FTL Achieves 10,000 Support and Thoughts on the Winter 2012 Review

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The Cuusoo project FTL, based on the rogue-like game FTL, achieved graduation into the next review group yesterday.

This project was a collaboration between the accomplished micromecha builder CrashSanders and myself (which makes me feel very weird reporting on it). If you like this one you may be interested in our other collaboration on the Classic Star Control II.

This could end up being one of the more populated reviews with ATLAS and Female Minifigure Set already taking up seats, Poptropica and Ghostbusters (30th anniversary version) with a solid shot, and the official Wizard of Oz sites pushing Road to Oz. (Update: some people have asked about the Oz support rate so I am including this link to a chart of its support rate).

My thoughts on the Winter 2012 Review follow the break.

Thoughts on the Winter 2012 Review

So the next lineup to be revealed is the Purdue Pete, Space Troopers and potentially, a "pass" from the previous review, Thinking with Portals.

It is uncertain if Portals is being treated as a "pass" from the previous review or if it is currently in its own undefined region of review space but for these purposes I am assuming it is passed into the Winter review. I mostly think this is because I believe it is the set that will be announced for the Winter 2012 Review period.

Purdue Pete

I think it is 100% awesome what Purdue did. They found a challenge and they took it down. More power to them. I have got to say though that in my personal experience, college students on a whole have disposable free time but not disposable funds. Ask your students to do something free for the benefit of the College and they will show up in droves. Ask them to spend $10 on anything and maybe five students show up. The exception to this is of course traditional social events such as sports. Nothing wrong with this lifestyle, I am just saying my opinion that whereas it was easy to get votes for the project, I don't think it will translate well to sales among the support base.

Of course that is a single argument and one to which people will say "So what, there are tons of Alumni!" To this I would say yes, but it is still a very specific audience. It is only Alumni! Excluding LEGO Collectors there is not a strong business case for someone not associated with Purdue to be interested in this set. Anyone who likes westerns might buy a Lone Ranger set, fantasy a LotR set, sci-fi a Star Wars set, etc... What secondary large audience outside of Purdue Alumni would buy a large guy with a helmet, shirt with a P on it, and a mallet?

I will counter my own argument by pointing out that Cuusoo has not actually stated how many sets they need to consider production. No where does it say that Cuusoo won't produce a small run of sets. If they could do a short run on a tiny set (think polybag) with a near guarantee of profit... LEGO is known to do short runs of minifigures for specialized audiences (Comicon). It would be very interesting if LEGO produces a limited run of Purdue Pete minifigs. They could even make people order them in advance and produce the exact amount ordered. Purdue happy and LEGO with some nice, school pride powered profit in their pocket.

The biggest issue in my mind is, does LEGO want to go down this road? If Pete was produced, it certainly would be an open call for more mascots. What Student Union would not organize to get their Mascot also made into an authentic LEGO set? Who knows, maybe LEGO is thrilled with the idea but once you go down that road, you start playing politics.

Limited market with complex fallout makes me think no on this one unless there is some very creative negotiations.

Space Troopers

This is a very simple one.

Like so many others I think this one is just too close in time and subject matter to Galaxy Squad to be picked up. I wish Nick Royer better luck with his Hyperboria project. I very much wanted to put this in the FOL Cuusoo Campaign but as I drew the line at projects I had previously done "Brickset picks" for... next time though.

Thinking With Portals

The fact that LEGO is interested enough in this project to state that they are still in talks shows a vested interest in the property and means it has already cleared Brand Fit. Unless negotiations fail I can't see them not producing the set.

In fact I think the last review went something like this:

A: So, which one do we go with, Portals or Curiosity?

B: Well, I am not too thrilled with any of the projects in the next review so lets pick one for this review cycle and push the other into the next one.

A: Sure, but which one do we make now?

