Welcome to the beginning... of the end!
Oooh, all spooky-like!
Anyway, class is in session, we're on the first article of the last page, and tonight we're covering the different ways of doing things, and why it even matters in the first place.
First, we're going to go over the idea that there's more than one way to get an effect, and why it's important that there are distinctions in how you get there.
Second, we'll go over a few basic examples, such as damage types, and a split such as burst / sustained and DoT style damage.
Third, we'll discuss the merits of doing things in different ways than usual, and how it can help your designs become more fun!
Finally, we'll touch on some points of caution. Sometimes there's a good reason why certain things just don't get done a certain way, such as skillshot heals.
Anyway, it's time to take chances, make mistakes, and get mes... oh. Lawsuit, huh? Durn.
Eh, it's time to learn I guess, then.
Part 1: We can do this two ways. We can do this your way, or the right way.
So, which is it going to be?
Actually, it'd probably be easier to explain the choices first, wouldn't it?
There's actually a lot of ways to do things in LoL, as with any game, or any other project which involves designing mechanics to work out problems.
If we start with a really basic problem, such as "I want to kill my enemy", that seems simple enough, but how do we do that?
Sure, damage is pretty much the only real way (durn you poison counters and millstone decks in MTG! *Shakefist@*) as far as LoL's concerned, but that doesn't mean that there's not a wide variety of ways to deal that damage.
First off, we have our elemental properties, which in LoL is pretty much limited to physical, magical and true damage. After that, we have further combinations, such as burst, sustain and DoT, as well as even more things such as targeting, like skillshots, direct damage, AoE, and so on.
In the end, there's a near infinite number of combinations available if you go looking hard enough, and this means that you're not about to run out of ways to make "this spell does damage" interesting. Even 100 champions into the game, and thousands more on the champion concepts forum, we still have a nearly endless array of ways to do things differently!
So, what kind of ways are there to do these things anyway, and why do they even matter?
A good example is scaling. Let's compare AD scaling versus AP scaling... there's a few AD mages in the game, Pantheon and Urgot being the two main ones that come to mind, with Caitlyn essentially fulfilling a similar role. There's probably more, and more will be added, likely, after I post this, so don't worry about this not covering all of them.
The thing is, most mages are AP. A burst mage tends to need good scaling, as well as good survivability from itemization to make up for poor escape mechanic options for the most part.
In the case of someone who's an AD caster, they have some rather limited options for itemization. Most of their items also include stats they can't use, such as critical hit % chance, or attack speed. Other problems also include the lack of survival stuff on their gear for the most part, such as lacking health or armour, a painful lack of mana, as well as poor choices for masteries and runes. Toss in that enemies typically have more armour than MR, since armour's far easier to get in LoL, and you're stuck with a bunch of messy problems.
Just saying "I want an AD caster!" isn't that simple. Sure, you can make an AD caster if you'd like to, but it's going to take a lot more effort than an AP caster would, since you have all the problems of an AP caster, plus a bunch of new problems to go with it.
Picking how to do something is often as important as picking what it is you want to do in the first place. Time and again I've ground it into your heads to think about what you want to do before you do it... well, now I'm telling you that just thinking about what you want to do isn't good enough. You also need to think about how you'd like to go about doing it in particular as that's usually the difference between an interesting champion concept and a boring one.
So, what kind of options do we have to work with?
Oh gawd... nearly infinite, really. There's no way I can cram every option available to you into here in one go. First off, I couldn't think of all of them, and second, a mere 50 posts worth of space just wouldn't be large enough!
What I can do, however, is give you a few dichotomies to work with, and explain how they're different to each other and why they're each useful. Armed with a few examples for reference, I think you should be able to do the rest of the work on your own.
That's the point of this guide anyway... I'm not here to tell you what to do; everything in here is optional and open to debate, as well as potentially wrong. Design isn't an exact science, and nothing I say will be true in 100% of all cases, though there may be some exceptions such as instant-kill from full life abilities.
Regardless, the point is, I'm trying to teach you to think for yourselves, so to that end, let's move on to the next part of the post, and get you some examples to work with so you can see why this is important in the first place.
Part 2: Different strokes for different folks. Did you know for years I thought that saying had something to do with seizures?
Let's talk about a simple way to break up single target damage abilities. Click on target and skillshots are the two most common ways to apply single target damage. There's a few other ways, such as if Evelynn's old Hate Spike were to only hit a single target, but we'll stick to these two for now.
Click on target has some pretty obvious advantages. It's harder to "miss" with a click on target spell, since as long as you click on them, it hits! Of course, minions do tend to love to get in the way, and Cho'gath's fat butt loves to stand right on top of people, so perhaps it's not always as great as it first sounds.
In general though, click on targets are often either instantaneous, or very, very fast traveling, as there's not much reason for them not to be, as you're not concerned with people trying to dodge their effects.
You get a bit of reliability, and it's a bit more guaranteed to set up combos, so not a bad deal. So why would anyone use skillshots over these?
Ah... well skillshots have a few advantages of their own to make up for that unreliability.
First off, you'll notice that almost all skillshots have a considerably longer range than click to hits. This is partially due to the fact that a shot fired when someone's at max range with a click to hit will still hit, while if they're running from a skillshot, they can avoid it entirely sometimes by just outrunning it's range. Part of it's also as an advantage to make up for more difficult targeting; a skill shot poke can often hit someone without one with a minimal of risk to themselves.
Other advantages include such great fun as being able to hit targets you can't see, such as enemies that are in bushes, or invisible targets. You also get typically shorter cooldowns to partially make up for the good chance that you're going to miss a spell more often so will simply need to cast more often to get the same overall effect.
Skillshots typically have lower mana costs to compensate for this additional spamming, and they also tend to hit a little harder to make up for the times they miss partially.
The question then becomes, why would anyone ever use anything but a skillshot?
The answer is simply that sometimes you don't actually want to use a skillshot, for a variety of reasons. On the last section of this article, I'll go over a few in detail to give you an idea of exactly why, but for now, simply accept that there are times when missing simply isn't a valid option with some abilities.
The point of the matter is, there are different ways to do things, a fact of which I can pull directly from the "short" version of this article:
Good morning! Class is in session, and we'll be looking into things to avoid today.
While the next section covers some rather broad generalized ideas of anti-patterns, there are some more specific instances that you should also take care to avoid. Since these were mostly listed previously, I'll just be breaking them down individually here.
As such, there's only one part to this, so get ready for the final stretch that's on it's way!
Part INFINITE: I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken. ~Probably very old, but my grandmother loves to say this.
- Not having a role, or not knowing what your champion is supposed to do
Now, I know I've been beating this into your head for the entire guide, but seriously, if you don't know what your champion design's supposed to do, then how can you really work on giving them the tools required to do so?
This doesn't just go for their role, in the terms of mechanical gameplay which is used to deal damage or tank or whatever, but it also happens to include their purpose personality-wise. What reason do they have to be added to the game that will draw players to their particular "style" and "feel", that other champions haven't already covered?
We have 101 champions in the game, as of this writing, with Zyra being the most recent release, so the question really does become... what do they bring to the table that no one else has yet?
Note that it's possible to mix and match purpose of personality, and purpose of mechanics to a degree, and that Tristana, though similar in overall role to Vayne at times, has significant differences in how she goes about those tasks. The personality's totally different, and the mechanics behind how they perform their given roles are considerably different as they do have somewhat different purposes in terms of a fight. "DPS" is "DPS", but Vayne's better at bringing down hard to kill targets, while Tristana's better for consistent, safe damage throughout a fight.
