Lego was the classic brick building toy of yesteryear. Nowadays, it's moved in all sorts of technological directions, including elaborate Mindstorms; robotics based on programmable bricks originally conceived for educational purposes, and something approaching computer aided design (CAD).
Without pretending to compete with the feel of the real thing, there's Lego building freeware out there that's just crying out to be used as a virtual toy.
Fancy clicking some virtual bricks together on your PC? Over the years, the Lego toy brand has become increasingly oriented towards prebuilt models making it more difficult to think outside the predesigned blocks. But on a computer you can let your fantasy rip without having to shell out for designer components. And Lego building programs are a spatially intriguing experience for youngsters of all ages.
A fun first step towards the world of creative 3D computer graphics and CAD
Platforms/Download: Mac OS | Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 4.5/5
The Lego-like program of choice for less powerful computers
Platforms/Download: Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 3.5/5
Other Lego Building Software
- LDraw, an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. The independent LDraw community project (recognized by Lego) provides a large collection of freeware tools for serious modeling, design and imaging. LDraw is also partially compatible with LEGO Digital Designer. So it's an obvious step up for computer modeling.
- LeoCAD, a CAD program for creating virtual LEGO models. It has an easy to use interface and currently includes over 6000 different pieces created by the LDraw community.
- MLCad, Mike's LEGO Computer Aided Design is a CAD program for creating Lego-like building instructions of your own models.
- Bricksmith (Mac only) allows you to create virtual instructions for your Lego creations. It is based on the LDraw library with a collection of 3D models of Lego building blocks created by enthusiasts from around the world.
- SR 3D Builder (Windows only) is an ambitious design freeware project and the brainchild of an Italian enthusiast. Use of LDraw parts library suggests that SR 3D Builder may have potential for some quite advanced capabilities. The documentation is extensive, with a growing user manual in reasonably comprehensible English; video tutorials are also available, but the high speed and absence of voice over makes them awkward to follow.
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