DH: My name is David Helsby and I’m an Animator. I work with a team of amazingly talented designers, artists, and engineers. Our goal is to provide the best-feeling first person experience possible. My primary job is creating first-person animation for Destiny. If you can shoot it, fire it, reload it, throw it, or cast it, I’ve got my hands in it.
DH: The work I do provides responsive gameplay feedback that supports the player’s experience in the game. My goal is to create first person content and features that look and feel great without getting in the way of the player feeling like a badass.
DH: There’s a world outside of these walls?! Spending time with my family is at the top of my list. To stay at the top of my game, I actually spend a lot of time doing whatever I can to increase my own knowledge and skill as an artist.
DH: When I was younger, I wanted to be a treasure hunter. Seriously, I was obsessed the idea of underwater salvage and exploring sunken ships.
DH: I got a BA at Central Washington University and later went to Vancouver Film School. While there, I took their program focused on hand-drawn animation. The principal rules of animation are the same across all mediums and topics, so I use them whenever I approach a new animation.
DH: I’ve had a lot of jobs prior to my time in the game industry. Sales executive, Longshoreman, Dock and boathouse construction, Teaching English in Europe, among others. My first gig in the industry was working for a company that made web games. We had really short production times (six weeks to make a game)! I had to learn to work quickly and concentrate on what really matters to the player. This was a great first experience making games because, no matter how big of a project you are working on, you’ve always got a finite amount of time to put out the best product possible.
DH: I was persistent. Bungie is where I wanted to be and I never gave up. I’m also very tall.
DH: I had a friend who was working at Microsoft Game Studios and he introduced me to his Art Director. The Art Director took a look at my demo reel and told me that there was some good stuff but he wanted to see more. I went home and spent the next month making more animations based on his suggestions. When I sent it back to him he was shocked. He said I was the only person that had actually taken his advice and made new work for him. He hired me and I met some amazingly talented people and worked my ass off until my contract ended. I went to work for another studio, but a few years later I heard there was an opportunity at Bungie. I applied immediately. Lucky for me, some of the same great people that I worked with at Microsoft had made their way to Bungie. They remembered me and gave me a shot. I think if I had to put this into a piece of advice it would be to remember that it’s a small industry. If you get the opportunity to work for a game studio concentrate on giving your best effort every day and treat everyone with respect. I guarantee you’ll see those people again.
DH: I think answering all of the questions that Sage Merrill, our sandbox design lead (aka “The Beard”) had to ask. Bungie’s interview was easily the toughest I’ve ever been through. It was definitely a rite of passage.
DH: Working with smart, passionate people. We all have the same goal of creating a game that isn’t just well executed but is a game that we all want to play.
DH:1) Travel to the studio on the back of a Unicorn.2) Have breakfast 1 on 1 with Jason Jones.3) Drink magical elixir to increase mental and physical stamina.4) Take wacky reference video of myself for new animations.5) Animate.6) Get animations in game.7) Iterate8) Iterate9) Iterate10) Celebrate! (go home and sleep)
DH:Putting in that extra effort, knowing that you can squeeze in just a little more fun for the player is what keeps me going at 2 am. Also, producers will sometimes bring you waffles at 2 in the morning to help you keep working. Thanks Richenburg!
DH:The biggest challenge about what I do is creating good-looking animations within the tight constraints that make a video game fun and responsive. A great example of this is authoring a good melee or punch animation. In real life, if you’re going to throw a punch, you might have some type of anticipation or wind up before you throw that uppercut or right cross. In a first person shooter, once the player hits the button, that punch needs to be flying towards its target immediately. Removing that anticipation is the tricky part because that anticipation is what tells your brain what’s going to happen next. Solving visual problems like this is the hardest (and most fun) part of my job.
DH: Seeing my work front and center during the E3 demo, and seeing people react positively, was definitely a highlight of my career.
DH: I find that figure drawing is one of the best ways keep my core art skills sharp. I also animate at home, study filmmaking, and paint.
DH: Persistence pays off. Figure out what you want to do in this industry (and be specific about it!). Do the research on the best place to learn this skill. Once you’ve learned don’t give up if you get turned down. It took me over a year to find work after I got out of school. Keep practicing your craft and creating new work and don’t get discouraged! Also remember to get feedback about your work from friends, fellow student, and gaming professionals if they have the time.
Your role as a moderator enables you immediately ban this user from messaging (bypassing the report queue) if you select a punishment.