We’ve been pretty silent on this for a while, and I want to make sure everybody is in the loop on what our plans are.
Future Is Bright is essentially an official project now; we’re figuring out how to ship this exactly but the goal is to get everything from the original prototype to production, except that the mode that we’re going for is ShadowMaps.
An obvious question I hear a lot is “why can’t you just ship what you have”. There are several challenges that we’re working through, with a large part of the rendering team focusing on this:
Performance. Performance is a very essential feature - we want to make sure that the tech we’re building can run well on a wide range of hardware with a wide range of content. We’ve been working on a lot of optimizations and this work will continue and will take time.
Content compatibility for old content. New system is substantially different from the old system - we like the new system, it produces results that are more physically accurate - but on some existing content these results are effectively game breaking. We’re figuring out the exact amount of options we’ll need to add to support legacy content with the new technology.
Content compatibility for new content. While we will try to push the performance on the new tech as far as we can, it’s a given that it will not work on all hardware anytime in the next few years. Roblox is just not a platform where the min spec is comparable to current generation consoles, so we can’t deliver the same quality everywhere. After doing a lot of analysis on this we determined that the current voxel system is realistically the best performing option on low end - so it will stay with us for the foreseeable future. However, we’re making several substantial upgrades to the old voxel system to make sure the content is more compatible between new & old systems - for example, we want you to be able to build a house with walls <4 studs thick on a new system, and have the inside of the house be dark on low-end devices as well to maintain content portability across devices.
The way new system would work is we’d run both systems at the same time, and switch to the old system past a certain distance (controlled by the quality level most likely). We’ll also integrate parts of the voxel data into the new system (specifically skylight) that we don’t have a good alternative way for solving.
So - the good news is we’re working on this, the bad news is it will take time. We don’t have an ETA for when everything will ship but you should expect us to start shipping something to production in the coming months. We want to try to split this into multiple smaller releases and ship one feature at a time to minimize risk and get better feedback as we go.
In the meantime, Future Is Bright repository will continue to get new builds. There was a large gap in builds - we were cleaning up the prototype code (removing the GPU voxels and fixing some compatibility hurdles) and working on optimizations and some voxel improvements. I’m hoping to get the new build later this week so that those of you who use it for building can continue doing so without issues; going forward we’ll try to make semi frequent new builds.