Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Some Interesting Ideas

I made some pie!

Well, I have been very busy with lot of projects so I thought I would treat you all to some nice pie to celebrate getting back in gear on some blog postings.
This little widget tells you what the most recent support is funneling into.  It has a bit of a lag but not much, and to be sure it is "about an hour" but you can clearly see what is trending.

Click on the name or the slice and it will take you to the project. 


New Pages

Again, not too polished or fancy yet but I wanted to get these out there.  These are new views for sorting projects on Ideas.  

The REALLY fun thing is that these pages operate in near real time with almost no delay.  So, new projects and new support will have an near immediate effect. 

This shows the top 100 project, by support,  sorted by their ratio of support needed to get to 10,000 before their deadline relative to their lifetime support rate.

It helps to demonstrate that of the top 100 projects, only a few are on a pace to reach 10,000 before expiring.

Now, lifetime rate is of course a different story than "current rate" and I will tweak this a bit to reflect that. 

Sorts the top 100 projects (based on support level) by their lifetime rate of support.

This page pairs high existing support levels with rate of support to help showcase the true"blockbuster" projects.  There are several highly supported projects that are...dead in the water, this sort method basically pushes those projects down in the view so you can observe which projects are really booking it to 10k. 

The above two pages also show a few stats that I will be introducing now but making more clear, and presentable later.

This page sorts the 50 most recent projects based on descending support level.  I had this before, but this new version is, like all of these, much closer to real time.  For FOLs that want to check out new projects, but don't want to waste their time looking at a lot of poorly supported projects, this is good page to bookmark...but it is certainly not as much fun as the last one...


If you are serious about giving every project a chance to get your attention, but still want to weed out poor performing projects, this view really does the job.

The 50 most recent projects, rate sorted, down to the second...The really lovely thing about this is brand new project emerge at the top of the review (1 support every second for 1 second is a rate of 86400 Support/Day) but they will quickly drop down as time passes if the support does not come in.

After the first minute of being online, if no supporters come in, that impressive rate of 86400 sinks to 1440/day.  After an hour it drops to 24/day....

Now, it is actually pretty easy for a decent project to get 50 support in its first day, so the popular projects still proliferate.  But they have to keep up that impressive support rate to keep stay at the top of this chart.

So with this page you get to see brand new projects, new projects with an initial surge of support, and the newer project that are showcasing real staying power.


Science Adventures rapidly moves to the Achieved phase

Science Adventures

My break from Blogging on Ideas projects lasted longer than this project took to reach 10,000.  Impressive but not surprising.  The Research Institute proved out a fan base for these science-themed, gender friendly, triple vignettes and Alatariel's "label" did the rest.

While I really appreciate toys and products that break tradition with male dominated themes I think Alatariel was quite wise to put less emphasis on gender this time around.

I would also note that while I am happy in most respects to see that Alatariel's success with the Research Institute has inspired many to be more inclusive in their Ideas offerings, I advise people to be cautious and thoughtful.  There is a fine line between being inclusive and pandering and in a public forum, even the best intentions can be easily misinterpreted.

I highly suggest, to anyone, that you have someone proof read your project ahead of time and look for anything that might come off the wrong way.  This is doubly true if you are trying to reach out to a specific audience. 

Pick of the Week

Caterham Super Seven

The Caterham Super Seven is an attractive car to begin with and Brickrix Carl has done an excellent job executing them in LEGO.

Bricktrix Carl is doing a really great job with this campaign.  Not only are they doing quite well with support, but they are refining their design to something a little more "legal."  Not technically required but I always respect someone who does their best to legitimize their offering. 

Particle Accelerator

Just looking at a ring with a command center in the middle one might wonder how this project has garnered so much support.  One need only watch the video to see why.  This project is creative, fun, and humorous. 

Gingerbread House

Several gingerbread houses have found their way to Ideas.  Personally I love them because I pretty much love any project where "minifig" scale is the "actual" scale (It always makes me smile).  This is by far my favorite of the gingers to date. 

My only problem with this build is it is just a little too big, more of a gingerbread cathedral. 

One of these days a gingerbread house project is going to get to 10k.  Now, ideally the holidays are the best time to gather support and this project will hit its deadline on November 30th.  Sounds like an excellent campaign opportunity. 

