Brickset news archive: Software/Games
Version 1.2 of this iOS app has just been released:
"The MyFigs Minifig Collector is for LEGO fans and minifig collectors of all ages. It is fun and easy to use, and it is all about your own personal minifig collection.
"Some LEGO minifigs are rare and highly collectable, others just have great design. I know that collectors value their precious minifigs and often store them in bags or boxes, safely away from sunlight and dust. Now you can add all your new minifigs to the MyFigs Minifig Collector and always have them just a few taps away.
"The whole idea behind the MyFigs Minifig Collector is for you to create a minifig page with a photo of your minifig, along with information like name, item number, value etc. So if you are a collector of custom minifigs or any other theme, this app is perfect for sorting your minifigs by name, theme or value.
"Last but not least, the MyFigs Minifig Collector will also keep track of the total number and the total value of all of your minifigs."
Developer Runar has created a promo video that showcases the app and has also given me 10 promo codes to enable the app to be downloaded for free. As I no longer have an iOS device (I ditched my iPad in favour of a Nexus tablet), I'm giving them all away to you. (Update: all codes have now gone!)
Funcom has recently opened registration for the closed beta of the upcoming LEGO Minifigures The Online Game. The sign-up page asks for your age and email address, and says that a select few will be chosen and contacted through email to participate in the closed beta period.
The Closed Beta will progressively add more testers as more content is added to the game, leading up to the launch expected next year. An Open Beta period will be added prior to the launch of the game to allow even more testers to participate in the game.
LEGO Minifigures The Online Game is a massively multiplayer online game featuring many, if not all the Collectible Minifigures that have been released. The game was announced a few years ago, after the closure of LEGO Universe.
"Get ready to meet the Minifigures! Collect them all and bring them with you on grand adventures in LEGO Minifigures Online - an epic online adventure where you get to explore colourful locations such as Pirate World, Space World and Medieval World!
"Play together with thousands of other players and battle your way through monstrous riff-raff as you develop your Minifigures’ unique and powerful abilities. Smash, build and collect - thousands of exciting adventures are just a brick away in LEGO Minifigures Online!"
LEGO Minifigures Online will launch for PC, iOS and Android during the second half of 2014.
Thanks to stricks_bricks and r4-g9 for the news.
A couple of new iPhone apps have just been released that may be of interest to you:
- BrickitNews "is an iPhone RSS READER build for the AFOL community. Don't waste your time looking for LEGO news. BrickitNews brings the latest LEGO articles in your pocket!"
- MyFigs Minifig Collector "is for LEGO fans and minifig collectors of all ages. It is fun and easy to use, and it is all about your own personal minifig collection."
I've given BrickitNews a go on my iPad and it works well, although it's not optimised for that device, unfortunately.
If you're eagerly awaiting the release of the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game later in the year, this video will be of interest to you:
There's also a Facebook page with '5 Tips from E3 to Prep You for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes'.
Posted at the request of Warner Brothers.
If you're an Android phone or tablet user, you'll be interested to take a look at LEGO Collector, which is a "unique application to browse and mange your entire LEGO collection including sets and all minifigure series."
It interfaces with Brickset's web services so you can download your collection to your device and keep it in sync.
I've installed it on my Galaxy Nexus and it works well, and pretty quickly too. My only criticism is fairly minor: it allows you to download instructions to your device, to the SD card, but once it's done so, unless I am missing something, they are hard to find and view. You probably need a third-party file manager to get to the contents of the SD card, which I don't currently have.
Other than that, so far, it's been faultless. It costs 84p (probably $1 and €1).
The mobile app directory, as always, contains details of all apps that work with Brickset.
BrickUltra is reporting that 'LEGO has leaked' screenshots of the forthcoming massively multiplayer online game Legends of Chima Online. You can view more by clicking on the image.
You will recall a press release, published earlier in the month, described the game thus:
"In autumn 2013, LEGO Legends of Chima Online, a free-to-play, online world developed by WB Games Montréal, will provide kids with a safe and incredibly immersive connected game experience. Players will be able to build and customize their kingdom in the world of Chima, explore massive environments like the Falling Leaves Forest, take on missions to help Laval and his friends, uncover hidden secrets and treasures, earn rewards, and use LEGO bricks to build weapons, gadgets, and more!
