Red Post Collection: More on the Summoner's Rift Update!

Posted on at 6:45 AM by Moobeat
Ever since the massive visual overhaul of Summoner's Rift was announced, Rioters have been flocking to the forums to chat about the beautiful new map and all the hard work that's gone in to it. From revealing the names of the new jungle camps to reassuring players their computers will run the new map just as well as the current map, this morning's red post collection is dedicated to Summoner's Rift!
Continue reading for more information.

Before we get started, be sure you've looked over the following posts to get yourself better acquainted with what's in store for Summoner's Rift:

You'll also probably want to give the Update to Summoner's Rift -Pre Beta Footage video another whirl, just so everything is fresh in your mind for the discussion!

Now let's get on to the show! I've sorted out all the posts and information in to similar categories and tried to provide in-video references for the topic at hand. All posts come from Reddit, the LoL forums, or Twitter.



When asked how long the Summoner's Rift update has been in the works, CaptainLx noted:
"Some early exploration (concept) was being worked in while we were still finishing Howling Abyss. Myself and some others joined right after that and the team has been growing ever since. There were a lot of discussions and prototypes created to make sure we hit the right time, enhance clarity, and keep gameplay the same."
Nome commented both it and Howling Abyss started at the same time:
"Both Howling Abyss and SR started initial development simultaneously. We began with a small team, focusing on concept and direction, and as everything fleshed out we added more members to the team. Getting SR right was super important, because in a lot of ways Summoner's Rift *is* League of Legends"

The new blue nexus and red nexus!
Most noticeably, the map is now Red vs Blue instead of Blue vs Purple. RiotForScience explained this decision as:
"It improves clarity for our colorblind players and creates a much more consistent colorization system for our HUD. It is still something we are looking at, but we are really happy with the direction we are moving in."
Nome also commented on this, explaining:
"If you recall, we recently changed allied health bars from green to blue, which meant that in game space, the only color-blind mode difference is between your own health bar. We're hoping to eventually phase out color-blind mode altogether and unify color schemes--though a lot of this project isn't related to this update to Summoner's Rift."

RiotForScience also commented on concern that the map will "feel" different gameplay wise, saying:
"I want to touch on this a bit. This update is built on the exact gameplay foundation of the map you are used to. It will play just like SR. We are updating the visuals and resolving a few bugs. It will feel very familiar when you actually get in and run around in it"
He continued, noting the camera angle is a little different:
"The camera angle is actually not the same. We have implemented a focal length similar to what we are using on Howling abyss. It should help skillshots, but does not correct the problem you bring up. We determined that the solution to that problem is out of the scope of the visual update of Summoner's Rift."
He continued:
"The skillshot issue is being mitigated a little by adopting a camera with a flatter field of view. The Blue/Red balance issue is something that is being looked at seperately from the VU of Summoner's rift."
Nome also noted that nearly all the walls widths will be unchanged in the update:
"For the most part, no. The only area where we're changing wall widths is around the base walls, and that's because there were some big inconsistencies between Blue and Red team walls. Rather, walls all around will be accurately depicted (no "glass walling"), so if it looks like you can jump over it, you should be able to."
CaptainLx expanded on this, noting the walls are more clear:
"Walls will finally match the underlying navigation mesh that players have been playing on for years. We filled in so called glass walls which would make you run into an empty nothing beforehand. What you see now is actually representing the game map you've been playing on for years. We hope that this will make the game even better."

In response to a comment about being able to see dragons flying around ( ~1:28 ) in the background of Summoner's Rift,  Nome shared there is much more to see:
"We've got a lot of details and Easter Eggs that haven't made it in yet. Really excited to start working on that stuff :)"
When asked if one of these might include an Urf the Manatee reference, he noted:
"Some of the stuff we're discussing might go a few steps past that -_- There will be some absurd stuff"

As for a tentative date we can expect this to all hit the PBE, Nome teased:
"I don't think anyone will kill me if I say that yes, it'll hit PBE this year :P"


RiotForScience commented on the map's new color palette, saying:
"We really carefully clamped the color saturation range and values of the ground plane in order to make teamfights more readable. Great feedback though! Adding more color without distracting from gameplay is something that we are still looking into."
Draggles added in:
"The map is more "hand crafted" than the current SR. Every texture you see is unique - you may encounter 3 or 4 of the same tree model in the same place currently. So in some ways, it is MORE detailed - there are more thematically cohesive elements in suitable places. On top of this, as I mentioned before, clarity is a super important reason that this update is happening. Busying the map takes away from the action, and vice versa."

