Building, on ROBLOX, is the art of putting parts together, manipulating them and customizing them. The studio offers many tools to facilitate this process. By being able to change the size, position and appearance of parts and putting them together, it is possible to build almost anything. From small buildings to very detailed rooms and to complex mechanisms, it is possible to create a lot of things in ROBLOX.
Models are used to group together parts, scripts and other models. They are indispensable for organization. A big game without any organization can quickly become very hard to maintain, so you should always use models to organize objects in your game. When many objects together form something bigger, they should be grouped together (a bed, a house, a car, etc.). Parts can be grouped and ungrouped by using the explorer's context menu or the group and ungroup buttons in the Format menu (as well as the corresponding keyboard shortcuts). You can also use the corresponding button in the Format menu to select all the children of a model, which is very useful in certain cases.
For example, suppose you were building a tower, like the one on the right. Suppose it had a door and stairs to get to the top. You could group the parts that form the stairs together and do the same for the parts that compose the door. You could group the parts that compose the ramparts together and you could group all of the rest into a model called 'Walls'. Then, you could group all of these models together and call that model 'Tower'. The place would then surely be better organized than it would be if you had just kept all these parts scattered around without any organization!
Note: The toolbar shown above is outdated and not used in the current version of Roblox Studio.
Manipulating parts consists of moving, resizing and rotating them. In the studio, manipulation of parts is usually done by using the toolbar at the top. The first tool can be used to select parts by clicking on them and to move them, by dragging the mouse once they are selected. Parts can also be selected and dragged by using any of the other tools.
- The second tool can be used to move parts. It works like the first, but also shows dragging handles, which allow you to move a part on a particular axis.
- The third tool can be used to change the rotation of parts. This one is a bit harder to use, but it should still be easy: just use the handles to change the rotation of the part.
- The fourth tool can be used to change the size of parts by using the handles and dragging them, the same way as you would move the part with the second tool.
- The three buttons following the separator are used to change the grid used and the increment when moving, resizing or rotating the part. The best way to learn to use them is to experiment with them.
- Finally, the last button allows you to choose whether parts should be welded together when moved on other parts. If it is enabled, then parts will stick together. Otherwise, they will not stick together and they may fall when the game runs.
ROBLOX uses a unit called 'studs' for positioning and calculating distances. A stud is the equivalent of one of the squares with the R logo in them on a part. A meter is equal to 20 studs.
Note: The toolbar shown above is also outdated and not used in the current version of ROBLOX Studio.
Customizing parts consists of changing their appearance and behavior. Like manipulation, it is, in the studio, generally done by using a toolbar, the toolbar shown above.
The first button can be used to lock or unlock a part. Locking a part makes it unable to be manipulated by building tools, both in the studio and in-game. This can be useful when you don't want players to be able to manipulate certain parts in-game (if your game is a building game) and it can also be useful to prevent yourself from moving a very important and huge part by mistake.
The second button can be used to anchor or unanchor a part. Anchoring a part means setting its position so it will not change in-game. Anchored parts can not move in-game (unless manipulated by code) and will not obey to gravity, but they will collide with other parts, meaning players can walk on them, for example.
The third and fourth buttons are used to change the color of parts. The first allows you to choose the color in a color palette, while the second allows you to pick the color of an existing part by clicking on it.
Finally, the fifth button can be used to change the material of a part, by picking the material you want from a list of available materials. Materials can be given to give a better appearance to parts. Custom textures can also be used, though they are not very common.
Materials are very useful in games. A game made of parts containing only plastic parts does not look as professional and good as a game containing parts of various materials. There aren't many materials available, but they are enough for most purposes.
In cases where you need more complex textures than materials, it is possible to use either decals or textures. Decals are simply images that are put on parts. Textures are the same thing, but they are repeated, and they are by far better than decals for actually putting textures on parts. For example, if you want a sign that shows an advertisement, you should use a decal. If you want to put a brick texture on a wall, then you should a texture. Texture objects, like all other objects, including decals, can be found in the basic objects panel.
If you take a look back at the tower presented in the section about models, you notice it uses a lot of parts in its walls. While this isn't exactly bad, in order to make the game faster (by reducing the number of parts), it is usually better to use a texture of repeated bricks.
Note: The toolbar shown above is also outdated and not used in the current version of ROBLOX Studio. Also this terrain is outdated due to a new terrain type called smooth terrain. All builders are advised to convert to smooth terrain as it looks better, is generally smoother, and because old terrain is being removed on January 1, 2017.
Terrain is a ROBLOX feature that can be used to create beautiful and complex landscapes without slowing down the game as much as using parts for that same landscape would. Terrain uses voxels, that is, cubes. These cubes can be put together and given a different appearance to.
Terrain cubes currently have a material, a shape and an orientation. Unlike parts, they are not objects, are not visible in the explorer and can not be grouped into models. However, you can have millions of them (which is not even conceivable with parts).
Terrain is currently created using the terrain toolbar, which is shown above. The first tool in that toolbar is the terrain generator, which is used to generate terrain. The two tools that follow are used to create and destroy individual terrain blocks. The next two are used to change the elevation of terrain in various ways. The following one is used to create craters. Then, the one that looks like an intersection of roads is used, precisely, to create roads. The one that follows is used to insert terrain blocks (and also other things), and, finally, the last one is used to fill an area with terrain (and it is really useful to create lakes with water). Each of these tools has its own built-in help, so they will not be described here.
In addition to all the toolbars, the studio also offers additional tools for building. In addition to some options available in the menu, there is an axis widget that can be used to quickly find the position of the X or of the Z axis, and there is a 3D grid that can be used to quickly find the height of the position zero and to build parts on it. These two tools are rarely used, but they can be useful to identify which axis is the X axis and which is the Z axis. All part customization and manipulation can also be done directly by editing the properties of the parts with the property panel after having selected them.