New Terrain and Parts Built-In Materials - Release Build

Please see my post below on the update. This update is currently on hold in favor of optionality and we will not be force updating as mentioned in the original post.

Hello developers,

Over the past six months, we’ve been working to update the built-in materials we provide. We announced this last December and have been continuously releasing stand-alone Studio builds with the improved material library for you to try the past few months. Today, we’re excited to share a stand-alone release candidate build along with release information.

We also want to give you a peek behind the scenes on our process and tell you about the future of Roblox materials.

Let’s start with the future. Our long-term goal is to ensure that it’s easy for you to have the control you need to use materials in everything you build. We want you to use materials because the physical properties associated with them let us provide emergent behavior, such as how different friction per material affects object motion.

The two major things we need to do next to achieve this goal are:

  • Expand the built-in material library to have a wider range of common materials. After this release, we’ll soon start continuously releasing new part and terrain materials.
  • Provide a system for custom material variants, which will allow you to customize the look and properties of any of the materials in the library. We’re building this now, but don’t have release timing information to share today.

Before we can start delivering those features, we need to update the existing materials to be on par with the standards of fidelity we’re building the new materials with. We also need to update them in order to enable better use of the latest shading and lighting technologies on the platform. And finally, we took this opportunity to fix a range of smaller issues that were present in the existing materials.

In particular, the improved material library:

  • Strives for a high level of fidelity with all the lighting and shading technologies Roblox provides, using real world examples to drive our direction.
  • Unifies the appearance of similar parts and terrain materials, making them more compatible.
  • Unifies the scale of the materials, so that they look more coherent when used next to each other.
  • Authors for the most common uses for each material to maximize usefulness and uniqueness of each material.
  • Improves blending between terrain materials.

We’ve looked through every piece of feedback you provided about the new materials (including Wood Reviewer’s extensive deep dive of our updated wood material). Thanks to your feedback over the past few months, we have finally arrived at the next generation of Roblox’s built-in materials. We think you’re going to build awesome stuff with them.

Creating the New Materials

To give you some insight into how we made decisions with each material, let’s talk about how we evolved wood. When we started, we looked for real world examples and created the following:

With this first attempt, we wanted to capture the richness of wood with the slight color variations you see in real life. In the first preview build, many of you had feedback around:

  • The wood having too much color baked in, restricting your control.
  • The wood was too dark, restricting your control and changing the look too much.
  • The wood didn’t have “stud alignment” so parts wouldn’t fit together seamlessly.
  • Plank arrangement wasn’t regular and didn’t match up with (implied) floor joist location.
  • The obvious nails should be aligned to the floor joists, or we should remove them.

Based on your examples and discussion, we specifically addressed the first three points by:

  1. Removing most of the color, giving you back control.
  2. Brightening up the default wood to match the previous wood value.
  3. Making sure the planks were stud aligned, making building easier.

We debated the last two a lot and experimented internally with how different changes looked, and we decided:

  1. We would keep the staggered plank layout, as it looked more natural than a regular pattern. We felt the material would be more versatile this way and would maintain the same organic look the original had.
  2. We would keep the nails as it adds to the realism of the wood, but we would make them less obvious. We’d also keep them unaligned as it looked unnatural when the nails were all the same size and space.

Here’s the final version of the new and improved wood material!

What’s Next?

Now let’s talk about release plans. After a lot of discussion and careful consideration, we have decided that we are going to completely replace the old materials with the improved ones. The stand-alone build is intended to help you prepare for the migration by providing a way for you to see your places with the new materials and upgrade existing assets if needed before the new materials go live.

We intend to roll the materials out next month, starting first with Studio and Windows clients. There will be a roughly week-long temporary period when experiences look different in Studio/Windows than other platforms, and then we will upgrade all platforms. While the clients are in this temporary state, we will set up Studio to temporarily have both sets of materials, with a beta feature (Improved Materials) to toggle between them. Once we confirm a successful roll out, we will remove the temporary beta feature. And then finally, we will release the new materials to bring parity between part/terrain materials.

We know that this choice means that some of you will have to modify your content to maintain your desired aesthetic, but after considering the implications, we concluded that supporting the old set of materials behind a setting is not viable. For example, authoring marketplace content that looks and acts as intended in a world with two sets of materials is much more challenging. Application download times would also be significantly increased, especially as we expand the material library. From your feedback, we did decide to make the beta switch available in Studio to allow a smoother transition while different platforms temporarily see different materials—but that switch isn’t a robust, long-term solution that we could ship to our players.

Finally, we want to say thank you again to all of you who took the time to try the special builds and provide feedback. It’s because of you that these materials have evolved to best fit your needs.

Thank you!

424 Likes

Love this update! Even though it’s sad that we’ll have to get rid of the old materials, I understand the change and am excited to see what the community will create with the new ones.

