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An Observation on Irelia's Finalized Design from a Game Development Standpoint

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Senior Member


I really hoped this **** would die by now.

why? So we can all have the new hidious skin? I ain't quiting!

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Junior Member


A Bad Idea:
Or, "Why Irelia's Concept Art Wouldn't Work In-game".

As someone who has worked with game models and 3D character animation, I can understand the changes made to Irelia's final design. Translating concept art into a deliverable product is a difficult, difficult task (I've worked both sides, either drawing concepts or cleaning concepts for production), but overall I'm satisfied with the changes. There are things I liked about her original concept and things I disliked (mainly the proportions, but that is easily remedied during the modeling process). When all is said and done, however, an art team must agree on a design that conveys the character's style, as well as making it possible to model, rig and animate.

A few things that would NOT have worked if her original design was used for the final model:

1. Irelia's Hair
In the original art, Irelia had a veritable curtain of hair, as though she were a disgruntled Japanese ghost... except that Irelia's hair is full-bodied and moisturized, so more like a disgruntled Japanese ghost with hair care awareness. For concept art, it looks great. It's certainly not impossible to model that kind of hair in 3D, as I'm certain there have been characters rendered in 3D who have peek-a-boo curtain hair. However, consider the angle and view that League of Legends is played at; top down, bird's eye view. At the distance a player is viewing Irelia, they would not be able to see her face at all. Paired with the neck-brace from her armor, her face would be completely obscured. You wouldn't even be able to notice the slight lip coloration, which is so subtle and hard to see at a glance from her concept art, and would be lost on a top-down bird's eye view anyway.

Her current hairstyle parts the curtains and lets us see her face. From top-down and from multiple angles, it's immediately communicatable which direction Irelia's face is, and therefore easier to recognize. Also, parting her hair in the center gives her a haircut unique from other female champions in the game. It's about time League got a dekkoko =D

2. Irelia's Sleeves
The character costume designer in me is in love with the sleeves from Irelia's concept art. They are regal, complex, and gorgeously detailed. The character animator in me is aghast with dread at the thought of attempting to animate those sleeves in-game. They are almost like having a cape on each arm. I've designed characters with excessively long things draping from their arms, and it is HARD to pose them without completely obscuring everything on their body. It's almost as if those sleeves were designed only to be visible when Irelia is taking the 'Jesus pose' she's in for her concept art. Now take these complications and put them on small-scale, LoL view. Not only would Irelia be required to keep her arms level at all points in time, but the super-long sleeves would DEVASTATE her sillhouette. She wouldn't be so much a character as she'd be a collection of floating capes. It would be impossible to see what her arms were doing, as well as the rest of her body.

Her current sleeves are much more compact, allow ease of movement, and still retain a bit of the original shape. The shape is graceful, and it permits animators to use a full range of motion when animating her arms.

3. Irelia's Swords
Irelia's concept art swords look like wings made of Chinese Jian swords. That's freaking awesome. The Jian is one of my all-time favorite martial arts weapons. They are thin, elegant, and capable of the most graceful, beautiful arts while still being very lethal. Unfortunately, small swords would show absolutely no detail in the zoomed out 3D view that League of Legends plays at. It would look like Irelia was poking at all her enemies with metal toothpicks. There's a reason why characters with swords tend to have distinctive shapes; because small, thin blades simply would not look impressive when zoomed out far above. The smallest swords in the game belong to Katarina, whose swords are curved in a distinctive fashion, and Shen, whose ninjato are distinctive only in which they are sheathed at all times. A character's weapon is part of their sillhouette and what makes them easily distinguished from other characters in the game. While no other character has a floating array of thin swords, the silhoutte just wouldn't have been strong enough.

Irelia's current array of swords gives us not only a distinctive shape that is culturally consistent with the Ionian Master Yi skin, but now divides her swords into four large blades, and four smaller blades. The large blades look amazing; they have a distinctive shape, allow for graceful animation by creating unique shapes by arranging the blades at different angles and formations, and are ingeniously orbited around an orb, which can be manipulated for even further animations. The four smaller blades take the place of the 'wings' that now float at her shoulders, which emulates the original look. Also they look kind of like Vajra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajra), and that has awesome cultural significance.

So there. This is the long and detailed opinion of a junior character animator who has dabbled in character concept design and character modeling. In the end, I am pleased with the final product and will likely be playing Irelia extensively. I hope to see you all on the Fields of Justice!

TL;DR - Irelia's original concept would have been too hard to see from League's top-down perspective. Irelia's hair would have obscured her face, her sleeves would have made her arms impossible to animate, and her swords were too thin.

So, after going to depth with explaining why the model MUST look bad, can you give us a reason why the skin cant look like this? : http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/attachment.php?attachmentid=76919&d=1289516317

ironically, there is only one "major" change, but it makes all the difference.

- head size reduced, which was the main reason she looks like a 12 year old. The younger a person is, the larger his head is compared to his body, something so simple as making the head "human" goes a long way towards fixing her.

Also, the colour scheme is colder, which gives a more serious, calculative, and metallic finish. The problem with her new look is that both weapons and armour look like plastic.
Since riot seem to have decided that they want ionians to use red (something france and england went away from because THE ENEMY CAN SPOT YOU FROM HALF ACROSS THE COUNTRY - and you know, ionia is the country of ninjas that are experts at stealth, so of course they want to wear bright, vibrant, red.....), they could at least change the hue of it, as right now its simply far too lively.

Last point i want to touch on; the daggers. Lenght makes lok sharp, short makes look silly. Simply elongating the short ones a bit would go a long way towards making them seem like weapons instead of toys. Now dont tell me the devs cant grab the models for those knives and give them a stretch? Or at least make the blade longer than the handle.

None of these things are a problem to fix.
And to the trolls (hopefully we all know which particular forum troll im refering to here...), who say that people should just shut up; when there is so much opposition to her new skin, and so much support of the look she has in the old one, then perhaps you should consider there might be a reason for it? If it really is just a "few casual whiners" why is the eurpean thread 53 pages of unanimous "we want the old look instead!"?

This isnt a simple question of modifications to accomodate the model, but rather a complete, radical, opposite, detour from a great concept. People dont complain because they want to complain, they complain because they geniuenely feel that they want the character and its model to be the best it can be, and dont want to see a great concept degraded to uinmaginative powerpuffness, for no good reason.

Right now, the nightblade skin is the one that fits the lore, and the one that looks like a guard captain of ionia, not the default one. And considering just how easy it is to give something that resembles the old look, it seems outright stupid to not at least spend the few hours it takes to churn out a skin for it at least.

And yes, ive done 3D too, and simply changing the size, or colour of a model is not rocket science, nor does it take months.

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Senior Member


Eh, it could work. Some arguable points, but it could.

A for effort however.

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Senior Member


Bump as a response to this ancient QQ.