More On Jungle Timers, Doors Of Fate Q&A, Why Shen Is Disabled In LCS, Nexus' And Inhibitor's Visual Representation

Important: Unofficial PBE Patch Notes for 6/24/2014 - New Profile Icons, Braum, Nidalee, Kayle, Maokai, Ziggs Changes


More On Jungle Timers

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Common question: Why didn't we go with a gamespace jungle timer? (i.e., a timer in Baron's camp). There were a lot of considerations that fed into the final product.

There's certainly a lot of tangible benefits to a gamespace, spatially-situated timer--but first I want to address the notion that one of the benefits is that it introduces opportunity cost in checking the timers. This is to say, by asking players to move their camera *to* the camp, we incur effort that could otherwise be spent elsewhere (such as micromanagement), and thus it becomes a differentiator of skill. Now, as a designer, it's frightening that one would ever consider *increasing* cognitive load when there are less stressful alternatives available. Imagine if we purposefully obfuscated the purchasing process by adding a confirmation to each item purchase, or structured the contents through pagination rather than scrolling. Sure--the player who buys quicker suddenly becomes better at the game, but *why* would we ever purposefully muddle the interaction process?

No, gamespace timers could never be the sole solution. We did however consider them as an addendum to the UI-level, non-diegetic timers, and here's why: they provide potential didactic benefits, as they very clearly tie the clearing of the camp with the timer itself. We didn't settle on this solution for a few reasons--we didn't want another persistent piece of UI in gamespace (especially in high-traffic areas like jungle camps!), any level of UI in gamespace degrades the artistic quality of the game, and quite frankly--settling on a clear but pleasing visual language was going to be way more work than it was worth. The charge indicators on Twisted Treeline and Crystal Scar actually aren't great solutions either; they're fully diegetic elements, but really don't make much sense in the game world--we wanted to avoid falling in this trap (plus, they could use a UX overall themselves!).

We also tried minimap solutions; this included a mini-countdown on the jungle camps themselves, but this also ran into several problems. Trying to depict a timer accurately with such few pixels was nigh impossible, and that's not even considering all the players who scale down the UI. Then, rather than continuous timers, we experimented with discrete states--for example, the camp icon would change color or shape a minute before respawn. This too failed; suddenly we introduced a vast array of states into the camps:
- Icon 1: Camp is alive (or you think it's alive)
- No Icon : Camp is dead, but you didn't see it die so there's no icon
- Icon 2: Camp is dead, but you saw it die so there's an icon showing it died
- Icon 3: Camp is dead but respawning in a minute,
Icon 2 is actually superfluous under that scheme, but I'm including it for the sake of completion. The issue remains though--suddenly you had more than one icon/state that meant *dead*, and that in itself was creating noise.

That's why, in the end, we went with the non-diegetic, UI-level timers!


Doors Of Fate Q&A - Skins Team Concept Artists

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

Why do characters who have many skins get more skins and champs who have few (if any past release skins) get passed over?

Skarner is a prime example here. He has a great model that I can't really understand being in line for an update, so there isn't that excuse.

I don't even like skarner, but the reasons given in the past don't really feel like they hold up after years of playing league of legends.

If it is literally just "He aint popular enough to warrent it" then I can understand that.

Ugly but true answer beats a PR fueled white lies every day. ;) Though I can understand not wanting to anger people.

Weighing in on this question, probably won't be super elegant but it's a small insight into our mindset at times:

  • First and foremost, for every skin, we want an awesome idea. Champions like Urgot and Malzahar are examples of champions we continue to ideate on, but just haven’t come up with that knock-out idea yet.

  • We definitely look at champions without many skins or that haven't gotten anything in a while. This is something that’s on our minds at all times--Rumble FINALLY got a skin this year, but we took our time to make sure it was the right one. And we've got Skarner on our radar, we just want to make sure we get them something they deserve.

  • Complexity of a champion can impact our ability to make something we feel is awesome too. Champions like Kha'Zix and Zac are awesome, but they're a little more complex to make skins for so it takes us some extra time to sort out some of the issues. Zyra/Rumble were in this category as well. We're really happy with the way Graveyard Zyra and Super Galaxy Rumble came out, but they encountered a bunch of road bumps along the way. They were totally worth overcoming, but we need to make sure we leave room to conquer those challenges effectively.

