Red Post Collection: /Dev: The Latest on Fiddlesticks' VGU, Champion Insights: Sett, & More

Posted on at 10:25 AM by Aznbeat
Today's red post collection includes a /dev blog on Fiddlesticks' VGU and where he is in development, Sett's champion insights, & more!
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/Dev: The Latest on the Fiddlesticks' VGU

Here's a dev blog from the team working on the Fiddlesticks VGU with details on how the process is going - "Crowstorms, unsettling twitches, and a caged demon. It’s coming for you."
"Hey all, with the Player Choice Fiddlesticks VGU now in full production, we thought it’d be a good time to do a deep dive into our current progress. The team has some truly horrifying stuff planned for its release a little later this year, so this blog might not be for the faint of heart. We’ll be getting really nitty-gritty with some of Fiddle’s work-in-progress animations, VFX, modeling, and more, so consider this your final warning: spoilers, spooky stuff, and dense info lie ahead. 
An Ancient Evil Takes Form 
In case you missed the previous posts, our goal with updating Fiddlesticks is to transform it into the most terrifying champion in League of Legends. 
As far as gameplay goes, we want Fiddle to be the iconic ambush champion, with a kit that’s centered around the concept of fear. This goes deeper than just a point-click status effect, which is staying on the kit. But beyond that, we’re giving Fiddle new mechanics that are built around its iconic Crowstorm. This includes giving Fiddlesticks more ways to stay hidden and find—or create—opportunities to ambush enemies. When a player succeeds at executing the perfect jump scare, we want to also make sure they’re in a powerful position to win the fight. 
Experienced Fiddlesticks players will wreak mental havoc on their victims as they question what is real and what is a terrifying effigy.
Proxy idle animation from the previous dev blog—new versions are below!
During early story development, we brainstormed where the “new” Fiddlesticks could fall and what faction or race it might fill. Fiddle doesn’t really look like anything else in the game, so it could hypothetically be placed almost anywhere. And there’s that name: Fiddlesticks. A necromancer probably wouldn’t call their bloodthirsty new creation Fiddlesticks, nor would a warlock read from the grimoire of Dread Lord Fiddle In The Middle. 
“Fiddlesticks” is a name a child would coin; something you might invoke around a campfire to scare your friends. 
When we look at truly ancient champions like Ornn or Tahm Kench, they have hundreds or even thousands of origin stories and tales surrounding them. Fiddlesticks could easily fit in among them, having preyed on mankind for godless ages, so it would make sense that there would be nursery rhymes and storybook fables and old wive’s tales about a living scarecrow. Monster? Harvest deity? Eldritch artifact, controlled by some other person or creature? Instead of settling on one, Fiddle could invoke them all, an ancient malevolence with unclear origins, gone from the world long enough for warnings to become stories, stories to become myths, and myths to become simple children’s tales… until now. 
As an utterly inhuman entity (regardless of what its true origins are), Fiddle lacks internal organs, a brain to think, or vocal chords to form sentences. Any type of voice it might have wouldn’t sound like a person, but rather a projection: Just as a scarecrow is the crude facsimile of a human being, its voice could be a crude mimicry of people it has come across/killed. We’re still super excited about this direction, and it’s something we want to implement for its VO. 
Final Fiddlesticks Concept Art
And as for visuals… Well, Fiddlesticks is a demon who feeds on fear, so we wanted to create something that’d incite terror in those who stumble upon it in the dark. 
Now for the new stuff! Let’s jump into how the Fiddlesticks team transformed the concept art into something playable in game. Keep in mind that all work shown below is still very work in progress! 
Fabricating a Monstrosity 
Step 1, step 2. EZPZ.
Jason “00Y00” Namgung, Character Artist: Modeling a character is two easy steps, you start with a sphere and then… final product. EZPZ.

