Lego Digital Designer

Some people know that I’m a fan of Lego. Some people believe that I used to be a fan of Lego, but that’s not true, I still am, I just stopped wearing Lego T-shirts. If you don’t know me and think I’m very strange know, you’re right.

Being a Lego fan, I was positively surprised when I learned that Lego had created their own software for designing Lego models on computers. When I was younger, I used MLCad and I still would, but I stopped using Windows for anything but gaming now. Anyway, I went and downloaded the Mac version of this program. Here the short summary of review:

Too bad that Perversion Tracker (a site that collected the worst in Mac OS X software) is dead, they would’ve loved this.

First of all, the interface. The app opens in a single window, where all interface elements are. The only menu, besides the standard app menu, is for preferences - you can toggle the settings with the menu elements. This is very hard on the border of acceptable, it’s a general sign of a bad Mac port but not a bad app. Wings 3D does something similar, but Wings rocks. Lego Digital Designer doesn’t. To place any Lego pieces, you first have to select a Lego set of the Lego factory stuff (there are only four). There’s no way to select any other, or a single one multiple times, or just work with whatever Lego is producing and has ever produced, as a reasonable app would. If you change the set, everything that is in only one of the sets vanishes.

The actual placing of the elements works nicely, but you can’t place more of a certain kind or color than there are in the box. The elements get their position relative to each other automatically, which is much like using real Lego pieces. Really cool here. But how do I turn an element? There is no useful explanation for any of the icons that form the interface, and none of them will turn an element around. It’s the arrow keys, and only while your pointing your mouse over the particular element. The only way to get this information is to wait for the right tips window to pop up.

All in all, I hope people who care about user interfaces, like John Gruber or John Siracusa see this app and shred it to pieces.

Written on October 8th, 2005 at 08:19 pm

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