The Lego Group – the company responsible for the colourful plastic bricks that have been used to build everything from Portal test chambers to a GTX 1660-powered gaming PC – recently unveiled a partnership with Unity, allowing fans to build Lego-based games in the process of learning game creation. Now, the company is looking at potentially publishing the best fan games that emerge from that partnership.
The Lego Microgame is a learning tool for Unity that introduces the basics of the Unity engine through pleasantly familiar Lego bricks. It’s downloadable from the Unity store, and you can use it to snap together your own Lego game with easy-to-use, ready-made assets.
In a recent episode of the Bits N’ Bricks podcast, co-hosts Ethan Vincent and Brian Crecente spoke with Lego Group senior technical lead Anders Holm, who said the company is examining the feasibility of publishing fan-made games using Unity’s Lego Microgame, similar to the way fan creations can be turned into official physical Lego sets through the Lego Ideas platform.
You can listen to the full episode here – the discussion about publishing fan-made games begins at around 35:00.
“On the physical side, we have our Lego Ideas platform where we involve the wider community to help design Lego sets, and they can become official Lego sets,” Holm says. “We want to involve the same types of community that you can submit your game idea that you have built in the Microgame, and potentially, if it’s an awesome game, [it could] be actually published as a proper Lego title. It’s of course very exciting.”
Holm says a goal would be for the creators to share in the profits from the sale of the games they create, similar to how the designers of Lego Ideas concepts that are made into official sets are compensated with a percentage of sales revenues.
“That is a model we know works in the physical space,” Holm says. “We have not tried it in the digital space, so that is of course very interesting for us to look into.”
It’s still early days for the Unity Lego Microgame, and Holm says much will depend on the creators the tool attracts and what they build with the tool – that will determine how their creations wind up being shared and marketed.
In any case, it’s an exciting prospect, and it’s one you can start using right away – a bottomless bucket of Lego bricks that you can bring to life while learning Unity. Of course, there are plenty of other building games on PC, if you’d rather have someone else handle the game design part of the puzzle.