As for the differences between the area around Baron and other regions of the map, RiotForScience noted:
"This was to help players orient themselves around the map. The areas closest to Baron are more "Shattered" and areas distant from Baron are much more overgrown and lush. This video doesn't highlight it, but there are very overgrown areas in the map."
"The Baron area definitely does feel a little purple. We made several choices like that throughout the map to help players orient themselves around major points of interest on the map, and of course Baron is a huge point of interest on the map."

Nome also replied to a comment that Summoner's Rift had lost it's vibrant colors with this update, saying:
"It's disingenuous to say that the update to SR is getting rid of vibrant colors. It's not entirely an art decision either; in many ways, it's as much--or more--about gameplay clarity as it is about art. We specifically chose this direction to create a visual hierarchy: particles > characters > environment. All of the recent VUs, champions, and skins have been designed with this update and hierarchy ind mind, so we hope you'll be pleasantly surprised to see how well they pop off the map--and of course, this applies retroactively to older assets as well. 
Of course, the map IS still in progress--we haven't done a lighting pass yet, for example; and plenty of features and assets have even yet begun being worked on. So just hang tight--and we do appreciate the feedback!"

When asked if there is any chance to have the water in the river to be reactive and respond to players walking through it, ( such as splashing or reflection ),  Nome replied with a warning:
"No guarantees (seriously--we don't know if we'll do this), but we're doing some initial explorations into this."
On a similar note, RiotForScience commented on the water moving in relation to the Dragon's spawn animation: 
"That is on the to do list. We still have some work to do between PBE and Live"

Likewise, Riot Tiki dropped off a few comments on ambient animations being added to the map:
"We're definitely planning on some ambient, animated effects in the environment to help bring the map to life. Stuff like dust, rain, mist, etc. fall into that category. 
One thing we have to keep a close watch on is how these affect game play though, we don't want anything too distracting or that adds too much noise to the screen. We'll be keeping a close eye on player feedback during PBE to make sure we're hitting that!"

When asked about weather effects and day/night cycles, RiotForScience commented:
"Yes there will be some weather effects. The north east quadrant is going to be rainy, apart from that we will have dust, fog, lightrays and other environmental effects 
We will not have day/night cycles. Our lighting is all hand painted. The wins that we would get by having a day/night cycle would be massively outweighed by the losses we would get from adopting a more artifical lighting system.

We will not have camera rotation, but the fundamental issue behind why we want the ability to rotate the camera is being looked into. We are not prepared to discuss that yet. The solution will not be part of the visual update."

Minions & Turrets

As for the new minions goes, Draggles pointed out that both sides have thematic differences now instead of just color changes:
"The minions are actually differently designed on both sides; there are clear thematic differences that are not just red/blue. There'll be a dev blog coming on this subject really soon, actually. Have you checked out our overall design thoughts yet? It's a long read but it really lays the groundwork for our future discussions!"

As for how new minions will spawn, Nome noted:
"They still poof out of nowhere for now, but we're hoping to find a pretty solution for their spawn later."

CaptainLx also commented on the new minion attack vfx ( seen at ~1:13 ), saying:
"Keen eye there, pupli. We are not changing mechanics or gameplay, but removing discrepancies between the attack cycles while hopefully making them more readable. It should be easier to tell when you are being attacked, for instance (cleaner silhouette etc.)"

