A Look Inside the LEGO UniverseS

A massive profile of NetDevil by the Denver alternative weekly WestWord turns up some interesting tidbits about the LEGO MMO the studio is building.

The piece, by Joel Warner, is a serious deep dive into not just NetDevil, but also the LEGO culture it seeks to tap with LEGO Universe, a project that has been delayed several times and is now due out in the second half of this year. Some of the tidbits I was able to glean about the game and the studio (these may or may not be known already):

• "Just making a sixteen-stud virtual LEGO brick requires twice as many three-dimensional surfaces, or polygons, as a World of Warcraft character, thanks to all its knobs, divots and underside tubes - not to mention the tiny LEGO logos emblazoned on each stud."

• The creative team was so meticulous about making the virtual LEGO plastic consistent with real life acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, they "developed a process called ambient inclusion that mimics the way light bounces off the different colored bricks."

• NetDevil is working on moderation processes to make sure people don't create LEGO penis monsters or intellectual property-infringing LEGO Spider-Mans or whatever. While it sounds like just straight up moderation, Westword said NetDevil claims to be working on a process that "is so clever that they're not at liberty to fully discuss it." OK.

• In addition to LEGO Universe, NetDevil is working on Jumpgate Evolution and "a yet-to-be-announced title about which all visitors are sworn to secrecy."

• NetDevil's well aware its fate as a studio is tethered to this project. "After Auto Assault," NetDevil's Ryan Seabury told WestWord, "we said we'd rather go out of business than ship a bad product again."

LEGO Universe - Colorful Plastic's Answer to World of Warcraft - is the Brainchild of Colorado-based NetDevil [WestWord]