The Elite Builders of ROBLOXia: The Best in Virtual Construction?
by Andrew Haak
The Elite Builders of ROBLOXia have been around since the advent of ROBLOX groups in 2009. Almost four years later, they boast a member count of … 93. In a virtual world where membership volume is often the sign of a group’s power and success, the Elite Builders of ROBLOXia appear to be a failure. But they measure success using a different metric: membership quality. Only the best of the best builders make it into the group’s ranks, and members have produced some of the finest worlds on ROBLOX. That’s the principle on which the group was founded and on which it exists today.
The group has changed hands several times since its inception. The Elite Builders of ROBLOXia (EBR) was started by Bloxmin as an invitation-based building group and initially gained traction via the high profiles of members like Altair7, Jardicel and Constructor. Months later, Bloxmin passed the reigns to owen0202, who helped increase the size of the group from roughly 25 to 50+ members before handing his duties over to SilentSwords for a short stint as leader.
Today, it’s in the hands of WhoBloxedWho, who talks humbly of the long-tenured group, qualifying bold claims with recognition of the greater ROBLOX community and other building groups. He is, however, willing to state that it’s one of the few to stay true to its original purpose. Owen0202 agrees.
“WhoBloxedWho has run the group for over a year now and has done a fantastic job in continuing its legacy,” says owen0202. “Recently our group has had an influx of great new builders, such as Qiao, Explode1 and many others, who have all been great additions.”
EBR is part community and part project hub.
“The premise may come off as snobbish, but in reality it’s just a collection of people who enjoy building and want to learn more from each other,” says owen0202. Members use the group wall catch up with one another, talk about and vote on applications to enter the group, and discuss project ideas. The latter has sparked incredible group-building projects; in the last year, Conquest City and Block Town.
“The two group projects in the last year have kind of given the group a new purpose,” according to owen0202. “We realized we can have a lot of fun doing group building.”
When you look at both Conquest City (which was never 100% finished) and Block Town, you see sprawling, detailed worlds. Look closely and you’ll find hidden areas and bits of humor. While each place has a cohesive, tied-together look, they were both constructed with the help of at least 20 EBR members working simultaneously on the group’s Personal Build Server. WhoBloxedWho recalls building Conquest City; at any given point, there could be eight or nine people constructing parts of the city. With differences in time zones, members would drop in and out.
EBR accommodated members’ unique building methods by adding tools to the build server. WhoBloxedWho cites Build V3 as a group favorite.
“It’s a really interesting tool,” says WhoBloxedWho. “It kind of replicates something like Anaminus’ Command Utility, but in tool form. We’ve been using that within the places. All of Block Town was built with one toolset.”
Both WhoBloxedWho and owen0202 say another reason for success in Conquest City and Block Town was the social aspect. It was plain fun; friends were building – together and with one another – toward a single goal.
“It was really fun because we could walk around, talk to people, check out what everyone was building, and build our own little things,” says WhoBloxedWho. But this is EBR, and they don’t put their name on just anything.
“The style remained pretty cohesive because every now and again we would have to be the bad guys and delete someone’s hard work,” says owen0202. “There were so many brilliant buildings that didn’t make it to the final version of Block Town or Conquest City because they didn’t fit in. But we all agreed that the end result was worth it.”
Such are the standards of the elite.
Anyone can apply to enter EBR by building a “showcase” place and submitting it for consideration. EBR has experimented with several voting schemes, and today uses a majority-vote style. After receiving a submission, the group opens a three-day voting period. If 50% or more say “yes,” they have a new inductee. The majority vote forces a strict look at the submissions, and members provide reasoning behind their decision that they can send back to the applicant.
The group looks for an overall level of excellence in each submission. Consistent attention to detail throughout a place is very important, says WhoBloxedWho, as is good use of lighting and efficient use of bricks. Ultimately, though, it’s a personal decision. Everyone looks for something slightly different.
Asimo3089 is a ROBLOX user who’s on the hunt for a place in EBR. He just unveiled The Winds, a winter-themed place inspired of all things by the “whoosh” sounds of a sled in the ROBLOX catalog and his love for the cold season. It features a spacious cabin nestled in a tree-covered, jagged island that’s shrouded in white winds. It feels imaginative, with an unlikely cross between harsh winter and fresh growth. It has atmosphere.
“Lighting is a big part of it, Asimo3089 says. “The first thing I did was find a nice skybox that suited the place well, and then gave it matching fog. Another big part is sound. I searched all over for great sounds for this place. The wind sound isn’t the only sound I used either. As you walk by a fireplace, you hear a crackling fire, or the sound of rushing water when you are on the bridge over the waterfall.”
About a quarter of the way through the building process he realized he could turn his place into an EBR entry. He spent 30 to 60 minutes a day for the last four weeks fleshing out and polishing the place. Now, he says he’s anxiously awaiting the final judgment, with the confidence of having received some positive feedback already.
“Even if I don’t get in, though, I still have a cool place I can enjoy with friends and other players,” he says.
Between owen0202, WhoBloxedWho and Asimo3089, there’s a common theme: being part of EBR is a badge of honor. While the group has become more organized and regimented since 2009, and everyone now has the opportunity to join, being a member is still a “trophy” for members to proudly display.
“It’s always been a great community of members that enjoy building on Roblox and we have been lucky recently to be able to build together and produce some pretty great places,” says owen0202.
There should be more on the way. WhoBloxedWho plans to reboot a once-failed EBR effort to create a “really awesome map with some cool dungeons and features,” and then work in conjunction with ROBLOX Software Engineer Tyler Mullen (HotThoth) on transforming it into a high-quality role-playing game via scripting.
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You don’t have to wait for that; there’s already a wealth of tremendous places to explore. You can visit the Elite Builders of ROBLOXia and easily spend an afternoon touring the places built by its members. And if you’re an aspiring Elite Builder, start building and be persistent in practicing. Being an EBR clearly doesn’t come easily or without a time investment, but it does come with rewards and pride.