B: If Portals is good today, it will be good tomorrow, there might even be a Portals 3 in the future or some new content to release it with. But whereas Portals is a closed and controlled fiction, Curiosity is real world kind of stuff and is big right now... maybe it will break down next month or explode or loose a signal. Also the sooner we build it, the sooner it will show up in Science Classrooms. There is more risk in loosing public interest on that one if we don't move soon. Lets go with Curiosity.

Just my opinion.

Cheers!

38 comments on this article

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By in United States,

The Road to Oz and Ghostbusters sets look amazing! I wonder how far TLG will go with licensed projects. It can't be easy getting the rights to make these sets.

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By in United States,

Hey,

Purdue Pete is cool, but I agree the limited audience is the problem with this. While they could do very limited runs of sets, if, as history shows, they are only going to produce a very small number of Cuusoo sets each year, they wouldn't waste one of those slots on a niche product. If they were going to go with something school-specific, they could start with a design like this helmet by Dschin on Brickshelf:
http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=42751
and then make variations with different school colors and logo mosaics incorporated on the side, like these:
http://www.gumball.com/images/stamps/college-football-helmets.jpg
That way they could have a multiplier effect.

How fast hast that Oz project climbed up the chart? I don't really pay attention to Cuusoo, and I'd never seen that one. Is it one of these things that had less than a hundred votes and then got posted on some social media site and suddenly had thousands?

Bruce

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By in United States,

^ Road to Oz was created only about two weeks ago. Last I checked, which was only a couple days after it first appeared, it was in the low hundreds.

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By in United States,

I am not a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz and usually roll my eyes at products that tie into pop culture, but that is a fun, detailed, and good-looking build.

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By in United States,

@bruce,

Here is a chart of Road to Oz, sorry it is not that pretty.

http://www.brick-hero.com/c_progress.php?id=43978

It started 18 days ago (at 0) then 9 days ago it got posted to offical WoO pages then again 2 days ago. Each time bringing a large surge of supporters.

The Facebook Likes have been far outstripping the actual support though. Not an uncommon phenomenon.

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By in United Kingdom,

Once again Glen I think your analysis is spot on. Neither Pete nor Troopers will pass review so that does leave a slot for TwP which, although I know nothing about it, does look as if it has creative, and large audience, potential.

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By in United States,

Glen, I think your analysis of TLG's thinking on the Curiosity/Portals debate is spot-on. They didn't want to leave a quarterly review without a winner, so TWP got pushed back to fill the bill.

Reading the tea leaves further, I think that the weird rejection message on the UCS Sandcrawler indicates that their own version of a Sandcrawler is in development. They could've just said, "This is a terrific MOC, but it would be much too large and expensive for a Cuusoo release" or something like that. Instead, they gave that odd "LucasFilm must approve all projects" message. I think that's a safe way of getting around having to reveal that it's already a forthcoming set.

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By in United States,

Galaxy Command? I think you mean Galaxy Squad.

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By in United States,

@Modok,

I am uncertain where you found the comment that "LucasFilm must approve all projects"

From the official comment they say:

"Unfortunately we can’t approve this project in the LEGO Review based on our ongoing relationship and collaboration with Lucasfilm on LEGO Star Wars."

and in the Knowledge base:

Does the UCS Sandcrawler rejection mean you won’t accept Star Wars submissions on CUUSOO? What about other licenses the LEGO Group has? Why not remove those projects?

We give each LEGO CUUSOO project that enters the LEGO Review a thorough and fair analysis of whether it is possible to release. This was the first opportunity we had to seriously consider a project based on Star Wars, an existing LEGO license. So, we're applying what we've learned from this case.

The Fall Review decision on the UCS Sandcrawler specifically applies to this project. As long as other projects meet the requirements of the Guidelines and House Rules, we will allow them to be considered on LEGO CUUSOO.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think they have one currently under development but at the same time they do. There is a finite number of Star Wars Vehicles in the Core Star Wars Universe and at least 1 UCS Star Wars model every year. Thus ALL Star Wars vehicles from the core movies are "under development" if only being on a list of potential release order for the next decade.