In any case, unless you know why your champion exists, you can't give them the tools to do either, so keep in mind you need to know these things!
- Being highly repetitive, with abilities being very similar to one another, in theme, purpose, or function, such as 5 water spells, with no real variation
This was one of the things that bothered me most about Zyra upon her release; she has nothing going for other than "IMMA PLANT LULZ!", in terms of her theme. Every single ability... plant plant plant. This one-dimensional construct is not really that appealing in a broader sense, and generally you want to ensure that you get a mixture of ideas being brought together in order to make a truly memorable character design.
If you want a character to stand out, to be noticed, and be interesting, you're going to simply have to give them more to work with than a single source of inspiration. A "water" champion where every single ability they have is a wave, or a splash of water, or some other such dealie, is not really that impressive in the slightest. Now, if you have something like the Tidehunter from DotA: Allstars, or Nautilus from LoL, you get the mixture of a few different sources, with one being a turtle shelled giant wielding an anchor, and the other being a... diving suit shelled giant wielding... an anchor. Well, at least compared to others in their respective games, they're unique.
Now, if the source material is a bit more varied in and of itself, such as Kitsune/Youkai lore, then you can get away with a champion design like Ahri, because she's got so much information to work with just off that alone.
The point is, however, that you want to ensure that your design has a few aspects to it. When you get down to just a single aspect which covers everything, it starts to feel repetitive and boring, which can quickly turn a player off when it feels like they're just playing "that generic plant champion". If they can't point out anything of interest to the champion, because everything's pretty much the same, "Vines, thorns and other plant stuff I guess", it just doesn't really work that great.
Word of mouth is a great way to get a design noticed, and if you can sum up your entire champion in one word, you've pretty much done it wrong. Sometimes people even ask you to do that: Sum up this individual in one word. If you can actually do it, and encompass everything about them, then it's a bland idea. Spice it up with a mixture of ideas, and it'll hold people's attention for much longer.
- Getting offended or upset, personally, when someone says something you did was a bad idea; sometimes it really is, and we can't objectively evaluate our own thoughts
Seriously, so often someone offers helpful advice, and the first answer they get back is "STFU".
Cut that **** out right now. Drop the attitude, or don't bother. If you want reviews, and you want to get better, then you're going to have to suck it up there, Nancy, and accept that sometimes you dun screwed up real good.
We all do, to be perfectly blunt. We make mistakes, we screw up, we do things that seemed like a great idea at the time, but after awhile, we look back and go "Oh... yeah..." and hang our heads in shame.
It's fine. Screwing up just means you have the potential to learn something new, because it states that there was something there you didn't understand originally, or you just missed something important. By making a mistake, you have the potential to become better.
If... you go "STFU" and refuse to even acknowledge that a mistake occurred, or try to pin the blame on someone else, then you're not going to get anywhere. Alright, so you blamed someone else, but did you actually fix the problem, or learn how to avoid it from happening again?
To be perfectly blunt, so long as you're pinning the blame elsewhere, you're not learning anything because you're not even considering the issue.
Now, that doesn't mean that it's always your fault, either. If you bring up points of contention with everything someone said, and argue the points they made, rather than arguing against the person saying it, then you may very well have legitimate cause for complaint. It may actually be that it turned out to be someone else's fault.
Even so, assume you're in the wrong first, and work from there. If someone else is at fault, there's not much you can do about it, other than state they were and explain why. If you're at fault, you can actively change your own mind, because it's awfully difficult to tell yourself to STFU, despite that I've known a few who are remarkably good at doing just that.
- Failing to compare your abilities, stats, or champion as a whole, against closely related champions already in the game (I highly recommend using LoLWiki for this; it's far more detailed and accurate than the official site, go figure)
Seriously, if you're making an ability or a champion that has even the slightest bit of relation to others in the game, which you are, because there's nothing that hasn't been at least partially done before, then you might want to look at previous attempts at doing such.
See what their strengths were, their downfalls, and what your design does differently. If you find that you've pretty much made a carbon copy of the previous design, you're simply going to have to go back to the drawing board at that point.
Even if, however, there's similarities but many differences as well, you're still going to need to compare the various designs. What makes yours special? What can you use from another design to enhance your own? Did they think of a problem that you overlooked and now need to address?
The fact of the matter is, you have to take everything into account, and if there's a perfectly good, valid resource sitting right there, you'd be foolish to not make use of it.
- Trying to change basic elements of the game without thinking about why they are that particular way. Seriously, break rules after you understand why they're there. If you're not sure, don't touch it.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the standard phrase, isn't it?
Well, sometimes it might not be "broken", per se, but it doesn't mean it couldn't be improved upon. Horses weren't "broken", but cars are pretty much just universally "better" in 99% of situations.
Even after we had cars, though, aircraft still serve a useful purpose, and being able to go faster, longer, and safer, are all useful traits, even if the basic design works "good enough".
The point of the matter is, it's not bad to alter an idea, even a core foundation to the game. Having a champion that has no physical auto-attack can actually work... but only if done in the correct manner.
Before you start screwing with things like that, first you need to take into account just what it is you're screwing with. You need to understand the core concepts inside out before you try to alter them. Breaking these, even in a tiny way, will seriously screw up the game if you go about it the wrong way.
Rules aren't exactly there to be broken, so much as they're there to cover "in most situations, this is the best course of action". Keep in mind the phrasing of that... "in most situations...", which means that most of the time, you really don't want to screw with this, because most of the time it's a bad idea. That being said, there are always exceptions to every rule, and if you understand why a rule exists, you can then know when it fails to work properly, and can replace it.
Until you know what you're doing though, don't touch. It's another simple rule, though this one has startlingly few exceptions... if you're not sure why not to do something, don't do it until you do know why it's a bad idea.
- Getting carried away with synergy, or abilities that do "too much stuff". Once you start to understand how to build a champion through setting roles and required aspects, it's easy to fall into the trap of giving them way too much stuff. Be extra careful if you have more than 5 abilities total.
As has been covered before, it's easy to get carried away with synergy once you know how to do so. I went over this in detail back in the synergy section, as well as the leaving holes, flaws and gaps section. To be perfectly blunt, once you're good at knowing how to plan out a champion design, it's awfully easy to "do it all" by accident.
This is worse than even leaving holes by mistake, because at least then there's the remote possibility you'll do it right by accident. If you cover all your bases, without leaving a weak point, you're probably made something that's overpowered at a conceptual level, and no amount of tweaks and adjustments to the numbers will fix it.
Since this is covered heavily elsewhere, I'll leave it at that.
- Spamming out champion designs. This should be a labour of love, of dedication, and of quality. Nurture and fawn over your creations, revise and edit them, build them up to be truly grand and epic. Be willing to go back every month or three and check up on them, sometimes they haven't aged so well, and new stuff you've learned in that time needs to be updated into the design.
Alright, so you have a bunch of neat ideas. Good for you, skippy. The thing is, grab a piece of paper. No, seriously, go grab a piece of paper. Now scribble down in 15 seconds a picture of your character. That's right, you get 15 seconds to do it.
Now... do another picture of your character, but spend five minutes on it.
The difference is that, no matter how bad you may suck at drawing, you can simply put more thought, more detail, and more awesome into it if you have more time.
Too often we see people who will spam out a new design every day, or sometimes even more than one per day. Alright, maybe you have a basic concept there, but you don't really have a fully developed idea.
The more time and effort you put into something, the better it'll be.
It doesn't mean you should ditch the ideas, just scribble them down and lock them away in a folder of "to be worked on" concepts. I have a folder on my own computer which is sorted by the date of when an idea was made. Sometimes I'll just go back and work on an idea for a day or two, but it may not be finished. Other times, it may just need a bit more polish before it's ready to go.
