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ROBLOX Staff: Game Developers by Day, Gamers by Night

September 05, 2013

by JacksSmirkingRevenge



We all share a passion for gaming and game development here at ROBLOX. While we pour our energy into making our platform more robust and feature-rich every day, many of us also seek inspiration and entertainment from the wider games industry in our free time. We thought we’d check in with some of our gaming enthusiasts to find out what’s happening outside of ROBLOXia and offer a little insight into our tastes.

Isaiah Merrill–Web Team Lead is playing The Last of Us (PS3)

The Last of UsI’ve been playing The Last of Us and it’s an absolutely mind-blowing title. The premise is simple–an airborne virus has pretty much decimated earth, leaving behind a shadow of what once was. These “spores” have not only wiped out most of the planet, but have turned “infected” humans into blood-hungry-mushroom-creatures with a collective wicked sense of hearing (though their eye sight isn’t so great, which makes for a key game mechanic). You play as Joel, a heartbroken father who comes to care for Ellie, a young and ruthless survivor who may hold the key to stopping the infection. The game succeeds in the sheer volume of options you’re given to play it–there are elements of stealth, melee combat, platforming/exploring (there’s not a lot left in this decimated world, and ammo is scarce), gun play, and more. Couple all that with a story that is as epic as any zombie movie, and you’ve got a fresh and innovative title that properly represents the very last and best of the PS3 era. I’ve thought about the ending for days after experiencing it!

Alan Fackler–Communications can’t wait to play GTA V (PS4)

Grand Theft Auto VI’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember–though these days, I spend most of my time ruthlessly hunting opponents online in Call of Duty matches (it’s hard to find time to play through entire single player experiences!). With this article, I’d like to use my space not to talk about what I’m playing now, but what I really, really look forward to playing. Grand Theft Auto V looks insane. Don’t get me wrong, I know I share this sentiment with a ton of eager gamers. The developers have released a series of videos detailing each aspect of the game, but it was this video–the multiplayer demo–that sold me. Welcome to the next generation of online console gaming. You can experience GTA V online, with others, in real time, all throughout the internet. Start a gang, collect (and protect) goods, rob people, go into turf wars, have high-speed chases from the police. The online integration is next-generation–I read one report that claimed that if you hopped into the GTA online world, woke up in your apartment and turned on the TV, you could literally watch police chases going on in real time. WHAT.

Antoni Choudhuri–Web Team is playing Sword & Sworcery (iPad)

swords&sorceryI’ve been most impressed recently with Sword & Sworcery, an iOS title. I happened upon it during Apple’s five-year anniversary App Store sale, and managed to snag it for free. The visual aesthetic is awesome–it’s painted in pixelated 8-bit style, and features in-depth social integrations with Twitter, as well a very interesting user interface and control scheme. The game revolves around the relationship between a woodsman named Logfella and his dog, Dogfella. They continually interact with one another in ways that surprise me. The game tells an unconventional story and features really unique sound effects and an immersive soundtrack. If this sounds like a niche game, you’d be right. But for those who are into dark fantasy games with a bit of an indie vibe? This is your title.

Toby Teel–Web Team is playing System Shock 2 (PC)

system-shock-2-02I’m a bit of a sucker for classic games. I’m always digging up titles I never got around to playing but seem too good to have missed, often well after their time has passed. I picked up System Shock 2 from GOG.COM (you can also get it on Steam) and I’ve been really enjoying it. You play as the lone survivor on a space expedition gone terribly wrong: the ship’s crew members have become zombies, members of an alien collective called “the many”, and the ship’s central computer has turned its robotic minions against the remaining human population. Released in 1999, the influence of predecessors like the original Half-Life is palpable, but the gameplay is more like a survival-horror RPG than a sci-fi first-person shooter. The graphics haven’t aged particularly well, but I think the real appeal of the game is the atmosphere: the ship is littered with destruction and bodies, the stories of the dead revealed through their logs. The true atmospheric gel of the game is the sound: zombies moan and mutter to themselves as they wander the halls of the abandoned spaceship, killer robots’ hydraulic motors whine as they patrol, and the aliens themselves make unearthly sounds as they spring for you from unseen hallways. Not for the faint of heart, for sure, but if you like games that terrify, and don’t mind some less than stellar graphics, try this one out. Oh, and BioShock by 2k Boston/Irrational Games is considered a spiritual successor, with a lot of similar elements. I guess that’s the next title I’ll try.

Arseny KapoulkineRendering Team is playing Remember Me (Xbox 360)

remembermeI recently finished playing Remember Me (before moving on to playing through Skyrim for the third time. Don’t ask). The game seems like a typical third-person action game on the surface–you fight hordes of mutants, guards and robots on the streets of Neo Paris in 2084. Here’s what makes it unique: you’re a memory hunter, so you essentially have to hack into people’s minds, and remix their memories to change their understanding of past events. The memory remixing sequences are really well done, and a welcome change of pace from the customizable and combo-heavy fighting system. My favorite thing about Remember Me is how it looks–the environments are believable, the lighting is stunning at times–it’s totally apparent that a lot of thought was put into the style of the game. In graphics development, it’s difficult to find a balance between the amount of available technology and the amount of art you want to produce. Remember Me is an outstanding example of a mathematically solid technology blending perfectly with art to achieve a truly unique appearance. The developers of the game actually shared a ton of details behind the technology they developed to produce the game, which you can read here.

With ROBLOX, we traditionally focus on building the best tech we can, then leave that tech in the hands of our builders to create beautiful works of art. I’m confident, however, that if we want to take the next step in terms of how ROBLOX looks, we’ll need to invest in art internally as well. We’re right there with you. We want better looking materials, terrain, skyboxes, and more!

That’s where some of us are finding inspiration outside of ROBLOX. What games are inspiring you to develop your own?