Last week we attended Pepcom’s Digital Experience in New York for some hands-on demonstrations of upcoming consumer products and technologies. While we were there, we ran into the good people from the Lego Group, who were showing off their new hybrid interactive experience for fans of Lego worldwide.
The Lego Group was giving live demonstrations of their free to use Lego Fusion app – developed by Traveller’s Tales for mobile and tablets – that creates a digital 3D Lego world depending on which of the four game modes you choose. Each game mode is unique and incorporates the iconic Lego themes of racing, city building, medieval castles, and resort blocks that have been their more traditional construction sets.
The first game mode is Town Master, where you build up your own Lego town and manage the citizens’ happiness and activities much like in a Sims game. Creators are able to build anything they want and turn their creations into different shops around the town for use. Individual citizens will give out missions to either create new real world buildings or solve a problem within the app.
Battle Towers mode lets you build a tower from the ground up to defend against waves of enemy creeps – the tower can be equipped with units, traps, and fortifications. Creators can choose to populate their tower with wizards, archers, and heavy warriors to defend against skeletons and monsters that are trying to destroy the tower.
The digital racing mode Create & Race lets builders customize and create their own race cars with unique stats to ghost race against friends in the digital world. There are an additional three racing modes to race your cars in – demolition, stunt, and traditional time trials.
And finally, much like with city creation you can create and manage and design your own resort in Resort Designer. However, unlike in city building when you are creating your resorts you can design the interiors of the buildings while taking part in a host of other activities around the resort.
Each construction set is sold separately for a reasonable $34.99 (USD) and comes packed with a starter guide full of ideas and tricks, 200 individual Lego bricks, the free app, and the Fusion Plate.
With the Fusion Plate you can populate each of these game modes with real life creations that you scan into the app through the use of new mobile and tablet Qualcomm Vuforia technology. Created objects are place on a small base plate equipped with a digital design code that cameras are able to read and scan built objects into the app. Two dimensional buildings are turned into fully realized 3D models as the app is able to read individual brick colors and sizes to fill in and create the entire building.
The demonstrators emphasized a back-an-forth style of gameplay that rewards and incentivizes players to frequently switch from real world construction to in app activities.
“In our research, we heard repeatedly from parents that they are constantly battling ‘zombie gaze’, the experience when their children are immersed in their device screens for large blocks of time,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen – senior Lego Future Lab design manager LEGO Future Lab. “We developed Lego Fusion with this challenge in mind, creating a play experience that keeps children entertained with the kind of app gameplay they love while giving real reasons to return to the brick pile to creatively build.”
We got to test these concepts for ourselves, building a small brick house on top of the fusion plate to scan into the app. Once in the app we were able to run around and explore the little town that had been built up by the other members of the press to locate a suitable plot for our building. The application was responsive for a touch screen game and evokes the visual themes from last year’s Lego Movie. Once we approved our location, the game set out to turn our 2D creation into a 3D bank. We found the camera scanning to be easier than we originally thought it would have been and we enjoyed our hands-on experience.
Lego has always been incredibly popular with not only children but adults too, and everything they’ve done in recent years has been age inclusive with a wink and a nod. From their already large videogame franchise and budding movie prospects this new Fusion app fits well with the direction he company is going. Many parents who grew up playing with Lego are now sharing those memories with their children, and this is a perfect way to compliment your experience.
Much like with Skylanders, Lego Fusion also has potential to be a fun for adults. We’ll be looking at Lego Fusion in more detail when it’s released this coming August.