Reflection Probes for Roblox

Problem

As a roblox developer, it is currently impossible to reflect anything in the scene other than the skybox. This is an extreme limitation to builders and environment artists because they can not make different areas of their scenes have different vibes without intense scripting and overthinking. Users who insist on creating more realistic reflections have to instead rely on using lua-based surfacegui hacks that run incredibly slow and less effectively compared to the engine’s C++ code.

Solution

Reflection Probes! For those of you who are unfamiliar, you can think of Reflection Probes as little skybox generators. They’ve got all kinds of settings to help them perform better or look better but ultimately they create a separate skybox from the scene’s skybox to be used as a reflection skybox (to supplement the scene skybox). I was pretty surprised when I didn’t find any old threads about these things because reflections have been sought after for quite some time now and it seems like the new lighting system practically begs developers to ask for soemthing like this, haha.

Anyways, here is a video explanation on how Render Probes work in Unity. I think the same implementation could probably be done in roblox pretty easily, but the one thing I can’t quite figure out is that since Unity uses an ETS (Entity Component System) and Roblox uses an Object Property system, it may contribute to clutter the properties section of baseparts if all of them have a reflection probe field. Anyways, take a look at this and see what you think:

Conclusion

Reflection Probes are a performant solution to something that has been needed for quite some time. I know roblox will likely simplify them if they are put in the engine but something I’d really like to explicitly ask to be retained is a toggle for the continuous rendering of the reflection probe. This dynamic feature may be somewhat resource-intensive because the reflection probe in continuously re baking itself, and it could be tough for implementation on mobile, but I think that in limited use it would be a great feature that would really open up a lot of doors to new ideas and help give us devs opportunities to express our ideas!

Another potential idea is for reflection probes to reflect predefined skyboxes. Think of it like this: one skybox for the scene, another for reflection. This would allow devs to create their custom reflection skyboxes instead of just having to pull a position from the scene. This would be an option inside the reflection probe settings.

Thank you for your time!

32 Likes

I’m with you on this.

Though kids may not always be fond of hyper-realistic environments, it is worth noting the economical benefits of expanding to other age groups. Roblox can’t always capitalize on their basic graphic system, especially in today’s competitive gaming market. If Roblox wants to be something other than those rise-and-fall games that fizzle out as fast as it grew popular, then they really need to expand their engine compete with other platforms like Steam.

I’d be great to play Roblox as a kid and then still be able to play it later on, instead of growing out of it. Honestly, I’m in that phase right now. I find myself playing more realistic games such as Asphalt 9 Legends even though it’s far less of a choice on gameplay. After playing that and then returning to Roblox again, it just looks super bland and it just doesn’t feel like something to come back to.

Anyways, I just wanted to reflect upon the bigger image. :wink:

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It’s really just a matter of roblox taking that step to allow their engine to expand to those boundaries. Most people are willing to play a good roblox game even if they think they’ve outgrown roblox, that I’ve learned through interaction with Unity discords and my community. A very good amount of people (roughly 5-10% I’d say) created an account on roblox just to play my game (realistic vibe) midnight racing. That’s because it just doesn’t resemble anything on the platform and, really, it doesn’t resemble anything off the platform. It’s a unique experience and Reflection probes are a good way to expand the tools we developers have to use and make better games for better experiences and more diverse audiences.

3 Likes