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Hack Week Begins Today!

December 16, 2013

by JacksSmirkingRevenge


HackWeekLogo Engineers, programmers, and scientists from many disciplines congregate here at ROBLOX HQ in a non-stop effort to better our platform. It is in this spirit of constant innovation that we celebrate Hack Week, where our engineers spend an entire week focusing on projects that live not just out of the box, but miles away from it. For the next five days, ROBLOX employees will be working tirelessly (either individually or in teams) on a wide range of pet projects and maybe-someday features. We’re provided with daily lunches, and for those who stay past the hour of 6:00 PM (see: most of us), dinners as well. On Friday afternoon, each of us will show the entire company what we’ve brewed up, and we’ll consider which of these projects are worth further investigation, and in rare cases, implementation. Hack Week is on!

To celebrate the kickoff of ROBLOX Hack Week, we thought we’d take a look back in time (our previous Hack Week was a year and a half ago) at some of the ideas that actually ended up becoming full-blown ROBLOX features. I got the chance to look through the archives of our 2012 Hack Week presentations and wanted to share with you some of the notes from Keith’s inaugural speech:

“This is Hack week. This is not a popularity contest. This has nothing to do with the ‘best Hack Week projects'”, it reads. “There are no winners or losers. Just innovation.”

This will surely put a grin on your face:


This was taken from a Hack Week presentation by Miguel Ortiz (TOTBL) and Tara Byers (Tarabyte). The title? “ROBLOX on the iPad.” These initial designs preceded a company-wide push to bring ROBLOX to iOS on every piece of Apple-supported hardware. Though these were only prototype images, they served as a useful baseplate for our engineers to run with. It’s crazy to think now that there was ever a time when ROBLOX on an iPad was nothing more than a few graphics in a PowerPoint presentation.

Have a look at this:

You’ve probably recently noticed that we’ve enabled rotatable GUIs, and this 2012 Hack Week presentation by resident troll Sorcus is where the development started. I talked with Sorcus briefly about his thoughts during his Hack Week project:

Compass“I hacked the basic idea together during Hack Week. It was Arseny (zeuxcg), our Senior Rendering Engineer, who took a lot of initiative and finished off the feature. He added a hierarchial rotation support system that really made the feature work the way it was intended. He did a fantastic job.”

We’re seeing rotatable GUIs all over new games in ROBLOX, and can’t wait to see new and innovative uses in the future.

Take a look at a slide to this Power Point presentation, given by John Shedletsky and Toby Teel (TobotRobot):


The ability to upload sounds was turned on just a few months ago, and you can trace the origins of that feature to this Hack Week slide. I got the chance to talk with Toby about the initial idea, and how it was eventually implemented across our platform.

Does this look familiar?

Does this look familiar?

“This was split between John and I. I wanted to give users the ability to upload their own sounds to enhance their games, while John wanted to improve how to use and discover sound in ROBLOX Studio. We were chasing the same goal but at very different angles, meaning we bounced a lot of ideas off of one another when coming up with our methods. I ended up adding the ability to search for and preview sounds in Studio. The dream was finally brought to fruition by Antoni Choudhuri (Tone) and Matthew Dean (Seranok) in the summer of 2013. It’s been really great to see how sounds have transformed many games on ROBLOX while opening a brand new creative avenue for our developers to explore.”

We can’t wait to see the projects and presentations to come out of this year’s Hack Week–what better way to bring in the new year, than with a bevy of features and ideas from the minds of some of the brightest thinkers in Silicon Valley? We’ll be keeping an eye on what surfaces and share some of these ideas in a post later on in the week. Don’t hold back either–what changes would you like to see in the coming year?