Red Post Collection: Battlecast 101, Talk of a future Pantheon vU, 5 champs on the same team, and more!

Posted on at 5:57 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features a brainstorm thread on the popular Battlecast skin line,
a series of posts discussing a potential Pantheon VU and if we'll ever see him without a helmet, a very small comment on the upcoming Diana skin, Brackhar giving a warning on the custom games that are allowing players to use five of the same champion on a team, and a brief discussion on relaunchs and art style.
Continue reading for the full scoop, straight from the official forums and reddit!

Battlecast 101

The Bravo Ray, one of Riot's concept artists, has whipped up a thread dedicated to brainstorming and discussing the Battlecast line of skins.
"Hello fellow summoners and lovers of all things Battlecast, 
We wanted to create a place for you to come and post, share, and ask questions on the Battlecast skin line. By creating this thread, we hope to help you understand our vision for the line, and gain insight into "The Glorious Evolution." We welcome any and all feedback and suggestions on how you feel we can improve the line. The sky is the limit!

Our first discussion about the line is our most popular question....

Who is targeted for evolution?

As it stands, we are focusing on creatures and non-humanoids. This gives us a bigger playground when it comes to the visual thematic. (ie. arms evolve into cannons, multiple legs evolve into tank treads) 
There are exceptions to the rule, Viktor and Xerath. 
For Xerath, one of his launch skins was a sci-fi themed robot aptly named Battlecast. This was the beginning of the line. There was no suggested story attached to the name, but it was a very cool idea. 
For our most recent skin, Creator Viktor, we took the design sense sparked from Xerath and continued that through Urgot and Cho'gath. This allows for an implied alternate universe that these champions share. 
We would love to hear what other champions, you feel, are viable candidates for the BC line and why. 
In the meantime, please feel free to ask us anything. We will be checking in with you and we will post more insight when we can. 
He continued, introducing a few more points of discussion:
"Mecha vs Battlecast skin line

This is another question that comes up quite often, what is the difference? Are they not the same? 
Well let's try to clear it up for you. 
Battlecast design language is composed of heavy, crude, thick plating; exposed mechanical components; and sci-fi based weaponry. We like to show all the champions abilities on the design of the skin. 
Let's take Cho'gath, for example. In his BC Prime skin, all his abilities are visually identifiable on his skin. From his iron jaws, arm cannons, and his sonic speakers, these give artistic reason behind the champion's skills.

Mecha or Full Metal etc.

Khaz'Zix's Mecha skin slightly differs from the design language of BC, his being more high tech and stream lined. Unlike BC, he has more covered components and very high tech weaponry. Mecha tends to lean towards a Anime inspired design language."

Pantheon VU and Character Discussion

IronStylus hopped into a thread concerning a future Pantheon update and whether or not Pantheon would ever get a face and personality rather than just being a "faceless Spartan":
This is a very difficult issue for me.

Pantheon is awesome because he's a faceless, dedicated spartan. 
Pantheon is lame because he's a faceless, dedicated spartan.

Pantheon is held back by the fact that he's a shallow reference and has no character. 
Pantheon is an AWESOME character.

Pantheon can be hugely expanded as a character if he's given a face and isn't just a shallow joke character. 
I absolutely adore Pantheon and I'd hate if he wasn't the same anymore.

Is it okay that he stays just a 1-dimensional character?
How can you give him character without removing everything we love about him? 
Roit: What do!?
Good questions. 
Personally I'd like to make Pantheon not just a "faceless Spartan", but that doesn't mean necessarily giving him a face. I mean, I think he's iconic because ya know, the image of a Spartan-like warrior has that shape language.

Logistically, maybe if we did a VU on him we'd put a face under there, actually add some geometry so that it's not just a hollow helmet, but I don't think we'd bust open the helmet to reveal a head.

Even if we don't make it particularly visible on the model, I'd like to give him a bit more depth, figure out to wrap him up in what stuff has gone down on Mt Targon with Protecty Sun Lady and Grumpy Moon Chick."

