LEGO World Builder
What Is It?
LEGO World Builder is an online platform launched in the later half of 2020. Unless you’re a super diehard LEGO fan waiting to jump on whatever LEGO’s next bandwagon is, you might have missed it! So let us run you through what it is, how you can use it, and why you're about to hear a lot more about it in the coming years!
LEGO World Builder is an online community creation initiative between LEGO and Tongal. Users can create worlds as an ‘Architect’ on the platform and have others contribute to their world. The big difference between this and an online forum doing the same is that LEGO actively engages with the site with “building prompts”, where users participate in small builds around a proposed topic or theme. As well as looking at proposed LEGO Worlds to shift into full development and production, you can get paid for your work.
Now give me a chance to talk about how this works before your eyes turn into giant dollar signs; It’s not as simple as that and it certainly isn’t easy. Most of this information can be found on the LEGO World Builder World Guidelines page as to how the process works, but I honestly don’t believe most people read it.
That’s the point of this article. We’re talking about how LEGO World Builder works. As well as showing you our creative process for our own proposed world, Knights of Magic, in the hopes of getting the word out there about LEGO World Builder. Plus to get more people on the platform. Because it is a seriously cool premise!
In The Words Of LEGO Themselves
How You Could Make Money
We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting worlds to help expand the LEGO universe. If your world catches our eye, it may be moved off-platform and into one of the four main project categories below. Each project category has its own payment terms, and depending on the scope and trajectory of the final project, additional payment terms may be negotiated in good faith with the LEGO Group.
Development: If a world is moved into development, the architect will receive $7,500. Contributors whose elements or element details have been incorporated into the world will split $2,500, with each incorporated element or element detail worth an equal share of the payment.
Production: If a world is placed directly into production – skipping the development step altogether – the architect will receive $37,500. Contributors whose elements or element details have been incorporated into the world will split $12,500, with each incorporated element or element detail worth an equal share of the payment. If the world is moved into production from a previous development phase, the architect will receive $30,000. Contributors whose elements or element details have been incorporated into the world will split $10,000, with each incorporated element or element detail worth an equal share of the payment.
Social Videos: The LEGO Group may also purchase a world for the purpose of creating short-form video content for their social channels (e.g Instagram, YouTube). In this case, the architect will receive $2,625. Contributors whose elements or element details have been incorporated into the world will split $875, with each accepted element or element detail worth an equal share of the payment.
Single Elements: The LEGO Group may also purchase individual elements from a world, such as characters or artwork. In this case, the architect and element creator will each receive $750. If the architect and element creator are the same person, the architect will receive $1500. Contributors with incorporated element details attached to the element will split $500, with each incorporated element detail worth an equal share.
So, what does this mean?
Well, unlike LEGO Ideas, you don’t actually need to gather 10000 votes of support from the public before LEGO will even glance at the project. You could simply create the world and not touch it for three months and still be selected. You don’t even need to be the project Architect. If a project or individual element is picked up, contributors to the world (that have elements incorporated into it) will split a payment.
When you jump straight onto the LEGO World Builder website, you’re greeted by Dan Clash and a nifty little video within the world of “LEGO City Neon” that showcases a bit of how everything works. LEGO City Neon was actually a project made during the beta of the platform by a beta tester, and LEGO bought the ‘IP’ for the website.
I Want To Make A World
Where do I start?
When we made our project, Knights Of Magic, we didn’t jump in guns blazing. But actually decided to do some heavy research and come at it with a more level-headed approach. If you’re hoping to make a theme that will be developed into an actual world, a lot of people, and I mean a LOT, make the mistake of not choosing their subject matter wisely. LEGO have a very strict code of conduct when making their LEGO sets, and you should follow this guideline. Here are some questions that we asked ourselves when making ‘Knights of Magic’;
This is the ‘Front Page’ for most individual projects.
This particular one is ours, ‘Knights of Magic’
Is the theme child-friendly?
LEGO won’t take a theme under their wing if the theme is too violent or dark. Because their AFOL market is mainly in larger expensive art pieces rather than themed sets on a shelf.
Is your theme an IP?
Goes without saying on this one. It’s a no-go.
Does your theme parallel an existing IP?
As much as we would love to have our own LEGO Superhero team, with the likes of the MCU and DCU, it won’t happen. ‘Knights of Magic’ is a good example of how we tried to distance ourselves from a current IP. Harry Potter is a well-known magical IP, and we did a lot of tweaking to define the differences between it and our project.
Does it involve anything to do with insurrection, government bodies or war?
This one kind of goes without saying. LEGO has it so that police are never seen with guns, and if your theme has the main characters running from the police or taking down a tyrannical corporation because they own an oil rig, that won’t fly.
Is your theme educational?
Now, this isn’t a necessity, but darn do you get some brownie points. LEGO love this if you can pull it off.
Is your theme a remake of a discontinued theme?
