Major upgrades coming for Roblox: New AI chatbot, open marketplace, and more announced at RDC
At the keynote session of the Roblox Developers Conference (RDC), the company announced a number of upgrades including a new AI chatbot to create virtual experiences, open marketplace, and more.
In the early morning of September 9 (September 8 for the Western Hemisphere), Roblox, the popular online gaming platform, held the keynote session of the Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) from the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. During the event, the company revealed a number of new developments at work, which will be coming later to the platform. Among the announced new features, the biggest highlight was an AI assistant that will enable creators to build faster worlds and create new virtual experiences. Alongside, Roblox also made one of its biggest changes to its ecosystem in a long time by making its marketplace open. Let us take a look at the highlights from the keynote session.
Roblox to get AI chatbot
The generative AI hype is still high, and the latest to jump on the wagon is Roblox. The company announced that it will be adding Assistant, a conversational AI, to the game to help creators “build richer, more engaging experiences faster”. This will also help those creators build new virtual experiences who do not have high-level technical prowess but still want to contribute to the ecosystem and bring their ideas to reality.
The AI chatbot builds on top of the existing generative AI suite in Roblox that already helps creators create material and write codes with the help of AI.
“Assistant will be available in Roblox Studio and Creator Hub later this year, and within experiences sometime next year to help creators learn, code, and build more effectively,” the company noted in its blog post.
A big part of the keynote session was creator economy, and a large part of the announcements made were focused on making the platform more creator-friendly. A major step in this direction came when the company announced that the platform will be opening its marketplace to “anyone that is ID-verified and has Premium”. Earlier, only approved brands and select users had access to the marketplace. This step will come as a major boost for those who already spent hours creating for the platform but could not earn from it.
“We are also developing easier ways for creators to detect duplicates of their items and more easily report, manage, and track IP claims. These tools are in development now and we'll share details as they become available,” the company said.
Additionally, Roblox also announced that by the next year, there will be two predominant types of items: those that are fixed in quantity (Limiteds) and those that have a flexible quantity, both with costs per unit to publish.
Easier way to create avatars
In Roblox, a large part of any user's identity is the virtual avatar that can be seen in the game. Naturally, users spend a lot of time personalizing these 3D avatars for their experiences. At the RDC, the company announced new tools that will be rolled out throughout the year to create and publish avatars from anywhere. Some of these developments include:
- New mesh and texture APIs will give creators control over changing items inside an experience, so they can morph the shape and dimensions, or change textures. Within the next few months, developers will have the option to enable these APIs to allow people to customize avatars—without leaving the experience. This will start with the customization of avatars themselves—adding freckles or changing the shape of the jaw—then expand into in-experience creation of avatar items, clothing, and emotes.
- Our avatar creation tool now supports importing standard gLTF files in addition to OBJ and FBX files. We've also released a preview function that enables creators to see how their avatar will work with different facial expressions, emotes, accessories, and layered clothing. And coming later this year, we'll release ML-powered tools that will automate the process of rigging, skinning, caging, and segmenting the model for the creator.
- We plan to enable a way to easily create an avatar from an image and a text prompt, then customize it and add it to the user inventory to start using it. Today, avatar creation takes an experienced creator days, or up to a week. But in his keynote, Dave showed how easy it will be to create an avatar in just minutes with these new tools.
The RDC will continue and conclude today, with most sessions planned for developers only, where they will get demos and hands-on experience with these under-development features.