Cameras?

Cameras?

Cameras?

The great thing about 3D is that you can more or less control the camera like it’s a real camera. I mean, in 2D, from my very short experience, there is not much of a concept of camera, except now in things like Unity, but you just draw the tiles so that it’s on screen or not.

In 3D, the camera is a point with position, rotation, and the camera moves in a world coordonate system. The setting then remains at the same place. Not saying I particularly love 3D over 2D though. But this feels more natural, and allows to start to think, from time to time, as a film director, choosing the right camera angle…

So, what if, say, I was making a 3D third-person RPG like Dreams of Ylina and I had to choose a « camera »? Let’s list some possible options:

  • Close behind: a camera behind the controllable character, close to him, allowing the player to see in front of the character
  • Not-so-close behind: same, but a bit further
  • Top-down: see the character from top, reminiscent of my beloved old-school RPGs,
  • Anywhere between the first three
  • Freelook: allow to control the rotation of the camera around the character with the mouse.

Dreams of YlinaNow, how could I choose between all these possibilities? Well, let’s ask myself: what do I want the player to feel, to see?

Well, I should add that I don’t really like Freelook 3rd person cameras. I don’t know, this kind of control is not for me, it seems.

I want the player to be able to see the horizon, and the landscapes. So, top-down is off the list.

I also want the player to see the feet of his character and what’s on the floor, even close to the character. So, not too close behind.

But wait, there’s more! What if the player runs down a hill, or climbs a slope? If the camera is too far behind, it will enter the ground when running down a slope, and if it’s too close, you will not be able to see where you’re going when climbing a slope.

That leaves me two options then:

  • Carefull adjust the distance and height of the camera to fit all the needs of my terrain and game
  • Have a dynamic camera that doesn’t go into the ground, maybe lifts up a little when doing down, and why not rotating a bit upwards to see where the player is going when going up

I haven’t really chosen yet, although what I’ve used for now is more of the first idea than the second, but, well I just wanted to share these thoughts.

As always, my blog articles are rare, not very well thought in advance, and written in the middle of the night, as I’m very tired.

See you space cowboys.

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