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Darkness Revealed Update 42 - How to Build a Character's Personality Through Animations

Hello, everyone! How's it going?

In the last update we started talking about animation!  We focused our talk on the two main types of animation: Action and personality. Today, we wanna talk a bit more about the topic, but this time, focused on Dave's character and how animation helps build his personality. Let's check it out! 

Who is Dave (and how animation hints that)?
Let's get something out of the way: Dave isn't your typical hero. When sending someone underwater in a diving armor to get something done, maybe you should call some expert marine, right? Someone who is really confident and ready for action, correct? Well, that is not Dave.

Dave will do what he has to do, and will fight for his life, sure... But Dave kinda finds himself in that situation, and while he knows how to move around and all the basic diving procedures, he's not super confident. He's more Peter Parker than Spiderman. Although he can clearly find his way around, he's not really used to the stuff that professional rescue divers might have to deal with on a daily basis...

When we created Dave's sprite, we decided to give him a big diving helmet. Given the extreme size limitations, we thought it made him more charismatic. However, how do you create animations that convey a character's personality when you can't see his face? How can you tell what he's feeling or what are his emotions? Our solution was to rely on his body, specially his arms, to do most of the storytelling. His exaggerated, Shakespearean moves also convey something about his personality.

Throughout this journey, Dave will encounter many perils that he isn't quite ready to deal with. When facing simple problems, he will sometimes handle it in a childish, stubborn way. When facing true danger, however, his reactions sometimes are really unpredictable... If he's in such a dangerous situation, shouldn't he be more startled?
His nods and nays while speaking in the radio are also a way of showing an incompatible behaviour. He's not very confident in his equipment, and his general good mood makes it seem like he doesn't fully understand how dire his situation is. It's also a great way to keep the player entertained with small details while going through long text boxes :)

Signature animations
The two animations below, despite being simple, are in fact really important to convey Dave's personality and the situation he's in. We will be covering signature animations in depth in a future update. For now, just try looking at these two gifs, and compare to how other characters would be moving if they were in Dave's situation. If the character was Link, he would be in a much more 'readying for battle' pose. If he was Duke Nukem, he would go "I'm here to kick ass and use my lamp, and I'm all out of lamps!" :)

Seriously, though. Compare that to how Dave reacts (or doesn't). We don't like to over-spoil story or lore related stuff in these updates, so for now, just know that this demeanor in Dave is not by chance, but rather the result of a very deliberate storytelling choice!

That's it for today guys! Hope you liked this update! We've been working carefully in building Dave's animations. Despite being a small pixel guy, it's important for us to work on making him relatable and empathetic.
Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve his animations? We'd love to hear! We are always hanging out on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to say hello. Or, if you want to receive these updates complete and before everyone else, sign up for our Golden Chest

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