Animating Emotion – Polyarc Talks About Creating Moss at GDC 2018

It is nigh-universally agreed that Quill, the mouse protagonist of Moss, is incredibly adorable. Creating a character who has such charm and range isn’t just something that pops out of thin air, though, it is a labour of love, as one of the development team from Polyarc will be discussing at a upcoming talk.

Moss hasn’t even been released yet, but Quill already has a special place in the hearts of videogame fans worldwide. With her tiny sword in hand, ranging through the mysterious environments of her native videogame and communicating with the player in sign language, Quill is far from just another player avatar.


At an upcoming talk at GDC, the Game Developers Conference, Polyarc Animation Director Richard Lico will speak about how virtual reality (VR) eliminates the need for a traditional ‘fourth wall’. He will also discuss the methods used to create an emotional bond between Quill and the player, including covering what tools and workflow were used during the process. The aim is to help animators, riggers and character designers draw emotion from players without using traditional linear narratives, and also show the pitfalls ot avoid during the process.

VRFocus previously spoke with Chris Alderson, Polyarc’s Art Director, who discussed about the origins of Quill, where he said: I gravitated towards the idea of a relationship with the character. In game you’d play on a television screen you might not make it through a mission, and you’re not that upset by it. In this, you feel bad when Quill takes damage.”

The VRFocus team were also lucky enough to get a hands-on preview of Moss, where the relationship between Quill and player was quickly formed: “After just one short play, the tease of more taxing puzzles and the forming of a non-verbal relationship with the adorable Quill is very compelling. The hope is high that Polyarc will carve a lengthy adventure that takes full advantage of the mechanics that have been laid out in this early demo.”

Moss screenshot

GDC 2018 will take place on 19th-23rd March, 2018 at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco. As always, VRFocus will have a presence there and will be bringing you all the latest on what to expect.