Land Grab!

TerrainGoesBoom

ROBLOX has released version 1.0 of our hotly anticipated terrain feature! Since the time it was first announced at the ROBLOX RALLY on August 1st, the ROBLOX team has been focused on driving terrain across the finish line. There are a ton more features we want to add, and you guys will see terrain improvements rolling out over the next several releases. Enough talk. What’s in version 1.0?

What is Terrain?

ROBLOX terrain is a super scalable voxel-based grid. Currently, it can be up to 2048 x 512 x 2048 studs large, containing up to 16 million 4x4x4 terrain cells. Anything built using terrain cells is extremely high-performance. You can uses all 16 million cells to build with no graphics slow down. Even better, terrain integrates seamlessly with the normal ROBLOX building parts.

Play With Terrain Right Now

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To show off some of the new gameplay possibilities afforded by terrain, I’ve uploaded a simple demonstration level. All players start with overpowered weapons that cut through terrain like a hot knife through butter. At the same time, floating bots are launching rockets at the players. The level is uncopylocked – grab a copy and check out the scripts!

Make Your Own Terrain

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You can very easily get started building your own terrains in ROBLOX Studio. We’ve added a slew of tools to help you create and sculpt your own terrains (warning: this is very fun). The first tool you’ll want to try is the Terrain Generator. It’s got some sliders that you can play with to generate different types of terrains. Here’s one that I made in 30 seconds:

RobloxApp 2011-10-07 09-47-50-09All the other new tools help you modify an existing terrain that you have generated. The best way to learn what they do is by messing around with them. ROBLOX team members Gemlocker and bjdeck gave a presentation at the ROBLOX RALLY that showed off some of these tools.

Quick side note:image

ROBLOX Studio pros know that there’s a lot of ways to move parts around with ROBLOX Studio. ROBLOX recommends that you use these tools for manipulating parts that you want to connect with terrain. For example, if you are inserting a large building, use the arrow tool shown above to weld this object to the terrain. If you use the old arrow cursor tool, the building will not create welds with terrain. This will cause two bad things to happen: 1) the building could be moved if something heavy hits it in-game and 2) your game may run slowly because you have a large object making many many surface contacts with the terrain. We will be cleaning up ROBLOX Studio and making this less confusing in the near future.

Scripters Paradise

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Guess what scripters? All of the new terrain tools we have provided in ROBLOX Studio are actually plugins scripted in Lua – 100% modifiable by you! Make your own terrain generators! Make your own tools! Show off your 1337 creations in the scripters forum!

What’s Next for Terrain

Currently the ROBLOX terrain object only supports two types of materials: grass and sand. There will be many more coming in future releases. We will also continues to improve the quality of terrain plugins provided in ROBLOX Studio. Plus a bunch of other stuff that’s still under wraps!

- Telamon

Announcing the First Ever Rich Tester Day

ROBLOX is a game built by its players. Players help us test the game too – on our test sites such as gametest.roblox.com and sitetest.roblox.com. Many of the bugs our early testers find are fixed prior to release, so most ROBLOXians don’t even know they existed.

ROBLOX is launching a new test site that will allow us to handle 10x the number of testers as we have been able to accommodate before. To celebrate this launch, we are announcing the first ever Rich Tester Day!

What is Rich Tester Day?

Rich Tester Day is a zany event for our dedicated testers! We want to see if we can make the new test site explode by overloading it with users, so we are giving out free money (money only good on test site)! Everyone who visits our new test site between 9/22/2011 12:00 PM and 9/22/2011 5:00 PM PST will find 10,000 ROBUX in their test account! Users who create a new account on our test site will start with 50,000 tickets.

Testing Money is Not Real Money

There is no way to transfer money from our new test site to your account on ROBLOX.com. Also, data on our test sites can be overwritten at any time without warning – so enjoy your testing money while it lasts!

One Lucky User

One lucky user who logs onto our new test site will get 10,000 real ROBUX on ROBLOX.com. All you have to do is login to our new test site and you have a chance to win.

Reporting Bugs

If you find any bugs with the new test site (especially bugs that don’t happen on regular ROBLOX), please post them in this special forum. These bug reports help us to deliver a top-quality game to our millions of players. Thanks!

- Telamon

The Terrain Game

Hail ROBLOXians! Today has been an exciting week at ROBLOX HQ. The new terrain feature is 98% done; we did our first public test of terrain on gametest.roblox.com yesterday.