  • Popularity does factor in, but it’s not the only factor. There are a lot of variables that go into our champion selection, including time from the last skin the champ has received (as mentioned above!), number of skins the champ has so far, upcoming relevant holidays and events, and many more! We also have to balance this with what some of the other teams are working on too—occasionally, we’ll be ideating on a champ internally that’s getting a VU soon, so we’ll coordinate with the other team to maximize our efforts.

Popularity is just one thing that helps us understand what you guys as players are finding most relevant to League at the time. Sometimes, we’ll come up with an incredible idea that trumps this as well. Again bringing up Rumble here—he was way towards the bottom of most played champions. When we feel like we've got a killer idea we want to get it to players that play that champion, even if they aren't popular at the time.

As a Malzahar main I know what it's like to wait a while for a skin; it’s tough. We want to try to minimize this as much as possible, but unfortunately sometimes it doesn't work out. Main thing I'd like to get across is that just because a skin hasn't come out doesn't mean we've given up! We're usually working through the issues we encounter to try to get some awesome stuff out to people who play that champion as quickly as possible.

Cursor skin or skins. Have you guys thought of this yet? If so is it posibur?!?!

I can't say I've ever heard anybody talk about cursor skinning but I'll be sure to mention it if we ever move forward on ideas like UI skins!

Hey fellas, glad to see you come out to an answer some questions

With that in mind, here are some things I'd like to pick your brains on:

  • Has there ever been an amazing concept or idea that you put aside because of a champion VU or said champion having too many skins?
  • How deep does your concept art go? Do you make a skin and be done with it or go further with example particles and the like? For an example, let's say you were working on a new Heimer skin. Would you draw the skin and only the skin or the turrets, rockets, etc?
  • What's the most challenging skin you guys have worked on?
  • Say I have a skin concept but I'm not artist. Do you guys only look at concepts if they're drawn up or do you read everything in the realm of skin ideas? (Griddlesticks, Fiddle but he throws burgers instead of crows and his scythe is a spatula and he's basically working minimum wage)
  • Why the lack of finished skin teams? We got hodgepodge groups of 2-3 and the occasional solo skin but man it's been ages since we had a finished skin line.

-Yeah, we definitely try to coordinate with the visual updates that are going on.

  • We go as deep as possible, so yeah, for someone like Heimerdinger we would also sketch ideas for his turrets, and other abilities.

  • The ultimates like Pulsefire Ezreal and Spirit Guard Udyr stand out in memory partly because the extra features they have but also because theres a lot more eyes and feedback on a skin when you go for that higher level.

  • It definitely doesn't need to be a great piece of artwork to sell an idea for a skin. We get ideas from every department in the company as well as fans which could be quick little sentence, to goofy photobashes, terrible ms paints, etc. Its all good.

  • Tell us which skin lines you are most interested in seeing more of! We don't really set out to make each skin theme a full team but if we see a cool opportunity and we think it will have a lot of community excitement then hells yeah.

Hey, first of all thanks for doing this Q&A!

My questions would be:

  • What is the general process from the idea to the finished skin?

  • And what is the average time you need to create the VFX for a skin?

No problem!

So the general skins processes looks something like this:

Ideation/Concept: So we start with a wide spread of quick sketches that could work for a given thematic. Once we have a direction we are excited about, we refine it down until we have a clear, final 2D concept, complete with abilities, etc.

3D/Rigging: Now that we have a concept, it's off to the 3D guys to build out the concept, texture it, and prepare it for the tech artists integrate into the game.

Animation/VFX/SFX: Now that the character is running around, the animators, VFX, and SFX artists start working their magic to really bring the skin to life

QA/PBE: Once the art side of things is complete, the skin is tested, vetted, and sent to PBE, before being green lit and shipped live!

