Author Topic: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures  (Read 16122 times)

Offline extjmv

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2008, 21:41:42 »


Offline Richard

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2008, 23:21:41 »
The Spec is here:

http://www.ldraw.org/Article218.html


 :woohoo:

Thanks for the link, JMV !!!

And, Sylvia, thanks for the link to the split ... otherwise I would have never found it ... :)

All the best and let's keep it going until Zirndorf makes a better Playmobil CAD for SystemX than the Lego CAD for SystemX !!!,
Richard


Offline Timotheos

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2008, 01:13:35 »
PM could spit out a CAD (if it doesn't already exist) probably with 4-man-years of development (ie. 2 years for 2 people), leveraging off its existing engine that it uses to create the computer games.

Do we want a CAD in which we create pieces from scratch, or in which we have a library of pre-designed pieces that we assemble at will?

(Playmobil may even have this already for internal use).

I'd lean toward the pre-assembled pieces that we can drag-and-drop together instead of a true cad that lets you design from scratch.

I bought a CAD for map-making.  It's powerful, but the level of expertise you need to do even mid-grade fancy stuff involves more of a time investment than I am willing or able to commit (plus it has gotcha bugs ("@#$%, why does my line thickness keep changing back after I enter the value?")) that only the most idealistic, enthusiastic junior high school student could endure with equanimity).

So I can make OK maps with it, but they usually taking far longer than they ought to take, and I spend a ton of time dorking around with the controls.

For this reason, I think the majority of us would benefit from a drag-and-drop sort of Windows-style cad that is smart enough to know where pieces click together and attractive enough to provide 3D rotations of the item.

Adding an interface to create animated movies from this would be a little more complicated, but not too bad if the original code contained an expectation of this (all-in-all an extra man-year, or am I being too optimistic?)

==========================================

Is the Lego CAD easy to work with?  I glanced at the specs.  The dork side of me was impressed with the engineering blueprints.  But, the consumer side of me said: show me how to make bricks fast.  I want to make a building as fast as I could make it with real bricks, straight from the box.

I mean, 95% of us PM collectors don't have experience with designing our own molds to have a need for creating System X parts completely from our imagination.  I'd like to be able to draw from PM's entire line of parts (something I am unable to do physically) and see what I can re-create and from that create a list of parts I want to try to find/scavenge from my existing line.

Example: I want to create a Roman stone fort.  But, before I wreck my fabulous 16th century manor house, I'd like to play around and make sure I like how this fort is going to turn out before I commit.

Similarly, I'd like to "drag-and-drop" items from Playmodb (including separate torsoes and legs from klickies) and model my Turkish janissary army before I physically break klickies apart only to learn they don't look so hot together.

====================================
I doubt PM would ever give us that sort of support though, considering that would be a seriously adult-collector-oriented project.  We'd be more likely to get a dress-up video game, with a limited selection of parts for a specific theme, to create our characters, and go through some sort of adventure.
-Tim

     

Offline Richard

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2008, 02:05:08 »

Hello, Timmy ...

For this reason, I think the majority of us would benefit from a drag-and-drop sort of Windows-style cad that is smart enough to know where pieces click together and attractive enough to provide 3D rotations of the item.

This is exactly what the Lego CAD system does!

You should try it, Timmy!

All the best,
Richard



Offline socrates

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 07:22:25 »
I once tried the lego system and liked it very much.
A guy from the german board used it for his steck-fortress and I thought,
maybe one could just use it AS IT IS to rebuild SysX-Pieces with LEGO.
 :yup:

(see the examples)

...but I stopped this approach.  :P

As ldraw is an open project, it should be just as easy to add playmo-pieces
instead of Lego bricks. I avoided to invest the time so far...  ::)

best,
socrates
"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
— Hans Christian Andersen

Offline Richard

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2008, 12:42:09 »

As ldraw is an open project, it should be just as easy to add playmo-pieces
instead of Lego bricks. I avoided to invest the time so far...  ::)

Thanks, Socrates ...

I hope that someone here at Playmofriends has the time and the computer programming skills (that I don't have) to add Playmo-SysX pieces instead of Lego bricks to iDraw!

All the best,
Richard



Offline sbblabotw

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2008, 16:04:44 »
Using a LEGO software for Playmobil?  :o  ;) I think maybe that's just the thing Richard had in mind.
I've used MLCAD in the past and should look up the current version and see what it's like. I haven't ever done object creation for it so would have to do some research. Heather at PlaymoDB might be another source we should talk to about this I know she has been involved in some LEGO projects in the past.

My ears are burning...

In my Lego days, I was heavily into LDraw, the open source Lego CAD system (ML-CAD is just one interface although the most popular), to the point of designing simple parts for it.  It's very finicky work, but manageable, especially with a group working on it.  K'NEX parts have been added to the library as well, I believe.  I think basic System X and Steck parts wouldn't be too hard to add, since they have a lot of common elements: the sockets and flat Steck connectors, for example.  Animals, plants, and klickies would be a lot harder because of the irregular curved surfaces, but not impossible.  (The surfaces of Lego parts tend to be either flat or in smooth curves, which simplifies the defining.)  I left Planet Lego just as the official Designer program was getting off the ground, so I'm not familiar with that at all; I have my doubts about the possibility of creating one's own parts for it, though.

One of the first things we need to tackle this project, which would also benefit PlaymoDB quite a bit, is a consistent naming scheme.  My "Building" category is a mess.  There needs to be a common way of describing a System X column, say, with its dimensions, how many sockets it has, on how many sides, how far apart they are, whether it's hollow or enclosed on any sides.  Baseplates?  How big, how thick, how many sockets, along what edges, any in the middle?  It's complicated.

I have been thinking for some time about how to define part size to make it searchable, and I can see that it will be essential to any system involving physical definition of parts.  Many of the German names of parts, which I've saved even when the part is named in English, include at least one dimension in millimeters, so I can squeeze them out to a separate field in order to show them.  That's a start; collecting part measurements is a task that dwarfs the describing of klickies (which is pretty large!), but of course not all parts would benefit from being measured.  I'll see how much data there is already, and get out the calipers for some others I own.  It's a start.

I've been just thinking out loud here for a bit, but I'm glad the subject was brought up.  Keep me in the loop, by all means, and I'll contribute as much as I can.
PlaymoDB.org has catalogued over FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND parts in more than 6100 sets. Come and visit to find any set or part numbers you need to know!

Offline Richard

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2008, 16:17:24 »

Hello, Heather ...

My ears are burning...

If Playmobil were interested in pursuing (and financing) this, would you be interested in doing it?

All the best,
Richard



Offline sbblabotw

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Re: CAD (computer aided design) for Playmobil structures
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2008, 17:53:17 »
Hello, Heather ...

If Playmobil were interested in pursuing (and financing) this, would you be interested in doing it?

All the best,
Richard


A definite maybe!  I'd need help, not only on the back end, but the ability to pull in the interested public to contribute.  (The emergence of collaborative media, also known as Web 2.0, makes this a much more likely option than it might have been in the past.)  As long as the focus stays on helping Playmobil owners enjoy their collections and creations, it will stay fun and rewarding for me, which is pretty much the only way to guarantee my work.
PlaymoDB.org has catalogued over FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND parts in more than 6100 sets. Come and visit to find any set or part numbers you need to know!