Take a Virtual, Interactive Tour 

Student Innovation Project, Student Work, Game Studies, UAT News, Behind the Bits Magazine

  |  
12 Min Read

Catalog Your Minifig Collection with The Minifig Bin

LEGO Lovers Unite!

Team Member: Zack Driscoll, Game Programming

Passionate collectors know part of the fun of collecting is organizing and cataloging the collection. Collectors love LEGO and there are a variety of apps to keep track of brick sets, but for minifigure enthusiasts, cataloging systems come up short.

Zack Driscoll, Game Programming alumni, and his Student Innovation Project (SIP), The Minifig Bin, are here to save the day! The Minifig Bin is a mobile app that enables collectors to keep track of all their minifigures.

An App for Minifigure Enthusiasts

 “There are plenty of times when I want to buy a LEGO set because I’m more interested in the minifigures than the build itself. It could be a set that’s marketed toward say four-year-olds, but it comes with really cool, unique minifigures, so of course, I’m going to get it; I want those characters. The minifigures are such an important part, and I wanted to really focus on them.”

Zack was introduced to LEGO early on and fondly remembers building LEGO sets with his mom and brother, who helped inspire this project. “We’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. That also bled into my love of video games because one of the first video games I can remember playing was the original LEGO Star Wars from 2005. This inspired me to become a game programmer in the first place. I feel like LEGO has always been a huge part of my life, and I’m still going to buy it today.”

Minifig-Body

With the end goal of creating a database for every minifigure, Zack started with three LEGO themes, Harry Potter, Ninjago and Star Wars, which totaled approximately 60 different minifigures, to launch his idea from concept to interactive app. Within the app, users can add different minifigures to their profile and view pertinent collector information, such as what set the minifigure appears in and the year it was released.

The initial goal is to have LEGO’s entire minifigure collection available, but Zack also has bigger dreams for the app, stating, “Since the idea of LEGO is building, why not let people upload their own custom minifigures into the app. That’s something I definitely want to do because that’s just LEGO.”

The Code Behind the Build

Using Visual Studio Code as the integrated development environment (IDE), Zack built the app with React Native and JavaScript as the programming language. While there are many programming languages for apps, they typically differ by operating system. Using React Native, Zack only had to write one program in JavaScript, enabling his mobile app to run on both iSO and Android devices.  

As a game programmer, many core concepts apply to app development, no matter what language is used. Plus, having already taken JavaScript courses at UAT sped up the React Native learning curve for Zack. Through UAT's React Native courses, taught by Professor Tony Hinton, Zack learned many new skills in the Expo framework for Rapid Application Development (RAD) to seamlessly create and publish React Native mobile apps.

“It is a more tedious experience than you might think, but it was definitely a lot of fun trying to make the app. I wanted to have at least two different versions of each character’s minifigure, provide some basic information and have a system to keep track of how many a collector has, which can be modified through the app.” In his free time, Zack plans to develop this project further.

Recently graduating from UAT in spring 2022, Zack reflects on his time at the University, “My favorite thing is the culture. A lot of other universities are very big, so you don’t get to know a lot of people, and you can’t always form a good connection with your professors. At UAT, you get that opportunity. I can have a casual conversation with my professors and not have to worry about booking it to the other side of campus for class. I can relax, I can talk to people. And we’re small enough where everybody knows everybody for the most part. I just really liked that about the campus experience.”

Considering a Career in Gaming?

Check out the following for more information about UAT gaming degrees.

> Game Art and Animation

> Game Design

> Game Programming

Comment

Sight-Reading and Ear Training Get a Makeover from UAT Student

Using Games to Teach Music Team Member: Sam McKinley, Game Programming
Picture of UAT Staff Writer UAT Staff Writer 12 Min Read

Help Protect the University From AI

Students Bring the University to Life Through Game Team Members: Christelle Cyprien, Virtual Reality Anthony Marquez, Game Design Morgan Soetaert, Game Design, Game Programming
Picture of UAT Staff Writer UAT Staff Writer 12 Min Read

Starting Off Strong: Provost Challenge

Students Dive Right Into Innovating at UAT One of our favorite traditions at University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is kicking off each semester with the Provost Challenge. The Provost Challenge, ...
Picture of Erin Sullivan Erin Sullivan 12 Min Read