Ever since he was a kid, user Robert Wallbank (Diddleshot in ROBLOX) has been interested in how things work on a fundamental level. He developed a fascination with physics and design work, as well as graphics. Though math wasn’t his strongest subject, it was this passion that brought him stumbling to ROBLOX in 2008, after watching videos of ROBLOX on YouTube.
Robert decided that he wanted to make games, but wanted to shy away from simplicity. He wanted to make games that were total visual and audio spectacles–games that would put people in a state of awe. For Robert, immense scale was a must.
He spent the next couple of years working on massive undertakings, including Mega Miner: The Haul Truck, Pinewood Space Shuttle Advantage (which is what grabbed our attention), Pinewood Computer Core, and Jet Engine Test. He also joined the Pinewood Builders Club, an elite group of builders who are, according to their Group page, interested in “High-tech science to produce designs, structure, sophisticated machinery, scripts, engineering, knowledge and solutions to help improve the future and technological advances of ROBLOX; one brick at a time.”
Their passion for science and technology becomes evident when you play games that feature some of the models that they’ve built. They collaborate mostly on engineering and designing complex vehicle models (like the massive rocket ship in Pinewood Space Station), then hand those models over to individual scripters to utilize them in games.
Robert had built the space shuttle with his group, but he still had to think of a game that could use it. He says he liked the idea of an, “ultra realistic launch sequence with sound effects and system checks.” In order to get the space shuttle to launch, Robert and colleague user ReddwarfIV faced a unique challenge.
“Engines are very precise pieces of engineering,” recalls Robert. “Originally, we had plans for actual combustion engines, where we’d use actual ROBLOX explosions to simulate ignition.”
The math for creating an ignition based on our explosions simply didn’t add up. Robert and his partner had to think of another way. So they decided to look into Body Velocity settings on ROBLOX, and came up with a plan: they decided that in order to get the shuttle to launch, they would have to develop a script that alters velocity three separate times during the takeoff process.
“The body of the shuttle has a Body Velocity brick that is set by a control script,” says Robert. “The first script causes it to ascend vertically, then the script alters the value to a higher number for acceleration. At the later stage, the brick is set to reach and hit a specific height in order to simulate orbit”.
The engine powering the shuttle, which according to Robert is a “four stroke-type, cyclinder arrangement,” was an exercise in patience. Robert spent a lot of time lining up con-rods and getting friction settings to behave realistically. He even built a controllable seat in the cockpit, so users can fly the shuttle like an airplane on the way back to earth.
“Originally the jet had a very large fuel tank, and we had plans for the shuttle to explode once in every five launches,” recalls Robert.
He did eventually get the chance to put the one-in-five explosion plan in a game he made afterward, Jet Engine Test, where users can tinker with his engine and speed it up to see how fast they can get it to spin. Once in every five uses, the engine explodes. We checked it out, and the first thing we noticed is how loud it gets–it really does sound like a beastly engine. We also thought it was cool that you could get as close as you want–but get too close to the rotors, and the engine will suck you in and spit out pieces.
Robert has found his time with ROBLOX becoming more and more limited, as he’s preparing to go to college to study engineering. Still, he has many ambitious plans for the future, in keeping with his desire to create larger-than-life ROBLOX experiences. He’s working on a team-mining game, where people gain money from mining items using massive drills, bucket machinery and bulldozers. He also wants to create a “research facility” where users will be able to run physics tests, chamber tests, and centrifugal space gyro tests in order to gauge how close ROBLOX’s physics system is to real-world physics.
“It’s all about determination, motivation, and finding an idea that works. I love building games that excite–big projects like jet engines or a massive mining truck with booming sound effects,” says Robert. ”People love these things, right?”
Being a part of one of the largest and most elite groups on ROBLOX, and having built games and engines that have been played and seen literally millions of times, we think it’s safe to say, “Yes they do Robert. Yes they do.”