Roblox

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RŌBLOX
Roblox logo
Developer(s)Roblox Corporation
Distributor(s)Roblox Corporation
EngineROBLOX Rendering Engine
ImPlicitNgine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iPad 2+, iPhone 4+, iPod touch 5th generation
Release date(s)2005
Genre(s)MMORPG, physics-based sandbox game
Mode(s)Multiplayer
DistributionDigital distribution
 
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RŌBLOX
Roblox logo
Developer(s)Roblox Corporation
Distributor(s)Roblox Corporation
EngineROBLOX Rendering Engine
ImPlicitNgine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iPad 2+, iPhone 4+, iPod touch 5th generation
Release date(s)2005
Genre(s)MMORPG, physics-based sandbox game
Mode(s)Multiplayer
DistributionDigital distribution

Roblox, stylized as RŌBLOX, is a massively multiplayer online game created and marketed toward children and teenagers aged 8–18. In the game, players are able to create their own virtual world, in which they or other online members may enter and socialize within the blocks of varying shapes, sizes, and colors.[1] Games on Roblox can be scripted using a sandboxed edition of Lua 5.1, to affect events that occur in-game and create different scenarios. The game has been known to be quite educational as children will learn computer programming, stocks, ratios, the advertising world and marketing throughout their choices on Roblox[citation needed]. The company's main source of revenue comes from the "Builders Club" virtual benefits, in which users who have created an account may purchase either Builders Club, Turbo Builders Club, or Outrageous Builders Club, otherwise known by users as BC, TBC, and OBC, respectively.[2]

History and development

Roblox was created by founder and co-founder David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004 and officially launched into its beta version in 2005. By then, ROBLOX officially launched its website in 2006.[3] It was named after a portmanteau of the words robots and blocks.[4] Roblox was created in Silicon Valley, in the United States of America.

Early history (2006–2009)

In early 2006, Roblox had one currency, known as Roblox Points, which was subsequently discontinued and replaced with "tickets" and "Robux". In mid-2007, Roblox added more customization to user characters to allow items such as hairpieces to be worn.[5] Roblox badges were first introduced on 22 December 2006. One of the badges was the "Bloxxer" badge.[6] Meshes were added, and so were the abilities of sending friend requests to other players, and sending messages. Other things accomplished in 2006 were searching through players, places, and items, multiplayer places, stats, and inventories.[7]

In 2007, character customization became possible.[8] In late January, the abuse report queue was introduced, with the ability for any user to report content as inappropriate through the "Report Abuse" buttons disseminated throughout the site.[9] In March 2007, Roblox became compliant with COPPA, with the addition of safe chat, a change which made users who indicated to be under the age of 13 at registration only able to communicate by selecting predefined messages from a menu.[10] In August 2007, Roblox added Builders Club, a premium membership, and applied server improvements.[11]

A RŌBLOX profile page.

Exclusive features and game features (2010–2012)

In 2010, Roblox began creating body shapes which Builders Club members could purchase using virtual currency.[12] These body shapes were available in the catalog as packages, which included many items that were all obtained when the package was bought. These packages varied in size and price and occasionally went on sale.

In the year 2011, more than 5.4 million games were created by users.[citation needed]

At the Roblox Game Conference, Roblox released a system that allowed members with a premium membership to trade collectible items with other users who have Builders Club. Over time, other features have been added to the system such as increasing the value of a trade, adding Robux to a trade, and owning and trading multiple copies of the same collectible item.[13]

On 13 January 2012, Roblox announced on the blog that their first Hack Week had been held. The post announcing it described it as a week where developers worked on projects they chose that they then had to present to the company and that, if considered interesting, could be put further work on.[14] Projects worked on by developers were later described by blog posts during the rest of the year. They included the implementation of the possibility for user interface elements to rotate,[15] which was later added to the game engine, the exploration of a system for crafting items,[16] the suggestion of a system that would allow game developers to connect many games together,[17] which was also later added to the engine[18] and the creation of a mobile website to replace the normal website for tablets and cell phones.[19]

On 5 June 2012, Roblox announced that a new water material was released to add to the existing collection of "high scalability" terrain cell materials.[20]

On 11 December 2012, Roblox released the ability to play games on iOS.[21][22][23][24][25] The current iOS devices compatible with running Roblox games are the iPad 2 and newer devices including mini, iPhone 4 or newer, and the iPod touch 5th generation. The mobile Roblox application gives users the ability to customize their character, shop in the virtual catalog, play games, view their profile, and respond to messages. Previous to the release of the mobile Roblox application, the company created 20 virtual Roblox tablets. Players who purchased one received a brand new iPad 3.[citation needed]

On 21 December 2012, featherweight parts were introduced. This feature enhanced game performance heavily by decreasing the usage of file space for each part in a place.[26]

Contemporary history (2012–present)