Red Skull's Flying-Wing Chase
by ArtGONG

An extremely well done IP project.  The image is expertly rendered and the set looks like a lot of fun.  Also ArtGONG does not feel beholden to keeping the vehicles to scale to one another, but to a one that enhances playability and affordability.

Personally I would have made the character images a bit larger as well as the title to make the star characters of the project stand out a bit more, especially when the image might be in thumbnail presentation or off center.  Check out the "thumbnail" below and you can see the cropping and reduction really hinders the "story" of the image.

Snoopy & Woodstock

Wow, just Wow!  Well done.

Arachno Suit

With all the mediocre  mecha on Ideas it is always refreshing to find one presented with style in both build and presentation. 

I really like how this build manages to seamlessly incorporate standard, technic, and bionicle elements. 

Honorable Mentions

LEGO Physics

A fun project and a great video.  I don't care for the title though.  I would call it something more like "LEGO Kinetics" as it is less about physics principles in general and more about, well, motion.

I want to like this project a lot more than I do.  I have a lot of conflicting emotions about it.  I think if there were no "dominos" in it I would have judged it higher.  You see, I have a problem with Ideas projects that create something "non-LEGO" out of LEGO to replace something that is perfect at what it is.  In this case, a 2 x 4 plate and a 2x4 tile make a studless domino to be a domino...It de-LEGO-izes the bricks but does not enhance the basic fact, the lighter LEGO domino might make it less effective at triggering effects...

This is more of a personal hang up than anything else, but hey, this whole blog is my personal opinion. 

Plants vs Zombies

Well done.  Very attractive rendition of a popular game giving respect to both the subject matter and the LEGO. 

Apollo 11
by LuisPG

Somebody is going to get an Apollo Mission to 10k one of these days.  

Black forest cuckoo clock

I really like LEGO CuckCoo clocks.  Like the gingerbread house, I like builds where the minifig is in scale with the actual design.  I realize that by saying I would like a LEGO CuckCoo clock I might sound confusing based on what I just said about LEGO Physics.  In this case however the Clock enhances the LEGO as it allows for any figure to be used.  They enhance each other.  

The Blue Sedan

Lovely design.

Gray Havens - The Elven Swan Fountain (Lord of the

Elegant and attractive.  I love the use of the frogs as swan heads!

Mission Apollo 17

As I said above, somebody is eventually going to get an Apollo Mission to 10k. 

Monkey Island: Scummbar 1.0

With all due respect to the previous Monkey Island projects, this one is certainly my favorite to date. 

STAR WARS VII The Force Awakens (Bike from trailer

Movie based projects are, of course, very popular on Ideas.  People often end up posting these projects at the worst time, a few weeks after the movie has premiered with the core hype is drying up.

Reekardoo has certainly not repeated their mistakes with "Bike from Trailer."   With minimal details Reekardoo has created a well presented, yet very recognizable project. 

I think we can all assume however that "Bike from Trailer" as well as many other sets will come from Star Wars VII.

Robby the robot


The Princess Bride

Very impressive!  Extremely well done figures and a recognizable yet conservative build.  Ultimately I think this project will suffer from not being fully rendered though.

Additionally, while the rules of Ideas allows you to use any LEGO element in your project, some elements are licensed, Yoda and Vader's head for instance.  Hulk, one must assume, is also a licensed element.  LEGO cannot use such elements as they choose, only in partnership with the IP owners.

It is impractical for Ideas Staff or Project Submitters to be aware of all these parts and who owns them.  This is especially irrelevant when LEGO can swap out most element for one it has full rights to.  Big-figs are a pretty big (yeah) exception to this.  There are extremely few Big-figs that LEGO owns out right.

The difficulty for most projects that utilize the Hulk figure is that, in the end, they will have to fulfill their offer without a viable figure.  Would a Princess Bride set still be satisfying without a giant Fezzik?      

Arcade Machines 1980!
These are some extremely well done MOCs.  

ZAXXON Classic Arcade

This is just awesome.  


