BlueBrick

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BlueBrick
Software
Developer(s) Alban Nanty
Function(s) Train & Town layouts
Current version 1.5.1
Platform(s) XP, Vista, Win7, Linux, MacOS
Website http://bluebrick.lswproject.com/


BlueBrick, by Alban Nanty, is a free, open source software for designing LEGO Train and Town layouts and is an actively supported alternative for programs such as Track Designer and TrackDraw. It runs on most of the current operating systems (MS Windows systems or other systems that can support .net 2.0) and it is available in 7 languages.

The current 1.5.1 version is compatible, in both directions, with the standard Track Designer libraries and layout format, as well as supporting .ldr and .mpd file types. Full support of the extended Track Designer libraries will be provided from Version 1.6. BlueBrick is not compatible with TrackDraw Layouts.

Track and road elements have connecting points which provide accurate and easy assembly. An adjustable snap to grid provides additional flexibility when needed. The use of a layer paradigm enables different elements such as tables, baseplates, tracks etc. to be placed on separate layers. This feature is especially useful for large, complex layouts like those seen at LUG events.

Much of the support comes from the BlueBrick users themselves who report bugs, suggest improvements and provide contents for the ever expanding library of Lego parts and sets contained within the program. Most of these contributions come through the BlueBrick thread at Eurobricks

Contents

Installation

BlueBrick is currently compatible with: Windows 2000/XP, Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit), Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), Linux and Mac. The installation is a straight forward procedure completed by downloading the executable setup file. Windows 2000 and XP will require the Microsoft .net framework to be installed.

Use

BlueBrick Window Panes.jpg

The navigation consists of three window panes for the layout, parts, and layers. Users who are familiar with MLCad will recognize the controls used for viewing the layout. A three button mouse is recommended for this although all viewing commands are also available through short cut keys.


BlueBrick Layout Small.jpg

Track and road parts are linked together automatically through their connection points eliminating the need for manual allignment. There is an adjustable a snap-to grid as well as rotation step angles that provide more flexibility and allow for precise adjustments. The latter is useful when you need to make sure a layout will fit in a limited space.

Users familiar with Photoshop and similar tools will recognize the layer feature which enables you to place tables, track, base plates, texts etc. on separate layers. These layers can be put in any order and can be hidden individually when needed.

Dedicated text and colored area layers help to identify various zones in and outside the layout. This could include the planning of an area around the layout needed for spectators, integrating the layout of another Lego User Group or visualizing sections of the layout which can not be represented by the available GIFs.

BlueBrick has a detailed, integrated help file as well as YouTube based video tutorials which guide you from the most basic features to creating your own GIF and XML files for the file library. The help file is currently available in English and Dutch, while the videos are available in English, French, German, Dutch and Portuguese.

Current Features

Feature BlueBrick Track Designer TrackDraw
Edition for 4.5V, 12V, 9V, monorail, road with connectivity yes yes yes
Copy/Paste yes yes yes
Extendable Brick Library yes yes yes
Shortcut keys to add parts yes yes yes
Report (part list and layout area) yes yes yes
Help File yes yes yes
Support TDL format yes yes no
View Zooming Smooth 4 levels Smooth
Part Rotation any angle predefined angles any angle
Undo/Redo yes no yes
Layers yes no no
Filters no no yes
Grid Snapping/Connectivity Snapping yes no yes
Support LDraw Format yes no yes (export)
Text Annotations yes no yes
Assignment Area yes no no
Image Export yes no yes
Elevation no* yes yes
Electrical short-circuit check no yes yes
Multi-document support** no yes no
Notes
*Elevations can be set in the .ldr file.
** With copy and paste between layouts

External links

Personal tools