Responding to User Feedback, V12

November

27, 2012

by John Shedletsky


Archive

Every 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 single player servers, group vs. group battles, and ROBLOX Studio tools. The topics for this User Feedback session were submitted to us during our recent 2012 Player Survey. You can read previous entries here.

Muddy101: Single player servers. I would love to make a story-driven game, especially on a platform I already know really well. I can’t really do that while building with the fullest detail if I cannot isolate a player. Single player servers would solve this problem, I feel.

The good news is that we’re actively working on web support for single player games. Traditionally ROBLOX games have been multiplayer, because it’s easier to build engaging multiplayer games than it is to build engaging solo games. However, the great news for potential ROBLOX single player game developers is that soon there will be a huge audience of players interested in these types of games: iPad players who are on the go and don’t have internet access. So there may be something of a renaissance here.

Shadowfire36: Being a Group Leader, I think groups should have more things to do around ROBLOX. I mean, going around and taking over enemy bases and making alliances is fun. Is there a way to get groups to go to war? Maybe you could add a leaderboard and similar things. That would improve the amount of people who purchase Builders Club so they can be in several groups.

We’ve always thought that there are two “killer” features that we need to deliver for groups:

  1. Group forums
  2. Group battles

We’ve had many discussions on the specifics of what this would look like, but everyone agrees that it is a recipe for an insane amount of fun. This project is in the hands of ROBLOX engineer Navin Lal, so we had him explain.

Group vs. Group is something we’ve wanted to add for a long time, and it’s definitely something we hope to start working on soon. One incarnation of it might be as follows: You and your group members form a party and enter a ranked matchmaking queue. We would try to set you up with an opposing group of similar skills levels. When a match is found, we’d start up a private game instance for you two to face off in. You guys would duke it out and the winner would be reported back to us and saved onto our global leaderboards.

Gusmandak: Add Robux to trades. I know you guys were working on it on Sitetest3, but adding it to the ROBLOX site would make a great difference and players would not get scammed!

Without spoiling the surprise, I’d recommend checking back on the blog later on this week.

ServersDoubleA7: ROBLOX could set up a secondary server base; this could help if something where to cut off the main servers or just as a second server base to reduce lag. The backup servers could be based somewhere in Asia or other foreign continents.

The ROBLOX web and services teams are working on deploying game servers world-wide. This will radically reduce in-game latency for people joining us from other continents than North America. We expect the first boxes to come online early next year. Watch this space.

DJGrand: My personal request is for the Roblox staff to personally create more games. I enjoy them a lot and so do many other Robloxians. I’ve noticed there haven’t been many recently. Actually, there haven’t been many at all this year.

The ROBLOX Content Team have cranked out quite a few games recently. They’re currently working on a battle game, a puzzle game, and a building game that are optimized for play on the iPad. In addition, various staff members are often tinkering with their own projects. Luke’s been hacking together some dragons and modeling underground fortresses. I’ve been working on my paintball game. And HotThoth made this mind-bending environment.

DeathWolf612: I’ve noticed that you can only delete terrain block by block in ROBLOX Studio, and doing so is cumbersome. Ever think of making something that would delete terrain faster? Could you modify the delete tool so you can select more terrain at the same time? My idea would be this: you could stretch a red box over terrain, press “C” to stretch it into a square, and press “C” again to stretch it into a cube. Then let go of the mouse and it will delete all the terrain within the box.

Our voxel-editing tools are currently underpowered. Conspicuously missing is any notion of copy/paste as well as the ability to save a chunk of your terrain as a model (which you might want to do if you create a building out of voxels, for example). Tim’s team is taking a hard look at ROBLOX Studio and will be beefing up its capabilities continuously.

Engineering Director Tim Brown: This is a great idea. We’re currently working on some interface changes that will help make terrain more prominent in ROBLOX studio (not just a plugin). In addition to doing this, we’ll revisit our existing tools to see if we can make any improvements. Something along these lines seems like a no-brainer.

ZombieSlayerOverlord: Obviously CFrame (Coordinate Frame) is a big part of creating good games, especially bases for your groups. But to get CFrame, you either have to somehow inject it into studio, make a script, or put a tool in your backpack and do it in build mode. Could you save everyone the trouble and simply make it a regular tool on the top bar in studio mode?

When people talk about CFraming, they are typically talking about two major areas of functionality: rotation and translation of bricks, without respect for collisions. We’ve recently improved ROBLOX Studio’s rotation tool to make it more flexible (though it’s not perfect for exact rotations – say if you know you want to rotate a block 56 degrees in Y). The one area we need to add functionality is in allowing users to optionally position blocks inside of each other. If we nail both of these things, I suspect most users will not need a custom CFraming plugin or script.

Engineering Director Tim Brown: I agree with your frustration and we’re trying to address the issue. The main question to me is, “why do users even need to CFrame?” If most builders are trying to interpenetrate parts, perhaps we should give them a tool that allows that. These are all things we’re thinking about and prototyping.