Don't rush yourself. If you ever find yourself saying "I finished this design in 30 minutes", then you flat out didn't do **** all. The design sucks.
I don't care how awesome you think you are, but I can guarantee you that 30 minutes isn't even enough time to properly evaluate the ramifications of a single ability, let alone the whole concept in it's entirety.
If you dump quick, messy junk like this out, you're quite literally wasting everyone's time. Which would you rather have, anyway? The quality product that really shines, or the rush job that got shoved out the door ASAP without any workmanship put into it and breaks getting it out of the box?
Seriously, put some love into your designs, work with them, strive to have them reach perfection, or at least the closest you can attain. This shouldn't even be something I should have to tell you.
The more you work on something, the better it's potential can be. It doesn't mean it'll always be awesome, but it does mean that without the time and effort invested, it never will be.
- ESPECIALLY avoid anything that removes game play! Long duration, spammable stuns, or other abilities which remove the capacity for the opposing team to counter them are BAD. Double check to make sure that your abilities all have a realistic counter.
As has been stated a thousand times already in this guide, gameplay is built off having choices and options. If you have abilities or designs which restrict options to the point that there are no choices to be made, or so many watered down inconsequential choices that they may as well not be present, then you are failing to provide a game.
Once it becomes either "blatantly obvious because there's no other choice", or "so many choices that are equally worthless so why bother?", then you've just handed your player a TV show to watch play itself. If they wanted that, they'd be watching TV, not playing your game.
- Trying to "balance" a champion by giving it drawbacks. If the only reason your champion gives you a penalty, is because it's overpowered, then the penalty isn't going to fix that. You can design a champion centered around a penalty, such as abnormally low movement speed, but you truly need to take this into very careful consideration when making them.
To be perfectly blunt, this never works.
If something's overpowered, just piling on drawbacks to make it less powerful isn't fixing the problem that it's still overpowered.
Spells which shoot you in the face as well as your opponent aren't witty, they're generally just dumb. Now, if you have a champion who needs to be at low life, then draining them of their health may be a good idea. That's a design decision to give them the tools to get themselves to a certain state without help, however.
The main point is, however, that you can't balance something that's too strong by making it harm the player. It's still too strong. The way you need to balance it, is to simply make it so that it's not too strong anymore.
I know, such a strange concept, isn't it? If something's too powerful, you make it weaker. Zoh. Mah. Gaw. It's some newfangled contraptionathingie!
No, no it's common sense. If it's overpowered, make it so that it's not overpowered, rather than trying to compensate for the fact that it's overpowered. Either you'll fail to make an adequate dent, leaving it still OP, or you'll backfire so hard that it won't be worth using. In neither case is this a good idea.
- Luck. Just in general. In a game like this, winning a fight should be due, as much as possible, to the skill of the players involved, and not just a toss of the coin. If your champion relies heavily on luck, you're almost guaranteed going to need to do a massive overhaul.
Seriously, this is a pretty big one. If your champion isn't skill based, it's frustrating, as an enemy could simply outplay you and still lose, while you could play well and fail just as hard.
Every time you add unreliability to a champion, you have to overcompensate in return. If it's random, it has to be random with the potential to be far stronger than it should be to deal with the fact that it may not have happened.
The end result is that it it'll end up being too powerful when it works, to make up for the fact that it may not work at all, or work less than ideally. Every time you add unreliability, especially luck based unreliability, it ends up being impossible to balance the fun factor against the strength. The only time it'll be "fun", is when the strength outweighs the unreliability, and at that point, it's already too powerful.
As such, you're simply better off avoiding luck based concepts entirely. They can't be made both fun and normal for power at the same time. One is always out of whack, because there can't be a happy medium.
- Poor user interface. FFXI had this issue, where you fought the interface more than the actual enemies themselves. Don't make an invoker style champion which is a pain to control and use. If it takes more than 2 buttons or clicks to use a spell, you've done something terribly, terribly wrong.
"But I don't make the interface!"
What's that? You don't? But don't you determine how your abilities cast and target? Don't you determine how your new resource bar you added looks? Don't you determine how that spell that does something no one's ever done before is aimed? Don't you determine how many button presses it takes to cast your spells?
Yeah, you have a lot of control over your interface still, and if you do something "unique", you also have to ensure it's easy to access, be it ease of telling when it's ready to cast, or ease of actually casting it once it's ready.
Regardless of what you do, you need to control your champion's interface. Without control over the champion you're playing, how is the game any fun? If you have limited direct control over whether you live or die, due to heavy lag, is it ever fun? Not really, no. So, too, does this apply to abilities that require typing in passwords to cast their spells, essentially.
No matter how complex your champion may be, they still have to be clear and obvious as to how they're supposed to work, just as they have to be responsive to your player's input.
If neither of these is true, you're probably going to have to either do a massive overhaul, or scrap everything and start over, likely.
- Putting limitations on an ultimate for when it can be used. I don't mean a cooldown, but things like "can only be used at under 50% health" and such. An ultimate is designed to be a powerful tool, used at just the right moment. If you are forbidden from casting during that moment, you've completely missed the point of having an ultimate in the first place.
An ultimate is the ultimate form of "clutch play", usually. You use them at the perfect moment for the perfect effect which will hopefully alter the team fight that's going on.
If, however, you restrict a player from casting their ultimate, despite that it's not on cooldown... well... you have a problem then. Mana's a relatively minor issue since you can prepare for using your ultimate quite a bit in advance, and plan to always have enough mana to cast it, so no big deal.
For things like Fury, which isn't always available at the start of a fight, or abilities which enhance the effectiveness of your ultimate... well, let's just say that if your ultimate is disappointing because it wasn't used at that clutch moment because you decided to hold back because it'd be 30% weaker, or you did cast it and it just felt lackluster because a buff wasn't on an enemy champion... well, it's just disappointing, as stated.
Your ultimate should be a key, pivotal concept, if it has a long cooldown. Blowing a 2 minute cooldown should be a big deal, and if it wasn't at full power due to some random disadvantage for it, it's probably a poorly designed one.
If it's a short, rapid cooldown ultimate, it's not nearly as big of a deal, however. As such, since Darius's ultimate can refresh cooldown, and Diana's ultimate is very short in cooldown, it's not that big a deal.
Even so, be cautious; an ultimate is the one time you can have a big huge cooldown for those awesome clutch plays. You generally want to avoid making them short cooldown if you can help it.
- Scaling damage off defensive stats, or vice versa. This makes it hard to control the power level of the champion, and will invariably lead to them being nerfed into the ground, such as Evelynn, pre-remake Jax, and Vlad.
The fact of the matter is, by having offensive power which scales defensively as well, you get too much of a good thing. In Ryze and Ahri's cases, they get a great deal of killing power, for builds that are remarkably hard to kill in turn. This has led to them being far stronger than they otherwise really should be, and makes them a pain to balance properly.
This doesn't just go for the obvious ones, like Vladimir, who gets health by getting AP, but rather, it also includes designs where you feed them so much damage for free, that they have no reason to build damage and just go tanky, leading to the "nerf Irelia" meme.
Seriously, if you get to the point that a champion is just getting nerfed over and over and over, it's usually because they're able to do too much damage by being too tanky in the process. If you have abilities which actively give you one for the other, such as damage based on health, or health based on damage, then you're honestly just making your job of balancing them that much harder, because one or the other is always going to be forced to be subpar and unsatisfying.
This is pretty much the opposite of the issue that "random chance abilities" have, in that it's always underpowered because to be satisfying, it's overpowered.
