Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Camera Angles

It's been over 10 years since the advent of 3-dimensional gaming. Games like Tomb Raider "redefined gaming" back in the day. Since those times the concept of the camera angle has plagued me. I personally hated "Tomb Raider", because I could never get the camera where I felt that I had a good view of the obstacle and could work with it. These games were early in the genre of 3D gaming, so a little bit of that has to be allowed. Some experiments work, some do not.

Now that it's 2008, I would expect that "modern" games would have been able to take what works, and make it work better. But it seems that most of the games lately that I really enjoy end up being plauged by the "camera angle" monster. Games like Lego Star Wars - one of my current favorite games to play - is horrific with it. In Co-Op it can become frustrating enough to make you not want to play anymore at times, when you get locked in an area because your partner and you are running in opposite directions. Crackdown is a lot of fun, but every so often the camera moves to an impossible angle and trying to jump, move the camera, and position your guy so he lands on a 2" wide pipe so you can get through a rooftop race is.. frustrating (not to mention requires you to use extra appendages somehow).

In years before the birth of "3D gaming", the camera angle was generally fixed - you had top scrolling and side scrolling, or top down, or mostly top down views of the field, and they were relatively static. Sometimes the angle kinda sucked, but it was what it was, and you dealt with it. Now you have a roving camera that is following you, it dynamically changes what the field of vision looks like and how you are looking at an obstacle while you are trying to get around it. Sometimes just being "too close" to the focal point can make the rest of the field almost obscured to the player. Star Trek Legacy is plagued by this issue.

It seems that the 2D games came out of infancy rather quickly, and had AAA titles to the point where they were cliche. 3D games are still trying to find the camera angle to properly view what a AAA title can really be.

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