Feedback Loop: BLOXcast Edition
We’re on a constant quest to address any and all feedback we receive from our community of gamers and developers. We couldn’t possibly respond to the thousands of questions and comments that poured in during last Saturday’s BLOXcast, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to respond to some of the great questions we couldn’t address live. In order to do so, we tapped a gamut of ROBLOX employees in varying departments to respond directly to your questions. Enjoy.
max792: Will you add light glare for dynamic lighting and the sun? Like light that blinds you when you look directly at the sun? I think this would enhance the realism of ROBLOX lighting–it could be a toggle-able option in the Game.Lighting object in Studio.
Rendering Engineer Arseny Kapoulkine responds: Effects like this would definitely be very welcome–we’ve been looking at implementing many customizable special effects, and one of those effects definitely includes sun glare.
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: ROBLOX actually used to have this–we lost it when we switched our main renderer from OpenGL to Ogre, because OpenGL didn’t have a direct mapping path to DirectX (which means we were doing it wrong, ha!). That being said, it is a relatively easy thing to add and I’ve even seen some ROBLOX places that script the effect.
TriniGoji: Could you add an “Outer Space” terrain that functions just like water, but without the blue overlay?
Rendering Engineer Arseny Kapoulkine responds: We plan on extending water with various customizable properties in the future–disabling the underwater effect is definitely one of them. We’ve also had a lot of people tell us they want to be able to change the color of water, which we’re also working to allow.
fiestacraze: Will ROBLOX ever have animated decals?
Rendering Engineer Arseny Kapoulkine responds: Direct support for animated images is not a very likely feature to implement at this point. We may add some features that function as a replacement, however, such as surface GUIs and/or spritesheet support for decals.
Epicfishman: This is probably extremely far fetched, but do you think with new GUIs we could make computers in ROBLOX?
Rendering Engineer Arseny Kapoulkine responds: The short answer is “yes.” With surface GUIs, you could create an imitation computer that is as detailed as you have patience.
1518NICENICKEY: Can audio be charged based on length? Could we expand the length of audio to five minutes or so? It could cost like 15 ROBUX per second.
Web Engineer Antoni Choudhuri responds: We’ve been meaning to revisit the audio feature and expand the length of audio tracks you can upload–we’re also thinking about possibly changing the pricing. No details are set in stone, but keep a vigilant eye (and ear) out. We’ll have news about this soon.
ROBLOX Mobile Engineer Martin Robaszewski responds: I talked with the Web Team specifically about this. They told me that the next generation of ROBLOX.com will feature mobile forums that are identical to the ones you’d find on our website. This is in an ongoing effort to make ROBLOX the exact same experience across every platform, including mobile.
wildstorm1: It’s difficult to make the sky look beautiful. Even though we have sky boxes, they rarely look realistic. My first idea is toggle-able cloud layers in the sky box as a property. My second idea is updating the sunset and sunrise, along with adding moon phases. Also a moving sky base would be pretty sweet.
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: I disagree with your core premise, which is that ROBLOX skies should look realistic. I don’t think photo realism is the aesthetic ROBLOX should be aiming for. I do agree, however, that there’s a lot we can be doing to make skies look better. As it stands now, we’re using less than 1% of our render budget for the sky. In many games, the sky represents 50% of the pixels drawn in each frame. So procedurally generated clouds, weather, volumetric fog, and sky box transitions are all improvements we’re considering.
theearthbound: Will there ever be single-player ROBLOX games?
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: Our plan for single player games is to allow builders to set their maximum player count to one. That would make a game single player, but it would still require an internet connection to ROBLOX.com so that creators could save and load remote content.
Abscissa: Will you ever add a queuing system for uploading items, which would allow multiple items at the same time (e.g. audio)?
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: For a project I’m currently working on, I have to upload hundreds of sounds to ROBLOX.com, which is a real hassle. Ideally you would just add assets to your ROBLOX level files and ROBLOX would automatically upload whatever needs to be uploaded. We’re way behind the curve on this one. It will get better.
osd3001: Is it possible for ROBLOX to become available on Linux? I know that Mac OS X is UNIX-based, so why couldn’t you do it for Linux? I understand that there are a lot of available versions of Linux out there, and that the OS tends to update frequently.
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: We could spend six months porting ROBLOX to Linux, or we could deliver other highly requested features. If we’re going to be porting ROBLOX to another platform, Android is definitely next in line. Consoles are a close second–maybe that would involve a Linux port, particularly if the Steam OS takes off. We’ll see.
Nasserfreak: Will ROBLOX ever get a new recording system?
Creative Director John Shedletsky responds: What’s wrong with the current recording system? It has a very minimal impact on performance and it magically uploads to YouTube with the push of a button (press F12 in games, for those who don’t know). If you want to create machinima in ROBLOX, you probably desire higher-quality video capture, which some machines simply can’t handle (dependent on your graphics card and hard disk write speed). If you have a fairly powerful machine, I recommend FRAPS for this purpose.
GreenToxicNoob: Will there ever be a way to move items from one account to another? I switched accounts a few months ago and had a lot of hats I would like to move over to my new account.
VP of Marketing and Brand Experience Brad Justus responds: It’s possible, but very unlikely. We don’t want to encourage switching accounts because that’s an area ripe for exploitation. This is a big reason why we implemented the username-change feature–it’s much simpler to change your username than move items between accounts.
pbjms: Will building contests ever make a return?
VP of Marketing and Brand Experience Brad Justus responds: Yes. The challenge is creating a fair and robust contest system that is based on gameplay in order to vote. We know that there were flaws in the old contest system and we want to address them before coming out with something new. Having a contest system that can handle the volume of participation that we currently have on ROBLOX is not trivial–we want this as much as you do. So it will happen.
DarkMetal485: Could ROBLOX have a site feature where you could share gameplay videos directly with the community?
VP of Marketing and Brand Experience Brad Justus responds: That’s a great idea! You may have noticed that we’ve been doing a lot more with video in general lately (e.g. BLOXcast, Film Festivals, etc.) and we know that gameplay videos are extremely popular. You’ll be seeing more frequent live gameplay casts from our team–allowing our community to share gameplay videos would be very awesome indeed. We’re focusing on growing our YouTube presence currently, but we’re also investigating other possibilities, like Twitch.
Thank you all for your continued support and feedback. We’ll make sure to continue following up on the questions we missed after future BLOXcasts, so please know that your voices are being heard.