Listen to the community and change the process for rolling out features and updates

Over the past couple of months, the community has observed Roblox pushing out changes that negatively impacted workflows immensely, and this has to stop. As Roblox grows, so does the responsibility to treat the community right. I have gone ahead and listed numerous cases where they seem minor, but hurt developers like myself trying to use the platform full time (I am a current accelerator). Communication & transparency are key factors towards preventing issues with disrupting workflows - and I’m sure the community would be glad to help describe their workflows to help.

Script Editor String Highlighting

Not long ago, a Roblox update broke string syntax highlighting in the script editor. This is an extremely important feature as otherwise, the script becomes a blend of white that is painful to read. This bug was extremely pervasive, as it happened for every string in every script, and there was no workaround. a way to fix this was eventually discovered on the day of release, but Roblox had originally said that it could only be fixed in 2 weeks. There was a mismatch in importance where Roblox judged that the bug was minor enough to wait 2 weeks while for users this was something that needed to be fixed ASAP (it was the 2nd most upvoted studio bug this quarter). Had the impact of the bug been better assessed, perhaps Roblox would have considered an emergency release rather than waiting 2 weeks?

Asset Manager

A couple of months ago, Roblox took the Asset Manager out of beta & got rid of the Game Explorer, without listening to the community or providing the same functionality as the game explorer. Bugs & general UX feedback was provided in the thread during the beta feature period, but the feature was released without a resolution to that feedback. Ultimately the feature had to be rolled back because there was a misalignment on Roblox’s assessment of Asset Manger’s bugs/benefits vs users’. If this was better assessed, the feature would have had a smoother rollout without changes that negatively impacted users being prematurely rolled out on a global scale. This rollback was met a week after this was deployed.

Some Asset Manager Reports

Reports/features dating back before the asset manager was moved out of beta and were never solved:

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #23 by filiptibell

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #114 by Kullaske

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #112 by DobDobDev

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #107 by Quenty

Reports talking about their workflows being hindered:

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #145 by michaelvanderfin

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #169 by Veldaren

Asset Manager is Here (BACK IN BETA) - #180 by pa00

I could go on and on linking various threads and replies, but for the sake of everyone here, I won’t.

Packages & LinkedScripts

Packages were meant to supersede LinkedScripts, but to this day Roblox is forced to continue supporting them because Roblox and users did not agree on the importance of Packages shortcomings. Now LinkedScripts and games keep breaking because Roblox does not support them first-class anymore, and Roblox has also not allowed us to switch away from LinkedScripts to Packages because not all features of LinkedScripts are adequately supported by Packages. Had Roblox better determined the importance of these shortcomings of Packages and features of LinkedScripts, perhaps we would have had a more gracefully transition period where LinkedScripts and games were not broken until Packages were a viable alternative.

Changes to Non-ReplicatedFirst Loading Order

Earlier this summer, an update to the loading order of rendering UI occurred, and this directly affected me & my games. I received numerous reports about UI being wack and not displaying correctly. To my surprise, Roblox had pushed an update without an announcement. I replied to the thread along with others talking about my issue. Shortly after reports started to fall in, this change was reverted. There seems to have been little testing since I was contacted directly after about my issues so Roblox could understand it - which is fine, but this was pushed to production. It negatively affects developers when we have no control over things like this and have to manually go in and fix the issues.

My game interface:

The broken version:

Notice the Text Shadow I have going on at every text element:

image

The original version:

See how this is fixed?:

image

Loading issues were also a problem with this change. Reports of longer join times started to appear across the forum - but nothing was announced. Transparency with this would resolve a lot of these issues & not let us think that we messed up.

Studio closing for updates

Currently, a raised issue that persists & gets posts a whole year later has had little feedback towards making this work better. This especially impacts our workflow. For example, I often need to copy code from one place to another, so I need to have multiple studio windows open. However, if studio updates while I am opening a place, all my other windows are closed and any unsaved work I had is lost. It’s frustrating and I must stress how this negatively affects not just me, but everyone who has replied to the thread.


