The Big Bang at ROBLOX: Universe Creation

My UniversesHow will our users create bigger and better games? Navin Lal’s Hack Week project presents his vision of the future. 

Universes would allow ROBLOXians to create massive game spaces by linking multiple games together. You would not only travel to and fro (thanks to the ever-handy means of teleportation), but all of your ROBLOXian character’s previous accomplishments within the “Universe” — whether it’s experience, currency, progress, events and more!— would accompany them too.

Universes are currently a tech demo and idea exploration, but we still want you to check out the videos below and let us know what you think. There is no release date right now. Keep visiting our blog for release details.

[do action=”youtube-iframe” videoid=”vKVk7TryTHo”/]

The first clip above shows the acceptance of a quest and earning 50 points. Watch carefully because the experience will carry over into the second clip.

[do action=”youtube-iframe” videoid=”FfzrN6TXC1s”/]

Clip #2 shows your character in peril, but notice how the experience total increases as the zombies get rubbed out.

[do action=”youtube-iframe” videoid=”NDHWvJpStag”/]

The third and final clip exhibits how your character has returned to his original location (while the teleporter points to a new location). Note how he still has his earned experience points and the NPC is aware of what you’ve just accomplished based on what it says to your character!

This page is a sample overview of each Universe you own in addition to where you can create new Universes and manage existing ones.

Another cool thing about Universes is that they would allow for a spatial relationship amongst worlds (i.e., have the ability to be mapped). Take a look at “The Map.”

The Map

 

How the Universe Would Work

 

Let’s begin with a quick refresher of how persistent data on ROBLOX works:

 

When a player joins a game, the game server retrieves all persistent data for that user for the current place and stores it in an in-memory cache.

 

The Lua function, player:WaitForDataReady(), is waiting for the persistent data to be retrieved from the website and loaded into memory so that we can make use of it.

 

Once the data is retrieved, the functions, player:SaveNumber(), player:LoadNumber(), etc. all write/read directly from the cache. This is so that we don’t end up making an unnecessary amount of web requests, especially in a scenario where the data is constantly changing.

 

When the player leaves or the game shuts down, the game server commits all data in cache back to the website. The website encrypts the data and then pushes it to Amazon S3.

 

Data on S3 is divided up into buckets and you can store arbitrary “blobs” of data to a bucket by pairing it with a unique key.

 

Universes should be able to take advantage of much of the underlying infrastructure that is currently used for storing persistent data to places. Throw in a small refactor to our persistence layer to support arbitrary key types, and we were good to go.

 

Now when data is uploaded to the website, it would first check if the place the data is associated with is part of a universe. If so, it would save it under a Universe key instead of a place key. This approach has the advantage of letting us keep the existing Lua API for storing data unchanged for universes. However, we may decide to revise the current API to give scripters finer grained control over their data.

 

Next up was the interface. The goal is to build an interface that is simple and intuitive to use. We want a way to visualize the Universe, so this led us to the Universe map interface. With a context sensitive menu and drag-and-drop capability, it should be a cinch to manage your Universe. We also took special care to build something that was cross-browser compatible. Of course, all of this is subject to change.

 

When Navin isn’t playing the DOTA 2 Beta or pedaling around San Francisco, he’s taking web development to a new stratosphere. Actually, he’s aiming a little higher than the stratosphere, as evidenced by his demo of the Universe.

About Navin Lal

Software Engineer, ROBLOX @NavinBot on Twitter

156 thoughts on “The Big Bang at ROBLOX: Universe Creation

  1. Kirby Rider

    I want the character to unlock something in one game by going to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GAME.

  2. mtemple12

    Very sweet idea, though some users might want to disable the map part, for a mystery sort of game that the creator doesn’t want players to know where they’re going or what they’re getting themselves into. And would it be possible to make kind of a “wall” that teleports players to a different place w/o the confirmation dialogue? Like a seamless teleport from one to the next like going from street to street or neighborhood to neighborhood?

    1. out2lunchjr24

      It looks really cool and ive noticed some of the older posts about changing the lighting, buoancy, etc.. But the lag is the only thing that worries me.

  3. Qwertygiy

    And of course, this needn’t just be for “universes”. Think about the epic super-games you could make with this! Say you want to make a career racing game, Gran Turismo style. Well, ROBLOX lags to insanity when your part count is too high, so you can have only one race track per game (and you can only store ~100 cars in one game to buy, too). With this, you can have 3 or 4 places for getting cars, 1 or 2 for upgrades, and the rest be race tracks to race with other players (and if you’re uber1337 AI cars!).

    This greatly expands Roblox’s possibilities; however, noticing the dynamic lighting update, I believe they should focus on reducing lag before adding graphical features. Like I said, Roblox is uberlaggy when the parts get high.

  4. AlphaWaffle5120

    Good idea. But, with all these new updates, make sure you guys come up with a lag removing system to go with it.

