How fidgeting helps to bring MMO worlds to life

Bio Break

The next time you log into an MMO, do this simple experiment: Don’t do anything and simply observe your character. Chances are that unless you play a very old MMO, your character’s going to be moving — swaying, rolling shoulders, shifting feet, and performing a set series of small emotes.

We fidget, in other words. Or our characters do, at least.

It didn’t always used to be this way. If you go back to older RPGs and platformers, you’ll find characters that are absolutely stock-still when they come to a rest. In fact, we all thought it was so novel when Commander Keen’s developers programmed idle animations for when we stopped telling him what to do.

Idle animations or fidgeting actually does have purpose, even if it’s not something you normally think about. For one thing, it keeps your character from looking and feeling unnatural. After all, nobody in real…

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