Max Callard - 2D Animation - An Esports Journey

Max Callard - 2D Animation - An Esports Journey

by maxcallard on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

My 3rd Year Animation Project for the University of Sussex - The Animation ‘Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-Sung: An Esports Journey’ follows the story of a student in Korea who becomes a household name in esports after his victory of the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. Instead of following a traditional documentary style,

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The Animation ‘Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-Sung: An Esports Journey’ follows the story of a student in Korea who becomes a household name in esports after his victory of the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. Instead of following a traditional documentary style, this animation takes us alongside Doinb as he rises to fame in a personal way, showing the ups and downs as they happen. The animation begins with Doinb in his classroom at school and ends with his victory of the 2019 world championship as part of the Chinese team - FPX.

The target audience of the project is people who do not know what esports is, but are interested in learning about something new. Hardcore fans of League of Legends and esports have some hidden easter eggs to look for, but this animation is aimed to be understood by anyone who has not even heard of the game.

‘Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-Sung: An Esports Journey’ uses animation as a way of fantasising a true story. The animation style is of a diorama style, where environments and people are shown to be made of paper and have shadows which bounce off each other. This diorama style aims to simplify the animation so that ease of understanding is the focus. Simple animations are most common in the piece, slowly increasing in complexity as the viewer becomes more familiar with the subject and learns more about the characters. This growth climaxes at the World Finals, where the animation is taken to the next level and the viewer is overwhelmed with detailed movement and frame by frame animation of characters from the game.

‘Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-Sung: An Esports Journey’ was created as an educational piece to show non-esports fans what they are missing out on by not giving it a chance. The story aims to shock non-esports fans into a realisation about the popularity of esports; the high salaries which the players receive; the intense training the players go through each day; and the high pressure situations they are put in, just like an athlete. This comparison to sports athlete is core to the story of ‘Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-Sung: An Esports Journey’, as it aims to fix the representation of gamers as lazy and mindless.

Firstly, we are shown that Doinb is a normal student in school in the opening scene who then discovers a burning passion which he persuses with disregard for all else. This shows a determination which is hard to find outside a sport or a job. Many of the professional players who have been playing LoL for years love doing it and enjoy competing more than anything which shows that to reach these levels of play, you really need to care about what you are doing.

Alongside this, the skill aspect of esports players is shown through the ranking system in the animation. We see Doinb ‘climb’ from a rank in the millions to a top 200 spot in the game in ‘Challenger’(the highest rank possible). This shows the skill required to become an esports professional, and that Doinb rose above the millions of others who were trying to reach the top, distinguishing him as the top 0.001% in the world.

Furthermore, we see the struggles of esports professionals who are competing at the highest level, including poor management of teams, poor working conditions and high stress environments which would be unbearable for the majority of people. We see Doinb at his lowest point in esports when he is eliminated from the Chinese league and thus are inspired to see his redemption on FPX to rise to the top of the World Championship. These games are watched by 44 million viewers[3], but Doinb manages to stay relaxed and even show off in these vital games.

Finally, We see the work ethic these players must have to be the best in their game. We see these players train for an average of 12 hours per day to remain at the top, as they know they will be outmatched if they are practicing less than their opponents. The animation shows that esports players do not get days off and need to use all of their time effectively to practice and prepare as much as they can. In some ways these players work even harder than physical sports athletes, as we see them playing alone at night, long into the next morning to practice their personal skills to ensure they are keeping up with their teammates.

The animation also addresses some smaller issues in esports, such as ageism, where players as young as 22 are seen as ‘past their peak’ and begin to lose value. This can be seen by Doinb’s consideration of retirement at the end of each year as he knows that each year he has more pressure to perform as there is a 17 year old waiting to turn 18(minimum age requirement to play professionally) to take his place if he performs poorly. The animation addresses this by showing that even in 2020, with Doinb being 23, he continues to play at the highest level, on FPX and shows no signs of being anything except world class.

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