Even though each step is done by a different discipline, the entire process is highly collaborative - so it's always a back and forth, and no one person is solely responsible for any one element :)

Duration of each step changes based on the complexity of the skin, but it generally takes about two weeks for each step (concept, 3D, animation, VFX, SFX, QA, etc.)

Do you take community's fanmade skins as a base sometimes or only when they are really popular?

We are always reading the forums for great ideas. If one is really strong, we try to analyze the concept, figure out why it is working and where areas it is not.

This does not mean has to be the most popular, just that the thematic can work well for that champion.

Have you planned to do a new "collection" like the Pentakill and Dragonslayer one ?

Yes we would love to explore more five man comps and team based thematics.

What are some of the hardest champs to give skins for?

Champions with multiple forms is the easy answer here.

Champions like Shyvanna are essentially double the work to create one skin.

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Champions with a lot of assets like Zyra. Even Zac because of the complexity of his animation.

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To me the most challenging champs are ones that are small and slender and share similar body shapes to other champs. It can be tough to make them dramatically different enough to be exciting while still retaining the recognizability of the character. Someone like Fiora for instance can be tough because she doesn't take up much visual space in game and if you make too dramatic a change to her costume she starts to be hard to recognize. Someone like Alistar on the other hand, you can do a lot too and hes so big in game it feels like it has a dramatic impact.

The name "concept art" sounds like sketches and quick draw-ups of champions, environments, etc. But, from IronStylus, I've heard it takes a ton of work to make a good concept just like everything else! How long would you say it takes for an average concept piece? Can we have an example of one (that you can tell us about) that was particularly notable in terms of time or difficulty?

On average, it takes about 2 weeks to hand the concept art off into production. However, it really depends on the tier of the skin and complexity of the skin. Champions with tons of model assets like Zyra would take longer than that since she has plants, seeds, and a lot of particles to re-concept for the skin.

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It varies, some take about two weeks for just a concept production asset for 3D to make the deliverable. The concept will go through a lot of iteration, and polish.

While other characters say like Swain and Zyra, scales in the time frame because of the complexity of the different models needed for concept.

How long does it take to design a skin from start to finish?

Also I would think it would be awsome to have a dubstep sona and poro rider sejuani skin :P

It really depends on the amount of assets that the champion has and the tier of the skin. 2 weeks is sort of the average time it takes to complete a concept before production. Legendary and Ultimate generally takes longer than that.

Are we going to get more silly skins soon? Like, I guess the world cup skins count, but those are based on an event. The vast majority of recently-released skins are all things like 'WHAT IF LISSANDRA WAS AN IRON MAIDEN' and 'WHAT IF RENGAR WAS A BLACK PANTHER'. I'm not knocking the quality of those skins, I'm just missing the Gentlemen Cho'Gath's and the Monarch Kog'Maw's and stuff like that.

I havn't been at riot too long but since I've been here it seems we sometimes have "seasons" In which we inspire each other to create more of a certain type of skin; however, while we are doing some pretty bad-ass skins lately we as a team definitely embrace that skin lines like pool-party, snowdown, and gentlemen hold a very special place in players (as well as our own) hearts. This season is certainly is not the last of those laughter inducing troll-fests!

Will there be anymore skin series like the Headhunter and Commando skin lines in the future?

One of the many things we want to do going forward is explore and expand more of the skin lines universes. This is something we are really excited about.

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We've typically got a pretty extensive backlog of how we could apply current skin lines to more champions in our game, but we want to make sure they make sense.

I don't exactly have a "yes" or "no" but more of a "if the thematic fits the character and we think players will find it cool, then lets do it!"

Hey guys, thanks for doing this Q&A! Without further ado:

1) What's the very beginning of the conceptualization process like? Do you find yourself working more from trope ideas, basic visuals of what a possible skin could look like, or perhaps maybe just trying to fill in the blanks as far as characteristics of certain champions go?

2) What goes into the translation from splash art into the actual in game model? It's very interesting to see the relation between 2D and 3D, so how much do the two tend to work off each other, and in what direction?

3)Penguin, my bird bro. Remember that time we were talking the high res ward art you have posted up? I'm curious, are those really only used just reference, or do they get put into use where needed eg. If a cinematic like Twist of Fate needed a ward somewhere?