On a more serious note, jumping into the Fiddle project, I was given an in-progress concept, and we had questions that needed answering. To name a few: How does its silhouette read in-game? How should it move? Are there any elements on the model that don’t work? How are the proportions of its body parts? To find those answers, I started out with creating a really quick and dirty proxy model just to get it into the game. 
Proxy Model
Once we finished all our testing and experimentation during pre-production, we moved into the production phase and really started building out the final high-poly model. A high-poly model is a higher polygon density model that we can digitally sculpt on (feels very similar to clay). I started replacing all the super simple, basic geometry pieces with the more complex mechanical pieces that Fiddle is made out of. This is the part where 3d artists normally go crazy on tiny detailing, but for League, it’s actually better for us to do really clean and simple sculpt with only big- and medium-detail shapes. 
High-Poly Model
Once Fiddle’s high-poly model was finished, I went back to the refined proxy as the base for the final in-game model, just to save on time and sanity… I mean, efficiency. I come from a sculpting background and have less experience in painting, so rather than starting off from scratch, I used multiple maps baked from of the high-poly model such as the Normal, Ambient Occlusion, Curvature, and more to push the character’s textures further along. Then I throw it into a painting program and begin the “real” work of getting it to look good in League. 
Work in Progress Fiddlesticks' Textures
Just sit and paint, paint, and paint some more ’til it starts looking better. Still a work in progress! 
Current Progress on Fiddle Model (Subject to Change)
Coming to a nightmare near you. 
Rigging an Eldritch Puppet 
Dawon “Riot WONY” Lee, Technical Artist: As a tech artist, I make the rig, which is comprised of bones and controllers in the model—the stuff that enables animators to move around specific parts of the model and bring the character to life. 
Normally, when I set up champions, I consider how the character moves naturally. For example, Yuumi’s face rig can make natural and cute facial expressions, and Senna’s ghost cloak setup flows in a natural way. However, developing Fiddlesticks’ rig was different. When we started to set up Fiddlesticks, who’s basically a puppet, my goal was to create a setup that supports both unnatural and natural movements that feel similar to a demon or ghost. 
The animator suggested putting an unnatural head shake into the animation when Fiddlesticks moves. I thought it was a really cool idea so I added a rig element that we call “jiggle” that helps animators create naturally flowing animation along a chain of joints. We usually use it for parts such as capes and tails. We haven’t used this function on champions’ head and jaw, so I wasn’t sure if it would work successfully. However, the results were exactly the unnatural head and jaw movements we wanted, making Fiddlesticks look eerie.
Jiggle Jaw: Without Setup, Setup with Low Value, Setup with High Value
One of the biggest changes in the new concept of Fiddlesticks is a long right arm with big sharp claws to accentuate its spookiness. The animator wanted to create a walk animation to highlight its terrifying right arm where Fiddlesticks drags its sharp claws on the ground as it walks toward the enemy. Imagine in a horror movie, the enemy dragging his bloody weapon to the ground and walking toward the main character… super spooky. 
I wanted to find the best way to make its arm look like a huge weapon and move in the same direction of its body, but to also make it look creepy and unnatural. A function called “Dragon Turn Tech” was set up on its right arm to make the arm follow its body naturally while also adding a creepy element to the movement. It may seem to be a minor change in animation, but it has a major impact and makes the animation look more realistic in game. 
Spooky Walk: Without Setup and With Setup 
Bringing an Inanimate Object to Life 
Luke “LukeHop” Hu, Animator: When I first saw its character design, I knew that animating Fiddlesticks wouldn’t be easy. Firstly, we need to figure out its character. Fiddlesticks is a mysterious ancient demon living in the body of a scarecrow. It’s a dangerous predator, so its poses and movements need to look a bit intimidating. At the same time, its body proportion is weird. Its right arm is long and heavy, and its legs are very slim and weak (especially with the little nail/fork feet), so its movements need to be a little unnatural and lack stability. 
Run Animation 
Another important thing I always kept in my mind was that Fiddle’s brain isn’t in its head, but in a cage in its chest. So its head can be treated as a decoration, since what’s really doing the “thinking” is the demon living inside the cage. This demon has no substance. But when it’s eager to hunt, you’ll see it try to break through the cage and reach its prey with two demon arms.
Scarier Run Animation 
The concept of a scarecrow is also an important thing for Fiddlesticks, so you’ll often see Fiddle’s iconic “T-pose” during its idle, complete with a lantern swinging animation.
Idle animation 
Visualizing an Ancient Evil 
Jason “Riot Lanky Tree” Chisolm, VFX Artist: Green is oftentimes not a very terrifying color unless you’re from the Shadow Isles (then it’s horrifying). Fiddlesticks, however, isn’t a shadowy entity from a far-off island. It’s a demonic entity ready to appear when you least expect it, and Fiddle needed a new color palette to reinforce this. As some players noticed when we revealed the new concept, there’s a new color palette made up of mostly reds and blacks on the scythe, and this carries over into the VFX. We went with red and black to make the demonic origin even more apparent, but color is only one of the many aspects that make up a champion’s VFX. 
After the colors were decided, it was time to focus on the shapes and textures that would be utilized throughout the kit. Shape plays a huge role in creating iconic VFX for champions. To contrast Fiddle’s newer, more mechanical appearance and to allude more to the demonic entity within, I wanted to create a mix of ambiguous organic shapes, soft wispy shapes, and sharp dangerous ones. 
Basic Attack VFX 
Even with these changes, there were still core parts of Fiddlesticks’ previous identity we wanted to keep and enhance. Let’s take a look at Crowstorm. Crowstorm is a pretty unique ability—it takes up a lot of screen space, lasts for a while, moves with Fiddlesticks, and Fiddle can cast other abilities while it’s active. Plus, the name “Crowstorm” conjures up an image of an intense flurry of feathers, dark wind, and demonic energy. All in all, creating the VFX for Crowstorm is a careful balancing act to make it easily readable without downplaying the importance of it in a fight. 
I knew I would need a solid plan going into Crowstorm’s update in order to fully deliver on the fantasy of this ability. I focused on what I wanted players to feel, both for the channel and for what happens once Fiddlesticks blinks into the fight looking for kills. For the channel, I really wanted to push the sense of the demon having an uncontrollable urge to kill to the point where it’s literally bursting out of Fiddlesticks. Once channeled, this ability needs to grab attention since it’s a new player entering the fight often from out of vision. In order to do this, I played up a lot of the initial blink with thematic-reinforcing elements such as demonic script, bursts of dark smoke, a bit of distortion, and of course lots of crows.
What’s Next for Champions? 
We’re also talking about the Volibear VGU and some upcoming champions in today’s Champion Roadmap video. We’ll share more details about Volibear in a dev blog later this year. 
We can’t wait to finally get the Fiddlesticks update into your hands. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one last thing from development…"

