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Camera Angle

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Being a developer of 2D Isometric games but not a mathemagician (no, not mathematician, but mathemagician-- ie. those magical with math), I have done a significant amount of research on what the ideal camera angle is to get these damn sprites to look good! Obviously this will entirely depend on what you want for your game, but it was quite confusing as I learned through each and every mistake. Fortunately I did very little art creation even after deciding upon a 30' degree angle. Thank God! I found an even better angle.

I figured I'd just share the difference I've found in learning while attempting to create a good isometric 2.5D game, using 2D sprites.

All angles are from topdown to front view. The actual angle also depends on what software you are using, as well as how that software handles your orthographic camera. I used Daz Studio in some of my work, and then switched over to Carrara (my final solution). A similar software to DS is Poser, which accepts different angles to get it right! While one program may need the correct 30' degrees to get a flat 2:1 pixel ratio per tile, Poser actually need 35' degrees. Weird, but I have found that all software is different, and some may more or less support a true orthographic camera.

45 Degrees-- I was told in the beginning that this is what I was asking for. I find many people who assume this is correct and actually don't have any experience creating dimetric angles.
40 Degrees-- Better, but same as above!
35 Degrees-- Apparently this works in Poser, but still didn't help me. I have heard in Maya, this is also the case.

30 Degrees-- In Carrara, this worked. It created my tiles to be exactly 2:1 pixels. However, this actually isn't suppose to be true! In other programs, I find that the tiles are 2:1 pixel + 1 pixel. Instead of 100x50, they were always 100x51. Easy to fix in Photoshop, but still annoying to my perfectionist approach.

26.565 Degrees-- For pixel art, this is important. As you can see, it allows for straight diagonal lines. b1.gif
In Carrara, this gave me tiles which were 100:45. Yes, it was certainly not 2:1 like a 30 degree angle, but the tiles were just as straight and instead of 100:50 they were 100:45. Although the perfectionist inside me squirmed for a moment, the fact that they are still divisible by 5 appeased it. However, being the perfectionist I am, I said to myself, "No, we have to stick with a 2:1 dimetric angle! This isn't an isometric game, it's actually a DIMETRIC game. People need to know the difference between Dimetric and Isometric! RAWR!" Of course, I am a know-it-all without even knowing what Isometric or Dimetric truly are, hehe.

Then I noticed the actual reality of 30' vs 26.565' angles. Hands down, I preferred the latter. My best friend and nephew agreed.
So I decided to keep this angle, and change my game away from a 2:1 pixel perfect world, to an angle which I can actually see the character's face.


26.565 DEGREES

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It all really depends on what you personally want the players to see more of.. The top of stuff, or the side of stuff. Many isometric games keep environments and buildings at larger angles so that you really see the depth of things and you see rooftops and the fronts/sides of buildings and such, nearly equally. But when it comes to characters, a lot of games cheat the perspective by making characters appear at very minor camera angles. Anywhere from 0 degrees to 30 degrees. I've seen games where characters are at entirely side perspective views, flat like paper, yet in a 30-45 degree angled world.

Sometimes it is okay to break "reality" in order to get better visual results. If seeing character's faces is important to you, then push the angle as much to the face as possible. When most people say "this game is at a 45 degree angle" I don't really think they realize how harsh a 45 degree angle is. I don't see many games using such an extreme angle. As you stated, people who don't really have any experience working with camera angles will just assume "hey, it looks like halfway between top down and side view... so that's 45 degrees, right?" which is rarely ever the actual case. :)

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