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Trigomaq

Trigger Design Part Two: Third-Person Controls

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Oh boy.........coming up with controls for a third-person action that actually WORKS is pretty difficult. Many(probably all) third-person action games have controller flaws. Grand Theft Auto(Vice City) has poor camera movement and a very bad combat system. The only game that I know of that has probably the best controls for a third-person action game would be Zelda: OoT for the Nintendo 64. What factors do you put into consideration when designing controls for a third-person action game? "....If heaven was around the way.......a fiend who wants to get high, would he stop smoking? Knowing on his own two feet we could just stroll in......and escape from craziness and I bet you theres a heaven for an atheist." - Nasir *NaZ* Jones(courtesy of "God''s Son")

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key things to remember when designing 3rd person perspective camera.

1 do not let the character block your view

2 do not make the character too far away from camera or looks too small

3 do not view directly behind the character, view from abit above his head, so u can see whats infront of him, and not blocking view


my prefered style is mafia or hitman

infact hitman2 done it pretty well.

when u move the view around abit when standing, his head and eye will follow first then his body, creates realism.

mafia done something like tilted angle when running in a curved line, but its not smooth enough other wise, its good.

i suggest give player maximum turning speed, creaes realism, because u want turn 90 sharply when u at full speed running.


zelda has some unique controls, but only works on console, pc got mouse.

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I think Oni had a good system for controlling 3D movement. Left analog moves your character in relation to the view. Right analog rotates the view and the direction your character is facing. Camera is locked behind the character. The L1,L2,L3,R1,R2,R3 were your main action buttons.

Edit: I don't know about the PC controls though. I can't think of a good way to control with the mouse/keyboard.

[edited by - cgoat on May 8, 2003 10:20:39 AM]

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I''m having my first experience with 3rd person, and it is indeed a pain in the arse. So much more things to consider.

For character control, we are making it follow camera-aligned axis, instead of using a turning system. So, if you press right, the character walks to the right, relative to the screen. Obviously, we use cameras and a level design that promote this setup, having most angles aligned to the main axis, so the player has no trouble in turning around corners.

For the camera, I found that the utopic "fully dynamic free automatic camera of DOOM", that properly follows the charatcer, always shows the action from the best angle, and never gets stuck in the scenery is very hard to accomplish, and, in flavour to a easier to control experience, I opted for using loads of hard-wired cameras, that comes in 3 flavours. A "free" camera, that follows the character, can be rotated and zoomed in and out a bit, a non rotatable-camera, that locks itself to an arbitrary axis and moves to center the player on the screen (this one works wonders with our control scheme) and a surveillance-style camera, that is fixed somewhere in the level, and always points at the character, or at a fixed direction.

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I thought of another way that was pretty good. MGS:2 or Xenosaga as an example. Movement is always relative to the screen view, but the camera has fixed positions that change as the character moves into different areas. Probably more difficult to implement, but it always shows the best angle.

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cgoat, there is a real downside to that system, which was most pronounced in the Resident Evil series. There''s a possibility that you''ll find yourself fighting against something that you cannot see, even though your character should be able to. Really, this is a risk with any third-person view, since the player and the character never see exactly the same thing, but fixed camera positions compounds the problem.

I prefer to have it as similar as possible to an FPS, with the view controlled by the mouse and motion controlled with the keyboard. Setting tolerances for the character anims can give the "turn head vs. turn body" issue a solution, and control is seldom compromised by awkward camera angles, unless there''s a wicked low ceiling or something. Even then, pulling in very close can solve the problem. And the character should become transparent, rather than trying to shove the camera over his shoulder.

In Max Payne, the damn camera was over his shoulder all the time, and so when you''re running on those stupid little blood trails in the Valkyr sequences, the crosshair doesn''t help you align your running. That should never happen. Ever.

I think the simplest solution, though inelegant, was seen in Rune. It just used the UT engine, locked the view to 3rd person, and let you go through the game like that. Maybe tweak it a little in the character anim department, or make the controls a little more diverse, but for camera control, that''s the way to go. No matter how good your camera AI is, there are always times when the player will curse your name and demand some sort of manual override. Keep it simple and intuitive, and a little inelegance will be forgiven.

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