New Terrain and Parts Materials Preview Build! Oh YES!

v1.2 Update (March 23, 2021):

Hello devs,

Back in December, we announced the plan to update several of the existing Terrain and Part materials! Today, we’re even more excited to share the Studio Preview Build of these new materials!

This Studio Preview Build is intended to give you a preview of what the new materials will look like in your games, locally. This way you can provide us critical feedback to make them better for you, and also have time to plan how you’ll use the updated materials in your games and experiences.

A quick recap on this project, the goals were to:

  1. Strive for a high level of realism, using real world examples to drive our direction.
  2. Unify the appearance of similar parts and terrain materials, making them more compatible.
  3. Author for the most common uses for each material to maximize usefulness and uniqueness of each material.
  4. Improve the responsiveness of color shifting terrain and parts, giving you greater range of possibilities.

Studio Preview Build

This build will allow you to see the new materials locally within any place file you open in Studio. We wanted to approach testing this way so that we could quickly make improvements from community feedback…which means please share your notes, bugs and other observations here!

Your response to this material update is important to make sure we’re supporting your vision. We will follow this topic to drive some of our updates prior to full release.

Note: The build has been updated to v1.2 as of March 23rd

A few things to note:

  • Some materials have changed substantially to make them more realistic, so you may need to make color adjustments or in some cases change the material to something more appropriate for your places.

  • These materials, built to leverage PBR, are very reactive to the lighting in your places. That means global lighting, atmosphere, and skyboxes can have a big impact on how these look. We would encourage you to play with those settings too to get you place looking they way you want with the materials.

  • We would recommend setting your EnvironmentDiffuseScale and EnvironmentSpecularScale to 1. We also recommend setting Ambient and OutdoorAmbient to 0,0,0 and tuning your skybox (skyboxes with a darker lower hemisphere typically lead to more natural results).

Other than this, we’d love to see what your places look like when you use these updated materials in your local versions of your place file!

What We’d Like Feedback On

There are a few specific things we’d like your input around, as it will influence how we release this feature

  1. We are currently going to automatically upgrade all experiences to these new materials. If you open a place you made 3 years ago, your materials will automatically upgrade with no way to revert to the current ones. Is this acceptable, or would you prefer that new experiences get the new materials and existing ones have to be explicitly upgraded?
  2. On lower-end devices, Surface Appearance objects scale to a color. You can simulate this by choosing File > Studio Settings > Rendering > Quality Level > Level 01. Is this acceptable?
  3. Looking at the materials for uses other than their specific type (using wood grain for another purpose) do you feel the new materials give you more or less options for using them in your games?
  4. Do the new materials better blend with other models and assets in your game?
  5. Are there any visual bugs introduced by these new materials? If so, please provide images and comparisons.
  6. Do these materials increase or decrease the immersion you seek in your game?

FAQ

Why a special build?

We decided this was the quickest way to allow our devs to preview the new materials and provide us early feedback on them. It would also allow us to react quickly to feedback and release updated preview builds.


Can I publish a game with these new materials?

No, this preview build is strictly to allow you to view your materials locally and see how they may impact your game, as well as give you a change to plan changes to adapt to them.


If I update my place with these new materials and then open in the main build, what happens?

You will see the current production materials (older materials) and any changes to colors you’ve set and published.


Can I view this on devices in the player?

We are working on a plan for expanding this release to a more formal beta so you can view them in player, on multiple devices!


New Materials Overview

Each material has been reimagined from the ground up to look closer to its real-world counterpart. We also wanted to make the different materials more distinct, so users have plenty of options for their terrain and parts.

Material Overhaul Details

First, let’s talk about terrain! Terrain materials were very important to us because of how much they can root a game world when done properly. These updates will also go a long way to allow you the opportunity to more fully realize some biomes.

Second, let’s go over Parts (terrain can’t get all the love). Part materials are central to many games, whether or not they’re using the terrain, making a realistic game or a cartoony one. We wanted to update the part materials to both allow them to blend better with their terrain counterparts, and also give you broader visual range in the current built-in materials.

…Speaking of built-in materials, we also wanted to expand the current part materials to include ones that were previously exclusive to terrain. Now you can have snowballs, lava columns, and asphalt roads!

