The Ultimate Guide to Sci-Fi/Modern Building

DISCLAIMER: This guide will not teach you to use Roblox studio, only how to make the best out of it in your Sci-Fi builds.

Hello. My name is Phoenix, and I’ve been a Sci-Fi builder (exclusively in studio) for two years, and I consider myself a decent builder. Some of my builds can be found on my Roblox profile.

So you want to become a builder…
Building can be a difficult task, and it overall requires time and patience - the majority of good builds are really good because of the time spent on them. With the tricks you will learn in this guide, you should be able to master both the knowledge you need to build, and the things you need to keep in mind while building, including some tips and plugins to help you along the way.

Before getting into building
Firstly, you should understand some things about Roblox development that I didn’t know when I first started; Building alone won’t make an entire game. I see it this way - The building brings the people, the scripting keeps the people. Impressive games are sure to rack in a lot of plays/views on the forums, but if the games have no gameplay attached to them, they’re nothing more than showcases people will forget about afterwards.

That being said, skilled building is also more difficult building. Building in Studio can be easy to pick up and hard to get good at while scripting is hard to pick up, but easy to get good at. Early-on, you won’t be seeing any masterpieces and your builds won’t be much to brag about, but almost any building level will support a game regardless, so if you want to release a game early-on it can still blast off - but it will rely on the scripting more than the building if so. Either way, building is still a valuable and necessary part of any game.

Plugins. Plugins are vital to a lot of parts of building and some people rely on them more than others, but to me the only plugin I can’t live without is GapFill by Stravant.
There are a number of reasons why, but the primary one is the ability to easily create wedges and rough curves. Plugins won’t entirely be necessary, but they can still be a massive help to anyone building - beginner to pro. I don’t recommend skipping over what I have to teach.

Plugins
As stated in the last paragraph, plugins can be very useful depending on what they’re for. The plugins I’ll be covering are the ones I use on a daily basis, and no plugins to do with scripting or welding - there are other guides for that.

GapFill by Stravant.

GapFill can be used in multiple ways, from filling gaps, to using it for non-intended things like making wedges. To make a wedge, grab two parts (one lower than the other) click on the side facing horizontally away from the wedges (assuming the parts are facing vertically) on both the higher and lower parts, and boom - you have a wedge. Play around with it for a bit to get a feel for its mechanics, as GapFill is the absolute best plugin ever.

Model Reflect by Stravant

Another plugin by Stravant, model reflect is extremely useful in making large (or small) symmetrical builds. Just select the parts you want to reflect, and then an ajesent surface to the angle you want it to be reflected from and you’ll be all set. Especially useful for large, complex structures.

Part Picker by XAXA

Part Picker is amazing for large-scale projects, especially if you want to quickly change the look of your entire build instantly. Using it, you can select one part and multiple properties to filter through other parts with, allowing you to fix mistakes in your build or change the colors around. If you want it to be model/folder specific, use the parent field.

Light Editor by Ozzypig

Light Editor is probably the most useful lighting plugin I’ve ever seen. Using it, it’s easy to see how your lights are being placed, used, and displayed to others. It can also be used as a replacement for the ‘face’ property, which changes based on part rotation - just click the directional arrows to change where the light direction is.

Archimedes Two by Scriptos

Archimedes is a very advanced curve creator perfect for making detailed hallways, pipes, or other things that need to be curved. Choose a direction, rotation angle, and then click ‘Render Once’ to render the part at your selected angle.

Disclaimer: I do not use F3X, nor do I like using 3rd party building tools - they just get in the way. Roblox has a lot of nice shortcuts you can use without the hassle of having to bring up a GUI every time you want to build.

The Basics

Shortcuts

Ctrl + D
I use studio so much that this shortcut is used more than any other shortcut in my entire computer’s lifetime. Instead of using Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + V, doing it with D duplicates the selected parts/model/whatever on the spot, allowing you to move objects with precision.

Ctrl + Z/Y
This is a given. Undoing/Redoing at will is necessary to become a good builder. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes.

F
Learning that you can quickly jump to any part you want was a life-saver for me. By pressing F, you can jump your camera to the selected part, meaning you can cross large builds in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I have parts in my larger builds for this specific reason to quickly traverse the build.

