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Chat with Jake McKee
Ben E. 16 X 04

This is a transcript of the second Classic-Castle question and answer chat with Jake McKee. I moderated the chat as [architect1] Jake's chat name is [sink21] Thank you Jake for having a chat with us.

[architect] hi Jake
[porschecm2] hello
[moom] Hello
[Daimyo] Hello
[Webrain] hi Jake, how are you?
[sink21] Hi all!
[Neverroads] Hi, that's all I can say right?
[LoNeRaNgEr] Oh. Sup Jake..I mean Hello
[Daimyo] So... shall we begin?
[sink21] let's get started yeah
[architect] ok, If you are all ready
[stuifzand] hello all!
[sink21] i only have until 1p... my wife will kick my butt otherwise :)
[Jojo] hi
[architect] oh, and it helps if all of you have your questions pretyped
[architect] saves time

[architect] Daimyo, are you ready?
[Daimyo] Jake, you have stated on Lugnet that the color changes would be limited to grays.
[Daimyo] But what about the new yellow color change?
[sink21] no, not really... what I said was tha the colors would be limited to those that were already changed... dark gray, light gray, brown and some of the limited availiblity pastels
[sink21] the yellow hasn't been changed
[sink21] there is always always a slight variation in colors between mold runs...and sometimes even in the same run
[Daimyo] I see. Thank you.
[sink21] depending on humidity, cooling speed, heat of the mold, etc.
[sink21] with yellow and some other colors (like purple) the difference is MUCH more obvious if you're looking fo rit
[sink21] but no, we haven't changed yellow

[architect] ok, Formenwe, your turn
[Formenwe] Allright: why did LEGO decide to create so many new molds for KK2? Isn't that really expensive? After all, ther were plenty of old molds available.
[sink21] this is a question that is hard to answer... basically, we make new molds where it makes good business sense. Each team makes a biz case for why they need a new mold to work in their product line
[sink21] so that's why Bionicle gets more than say, trains
[Formenwe] But is it good business sense in this case? I mean, there were a lot of castle molds that could have reused?
[sink21] with KK2, the goal was (as I understand it) to make something a bit more exciting and engaging for kids... so the designers obviously felt that they needed some new parts to achieve this goal
[sink21] trust me, new molds aren't a subject that's taken lightly
[Formenwe] Ok Thanks.

[architect] ok, green fox, your turn
[green_fox] Why was snape's head glow-in the dark
[sink21] why not? is that a big deal? I Think they were just trying to find some interest in the minifig. Glow in the dark is fun, snape was a bad guy (or perceived anyway), so there you go

[architect] ok Jennifer
[Jennifer] ok, now that we have seen PaB be so popular, do you think that there will ever be any minifig parts in there?
[Jennifer] not total minifigs in bulk, but scoops of hair and heads, etc
[sink21] as far as minifig parts in PaB, who knows... it's always a possibility
[sink21] the focus first off is to go to parts that are needed for basic building
[sink21] there's only so many spots open for PaB, so we have to choose the most effective ones

[architect] ok, next to Jojo then
[Jojo] Who is in charge for set numbers, and what criteria are established for new set numbers? The new KK-Sets clearly are in the Technic range... Does anybody working for TLC still have a sense for traditions?
[Jojo] And please do not say there hadn't been free numbers in the former Castle range (60xx). There are plenty of free numbers left that I am afraid will be filed with non-Castle stuff in future.
[sink21] Jojo, I don't know the answer to that one.
[sink21] I personally didn't even realize this was such a big issue
[Jojo] OK
[sink21] I'm curiuos now... is this a problem or simply something that you were curious about?
[Jojo] It's not much of a problem... I'm still curious.
[Jojo] Not a problem like colour changes..
[sink21] jojo, i think that tradition and set numbers are simply not something thought about together interanally... like using a certain supplier... it's not a tradition to be protected, just something we've done. Let me think on this a bit

[AggieSava] If you do not have your question pre-typed, please type some sort of confirmation that you are going to ask the question before you start so we do not skip over you, thinking you are not actively watching the chat
[architect] Moom, you can go
[moom] Jake, is there a chance we'll see a scoop at the LEGOWORLD 2004 event? (You don't have to reveal here what the scoop actualy is about yet)
[sink21] nope, no scoop at LW... unfortunately this time of year never has news... too late for this year and too early for next year
[sink21] NWBC won't have any info either
[moom] What a pitty. Thumbs up for the BNSF-loco. It has been fun, that by showing the "mistery stack" at 1000-steine Land, you allowed us to guess this set correctly even before it was announced at Brickfest.
[sink21] yeah that was fun

