Red Post Collection: Optimizing the Rift dev blog, In-Client Preseason FAQ, Ranked Rewards & Neg. Behavior and more!

Posted on at 6:54 PM by Moobeat
[UpdateRiot Tiza mentioned "The SRU map is included in 4.19 and will be hitting live as detailed in the beta release plan. You'll be landing on the updated Rift on live later this week." in a post regarding the upcoming expansion tournaments.]

Tonight's red post collection features a new developer blog on optimizing the updated Summoner's Rift, IronStylus briefly commenting on Morgana's visual state, a look at the in-client preseason FAQ now that the season is over, Socrates on Ranked Rewards and Negative Behavior, and more!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents:

Dev Blog: Optimizing the Rift

Next up in our line of dev blogs centered around the upcoming update to Summoner's Rift is Riot Aeon with information on how the team has optimized the updated map!
"When we first sat down to plan out our priorities for updating the Rift, we knew performance would necessarily be one of our primary challenges. After all, what good is a spiffy update if your toaster explodes during loading? With that in mind, we set a goal of ensuring that the update to Summoner’s Rift performs at least as well as current SR on every player’s machine. We’ve continued to work on optimization since announcing the update, and want to take some time now to discuss the latest details with you.

Engineering Art 
Usually, when players think about how a game performs on their rig, they mostly look at the game’s tech. In reality, performance involves tight collaboration between artists and engineers, aimed at finding ways to implement art in an efficient fashion. When it comes to the update to Summoner’s Rift, our engineers have worked to provide the artists with the tools and information they need to create a landscape that can be both visually appealing and high-performing. 
The art team’s goal of increasing visual fidelity while maintaining performance parity with pre-update SR meant they needed a minimal set of highly-optimized features that would then allow them to create a hand-painted map. Essentially, this meant the engineering team needed to build a new, high performance renderer from scratch. 
Broadly, a renderer is responsible for placing game geometry onto your screen, and the new renderer for SR simplifies the process in ways that lead to higher performance, especially on older video cards. Additionally, it allows us to more finely tune the specifics of how a particular machine’s video card renders the environment, and tuning = speed = performance. Finally, the renderer gives us greater control over the map’s texture formats, allowing us to reduce video memory usage.

Less is More 
Beyond engineering optimization, our artists also sought creative ways to save on performance. One of the early things we looked at was “polygon count,” especially that of of jungle creatures. We know most of you know this, but as a reminder, a polygon is a series of points in space that join together to create a surface. 
In particular, we look at triangles, the simplest polygons. Multiple triangles are often used to create complex surfaces in games, and the number of them on screen is a good indicator of how much work your video card has to do. In particular, lower-spec machines are heavily impacted as triangle counts rise. We’ve made a conscious effort to cut down on triangles (and polygons in general) while designing the update, which has provided substantial savings on performance.

We also looked at “bone count.” Think of “bones” like joints in a skeleton, in that they influence things around them when they move or rotate. In the case of computer graphics, a bone allows for articulation (or animation) of geometry around it, so a jungle monster might have bones placed at various points in order to help animate its movement or attacks. As you’d expect, fewer bones = better performance, so we built the update with an eye towards minimizing bones in the environment’s moving elements.

These two improvements actually contributed to yet another opportunity for performance optimization. We noticed that map elements like towers and minions were pretty inefficient when “deforming” (i.e. moving their polygons in response to bone movement), with far more bone-polygon connections than would be necessary using the update’s new architecture. The bone and polygon trimming we mentioned earlier led naturally into slashing the number of bones connected to individual polygons, allowing for significant performance savings on what tends to be a performance-intensive process.

Smaller than the Sum of its Parts 
Another major step we took to address performance involved implementing a process called “Atlassing.” This process combines “texturing” (painting a model’s skin) with “UV mapping” (projecting the texture on to the 3D model) in a way that optimizes a bit better for performance. 
A model’s UV space determines how it reads the texture and what parts of the texture will show up on what surface. Normally there’s excess space between the UVs, and a model and its texture will look something like this:
Atlassing combines multiple textures into one larger texture that we can then compress or expand depending on the level of detail we want, which is invaluable when it comes to conserving precious memory usage on textures. For instance, instead of loading five 1024x1024 textures, we can use just one 2048x2048 texture and save a bit on performance.

All the Little Things Too 
Hopefully we’ve been able to provide some insight into some of the stuff that’ll be going on under the hood once the Rift’s new look hits live. What we’ve covered above definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of our performance-related efforts - from character inking changes, fog of war improvements, nav-mesh streamlining to general bug fixing - we’ve been vigilant for any opportunity to optimize. From the outset, toaster compatibility has been one of our top goals with the update, and it’s something we’ll continue to keep an eye on and fine tune as we move towards open beta and beyond.
Looking for more info on the updated Summoner's Rift? Check out these links!

[Continued] Champion Update Discussion

Continuing on his champion update discussion from the other day, IronStylus swooped into a forum thread to share his thoughts on Morgana and if he thinks she is due for visual updates:
"Oh she's in terrible shape, no doubt. We have some concepts lying around but I think there might be a wider discussion needed in terms of story with her. We might want to shore up whatever the deal is with her and Kayle before going balls to the wall. That said, from just an asset standpoint, we're chomping at the bit to get a VU for her going, but nothing in the immediate pipeline is planned."

