Welcome to my redone Lego® page. I've discarded a lot of my old stuff, and have kept some parts. What's new is the beginnings of some pages which will, hopefully, show my progress in building a large castle complex. A recent addition is some pages of Lego projects done for the 2008 centennial year of Edmonton Transit. Still here is my page of possible modelling subjects.
Sometime in 1990 I started writing a MUD (Multi User Dungeon) system for my old Amiga computer. That's a set of programs that lets several people play an adventure-type game in the same world at the same time. One of the current round of commercial MUDS is Ultima Online or World of Warcraft. I got the basics of the world working and was adding a quest (puzzle) down in the depths of my tunnels, and decided to add a 3-D maze of stone. I started by drawing it out on paper, but found it quite difficult to visualize. Well, you guessed it - someone suggested I build it out of Lego bricks to see how it worked out. So, I bought my first Lego (I never had any as a child - mostly Meccano and Kenner building sets). It was a pair of #1879 blue buckets.
Another aspect developed from similar roots. At work, I needed to learn all about sockets (the software thing used to communicate over the internet, and between computers on local networks). I needed a simple test program to do that. So, I wrote the server-end of socket testing as a small MUD server. That worked out well, and I got the work stuff working too. However, I got interested in seeing how little code was needed to make a usable MUD server. So, in spare time I worked more on that little MUD server, adding an on-disk database and an internal programming language. With that, it was fairly complete, and still weighed in at only about 3500 lines of ANSI C code (most MUD servers are several tens of thousands of lines). Well, of course I needed to build a little world to test that MUD server (now called ToyMUD). So, in other spare time, I sketched out a bit of castle and started building it using the ToyMUD server's database format. Eventually, it grew and grew, until it was a quite large 100-room castle on 3 levels plus a tower. So, after I had started with a bit of Lego, including some castle sets, I decided I should try to actually build that castle out of Lego. I've done the whole thing twice, but not yet in full mini-fig scale, and not yet with lots of decorations. My interest is in structural realism - I don't want just a shell. Both versions have had all the floors, doorways, staircases, supports, etc. What has been missing is things like furniture, inhabitants, and all of the contents that make for a really good looking castle.
I also built one of the standard sections of Michel's High Level bridge.
Later, John found that sideways-mounted tan tile looked really good for the upper walls. But we didn't have a lot of tan tile. However, when John the engineer gets these ideas in his head, they are difficult to remove, so the project quickly proceeded from the simple to the insanely complex and expensive. The project consumed our time and space for many months, and required dozens of Bricklink orders.
Other Nalug members got involved in some parts of the construction. Some were also bitten by the bug, and, because 2005 was the province of Alberta's centennial year, the group ended up doing an outstanding set of models of historic Edmonton buildings. Already having a model of the 100-year old High Level bridge helped in encouraging this. See the main Nalug page for lots of pictures of that year's GETS display.
Two nights before the GETS show, the rear section of the Legislature was not even close to being finished. I didn't have the details from John (his eye for detail resulted in me having to basically follow his instructions), and so had to kludge it. I gave up at about 3:30 A.M. The next night was the night before GETS setup, and that night I gave up around 2:30 A.M., with the rear section mostly present, but not correct, and with only a very flimsy roof. We setup at GETS, and John stayed until 2:30 A.M. patching up the rear section, but it still wasn't close to right. I was too exhausted, and so went home to bed, knowing that I'd be there the next morning to help with the show itself. I did the center section, the upper cylinder, the upper dome, the bell-tower, the front portico and the front steps.
During 2006, Nalug was in communication with display managers at the Royal Alberta Museum here in Edmonton. That ended with us doing a two month display in the museum. This included many of the models from GETS 2005 (with the Legislature finished off better, including expanded scenery). Following that, the Legislature model sat in the entry foyer of Telus World of Science (a fairly large complex here in Edmonton that includes an iMax theatre and star theatre) for about six months. There it was seen by the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature, who decided that the model should live in the Legislature. That took a while, but it is now on 5-year loan, inside a wonderful display case (built by the same Museum folks who did the display cases for the display there) in the pedway area of the Legislature. If you come visit Edmonton, go have a look. For this latest version, two new variants of the bell-tower were built, and Nalug folks voted on the one they wanted, so that is what is now there.
We did a lot of interior detail in the castle, but unfortunately there aren't any good pictures of it. I was pretty busy myself, so didn't take my camera. The castle was used as the defender in a Castle Wars attack by hundreds of Andrew's troops. Pictures here.
In 2007 Nalug did 3 separate displays for Telus World of Science. These involved dinosaurs, ancient Egypt and Star Wars. Each was on display for about two months in one of the main galleries. I was most involved in the Star Wars display.