Avoid this at all costs, as it's not worth it. If it's balanced, it's "meh", if it's fun, it's OP. Don't walk into this trap intentionally, and especially don't go thinking you can defeat it because you're somehow "better" at it than everyone else. The fact of the matter is, no design yet has managed to pull it off so that it's both fun and balanced, so long as they gain defenses from damage or vice versa, and the only solution which has ever fixed it is to remake the champion and remove the problem entirely, because it can't be solved.
Some champions still have this in their designs, such as Volibear, Sejuani and Vladimir. You may notice that they're all, universally, in disfavour right now. If they're balanced for play, they're boring. If they're fun, they're unbalanced for play and have to be nerfed. Don't let this happen to you.
- Purely passive abilities. Even Vayne and Cho'gath interact with how their "passive" abilities work, and can use them in an actual fight intentionally.
Your abilities are there for the sake of making your champion interesting. if you don't even get to interact with them though, why bother?
I've covered this both in the active abilities section, as well as the passive abilities section, so I'm not going over this in detail again.
Flat out, you're here to make a game. A game is meant to be played. If you have not interaction with an ability, then you're not playing a game, you're watching it play itself. Go watch TV if you want that kind of interactivity level.
- Following everything someone else said without question. Critics are just that, and nothing more. We review each other's stuff by presenting our own ideas and opinions on such. We can be wrong. We can misunderstand. We can simply not see what the original designer had in mind. More than anything else, take control of your design, and change it how you see fit. Suggestions are only that; if you agree, then go ahead, but if you don't, and find the explanation doesn't satisfy you... try asking them directly about it. Never just follow every single thing someone tells you without thinking.
If you learn nothing else from this entire guide, learn this.
Your design is your design. It's yours to control, and you are not to follow blindly what other people say.
You know what you want your design to do. You know what you enjoy to play. You know what you want. Everyone else, even me? We're just guessing at what you want based off what you've said, and we can be wrong.
It doesn't mean we're always wrong, and often it's well worth listening to another's advice, but keep in mind that they can be wrong and that you have to carefully evaluate everything which is said to you for merit. Don't blindly follow someone else's opinion simply because they gave it to you.
Make your own decisions, your own choices, and make your own champion design. Nothing else matters, in that way. If you listen to everyone else, word for word, then it's not even your design anymore. It's theirs.
Take their advisements under consideration, think about what they've said, but always hold true to your own goals and values above theirs.
In the end, if you make something that isn't even yours anymore, or which you don't care about any longer, it was a failed project, no matter how successful it may become in terms of money.
Never sacrifice your integrity. No amount of money or cheering fans in the world can buy it back.
With that, class is dismissed. Good luck in your future endeavours.
Alright boys and girls, and anyone else who doesn't qualify under the former categories...
Today we have a special guest speaker: Tom "Zileas" Cadwell.
Or well, kind of.
Mostly, he just made a list awhile ago about "anti-patterns", which are essentially things which are bad ideas in game design, and shouldn't be done. He went over a bunch briefly, but since that time, there's been a lot of misinterpretation and such.
As such, I've decided to put a section in here which goes over the entire list, a piece at a time, and break it down further, with my own commentary to go with it. This will be to expand upon what he's said, or to clarify issues that I've seen people get hung up on.
There's no breakdown for what this will be done as today, and the post under this one is a continuation as there's an awful lot of material to go through today, so keep reading after this post is finished!
Now then, let's get started!
Part INFINITE: That's it, you're going on... "THE LIST".
You may notice, reading through this, that some of it is covered elsewhere in the guide. That doesn't mean you get to skim over it, though! What that means is that I feel it's important enough to stress repeatedly, so you should be taking notes on these parts especially!
Anti-patterns part 2, picking up from where we left off!
Welcome class. This section was meant to be done yesterday, but due to some technical concerns involving a cat, a power bar, and several backup copies failing/corrupted, this is now the final section of my magnum opus.
Regardless, class is in session, and in this article, the last to be added chronologically, we shall be covering the concept of Breaking The Rules.
Ooh... The Rules... how scary.
Well... what do we need to do then?
First off, we need to define really what "the rules" are. Strange of a concept? Perhaps, but it's an important one to note.
Second, we'll then have to go over the concept of why one would ever even want to break the rules. No, the answer is not because "I wanted to", and if you say that again, I'm breaking out the ruler. Probably over your head.
Third, we'll also have to cover the idea of rules that don't fulfill their purpose and how to identify such. Without this step, we can't really determine when is a good time to actually break the rules in the first place.
Finally, we'll discuss how to safely break the rules without making a bigger mess than what you started with.
With that in mind, let's get started.
Part 1: There are rules, and there are rules, commander. Psi Cop Kelsey, Babylon 5, "Mind War"
So what is a "rule", anyway? We hear about "the rules" all the time, but how come sometimes they apply, and other times they don't? Who even makes these "rules" in the first place?
To put it simply, a rule is not a solid, set in stone thing, but rather, a rough approximation describing concepts that are deemed to be fairly accurate in most situations.
There are, of course, rules of science and mathematics which are static and unchanging, without altering reality itself, but in short, the rules we're talking about are the every day rules you see. Laws enforced by the police or government, rules of your parents, rules of conduct in a social environment, it's all subjective.
A rule is not really made by an individual, to be honest. Sure, there may be individuals who have a great deal of clout, and can make a statement which may become a rule, eventually, but a "rule" that isn't enforced, is just a rule, not a law. I've made a number of rules and stated them here in this guide, even, but to be perfectly blunt, they're only personal rules that apply to myself. The only way they'll ever become real rules, is if others agree that the wisdom behind such is apt, and the logic sound, and therefore they're carried on by other people.
So what exactly is the rule then? I kind of evaded the question last time, so let's try this again.
A rule is a statement which says that defines a set of actions which are preferable in most situations. For example, if I said "putting your hand on a hot stove burner is a bad idea", we could probably agree that in 90%+ of situations, that yes, putting your hand on a hot stove burner is probably a bad idea, and therefore we could make a rule out of it.
However, the fact is that a rule is never a 100% accurate thing that is true at all times equally. Maybe you want to burn your fingerprints off for some reason. Maybe something very important is on the stove burner, such as a small child climbed onto it and you have to injure yourself to pry them free. There's only a few situations where this might be a bad idea, so for the most part we can state that the rule is generally a good one, but, as with all things, there's always an exception to the rule.
No matter what, there will be exceptions. These exceptions occur when the purpose behind why a rule exists is not supported by the rule itself.
All rules exist for a purpose, even if it may not be clear or obvious as to what that purpose may be. The end point, though, is that there's a reason the rule was made, and to that end, so long as the rule benefits the end of upholding that purpose, the rule is probably best to be maintained.
So why would you want to break a rule, anyway? Well, we did just cover that rules sometimes don't follow their own purpose, so let's take a little closer of a look at that, shall we?
Part 2: I haven't broken the rules in a long time, doctor, so I guess... I'm about due. Takashima, Babylon 5, "The Gathering"
As stated, rules exist for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose is obvious, such as the whole dealie about not touching the hot stove burner with your bare hand. Clearly, this purpose here is to avoid pain and physical discomfort. If, however, the situation were to be changed... let's say someone suffered brain damage and wasn't capable of feeling pain, but rather any time they felt pain, they instead felt pleasure, would it still be a bad idea to touch the stove burner?
Well... yeah. Because the rule wasn't about avoiding pain from the start, it was about not physically damaging your body, and the pain was merely the way the rule was enforced.