2015 Preseason Has Arrived - In Client Info and FAQ

While not really a red post, I'd like to point out that there is a mini FAQ on the 2015 Preseason up in the game client now that the 2014 season has ended.

By navigating to the "Leagues" tab, you'll find:

2015 Preseason Has Arrived!
  • All participating ranked players will be receiving their 2014 season rewards
  • Ranked position from the 2014 season is carried over into preseason, but will be  reset at the start of the 2015 season
  • Earning a new rank during the preseason will not result in earning higher tier end of season rewards
  • Games played during the preseason will be factored in to your 2015 seeding

and when you follow the link, you move forward to another set of questions and answers:
When did the season officially end and the preseason start?
  • The season ended on November 11th at 00:01 am depending on your server regional time.
What happens now that the season is over?
  • Ranked queues will be prepared for the preseason. They will be disabled for approximately 12 hours in order for the rewards to be distributed. Once the rewards are distributed, ranked queues will be re-enabled.
It has been over 12 hours since the Ranked queues shut down and I didn't get my reward!
  • Don't panic! It may take a few days for them to show up for every player, as we will be distributing them gradually to avoid excessive server load.
Can my LP decay before the next season?
  • No. Inactivity decay will be disabled for the duration of the preseason.
What rewards was I eligible for?
  • Rewards were given based on your tier standing at the end of the season. You can view the rewards you received by clicking the leagues tab.
Do I get summoner icons for every tier under mine?
  • No, just your highest one.
Will my honor ribbon interfere with the loading screen trim in any way?
  • No, both of them will be shown.
I already owned Morgana, can I get RP or another champion instead?
  • Unfortunately, you cannot claim another champion or skin as a reward.
My LP decayed! Can I still have the reward?
  • Sorry, but we cannot make an exception in this case. Continuous participation in the season is a requirement for earning seasonal rewards in specific tiers.

Ranked Rewards and Negative Behavior

Speaking of the end of the 2014 season, Riot Socrates has posted up a statement regarding ranked rewards and negative behavior:
"With the end of the season upon us, we’re going to be issuing the ranked penalties we initially explained here, but we wanted to remind everyone why we decided to exclude players displaying the worst of the worst negative behavior from ranked rewards. We will be notifying ineligible players via email, and you can read that email in this post. 
Our goal for rewarding players with skins, borders, icons or wards at the end of the season is to commemorate their achievement in competitive League. As I said before, the rewards celebrate positive sportsmanship as much as skill. We’re only penalizing the absolute worst behavior by withholding rewards in 2014, but let us know if you have any feedback. 
Thanks for playing ranked with us in 2014, we’ll see you in the preseason! 
Email – 
Your account will not earn any ranked rewards during the 2014 season following an extensive audit of in-game behavior during your recent League of Legends matches. 
The personalized audit analyzed your games for examples of extreme harassment including sexism, homophobia, racism and excessive verbal abuse against other players in your game. At Riot, we do our best to try and encourage positive play and reform players who occasionally lapse into negative behavior. However, the type of activity found on this account is never acceptable within League of Legends in any context. We’ve seen some players believe that retaliation is okay, and we want to be very explicit that it is not. 
Given the highly inflammatory nature of your comments and actions in game, you are ineligible for rewards this year, but if you improve your conduct next season, you’ll be eligible in 2015. However, continuing to display such negative behavior can result in the permanent closure of your account.
Click here to read more about ranked penalties."

 Building on this, Lyte also tweeted out:
[1]"FYI, some players may lose their ranked rewards in the next few days in #leagueoflegends. There was a sync issue with some systems."
[2]"Specifically, some toxic players got ranked rewards when they shouldn't have. They will be removed over the next few days. #leagueoflegends"

Morello on Mobility Creep

In a thread asking if mobility creep is on Riot's radar at all, Morello stepped in to share his thoughts:
"I think the biggest issue here is that we don't make mobile champions "pay" for mobility enough in their total power budget. Immobile mages are a good example of this fallout, as you mention. 
When you have mobile champions that have the same or similar "raw" power output to a champion without mobility, it creates winners and losers really quickly. I agree here. 
In this, I think mobile champions should be more tactically flexible (due to mobility) and have less raw power to compensate. I think, though, this will require more and nerfs and buffs. And will mostly be toning down the raw output of mobility champions (as you mentioned, Syndra and co are bullshit and remove gameplay decision-making due to power factors, so buffing immobile mages is not a good plan). 
Preseason 2015 actually does help this in a strategy way in the meantime; jungle ganks, on average, are less frequent, giving less total pressure to immobile characters. This is some of what we saw with more traditional mage mids in Season 2 that we think will buff all these characters a little bit in the meantime."
He continued:
"If you're asking if we're going to further increase mobility creep to solve the problem, then no, we're not. I don't want creep to turn into inflation. :P"

Updated Summoner's Rift entering open beta later this week

In a lengthy reddit thread discussing the details surrounding the upcoming expansion tournament, Riot Tiza mentioned that the updated Summoner's Rift open beta will be hitting live later this week!
"The SRU map is included in 4.19 and will be hitting live as detailed in the beta release plan. You'll be landing on the updated Rift on live later this week..."

As a healthy precaution, you should still probably manage your expectations accordingly as this is a comment admist the discussion of something else rather than a heads on announcement. still hype though.

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