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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » 3D perspective? Isometric view? Why not both?

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57 posts found
  ozmono

Novice Member

Joined: 3/12/06
Posts: 1045

4/21/13 1:36:35 AM#21
Originally posted by jalexbrown
I just want an MMO made and designed around first-person play for a change.

I would like that if VR picks up and I think it's a safe bet that one will be designed around it if VR systems take off. I think that combined with EverQuest webcam related facial emote technology could be something really special in a game.

 

Sorry don't mean to derail the conversation just dreaming. Carry on.

  BahamutKaiser

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 297

On hiatus for a while guys, MMOs still aren't interesting me.

4/21/13 1:39:10 AM#22
Originally posted by jalexbrown
I just want an MMO made and designed around first-person play for a change.

You can play first person in most 3D games, and some have been made for it but often get changed to third person because more ppl like it and it is more advantageous.

I know some people like the idea of viewing from the first person, but on a screen, you lack a great deal in peripherial vision, so it looks more like staring out of a box, Third person helps adjust players sense of surrounding and interraction with the environment in a way that makes up for sound, touch, and peripherial vision. Particularly in melee inclusive games, it can be extremely cumbersome to play first person, it works for shooters because your mostly interacting in a forward motion, but there is no rational spin attacks or back kicks when all you can see is what's in front of you.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

4/21/13 3:02:34 AM#23

As others have mentioned, RTS/FPS hybrids have done this sort of thing before.  Usually they keep the viewpoints isolated from one another and very purpose-centric (like how in Natural Selection there is one commander who plays from an RTS point of view, and everyone else plays an aliens vs. marines FPS.)

Why do both?

If you have a very strong vision, a massive abundance of time, and a strong purpose to each view type, it can work.  In NS obviously they needed both types of views to create an RTS/FPS, and it was clear that the RTS view was required to be able to give commands and place buildings (and to feel like a commander), while the FPS view is the main mode of play.

Why not both?

Well how many MMORPGs do you feel had flawless controls and camera angles?  Between cameras stuck awkwardly against walls or intervening objects or blocked by the avatar or colliding weirdly with the ground or interacting with water surfaces, there's a ton of work just getting one type of perspective done right.

If there's gameplay reasons to do both, and it adds a lot to the game, go for it.  Otherwise, it's just spreading your dev time butter over too much bread.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 9:03:37 AM#24
Originally posted by mmoguy43

Is "why not?" a legitimate reason to include it in a game? I understand the reason is to give player the option, but for what reason? What does having both accomplish to improve the game? Is there a game?

Because giving players a clear view of the action is very important.  Fighting as much against the camera as against the mobs is bad game design.  (Guild Wars 2, I'm looking at you.)

Rather than going with one universal camera view that players may not like, give players a lot of options.  Let the camera follow the player when he turns or not.  Let the player use WASD for forward/turn left/backward/turn right or move up/move left/move down/move right.  Let the player have a wider or narrower viewing angle.  And yes, offer both isometric and 3D perspective viewpoints.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 9:08:33 AM#25
Originally posted by BahamutKaiser

Ceilings, multiple story locations with players overlapping eachother, and Z axis mechanics in combat...

I'm fine with isometric games, I think it's a good avenue for lower budget games to come into being without as much graphical cost, but once you do put it into 3D, and actually detail a world, it's a shameful waste to play isometrically, and doing so also makes it difficult to include any hieight elements.

There are also wildly different advantages and disadvantages to both, so gameplay has to be limited to something that will work with both angles, anyone who plays smite can attest to this fully.

Ceilings aren't that hard to handle.  For a 3D perspective, you already have to track what's a ceiling and where it is so that you can shove the camera underneath it.  For an isometric view, give the player the option that if you're in a building or whatever, you just don't draw the ceiling for that building.  And while you're at it, give players that option for 3D perspective, too.  I've already implemented it, even; I could come back with some screenshots later.  Back-face culling makes it look kind of broken, but again, just give players the option and if some people don't like it, they can turn it off.

An isometric viewpoint doesn't preclude having a Z-axis.  You can have a Z-axis just fine with an isometric viewpoint, just as readily as with a 3D perspective viewpoint.  It doesn't limit you nearly as much as you think.  If you want to be able to move freely in some 3D maze without gravity so that there isn't a clear "up" direction, then isometric would be problematic.  But how many games do that?

  User Deleted
4/21/13 9:14:06 AM#26
Originally posted by jalexbrown
I just want an MMO made and designed around first-person play for a change.