Sometimes it can be a little confusing, as the rules don't always make things abundantly clear as to why they exist. In that line of reasoning, if a rule isn't clear as to it's purpose, you probably shouldn't try breaking it until you know what potential damage you may be causing by accident in so doing.
A simple rule to not push a red button on the ground could be a dumb thing that you can't imagine why no one's ever done it before or why the rule would exist. You press the button anyway... and the world explodes.
Alright, it's a silly example, but it just goes to show you that you couldn't have predicted the outcome of breaking the rule, and the consequences that occurred because of such were harsh enough that it would simply have been better not to have done so in the first place.
The point is, in most cases, you don't want to break the rules. The rules exist for a reason, and most of the time, they generally do their job of maintaining things so that things run smoothly. If you don't know why a rule exists, research it and pick it apart; try to figure out what it's purpose is, and then, and only then, attempt to change it, but only if it fails to do it's job.
The fact of the matter is, "usually" rules should be followed. "Usually". It's a bigger word than it's letters give it credit for, though, and it leaves an awful lot of room for exceptions.
A rule which serves a purpose, and maintains that purpose is one that probably doesn't need to be broken. A rule, however, which exists for a purpose and fails to benefit towards the goal of upholding that purpose, may need to be bent back into shape so that it works as intended. A rule which actively goes against the purpose it's supposed to fulfill, however, is generally one which will need to be outright broken.
Let's say there's a rule that exists to keep people safe from some sort of danger, but it's been around for hundreds of years, passed down in tradition for ages. Specifically, let's use the example of not eating pork by some religions. There's an awful lot of really nasty diseases one can get from most livestock, and pigs in general are fairly genetically compatible with humans, to the point that we can transplant many of the organs from a pig directly into a human host.
Now, that's fine and all, but at the time we didn't really cook our food all that well, didn't know about things like washing our hands before eating or cooking, and personal hygiene was more or less unheard of at the time. As such, yeah, the rule was fine as it kept us from harm's way. Since that time, however, things have changed.
Fast forwards a few hundred years and we have a much better understanding of medicine and diseases; no longer is the pig just a "dirty creature" which is "infested with demons" which cause disease. Instead, now we recognize that things like salmonella poisoning can occur from bacteria which commonly resides in pigs. Consuming pork without properly cooking it can get you very sick, but if you're aware of how the disease is transmitted, you can properly cook your food and wash, and you'll be fine.
As such, the rule to "not eat pork" can be bent to now read "don't eat pork that isn't properly cooked and prepared". With this adjustment, it fulfills the purpose it originally had just as well as it had previously, but now does so more efficiently by allowing the consumption of valid food choices nearby that may be more abundant than other options.
On that line of reasoning, what happens if your cattle suddenly get a rather bad disease and are no longer fit for consumption? Perhaps the only thing even resembling livestock left is pigs, and pork may be the only realistic choice you have to eat.
Without it, you die of starvation and malnutrition from lack of protein. Not good... so long as the rule still stands to not eat pork, you're pretty much stuck dying to uphold a rule that was put in place to... keep you from dying... well there's a brilliant move.
At this point, the rule then must be broken to ensure survival, and as such, you are now allowed to eat pork. Either that or your village or people die off, and poof, no more problem because the rule killed you off by blind adherence to it.
Now, this is a bit of an extreme case, but it does happen in the world that there are those who have died because of this exact rule, and more specifically, because people blindly follow it without questioning why the rule was put into place originally.
"Because god told me to" isn't a very good reason, I hate to break it to you. If god exists, and that's a debate even I'm not qualified to answer, then god would also have had a reason for making the rule at the time. If your culture wasn't capable of properly taking care of itself, and needed the rule to survive, then yeah, maybe god did make the rule, but once the rule no longer applied, I'm pretty sure it'd be expected that the same god would then assume you'd just stop following it once you figured things out for yourselves.
The rules of champion creation are no different. I'm not some awe inspiring deity by any means, nor is any other designer out there, no matter how famous they are. We do, however, make rules, now and then, to help us do our job better. We make a mistake and go "well... uh... yeah, let's never do that nonsense again". A rule is put in place to avoid the situation, and the problem is solved... until someone figures out a way to avoid the problem, or a new piece of technology, or concept occurs which allows such to be done safely.
At that time, the rule can now be re-evaluated, which is the one step that can't be done when dealing with rules made hundreds or thousands of years ago, since you can't just go back and ask them what they were thinking at the time. We, however, fortunately can just go over our rules and realize that there are problems with them, or that they aren't performing their role adequately anymore.
As such, we can amend the rule, bend it to suit our needs given a certain circumstance, or break it outright.
For now, all that I require of you, as a designer, is to consider why a rule exists, and determine if there's a valid reason to breaking it. If it furthers the end goal of what the rule's purpose is, then sure. If it causes minor issues but fixes a great many more in the process, well... it's tricky, but it can be done.
Regardless, you need to know why a rule exists before you break it. Don't let me catch any of you breaking them just because you felt like it.
Part 3: Rules of combat older than contact with other races... did not mention aliens. Rules change caught up in committee, not come through yet. ~Former Green Leader, Babylon 5, "The Geometry of Shadows"
You know that thing I said about rules that no longer fulfill their purpose, or which may have an exception to them? Well... every rule has exceptions, and most rules will eventually become obsolete, at some point or another.
The trick is to determine when these situations have occurred so you can tell whether it's a good idea to mess with them or not.
Let's make a rule for an example. Let's have a rule that no champion in the game shall ever have a greater base movement speed than 330.
Sounds pretty reasonable, as every single champion in the game right now lands squarely in between 300 and 330.
Now... is it possible to break this rule? Sure! A champion with 335 base movement would probably be pushing the limits, but it's a small enough variation that we could probably just call it bending the rules.
A champion with 400 base movement speed... eh... well yeah, you just broke it.
Why though? What's' the purpose of this rule?
The rule's purpose is to ensure that champions are within a respectable movement speed of each other throughout the game, regardless of itemization, and that seems like a fairly good reason to have the rule in place.
What if there's some technical problem, however, where you need a champion to be faster than that, for some reason, but it's just flat out easier to say when they aren't faster, than when they are faster?
With the assumption of a massive technical limitation on how speed works (this limitation doesn't exist, but we'll say it does for the purposes of example), that limits you to only being able to reduce movement speed rather than increase it, you'd have a minor problem, wouldn't you?
As such, it might be easier to just say you give your champion 400 movement speed and decreased it when under the conditions of combat, sort of a reverse of what Miss Fortune's passive does.
The end result is identical as having 330 + 70 as it would be to have 400 -70, and if the technical limitations are such that you couldn't do the former, then the latter would be a perfectly viable option. (I know MF is 300, not 330, but bare with me, it's an example after all =3 )
The trick, here, was identifying why the rule existed in the first place. As it was designed to ensure that you're not too fast in certain circumstances, such as combat, it didn't really matter to change it under those circumstances.
Everything comes down to picking out why the rule exists before deciding if it's a good idea to break it or not.
In each and every case, you first determine what the rule actually restricts, then you determine how this could be seen as beneficial. Once you've got this information, you can probably reason out why a rule is in place. If the rule seems beneficial at first, but has a set of circumstances you can see where it may not do what it's supposed to, it might actually be worth exploring the concept.
Sometimes you might even design a champion that intentionally revolves around breaking a particular rule in such a way that still maintains the same purpose as that which the rule was supposed to provide, but which is now able to be done so in a more unique and interesting way than had you just followed the rule blindly.
When I was making my Nemhain champion, the problem was that cooldowns were used to keep abilities from being overly strong, but it also meant tanks generally became pretty boring pretty quickly. By removing all cooldowns on my champion design, and shifting them to the enemy targets, rather than the caster, I was able to allow the player to use their abilities more frequently, but still restricting them from being spammed at a single target.