"The Chima Vault, which houses an exclusive reward system, will be accessible to players on LEGO.com/chima. While playing LEGO Legends of Chima: Speedorz and LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey, players will be able to earn points. These points can be redeemed through the Vault for a variety of unique content that players can use to enhance their experience in LEGO® Legends of Chima Online."
Unlike LEGO Universe, that flopped badly primarily due to its revenue generation model (monthly subscription), this is going to be a free-to-play game. I suspect LEGO is hoping that, by having it so inextricably linked to the models, it will help shift more Chima sets. I wouldn't be surprised if buying sets unlocks additional content somehow, perhaps via the reward system described above.
So, are you looking forward to playing this?
I was also going to start the article by saying that it would have been more newsworthy if LEGO was not producing a Marvel video game given there's one made for every theme these days, but from what I've read apparently it's surprising that it is seeing the light of day given that Warner Brothers owns TT Games and DC Comics, who are of course Marvel's main rival.
Anyway, you can read more about it at LEGO.com.
Made the jump to Windows 8 yet? No, I haven't either; I'm not sure there's much point on a desktop machine. But if you've just bought a new laptop or Surface tablet with Windows 8 on it, you'll want to take a look at this app that hooks into Brickset's web services.
Brick Hub is a Windows Store app allowing the user to browse information about all old, new and forthcoming LEGO sets and LEGO themes by utilizing online web services. It provides access to set pictures, set information as well as downloadable instructions for each set (where available). Furthermore, it implements searching through the Windows 8 Search charm. And, it allows the user to associate his or her's Brickset account to store and modify personal owned and wanted lists. Finally, it facilitates sharing of set information with other apps and people through the Windows 8 Share charm. You can download it from the Windows Store.
If you have a Windows Phone, you can now use it to track your collectable minifigure collection, thanks to a new app. by Brickset user Jacob, simply called Minifigures
The store description reads "Lego Minifigures uses Brickset.com web services, here you can search all the released figures and login with your Brickset account to add figures you own or want. This app only shows Collectable Minifigures."
It's free, so download it and give it a go...
One of the best Brickset-related iOS apps in the Apple AppStore, Brick By Brick, has been updated today and is now a Universal app which means it now looks absolutely fantastic on an iPad as well as on an iPhone/iPod.
It works quickly and faultlessly with the Brickset API to enable you to:
- browse and search for sets
- view and manage your collection
- view instructions, which are downloaded from LEGO.com.
Best of all, it's free!
Don't have an iOS device? see our mobile app directory to find one for your platform of choice.
A couple of new mobile apps have been released recently that tap into the Brickset API and provide access to your collection while you're on the move.
Brick By Brick is an Apple iOS app that is optimised for iPhones but will also work on an iPad. From the description in the AppStore:
Browse and search Brickset database:
- browse by themes (sub themes or year) - search option available for sets.
-user can add to want list and change number of owned, edit set notes, visit Brickset site and share Brickset url on Facebook and Twitter.
-for sets with instructions, user can download instructions and they are later available for viewing so the user doesn't have to re-download them each time.
-pdf viewer for instructions with bookmarks and printing options.
-set picture can be enlarged, and sent to email or saved in database.
I've tried it on my iPad and it works a treat and is arguably the best iOS Brickset app out there. The developer plans to add native iPad support and other features in due course.
myBrickset is the first Android app for Brickset. It has been developed by forum member RikTheVeggie. The Google Play description reads:
Browse the LEGO catalogue & prices offline. Sync your wanted sets with Brickset.
Browse the entire LEGO database offline, including retired sets. Includes retail price information for the UK, US and Canada - never wonder again if you're paying too much for your LEGO!
Powered by brickset.com - the friendliest and most comprehensive LEGO fan site on the Internet.
Seamlessly integrates with brickset.com to keep track of your owned & wanted sets.
Automatically updates with new releases, pictures and price information as it becomes available.
This is an excellent app that works well if you're without a data connection but if you have one available it provides a complete Brickset experience including access to the large set images and also instructions at LEGO.com.
Both of the apps are free so if you have an iPhone or Android device I encourage you to download one and give it a go.
There's been something of a surge of LEGO related apps in the Apple AppStore lately, and I haven't been able to keep up with them all. Here's a quick round-up of the best.
