Red Post Collection: Splash Art Q&A, PBE Changes discussion, Wriggle's Lantern not forgotten, and much, much more!

Posted on at 8:58 AM by Moobeat
[ Note] Heartseeker Ashe has been announced on the PBE community and will be up for PBE testing later today.

Today's red post collection features Riot Silver with a Q&A on splash arts - including how long they take to produce, what's being done about out dated skin splashes, and more, Meddler explaining how changes on the PBE work and context on a few that were pulled in the last update,  ricklessabandon noting his MF changes should be on the PBE with the start of the next cycle, a note that Wriggle's Lantern changes are being tested internally, map art feedback threads, and much more!
Continue reading for more information!

Recent News

Splash Art Q&A

Following up on this posts from last week, Riot Silver has put up a short Q&A on splash art - including how long it takes to make, plans for updating old splash arts, and more.
Sorry about the delay. I'm going to answer all of the questions I can and that the team is ready to answer. Feel free to continue posting feedback or questions. I will do my best to get back in here as often as I can to update. 
Any word on old splash art for skins? eg: Nidalee and Master Yi. 
For context. A while back around the time we reworked the Morgana/Miss Fortune/Tryndamere splashes, the splash team at riot reevaluated what our goals should be with all future splashes. We decided that if we were going to work on creating higher quality splashes, one of the things we would need to do is to start spending more time per splash. What used to be under two weeks (and in some cases, a day or two) has become 4 solid weeks of work per splash and while our team has grown to about 8 artists, this is still very limiting in the resources we have to make splashes. Because of this, we've had to prioritize what we are able to work on at any given time. Right now, our first and foremost priority as a team is to rework all of the base champion splashes that don't meet our standards along with new content. The main reason for this is that the base champions are both IP defining and also what the majority of our players see when they play the game. Once those are done we will prioritize skin reworks for the champions who have been relaunched where the skin splashes no longer accurately represent the in game model (champions like Trundle, Karma, and Nidalee) and after that we will work on the rest of the skin splashes but do not currently have a priority list defined for those. We are working on setting up a pipeline for working very closely with some of our trusted partners to begin working sooner on those relaunched skin splashes. No guarantees at this point, but we are constantly looking for ways to improve our process and get updated splashes for all of your and our favorite champions/skins as soon as possible. We've also been looking very hard to find artists (and passionate gamers) that are capable of hitting both the league of legends style and quality bar so that we can increase the rate at which we can achieve these goals.

Do you guys plan to replace the Chinese art you were putting in the game at one stage?

Yes this is an idea that was brought up a while ago and again very recently. We want to avoid communicating the idea that the splashes from the Tencent client, which we would theoretically substitute, would be a final solution for the current live clients in most other territories. This is because a lot of the older splashes created for the Tencent client no longer match the style of our new target. That being said, as a team we do agree there are probably splashes in our current client where the benefit of replacement might greatly outweigh the difference from our visual style. It's something we will explore. 
Question regarding Pantheon's splash. In the Facebook page, as well as during the shifting portraits in the LCS, he uses a unique splash image that looks quite well. The one currently used is the one from the Chinese client years ago. What is the status on that splash, and what reasons were made for not using it in the game? 
This splash was made a while back but we felt that it didn't accurately represent pantheon as a champion and what he is able to do in game. I would say however that the quality personality of the splash overall is higher than the one currently live in game. We may revisit this one as a temporary replacement, since it is already done, until we can get to creating Pantheons actual reworked splash. I will talk to the team about it. 
How much time is spent making ONE splash art? 
For one person, 3-4 weeks depending on the artist. 
How do you determine the position the champion will be in? 
Our normal process is to make 3-5 quick black and white sketches exploring different compositions for the splash. We talk to writers, modelers and enthusiasts of the champion to find what we feel is the best version, pose and story for the splash. After we pick a direction we do a few color explorations and start to draw/render the final. 
Is a splash art being "created" by one artist, or multiple? 
Yes and no. Splashes are worked on primarily by one artist but we do regularly help each other to complete splashes based on each artists strengths and also to accommodate deadlines. On some cases, we have a large number of artists jump on one splash. (Elise's base splash was made in just under 4 days with 5 people working on it simultaneously.)

