Incredible: League Of Legends’ Art Remix


PC Gamer have got terribly excited over revealing the “incredible new art style” for League of Legends. There’s more in their issue, but they show how two of the legendary leaguers and – er – trees have been changed. Generally speaking, it looks like the increased-detail sort of retexturing and seriousing-up which you know will be rife after Diablo III is released. We’re also pleased to see that Riot Games have discovered desaturation in photoshop. Incredible.


  1. Michael says:

    Not that the originals were perfect, but this is a clear example of someone using technology they don’t know how to use. The bumpmaps and specular are so poorly done, you’d think they were done purely by accident.

    ‘Oh, oops, I turned that on by accident. Look how bad this looks now, better turn that off’

  2. fearian says:

    and thanks RPS for putting more text over the only part of the image where things look to have changed significantly *slaps forehead*

    • Sam Crisp says:

      Uh, I’m pretty sure that text is part of the barrel texture.

  3. Film11 says:

    Apparantly it looks much better in motion and that things are far from done, so it might have changed majorly by the time it’s released. So try not to be too harsh :)

  4. Shagittarius says:

    Someone found the brightness slider?

  5. Steelfists says:

    PCG ARE SELLOUTS! How much did it take to bribe those fickle harlots? Shocking.

  6. Navagon says:

    The contrast is a bit too extreme now. It also looks very desaturated. I mean, sure, it looks a bit more 3D but it’s still not done as well as it could be.

  7. Patrick says:

    Not that I don’t love LoL, but I’m surprised noone’s brought up this month’s abso-fantastic cover: link to

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The cover is totally awesome. Was trying to work out a way to justify linking to it. Splendid stuff.


    • Zyrxil says:

      Wilhelmmmm!! /Khannnnn

    • Oneironaut says:

      That cover is very nice, haven’t gotten my copy yet this month.

      Also, why do they send out the November issue in September? I just subscribed a few months ago, but the month on the magazine is never even close to the month I receive it in.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Bwuh? But… I was reading PC Gamers’ review of Civ V in the current issue. (The one with the Portal Bots)

    • Phill Cameron says:

      That’s the cover of the US version of the mag. The current on is the Portal bots one.

      HOWEVER, I think the important thing to take from all of this is that Washington spits fireballs.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Yeah, figured it out shortly afterwards :P


    • LintMan says:


      As I understand it, the dates aren’t for the consumer, they are for the vendor; they are “keep this on the newsstand until” dates. So the issue you just got should be kept on display until November.

  8. Ginger Chris says:

    The model on the left is completely unlit and all the shading is baked into the texture.

    The model on the right is simply badly lit (single pure white light from above, rather than typical gaming lighting of lights everywhere) but is fully normal, spec-mapped and actually has lights on it unlike the previous.

    Having done an art test for a job at Riot Games, it’s actually quite tricky to retain the colourful cartoon art style while introducing per-pixel shading like this. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of making your normals too grainy and overly detailed and your awesome model can be completely wrecked if the image you are showing off happens to be as poorly lit as this one.

    So yeah, cut them some slack.

    • Kirian says:

      Dash it all, beaten to the punch.

      I think RPS do need to cut them a little more slack. This is something that’s months away at best. I’m not sure why Kieron’s being so sarcastic about it- they never normally cover League of Legends so I’m not sure why they’re starting now with this.

      Instead of that PC Gamer cover.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, I am disapoint. League of Legends is by far my most played game and has been almost a year now.

      Personally I think the new models look nice. I don’t know how anyone could deny them looking better to be honest. But whatever, League of Legends isn’t pretentious enough to deserve any kind of praise I suppose.

    • suibhne says:

      I think the fun-making is more at the expense of the journalism, not the game devs.

    • Kirian says:

      Well slap my arse and call me Betty, you’re right. I apologise to KG for missing his point.

  9. Kirian says:

    It is an awesome cover.

    Also the problem with that shot isn’t desaturation, it’s that they’ve lit the big dude from above with an incredibly strong light so he looks rubbish.

    They’ve also put far too much gloss varnish on the second guy, Mordekaiser. If they’re going for the ‘tabletop miniature’ look then they someone needs to tell them about miniatures and gloss varnish.

  10. Lightbulb says:

    Well that’s about twice as big as you’d see it in game so it doesn’t matter too much…

    The real problem with LoL at the moment is the difficulty getting on servers as they have (temporarily they say and I hope) capped the number of concurrent logged in players.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Try this:

      On your arrow keys, hit “Up Down Left Right Up Up Down Down”

      Tada, launcher no longer reports “Server Busy”


  11. Ian says:

    My mind! They blew it!

  12. Flaringo says:

    Man, I wish they would just screw the bump-maps and do some awesome texture-painting instead. Like in the good old days. :(

    But then again, that’s a lot of work.

    Mordekaiser looks more like a toy than a big, bad, evil knight-ish thing with all this fancy shader schmader crap.

  13. Garg says:

    The other screenshot of the guy in armour and the mace on PCG has a much better “lead figurine” look, although it hasn’t really worked for the one here.

  14. Arathain says:

    My dear good lord! They look slightly different!

  15. Homunculus says:

    Related, tangentially: Quick, someone point me towards a decent tutorial resource for making diffuse layer clothing textures for game assets. Focusing on getting folds right, for preference. Please!

    • DrGonzo says:

      Again, I’m going to ask, what’s wrong with the models? Looks like a massive step up to me. Also, it’s worth going to the PC Gamer article to check them out, the picture posted on here is by far the least impressive. And they decided the write over the best looking bit.