It's very simple to play and designed for kids of, er, age 4+. Basically you drive a vehicle along a rolling landscape picking up 1x1 round plates. As you progress through the game you are given more sub-assemblies to build your vehicle from, some of which are quite amusing.
I actually quite enjoyed it, despite being at least 10 times the target age. It's certainly worth every cent (it's free) and it looks great on an iPad.
LEGO Super Hero Movie Maker is new this week and lets you make movies on your iPhone. I haven't tried it myself so I'm hoping someone who has can tell me if it's any good. Unfortunately it's not a Universal app, so doesn't look good on an iPad, although I believe it does work if you have a iPad 2 or 3 with a camera.
LEGO Minifig Creator 3D is an unofficial app that lets you customise a minifig, then view it from different angles. You can choose leg and body colours, heads and hats and hair. It's fun for 5 minutes, but I'm told by the developer that he has big plans for it so maybe future versions will be more involving, and have some practical use. It costs 99c/69p and is iPhone only.
I have left the best until last: A World of Bricks is a free universal app written by Brickset user Cyril in France that makes use of the Brickset public API to provide a very quick and efficient way of searching and browsing for sets and then viewing official LEGO instructions on your iDevice.
The iPad is the ideal device for viewing instructions while you've building and this app simplifies the process of finding and flicking through them. It's incredibly quick, looks fantastic and is easily the best iOS app I've seen that uses the Brickset API. Download today! (Please note that you need to search for 'AWOB' for this app).
Android user? Don't despair, there's a Brickset app in the pipeline. Stay tuned for more news!
Brickset user Nico Maas has just released LEGO Tracker to the Windows Phone marketplace. The description reads "A brickset.com client for windows phone. Keep track of your LEGO collection. Find the sets you own or want and navigate to building plans, reviews and more.
- Search by set-number
- Search by free text search terms
- Store the sets you own or want
- View details about sets with links to building plans, reviews and more.
I don't have a WP7 but I have a friend who does so I got to try LEGO Tracker for myself today. It's incredibly slick and polished, and is probably the best mobile app that hooks into Brickset that I've seen.
You can record sets your own and sets you want into it, but you can't currently synchronise with your Brickset account. Nico hopes to add this in a future version.
If you want to find out about specific sets or themes while on the move with your WP7 device, this is a must-have app.
Now all we need is an Android one. Anyone up for the challenge?
The app is now available in the Apple AppStore and is priced at just $2.99. It's a universal app which will work on iPhone, iPod and iPad.
If you have an iOS device I highly recommend you download it. It's an excellent piece of work. Read my full review for more information.
You may remember I reviewed the book The Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog in the summer and mentioned at the time that the author was planning to release an iOS version of the book, which I got very excited about at the time.
Well, in the intervening months, author Christoph teamed up with Brickset member Nic Jansma and together they've developed apps for both iOS and Android. The Android version is available in the Android Marketplace now, for the introductory price of $2.99 (£1.91), and the iOS version has been submitted to Apple for approval and should be available soon.
I've been beta testing both, on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and iPad, for a week or so and I'm pleased to say that they live up to my initial excited expectations and are excellent.
Both versions are pretty much the same in terms of look and feel and user interface and provide features to explore and discover the data and images in a way that just isn't possible in the book version.
The main means of navigation is via the Browse button that allows you to drill down through the 3655 minifigs, 658 heads and 9466 sets in the database, either by theme or year, until you end up at a page showing details like that for C-3PO above. Minifigs are labelled with their taxonomy (see my review of the book for an explanation) and also the equivalent BrickLink number. Clicking on the small thumbnail will enlarge it to fill the screen, although I believe you need to have an online data connection to retrieve the large image from a remote server, so while the app can be used offline, you won't be able to view the hi-res images.
One thing I particularly liked was browsing the heads by year. This is a feature that is not available anywhere else, to my knowledge, and illustrates well how their numbers have 'mushroomed' in recent years. From 1978 to 1988 there was just one minifig head -- the classic smiley. In 1989 Pirates were given beards and moustaches to bring the total number of variations to 7. Compare that to 2010 when some 99 different heads were made!
In addition to browsing, you can search for figs by name, taxonomy identifier or BrickLink number. I didn't see a way to search for sets, just minifigs. You can also mark figs as favourites and then access them easily via a button on the menu.
