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Lights, Camera, Action

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I saw this cool (and extensive!) article about where to point the camera, in games:


The article is specific to side-scrollers (all the way back to the arcade "classic" Rally X from 1980), but I found the material to be pretty applicable to any game where the game controls the camera (instead of the player having full camera control).

I'm heads down on Chapter 4 right now, but when I get a chance, I definitely want to explore some of these techniques in TotAW. Currently, the camera is fixed on the selected character. Immediate ideas:

  1. When you switch between characters, the camera instantly focusses on the new character. Having it scroll to the new character (probably pretty quickly) would be less jarring.
  2. Having the camera focus out a little in front of the character would also be a nice touch, giving a little more vision of the current area.

Anyways, there are lots of techniques and refinements listed and explained in the article. I'm confident that I can improve things in TotAW with just some small adjustments.

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Thanks, good find! This question was bubbling up to the top of my to-do list. I'm making a sidescroller fighting RPG with big characters, lots of running and jumping... looks like I want horizontal "dual forward focus" like Defender, "vertical position snapping" like Shinobi, acceleration smoothing, and maybe some pan/zoom/ambience cues like Limbo.


In your game.. yeah, your ideas make sense to me. Maybe use a dual-axis or circular variant of "dual forward focus". And when switching characters you'd just scroll the center relative to the character's position, becase you want that visual cue even if both characters are in a camera window where normally no scrolling would occur.

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