While I do agree that it would be quite the challenge to maintain two sets of materials, I don’t agree that

Application download times would also be significantly increased

Uncompressed, the folder containing textures on PC (including stud data and some other miscellaneous files) is around 44.3 MB in size. The folder containing some texture data for terrain is 40.6 MB in size. The Plastic material is around 860 KB in size.
Let’s just imagine that we’re doubling this size for textures and for terrain - that’s 88.6 MB for textures and 81.2 MB for terrain texture data. While that’s still quite a lot, I don’t know if I can say that this would “significantly increase” download time, given the executable itself is pretty large to begin with (61.4 on the current build, 61.3 on the reflection build)

EDIT:
I’ve looked at this build myself - in the final build, the textures folder becomes 98.8 MB and the terrain folder stays the same size.

41 Likes

Question

Will this menu have the new materials when this rolls out to the public? I honestly prefer this rather than changing the property.

31 Likes

EDIT: Here is my new criticism on the matter, where I fairly attempt to switch materials, colors and the like to fit for the new update. Please read, as this is a much better review than this original post!

Original post

Roblox staff, while reading this may not be that important, please read the bottom - we need a dry / dead grass material, because current looks like wet hair! Please and thank you.

Why is Roblox pushing such a game-breaking change, forcing it on every single game? I’m sorry for being aggressive here, but our studio has been tight financially-wise for a while now, and this fundamental change absolutely breaks all the harmony in our game - I am now forced to re-evaluate our long-term plans and focus on wasting time and energy on something that could have been flat out avoided. A lot of plans have been ruined because of this, and I’m already somewhat lucky; other games, which are already out and likely don’t even want to bother with updating their games anymore, are just gonna completely break (visually) and look worse off than before. I do not see a single scenario where such a change would be absolutely necessary. With deferred events, sure, I get it - there aren’t much better alternatives which are both backward compatible but also fix the issue, but with this? Absolutely no reason to not make it backwards-compatible.

If you are willing to go stand on this hill no matter what, then PLEASE provide the custom material service FIRST. That way, studios can at least make a quick temporary fix by just uploading the old textures into the material service, and use those old textures until then. Why go about it in such a breaking way?
I’m sorry for coming off as angry, and that’s because there’s just no other way to get you to listen to us - clearly, you ignored everyone’s criticism on the other thread.

As an example, our game has 200,000 parts in our map, and it’s far from even being done yet. Even with programming to make the load a bit easier, this is still going to take a long while to adjust to.

Before:


After:


If you are going to tell me this is fine, you’d be very wrong.

EDIT

If Roblox is willing to die on this hill, then please either revamp the grass material or add a “Dry grass” variant - it currently looks like wet hair in our environment, and even when using Lighting.Brightness at 5, it does not reflect anything; it also is much more smoother, making it look very ugly in our cases.

159 Likes

Incredibly disappointed. I would 100% prefer longer loading times over having my game’s art style flipped on it’s head- with examples like sand loosing it’s ambiguity and looking like dots.

It’s been incredibly clear that parts of Roblox’s community really needs the old textures. If you’re going to expand material choices anyways, please maintain the old materials too.


What a lovely green tree.


Wow! The leaves are brown now!


This tunnel is dark and moody.


Whoops it’s white now!


A smooth apartment.


Did you mean icy?


This is rough and gritty. Materials blend in.


Oh no it’s gelatin!


Rough.


Gelatin!


Rough.


More gelatin!


Rough.


Gelatin for days!


The floor is a different shade.


No longer!


Colors have been finely tuned to match.


Oops did you say something?


This looks like dirt.


This is cobblestone!

My day

has

been

ruined.

…Knowing that this change is inevitable and that I will have to waste hours to change and tweak and add textures and change the colors to thousands of parts, case-by-case.

224 Likes

The Terrain plugin and the Material tool will be updated along with the visuals as part of the releases.

15 Likes

Woah, not only I have to deal with burn out from having to make new content, but now I also need to remake the entire game from scratch to achieve the desired look? thanks a lot guys

67 Likes

This is a very significate update in the community that everyone has been waiting. I love that Roblox is using a modern style of materials to express and it looks pretty cool in all honesty, but some older player of course get upset with old stuff from Roblox been taken away or replaced but I would asssume these new materials will help so many devs that most of you might not know but yeah would love to see how y’all are going about these new materials

EDIT - This is just something for older player to look out lol :smile: (picture was taken by my guy @Rocky28447 )

18 Likes

It’s almost as if none of the feedback of the mass butchering of builds from the previous announcement thread was ever regarded. Funny how that works. I’m absolutely up for extended and custom materials but I don’t see the point in changing the look of current materials without checking in if those materials are used in special ways. That was just a solution looking for a nonexistent problem.

Nice.

