The game makers and artists pushing Roblox to its limits

Like so many Roblox players, digital artist Everest Pipkin has their own abandoned birthday world.

Last year, when the pandemic made in-person gatherings impossible, Pipkin downloaded Roblox Studio, the platform’s game creation software, to construct a digital space to host their own party. It’s still publicly accessible, a giant mountainous landscape packed full of hang-out spots and, befitting the celebratory occasion, a balloon dispenser. Friends rolled through virtually over the course of six hours, an event Pipkin describes as “goofy,” “strange,” and, above all, “lovely.” In fact, Pipkin was so taken with the platform that they decided to use it to build a new project entirely within it. The so-called Dream Diary is a little different from the birthday zone; it allows players to peek into the most intimate recesses of its creator’s nocturnal mind.

Log on to any of the worlds in Dream Diary, and you might first notice the ways it differs from others in Roblox. The harsh, bright lines that have come to define the platform’s blocky aesthetic make way for softer gradations of light; colors, too, are muted in tone. This gentler visual approach extends to the audio; in “Herons,” one of the diaries accessible from the hub, you’ll hear the quiet chirruping of birds amid bright dawn sun. Be warned, though: the floor eventually disappears sending the player into infinite freefall — the stuff of classic nightmares.

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