At Roblox, we envision a future where anyone can create anything, anywhere. With 32 million experiences already on the platform and over 60 thousand new experiences published daily, the Creator group is well on its way to bringing this to life.
“We are working to make creation simple, to democratize creation,” said Nick Tornow, Vice President of Engineering for the Creator group. “By exposing increasingly flexible and powerful interfaces for creation – in studio, in-experience, and through the cloud – and in partnership with our creator community – we will make creation in Roblox as natural as it is in the real world, turning all Roblox users into creators.”
It takes a team committed to taking the long view to deliver on this vision, so we spoke with Nick, as well as three members of his team: Head of Studio Stefano Corazza, Software Engineer Jenna Bousellam, and Lead Architect Michael Kryzhanovsky. Through these conversations, we learned about the top technical challenges they’re tackling today, the culture they aim to build, and how they’re working towards the future of creation on Roblox.
Empowering Anyone to Create on Roblox Through AI & Automation
Before Roblox, it would have taken an entire team of specialists—trained in tools that take years to master—to build an immersive 3D experience. While dedicated development studios continue to expand the frontiers of what’s possible on the platform, Roblox continues to be the most inviting place for novices to take their first steps as digital creators.
Today, most experience creation is done in our free building tool, Roblox Studio. As Stef explains, “Studio is uniquely positioned to open powerful creative capabilities to every user – it’s the best way to get amazing content on our platform.” With Roblox Studio, anyone can build and publish an end-to-end experience with multi-user environments, regular updates, network analytics, matchmaking, monetization, and do it all more seamlessly and quickly. Most people with even modest technical skills can create experiences that host millions of users in under an hour. It’s all backed by our fully-managed cloud software and infrastructure, delivering scale and performance across the world on iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and consoles.
Building on this base, we are working to reduce friction further, to make creation even easier, and for our creators to focus on their ideas.
With advances in natural language processing and machine learning, we’ve identified techniques we may implement in the future. For instance, similar to how AI-powered art tools like Dall-E and Midjourney can take a prompt written in natural language and realize it as visual art, we’re looking at ways to have Studio build interactive objects and scenes without requiring any intricate modeling or coding from creators.
In Nick’s words, “We want to allow creators to use natural language or other intuitive expressions of intent to get closer to their creative vision.” As Stef puts it, “How many photographers were there a decade ago? Now that everybody has an amazing camera on their phone, we have billions of photographers.”
Upskilling Our Creator Community Through Learning
While we already have a global community of talented creators, every day a new generation of Roblox users makes that leap to become creators. How can we help get these new creators on the path to fully realizing their creative vision and achieving financial success on the platform?
In addition to better tools, we also invest in learning. Nick shares that “we get people on the platform who are being exposed to coding and 3D modeling for the first time ever. So there’s a huge opportunity for us to help them learn the skills they need to be successful.”
While we provide extensive learning resources including documentation, tutorials, and creator forums, we are also adding enhanced learning materials into Studio to make finding help and implementing solutions a breeze.
“If people come into Studio and don’t know how to begin or what to do, that’s an issue we need to solve,” says Michael. “Studio is designed for everyone to be successful. When we think about the bigger picture, it actually helps us deliver more tools to help people express themselves creatively and produce even more awesome content.”
And beyond just helping creators learn, our education initiatives are having a positive impact on the community as a whole. As Jenna explained, “Making our learning materials – and Studio overall — more accessible and available to everyone should mean more diversity in our creators. And that’s going to allow for immersive experiences that actually represent and uplift the broader set of communities around us.”
Managing the Scale of Data to Deliver a Great Experience for Creators Anywhere
As we lower the barrier to entry and give creators powerful tools to build high-fidelity 3D experiences out of the box, we need to ensure that the full scale and detail of their creations can be enjoyed by users across the world. This means ensuring a great experience on both high-end PCs as well as mobile devices—some of which may not be equipped with consistently-fast connection speeds or the latest hardware.
“Every day, thousands of creators create millions of pieces of content. That means there’s a lot of complex information produced. We employ our global cloud to distribute creations so people all over the world can optimally engage on their device of choice. The Roblox engine assesses the basic constraints on a user’s device and gracefully delivers the right experience,” explains Nick. “This allows users to realize the most immersion possible without adjusting any settings or being locked out of any content.”
Enabling Innovation Through Our Culture of Open Communication and Collaboration
We’re innovating around a new and evolving category of human co-experience. No single person has all the answers, and we benefit from diverse voices and perspectives. The Creator group is fostering an environment in which different opinions are encouraged, and not knowing the solution (and asking for help) is always OK. The nature of our product and mission also means we don’t just listen to our own voices, but nurture a robust direct line of communication with the creator community – gathering their feedback and iterating in real time.
“Engineers [at other companies] can often feel far removed from the people that use their products,” says Stef. “Here, as soon as a feature is out, you can see direct feedback on the forums and you can go talk to the creators and developers that use it.”
Our open line of communication, with our team and our community, is the reason why we’re able to maintain alignment and move forward, even as we navigate uncharted territories. There’s no substitute for having that kind of close feedback loop to build and modify your product. As Stef says, “Iteration is the foundation of building good software.”
Make Your Own Impact
Our leaders ensure that open communication and collaboration are practiced daily within the Creator group. This fosters an environment that enables everyone to make a lasting impact from the start. In fact, Jenna was able to make an impact even before she joined the team full-time.
“In my last week as an intern, I was able to ship the code to production. A week or so after joining the team full time, I went into Studio and saw the change myself. That was really exciting. I liked knowing that I was working on high-impact projects from day one,” Jenna said.
With a bold vision for the millions of users and creators on our platform, there’s never been a better time to join the Creator group at Roblox. If you’re looking for a culture that values collaboration, innovation, seeks great ideas from anywhere, and builds products of exceptional scale and complexity, this is the place for you.
“We’re building technology that enables everyone in the world to express their imagination through creation, without needing to think about how it all works,” says Michael.
Stef puts it more bluntly. “We’re on the precipice of a massive wave of democratization of the creation of content.”
Team Behind the Tech is a series that explores our approaches to tackling Roblox’s toughest technical challenges and highlights the people, culture, and values behind our innovative technologies. If these sound like the challenges and opportunities you want to take on, check out our available roles for the Creator group and learn more at careers.roblox.com.