Red Post Collection: Azir Bugs being fixed, Context on Texture Rebalancing, Sona Q Range change unintentional

Posted on at 6:10 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features sixtwo noting that Azir has yet to be released due to needing some last minute bug fixing, context and reaction to initial feedback on the initial batch of texture rebalancing from Ququroon, Baconhawk, Grumpymonkey, and IronStylus, and Fearless commenting on an unintentional change to Sona's Q range.
Continue reading for more information!



AZIR WHERE?

With the deployment of patch 4.16 and the start of the Shurima event, one question on every summoner's mind is: when is Azir coming out?!

After a misunderstanding with an earlier response, sixtwo popped in the thread to comment that Azir  has a few bugs they are aiming to iron out before he's released:
"Hey guys, not sure where the quote comes from, but Azir isn't out yet because he's not done - bug fixes are being checked in around me as I type this. Now carry on!"
Riot Baconhawk also added:
"I was not clear in stating Azir is not available yet because of "reasons" (he is getting bugfixes). I did not mean to insinuate we are waiting for a lore story part 2... just to give some sort of hope and looking forward. My wording was ****. 
I'll try to be more clear next time. Let me know if you have any more questions."
When asked why they can't just say "Azir is coming out on X day", Baconhawk explained:
"I totally understand. Unfortunately, we've gotten really burned when trying to give you guys dates on when x will come out (or if it even will at all, RIP Magma Chamber, so say we all), so to save us all the the heartache, its best if we just get him ready and unlock him when he's finished. 
You DO know there's a champ coming. There was a time before PBE when surrender@20 and other sites wouldn't be able to do all these great screencaps and preview videos, and set the hype stage for champs, skins, game modes, etc. We have a lot to deliver and we'd like to make sure it's ready before we say YES IT IS GOING OUT ON THIS DATE and then what happens when we get an Azir and he ends up with some last minute bugs that just absolutely cannot ship? We look bad, you're upset, we're upset, and no one wins. The expectation is that we will release everything perfectly, meet everyone's expectations 100%, release on time AND let you know ahead of time when that is. IN A PERFECT WORLD!"

Texture Rebalancing

The first batch of champion and skin texture rebalances, a new project aimed at updating most older champion & skin textures with the current art style and upcoming Summoner's Rift update, hit the PBE in the 9/12 update. Now that players are seeing them in action, several Rioters have popped in to offer additional context and explain the changes.
[Example Texture Rebalancing for Commando Galio. OLD (left) vs NEW (right)]

In response to a summoner asking about champion like Sion or Taric who have been commented on as on the VU list, Riot Baconhawk noted:
"This is about texture rebalancing (color shifts, essentially), not about complete VUs :) 
Be patient, padawan! We want everything to look awesome too!"
She also commented on the nature of some small details being removed, saying:
"As always, I want to strongly emphasize that a screen cap does not do justice to an actual in-game experience. Speaking to the removal of the runes, for game clarity purposes, detail like that is lost at game height and muddies the champion look, making it overly busy to the eye. 
However, would love for Ququ to come weigh in on this as it's his team working on these. I'm on Skins team, and we focus on ensuring we don't add these kinds of unnecessary details—which are cool when zoomed in, and on cosplay, but sadly, not conducive to a clear in-game experience!—but that doesn't mean we don't add details anywhere else :D We are just selective and make sure that details we do add are meaningful and add to the character!"
She reiterated:
"Sometimes, less is more. 
Cool little details up close muddy how something looks far away. Smooth some of those details and suddenly, your zoomed-out game experience is much cleaner and attractive."
Baconhawk continued, noting she believe's the texture rebalances for Nautilus are already being looked at for slight changes:
"I know that a) these changes are not necessarily permanent (we will change things if needed!), and I think that b) Nautilus is getting tweaked a bit to look more grungy, just-came-from-the-bottom-of-the-oceany."

