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Thoughts: The Free Model Dilemma

First, I will start linking to this disclaimer every time I put up an opinion post.

Ahem.

The users of Roblox have put themselves in a very strange spot. The users shun those who use models that are public and free to use, claiming “lack of creativity or skill.” Yet, no one can get better unless they do just that, learn from the models, and continue to make mistakes and learn from them until they gain the skills to create a original place. This is the Free Model Dilemma.

I very highly doubt someone is going to join Roblox and instantly know not only the programming language, but all the terms, phrases, and the “unwritten rules” of the site. Some coding genius might come around and code a perfect chess AI, but no one will ever play it because it’s boring. Impressive? Yes. Useful? No. You need to be around to know that “paintball” games will do better than “chess” games, or things of that sort. Even if you have the preemptive knowledge that Roblox is a children’s game, you can still fail utterly because no one wants to play your game themed on everything kids love. Roblox and their users are fickle. I still haven’t figured it out.

So then, what’s a user to do? Let’s assume the user is pretty “average” meaning they’re about 10-15, can’t code, and has no prior knowledge of Roblox. So they play a few games. They realize “Hey, I can make this place too and get lots of users to play it!” So what do they do? Open up the toolbox, and search for “terrain” or “paintball guns” and things they need to build the place. They make their place as they see it should be, and try to get players.

This is where users enter the loop the community has created for itself. More often than not, the user gets shunned for his or her “lack of creativity” and “laziness” when in fact, it was the best they can do. Then they go back distraught, and continue to just play and not build their games, or they build their games knowing no one will come and that “it is trash” when it’s really still their creation and their place.

However, if every user does this, it fuels the stereotype that new users can’t build. They can’t build because the community trashes and insults even the slightest attempt at it unless it’s made 100% from scratch. Plus, places are never 100 from scratch. Even experienced users reuse scripts from older places or just take a specific one they need from free models. I rarely see this ratted out.

And why do I rarely see this ratted out? How do users get out of this loop? By maturing. It may seem “most good builders are older because they’re smart enough to figure it out and get popular from expert places” but in reality it is “most good builders seems older because they’re mature enough to learn from their mistakes and keep on trying.”

–Briguy

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2 Responses

  1. Wow, your post kinda summed up my first 1-2 year at Roblox, and I joined back in ’07!

    But, yea…I created a POTC-themed Place, used quite a few models (just like your post said) and I got critiqued by it. Deactivated the place about a year later and resorted to Foruming. Yet, I’m planning on coming back to building an awesome game

  2. A 15 year old needing to use free-models..? Last time I used free-models was when I was 12. But seriously, you don’t need to “get experience from free-models” to be able to build. And free-models aren’t creative. A lot of popular places are just free-models, and when I see that I think it is sad. Why? Because I see a place just as good, and way better built, BUT the random factor of popularity didn’t work out. Getting a place famous isn’t about “knowing ROBLOX”, it takes a large amount of luck.

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