Alltron

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  1. I found another description of the factions in an old Lego catalogue; sharing for those interested:
  2. Wow, that book is incredible! Look at the passion Lego Space inspires! Also I agree with @Ninja_Bait - I would like to perhaps see them more as competing factions than good vs evil really.
  3. That's interesting. Perhaps that's a different enough and new angle. Maybe Lego could go for capturing realistic futurism for their next space minifig theme, if they never intend to return to 90s Lego Space. "Lego Space 2019" could be a range of sets that still have minifigs, so aren't Lego technic, but maybe get input/consultants from current space companies for ideas, have things like honeycomb shaped cockpits. Maybe if we will never get a revival of classic factions, Lego could do a realistic update on them as rival private space companies or colonies or something; what companies like Boeing or SpaceX might make of a space-suit civilization in 200 years, but with hyper-realistic Blacktron and Space Police replacing them:
  4. @icmI appreciate you for taking the time to post your thoughts. Same goes for everyone else. Perhaps Star Wars is the main inhibitor of a revived Lego Space at the end of the day, if The Lego Company feels there is too much crossover between the two. I wish that wasn't the case, as I'm the sort of person who believes you can never have too much space opera. Most of my favourite franchises have aliens in, but there was something about Space Police III, Alien Conquest and Galaxy Squad that felt sort of infantalised, and as a kid, I wanted things that didn't condescend me. I was having a quick look at the Ninjago and Nexo shows the other day, and I can tell you one reason why for me at least, I would be less interested in Nexo than in Ninjago. Ninjago started with a wise old master, an interesting skeleton like villain, an evil force, in a big world, albeit it is hardly as mature as Avatar/Naruto. Nexo on the other hand looked too clean and artificial as a setting, plus there was a lot silly humour. Those were just quick impressions. Speaking just for myself, but as a kid, I used to feel that overblown attempts at comedy were kind of condescending, and undermined the seriousness of a given show, I was keen to watch Gerry Anderson shows like Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett, UFO, Space 1999 or indeed other adult sci-fi like Star Trek than something on children's TV where the world was too silly to believe. Obviously Lego Space isn't a serious space opera, but it's vehicles were suggestive of real processes like law enforcement, mining and production. Even that brief two second clip in the Lego Movie of two classic space figures floating in micro-gravity was suggestive.
  5. Well, while I'm not happy with the idea of making Lego Space more character-focused, one lesson I think could easily be incorporated from what I assume Ninjago does (I'm guessing it has a Skeletor-like overlord villain), is to include a powerful evil leader figure, who has a cool minifig design, who mainly just sits back on a throne issuing orders (I love those kind of villains). Perhaps Blacktron are led by an evil Scorpius / Sauron / Skeletor / The Emperor / Dr Robotnik / Ganondorf type figure, called the "Supreme Blacktron" or something dramatic like that, who plans and directs the Blacktron civilization, but is trapped in a stasis-pod so had to send his Blacktron Troopers to steal minerals and ice from M-Tron and Ice Planet cultures. Also maybe never show characters without a space suit. That can be really interesting as a style, as if they just constantly live in suits. Things are only awesome if handled right; it's all down to whether or not it's stories/ideas are actually any good, speaking to people on some deep level that they find compelling, the way Star Trek often had ethical ideas concealed within it's stories. I've spent ages online debating with people why some sci-fi was so much more compelling than another one, and a lot of it comes down to the interesting world building. Some settings just seem hollow, or feel artificial, others like Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate SG1, Farscape, Babylon 5, Firefly, etc, feel natural, with compelling cultures. They just feel like they naturally grew, but are full of exotic concepts. The spartan no-explanation-given asteroid dioramas from the old Lego catalogue gave that same feeling, like people had been living this way for as long as they could remember, and I worry an attempt at modernising Lego Space would miss that. Science fiction almost by nature needs to be slightly educational, since the concepts are not widely understood. As for other characters, maybe the hero could be a young ice miner out of his depth, or a Space Police guy.
