Jovanni is the engineering manager of the Roblox simulation core team. He and his team focus on maintaining the physics engine so that developers can build dynamic experiences based on physics.
Describe your team’s role in Roblox.
Roblox has its own physics engine, and my team and Solver Tech team are jointly responsible for maintenance. The first version of the engine was written by CEO Dave Baszucki in the early days of Roblox, but now this is our job. Our main goal is to increase developers’ trust in physics and make it easier to build dynamic experiences based on physics. The more they can rely on us to save time and focus on the most unique parts of their game, the better. We focus on simplicity, fidelity and performance. Our team is responsible for collision detection, the internal architecture of the physics engine, the physical interfaces used by users and internal teams, and some Roblox specific functions of our engine.
What is one of the most interesting aspects of working in Roblox’s team?
Roblox is a true platform company, so everything we build here is the foundation for others to build experiences. In addition, having a younger developer population makes it more challenging because they have high expectations for technical possibilities. Tell people, “Sorry, our engine is not ready to expand to these levels” and this will become a policeman. “Good enough” is never good enough for our developer community. Everything needs work, and making difficult things “work” requires creative design and thoughtful engineering work. However, the challenges that our developers push us to solve have given us incredible inspiration-there are no shortage of interesting or useful problems.
We regularly work with developers to solve different problems, so we can see how our work directly benefits them and how it affects the platform. For example, we invest a lot of time and resources to increase performance speed by an order of magnitude, which increases the demand for physical content in the experience, and over time, we see more and more developers add more simulation-based Function. The further we stay away from them and the more features we add, the more we can see that developers become truly creative.
How is your experience in the Roblox team different from other roles you have held?
Before Roblox, a lot of my work was done in a game studio. In that environment, good enough is enough, and once it works most of the time, you need to move on to the next step. You don’t have time to really improve your work, and you usually don’t get satisfaction from a well-done work. In addition, at Roblox, the company’s emphasis on your coffee cup is actually important: we really care about our users and developers, which is surprisingly not the norm in other companies I have worked for.
During your work at Roblox, what are the most interesting projects you have participated in and what have you learned?
I have the opportunity to contribute to many different projects on many different teams. As an engineer, I helped write the early automatic game localization system, Studio’s reverse motion drag and drop tool, and participated in our bone skinning system. As a manager, we continue to improve engine speed. I used to be more cynical about what might happen. During my tenure, at the beginning of the project several times, I thought, “This is crazy. This will never work.” Then we figured it out and built it, which was great. This makes me a cautious optimist.
What is one thing you like about Roblox culture?
Roblox is a professional collaborative environment. I work with many knowledgeable people who are happy to share and I am happy to ask any questions I want to know. I learned a lot from my colleagues here. I thank them for their time and patience.
Interested in joining Roblox’s game engine team?We are always looking for new talents, so please check us corp.roblox.com/careers/ See if there is a suitable role for you.