4) How did Primetime Draven start out?

Lastly, thank you guys so much for bringing us great skins month after month. As someone that aspires to work at Riot, or at the very least, a company with Riot's attitude to making things fun, I admire your hunger for perfection and innovation. Keep up the great work!

1) So in general we start with a loose concept and a broad spectrum of possible ideas, and then narrow the design down as the team hones in on elements they are excited about.

But in general, each artist has their own way of approaching concepts. I like to start with really quick speed sketches, I know Bravo Ray prefers really clean linework from the beginning, and Zeronis sacrifices to the dark heathen gods of old, to absorb the souls of other artists and keep him young. So...you know, to each his own.

2) Actually the splash art is one of the later steps in the process. The splash art starts once the model and abilities are all in progress, so the splash artist can get a full understanding of how the skin will look and feel in game. Then they roll all that together, and try and really capture the mood of the skin in one snapshot of glory!

3) Those pieces were just done for the community, because people had been asking me for detailed ward art for fan art reference :)

4) So we explored a lot of different "Shoutcaster" themed skin ideas for different champions, and Draven was the one that really stood out from the bunch because. You know. DRAAAAVEN ;)

It's our pleasure!!

Are you guys currently working on the next ultimate skin

We've got an idea and we're definitely working on how to make it happen. It's totally fun but a lot of work.

We want to blow everyone away with our next one, but unfortunately no hints or clues to leak just yet!

How much do you rely on other peoples / teams ideas for skin concepts?

Good Question,

The truth is we artists on skins team get ideas from all over the place! for example: our favorite games, movies, fanart, and our personal life experiences all go into our creative mental library so to speak.

One really cool thing we do here at Riot is get a bunch of people from different teams into a meeting-room and just toss out ideas until our "whole wall" whiteboards are literally packed with skin theme ideas complete with pros and cons for each. Often times the conversations sparked from said ideas go of on tangents that are so hilarious and absurd I can't decide if the amazing people I work with are brilliant or absolutely Looney.....probably both!

How often do you see a skin on the various sites out there and think "That's an amazing idea for a Skin, but we've just not got the time"?

That happens a lot. I don't think we will run out of ideas anytime soon.

so, A few questions that I am curious about when it comes to conceptualizing skins.

  1. Where does the idea come from? Is it just time for a champ to get a skin or does someone come up with an awesome idea that everyone says "yup we gotta do this"?

  2. How many passes/recreations does it typically take before everything gets finalized and is ready to go onto the next step?

  3. Do multiple people get tasked for conceptualizing a single skin to increase the sample size or is it delegated to primarily one person to hash out the idea and others come in later to flesh things out further?

1) It depends. In general, the producers work their black voodoo majik to figure out which champion is up for a skin, and then the team will get together and brainstorm a thematic for that champ. Othertimes however, it goes the otherway. We have a seasonal thematic (like the Harrowing or Riot skin line) - and we will brainstorm which champion(s) will best suit that event.

2) We try to get a concept ready within two weeks, but sometimes a champion has a lot to design (like Zyra with all her plants, or Kha'Zix with all his evolutions) and it will take longer. That said, we'd sooner delay a skin, than force an idea that we don't have full confidence in. Remember, we're not trying to mass produce a product here. We're trying to provide you all with the best value we possibly can, and if that means taking more time to flush out a concept, then that's what we'll do :)

3) Each concept has a point person who's responsible for delivering the final design, but that doesn't mean they do it alone. Every concept is a massive team collaboration. That means getting paintover suggestions from other concept artists, but also general feedback from any Rioter who's passionate about that champion or skin line. (For example, I got a lot of awesome feedback from BackonHawk on Woad Quinn, because she knows a heck of a lot more about Quinn than I do)

How far can a skin go from the base champion model? How do you decide what is necessary to be copied over to every skin? (I mean putting details like scarf on Headmistress Fiora, hood ropes on Arctic Ops Varus, long ribbons on Mafia Jinx being an overlay of her braids in comparison to skins that abandon the idea of every shape being preserved, for example Secret Agent Miss Fortune). When you design a skin do you have to add afterwards some extra parts because base model has this dangly thingy here so we need to put something parallel on the skin too?

