Character spotlight – Jackin

As a concept, Death of Magic has been evolving since 2014. There have been shifts in focus over that time, but some of the most obvious changes have been in character design. Characters have changed race, age, and gender as various story elements have been updated and rearranged. One of the most obvious shifts has been Jackin.

In her initial, elementary incarnation, Jackin was far more of a blank slate. We knew she was an elf, was young, and we knew she had a prosthetic arm (even if we weren’t sure why). On the cusp of adulthood, she was fresh faced and impressionable, responding to events in the story impulsively, very much at the mercy of forces around her.

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After several iterations of the script, it was clear that this innocent Jackin no longer made sense. Her environment is harsh, and although she is young she’s been through significant trauma (finally, her prosthetic arm got a backstory). Gradually she grew older, more cynical, more wary. She’s a young woman who’s known hunger, who’s lost family and friends, and who knows that if something seems too good to be true than it probably is.

These changes in her character are reflected in her appearance. Her face is lined, her hair tangled, her shoulders broad from hard work. There are aesthetic changes too – her nose is broader and more feline, her skin darker, and there’s (although you can’t see it in these pictures) a tail. As the appearance of other races such as dwarves became more animalistic, elves had to as well.

As the player character, Jackin will go on changing and evolving according to decisions made throughout the story. She may grow more hopeful, more trusting of new opportunities. Or she may grow more cynical, placing faith only in herself and her allies. It’s up to you.

Creating a character who can believably develop in multiple directions has been a challenge, but a fascinating one.

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Jackin animations

 

 

Six month’s progress – pictured above are two animated gifs of Jackin, the first from September last year and the second from last week.

There have been some minor changes to the design of her face and pants, but mostly the quality difference is from a change in lineart and much better animation. Figuring out a character’s ‘idle’ animation, the one that plays all the time, is a real challenge. They need to look alive, but they can’t make any large or sudden movements or the animation becomes distracting. For example, the Jackin on the left is flexing her hand and flicking her tail very obviously, while the Jackin on the right looks far more natural and relaxed.