Roblox UGC Creators Find Community and Representation Through New Creator Options | Trending Viral hub

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Since the dawn of the Internet, users have gone online to escape. They have flooded forums to build a community when the outside world was missing and have delved into fantasy worlds. fanfictionand original characters to explore the limits of personal identity.

In the 2000s, online accounts, from the blinged-out Myspace pages to fantasy role-playing game profiles, they were exaggerations of real-life personalities or outright aliases, intended to obscure reality in favor of something completely different from who they are in real life.

But in modern times, the Internet seeks authenticity, even if it is difficult to distinguish. Anonymity is less popular; users are building avatars that are more accurately represented In the real world; and the platforms meet the demands of young users who see online spaces as mirrors of their daily lives, as the Internet becomes less fantasy and more reality. Among them are the 71.5 million daily active users on Roblox.

Turn Roblox Players into Roblox Designers

Depending on the platform Digital expression, fashion and beauty trends report 2023believe more than half of Gen Z (ages 17-24) Roblox users customizing your online avatars is more important They design themselves in the real world. About 70 percent of users surveyed highlighted the importance of having a diverse range of skin tones, body sizes, hair colors, textures and styles, while the year racked up more than 165 billion avatar updates among users. users.

“These findings reflect what we see on our platform: self-expression through digital identity and fashion is an essential part of people’s experience,” Roblox wrote. “And 40 percent of Gen Z feel it’s easier to present their authentic self in the metaverse than in the physical world.”

Although growing alarm from parents and children’s advocates In terms of platform security, Roblox continues to dominate as a favorite digital space for people of all ages. It is not just a gaming platform for young children, but a rapidly growing platform. metaverse Market and incubator for young digital designers and engineers.

“40 percent of Gen Z feel it is easier to present their authentic self in the metaverse than in the physical world.”

-Roblox

jasmine (@Jazzyx3) and Canvas (@Lirn) are some of Roblox’s most popular self-taught designers, and represent a facet of the user base that started out as regular child players, but has now transitioned from Roblox to an adult career. They are also leading the charge as Black designers creating user-generated content (or UGC) for other users of color, most specifically on a variety of diverse and multicultural hairstyles and accessories. Some of his most popular creations include “long dreads” and “Afro with light brown stripe“and of Lona”Bantu knots” “locs pigtails,” and ” headscarves“designs.

Modern gamers and designers are adding to a complicated history of black hairstyles in games, as are other advocates for diversity options like skin color and body type. Many online still don’t understand the call for representative gaming, a sentiment that was highlighted when Lona took to Roblox’s Twitter account to explain her work on natural hairstyles.

“In my view, creation should be representative,” says Lona. saying From his job. “I set out to create authentic black hairstyles for avatars. It’s a technical and complex design, but I knew I could do it with passion and style.”

The 23-year-old designer started as a developer in 2020, but had been gaming since she was 10 years old. Lona and her brother would create custom illustrations for specialized Roblox communities, known as groups, to earn in-game currency known as Robux. This developed basic skills that would prepare her for an easy transition to UGC design using platforms like Blender, the free and open source 3D graphics software. In those early days, Lona would convert hairstyles from other games or imitate celebrity styles for what were essentially Roblox cosplayers, or those acting in virtual concerts.

A photo of Lona smiling is pasted into a digital collage of drawings and photographs of her Roblox avatar.

Lona’s multicultural hairstyles offer users a more authentic gaming experience.
Credit: Roblox/ @Lirn

Jasmine, who is also in her 20s, also started using Roblox when she was young and joined the site as a player almost 15 years ago. She tells Mashable that she has always been creative, whether making art offline or online, and that she loved immersing herself in other people’s creations. Like others on the platform, she started out making 2D and 3D clothing for Roblox clans or role-playing groups, and then designed the characters’ hair to reflect their real-world styles.

Giving up her plans to be a nurse, the designer now works at Roblox full time, and not just professionally. Jasmine was friends with Roblox interns, lives with other Roblox designers, spends most of her free time on the platform, and even met her fiancé through Roblox. She still works and plays with many of her original Roblox friends, which she likens to watching the evolution of your high school graduation class.

“It’s a unique position,” he said. “That’s my daily vocabulary, real life and online. It feels like there’s no switch to turn off. But I love it.”

