In a new Gamasutra feature
, League of Legends
developer Riot Games describes in great detail the iterative process behind creating the new League of Legends
multiplayer map Twisted Treeline.
League of Legends
, a free-to-play game, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that is heavily influenced by the popular Warcraft 3
mod, Defense of the Ancients
, or DotA
Riot Games community manager David Dunne and technical designer Richard Hough write: "Releasing a new map … can be a more daunting task than it sounds; particularly if you want it to be balanced and ready for competitive play. From the time a new battlefield is just a twinkle in a designer's eye, to the time players are poised in a pitched, online battle with one another, there's a lot of work that needs to get done."
The developers describe the genre's origins in the StarCraft
mod, Aeon of Strife
, as well as the leaps that DotA
made for MOBA games. By knowing what makes a MOBA game tick, Riot Games felt confident that it could bring something new to the genre with Twisted Treeline, while maintaining core values of the genre.
"Making drastic changes to an established genre, however, is a tricky business, and League of Legends
was already shaking things up with some significant changes to the traditional MOBA gameplay," say Dunne and Hough.
They added, "As a result, we decided that our first map, Summoner's Rift, would be heavily based on the one used in Defense of the Ancients
to allow veteran players of the genre to (at least initially) remain in their comfort zone. For our second map, however, we specifically wanted to challenge these establish trends and do something a little bit more edgy. We called this new map the Twisted Treeline."
The new map would focus on smaller teams of players and shorter session times in mind. "So how did we change the map to help reach these gameplay goals? For starters, we wanted to preserve the strategic depth of having a single solo player, so one of the lanes [preset paths that enemies follow] had to go. We also wanted additional ambush points and larger neutral areas, so the shape of the map had to change."
But development of the new map wasn't so straightforward. Dunne and Hough offer a focused explanation of the iterative process of Twisted Treeline in the full Gamasutra feature
, available today.