Responding to User Feedback, V14

February

20, 2013

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. We gathered questions in a totally different way this time; in-game! We’re always in ROBLOX for one reason or another, and users provided us with plenty of questions to answer about a wide range of ROBLOX topcis. This time, John Shedletsky, ROBLOX’s Creative Director, addresses inquiries about spell checking features, a Ghost mode, a donate button, updates about our new lighting system, and much more. 

Ever thinking of making a spell checker for the chat feature? 

It’s not something that we have ever really considered. Having a spellchecker for chat would probably put us in the minority of online games; none of the other games that I play personally do this. It’s tricky to implement especially when people have acronyms in their gaming vernacular, including: gg, kk, qq, O.o, ss, mia, spyme, etc.

Can you make it seem like you’re offline when you’re using ROBLOX? Like a Ghost Mode?

Sounds like a potentially useful feature. Though it’s worth mentioning that if there are people that you want to hide from, all you need to do is remove them from your friends list.

What about making a donate button so you can donate money to your friends to help fund their place? 

We’re afraid of introducing the ability for users to transfer money from one account to another, due to the possibility of rampant scamming. ROBLOX does not enforce any sort of contract or agreements made between users, and we think there would be a lot of “send me 50 Robux and I’ll do X for you” sort of situations where the counter-party does not end up following through.

What does the ambassador badge do? 

The ambassador badge was earned in a now-defunct “share ROBLOX with a friend” program where users could post links to ROBLOX on other sites in return for tickets. The ambassador program was ultimately the source of more spam than new users, so we shut it down in March of 2012. If you’re curious, there is more information about it here

Why does your name have a Roblox sign next to it? 

ROBLOX administrators have an “R” icon next to their name in the player leaderboard, similar to how BC, TBC, and OBC members have a hardhat icon. The purpose of the icon is to make it harder for people who don’t work at ROBLOX to impersonate ROBLOX employees in-game.

When’s the new lighting feature coming out?

A lot of people (including many ROBLOX employees!) can’t wait for the new light/shadow effects that we demoed a couple weeks ago to ship. While the code is good enough to demo, at the moment we’re quite a ways from being able to ship it. There’s a bunch of steps we need to take before we can. First, we need to make sure that the code is stable and performs on a wide variety of machines. Second, we need to figure out the API and tooling for place creators to add/remove lights from their levels. Third, we need a sound migration strategy that will allow us to ship lighting without immediately plunging all existing levels into shadow (since no ROBLOX levels currently have lights in them). These are all solvable problems, but working through the issues takes time. You can bet that when it comes out that you’ll read about it here first!Dynamic Lighting

Will low end computers be able to handle the new lighting system? 

We think that 90% of players’ hardware will be able to handle some degree of lighting. This includes iPads.

What kind of computer will be needed to handle ROBLOX in the year 2020? 

We target a wide range of hardware with ROBLOX – I’m fairly confident that the machine you have now will run ROBLOX in 2020.

How many tickets equal a Robuck? 

If you’re currently logged into ROBLOX, you can see what the exchange rate between Robux and tickets is. Typically it’s around 10 tickets to 1 Robuck, but the price is determined by the players who are trading currency. ROBLOX does not set the exchange rate.

Why can’t we change the ROBLOX homepage back to 1.0?

I’m not sure what you mean by “1.0”– the ROBLOX website has been in a constant state of development since 2006. It’s not a static entity and there is no “1.0” version. That being said, if you look at the site using the Internet Wayback Machine, I have to imagine that most people would agree that the current site looks much better than this: 

Are you guys thinking of making a new interface for roblox.com

The website is undergoing constant evolution. If you want to see a hint of the direction we’re going in, take a peek at our iOS app.

Why were guests introduced? 

ROBLOX is a great game, but it takes a long time for a new player to get into it. First you have to download and install the game, then you have to create an account, then you have to find a game you want to play, then you have to wait for it to load. Guest mode is our attempt to remove one of these steps and get new players into game faster. The theory is that if you like the game, you’ll eventually sign up due to all the benefits of being a member of the site: getting a daily allowance of bonus of tickets, being able to customize your character, and the ability to upload your own creations to the site.

We’re currently investigating the possibility of limiting guest mode to ROBLOX-authored games, as a way to encourage new users to make the jump to creating a full account.

Why does ROBLOX need a blog? 

ROBLOX is the online game that is built by players. I mean this in two ways. One is the obvious way: players build 99.99% of all the games that exist on ROBLOX. The second way is less obvious, but no less true. We are constantly developing and refining ROBLOX in response to the feedback that we receive from players. We have an iterative development and release cycle. That means we change things a little bit at a time, frequently. We put stuff out there. We see early on what works and what doesn’t. We drop or fix what doesn’t work. We polish and embellish those features that get traction. For all of this to work, we need to be in close communication with our players. One way we do this is by reading the “Suggestions and Ideas” forum, but we have other channels of communication as well: the ROBLOX Blog,Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, our Newsletter, our YouTube channel, and more.