Weekly ROBLOX Roundup: January 20, 2013
by Andrew Haak
Every week, we’re busy telling the stories behind our platform, our technology and our place in the gaming and technology industries. For those of you who catch up with ROBLOX over the weekend, the Weekly ROBLOX Roundup collects the best stuff to hit our various avenues of publication in the last week. This time: our spotlight on GollyGreg, multiplayer script debugging, top ROBLOX fan sites (and resources for starting your own), fast moving-parts rendering, an update on our splash screen contest, ROBLOX Hiking, and a few other bits and pieces.
Seven-day Blog Recap
You can tell by the tone and feel of Choices that user GollyGreg has interesting thoughts floating around in his head. That was enough for us to reach out to him for a chat, which became the foundation for our latest Spotlight article. He talks about the motivation behind his game, Choices, his fascination with technology and his lengthy ROBLOX “career.” Read it in full here.
Multiplayer script debugging done remotely
It can be challenging to debug your online game’s scripts without a true, multiplayer test environment. That’s why Tyler Mullen, of the the ROBLOX Content Team, has developed a tool that collects information from your running games. It can save and track:
- Server uptime
- Player visit stats: joins, leaves, average playtime, and number of unique visitors
- Lua statistics: number of errors, warnings, and number of scripts running
- Lua stack traces for recorded errors (this is the exciting part)
You can learn all about the tool, including how to download, install and use it, in John Shedletsky’s complete article.
Like the yin to featherweight parts’ yang, our new “fast parts” technology allows ROBLOX to render moving parts quicker (that is, roughly twice as fast) as ever before by leveraging improved batching and vertex shading. There’s a lot of information being processed as large numbers of blocks move around your screen, and this update helps the processing happen in a more efficient manner. As stated in Arseny’s complete article on the matter:
We want featherweight parts to become fast parts (and vice versa) with no visual cues of any kind, ultimately creating an environment where both types of parts – featherweight for static objects and fast parts for moving objects – are seamlessly integrated.
There is a number of impressive ROBLOX fan sites across the internet and, in this article, we pick out five of our favorites and explain what they do right. On top of that, we offer some direction and materials that should help the budding fan site developer or contributor.
The ROBLOX Studio Splash Screen Contest continues…
… But it ends soon. The deadline to submit your version of a ROBLOX Studio splash screen (that is, loading image) is this Tuesday, January 22nd, at 11:59 PM PST. We’ve already received more than 2,000 entries, a fraction of which appear in our latest post about the contest. If you want to exercise your graphic design chops, get to it — time is running out!
You should play this ROBLOX game
Last week I was on a brief vacation in Kauai, Hawaii. I had the pleasure of being outside — breathing the warm air, accidentally swallowing salt water, taking in the grand geographic formations and lush fauna — for four full days. I’ve been feeling nostalgic since returning, so I took to ROBLOX to find something to scratch that still-present outdoorsy itch and stumbled across ROBLOX Hiking by TheAmazeman. It’s really simple, but it takes the standard “obby” (obstacle course) to an open-world environment, where you can keep busy by just hiking the cliffs or playing built-in mini-games, collecting gold and upgrading your character. It’s not Hawaii, but it is a virtual escape.
Side benefit: the controls are simple and straightforward, making the game a natural fit for you ROBLOX Mobile players.
If a kid with a Meccano set and a kid with Roblox face off to construct the Sydney Harbor Bridge, do they both walk away having learned the same things and gained the same skills? Each is manipulating things in different ways: The kid with the Meccano set might struggle at learning to connect the pieces together and use tools correctly, while the kid playing Roblox might need to spend some time mastering the in-game UI. But both will gain an understanding of the factors involved in making something that’s structurally sound, and both will have plenty of chances to adjust and experiment with designs as they construct their bridges.
This is an excerpt from Massively writer Karen Bryan’s recent piece about the educational value of building platforms, namely ROBLOX and Minecraft. She argues against claims that the “Google generation” is growing up “brain dead.” I agree with her argument, but what do you think? How does building in ROBLOX benefit you?
- Are you a ROBLOX newsletter subscriber? If not, you can get on board by verifying your email address and opting in to receive emails on your ROBLOX Account Settings page, accessed by clicking “Account” in the navigation bar. Once signed up, you’ll receive occasional newsletters, straight from ROBLOX HQ, with fun and useful info.
- You may have noticed some changes to the organization of ROBLOX’s forums. If you’d like to know what’s driving these shifts (particularly the move of the ROBLOX Talk forum), check out this post from our own Brad Justus.
- Reminder: the best way to get more bits throughout every week is to follow ROBLOX on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube!