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LEGO Software Power Tools, With LDraw, MLCad, and LPub [Paperback]

Kevin Clague , Miguel Agullo , Lars C. Hassing
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2003 1931836760 978-1931836760 1
Create Virtual 3D LEGO Models Using LEGO Software Power Tools
LEGO Master Builders have created a powerful set of tools that are distributed as freeware to the LEGO community to assist LEGO fans in their building adventures. Until now, these tools have been difficult to find, and even more difficult to configure to work with one another. Here, in one book, readers will find steps for installing and using all of the most popular LEGO freeware applications. Also, all of the applications are consolidated into one simple-to-install program that allows readers to be up and running in minutes

Ø Wide market appeal. This book will appeal to the huge established consumer base of the LEGO community, as well as to children, parents, and teachers who may have been intimidated by the difficulties of bringing all of these applications under one roof.
Ø The only book of its kind to cover the wide variety of applications available. Some books in the past have touched on one or two of these LEGO applications, but none has covered them all in such detail.
Ø CD provides all of these freeware applications in one easy to install program. Included CD packs more than 8 applications into one easy-to-use format, making it easy for readers to have access to all of these applications in minutes and avoid the headaches of trying to download, install, configure, set up folder structures, and troubleshoot such a wide variety of loosely related freeware applications.
Ø Will coincide with the release of Lpub. This will be the first in-depth look at LPub, the new creation of Kevin Clague, which ties LDraw, MLCad, L3P, and POV-Ray together to allow users to easily create professional quality LEGO instructions for both the printed page and the web.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Clague graduated in 1983 from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Computer Engineering. For the past 18 years, Kevin has worked as a Diagnostic Engineer at the Amdahl Corporation. For the last two years he has also acted asa Senior Staff Engineer doing verification work at Sun Microsystems on theirUltra-Sparc V RISC processor. Kevin has two major hobbies: Theatrical Lighting and LEGO Mindstorms. Kevin has been playing with the RIS 1.5 for a few years now and is currently working on LPub, an application to revolutionize the world of creating online LEGO building instructions.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931836760
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931836760
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have all in one place January 23, 2003
By A Customer
I wasn't sure if this book would be worth picking up as I already know how to use MLCad... First off-you should get it from and save yourself a bundle.
It is a boon to have all of these programs in one place. They install very easily and you dont have any problems getting them up and running. That is a very good thing, especially for LEGO fans who are new to this stuff.
Second-there is some new information in here, even for long time users of MLCad like me. LSynth is amazing--MLCad users will be very happy to be able to finally include all of those flexible elements into their model files. I haven't started fooling around with LPub yet but it looks very interesting--basically allows you to create instructions a-la the sets you get with a real LEGO kit.
All in all I'd recommend this book, especially to someone who is new to these programs. There is nothing in this book that you
can't find on the web...
and the other sites whre you can download these programs and their instructions, or poking around on the forums.
HOWEVER!!!!! It would take you days, if not weeks, to assemble all of the info that is between the covers of this book, which I think makes it very worth while.
Check it out!
Signing off-
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but -somewhat confusing in places February 6, 2003
I've been a big fan of MLcad for a long time. I thought I knew everything there was to know about it but this book proved me wrong.
It has excellent, indepth coverage of what these people call the "LEGO softwarep ower tools" suite of programs, which are all available for free. I agree with an earlier reviewer that it is great to have all of this material in one place, on one CD (installing it is very simple, much more so than if you get them all off the web), with walk throughs and explanations for all of them, including how they work with one another. In fact, this leads to my only complaint. Sometimes the book gets TOO indepth in its look at these programs. At one point they show how to actually go into the model files and manipulate them, which is MUCH deeper than I've ever gone.
All in all it is a good book however--I'm looking forward to documenting my LEGO trains and buildings in ldraw/MLCad and creating instructions for them with lpub. Lpub alone makes this book worth it. It is one of those programs I never even considered until I found out what it can do (granted, there are some functions in other LEGO programs which are somewhat similar but they don't hold a candle to the possibilities lpub offers).
A friend of mine talked to one of the authors on the lugnet forums and said he seems like a nice guy who was very willing to share ideas and tips.
Very good book but went over my head a few times.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very useful book January 17, 2003
By A Customer
I teach math and physics at the highschool level and am involved with our local lego robotics club. The kids and I have been in the habit of taking pictures of our finished creations before we disasemble them for reference. One of my students has been pushing us to start documenting the robots with Mlcad. I had just started to look into this when I ran across this book.
I highly recommend this book for those involved with lego robotics clubs like ours. Not only can we now save full color images of our models on our computers, we can also create full sets of instructions for building them using the programs included and described in this book. I have a feeling this will be extremely useful in our competitions, as we plan on documenting our robots in this manner and giving our competitors in the competitions the plans for our robots AFTER we have defeated their robots *smile*, as well as posting them to our club's website. The ability to manipulate our virtual robots on our computer screens in Mlcad after we have "built" them is neat and adds an element of "what if" to our building, but it can't compete with playing with the real bricks.
Great book. I highly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book will open up a whole new LEGO world January 16, 2003
By Shawn
This book and all of the software on the CD are INCREDIBLE. All of the tools make it so that you can build virtual versions of just about anything you ever dreamed of. If you like the way it looks, you can then go ahead and build the real thing with a complete set of instructions that you already made with all the software. This also makes it easy to share your ideas with friends on the Web. You can post your instructions w/ all the images. It allows you to create so many more robots (both virtual and ultimately real) than ever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written coverage of building virtual LEGO models January 8, 2003
I've been palying around with most of the software tools mentioned in this book for several years now, so I picked this book up with some interest. I was really most interested in checking out the coverage of LPub and LSynth--two failry new programs that I've only started to play with.
All in all I found this to be an excellent book, although it did have some drawbacks. Good things first.
All of the "Software Power Tools" that the authors cover in this book are freely available online, as any dedicated LEGO fan will know. In my mind, that's a good thing and a bad thing. Good because they are free. Bad because they do not always come with good documentation for how to use them. nothing against the people who wrote these instructions that are usually available with the free downloads, but they usually could benefit from a much more thorough explanation and images to go along with the text--basically a book, which is what this aims to be. In that regard it meets it's goal admirablly. The authors walk you through all of the software power tools in easy to understand steps, with a TON of images to go along with them. It one thing to have the documentation tell you to rotate a piece 45 degrees on it's Y axis--it's quite another thing to see images of this being done. It is nice to have all of the programs in one place (the CD that comes with the book), and installing them all is a breeze.
I was also pleasantly suprised to learn a thing or two (or three) about Mlcad that I did not know. For people who have never used Mlcad, and by default Ldraw, this book is by far the best tool to not only learn but master them.
The coverage of the other programs is also excellent-namely LPub, LSynth, L3P and Povray. LSynth is amazing.
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