Red Post Collection What Grumpy Monkey has been up to, 4.9 includes bits of new Audio Engine, and more!

Posted on at 11:53 AM by Moobeat
This afternoon's red post collection features a big batch of posts from Grumpy Monkey, explaining what he's been up to lately, answering questions on various VUs, and even explaining why Eveylnn's VU has been a tough nut to crack. Additionally, you'll find Draggles with explaining why 4.9 was such a big patch file size wise, the official announcement of the Karthus VU launch, and more! 
Continue reading for more information!

What has Grumpy Monkey  been up to?

Grumpy Monkey swung on to the forums to give an update on what he's been up to lately, including the recent VUs, Sion, and the upcoming Skarner texture updates!
"Hey! I am right here! Sorry for the radio silence. I have been super busy! We got Heimerdinger,Twitch, Karthus, Some Skarner Texture update love on the way, and of course we have been toiling away at the big guy Mr. Sion himself. in fact here is some concept art of new Sion to get you pumped! Done by Feral Pony. Who knew he was such a legit artist? Anyways we have some great stuff lined up for the rest of the year. Thanks for missing me on the forums! I sometimes forget I need to visit good ol GD from time to time. If you want to hit me up directly you can always get my attention at @riotgrumpmonkey on the twitters."

Grumpy Monkey continued, answering several questions from the thread:
"I want to answer some of your questions best I can. 
1. How is work going for the Champs? Pretty good.

You know just making them and stuff. No biggie. 
2.How many do you actively work on at a given time?

Well, I like to work on three and a given time. One in final polish, one in hard core production mode, and one in early conceptual phase. It's like juggling. 
3.A Rioter said not too long ago that there were 10 VUs last year and that there should be more this year. Since Rioters have said that they've gotten the team more together and running more efficiently, will there be 10 or more VUs this year?

"Should" is a funny word isn't it? We have a lot planned, I just hope we can get everything we set out to do done! Bless that Rioter's heart for being so ambitious though. 
4.Is Grump Monkey the only one who works on sculpting the champs and their skins?

Well mostly yes. I get much needed helps from time to time from Mr. Iron Stylus and Concept help from various Concept geniuses on the team (Riot Teatime, Huge n Fast) But the sculpting is largely done and supervised by yours truly. 
5.Will Pantheon get a VU this year? If so, has he been started?

He is not Highest on the list. His Dragon slayer skin certainly made us re consider though. 
6.Will Kassadin get a VU this year? If so, has he been started?

We have a few loose ends we need to tie up before we can get to him , but he is in our crosshairs, and we can't wait to get to him. 
7.Malzahar is not discussed often but his model is in serious need for a VU. I know you guys will get to all champs eventually, but has he been discussed? 
I talked about him just today! I think he might be more in line for a TU, just a fresh coat of paint and some model tweaks rather than a full on VU. 
8.Do you think you can give Pantheon a traditional skin? Just for the fact that the team can go all out making him this original creative looking badass armored Rakkor, and fans who are attached to his "greek" look wont be upset. It's a win win for everyone. Please? 
Ideally I would hope we theme the Rakkor around what pantheon currently is. I would want to make Pantheon feel new, but still very familiar. But thats just me. If we decide that the Rakkor are visually very different from what pantheon currently is and want him to represent that new direction, then I think a traditional skin is in order. We will see when we cross that bridge though. 
9.How's the Taric and Sion progress going? 
Taric is in progress, very very early steps to be honest.... But Sion is my focus these days, and he's going great. I'm Really happy with how he's turning out so far. 
10.What do you love about your job? 
GREAT QUESTION!!! I love how fast things move, I never get bored. I love that I can make things that millions of people appreciate. I love showing My wife and kids stuff that I worked on when it goes live, and I love the people I work with. 
11.What about your job frustrates you?

I hate my Commute lol. I also wish I could get stuff done faster, but with such a huge game we try our best to be really really careful that what we release is quality stuff, so I understand. I also get frustrated with Ironstylus's hair. It's so perfect. He never has a bad hair day.
Hope I answered your questions good enough!"

When asked about the recent updates to Pentakill Mordekaiser and Pentakill Sona, Grumpy Monkey  replied:
"I don't know if they are finished to be honest. I think the goal was to clean them up and make them less noisy to better fit the current lower contrast/easy read texture style we like. Since pentakill is getting some attention because of the bad ass album, I think skins team wanted to give the Pentakill skins some attention. The main complaint I am seeing is that a lot of the visual noise that was conveying metal material, has been lowered in contrast. At any rate, if they are slated for this patch then it's out, but that doesn't mean we can't update a little here and there after the fact. As for a Morde VU, hell yes! Most likely next year though...maybe...don't hold me to that."

As for why he hates his commute to work every day, Grumpy Monkey elaborated:
"I live in Irvine 53 miles away from Riot HQ, why you ask? Before I was Grumpy Monkey, I was a mild mannered 3d artist working at a place called Blizzard, located in Irvine ca, and I just never moved. Irvine is just too awesome for the wife and kids, So I suck it up and drive 106 miles every day to work. To keep from going insane on the 405 I listen to audio books, usually self-helpy leadership stuff, like "Seven habits" or "Art of Leadership", or I sing really really loud in my car."