I wrote up something on this which someone else coined "Inevitable Discovery". Here it is: http://blog.brick-hero.com/p/cuusoo-users-guide-part-7-what-makes.html

The gist of it is that any Cuusoo project that uses current Lego licenses in a way that Lego is already using them are not going to result in Cuusoo products as those are inevitable Lego products. They just have not produced them yet.

My favorite examples are people who use Lego's latest techniques on the Tie-Fighter to make all the variation of the Tie Fighter. This is less of a novel concept and more of Concept art of what Lego's next Tie-Fighter variants will look like.

This was also true of the Minecraft builds on Cuusoo. Many of them look "shockingly" similar to the New Minecraft sets that Lego is producing. It is not shocking at all when you see that the people making the Minecraft stuff on Cuusoo are making it based on Lego's techniques. Why would Lego approve a project that does what Lego is doing as a business model?

The link above gives a set of counter-examples that explore ways in which Star Wars, Minecraft, and similar properties can be approached in a novel way though. This, in my opinion, is why Cuusoo is leaving the door open on these properties. They accept that there are novel approaches to popular licenses they already hold out there but they can't leave that door open to those without also letting people submit content that is "inevitably discovered."

@ Starwarsgeek500
Thanks, always making that mistake.

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By in United States,

Even if there is a current Sy-Fi theme in place, the Space Troopers theme looks better.

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By in United States,

^ Sorry, I was paraphrasing from memory. The point was that it was about as vague a rejection as you can get. What does "based on our ongoing relationship and collaboration with Lucasfilm" actually mean? All Star Wars sets are subject to that same condition. It seems unlikely, or at least highly unusual, that Lucasfilm would veto this specific project if TLG was in favor of it.

I'm probably reading too deeply into it, but it just seem the kind of information-less rejection that would give TLG cover to release their own Sandcrawler soon.

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By in United States,

@ Glen bricker then what do you suppose they want? They are always saying make the set like an actual lego set and you'll have a better chance. But your stating that if we build say a superheroes set and it looks in the style of lego then it will be turned down. So I don't understand.

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By in United States,

@Modok

Personally I don't see any vagueness to it.

I see

"based on our ongoing relationship and collaboration with Lucasfilm on LEGO Star Wars"

As

"This project is exactly what we are contractually doing with the Star Wars Franchise, so we are not going to pay someone else to do what we are already doing with that contract."

If your project concept could fit in the yearly Star Wars line up of : 1-2 UCS Vehicles a Year, X Minifigs with Vehicles Play Set, X Minifigs with Setting, 2-4 Battle Packs, X Planet + Figure + Minibuild, X Magnets, X keychains, and 1 Calendar, with the Vehicles and Characters being from the 6 movies, the Clone Wars Animate Series, and Now SWTOR then it is something that Lego is already "working on."

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By in Japan,

@sitkawitka
I think he means that you should use legal techniques and the build shouldn't be too complicated, yet should be different from what Lego is currently doing with the license.

As an example, something like the Star Wars Cubedudes is not something Lego regularly does with the license, but is unique and fun enough that production is possible without interfering with the regular Star Wars lineup.

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By in United States,

As for the 2012 Winter Review, I believe that Purdue Pete has no real chance of passing. It seems to be more of a niche market than even EVE Online was. Also, it might seem like an endorsement of a particular university...

I'm hoping the Space Troopers! project passes Review... even though it probably won't due to the new mold featured in it, and Galaxy Squad. When compared, Galaxy Squad and Space Troopers! are very different in tone... but then if you simplify them they are both "troopers-fighting-alien-bugs" themes. And if LEGO is to reject it, they will be basing their decision on the simplified view of the themes. Which would be quite sad as I would love to have a Space Troopers! set.

The reject-everything-but-present-Portals-set theory seems very strong. But LEGO has surprised us with Review results before, and so we'll just have to wait and see.