      Mordekaiser looks amazingly better, and the trees look rather sexy too. Wow, I just called trees sexy. Time to leave the house I think….

  16. Sigma Draconis says:

    Personally, I don’t think League of Legends needs a graphics overhaul, but this is a game still in progress. I’ll hold judgment on the graphical changes until I see how the actual results look in-game.

    I’m more interested in how LoL is getting this amount of coverage (and praise, looks like) from PC Gamer. Probably because it left a better impression on them than Heroes of Newerth did, going by their somewhat lukewarm review of it: link to

    • Cyrenic says:

      As per my post below, League of Legends is quietly growing into one of the most played online PC games. Mainstream coverage was just a matter of time :P.

  17. Daniel Klein says:

    To be fair, I like the Mordekaiser remake much better:

    link to

    (Again, disclaimer: I work for Riot, and I’m biased as all hell. I love our game)

    So this Team Shiny (that’s the actual internal team name) work is still a little in the future, and having seen other screenshots it does look great in game.

    That said, our artists are very, VERY careful about erring on the side of simplicity. While working on this graphical overhaul, we have been very very careful to make sure that the game both still plays fine on low end machines and (and this is most important to me) that it retains its visual clarity which sets it apart from the admittedly much prettier HoN. That’s always the experience I have when I play a game of HoN (which I check in on from time to time to see what they are up to): first, oooh that’s PRETTY and then “what the hell is going on?”

    So yeah, let’s wait to see it in game :)

    • Zogtee says:

      To be fair, I like the Mordekaiser remake much better:

      link to

      Someone has been playing World of Warcraft, haven’t they?

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Funny, I have exactly the opposite issue… I have a much harder time seeing what’s going on in LoL, because while your art style isn’t as detailed it’s certainly busier and the heroes have much less distinctive shilouettes.

      Both fun games though.

  18. Cyrenic says:

    In other news, according to the always questionable (but still fun to look at) metrics on xfire: LoL gets just as much online play as Starcraft 2: link to

    For a free game that makes the micro transactions as un-obnoxious as possible, it’s cool to see them doing well.

    • pakoito says:

      Xfire isn’t reliable at all.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Shh, let’s not draw anyone’s attention to this ;)

      Who knew that if you gave people a solid game and treated them nicely by selling them convenience and aesthetics (but not power) they’d repay you in MONEY?

    • pakoito says:

      I’m a HoN raging fanboy and I’ve behaved nice so far, don’t play your chances in here…

      JK, but still a HoN fanboi

    • Cyrenic says:

      Oh pakoito, you’re wondering about LoL vs. HoN? That’s easy:

      link to

    • pakoito says:

      I heard millions of dollars on ads vs an indie company helps.

    • Eggy says:

      not to mention actually designing a game instead of carbon copying a poorly balanced mod.

    • pakoito says:

      Dumbing down a game is not always a good option. And about balance…Xin. And a new hero a week to push more $$$.

  19. Wichtel says:

    They are doing too well right now. At least in Europe they have to restrict server access at peak hours.

  20. Sirbolt says:

    Nvidia normal map filter, bake in some ambient occlusion, turbosmooth the model, aaaand… Done! And yeah, the spec is rather bad. Especially on the Mordekaiser guy. Easy with the cube-mapping!

  21. Johnny says:

    Well at least it’s less painful to look at for long periods now.
    I still think it’s terrible.

  22. Hoernchen says:

    I still wonder why rps thought it would be a good idea to draw a penis below the “thanks pc gamer” test..

  23. tomeoftom says:


  24. Barnaby says:

    “We’re also pleased to see that Riot Games have discovered desaturation in photoshop. Incredible.”

    Lol’d really hard at this. Good one.

    … oh and the changes seem a little lacking to get excited for them.

  25. Nick says:

    The US side of PC Gamer constatly post about LoL updates like they work on the game or something.

  26. Jim9137 says:

    Even at the risk of sounding a retarded hick from the backsville: What the heck is League of Legends?

    • pakoito says:

      The new pay2win best game. It’s a dumbed down Defense of the Ancients for the casual market, with high success.

    • Ace says:

      It isn’t terribly dumbed down. It’s definitely not pay to win. I’ve paid no money to Riot, enjoy the game, have fun playing, and repeatedly win with my IP purchased Shen and Trist. I have a lot of other characters unlocked through IP. Only a level 22 also… by 30 I will have most of the characters unlocked.

      You win if you focus on the game and perform well. That’s all.

    • pakoito says:

      Strip dota from competitiveness and you get LoL, the 1$ hamburguer of the AoS genre.

  27. BATTLEMOOSE says:

    gief free riot points! :D

  28. Starky says:

    Yeah 2d screenshots don’t do much to show the difference between flat textured models and properly burned in normal maps.
    Given that it is pretty much exactly trying to show a 3D difference in a 2D medium, and as such is near impossible.

    I can almost guarantee you that if you loaded both of those up into a model viewer and rotated around them the first would look flat and angular (painted on) while the second would look rounded and detailed… Hell you can kind of see it in the second image around the fingers and toes anyway.

  29. Juror #9 says:

    Kieron says,
    “We’re also pleased to see that Riot Games have discovered desaturation in photoshop. Incredible.”

    Yep desat. is quite helpful in giving it that lived in, weathered look that we all would enjoy in games that have a need for it. There’s nothing like seeing a brand new barrel to smash apart for an item, when the enivironment clearly shows it shouldn’t be in such good condition. Beauty is in the details.

  30. adam says:

    am I missing something? the original art looked better.

  31. The Sombrero Kid says:


    notice you didn’t link to the other picture they released, which is even more mind blowing, they chaged the texture of a grey guy to brown!