Today we’re interviewing Erik Cassel, a founding member of ROBLOX! He is so retro his user number is 16, and he has a dot in his username. Wow! Let’s see what he has to say. You can talk more about Erik’s interview on our forums.
What is your favorite thing about working for ROBLOX?
Seeing what you Robloxians invent. Really.
I love to write code, but it’s the amazingly fun stuff that the ROBLOX community creates and does that motivates me. ROBLOX would be nothing without it.
Here’s an example: Back in the olden days ROBLOX was a single-player game with no Robloxian characters. The day we released our first multi-player game with characters there were about 20 kids on the site. They all got together in Crossroads and started building. Soon the kids noticed they could build platforms on their own shoulders (surprise! We hadn’t realized this), and so they started carrying each other around on bizarre brick contraptions strapped to their backs. It was completely unexpected, collaborative and fun.
Every week we discover something new and unexpected like this.
What are you most proud of so far that you worked on at ROBLOX?
I’m pleased with a lot of things we’ve done behind the scenes to make ROBLOX possible, but most of it isn’t obvious to the end user. An example that builders can appreciate is the framework I wrote to make Roblox scriptable.
A lot of work went into binding the Lua scripting language to all the game elements. Doing this well is critical to having a good game engine.
Why did you join the ROBLOX team?
I joined ROBLOX so that someday somebody would drop a house into a giant blender :). That dream has become a reality and now I’m watching to see what comes next. Surprise me!
What has it been like to be at ROBLOX since the almost the very beginning?
It’s fun to be part of something as it grows, and you can reminisce about all the things that happened and how far we’ve come. On the other hand, ROBLOX keeps changing and growing. A year from now I’ll look back on today and think of it as part of the "beginning", too.
How did you get a dot in your name?
I was born with it.
How old were you when you started getting into computers and how did you learn to?
When I was five years old my dad would take me to his work and sit me in front of a punch card machine. Each time I pressed a key the machine would make a loud "tap" sound, like a machine gun. After ten minutes of rapid typing I had a stack of perforated cards that I could draw on with crayons. I thought computers were awesome!
My first programming experience was in junior high school on a Radio Shack TRS-80. During 20 minute recess I would program a game and have just a few minutes to play it before the bell rang. The computer didn’t have a hard drive, so I would lose the program and have to write a new one the next day. This really motivated me to become a good programmer. The faster and better I could code, the more time I had to play the game.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are cooking, bicycling, violin, ultimate Frisbee, woodworking and anything not having to do with computers. I’ve started Taekwondo, so watch out! I might pwn you in a gladiator arena…
What other games do you like to play?
My first board game was Starship Troopers, a classic Avalon Hill board game from the 1970’s. I frittered away my teenage years with D&D and other pen-and-paper RPGs. These days I play family-friendly games like Small World, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Blokus, and Ticket to Ride.
My all-time favorite game is bridge. Does anybody want to build a bridge game in ROBLOX?
What is the most important part of a sandwich?
Who you share it with.