The co-founder of Roblox, Erik Cassel, died on the morning of 11 February 2013 after a three-year battle with cancer.[27] The safe chat feature was removed and was replaced by a system based on a whitelist for users under 13 years old and on a blacklist for other users. This new system allows users under the age of 13 to create content on the website, which they were not able to do previously. It applies to all parts of the website and to in-game chat.[28] The lighting system was improved with the addition of dynamic lights implemented in a voxel-based fashion.[29][30] Dynamic lights were later added to the mobile version of Roblox.[31][32] Recently[when?], animations have made a debut in Roblox, with an overhaul of the default Roblox character animations. In December 2013, an animation plugin was made available to be used. Users also became able to insert basic humanoids through the interface of the studio.[33] Around August 2013, the minimum price for catalog items increased from 1 virtual ticket or a robuk (single robux) to 300 tickets and 25 robux[citation needed], but this was met by criticism from the community,[by whom?] and it was reduced to 100 tickets and 10 robux. On October 11, 2013, body packages became available to all members of Roblox, including those who did not have a premium membership.[34] On 1 October 2013, ROBLOX released a feature called Developer's Exchange. The feature allows users to exchange their Robux into USD. The requirements to use the program are a minimum threshold of 100,000 Robux, Outrageous Builders Club, and a valid Paypal account. The current trade ratio is 500 to 1.[35] On 22 October 2013, players became able to change their usernames to an unused ones for 1000 Robux. The feature also allows the player's original name to be saved in case a user wishes to change back.[36]

Gameplay

Players can customize their virtual characters with hundreds of different hats, head shapes, body shapes, clothing, and gear. Players may create their own articles of clothing, which allows for a more personalized in-game experience. However, selling player-created articles of clothing and collectible items require Builders Club, but non-premium players may still create t-shirts, which are decals attached to the front of a player's torso.

A second generation ROBLOX character.

Social interaction

Players can add other people they meet in the game to their friends list. Since 2011, this can be done inside a game.[citation needed] From the friends list, players can select up to 20 friends as their best friends. Players can set their profile status for their best friends to view on their news feed.[37] Players also have the option join community groups.[38] After joining, players can then advertise their group,[39] participate in group relations,[40] and set their primary group.[41] On the website and in game, users who are under 13 years old can only use specific words that are part of a whitelist maintained by the Roblox moderators. In contrast, users who are over 13 years old can use any word except words that are part of a blacklist.

World construction

Editing using Roblox Studio 2013.

Players construct games with building bricks or blocks that vary in size, shape, and color using Roblox Studio, a program used for customizing places. Players can use the programming language Lua to dynamically change the environment of the game.[42] Also, plugins can be developed with Lua to be used in Roblox Studio.[43] Roblox Studio was at February 2013[44] replaced with its successor, Roblox Studio 2013. The second version of Studio features a more organized layout, static code analysis, and a new design. Players were initially having problems with the screen shaking, the inability to select parts, and crashes during the first few weeks of the release.[citation needed]

Economy and currency

Roblox includes two virtual currencies: tickets and Robux. They can be converted from one to the other with the currency exchange.[45][46] Tickets are earned for a variety of activities, such as when places are visited, as a daily login bonus, or for item sales including clothing. In-game items can be sold for either a set price in any type of currency, allowing the buyer to choose which currency they pay with. Robux is earned daily by premium members in varying amounts depending on the user's type of membership. Robux can also be earned through sale of virtual goods or can be purchased directly with money.

Mobile gameplay

Roblox can be played on the iPad 2, the iPhone 4, the iPod touch 5th generation or any successor to one of those devices.[citation needed] This is done with the Roblox application which can be obtained from the application store. The application allows purchasing items from the catalog that are not available for users not using the mobile application using the currency system of iTunes. The application can be used to view the user's inventory, friends, groups and messages. It can also be used to purchase upgrades (premium memberships or Robux) with the currency system provided by iTunes.

During the alpha period, only selected places could be played from the application.[citation needed] The application is now stable and allows any place to be played. However, many places are not adapted to be played on the mobiles, which can result in games being too slow or some games being impossible to play because of the controls that are not available on mobile computers.

Holiday traditions

During holidays like Easter, Halloween, or Christmas, Roblox will occasionally adapt the website to resemble the season. For example, in Halloween, the website theme will be black, orange, and purple, with a pumpkin representing the "o" in Roblox. In Easter, Roblox sets up a level where players can search the world for "eggs" to collect and earn as hats for their character. On Halloween and Christmas, Roblox creates "gifts" that the players can earn or buy. After they are no longer obtainable, the gifts will open after a set period and give players a specific unique item.