[architect] ok Neverroads' turn
[Neverroads] Any news on a picka brick/retail store in the NL?
[sink21] no news.. you all should know by now I can't share stuff like that
[Neverroads] might have been lucky :)
[sink21] :)

[architect] ok, porschecm2, your turn
[porschecm2] "The recent article on KK2 in the Lego Magazine seemed to indicate that a single Lego designer completely designs an individual set. Is this true, or do multiple designers pool their talent to create a new set?"
[sink21] depends on the product line, the project team, the "newness" of the line, and more
[sink21] but even if one guy "designs", then there's also a bunch of his teammates working with him,commenting, giving feedback, etc.

[LoNeRaNgEr] Oh yeah! Could you sugest to LEGO to make small 8x8 sets that has one minifig in it? For us castle people.
[LoNeRaNgEr] like a vignette
[sink21] i'll pass it along lone
[LoNeRaNgEr] Thanks :)

[architect] ok, Robin Hood
[RobinHood] Jake, in the KK2 sets, all blue has been changed to a different shade, why is that?
[sink21] just a design choice... don't know specifically why
[LoNeRaNgEr] I must say. I really like the new blue...

[architect] ok, TheBohrok, your turn
[TheBohrok] Jake, how were old castle sets designed compared to how newer castle sets are designed now?
[sink21] I'm not sure.. I'm not on the design team and have only been with the company 4 years
[TheBohrok] ok

[architect] ok Yaron
[Webrain] Hi Jake
[sink21] hola
[Webrain] For the last 25 years LEGO made a lot of history models of various countries, it seems funny that they never made of their own (Denemark) - I mean Vikings
[Webrain] Is there a reason why LEGO avoids making a viking theme? Did they even considered it in the past and if so why not?
[sink21] that's all the things that go into the business case....basically it comes down to will kids buy.
[Webrain] do you mean TLC thinks a viking theme will be a failiure then?
[sink21] i didn't say that Yaron, i said that we have many many many decision to make when releasing a new line. We do what makes the most sense, since we can only do so much
[Webrain] ok thanks

[architect] now we will start over at the top for people who came in late
[architect] 00psyren00 you can go
[00psyren00] why are there no good sets aimed exclusively at teenagers and older kids (not adults) with minifigs nowadays, i would love a war (not implying violence) or an adventure theme that is more serious and less plot based (room for more imagination, lego's original philosophy)
[sink21] the easy answer to that one.... our focus isnt teens... teens (not you but a vast majority) simply aren't buying LEGO sets

[architect] ok, Tony do you have a question?
[AggieSava] Hey Jake
[AggieSava] If Jake were a unique Minifig Knight, what would be the emblem on your shield and what color would your armor be?
[sink21] that's perhaps the best question I've ever been asked!
[AggieSava] :)
[sink21] emblem... probably classic lego lion, and i'd have to have black and red armor.. i like the dark thang
[sink21] of course the scorpion would be cool too.....hmmm tough call

[architect] Jake, the LEGO catalogs used to have built bases and backgrounds (probably plaster and paint) which sets were arranged on. Why are these no longer used in favor of "Photoshop" created backgrounds and foregrounds?
[sink21] probably simpler to create...less expensive. but also, i know some people on the team didn't like the "non-LEGO" backgrounds
[architect] ok, thanks

[architect] BrickRat, do you have a question?
[BrickRat] At Brickfest you teased us with something you called LEGO Factory, where fans could create and produce their own models. Any updates?
[sink21] no, no updates yet... but there's lots and lots of clues out there

[architect] ok, Lemon, your turn
[lemon2] Thanks
[lemon2] On the white house with the red roof released in Germany - will that come to the US? If so, when?
[sink21] not sure. i think it is currently a german market exclusive. I don' t know for sure, but SAH tries regularly to pick up as much as they can
[sink21] so i wouldn't be surprised if they did.
[Jojo] Strike! I'll be making a fortune selling those houses to you all!

