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using mouse input for 3D movement ??

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I am writing a small (practice) project dealing with movement of shapes...it involves moving the shape using mouse input (just X and Y) , in 3D (so we hv Z as well)...what is the best or rather standard approach for this... one approach could be to provide a shortkey key (say L,R,T,D,F,B) for each of the 6 views (left,right,top,down,front,back)...so if you are viewing shape from the top, mouse X,Y will move shape in X-Z plane...and so on...though am not sure if this will look very intuitive to a player... any other approach or any suggestion???...thanks...

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Another idea would work if you want to be able to view your shapes at any angle (not just top, left, etc.). You could have a 3D cartesian tool (three line segments, each representing one axis, each in a different color preferably) which could be clicked (and/or shortcut-keyed) to enable/disable rotation around each axis. For example, if you want to move your shape along the XY-plane, simply lock the Z axis in place by clicking the Z-axis of the tool, and use the mouse to move around the XY-plane. Or to move around in the XZ-plane or YZ-plane, simply lock the Y or X axis of the tool.

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That sounds a better approach...probably i can do away completely with keyboard use for moving shapes...or make
it as an alternative...anyway, thanks for the suggestion :)...

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What I'm doing in my physics testing application is that my scroll wheel is considered the z axis. It's not as sensitive as the other axes, but it works. I also use keyboard keys wasd for the same movement as the mouse x/y, and ec for the z axis. Again, not as sensitive, but works. If you want to have something as sensitive you can try a 3 axis joystick (I haven't gotten around to that yet)...

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controlling movement along third axis using wheel is good idea but we cant count on it that player will have a scroll mouse...
i am also doing movement using keyboard [4 arrow keys plus page up and page down for z-axis]...infact in my case key movement is more sensitive as compared to mouse...mine is an old mouse :)...

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