Spotlight: Starmarine614’s Theme Park Success Story

October

12, 2013

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


Archive

SpotlightStarmarine614We interviewed starmarine614 back in July, shortly after the introduction of Paid Access. We chatted with him because ROBLOX Point, which was still in beta at the time, was the first game to find significant success using the feature. We told him then to contact us when he was finished building his project, so I wasn’t surprised to get a message from him on ROBLOX a few days ago that read: “It’s finished, and it’s picture-ready.”

Calling ROBLOX Point “picture-ready” is a bit of an understatement, though not incorrect by any means. It’s beautiful. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a sprawling amusement park that features some of the most advanced roller coasters we’ve experienced on our platform. Like any good theme park, there are enough rides and attractions in ROBLOX Point to make a day of exploration an exciting prospect–though the rides are the primary selling point.

“I basically took a six-month break from ROBLOX, and when I decided to come back, I saw that rollercoasters were becoming popular. They were a lot smoother and more realistic,” recalls Starmarine614. “I got really inspired to go out and build the biggest theme park possible, with the coolest looking rides.”

We had to ask what the creative process is when building such massive and realistic rollercoasters. Before revealing a recently adopted method of building, Starmarine614 explains to me that before, building rollercoasters was an extremely time-consuming and tedious procedure.

“Basically you’d have to make a ‘guide brick’ for each rung on the coaster, then build the rails around that brick. Once the rails were connected, you could rotate both the rails and ‘guide brick’ to determine the direction of the coaster,” he says. “You would do this rung by rung, until the coaster was complete.”

BuildingCoastersMontage

Starmarine614 is a busy guy–between a full college load (he’s a freshman) and a full-time job, he knew he would have to come up with a method of building that would take less time, but still give him complete creative control. For this, he tapped members of the ROBLOX Coaster Corporation to create a “Coaster Converter”–a virtual toolbox that completely streamlines the process.

“With the Coaster Converter, you’re given all the tools you need right up front to just dress around the ‘guide bricks’–essentially automating the coaster track creation. Now, all you really have to do is create an outline of the coaster you want to build, then dress the outline using the Coaster Converter toolbox.”

“If only it was that simple back in 2009,” he adds with a laugh. “With these tools you can create an entire rollercoaster in under 30 minutes, though if you really want to make a complex creation you’ve got to spend some time on the outline.”

He tells me that every single rollercoaster in ROBLOX Point took at least a solid week to complete, and that getting them to truly feel real is a process of trial and error. He also names many members of his group, which is the biggest rollercoaster group on ROBLOX currently, as being integral parts of creating the Coaster Converter. You can find all the pieces of the Coaster Converter as a set right here.

We also asked Starmarine614 about the sheer scale of ROBLOX Point–at 40,000 parts, it’s heavy on computations and generally can’t run so well on dated hardware. According to Starmarine614, that was precisely the point.

ROBLOXPointLandscape

“I didn’t spend any time focusing on optimizing this game for dated hardware,” he recalls. “I wanted to make the most realistic theme park to ever come out on ROBLOX, period. End of story. I know ROBLOX Point has gotten quite a few dislikes, not because users don’t like it, but because they don’t have the hardware needed to actually play the game. You also get a lot of dislikes just by making a game Paid Access.”

This is where our soon-to-be-released Streaming Parts feature could benefit not just Starmarine614, but players who are running slower hardware and want to experience ROBLOX Point. We’ve gone through the technical details of this feature in a previous article, and Starmarine614 tells us he can’t wait to see how this will affect his game.

“I was talking to [Shedletsky] today and he was telling me that my game will run twice as fast with this update, and that I’ll be able to make the park even bigger than it is now,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in the process of working on a brand new park, and with this feature, I could probably just add it to my existing park!”

StarmarineNewPark

An early look at starmarine614’s new park.

As for this new park, Starmarine614 has grand plans that extend far beyond what you’ve seen in ROBLOX Point. He tells me you’ll hear wind and mechanical creaks and groans in each of the rides. And sound has clearly been on his mind–ROBLOX Point utilizes the Chat Voice system by as to let players express themselves more freely.

ChatVoice“When Chat Voice came out, I picked up the model and dropped it ROBLOX point, and people went completely nuts,” he recalls. “I made 60,000 ROBUX the day I added it.”

Speaking of ROBUX, Starmarine614 was one of our first builders to harness the DevEx program to earn real money–and the timing couldn’t have been better. He was recently in a major car accident that totaled his car (which was his only way to get to work and school). He’s using his monthly earnings to finance his new ride.

“I’m using the cash I earn to put a down payment on my next car. DevEx has changed my thinking entirely. I see it as my second job. I get home from work, take a short break, then work on making games. I love that I can get paid for doing the thing I love most.”

Though he’s satisfied with the overall aesthetic of ROBLOX Point, Starmarine614 still plans on making periodic updates, in addition to the work he’s doing on his brand-new park.

“I’m adding four new rides to ROBLOX Point, and I also plan on making it a more social experience,” he tells me. “I’m opening a shop and a Kestrel store, and you’ll be able to earn currency by riding different rollercoasters.”

He goes on to tell me that Team Rudimentality (the ever-evolving and boundary-pushing team behind Strobe and many other innovative titles) has expressed interest in building a team deathmatch game using his map, where teams would spawn on the opposite ends of the park and fight amongst the rides and attractions.

Starmarine614 took me to this secret location which contains the biggest rollercoaster he's ever built. It goes throughout the entire map and comprised of over 15,000 parts.

Starmarine614 took me to this secret location which contains the biggest rollercoaster he’s ever built. It goes throughout the entire map and is comprised of over 15,000 parts. It took a few tries (the lag kept shutting down the game) but the wait was totally worth it.

Per our usual Spotlight article, we couldn’t end the interview without asking Starmarine614 what advice he’d give to ROBLOX builders looking to replicate his success. We leave you with his thoughts:

Utilize every single feature that you possibly can. Fame disappears in the blink of an eye. Paid Access is what got me to the front page, and got me the publicity I have now. I understand that certain users don’t want to pay to play, but if you want to accomplish your goals, you can’t always do what the majority wants. You can’t please everyone. The best you can do is create something, then work as hard as you can on that creation. Hard work means more than fame, and leaves a longer lasting impression in the community.

A big thanks go out to many members of the ROBLOX Coaster Corporation: 1wolf1person, ErikWesley96, Exoguti093, Spacek531, EricThePianoGuy, Misitiero, Carthay, Asimo3089, Textmasterthe9th, and Matthew11996. Oh, and ROBLOX Point is free for the weekend. Enjoy!