One of the things that makes the League of Legends art community special is the close relationship it has with the game’s publisher, Riot Games. There’s no better display of this than at the Riftwalk, an interactive, 3D “walk” through Summoner’s Rift, complete with fan-made art, costumes and photo opportunities, connecting the people who design the game, the people who play it, and the play who draw from it to make things.
The Riftwalk debuted at PAX East in Boston this April, and made its way to Toronto for showing No. 2 as a part of the terrific NA LCS Finals weekend. I was lucky enough to be able to see it in person this time (I didn’t make it to PAX), and it was awesome.
It’s a huge project, and this time, with a bigger space in Toronto, it was spread out into multiple rooms. When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a Bilgewater-style pirate ship and a Pool Party-themed lounge area, both available for photo ops.
Here, check the whole thing out yourself:
Riftwalk at NA LCS Spring Finals!由 Pete Volk 貼上了 2016年8月27日
I also had the opportunity to talk to Jess Frucht of Riot Creator Support, one of the many teams tasked with undertaking this project. Here are some images of some of the content from the event, as well as quotes from her on the process it took to get this done.
TRH: What goes into a project like this?
JF: So, so much. So there’s a big team at Riot that actually put this whole thing together, there’s an events team, my team, which is Creator Support, and then a massive number of Rioters who pitched in to make this all happen, and then we really partnered with the community in a big way. So about 50 percent of the Rift is community content. You probably saw the cosplayers, the Anivia costume, incredible, Camille is so, so talented. And then all the community art panels as well.
And then the kind of piece de resistance on the community side is the Thresh puppet. And those guys are actually a team of cosplayers from our community, 4 itchy Tasty! Cosplay, really well-known for their amazing Fiddlesticks, the stilts Fiddlesticks, he’s awesome. So that team and a professional team from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, they collabed and we kind of put them together to make this incredible thing, which is actually their brainchild, they thought of it.
But from the ground up, I mean, it’s a huge execution. We did it for the first time at PAX, so this is Round 2, but it’s a major planning effort, but it’s also a huge opportunity, we love coming out, getting to bring this to players and getting to show them all this great work, the busts, the art and everything as well as talking about the evolution of the game, you know, it’s coming up on it’s tenth anniversary.
TRH: Was the impetus for this more about showing the players this experience or involving the community artists?
JF: I think it’s kind of a happy harmony of the two. My team, Creator Support, we were really looking for every opportunity to say ‘The player community is so creative and does such great work,’ and they take the amazing work that the Riot artists and developers do and create this whole extension. The community is such an important part of what League is that we wanted to make sure that they were a part of every piece of this that we could make them.
TRH: What’s the difference between this event and Boston?
JF: We have actually more room here, so it’s a little bit more spacious because the halls in Boston were a little tight, so we have a little bit more space, which is nice, it allows more players to come through and experience it, and we made some additions and stuff, revamped some things.
The community space out front and the watch party for the esports, the themed risers out front actually, the Bilgewater and Pool Party risers, those are new for Toronto. I love those, and we have Krale, who is an artist from the community, actually, he’s a YouTube artist and musican, and he came out and he’s actually spinning out front in the community area, and that’s new.
The Rift itself is pretty similar to last time, we still have the photo ops and Thresh himself just showed up. Aside from that, pretty similar setups to PAX, we wanted to kind of take the best parts of that and what worked really well and streamline it as best we can.
TRH: How long did it take to set this up?
JF: The event production company came in and set this whole thing up in about a day. It ships in crates on 18 wheelers and the whole thing. It’s an incredible effort, there’s a lot of teams involved, there’s all the tech and AV and all the camera set ups, which are extensive. Like the Bullet Time camera setup? I don’t know if you saw it, but it’s incredible. So lots and lots of work goes into doing it, it takes four or five hours to pull Thresh out of all of his crates, and he ships in his custom rig, get him out, set him up, so there’s a lot of work that goes into it, for sure.