What is terrain? I could tell you, but maybe you’d rather hear from the developers themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Simon Kozlov (aka Gemlocker) and Ben Deckinga (bjdeck), direct from the ROBLOX RALLY:

Key points about ROBLOX terrain:

  • Live on gametest.roblox.com (not up 100% of the time)
  • Vast voxel-based grid of boxes and wedges
  • Integrated with the ROBLOX physics engine
  • Destructible
  • It is fully scriptable in Lua (but API will change before release)
  • Editable with ROBLOX and user-made Studio plugins
  • First version out in September
  • Additional terrain types out soon after

We’ve got some other huge user features coming down the pike for September release as well, but we’ll talk about those another time…

- Telamon

ROBLOX Plugins: Power to Scripters

Last night, ROBLOX released an exciting new feature for scripters… My friends, we offer you nothing less than total control of your ROBLOX building experience!

It’s my pleasure to introduce the ROBLOX plugin architecture: it allows scripters, in Lua, to write their own building tools. These tools will appear in a series of toolbars in ROBLOX Studio, like this:

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The best community-developed tools may be rolled back into future versions of ROBLOX Studio, and they can be shared between players.

How to Install a Plugin

Currently, one plugin ships standard with ROBLOX, the Time Of Day plugin produced by ROBLOX super-intern Cyrion. Here are two other plugins for you to experiment with:

Demo Plugin – This is one of the simplest plugins possible. Take a look at the source to see how to make your own.

Tree Generator – I repurposed the procedural tree generator from one of Anaminus’s places and made his code into a plugin in less than 5 minutes.

To install these plugins, follow these steps:

  1. Download the files
  2. Unzip them
  3. Open ROBLOX Studio
  4. Tools –> Open Plugin Folder
  5. Copy the treegen and demo folders into this folder
  6. These tools will be loaded next time you open a place in Studio

If you ever want to remove a plugin, just delete the plugin’s folder. In the future, we would like to make installing plugins easier. For now it’s a power-user feature.

How to Make a Plugin

Flurite and Trappingnoobs have written an article in the wiki outlining what you need to know to produce your own plugins. We will be updating this article as we continue to improve our plugin architecture.

What Can I Do With This

Most of the official ROBLOX tools are also built in Lua, so really, you can do anything you want! The basic idea is you can make a tool to do anything that’s hard to do in ROBLOX Studio right now. I thought about it for 30 seconds and I already have more ideas than will fit:

  • CFraming tools for putting parts inside each other
  • More tree-generation tools with more parameters
  • Weather tool
  • Character designer – dressing NPCs in ROBLOX Studio is very hard right now
  • NPC dialog creator – a nice interface for creating dialogs
  • Team configurator – create teams, and create rules for them (red gets weapons X, Y, Z & blue gets only Z)
  • Regenerator – click on a model to make it regen every X seconds.
  • Teleport creator – type in a destination and click.
  • Moving platform designer – draw a path for a floating platform to follow
  • AI platform for Bots – create bots and tell them what to do
  • NavMesh generator – draw paths and nodes in levels to create a NavMesh that AI bots can use A* to navigate.
  • Random treasure placer – click on a spot to create 5-25 coins and 1-3 gems there.
  • Head explosion from ideas!

I Made and Awesome Plugin!

Great! Share it with us on the Scripters forum – we’re very interested to see what kinds of tools you build for ROBLOX Studio!

- Telamon

Introducing MEGA Places

First announced at the ROBLOX RALLY, MEGA places have gone live on ROBLOX.com!image

What is a MEGA Place?

MEGA places support a lot more simultaneous players than classical ROBLOX places do. They are still highly experimental. We have done tests of MEGA places with up to 100 players, but for this first release MEGA places will support 30 players.

MEGA Place Facts

  • MEGA places currently support 30 players per instance.
  • This number will increase over time.
  • MEGA places get roughly 2-3x the compute power per game – so they can handle more moving parts, scripts, and players without lagging.
  • All players can play MEGA places
  • Creating a MEGA place is a BC Beta feature – something we are testing at the moment with our Builders Club members. This is largely because the beefier computers we use to host MEGA places have higher cost for ROBLOX Corp.

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How to Make a Mega Place

It is now possible to control the number of players that your place supports from the Place Configuration page. Classic places can have between 6-20 players each. MEGA places get what ever the current MEGA place player limit is (always at least 30, but in the future it could be 50 or 100).

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The Future

The ROBLOX Team, especially RoboYZ, is continuing to optimize both our server and client code to support more players in MEGA places. Here’s a sneak peek at what is coming…

Go try a MEGA place right now!

