Brickworld 2011 - postscript
The definition of a good LEGO convention is one with amazing MOCs, great events & contests, fun friendly people, and innovative ideas at every turn.
The definition of a great LEGO convention is all the above, with a lot less sleep.
Brickworld 2011 has come and gone, and I wasn't able to blog from the event, because to be honest there was just too many other interesting things going on. There was a huge model of The Love Boat (with hidden scenes from other movies... like Jaws, Snakes on a Plane, and The Poseidon Adventure), Shep's amazing Flex-Picker, many other amazing constructions large and small... and, of course, robots.
We had Monster Chess there again, as well as a preview of a future project, a LEGO robot based version of RoboRally (even bigger than Monster Chess). The NXT-based Space Shuttle was there, robots like PackBot (kids played with it all day long), a huge number of sumo robots (around 70+... we had a multi-hour teach-in for people new to it), a bunch of entries for a "Build-On-The-Spot" (B.O.T.S.) challenge, and boat races again. I've got a bunch of pictures I need to get up, but so far I've only put together one video, a collection of clips of the LEGO boat race (including underwater):
(yes, I'm finally actually in a video... mostly getting wet).
Really, the amazing thing about this event isn't even the LEGO (although have you ever watched a guy dressed in a pure LEGO version of Halo's Master Chief walk through a 7' tall wall of 1x8 bricks? There's a LOT of LEGO there too)... it's the people. The interactions. The interplay that you get when you put several hundred of the best LEGO builders in one hotel, and leave them alone (while sometimes throwing food at them) for a long weekend. It's not just the number of things to passively look at that inspire you, but the conversations you can have in that sort of environment. As just one example, Shep noticed a small occasional problem with his amazing Flex-picker... which then ended up being a couple hours of troubleshooting with about half a dozen Mindstorms builders. Did it work better afterward? Slightly... but the bulk of the joy we all got was just getting a chance to work together on an interesting problem.
Hopefully, I'll post some more on Brickworld 2011 later (the sumo event was great).