Friday, July 27, 2012

Build with Chrome

Browsing the plots others have created
I have been hearing about a Google Chrome extension that lets you build with virtual Lego blocks and finally got around to trying it out. This new approach to Lego building is called Build with Chrome. Build with Chrome is a team effort between Google and LEGO Australia to show off Chrome's new 3D web abilities. How it works is you start off on a Google map of Australia and New Zealand. The maps are divided into little plots that you can claim and build a model on. Once you're done building, you can publish the model and it will show up on the map when others browse.
The actual build environment.
When you pick a spot to build, you're put into the build environment. You're limited to building on a fixed size plate and a small palette of bricks with a door and window piece. So this is more of an environment for Lego "sculptors" as opposed to "modelers" since you are limited mostly to bricks and no specialized pieces. It's also currently impossible to use SNOT methods of building since you aren't allowed to rotate underneath the drawing or rotate bricks on their side. The way the model moves around when rotating and placing bricks has the usual, smooth polish that Google has shown in their programs over the years (like Sketchup, one of my favorites). It's a very cool concept and shows a lot of promise. Hopefully Google will extend this to include other areas of the world and maybe even develop Build with more options. It's a very promising start.

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