With another design, Moxie, I replaced health with mana entirely. This turned out to not have been the most wise of decisions, and eventually I ran into some problems that couldn't be realistically fixed, and as such, the design's more or less dead for the moment until I remake it.
Even in game, others have broken the rules as well, such as Karma not having an ultimate as such, or Nidalee having more than the standard 4 activated moves. In Nidalee's case, it worked. In Karma's case... not so much, since the idea behind what makes a support champion able to fulfill their role wasn't fully considered. It probably would've worked just fine on a bruiser, however. Oddly enough, Karma actually plays much closer to an AP bruiser, than she does a support, likely in large part due to this.
Regardless, you'll break the rules, and you'll screw up now and then by having missed something important. It happens. Even the greats screw up now and then, and it's only by trying new stuff that you have the opportunity to hit on something new and interesting that's worth it.
Despite that, it doesn't mean you should always screw up. If you consider carefully why a rule exists and try to work around that as a starting point, you can probably avoid screwing up in the first place, and really, that's for the better in most cases.
Part 4: Captain, you're trying to use the letter of the law to defeat the spirit of the law. Miss Winters, Babylon 5, "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum"
So how do you minimize the damage that can be dealt, or avoid it altogether?
Honestly, you can't fully accomplish this on a consistent basis, so long as you're working outside of the rules. Even a seemingly small deviation can have a much larger impact than you might expect possible.
Still, there are a few things which you can do to limit the potential problems on average. None of these will always work, as they are, after all, a rule, and there will always be exceptions, even to these.
First off, you'll probably want to do what I've been insisting on throughout this entire guide: don't screw with a rule you don't understand. This doesn't mean you'll magically always be fine, as sometimes even playing by the rules is the wrong answer, but the rules are there for a reason, and statistically speaking, following them is more likely to make things work smoothly.
Second, if you're going to break something, try to be careful to understand as fully as possible what it is you're messing with when you decide to break a rule. It doesn't guarantee by any means that you'll always fully understand every little nuance, as sometimes the full reasoning behind a rule doesn't show until you've failed to follow it, but it will limit the potential problems in most cases.
Third, when you break a rule for the first time, do so in a controlled manner. Often, rules have multiple parts to them, and with all things, you generally want to isolate as many of the variables as possible. Don't go in and change every single thing you can think of, but rather, change one aspect of it and check to see what gets affected by doing so. This gives you a more detailed idea of what's connected to that aspect, and you don't get the problem of changing a bunch of stuff, having one thing break, and having no clue what it was that went wrong and having to then pull the whole thing apart a piece at a time to find the problem. Note that this works with all troubleshooting, even computer repair ^.~
Fourth, if you change something big, keep as strong documentation as possible to list exactly what you changed and why you did it, and what you expect to be altered. If something goes terribly wrong, that way you'll at least have a written record handy to try to help you isolate the problem's likely cause.
In the end, any time you're working outside the rules there's the potential for disaster. There's also the potential for some really awesome gameplay as well, however. The risk versus reward is pretty heavily slanted in the favour of following the rules, but with a little foresight and planning, you can probably tip the odds in your favour instead.
Regardless, breaking the rules is one of the best ways to make something more interesting, but generally there's a good reason why it's a rule in the first place. "No one's ever done this before" usually implies "there's a reason why no one's ever done this before". Sometimes that reason is as simple as no one ever thought of it before, but most of the time, it's because there's a major problem with doing it.
If you carefully consider what the problems are, however, and work around such, you can probably get it to work. Probably. Sometimes, no matter how much time and effort and brainpower you devote to a problem, however, it's simply something that can't be solved.
Unlike in educational cartoons or overly optimistic career counselors, you can't actually do anything you want to. You can do most of it, though, if you put your mind to it, and are careful to avoid the pitfalls associated with such. Just don't get discouraged if something fails horribly. Sometimes it just can't be fixed. Other times you may simply need to approach things from a new angle of attack. It can be hard to tell the difference between the two, however.
Regardless, keep trying, and never accept the rules as absolutes. Outside of mathematics, there's no such thing.
Nearly done! Both for my writing of the articles, and for you on reading them. Fun fun fun!
Anyway, class is in session, and today we'll be covering Putting Yourself In Their Shoes.
Oooh, fancy title.
Not really, I suppose, but it's an important step in champion design.
The idea is that you need to consider the aspects of the game and try to visualize how useful your champion will be in a variety of situations. This is a bit difficult to do without play testing, but I'll give you a rough outline here to work with. As such, this particular article will be a bit different than most, in that it's mostly just going to be a list of things to check for and explanations of why.
Alright, maybe it's not that different, after all.
Anyway, first off we'll cover playing as your champion, and specifically things like the laning phase or 1v1 combat, ganks, and the like.
Second, we'll continue on playing as your champion, but this time we'll be focusing on the idea of a team fight and overall strategic objective capturing, such as jungling, baron, towers and so on, since this is a major part of the game.
Third, we'll discuss the enemy's point of view... sure your champion is awesome to play as, but are they actually fair or fun to fight against? If you bring only misery to the game, you're not worth having around. Once again, we'll be focusing on the laning phase, 1v1 combat, ganks, and so on again.
Finally... yep, you guessed it, strategic things like counter jungling, ability to prevent them from backdooring, how easy they are to shut down in a team fight and stuff along those lines. It's almost like it was obvious I was going there... I hope I'm not getting predictable ^.~
Anyway, let's get to work!
Part 1: I put my new shoes on and everything was alright. ~I have no idea who sings this, and I refuse to look it up. Thayen, on the forum here, sings it frequently and it drives me nuts.
Anyway, so we have a champion design all "done".
No, no we do not. You haven't even checked for leaks yet. Here's where we dump it into the water and see if it actually floats, before selling it as a boat.
So what are we looking for, anyway, when we talk about "leaks"?
Well, let's start with the basics mentioned in the preamble, shall we?
Good day, class is in session and today we're covering concept art, as well as 3D art. For some of you, this may not be as big of a deal as to others, but if you're interested in including art resources with your design, this should help you out a fair bit.
First off, we'll be going over initial concept art and design.
Second, we'll discuss the resources you'll need to convert from a conceptualized idea into something that can be used to produce a model.
Third, we'll cover things which often get in the way and should be avoided.
Finally, we'll go over information on ways to make your designs a bit more interesting from the start in appearance. This could be useful to anyone, not just those who are actually doing the artwork.
Part 1: The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it. -Banksy
Oddly enough I actually took quite a few art courses, one of which involved speed drawing; the concept was to get basic information down as quickly as possible and gradually expand upon it.
An example of this, was drawing the same picture repeatedly; a picture's provided, and to sketch as much of it as possible for detail within 15 seconds. Then 30, then 60, then 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and finally 10 minutes.
The idea is that you're not just noticing the details, but also learning how to get the overall shape down as quickly as possible. Within the first 30 seconds of a sketch, you should have the overall outline more or less done, as in limbs and such finished. After that, you draw back over them, over and over, building up layers of quality and detail.
Where one normally begins is with a vague idea, but not a full image. Instead, sketch quick, messy little drawings. Dozens of them, or even more. What you're trying to do is to get ideas out quickly, rapid fire style, to get as much onto paper as possible. Once it's such that you have a good basis of ideas, then you can go back and glance through them and see which ideas stand out as potentially ideal candidates.
Make a dozen eyes, a hundred ears, a thousand faces, find which speaks best to you.
