Not surprisingly, LEGO enthusiasts want modeling software for their Macs. And Eric Heukeshoven and his son, Hans, led a very popular session on Lego Mindstorm Robotics and the Mac at the recent Macworld San Francisco.
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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,” according to James Reynolds, one of the leaders of
LDraw for the Macintosh Campaign
(LDMC). “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.”
They have also had monthly competitions since late 1999 for models and scenes rendered with POV-Ray or other raytracers, according to
(http://www.mactech.com). 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’s no editor on the Mac platform. Mac users have used Virtual PC, had to get a PC, or have done without. The aforementioned LDMC is a group of Mac users who want virtual LEGO modeling applications on the Mac. 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, according to leader Matthew Gerber. 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, he added.
“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,” Gerber said.