Material Naming

One small bit of house-cleaning we’re doing is renaming several of the existing materials. This way, the existing and new materials will have clearer relationships and a clearer connection to the real-world materials they’re based off of.

Changing this won’t affect the enums called for the particular materials. It simply changes the naming/representation in the material list.

For more on this, give our original announcement a read!

Now, we want to hear from you!

Our continued mission to power imagination is driven by what you need. So please share screenshots and feedback, both good and bad, of your work with the new materials!

Update Notes (March 1, 2021):

  • Some New Part Materials have full color baked into them. We are currently removing some of this to give your more range while still allowing for color matching between terrain and parts
  • Marble and Rock have tiling issues in the most recent build that we are addressing with the next update.
494 Likes

This topic was automatically opened after 12 minutes.

Note that the build has been updated, addressing some of this feedback below.


Please see my reply to the original announcement.


This topic is incredibly important to me, and I’m very sorry to say that the state of this initial build makes me feel a little bit sick to my stomach. I am very worried about what’s going to happen if our feedback is not adequately addressed.

In short, these materials make it completely impossible to achieve a similar look and feel in my game as there is currently. They are fully inadequate in their current state. See above for an explanation into the shortcomings.

Addressing the specific points of interest outlined in this thread:

  1. We are currently going to automatically upgrade all experiences to these new materials. If you open a place you made 3 years ago, your materials will automatically upgrade with no way to revert to the current ones. Is this acceptable, or would you prefer that new experiences get the new materials and existing ones have to be explicitly upgraded?

Absolutely not acceptable. These materials change the brightness of parts too much, and in some cases disregard stylistic art styles by being way too visually noisy. These materials suffer from uncanny valley on low-poly art styles. The overall design of the old materials were a great middle ground. This would ruin the visual style of my game and I would not be able to fix it; the contrast I’ve authored in my game is not possible to achieve with the materials being such wildly different brightnesses from original, and in many cases, the brightest color possible is not as bright as I used to be able to achieve.

I’d also like to say that an all-or-nothing toggle between the two without any significant corrections would be a sad solution, a bunch of these new materials barring obvious issues like forced coloration look great (i.e. pebble, foil, concrete, granite, brick, etc.), but it’s the most commonly used ones that are the killers. Fix the problems with the new ones, and there will be no need to have the old ones.

Also important to note, updating the look and feel of an entire game world would take an extremely long time. Roblox should strive to be faithful to the old materials while still updating them to modern standards so this is not necessary.

Looking at the materials for uses other than their specific type (using wood grain for another purpose) do you feel the new materials give you more or less options for using them in your games?

Absolutely not. They are even more specific and not at all generic. Slate for example was used as tree bark and other rough materials and that is now impossible due to the complete texture change (i.e. cracks). Several textures also have man-made feel to them, such as slate and marble which now has tiles. This makes them unsuitable for a lot of natural purposes.

Do these materials increase or decrease the immersion you seek in your game?

They are incredibly jarring and uncanny, especially grass. The old grass texture had good contrast and scale despite being only noise; this one feels very muddy

Further to address:

Some New Part Materials have full color baked into them. We are currently removing some of this to give your more range while still allowing for color matching between terrain and parts

Remove all instances of this except for cases where it was previously already a factor (i.e. corroded metal). Changing this I would argue is non-negotiable. If it does stay behind in any capacity, it should be developer-customizable, or else so miniscule that it cannot affect developer vision (pebble is almost a good example, but is still a little too pushy).


Specific feedback about certain textures:

Sand now runs in a diagonal direction, which throws off builds that relied on this texture being aligned in a certain way (e.g. wallpaper, ridges).
image

I prefer the sand texture to run horizontally on these parts so as to look like ridges, but now it looks kind of just goopy.

I have alien plants with marble used for leaves because it was an interesting simple texture, but now marble has tiles, has dark hotspots in the texture, and feels uncanny.

Why are there now tiles?
image

These orange things look great, but the grass below them does not. Grass feels really strange, a mixture of muddy, and out of place.

At shallow angles you cannot see any detail on concrete, which looks really flat and unpleasant.

The two different wood materials are different colors for some reason, do not align to the stud grid like they used to, and don’t match visually very well.