Indeed!  Who cares what your character looks like or what it's animations look like... you're out there killing other people, not admiring your butt.

  Axxar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/09/08
Posts: 2047

"See how I reward those who fail me!"

4/21/13 11:03:48 AM#27

Personally I would find it very frustrating to play a game such as World of WarCraft if it offered both isometric and 3rd person mode. Why? Simply because each game mode offers its own advantages, so you'd end up having to switch between them constantly while playing. Isometric lets you see around corners while the 3rd persion view lets you see much farther.

I much prefer to focus on the actual gameplay than having to tinker with the camera a lot. I think that's one reason many developers choose not to have both views. I think a great and very relevant example to this topic is "isometric" game is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's most certainly a 3d engine yet the game view takes place from an "isometric" angle. In addition there's no free camera - it's locked and can only be rotated through 4 different angles, so there's no annoying tinkering.

In addition it makes use of the fact that it's a 3d game in a very seamless way. When you want to shoot with one of your soldiers, the camera automatically goes down to a 3rd person perspective that lets you easily toggle between available targets. Certain actions such as committing to firing, also takes advantage of the 3d engine and seamlessly gives you an "action shot" of what's happening, then returns you to the normal "isometric" perspective when it's done.

Since it's done automatically in a seamless fashion, it avoids annoying the player yet takes advantage of the engine to create some cool action shots.

Depending on the type of game, control schemes may also need to vary considerably between modes, which is an extra headache both for the developer and the player.

"Tiny clown, he got wet. I was talking to a psychic and I can't sleep in the ozone. There are too many different peanuts, looking sad.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 12:12:36 PM#28
Originally posted by Axehilt

Why do both?

If you have a very strong vision, a massive abundance of time, and a strong purpose to each view type, it can work.  In NS obviously they needed both types of views to create an RTS/FPS, and it was clear that the RTS view was required to be able to give commands and place buildings (and to feel like a commander), while the FPS view is the main mode of play.

Why not both?

Well how many MMORPGs do you feel had flawless controls and camera angles?  Between cameras stuck awkwardly against walls or intervening objects or blocked by the avatar or colliding weirdly with the ground or interacting with water surfaces, there's a ton of work just getting one type of perspective done right.

If there's gameplay reasons to do both, and it adds a lot to the game, go for it.  Otherwise, it's just spreading your dev time butter over too much bread.

If you've already done the work for a 3D perspective viewpoint, then adding the option for an isometric viewpoint isn't that much additional work.  You'll have to do redo culling because there are things that should be culled from one perspective but not the other in order to optimize performance and avoid graphical artifacting.  And there's a tiny bit of work to offer camera controls and menus for both methods.  But that's about it.

If, on the other hand, you've already done everything assuming an isometric view and want to offer a 3D perspective, that could create massive new amounts of work, especially if you're using some fundamentally 2D methods.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 12:22:34 PM#29
Originally posted by Axxar

Personally I would find it very frustrating to play a game such as World of WarCraft if it offered both isometric and 3rd person mode. Why? Simply because each game mode offers its own advantages, so you'd end up having to switch between them constantly while playing. Isometric lets you see around corners while the 3rd persion view lets you see much farther.

I much prefer to focus on the actual gameplay than having to tinker with the camera a lot. I think that's one reason many developers choose not to have both views. I think a great and very relevant example to this topic is "isometric" game is XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's most certainly a 3d engine yet the game view takes place from an "isometric" angle. In addition there's no free camera - it's locked and can only be rotated through 4 different angles, so there's no annoying tinkering.

In addition it makes use of the fact that it's a 3d game in a very seamless way. When you want to shoot with one of your soldiers, the camera automatically goes down to a 3rd person perspective that lets you easily toggle between available targets. Certain actions such as committing to firing, also takes advantage of the 3d engine and seamlessly gives you an "action shot" of what's happening, then returns you to the normal "isometric" perspective when it's done.

Since it's done automatically in a seamless fashion, it avoids annoying the player yet takes advantage of the engine to create some cool action shots.

Depending on the type of game, control schemes may also need to vary considerably between modes, which is an extra headache both for the developer and the player.

A Google Image search for XCOM: Enemy Unknown produced many screenshots that were clearly a 3D perspective, and none that were clearly isometric.  Can you link me to one that uses an isometric viewpoint for the game itself rather than just menus and UI?

