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News: LEGO enthusiasts want modeling software on their Macs!

LEGO enthusiasts want modeling software on their Macs!
By: James Reynolds and Matt Gerber
January 21, 2002

[Editor's note: This is a reprint of LDMC's Press Release dated Monday, January 21, 2002]

James Jessiman was the first to write a freeware LEGO modeling application for DOS, called LDraw. Included with the application was a library of common LEGO bricks modeled in 3D. To build virtual LEGO models with LDraw, one by one, you picked a brick and then navigated the brick using arrow keys. After making a model, you could use LDraw to create a graphic image of the model.

Quite a community grew around this basic application and since then more robust editors with mouse dragging controls and multiple angle views have been written. Nearly all of the LEGO parts have been modeled. POV-Ray converters were also written which made it easy to create life-like LEGO model images. With these tools people with too much fun-time have created fantastic models that would cost a fortune in real LEGO bricks. Some have even created animations using these tools (see: http://folk.uio.no/fredrigl/technic/space/download.html and http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=10505)

The flagship for LDraw, located at http://www.ldraw.org/, has all the resources needed to download and find information how to use LDraw. They have also had monthly competitions since late 1999 for models and scenes rendered with POV-Ray or other raytracers. Some of the winning images include garden scenes, cathedrals, sky scrapers, hot rods, helicopters, dragons, and a variety of spacecraft, both homemade and from productions like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica.

However, to this date, there is no editor on the Mac platform. Either Mac users have used Virtual PC, had to get a PC, or have just gone without. LDraw for the Macintosh Campaign (LDMC, located at http://mac.ldraw.org) is a group of Mac users who want virtual LEGO modeling applications on the Macintosh. The group has been going since early 2000 and currently has 53 members who have expressed a desire to have a Mac LEGO modeler.

LDMC was founded by users who knew relatively little about programming for the Mac. The assumption was that there were all kinds of Windows and DOS programmers who were generous enough to make all of these freeware applications and that there were no Mac programmers. Since then, I have learned that there are plenty of Mac programmers, they just live in a different world (one could just call it ADC).

The plea of LDMC is for Mac programmers to discover the world of virtual LEGO modeling! (so the rest of us can enjoy it too!)

Any questions or comments on this article should be directed to the LDraw for the Macintosh Campaign.

 

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In Memory of James Jessiman - 1971-1997