  5. Danny (danboy98)

    Just out of curiosity would it always be dark in the universes? I mean couldnt you add an atmosphere to the celestial body you start at?

  6. 1234christopher

    I think this is going a bit too far…
    Good idea but if it’s going to come out make sure it’s not laggy.

  7. Slimesick

    This is going to far.. being a 2008 I like the changes so far, but i think you want to change it into a type of LEGO UNIVERSE.

    1. Jacob

      This is not bad. As an ’07er, I like the changes. It makes RPing places easier…Less lag…Spreading out your 25K brick place into five diferent places? Much less laggy, although it makes it a bit hard to communitcate.

  8. Spore Commander Darkwellor

    The possibilities are endless. Go through a portal, meet Samuel L. Jackson, get AK47, get back to alien-infested world and BLAST EVERYTHING TO SMITHEREENS. This would be…hilarious.

  9. excusiveshadow123

    Awsome! Im gonna make/link some of my up comeing RPGs and make it like you are traveling dementions! Thanks Njay!

  10. TheRealFiokoius

    If This Happen, i Could Combine ALL My RPG games together to One, Huge RPG Story, First i Must Make 3 RPG games:
    1.Fiokoscape I : The Beginning (Working On Right Now)
    2.Fiokoscape II : Rise Of Calavar
    3.Fiokoscape III : Terinus Magna

  11. jjc0605

    This idea for the Universe is an excellent plan! Great job, ROBLOX! I think this is going to change ROBLOX’s gaming status automatically! If there was a gaming meter for this website, I would vote for it as a 100% EXCELLENT GAME! ROBLOX is the best online game I’ve ever played! Keep going, ROBLOX! Your updates get better every time!

  12. master3395

    I can’t wait for this feature to come out, as soon as it does, I’ll link all of my building games and obby’s together to create one huge building and obby story.

    Good work Navin Lal.

  13. LordSegui

    Hmmm, I’d be a pretty interesting idea, many people would get more advantages using them, some negatives, but atleast it does some good, and some bad maybe..

  14. magicman6

    This is going to be awesome! With my slow internet I can’t put more than at least 700 pieces before it start to lag and freeze my computer. But, with Universes, I can link together a bunch of small places and make one big place!

  15. RangeMeludE

    I can’t wait for this feature to come out, as soon as it does, I’ll link all of my RPG’s together to create one huge RPG story.

    Nice job NJay!

  16. Cooldude816

    Oh goodness me, this is going to be good. I can, instead of having multiple bases, have them all on one place, like one Planet :D!

  17. JesusFreakDC

    I think this would be sweet if we were to link all major group’s bases together to go from a raid to a defense in 5 min.

  18. Max Denson or 2005Wisher

    Hey I think this is a great thing and a lot of people will be happy about this. Mostly the people who have worked so hard on places and their great but not known.

  19. MetaRyan

    I was wondering when this would pop up. I support this, but I’d like to be able to connect different people’s places (with their permission).

    1. TeamDman

      We could have it so in the place options menu there would be a new area like this
      Place Universe Sharing
      Whitelist {creator would put names in here he would want to be able to link to his place}
      WhiteList All
      WhiteList Friends
      WhiteList BestFriends

  20. Orieson

    This would be a nice invention. As TTdude said, we could send stuff, and as the other person (whose name has escaped me) said, the airports. This whole “Universe” thing would help it be easier to go to other games. Mybe you could chat from different worlds by saying, “talk/[playername]/[chat here]. That would just be to say, they could create a world for the catalog, or a blogging world, and you would be able to chat about what is happening around ROBLOXia. Actually, now that you think about it, the ROBLOX admins could create a world called ROBLOXia, so you could actually call ROBLOX, ROBLOXia. The groups could have their own base (which would be group places) and a newsletter for the shouts and chat wall. You could even have your own home, which you could customize, check your mail, R$, TiX, and other stuff. When you’re in-game, you could have a thing to open called “Quick-Tools” In which you could quickly logout, teleport to airport, go home, or switch profiles, and maybe even other things. I think my idea and the other great ideas from TTdude and the other person who agreed with TTdude, combine the ideas, and ROBLOXia would be perfect.
    ~ Ori

  21. EPIC9236

    Now if some famous people have multiple games, they can link them all together instead of using the teleporters.

  22. EPIC9236

    When I saw this for the first time, there were no words to be heard or spoken. It was like my jaw dropped but it hit the roof at the same time. It was so exciting too see that you could finally make something so that it would keep between different places, now a lot of dreamed up places can be made.

