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.
Today BrickLink is revealing the second round of its AFOL Designer Program (ADP), which crowdfunds the creation of LEGO fan designs. 31 LEGO Ideas projects which reached 10,000 votes on that platform but were not selected to become Ideas sets have been ported over to the ADP where fans can choose to support them again. The projects range from a tiny aquarium to a fishing boat and a castle. Fans will be able to pre-order them in a Kickstarter-like process between June 1 and August 10. If they pass the crowdfunding goals on BrickLink, up to 13 of the sets may be produced. Unlike LEGO Ideas, the ADP will not substantially alter submitted models, so the final sets will be extremely close to the voted-on designs.
The first round of the AFOL Designer Program occurred in 2018 and solicited designs from the fan community to be turned into semi-official LEGO sets via a partnership between LEGO and BrickLink. (Check out our review of Löwenstein Castle from the ADP.) The LEGO Company subsequently purchased BrickLink in late 2019, and the newest round of the AFOL Designer Program is leveraging that connection to draw on LEGO’s own crowdsourcing platform LEGO Ideas for the new ADP designs. LEGO Ideas projects have a chance to become official LEGO sets, but must first receive 10,000 votes and then pass an internal review for product viability. As LEGO Ideas announced in December, for round two of the ADP, the company reached out to specific creators whose projects had passed the 10k mark but not the internal review, and invited them to participate in the ADP. LEGO says future rounds of the ADP may be open to submissions from all fans.
Read the full press release from LEGO below.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, LEGO Games is partnering with Unity, the world’s leading 3D content development platform, to bring us a new videogame known as LEGO Microgame. Unity offers guided experiences designed to make game development less intimidating for new users, and starting October 26, you will be able to build your very own LEGO game, brick by virtual brick.
LEGO touts the new Microgame as being created with adult fans of LEGO in mind. It is targeted at people who are taking their first steps into the world of videogame creation and the company says it is designed to make this a fun and welcoming experience. You can even import your own creations built in Bricklink Studio as well as share the games you design on the Unity platform. At the time of writing, there’s not a huge amount we know about the gameplay itself yet, but you can check out a trailer for the game and read the official press release below.
The LEGO group announced today that it is acquiring LEGO marketplace website BrickLink. BrickLink was founded in 2000 by the late LEGO fan Dan Jezek, and was purchased from Dan’s family in 2013 by mobile game company Nexon founder and entrepeneur Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim. Over the past six years, the new owners, via Mr. Kim’s investment company NXMH, have taken the website in a number of new directions, including a “MOC Shop”, Stud.io virtual LEGO design software and the AFOL Designer Program earlier this year.
Although the official press release is fairly light on details, prior to the announcement today, LEGO invited The Brothers Brick to conduct a one-on-one interview with Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer for the LEGO Group. We asked Ms. Goldin about potential conflicts of interest in LEGO now owning a large proportion of the secondary market for its own product, the future of the community-driven BrickLink catalog, and more. Read our in-depth interview in the article below. We’ll also have more analysis and discussion in the coming days.
There are only a few days left to purchase a set from BrickLink’s AFOL Designer Program (ADP), and having just taken a second look at the Wild West Saloon a few days ago, we wanted to give the same treatment to one of the program’s most successful models, Löwenstein Castle by builder Raziel Regulus. We’ll also take look back at the overall program.
In our early review of Löwenstein Castle, the finished packaging of the set was not yet ready from BrickLink. With the final product now available, let’s revisit the set and packaging, and take a look at the expansion of the base model that has been developed by the original fan designer.
Over the last few months, we reviewed the Wild West Saloon and the popular Löwenstein Castle custom LEGO sets from Bricklink’s AFOL Designer Program (ADP). Since we received an early review copy, it arrived without the actual packaging and manuals. Bricklink has now generously sent us the actual packaging backers can expect to receive. With box-in-hand, we wanted to provide our readers with a quick revisit of the set, this time only focusing on the unboxing experience and instruction manual.
Last year Bricklink hosted its first AFOL Designer Program (ADP), a grand effort to make fan designs come alive and be available for purchase. If you’re unfamiliar with Bricklink, it’s an Amazon-like marketplace for purchasing current and discontinued LEGO products. This includes the sale of individual LEGO bricks for restoring sets or making original models known by many fans as My-Own-Creations, or MOCs for short. The Brothers Brick features fan-designed creations every day, and we often receive questions regarding instructions or if they can be purchased. While ready-made MOC kits are not a new concept, where Bricklink’s ADP program shines is in how it took the needed time to solicit builds from the community and used a Kickstarter-like system for fans to determine which sets would be produced for purchase. Best of all, the program received an endorsement from the LEGO Group.