He continued, responding to a question if he'd ever make a Pantheon skin without a helmet on:
What do we have skins for, look at Kassadin, he also got a pre-void skin, that shows his face.
Hmm.. I actually don't know if I'd do a Pantheon skin sans helmet. I think the helmet is a big part of him, but heck, who knows? Maybe a good idea will crop up that warrants him unmasking."
He continued, fleshing out his previous comments a bit more in relation to similar champions, such as Kayle, who have had skins removing their helmets despite it being an important part of them.

"Just a gut feeling. I don't see any immediate benefit for a helmet-less Panetheon skin, while with Kayle, you sort of have that unmasked Samus thing going on. As for Kayle, I'd say her big reads being her wings and sword trump the helmet/no helmet thing. It's a neat aspect to her, but I don't think it's as equal value to her wings and sword. Just my opinion though."

IronStylus also noted wanting to inject some personality into Pantheon's weapons:
Originally Posted by CynicalGiant
I actually use Glaive Warrior Pantheon because it gives him more personality. I almost feel like the skin is what default Pantheon should look like anyway. 
I would personally love a VU just so they can give most of his recolors the Garen and Yi treatment. They should all have vastly different shields and spears, all the skins should have their own personality.
I'm in agreement about the skins. Recolors are a big playground for us. I'd like to give his weapon and shield, base or otherwise, some personality. Base wise, if Targon is all about relic melee weapons, maybe we should figure out how to make his special."

Continuing on the point about weapons becoming more significant, IronStylus mentioned
Originally Posted by CynicalGiant 
Yeah, his lore makes a big deal about his weapons:
Yeah, that seems to be a trend with Targon champions. Funny thing is, I wasn't even cognizant of the relic weapon thing when we made Diana. Started to all fall into place by coincidence honestly. But hey, Pantheon, Leona, Diana, all have relic weapons/shields/armor."

Facing some criticism on "not having a Pantheon VU already in development", he responded:
"Who says one isn't? "in the works" doesn't have to mean heavily into production though, or anywhere near to a release. 
Take a look at the list of Champions in the Roster. It's safe to assume that.. oh.. 50 of them are in need of some sort of finesse. Model tweaks, texture update, polish. Others, say maybe 20, might have a usable rig, but could really use a geo swap-out and a new model. A legendary skin for such a champion might even create the ability for a VU to happen faster than expected, because we often have to do heavy work on the rig, or possibly rebuild it, making it ripe for a VU. Then 10 or so, of those 50, are high priority. Champions that require a major overhaul.

That's a large pool of champions, and I'd go further than the supposed 50 to enact some level of VU on. We as a team look at pretty much everything up until early 2012 as ripe for some level of VU depending on current quality from stylistic, craft and thematic aspects.

Again, things can change. We do have those "Relaunches of opportunity" that arise. Sejuani-type situations. 
Fun thing is, I'm not the exclusive concept artist for Relaunch. I physically work on the characters I'm best suited to work on, or most interested in, and for those that are beyond my scope, or aren't really served best by my strengths, I cultivate work done by other artists who are passionate about the champion that needs concept art resources dedicated to it. We work very openly like that as a team. It's not a single artists' responsibility or duty. It's the entire art team coming together to decide what's best, put input into the pot, and submit whatever art they have time to. It's resulted in some awesome results. We find that our designs end up looking more stylistically consistent when there's a lot of influence from around the different members of the art department. 
That said, there's a lot of concepts sitting around just waiting for the team to crunch through the priority list. So, it's possible anyone's favorite champ is in that concept backlog waiting for the right time for production to start!"
He continued:
""On the way" is a very subjective term. Nothing planned or scheduled, but some artists have gone out of their way to make some awesome concepts for if and/or when a Pantheon VU happens."