  6. Previous popularity isn't everything, or shouldn't always be everything, in business terms. Sometimes it pays to build a new setting's popularity, or build interest slowly in an idea. Maybe a company should not always think one success is innately transferable to a completely different type of setting. Also do people want all Lego themes to just be a Ninjago clone? Sometimes themes or franchises do well by accident, maybe accidentally capturing the mood of the time, or accidentally finding talented writers, or accidentally touching on deeper ideas. I don't know a lot about Lego's current themes, but there is no secret sauce sometimes. Fantasy can always be potentially interesting, and good vs. evil touches on something deep in us. I don't know much about Ninjago or Nexo Knights. My interest in themes ended around Spyrius and Aquazone. You make it sound like Ninjago is really popular compared to past successful Lego themes, such as Bionicle and stuff, which I didn't know, although I had noticed it has been around a while, and has it's own show. To me, Ninjago's setting looks superficially similar to Naruto, Samurai Jack or Avatar: The Last Airbender; a medieval Asian-inspired setting with anachronistic future technology mixed in (allowing for a wide range of possibility), and Nexo Knights, which seems to have been an attempt to do the same with medieval European-inspired fantasy, does not look inherently less interesting as a concept, if it didn't do as well, I would guess that it was just down to the luck of what world-building and writers they ended up with. Maybe they touched on the spirit of the times. Maybe they managed to incorporate some deep themes in a way that people didn't notice. Maybe the design of the sets were really good. The thing that is most attractive about Space Opera is that it allows for a wide range of possible adventure and travel. Later Lego themes narrowed the scope of the potential adventure more and more, until it was Earth or Mars focused, instead of some undefined future on un-named planets. There were many science fiction television shows that were better than the rest of TV at the time, but they were overlooked because general audiences were prejudiced against sci-fi. Fantasy largely escaped from this prejudice in the last few years, due to the success of a couple of franchises, but science fiction is still sometimes unfairly treated as a niche interest to be avoided by general audiences, despite it actually being physically possible to go to other planets one day, where fantasy will always just be mythical. General audiences tend to be sometimes scientifically illiterate, as seen by how many people can't distinguish between science fiction and fantasy, when one is (in general) physically possible, and the other is (in general) purely mythic. Perhaps one day there will be a science fiction property so popular, that trend-followers feel they finally have societal permission to enjoy something that more open-minded people already knew was good, just like happened with fantasy. I would suggest Lego Space would never be as popular as Ninjago due to the mood of the times, which is currently very fantasy-heavy, or superhero-heavy, but that this doesn't mean there is no market, or that the theme can't thrive as a low key one. Maybe release 20 sets across 4 factions, and keep them in production for 5-10 years just for people interested in this stuff. Perhaps focus on industrial stuff like giant space diggers, space trains, space police ships; after all, Lego Space was in some ways Lego City plus 3000 years. Introducing a restricted humans vs aliens theme was arguably what hollowed out those later 2010s themes, with their generic space men shooting generic bugs. Building a lived-in setting is what I would rather see, and that has always been what attracted people to space settings. It might even help distinguish the product from Ninjago, if the TV show was actually more adult and sober, like a classic space opera show, such as Babylon 5 or Star Trek. It might even find accidental success. Maybe 2001/Alien/Martian-style verticle landers and industrial platforms can be the way, although you don't want to stray too close to Lego Technic in terms of complexity, here's some mocs:
  7. I dunno, is it just nostalgia, or would you like to see new audiences be able to get into a new Lego Space theme that had a shared universe, like we had back when these sets were released? Even if they update it, I think a share universe like this could be pretty cool, maybe even spawn a TV show: - Space Police IV (dark green canopy maybe, or dark red maybe) - Blacktron III (keeping light green, or maybe a light blue canopy like Unitron/Exploriens for distinctiveness) - M-Tron II (keeping light green, or maybe a dark blue canopy like Unitron/Exploriens for distinctiveness) - Ice Planet II (keeping those already excellent colours) - Maybe Futuron II / Spyrius II / Unitron II / Exploriens II as a final faction
  8. To me the old space theme looks like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey or Space: 1999, Moon, Alien, The Martian, a retro-sci-fi, or a hard-sci-fi, or a near-future sci-fi, except that minifig-humanity has moved out of the solar system into the wider universe. Everyone wears space helmets, have oxygen tanks on their backs, perform industrial tasks (except Space Police and BlackTron), the ships often seem to have reaction-control thrusters dotted around them, and giant rocket nozzles that might be something like an EM-drive, or actual chemical propellant. It's Lego, so of course there are exceptions, but I'm not even sure those transparent pieces are meant to be rotor blades, they could be some kind of rotating radar. I would maybe actually place the classic space theme of the 80s later, since Benny's Spaceship looks like it might be more advanced, in an advert it just flies verically up out of the atmosphere and into space :-) For fun, I thought, how could the different themes be arranged into one timeline? Maybe: - Early times: "Classic Space" culture begins the colonisation of other worlds throughout the great void of space, launching rocket probes from their space buggies - Middle history 1: "BlackTron", a criminal and technologically advanced culture arise to menace this new pressure-suit phase of spacefaring civilization, "Space Police I" apprehend them - Middle history 2: "M-Tron", "Ice Planet" cultures are mining water and minerals to sustain this civilization, "BlackTron" develops more advanced technology, "Space Police II" apprehend them - Middle history 3: "Spyrius", a very aggressive faction with advanced robotics, arises to menace the spreading pressure-suit clad civilization, so all other factions merge to form "Unitron" - Later times: "Exploriens" culture emerges after victory unites all of human civilization in peace, and they explore the universe, conducting scientific experiments You could probably fit other eras of Lego