Both Jasmine and Lona are now part of the UGC Catalog program, which allows creators to create and profit from assets like game models, avatar options, and audio that are not created by Roblox or its administrators. These assets are then available to download or purchase (using Robux) on Roblox. marketor catalogue, which debuted in 2019.

“Back then, it was complex because we were limited to keeping it under a certain polygon count limit so the game wouldn’t slow down,” he said. “I would use Blender, I already had experience with it, and Photoshop to create the textures, and then I would use Roblox Studio to import.” Roblox Studio, now hosted on the platform Creator Center, is the site’s creative game engine, allowing players to build and test their own worlds, games, and more, he explains. Jasmine started once Roblox introduced the ability to upload the user’s own 3D models.

Now, Roblox has enabled more UGC creators (many of whom may not easily access the support and resources necessary to have careers in game design) to create assets for themselves and others, typically through an online network. of communities and requests. “I uploaded the headscarf one,” Lona recalled to Mashable, “and I got tons of direct messages on Twitter asking me to do something with their culture.” Lona received a similar response to his braided design, the first natural hairstyle she created for the platform.

Creators like Jasmine and Lona also communicate on Roblox, in Discords specifically for Black UGC creators, sharing job opportunities and personal and technical support. They draw inspiration from other places online, like Pinterest and Twitter, as well as media like their favorite TV shows.

Lona believes that Roblox’s UGC skills should be taught to as many young people as possible, perhaps even in schools, because it has allowed it to find a space in a Predominantly male and predominantly white industry.. Jasmine, whose work intersects with many real-life brands, called for more opportunities for creators to work directly with companies on the platform and make professional connections.

Turn Roblox communities into careers

In a 2023 interview with Mashable’s Elizabeth De Luna, model, investor and Roblox fan Karlie Kloss spoke of the platform’s potential to inspire, support and create career opportunities for young women by fusing technology and fashion. “A fashion publication used to play that curating role, and I think it still does, but the next generation will go elsewhere for that influence, that taste-making,” she told Mashable. “What we really hope to do is act as a curated space that can elevate and invest design talent on the platform.”

Kloss built his own UGC world, Klosettein 2022, allowing users to design and wear their own clothing while working through a sims-As a promotion to editor-in-chief of fashion. Socialite Paris Hilton made a similar move last year, launching her “Land of life” complete with limited edition digital fashion items.

But regular users still account for the majority of UGC personalization and sales, and some turn the process into multi-million dollar businesses. In September 2023, Roblox announced that it was expanding its offering for creators To facilitate this further by opening the marketplace to non-UGC creators and introducing new creator subscriptions. Roblox also released several AI assistants, such as Code supportan AI-powered scripting resource for programmers, and Assistantavailable to creators and brands who can answer questions about creating, growing and monetizing Roblox creations, the site explains.

There is a huge and truly valuable market for digital designs, especially those that allow for more specific customization. In addition to requests for more diverse styles and customization options, the 2023 Roblox report describes a brand-driven feedback loop in which users express their demand for UGC inspired by real designs and then seek to purchase those items to use in the real world, a practice Roblox calls “twinning.” Brands, then, will have to work with and for designers who have already been pioneers in the market.

Jasmine and Lona have been selected to create Roblox designs for big brands, such as Forever 21 and Gucci, as well as celebrity collaborations, such as Swedish house mafia. the simplicity of jasmine Forever 21 Beanie was a huge success, prompting the brand to release a real version of the winter hat. “That was the first brand deal I was involved in. I didn’t think the hat would become such a big statement,” Jasmine said. “I think with the online accessories space and the brands that are coming out (Roblox), it’s almost like a test of what would work in this reality.”

And Roblox users continue to request a wider range of accessories and custom designs. “I think the lawsuit comes from the previous lack. The rarity of it,” Lona explained. “When she played as a girl, she only had one hairstyle.”

As users take representative personalization into their own hands, platforms follow in their wake. Roblox is pushing hard into the creator economy, and the demands of Black and multicultural designers are becoming more technical as the platform evolves.

“If it weren’t for the community, you wouldn’t see so much progress,” Lona said. “It’s changed. The only limit, something that would really benefit us as black hair creators, would be…transparency. That hasn’t been added to the catalog yet.”



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