As of now, all of the sets have been selected and are slated to ship this month to the proud supporters who funded them. Bricklink has provided an early copy of the Wild West Saloon by Jonas Kramm (aka Legopard) to the Brothers Brick. When it comes to the number of supporters, this design ranked second to the Löwenstein Castle we recently reviewed. This set comes with 1496 parts, is priced at US $149.99 before shipping, and does not come with any minifigures.
If you’re a dedicated LEGO fan, there’s a good chance you already use BrickLink.com to buy LEGO sets and individual elements. Now the 19-year-old marketplace has a new way of capturing the hearts and wallets of AFOLs (aka Adult Fans of LEGO). Announced last year, it’s called the BrickLink AFOL Designer Program, or ADP. With it, BrickLink is bringing a handful of fan-designed kits to market via a crowd-sourcing initiative. In many ways ADP resembles The LEGO Company’s own Ideas platform, but besides boasting larger payouts to designers, ADP also promises that the final sets will be virtually unaltered from the submitted designs. After a review period, 16 designs were first made available for a pre-ordering process with a minimum threshold of pre-orders before BrickLink would actually publish the kit. It’s a similar process to the way Kickstarter projects require a funding goal to be met. 13 of the designs met that goal and the largest model, Löwenstein Castle by builder Raziel Regulus, skyrocketed in popularity resulting in all 2,500 copies completely selling out during the pre-order phase. BrickLink has provided us an early review copy of the set, so let’s see how this fan-built model stacks up. Löwenstein Castle has 2,015 pieces and a $199.99 USD sticker price, though it is now sold out.
While the BrickLink ADP sets are not official LEGO sets and will not bear the LEGO logo, the sets do have The LEGO Company’s blessing. The AFOL Designer Program was initiated in affiliation with LEGO to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick, and each box will feature the official 60th-anniversary logo. The LEGO Company has also worked with BrickLink to provide elements explicitly for the sets. This is unlike any other aftermarket sets, which have always relied on pieces sourced out of regular LEGO sets (and consequently, those sets have a much higher price).
Last September, LEGO launched the AFOL Designer Program in cooperation with BrickLink to help bring fan designs to life and produce limited edition sets for sale. BrickLink has since crowdfunded and revealed the packaging for several of the sets, and today is the last day to pre-order any of the designs (including free shipping) before they officially launch.
Of the initial 16 finalists, all but three have officially reached their crowdfunding goals to be produced. You can read about each of the designs and place pre-orders on BrickLink’s crowdfunding page.
In September, LEGO launched the AFOL Designer Program in cooperation with BrickLink to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brick and to help bring fan designs to life. Out of the 443 submissions received, 16 designs were selected as finalists coming from fans from nine different countries. Today, pricing of those designs has been revealed, and they are now available for pre-order as the crowdfunding part of the program begins.
Designs will only be produced and shipped by BrickLink if they hit their target funding levels before April 15th. (That is the same day orders will be processed and charged.) If a project successfully crowdfunds enough orders, it will ship in May. Bricklink is also offering free domestic and international shipping for sets ordered during the pre-sale period.
The second half of AFOL Designer Program finalists have been revealed, bringing the total and final number of designs to 16. (Take a look at the first eight finalists here.) The initiative was launched by LEGO in cooperation with BrickLink to bring fan designs to life.
Crowdfunding for finalists will begin on February 1st, and if a set reaches its pre-sales goal, it will then be produced and shipped by BrickLink. Voting will take place on BrickLink’s AFOL Designer Program homepage, which also features more photos of each of these finalists.
Back in September, LEGO launched a new initiative in cooperation with BrickLink called the AFOL Designer Program where fans could submit custom designs with the possibility of being produced and sold by BrickLink. Out of the 443 submissions received, 16 were selected as finalists and the first half of those have now been revealed.
The digital submissions were test-built for stability and reviewed by both BrickLink and LEGO designers to determine the finalists. Crowdfunding for each of the finalists will begin on February 1st, and if a set reaches its pre-sales goal, it will then be produced and shipped by BrickLink.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first eight finalists.