Lego digital designer review

Lego designer software

(free – not open source)

I was a huge fan of lego as a kid, theres been a surge in interest in old kids toys recently, there are now Star Wars, Harry Potter and other variations of Lego sets now, but the town, space and technical are still ever popular.

Where as the media got awfully excited by the return to the cinema of Transformers, a toy that can convert into two things, us Lego fans quietly enjoy having infinitely more variation in our little coloured bricks.

There has been several Lego designer programs for computers now, none I have tried until now, giving the new version 2 software which has been out since March 2007 I thought I would give it a try.

Quite often looking at buildings that have mainly linear angles and regular sharp edges (curves tend to be tricky!) I have often thought how some every day structures could easily be produced in Lego.

Using non-physical pieces has a few advantages. You can clone a piece or a group of pieces, which means building certain elements of a design in sub-assemblies and duplicating them a good idea. You can change the colour of pieces on the fly too a

The business model for this application for Lego is of course you can have your model (at quite considerable price unfortunately) ordered online and they send you the pieces and you can make in real life, you can also amazing make your own instruction leaflets as the application can make the how to guide (in traditional Lego pictorial diagrams with few or no words, meaning easy to be used by anyone without any language barriers.) to be saved in HTML format.

Some commercial models you can buy in the shops are some of the winning models made by the Lego digital designer community, probably saving them quite a few bob in their R&D budget. Some of the examples on the web site are very very good, although cost around £100-200 when you load them up and it shows you the total cost of the components.

Sadly this app is not without its flaws, it took me a while to get used to the user interface you definitely need to check out the documentation to get anywhere, with a complex model with a few hundred pieces it starts to get horribly slow to rotate around. I build a small block (4 storeys) of flats, and built the 3 middle sections and the ground floor in sub assemblies and attached them altogether and thats when it starts to struggle. Im running a XP based PC with P4 3.0 processor, 2gb of ram, and a not so special Geforce 128Mb 5200 graphics card, but my guess I dont think a super duper card would be that much better. Picking and placing pieces in tight spots can be fiddly and awkward. Disappointingly is a desperately small number of mini figs and some quite common generic pieces were absent.

I havent bought anything yet, it would be interesting to see how Lego handle ordered complex designs if their could be any issues with certain pieces out of stock.

Its well worth a play, its certainly a quite a capable 3D CAD application and you can avoid trending on the sharp bits without your shoes and socks on.

PCs are dogs and Macs are cats

youve seen the fairly pointless ads showing two comedians representing a PC and a Mac, and you must of heard of the Men from Mars, Women are from Venus books right? Something else similar I read a long time ago.

PCs are dogs.

They come in hundreds of breeds, shapes and sizes, mainly crossbreeds, can be unpredictable, they can carry parasites and arent always very clean, they require a fair bit of cleaning up after them and maintenance.

Macs are like cats.

Generally quiet, sleek and clean looking, they are quite independent, they are have a strong loyalty from their owners who often say they wouldn’t been seen dead with some other pet. They can have parasites occasionally but their owners are to prude to consider this something that could actually happen.

Catholicism and Mars

Crikey – half a year has gone by and I havent written anything,

The news today says the Vatican is looking to see if there is life on Mars.

When I was a kid I thought it would good to find out if there is life out there, there was the hugely exciting Roswell tapes in the 90s which were deemed to be a fraud after all.

My thinking recently was God would of told us if he made another set of people somewhere else, and there is nothing out there. There is far more exciting tangible stuff that scientists can study like new breeds of animals and plants, like that Squid type creature which has the largest eyes of any animal known to man.

Whilst we are on the subject, I really dont get Catholicism, my relationship with God is with Jesus and I have great interest in Israel because of the origins of the bible and plans outlined for Christ’s return in Revelation, but the Vatican is a strange phenomena as its base for the Pope, an also strange man made tradition of needing to have overall representative of your faith who gets to have his own custom spec car to stand up in. Having his own very small country enclaved in Italy, and it seems Catholics often seem to have more of a emphasis on Christ’s mother Mary, seems rather close to what the bible calls idolatry? To me its a bit like going to a football match because you are a fan of the linesman.

I am sure the Pope is good chap and means well and promotes good Christian causes, and I wouldn’t mind meeting and chatting to him, its not really a good representation of what Jesus’s plan for us, so cant say its something I would encourage.

Hope I am not offending anyone is a catholic but I do tend to speak my mind a bit sometimes, and would consider anyone reading this who is in to this stuff, to pray and ask God what is the correct priorities and focus on being a Christian.