HBM005: BlueBrick


BlueBrick

BlueBrick

An essential tool for your display

 

Text and pictures by Jetro

 

The world of virtual bricks isn't limited to designs and rendering in a CAD like environment. Tools like those included in the LDraw system of tools or the design software launched by LEGO® itself under the name LDD are very useful when you want to document or design a MOC, but there are certain tasks related to the design process for which they are not very well suited. When you want plan a layout, especially if it includes a railway track (whether for a train or monorail) these tools are not easy to use, nor do they provide the specific information you will be interested in for these cases, like how much space will it will take up and which parts will are needed. Anyone who has participated in some LUG or TC [1] event knows that it's also very interesting to be able to make some sort of map in order to make collaboration easier and have a work document that can esaily be modified.

In order to cater for this need there already existed a tool which, despite it's relative age, is still used by many. This tool is Track Designer (TD[2]). It was created by Mathew Bates, was originally designed for Windows 95 (!) and allows you to easily create track circuits. However, the software hasn't been updated in many years. In 2003, Cary Clark presented TrackDraw, and for some time it looked like this nw application would replace TD. However, the project never got out of the Beta version.

Towards the end of 2007 Alban Nanty started working on what would turn out to be BlueBrick. As Alban himself put ithe "Even if Track Designer is a great software, I was annoyed by its limitations, i.e. the lack of undo, the limited level of zoom in, and the lack of possibilities to add annotation texts or area delimitations, which are very convenient and often used by the AFOL to prepare their layout with different people. Usually the AFOL was exporting the Track Designer layout in picture and add all these information in Photoshop, which makes the process a bit painfull when there are a lot of changes during the show preparation."

What can BlueBrick do?

Working with