A Look Inside The LEGO Universe

A massive profile of NetDevil by the Denver alternative weekly WestWord turns up some interesting tidbits about the LEGO MMO the studio is building.

The piece, by Joel Warner, is a serious deep dive into not just NetDevil, but also the LEGO culture it seeks to tap with LEGO Universe, a project that has been delayed several times and is now due out in the second half of this year. Some of the tidbits I was able to glean about the game and the studio (these may or may not be known already):

• "Just making a sixteen-stud virtual LEGO brick requires twice as many three-dimensional surfaces, or polygons, as a World of Warcraft character, thanks to all its knobs, divots and underside tubes - not to mention the tiny LEGO logos emblazoned on each stud."

• The creative team was so meticulous about making the virtual LEGO plastic consistent with real life acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, they "developed a process called ambient inclusion that mimics the way light bounces off the different coloured bricks."

• NetDevil is working on moderation processes to make sure people don't create LEGO penis monsters or intellectual property-infringing LEGO Spider-Mans or whatever. While it sounds like just straight up moderation, Westword said NetDevil claims to be working on a process that "is so clever that they're not at liberty to fully discuss it." OK.

• In addition to LEGO Universe, NetDevil is working on Jumpgate Evolution and "a yet-to-be-announced title about which all visitors are sworn to secrecy."

• NetDevil's well aware its fate as a studio is tethered to this project. "After Auto Assault," NetDevil's Ryan Seabury told WestWord, "we said we'd rather go out of business than ship a bad product again."

LEGO Universe - Colorful Plastic's Answer to World of Warcraft - is the Brainchild of Colorado-based NetDevil [WestWord]


    Well it's good to know we won't have LEGO penis monsters hanging around...

      Not yet, anyway. But soon!

    "... a sixteen-stud virtual LEGO brick requires twice as many three-dimensional surfaces, or polygons, as a World of Warcraft character ...”

    I find this hard to believe.

      I really Don't. WoW characters are pretty low Poly for its age. Not to mention lego bricks are pretty intricate. Say we were to model it at the lowest possible resolution making all circles squares it would still be... 138 polygons. With that not being its still the lowest possible detail (I didn't count the lego brandings because they would probably be bump mapped) and looking at the pictures the detail seems pretty high.

        Just realised i failed. I counted Vertices, not polys and i counted them for a 3 by 2 lego brick. Screw counting again.

    if 1 block is more intensive than a world of warcraft character... wont the lag from millions and millions of blocks be infinitly more laggy than dalaran during peak times....

    how is this feasible, do we need super computers to play lego, that would be ironic seeing how lego was about simplicity

      The WoW engine is a piece of crap (it's old as hell and was dated even on release day) which is half the reason why FPS in WoW is terrible at times. That said I still doubt one lego block has more polys than a wrath model in WoW.

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