Last, and certainly not least, you can hook the app up to your minifig collection here at Brickset, download it and then see 'My figs' on your phone. You can modify your collection on the phone and upload the changes back to Brickset.
This is a very cool app and well worth the few dollars asking price. This first version is very functional but there are improvements that could be made to make it even more attractive and useful, and I'm sure that Christoph and Nic will continue to develop it in response to our feedback, particularly if enough people buy it!
I'm quite shocked by this news, hot off the LEGO press:
Online game will close on January 31, 2012. The LEGO Group’s digital offerings will continue to develop over the coming years.
November 4, 2011 – The LEGO Group today announced that it will close LEGO® Universe, an MMOG (massively-multiplayer online game) that has been in operation since the autumn of 2010 In spite of very positive player feedback and a large number of players in the free play zone, it has not been possible to convert a satisfactory number of players to paying subscribers. It has therefore been decided to close the game as of January 31, 2012.
“The LEGO Universe team can take pride in having developed and launched a great LEGO experience that many players will miss,” said Jesper Vilstrup, Vice President, LEGO Universe. “Right now, we have almost 2 million players in LEGO Universe, and we get extremely positive feedback from players. Unfortunately, we have not been able to build a satisfactory revenue model in our target group, and therefore, have decided to close the game.”
Despite the change, the ambition to develop and run a digital business remains. In future, it is the intention to further pursue cooperation with partners. The LEGO Group has a strong and continuing partnership with TT Games & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create digital LEGO experiences within video games. A further expansion in the digital area will mainly be based on similar partnerships
“The development of our digital offerings continues to be a very important element in our strategy,” said Mads Nipper, Executive Vice President, LEGO Group. “We have more than 20 million visitors on www.LEGO.com every month, and LEGO video games are among the bestselling children’s video games with sales of more than 60 million units in the last five years. Through our experience developing and running LEGO Universe, we have gained a lot of valuable insights, and we have a very strong foundation for future development in the digital area."
As a consequence of the closure, the LEGO Universe staff has today been informed that the ‘Play Well Studios’ in Louisville, Colorado and the game’s marketing function in Billund, Denmark will be closed. This will affect 115 employees. All affected employees will be offered assistance in finding new jobs inside or outside the LEGO Group
This is of course terrible news for the staff involved and I hope everything works out for them. It's not very good news for LEGO either given the amount of money that they've pumped into it. It's tempting to say 'I told you so', but I'll resist...
A LEGO press release published today reveals an interesting hybrid game that combines physical bricks with a digital game played on iOS devices:
LEGO Group unveils first fully integrated digital-to-physical gaming experience
Combining physical building with a digital gaming application, LEGO® Life of George invites builders to test building skills in a race against time
The LEGO Group has announced LEGO® Life of George, its first product to combine digital and physical play for a hands-on LEGO gaming experience. Featuring patent-pending brick recognition software, powered by EyeCue, the game challenges players to build models, and place them on a play mat that acts as a “green screen” to capture the image and receive a score based on accuracy and speed.
Beginning October 1, 2011, players can purchase the LEGO Life of George set for $29.99 from LEGO Stores and shop.lego.com and download the free Apple iOS compatible gaming application.
LEGO Life of George is a 12-level game that can be played in novice or expert mode. Each level showcases an adventure from George, around whom the game revolves, and is comprised of models of varying difficulty based on the number of bricks needed and the building techniques required to replicate them. Builders are challenged to physically recreate the virtual models from George’s photo album using the LEGO bricks included with the game; once they have successfully completed all 10 models the next level will be unlocked.
In addition to Game Mode which can be played alone or against one competitor in a pass-and-play format, a Creation Mode called “My Life” enables users to design and capture their own models in the app’s virtual scrapbook.
“We understand consumers’ powerful connection to casual gaming, and we have seen how successfully the LEGO brand can translate to a virtual experience, so we pursued development of a fun way to combine both physical and virtual play into one product,” says Paal Smith-Meyer, head of new business at LEGO Group.
“Life of George is a result of our desire to provide an innovative way for existing and new fans to play with LEGO bricks and interact with the brand.”
Apart from the rather lame title, it certainly sounds intriguing. The video below shows how it's played. It looks as if you're challenged to build a 2D model, then take a photo of it with your iPhone/pad/pod. The game then determines how closely you've built it and, presumably, lets you progress.
