Over the weekend, Julian Gomez informed me of a project that he thought (correctly) that I might be interested in: The L Prize. What is that, you say? Best answer from their website:
The L PRIZE is a new and exciting open competition that will be officially launched fall 2004 by an independent team led by Tim Courtney. The purpose of the L PRIZE is to reach both the established LDraw community and the broader 3D software developer and user communities, and to draw on this greatly expanded pool of resources to build a unique convergence of interests and abilities that will result in significant advances to LEGO CAD technologies.
Contestants will apply their knowledge and skills with the goal of furthering the State-of-the-Art of LEGO CAD software and support tools. Casual Users, Hobbyists, Educators, and Students will all reap the benefits of these advances. The open competition model of the L PRIZE will also encourage grass-roots level innovations in 3D software technologies and software interfaces that may benefit the software industry at large.
A couple of years back I worked on some simple filters to convert ldraw models into a format palateable to my toy raytracer, and generated the somewhat disappointing picture at the right. Still, fun stuff.
If you are interested, you should get in touch with these guys.
Addendum: Hey Julian, I know you’ve worked a bit on this stuff before, why not try and extract some of their money in your copious spare time?