Layout Planning with BlueBrick

I have been using TrackDraw for layout planning for years. My friend and former NCLTC member Cary Clark wrote TrackDraw and I authored many of the parts in the TrackDraw library so I had a vested interest in using it. Compared to TrackDesigner, TrackDraw was a huge improvement particularly if you were planning a large layout.

But times change and Cary has phased out of the LEGO hobby and TrackDraw, while it still works, hasn’t been updated in years. At one point I could build it from source myself but about a year ago I tried to build it and was unable to. So the version I have running is from the RailBricks site and includes some custom parts in the library. TrackDraw still has some oddities and will crash from time to time.

Recently while working on the 2010 LEGOPalooza track plan I couldn’t get text to work correctly so on a whim I decided to try BlueBrick. I had looked at BlueBrick about a year ago and dismissed it as it had some real limitations. However when I looked at it again, most of my issues had been addressed and it works pretty well.

I have not tried to create my own parts yet but probably will soon but I do like the layering model in particular. I recaptured the NCLTC layout I am doing for 2010 LEGOPalooza in BlueBrick and did a couple more iterations using it. I really wish the layout area had scroll bars and I really miss the TrackDraw feature to add a bunch of elements using the numbers on the keyboard followed by clicking on the part you want to place but other than that, I don’t have any real complaints.

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