Champion Insights: Sett

Here's the Riot Cashmiir with champion insights for our next champion, Sett, the Boss - "The guy your top laner told you not to worry about."
"Compared to some of our recent champs, Sett’s a pretty straightforward champion to play—and so was his development process. “B-But Rito-sama, does this mean you don’t notice your half-breed bastard son as much as his edgier cousins like Kayn and Aphelios?” Nope, we love our chad vastaya a lot. And even though Sett snowballed into reality, he still required a ton of work. 
Wipe that UwU from your face—here’s the story of League’s smokin’ hot new juggernaut. 
Come on and Slam 
“The last time we made a traditional juggernaut for top lane was Darius,” explains associate game designer Glenn “Riot Twin Enso” Anderson. “We talked about what we wanted to do for our next juggernaut and landed on an easy-to-learn kit with a broadly appealing character. Basically someone that a lot of players would like. And we just went from there.” 
League didn’t have a champion who literally grabbed their opponents and threw them around like a ragdoll, and the team was excited to explore a grappler’s playstyle. Inspired by the idea of a flashy-move fighter who would literally 1v9 anyone, concept art lead Gem “Lonewingy” Lim started to draw. 
Sett’s early designs focused on a four-armed silhouette
Lonewingy created four early concepts for Sett. The first was a four-armed Targonian Aspect of Might. (All the better to grapple with, my dear.) The next was a Piltovan robot butler, which became a hit with the design team. 
“He’s a proper butler robot guy,” laughs Lonewingy. “He’s this very preppy, dapper dude who can, you know, make a souffle and be gentle. But he’ll also punch you to death.” 
The third scrapped design was a Darkin behemoth… or the chunky dinosaur, as the team lovingly nicknamed him. 
And then there he was in all of his vastayan glory: Sett, the embodiment of a rough grappler. Mr. Kick-Your-Ass-And-Steal-Your-Girl. But there was one problem: The grappling part of his kit had some issues and needed to be reconsidered. 
“There were some design issues with having a champion physically grab and move another champion elsewhere,” senior game designer Bryan “Riot Axes” explains. “It creates a lot of gameplay clarity problems, can be frustrating for players, and it’s a big tax on resources to animate all of those grappling abilities.” 
In order to alleviate some of the issues with Sett’s grappling, Riot Axes refocused the kit on straight out brawling… with a twist. 
“When Riot Axes transferred the champion’s design to me, he stressed Sett’s design hooks,” says Riot Twin Enso. “Sett has a unique 1-2, 1-2 auto attack cadence, and he makes players rethink standard teamfight positioning.” 
Sett can’t beat the shit out of you without getting closer
Most teamfights are played front-to-back, with the exception of an assassin flanking to one-shot your carry. Juggernauts’ beefy builds and kits flourish in that style, and if you’re someone who enjoys a good ol’ front-to-back teamfight, Sett wants to know your location. 
Sett laughs at standard teamfight positioning. He wants to absorb tons of damage so he can unleash his full power by grabbing that beefcake frontline and body slamming them into the squishies they’re supposed to protect. It’s where he’s best, and it’s the exact type of fight he wants. 
But because Sett went from fully-fledged grappler to Punchy McPuncherboy, his four-armed silhouette no longer made as much sense. 
Wolverine vs. Honey Badger, Who Would Win? 
“Now that Sett no longer grappled and instead relied more on punching, I needed to rethink his character design,” explains Lonewingy. This meant it was back to the drawing board for League’s newest husbando. 
The team decided to go with a more standard two-armed design (perfect for haymakers), but they soon realized there might be a new issue: Sett just looked like some random guy, and that wouldn’t do for Ionia’s very own one two punch man. 
Mecha Kingdom Sett exploration
