• How a father-son Lego project turned into an app (that’s shipping in the app store today).

    Every year at the beginning of October Seattle sees the advent of one of the biggest Lego conventions in the country. And each year lego hobbyists (like me) start working months in advance on their Lego creations to display at the convention. Enormous 7 foot spaceships with fully detailed interiors, moon monorail layouts, entire cities, castles, sculptures and more fill every bit of surface area. This year I decided that my Lego creations would be collaborations with each of my three children. My 10-year-old son Sivan and I decided to build a miniature Lego arcade cabinet. But what to do for the actual game? Instead of building a screen out of Lego we decided to use an iPad as the arcade monitor. And on that iPad we would have a game. A game made entirely of Lego. Not just for display, but actually playable. And then we decided that the game would be good enough to actually put up for sale in the app store. And thus Lila the Ladybug was born.

    The characters on the top of the cabinet are the actual Lego we scanned in to make the characters in the game.

    Clearly this was an insane idea, but once we started there was no stopping us. We started with the game. It was originally going to be Frogger, but with a ladybug. Cause… well… ladybugs are cute. But that turned out sucky. So we shifted gears and created something a touch more original. Sort of a Centipede/Kaboom combo starring our adorable ladybug… Lila. And while most ladybugs do eat aphids, some are veggie eating leaves and mushrooms and avoiding raindrops that can derail them from their munching progress. The game is targeted at little kids which is only fitting since a 10 year old did a bunch of the programming, designing, and building.

    Lila the Ladybug is available for iPad and iPhone today in the App Store. Sorry, the Lego Lila arcade cabinet is not included.

    In case you were wondering… my collaboration with my 8 year-old daughter Bella was a reproduction of Nathaniel Currier’s 1846 lithograph of the Boston Tea Party. And my 5 year-old daughter Rakefet and I built a modular princess castle based on the Jonathan Coulton Song, The Princess Who Saved Herself. Maybe next year we’ll do some games based on those.


  1. Katie Walker says:

    What a great idea! My oldest daughter is 4, but already she’s wondering how old she has to be to build something to take to BrickCon. Maybe next year I’ll have to start in on the collaboration process. And iPhone app would just be an added bonus.

    Anyway, my mom and I heard your talk last year on Saturday; it was great. We’ll be there tomorrow, but I guess if your talk is tonight we’ll miss it. Good luck, though. 😉

  2. aabbee 150 says:

    dude that is impressive!

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