After a hard-fought victory over Korean Team Gen.G, all five members of Europe’s G2 Esports stood at the edge of a pool, clearing the water to take a bow and celebrate their victory. The two members picked up their star teammate, Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Vinther, and placed him above the water, as if he were thrown into the water. It’s a good thing they didn’t see – no matter how real the water seemed to the audience, it was nothing but a pixel.
Annual League of Legends The World Championship is currently underway in Shanghai, and like most major events, has had to be re-enacted to be possible in our new epidemic-dominated reality. Usually, the initial stages of a tournament are something of a travel roadshow, with different rounds taking place in different cities. In 2020, things had to change.
With travel restrictions in place, and fans no longer able to join the team, in matches The union Developer Riot tried something different. He created a set made up of large-scale LED screens that were used to create Disney. MandalorianSci Fi Scenario. It has been used to shocking effect. The matches look like they happened between a cloudy, cyber scoop Shanghai skyline or flood-ridden landscape. What could have been a tough competition in the absence of fans has turned into perhaps the most influential worlds in recent memory.
“There are many days where we come on set and say ‘Wait, I don’t think this has ever been done before.” You just get used to it after a while, ”says Michael Fige, creative director of Prospective Productions, who partnered with Riot on the incident.
The tricks are all the more impressive when you consider a compressed schedule. Typically, producers from Riot and Potential spend well on events around the world for a year, but this was not possible this year. It was not until May that it was decided to use this technique in a studio without fans.
The setup is a powerhouse, and Riot states that LED screens – there are over 900 LED tiles in total – display the scene at 32K resolution and 60 frames per second. Those scenes were created using a modified version of the Unreal Engine, and in total, the team is composed of 40 artists and technicians. Nick Troupe, executive producer of World 2020 for Riot, described it as “a creative tool that effectively gives us boundless power that unleashes our collective imaginations.” And he says that one of the most important elements of the entire setup is the way things are shot, which are powered by four specialized cross-reality cameras.
“Instead of having a single projected camera perspective, we actually have two people running simultaneously, effectively all the time,” he explains. This allows the broadcast team to operate in a more traditional way; They can swap between two simulated approaches, using four cameras to shoot the action on set. “This means the broadcast team can do what they feel like a ‘normal television show’, but in this curated and beautiful range of environments,” says the troupe.
For viewers watching on Twitch or YouTube, LED soundstage transforms into a vast imaginary world, with AR technology being used to extend images beyond just the screen. You still see the players sitting at the desk and playing, but their surroundings are quite wide. In an indication for the current state of League of Legends, Where four elemental dragons are of significant importance in a game, each of the four early stages of the world was styled with a different element.
Initially, there were a number of decaying rocks and mountains to represent the Earth’s dragon; This was followed by the cloudy Shanghai horizon for air dragons; Later, the set was flooded with water that spread forever. Later this week, during two semi-final matches, things will turn into fire.
While this technique has been used before, especially Mandalorian, It is live for the first time. “Pretty much everyone [cross-reality] The expression that has been aired at this point has not gone live, “explains Possible’s Phase, whose company has worked on everything from Super Bowl halftime shows to Justin Bieber’s concerts. “It’s pre-shot, similar to a lot of AR stuff for award shows in North America. It is risky to do so. We are doing live television on this platform for 10 hours daily. There is no second chance on this.
One of the challenges was to balance the desire to calm things down without interfering with the players. Everyone on stage – teams, coaches and support staff – have somewhat different visual experiences than the audience at home, as the AR elements are only visible to the audience at home. This turned into some benefit for the broadcast team.
“When we do these games, it is really important for the competitive integrity of the game for the players not to be able to watch the game like Zumbtron or anything like that. This is a really difficult design problem, ”says Figs. “With this stage, everything above a certain level of elevation on the stage is completely virtual. This is augmented reality. So we have the game in the background and the players cannot see it. “
Players said that although the players do not get the full experience from the audience, it was important that the experience of being on stage was special. This is the World Championship, after all, some teams around the world have been trying for a year. The spectacle of a vibrant fictional backdrop is a solid second choice, without the roar of the crowd to promote the players. They cannot see AR elements on the stage, but they can see the graphics on the screen around them. “It helps the player,” says the troupe. “They can still have a sense of [game] The world reacts, in a way that I think helps with their worlds experience. There is a certain mindset that comes from being on stage, and we wanted to preserve it. “
In most years, the technical performance of the worlds is reserved for the opening ceremony at the finals. In the past, it has featured an AR K-pop concert and a holographic hip-hop performance. It’s still unclear what this year’s big show will look like (although it will likely include K-pop again), but you could argue that the early stages have already stolen the show thanks to this new technology . Each round opened with its own mini-ceremony, featuring choreographed dances in the fictional arena; The artists crossed the stone bridge and swung with magical spells. Regardless of the circumstances, the riot may be a less important version of the worlds in a surprisingly memorable.
“It’s more educational than disappointment,” Troop of Experience says.