Also I don’t think it needs repeating but I’ll repeat it anyway; many of the most used textures have forced coloration which ruins the appearance of my game

290 Likes

Forgive my long rant, but I have strong feelings about this preview build.

This is my cherry blossom grove lake. I used grass here as it was the most leaf-looking texture out there. I want my cherry blossoms to look like cherry blossoms so I made them pink.

Grass has since turned orange and looks like hay. Where in the world did this come from? I am not familiar with mesh texturing, so I have to resort to making my leaves a completely different material or just suck it up. It really sucks that I have to do this.

I used sand as a sort of wallpaper for this room. In addition, the waves are reminiscent of the wrinkles found on cloth such as pillows or bedsheets. It worked out fine.

This update makes the room feel much less textural, makes my bed not look remotely close to cloth, and created an undesired look I did not originally want. The wall now looks plain and as if it was sprinkled with glitter, the bed now looks like a rock. The room feels uncomfortable.

This green basement room was clear and defined. The floor was made up on tiled bricks, the wall simple but got the statement across. The rocks felt small and cobbled.

Now it looks mushy and disgusting. The floor doesn’t look like near bricks anymore and the walls are much rougher and more splotchy. The floor no longer matches my original vision- I don’t like the blurry floor nor do large rocks fit in with the scene.

My Irish Plains map is supposed to look wild and rough. The path is supposed to look bumpy, and generally unexplored.

The new terrain makes the path feel smooth and looks much less detailed. It looks like a mesh rather than the terrain I’m used to. The path feels well-worn and has been made brighter. I do not like this.

The map Painted Canyons use textures that blend together well and don’t stand out.

Sandstone looks so much brighter, making the caves look non-mysterious. The leafy grass is so obviously unlike the other materials it doesn’t blend in at all- it sticks out like a sore thumb and makes the canyon feel ununiform.

In one my tunnels, I have a dark, foreboding entrance.

The new textures are liquid, goopy, bubbly, thatch-like, and my bushes don’t feel rough- they are not one large conglomerate. Where did we go wrong?

This hallway’s intended color scheme was white and blue.

Due to Roblox forcing the grass texture to be greenish, something I do not agree with, the hallway looks goofy, comical, sickly green and warm instead of cold.

Here I have a bright and green hallway.

The new hallway is dark, the fabric is orange, and nothing stands out anymore. It is comical how bad it looks. It’s so not-muted and looks like something straight out of Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse.

Here is a bright, smooth room I created.

The fact that ice is so bumpy makes it no longer feel like it blends in with the surroundings. It draws attention I did not want. The bed is a concrete slab. The curtains are now more clear whereas I wanted them to look wrinkled.

The entrance is meant to be rough and dark. Unlike most, I actually kind of liked the diamond plate.

Now the floor looks way too bright and more light purple than violet. The entrance is brighter than anticipated- the terrain does not fit in. I have completely lost all semblance of metal- the walls not look low-poly. My build. Is not. Meant to be. Low Poly. Stop making my builds look low-poly.

I used messy, rough, busy looking terrain and textures here.

Where did the roughness go?? I am losing it. Look especially at the bottom left to the box. It all looks like smooth plastic and the ground looks like liquid.

I could go on forever.

Make the upgrade explicit. I want all old builds to retain their previous textures and, with the developer’s explicit consent, add in the new textures. Most of my builds use non-textured parts and terrain; this update gives by builds an entirely different look. That is ludicrous. I do not want to literally go into every game I’ve ever made and adjust almost everything to it, from adding textures to all my parts to adjusting individual colors. That wastes time, and I despise it. Do not force these updates.

My builds are flipped on their head. Terrain has completely different aesthetics, and color has been forced onto parts making them different from the desired color. Do not apply forced colors to parts or terrain. They have a completely different atmosphere- and that is unacceptable.

To continue further.

For parts, textures add up and create lag- this was one of the key appeals to using default materials. With that option out the door, developers must resort to either living with their game looking bad or making their game harder to play smoothly within. My game already contains loads of parts as I prefer detail over optimization. It is a showcase. Do not make my showcase take even longer to load or take even more memory.