One of the most important things is a champion silhouette. As long as the champion is still recognizable, we can break out of traditional design, but it is very much a gut check. The goal when making a skin is to find out what, at a glance, screams "this is 'x' champion" and try to play up those elements. The thing we really try hard to avoid is having the instant reaction of "Wait, who is this again?" because that is very detrimental to gameplay.

One of the tricks the team uses is to squint at the screen so that you can't make out fine details and see if you can still recognize the champion. When we can add interest with things that thematically make sense like the winter Scarf on the new Varus skin then we're all for it as long as it helps them pass the test!

If you're bringing up recognizability. Have you ever noticed how Shockblade Zed looks a little too much like a white Shen skin? Or how Ironscale Shyvanna's splash art is a little too much like Katarina?

I haven't run into that feedback on the Zed skin before. We tried to keep the two small capes on his shoulders to avoid that in general, as well as make the blades on his back and arms very prominent. Since Zed and Shen are a similar thematic we tried to avoid this overlap as much as possible.

Have you ever thought about a "Rodeo" skin for Thresh? I think I'd be such a good one! :)

Pretty sure this idea came up in one of our sessions where just come up with what we think are cool skin ideas for a champion. It's a pretty cool idea. Not sure if it's one we'll actually make (maybe we've found something we think Thresh players will think is even better :) ) but we've thought of it!

I guess one thing I could ask is: "Are there any particular skins you feel very proud of designing?"

I feel like people before me are asking all the more interesting questions. =\

Hmm... "Are there concepts for skins that you'd really LIKE to do, but can't because the champion's model is too outdated for the effort that'd have to be put into it?"

Another tough question,

I enjoyed the opportunity to work on Heart-seeker Ashe the most! the tone of the skin was definitely not subject matter I would normally be into drawing but that's what made the challenge so fun! Seeing great cosplays of the skin was one of the most rewarding experiences here at Riot for me!

Don't you guys think we should have more skins with toggles? I'm sure RiotNurseFlan would agree. More on topic, as concept artists, do you often feel that you've got to stick too much to a certain visual style so that you can translate the concept to a model that reads well ingame (silhouette/sacrificing of concept colour scheme/details). For instance, Zeronis' Headhunter Nidalee concept has an overwhelming amount of detail in it compared to the final product ingame.

Hope I managed to communicate my question effectively.

Yeah, more toggles!

Ultimately we are designing for things to look good in game, and since we have an RTS style top down camera we are very much designing with that in mind. A very detailed piece of concept art might look awesome on its own but a lot of that detail might not read well from the games camera so it needs to be adjusted.

Have any of you guys ever made a skin out of pure humour/interest with no intention on releasing it? If so, what are some of those ideas?

Heheh, I can not answer this question specifically for multiple reasons, usually because those who look upon them actually lose IQ points; however, know that such abominable skin ideas do exist within the confines of Riot walls, never to be seen by the light of day!

  1. When in the process of making a new skin does the skins team get involved in drawing concepts? Does it always start with you guys or does someone tell you that you have to make this idea?

  2. On average how many concepts do you go through to get a skin completed?

  3. How many concepts do you do for skins that are cancelled at some point? What percentage of concepts never make it to the game?

  4. Do concepts for one champion ever get switched over to someone else in the process? You might start with an idea for Diana but it'd look so much better for Riven or whatever?

  5. Do concepts ever get pulled aside because that idea might be a good one for a new champion?

  6. How does doing ideas for skins differ from the process for a new champion or doing a VU? Of the three teams, who has the easiest and hardest jobs?

  7. How many skins concepts (like Popstar Ahri) would you say come from fan suggestions, even if it doesn't make it to final how many suggestions do you guys try out?

  8. When making skins do you all do a few ideas and then the best one is the next skin to be done?

  9. What are the odds you'll ever do Sakura Soraka?

  10. When are we getting Pool Party Ahri or Pool Party Divine Soraka?

Awesome Questions Linna,

here goes,

1: usually unless there is a piece of inspiration art for us to riff off, we concept artists on skins team create the first rough sketches for each skin. sometimes a theme had already been chose, and sometimes we have room to suggest themes in these sketches.

