Mister Phes

Ambassador Project - Definition of Design Constraints

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It's a little ambitious, but if sets are limited where there's generally only two factions per set, and the factions are sort of evenly spread out (or, alternatively, one of the factions plays a smaller role), then it'd probably work.

The distribution is something we probably should determine now.

I don't think we should be too confined and present the LEGO Group with 7 sets concept and expect them to run with it. Rather, I think we should present them with as many quality concepts as we can produce and let them determine which concepts they want to use. Potentially they could like 14 concepts and decide to release them over 2 waves. But this would mean more torsos and heads indicated by The Cook's analysis.

In reality, we don't know what the LEGO Group is looking for and we don't know what the market is demanding, so therefore a degree of flexibility is prudent.

Having said that, we can't go too far in the other direction and assume infinite possibilities, so it's a matter of determining an equilibrium between the two.

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I would advocate sticking to the 7-8 rather than lots of concepts. If we do decide to go with lots of concepts then they will have to utilise the "library" of torso prints that have already been designed for the wave rather than seek to extend that "library"; essentially the additional sets should be proposing alternative play options.

Whilst the 2008 Fantasy Era castle theme eventually built up a large number of minifig prints this was achieved over the course of 2, possibly 3, releases in successive years. Each wave had that average number of new torso's mention in the earlier post, typically 10. I can do the analysis on a year by year basis if necessary?

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I would advocate sticking to the 7-8 rather than lots of concepts.

Hypothetically, if we could produce 6-8 sets concepts per faction, then couldn't we treat each faction as its own sub-theme?

But that is hypothetical because we might not have the capacity to produce more than one faction.

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I may be a bit too specific here...

But If there would be a ship It would be quite awesome if it had a tumblehome, an angled broadside.

Not like CGH's frigate ofcourse, it has to be simple, easy to put together and the finished ship has to be sturdy and accessible for the playability.

Furthermore a legal building technique has to be considered, in which I mean no parts should be tensed in the construction.

I may experiment on that some more.

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I may be a bit too specific here...

Yes, too specific...

However don't let that stop your experimentation, if you can create a tumblehome with legal connections then it might be relevant for any ship designs that occur in the wave. As well as legal connections I suggest that any experimentation considers robustness of design, accessibility for "play", uses a minimum number of bricks and is simple to construct; all of which are likely to be criteria that designs are assessed on.

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Raised baseplates?

Are TLG still producing them?

Can our set designs include them?

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Raised baseplates? Are TLG still producing them?

I was hoping you could tell us that... :pir-classic:

6241 Pirates Loot Island from 2009 was the last pirate set to have a raised baseplate.

post-273-0-63994800-1400655758_thumb.jpg

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  • New parts
    ---Minimal new molds (exception for minifigure accessories), what I am interested in is new printed tiles like maps/signs/etc. I think a great theme could be created from the molds Lego currently has.

I agree, especially in the hull parts discussion. I see no reason to try and re-invent the wheel. New printing, new colours but new large molds? No.

I would actually suggest that there be two ships, one for each faction.

Yes. If there are not two ships (medium to large) the line would be a total failure. If we want them to actually produce the sub-theme kids must be given two ships so that they can fight sea battles.

Raised baseplates?

Are TLG still producing them?

Can our set designs include them?

I think this is a key question. Creating a company fort to surpass the classics would be greatly enhanced by the use of a raised baseplate. The suggestion already made in the set suggestion thread to use this:

30271px3.jpg

as the base for a classic star fort is brilliant and would make this sub-theme much more attractive to both kids and adults.

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I was hoping you could tell us that... :pir-classic:

The day job gets in the way...

The more recent sets all appear to have used a higher density injection molded plastic, eg. the loot island base or the baseplates in the Bionicle sets; this differs from the blow molded thin plastic baseplates of the 90's. I've posed a question in the Historic forums to find out if the recent baseplate for the Kingdoms Chess set is blow or injection molded.

My gut feeling is that Lego have moved away from baseplates; even flat baseplates are rare these days the preference being for large 8x16 or 16x16 plates since they are more rigid and more flexible. Smaller plates require smaller boxes which saves on packaging and transportation costs; the exception is the larger creator expert sets (the modular buildings series and the Sydney Opera house) which utilise baseplates but have sufficiently large boxes that it doesn't matter.

My research hasn't been exhaustive, someone might be able to prove me wrong.

If the old baseplates are no longer being produced and we've already said no to new parts then we'll have to work to that constraint. I would urge the designers to look towards the castle sets like 8877 and 7094, 7097 to see how large panels can be utilised to quickly build height and bulk in a set. BURPs might just be your friend!