For terrain, I don’t even have the option to use textures. I can only use what Roblox provides me- meaning I have to literally deal with it. Maps that have had a certain style for so long now have to jarringly transition into textures that really don’t fit the feel of builds. Terrain does not have the same liberties as parts.

If Roblox makes this change forced for all in the future I will truly be sad. Developers who simply cannot update a game will have their games look bad, assuming these are final textures. Old games will look nothing like they used to, and current games will have to undergo such heavy transformations.

Grass is probably my biggest peeve- please, Roblox do not, not, not force a color onto a material. I do not want everything I make to look green just because I used grass in many areas. Grass is not only the only one guilty here, nearly every material and texture has this from water to cracked lava to cloth.

Many will say that it is the developer’s fault or obligation to fix a problem- but this wasn’t even a problem to being with until these changes were put into place. It’s like telling someone to toughen up instead of solving the bigger issue. Imagine if after a rising coastline due to climate change people were told to suck it up, that it was their problem. This is what it feels like when someone argues with this invalid point. These textures have been in place for years. Periodt.

And,

I do not get how Roblox is fine with performing such a drastic action action. No where in the history of video game platforms have they changed default textures so dramatically as to make a build feel alien from it’s former self.

Roblox is making all their textures and terrain look more simplified, less busy, and more low-poly, at least in my builds. I do not want that to be the case. I repeat. Perhaps this is good for some developers. Perhaps it does indeed fit into your build. It does not in my, and many other’s cases. The textures- they’re not bad, but when you replace the old textures and act as if it’s an improvement? That’s when I get sort of irritated.

Let these new textures be an option, I beg of you.

Perhaps add a dropdown similar to the four we have for lighting- Compatibility becomes Old Textures, Future becomes New Textures. I am not the only one who shares this sentiment. Both are fine, but do not enforce the new textures on the old textures.

Textures that were once smooth- take ice, for example, were made rough. Textures that were once rough- take marble, for example, were made smooth. Why did Roblox do this?? Low-poly, simplistic games will look weirdly realistic and realistic games like mine look cartoony and no longer rough. Why would Roblox do this? How is this acceptabe?

At the moment you quite literally intend to make these changes automatic with no way to revert. Was Roblox not well-known for backward compatibility? What point is there to keep old games untouched yet suddenly out of the blue intend to completely revamp the entire mood and feel of every single old game that exists? I do not understand the logic here.

Roblox, please do not enforce a certain style onto games. Let us keep the old textures. I will say this one more time.

My build. Is not. Meant to be. Low Poly. Stop making my builds look low-poly.

Do not force this change.

227 Likes

WOOOOOOO

Excited to try out these new materials in my games, hopefully one of them will make a good surface material for Mars :slight_smile:

Good to see PBR being introduced into the materials and the new part materials look really nice.

13 Likes

Please deprecated the existing enums and introduce new ones with the new names. I don’t want to go looking up “Metal” and not be able to find what it means because the display name is separate from what the Enum is.

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some thoughts I wrote on the initial thread

additionally, I don’t think it’s ok to forcefully update old games to the new material or even remove the old ones, keeping both is the best choice I believe. I also think the way terrain works should also be toggable (smooth blending vs the new blending mode) since it doesn’t always look the best

28 Likes

I am glad to see that this is being done, as it will help reduce memory usage by giving developers more choices. This does however require a lot of polishing, mainly in terms of style, quality, and usage.

STYLE
Some of the texture are incredibly inconsistent in terms of style, as many look cartoony, but some attempt realistic. This can particularly be seen with the asphalt texture compared to cracked lava, as the lava texture feels quite stylized compared to realistic look of the asphalt. This can also be seen with the slate texture. We can strongly see this with the terrain materials, as many of the natural looking materials now look manmade, which is NOT welcome.

QUALITY
The new corroded metal is extremely low quality, and glitchy, and the scaling on the size of leafy grass is off. The new terrain texture blending is completely off, as the level of difference in terms of style and factors like wetness (Mud) has changed a lot. This strongly hurts terrain work, as the new blending is off. The tiled look with the new materials is a LOT easier to see, just look at the grass material for terrain, it looks terrible. This is an issue throughout most of the new materials, and is something that needs to be addressed.