Once you have such down, you can build up your design as if it were a sculpture, in a way. The idea of "to sculpt an elephant, one simply removes everything from the clay which does not look like an elephant" is not exactly wrong, per se... in fact, it's kind of accurate in the way that there are a near infinite number of options available to you, and you need to narrow down which works best.
See, concepts are a dime a dozen, as can be seen by the massive number of even more fleshed out designs on the champion concepts forum. The trick is to explore the near infinite number of concepts which could match your design, rather than just settling upon the first one that comes to mind.
Once you have the basic design down, you'll be capable of moving on to the next steps, so let's get into those.
Part 2: Nature Trail to Hell... IN 3D! ~Weird Al Yankovic
It's not enough to just start with a 3D model. Building up to that point is a very complex process. Sure, you can sculpt a face in mudbox or Zbrush, but it does not a character design make.
All the things I've covered so far in character creation still apply; you still need to get a personality that lives and breathes on it's own. It's not just "snag a picture off google images" and it magically is enough to make a character design from, though it can be a good basis for inspiration.
To create a fully fleshed out character design pack, there's a number of things that need to be included so that, were you to hand it off to a 3D artist, that they could actually build it.
Good evening, today... there were three classes written today, but this evening, there is no more, only a special thanks section.
There are hundreds, likely even thousands of people who worked hard in their own way for this guide to come about.
Despite that I can't realistically name all of them, I'm still going to try to get as many as possible ^.^
First off... a direct copy/paste from Merylindra's guides compilation post!
This is where I'm supposed to talk in a dry, monotonous third person drone about myself, isn't it?
Meh, screw that.
If you're reading this, this is just the "About the Author" section. Honestly, it's not that big a deal, but if you're really that curious as to the mind behind the guide, and what brought me to making it in the first place, well... I guess read on? Personally, I think it's boring, but whatever.
So who wrote this thing anyway?
Well, I'm generally known as Catreece, though several internet pseudonyms come to mind, the most notable being Katsuni. Before anyone asks, I've been using the name "Katsuni" since long before the pornstar, but that you think that highly of me, I guess I'm thankful... kinda?
But really, what's in a name, anyway?
Considering my given name at birth is one I refuse to go by, I'd personally say "nothing more than that which you place in it".
This isn't something I particularly define myself by, and don't really consider to be of particular importance for the most part, but yes, I, Catreece, am transgendered. Yay, big deal, whatever. Anyway, the point of this is that it means I wasn't always known by such, and legally, I can't claim such. Due to this, if anyone from Riot glances at this guide, and then looks at my resume and wonders why the disconnect, well, there you go.
Does it matter? Not a great deal, but in some ways, yes, yes it does.
From even a very early age, I learned the hard way that I wasn't going to be cared for or loved because of who I was. One of those things you always hear, "just be yourself", is about the biggest lie our culture has going for it. Regardless, this has helped me get to where I am today.
For those unfamiliar with the terminology or concept, I'll put it a bit more bluntly. I was born male, and am pretty much anything but; about as pure female as you get. Ah well, technicalities aside, what this has meant is that I'm well aware of gender differences in people, and have come to accept that it's been near impossible to find anyone who can get past that, which makes it near impossible to find any kind of love. On the plus side, it does mean that if someone does care for you, you're pretty much assured it's not just for your body, and my boyfriend is <3's
Regardless, the point I'm getting at is that I've spent my whole life pretty acutely aware that who I am is practically worthless. As such, I've dedicated myself towards devoting myself to being "worthy" in other ways, namely all that I do. In games, I strive to be the best that I can, and have made my way to the top guild of a server I was on in WoW, even leading a progression raid group for awhile until my computer's video card fried and I wasn't able to get a new one. I've worked hard at learning, and in general, everything I do, I strive to prove my worth, since I'm far too well aware that being smart, kind, friendly and a hard worker isn't going to do much for me.
This particular situation also means that I've long since been aware of the whole "girl gamer" issue, and have avoided it as much as possible. The last thing I need is to have people thinking I'm some guy trying to pretend to be a girl online to get free stuff.
In fact, I learned long ago, that the whole "admitting to being female" thing was a pain in pretty much all ways, shapes, and forms. You'd get guys going ZOMG BEWBZ (I'm flat chested, go away) and ignoring all else, you'd have girls (and guys taking advantage of this) who would flaunt such and demand free stuff in diablo, WoW and other games as they came out, and generally, there have been tons of issues, from harassment, to "lul ther r no gurlz on inturwebz".
There are those who flaunt such, from the "IMMA GIRL GAMER IM SPECIAL", who I just want to slap in the face, to those who just want "free stuff because lulbewbz", who also deserve a slap. With a rock. In the head. There are also those like myself, who have kept this generally well hidden, and have decided it's just not worth the trouble.
I've gone quite far out of my way to hide this information, for the most part, though it's kind of obvious once I get on skype or ventrillo and such, and often I've gotten "caught" long before such. Apparently there are so many small little things we say or ways we act that give us away.
Anyway, the point here, is that I've done my best to earn my position for myself by... well... earning it. I've had a lot of issues in my life over the years, and the one, biggest thing I've come to accept, is that it's near impossible to get anyone to care for you, for the sake of being who you are. That I have someone who does care for me as I am is something I'd not dreamed possible, and am more than grateful for <3
As such, I've dedicated an enormous amount of my time and energy towards being what I deem as "useful" on my own merit. I need to know that I've earned my own way, and not just had it given to me. It's not that big a deal these days, as it once was, but it's still there. The whole "equality" thing is a myth, and won't ever truly occur anyway. Girls get some ups, and some downs. Guys get some ups, and some downs. If anyone figures out you're trans, they figure you're doing it for some personal advantage, ignoring the massive pile of problems that comes with it. It's just how it goes, and I've accepted that.
Even so, I try to minimize the damage as much as possible, and make sure that, if I'm given something, that I earned it and deserve it. It hurts to think that people might honestly believe that the *ONLY* reason I'm around, is simply because I'm like "the guild master's girlfriend" or something like that. Hence... I tend to dedicate myself pretty hardcore towards doing anything I do to the best of my ability.
This includes, for example, an ex-bf who dragged me into a raiding guild of one of their friends. It just so happened to be the top guild on the server, and I was probably going to get in anyway, simply because they wanted my ex so badly. Turned out he didn't do much and I don't think he ever truly managed to get into it and do raiding. I ended up a raid leader within three weeks, and main tank for the 10man progression group, and offtank on the 25man guild runs.
That's just an example though. Pretty much everything goes the same way, as you people have probably noticed by now. I make sure to dig in hard into new topics, and ensure I understand them inside and out. I don't know everything, but I certainly try, if nothing else ^.^
Game design, however, is one of my true passions. The idea of being able to have an interactive environment is just amazing. I'm a writer at heart, but the concept of a story which evolves with the player, based on their choices, and can have them take active part in it, is something I can't help but romanticize about.
So how did I get into games in the first place then?
Well, I've been playing video games... I dunno, as far as I can remember. My dad had an Atari 800XL, complete with 5.25" floppy drive. My first "real" game system, was a Sega Genesis that I got when I was... 6 I think. My first "real" console game being the original Sonic the Hedgehog (this was before Sonic 2 was even released).
Even back then, I pretty much loved the idea, though the concept of "plot in games" was kind of... well, it was like "half a page in the manual as a brief excuse for why you're shooting space aliens". At the time, I was more interested in artwork than anything.
