Red Post Collection: Morello on Heimer update and community interaction, How Entrophy became a creative designer, and more!

Posted on at 5:31 AM by Moobeat
Here's a quick red post collection to start the day off!
Continue reading for a bundle of red posts, including Morello discussing the status of Heimerdinger's gameplay update and discussing community interaction, as well as , Riot Entrophy chatting about how he started his career in creative design and Lyte discussing the data from the Teamwork OP video!

Morello on Heimerdinger update time frame and community interaction

Morello responded to some criticism regarding the speed at which Riot is releasing information on the Heimerdinger gameplay updates first previewed in early July.
"The only takeaway I get from this is "don't tell me anything until it's released." Now, I don't like that approach because I can't share information, but let me clarify something; 
This type of reaction and wide-spread expectation (it's common, not calling just you out here) is why so many game companies and devs are gag-ordered. Because all information is ammo against the developer. All info is equated to a promise that will meet expectations of "now, and just how I want it in my own mind." Considering we have a LOT of issues to work on and talk about, we can't follow-up with fresh information all the time.

Xyph posted a kit peek. We've been working on him. This stuff is time and work intensive. It's still happening.

I'm gonna level with you; the way we get to communicate with players openly, without PR scrubbing, without gags is nearly unique to Riot. But there's little that makes me regret doing it more than seeingposts like this. It's disheartening. 
We want to be a company that's more open and forward, and we want to just be real and unfiltered. In return, I think we have to have a better relationship and players can help by understanding that dates shift, and game development is complex and hard. Don't accuse on this stuff - it's extremely frustrating and not productive in the least.

We do this on our own time out of fervor - we want the open communication. There's a lot of issues, a lot of concerns, and a LOT of people. It's been like a few weeks since we've talked about Heimer which is basically no time at all."

He continued, replying to a request for a release date:
"Yeah, I understand the sentiment, but we're not going to post a release date because that moves a LOT with things. Finding a game-breaking bug at zeroth hour, realizing an ability is out of line, or missing a major win after you thought you were done can change things a lot."

When poked about a visual update along side the gameplay changes, he noted:
"No - it'd take forever if we were doing that too. I want his gameplay to be fixed as soon as we can get it out, and not need to wait on the art resources to be ready too.

He'll get one, just not with the gameplay."

Riot Entropy and breaking into creative design

By request, Riot Entropy shared the story of what he does at Riot and how he got involved in the field.
"Heh, people usually raise an eyebrow at the term "creative designer" (I can't blame them). It's deliberately catch-all, but to such a degree that it almost loses all meaning. Narrative designer is more common throughout the games industry, as is writer, but in some ways they don't really cover all the parts of my role here at Riot. The gist of it is that I'm a storyteller and if I'm doing my job right you should feel like our champions are more than a sack of stats with some slick graphics. 
How I got into the field? I've always loved video games. I've been playing them since I was kid and they influenced my development in interesting ways. Fun fact: I learned to read because my mom got tired of having to drop what she was doing to come tell me what was in the text bubbles of the Legend of Zelda. (It's dangerous to go alone. Take this: Hooked on Phonics Acquired!) From video games I branched out into all manner of gaming hobbies, but it was my interest in pen-and-paper RPGs that lead me into writing. 
Long story short, online role-playing on bulletin board systems is a lot like writing a novel collectively. Eventually, I started putting the words to the page without the need for other players. So that pretty much clued me in to the fact that I actually liked writing as a thing independent of games. After getting my fill of dead end jobs after high school, I decided I'd go to college as a first step in the pursuit a writing career. I hadn't really thought to consider my options in the games industry until I was job hunting in preparation for graduation. I'd have been hard pressed to have succeeded at it, too, if the stars hadn't been aligned just so.

Right when I was in the thick of job hunting and feeling pretty concerned about my prospects, I caught wind of a golden opportunity. BioWare was in need of writers for their new Austin office and despite the fact that I was not remotely qualified on paper I applied anyway. They liked my submission module, so I spent the next six months iterating on more materials as they screened their candidates. Eventually they invited me out for an interview and offered me a position. That's more or less how I got my foot in the door."

Lyte on Teamwork OP data

In response to summoner comments and requests, Lyte discussed the data used in the the Teamwork OP video and the notion of having it published in a proper academic paper.
"There's certainly interest in writing a paper and if we pursue that path, we'll try to make it easily available. Many of the studies we've been conducting have been collaborative studies with very well-known academic institutions, and they are working on papers on some of this material. 
It takes time to write a paper, get it peer-reviewed, iterate on reviews, and finally be published (unless you publish in one of the lesser known journals or go open-access). For some papers it could take 1 year or more--why would we wait on cool content such as the video for over a year, just to tie it to the paper? It's not really debatable that most players want to just enjoy the video content; only a subset of players would be interested enough in the academic paper or raw data. The two things (video and paper) don't need to be tied together, and if papers on League are available in the future, you can bet they will be easy to access. 
A lot of players may question the data, and that's very cool. I love being challenged and challenging other scientists to improve the quality bar of research in the video game industry. It's unfair for players to accuse the scientists on staff of fabricating data, or being so incompetent that they don't know the difference between a correlation versus a causal effect--the team here is a strong team, and they are far more critical than the average scientist in academia. In fact, many meetings are held just to debate the rigor of the data and whether we're being responsible and specifically not ever doing simple marketing spins on numbers.

We've shared more data than ever before on systems like the Tribunal. As scientists, we believe in transparency and the ability to replicate our findings; we believe in this so strongly we happily shared our experiments and data at the Game Developer's Conference so that all game studios to join us in the player behavior discussion.

In saying this, we've heard the feedback about wanting some more explanation on stats in videos such as Teamwork OP. We'll see what we can do if we do future videos. Maybe I'll write a design blog to go with the video to explain some of the data (similar to my post in this thread, but maybe with a bit more detail)--we'll have to see if it makes sense."

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