Analysing the player's involvement in video game character animation

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
This dissertation investigates the impact of animation on player interest in an existing video game character. There is high demand and expectation regarding character animation quality, yet understanding and achieving this standard is complex and challenging. The quality of a character’s animation is often derived from its direct appeal to the audience and how its representation informs their impression. However, there is a gap in the literature where there is little on how style representation plays a role in character perception and identification in video games. A practice-led approach was used to understand the relationship between player involvement and the player-character's appeal. The process involved the creation of an animation reel to demonstrate how a popular video game character's acceptance can change based on a player's perception of style in the character's animation. I used Link from the video game Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (Nintendo, 2018). The reel was presented to adults between 18 and 35 to review the animations. Using the process of creative exegesis, the theories and concepts about character appeal, animation design, and player involvement were combined to analyse and critique the contributing factors that inform the perception of the creative work. The results from this study indicate that a change in movement style impacted the perception of Link and the participant's demonstrated interest to play him. This study confirms that style representations are an important design consideration to improve a character’s appeal. This topic may benefit the art and technique of character design and how to improve on it.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Fine Arts. 2021
Character animation, Video games, Appeal, Involvement, Identification, Effort, Principles of animation