See what you think:
(Thanks to toomuchdew for the news)
Update: here's more information from another press release, about George:
George is a software engineer by day and adventurer by night. His main hobbies are travel, photography and numbers, and has a fun storyline for players to follow and engage with via his Facebook page, I Am George. Fans can expect to see updates and photography from George on his travels as well as hints to new game levels and app updates through his posts.
From the LEGO Universe site: "Coming this August a Free-to-Play version of LEGO Universe will be available for download from LEGOuniverse.com! This new, Free-to-Play version of the game will make the game more accessible to new players. Free players will be able to create a character, explore two zones, and build on their own property –giving them a taste of the LEGO Universe experience."
While it might smack of desperation and a last-ditch attempt to get people playing what has obviously not been a success, I think it's actually very sensible and something they should have done from day one. People are far more likely to play, and then pay to play if (a) they don't have to buy a physical product to start and (b) they can see what it's like before paying out for it. This model is hugely successful in the mobile game arena (think Smurfs Village on iPad) and will, hopefully, get more people on board. Now all we need is an iPad version then even I might consider playing...
When I post LU stories, I always ask: are you playing it? Is anyone still playing it having started doing so when it was launched?
Thanks to Alemas for tipping us off on this!
As we've said lots of times, Brickset is all about the sets; we include some other LEGO products, but they aren't a priority for us in the Database. We've been getting quite a few emails about this one, so just for a little peace and quiet ... ;-)
It's being reported on Joystiq and other sites, that a new LEGO Harry Potter game will be out later this year, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. My guess is that the release will be timed to coincide with the DVD/BluRay release date, right in time for the important Christmas sales season.
Today a new iPhone/iPod app has been launched that aims to help you keep track of your Star Wars minifig collection. Called SWMinis you can get it in the AppStore for £1.19 or US$1.99.
I downloaded it myself this morning and have been testing it on my iPad. The first thing to note is that it's not an iPad app, unfortunately (Is it really that much harder to make a Universal app than just an iPhone one? I don't know) but it does of course run fine on it.
The figs are listed in alphabetical order, and by year introduced. Clicking on one takes you to a full-screen image of the figure, together with any accessories they came with. I have to say, the photography is excellent and consistent throughout, at least as good as my own efforts in this area.
On this page you can mark the figure as owned or not and once you've done so they appear with gold coloured text next to them in the listings. Reference is made to the BrickLink minifig number and also the sets the fig appeared in. You can also rate the fig 1-5 stars, and rated figs then appear in a 'My favourites' list.
My verdict: This is an excellent app and well worth a few dollars if you have any interest at all in Star Wars minifigs. Of course, it doesn't do anything more than can be done here at Brickset, but if you want to carry your collection round with you, so to speak, it does the job nicely. The pictures are great and until I get my finger out and get the SW figs photographed for Brickset, they are the best that I've seen of them.
I don't really have any criticisms of it, but would like to offer some suggestions:
- iPad native please, with nice big images!
- Combine with a set database (using the Brickset web service, of course) to provide links on the set number listings to images and info about the set, and also a list of all figs that came in it.
- Provide an 'I own them all' shortcut :-)
There's more screenshots and information the app's website.
Our focus here at Brickset.com is on brick sets, not all the other ancillary products that LEGO make, and our news section reflects that. Occasionally, there are non-brick news stories that are worth covering ...
Back before Christmas, LEGO slashed the purchase price of the LEGO Universe game to 50% of the original price, and last week LEGO halved the price again - it's now only $9.99 US / 9.99 Euros / £7.49 UK / etc. in the the areas that it is available, a full 75% off the original purchase price. Remember this includes the subscription for the first month's worth of 'game time' ... also note this is the same price as the ongoing monthly subscription rate, so effectively you're getting the game for free when you pay for your first month's subscription. If you've been wondering about the game, now seems like a great opportunity to jump on-board and give it a go!
I'm not sure what this means for the game in the long-term; it appears that the take-up of the game has been less than expected, and LEGO are prepared to do what they feel it's going to take to get people playing the game and paying their monthly subscriptions ... personally I like the game, but I just don't have the spare time to devote to it. I also don't think it's the purchase price that is the problem, but rather the monthly subscription ...
Meanwhile, 'Minecraft' is going from strength-to-strength.
