Introducing the "Avatar Evolution" Studio Beta Build!

This past year a lot of us have been dedicated to a massive cross-team effort to build a whole suite of new features to help developers create next-generation games and avatars on Roblox.

Today we’re releasing a special beta build of Roblox Studio where you can try these new features now!

  • Skeletal skinning a.k.a. “Mesh deformation”
  • Custom PBR SurfaceAppearances (“custom materials”)
  • New physics components for more stable and realistic characters
  • Improved mesh and animation importers
  • And more coming soon!

You can find download links, a lot of new documentation, and some example files that we’ve put together to help you get started with the new features at the site linked at the top of this post! (or click here)

These are some huge changes for Roblox, so we wanted to give you a chance to try them and give us feedback before we finalize the APIs and push them globally. If you find any issues please report them on our projects GitHub issues section here!

Credit to @AllYourBlox, @CodeWriter, @dashavatar, @Homeomorph, @jonathanTheForgotten, @NeoBuilder101, @RobieTheCat who all did a lot of groundbreaking work included in this build.

Most of these features included in this build are in varying stages of pre-production development, but are mostly expected to ship at some point next year. Some earlier, and some later.


I’ve been playing around with it already (because a certain server spilled the beans)
It’s great! Wish the mesh deformation setup/import was simpler however.


PBR surface appearances
Mesh Deformation

I like where this is going!


I said it many times and I will continue to say it: I hate working with Humanoids. But! RDC 2019 gave me hope with the Future of Avatar talk and now with this up in the air, I am extremely excited to start working with some of the new features.

For this build, I am especially interested in the physics components (even though I’m no physics wizard) and componentisation (character controller suite). Being able to pull pieces out of the box and modify Humanoids to best suit our games will be the real treat for me. No more relying on “disable this state and do this thing”. I just remove the parts I don’t use and now I’ve got a functioning, efficient and neat Humanoid to run with.

I’ll be closely following this update especially in regards to componentisation. Cheers for finally reaching the part of your agenda where you give avatars the love they deserve.


I mean… The custom materials speak for themselves quite honestly.

Edit: I now realize the linked post is in a private section of the forum. Editing this post to have all the images I posted there. :man_facepalming:
yes ok dont make fun of me for using bandicam >:(


I was just about to make a feature request for bones, thank you!


Here we are in the future and it’s bright!
In all seriousness, this is MAJOR hype!


I notice that the PBR materials seem to only work on parts, is this intended or will they eventually work on meshes with custom unwrapped maps?


Skeletal skinning a.k.a. “Mesh deformation”

Roblox has come a long way! Mesh deformation has been requested for several years.



How did you work the bones on that?


Brilliant! Hopefully this’ll allow more complex rigs and more realistic movement! Who else is hyped for 2020!?!


I’ve played with this for about five minutes so far and I’m already in love, and I haven’t even figured out how to work with normal maps to create metal flake textures yet!

It’s clear you guys have already knocked this one out of the park!


Ooooh I love that they are trying to move away from humanoids. I can’t wait until that new system is live and finished


SurfaceAppearances work on all BaseParts afaik. Not sure what you mean by this.


How do we fiddle around with Custom Materials? I went in the beta build and tried looking at textures and stuff and I didn’t find anything related to custom materials.


We have reached a new era, boys.


One thing I’ve noticed is that PBR doesn’t work with Voxel lighting such as point and spot lights, whilst it works with the sun (shadowmap). Are we going to be getting a build in the (near?) future that has shadowmapping enabled for point lights?

Also will we be getting a specular map feature?


So I’ve been tinkering around with some other developers regarding the character controllers and saw a small improvement in applying velocity to the characters. however I personally don’t like how unrealistic the physics applies and i am aware that the new character controller is still in beta.

the changes are significantly improved.

Beta Character Controller


current character controller

It’s a slight improvement but it still seems fairly unrealistic to me (unless i am missing something), and for me as a person that works a lot with physics this is annoying, I would’ve expected it give it a more realistic curve like so:
this curve was made possible due to platform stand which disables all physics related to the character’s input. but you don’t always want to have the player unable to move around while in the air after being launched for example.

Honestly the character controller could be better regarding velocity, but that’s my opinion and feedback on it for the future.


Tested the mesh deformation with a scientist model from Half-Life lol.


SurfaceAppearances works amazingly, I’m happy to see Roblox take on the physics-based approach to lighting as environment diffuse & specular properties also play a new part in rendering. Having played with it a little, I’ve got a few questions for the future of the new object (I apologize if any of these have been explained already, I’m still trying to catch up with all the news):

Is someone able to explain the TexturePack property, whether or not it’s important? I’ve tried to find out myself but SurfaceAppearance isn’t documented as a new API.

Will SurfaceAppearances eventually have tile properties or stud scaling?

Will the Color (or BrickColor) of a base part affect the color of the albedo? I sort of expected custom PBR’s to behave like existing Materials, especially with the ability to modify their color in realtime.

EDIT: to clarify, it is possible to have a base part colored SurfaceAppearance by NOT setting an albedo, I hope it’s possible for it to affect the values of an existing albedo in the future.

Lastly, does this mean anything for the possibility of reflection probes? They were demoed as a hack week project not too long ago, but as with all those demos they can never be expected as features. Seeing as Roblox is continuously improving its lighting, I’m a little more hopeful for its potential addition.