Category: Lego Digital Designer

My Lego Network

My Lego Network – Parent Review

My Lego NetworkMy Lego Network has been around for a few years but seems to have slipped below the radar a little, which is a shame because it has potential to be a great little online “blog” that kids can create and share with their friends and family.

My Lego Network

Lego has such a rich online presence that sometimes it is hard to see what is available beyond their shop and product guide.

From downloads, games, videos and movies to their comic creator and more, it’s hard to get the big picture of everything kids can access.

I know I have often been surprised by the presence of a Lego feature that I never knew about before and one of these is My Lego Network.

In a nutshell My Lego Network is an online micro blogging system catering for kids, specifically young Lego fans. It has been around since 2008 and though it didn’t take off as Lego might have hoped the Network provides a safe place for younger kids to have the interactive and social experience of the Internet in a safe and familiar environment.

How does it work?

Essentially, once a Lego account is created in a child’s name, you can help them set up a Lego “blog” in a controlled and monitored environment where no interaction is made with the rest of the web unless it is done so in a heavily moderated way.

Once a page is created, kids can Create Pages, Make Models and Share everything with new friends on the Lego Network or beyond. By forwarding a link to their homepage to friends and family, they can share uploaded images of new creations with others, no matter where they live or whether or not they are on My Lego Network themselves.

Creativity and Interactivity is also explored when kids decorate and customize their “homepage” and interact with other members of the Lego Network with pre-written email messages designed for use within the system.

Lego MLN Make Collect Create

By playing Lego Games and solving puzzles on the other areas of Lego.com kids earn badges which they can then collect or swap to increase their rank, filling their “blog” pages with cooler stickers, models, music snippets, icons and more.

I imagine this is a huge “make it or break it” factor for many parents – to make the most of the system kids need to spend time playing Lego online games or navigating the Lego website to receive rewards.

I wasn’t particularly comfortable with this “search for rewards” aspect of the site, but I can imagine I might be in the minority 🙂

I am also very comfortable in setting up webpages for people so my kids are able to display and share their creations on their own (moderated) blogs. Not all parents are in this position so My Lego Network offers a viable alternative.

Interestingly, kids can also keep track of stats for their pages (how many people visit, etc), a practical and educational skill that will serve the webmasters of tomorrow very well 🙂

Echo

Amazon AU LEGO

Echo-My-Lego-NetworkTo help kids navigate the potentially confusing initial set up process, Lego have designed a virtual robot called Echo. Echo is the first “Friend” in your Network as well.

Echo appears at the start of the design process to introduce kids to the blog and then can be called upon at later stages if help is needed.

Add Photos or LDD Designs

The ability to add photos of your own Lego creations as well as Lego Digital Designer files is a wonderful feature of My Lego Network, however the process of actually adding the images is a little confusing the first time round (at least it was for me!).

The short answer is that you don’t add photos directly through My Lego Network, but instead, use one of Lego’s other image galleries.

Here is the official guide to this process:

“You have two options – either you can take a photo of one of your LEGO creations and upload this to one of the many galleries on LEGO.com (BIONICLE, Creator, etc.) or you can download LEGO Digital Designer and build your very own 3D model and upload this to a gallery.

When you have uploaded your photo or model to a gallery, LEGO needs to approve it, before it gets visible and you can use it in My LEGO Network.

Once you have your model or photo approved, you can go to your Page Builder and choose a Gallery or Factory Module by dragging it to your page. Here you can drag it as you would in the Sticker Module. Hit Save on the Module, Save on the page – and presto!”

As I said, it isn’t straight forward but once you know how, it makes sense.

FAQ

There are a number of steep learning curves in setting up the blog. Thankfully there is an extensive FAQ and help section, along with the presence of Echo who relays advice to you using video screens and also offers short tips for accessing more badges.

The FAQ section is here and I would recommend parents go through this first before starting to create a page with their kids, just so they have an idea of how the whole thing works. It will make the setup process flow much more smoothly.

Lego have also made a Parents FAQ page to assuage any understandable fears parents may have about My Lego Network.

