LEGO fully discontinuing LEGO Digital Designer in favor of BrickLink Studio

Today LEGO has announced that it is finally and completely sunsetting LEGO Digital Designer (LDD), the company’s digital building program that was first introduced in 2004 as a consumer version of LEGO’s internal design software. While LEGO says it will continue to use a version of LDD internally, it is putting forward BrickLink’s Studio software as the officially supported digital building program, which LEGO acquired in 2019 when it purchased BrickLink. Studio supports most files created in LDD, LDRAW, and some other formats, and supports features such as automatically populating a BrickLink wanted list. Although LEGO announced way back in 2016 that LDD would no longer be supported, over the past few years it has continued to receive infrequent updates and even a selection of newer elements. However, the company now says it plans to remove the download page altogether. Users who have installed the program already will be able to continue to use it, and LDD will continue to be available unofficially from third-party download sites.

Here’s LEGO’s official press release.

LEGO® BrickLink Studio to replace LEGO Digital Designer as the LEGO
Group’s official 3D building app

The LEGO Digital Designer website will shut down at the end of January.
BrickLink Studio welcomes LEGO Digital Designer users.

Billund, Denmark – January 12th, 2022: Today, the LEGO Group announces that BrickLink
Studio will replace LEGO Digital Designer as the official virtual LEGO building software going forward. The LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) website will close on January 31st, after which time LDD will no longer be available for download. While downloaded versions of the LDD application will continue to work, people are encouraged to download BrickLink Studio, import their LDD files, and use Studio for 3D LEGO building files, and use Studio for 3D LEGO building.

LEGO Digital Designer was released in 2004 as the LEGO Group’s 3D building tool. LDD pioneered real-time rendering of LEGO bricks, virtual brick connectivity, and the compact LEGO Exchange file format (LXF) which made LEGO models built in LDD light and portable. It has played a prominent role in various offerings, from LEGO Factory, LEGO Design ByME, LEGO video games and movies. Now after almost twenty years since its conception and eighteen years in distribution, LEGO Digital Designer will retire and pass the mantle to BrickLink Studio as the officially supported and maintained 3D building application.

“Our initial vision for LEGO Digital Designer back in 2002 was to make building on a computer accessible and fun for children – to play with and share their creations online.” said Ronny Scherer, producer of the first-generation LEGO Digital Designer. “I am so impressed with how the community of creators has evolved. Builders—enthusiasts and professionals alike—have used LDD in wonderful and unexpected ways. They took ownership and created the most amazing virtual LEGO models and have grown the virtual building ecosystem. I am so proud of the team behind LDD and the greater virtual building community. They have truly inspired a generation of digital LEGO creators.”

Tormod Askildsen, head of AFOL Engagement for the LEGO Group, has been intrigued by digital building since using LDD to bring alternate model instructions for the LEGO Factory Hobby Train set to market in 2007. “When the LEGO Group acquired BrickLink,” Askildsen said, “one of the things that impressed and inspired us was their purposeful development of the Studio software. For digital building to be not only a nice feature for some, but a meaningful part of many people’s LEGO building experience, it must be an integrated and useful part of both the design, the building and the sharing experience. The talented team behind Studio see this clearly and continue relentlessly to further innovate and improve the Studio experience”.

In 2014, then-independent BrickLink created the BrickLink Studio software as a free virtual
LEGO building tool. Studio was built on the industry-standard Unity gaming engine and is
designed to integrate with the BrickLink Marketplace. Its .io file format is based on the fan
community-developed LDraw standard with part connectivity data added to give digital bricks clutch power. Users can import LEGO models built in LDD, LDraw, and other popular tools. Studio includes useful features like model stability checking, built-in photo realistic rendering, and an integrated instructions maker.

“Studio was created because at BrickLink, there is a great belief in how digital LEGO building could unlock true potential of everyone’s creativity by lowering the entry barriers and motivating people to inspire each other,” says Casper Thingholm, Head of BrickLink. “Going forward, the Studio team will continue to focus on making digital building as intuitive as physical building, and encourage even more builders to share their creations to inspire and help each other.”

4 comments on “LEGO fully discontinuing LEGO Digital Designer in favor of BrickLink Studio

  1. Sidney Vega

    While I love LDD, I have come to really like the powerful features of Studio -and that’s not to say that Studio is difficult to use. Studio seems to balance the simple nature of LDD with more advanced features I really like to have seen in LDD.

  2. Dee

    Shame. I like the simplicity of LDD and it emulates fine on other platforms. I did notice that the current version available on the LEGO site is still much smaller than previous ones, though, which from previous experience suggests it’s missing part definitions. I suggest people look for a download of the 4.3.11 version if they still want it which has parts files with a Brick Version of 2670.

  3. Artemiy Karpinskiy

    How much do you think it will take to persuade the LEGO Group to make LDD open source so the folks at Eurobricks could finally get their hands on the internals and fix some of the more egregious bugs?

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