WBL Team DeerBite Interview!

The bustling metropolis Robot City is the latest addition to LEGO Universe. This new zone opened on February 23, and offers many new missions, infected robot citizens and a new Rocket for you to build! Hang out in Central Park and find the way to the top of the gigantic robot statue, still under construction. The spectacular city vistas from the top are worth more than a single visit!

We’ve asked DeerBite, the team which created this crazy robot world, a few questions regarding the World Builder League and their new World Builder League destination.

How did it come about that you joined the World Builder League?
It started quite a while ago with LEGO contacting a very few respected people in adult community. They in turn were each asked to contact a few other builders whom they respected. Our team, DeerBite, started with a Team Lead who then added people he trusted onto the team either because they were great builders or story tellers or enjoyed gaming. The mix of interests was important.
And the immediate follow-up question: How can an aspiring LEGO builder join the World Builder League?
Right now that is still controlled by LEGO. The WBL was something never tried before, so it was important for LEGO to keep it relatively small in order to learn from it. We have all learned a lot and a number of improvements are now being discussed to make the whole process both faster and easier.
What is your favorite part of being a WBL member?
Being able to bring a whole world, even a small one, from an idea and into reality, is pretty cool.
What does the WBL use to make the worlds? Do you guys have special tools?
We have three tools that we use. The first is LEGO Digital Designer (LDD). Every model you see in Robot City, from the buildings to the large status in Central Park, and all non-player characters (NPCs), such as the Robot Citizen all began life in LDD. It’s at the heart of enabling us to create a world that feels like it’s made out of real LEGO bricks.
The second is an internal tool LEGO provides. It enables us to actually create an environment for all the models that we created in LDD. It lets us set a map size, create mountains & valleys and “paint” terrain like grass and rocks within the environment. HF has a lot of capabilities, but it can be difficult to use all its functions. This is one area that is being looked at to make easier to use.
The third tool we use is our imagination. It fuels everything. In fact, it is where the entire process begins. Before we could start building models or laying out a map, we had to imagine Robot City first. We needed to figure out who lived in Robot City and what they were like. We also needed to figure out what the Maelstrom was up to, what the city itself would look like and many, many other things.

To get your world ready for LEGO Universe, you must create a lot of models. Which of the Robot City models do you like the best? Which model took the longest to build?
For the current map of Central Park, called the “intro zone,” we’d have to say the Robot Sculpture in the middle of the park. It took about 16 hours to design. However, there are a large number of models that did not make it into the intro zone and since DeerBite is made up of 5 members, we all have our personal favorites.

Will we see expansions to Robot City further down the line?
Definitely. We are already working on one and have a number of other ideas and models that were not able to be included for the intro zone.
Which of the characters in Robot City do you think is the funniest, and why?
The Robot Citizen. With his carefree walk, he’s laid back for a robot and really fun to interact with.

Where did you get the inspiration for Robot City? Do you guys have a general weakness for robots?
We’re a bunch of self-proclaimed geeks and most of us love Mindstorms & Technic, so robots aren’t a big leap from LEGO for us. Regarding the inspiration, it was a number of things, really. Some of it came from the real life public LEGO displays we put on within our club and some of it simply came from the desire to create an environment completely different from everything else in the game. There really wasn’t any one specific point of inspiration. Due to technical constraints, many doubted it could even be pulled off but we took it as a personal challenge.

If you ever got stuck in Robot City, where would you like to get stuck?
On top of the Robot Sculpture in the center of the park. You can see the entire city from there.

And finally, it’s fair to assume that you guys build a lot of LEGO. Any good tips for all the aspiring LU builders out there, who like to build, but maybe lack a bit of finesse?
Keep building and learn from others! That’s what we do. When one of us comes up with something that makes everyone else say, “wow,” before you know it, someone else has taken that technique or style and applied it in some other way to one of their own creations. We make each other better builders.

Pretty neat interview, huh? Last year I myself had the privilege of interviewing Kingsley, the Team Lead of the WBL kick-start group that started it all! Click here to check it out!

All for now…

LegoFan101~