Ctrl+1, 2, 3, 4
Switches you to select, move, scale, and rotate tools respectively. Learn to use this a lot early-on, I’m guilty of not using them enough.

Shifting while moving
While this is a basic one, when using small models it is crucial. Try using it a lot while modifying a lot of smaller objects and see how necessary it is.

Building Tools
Firstly, while building you want to set a limiter to the least amount you move/rotate something. I almost exclusively keep my rotate on 5 degrees, and the part movement I use changes per build - stick with 0.25 or something similar for now - on large builds increase this amount by a lot. Only use 0 if you have a steady hand. This feature is amazingly useful when I forget I’m using 0 stud movement and I need to make precise actions on certain parts - just copy their size metric. This can be found in the model tab.
image

Windows. You’re going to want to first ensure you have the properties tab and explorer open at all times - they’re required to build in any sense. These can be found in the view tab.

Unions. Also called booleans, unioning parts is very useful later-on in your career. When making complicated shapes, you’ll be able to remove parts of the shape based on other parts colliding with it. I usually use this to make fine details.

Deciding your build
While thinking of ideas for things to build, it’s important to decide a few things about the build.

  1. Color - What do you want your build to look like? Colors shouldn’t be too vibrant, and should rely mainly on grey scaled colors or desaturated hues of other colors like green or red. There are exceptions, but don’t overdo it.
  2. Style - Do you want your build to be sleek, or industrial? This style can also effect colors and materials. A more sleek-looking build should include many more intense grey-scale colors like Dark Grey, Black, and White complimented by solid, vibrant colors. Industrial builds should cover lots of colors and lots of materials giving them a gritty, messy atmosphere.
  3. Placement - Does your sci-fi build fit well with your game idea? Don’t include random sci-fi builds in the middle of something like a simulator, they have nothing to do with the game. The perfect game uses its building to add to the gameplay and not just stand as a placeholder to fill up space.
  4. References - I don’t personally work well with references, but I know the majority of developers prefer to look at a picture online and get ideas/copy the build off of there. It’s a good way to practice and it’s easy to do - just a quick google search.

The ‘Futuristic’ Style

The Futuristic Style is one of two main styles of Sci-Fi building in my eyes. Futuristic builds generally use fewer colors and materials, but more curves and complicated shapes.

Colors - Futuristic builds should choose between grey scale colors without any hue (or perhaps very de-saturated colors) as their primary color, featured the most in the build - Black or White would be good colors to work with. This colors should make up the majority of the build that you’re making, but shouldn’t overpower other colors. Your secondary color is usually a neon in some vibrant color, making up strips and segments of your build. Neon strips should be thin unless you have different bloom settings enabled (see post-processing section). Finally, the Complimentary Color can be any range of de-saturated colors that add small detail to builds - for example small lines between plates of metal.

Materials - Stick to Smooth Plastic, Plastic, Neon, Metal, and Forcefield. Most other materials do not bode well with Sci-Fi builds. The only exceptions are rare, and are only in Futuristic builds, in which Wood materials can be used to compliment other parts of the build (Like many modern houses do today).

Shape - Curves should be very present in Futuristic builds and are the main appealing factor to them, but don’t always have to be. Using a plugin like Archimedes is basically required if you want to make a very sleek-looking build.

Example:
image

The ‘Industrial’ Style

The industrial style might sound easier than the futuristic style at first, but they’re both equally as hard to create. The industrial style takes a different skill-set however, as being good at curves is useful for Futuristic builds, and for Industrial builds being able to use lots of small details is better.

Colors - The colors in your Industrial build should be very vast, from grey to blues to greens to reds. Just be sure not to make them too vibrant. Your primary colors should be a set of similar greys with Metal, Smooth Plastic, Concrete, or Diamond Plate material - use these the most. Your secondary color can be a darker grey to contrast with the greys you picked as your primary colors (and once more, you should use this color the second-most). Your trinary color will almost always be vibrant neon color(s) that aren’t used very much in the build, unlike futuristic builds. This neon shouldn’t be over-used, and instead it should be spared cautiously. Finally, the complimentary color you use should be something vibrant used almost as much as your trinary.

Materials - Similar to futuristic builds, but Concrete should be used the most, followed by Diamond Plate and Metal.

Shape - You’re going to want a lot of pipes, sharp angles, pillars, and support beams. Messiness is good.

