Feedback Loop: Game Discovery, Materials, Video Ads and More

June

12, 2013

by John Shedletsky


Archive

Feedback Loop99% of the content available on ROBLOX is created by our passionate community of builders. In Feedback Loop — the spiritual successor to the long-running Responding to User Feedback series – we respond to builders’ grand ideas for ROBLOX and questions about the past, present and future.

In this, the second issue, John Shedletsky and a guest commentator discuss the quality game discovery and recommendations, additional materials for parts, cylinder physics, video tutorials, slots for additional games and places, community guidelines, user-created video advertisements and more.

Games and game discovery

Admin-approved games

zinc707: Games that official ROBLOX administrators have played, enjoyed, and would recommend to others. They could be represented by a small tag on the thumbnail image for the game.

We’re in the process of examining better ways to surface great, but largely unknown, games on the ROBLOX.com Games page. One of the things we’re considering is exactly what you suggest: an area on the page for promoting games chosen by editorial consensus. On the other hand, we feel strongly that players should have the strongest voice in determining which games become popular, which is why we are working on several other crowd-sourced mechanisms for surfacing new, great content.

Games Page“Fake” game flags

KTGaGaFan: A way to flag fake games and a way to flag spam comments (and have that link removed from the site)! I’ve waited long enough, especially with these fake games on the front page 24/7!

We’re rapidly moving toward giving the community more control over which games appear on the front page. I expect to see some huge improvements here soon.

Game recommendations

ybmul1380: There should be a system that looks at the games you play, and suggest four games that people have played after visiting that place. For example, if I went to Sword Fight on the Heights, in my profile, I would have four games that others played after playing Sword Fight on the Heights.

Yes, we’ve wanted this functionality since day one. Building out the infrastructure to actually make these recommendations is a big project, which is why we haven’t tackled it yet. Once we’re happy with the state of the main Games page, where “blockbuster” games naturally float to the top, we’ll start work on promoting games that have “niche” audiences. One of our main mechanisms for doing this will be recommendations.


Content creation and manipulation

Materials for parts

McVisibility: ROBLOX only supports a few materials now. They are: plastic, slate, concrete, grass, wood, corroded metal, diamond metal plate, foil and ice. How about adding more? I already have ideas: how about leather, cardboard, and sand-like texture? Many more can be added.

Material Blocks

There’s a giant excel spreadsheet I made that has 100-200 different materials that might be fun to add to the game. We don’t want to extend the current set of materials until we’re ready to really do materials right. This means different materials would have different physical properties. Wood would float and be flammable. Metals would sink and conduct electricity. Rubber would be non-conductive and bounce. We experimented a little with this when we added water to the game – each material has its own specific gravity – but at some point we want to spend the time and really do it right. We don’t want to just tack on more materials.

Cylinder physics

KRio99: This has bothered me for quite a while now, and I’m sure it would be very helpful to most builders on ROBLOX. I would like cylinders that don’t use the physics of the ball. It would be nice to be able to resize a cylinder to, say, 3 x 1 x 3. That could be used as a realistic wheel.

I was talking to Kevin He, one of our crack physics developers, today about cylinder collisions. We know that they’re going to be necessary in order to do vehicles right.

Video tutorials for building

tigerman14: I believe that ROBLOX should have a video on how to do each component of ROBLOX Studio. It might be really hard for people to understand what to do just by reading. Therefore I suggest that you upload a video for each of the items (or at least the top items) builders need help with.

We posted a video tutorial to the blog just this week! In general, though, we’d love to have more tutorial videos. Creating these videos takes a lot of time and we want to cover the most important stuff first. So my question to our readers is this: what kinds of things do you want a tutorial video to teach you? Post in the comments, we’ll take a look!

Place SlotsPurchasing individual game slots

b0bpwns: It’s a drag when a great builder can’t build more games because he or she doesn’t have Builders Club. Why not let us buy places, group space, etc., for Robux? For example, 1,000 Robux could open up another place slot (that would cost either 10 dollars from a ROBLOX card, or 10,000 place visits)! Think of it! It would make Non-Builders Club people a lot happier, and hey, why stop there? Why not let Builders Club members have a little discount so that they get a better benefit.

Reply Arrowrobloxrules224, in response: 1,000 Robux? Why not just buy a Builders Club membership to get the extra places?

Reply ArrowM39a9am3R, in response: That’s the point, it’s to encourage people to purchase Builders Club or Robux. If your place has 10,000 (or more) visits then you’re set to expand.

This is something we are considering. Are you running out of place slots? If we did decide to increase the limit on place slots, I think we’d sell extra ones for less than 1,000 Robux. At the end of the day, if you are a successful builder and you need more slots, ROBLOX wants to support you.


On the web

Community guidelines update

minimite: Do you think that there’ll ever be, in the near or late future, a major/minor change to the Community Rules and Guidelines/Terms of Service and what would it be? I ask this because the age-rate of players may be increasing or decreasing. For example, if young adolescents began to play more often than younger players, would the rules ease-up?

Many of ROBLOX’s community rules exist to keep our younger players safe. We’d like to ease up on some of our restrictions when it comes to older community members, but this has to be done gradually. It’s a huge project and we can only take baby steps towards the ultimate goal without throwing the community into chaos.

Brad Justus, our VP of Marketing and Brand Experience who you might know better as chiefjustus, had this to add:

We’re always evaluating and considering updates to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. In fact, you can expect some updates in the very near future as we introduce some exciting new features to ROBLOX. The Terms and Guidelines are not so much driven by the age of our players and builders, but by how our features and offerings affect what everyone is permitted — or not permitted — to do on ROBLOX to provide the best possible experience for everyone.

View sent messages

caveman6789: I wrote a whole paragraph for someone, but sent it to the wrong person, and I forgot what I wrote. There should be a sent bar in the messages to see what you sent. This may be helpful when you don’t remember sending someone a certain message, and need to know the exact time it happened.

Yes. I’ve wanted this too.

Natural Disaster Survival TrailerUser-created video advertisements

evolvedpikachu: You know those video ads you run into when you load a game? Well, how about letting users make their own video ads to run while loading a game? Maximum 15 seconds long or so.

We’re examining our user ad system and what we can do to make it more useful to our builders. Video ads is one thing that we’ve thought of. 

Reply ArrowiBrandyn, in responseThat’s like saying “Ey, ROBLOX! Why don’t you hide advertisements from other sites that make you money and pay the workers at ROBLOX to develop new feature for us.”

It’s true that we make a fair amount of money from pre-roll video ads. However, it’s possible that the space might be more valuable to builders who want to advertise their games. At some point we might run an experiment to find out.

Reply Arrowevolvedpikachu, in responseHow about show them to Builders Club members only, or have the ad-makers pay three times the normal advertising cost to publish them?

I think video ads would be kept separate from still image ads. We wouldn’t want to display them across the site – it would probably be too annoying.

This selection of ideas and questions were selected from a call for feedback via ROBLOX’s Twitter presence and the Suggestions & Ideas forum. To contribute your thoughts in the future, follow @ROBLOX and keep posting your feedback on S&I! If you need somewhere to start, don’t forget to answer the question posed above: what kinds of tutorial videos would you like to see from us?