Ymir also noted that new turrets received visual damage as their health falls, just like on HA!
"Someone asked me before the announcement went live, but yeah towers on SR will have gradual damage like on Howling Abyss"

Jungle , Baron, and Dragon

When asked about how the team went about creating the mysterious new creatures that popular the jungle, Nome commented:
"One of our tenets for creature design was that we really wanted to own the creatures to make them uniquely League of Legends. We chose fantastical names for a lot of the creatures for this reason--we felt Gromp had a certain onomotopoeic quality to it."
As for all the camps looking mighty scary now, Nome jested:
"Ha, we actually had to toughen up the creatures. Players were upset at killing them when they were too cute :)"
RiotForScience also chimed in, adding:
"We really wanted to make sure that all of the monsters in summoner's rift are consistant with the idea of a magical forest. All of our ghost friends have been altered to be more consistent with that theme."

CaptainLx jumped into the discussion to talk about the wealth of new jungle camp spawn animations and how they function in game:
"That's a great question. If Blue Buff currently spawns at 1:55 on SR, and if our spawn animation is 2 seconds long, then we will spawn Blue Sentinel at 1:53 min, so that you can attack it at 1:55. It's parity with what is on live. 
We hope that spawn animations will help better time your initiation while maintaining parity with the gameplay on our current SR. This includes visibility (so, you can't see dragon if you don't have a ward in the dragon pit, even if he's running around on the rim of the pit). 
There's a white flash that will tell the players when you can attack a creature, too. As with all things regarding the updated Summoner's Rift we'd love to hear your feedback! 
Thanks for the compliments, I'll pass them on to the whole team!"

An example of the brief "Flash" on neutral monsters that plays following their spawn animation,  signaling they are available to be attacked. ~0:48 in the Pre Beta Footage.

ZenonTheStoic also commented on the flash, saying:
"Yup, that's right! Once monsters display the texture flash they become attackable (and that's when their health bars show up). 
Speaking of which, it's a shame this video had health bars disabled..."
Continuing on the flashes, CaptainLx mentioned
"I'm so happy that you all are picking up on this so quickly. Yes, the white flash signals when you can attack a camp. And the look ats where one of the things we really wanted to get in to make the creatures feel more alive. Also, we added proximity animations that make the camp react to you walking up to them (only on the player's machine, of course)."
Reach4the Skyler also chimed in on the spawns and flashes, sharing:
"Monster spawn animations happen only when the creature first spawns into the world (and each consecutive time after), not every time you walk by. They do however react to your presence with increased agitation/attention. Also the animations count backward from the spawn time and play pre-spawn as to not affect spawn timers. Monsters are attackable nearly the instant they land in the play space. In most cases this is signaled clearly through animation and a white flash."
CaptainLx added on to that , explaining how the goal is to make the jungle feel alive:
"Yes, just as Reach4theSkylar mentioned our spawn animations are there to enhance the moment and help time your initial attack when waiting for a re-spawn of a creature. For all other cases we have stance-changes and reaction animations when you approach a camp, so that the creatures feel truly alive. These are not changing the gameplay of a camp, but hopefully make it more fun to jungle =)"
He continued, clarifying only you will be able to see the monsters reacting to your champion walk by:
"It's only client-side... as in, only you will see it. Imagine someone is waiting in brush to gank you, then you walk up to red buff. You won't see it in aggro pose, to not give this away. Just like we handle brush sway on current SR =)"

When asked if players will be able to see the , using dragon as an example, spawn animations every time time a monster respawns or only the first time per match, Nome clarified:
"The spawn animation is the same each time. You'll still need to wait the full 6 minutes between respawns."
He continued:
"Spawn animations follows normal monster visibility rules. If you can't see Dragon's idle position (middle of his pit) you can't see him on the ledge."

CaptainLx also noted that each monster has it's own idle animation ( i.e you won't just see them constantly doing spawn animations when you get in range ):
"Yes, dragon and all other camps have normal idle animations (just that they will react to us players now and for instance look at us). What you see in the current video is "just" the spawn animationn."

While unseen in the preview video, RiotForScience confirmed the wraiths are now Razorbeaks
"The wraiths are now Razorbeaks. A bird camp."