space into the timeline, or rearrange this timeline so that, say, Space Police II comes before Space Police I (some of the Space Police I stuff looks almost like an evolution), but I like the idea that all these eras are closely linked, as their equipment is very very similar. Some of the later stuff has all sorts of advanced technology, like UFOs, yet is meant to be set earlier on Earth, so I prefer not to include them. Space Police III does not make much sense in this respect either, since they operate out of precincts that look like Earth buildings, and arrest half a dozen alien species, which there are no sign of in earlier Lego Space. I prefer to place them in another setting, although they could of course be reasoned away as some urbanised planet, I just don't feel like it fits the spartan theme of other Lego Space. There was a lot of overlap too, like BlackTron I overlapped Space Police I, which overlapped M-Tron, which overlapped Space Police II, which overlapped Ice Planet, Spyrius and Unitron: I love how they are all on low gravity rocks and photographed with ice! You asked for an example of what I mean by specialised parts; well, you are right, that I am probably being a bit too harsh, but basically, I didn't like the later factions (made after the ones above) designs, just my own opinion, but I thought that the factions were not interesting, just generic sci-fi bugs, and that organic-looking sci-fi is less interesting. I don't think this applies to all later lego, but late Lego Space seemed to use more printed pieces for transparent domes, and although I see what you mean by the pieces being generic, I don't like the organic looking stuff. Here is an example of an old set: As opposed to this, by comparison:
  9. I wasn't sure what the M-Tron were meant to be, but I thought when creating this topic, the 'M' might have stood for 'miners' :) Maybe the Ice Planet folks did the ice mining, to give water to the space factions, and maybe M-Tron mined the minerals? :) Space Police I had quite a nice colour scheme, I can't decided whether I like I or II more, although I missed out on Space Police I. I like BlackTron II's colour scheme more than BlackTron I however. White/black/green was distinct, the old all-black theme less so. I think the thing which I like the most about this era in particular (my last sets at the time were Spyrius era stuff too Lychir), was that the spaceships were so stripped-down and simple. They had a feeling of being closer to current space technology, being in flimsy little vehicles, moon buggy-like, needing oxygen tanks, helmets, and apparently using rockets with probes on (like in that Ice Planet poster at the top of the thread). The ships, like Benny's Spaceship in the Lego Movie, just flew by unknown means, like some sort of efficient electric-thrusters maybe, and were often small personal craft that only carried a single minifig (adding to a sense of hard-sci-fi isolation). Later themes had too many organic pieces and didn't create this feeling, removing oxygen tanks, and having alien invaders with organic leg/tentacle pieces everywhere. Looking back, I think maybe Life on Mars was a mistake, because it confined Lego Space to one planet, and the sets were less utilitarian. Then things like Alien Conquest and Galaxy Squad don't interest me in the slightest, with generic alien bugs and a conflict-only theme. I think therefore that the factions got steadily less interesting bit-by-bit after Ice Planet in 1994, and the physical design of sets got less interesting after Exploriens in 1996, being progressively less industrial, but the theme remained good like you say Artanis for a few more years. It's worth noting that BlackTron/Space Police persisted for over half a decade, whereas these later factions lasted about a year, so you can perhaps see decline. As Wikipedia notes, factions were broken down into Heroes, Civilians and Villains until around 2000. I think for me, the earlier space theme was more scientifically-accurate looking and hard-sci-fi, but got progressively less, with Space Police III having a space police station that looks like a present-day building, and the Alien stuff from just before the end of the space theme became really detached from engineering ideas. I would want to see a return of that 80s/90s engineering attitude. Somewhat retro-sci-fi with NASA-like technology. Here are things I would consider to be negative examples of what happened to the space theme, very late in it's design history: This kind of design from just before the space line was discontinued was, in my opinion, boring and generic. Gone are the rocket nozzles, magnetic cranes for lifting mining material, the moon buggy look, and it's just some generic Earth-confined UFO theme, with a generic space soldier. It then got even less interesting in Galaxy Squad. Essentially it took away the point of the original space theme, which was one of Lego's original big themes; being a grounded industrial setting full of possibility. It no longer has anything to distinguish it from a setting like Star Wars, where the villains are actually interesting.
  10. ....at least, that's what I think. I really want Lego to put out a new space theme, but I think all the ones made since the mid 90s have been less interesting. I would like them to just revive BlackTron, Space Police, M-Tron and Ice Planet, and I think that would be excellent. To be honest, I think even the 80s sets, which look kind of plain (like Benny's Spaceship), have a lot more character than some of the later alien invasion type stuff; it was like a hard sci-fi setting. I know a lot of people will say it's just nostalgia, because younger people won't want such simplistic sets, but for me, there were a couple of things in favor of this era, which Lego subsequently largely lost: 1). The different space factions were actually damn interesting, with really good colors, and occupied a shared universe 2). The play sets were simple enough to be rebuilt as original creations, with fewer unique pieces specific to one set 3). The space ships were different to Star Wars ones, they just flew, had open cockpits, oxygen tanks, no extras/fluff 4). Each faction covered normal life in Lego's space setting, with M-Tron and Ice Planet being just miners, not soldiers In my opinion, all you would need to update M-Tron, BlackTron (either I or II colors), Space Police (either I or II colors), and Ice Planet (best color scheme ever), would be to add some extra facial details to the minifigs, make the transparent canopies a bit more complicated in shape, but otherwise just stick to relatively simple pieces instead of organic things that can't be used in anything else. Why invent a new theme, when the sets from this era were so good, and can be revived/revisited? Who else would like to see Space Police IV, BlackTron III, M-Tron II and Ice Planet II? I know I would! Some of the great color schemes: Spaceship! Spaceship! Spaceship!