“Competitive integrity is one of the key aspects that we never lose sight of”
It’s a fine line.
Valorant’s passionate community is often quick with Riot Games when it comes to weapon skins. Players hungry for cool designs to justify their (admittedly high) price point are pushing development teams to invent bolder and more interesting concepts. However, sometimes this challenge leads to skin appearances coming close to compromising the competitive integrity at the core of the Valorant experience.
That limit was never crossed, of course, but speaking to Riot Games VFX artist Nicolas Ceriani in a recent interview, I wanted to get an idea of the team’s ability to consider the tactical implications of their designs. Notably, Ceriani was involved in the development of the Xenohunter skin pack, which was under scrutiny by the Valorant community because it featured a radar screen showing the in-game map. It wasn’t so much the card itself that was the problem, but the limited peripheral vision and its size prompted those who upgraded the skin to show it off.
When I asked Ceriani about the development process behind this particular design, he told me the following:
“Competitive integrity is one of the key aspects we never lose sight of when creating new content, so these types of questions come up all the time. We have playtest sessions every week dedicated solely to testing new skins. This is where we’re chasing bugs, of course, but also getting a feel for those trickier situations where a weapon has something that could work in your favor or against you. We determine these important test points before the session so that the testers know what to pay particular attention to. Then it’s a question of balance, we just have to play with the right levers. Is the screen too distracting? We can resize, move and reduce VFX intensity. Is the Neptune aquarium too transparent? Just increase the Water Opacity slightly and we’re done.
Sometimes it takes a little more work, like this Xenohunter screen. In this example, we felt there might be a competitive advantage to having the map closer when navigating through smoke, which is meant to be slightly confusing, so we decided to take it a step further by showing it as you enter distort. No matter what happens, we always do our best to thoroughly inspect every detail, animation frame and shape to make sure nothing slips by.“
Stay tuned for more excerpts from our interview with Nicolas Ceriani this week ahead of the full release. You can catch the latest on all Valorant right on Twinfinite, including our breakdown of the Crypto Toss Ladders saga where Pro City took over 10-Mans North America’s highest Elo.
https://twinfinite.net/2023/02/valorant-dev-competitive-integrity-is-one-of-the-key-aspects-we-never-lose-sight-of/ “Competitive integrity is one of the key aspects that we never lose sight of”