Roblox wants to let people build virtual worlds just by typing
AI chatbots can spit out convincing — if at times overconfident — natural language responses, but what if an AI could build custom virtual worlds based on a text description alone?
Roblox is exploring that possibility with its kit of developer tools, which are designed to make it possible for just about anyone to build experiences and virtual objects in the youth-focused virtual ecosystem.
The company says it is testing two different implementations of generative AI, one that creates virtual materials based on a natural language prompt (the car textures in the video below) and another that can create code based on text inputs. Both will roll out to Roblox Studio developers in the coming weeks.
“… Some creators know how to code, but may have limited experience creating high-fidelity 3D models. Others may be more experienced with model design, but less experienced with code,” Roblox CTO Daniel Sturman wrote in a blog post. “In both cases, we see a future in which even a beginner (such as myself for example – I’m a terrible artist!) can get a running head start as they look to bring their imagination to life in a Roblox experience.”
In recent years the company has articulated its goal of becoming the infrastructure for the metaverse — not just the place where people go to hang out in virtual worlds, but the toolset they use to build those worlds to begin with. Roblox certainly has some competition (Epic Games, to name one), but AI-based tooling like this could make it an even more attractive platform for novice game developers to build out the hit virtual spaces that make Roblox so sticky with young users.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.