Blockland is a multi-player computer game built on the Torque Game Engine, in which players build using Lego-like building blocks. It was developed by Eric "Badspot" Hartman and was released on February 24, 2007. The game is not endorsed by, or affiliated with the Lego brand. However, at one point, Lego was in talks with Eric about selling Blockland. It was spotlighted on The Screen Savers February 11, 2005, drastically increasing the user base overnight. Blockland has also been featured on Shack News.
Structures can be built in a single-player or multi-player setting. Using various tools in the game, a player can add various effects (and other tools) to bricks, such as lighting, specularity and animated particles, although these are not the only effects available. The game also features a variety of vehicles players can control (and destroy), weapons, saving and loading of buildings, automated construction through macros and a mini-game system. The minigame system enables users to create configurable and self-contained game modes using options and then play in the world they create. These can range from a simple deathmatch to a zombie survival game to Capture the Flag. This system can allow players on a server to be in a minigame while the others continue to build. Any player who buys the game can create a server. A standard server is able to hold up to 32 players. (Although a player is able to host a dedicated server, which is free from the normal game and can hold many players.)
Blockland uses a trigger and event-based system to create basic interactive objects such as light switches, missile launchers, collapsing brick structures, or arcade-like games such as Pong. Blockland features an add-on system to aid users in managing custom content, such as weapons, vehicles, types of brick effects, player commands and game modes. With the update to v11, a new physics feature was included in an attempt to bring a more realistic aspect to the game. This feature comes into play when a brick is blown up using weapons/events. The physics quality can be lowered to work smoother on slower machines, or can be turned off entirely.
The demo version of Blockland is limited to 150 bricks. Demo builds that come with the game are under the demo brick limit and allow new players to explore some of Blockland's features. The brick limit also prevents the loading of many of the game's default save files, most of which have at least 10,000 bricks. Builds such as the 'Demo House' and 'Demo Blockland Sign' are available as demo examples of eventing and lettering. The demo also does not allow online play, limiting players to single-player games. However, it is possible to join LAN servers created by owners of the full version. The demo version becomes the full version when a unique activation key is purchased from the Blockland website and entered into the game.
The very first public version of Blockland was v0002. The "Globe and Mail" wrote an article on this early version of Blockland in which Eric claimed the game had gained 20,000 users in the 10 days since it "became big". At one point, Lego offered to buy Blockland from Hartman and give him a job working on the game for at least a year. After not hearing back from Lego for some time, Eric went ahead with a retail version of Blockland having removed all of the copyrighted Lego content.
Blockland allows users to write add-ons for the game to share with other players. Add-ons uses range from new blocks to Total overhauls. These add-ons are packed into a Zip file containing the scripts and media required for the add-on. The add-on can then be placed into a folder for Blockland to automatically load into the game (provided it is packaged correctly) as it starts up a server. While Blockland is not open source, all of the default vehicles and weapons in the game use the add-on's system so players can examine working examples to help them learn about how to modify the game.
- Lego Universe
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- Pauly Shore, Blockland, Avion (2005). Retrieved on 2007-10-11
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- Globe and Mail (2005). Retrieved on 2009-04-25
- Info on Hartman's contact with Lego (2006).