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Faefrost responded in the Historic forums. It would appear that the raised baseplate in the latest chess set is indeed a vacuum formed piece rather than injection moulded. However is should be noted that said baseplate does not contain any studs, it's merely a receptacle for a standard baseplate that fits within; therefore it does not need to be made to the same tolerances as a true baseplate.

The last set with a baseplate was Scorpion Pyramid in 2011 as part of the Pharoah's Quest, so TLG must still have the machinery to produce them. Therefore I supposed we can utilise them.

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Moulding seems unlikely since the costs of moulds are astronomical, especially for large parts. We could potentially get pieces 3d printed to illustrate concepts but that involves money and the war-chest here is running dry, we'll be lucky to get a rum tot, let alone the gold required for a new hull.

TLG can always replicate our ideas, they have the experience and the ability; but I would expect them to completely re-engineer them from scratch first! They are the experts at understanding how plastic behaves and flexes in order to create that all familiar click as bricks go "in-system". I believe part design at TLG runs between 6months and 4years, larger or more complex parts typically take longer. I recall reading an interview with Mark Stafford about the new ball joints and him saying something like 4 years of development. I believe of the Technic part designers frequents Eurobricks, it might be possible to get some generalised information from him with regards to timescales although he is under contract so probably can't do more than generalise.

So, whilst it's do-able, I think we have to say no new parts. Same rules as CUUSOO (or whatever they're callling it now!). Any new parts would detract from the viability of our proposals since they would incur significant additional expense.

Okay, new hull parts out of the question but I still want to at least propose this idea to someone who could work with it so it maybe could get made.

The problem with current ship hulls is that they are all 16 studs wide. This leads to every ship you build being 16 studs wide or needing to be made from regular bricks which are problematic with to design the specific curve that ships have. So for easier and more diverse ship designs we could use a part like the outer sides of the middle hull pieces but without the plate in the middle. Ships would be designed by making a line of hull wall pieces that are 3x8 or 3x10 and 3 or 4 bricks high and connecting the right and left side with as many regular plate pieces in whatever dimensions as needed. For the front/back you would need another type of hull piece that is curved, I think making this one fourth of the current front hull piece would be a good solution but I am no expert at angles and designing pieces so maybe we need one with a soft curve and one with a hard curve (like the difference between bricks with a 45 angle and a 75 angle, I hope somebody understands what I am trying to say).

So, in total three new moulds, that are only a fraction of the size of current hulls could be a permanent solution to the "everything is 16 studs wide" problem and make for better and more diverse designs in ships and probably all other themes too. Please, I just want to see some shape and size differences like here.

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Would such a solution have the structural strength of a model to picked up and handled by a 6yr old child? Those big hull parts bring rigidity to a ship to allow it to be played with.

The big problem with any variable width concept s how do you handle he bow and stern. Each of width is likely to require a fresh piece to curve around for the bow.

Could your concept be realised with existing bricks using SNOT techniques. Requesting existing part designs in new colours is more of a possibility than new moulds,

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So what about custom fabric elements?

Royal Brick Customs has offered to assist us with torso design and can also provide custom fabric elements.

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Yes, but probably in moderation.

I'll do a quick trawl of the past sets to see how many new fabric elements were in each wave and also in each set.

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A slight aside, but useful none-the-less. Here is a Reddit thread in which TLG designer Mark Stafford (writing as lego_nabii) talks about the design process for the Lego Ideas Exo-Suit.

http://www.reddit.com/r/lego/comments/29tas5/lego_ideas_exosuit_finally_revealed/?sort=old

Due to the way Reddit works the conversation is somewhat fragmented, but he reveals that when designing sets he has a limited budget for getting parts produced in different colours; what he refers to as colour changes. Which is something we will have to bear in mind. He also says that they often have price points in mind already and he has to work towards those price points. Reading between the lines they must have some means of calculating the production costs of a set both in terms of unique numbers of elements, numbers of printed pieces, unusual colours, minifig assembly, new moulding, etc... and that the leeway is very different for mass-market sets like Chima compared to niche sets like Ideas. I suggest we err on the side of caution and limit ourselves to the minimum number of colour changes, etc.. rather than walking in trying to demand new moulds!

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Thank you! Does this include head designs or are they separate?

I went in search of the original post where I learned this.

On the bad side of things, I made a slight mistake, on the good side, it's a positive mistake:

In terms of your minifigs, some research that I did for the Pirates forum indicates that TLG can do a maximum of 4 printed colours (the black of the lines being one of these colours) on-top of a single base colour that comes from the plastic.

So, to answer your question, torsos, head pieces (and presumably also leg pieces!) can have a maximum of four printed colors, (NOT including base color!) and black is counted.

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Excellent work! I'm gradually adding these important details into a summary "What has been defined" in the first post of this thread.

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