Pikachu's Pokemon Center Visit!
A well done build.  It certainly deserves the support it got.  When this project hit 1000 though, it shut down Pokemon for Ideas though as Pokemon's construction toy license is currently held by Ionix.
Poseable AT-ST
Personally I find this build really impressive and I admire its skill.  A project really needs to have a wow factor among non-FOLs to get the votes and"poseable" is probably not going to meet that bill.
International Space Station
I am going to be really impressed when I finally see an ISS build that I think could actually stay in one piece when IN gravity.  
McLaren MP4-12C
LOTR - The Gray Havens - Watchtower
A truly beautiful MOC.  For the scale I would like to see more of the internals though.
'56 Custom "Station Wagon"
I love the details.
Linde Forklift
A nice build
Steampunk Typewriter
I love this MOC but the build is really niche: large, steampunk, typewriter. 
Godzilla: Fully Poseable King of Monsters!
Another impressive project poorly timed to tap into the movie hype.  
Modular Veterinary with Apartment and Woodworking
A lovely modular
Sleeping Santa Claus
HSBC Main Building, Hong Kong (1:265)
Mazda Rx-7
There is certainly a lot of automotive talent on Ideas these days.
The LEGO MOVIE-Octan Transport Ship
Another LEGO Movie knock off.  But, there is another view point that I have been neglecting.  LEGO sets can only be officially "requested" via Ideas, so there is some legitimacy to these offerings.
When they just regurgitate the work of another though it smacks too much of plagiarism to sit well with me.   
Alice in Wonderland (Chapter One – Down the Rabb
by jrbony
A very artistic set.  A fantastic MOC as well.  Slides make for compelling play value as well.  I watch my kids have fun with LEGO slides all the time.  The slide in this case prevents a very short narrative though.  
Industrial Displays
When projects get selected for production you see a lot of projects that come out that attempt to replicate the success of predecessors.  This is not surprising of course and in many ways is a smart way whether you are tweaking an idea you are really passionate about or just trying to get anything to 10,000.

I recommend that if you go about the route of mimicry, regardless of intent, that you really assess what it is about the earlier project that connected with its audience.

While this project does have many of the characteristics that were found in Research Institute, there is one pretty critical aspect that is not getting across from the main image, and that is the message or theme.  With RI, you could take one look and see, these are scientists!  They fit the cliche of what people expect to see.  Sure a lot of scientists just pour over data now but we see a person with a dinosaur skeleton...and people know what it is.

With this project, the message is really not as clear...or as exciting.  Sure, we have a robot arm, a really good one, and a person just standing next to it with a wrench.  But the other two vignettes don't really mesh into a visual story.  I have no idea what the guy in the background is doing nor what they are working on.  I can make some better guesses as to what the person on the right side is doing but whatever it is, it does not look very exciting.

Reading the project makes it clear what the project is about but A) most people don't read your project (even people interested enough to comment on it) and B) If you are lucky, people will share your project on social media, and in those cases, they generally only get a picture and a title.

So, make sure your primary image conveys a clear, and interesting, message. 
The Cat in the Hat
Wizard Of Oz: Meeting the Scarecrow
This presentation does a tremendous job of showcasing an excellent MOC while hiding potential deficiencies in the figures.  Most potential supporters might not even realize that we don't see Dorthy at all, only her profile!
Famous 80s
Putting more than one license together always seems very dangerous to me.  
Lilo and Stitch
A clever approach to the Stitch character.
Mammoth Excavation
A few too many bricks, for instance, I would leave out the floor, but a clever variation of the skeletons we have been seeing so much of.
Don Quixote De La Mancha
I love the character in this build.
I love this castle.  I enjoy seeing the various LEGO incarnations that come about for it.  
New-York City - Taxi & Subway Station
Well done
Awesome Mix Turntable
Fantastic MOC
Asteroid fighter
I thought this MOC deserved some recognition.  It is one of the better fighters that get posted to Ideas
Golf (Playable)
This one has a fun design.
Jurassic Park III: The Bird Cage
This project has a little too many "in the air" elements for my tastes.  How are the dinos and parachute to be displayed when a person is not holding them up?
by Hajdekr
Another great build by Hajdekr.
Dentist Office
The friends scale equipment looks even bigger in minifig hands.  So, the dentist with a table knife looks a little...creepy treating a patient.
Micro Animals
Fairy Tale Modular " Jack and the Beanstalk
by jrbony
A terrific MOC.  Really compelling narrative and design.  The difficulty with this project is getting 10,000 people to support Jack and the Beantalk
Outpost: The Flood
This is a lot of fun but I think most people will spot check it for construction equipment rather than a sci-fi build.