It doesn’t take a long search on the platform to find remakes of Space Police, Bionicle and Mixels. They were all popular themes in their heyday but remember, those themes were cancelled for a reason.
Is your theme new, or contributing to an existing theme?
Alternate History Ninjago or a spinoff won’t take off as a new theme, no matter how hard you try. It could give LEGO individual element inspiration where they could purchase that work off you, but not a whole theme.
Is your theme realistic?
The more specialised moulds or new elements you propose, the less likely it’ll take off the ground. I don’t think LEGO will take bets on a new system of play without thorough extensive research, and if your theme is based around that, you’re probably not going to have much luck.
Does your theme involve factions?
This one is a bit of a loaded question. You need to have a clearly focused bad guy or bad faction, and nothing that can kind of blur the lines in-between. If you have two groups duking it out for resources to survive, then that blurs that line because neither are truly evil; it is survival. You need to imagine it as a theme on the shelf; can you immediately tell who are the bad guys?
Does your story have character development?
There is no point in proposing a story if the story doesn’t encourage character development.
Is your grim-dark fantasy character going to have the chance to grow out of being a grungy dark ‘edgelord’? And if you’re response is “Yes, they’re going to meet X and fall in love”, that’s not the same.
Character development is a character’s permanent growth in overcoming challenges. If we take our example of someone falling in love, if that person was to lose the love interest, they will revert back to being an ‘edgelord’. This isn’t character development but co-dependency.
Does your theme have traditional Minifigures or something else?
Think of Chima, Alien Conquest and Atlantis. They were popular for their theme, but after you break down the sets, how much do you care for the Minifigures? They can be a very quick turnoff for some fans and might affect the overall marketability of your theme. It’s not wrong to not have traditional Minifigures, but just a factor to think of.
Is your theme easy to remember?
This is for the themes that are overloaded with characters but can work for smaller projects too. With ‘Knights of Magic’ we aimed to make it easy for young audiences to remember. Here’s an example.
Sonny is our Knight-Wizard from Summer, the Academy of Invention
- Sonny is a play on the word Sunny, which is a weather associated with Summer.
- Knight-Wizards are the culmination of Wizards and Knights, but without a specialised name so it would be easier for kids to remember.
- We chose the Seasonal Academy to specialise in Inventions, as inventions are associated with ‘sparks of creativity'. Sparks = Hot/Fire = Summer.
So, if I was to tell you our main cast is Sonny, Maple, Tundra and Bud, kids would be able to use word association to figure out who belongs where. Does your own project have these associations, or are people going to have to study the theme to ‘get it’?
Is it easy to understand?
Some projects on the website can be just downright confusing. If your world requires previous knowledge about technology and computer programming, it makes it hard to convey, people switch off.
Are you able to create media to accompany your project?
If you can’t grab someone’s attention with a unique piece of media that you have made for the project. People simply won’t investigate. LEGO provides a bunch of default images for you to use on the website in case someone wants to contribute the artwork for you. But the realistic expectation is that unless your project is already popular, people won’t smash out high quality work off the bat for you; you need something in the meantime.
You might not be so lucky with your own skills, but you need to make something. It’s better than leaving the image blank, that’s for sure, because unfortunately nobody really looks.
There is a lot to take in to make a good project, and honestly, it is a lot of hard work. We spent a good solid 2-3 months on and off making the project, but feel like we refined it down to a point where anyone can read up on it and make sense of the world.
A lot of large-scale popular projects are launched in the hopes that other people will do the hard work. Sections like World History and Transport are often barren and bare because architects don’t care about those as much. We made sure to do something for everything and you should do the same.
If you want to make a LEGO World Builder project, I highly encourage that you do. It was a great and fun experience learning how to do things we hadn’t done before. We’ve been very passionate about making our work come to life. We continue to add content to the project, and are eager to see what others may suggest for us!
If you are thinking of making a World Builder project, honestly, now is a good time to get on to it. As I said, this is a fairly new-ish platform launched in late 2020 and relatively unknown. But the foundations are laid there that you can see what other people are doing wrong and start to make something right.
Our own project - Knights of Magic
Whilst you’re looking at the other projects on the website for inspiration, why not check out our own project, ‘Knights of Magic’ for yourselves? Link below!
The platform prides itself on community engagement, and our project is no different. We're looking for creative ways that others can help contribute to our project and flesh out the world. We've had a few people contribute elements that have been already incorporated, as well as other make suggestions and tweaks to our world.
This isn't a solo project, and we would gladly appreciate any contributions you may have.
We appreciate any support you might be able to provide the project, as we will be actively working on it based on the feedback we receive from the community. We have a long-term goal of actually building the sets proposed on the website!
Feel free to also engage with us over on our Instagram, where we will be showcasing some fun little MOCs and builds, as well as showing off our new play feature, Shapeshifting, made just for Knights of Magic!
Thanks for taking the time to read, and I hope you learnt something!
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