Roblox, virtual Lego

February 24th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Virtual worlds come in different shapes and sizes. This is definitely most obvious in online games. There are also many web based virtual worlds though they mostly focus on instant messaging and social networks. Furthermore, the avatars they provide always look like a modern anime virtual person.

Roblox is a new concept for a virtual world experimenting on gaming, authoring, robots, inventing, and fun, based on a very successful nothing-to-do-with-computers-toy that had children living in virtual worlds since 1958, Lego. Though Roblox has nothing corporate goin on with Lego, their designs sure look like them. Basically, Roblox is a web based virtual world application simulating the building block of Lego.

The avatars in Roblox a like the Lego man, yellow head, square body, short legs and arms. These characters will represent the users all through out the virtual world of Roblox. The world itself is built with Roblox, these are the Lego-like bricks, complete with the protruding interlocking studs on top of each piece.

Users can roam around the virtual world and meet other users, interact through IM, gather in groups, play games, build buildings with Roblox and everything else a usual social network has.

Games are the main attraction of Roblox. They have four games where users can battle in real time. Their games are called Brick Battles where users usually shoot each other with slingshots, guns or rockets. The ammunition is of course Roblox bricks.

Aside from games, there's a community building site. Buildings, roads, landscapes and entire cities are built here in cooperation with all users. Though each user has a personal space where he can build whatever he wants including vehicles and any other thing we used to make with Lego.

The Roblox interface is like an old PC 3D game except for the fact that it runs much faster, has a whole lot of different features and of course streams over the internet. At first I thought it was just a simple program but once I noticed how many different algorithms a single brick takes, I realized that this is a long way from the Nintendo Family Computer.

All in all , Roblox is mostly a game, a social interactive online game to be more exact. Will it stick? Well, one of its disadvantages is that it requires software installed on the machine, just like Google Earth. This is a disadvantage in the current web environment where users would rather do everything in a web browser. Nevertheless, the idea and implementation is exciting to try out and explore.