A 3D web experience for Google, LEGO and Warner Brothers.
Concept by North Kingdom, production by us, 3D by We are licious.
Build whatever you want with LEGO, wherever you want in the world.
By now, Build with Chrome is one our longest running projects. It started in early 2012 when LEGO celebrated 50 years in the land down under, and our partners in crime over at North Kingdom tasked us with making Australia into LEGO-bricks. Said and done, in June that same year, (mainly) Aussies started littering their continent with fantastic LEGO creations and it was a pretty sweet feeling watching the intricate buildings and crazy creatures.
A year later it was go again; BWC was going global, the experience was getting a few new features and the designs were updated. Once again we worked closely with North Kingdom who came up with a concept of a game mode, where the goal was to become a Master Builder. BWC v2 was released as promotion both for the WebGL capacities in Google Chrome as well as the new LEGO the Movie feature film.
Today, Build with Chrome is now open for the entire world to explore on top of Google Maps, and it’s even accessible on all WebGL enabled phones, tablets, and computers that allows anyone the opportunity to build something awesome.
The application is loosely divided into four different sections: Build mode, Explore mode, Academy mode and CMS for the LEGO people to keep an eye on all of the creations.
Explore all builds
The application uses Google+ authentication so users who sign in can view builds created by people in their circles and revisit builds they've liked using the +1 feature.
Build something awesome
In Build mode the user is presented with their chosen baseplate on which they are free to create whatever they want with a bunch of LEGO-bricks in different shapes and colours. We were responsible for the UI; rotating bricks, changing colour and brick types, saving and publishing. We worked closely with programmers at NK who did the actual WebGL code, while we created HTML-templates, CSS and AJAX API calls to save people's builds.
Become a master builder
Academy consists of a series of challenges of increasing difficulty. This is where you train to become a Master Builder!
Starting with the basics, you'll face a series of building challenges in different locations. Before you know it you'll be building complex magical worlds of your own.
The user is to follow a set of instructions (much as in building with regular LEGO), learning a number of different building techniques, eventually gaining the title of Master builder.
Keeping up with the swastikas
CMS for moderators
LEGO needed to be able to remove inappropriate content, which is why we created a flagging system accessible from Explore mode. In the CMS the moderators can review all builds created, and work through the ones that have been flagged by users of the application. There is also some statistics and a section to translate the whole application to an unlimited number of languages (currently the application is available in 27 languages).
Build with Chrome at Google I/O 2014
For Google I/O 2014 the Build world got physical in a monter at the exhibition area. Some poor bastard spent a day building the booth with loads of LEGO bricks. We were not that poor bastard. However we did use WebRTC to create a versus mode out of academy. Two Chromebook Pixels at the booth presented the users with a challenge where you competed against your friend (or total random stranger) to see who could complete the instruction steps the fastest. It was, of course, in real time and it was also simultaneously displayed on a huge LED-screen so that all the people around could watch the contestants battle it out. It was a really cool project, we just wish we too could have gone over to the US to enjoy it IRL.
This project cannot be called anything other than a success; at the time of writing there are 678 394 different builds in the Build with Chrome world and the site has had literally millions of visitors. We learned lots.
The grand finale
We all went to the cinemas and watched LEGO the Movie. It was awesome