Is it possible to play yet?

Not yet for the general public. We are currently conducting a closed Alpha test, for which 20 players were chosen randomly from applications. Currently, those players are the only ones who can play on the server we’ve developed. The server is still very experimental, and there is a range of bugs we’ve found during the alpha test that we are currently working on fixing. Additionally, we need to make sure the server’s capacities are sufficient for more players before a next alpha phase. We also want to work on implementing more features, as currently only a subset of the game’s features is supported.

This is why it’s going to take a while until we get to a point when we’re comfortable starting a new testing phase and letting more people play. We want to make sure that you have the best experience possible when you play on our server, without bugs getting in your way. Because of this, we think it’s better to work on bugs first, at the cost of a later start date for the next testing phase, rather than letting more people play right now, when there are still some bugs around that can make gameplay frustrating at times.

We hope you can understand why we made this decision. Our long-term goal is to host a server that is open to the general public, with no restrictions on player count, and we are working hard towards this goal, so everyone can play.

There will be a next Alpha phase where we will be accepting applications again, but it will take a while until then, at least several months. The best way to stay up-to-date regarding the Alpha is our Twitter, where we post updates regularly.

Who are the people behind this project?

We’re a few fans of LEGO Universe who are working on this server in our spare time. Check out our about page for more info about us.

What does “lcdr” mean? Is it an acronym for something?

“lcdr” isn’t an acronym; it doesn’t refer to anything in particular. Think of it as the codename for the project, it refers to the project itself.

What’s the difference between “lcdr” and “lcdr Universe”?

lcdr is the lead developer of this project, responsible for development of the server software, administration of the alpha, this website, and our discord.

lcdr Universe is the name of this server project. The name wasn’t chosen out of arrogance or something, we simply couldn’t come up with a fancy codename for the project, and since there was already an established “standard” of other people naming their projects “<dev name> Universe”, we went with that and used the name of the lead developer.

Note that “lcdr” is not written with a capital I, it’s written with a lowercase L.

Some people have started abbreviating lcdr Universe as simply “lcdr”, to avoid confusion between the name and the person, we recommend abbreviating the project as “lcdr U”, “lcdr-U”, or (if you really have to) “LCDRU”.

What’s implemented?

Most key features of LEGO Universe, along with a list of minor features, are implemented. Missions, Achievements, Worlds, Items, Model building and more are working. Check out our Media page to see them in action.

Why don’t enemies move in the videos?

Movement AI is one of most complicated things in a server. It requires parsing the terrain and all meshes and doing complex collision and pathfinding calculations on them. It takes a lot of time to implement, and we did not want to delay the development and testing too much. Therefore we have decided to postpone movement AI for now, and implement it at a later date. We hope you won’t find this too gameplay-breaking in the meantime – fighting is just one of many things to do in LU.

What’s taking so long? When can we expect a release?

Writing a server is a lot of work. Keep in mind that unlike other groups, we’re not only implementing a server, but researching the concepts of LU’s networking too. But we’ve been at it since 2013, and we’re in it for the long run, to deliver a fully working server. It just takes a bit of time. We also want to make sure that everything’s working correctly, and we don’t want a rushed release where half of the features are broken.

Will you add features beyond the original game?

Our core focus is restoring the game as it was before closure. That’s a lot of things to implement, and we want to make sure that’s working first. Adding entirely new features is theoretically possible, but requires modification to both the server and the client. We want to stay compatible with the original game for as long as possible (we don’t require a specific new client, as long as your client has all original files it should work), so anything regarding this is very speculative and far off in the future.

Tiny server-side modifications to remove some original limitations are possible though, and there are already a few implemented. We haven’t shown them in the videos yet, but you may discover some in the alpha.

How can I support the project?

We’re doing fine on coding, but if you want to spread the word about us, that’d be helpful 🙂 . Also, hosting a server costs money. Once we’re at a level of progress where we think the server is advanced and bug-free enough to no longer be in an “experimental” state, we’ll offer a way for donations to cover our running costs. This will probably be a while (maybe a couple years) off, as we don’t want to accept donations while the server is still experimental.
The server will of course still be 100% free, and donations will be optional.

Will the server cost money to play?

No, the server will be 100% free, non-commercial, with no catches. There won’t be any microtransactions or “freemium” restrictions. However, if you like, you will be able to donate to help us cover our costs. Donators will be treated 100% the same by the game. We’re still thinking about how exactly we can thank donators while keeping the game fair for everyone, maybe with a list of donator names or some sort of tag. Whatever it will be, we will first ask the community about it and only implement it if you agree.

Why don’t you join up with DLU/LUNI/other project? Won’t that make progress faster?

We do exchange ideas and collaborate on research with other developers in the community, however, a merger would be much more complicated, and may not actually improve progress.

Different server projects use different programming languages and have different ideals. A merger would be very complicated and the effort put into synchronizing server projects could be put towards implementation and research, with more certainty of success. Codebases would need to be migrated, rewritten, analyzed for duplicate implementations, and in general the amount of effort needed to combine the codebases would be large enough to take up several months, during which no other progress could be made.
Synchronization overhead aside, a merger does not necessarily result in more progress, or faster progress. It’s a common rule in software development that adding more developers to a project may not improve development speed, and at some point actually slows down development.
Also, it’s best for the community not to have a server monopoly, as experimentation is vital to the proliferation of server projects, and having multiple server projects offers more opportunities for that.

Why aren’t you open source?

We were open source a long time ago. That resulted in others taking our work and hosting a server themselves, without permission, at a time where the server wasn’t ready for hosting. Other than just a matter of intellectual property, we also want to ensure that players using our server implementation have a good experience, so we don’t want to risk having that experience deteriorate because of inexperienced server hosts. To avoid that, we’ve stayed closed source.
We highly value transparency however, and we’ve made sure to keep you informed about our progress. Check out our media page, our Youtube channel where we post demo walkthrough videos, and our Twitter where we post development updates, for more.

Will the server be compatible with my client/operating system?
Where can I get the client?

Our only requirements are that your client is the latest game version (1.1.64, from around December 2011 – January 2012) and that your client has all files downloaded. This means that if you still have a client from around that time it should work. The server is compatible with all operating systems, compatibility with the operating system only depends on your client. There are multiple clients available for download on the web, with versions for specific operating systems available.
We recommend this client (which we also use ourselves), it’s up to date, has all files, no duplicates, and is already extracted to help with client modding if you want to replace textures for example.
Note: We are not responsible for content from linked sites.

Why haven’t you uploaded videos since the start of the alpha?

We’re continuing to work on the server, however, the work we’re currently doing is much harder to display in a video than the work we’ve shown in videos previously. We previously worked on implementing the features, mechanics and scripts that made a playthrough of the first few worlds possible. Right now we’re working on fixing bugs that have been found in the alpha, reorganizing the server code, and writing a system of unit tests to ensure that the core features of the server run without problems. These kinds of work are very important for the long-term stability of the server, but unfortunately, they’re quite difficult to show in a video. This is why we haven’t uploaded videos recently. However, this does not mean that we’re not working on the server as much as when we uploaded the videos, and we actually anticipated that we’d be primarily working on server-internal tasks like testing and less on videos in this phase.

Once we think that work on bugs and testing is complete for now, we will return to working on features and mechanics, and we’ll continue our series of videos then.