Returning to the idea of an event to highlight Mount Targon, he commented:
"There's nothing set in stone. My hope would be to figure out a way to make Targon much more solid and tangible. There's obviously some **** going down up there. Crazy eclipses, entire celestial body worshiping tribes being slaughtered every so often. It's a big place, but these character must have some sort of connection. I'd like to figure out how we can explore and tell stories of those connections."

Brief Mention of Upcoming Diana skin

When poked about the status of the upcoming Diana skin we heard about a few months ago, IronStylus provided just a small tease of an update:
"Unfortunately no. She might be up for something early-ish next year. We'll see ;)"
In a different thread, he also commented:
"The skin is in progress.

That's about all the info I can dish :P"

Brackhar on the bugged "five of the same champion" games

As you may of heard, there is currently a less than ideal way to host a custom game that allows five of the same champion to be on each team ( i.e 5 Heimerdingers vs 5 Thresh ).

While I won't go in to how to access this mode as it's a bit of a dangerous situation, I will share what Brackhar had to say about it over on reddit:
"Hey All, 
I'm glad you guys are having fun with this, but for the moment I'd strongly recommend not playing in these games. This feature was left incomplete and we can not guarantee that certain champion combinations will not crash your game, the game server, or worse. Additionally, as a reminder, injecting code into your game client to access this mode is a violation of our Terms of Service. ("
He continued:
"I can't answer your first question unfortunately, since I'm not in Player Support. To be safe though I'd just not do it; we're likely only filtering for people who have hosted the game. 
And yeah, this would be a cool mode to get out, it's just not there right now. Hopefully someday I'll be able to get it to you guys. :)"
When asked if you were in danger of being banned for simply joining one of these games, he commented:
"I'm not in Player Support, but I would be surprised if we'd ban someone for happening to join the "wrong" custom game lobby. Creating the lobby requires to you to make changes to your game client though, and so those people are drastically more at risk (and according to this thread we've handed out some bans already)."
As for just enabling it since it seems to be working, he commented:
"It's not quite as simple as that, unfortunately. This isn't a completed feature, and we can't guarantee that it won't either harm people's machines, accounts, or even the game servers themselves."

Relaunch discussion

Starting off with a few comments on Garen shoulder pads being very prominent in his visual upgrade, IronStylus launched into a discussion on relaunches, art styles, and the choices that have to be made when updating a champion.

He kicked it off with:
"I'm drafting a larger post about general stylistic direction in League of Legends and how it plays into Relaunch and Champion development.
There's a lot I could pick through in the threads I've seen, but with the business surrounding worlds and other things I wanted to compose a larger thread that encompasses larger high-level messaging about where we're taking our style and why. I hope to answer some Garen questions with that post and also help players to understand why we're making the choices we're making.

So yeah. You'll get more answers than you wanted, most likely :P"
He then took time to elaborate on this "business surrounding worlds" comment:
"For some reason I can't go back in and edit my post, so when I say "business surrounding worlds" I mean to say.. we've all been busy, so there hasn't been a lot of time for me to get on here and chat."

IronStylus continued, reiterating his want to draft up a well-thought out and conclusive post on everything - including why Garen's VU looks a bit different than what was shown in the Twist of Fate cinematic:
i just want to know why riot created a cinematic where garen summons a giant sword and then 6 months later reworked him and getting rid of the giant sword
Some good reasons. It's a little more than I have energy to get into at 3:30 am, but we had an internal discussion about that very aspect when we were doing the VU. It's a big subject, and there's a lot of nuance. We're putting our heads together to craft a well constructed discussion on style and stylistic choices. Stay tuned for that. It's a discussion that's warranted and that we'd like to have."

As for why Garen's cape is so vivid, he notes:
I have a question, why is his cape color so unnaturally bright? It doesn't even look like fabric.  
It looks like a Warcraft 3 texture color (they had bright colors to ensure people could easily see which units were theirs, which is not the case in LoL).
Readability and visual hierarchy. Aka, artist buzzwords that I'll be happy to explain in a more in-depth post on the matter."

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