A recently- Roblox Adobe integration shows how the sandbox game seeks to attract and embrace older users by putting design at its forefront to achieve its metaverse vision. The collaboration, announced in September, allows creators to seamlessly import designs from Adobe Substance 3D Designer and Painter into Roblox Studio. It opens the door to numerous possibilities beyond what Roblox Studio currently offers.
Adobe tools are industry standard in many creative professions, and Substance 3D is one of the leading design tools for metaverse applications involving 3D objects and spaces. In addition to having the capability to make those items look authentic, Substance 3DS also enables them to ‘act’ real by granting them physics properties following the rules of physics engines.
Over the summer, Roblox upgraded its materials tooling system to help developers create more immersive experiences on the platform. But, even at its highest tier, the company would likely have trouble building and integrating its own Adobe-quality 3D materials designer. As a result, it made sense for the company that aspires to build the leading metaverse to collaborate with Adobe, a company many would argue is best-in-class for this type of design work.
Lest it seem as though Roblox is cannibalising its own platform, the rationale is relatively straightforward: Roblox Studio gives players the tools they need to get started with creating, while integrations with products like Adobe Substance 3D are there for them as they grow into seasoned professionals.
“Looking forward, our vision is to push UGC to the extreme: we provide the APIs and components to enable all types of in-experience creation. Any user can easily create and bring their vision to life in easier and higher quality ways – from advanced coders to someone exploring an experience,” Josh Anon, who is the project lead for materials at Roblox, tells PCGamesN via email.
In this case, ‘experience’ refers to the language Roblox uses to describe what others might simply call a ‘game.’ Though the change in terminology came on the heels of the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit, wherein Apple distinguished Roblox’s platform from a typical mobile game in Apple’s App Store, the idea driving the updated language is more rooted in the company’s metaverse vision. ‘Games’ are simply something you play, usually to win, while ‘experiences’ refer to more metaverse-based ideas such as performances, virtual meditation sessions, and mixed reality learning environments that merge physical spaces with virtual ones.
Building the metaverse, or any form of a metaverse, is a lofty goal. However, Roblox appears to be the frontrunner in terms of companies that could develop a true metaverse — assuming the concept ever materialises from its current status as a mere buzzword to disguise a new breed of trendy digital marketing activations.
Regardless of what a true metaverse might encapsulate, it seems only fitting that one of the leading providers of tools for digital professionals would want future developers to learn to leverage its tools to expand the possibilities of the digital future.
Roblox Adobe integration grants designers more flexibility
For many, it’s hard to imagine Roblox as anything more than a platform where kids adopt blocky personas to play games. But that neglects that even modern video games, for all their realism in aspects such as driving mechanics and gunplay, wouldn’t exist without their eight-bit predecessors.
But it seems that Roblox’s shift toward what it dubs ‘aged-up’ experiences is gaining traction, particularly among developers, who function as tastemakers for Robloxians. More than ever before, development teams are taking on the challenge of developing games that leverage higher-fidelity visual components.
While the blocky world of Brookhaven continues to be the game’s most popular experience among all tracked age demographics, there are hints that older Robloxians are interested in games that prioritise world-building and ambience.
One relatively recent example is Doors, a roguelike horror game that involves traversing through a series of rooms while avoiding unseen enemies. Launched on Roblox in mid-August 2022, Doors now has more than 1.3 billion visits. That easily rivals most free, indie horror games on platforms more seemingly geared toward adults like Steam or Xbox Game Pass.
There’s also Rolling Thunder, a PvE FPS game in a swampy backdrop that immerses players in the trenches of combat with effects that slow them as they move through the murky water. There’s also Driving Simulator, which allows players to race and customise cars in a city backdrop. And, while no one would realistically compare these games with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Forza Horizon 5, there’s no doubt they can play a role in the gaming ecosystem when they’re available at no cost when compared to console and PC games that run up to $70.
Some of these Roblox game environments look nearly as good as any designed in more technically complex programs like Unity. Although Roblox may still have a bit of work to do in making its environments rival those of these leading game engines, its Adobe collaboration is certainly a solid start.
Roblox designers’ creativity isn’t limited to aesthetics. In 3D digital worlds, whether the aesthetic emphasises realism or some other high-fidelity artistic choice, artists and developers can enhance player immersion by programming environments to be reactive to the player’s choices or movements. Think, for example, of a video game level where a player slows down when travelling through sand or slips when moving through an oil puddle.
“On Roblox, we expect people to engage in a vast range of activities. Whether they are running a pizza joint in a classic simulator or exploring an ancient civilisation in a realistic environment, we continue to make long-term bets with innovative engineering to improve the realism, fidelity, and intensity of how we interact online,” Anon said. “Roblox was born as a physics engine, so it has always been our hope that experiences on the platform feel like reality. Bicycles on Roblox have tires, and they have chains, and they have gears. When the wheel falls off the bike, the bike should do what we would expect in real life. And creators can decide how that bike looks, whether that’s a photorealistic, electric-boosted VanMoof or something anime-inspired.”
Roblox Adobe workflow allows for more integrations
It’s hard to know whether realistic physics will amount to the defining characteristic of a prospective metaverse. However, seasoned gamers will be the first to admit that poor physics can ruin an otherwise realistic game, as facets such as gunplay, transportation, and character effects such as encumbrance can make or break game immersion.
Regardless, it appears Roblox’s Adobe integration is only the beginning of what the company hopes to achieve when empowering anyone to build dream experiences in the metaverse.
“We recognise that creators use a variety of tools, and we want to ensure they have flexibility and options. Towards this, one of our key initiatives is to open our systems and APIs, so a diverse ecosystem of tools works smoothly with Roblox,” Anon says. “This integration is a great example of us integrating with third-party tools, so creators have more options to customise their workflows.”
For more Roblox design inspiration, check our list of the best Roblox games in 2022. You’ll also want to see our Roblox promo codes list for December and our Roblox music codes for December for music you can play on your boombox in your favourite experiences.