LEGO fans can rejoice because they can now build the most ornate, massive and detailed constructions possible without having a single LEGO brick in front of them, thanks to a new Chrome Experiment that allows them to build creations virtually using their computers.
The Build with Chrome virtual project is a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that uses the WebGL 3D graphics technology, according to a Jan. 28 post by Adrian Soghoian, a Chrome product marketing manager, on the Google Chrome Blog.
"It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we're opening it up to everybody," wrote Soghoian. "So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world."
That's where the Build with Chrome project comes in using LEGO bricks. Using Google's Chrome browser, LEGO builders can construct their 3D LEGO creations brick by brick and save them to share with others or to continue building their projects. Users can turn their bricks, choose other bricks, change colors and select other components like windows, cones and other unusual shapes, just as they do in the real-life world of their LEGO collections. So far, wheels and other complex parts are not yet available in the activity.
Users can use their mouse or keystroke combinations to turn and control the bricks as they place them on their projects. "If it feels more natural to use your hands—rather than a mouse—you can build your creations using a touchscreen on your phone or tablet with Chrome for Android support for WebGL on devices with high-end graphics capabilities," Soghoian wrote.
"We've added a few new features to make it easier to build and explore this digital world of LEGO creations," he wrote. "To start, you can now sign in with a Google+ account to help find stuff that people in your circles have created. A new categorization system for completed Builds will help you sort and filter for specific types of structures."
Also featured are a series of brief Build Academy tutorials to help users hone their engineering skills and explore the characters and storylines in the upcoming film "THE LEGO MOVIE," wrote Soghoian.
This is not the first time that Google has created a Chrome Experiment that's linked to the entertainment industry.
In November 2013, Google unveiled a Chrome Experiments project called "Journey through Middle-earth," a game-based adventure that was created to showcase Google's Chrome Experiments initiative, which combines audio, video, networking and more to show the kinds of content that are possible for mobile users. The Hobbit game was released just before the latest Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was released in December 2013.
In June 2013, Google introduced a video game, Cube Slam, to demonstrate and show off WebRTC capabilities. WebRTC allows users to see, hear and communicate with each other using only a Web browser, whether they are playing a game or participating in an online video conference.
Google has been working on WebRTC projects for some time as a Google Chrome Experiments project. The technology could find its way into many other business and consumer uses in the future. The Cube Slam video game lets users play face-to-face against their friends by simply using a WebRTC-enabled browser.
In May 2013, Google unveiled two other Chrome Experiments mobile video games—Roll It and Racer—aimed at slot-car-racing and Skee-ball fans, giving them the ability to play with other people using phones, tablets and computers running Chrome. Roll It is a modern-day version of the classic boardwalk Skee-ball game that players can play using a browser on their phone, desktop or laptop computer, while Racer lets players build slot-car-style race tracks, which can then align across up to five mobile screens that are used by friends who have joined the game.