Roblox comes to Xbox One, joins Minecraft in the growing player-made content …

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Roblox’ lets indie game devs publish across platforms — in a bubble.

We’re at a point where making games is easier than ever, and one of the better platforms for beginners is bringing its community creations to Microsoft’s home console. Roblox, which runs a platform for youths to create and play their own video games, said Thursday it will expand its presence to the Xbox One in December.

Roblox is a free game-creating program that already has 6 million monthly players across PC, iOS and Android, and Baszucki expects that number to climb when it hits Xbox One on December 3rd. That barrier has steadily been lowered over the last few years thanks to easy to learn (and free to use) game engines like Unity, and now free-to-play MMO sandbox game is looking to make game creation even easier by launching a new Xbox app that brings its user-created games to consoles with no porting necessary. “ for Xbox gives our developer community the opportunity to receive high-profile exposure for their games, and it promotes game development to the broader Xbox audience,” Roblox CEO David Baszucki said in a statement. “We believe the future of video games will be much more diverse, with anyone being able to bring a game concept to fruition in the same way online video platforms like YouTube have enabled millions of aspiring filmmakers like never before.” “Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to support indie development,” added Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox. “Including for Xbox is a great way to connect with and encourage the next generation of developers coming up on .” Roblox is part game, part development platform, and it allows users to create their own games and sell them on a marketplace for digital currency, which can in turn be exchanged for real money.

But Roblox game creators — mainly children ages 8 to 18 — also generate revenue for themselves from sales of in-game items like power boosts or custom characters. Now some of the more successful developers will raise their gaming cred even higher as ROBLOX launches a free app for Xbox featuring 20 of its top games. “Being able to reach more players on Xbox is awesome,” said David Narkala, who is paying for college through ROBLOX earnings. “And playing my game on the big screen is just so fun.” ROBLOX, featured earlier this year in Cult of Mac, has more than 15 million games created by users and is the top-ranked gaming site for kids and teens, according to comScore. We spoke to the development team at Roblox Corporation for their take on the game and its various elements, including the decision to bring Roblox to Xbox One and its use of cloud computing. “The vision of ROBLOX is to enable creators to build a game once and push it to all screens simultaneously. The new Xbox One app will allow Roblox content creators to release their games on multiple platforms simultaneously without having to worry about porting the code to each new system. So getting their games in front of millions of Xbox One owners opens a potentially lucrative market that’s been tough for independent game makers to crack because it’s been controlled by bigger game companies.

The big draw for players is that the community is always making something new — and when gamers get tired of trying the creations of others, they can start building things themselves. It takes extra time, resources and cash to create a game for more than one platform, since mechanics and user interfaces are often specialized for each system. The app will launch with around 20 of the most popular games made with the platform, including Heroes, Super Bomb Survival, Tiny Sharks, Bird Simulator, and Coalesce. Roblox software engineers had to first tune the platform to accommodate different display screens and game controllers to allow the games to work on a console. Among the first games playable on Xbox on day one is Heroes!, a top-down dungeon-crawler with Ys-style just-run-into-your-enemies combat made by a 19-year-old Indiana teenager who’s using in-game microtransaction revenue to help pay his way through college.

I also saw Tiny Tanks, a top-down eight-player tank shooter where you control a tank inside a fort created on the floor of a child’s bedroom; and Natural Disaster Survival, a goofy romp where up to 30 players roam a map until a random catastrophic event such as a volcano eruption or blizzard occurs, leading all the players to scramble for cover and safety as the elements destroy the Lego-like world around them. ROBLOX was very early in the user generated content movement; gaming happens to be the most complex ecosystem, so it takes longer for the technology and community to develop. Roblox claims that it’s now been around long enough – it was founded in 2006 – that some of its longtime users are now graduating into full-fledged professional game developers. But that’s just fine, Baszucki says, since developers are learning valuable game-making skills and they can earn money directly through Roblox. “They’re not just in Roblox,” he says. “They’re playing with Unity; they’re playing with Java dev stuff; they’re playing with XNA; they’re playing with other stuff. If something is too violent, has aggressive language, or implies sexuality — all things that could easily sneak past moderators of a massive community — it could bump the game up to a “Teen” or “Mature” rating.

It’s not just like an isolated culture of Roblox-only people.” Most Roblox developers are between the ages of 15 and 22, and the most successful earn six figures a year from their games, Baszucki says. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

There are a few similarities to Minecraft (at least in terms of building and socializing), which already has a strongly established presence on Xbox One. And Baszucki knows a bit about what makes Xbox One tick. “We’ve had a relationship with Microsoft for a while,” he says. “It’s bigger than just Xbox — we use Azure for some of our cloud stuff.

You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you. In addition to Smooth Terrain, this year we launched particle effects, neon and dynamic lighting, some new materials, and a totally new physics engine.

We are going to keep pushing the frontiers of technology and creativity so our creators can build anything they want. “Our platform is architected from the ground up to move from OS to OS and screen to screen. Our community creators made tweaks to their in-game GUIs to take advantage of the larger screen size of consoles, but they didn’t have to rewrite their core code. Our company philosophy is all about learning and iterating.” Roblox is no stranger to cloud computing and Microsoft has been making significant in-roads into the same with its Azure servers. We have integrated cloud technologies from the beginning of ROBLOX, and have built a highly optimized hybrid of cloud services and physical data centers.

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