Overall, the miscommunication and lack of transparency presented here can be fixed by working together. We should be able to help out by presenting our workflows & how we use tools when asked. Over the summer, I, along with some others, was invited to talk to product about issues we had - and it was fantastic. I loved meeting with them and showing my workflows & how I use tooling. This transparency felt great and I know not just me would love to help Roblox by describing their workflows & how they use tools.

Transparency shouldn’t just be focused on the DevForums, either. There are thousands of developers who don’t actively use the forums and remain using the What's New button in studio located on the top right. This would be the most efficient way to reach out to everyone - and not just quiet announcements on the forum.

Opinion: Following a Community-based Model

Some of the biggest issues with how Roblox communicates with the community comes down to transparency with future updates & not completely understanding how developers work - which is ok because we can improve upon this with transparency. Being aware of what workflows developers have and how we use the tooling provided is a great step towards moving in the right direction!

A framework that follows a similar pattern is STRIDE, used within security software. As such, STRIDE modeling provides a little preparation that can help you identify blind spots in your application’s security. This is a great idea to focus on, giving preparation to what is expected of in our workflows and how these changes impact our workflows.

More about STRIDE.


TL;DR: Read the post and reply with some of your frustrations - we should be transparent to help Roblox be transparent.


Special thanks to @codes4breakfast and @LMH_Hutch for the help in organizing feedback & reviewing.

152 Likes

+1 to Script Editor. I often have to close and reopen my scripts due to the syntax highlighting being 100% broken.
image

+1000 to the Asset Manager. Launching it without list view and all the bugs it had was greatly impactful to my workflow. I had to use a FFlag editor for a week before they made it beta again. I still don’t think it’s in a spot where it should surpass the game explorer. The AM just isn’t scalable for universes and decent amounts of assets yet.

+10000 to Packages and LinkedSources. Their bugs, lack of features, and lack of support has prevented (and not exaggerating here) at least 3 months of work. LinkedSources were great for universes. Packages are not.

Package/LinkedSource Bugs

https://devforum.roblox.com/t/a-package-keeps-thinking-i-changed-it-when-i-didnt/434887
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/linkedsource-scripts-no-longer-save-or-can-be-edited/793716
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/i-can-no-longer-open-linkedsource-scripts/682399
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/packages-no-longer-appear-in-the-game-hierarchy/479514
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/preload-packages-outside-of-studio/368469
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/pasting-packages-before-theyre-loaded-causes-studio-to-hang-indefinitely/348186
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/packages-broke-my-ability-to-connect-to-my-universe/261307
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/packaged-models-lag-when-you-drag-them-around/413695

Package/LinkedSource QoL

https://devforum.roblox.com/t/mass-updating-packages-in-several-places-is-tedious/333253
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/give-the-option-to-convert-linkedsource-scripts-into-packages/682527
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/give-packages-a-variant-system/551928
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/make-packages-more-like-unitys-prefabs/551882

Another feature you didn’t mention that I need for my flow is surfaces. Surfaces were deprecated, but there’s currently no easy way to tell which face of a part is front, back, top, left, right, etc. This has made some of my scripting trial and error, or going out of the way to make a part plastic, apply a surface, then check. Additionally, removing surfaces from part properties was totally not helpful. Making color and material not a dropper tool is also really annoying.

Misc stuff that’s been a big pain in my rear:

Not sorted in any order...

Haven’t bothered reporting this bug on the forum yet, but having a medium amount of assets throttles your AM/Game Explorer to the point of failing.

So many user reports from this engine problem: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/horizontal-scroll-w-mouse-wheel-breaks-camera-zoom-and-instead-tilts-camera/408643/87

User reports from this engine problem: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/dialog-dialog-responses-and-chat-cut-off-without-the-new-bubble-chat/834743

Lag, wastes my time, and plugins can’t solve this: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/dont-auto-select-descendants-of-a-model-or-folder-when-undoing-a-deletion/738324

This one is the greatest pain of recent: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/multiple-tools-in-roblox-studio-broken-when-any-plugin-is-enabled/790970/41

See above: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/unable-to-open-toolbox/776618/7

Rthro =/= R15, even if you lock scaling. Very gamebreaking: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/r15-rthro-combinations-break-games/317331

Makes packages a bit difficult to work with: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/toolbox-and-asset-configuration-are-not-loading-all-of-my-models/824511

Randomly happens, is really annoying: Studio no longer saves the layout of my windows

What all this really boils down to is removing a feature before the alternative is done. Don’t sunset or deprecate things until the alternative is 100% completed.

