Tonight's red post collection includes a new video from Ghostcrawler discussing League's Rate of Change, a /dev article on the tech art side of Little Devil Teemo, a new Ask Riot on Autofill trolls, the Butcher's Bridge ARAM map, & the next Chroma for IP sale, and more!
Table of Contents
- /Dev Diary: Ghostcrawler on League's Rate of Change
- /Dev: Rigging the Nightmares: Tech Art meets the Devil
- Ask Riot: Where is Butcher's Bridge?
- Meddler Grab Bag
- Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - The Academy
- Quick Hits
/Dev Diary: Ghostcrawler on League's Rate of ChangeHere's Ghostcrawler with a new /Dev Diary talking about the rate at which things change in League of Legends.
/Dev: Rigging the Nightmares: Tech Art meets the DevilNext up is a brand new /dev article on the technical art side of creating Little Devil Teemo:
"What do tech artists do, and how’d they help make League’s most diabolical Yordle even more hellish?"
|Little Devil Teemo Splash Art|
"Hi guys! We’re technical artists Moonyoung “ANDMoonY” Oh and Jeremy “JesterCapp” Putnam. As tech artists at Riot, our main job is preparing character models for animation. To better explain this process, we’re here to share how we helped create the most diabolical creature to ever prowl the Rift: Little Devil Teemo.
Early in a champion’s development, his or her (or its) character model is like a doll, still and lifeless. Tech artists turn that doll into a puppet with bones, joints, and controls that animators can then use to create movement. This process is called rigging.
|Technical artists at Riot use the program Maya to create rigs for champions and skins.|
Rigs are made of components, which themselves are blueprints containing code for the joints and controls of common character features. Components are basically body parts; there are components for arms, legs, spines, swords, capes, and so on. Tech artists use these existing components to build new rigs for champions and skins. Basically, we tell the program to put two arms there, a head here, a spine there… and then the program uses the scripts attached to each component to create a unique rig. When necessary, we can also create new components, such as Little Devil Teemo’s tail.
Because many rigs are built from the same components, they share the same base code. This means that if we make a change to the blueprint for the “bendy arm component,” then EVERY character with a “bendy arm component” will also change. We can still alter individual champion’s rigs, but the major benefit of this blueprint system is that it takes minimal manual effort to change a bunch of rigs at once—we alter the code in one place, and then the change occurs wherever that component is used. If we obtain or create new technology, such as a “bendy tail,” we can easily update all of the champion’s rigs that would benefit from that tech (such as Nidalee or Rek’sai).
Recently-created rigs are built differently than ones made in League’s earlier years, because our knowledge, processes, and standards have evolved. For example, we changed the way we name components, and this is sometimes problematic when using animation tools. If a tool designed to move a champion’s arms is coded to find the elbow joint named “L_Elbow,” but that elbow joint is actually named “L_Arm,” it won’t work.
|Early Ideation for Little Devil Teemo|
Furthermore, some outdated rigs just aren’t compatible with new technology, such as a recently-added feature that allows animators to open and close champs’ fists by moving a slider. Some really old rigs have poorly designed elements, like multiple controls sharing one name. And, once in awhile, old rigs break when adding new animation.
For these reasons, one of the first questions we ask when preparing to rig a new skin is, “Is the old rig functional, or should we make a new one from scratch?” If we decide to rework the rig, it’s as much work as rigging a brand-new champion. But if the base rig stands the test of time, we can modify existing elements or add new components.
Teemo’s existing rig was armed and ready, but Little Devil Teemo had some fiendish new features that required new components.
TALE OF THE TAIL
Creating a tail for this tiny fiend was no small task. The component for a tail this length (similar to Gnar, Wukong, or jungle wolves) has six bones and joints. In order for the tail’s movement to look natural, each of these joints would need to be individually animated so they match every move Teemo makes. Creating an animation set of this size takes a lot of animator time—too much time for what would be a relatively minor element of a skin.
|Teemo’s tail’s rig is made of four bones and joints.|
Instead, we utilized a specialized control system called a jiggle rig. This system establishes a parent/child relationship between each joint, or control, along Teemo’s tail, which then causes the controls to adjust their movement based on the point above’s motion. So if Teemo’s model jumps, then the top tailbone jumps shortly afterwards, and then so does the second one, and then the third…
It’s basically follow the leader.
Animators can also control exactly how each joint reacts to the movement above it. They adjust the delay between joints and can “dampen” some movements so they only react to drastic motion. Using these levers, animators fine-tuned how stiff (and bendy) Teemo’s tail should look. The resulting tail moved naturally and automatically with Teemo’s body, saving animators a ton of time.
Animating Teemo’s Tail: WIP and Final
FACING THE DEVIL
With the tail sorted, we were still short one final feature, an element to fuel nightmares everywhere: Little Devil Teemo’s other face. Like most champ’s, Teemo’s “regular” face is pretty static—League’s camera is too far away to noticeably depict subtle animations like facial expressions. The exception to this rule is if a champion has a particularly large head (i.e., most Yordles) or if there’s a reason to show extra expression; Teemo fit both of those bills.