As absence of the  "Stone Brothers" golem camp and wraith camp in the video, Vitzkrieg commented:
"The environments around those two camps weren't quite ready for primetime when we shot the video. You'll be able to see them when this goes to PBE though! The mini golems have become the Krugs (Stone armored creatures), and the wraiths have become the Razorbeaks (feathered creatures with razor sharp beaks)."
When asked what the new red buff monster is called, Nome revealed:
"Red Brambleback. We took a lot of creative license with the names, but for buff camps, we wanted to be sure that they included "Red" and "Blue" in the names."
As for the blue buff creature's new name, Nome shared:
"Blue Sentinel"
CaptainLx also commented:
"Blue Sentinel is blue and Blue Sentries are the little ones. There will be dev blogs talking about all the names in the near future."
When asked if Wight's replacement Gromp will function differently or have a new attack, Nome commented:
"It's purely a visual update. The attack animation has the Gromp flick out its tongue to fire a projectile."
He continued, explaining how they settled on Gromp:
"There's no single reason. We went through a lot of iterations for each camp, but everyone seemed to fall in love with the Gromp. We had some basic requirements; it had to be ranged, it needed to be a big sack of health, it needed to hit hard, and it needed to not move very often. Even after we settled on a frog, we went through several variations and themes--demonic, grotesque, cute, etc. Don't be surprised if any of the creatures receive makeovers in the future as well."
Nome also mentioned that the current Wight model, which was added in preseason, was just a placeholder until the update was ready:
"Indeed, he was a placeholder. We considered using some other assets too, like some unreleased weird yeti-thing, but it was pretty ugly."
Regarding the Wight's retirement, CaptainLx added:
"He just wasn't al-wight for the map."
As for if they are keeping the name "Dragon", Nome explained:
"Haha, we devoted a few meetings to Dragon naming. In the end, we figured that players are just going to call it Dragon. We're open to ideas :)"
Nome also teased a few bits about our beloved Baron, saying:
"Wait 'til you see what Baron actually does now... it's pretty scary." 
and, referencing the animation showcased in the video at ~1:19, he noted:
"That's only the last part of Baron's spawn ;)"
he continued:
"Rest assured that the Baron spawn you're seeing there is a fraction of what we've got planned :P"

Nome then replied to someone asking if the things at the base of Baron were feet or not, saying:
"They're feet, yeah. Think of Baron like an Eastern-style Dragon."
Then he teased:
"Oh well... you'll get to see the rest his body."

As for how big the new Dragon and Baron models are, Nome commented:
"We've actually decreased both their sizes a few times. If they're too big, we run into a few issues with occlusion of characters, lacking a good place for their health bars, etc. We felt the current sizes were a good compromise between gameplay and art."

Nome also briefly commented on Dragon's and Baron's attacks and if it will change their damage::
"Right now, they're about the same if you don't get hit by any spells. If you do, it's considerably higher. We're going to let the live gameplay team handle the balancing though; the initial release will focus on the encounter experience."

Audio / Sound

Nome also commented  that, as expected, we can look forward to big music and sound updates on the map!
"I don't think any of the audio guys are currently perusing the thread, but there are definitely big music and sound updates on the map. Not all of the music work is done; for example, we're still missing a few pieces of tech to get all the features in, but we're really excited to see what you guys think once everything goes live."
Riot Tiki also chimed in about the new music, saying:
"We are planning on updating the music, but the direction for it is still evolving. We've got a couple of things in mind at this point but not a final direction. In the end, our goal is to update it while staying true to the spirit of Summoner's Rift."
Red Side Shopkeeper ( Left ) and Blue Side Shopkeeper ( Right ) 
As for the two new shopkeepers, Nome also commented that they will have oodles of dialogue!
"Yes--although they won't make the initial PBE pushout. I believe we're recording a LOT more lines than for Howling Abyss, and also adding some additional functionality as well. Some of these upgrades might even trickle down to Howling Abyss... we'll see if time permits :)"
Riot Tiki also added in:
"We are planning to have some interactive dialogue with the shopkeepers, but this likely won't be included during PBE. More of a live launch thing :)"
RiotForScience also commented:
"Our approach to shopkeepers is different from Howling Abyss. It is much more similar to how we handled them on HA than how they are currently in SR. We are trying to make them bit less obnoxious :)."
He also confirmed that the Blue side shopkeeper is indeed a yordle:
"Yup the dudette is a yordle"


RiotForScience commented on the expected performance comparison between the current Summoner's Rift and this new Summoner's Rift, saying:
"Our highest priority is performance pairty with all of our low end machines. We have done a lot of work on that end which should ensure that even our lowest-end computers will be able to run well (and in some cases faster than live)."