13 Likes

My frustrations:
I feel like there’s been enough complaints and requests to fix the searching for games and clothing but no changes. Searching for games shouldn’t get you games with the search query repeated in the description hundreds of times unless you get hand picked by a non-transparent and unknown process as one of the few games that get a larger icon and name in searches. Searching “blue top” in shirts should give you a page of several highly sold and popular blue tops rather than seeing 60 results that consist of 5 different random mass bot uploaded clothes.

But instead of getting responses like “we are working on a fix for search relevancy” we get “we will make new types of UGC require you to be handpicked by us and then eventually open it with an application process”. Instead of fixing searching for games and adding tags and genres there’s just like, 15 categories like “obby”, “tycoon”,“up and coming” that are handpicked or picked from a pool of already successful games on the frontpage. I don’t feel like the community is listened to enough

Some bug reports that I reported, were responded too with “will fix soon” and never fixed:
reported october 2018; tested and still is not functional

reported may 2018; never received an status update back after this.

And a bug that renders a feature entirely useless (the follower system is supposed to show you status updates from people you follow, but hasn’t done so in over 3 years) and i was told that it was reported internally but was never updated on if a fix was planned; and the feature is still broken.

17 Likes

This! Transparency is close to none- roadmaps are very vague. I’d love to have more ways to find out what Roblox is doing without a big “lump” of features- like the new “E” to activate feature that we weren’t expecting at all.

This Proximity Prompt:

Proximity Prompt Studio Beta

Is very cool and useful! But we had no idea this was coming without any context, i.e. this wasn’t a slow fade by a switch from black to white!

For an example on the roadmap:

image

I would absolutely love to customize terrain vegetation. But a sentence does not suffice! We don’t have any info on what vegetation means, to what degree of customization- not very acceptable!

It’s only until it’s been released will we find out- no rough drafts, or some sort of process. Nothing comes from a void!


Please, please voice yourselves! Don’t shout into the shadows. Reply to bug reports and feature requests you care about so that they receive attention. (。𓎆 𓎺 𓎆)

addtext_com_MjIxNjA5MTkyNTQ

14 Likes

My “2” cents and a massive support on my end, I have to deal and figure out certain features and additions to the Roblox Engine and platform and how to cooperate or configure them, there is a lack of transparency of features, updates, and events on the platform, it’s somewhat affected my time as a developer.

As a developer for almost 6 years and coping with new features and transparency here, I feel like Roblox staff and engineers themselves should and respond to the community like #platform-feedback:studio-bugs, #platform-feedback:engine-features, #updates:announcements with questions and answers for a user/developer, and a whole ton of categories should be listened and heard by a staff member to cooperate and understand the issue for a feature.

I have a ton of bugs/feature requests I’ve made without an answer whether it is fully fixed or added to the platform:

Some of my topics do have an answer, but there is a ton of transparency and lack of communication between the two sides that need to be improved and brought up among us developers.

All the things you mentioned from Asset Manager to LinkedScripts are things I don’t have full 'parency on how this fix will be made and the date it will be roughly fixed for us developers to fully use and configure once the time rolls around.

Conclusion?

Engineers, staff member(s) behind a feature and update, and the questions and topics being answered and made have trouble and the estimation of something being fixed, there needs to be more transparency, better communication and response, and cooperation.

12 Likes

With respect to new features:
A critical aspect of building software for users other than yourself is to involve the users in the design process. Very rarely does that ever occur with Roblox except for ultra high-level details, or only after the majority of a feature is already built and it’s too late to backpedal. I feel very strongly that there is often a huge disconnect between Roblox (product/engineering/design) and what developers want / would find most usable with respect to design. I think it would be extremely beneficial if Roblox extended a hand towards the community much more often for community input on interface, API, and feature-set design before rushing ahead with development and getting stuck having built things that without complete or significant redesign cannot satisfy important use-cases. Good examples of features where this happened was the new output widget in Studio starting with a table design that did not work well when sized square or tall, or the asset manager simply not being usable enough for many people to be an acceptable replacement for the game explorer.

