When I spoke to user Uuvinu over the phone, he seemed distracted. So much so, that I asked him if something was wrong. I had simultaneously noticed that his website, ROBLOXranks.com, wasn’t loading. This was his response: “Sorry. Our servers in New York City were knocked out by the storm, and I’m working on migrating data to Dallas, Texas. Site should be live in an hour.”
It was back up in thirty minutes. He’s 15-years-old.
That’s the thing about Uuvinu–he seems distracted, but in reality, he’s just busy. For a 15-year-old student from Arizona, he’s got a lot on his plate. He was one of the founding members of ROBLOX Reviews, a website dedicated to user-generated reviews of popular ROBLOX games. Co-founding that website taught him a lot about web design. So he decided to create a new website.
ROBLOXRanks is a cool place to visit. Uuvinu developed an algorithm that ranks the top ROBLOX players based on a variety of qualifiers. The website lists the ranks and updates itself daily. The site also features a statistics page that shows you how many users are being ranked currently. If you can’t find a particular user, you can add them to the Ranking Bot Queue and watch as they’re added to the site.
“Basically, I developed this giant formula that’s kind of advanced–it’s based on a few formulas from other people, like Clockwork’s level calculator,” said Uuvinu. “Your rank is built upon various things: your gameplay skills, popularity, profile views, place visits, badges and socialization.”
Uuvinu built the website using PHP and MySQL, web languages he’s studied since he was 10 years old. He runs a server cluster of three virtual private servers, all working together to find as many active ROBLOXians as possible. At the current rate, Uuvinu projects that he’ll have cataloged 2.5 million ROBLOX players in the next four months. Every ranking is the result of a complex algorithm that Uuvinu wrote.
Uuvinu was careful when building the algorithm–he wanted it to be as objective as possible, while also taking into account many separate factors of popularity as well.
“It’s tricky, because so many people ask me, ‘what’s the formula made of?’ I can’t just give that out,” said Uuvinu.
Many users, it seems, tend to agree with Uuvinu’s methods, as evidenced by the traffic his website has been drawing (about 4,000 users a month) since it was created in September. But Uuvinu is far from finished–he’s got grander ambitions for his site that would essentially merge ROBLOXRanks with the reviews site he had started previously. He, like many users of ROBLOX, believes that the site would be better left in the hands of users.
“I would like to combine all these facets into one giant ROBLOX fan site, which would include rankings and user reviews,” said Uuvinu. “I would actually feature the top games and websites, and users would be able to rank them, and choose stuff they want added to the website. I’d leave it in their hands.”
Uuvinu has also become interested in game design, and is currently in the process of creating a game that replicates Portal on ROBLOX–in The Vortex, you find yourself stuck in a lab, and have to solve puzzles to make your way out alive. The game is public, but incomplete at the moment, as Uuvinu has been busy with a full school-load and maintaining ROBLOXranks. All in all, not bad for a teenager that’s been designing websites since he was ten years old. We’re eager to see what comes next.