be wrong, I have also worked on the game for quite some time now so might be a bit biased.

 

Questions:

How do you feel about LEGO Worlds?

Would you still imagine you will be building models in other digital tools and importing them or build them in game?

My understanding is that you cannot build with Technic or CCBS in Lego Worlds. As I am primarily interested in those themes for digital building, I have no interest.

 

I have no idea how those themes could be incorporated into a game - my thought is if you could build a 1500,000 mm snake in CCBS and use it in live combat, it would give that player an advantage. While this advantage would be equal in theory, most kids don't know about the innovative opportunities CCBS offers, so they would see this giant snake killing them and have no idea how to build one themselves.

 

I can definately see some potential for Technic as well - but again, you need engineering know-how to make that roll, which may be too complicated for kids to grasp.

 

In other words, I'm interested in themes you all decided not to include, and I understand why you didn't include them.

 

Community and Digital Building.

I have looked but can’t seem to find a community group that is centered around digital building. It might be that the need has never been there, but seeing how digital becomes bigger and bigger I could imagine a digital building community.

 

Questions:

Has there never been a need for a community like this?

Is it not as exciting as physical building?

Haven’t you had the right LEGO digital experiences to connect on?

 

Most online Lego communities are based on one of three things - specific themes, locations, or some sort of unique take on the Lego brand. The latter isn't exclusive with first two, although it can be.

 

Examples of theme based communities are BZPower, Rock Raiders United, and TechnicBricks (I think it is called that). Location based: Eurobricks, RusBionicle, etc. Angle based: The New Elementary, Brickset.

 

Digital building is not something to build a community around. Digital building is a tool. You can't even build a community around Lego bricks, because Lego bricks are a tool. You can build a community around a story (one that Lego produced, or even a shared story between people), you can build a community around giving a certain part of the world a voice, and you can build it around an idea, a different take on things.

 

Nobody has ever built a successful online community around wrenches. Indeed, if anyone ever tried, the conversation would quickly stray to what you DO with the wrenches, not the wrenches themselves.

 

And digital building is just a very sophisticated wrench. It's a method of achieving something. I want to know, why do you want to create a community around digital building? Promote Lego Worlds? Introduce us to a whole new world of opportunity? Improving the digital building expierience? Something completely different? You can build your community around that.

 

Now the resulting community that you build won't neccessarily be 100% around digital building, because people will see different ways to achieve your real goal that you didn't expect. But if it's a viable method to achieve your purpose, people will recognize that, and most of the posts in that community will suit your line of thinking, probably. People are sheep.

 

And yes, you will be doing it - along with the people who believe what you believe about the future of digital building. Unless your boss assigned you to write this letter asking me these questions, in which case you should ask him to come up with the answer.

 

Good luck.

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You can also copy and paste between them, so you don't have to rebuild them.

How do you do that?


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You can also copy and paste between them, so you don't have to rebuild them.

How do you do that?

 

On LDD, either by using the clone tool (the second one from the right) or by using whichever keyboard shortcuts your computer uses for copy and paste (on my Mac, it's command+C and command+V). The former is quick and easy, particularly when you only need one copy of a specific model or part of a model. The latter can be a little more complicated but stores the entire copied section in memory so that you can paste it multiple times if necessary (and also allows you to copy part of one file, open another file, and paste the copied section there).

Edited by Lyichir

Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

Aanchir's and Meiko's brother

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Actually, I noticed if you press the "File" button, you can choose to import your model into the current building space.


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You can also copy and paste between them, so you don't have to rebuild them.

How do you do that?

 

1. I drag and select all.  2. Go to the "file" drop down and click copy.  3. Return to home page. 4. Open the version of LDD I'm going to use.  5. Go to the "file" drop down and click paste.  6. Place model in graphics area.

This is how I do it but it looks like you have found ways of your own.  If you have any other questions about LDD feel free to ask me.  

 

I have a LDD file that has the suppressed colors such as the Rock Raiders blue/green if your interested.

Edited by Rakrondewl

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I'm not sure where all this talk about copying and pasting a model into a new version is coming from... honestly, there's a much easier way to switch the version a model is in without creating a new file. Just click View>New Themes>LDD Extended (or whatever mode you want to open your model in).

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I'm not sure where all this talk about copying and pasting a model into a new version is coming from... honestly, there's a much easier way to switch the version a model is in without creating a new file. Just click View>New Themes>LDD Extended (or whatever mode you want to open your model in).

Okay you win for best method. :P   I didn't realize you could do that, there is another thing to add to my knowledge of LDD, thanks.

 

The reason I use copy and paste is usually to move a build into another existing file.

Edited by Rakrondewl
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I use copy & paste to duplicate connected sections of big models. The Clone tool only works for one piece at a time.

The clone tool works for multiple pieces. You just have to select them with the multiple selection tool before choosing the clone tool, just as you would with copy and paste.


Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

Aanchir's and Meiko's brother

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I use copy & paste to duplicate connected sections of big models. The Clone tool only works for one piece at a time.

The clone tool works for multiple pieces. You just have to select them with the multiple selection tool before choosing the clone tool, just as you would with copy and paste.

 

Yep. The big difference with the clone tool is that you have to select everything just to make one copy, whereas with copy+paste you only have to select what you want to copy once to make multiple copies. So copy and paste can be more useful for models where you want to have large parts of the model repeated several times.

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I use copy & paste to duplicate connected sections of big models. The Clone tool only works for one piece at a time.

The clone tool works for multiple pieces. You just have to select them with the multiple selection tool before choosing the clone tool, just as you would with copy and paste.

 

Yep. The big difference with the clone tool is that you have to select everything just to make one copy, whereas with copy+paste you only have to select what you want to copy once to make multiple copies. So copy and paste can be more useful for models where you want to have large parts of the model repeated several times.

 

Or you accidentally deselect the stuff you selected with the multiple selection tool when you switch to the clone tool, leaving you having to select everything again, like I usually do. :P Easier to hit Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V. 

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I think we are all getting a little off topic but did you guys know:

  • If you hold "CTRL", a little plus sign will appear next to your arrow and you can select as many parts you want individually.
  • If you left-click and hold down the mouse button outside your model in the graphics area, a selection box will appear and you can drag it across your whole model to select it.
  • "CTRL-Z" is a quicker way to undo.  If you hold them down it almost instantly will undo back to your last save.  (I have yet to figure out how to redo as "CTRL-Y" does not work)

As I think of more I will add them to this comment.

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