When asked if the updated Summoner's Rift will use a new game engine, Nome replied:
"Same game engine, although we're making continual updates and optimization to the engine. Most of them are pretty invisible to players :)"

Riot Vitzkrieg commented on concerns that this improved Summoner's Rift will cause performance problems with lower end computers, saying:
"Hey Dy4u, our goal is to make sure this update runs just as fast (if not faster) than the current version of Summoners Rift for all our players. We're taking performance very seriously so you, your wife, and everyone else can keep enjoying the game!"
He continued:
"we're aiming for at least performance parity between this visual update and what's currently on live (some low end machines will even go faster). If you can run SR now, you'll be able to run this as well."
He continued:
"I want to be clear that we're not promising 60 fps across the board. We're aiming to maintain (and if we can, improve) your frame rates on the updated map. If you could play before on setting X, it should still be playable after the VU :)"
To explain how this is possible, Vitzkrieg noted:
"Yep, since we're rebuilding the map pretty much from the ground up art wise it's given us a lot of opportunities to improve and optimize things across the whole place! It's kind of awesome as a tech guy :)"
He continued:
"I can't go into the details, but we've essentially focused a lot more of our art 'budget' into our awesome textures, and reduced the amount of polygons (the stuff that makes 3d objects). This is generally easier for computers to draw on screen, particularly low end ones, which allows us to increase our overall visual fidelity."

Riot JxE also commented:
"Nope, our goal is to make it run at par or better on your current machine :)"
As for how the new map can look so good but perform the same as the current map, Riot JxE shared:
"Not just the code, we've heavily reduced the amount of vertices on the map, reducing some areas like wolf camp by 83%. Everyone on the team from Artists to Engineers are committed to make this run the same or better across the board."
He continued:
"Basically the less vertices you have (especially on lower end machines) the better your fps is."

RiotForScience also chimed in on how the team got the new map looking good while staying safe tech wise, saying:
"It actually has fewer polygons than live. We are achieving this look by a lot of careful hand-painting of custom textures rather than by using a tech-heavy solution."
He continued:
"I am not going to hit that question directly, but the wolf camp in the update is 1/8th the polygons of the current wolf camp. 
This savings is pretty consistent throughout the map."
RiotForScience continued:
"no, not necessarily we are relying on hand painted diffuse textures to carry the weight that otherwise would be the function of polygons and normal maps."

Other / Misc

When asked about a new mini map, RiotForScience commented:
"Part of updating the map will require a recreation of the mini-map. At times during PBE development it is likely to be buggy, It will be accurate before it goes live."

As for the possible awkwardness of older champions against the up to date map, Riot Vitzkrieg commented:
"This map update is part of our continuous evolution of League of Legends. It's true that some of the older champs stick out for now, but as they receive visual updates everything will come together in glorious harmony :)"
Nome also noted that the similarities in the style of recent champion and the the map's new textures was totally on purpose!
"This is exactly it. In fact, the recent champions and VUs are all being designed with this update in mind."

When asked if the interactions for Nunu ( who consumes monsters for buffs and Wight is considered a "wraith" ) or the jungle themed item names (such as Spirit of the Elder Lizard)
will be changed now they there is a new set of creeps, Nome commented:
"We don't have a set plan for how we're handling item names and Nunu interactions, currently. I believe Xypherous was onboard to tweak the latter though."

RiotForScience also commented on the leaked textures from earlier this year, saying:
"They were really out of date. and there is a lot of visual shift that happens throughout the map so those textures aren't representative of the map as a whole."
When asked if the new map will include anytthing like a "camera flip" option, RiotForScience replied:
"We determined that this type of change would be out of the scope of our project. Our emphasis is to create a visual update, but we are very aware of your concerns, they are just being handled separately."

As for future map skins, RiotForScience commented:
"Well one big reason is that we cannot create skins on top of maps that really need a visual update. Now that SR is getting spruced up it clears the way for that type of work to be done in the future."

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