To transform Teemo’s friendly face into one of malevolent lunacy, we created a second face for the Little Devil, complete with a complex facial rig. This rig allowed animators to freely contort the Yordle’s face, specifically during his recall and death animations.
Little Devil Teemo’s Facial Rig
We now had two faces for only one body, and we needed a way to tell the model when to show the amicable face and when to turn up the terror. To do this, we used a system of submeshes and submesh events.
Submeshes are parts of a character model that can be hidden or displayed as needed. They’re often props in champions’ emotes and recall animations, such as Bewitching Morgana’s cauldron or Santa Braum’s sleigh. Submesh events tell these items when to appear and disappear. For example, an animator sets a submesh event at the start of Bewitching Morgana’s recall that tells the cauldron submesh to appear for seven seconds. After those seconds pass, the cauldron once again vanishes.
Little Devil Teemo’s Death Animation
Teemo’s devilish face, and its animations, were coded as a submesh, so it’s hidden for most of the game. Animators then designated Teemo’s recall and death animations as submesh events, which tells the model to put that friendly face away and bring out the maniacal one. Once Teemo’s recall/death animations concludes, the submesh disappears, and Teemo’s deceivingly adorable expression returns.
|Which Teemo is the real Teemo? Runeterra may never know…|
Being a technical artist on League often means looking for small improvements—we’ve made a lot of skins over the years, and we’re still learning how to make them better. When the team is passionate about an idea, it inspires us to push the tech envelope. Designing smarter components and new tools is important to us because it helps us deliver cooler skins more frequently.
Plus, now we sleep easily at night knowing our work finally transformed Teemo’s outside to match his insides. No more tricking us with that lovable, fluffy demeanor, Teemo. We’re onto you."Little Devil Teemo is a legacy skin and will likely return to the shop for next year's Halloween event!
Ask Riot: Where is Butcher's Bridge?This week's new Ask Riot covers questions on trolls in autofill, the next chroma for IP sale, and if the Butcher Bridge ARAM map will return:
"Welcome to Ask Riot!
Let’s talk Butcher’s Bridge, autofill trolls, and when Chromas are expected to go on IP sale.
What do you plan to do about autofill trolls who pick purposefully-bad supports and force other people to dodge? Why not a vote-to-leave system?
First, we agree with the community that holding champion select hostage isn’t an acceptable thing for players to do. Being able to choose your position isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get your primary selection every time — we need all players to take their turn playing other positions either via secondary choice or autofill so the system can get people into a game in a reasonable amount of time. This obviously works best when people lean into the role they’re assigned and try to do the best they can.
We don’t have immediate plans to address champ select trolls, but we are closely monitoring autofill behavior and dodge rates and will adjust our priorities if needed. One of the common requests we hear about is vote-kick, vote-to-leave, or similar systems. We’re unlikely to do this because they are too easy to game, promote conflict within champion select, and could punish players who don’t want to pick the FOTM/OP/counter to the enemy lane (we’ve all seen a negative player say something like, “Camille gg” in champ select and would rather not allow mentalities like that to have undue influence on the champions players choose).
Instead, we’re more likely to make a system that lets you give us feedback after you dodge on why you didn’t want to play that game. It may be that a particular person was acting poorly, maybe you just didn’t like the team comp and wanted a do-over, or maybe you wanted to go make a sandwich! Feedback like this could help us spot dodge trends, which could then lead to new features or solutions around those trends. Player Behavior has a few high-priority things on its plate at the moment, but this is definitely something we want to circle back on.
In the meantime, you’re still able to report players who are assigned a role but refuse to play it in-game, since the expectation is that players will at least try their best.
RIOTBOOURNS, Experience Designer, Player Behavior
What happened to IP Sales for Chromas? We should have got another sale last year but we didn’t get it. Are they still in plans at all?
We committed to bi-annual IP sales when Chromas re-launched last year, and we’re planning to stick to it (we’ll have two this year). With the re-launch in the back half of the year, there was only time for one IP sale in 2016. But the plan for two in 2017 is still in effect, and we’ll have updates on the first run relatively soon. Exact dates aren’t locked, but we’re aiming for the first IP sale of 2017 to occur in spring.
RIOT MULLIGAN, eCommerce Manager, Personalization
Are you guys ever going to bring back the Butcher’s Bridge ARAM map?
This one is a bit more complex than it seems at first glance. It might look like just an asset swap for the art (take one thing out, drop another thing in), but there’s actually some underlying level scripts, foundation work, etc. that was forked from regular ARAM. This means that Butcher’s Bridge is a unique beast from the code’s point-of-view, even if it looks the same from a player point-of-view.