When asked if Singed is up for a VU anytime soon, he noted:
"There have been discussions, nothing set in stone yet, just experiments really.*no pun intended*"
He continued, explaining the Singed sculpt he did as a demo:
"That singed wasn't a leak. It was a demo I did at the Gnomon School of Visual effects, it's not going to be the VU, it was though one of the experiments I was talking about. Singed needs a lot of work. I don't think I am gonna nail it on the first try. But really, please consider it fan art. 
The Heimerdinger was also for the Demo, but as it turns out, a lot of the features of the sculpt I did were really embraced by the team, so we used it as a base for the Vu. There were still things changed to turrets and over all color scheme.

Lol yeah. Go Anteaters! nice mascot Irvine."

Grumpy Monkey also commented on Evelynn specifically and why she is a tough VU to crack:
The thing about Eve, is there are several directions we can take her. Right now it's a toss up as to what we want to do with her lore. The choices made by the writing team as to her origin will largely affect what she looks like. Also if I can be candid for a second, So at Riot, everybody is a huge fan of league (duh) and everybody has favorite champions. The Relaunch Team (Now being called the Champion Update Team) tries to be very visible to the rest of the company as to what we are doing (as most teams are). Now it just so happens that sometimes we want to update a champion that a TON of people love, but for all different, and sometimes conflicting reasons. Sometimes what we the team think a champion is, turns out to be completely contradictory to what the champion has become through the lens of the community and being out in the wild. Sometimes things get too visible, and we get a flood of feedback before we even have any firm ideas of our own as a team. It takes time to sort out all that feedback. Also when this happens it's very easy to get lost, to have too many options. Eve has the potential to be a key character in the Shadow isles, she can show a side of the area that other characters like Elise have touched on, but really be the paragon of certain themes. I think we sometimes get confused in the nuances of characters sometimes I'll admit it. Sometimes we say, " We need to make this the best character it can be!" rather than "This needs to be the best X champion it can be!". So rather than make the best character ever, we strive to make the best Karthus ever, or Heimerdinger or whatever, which in my opinion is more important, and an easier goal to grasp. Does that make sense?

There are so many characters, and so many nuanced archetypes in League, that we really need to take our time sometimes. Relaunches aren't just about re-making the character with better visuals,(in the beginning that's exactly what it was I'll admit) But these days they are about giving the characters more room to grow. To get them out of their dead ends, and create a future for them and integrate them into the greater tapestry. 
So your question about "How much of a problem is to sit as a team for a few hours and have a conversation about what she supposed to be?" it's not a problem, but it's an ongoing process. We don't do it just once and say "BOOM that's Eve! Josh when can you have the model done?" We do it a few times to double check ourselves, and most of the time we are able to poke holes in stuff we could have swore was solid. But we always replace it with stuff that is much stronger that only would have happened if given enough time to percolate among a group of experienced, creative people.

I understand the impatience, I really do. People love these characters, I get it. We are doing our best is all I can tell you, and when Eve VU finally does come out I hope she is what players expect and then some. I hope we can make Her more intriguing as a character and provide visuals that can instantly draw you in. Sorry for the wall of text bro, you caught Me in a typey mood."

When asked if a new Kha'Zix or Zac skin is coming down the pipeline, he noted:
"I literally have no clue to the release schedule of the skins team. I see stuff from time to time being worked on, but I really don't know the state of any of it."
 He continued, replying to a question about Karma:
"I have seen some stuff for Karma, but again, I have no idea as to release dates."

Why is 4.9 such a large patch?

Riot Draggles popped into a thread on the EUW forums with a reminder that patch 4.9 is large in file size due to the pieced out shipment of the new audio engine, just as we've seen in 4.7 and 4.8:
Originally Posted by Riot Zaps:
We also wanted to let you know that Patch 4.9 is larger than usual due to the large amount of content updates and continued pre-patching for our future audio engine. We apologize for the extended patch time! 
The audio engine updates are most of this patch - imagine you have a suitcase full of coats: adding content like skins and new champions are essentially putting socks in the suitcase - you can slip them in without disturbing too much of the contents. Changing something as deep and complex as the audio engine is like taking out all the coats and replacing them with towels - it's a delicate process. 
Okay, that wasn't the most perfect metaphor but you get what I mean - gave me something to do while I was patching my own client :D"

The Champion Update Team is busy

To clear up concern that something like the previously mentioned Darius changes were slowing down other champion update projects, Scruffy noted:
"The Champ Update team has multiple projects going simultaneously so things like Cough Sion Cough aren't being held up by other projects like Nidalee, Soraka, or Darius."

For more on some of the current projects, check out the dedicated Skarner and Nidalee PBE threads!

Karthus' Visual Update Brings the Death March to the Masses

For anyone who may have missed it, patch 4.9 brings the Karthus visual update!
"The Karthus Visual Update, after drifting through PBE, has found its way to the live servers! His redesigned model comes replete with new animations, reworked voiceover and spell effects that truly anchor death’s greatest champion to the Shadow Isles. If you’re interested in learning about how we went about updating Karthus or checking out his concept art, head over to our initial PBE announce article.
Excited to bring Karthus’ new visage to the Fields of Justice? Let us know in the comments below!"
Itching for a better look at Karthus and all of his updated skins? Check out our dedicated Karthus VU post for more than you can shake your Requiem at!

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