IronStylus also swooped into reddit to answer concerns on small details being removed from the textures, explaining:
"Gotta remember that detail frequency often works against us. Excessive detail, especially detail that is highly contrasted against it's adjacent material leads to "flickering" and "buzzing." 
That a) hurts they eye, b) generally feels low quality, c) doesn't fit in with our changing style. 
While it can be sometimes confused with feature removal, it results in a cleaner asset, it's for the overall health and quality of the game."
As for Orianna's texture changes, he commented:
"To be honest, Orianna is one of our worst offenders. Walking around she's just sort of a jumbled mess. Marry that with the fact that she's ALL METAL ALL THE TIME, it gets a bit much since all of that is painted in. She's going to get some of the metal shader treatment which should help actually having her feel like metal than painted to imitate it. 
The screenshot doesn't necessarily do it justice, but it looks superior walking around."
He also reminded that these aren't "texture updates" by specifically what they are referring to as rebalancing:
"It's not an "update", this is rebalancing textures to a) match the level of contrast/value/saturation for purposes of coexisting on the new map, and b) to unify quality and readability across the assets."
IronStylus continued:
"Yes, level of detail has been turned down on certain characters. The reasoning behind that is that excessive details creates noise in the character. Often other games will have special LOD assets which, through programming, reduce noise as you zoom out. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_detail 
Because we don't use that, we have to simply and de-contrast certain textures. By nature, in our game, as you zoom out excessive contrast flickers and buzzes."

Ququroon also jumped back on the beta community to elaborate on the differences between texture updates, texture rebalancing, visual updates, "model & texture updates" and more, using a stylish car analogy he has taken a fancy to:
"I had some good reception to this post, so I wanted to just flesh it out a little further! 
~~~~~~ 
Rebalancing would be repairing any sun damage, or filling in any chips in the paint. Maybe even just washing some dirt off the car. (LeBlanc) 
A Texture and/or Model Update would be repainting your car. You might even add a spoiler during the process. Man, what a cool car! (Anivia, Renekton) 
A Visual Update would be like if you decided to completely redo the chassis of your car. It's still the same car in there, but holy crap! That thing looks amazing! It looks like a completely different car... but the engine and all the interior parts are still the same. (Karthus, Twitch) 
A Gameplay Update would be fixing up all the problems under the hood. Problems that you don't really see just by looking at it. Perhaps it's running slow, or the gas mileage is acting funky. Perhaps the engine isn't working at all, or perhaps it's just the Check Engine light that's on. At the end of the day, you have a better car, but it probably looks the same. Since you're already working on the car though, you might consider making it look better. (Soraka as a basic example (though she's getting VFX), Sona as a more mixed example) 
Mixing a large scale Gameplay Update and a large scale Visual Update would be as you'd think. You're fixing that engine, and you're spit-shining the car. Damn, this car is gonna be sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. (Heimerdinger, though it was over a few patches) 
There could be larger projects too (hi Sion!), but those generally get pretty specific to the case at hand."

Ququroon also noted that Silverfang Akali's will return to being silver colored, saying:
"We realize that we may have gone a little too far with Akali's rebalance. You'll see a new version next week. Also the "Silver"fangs return."

Grumpymonkey also commented on the Nautilus texture rebalancing, saying:
"On Monday I'll try to dirty up and call out edges on base Nautilus. Maybe even get the specular shader on him. "

As mentioned above, a better look at the 40+ texture rebalances that are on the PBE can be found here in our coverage of the  9/12 PBE Update!

Sona Q Range Reduction Unintentional

 Fearless stopped by a forum thread asking for a red response on the range of  Sona's Q being lowered to 650 from 700 in her recent rework going undocumented, explaining it is unintentional and a fix is being worked on.
"This is just not correct. Sona's range reduced is not intentional. The damage changes are, but the range is intended to be the same. I've been looking into this, but don't want to say that we've got the fix until we're sure we've fixed the issue. 
Still exploring ways to improve satisfaction with W and E especially. I have heard this feedback and want to find ways to improve these situations, but improving these are going to add some power. Figuring out where we can remove power in ways that don't hurt more than the improvements is going to take time."

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