Years later, I'd started getting into RPG's, but my favorites were still Space Shooters, and the Metroid series. In my early teens, I started getting into actual writing, though admittedly, I kinda sucked at it at the time. Somewhere, hopefully long gone, there may still be a copy of my original story... 40,000 words... it could've classified as a book. And it was *BAD*. But, that's how hindsight is for any artist, so I guess I have to cut myself a little slack. The Mary Sue character I put into it though... well, I didn't know any better at the time. It still hurts to think about, however.
I dabbled in writing a bit more over the years, and got pretty good at it. I could've become a good artist as well, but unfortunately, I knew a few too many professional artists personally. The comic writers of Eon's Comic, RPG World, E3-diots, Exterminatus Now, and someone who went to work for Archie Comics on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, to name a few, just made any adequacy I felt I had go squish.
But, I realized that I could write better than any of them. As my instructors in college had explained, pretty much anyone can be taught to draw. It may come more naturally to some than others, but it's a trainable skill.
Writing is also a skill, but a far more picky and finicky one. It's near impossible to write something without language being part of your brain from the start. Note that I don't mean spelling (pft, I can't spell worth ****), but specifically, the capacity to grasp the meaning and feeling of language on a natural level. Forcing it just doesn't work like drawing does, sadly.
Anyway, I digress. I did a bunch of writing to make up for my (in my mind) sub-par drawing capacity (it honestly wasn't THAT bad, but certainly wasn't that great either). I virtually never did any fan-fiction, despite that being a bit odd for a pre-teen girl writer. The closest I ever came was a single story based in the StarCraft universe, but with all the characters being my own personal ones, and the same occurring in a BattleTech universe story as well. (No, you can't read them. They're old and make me blush at how bad they are in comparison to current stuff XD )
I got into stuff like AD&D 2nd Edition, BattleTech, MTG, Magi-Nation, all sorts of stuff like that. It was around this time I realized I needed to 'create' stuff, more than 'use' stuff. Most people like playing games... I could just sit, for hours and hours on end, making up schematics for battlemechs, or D&D characters, or trading card game decks. I didn't even care if they got used, so much as I just liked being able to create something new.
Fast forwards a few years, and I'm in college. A 3D game design college, where I learned a ton of stuff, such as further information on character design, how to model, rig, but also game balance as a whole, which I was already pretty good at. I even learned to be fairly respectable at drawing, and don't feel bad about that anymore, though I'm a bit out of practice right now, I know I could get back to where I was in skill easily enough with a month or two of practice ^.^
Unfortunately, such things are not meant to last. Like most college students, I dropped out. Not by choice, but moreso... about a month after I got to the college, things started falling apart. People I loved dying, marriages breaking up, the whole "starving art student" becoming a little bit too accurate for my tastes... you'd be surprised, when they say you can support a child for as little as $1 per day, trust me, you *CAN* live on $1 a day. It's not pretty... but it's possible.
Long story short, relatively speaking, I wound up suicidal, living alone and depressed as hell and starving. Kiiiinda sucked. I managed to cling onto hope for about a year and a half out of the two year course, but then a number of really nasty things all landed on my lap at once, which just flat out broke me, and I had to drop out because of it.
To those who say that depression should just be shrugged off... I'd never felt it before either. Never like that. Trust me, there's a good reason why people can kill themselves over it, and there's an equally good reason as to how it can just destroy someones' life.
After nearly a year of suffering through that, though, I managed to get a break finally. Yay! A job. A real job. A writing job. A $9,000 3-month contract to be the lead writer in an indie-developed MMORPG. Woo! I wouldn't be wallowing in debt, I'd be able to eat macaroni and cheese again (yeah, I was that broke ;_; ), and generally things were looking up.
Less than a month after starting, my internet died hardcore. Work online? Well ****. Ended up being forced to go back home, worst possible place to do work, ended up having to drop the contract early again due to being incapable of doing the work, and losing computer access due to family issues showing up. Joy.
No, I'm not kidding, the idea of "I'm working" is a foreign concept to my family, to the point I was working 12 hour work days on 2 hours sleep a night and the other 10 catering to their every need because they're incapable of doing anything on their own, so I got all my brother's chores, who refused to help, my mother's chores, and my dad never does anything but throw tantrums like a two year old, screaming and yelling while on a skype call with my boss trying to discuss details of work... yeah... that didn't last too long, sadly.
I did everything I could to work around the situation, but the sad fact of the matter is I couldn't work under those conditions, and so the job fell through.
Several more attempts to get work have fallen through, as... well... it's awfully hard to get through a phone interview with someone screaming in the background like a spoiled child. Sigh.
Well, with limited experience, and an unfinished college credit, I decided to apply to some bigger name companies anyway. As expected, no reply. Eventually even worked up the nerve to attempt to apply to two positions at Riot, and got turned down on both; one got pulled within a week of applying so they were probably already in the process of interviewing for the writing position, and the design position had about the same happen.
And that brings us to the present day. I guess I skipped through a lot, but whatever! Essentially, I'm putting all my effort into making this guide for the sake of having a legacy, of sorts. It's kinda 50-50 at this point if I'll make it through another year at this rate, considering problems just keep being endlessly dumped on me. At the very least, I hope to have something that will help people out before I go.
This is the final post being written, and at this point, I can at least die happy, if that's what happens. I've finished my magnum opus, and have something to leave behind for those that follow. Maybe I'll starve to death, maybe I'll be able to actually find work, I'm not sure.
With minimum wage pretty much out of the question at this point due to a variety of reasons, working from home being impossible due to a family that refuses to allow such and go directly out of their way to interfere at every chance possible, and nowhere near enough experience to get a job in a well known company, kiiinda stuck. Still, maybe there's hope yet.
All things considered, though, I'd just as soon get a real job again. Something to drag me out of this hell hole and into just doing WORK. I actually enjoy working, of all things, and would love to just get a job at Riot. Is it realistic? Probably not, but you know what? That section on the rules still applies. Rules can be broken. As a rule, you can't have your dreams, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Maybe the guide will draw attention. Who knows. Even if it doesn't, at least people will have a professional quality design document to work from. This is literally high enough quality that you could use it to train employees with (even if it rants a bit at times), so, please, get some use out of it.
After all, the only thing I've ever truly wanted was to be useful. I've poured, at this point, hundreds of hours into making this guide. Don't let it go to waste. Read it, learn from it, and justify my poor little existence XD
Anyway, I'm in a rough spot right now, but I have a boyfriend who loves me muchly, and friends around to help drag me through the rough times, so it's not all that bad. And of course, I have the readers on the forum, here. Keep making awesome champion concepts. Even if they never get into the game, at least it gives me something neat to read.
In the end, my work is done. The guide's finished, though it may need some revisions here and there as I learn more. The point is, I have something that I can leave behind and say I helped people out with, so that they could unlock their own creative potential. If nothing else, I got to teach, I got to learn, and I got to work hard, all in the name of being useful.
I've gone through some pretty rough times in my life, and considering some of the debts I have that are rapidly approaching, it's probably just going to get rougher still, but I guess I'm happy anyway.
I've done my job. I didn't get paid for it, and it was a hell of a lot of work, but it's done, and it's something I can be proud of. I have those who care for me, and if I get a chance to provide my knowledge to others by actually getting out of this area and to actually work on a real game... well... it'd be nice to have a purpose in life again as this chapter is now closed.
Until then, I guess I'll just have to see where things go from here.
I hope the guide's been useful to your own creations, and I hope I didn't bore you too much with a whiny little commentary about my sad excuse for a life in the process just now.
If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, gripes or death threats, please leave them as replies to this post, and I'll get to them as soon as I'm able!
Note that I'm more than willing to offer information on specific problems or anything I may have missed in the guide, so do please ask! ^.^
And with that... I'm out. Goodnight everyone!
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