Responding to User Feedback, V11

November

05, 2012

by John Shedletsky


Archive

Responding to User FeedbackEvery so often, we ask our users to let us know what they’d like to see in ROBLOX, then respond to some of the most insightful comments and pertinent questions. This time, John Shedletsky, ROBLOX’s Creative Director, elaborates on a variety of topics, including your ideas for one-time-use Game Passes, in-game advertising, 3D model manipulation, in-app Studio tutorials, canvas objects and more. This entry includes guest commentary from three ROBLOX engineers. You can read previous entries in this ongoing series here.

5000-Point Game PassOne-Time-Use Game Passes

Smakdown21: Allow Game Passes to be purchased more than once. This way, a player can buy in-game currency. For example: five Robux gets you a Game Pass worth 500 game points. If you buy five of them, you will have 2,500 game points.

GollyGreg:  Expirable or “one-time-use” Game Passes. Some could argue these would only be used to benefit the wealthy, but I can envision interesting applications, such as in-game-shop money or sampling a VIP shirt, if these were implemented.

We’ve discussed creating sellable “counters,” which could be incremented or decremented inside of a game, but also purchased outright on the game’s page. This would allow people to sell countable things: ammo, gold, experience points, jet fuel, etc. I think the user experience would be better as well, since the website would be able to show you your inventory for all the different games you play.

Additional commentary from Software Engineer Rosemary Ehlers (Raeglyn on ROBLOX): We would love to implement a game “token” system, which would allow users to sell consumable items that unlock content or in-game items, including currency. Our first priority, however, is to polish our existing features before moving on to new development.

BillboardIn-game User Advertising

dmanband11: Give users the ability to have in-game advertising. You already give users the option to upload ads for people to see on the website. Why not in the game users are playing?

Some users have arranged informal in-game advertising deals. So-and-so has a popular level and you pay them a certain amount per month to run an ad for your game in their level. We haven’t pushed the envelope on this very hard since it is unclear to us how many ROBLOX games actually lend themselves to this type of advertising. For something like a NASCAR racing level it might feel very natural, as real-world NASCAR events are loaded with sponsorship, but for many types of games we think the ads might be more annoying than beneficial.

CanCollide Bug

mat852: Fix the non-CanCollide bug. Fix the existing engine bug, which lets you walk on non-CanCollide bricks (such as in first-person shooters, where you aim downward and your player walks on your gun).

The engine team is aware of this bug and it is in their backlog.

3ds MaxExport ROBLOX Models

Lewis: Let 3D modelers export .RBLX models to 3D programs (3ds Max, Blender, etc.). As a modeler and wannabe animator in the Source Filmmaker, I think It would be useful to let us extract models ROBLOX we have made into a program such as Blender or 3ds Max. It would let users show off and make movies.

Our lead graphics engineer actually added this functionality as a Hack Week project last December and we’ve used it internally on occasion. More work would need to be done to ship it to end users, and it’s not something for which people have been clamoring. If you want this feature added to ROBLOX, tell us so in the comments of this article or on the Suggestions & Ideas forum.

ROBLOX Studio “Edit” Tutorial

ThisIsIce: ROBLOX Studio Edit Tutorial. When you first open a place up in ROBLOX Studio’s “Edit” mode, tutorials should pop up to help you navigate what is on your screen, such as the Explorer pane, Properties pane, Insert > Object, etc. Also, when you open up your first script, you should see a basic tutorial on scripting with a simple script to debug at the end of the tutorial.

Agreed.

Guest commentary from Engineering Director Tim Brown: These are good ideas. Right now, the Studio Team is focused on ease of use and polishing the interface. Our goal is to nail those things and guide users through the ROBLOX Studio experience, thereby addressing your concern at the source and reducing the first-time user’s reliance on automatic tutorials. Still, these are things we’ll have in the future.

iPad Detection

Techboy6601: iPad detection. iPad detection would be a great way to give iPad users a more intuitive experience. For example, in first-person shooters, having a giant button to shoot would be a pain for desktop users but would help iPad users.

Do you mean like game:GetService(“UserInputService”).TouchEnabled?

BattleBoats MinimapCanvas Object

ds84182: Create a canvas object. A canvas object acts like a Javascript canvas. You can draw to it, you can read individual pixels, etc. Many in-game objects could contain canvases. The camera, for example, could use a render texture to provide a canvas object of the user’s screen, but that object would be read-only. Decals and Textures would also have the canvas object. And the ImageButton and ImageLabel instances would include their own as well.

Canvas API: canvas.new(w,h) creates a new canvas. The cap is at 512×512.

I think there are a lot of useful things you could do with a canvas object, and right now users are hacking around its absence. For instance, um3k’s BattleBoats level features a minimap that is actually rendered using tens of thousands of 1×1 GUI elements instead of a canvas object. While this is a very creative solution, it’s obviously very performance intensive. Probably 90% of the graphics rendering load for this level is just rendering the minimap.

On the other hand, the reason a canvas object doesn’t exist at the moment is that we’re 100% focused on building a great 3D game-development platform. We’re not trying to make it easy to develop 2D games; there’s already a platform to do that (Flash). We don’t want to build an inferior Flash competitor.

The bottom line is that this one goes in the “someday, maybe” pile.

You can read previous entries in our ongoing Responding to User Feedback series here. Do you have your own ideas you’d like to submit for consideration on the ROBLOX blog? Send us a tweet or submit an idea via this form.