I’ve been working with Lego’s Digital Designer 1.6 for some time now, and all I can say is, good riddance. 1.6 was one of the most difficult-to-use, poorly designed, and buggy programs I’ve ever faced. Though Windows (of course) always has annoyed me with glitches and user interface, I don’t think it even compares with the awfulness of LDD 1.6, since the program is at least somewhat designed to be used by children.
But, now that I’ve upgraded to 1.6, I almost wish that Lego hadn’t even changed the program, considering that the new program is actually buggier, slower, and more difficult to use than its predecessor. When you realize that some parts in 1.6 wouldn’t even fit with each other like they would in real life, that’s saying something.
First, the good news: It’s easier to get bricks to go where they’re supposed to. I have one particular model, called “House”, which had a pair of sloping roof pieces on it, and they would never latch with the rest of the roof, leaving them hovering just one iota over the rest. I was immediately able to fix the problem on the new model, no problems, and no questions asked. Only a few pieces were removed from 1.6, and those were all (to my knowledge) special effects pieces you couldn’t get in real life anyway. Others are still there, but you have to put new ones in their place because the program believes they don’t exist (even though, just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, they really do, but they’re just a little different from what we tell the children, i.e. aliens).
But then, you have the really bad news, and that’s that it runs slower as you put more parts on to your creation. As usual, if there’s something really big you want to build, forget it: this program is useless after about two stories. The camera, at those levels, seems to take away several positions from your ability to adjust the camera in order to conserve computer power (but you can, in fact, use the camera to look inside your house, a nice touch missing from 1.6). At that point, the controls become so slow to react that you can literally click on the model, explore a website with your browser, and then (maybe) come back to the command having been performed. That’s why I don’t believe it’s conserving computer power (even if the program hasn’t crashed on me yet the way 1.6 would with larger models, I say it’s just a matter of time). More likely is that the system’s just bogging down. Maybe Microsoft installed Vista’s Big Brother/”Digital Rights Management” system on my XP computer without bothering to tell me.
I hope Lego releases a new LDD soon, because 2.o, like 1.6, is still too buggy to be used like CAD for Legos. If you’re not going to be buying the structure you’re designing, LeoCAD, LDraw, MLCAD, and others are far better choices, allow for far larger structures, have many more features, and give the user more control over the program. As it is, consider this program as an emergency program to design buildings in a pinch. It really isn’t much use any other way.