I don’t think keeping developer-facing features hidden away for some big reveal, or to avoid disappointing people if they don’t work out is a good or efficient approach at all. Roblox should work on building a relationship with the developer community where things are very transparent, and the risks of that are understood by most. Even just a 3-day period to gather community sentiment about ideas being tossed around would likely offer very useful insight that prevents expensive design mistakes where either the users suffer, or Roblox has to go back and make bolt-on changes to things that are already built.

Regarding Studio still closing for updates:
There is a beta feature meant to address this issue but it currently only covers cases where Studio is launched from within Studio, not when you launch it from the website or through other means. You should support this feature request if you want Studio to stop closing for updates in all cases, or it likely won’t be seen important enough to do in a timely manner.

29 Likes

I don’t have much to add to this topic except that yes, this is a good post, please listen to it.

UI Editor

The ability to disable the UI editor was first requested in 2018. It is now almost the end of 2020, and there is still no way to do this, despite the fact that it is still actively getting in the way. There has not been a single staff response on this issue and as of this post, the only way to disable the UI editor is to physically delete it, which is frankly embarrassing. This is on top of the fact that the feature was shunted on us without any feedback into the design, and it has received very little work in the last two years.

Relevant thread: Option to Disable UI Editor

Xbox Purchases

I requested that changes be made to how purchases are made on Xbox One in February of last year. It is the single most liked feature request for Xbox One.

It has not received a single staff reply. For all I know, no staff member has even seen it. To be clear, I’m not asking for special treatment of this specific feature request, but it is indicative of a trend. I don’t know what discussion, if any was had on this request. I don’t know if it’s being addressed, was ignored, or was actively rejected.

Roblox’s development process being a black box is disheartening because I can’t plan for the future. Things simply happen to developers and we deserve better.

19 Likes

A lot of my development over the past few months has been through Rojo with the goal of utilizing as little of Roblox Studio as possible. I even reached points during the development of Nexus Admin and The Witching Hour Remastered where I would work for days in Visual Studio Code without opening Roblox Studio. Initially, I felt slower due to the lack of intellisense, but LSP Roblox solved that. I moved back to using on Roblox Studio for my latest mini-project right as the start of the Script Editor String Highlighting bug, as well as some other changes like self not being highlighted. I seriously considered moving to Rojo for that project just because of that. For my future projects, I plan to move back to Rojo because of VS Code’s stability and lack of odd functionality like forced closing for updates. This should not be the driving reason for me to move back to a third-party tool.

12 Likes

I can’t agree more with this thread. Transparency and communication is a commonly recurring problem that I’ve experienced working with their tools.

Software isn’t perfect, it’s not like I expect Roblox to hit the nail on the head for every single minor UI update. I would just appreciate more communication and a small indicator that they’re actually paying attention to those who use their tools.

And while I don’t think it’s always a worthwhile comparison to make- my experience with many other professional studio tools has been much more stable. With Roblox, it’s always a surprise when something breaks (as we don’t precisely know when updates are actually going to roll out) and a complete guess as to when to expect it being fixed. Or- in the case of a UI issue- if they’re even working on a fix at all.

As a closing thought, I’d like to see Roblox make much greater use of their Beta opt-in system. Perhaps even publishing a beta version of studio itself! Much of the stability I find in other software I use comes from pre-releases and betas. The community has more time to react to things they don’t like.
Most of the problems in this thread were not even introduced in the beta program, even though they drastically changed our workflow!
Nothing would thrill me more than to see a proper pre-release system for our tools moving forward.

8 Likes

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Syntax highlighting breaks when pasting identical text over selected text

Adding one here.

Changes to CameraModule

Roblox released changes to CameraModule which were not documented, announced in advance or given a grace period in the instance that they broke games. In my case, they broke a game and caused immense problems for several hours due to my unavailability. They affected my workflow and put an unnecessary amount of stress on me at a time where I’m confronting technical debt.

