Game Dev for All (with Litozinnamon)

Taking the Democratization of Game Development to New Heights

Game Dev for All (with Litozinnamon)If you’re an aspiring or up-and-coming game designer, you have choices: you can develop in Game Maker or Flixel, Unity or Unreal Development Kit, XNA Game Studio or Torque, among many others. These are all easily accessible tools that individuals and development studios have used to create everything from simple games to feature-rich, pro-quality experiences across mobile, consoles and desktop computers. While there are already myriad choices, suiting an increasing breadth of expertise, ROBLOX is pushing the democratization of game development further than ever by merging a powerful development tool with something no one else has: an enthusiastic player base numbering in the tens of millions.

That’s not to imply it’s easy to reach ROBLOX’s audience. But with the right amount of ingenuity and determination, it’s possible – even for a single person.

Call of ROBLOXia 5: ROBLOX at War

Character Class CustomizerA perfect case study is ROBLOX user litozinnamon and his “Call of ROBLOXia” series. Call of ROBLOXia 5: ROBLOX at War, lito’s most popular game, consistently ranks in the top 30 at any given moment. Sure, he’s got the wind at his back via name recognition (his game’s title is a play on the renowned Call of Duty name), but ROBLOX users don’t keep coming back unless the game play encourages it. He’s done a good job of adapting the Call of Duty series’ pace and addictive multiplayer gaming mechanics to ROBLOX. He’s also built his own character-customization tool, which he says promotes repeat play sessions and balanced game play – it lets players experiment with a huge variety of equipment without unfairly favoring veterans.

Let’s make an apples-to-oranges comparison. Litozinnamon’s ROBLOX games, almost all of which are part of his Call of ROBLOXia series, have been played more than 16 million times. (98% of those plays belong to Call of ROBLOXia 5: ROBLOX at War.) 16 million.

Call of Duty: Black Ops, a 2010 release and one of the most popular games in the series, has sold a total of 16.4 million units. Again, play sessions of a free game vs. sales of a boxed game is an apples-to-oranges comparison, but things start to come into perspective when you figure Call of ROBLOXia 5 was developed by a teenager from California with a budget mostly consisting of time and Call of Duty: Black Ops was developed on a multi-million dollar (possibly even $100 million) budget by Treyarch, a professional studio. ROBLOX empowers game developers of all ages, even when they’re one-man shops. 10 years ago, such democratization could only be a dream.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshot

What makes litozinnamon’s story all the more representative of how ROBLOX democratizes game development is he never intended to design the next best ROBLOX game. He built Call of ROBLOXia 5 as a “place to spend time with some friends” – other players just happened to notice it and started joining en masse. That would be much less likely to happen had he developed using a tool without a huge distribution channel.

“I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish, especially when getting my game popular was not the reason why I decided to make it in the first place,” says litozinnamon.

The democratization of game development isn’t unprecedented. Other media have gone through similar transition periods. Novelists can distribute their work on user-generated content sites like WattPad – and maybe get a digital book deal out of it. Musicians can not only record their songs on the cheap, but distribute them via digital channels, effectively opening their work to the entire connected world. Before recorded media and diverse distribution, music essentially only went as far as the musicians’ live shows. It was only a matter of time before democratization made inroads into more technologically complex media, such as video games.

While technology and stories like that of litozinnamon make it sound easy to become successful, it’s not. There are a lot of people creating content and inciting competition, and it takes effort to separate oneself from the crowd.

Call of ROBLOXia 5: ROBLOX at War - The Village

“Not everyone has the time or patience to go through all the coding aspects of game designing,” litozinnamon says. “I think people are more likely to design a popular game if they love math and are skilled in it, generally because scripting requires a lot of math work and logic. This isn’t always true, because people that aren’t experts in math can also create really good games, but it does give an edge in creating scripts.”

Ultimately, though, ROBLOX gives users one of the best opportunities to make serious waves. A couple weeks back, we published a story about Borderline, an upcoming first-person shooter that shows tremendous promise. One part of the discussion that never made it to print focused on the development team’s decision to use ROBLOX when they clearly have the smarts to learn other development tools.

lito Quotation“It’s a platform with a lot of players, meaning that we can get the attention of a lot of people,” user bauer102 said. He further commented on the potential power of game development in ROBLOX, noting “Lua is just an awesome, dynamic language.”

Litozinnamon concurs. “There is no way I could have created a game with a different development tool to achieve the same accomplishment I have here in ROBLOX.”

People who have developed a game using ROBLOX are quick to note it’s an excellent tool and distribution channel. While many have already taken advantage of it to earn serious game development experience and community cred, we’re always working to give users more power. This is a significant driving force behind improvements to our building kit, ROBLOX Studio, our expansion to mobile devices, and how we prioritize development of our rendering, networking and physics engines.

We want every ROBLOX user to believe they have the power to be a successful indie developer — and every right to be part of the game development democracy.

About Andrew "blockhaak" Haak

Communications Manager at ROBLOX. blockhaak on ROBLOX; @andrewjhaak on Twitter.

49 thoughts on “Taking the Democratization of Game Development to New Heights

  1. NobelKnight

    I liked the old studio better. Studio 2013 does not let you get tools. It keeps on dissapearing when i get a tool.

