LEGO may have the dominant position in terms of customizable building toys worldwide, but it’s also bringing that experience into the virtual world, as it were. We at The Brick Show have featured quite the number of mobile apps co-developed with LEGO that featured computer-generated brick builds that could be imposed on a real background with physical LEGO sets through the “magic” of augmented reality. In fact, we covered the development of such an app between LEGO and Apple, to be rendered on their Augmented Reality Kit 2 or ARKit2 system in June. This month, the result of their work has now been released on the App Store for iOS dubbed as LEGO Playgrounds.
LEGO Playgrounds can be considered the successor of the company’s previous AR-based building app LEGO AR Studio. This one brings the latest advances in augmented-reality interaction, to the familiar system of mixing real and CGI LEGO sets.
Again, like LEGO AR Studio before, this app will be gradually loaded with CG renditions of actual LEGO sets. The first products to be converted thus in LEGO Playgrounds are two sets from LEGO Ninjago: the Dieselnaut (70654) and Dragon Pit (70655), with the promise of more to come in time. LEGO Playgrounds runs on iOS 12, and is now available for download on the App Store. Here’s the official press release from The LEGO Group.
LEGO® PLAYGROUNDS – FIRST EVER PORTAL TO DISCOVER AND PLAY WITH THE LATEST LEGO MIXED REALITY EXPERIMENTS
December 6, 2018: LEGO® Playgrounds, an app-based channel delivering a variety of experimental LEGO play experiences and scenarios is now available in the App Store.
The portal is one of the latest LEGO digital innovations aiming to enhance the LEGO play experience and provide fans with a fluid and experimental interaction, which unifies the digital and physical LEGO worlds.
Tom Donaldson, Vice President of Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group said: “Children today are mastering the art of finding new moments and forms of play and LEGO Playgrounds will provide a ‘live’ opportunity to test and learn directly with them. It’s truly a unique way to engage with them in a fun and experimental way and bring them close to our innovation process. Having this direct-link to users creates a win for everybody – sharing the latest play experiences is great fun for children and highly useful for our LEGO design and development teams who can take their feedback and use it to make launch experiences even better and more engaging.”
LEGO Playgrounds will bring selected LEGO sets and experiences to life in mixed reality experiments and other playful scenarios directly in the app store.
LEGO® NINJAGO® AR – the first to feature as a LEGO Playgrounds experiment
Using the popular LEGO NINJAGO theme, this first playground uses AR technology to detect selected physical LEGO NINJAGO Dragon Hunters sets and bring them to life with exciting effects, animations and interactions.
The game uses the multi-user support in Apple’s ARKit technology, allowing two players to connect and play together in the same shared play space.
Users can connect and team up with a friend to battle against the Dragon Hunters, share power-ups and 3D assets, create strategies to withstand the endless waves of Dragon Hunters and even compare high-scores with friends.
LEGO Playgrounds is intended for all ages. However, the first LEGO NINJAGO AR playground is recommended for ages 9+ due to the game-play and storyline complexity.
The LEGO NINJAGO AR Playground uses two sets from the LEGO NINJAGO Dragon Hunters theme: the LEGO® NINJAGO® Dieselnaut (70654) and the LEGO® NINJAGO® Dragon’s Pit (70655).
LEGO NINJAGO AR Playground key play features:
- Bring Physical LEGO Sets to Life with exciting AR effects, animations and games
- Play with Friends in the same shared AR space around your set
- Explore Physical LEGO sets and discover new interactions.
- Place & Share Objects in AR to create unique game areas with friends.
- Unlock Power-Ups and level-up your character.
- Test Your Ninja Skills & Strategies to keep the enemies away and survive as long as you can. What is your high-score?
For the current LEGO Ninjago AR experience available in LEGO Playgrounds, there is an option to play 5 levels without a physical LEGO set. The app will simply look for a flat surface and allow you to play in AR only. Naturally we do encourage players to go beyond and unlock the fun around their existing physical LEGO sets.
The LEGO Playgrounds app will be free to play. There will be no in-app purchases or any ads or marketing messages.
The AR technology utilized in the app will require an iPhone 6s and above, with the latest iOS updates.