Responding to User Feedback, V6
by John Shedletsky
Ever since we made the request for your ROBLOX “Top Three,” we’ve been combing through the feedback and responding to your most insightful comments and pertinent questions. This week, John Shedletsky, ROBLOX’s Creative Director and Content Lead, elaborates on a variety of topics, including making money off your ROBLOX creations, dynamic “loading” of levels and content, Linux support, multiplayer ROBLOX Studio and more. For previous entries in this series, click here.
centraltrains: In-game purchases. I would like to be able to sell a VIP pass to my game in-game through the official system! Maybe charge users to use this, but it would be like teleport for buying.
This is a great idea and something many of us at ROBLOX have been discussing recently. As you may know, game creators currently sell VIP access to their games in a roundabout way, where you buy a special shirt and receive special privileges for wearing it in game. This is a very clever method that users have discovered, but is not the best or easiest way to conduct this transaction. We want to make it very simple in the future to sell VIP access and more within the game interface.
Bossofall: Let builders make money. We spend hours and hours working on a game, I think players deserve to earn some money from ROBLOX for making games. Maybe you guys can create a partner program like that of YouTube; once we get to a certain amount of place visits, we get paid for every subsequent 1,000 visits.
First off, Bossofall, great username. Second, this is also something that we have been thinking about recently. Nothing would make us happier than to have several thousand college students or indie game studios building games on ROBLOX and making enough from those games to support a small business.
As you might imagine, allowing game creators to make real money on their ROBLOX games is very complex, both from a technical standpoint and from a legal/tax perspective. I’ve heard lawyers say that would basically make ROBLOX Corp a bank; at that point there are all sorts of strict regulations to follow.
This is not to say that this is ultimately going to be a blocker, only that it will take us some time to prepare and comply.
Hikia: A lag-free storage area. I’d like some area on the place that can simply be used to store levels for the game without running scripts or calculating collisions, allowing for bigger mini game places or larger levels for competitive maps. Essentially, dynamic “loading” of maps.
This is basically what people have been using the Lighting service for: creating a replicated data cache. This is, of course, a hack. We’re looking at a way to provide a better and more full-featured solution for loading and pre-fetching data that you know your Lua scripts are going to need to run your game.
Cinematic camera control
Paingred: An easy way to create camera views without having to code. This would make games on ROBLOX a ton more interesting. This would allow the player to make cutscenes, 2D / first-person games, interesting videos for YouTube, cool pictures and much more.
We’ve recently added the bindings that are necessary to allow Lua finer-grain control of the camera. The next step is to do as you suggest and create a set of plugins for creating cutscenes and camera fly-throughs and set them up to be played with minimal scripting.
Oliver: ROBLOX running on Linux. I want to see ROBLOX running on Linux. Recently I accidentally crashed Windows 7 on my laptop, and had to install Windows 8 CP because I want to be able to play ROBLOX. I would also like to see dual-monitor support because I have two 23-inch monitors, and it would be nice to use both of them instead of having some worthless gray space to use.
We’re probably 97% of the way to a Linux port, now that we’ve all the work necessary to port ROBLOX to OSX – which, as you probably know, is based on the UNIX kernel. I think the problem that we would likely run into on Linux is poor video driver support. I’ve heard horror stories from other developers. However, as Linux becomes more popular, I expect this hurdle to disappear.
Parts with new properties
Spikespeed125: If you had a Gamecube you may have come across a game called Luigi’s Mansion. That game uses texture-based mirrors which reflect whatever is in front of the mirror at relatively low quality. You could use that sort of design that reaches at a radius of about 5 – 10 studs in ROBLOX. You could also allow people to set mirror distance in ROBLOX Studio.
Unlike Luigi’s Mansion, ROBLOX developers are not in control of the levels that users create. So, if we supported mirrors, someone would inevitably build an Infinite Hall of Mirrors and expect it to work.
That being said, I’m sure that there is something technically feasible that we could do for less demanding situations – it’s just a matter of prioritizing which graphics features we need first.
HKS23: Bendable Bricks. It would probably only work with plastic and diamond plates. Every other material would just shatter (except grass).
We’d love to add deformable parts to our physics engine.
Anonymous John Doe: Add key functions that do not have to be used on tools (for example, pressing “M” to see a GUI map, but you do not have to select a tool to do that. The key functions would revolutionize the ROBLOX gaming experience. It could possibly replace the functions for key pressing in tools, and we might be able to have a service that can insert those types of scripts in there. For example, you could script a crouch movement by pressing “C”, and that script would be in the Service. It could also be in ScreenGuis for making other Guis visible by a press of a key.
Yes. One of the things my team asks for most often is a global keyboard and mouse object that you can hook into. It will happen.
Multiplayer ROBLOX Studio
undeadCobra139: A multiplayer Studio. My friends are always asking me for help on how to operate Studio and/or build certain things. I, and my friends, would really love a multiplayer studio; with such a thing, friends could be like a game-making company, creating more complex games, with each friend specializing in a certain thing.
We would like to add the ability for a place creator to upload a game and attach to it a multiplayer version of Studio in order to debug problems that you only see in a multiplayer context.
I think a multiplayer version of Studio for the purposes of collaborating on building is interesting, but I don’t think it would scale well to too many players. I imagine it would be confusing to know who is editing what, and it might be hard to code in an environment where anyone can launch all scripts by starting time at any moment.