[architect] ok, Kevin
[bricksidge] Jake, what are your plans for What can we expect in the future? Are you looking for community involvment?
[sink21] plans... .continue to grow as the community needs!
[sink21] right now, the small organizing committee is working on putting the non-profit group "ownership" , and some long term plans
[sink21] like many community efforts, it's a slow process, but we're getting there
[sink21] and yes, we absolutely want more community involvement.... it's a community run-community owned project, after all
[architect] ok, now if anyone has additional questions please ask, but not all at once

[Daimyo] Has Lego's financial situation improved since last year any? What can we expect from these changes if there are any?
[sink21] our situation has improved, but I'm not clear how much. We've tried to clean up alot of our processes
[Daimyo] I see.
[sink21] cut spending, work harder on marketing and designing products in the best way to sell to the largest numbers of kids

[moom] Jake, I realy like the IMHO very clever design of the three Clikits trademark girls, and it was fun seeing them 'grow up' from 2003 to 2004. Will they be redrawn with a new outfit every year?
[sink21] no idea I haven't heard one way or the other

[RobinHood] Why does the KK2 joust set have wagons instead of horese
[sink21] design choice... i'm not sure why, as I'm not on the design team
[architect] Robin Hood, the designer discussed that in his lego club article
[RobinHood] architect> ok, I didn't know that

[Daimyo] Ok. Is the AFOL community a large influence on TLC any more?
[sink21] not sure what you mean by influence, but the AFOL community acceptance is growing huge every day
[Daimyo] I see

[Webrain] During the 80's and 90's LEGO made several ideabooks with some great models. Is there a way that we can find better pictures of those models, I mean from several angles etc.?
[sink21] finding more pics of the models from the 80s idea books?
[Webrain] yeah
[Webrain] more and better
[sink21] i think we'd be lucky to find the original images... the models are long gone
[sink21] much of that work was done pre-computer
[Webrain] ok thanks

[AggieSava] Ok green_fox, go ahead
[green_fox] This is a long one, needs two posts. From TTK.
[green_fox] What effect, if any, will the recent major on-line poll that LEGO conducted have upon the Castle line? There was a very strong Tolkienesque Fantasy contingent, and a very strong historical contingent, and what seemed like very little support for what was actually done (KK2). Al three seem mutually
[green_fox] exclusive: which way will things be going? And I have one of my own for after.
[sink21] well, first off, keep in mind that we're working on 2006 product now ,and 05 products have been set long ago.
[sink21] second, I can't talk about unreleased product info. :)
[Jojo] Well, make it "released"
[sink21] do we plan to have more big surveys? Sure
[sink21] all in good time jojo... bad bad biz decision to share info about our new products until it makes sense
[Jojo] (zu JakeLEGO): Actually I'm one of the more patient persons. I'm totally satisfied if new prodict info for 2006 will be released only in 2006 :-)

[AggieSava] your turn porschecm2
[porschecm2] jake, can you tell us something interesting about TLC that the majority of the AFOL community probably doesn't know?
[sink21] something interesting... well, I think sometimes that people don't belive this but... LEGO has alot of smart people working here
[porschecm2] well, i think most of us know that...we just sometimes don't like to admit it
[moom] They sure have outsmarted us

[architect] ok Yaron
[Webrain] Jake: Do you see any chance for a major LEGO event in Israel in the next couple of years?
[sink21] no idea... don't know much about our marketing efforts there. I do know that it's not one of the priority markets though
[Webrain] or TLC decided to give up on this market completely
[Webrain] ok thanks

[architect] ok, this will be the last one, unless Jake has more time
[sink21] nope... gotta run wife is outside digging already. If I'm not out soon, I'll be in big trouble! :)
[sink21] one more

[TheBohrok] If we get castle accessories, can they be in light and dark bluish grey?
[sink21] if they're new products, there's only one choice :)
[sink21] new colors
[Jojo] Yeah, you smile at this......
[sink21] jojo, I smile not to make light of the issue, i know it's a big deal. Please don't read anything into my smiley face
[Jojo] Jake: I don't ;-)

[architect] Thank you Jake for having this chat with us
[moom] Have fun in the garden
[Webrain] thanks Jake
[TheBohrok] Thanks Jake!!
[porschecm2] yes, thanks for taking time to do this
[Jojo] Bye Jake, thanks!
[BrickRat] Thanks Jake!
[lemon2] thank You Jake!
[sink21] no problem all, happy to do it. Thanks to Ben for arranging it
[Neverroads] later jake!
[architect] Thanks again, I hope we can do it again in the future
[AggieSava] Thanks Jake!
[Jojo] bye Jake, thanks!
[sink21] certainly! Bye all!!

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