2: So as I mentioned in the first answer we start off with creating a batch of ideation sketches. the goal of these is to explore unique takes on a given theme. Then we pick our favorite elements and do a batch of variants. We continue to narrow the designs until we are pleased. Even after the concept phase is over and the skin if modeled in 3d we make small tweaks. Its quite an organic process and we usually end up doing a lot of revisions per skin.

3: I can't really answer this question adequately since I don't know any numbers related to that.

4: This does happen occasionally and not without good reason.

5: We generally do not like to work that way because we always want to provide the best possible product for the player. It would be a disservice to all our players if we pulled punches on a really cool idea that makes sense for a skin because there might be overlap with something slotted for release far off into the future.

6: What are you trying to do here, get me beat up! Every team here at riot faces vastly different challenges and has different problems to solve, so comparing who has it easier is pretty much impossible, but what I can say is that we have a very rigorous interview process so everyone definitely brings their A game! What I can say is that I personally love skins team so much because of the possibilities to create off the wall alternate fantasies like Arcade, Snowdown, Heartseeker, and Pool-party!

7: I'd love to answer this one but unfortunately I'm not a numbers guy. I just draw pretty pictures!

8: We have experimented with this technique and it is definitely useful for generating a wealth of ideas in a crunch! Whether multiple artists ideate or only one, each skin is tweaked by multiple team members through either verbal feedback or paint-overs. That intensive feedback loop is one of my favorite aspects of working with such a talented team! We are a truly tight-knit skin producing machine.

9 and 10: I plead the fifth!

Wow I can't believe that I am talking to the design team! BTW I'm a dude so I may not be tottaly for the looks of a champ.

I have used my refund once and that was for skin that I purchased for Sona. I think it was something about flowery or some sort. Anyway I wanted a refund because it did not change much in the in game like an arcade Sona or a Captain Teemo. So my question to you,

Do you have planned to develop skins that have change in abilities or more of just physical appearance?

we definitely love changing the look of spells, animations, recalls etc. So there sure will be more of that in the future.

I love the new SKT Zyra skin, however what I didn't like about it were the plants. In all of her other skins, you changed the skins of the plants too, is this something you guys would be willing to go back to look into?

Totally valid question! If you noticed, these skins were priced lower than skins we've released recently that have particle changes and custom animations. We are hoping to make sure there are awesome skins available at many price tiers, not just the highest ones. (I personally LOVE Zyra, too--especially being a blonde myself!) That means they will usually come with just a model change and not much else--but will still look really cool.

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So skin lines like SKT and TPA are meant to be very simple, fun skins, that we intentionally kept very low scope so more people can enjoy them :)

We do sometimes make minor projectile changes for the sake of consistency on skins like SKT Zed (because it'd be weird if he threw different blades than the ones in his model) - but Zyra's pants involve much more complex animated models, that would have significantly bumped the scope of the skin - which would have then required equally new content for the other SKT skins to match...Ultimately it would have ended up in a sort of content arms race, that would have the upped scope of the whole skin line...and as I say, we really want to keep these skin lines simple and accessible to everyone.

Now, that said - We did actually explore the idea, but at the end of the day, we didn't come up with any thematic hook for the plants that was so overwhelmingly awesome, that we felt provided more value to you guys than keeping the skin simple.

Hope that makes sense!

Can there be a skin line for creepy candy-themed yordle skins like Bittersweet Lulu and Lollipoppy?

Bittersweet Jinx... creepy harlequin-theme... o.o

Why is it that a few champs get a ton of skins? What makes someone like Yi, Ashe, Teemo, or Ryze so easy to make a skin for?

If you think about those champions, what do they have in common?