Entertainment Weekly has posted an exclusive trailer for the new LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars videogame on their website. Check it out here.
Another excellent LEGO-related app has turned up in the AppStore. Bricasso is similar to LEGO Digital Designer in that you can create virtual models from a wide range of parts and colours using just your finger.
What sets this apart from many similar apps both on the iPhone and other platforms is the user interface. A lot of thought has gone into it and it really is very intuitive and easy to use and you'll be building great looking models in no time at all.
This really is a very impressive piece of work and while there's a lot of functionality in this first version, future versions will undoubtably add to its feature set to make it even better. In fact the developer tells me there's an iPad version in the works which will really up the ante and make it a truly useful piece of software for virtual modelling, rather than the 'fun toy' that is it now.
It's available from the AppStore for the princely sum of $0.99 or 59p, however the developer has given me 15 promo codes that I can give out to the first 15 of you to contact me! Note that these are only good for the US iTunes so you'll need to be resident in the USA to use them. [Update: all codes have now gone]. All I ask in return is that when you've installed and played with it you leave a comment here to let us know what you think of it, and maybe also rate it in the AppStore.
How quickly can you guess what’s being built from LEGO bricks?
Creationary is the award-winning build-and-guess LEGO game that challenges the imagination, creativity, building and guessing skills of you, your family and friends with more than 300 bricks and accessories. With LEGO Creationary, you can guess what’s being built on iPad, iPhone & iTouch in this true-to-the-original-board-game app!
“Roll” the LEGO dice to find out which of the 4 randomly selected categories you’re guessing: nature, vehicles, buildings or things. The game starts building an object from that category out of LEGO bricks, and you have to guess which of the four possible answers is correct by tapping the illustration that you think matches what is being built. The faster you guess correctly, the more points you earn. The more you play, the more difficult the game becomes. Guess incorrectly and the game ends.
You can read more and see screenshots at iTunes.
I have my daughter who's at Uni to thank for the news: she found it in the AppStore and txt'd her sister who told me :-)
I'm off to download and play it now, I'll let you know what it's like later!
Later... Well I have to say, it's fun for 5 minutes but there's not much to it! Basically you have to guess what's being built on the screen before it's completed. There's no actual building or anything else remotely interesting involved. It's not much more than an advert for LEGO games. I guess the best thing about it is that it demonstrates that LEGO is investing in developing games for mobile platforms so we can but hope that if this one is deemed a success that better games will follow.
Android users (of which I am one) we need not fret, it's not worth changing allegiance for. Besides, we have Angry Birds now...
Ace over at fbtb has written an excellent new application for iPhone/iPod/iPad called Bricking News.
Bricking News brings together the most popular LEGO AFOL news sites in one convenient app: The Brothers Brick, Eurobricks, Brickset, and From Bricks To Bothans. Each news article is a full text feed complete with pictures so you only have to tap once to read the full story. In addition to the Brickset news feed, the Brickset tab includes a simple search form to search the database for a quick reference look up. There’s also a flickr tab showcasing some of the top LEGO groups on flickr.
This is an great app that will make it easy for you to keep up-to-date with LEGO news while you are out and about. You can find more information and see screenshots at the Bricking News website or the iTunes page. It costs a very reasonable $0.99 or 59p.
A few weeks ago we reported about a new iPod/iPhone app for viewing LEGO instructions on your iDevice. Well, it turns out that LEGO objected to it and asked that it be pulled from the App Store. So, the LEGO Hobby app is no more. Which is a shame, since it was half-decent and the promised iPad version will presumably not now appear. If you have it already, it still appears to function but I guess it won't be updated with new instructions.
You can read more about the reason for the ban on the developer's webpage. (Thanks Duq for the news)
Over the last few months there have been what seems like hundreds of LEGO related apps released for mobile devices. The need to scan barcodes on the collectable minifigs provided a good excuse for developers to write them.
This week, the best barcode scanning app, Mini Collector for iPhone, has been updated to v1.1 and it will run on non-camera enabled devices. It can't of course actually scan the barcodes without one, but you can use it to track your collection.
However the big news this week is that there is a new Brickset app for the iPhone and iPad available.
