At Roblox, we see a future where anyone can create anything, anywhere. There are already 32 million impressions hosted on the platform and more than 60 thousand new impressions are published daily. Authors group is on its way to making it a reality.
“We’re working to make the creation process simple and democratic,” said Nick Thornow, VP of Engineering, Creator Group. “By unlocking more and more flexible and powerful creative interfaces – in the studio, on the fly, and via the cloud – and in partnership with our community of creators – we will make creating in Roblox as natural as it is in the real world, turning all Roblox users into creators. “.
Realizing this vision requires a team with a long-term vision, so we spoke with Nick and three members of his team: studio head Stefano Corazza, software engineer Jenna Buzellam, and lead architect Michael Kryzhanovsky. Through these conversations, we’ve learned about the top tech issues they’re tackling today, the culture they’re aiming to create, and how they’re working to create the future of Roblox.
Empowering anyone to create on Roblox with artificial intelligence and automation
Before Roblox, creating an immersive 3D experience would have required an entire team of professionals trained in tools that take years to master. While dedicated development studios continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on the platform, Roblox is still the most attractive place for newcomers to take their first steps as digital creators.
Today, most of the experience is created with our free build tool, Studio Roblox. As Steph explains, “Studio is uniquely positioned to unlock powerful creative possibilities for every user – it’s the best way to get amazing content on our platform.” With Roblox Studio, anyone can create and publish end-to-end solutions with a multi-user environment, regular updates, network analytics, matchmaking, monetization, and do it all more smoothly and quickly. Most people with even modest technical skills can create interfaces for millions of users in less than an hour. All of this is backed by our fully managed cloud software and infrastructure, delivering scalability and performance around the world across iOS, Android, Mac, PC and consoles.
Based on this base, we work to further reduce friction, make creation even easier, and for our creators to focus on their ideas.
With advances in natural language processing and machine learning, we have identified techniques that we can implement in the future. For example, just as AI-powered art tools like Dall-E and Midjourney can take a natural language prompt and implement it as visual art, we’re looking at ways to get Studio to create interactive objects and scenes without requiring any complex modeling or coding from the creators.
According to Nick, “We want creators to be able to use natural language or other intuitive expressions of intent to get closer to their creative vision.” As Steph says, “How many photographers were there ten years ago? Now that everyone has an amazing camera on their phone, we have billions of photographers.”
Upskilling our community of authors through training
While we already have a global community of talented creators, every day a new generation of Roblox users take that leap to become creators. How can we help these new creators get on the path to fully realizing their creative vision and achieving financial success on the platform?
In addition to the best tools, we also invest in training. Nick says that “we are bringing people who are new to programming and 3D modeling to the platform. So we have a huge opportunity to help them learn the skills they need to succeed.”
While we provide extensive learning resources, including documentation, tutorials, and author forums, we’re also adding advanced learning content to Studio to make it easier to find help and implement solutions.
“If people come to Studio and don’t know where to start and what to do, we need to solve this problem,” says Michael. “The studio was created for each to be successful. When we think about the bigger picture, it actually helps us provide more tools that help people express themselves creatively and create even more amazing content.”
And besides just helping authors learn, our educational initiatives have a positive impact on society as a whole. As Jenna explained, “Making our learning materials — and Studio as a whole — more accessible and accessible to everyone should mean more diversity in our creators. And it will allow for an immersive experience that actually represents and uplifts the wider community around us.”
Manage data scale to provide a great experience for creators anywhere
As we lower the barrier to entry and give creators powerful tools to create high-quality 3D applications out of the box, we need to ensure that users around the world can enjoy the full scale and detail of their creations. This means providing a great experience on both high-end PCs and mobile devices, some of which may not offer consistently high connection speeds or the latest hardware.
“Every day, thousands of creators create millions of pieces of content. This means that a lot of complex information is being created. We use our global cloud to distribute creations so that people around the world can interact optimally on their device. TThe Roblox engine evaluates the underlying constraints on the user’s device and gracefully delivers the desired experience,” Nick explains. “This allows users to experience the greatest possible immersion without having to tweak any settings or block any content.”
Drive innovation through our culture of open communication and collaboration
We are innovating around a new and growing category of human collaborative experience. No one person has all the answers, and we benefit from different opinions and points of view. The Creator Group creates an environment where different opinions are encouraged, and not knowing the solution (and asking for help) is always okay. The nature of our product and mission also means that we don’t just listen to our own voice, but maintain a strong, direct connection with the creator community, gathering their feedback and iterating in real time.
“Engineers [at other companies] can often feel distant from the people who use their products,” Steph says. “Here, once a feature is released, you can see direct feedback on the forums and talk to the creators and developers who use it.”
Our open line of communication with our team and our community is the reason why we are able to stay aligned and move forward even as we travel through uncharted territories. There is no substitute for having such a tight feedback loop for building and modifying your product. As Steph says, “Iteration is the foundation of good software.”
Make your own impact
Our leaders ensure that open communication and collaboration is a daily practice within the Creator group. This contributes to creating an environment that allows everyone to make a lasting impact right from the start. In fact, Jenna was able to make an impact even before she joined the team full-time.
“Last week as an intern, I was able to submit code to production. About a week after I joined the team full-time, I logged into Studio and saw the changes for myself. It was really exciting. I loved knowing that I was working on important projects from day one,” Jenna said.
Given the bold vision of the millions of users and creators on our platform, it’s time to join the creator group at Roblox. If you’re looking for a culture that values collaboration, innovation, looking for great ideas from anywhere, and creating products of exceptional scale and complexity, this is the place for you.
“We’re building a technology that allows everyone in the world to express their imagination through creativity without thinking about how it all works,” says Michael.
Steph is more direct. “We are on the cusp of a massive wave of democratization of content creation.”
Team Behind the Tech is a series that explores how we approach Roblox’s toughest tech challenges and explores the people, culture, and values behind our innovative technologies. If this sounds like an issue or opportunity you’d like to take advantage of, check out our available roles for the Creator team and learn more at Career.roblox.com.