“Whenever we design a new champion we want them to have a unique silhouette or something that can carry over to skins so players know exactly who they’re looking at,” Lonewingy shares. “So we started exploring different types of fist weapons to give him something we could anchor to when we make skins.” 
As a punchy boi, he needed something that’d feel intuitive to that style of combat, so they gave Sett a fist weapon. Which led the team to the obvious… wolverines and honey badgers. 
“Vastaya are traditionally tied to animals. Xayah and Rakan are birds, Nami is a fish,” explains Lonewingy. “I wanted Sett’s brass knuckle to stylistically feel like his signature animal. I just didn’t know what animal that was yet, so I started to do some research.” 
“According to the many ‘wolverine vs honey badger: who would win’ YouTube videos I watched, wolverines have a slight advantage when attacking,” laughs Longwingy. 
“Honey badgers definitely have more defensive stats. We ended up going with the wolverine because Sett is a fighter and not a protector. But it was really close between the two!” 
Life Ain’t Easy for a Champ Named Sett 
“Riot Axes and Riot Twin Enso had created this champion who throws everything into every one of his punches, and Lonewingy drew this badass-looking guy, so I needed to start thinking about his story,” says senior writer John “JohnODyin” O’Bryan. “Because Sett had these big, visceral fighting moves and a tough look, it didn’t make sense for him to be a refined, dainty, upper cruster.” 
Ryan “Reav3” Mireles, Lead Producer of Champions Team, had a suggestion: What if Sett was a crime boss? With that idea, his story basically wrote itself. And Sett’s vastayan heritage gave the team the perfect chance to take a deeper look at Ionia, peeking directly into its seedy criminal underbelly. 
“Ionia had been a world of exacts and extremes before Sett,” explains Lonewingy. “Zed’s evil, and Karma and Irelia are good. We didn’t have an Ionian champion who was just… grey.” 
That led the team down the track of discovering what Ionia’s “grey” was. 
“Pit fighting really appealed to us,” says JohnODyin. “It exemplifies how Noxian culture has influenced Ionia, and gave them an outlet for violence. Sett’s kinda the product of that.” 
But when Sett’s father left to seek bigger and better fighting pits across Runeterra, Sett and his mother’s lives changed. They were cast out of their tribe and forced to live among the humans who were… less than welcoming of an outcast vastaya and her large half-breed son. It was this hatred that shaped his uncaring personality. 
“Sett doesn’t give a f%$#,” laughs JohnODyin. “He cares about his mom and he cares about his money. If you’re not messing around with either of those, then you’re not even on his radar.” 
But Sett really cares about his mom. Like, really, really cares about her. He even goes so far as to lie about where he gets his money to keep her hands clean and a roof over their heads (spoiler: it’s the fighting pits). 
And just like that, the jacked juggernaut was complete. He had two arms, no tail, and hair that’d make any anime villain jealous; a ma he loves; a kit filled with flashy wrestling moves; and daddy issues. He was perfect. 
“For a long time Reav3 kept calling Sett, Seth,” laughs Lonewingy. “We managed to convince him it was too real world and went with Sett instead.”
… But even though his story was already written, the team couldn’t help but wonder what Sett’d be like if his father hadn’t left. 
“He’d probably be a good boy going to college and finishing a degree so he could support his mom,” says Lonewingy. 
“But don’t you think he’d go check out the pits anyway?” JohnODyin interjects. “Although he probably wouldn’t have had the desire to fight… ” 
“Yeah, he picked up that path because of the hard life he lived with his mom,” agrees Riot Twin Enso. 
“I guess I don’t really know where he’d be,” admits JohnODyin. “ But I do know he wouldn’t be Sett anymore—that’s for sure.”"


"First look at Patch 10.2 - should have more details on changes tomorrow."


To round out this red post collection, here are a few reminders on current promotions or limited time events!

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