Brickset Mobile allows you to manage your collection of LEGO sets on your iPhone. It uses our web services to provide native access to the Brickset database. The more observant among you may have seen this in the app store a few weeks ago. Unfortunately v1.0 had a few bugs which Stuart, the developer, wanted to sort out before I announced it. That's been done and the new version is available in the app store now. One of the best things about it is that it works off-line with a locally cached version of the database -- including your owned and wanted lists -- which it synchronises automatically with the website. Here's a full list of features:
- Off-line access to the full Brickset database - no internet connection required - perfect for iPod Touch users and locations with low strength mobile signal.
- Browse by Theme and Year.
- Search by Theme, Set Name or Set ID with no limitation on the number of results displayed.
- Register and display sets that you own or want.
- View set details and open Brickset.com for more details and user reviews, minifig details and more.
- Read news from the Brickset.com RSS feed.
- iPhone, iPod and iPad compatible.
- It's free!
If you have a compatible device, I strongly encourage you to download it and give it a 5 star review in the app store!
Note: this should not be confused with the other Brickset app, iBrickset, which offers similar features. Try them both and stick with the one you like!
Hardly a week goes by without me writing about one LEGO-related mobile application or another. Today we received a press release for a new iPhone/iPod Touch app called 'LEGO Hobby'. Here's what it said:
"To mark the worldwide launch of the LEGO Hobby iPhone App, anyone who downloads the LEGO Hobby App from the App Store before 31 December stands to win $650 worth of LEGO.
"The LEGO Hobby App contains every set of instructions for building any LEGO set which the user can possibly imagine. The LEGO Hobby App has a slick and intuitive interface with tabs at the bottom for the various functions. The user can search the App by number, year and theme, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones, from Trains to Batman. Want to put your own collection together, look something technical up about LEGO or DUPLO, find news about LEGO activities, or share instructions with your friends? The LEGO Hobby App allows you to do all this.
"Are you up to the challenge? The LEGO Hobby App can be downloaded via the App Store for just $1.99."
Sounds good, eh? Well, as you probably recall I don't have an iPhone but I do have an iPad, so I thought I'd burn a couple of dollars (or £1.19 in my case) and check it out. Now, as wth most iPhone apps, it looks very polished and follows all the usual UI conventions of the platform, so is easy to use. It comes with a database of sets, which seems to be comprehensive, and which are indexed by theme, years and set numbers. Each set has a somewhat grainy thumbnail to aid identification.
Once you've found the set you're interested in you can mark it as a favourite, or view instructions which it then downloads via whatever data link you have available. The instructions have not been made specially for the app: those for later sets are the PDFs available from LEGO customer services (which we link to here), and those for older sets are scans that have probably originated from http://www.brickfactory.info/: I'm guessing that because that site, and this app. originate in Holland.
So it's all very well and good, but is there any point to it? The iPhone has a relatively small screen so any reproduction of instructions on it are going to be tiny and really not much use if you're planning on reconstructing the set.
However, although it is not an iPad app, it will run on it and then it becomes more useful. Although the iPad scales up iPhone apps and generally they look pretty awful (this is no exception) the actual instructions are shown at whatever resolution they are available in, so are much more usable and I can imagine having the instructions on the iPad on my building table alongside a pile of bricks and actually being able to build from them.
To conclude then, this has a nice little app and if you don't have an iPad there's no reason not to buy it for a couple of dollars, if just out of curiosity. But if you do, I'd hold off buying it until a native iPad version becomes available when it will suddenly become much more interesting and usable.
Update: I've heard from the author that an iPad version will be released in November and it'll be a free upgrade. So, I guess there really is no reason not to buy it now if you have an iPad.
Owners of Android phones are now spoilt for choice for collectable minifig applications. Brickset member nicjansma has written an app which he's called Minifig Collector which combines barcode scanning with collection management. It even contains images of the barcodes for when you fancy scanning them by eye.
You'll find it in the Android marketplace: Search for 'Minifig Collector' or visit http://www.minifigcollector.com/ for more information.
The official launch date for LEGO Universe is now confirmed as being October 26th. That's the date when the packaged product will be on the shelves of normal retailers.
However, if you've pre-ordered, you'll be able to access the game from October 12th.
Although this will not be something I'll get time to play, I really hope it's a success for LEGO: Since it was first announced, what, some 4 years ago, they have put an incredible amount of time, effort, and of course money, into the game.