10 February 2011

Adding Weight to Your Game Design Part 12: Appeal - by Michael Jungbluth

      Posted 02/03/11 10:35:00 am   Part 1 - Squash and Stretch : Part 2 - Anticipation : Part 3 - Staging

Part 4 - Straight Ahead & Pose to Pose : Part 5 - Follow Through & Overlapping Action

Part 6 - Slow In, Slow Out : Part 7 - Arcs : Part 8 - Secondary Action : Part 9 - Timing

Part 10 - Exaggeration : Part 11 - Solid Drawing : Part 12 - Appeal


Weight is a physical and emotional sensation that people feel everyday.  And conveying that in a visual way can be incredibly challenging.  But it is something animators do all the time, and the principles they use can be applied to game design. 

In fact, it needs to be, as many of these principles are sacrificed by the animator for the good of playability.  Thankfully, since both animators and designers have to juggle multiple disciplines to bring their creations to life, they speak much of the same language.  They just use a slightly different alphabet.   

Each part will lay out the 12 principles of animation, and how they are not only used in animation but how they directly relate to game design.  Both animators and designers will realize quickly that many of these are unspoken truths, but the benefit comes in knowing that they can now speak to each other on a deeper level.  A level that takes animation and design past being purely functional, but now fully functioning towards creating an honest experience. 

It is how both can add an extra sense of weight and purpose to the game and the characters within it.  Many of these fundamentals are inter-connected, and it is through a combination of all of these working together that you will have characters that move with weight and emote with weight.  And that is what will stick with players.

 “It is important for the animator to be able to study sensation and to feel the force behind sensation, in order to project that sensation.” – Walt Disney


Applied to Animation

Appeal is the last principle and ultimately the culmination of every one that comes before it. Characters have to be relatable.  They have to emote, and they have to appeal to the emotions and sensibilities of the player.  This is all done by creating visually interesting designs, shapes and physical features.  A big key to this is knowing when to employ the use asymmetrical vs symmetrical designs and actions.  All of this is done in an effort to create virtual charisma for your character.  And this isn’t just used to create characters that are likeable.  You need to do this when the player should dislike the creations.  It is your job as the creator to make them dislikable, not because you created an uninteresting character, but because you made them a genuinely flawed being.  It all comes down to the player investing themselves emotionally and mentally into your creation from first sight.  Because if it is appealing to the eye, the player will be opening themselves up for continued emotional investment. 


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