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Roblox is trying to build a virtual world that rivals our own. During the GamesBeat Summit Next event today, Roblox chief of technology Dan Sturman explained how the company plans to do that by designing a metaverse that caters to player’s needs. The studio wants to empower its community with tools that facilitate a safe atmosphere while providing tools to maintain relationships just as they exist in real life.
The first thing Sturman emphasized is the importance of real-time interaction. Roblox is known for its ability to connect players together in virtual online spaces, and the development wants to build its metaverse by maintaining and expanding on this functionality. Another key, according to Sturman, is the ability for people to find activities to do with other players in real-time. Those activities should also appeal to a wide range of age groups and different demographics.
To ensure that the Roblox company can continue to expand on its aspirations, the studio is aiming to make foundational improvements to its technology. Roblox’s development team is working on reducing online lag that can ruin that all-important illusion of real-time interactivity for players.
Worldbuilding around player safety
Something else that players can sense is threats to their safety. Sturman highlighted the importance of safety — especially as it pertains to minors. But he also detailed how each region may have different safety needs.
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One example is age verification and how different regions have different requirements for what constitutes an adult. In the US, that age is 18 or older, but in other countries it is different.
But one-size-fits-all solutions like age do not take the context of specific interactions into consideration. If a parent wants to play Roblox with their child, that needs to factor into the algorithm that identifies if it’s safe for two players to interact with one another.
But getting players to interact is crucial to the underlying success of Roblox, and an impressive tool that the game uses is voice chat. And not normal party-chat but proximity-based physical voice chat. This tech makes Roblox feel like a bustling, living virtual world where players are encouraged to seek each other out and interact with one another. Through proximity voice chat, players will hear one another better depending on how close they are to each other.
This can foster friendships that mirror the real world. That sense of realism leads to a real sense of immersion and world-building. And it’s those elements that will lead to a more immersive metaverse.
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