  1. They are older champions, so they will naturally have more skins (not always the case--but that brings us to the next point)
  2. They are easily recognizable tropes. Yi - samurai, Ashe - archer, Teemo - satanically cute yordle, Ryze - mage. That makes them easy to create simpler "outfits" for, since their theme is already apparent and doesn't have to be sold through clothes/weapons/armor/etc.
  3. They also don't have secondary models (like Zyra's plants), difficult spells (Rumble's ulti), or death passives.
  4. They don't have much in the way of special effects or particles. Yi is very simple, Ashe has arrows, Teemo has satan shrooms, and Ryze has... magic electricity bolts. Those are pretty easy to deal with from a particle standpoint.

I hope that makes sense. Sometimes those considerations just come together to make it so we have low-hanging fruit and just can't resist picking it, especially when there are amazing concepts just sitting there, begging to be made. That doesn't mean we don't want to make skins for other champions! Sometimes the concepts are just too good and we may not have a really good/compelling one ready for a more complicated champion.

I'm still waiting for what I say to get an actual Riot response, but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying!

How do you go about making sets of skins? Both the ones that are officially sets (like the newt WC skins or Pool Party set), and the ones that just happen to share the same theme (say, vandals or mafia). Are these skins based on what fits the champion best or do you start with a theme and fit the elements of that theme into the most appropriate champs?

That sounds rather mean now that I think about it, but nowadays I can't help but think that skins as part of a set just don't get the same love in development that they used to.

First off - For ever skin we want to make sure the thematic works well for the champion. We never try to force a skin onto a champ. In fact, most skin lines actually started FROM a really cool skin idea (like Battle Cast, Pool Party, Riot, Arcade, etc).

Now that said - Once we identify a skin line we want to expand, we give it a clear design language and thematic to tie future skins together (and prevent confusion with other skins). That doesn't mean they all have to look exactly the same, it just means they should have similar qualities.

So sometimes we'll say "Ok Quinn needs a new skin, what would be coolest for her?" and then brainstorm some ideas. Once we decided Woad would be a strong theme for Quinn, we established what the look and feel of Woad skins would be moving forward, and used her to help flush that out.

Other times however, we have an established line that we use for events (like Pool Party or Riot) and say "Ok what should we do for this year's Riot skin?" And then brainstrom which champion would be a really good fit for the Riot skin line (based on design and ability ideas).

As far as giving skin lines love - Skin lines like Vandal, are really old, and so obviously wont have the same quality bar as newer skins...Plus some of our strongest skin lines started with really old skins, and thus have some inconsistency since we've flushed out the line. Other newer skin lines like SKT, TPA and World Cup, are purposefully low scope, as to be more accessible to more people. But there are other skin lines like Battlecast and Head Hunter that are some of our most elaborate and complex skins...They just aren't complete teams yet because it takes a LOT less time to make 5 SKA skins than it does to make 5 Battlecast skins ;)

Anyway, TL;DR - We always want to make sure the skin theme fits the champion well, while trying to create clear consistency between different skin lines :)

Hope that helps!

Awesome! Thanks for doing this

  • Are there any big epic skins coming up that you're excited for

  • Did the splash artist behind Dragonslayer Pantheon take liberties or was he looking at concepts ( because the model is definitely not the same). And are there plans to change that skin into the splash art when he gets a VU

  • What is your favorite skin that you have produced

  • Are there already existing skins that you would to get your hands on and touch up? Could be any skin, even a classic

  • Do you ever help the VU Team with skin updates

Thank you guys again for this. So cool

Caveat again: I'm not an artist so this is strictly from the standpoint of someone not well versed in art.

1) Yes, one comes to mind for me particularly but unfortunately I can't and won't say anything about it until it is announced :) .

2) He was working directly with the team. We usually try to allow the splash to expand on the fantasy as long as it doesn't feel misleading. When you have someone on the team with a crazy amount of skill like alexplank (the splash artist) does it is very exciting to see them go above and beyond. We talked about this splash a lot but ultimately felt like it delivered on the core fantasy, even though it is definitely more detailed than the in game model.

3) I haven't actually done any of the creative work on the skins, but I'm personally a huge fan of Warring Kingdoms Xin Zhao. The team did an incredible job on this skin, and I think it is still my favorite skin in the game.

4) I'm from Minnesota and LOVE hockey so I'd love to get my hands on Hockey Jax, but I think that effort is probably better served making something new and more awesome for newer skins.