People point to Dragonblade Riven, the new Lux splash, the new Sivir splash, and others as being "humanly impossible to recreate". While I do see this and recognize the disjointed look that these art pieces give, I personally view these with a more open-mind because I give benefit of the doubt that there must have been some visual basis for these poses. If that is not the case, how did you decide on such postures? 
You're right. I'm not sure if the team has previously highlighted our goals for the current target on splash art and if not, then that is probably my fault. We have a bunch of things that we want to aim for when creating new splashes and illustrations. For this question in particular, I'll talk a bit about character poses. The world of league of legends is a fantasy world where things and characters outside the realm of possibilities in the normal world exist. Furthermore, the game and stories are focused primarily on the champions, the super human characters of that world. Our champions have very exaggerated proportions, some can shoot fire from their hands, and some can jump 30 feet in the air. To be able to fully convey the force and impact of these moments, we employ a lot of the same principles used in comic books. We purposefully break anatomy to enhance the gesture of the pose and push characters into extreme perspective. The idea here is to communicate something that is not possible by a normal human. I will take some time in the near future to make a post where I deep dive into what we feel is our splash style. Right now the high level goals are: exaggerated comic book style character proportions and poses, high polish, but still hand painted rendering, limited color palettes with powerful accents, and dramatic lighting. 
Are you guys responsible for splash-based animated login screens as well? if so how do you do it? 
The illustration/splash team makes the 2d assets, separated out into Photoshop layers that the motion graphics team animates in programs like After Effects. 
How do you guys feel about posting videos of the splash art creation process? 
Unfortunately, around the same time that we reevaluated our splash style and timeline, we had to stop making process videos. Due to the larger file sizes, lag that's caused by the recording process, and the fact that we regularly collaborate on splashes, we found it unrealistic to continue to record the process. We are exploring new ways of opening the doors to our art process though. I'm not sure when things will be solidified, but its something regularly talked about at Riot HQ. 
What other software are you familiar with for working on art? Which is your favorite? Do you use different software for different things?

Splash artists at Riot use Photoshop in tandem with other programs like Maya to create environment/prop models for reference, and a few internal tools. Photoshop is the medium that I've learned how to control the best, but Ive seen people make amazing works of art with MS Paint and Gimp. It all comes down to decision making rather than tools."

PBE Testing and Tentative Changes

When asked why so many PBE changes were reverted in the latest PBE update, Meddler reminded summoners that the PBE is for testing purposes and offered some context on a few of the changes that didn't make the cut:
"Changes on the PBE are there to be tested. Often, they'll test well and we'll put them in the next patch. In some cases though, such as those you're talking about, we won't be happy with things and will pull them out again, either because our goals have changed, we haven't got enough testing on them yet or we want to try a different approach.
In these particular cases: 
Gragas - We're still planning on fixing some issues with Gragas. As our internal cutoff date to finalize patch changes approaches though we've concluded we'd like to undertake more thorough testing before shipping balance and/or playstyle adjustments to him. 
Vi - Vi's on our radar as potentially too tanky and high in damage at the same time, hence the experimentation with some potential adjustments around that premise. Not a definite conclusion though, hence those changes also aren't coming in the patch (presence on PBE doesn't always mean 'for next patch').

Ziggs - In the next patch Hexplosive Minefield will deal reduced damage to minions on subsequent hits and Short Fuse's damage at most levels will be lowered. We've reverted the mana cost increase on Bouncing Bomb, at least for now, so that we can see how extensive an effect those two changes have first and then assess if additional follow up's also needed."

Miss Fortune changes in next PBE Cycle

When asked where his previously discussed Miss Fortune PBE changes were, ricklessabandon noted that they are ready for the PBE but won't be up for testing until the next PBE cycle strats:
"they're ready for the pbe, but we're in this brief period in which we want to wrap up stuff for 4.2 so i'm holding off on submitting the changes. so, soon! basically she should be included in the first batch of 4.3 changes to hit the pbe."

