Spotlight: GollyGreg and the Importance of Choices
User GollyGreg is known in ROBLOX as a camera wizard of sorts–evidenced by his direct involvement with one of our television commercials two years ago, and more recently in his game Choices. Choices is an interesting title for numerous reasons, and the name of the game certainly doesn’t mince words.
From the onset, you’re asked a series of questions–though your answers don’t really matter, as the game is programmed to do the opposite of your response. So here’s a hint before you jump in–if you’re a guy, say you’re a girl, unless you want to be rewarded with “good girl” every time you complete a task.
GollyGreg got the idea to create Choices after playing a game called Loved, a ROBLOX title from a few years ago.
“The eeriness of Loved really stuck with me, and I wanted to replicate it,” says GollyGreg. “Throwing the whole 3D aspect in it is what makes it an interesting game.”
We totally agree. Choices switches perspectives–seamlessly migrating between a 2D platformer and a 3D obstacle course. The transition itself happens in-game, as you’re playing, and it’s a real eye catching effect the first time it happens. You feel like you’ve been tricked.
“It took some programming and scripting to make the camera work that way,” recalls GollyGreg. “I created transition points on different parts of the map, so as you continue walking forward the 3D effect begins to sway. It keeps moving on an axis until eventually you can take full 3D control of the camera.”
He went on explain that most platforming games don’t allow you to place the camera where you want, and that he hopes that users begin integrating his method into other games as well. “Restricting how the camera can move and limiting points of view doesn’t make sense to me,” says GollyGreg.
GollyGreg’s fascination with technology began at an early age. His dad managed IT databases for an energy company in Iowa, and did a lot of work from home. GollyGreg would stay up late at night watching him work with hardware; watching him build.
“ROBLOX gave me the chance to take learning into my own hands,” recalls GollyGreg. “The feeling that, ‘wow, I’m walking around in someone else’s creation’, that feeling was really cool.
He began creating his own virtual games, including his first popular title, Parody, which was a (you guessed it) parody of an actual obstacle course that you could complete in under five seconds. Once complete, you were whisked away in a space ship by aliens. Once on board, you can explore the ship, and watch the strange orb-like aliens interact with one another. Different sections of the ship have different challenges for you to complete, including outrunning a spreading explosion.
In case you haven’t been able to tell, GollyGreg has a strange sense of humor. We dig it.
GollyGreg has been active in the ROBLOX community for a long time, and he’s also been a great asset to us–he helped design much of the in-game footage from our 2011 television commercial, which ran in Miami, Philidelphia and Salt Lake City. Him and a team of scripters and programmers also threw together a last-minute Thanksgiving place in under a week, after mentioning they could do it to Creative Director John Shedletsky on Twitter. He’s working on another ROBLOX game as well, but doesn’t want to give too much away; suffice to say it’s a class based first person shooter game in the vein of Team Fortress.
GollyGreg has been busy outside of ROBLOX as well–the soon-to-be-19-year-old is getting ready to go to college, where he plans to study computer science or software engineering. He’s gotten a jump on his studies by taking some basic programming classes at his local high school, though ROBLOX may have created a small problem for him.
“I feel like I already know all this stuff!” he says with a laugh. “It’s pretty crazy how much I’ve learned already.”
And for the game builders out there, GollyGreg offers this advice:
“You’ve got to figure out how to do something innovative when you make a game. Something you can’t find anywhere else. It can be a very simple idea, but it’s yours. I wish I could say something more definite, but ROBLOX really leaves it up to you. You’ve got to be willing to take chances, and be willing to learn.”