LEGO Digital Designer
A fun first step towards the world of creative 3D computer graphics and CAD
Pros & Cons:
Lego Digital Designer (LDD) is the official Lego CAD-like program for Windows and Mac. For many this smart toy will be a clear first choice. The graphics and controls are excellent. If you're accustomed to Google Earth, then you'll probably soon feel at home navigating in 3D on the virtual grid, moving building blocks and turning them through 90 degrees.
A child-friendly user manual is provided, and there’s also a series of brief video tutorials on the LDD site to help you get started. The company does try to attract you towards their product range. But it's easy enough (for an adult at least!) to go one's own way.
In 'Build mode', there are lots of tool options and other stuff to explore. You can save your new Lego constructions as you go. It's also fun to take prebuilt models to bits, and of course you can also reconstruct them or dream up your own creations with Mindstorms components. However, even if you own a physical Mindstorms set, scope for serious design is limited by LDDs inability to rotate pieces through any angle.
Switch to 'View mode' to see your constructions against several different backgrounds (with sound effects), such as the sea or outer space. You can get the whole construction to explode in a flash... and then gently drift back together again. You can also take screenshots on the fly. There's now also the possibility to upload and share your LDD creations over the Internet, though you have to comply with certain brick choice restrictions (for example, my illustrated attempt didn't pass the test).
It's up to you to mix the build and thrill. For some children, this free toy might be a fun first step towards the world of creative 3D computer graphics and CAD.
LEGO Digital Designer was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on