To add insult to injury, it clearly seems like the update wasn’t tested, because several other developers were affected by this problem. It was rolled back a few minutes after I posted the report and I was contacted for information regarding the broken place only for there to be ZERO change in how they approached the problem. All the features that broke my camera were turned right back on and broke my camera again. It took me longer to notice because I had to fork CoreScripts to prevent the issue from occurring again, though it still happens in other places.

I am extremely frustrated with the lack of testing and process for rolling out potentially game breaking features. The lack of communication with developers about coming updates and pure assumptions that it would be fine to release untested updates without considering the possibility of issues is astounding and awful. I lead development for a community that would otherwise gross high traffic if not for bugs either of my own causes or Roblox’s and it’s annoying having to tell the community and employers that it’s literally not my fault our traffic is disturbed.

18 Likes

This is a much bigger issue than issues and updates just pertaining to Studio in my opinion. Seeing how opaque Roblox has become over the past few years when it basically comes to any issue has been extremely demoralizing.

Take the first DevForum Builder Challenge for example, where dozens upon dozens of legitimate questions pertaining as to what could legally be used in the contest were asked to no avail over the course of two months. More knowledgeable users had to take it upon themselves to answer these questions over and over, when the bulk of them could of been answered by a single post by a Staff Member clearing things up.

Another example that’s occurred within the past year is how the release of the UGC system was treated. There was zero attempt to update the public on the status of the program over the course of an entire year. Anyone who was accepted into the program was made to sign an NDA basically disallowing them from saying anything pertaining to it. Multiple creators more than capable of being in the program found themselves excluded for unknown reasons for an absurd amount of time, while Star Creators were allowed access to the program. While the program has now seen the release of a much needed application process, to say that it’s had a tumultuous past would be a vast understatement.

In the end, most of these issues can be avoided by Roblox being up front about what’s actually going on, instead of letting users figure things out for themselves. Staff Members have it within there own power to make posts on this forum, and even Blog Posts on blog.roblox.com if necessary. Both of these options have been used in the past and have recently been underutilized in my opinion. It’d be nice to see the link between the staff and community be rekindled to the way it previously was before Roblox experienced such a large spike of growth over the past few years.

5 Likes

I have too many to fit in one reply so I decided to go with a link

7 Likes

I definitely do think Roblox needs to be more transparent and community-oriented especially when this is a genuine career for a lot of people myself included.

There’s a lot to go over that the community wants, most of which begins with the unorthodox design behind a lot of features and API. Plenty of us commonly find ourselves running into barely supported features that don’t follow common practice(see pathfinding and all the complaints there). I could not put enough emphasis on how important it is to listen to what your developers want and to be more transparent with them.

I love the staff who work at Roblox, and I’d love to hear more from them and even have an open discussion on a lot of the subjects that commonly go unnoticed. For the most part, I think Roblox has made great steps in that direction, even personally reaching out to some developers for feedback on studio.

We can do so much to improve Roblox and Roblox Studio in general, given most of us spend a large portion of our time working with the software, we have a lot more insight into how things operate, specific use cases, etc. Most of us know what we want and know what bothers us most, why not build that bridge and gain that user insight into things?

7 Likes

This is a big one for me. Personally speaking I don’t religiously check the dev forums or dev discords so it’s not hard for me to miss announcements. Stumbling across new features once they come out is a pretty harmless surprise but when it comes to behavior changes and things that can impact my current projects that surprise can be super frustrating. The backwards process of:

  1. Something breaks, “Why is this X not working?”
  2. Trying to fix the problem, asking for help to fix it, researching why it broke
  3. Finding an old dev forum post explaining the change.

Is generally a pretty awful introduction to what usually ends up being meaningful change. Announcement posts like this are great examples of really good changes that could have caused headaches. If it wasn’t for somebody sending this thread to me I’d have never found it and I wouldn’t have been made aware of it until parts of my game just stopped working. The thread also demonstrates the importance of good developer feedback that sadly isn’t always given because these threads can be easily missed.

While I don’t think there is a lack of transparency on impactful updates I do feel like it isn’t consitent and access to places where that transparency exists is very limited. The dev forums and dev hub are a great development resources but they often feel disconnected from actual development in studio. It’s very easy to feel in the dark about what is going on with Roblox when staying informed is a very tedious process of checking multiple external sources.

