If I had to sum up Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 in 10 words, I’d say, “a little bit of everything, nothing run-of-the-mill.” Last weekend, the San Mateo County Event Center was packed with DIY creators, tech companies, schools and organizations, showing projects from 3D printing – oddly captivating to watch – six-legged robots and hacked devices to world-record paper airplanes and armed garden gnomes.
For the record, that excludes all the stuff that required too much space to fit in a building – the giant dinosaur covered in speakers, the pedal-powered music stage and the mutated bicycles, to name a few.
Members of the ROBLOX team were swapping in and out of our Expo Hall booth all weekend. We had hundreds of gaming, technology and science enthusiasts stop by to experience ROBLOX and chat with us about it as both a game-play and game-creation platform. It was a whirlwind of interaction, but we took away some memorable nuggets of information.
For many people, there is internal drive to create; it’s an unstoppable, shared experience, but diverse in expression. This was essentially “mechanical art”. –Keith Lucas
Most every child and teenager who passed by stopped at our booth, and we found that about 30 percent of them had already played ROBLOX. It was interesting to listen in on discussions, as experienced players showed newcomers the ropes and enthusiasts engaged in discussions about ROBLOX’s position in a world of Minecraft, LittleBigPlanet and Second Life. One visitor even asked whether ROBLOX is what you get at the intersection of those three games – not exactly, but not too inaccurate of an observation, considering we combine free game development, game distribution and a robust community.
It was great to see so many dedicated ROBLOX fans. ROBLOX builders are Makers. –Erik Cassel
We did notice there’s a common misconception that you need a Builders Club membership to create games. All registered users can create a game, free of charge, and we want to make sure that’s clear in the future.
We also met some smart locals, who might have a future helping us build and shape ROBLOX.
I left Maker Faire with the impression that everyone is welcome – it draws a uniquely diverse crowd – and everyone will find a fascinating project (or 10). I was underwhelmed with Left 4 Dead 2 in 3D after a minute or two, but loved the rig it was running from – a human manikin with a computer for guts and brains.
We’ll see you at the next Maker Faire. Until then, check out the Make Zine’s Maker Faire blog, which continues to post photos from the event, and a few photos snapped by members of the ROBLOX team.