Lego Cuusoo Guide – News, Minecraft, Modular Westerns

Lego CuusooIf you are unfamiliar with Lego Cuusoo then you can be excused – but not for too much longer :0)

Cuusoo, meaning ‘imagination’ or ‘wish’ in Japanese, started life as a rather obscure project, officially launched by Lego in Japan in 2008 and is still in Beta stage.

It’s reputation is growing slowly and it is becoming a goto site for fans wishing to share their own Lego creations with creators and designers within the Lego company itself.

What Do You Do On Lego Cuusoo?
(I feel like Dr Seuss!)

In essence there are a three stages:

1. View – Find various projects that you like!

2. Support – Once a project receives 10,000 supporters it is reviewed by Lego who evaluate the commercialisation of the project.

3. Create – Once you get the hang of things you can submit your own models and ideas to the site. If your creation attracts 10000 supporters and passes review by the company, you will  receive a royalty when your project becomes a product!

Lego Minecraft

Since 2008 three projects have reached production stage. The latest occurred in the last few weeks. The project was a model based on the Minecraft online game and has been approved by both companies.

In fact I received an invitation to the launch event in my email box this morning (if only it came with free plane tickets as well!). The project will be officially launched on February 16th 2012 at LEGO World Copenhagen.

Lego Minecraft Logo

Modular Western Town on Lego CuusooWestern Modular Town

Another project gaining speed at the moment is a Modular Western Town created by mb_bricks.

The project is sitting at around 3000 supporters now but with support from a number of major Lego blogs it looks like it is only a matter of time before it crosses the 10000 supporters line.

The creator says of the project:

Amazon AU LEGO

“A new line of modular houses based on a classic western theme.

Each house represents a single set and can be combined with other sets of the series.

The buildings are featuring an accurate interior with a lot space for a fun play experience.

Possible sets: sheriff’s place with jail, the gun store, the saloon, the rail station, the post office with stage coach, the bank, the central store…”

Lego Cuusoo

Cusoo Project 1Personally, I have alot of time for Lego Cuusoo and I find it a very exciting website to be involved in.

To think you can come up with an idea and have it seen by real Lego Designers is a wonderful use of the web and a tremendous opportunity for talented designers and creators who put in the work.

The rules are straightforward and tell you much that you need to know if you have an idea of your own.

The official guidelines can be found here but if you want a terrific summary, here are the rules as translated by Sarah from the Brick Blogger (an amazing Lego Blog):

  1. Your submissions to CUUSOO must be original.
  2. Your submissions are your own work and no one else’s.
  3. You are at least 18 years old to submit a LEGO model. If you are 13 or older, you are welcome to vote and comment on projects.
  4. You grant LEGO the rights they need to commercialize your LEGO model. You can continue to share your project as you wish on your own website and online profiles.
  5. You will receive credit and compensation for your original LEGO ideas.
    • Original LEGO Model Ideas. You will receive 1% of net sales if your LEGO CUUSOO Project is chosen and the LEGO Group commercializes it as a LEGO set.
    • Original LEGO Part Ideas. You will receive a one-time flat fee as remuneration for a part idea that is produced, to be determined by the LEGO Group.
    • Original LEGO Model Ideas based on Licensed IP. You will receive 1% of net sales if the model you submitted is based on third-party intellectual property (e.g. Star Wars or Angry Birds) and is your original work.
  6. If you are collaborating with another user, you are responsible to agree on the division of royalties between yourselves.
  7. Please don’t use the LEGO logo in your LEGO models.
  8. Please don’t submit projects requesting the re-release of discontinued LEGO products or themes.
  9. There may be unintentional overlap between your ideas and our current product development.

Lego LDDCreating Your Own

I haven’t created anything for myself yet but I know it is only a matter of time.

My son, who is only 11, is sad that he can’t contribute as he spends so much time refining designs with his Lego bricks and also on Lego Digital Designer (a free Mac/PC program I recommend to all parents if your child is into Lego).

But I have to accept that the rules are there for a reason. If anything, it has made me consider learning LDD for myself so we can co-create a family project together.

I feel blessed to have the opportunity to create and share so freely, and that Lego can take us there.

How about you? Are you tempted to do Lego Cuusoo?