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By in United States,

I have high hopes for Thinking with Portals, however, knowing Valve, we are more likely to get a Portal 2.5 Space edition. Also, on the subject matter of Space Marines, I like the concept, however, Lego has a "tendency" to release similar themes when a project is in review stage.

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By in United States,

The Ghostbusters set is by far the best. Wonderful detail throughout.

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By in United States,

@Glen - I see your point, and I remember now that you had written about it in your recent blog post where you explained alternative ways to approach Star Wars projects on Cuusoo.

By the way, please pardon my lack of familiarity with some of these IPs, but is FTL more broad in its appeal than Eve Online? I know that Eve Online got rejected (I think because of the business case), so I'm curious to know if another online sci-fi game project would meet the same fate.

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By in Australia,

im over all of it to be honest

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By in Canada,

Rather than hindered, Purdue Pete might actually be more viable because of the multiple school mascot potential. Similar to how architecture started with a a couple of buildings and has gone way beyond. Seriously, how people in the world want/need the Seattle Space Needle... nice design but they are gift shop sets... which Purdue Pete is of the same style... stock at the Uni book store and online and it should have a pretty decent sale through... encourages the mascots as a series across other schools...

Also just realized... this would certainly reduce the number of years a person stays in their "dark ages" between Lego Kid and AFOL. Just that placement in schools as a mascot series would be a big bonus to Lego, and respark that flame in an underserved demo.

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By in United States,

If the FTL project makes it, it probably will be the cheapest one yet, at less than $20

Perdue Pete, except for fans, alumni, and current students, I don't think it will do to well

Curiosity Rover, I think most are over with it by now

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By in United States,

Love FTL, very cool news!

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By in Australia,

I've never ever heard of FTL. As if there weren't enough Cuusoo projects based on obscure games or TV shows.

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By in United States,

I admit it's not exactly part of popular culture but being a popular game on Steam isn't very obscure either.

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By in United States,

I had never heard of it, but I still supported it.. Seems like it would fit Cuusoo's criteria... I am sure many people out there that play Faster Than Light who have never seen this project would buy it..

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By in United States,

I would buy sets based on Portal (or Half-Life for that matter).

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By in United States,

Just want to say, glenbricker you are doing a fantastic job covering the CUUSOO developments! Much appreciated, keep it up!

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By in Ukraine,

Hmm, Yep, I think that Purdue Pete (and the Warsaw city buses) will be seen as being just "too regional"...

Lego would rather do something with more wide international appeal.

Curious to see if I am proven wrong!

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By in Ukraine,

Also, is there a movement going to push the "30th Anniversary Ghostbusters" set upward? If it passes 10k first, then you might get also get a Modular Building Firehouse in the deal, and set the precedent for more ambitiously large Cuusoo sets. One of the two main Ghostbusters sets will obviously win, but if we want the bigger set and the bonus building, then AFOLs had better make their vote heard now!!

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By in United States,

^ Given what we've seen out of Cuusoo so far, I think it's unlikely that a Ghostbuster release would include a modular-sized firestation, as cool as it may be. I think most Ghostbuster fans would be satisfied with just the Ecto-1 and the team itself, and it would keep it within the $30-40 price range that TLG seems to like for Cuusoo.

Does anyone know how the licensing works? Does TLG have to negotiate with just the movie studio, or with the actors' representatives, too?

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By in United States,

I am really hoping for a Portal victory in the next round, I would buy at least one release day and perhaps more depending on what it looks like.

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By in Germany,

> The gist of it is that any Cuusoo project that uses current Lego licenses in a way that Lego is already using them are not going to result in Cuusoo products as those are inevitable Lego products. They just have not produced them yet.

This is very true, and so I have to ask: why is your very own Corellian Defender up on Cuusoo? And why is it *still* up now that they actually have produced it?