Is the problem that one camera view offers an advantage over another?  Or is the real problem that the other camera angle offers disadvantages?  If giving players a choice of two camera views, one of which cripples the players, is a bad thing, then surely giving players the bad camera view as their only option is not an improvement.

When games first moved to 3D, far too many developers focused mainly on "look at the cool 3D graphics", and a lot less on "how can we give players a clear view of what they're doing?"  It's gotten somewhat better since then, and a lot of 3D games today to give players a good view of the action.  But far too many don't.

Yes, you have to offer additional control schemes.  But you should do that anyway.  Games should offer players lots of choices in how to configure their controls to help players configure things however they want and get comfortable controls.  The best I've seen in this regard was Infantry, which let you set every possible control to up to three combinations of keys, each of which could have up to three keys, and then let players save six control configurations and switch between them easily.  Making players fight against a bad control scheme as much as you're fighting against mobs is terrible game design.

  Axxar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/09/08
Posts: 2047

"See how I reward those who fail me!"

4/21/13 1:35:36 PM#30

Here's a shot of the basic game view during a mission: http://www.totallygn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/XCOM-Enemy-Unknown-Splash-Image1.jpg

(I assume by "isometric" you simply mean a camera position similar to 2d isometric games rather than a literal isometric perspective)

Yes, the reason is each view have their own advantages. This means that you have to flip flop between them all the time, which is a hassle. Why do you do it? Because you can and it improves your performance in the game. If there's only one option there's no need for flip flopping since you can't.

Edit: I think http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZn8VF5nYZU this clip shows XCOM: Enemy Unknown better.

"Tiny clown, he got wet. I was talking to a psychic and I can't sleep in the ozone. There are too many different peanuts, looking sad.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 2:39:30 PM#31
Originally posted by Axxar

Here's a shot of the basic game view during a mission: http://www.totallygn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/XCOM-Enemy-Unknown-Splash-Image1.jpg

(I assume by "isometric" you simply mean a camera position similar to 2d isometric games rather than a literal isometric perspective)

Yes, the reason is each view have their own advantages. This means that you have to flip flop between them all the time, which is a hassle. Why do you do it? Because you can and it improves your performance in the game. If there's only one option there's no need for flip flopping since you can't.

Edit: I think http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZn8VF5nYZU this clip shows XCOM: Enemy Unknown better.

The screenshot you link is just an ordinary 3D perspective.  There's nothing isometric about it apart from some UI stuff.  In a true isometric perspective, the camera doesn't correspond to any particular point in the game world, but is kind of at a limit as the camera goes off to infinity in some particular direction together with a limit as the frustum gets infinitely narrow.

  Axxar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/09/08
Posts: 2047

"See how I reward those who fail me!"

4/21/13 2:40:32 PM#32
Originally posted by Axxar

(I assume by "isometric" you simply mean a camera position similar to 2d isometric games rather than a literal isometric perspective)

I guess I didn't see there was a lot more text in your post below the pictures. In that case I'd guess the reason isometric isn't used much is because it looks odd in comparison to a 3d perspective and that there isn't really any demand for it.

"Tiny clown, he got wet. I was talking to a psychic and I can't sleep in the ozone. There are too many different peanuts, looking sad.

  Disdena

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 1098

4/21/13 2:44:21 PM#33
Originally posted by Axxar

(I assume by "isometric" you simply mean a camera position similar to 2d isometric games rather than a literal isometric perspective)

He means an actual isometric perspective, not 3D with the camera positioned overhead.

 

Oops, posted while you guys were already posting.

  Axxar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/09/08
Posts: 2047

"See how I reward those who fail me!"

4/21/13 2:48:49 PM#34
Yeah, I found out. I was under the impression the question was why games usually had a ground level perspective or a top-down perspective, but not both. Somehow I missed the OP text below the images when I scrolled down. But then again Quizz missed the quoted line in my post so I suppose we're even ;)

"Tiny clown, he got wet. I was talking to a psychic and I can't sleep in the ozone. There are too many different peanuts, looking sad.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

4/21/13 2:55:04 PM#35
Originally posted by Quizzical

If you've already done the work for a 3D perspective viewpoint, then adding the option for an isometric viewpoint isn't that much additional work.  You'll have to do redo culling because there are things that should be culled from one perspective but not the other in order to optimize performance and avoid graphical artifacting.  And there's a tiny bit of work to offer camera controls and menus for both methods.  But that's about it.

