Dev Blog: Finding your place on the Rift

By Riot ForScience
Clarity’s been a key point since we started updating Summoner’s Rift. We wanted players to be able to glance at the stream, screen or screenshot and know instantly where the camera was based on the surrounding environment.
Brent "Riot ForScience" Critchfield
This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to make Summoner’s Rift visually differentiated, but whereas before we sought to create individual points of interest (random signs in the jungle! Blue’s boiling pot!), they were just that: individual and inconsistent, and because there’s no apparent reason for them to exist, they go unnoticed and fail to successfully orient players. With this update, we’re theming the entire map, using a specific focal point to scar and otherwise affect each of the Rift’s four quadrants. And what better focal point than the Baron pit?

On the new Rift, each quadrant is thematically unique thanks to Baron’s impact. And we mean impact: Baron didn’t just shatter the ground around his entry point - the entire Summoner’s Rift features cracks and torn earth that branch out from his river base. His presence is most apparent in the north and west jungle, while the south jungle in particular has been largely untainted by Baron and remains overgrown and lush.

We also knew we wanted to theme each jungle quadrant area around the largest monsters in them. In the north jungle, that’s the Red Brambleback, a fiery and woody monster. We created the ground plane largely using clay hues, and as you get closer to the Brambleback, you’ll start to notice crimson flowers growing within the ivy, and insects hovering around. Meanwhile the west jungle’s sentinel has caused blue glowing ferns and fungus to sprout. We changed the ground plane here, too: instead of clay, we used neutral colors and small blue flowers to give the area a distinctive look.

In the east jungle we also needed a blue motif, but wanted to separate it from its western counterpart. We did this by making the area much more overgrown and mossy, safe from Baron’s destruction. We painted the motif of the sentinel into the area by creating blue puddles throughout the region, while cairn stones reflect the spiralling magical runes on the sentinel. We also added a slight drizzle to the area to help its atmosphere feel distinct. Finally, as I mentioned, we wanted the south jungle to look the lushest of the quadrants, and filled the area with vegetation. Bramblebacks are enraged nature elementals, and the monster here has affected the area by filling the south jungle with giant roots and vines. We also used orange and red flowers and mushrooms to serve as a visual reminder of how close you are to the creature.

Finally, we wanted to differentiate the two bases! The blue side turrets are geometric and fortified with a stag motif, while the red side turrets are curvilinear, magical, and use an owl motif as their key emblem. We also used a gothic-arch stone inlay in the ground plane to point the player down the lane toward the enemy base.

That’s about it for now! By structuring the map around the Baron pit – and by theming each of the jungle’s quadrants around unique themes – we’re able to create layers of orientation with color, architecture and even disaster. These visual clues help ensure you’ll always know where you are when playing or spectating on Summoner’s Rift.


3 months ago