Bringing it to parity with today’s ARAM (allowing it to be switched on) would require a non-trivial amount of work, and while we’d love to do that, we have to weigh it against the other stuff we’re currently working on, like new game modes and Practice Tool. This isn’t to say Butcher’s Bridge will never return, just that we’re currently more focused on other development priorities.
L4T3NCY, Lead Designer, Rotating Game Modes
Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Dos and Don’ts, then ask away.
We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about."
Meddler Grab Bag - Bond of Stone, Galio Timing, & moreAs we've grown accustomed to, Meddler hit the boards to discuss a wide range of topics:
"We'll likely take a look at Bond of Stone in the next patch or two. Not sure on possible changes yet, it's something we want to look at from a satisfaction and/or power perspective though."Meddler again noted that Galio should be before the next new champion:
"There'll be a significantly bigger gap between Camille and the next new champ than normal. Another VGU (Galio) will indeed be in the middle there, that doesn't mean Galio's going to follow immediately on from Warwick though (Galio's soonish, but not really soon)."Meddler continued:
You've mentioned this gap several times before, and I'm curious why it is. Was this planned ahead of time or did there just happen to be a period where your new champ teams are working on particularly long projects?Planned. We've had long gaps between champ releases in the past due to unexpected issues cropping up, and I imagine that'll happen again at some point. In this particular case though we felt it was worth delaying a new champ release a while to buy us the time to work on some stuff we otherwise wouldn't have the people for for a bit."
"We're not planning any changes to Sion specifically. It's likely we'll make some tweaks to defensive base stats on most or all tanks, that'll just be small number changes rather than ability modifications though."Meddler continued, talking more on Sion and plans for the tank class update:
"There's some stuff we think Sion does well, as do some other tanks, that we'll be looking to do on others. Clear skill expression and appreciable high moments besides just when you initiate the first time being the big two that come to mind.
We've got work underway on the main tanks we'll be changing. Should be talking about who, what are goals are for each etc mid to late Feb.
Current thinking (still tentative) is we'll do base stat adjustments on juggernauts as well. Possible we do some light base stat tweaks to champions as a whole. We've got some suspicion defenses are too dependent on items at present, leading to champs being too squishy or too close to immortal depending on what they've built. Might soften that distinction a bit by moving some power from some items to base stats (per level in particular).
Still working on plan for anti defense items (LW, VS, BotRK etc). Probably some work needed there, still figuring what specifically though."
When asked about large work on pre-game systems such as runes or masteries, Meddler noted:
"We do plan to do some work on the pre-game (both runes and masteries). That's a pretty long term project though, rather than a mid-season thing, both due to the amount of work needed to do it right and the need for the new client to be out and used by everyone."Meddler continued:
So the (potential) 5 mastery pages and rune update is more likely preseason 8?Pre-season would be the earliest yeah. Changes like those are disruptive enough we wouldn't want to drop them towards the end of a ranked season/just before Worlds. Mid-season's basically the last window of the year we target major changes for (though occasionally stuff will need to be done after that it's not something we plan for)."
Meddler also noted that Wukong would likely get larger work in a Divers class update, which is likely (but not guaranteed) for end of the year class update:
"I'd expect Wukong to be one of the prime candidates for an update when we do Divers. They're a likely choice for the end of year class update, though that's far from guaranteed at this point (we're still extremely focused on tanks and midseason)."Meddler noted:
If Divers were selected who would be the likely candidates other than wukong?Aatrox seems like one of the other really likely candidates. Would be much more debateable after that."
"Nothing planned. We tested some possible buffs for 7.3 but decided they weren't appropriate with the buff to Lethality in 7.2 that benefited Zed."
Helmet Bro: The Animated Series - The AcademyHelmet Bro: The Animated series community collaboration continues with THE ACADEMY.
"I WANNA BE A SUPERHEROOOOOOOOO"
Quick Hits[Quick hits is our own collection within a red post collection, often including easy to digest stories, specialized information, and/or repeat info you may have missed in other posts!]
- The Breakdown with Jatt: Realm Warp (NA LCS Spring Week 2: TSM vs TL). Previous breakdowns available [here].
"This week on The Breakdown, we're looking the power of Ryze's ultimate, Realm Warp. Realm Warp’s true power comes when it teleports the entire team. TSM’s Bjergsen had several powerful uses of Realm Warp in Week 2 of the 2017 North American LCS against Team Liquid. Let's take a closer look at why he was successful.
Watch more Breakdowns: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...Detailed Match History: http://matchhistory.na.leagueoflegend...NA LCS VODS: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/vods/...
- [EUW/EUNE ONLY] Due to issues with the original All-Star 2016 Team ICE IP weekend on EU servers, they will be having a make up Party IP weekend February 3rd through 8 AM GMT on Monday February 6th. More details and information available here.
To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!
- Valentine's Day 2017 content has been released, including new Heartseeker Lucian and Quinn skins, new summoner icons, bundles and more! Legacy content is available through February 15th.