If, on the other hand, you've already done everything assuming an isometric view and want to offer a 3D perspective, that could create massive new amounts of work, especially if you're using some fundamentally 2D methods.

Sure, getting it working at 70% effectiveness actually isn't much work at all.  And like I said, if you have a strong conviction behind the purpose of each type of view it might be a good idea to keep both.

But to get the feel right -- at a really professional quality -- will take effort to smooth out all the common rough edges I mentioned (and the countless others I overlooked.)

Again it's all a matter of whether you want to be x dev hours into the project and have two camera types which are alright, or one camera type which is pretty dang polished and have time left over to start implementing even more features.  Every feature in a game has this sort of bug-drag which gradually slows down development as you try to get all those features into the game playing nice with each other bug-free.

Having not really kept track of your project you could certainly come back and say, "Building construction is a major part of gameplay and an iso camera is far better suited to planning and placing structures." and that would make a lot of sense.  But without understanding the clear role of implementing and maintaining two camera types, I'd lean strongly against doing it.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 3:02:38 PM#36
Originally posted by Axxar
Yeah, I found out. I was under the impression the question was why games usually had a ground level perspective or a top-down perspective, but not both. Somehow I missed the OP text below the images when I scrolled down. But then again Quizz missed the quoted line in my post so I suppose we're even ;)

I responded to that quoted line in my post above.  In an isometric viewpoint, the camera doesn't correspond to any particular position in the game world.  There is a camera direction, but not a camera position.

One probable advantage of offering an isometric viewpoint is that it would probably be possible to greatly reduce the system requirements.  While I haven't done it yet, I think it should be possible.

With a 3D perspective, you absolutely have to render everything all over again every single frame if the camera moves.  With an isometric view, if an object doesn't move in the game world (e.g., ground, trees, buildings), then you can render that area of the game world without things that can move to a texture once, and then for many consecutive frames, just draw that texture and you've got the ground and terrain done very cheaply.

Anything that moves would have to be drawn over again every single frame, and you'd get a bit of hitching when you have to draw a new area--or a lot of hitching when you rotate the camera which would necessitate redrawing everything.  But if you're trying to play a game on really low end hardware, 40 frames per second with some hitching now and then beats 20 frames per second that is always choppy.

I'm not saying that you should force everyone to play a game in an isometric viewpoint.  I'm just saying it would be good to offer it, and if players don't like it, they don't have to use it.  It isn't hard to do.

  MMOman101

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/05/08
Posts: 1212

4/21/13 3:15:22 PM#37

I am not sure why you are doing this other than the fact you keep saying it has not been done before. 

I think the only question you should be asking is:

Does it make the game better (more fun)?

Adding "features" just to add features does not make a game better.  It just give it more things you can put on the back of a box.  

Gameplay should drive games.  Does this add to game play?

  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2330

4/21/13 3:23:28 PM#38

I just don't see the benefit of this in just any game. Maybe it would be good for a strategy or adventure game with a high quality(angled 3D) and low quality (2d iso) view modes. Having to toggle between them, 3 1/4 top view with up/downleft/right direction control scheme to 3D view WASD relative movement, would be really jarring. What sort of game feel would something like this have?

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

"blocked nariusseldon since forever"

  User Deleted
4/21/13 3:29:15 PM#39

Core gameplay controls would differ between the two views, meaning you'd have more room for bugs and balance issues.  If there's one thing I've learned running businesses, it's that you are far better off doing a few things very well than you are trying to do many things with mediocrity.  Pick a view, and stick with it.

Unless your gameplay really is so simplistic that view changes wouldn't really make a difference.  Then by all means...

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

 
OP  4/21/13 4:06:00 PM#40
Originally posted by MMOman101

I am not sure why you are doing this other than the fact you keep saying it has not been done before. 

I think the only question you should be asking is:

Does it make the game better (more fun)?

Adding "features" just to add features does not make a game better.  It just give it more things you can put on the back of a box.  

Gameplay should drive games.  Does this add to game play?

Do good camera controls add to gameplay?  Do good camera controls make the game more fun?  Obviously, a game with excellent camera controls but terrible everything else is a terrible game.  But awkward camera views that leave you fighting with the camera as much as you're fighting with the mobs can seriously detract from an otherwise excellent game.

One potential issue is that different players will disagree on exactly what a camera ought to do.  To some degree, what is ideal depends on your hardware, and especially your monitor(s).  So the solution is that if some players want this and others want that, you let the end user pick so that they can all have what they want.

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