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This week, let’s dive into a League movie, Worlds prep, and colorblind development. And heads-up: We’re taking next week off! See you again on December 1st.
Will you ever make a League of Legends movie? Or maybe long cinematic episodes?
We dream of films set in League’s universe and seeing our favorite champions come to life in movie theaters, but the track record on video game movies is a humbling lesson. For the most part, they aren’t great. And while the geek in us would love to rush into moviemaking, it’s definitely not something we should rush into.
That’s not to say that we aren’t exploring. Cinematic storytelling just requires different muscles than storytelling for games, so we’re working on building those muscles and learning as we go. We have a ton of talented folks actively experimenting with different storytelling formats, and it’s definitely a hope that someday we’ll see the fruits of that experimentation on the big screen (or the small screen, or wherever it makes the most sense). We’re also looking at ways to better share all of the stories we’ve already told and will continue to tell, like with the newly-launched Universe.
What’s most important to us is that any extension of League into other mediums feels authentic to the source and respectful of the passion we all share for the game and its universe. It’s a big challenge, but we think we can get there if we invest the time in learning how to do it right.
How much time does it take to plan Worlds? How far in advance do preparations begin?
These are questions I get asked a lot, so thought it would be fun to provide a little more context into how we work in some of the world’s most famous arenas and plan our year’s biggest events. First off, planning for events covers multiple teams, hundreds of folks (within Riot and external partners) and begins in earnest about a year ahead. It wasn’t always this way. Each year we have managed to push our planning out further and grow to support these big team efforts better. The last time we were at the Staples Center in 2013, for example, we probably planned the event in under 6 months!
There are multiple factors that go into narrowing down a venue, including tech capability, availability, location etc. Generally speaking, though, we want to be in great venues that will excite players and teams involved. This can present problems, however, because there tends to be an inverse relationship between the prestige of a venue and the amount of time we are given to load in and rehearse before that show time. This is because they have professional sports teams playing in them multiple times a week, so it’s not like we can say, “Hey, can we have the Lakers and Kings play away games for a week so we can have more time to set up our show?” Booking these venues also means committing to them between 12-18 months in advance and working with their in-house labor and equipment.
In the case of this year’s Final at Staples, we had 30 hours from the first truck’s arrival to the Opening Ceremony. This only gave us two or three hours of rehearsal time before we had to take it live at 4pm! So with such a small margin of error and complicated effects and choreography, we needed to employ some extreme measures.
If you watched, you hopefully saw the hanging scrim box that enclosed the basketball court. That was a special material that absorbs projected light while looking relatively invisible on camera. To simulate the effects, we worked with a partner to create a video animation that looked 3D from a specific camera location. To get confidence in how it would look and feel on camera, we built a 1/18 scale model at a shop in Burbank and simulated the camera moves of the real show.
After multiple weeks of testing, we took the entire full scale setup to the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California to practice the complicated scrim setup, aligning of 80+ projectors, working on the choreography of the orchestra / Zedd’s arrival and the striking of that enormous 10’x10′ box in 3 minutes! With all that practiced, we were ready to take it back to Staples.
We hope you all liked the final outcome but even with all that planning and practice, it was still really nerve-wracking and scary until we put it on for real. Without that degree of preparation, there would have been no way to pull it off. By the way, we’re well into planning for 2017 already, so the team keeps moving on.
What’s up with colorblindness support in League? Some players are having trouble seeing in-game abilities?
As it turns out, this is one of those things we have to solve on a case-by-case basis.
“The most common types of colorblindness affects red/green perception by different amounts,” says Kam “boourns” Fung, an experience designer. “League’s colorblind mode is designed to improve the experience for red/green colorblind players. Rarer blue/yellow colorblindness should work well with our default color settings.”
Sometimes we run into problems when using red to represent danger or enemy abilities—so we shift it to orange so it’s easier to differentiate from the green in the Summoner’s Rift. We can do this automatically with a little programmed flag on your video card, but sometimes artists have to make a special version of the asset for colorblind players when they need a higher quality color change. Many artists and visual designers at Riot use colorblindness simulation software to check their work.
But, sometimes issues can slip through. If there are parts of the client or game that are causing you trouble because of your colorblindness, just tell us! File a player support ticket, or call us out on the boards or the League subreddit. We’ll do what we can to fix it.
We’ll do our best to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).
We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.