The Making of the Winter Games, Part Two [Updated!]

February

04, 2014

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


Archive

SnowBlox2As you no doubt know (and have hopefully experienced) already, the ROBLOX Winter Games are under way! Since launch, the site event has logged more than 600,000 play sessions, with even more prizes and medals being awarded to the contestants. Amazing feats of Winter Games competition — photo finishes on the slopes, epic kart battles, and expert tank maneuvering — have been happening every hour of every day. This is all largely a result of the great game submissions by our community of developers.¬†While we’ve already posted an article featuring three developers who contributed to the Winter Games, we promised to talk to developers behind the remaining games. This time around, you’ll hear about the experiences of former ROBLOX intern Merely and Simoon68 (creators of SnowBlox), Badcc (creator of Winter Snowboarding), and Asleum (creator of BreezeKrieg).

SnowBlox

SnowbloxSnowblox was one of the biggest collaborative efforts of all the Winter Games submissions. The second you load the game, this is apparent. You start in a massive and tremendously detailed lodge, which also features a leaderboard tracking everyone in the server. On top of that, there is a selection of snowboarding courses, submitted by several builders.¬†This is rewarding for numerous reasons — the visual diversity will keep you coming back, while the majority of the maps feature multiple paths that reward constant practice. We talked with Merely and Simoon68 about their collaboration on the game.

ROBLOX: What was the biggest challenge you came across when putting together SnowBlox?

Merely: The biggest challenge was communicating with our entire team and splitting up the workload. We met at the start to figure out every person’s role, then dived in. I personally scripted the gameplay, Godsend built the lodge, and Simoon68 and masterbayblade21 focused on creating maps to add more variety to the game. The majority of work was done in three days, and we all sort of combined what we came up with into a single experience.

It's awesome to see your time (and others!) on the leaderboard after each race.

It’s awesome to see your time (and others!) on the leaderboard after each race.

Simoon68: I think the biggest challenge was the server-side scripting that programmed the game — we were really fortunate to have Merely around to lend a helping hand! He organized Project Voxel (the name of our development team). I think the success story is that each member of the team had their own tasks to accomplish, and each of us finished and everything really fit nicely together. It was a really fun and exciting experience!

ROBLOX: How did you guys decide on the type of game you wanted to make? You could’ve made any type of game — why snowboarding?

Intense competition.

Intense competition.

Merely: When we had our first meeting to talk about SnowBlox’s design, we agreed on two fundamental principles to guide our gameplay. We wanted the game to have a high-risk, high-reward style of gameplay where players are encouraged to take chances to win. Taking a sharp turn around a corner might push you up a place, but it can also potentially knock you out of the race if you hit an obstacle.

We also wanted to keep people engaged — many game creators fall into a trap where they stick players in lobbies during rounds and forget about them. If you die in SnowBlox you are sent right back to the starting line so you still have a chance to compete in the race. Additionally, players who join the game in the middle of a race don’t have to wait around — they are sent right into the action. I think all these decisions ultimately kept people engaged.

Simoon68: Designing the gameplay was the best part of making this game! I love that the lobby turned out to be this cozy winter lodge, and each map has its own distinctive atmospheric winter theme. SnowBlox is designed to be a fun racing game more than anything else, so we made maps that have lots of curves and smooth tracks. We also added obstacles that can slow you down, short cuts, and speed boosts to make it a more interactive experience.

Winter Snowboarding

WinterSnowboardingPossibly the fastest snowboarding experience you’ll experience on ROBLOX, Winter Snowboarding is also a great deal of fun. Blasting down the massive cliff side and collecting power-ups to slow your opponents is the name of the game here. Long-time developer badcc had quite a story to tell about the making of Winter Snowboarding.

It was an oddly warm November morning when I was browsing the developer forums. I saw a few posts about winter-themed games for ROBLOX, and attempting to make one had crossed my mind more than once — though I was unsure, because I’ve been busy with other projects. So I bookmarked the page, just in case. When December rolled around, asimo3098 told me he was working on creating the lobby for The Winter Games. I’m known on ROBLOX for making lots of small but useful things — I was tasked with creating the code for the ski lift, and once I finished, asimo3089 approached me about building a Winter Games title.

Winter-Snowboarding-by-badcc

There was just one problem: at that point, the deadline to submit was in five days. I knew I had to do it. I worked day after day, every day with very few breaks. On the last day I woke up as early as I could, and finished it late at night. It was an amazing feeling, and I encourage any developer to learn from this process. Don’t be scared if you haven’t released a game yet. Just do it! Just release!

BreezeKrieg

ROBLOX: What was the biggest challenge you faced creating BreezeKrieg? What’s your strategy to developing a successful ROBLOX game?

BreezeKreigAsleum: The hardest thing to do was find the most efficient way to synchronize the server and the client. I ended up using RemoteEvents. I can’t say that I succeeded completely — I still find the game to be very slow. I would’ve addressed this further if I had more time, but I couldn’t find a better way to make server-client communication in the narrow window I was given. Time constraints can be very challenging, though having a time limit on a project isn’t a bad thing — it forces to put all you’ve got into your project. I was really impressed that I was able to build the entire game in two weeks — I’ve never been so productive!

ROBLOX: BreezeKrieg, in terms of gameplay, is a very unique Winter Games event. Why tanks?

Asleum: I’ve always wanted to develop a shooter on ROBLOX, but there’s already so many. I really wanted to develop an original title with gameplay mechanics that most people haven’t experienced before. I was initially considering a snowball fight game, which would include collection and fortification systems — sort of a more realistic take on snowball fighting, which I thought could be original.

Then I felt the need to give players the ability to edit their equipment, which would lead to different battlefield strategies. That’s when I decided to add tanks to the game — that way, you could choose between different tank pieces, allowing you to make different combinations with different stats. Thus, BreezeKrieg was born.

Ow.

Ow.

ROBLOX: Sounds like you learned a lot!

Developing BreezeKrieg was a really interesting experience. I got the chance to experiment with a lot of ROBLOX features I hadn’t used before, like RemoteEvents, setting up cross-server data, and experimenting with gravity. If you’re interested in learning more, have a look at this draft, where I attempted to find the formula that would determine the speed of the shots in relation to where they’d land. I also learned a lot about making interfaces — GUI rotation allowed me to create some really cool designs! If you’re interested in learning more about this, check out this GUI creation tool I made to facilitate this step.

You can play these games and two others by checking out the Winter Games today.