Spotlight: Three Teens Use ROBLOX to Ignite Careers
ROBLOX is many things to many people. To some, ROBLOX is a simple and dynamic service that provides hours of gaming entertainment. To those willing to invest a bit more time, ROBLOX is a tool for creative expression. And to a select few, ROBLOX has become a jump off point to careers in programming, gaming, and even literature. Our “Spotlight” segment features author/programmer Brandon LaRouche, and programmers Alex Binello and Seth Tyler.
After receiving an iPod Touch for Christmas in 2009, Brandon LaRouche, known in ROBLOX as CowBear16, was eager to find a ROBLOX application in the app store.
“When I mentioned to my dad that there was no ROBLOX application, he suggested that I learn to make one. So he took me to the book store and I bought an iOS programming book,” recalls LaRouche.
By the Fall of 2010, LaRouche had become a registered iOS developer, and began developing ROBLOX applications for use with mobile devices.
An active ROBLOX user since 2008, LaRouche and his twin brother Ryan quickly familiarized themselves with Lua and began creating games. LaRouche had learned how to code, and program, by reading various books on the subject matter. Having learned to do so much from reading books, LaRouche suddenly had an idea.
“I was motivated by users that simply didn’t know where to begin,” says LaRouche. “My goal was to create a book that was easy to understand, and simple enough to grab the attention of beginning ROBLOX users who were confused by the language.”
So, at 16-years old, LaRouche wrote “Basic ROBLOX Lua Programming”, and has already sold 256 copies, both online on Amazon.com, and in-person at our recent ROBLOX Game Conference. A sentence from the introduction reads: “One of ROBLOX’s main achievements is the introduction of coding to a young user base.”
LaRouche has big plans for the future—he recently submitted a ROBLOX iPad application that lets users specify, generate, and export the Lua code to drive ROBLOX GUI’s. He is also planning on continuing his career as a writer, and is currently working on a new book for intermediate users.
“ROBLOX motivated me to keep learning how to program, and showed me that hard work brings success,” says LaRouche. “With the money I’ve made, I now have a legalized LLC, a new Mac, and I’ve spread my apps to multiple platforms.”
17-year-old programmer Alex Binello has a lot on his mind, which becomes evident when you have a conversation with him. He speaks quickly, often shifting gears during a story, before swinging back around full-circle.
Binello, or alexnewtron in the world of ROBLOX, has developed quite the list of accomplishments. He was honored with our Game Developer of the Year Award in 2011—many of the games he created, like DODGEBALL, Oranges to Oranges, and Four Corners are massively popular titles on ROBLOX with huge followings.
“What drew me in was that I saw that you could actually make games,” recalls Binello. “So I started making games; simple ones at first. Then one of them hit the front page.”
Binello found that the Lua scripting language was surprisingly similar to languages he had already learned. And, though Binello continues to be an active user in the gaming community, ROBLOX acted as a catalyst for something new and exciting.
Social Meeps is a—surprise–social “hangout” website where you can create customizable circular avatars called “meeps” and hang out in a variety of virtual environments. It also features in-game currency that can be used to purchase items for your meep, whether that’s new body types, hats, glasses or faces. Legacy items become available for a short period of time, and can be re-sold at a later date for more money—a notion Binello gleaned from ROBLOX.
Binello, along with long-time friend and programmer Seth Tyler (who’s 14-years-old by the way), created the website from scratch in January, using skills they had developed using the ROBLOX platform.
Alex Binello, Seth Tyler, and Brandon LaRouche personify the values we hold ourselves, and our users to, every day at ROBLOX. Whether it’s a new ROBLOX game, a website, a new mobile app, or a book, we’re all about creating things, and we’re thrilled to see that ROBLOX has inspired these teens to do just that.