I think there is a huge missed opportunity by not having a studio launch window that has links to new devform announcements, change logs, so on. The tiny tucked away “What’s new” button does exist to help with information discovery but links to ~3 topics and a “See all” button isn’t exactly good communication. As a developer I’d really appreciate more accessible ways to access important update information that pertains to the platform and the projects I work on.

15 Likes

I totally agree with this, roblox needs to communicate better with us.

These updates have broken my game not once, not twice, but 6 times already in 3 MONTHS.
A game with over 7000 players around 20:00 GMT+0!
https://www.roblox.com/games/166986752/Plane-Crazy?refPageId=3b75fcc7-ec0e-4d43-b544-471d5165dd23

I do not have links to the posts from every single issue i had, but i do have some recent issue links.

In this post, i was even left ignored by the person working on the issue for the first couple of weeks!

I am still struggling daily with working in studio because of updates which have made it more difficult for me to work on my game, spoke about it and got ignored instead.

These updates get released without any announcement and causes so many issues.

The weldconstraints got updated and it broke one of my game mechanics and the whole discord server went crazy because of it, they thought it was my fault for removing this important feature and they all wanted to quit my game because of it.
All because of an unannounced update that was added while being half finished where i couldn’t do anything against it.

I do understand that people working at roblox are doing their best and there is nothing wrong with that, but there really has to be more transparency and talking to the developers.

I have also been stuck with an issue where i am literally financially suffering from it.

There is no way to convert a game to a group game and ever since group games came out 4 years ago, there is no way to convert a game to a group game.

There are so many negative points about not having a group game as there is:

no way to send over premium payouts robux to developers,
no way to give credit / the game to the main developer if you quit working on the game,
no way to send over the 10% commision you get from every purchase made in the game,
no way to send over any robux without losing 30% of the robux, basically if you send over 5M robux, you lose 1.5M (5.250$ down the drain)
and no way to publish the game with easy, since you cant publish a game as a “non-owner” from a different place file.

I have spoken so much about this and this has been ignored for so long, until seranok started talking about it half a year ago, he said it would be available early next year back then, that is a really long time for something that could cause this big of a loss financially.

10 Likes

Also talked a lot about this here

https://devforum.roblox.com/t/roblox-releasing-new-updates-without-asking-first/406399

1 Like

It’s honestly beginning to feel like roblox is going in a direction to only appease their corporate interests rather than the interests of the developers on the platform. This is a sad realization. Roblox developers feel their needs and objections are being ignored as the corporate overlords make decisions without regard. The developers have lost faith in the decisions that are being made due the the great lack of communication and sheer disregard for their legitimate concerns. Just recently, many large announcements have been made recently with immense backlash from the developer community, but all we hear is radio silence. @Roblox needs to step up and actively support its developer community. There should be an official response actually addressing these concerns and promising developers they will be considered in all matters going forward.

A few quotes from just two different posts below help accurately show the developer community’s frustration with roblox:

@colbert2677 on Tommy Tallarico Sound Design Kit Now Available

@Amiaa16 on Tommy Tallarico Sound Design Kit Now Available

Despite the context of these quotes, the content still illustrates the huge tension and feeling of disconnect that’s growing between the developer community and roblox itself. If roblox doesn’t start working for its developers, developers will stop working for roblox.

6 Likes

I don’t think you should include my post, that’s not the purpose of it and the quote is very out of context.

It’s feedback that other highly requested (top 15 all time platform feedback) and extremely common security features, which Roblox lacks compared to other platforms, should have been implemented first. Instead resources got put into a feature which may impact normal users depending on how it’s implemented, and isn’t guaranteed to yield the desired results vs actual account security features.

8 Likes

Roblox wants to be a developer-first company, yet developers are not being seen as first-class citizens by product. Roblox has repeatedly said they want to empower developers to make great games; but their words and their actions do not line up. As developers, we need to be well aware of breaking changes well in advance, we need to be aware of what’s happening to the platform. Roblox should work with us to ensure that the platform is as best as it can be.

10 Likes