Monday, September 15, 2008

More LDraw parts available soon

I’m sure many of you know about LDraw, probably the most widespread fan-made way of virtually (and for free!) representing LEGO models. You can see the kind of stuff that can be made with LDraw in other TBs posts, especially this one and this one.

On 2005, the Team decided to move to a new license scheme for the parts library. This new scheme would allow more flexibility for distributing parts, but required each current part's author to agree to the new license terms. This required analysing each and every of the many thousands of parts in the library, and finding and contacting everyone involved in that part's creation. Certainly a daunting task, as you can imagine; so daunting it took about three years for news on this front to appear.

And what news appeared? Exactly what you can expect. Practically all parts have been taken care of, with only a few that need to be re-written due to the authors not being found or not agreeing to the new license terms. You can see the announcement at LUGNET here.

You may ask: "but what does this represent to the common 'ldrawer'?" So far, not much: although some part names and descriptions have been updated, the new parts pack doesn't actually add any new elements to the library. However, the enormous amount of parts waiting for "official status" at the Parts Tracker is now a lot nearer your virtual fingertips. I'm sure you often had to sift the Parts Tracker in search of some part needed to finish your model, and the work didn't end there: often, that part required an unofficial sub-part, which further required other sub-parts, and so on... Now, we can expect this kind of problem to disappear, or, to consider a more realistic scenario, to greatly diminish: parts updates should be much more frequent now.

So, I want to thank the Team for all the hard work they dedicated to this difficult task, and for all the even harder work in keeping and expanding this excellent way of archiving, showing and sharing our LEGO creations.


TechnicBRICKs said...

These are great news!

So, I hope we can get an updated library with the many parts proposed meanwhile and many other on the way, since TLG doesn't stop to design new parts.

Anonymous said...

There is one more hurdle for new parts before getting out in an official release: they must be certified by two reviewers and one LDraw admin. For a complex part with many subparts such as the Power Functions Remote pictured here, this can be a lengthy process!

So you are welcome to join the parts reviewers... more details here: Reviewing Parts FAQ

Alex Campos said...

Oh, I didn't know that... Anyway, at least the models on the PT that already have a "Certified" status (576 at the time I'm writing this) shouldn't take long to become official, I guess. The others, even though they have "Hold" votes, not enough votes, or uncertified subparts, have the chance of becoming certified and official sooner now.

As for becoming a reviewer, I'd like to... it would be a good way to contribute, since, even though I know a little about modelling (I even use Rhinoceros, the same software I read LEGO part designers use!), I'd never know that much to be able to model LEGO parts; therefore analysing others' parts would be more within my grasp.
However, in terms of LDraw, not only I'm short of time, but also I'm much more of a "driver" than a "mechanic": I'm not familiar with parts' inner workings beyond the fact that they sometimes need subparts. So, even reviewing is too much for me, I regret to say.

But let's hope that among TBs' audience there are more people that find out they can help, and therefore improve upon this great project that is LDraw.

Oh, and thank you, Philo, for all your dedication to TECHNIC, including creating the LDraw representations of the PF elements such as the remote in the picture!

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