Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Sir Michael Le Fanu » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:57 pm

Stargorger wrote:My little brother's friend once got one of the newer 'viking helmet horn' pieces stuck...in his ear...and had to go to the hospital to get it out.

His explanation? "I was putting my head to the floor to look for a piece and it just got sucked-in!"


Pleh!

EDIT: What does that even mean?
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Nabii » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:53 pm

Just a couple of comments, first the 2 stud technic cross axle still comes in both red and black, but if a set contains the 2 stud technic friction pins that are only black it's recommended to the designers to use the red ones.

Second, a few years ago it was decided that when molds are up for renewal some 'minor corrective changes to parts' would be made, sometimes this is for mold complexity/cost reasons (like the tap) sometimes because a part doesn't fit with any other part in it's design style (the space gun). This is the process of looking at all of the parts that Steve Witt mentioned. It will actually take several years, maybe more in the case of rarely used parts who's molds can last a long time.

Unfortunately these changes have in some cases been more extensive then expected and they came as much as a shock to the LEGO Designers as the AFOLs. Last year the change to the space 'gun' and the 1x6 arch brick triggered a small riot of complaints in the Design studio as the Designers did not consider these 'minor' changes. Due to this there is now a weekly meeting where a small group of the Designers are consulted on the parts that changes are being considered to, compromises are reached and proposed changes must make sense or it is taken higher. This means people who build everyday are now part of the decision process (one of them is me) and no one touches our 'classics' like the old space gun again unless it's an improvement. (Though the new Alien Conquest gun was one of the results so it wasn't all bad.)

Hope that clears up a bit of the story for you.

Now, someone tell me how an ear can suck up LEGO and I'll be happy...
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Bluetron » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:49 pm

Nabii wrote:Second, a few years ago it was decided that when molds are up for renewal some 'minor corrective changes to parts' would be made ... sometimes because a part doesn't fit with any other part in it's design style (the space gun).


When you say that they decided the old ray gun "didn't fit", are they saying it doesn't "fit in" with a particular style, or it doesn't properly fit physically with certain other parts? I'm just curious as to their reasoning on this one...

Unfortunately these changes have in some cases been more extensive then expected and they came as much as a shock to the LEGO Designers as the AFOLs. Last year the change to the space 'gun' and the 1x6 arch brick triggered a small riot of complaints in the Design studio as the Designers did not consider these 'minor' changes.


Glad to hear that many designers are sharing my feelings about some of these changes. Hmmm... any chance the "riot" convinced the Parts Department to change the ray guns and arch bricks back? ;)

BTW, do you know what the rationale was for changing the 1x6 arch bricks the way they did? Why the extra space at the bottom?

Due to this there is now a weekly meeting where a small group of the Designers are consulted on the parts that changes are being considered to, compromises are reached and proposed changes must make sense or it is taken higher. This means people who build everyday are now part of the decision process (one of them is me) and no one touches our 'classics' like the old space gun again unless it's an improvement.


I'm glad to hear that at least they're including Designers in these decisions now... most my Bricklink purchases these days are vintage "retired" parts that, up until recently, where available in sets (I recently found myself stocking up on the classic space antenna for this very reason). Hopefully, unfortunate changes like this can be prevented. :p

Hope that clears up a bit of the story for you.


Thank you, Nabii, I do appreciate your take on things. It's really good to know that we've got proper AFOL representation over at TLG. ;)

And yes, those new Alien Conquest guns (both human and alien) totally rock. :D
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Nabii » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:23 am

Bluetron wrote:When you say that they decided the old ray gun "didn't fit", are they saying it doesn't "fit in" with a particular style, or it doesn't properly fit physically with certain other parts? I'm just curious as to their reasoning on this one...


Both. The ridges on the 'gun' (actually the part is called 'butt' at LEGO but that makes me giggle) do not match the ridges on any other part and it's length and spacing did not fit into the building system. The new one is probably a better greebling element, but it's lack of detailing make it pretty useless as a weapon or scanner handle!

Bluetron wrote:Glad to hear that many designers are sharing my feelings about some of these changes. Hmmm... any chance the "riot" convinced the Parts Department to change the ray guns and arch bricks back? ;)

BTW, do you know what the rationale was for changing the 1x6 arch bricks the way they did? Why the extra space at the bottom?


I probably overstated with 'riot', at most other companies it would be described as a 'low level murmuring of discontent' but for the LEGO design studio to have any discontent is so unusual it had an impact. But the parts will not be changed back, and any other changes that were decided before the consultation process are still going ahead - like the antenna part.

The arch brick change is so it can now fit the 1x3 bow elements underneath them, this is a nice change, but to many it's not worth the loss of the smooth curve. Still, nothing we can do about that one!

As for the sloping window, the old one was deleted back around the Jack Stone era, the new one had to fit the same size window pane as the standard window, so the large ledge at the bottom was introduced, on most real sloping windows this is not uncommon, but it does severely impact their usefulness for space MOCing! I know the change to the underside of the macaroni brick annoyed some people too, but with the new 4x4 round brick and the 4x4 round plate the need to interlock the macaroni is no longer vital and the change made it so much easier for kids to place them and introduced a lot more clutch power! Personally I think that was one of the good changes.
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Draykov » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:32 pm

Thanks for shedding a little more light on this, Mark. It's good to know the designers are a bit more in the loop when these kinds of decisions get made.
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Canticleer Blues » Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:32 am

Nabii, sorry to ask (and sorry to bring up the topic again :oops: ), but when you say the 'ridges' on the gun you mean the rings across the back of the piece, right? If so, then don't the ridges on the old gun piece match the ridges on this piece (I tend to think of it as a 'robot arm')? I mean nothing can be done now obviously, but it would seem that part was overlooked when you/they said it doesn't match any other part.
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Re: Lego's Unnessary Re-Tooling (A Rant)

Postby Draykov » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:01 pm

My guess is that the robot arm, unlike the torch/ray-gun, has a clip on the end to prevent anyone from trying to jam it into the whole of, say for example, a headlight brick. The torch/ray-gun kind of presents that temptation, and I imagine they wanted to make it as easy as possible for little fingers to undo that action (hence the deletion of the ridges).
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