USAGE
The use-ability of the new textures is quite lower, as seen by the tutorial maps provided by ROBLOX. In these maps, you can quite clearly see how specific some of the new textures are compared to their old selves.

SUGGESTIONS

  • Scaling settings - Materials like fabric are really big, making them very unrealistic. Giving us scaling settings would fix this
  • Access to old materials - Legacy games and games built around the old materials NEED this to look good, as well as giving us more options
  • Material browser - Some way to preview the materials, such as the material library in Substance Painter.

Overall, I think we’re going in a good direction, but it needs a long way to go.

35 Likes

WHAT?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! This update is INSANE and AMAZING!!! This is a HUGE update for the Roblox developers!!! I’m so EXCITED about it! I hope these new materials would make my showcase game looks GREAT! Thank you so much for this update. :woot:

Question:

Can we expect to see the release date for this? I’m really REALLY excited to use the new material and terrain texture!

13 Likes

Very excited for this change! So many of the new materials look absolutely gorgeous. I got the preview build a few days ago an have been messing around with it. However, that being said, I do have some gripes:

  • Grass and leafy grass have the green color baked into the texture, this makes it impossible to have the classic “white grass”
  • Certain materials, such as grass, leafy grass, cobblestone, and corroded metal, look very cartoony when placed next to some of the more realistic materials.
  • Some materials seem to tile incorrectly/be tiled too large, though I’m sure this will be resolved.

Some have said that they think the new materials should resemble their previous versions, but I strongly disagree. This is about pushing the platform forward, not clinging to the past. Custom materials are right around the corner and if people want more cartoony materials, they can feel free to get them back then. New developers should be given higher fidelity and more realistic materials to design their environments with.

And now, screenshots:

26 Likes

To be honest, I’m really disappointed in this update and the direction that Roblox is heading.

I was expecting nice new textures, that solved the needs of the developer. Instead, I’m seeing this:

This does not look good. At all. The quality seems to be close to gone.

Absolutely not. Please pull up a prompt that says “do you want these materials to be changed?”

I do not like the idea of this. It does not look good; it will make everything look cartoony.

55 Likes

Sheesh, I’ve been waiting for this update to come out for so long! I’m aware it’s only been a few months, but it has felt like a lifetime. This is probably one of the only updates I’ve thoroughly been exciting to see enter the beta stage. I just hope lag won’t be too much of an issue. Thank you!

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How do you get the new update exactly? My studio looks normal. :sob:

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So many years of the same textures, and we are finally getting a remake! This is absolutely wonderful to see and I can see it benefitting Roblox in many ways, though I can see a few problems with it.

My opinions on this are quite mixed, the old materials bring nostolgia and make most older games the way they are, automatically changing it means some game may look horrible after the new materials take their place and it can harm some older builds more than it benefits them. Personally I believe there should be an option or way to use current materials or new ones, as an option, especially since there are many older games that look amazing yet rely on current materials in studio.

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It’s a test build. You need to download it off the github:

Just download the special version of studio to try it out.

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This is… How do I say it?

ASTOUNDING! Thank you Roblox!

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This beta build destroyes the aesthetic of my game, as the sliders have been tuned to fit a certain look

Current Materials:


Beta Materials:


Probably the biggest ofenders are the Sand and Fabric materials, my game uses Sand as a sort of “wallpaper”, the fabric texture looks completely different, and Terminal A looks much darker

41 Likes

Amazing update; but I feel that this update is ahead of its time in relation to Roblox’s current technologies. This is certainly a step forward, but the platform doesn’t have to the tools to use these textures to their fullest extent. These textures just feel out of place in the current state of Roblox.

Roblox is still limited in its built-in textures count, and developers used to counter this by using things like slate for tree bark, or sand for carpet due to the textures for the items looking terrible in comparison, changing these items without really cleaning up their replacements is a really big disadvantage. Assuming Roblox DOES add a much larger variety of textures this could be nullified but currently this is a large problem.

9 Likes

I opted in for this a long time ago, but i still can’t get the materials. It’s either I missed a line of text or it just does not work. can somebody tell me how to work this? Thank you!
Edit: Nvm I think I found it lol

1 Like

I downloaded the Windows zip file and I just see this thing. 0-0

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