  2. Treeofpower

    I can’t even launch Roblox Studio 2013. Whenever I do an error shows up. :/ And I really REALLY need to update the coding in my game. Please help!

    1. SwimyGreen

      I had the same problem yesterday. You have to uninstall Roblox from the control AND delete the Studio.exe in downloads.

    1. Sonickyle

      Actually, it is, considering it has a Physics engine, Scripting engine, Lighting engine, and Network engine all built in.

  3. Bugor

    It’s sad that everyone who hasn’t played ROBLOX properly, or was only testing it, judges the entire game off of teh front page. You cannot go there! There is nothing good there! Sometimes, a decent game will finally have crawled it’s way up a slimy wall with only tiny cracks for hand and foot-holds, but you can’t go there! You need to search up Sandbox (NBC), and ask some people what their favorite games are.

  4. kman5165

    I have attempted and failed to create scripted games. I had originally created a game in ROBLOX back in 2009 when I initially started ROBLOX and I used pre-made models and scripts, but I didn’t like it because it wasn’t me who did it. So I’m back at the drawing board at this moment trying to strive to learn scripting from my friends Litozinnamon and Spaartan and getting ideas from others games.

  5. Snak02588

    Nice article and he has a good game going. I made 2 of my games front page on Super Bowl day, check my profile.

    1. Garrett Collier

      I agree with you, Snak!!

      But, Unfortunately, I did not make any games on the Super Bowl page. But I definetly agree with you.

      Thx, Garrett

  6. LegoExo

    Litzo’s a living ROBLOX success story. I hope to see more of his work in the near future, and I look forward to seeing more spectacular masterpieces created by players like him.

  7. Eragon70789

    “ROBLOX users don’t keep coming back unless the game play encourages it” You mean like piperson50, DrROBLOXIAN’s kind of games who switch picture and title very often to lure players to their horrible games? Not only that, but also scam them with fake VIP and ADMIN shirts.

  8. xear50

    This is very inspiring for lots of Roblox players, I think this is especially special for me because I have the competition for FPS gaming.
    (Upcoming Borderline, Call of Robloxia, and other games)

    That have had these awesome interviews. And to all you people who think that you have a great idea, but ‘never get around to it’, GET AROUND TO IT. Developing games are fun and I think that unless you try, you’ll never get anywhere in life.

  9. cardgamechampion

    I’ve always had a dream to build a high-quality ROBLOX game, and get to the front page, but I’ve learned something from this (this isn’t really in the article, I just thought of it right now): Most of the time, the dreamers keep dreaming their whole lives. Out of all the famous ROBLOXians, only 1 said that they were dreaming it in a previous blog post. So I will focus more on learning more ROBLOX stuff (I already know so much though :D).

    1. jbjgang2

      I think i’ve said that before. It turns out, I was completely wrong. Dreamers have amazing ideas, like me and you, so you spread it. Maybe with a friend, and you make a game with that person. It’s as simple as that. “Never quit on yourself because nothing may seem as it is”. And that is a quote i still follow today.

  10. Sonic50

    I love how robloxians, are so dedicated to their work, that’s what makes roblox a unique place to join all kinds of minds together to achieve great things.

  11. nascarguy88

    Great article! I have gotten to speak with litozinnamon, not for long though, and it is great to be able to hear more!

  12. ENET

    Roblox is a good tool to distribute your games, but one thing it currently lacks that I would like to see is more chat control. I think we should be able to handle the messages from our players. Not modify, but atleast pick who gets to see the message and who doesn’t.

  13. narutouchiha159

    That was a great article ,I hope my place would be popular in the futer its not doone yet but it will be done in just days, If you want to checkout where i reached to cheack out my profile narutouchiha159.

  14. chaoticmaster123

    Yes, I’ve met litozinnamon at one of his favorite games (The Conquerors), which was one of my favorites too! He’s very nice and plans on maybe making some more game.

  15. NiceCake123

    I wish ROBLOX would make it easier to script and such, for younger players like 10 yrs old, I find it very difficult to make a good game and only basically teens have their games on front page.

    1. iwinulose505

      I’m sure they started learning at ages of about 10, though. You have to have time to build and grow, and just because you’re a teenager doesn’t instantly mean you can build and script.

      1. racerking31

        I learned when I was 8, but the only thing is that I am lazy and when I do I sometimes do it right and it fails.

  16. omaraa

    I personally think Roblox Studio is the only Studio that is so User Friendly and so easy to use, in Tools and in Programming with Scripts. Thanks to Roblox, there are a lot of scripters and game developers around the world now, I really love the idea of that. Just to get young talented people know what they can do and to make something that is more than they could of ever thought they can build!

  17. CrazyKilla15

    good, i love when roblox shares stuff like this

    a lot of people probably could be successful in that job if they wanted to

  18. bigyboy

    I’m trying to make my own indie FPS on Roblox this summer. Roblox is probably one of the best tools for making games just because it’s available, easy to use (Well, somewhat), and there’s just so much you can do with it! Hey Roblox developers, Thanks for making Roblox!

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