5) I used to work on the VU team, but since I'm not an artist all I did was help with scheduling, process, planning, etc. I've seen the artists get inspired by each other and I can say it is definitely hard NOT to also get excited and inspired by what the dudes around you are doing.

Hope those answers suffice even though they aren't coming from one of the artists!

Hope i did not get here late. Questions plz

  1. When will Udyr and Nocturne get a VU? God knows they need them. Players shouldent have to spend 80 bucks so the champion dosent look bad.

  2. Can some of you rioters make art tutorials? Zeronis and Bravo ray got some mad skills over at Deviant art.

  3. Will Summoners rift Halloween and Snowdown finally get the map skins we have sooooo desperately missed since S1?

  4. Will you ever release concept art? I remember for the Twitch and Karthus VU there was a lot of Concept art of face and early studies that show briefly in some vids or backrounds but never full view. Ive always DREAMED of seing the concept art for Nocturne and Rengar, want to see what they looked like in early production.

  1. Definitely agree they could use one. Don't have any details on when that will be as there is a good number of champs that we are also thinking about updating.

  2. Not a bad idea! Not exactly a tutorial but I did some splash art spotlights a while back that showed some process. Heres one for Rengar

  3. As youv'e probably seen, our environment artists have been hard at work updating Summoner's Rift. In order to also have the different skins we would likely start over on those as well. Something we are thinking about but nothing to announce yet.

4.Hopefully! I'd love to show fans more of the behind the scenes art. You can see a concept by Zeronis for Rengar if you look at his deviant art page, along with a bunch of others.


Why Shen Is Disabled In LCS

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

His ultimate sometimes don't teleport him just because.
It's an extraordinarily confusing and complicated bug. It doesn't help that it's extremely rare and we haven't been able to find a way to reliably cause it to happen. Over the past several patches (since I joined Riot) I've been adding logging when it happens on live, so that I can learn more about exactly what's going on. In addition, we've been putting in small attempts at fixing it as I've gathered data, but I can verify that they haven't yet fixed it completely.

Griftrix and I spent several hours yesterday poring over the latest data, and I'm cautiously optimistic that we're approaching a reasonable theory.
I'm confused as to why he's disabled when it is a drawback for the team picking him.
I wasn't involved in that decision, but I'm going to take a stab at the rationale.

The bug is very rare and very unpredictable, which would lead teams to not weigh it heavily when considering Shen as a pick. In the case that it happens, though, (particularly at the pro level) it is quite likely to have a dramatic impact on what occurs immediately afterwards. There is a reasonable chance of it swinging the entire outcome of the game. Moreso than any other known bug that I'm aware of. Thus in those small handful of games where it does occur, the outcome of that game all of a sudden becomes "questionable" since a chancy, random bug caused one team to be in a 4v5 post level 6. Particularly in the high stakes world of eSports, I would assert that this sort of randomness is to be strongly avoided.
I feel bad for new SE hires at Riot. Stuff like the Shen bug convinces me their codebase is completely incomprehensible.
It has a lot of, shall we say, character, but we're always improving it to make it easier to work in, less likely to cause bugs, and quicker to get new features out. The trick is always to find ways to not throw the baby (LoL working the way it should) out with the bathwater (a confusing or poorly structured chunk of code).

I have worked in better and worse engines. I have not worked with better teammates.

Nexus' And Inhibitor's Visual Representation

Originally Posted by Riot (View RedTracker Source)

After seeing the new SR a few times, I've kinda started wondering about something. I don't understand the Nexus and the Inhibitors at first glance. Sure, you can explain them to me through lore, text or a cinematic vid, but I can't read the idea behind it from the game.

I don't see why they're thematically important other than being coloured crystals. So if you were to assume that I'm the kind of player that doesn't bother with the backstory, how do you visually show the importance that the inhibitors and nexi are supposed to represent?

Food for thought.

All of our artistic decisions were built on cohesive narrative reasoning, but we are not ready to discuss that reasoning yet. Perhaps we can get into it a bit more as we get closer to going live.

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