James Blox

Blox. James Blox.

Roblox is currently in alpha online testing. This means that we don’t consider Roblox to “finished” or “well tested”, it is an ongoing experiment that we let other people take part in. Today I’m going to give you a sneak peek at a Deep Alpha feature, something so experimental, raw, and new that it just barely compiles. It’s in the pipeline, but you probably won’t see it for several releases. Ladies and gentlemen, I present: James Blox.

James Blox

James Blox was created by early Roblox user Katalyst, an acquaintance from gamedev.net. You will no doubt recognize his pyramid & sphinx place from the cool places tab on the Roblox homepage. James Blox was recently picked up by Montresor, the alter ego of a Roblox admin, who has been experimenting with custom avatars. James Blox is not an exciting feature. Don’t get me wrong – he looks so cool and stylish stalking around in the Rocket Arena that I often forget to shoot at him. But really, the exciting feature is character customization. We have a little bit of it on Roblox now (you can pick from ten models), in the future we will have a lot more. Raise your hand if you think that’s a bad thing. Ok, you guys go sit in the corner.

God of Night and Day

We know everyone wants to customize their avatar. We would be curious to know how you would like to do this. Should we have a special web page that lets you choose colors for your body parts and select from torso patterns? Should the interface be in-game rather than on the web site? Ultimately it should be both: but if you had to choose one to have first, which way would you go?

– Telamon

About John Shedletsky

ROBLOX Creative Director @Shedletsky on Twitter

24 thoughts on “Blox. James Blox.

  1. C4k3M4n

    this may have been in your “idea box” but imagine your roblox character with customizable armor pieces and gloves. Imagine the possibilities! you could make a knight with real armor (cause you cant have a knight without the armor) or a ranger with real arrows and a quiver on his/her back.

    there can never be too many ideas so i just thought i’d share it.

  2. weallinsane

    about the first video put-
    -the part of the plane where those things come out have a lot of sparkles put into it.

    -the barrel roll is already scripted.

  3. cloudedmario

    Well, i found this players place, and i coulnd’t pass the last question. Do you know why? It’s beause i never knew the answer. The question was,”Who created Roblox?” will someone private message me the answer? Cause i never knew

  4. Rocks25

    i think it should be on the website and i think you should be able to customize all your body parts but the torso would be the only one that would have desines

  5. digimonkey

    I was thinkin we might have new wepons to go with your your clothing so for exaple:i have a rocket torso i can load missiles faster or i have a bird torso and i can fly higher and faster

  6. Jacobxxduel

    Hey, I like the idea of it beaing on your profile tool bar. Altho things sould be unlockable like when you earn a badge you can have it’s pic on your torso. And there sould also be a thing that alows you to upload your own photos. But it could be confuseing beaing to upload to many so you sould problay be limited to around three…


  7. BlockDude

    thebricky –

    It’s pretty clear from the context that this is not a feature that is currently in the game.

  8. Mr Doom Bringer

    Hmm, I do believe that I would enjoy having an in-game interface. Although, not like we now have, something entirely new…

    Humor me:
    We have a solely game client, meaning that instead of going to a web page, we go into the Studio, and it opens up to a main menu. From this menu, there are the following tabs:
    Edit Mode
    Solo Mode

    Options: You can change all of the basic options, ranging from say, your in-game name, the video resolution (obviously to come later) the sound volume, etc. In this menu, you should see several options, including in-game name (you already have your master account, this just allows you to change the name you want to have that the moment) Your player model (able to choose between several different torsos, heads, etc. Possibly allow your own decals for the front to be imported.

    Edit mode: Enters the beloved edit mode, where you can easily crate your own maps, but this should be a little different than it now is. Possibly add in the ability to run your Lua code in a dedicated emulator, or have the map run for just a minute or two, so you can see any Lua code that you have already created, and want to test. I have had to re-open a file a couple of times, because of an error in Lua that crashed the Studio.

    Solo mode: Exactly that, solo mode. If we could have a repository of all of the maps that users have created on the main servers, and have them ready for download on the web site, but also have a file on each player’s computer, so that it eliminates the long download time and get to the render of the map.

    Servers: Have an constantly updated list of all of the servers running, rather than have to do that through HTML on the site, and have to refresh every time to update; just have a list that is sent to the computers that would only take a second to send to all the clients. All you would have to do is when someone creates a server, it would ping the information to the master game server, and the server’s status would be registered in the master games list.

    In essence, have the whole server run on the client’s computer, rather than taking up resources on the Roblox server. This would spawn two types of servers, a Listen server, and a dedicated server. A listen server would be a server that someone just ran and can hold a few people. (at this point, it might be good to add the idea of a server people limit) The listen server would be run in the background of a client’s computer, and they would be connected it via the loopback IP (, thus, in effect, running a virtual server on their machine.

    A dedicated, however, is made to run completely on it’s own, without the player being present, or able to access it from the same machine, even. It would be made to house a great many players, rather than just a few. It would probably take up most of the machine’s resources, but it would be able to handle a massive map, with a great many players.

    Ok, when a player connects to a server, it will run a check for any files that the client doesn’t have that match the server, including Lua files, and the map. Upon finding a file that the client doesn’t have, it will be downloaded, and THEN he will enter the game, rather than the client downloading the map as it is rendered, or as he appears to everyone else, but the client is still rendering, which could cause the client’s physics calculations and the server’s to differ, resulting in either the client being disconnected due to bad packets, or the server crashing.

    Once he has the map, the rendering can be easy as pie, since it just has to use information straight from the local hard drive, rather than rendering in real-time off the main server.

    Not only would having dedicated servers and listen servers allow for a massive spike in player games, but it would allow for a lot less lag. Who knows what we could all achieve with this.

    I know that half of this stuff is already in the works, but I had to get my ideas out. Tell me what you think. With the dedicated servers, we could see the spawn of something that I think would the the pride and joy of Roblox, an RPG. Just think, if someone had the determination and the Lua knowledge, we could make one of the greatest Role Playing Games out there. Fully customizable house, having an in-game currency, jobs, stores, clothing even.

    Who knows where this would take us?

  9. Telamon


    Re: Unlockable stuff

    It’s my dream to award special articles of clothing/items to people who win hard-to-get badges – as sort of a prize. This requires a lot of infrastructure that we don’t have yet, like persistant inventories. Long term this is where we want to be though.

  10. miked

    Ingame would be nice, it would also mean GUIs would be created and useable. I could see it being released sooner if it was on the website, and customising an avatar on the website might make more sense; it would be simpler. On the website it will be out of the way until you want to change your appearance too.

    Unlockable stuff would be a treat, and if there is ever an ingame currency maybe you could buy some clothes.

    So my vote is for website interface

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