  23. SecretAgentWolf

    Am I the only one, here, who can see this being used by clan leaders to make linked bases? SilentSwords will probably deck out the teleporters to make them look a tad more WIJian, make multiple ones that go to one local, and different ones that go to other bases. Then, his planet (I forget what it’s called XD) will be a lot more connected.
    Here’s an idea; Places in the universe should have the ability to be accessed ONLY by teleporters in-game. Then, next thing you know, there will be more complex bases that can be accessed by planes, teleporters, ect.
    Bloxxer’s City should use this universe technology! it can connect the city and reduce lag, and then ANYBODY can play! Then, he can add more areas to his city and still have enough bricks for more! IT’S GENIUS! GENIUS!!!

  24. Quiettime1

    Great idea, but I’ve been trying to make something like this work for a while… I’ve been making a series of 26 games called ‘Paxos’ using hidden teleporters on boats to link them. I haven’t been able to script any currency in a way that it would transfer from game to game yet though… I’m not a very good scripter.

  25. LordDionysos

    Can’t wait for this to come out it’s gonna be cool because of Rangemelude’s RPG games!!!

  26. Sam3812

    It’s about time ; ). Loving the Hack week developments already.

    Navin, please keep up the good work, this is a very promising demo and I cannot wait for the release of universes. It will make for a very happy robloxian.

  27. Daniel0143

    Hmm… that basically means you could have a place (Lots of places linked) and then say the next level would be a different game, so basically you could have a HUGE game that wouldn’t lag one bit!

  28. Woulfy2860

    I almost completely agree with TTDude. (See the top of the article for his comment) He states that it would be cool to make Robloxia its own giant world, consisting of every game ever created. This is a great idea, but thinking of every game that has been made, it still would need refining. First off, to be entered into the world, the place must have at least 5,000 visits, this would prevent little nooblets from inserting a block and then asking everyone to come to their place, increasing lag. Don’t worry though, the game feature would still be around to let you search for your little nooblets place and go to it. A second thing that would be nice is just having a highly detailed Roblox Airport through a tunnel or something at the edge of each base. You could go in, and book your flight to one of the most popular games from a list or from a game that you have searched for. You board the plane, it takes off and in midflight automatically teleports you to the next game and lands. A huge world with every game would be too laggy, I believe my idea would not. Thank you for getting your idea up there TTDude!

    1. Tarkol

      That is an awesome idea! And you can change the ways of transportation too. Example: You decide to go to the ROBLOX Military Base, you board the plane, and you arrive riding in a humvee. In between loading, you somehow got off the plane and made it to the humvee. Decreasing lots of lag.

  29. H1998

    Amazing just amazing. Great for a planned game of mine. Then I can have multiple galaxies! In different places!

  30. dominus1st

    This is exactly what I want for my game right now I was already brainstorming ideas of how I could have TOOLS travel to one place to another

  31. ColdEfficiency

    When this feature is released RPGs are going to be where the money is at. Getting players to teleport to 5 of your games while playing one RPG. Profit.

  32. HamroGeek

    When are you guys planning on coming out with this? I’ve got some ideas for universes I’d make!

  33. TTdude

    You know how there is chat on the website? Well why not make in-game chat between places! You would open the menu, press “Open Chat”, select a friend who is at a different game and has chat enabled, then type out a message and press “Send!” Your friend would get an in-game alert that says “(your name here) sent you a message!” They could click on it, read the message, then press “Reply!” Wouldn’t that be awesome?

    1. @TTdude

      In-game replying would be awesome. But also turn-offable, so you wouldn’t get millions of reminders.

  34. TTdude

    You should be able to send objects through portals to other games linked together in the universe. Imagine what you could do with that! You could have a zombie game where zombies come out of a portal from another game, and to win you would have to enter the portal and shut down the zombie spawner, or even better, have an ocean universe where every game is an island…meaning you could sail away from an island on a boat, only to come across another island (in a different game) with your boat still there! THAT would be awesome….or if you removed the “Are you sure you want to leave this place?” message, you might be able to walk to another place. Now I’m just dreaming, but imagine taking every single ROBLOX game and combining it into one big world, making it so that when you log in, instead of picking the game from a list, you would appear at your ROBLOX place — then you could travel to other games from there. There could be a giant map of ROBLOX! You could be in Call of Robloxia 5: ROBLOX at war, then get bored and walk out of the place, get into your car, drive down a highway for a little while, maybe come to a boat dock or an airport, drive/fly to another area, get back into your car, and finally arrive at Gladiator Arena Minigames. You could make it so that it randomly generates terrain, oceans and such in-between games, and being able to buy vehicles in the catalog to travel between games. Whoops, I am getting carried away in dreams again, aren’t I?

    1. Hockey868

      TTDude, then you could shoot a gun into the teleporter of a dangerous area that is say… Infected by zombies and clear the area by shooting the gun into the teleporter and the bullets teleport and kill the zombis surrounding the area. Good idea!

      1. EPIC9236

        Wow, Hockey868, that is just too awesome to be realized. I hope it is though. Now you could make things like good RPGs and board games (that would be a neat start for roblox). And one game by TheAmazeman called “Dream It” or something like that was never made. Now it can be made beyond the limits of imagination!

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