New Particles vs a future Kassadin VU

Due to the recent new Kassadin PBE particles ( which have been reverted as of the 1/28 PBE Update ), a few summoners have been wondering what this means for a future Kassadin VU.

Meddler commented, there is a VU planned but these particles are just to support the ability changes currently testing on the PBE:
"Kass will still get a VU. We've got some gameplay changes we're looking to make (subject to further testing) before then though and the particle changes are to support those adjustments."

Wriggle's Lantern not forgotten

Meddler also commented that the team is working on fixin' up Wriggle's Lantern :
"We're testing an upgrade to Wriggles internally at the moment. Hasn't hit the right spot just yet, hence it hasn't been on PBE. We definitely agree Wriggles needs to be better."

Improving Latency for Everyone

Riot Foro, a network engineer, popped into a thread asking about the potential of adding an NA East Coast server to improve latency, saying:
"This isn't something we're ignoring - but it's not something that is going to happen overnight either. Can't divulge any plans right now but we're working on improving latency for everyone in North America (and of course, the rest of the world in their own regional enviroments).

PS @ O.P. - light travels at less than two-thirds of the speed of light through glass, and data through copper is even slower. Might want to readjust those calculations a little!"

No Update on Dragonmaster Swain

Morello commented that Dragonmaster Swain, a popular community skin idea that involves Swain morphing into a giant dragon instead of a bird, is still something they'd like to do but that there are no updates to be had:
"No update on it. Still want to do it, but the skin backlog is a long one, and DMMSwain can't be a softball, ya know? 
Holiday-oriented skins with Snowdown, Harrowing and stuff are pretty demanding. It's been challenging on that front."

Normal MMR =/= Ranked MMR

Zydion, an associate software engineer, popped up on the forums to clear up confusion on normal vs ranked matchmaking rating:
"Normal MMR is also completely separate from ranked MMR. So if someone hit level 30 and played only ranked, their normal MMR may be low while they climbed their way to plat/diamond in ranked."

Map Art Feedback

Just as he did for Summoner's Rift, RiotForScience has created and designated several threads for players to share their feedback on the various game maps. Here's a set of links and some of the discussion that sparked up in each thead:

Howling Abyss Detailed Art Feedback
"It was brought up on the SR thread that we should have versions of that thread for all of our maps. So here is one for Howling Abyss. Please post any suggestions or ideas for improvements to that map. I will try to comment as often as possible. I promise to read any suggestion posted here. Thanks!"
He continued, noting he believes there are several things that could be fixed up on the map:
"Maybe it is because I worked on it, but I only see the flaws. I would love to be able to get back into it and make some fixes. Maybe someday..."
When asked "What's stopping you? I don't see anything else getting updated.", RiotForScience replied:
"We are quite busy. I am excited for the day when our current project will be ready for public eyes... hopefully soon..."

Twisted Treeline Detailed Art Feedback
"It was brought up on the SR thread that we should have versions of that thread for all of our maps. So here is one for Twisted Treeline. Please post any suggestions or ideas for improvements to that map. I will try to comment as often as possible. I promise to read any suggestion posted here. Thanks!"

Crystal Scar Detailed Art Feedback
"Thanks so much for creating this thread!

One thing that I think CS does better than any of our other maps is to have a sense of life in the environment. Everything is moving and narrative in CS. It was made before I started at Riot, I think the guys did a fantastic job at it."

As for what the team uses to actually build maps, RiotForScience commented:
"The map is built in a combination of Maya and some proprietary in-house tools/engine. Maya is spendy, but There are educational licenses of Maya and Max that are free. We generate textures in Photoshop and 3d coat. You can skip 3d coat if it doesn't fit your budget. There are alternatives to Photoshop, but if this is something you want to do for a career you should probably grab a license for the creative suite. If the art is awesome you could just show that you solved the design issues in a drawing with documentation. I am impressed the most by applicants that have a really good understanding of aesthetics and design and can combine the 2 together.

I like the idea of a variation on a wall type that permits visibility and skillshots but blocks movement. If your project would benefit from it, go for it. Keep me posted as your project develops."

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