Moderation

As Roblox moderators work to maintain a safe environment for children, many aspects of the site are moderated. Some moderated targets are the forum and game chat logs. If a player violates the conditions of use, a moderation action may be taken on the account, which may be terminated or prevented from using the website for a determined period. When a player's account is deactivated, other users are no longer able to view the user's profile, statistics, or inventory (the profile will be replaced by the message "The item you requested does not exist"), although they can still play games created by the player, since early 2014, any user's account that has been banned after the update was published, it'd possible to view its profile. Inappropriate usernames will be changed to "Content Deleted" with several numbers afterwards and the usual removal of the ability to view the profile. Similarly, inappropriate content will be replaced by "[ Content Deleted ]".

Upgrades

Roblox is free to play, although members may purchase memberships to enhance their game experience. One membership option, Builders Club, grants players multiple amenities, including a daily virtual currency stipend of 15 Robux per day. Cards are available for sale in the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and in the UK.[2] In addition to normal game cards, Roblox released Double Peg cards, which are larger than the original cards and have two distinctive "pegs" located on the top. 7 eleven no longer sells ROBLOX cards and Double Peg cards are illegal due to a lego lawsuit.

Relief funds

In 2010, Roblox published two hats in the virtual catalog that players could purchase to fund for earthquake relief for the Haiti earthquake. They were named the "Blue Hat for Haiti", and the "Red Hat for Haiti". For every player who bought the blue hat, Roblox had donated 10 cents to the Red Cross Relief Fund to help Haiti recover.[47] For every player who bought the Red Hat, Roblox had donated 65 cents to the Red Cross[48] In 2011, Roblox also published two hats that players could purchase to raise money for Japan after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The Rising Sun Cap and the Japanese Baseball Cap were put into the catalog for players to buy. For every Rising Sun Cap that players bought, Roblox had donated $1.00 to the Red Cross. For every Japanese Baseball Cap that players bought, Roblox had donated 10 cents to the Red Cross.[citation needed]

In 2013, Roblox published a hat after the death of their co-founder, Erik Cassel. Every time the hat was bought, Roblox had donated money toward cancer research, as cancer was the cause of Cassel's death.[49]

Again in 2013, Roblox published two hats after Typhoon Haiyan. For every hat that a player bought, Roblox had either donated 10 cents or 65 cents depending on the hat.[citation needed]

Events

Every year, the Roblox staff travels to a center and hosts a convention where players can go and meet the administrators and view demonstrations.

Roblox Rally 2011

The 2011 convention was held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California on 1 August 2011.[citation needed] At the time, the convention was named the Roblox Rally. Attendants received a free poster, a t-shirt, water bottle, and their own lanyard. Each player who attended also received a free lunch of their choice.

Roblox Game Conference 2012

In 2012, the convention was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California on 14 July 2012.[citation needed] The convention was again renamed, this time as the Roblox Game Conference. Attendees received a poster, and their own lanyard. If tickets were purchased before certain dates, they would also receive extra items such as a t-shirt, a water bottle, virtual gear or a virtual visor, or a combination of these.

Bloxcon 2013

For the first time in its history, the Roblox convention was held outside of its home state. There were three different conventions, each hosted on a separate date.

2013 Roblox Film Festival

There was a Roblox Film Festival in 2013 which had been previously announced on the blog and which started in late April and ended at midnight on 3 June 2013. Players were allowed to choose from a variety of categories, some applying to the Bloxcon events and create a short video of varying time lengths. For example, a user might enter a video showing what London is like. The winning video picked from each category relating to a Bloxcon was shown at the actual event. The prize is an award under the moniker "BLOXY", mocking the Oscars.[50]

Monthly Bloxcasts

On 23 November 2013, it was announced on the blog[51] that beginning 7 December 2013, a livestream titled Bloxcast would take place every month lasting about one hour and a half. The Bloxcasts will feature live gameplay from the staff, Q&A sessions, and announcements involving the game and updates.

2014 Tour

On 8 March 2014, ROBLOX announced that they had partnered with the Maker Faire organization to hold their conventions. Beginning in April, ROBLOX booths would be staffed by the players in their specified city's Maker Faire. A minimum of eight people are needed to run a booth, and if twenty five people commit to staffing the booth, a ROBLOX staff member will attend the event. The tour runs through the end of 2014.[52]

References

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  2. ^ a b Shedletsky, John (2 August 2007). "Builders Club is Coming…". Roblox Corporation. 
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  35. ^ cite news|last=Justus|first=Brad|url=http://blog.roblox.com/2013/10/introducing-developer-central-and-the-developer-exchange/%7Ctitle=Introducing Developer Central and the Developer Exchange|publisher=Roblox Corporation|date=1 October 2013
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  50. ^ Haak, Andrew (13 April 2013). "Win a Prestigious Bloxy at the ROBLOX Film Festival!". Roblox Corporation. 
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  52. ^ Herndon, Becky (8 March 2014). "Maker Faire: A New Home for All 2014 ROBLOX Events". Roblox Corporation.