LEGO Ideas and Unity launched their “Ninjago Microgame 1-Button Challenge” on the Ideas Contest page last September 29. Their challenge for Ideas members interested in programing was to develop a Ninjago-themed microgame using the Unity game engine. The “ideas intake” period for the contest runs until November 4 but no members have submitted any ideas yet. Aside from the more technical nature of this Ideas contest, apparently some Ideas members felt the prizes were lacking. For one thing, despite the variety of LEGO sets to be won, none of them are LEGO Ninjago. Fortunately, LEGO Ideas got the message too.
According to Brick Fanatics, LEGO Ideas announced that they have updated the prizes for the Ninjago Unity microgame contest. While the official contest page details remain the same, they showed off the changes on social media. The additional prizes follow thus: Grand Winner for each category also gets LEGO Ninjago City Gardens (71741). The runners-up gut will also receive LEGO Ninjago Fire Stone Mech (71720). Add the existing prizes of LEGO NES (71374), Mario Starter Course (71360) and LEGO Minecraft Abandoned Mine (21166) and they’re better. Unity of course has their own prizes: Asset Store credits and a 1-year Pro subscription for the Grand Winners.
Seeing as not all potential contestants might theme their microgame after Ninjago, that’s only one category. LEGO Ideas will also accept original creations and microgames for Unity’s Behavior Bricks template. It would be nice to finally see the entries begin coming in soon. They have until November 4 to submit.
When LEGO drops teasers for new product, game, or media, we do our best to guess what they’re planning. Sometimes we hit the nail on the head; other times our theories go wide. But hypothesizing on advance hints by LEGO is fun too. Take for example their recent teaser about a collaborative effort with Unity. We believed that meant a LEGO Ninjago-themed microgame using the Unity game engine, much favored by indie game-devs. A reasonable guess, to be sure; but what LEGO finally unveiled threw our theory off. They’re not making the microgame. LEGO Ideas members will, in a contest.
Heck, we have the official LEGO Ideas Contest page for it. “The LEGO Ninjago 1-Button Game Challenge” pretty much sums up what interested participants are in for. If they have game coding potential they can download the Unity game engine, and their LEGO microgame template, free. The objective: to create a microgame (short, simple videogame) with only one button as input. Think perhaps of a basic “endless runner” app and you’d get the idea. It can be themed after Ninjago or an original idea. Naturally LEGO Ideas won’t allow third-party IPs for this. Designers can then show off their microgames on the LEGO Ideas contest page via trailers or screenshots.
The contest will award one winner for each of three categories: Ninjago-themed, original, and Unity behavior-bricks. And look at these prizes for the lucky ones:
- Nintendo Entertainment System (71374)
- Super Mario Starter Course (71360)
- Minecraft Abandoned Mine (21166)
- Unity Pro subscription, valid for one year
- $200 in Unity Asset Store Credits
- The important thing of all: Your microgame could be featured on LEGO Retail stores.
Check out the contest page for links to download Unity’s LEGO microgame for development. The Ninjago Add-On pack also went live on Unity’s Asset Store for participants planning to theme their game after Ninjago. Entries must be in no later than November 4. The Top 15 will be subjected to a fan vote on November 18, with the three Grand Winners announced on December 2.
Ever since its original introduction in 2005, Unity Technologies’ game engine has been a godsend for game development. In its more recent iterations the Unity Engine saw use in developing mobile games. Both indie teams and major developers rely on Unity, and in fact LEGO has formed a partnership with them. Unity actually hosts a template with which LEGO fans with game-development chops can use to create playable “Microgames.” While the making of microgames has usually been with fan-devs, LEGO itself has dipped into the Unity Engine too. They’ve even teased an upcoming microgame on social media featuring one of their popular original theme lines.
As seen in this September 25 Twitter post from LEGO, a microgame starring “LEGO Ninjago” is apparently coming. The tweet states Wednesday, September 29, as the possible release date for this microgame made on Unity. The accompanying teaser image shows the Ninjago team and Master Wu, framed in shadow.
What could it be about? Looking at sample footage from Unity’s LEGO section, their microgames evoke the feel of Traveller’s Tales and WB Games. For the most part they consist of minifigures roaming a LEGO-esque landscape interacting with other minifigs and brick-built objects. Now replace the generic LEGO designs with the Ninjago aesthetic. Of course, we’re just speculating at this point. September 29 isn’t far off so we’ll see what microgame LEGO has cooked up with the Unity Engine soon enough.