- Telamon

Teleportation: The Art & The Science

TeleportScience

It has been a long journey, people. A long journey.

In the beginning, there was no notion of space (or spaces) in ROBLOX. When I joined the company in June 2006, the only playable place there was was Crossroads. Then we allowed the users to host their own multiplayer instances: independent worlds of their own design; shards of a larger reality. This momentous decision lead to the creation of universe that is, in a very real way, infinite. New games are being uploaded to ROBLOX.com faster than you can load them. You will never see them all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Teleportation: an ethereal link between two distant locales, ignorant of the base substrate of the ROBLOX website. The fractured infinity of the ROBLOX universe will be made whole again. The space between our worlds has been annihilated.

TeleportOk

Teleportation for Beginners

TeleporterTakeOne

  1. First, grab a copy of the Teleporter model.
  2. This will make it appear in the “My Models” section of the Insert Panel in ROBLOX Studio
  3. Insert a teleporter wherever you want in your level
  4. By default, this teleporter goes nowhere. You need to configure it so it knows where to send people! See directions for this step below…
  5. Congratulations! You have a teleporter that will send people from level A to level B.
  6. For best results, place a second teleporter in level B that allows your players to return to level A. Without bidirectional teleporters, ROBLOXians can easily get lost!

Configuring the Teleporters

imageThere are three settings inside the teleporter model for you to play around with. These allow you to modify the behavior of your teleporter with no scripting knowledge!

PlaceId – This is the ID of the ROBLOX place you want the teleporter to send people to. This is the only setting you must change to make it work. You can find the ID for a place in the URL for that place’s page. For instance, Crossroads is PlaceId 1818.

DestinationSpawnName – You can program your teleporter to send a player is a specific spawn location in the destination level. For instance, the teleporter pad in Crossroads has a spawnpoint in it named “CrossRoadsSpawn”. If you set PlaceId to 1818 and DestinationSpawnName to “CrossRoadsSpawn”, players traveling through your teleporter will spawn on top of the teleporter Sorcus placed in Crossroads (instead of at a random spawn point).

ThisSpawnName – This is basically the address of the teleporter. You can set this to something like “TeleporterInSecretBase” and then teleport people there from another level by using this as your DestinationSpawnName.

Teleportation for Scripters

If you are a scripter, you don’t have to use our teleporter models. You can build your own! Here are the two function calls that you can make:

game:GetService(“TeleportService”):TeleportToSpawnByName(placeId, spawnName)

game:GetService(“TeleportService”):Teleport(placeId)

Important: these calls will only work from inside a LocalScript. Take a look at the code in our teleporter to see how it’s done!

Personal Note

It has been my extreme pleasure to present this particular feature to you guys today. Back when there were only 4 of us working at ROBLOX, sometimes Dave and Erik (the guys in charge) would leave Matt and I alone for the day and we would secretly work on teleportation! I’m psyched that it is now part of ROBLOX! Have fun experimenting!

- Telamon

Data: Only the Most Valuable Thing in the World

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The ROBLOX data centers are about to get toasty – today we’re releasing our data persistence API to ROBLOX game developers!

Data persistence will allow place builders to save information about players in their games (and load it when those players come back).

Things you can do with the new API:

  • Create an RPG game that saves a player’s Gold and current Level
  • Spawn returning players in the exact location they were standing in when they last exited your game
  • Create a building game where structures that players create are saved and loaded when they come back
  • Create a game where players design their own race cars – and have those cars waiting for them when they come back
  • Create a checkpoint system for an obstacle course that will allow players to save their progress
  • A bunch of stuff we haven’t even thought of

I want to try this out!

There are two places on ROBLOX where you can see the data persistence API in action right now.

  1. The “Welcome to ROBLOX Building” level, where we are using persistence to help us make an exciting multiplayer building game.
  2. “Cow Clicker”, a quick and dirty demo that shows how to build a simple game using persistence with about than 80 lines of Lua.

Information for Scripters

Use of this new API is intended for advanced Lua scripters only – if you’re just starting out learning how to script, we don’t recommend you jump into the persistence API. Advanced scripters can find documentation of the API in the wiki. We will be curating this documentation over the next couple of weeks – as well as providing additional tutorials.

This is a highly experimental feature, subject to change. We’ll be collecting feedback from the community to determine what other functionality we need to provide to give place builders a solid yet flexible method of saving data.

- Telamon