This is not to step on any toes, I am genuinely interested. I don't want to single you out, either. The same questions very much apply to all the TIE fighters you mention, and all the Minecraft projects, and all the Towers of Orthanc and Minas Tiriths, and frankly, now to the BTTF train as well, and to Biff Tannen's Ford, and to the Hill Valley Courthouse. I'm merely asking you, Glen, because you actually happen to be accessible and because unlike the creators of those projects you have now repeatedly stated yourself in public that you know it's pointless.

I know it must hurt to delete a project with almost two thousand supporters, but that's the only sane course of action if you listen to your very own advice.

And of course in an ideal world the CUUSOO team would do the pruning themselves. The signal-to-noise ratio would be so much higher. Alas, it appears they'd rather disappoint a full 10000 people than just a couple hundred. I don't get it.

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By in United States,

@Schwallex.

Excellent questions

Lets start with the pruning one...did you know there are like 3 people who actually make Cuusoo run.

http://blog.brick-hero.com/2013/03/weekly-cuusoo_19.html

Not the technical stuff and not the decisions at the top but the people who actually moderate the site and review projects and what not. Three. I don't even think they are full time on Cuusoo either. They are very busy and they don't have the time to "prune" the site beyond what they already do.

Also, it is against the whole point of Cuusoo. As long as a project fits the guide lines and is not on the verboten list, it gets uploaded. Then the people get it to 1000 and the subreview happens, then it gets to 5000 for the second double check, then it gets to 10,000 for full review by the Reviewers, not the people who run the site on a daily basis.

Additionally, Cuusoo does not know what it is right now. They don't have the answers to these question. They are very pragmatic. It does not work in hypothetical, it works in practicals and real world interaction. In a way it is very beautiful. Projects are assessed and released into the system. Given the creators don't screw with things and the users don't rock the boat the project is ignored after that point. Then when the project reaches 1000 it triggers the machinery of the beast, HERE is something worth investigation! A probe is launched, a low level scan. Queries are made. "Can we make this? Or is it "someone else's"? If it does belong to another then the Verboten list is expanded and the line cauterized [such will be the fate of Star Trek and Transformers]. If not, a pithy statement is generated, hopefully with a delightful pun, the word is sent out to the world, and the project is re-released into the wilds of Cuusoo. Again at 5000, a new check is made, then when it finally reaches 10,000 it is removed from the system and when the time is right the council convenes and discusses the offerings, they read the viscera and make their decrees.

Sorry if I am waxing a bit literary this morning. But I think it is a very functional and effective system. It appears to work quite well for Lego and it achieves the desired result of its creators with minimal fuss.

As for your first question.

When I posted the project SWTOR had not been brought into the Lego fold, at least not openly. Even after the Fury was released I happened to know, without a doubt, that Lego was not working on a Defender. It appears at the time that the Fury was Lego dipping its toe into SWTOR.

I can tell you that my answer to your second question is not going to give you any insight into the others though. One of the reasons I feel I have the right to get on soap boxes and talk about Cuusoo so much is because I actually investigate it. I try to gather as much data as I can from as many sources as possible.

It is very informative to have a project on Cuusoo. One of the great things about the Defender project is that it has taught me just how infrequently people actually read the projects and comments. Just like right now. I suggest you check out the project if you want more details. ;)

btw, assuming you are the same Schwallex on Cuusoo, that is some fantastic work on the Zoo. Well, even if you are not the same Schwallex, Schwallex's Zoo on Cuusoo is fantastic. I recommend anyone reading this check it out: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/39075

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By in United States,

I don't really understand the disparaging tone of the little interpretive dialogue regarding the review process for the Curiosity Rover. I think it's a perfect fit in light of TLG's educational toy philosophy and easily fits in with the burgeoning "science/exploration" sub-theme developing in the CUUSOO stable (along side the "Shinkai 6500" and "Hayabusa" sets, rounding out the line as it stands to 2/5ths licensed properties, 3/5ths science/exploration). I am very excited to see the final model and get my hands on one.

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By in United States,

If Curiosity blows up that would sell a lot of sets being that it's a nuke powered car.

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