Example:

Which is better?

The best sci-fi builds combine both Futuristic and Industrial builds together, forming a unique hybrid that is hard to accomplish as a builder. I usually do industrial building due to the large amount of space for detail, however it’s mostly personal preference and about what you want your game to look like.

Making your build detailed

This is something I struggled with a lot early on.

While you’re building, look for spots that are empty and lack in content. Place a pillar, pipe, support beam, or some other piece of sci-fi equipment that can fill up empty space - it’s as simple as that. If people always have something interesting to look at, they’re more likely to think the game is good.
If you want to make something SUPER detailed, then use a plugin like Model Resize to upscale your build to help you find blank spots more easily, and then downscale it once you’re done. This is how I made my Sci-Fi hallway showcase. Just fill the space up with random bars and pipes - no matter how random, it will usually make the build look a lot more full.

Textures/Decals can also benefit in making your build look detailed, but using textures is something I don’t usually do - you need to be pretty skilled at art to do that. If you can do it however, you can prevent a lot of lag by making smaller, less noticeable details pictures instead of parts. A good set of decals and textures can also make your game feel extremely realistic.

Example:

Post-Processing
Lighting effects can enhance your building with one click of a button.

Bloom - I usually keep a bloom part removing most of the glare from Neon as it usually just hurts eyes.

Color Correction - I don’t specifically recommend doing anything with Color Correction, but Color Correction can be useful for doing things like desaturating builds or adding contrast to them.

Sun Rays - Self-explanatory. Don’t make the rays super intense though as at a point they get extremely annoying and/or pixelated.

Atmosphere - Keep your atmosphere subtle. Intense atmospheres are good for a more horror-oriented feel, so don’t set the Haze to 10 unless you don’t need a skybox.

Skybox - Darker skyboxes can change the color of your atmosphere, and can contrast too much with your builds. Try to use darker skyboxes in the night, and brighter ones in the day.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for further editions to this guide further on in the replies to this topic.

Happy Building!

64 Likes

Thank you so much, this is really detailed and very helpful.

4 Likes

In another insight, I thought about textures. Perhaps materials aren’t the only details you can enrich surfaces with. Textures should not be sofisticated and should be very simple and “purposed” for anything. Certain decals can make it look better without having to spend unnecessary parts on top of it.

5 Likes

I am a Sci-Fi builder as well, which are hard to find these days, however, my builds greatly differ from yours, as they are mainly dark Sci-Fi (as seen here). Many of these tips you have listed are true, however, there are a few of them that I disagree with.


Statements I agree with

Definitely. It’s the neon lights that give the build that “Sci-Fi” look.

Again, definitely. When it comes to the Sci-Fi look, you always want to implement lots of neon lights into the build. But never to many, as it will cause the build to look unauthentic, losing the Sci-Fi look.


Things I disagree with

Not necessarily, pipes are usually only implemented into a build when trying to achieve the industrial Sci-Fi look.

I don’t agree with this statement. Concrete is mainly used in Cyberpunk, not Sci-Fi. And while Cyberpunk is a subcategory of Sci-Fi, it is still different.


–JayR

Thanks for the feedback. Your ‘dark Sci-Fi’ I would call a modified version of the ‘modern’ theme I talked about in my article, as I mentioned a grey scale color pallet as a base is best. I’ve made changes to clarify that a dark approach can work too.
The parts you disagree with fit under the ‘industrial’ version of Sci-Fi I explained, which could be very similar to Cyberpunk at times - but not quite. As I mentioned, these are also not strict style recommendations and you can modify/change them at will based on the build you want. These are just basic style recommendations for builders who want to grow their knowledge of how to do sci-fi builds.

I also mentioned this quote

Underneath the ‘Industrial’ Style section, so you might want to look that over to see I’ve separated my suggestions into categories.
Thanks for reading my guide!

3 Likes

Thank you for the tips!, they helps alot for my builds

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Never heard of this. Good to know!

If I had anything to add, I’d suggest a mirror model plugin. Lots of sci-fi stuff is somewhat symmetrical, so being able to mirror a model is a lifesaver. Also, try building from the origin point, that way if you want to evenly mirror something quickly, you can just multiply one of the values in the position by -1.

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Good suggestion, it looks like I completely neglected to put in a model reflector plugin. Thanks!

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