Kiwi on Lego Portal team

MATT MAGUIRE
Last updated 15:00 11/07/2012
Team Jigsaw
Team Jigsaw

BRICK LAYERS: One of Team Jigsaw's Portal inspired Lego set concepts.

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A Kiwi is one of a group of four pitching the idea of a series of Portal sets to the Lego Group.

Portal is a critically-acclaimed puzzle video game released by Half-Life developer Valve in 2007.

Nick Vás - who goes by the handle Brickthing in the Lego community - has had a hand in fashioning a number of Portal-related creations out of Lego for the submission, including a replica of Portal antagonist GLaDOS' Chamber.

The group have also put together a Portal Modular Testing Chamber and Portal Puzzle Board Game, all of which they hope will be made into a limited-run set by the famous Scandinavian company.

The Lego Group evaluate community-submitted designs that have reached a target of 10,000 supporters on Japanese partner site CUUSOO.

Should the designs fit with the Lego brand and excite the company, they are then made into sets.

The Portal group are just 2000 votes short of the required 10,000 supporters, who simply "like" the project on the CUUSOO site for their vote to register.

Vás' role involved creating all of the final 3D renders, graphical designs and mini-figures for the sets.

"Our project really is the result of a team effort, by combining our strengths to make the final product as great as possible," he said.

"I usually build with Bionicle Lego pieces, while my teammates are much more talented with the regular System Lego bricks needed to design the sets."

The foursome met during the MOCathalon, an annual LEGO building competition for LEGO fans around the world, where Vás was a replacement for a team-member who couldn't participate.

Under the moniker of Team Jigsaw, the four ended up placing second in the competition, and have stayed in touch via Skype ever since.

The inspiration for a Portal set came after the positive reception that greeted a Portal vignette built by one of the group during the MOCathalon.

"We're all great fans of Valve's Portal video games and would love to see the games and their characters in Lego form, so around mid-April we decided to try and make that happen," said Vás.

"Official LEGO spokespeople have promised cake if the project is a triumph!" he added.

Although clearly busy, Vás finds working with Lego provides a relaxing counterpoint to his University of Auckland engineering work.

"Building with LEGO serves as a great hobby because it helps me relax and be creative, compared to the stressful and mathematical studies."

While still working on the Portal project, he is also busy preparing some large Bionicle creations for display at the first Lego Annual Brick Show in Christchurch, which runs from July 14 - 15.

All proceeds from that show go to the Canterbury Earthquake Children's Trust.

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