EDIT: In some respects, I yield, it’s better than the last build especially with things suched as forced colouring gone. Doesn’t mean I like it though. My team’s project with the textures enabled looks a little filthy. Pictures below taken by @Swordphin123.

Current city lobby:

City lobby with new materials:

Current weapon upgrade area (central location):

Weapon upgrade area with new materials:

73 Likes

Any chance we could get a “Find and Replace Material” BasePart brush to make some of this change easier?

Large structures and maps will be a pain without something like it.

23 Likes

For you, not for us. This is gonna mess up all our games now! Thanks a lot! Almost like you didn’t ask for our feedback. Way to throw that out the window!

88 Likes

Sure, the new materials will be great for some people. This can’t be the case for everyone though. A lot of developers have already future proofed their games with the looks of the old materials, and a force of old to new seems too corrupt. Shouldn’t there at least be an alternative way of keeping old materials once it’s fully released? This just seems like it’s going to mess with a lot of people’s development progress.

46 Likes

I’m happy to see this gearing up for release. Last build I saw I was comfortable with the state of most textures and they had minimal impact on my game. I will update this post when I’ve taken a closer look at the build because there were some things I was still concerned about. Keeping the old materials is needlessly cluttering if the new ones are done right.

Also, will there be a property set in studio of default, enabled, and disabled? We require this pattern of properties to allow us to disable this in our games so we can organize an update to change materials that no longer work for where they’re used. This would also let us hold back until mobile receives the changes too if the differences are too big.


I’ve taken a look at the build and have some concerns.

I was expecting these egregious tiling artifacts to have been addressed in the build intended for release, but you can see very clearly that almost every natural material has extremely visible tiling, especially grass which is unacceptable because grass is fundamentally intended to cover large flat areas. Didn’t these natural textures have a shader or effect applied to mitigate tiling issues? I do not see patterns in the old grass, marble, concrete, etc. textures. Will this be fixed?

Also still don’t like the grass texture. It looks flattened, and is much more visibly directional; it creates seams between parts so much worse now, which is an unsightly problem for games that have caves and holes in the ground, like mine.


image
image

Similar to how sand used to have no detail in low-light, concrete also has no detail in low-light and indoor conditions, which makes it look extremely smooth and awkward. There should be some detail pressed into the albedo texture for concrete just like how it was done for the waves in the sand texture.




It is impossible to match the leafygrass material to the terrain material when it has been recolored. Please implement this feature request, because it would also improve reusability of materials like corroded metal as well, and allow Roblox to make much more creative materials.


While I would far prefer this just being a simple replacement, I think given that a lot of our concerns are not being addressed here with respect to material likeness being preserved (sand depth, granite color, grass style, brick size, etc.), keeping old in addition to new and both being usable in parallel is appropriate.

I do not think the reasoning “Application download times would also be significantly increased, especially as we expand the material library” makes sense because Roblox is already going to be increasing the material library significantly anyway. Which makes these old materials ultimately like a drop in the bucket, especially when they can be compressed in bulk. I download 10x the data Roblox uses for materials on twitter in 5 minutes. If someone can’t download the application on their internet connection, they probably cannot play Roblox very well. Further, to my knowledge textures in engine are only loaded into memory when they’re used, which puts the onus on the developer to be responsible.

The other reasoning about library assets is also moot if all materials remain usable at the same time.

I don’t see why this isn’t possible.

52 Likes

LATEST RESPONSE:


OLD RESPONSE: This is absolutely disappointing. An overwhelming amount of users have asked for this not to be forced on us, and yet this feedback has been thrown away as if nobody said it. Completely disappointed. Please listen to the developers before rolling out a change such as this. We are all going to have to re-work old games, and some might need to be completely re-done.

Please don’t shove this down our throats.

103 Likes

Personally, I am worried about other games. I personally have been optimizing my games already with the previous builds. I think we are lucky of getting a month to change our games. Usually Roblox doesn’t do these kinds of things. Unfortunately, Roblox needs to modernize. Yes, it will be hard to get used to it, but in the end, we will think we are over-reacting about a month after this is done rolling out.

Sorry if you took this as rude.

13 Likes

This is looking good, can’t wait for it to release.

8 Likes

Woah :star_struck:
By the end of 2021 Roblox materials will be more realistic than real-life materials, mark my words :smirk:

5 Likes

I’m not trying to be rude, but making this update mandatory and not a choice is definetely more of a downgrade rather than an upgrade.







My game uses wood and sand for the most of the surfaces, but now I have to rethink it again since, for example, sand does not fit as a back surface for the task board I have shown. Same thing with the sheathe and capes. I could accept this as a variation for the materials that you could pick to swap, but not as a complete overhaul.

64 Likes

While I’m happy that there are new materials, my game doesn’t look as good as it did with the old textures. Now I probably have to rebuild it from the ground up so it looks at least somewhat better.


15 Likes