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

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57 posts found
  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/21/13 4:09:29 PM#41
Originally posted by mmoguy43

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?

Who says you would ever have to toggle between them?  If a game has a video settings menu that gives you 20 options, does that force you to constantly toggle between all of them?  Or do you set what you want once and leave it that way forever, or at least until you decide that you don't like a setting you chose and want to change it?  This would be just one more graphical setting to choose from.

  Quizzical

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Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/21/13 4:15:58 PM#42
Originally posted by asmkm22

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...

Controls would be exactly the same.  The game world would be exactly the same.  Game mechanics would be exactly the same.  Many games now have a 3D perspective viewpoint that lets you zoom in and out or rotate the camera direction.  Are you proposing that games should abolish that and force a fixed camera angle and distance at all times?

As for bugs, you could run into culling bugs, but you're looking at a few hundred lines of code in the entire game that would differ between 3D perspective and isometric viewpoints.  If you find a bug in one that isn't present in the other, it will be immediately obvious that it's one of these few lines of code that is wrong--and sometimes immediately obvious exactly which line of code is wrong.  This doesn't turn into a spaghetti code situation where you have ten thousand lines to implement some feature and a bug in the feature is hard to track down.

  lizardbones

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Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

4/21/13 4:20:27 PM#43


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by asmkm22 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...
Controls would be exactly the same.  The game world would be exactly the same.  Game mechanics would be exactly the same.  Many games now have a 3D perspective viewpoint that lets you zoom in and out or rotate the camera direction.  Are you proposing that games should abolish that and force a fixed camera angle and distance at all times?

As for bugs, you could run into culling bugs, but you're looking at a few hundred lines of code in the entire game that would differ between 3D perspective and isometric viewpoints.  If you find a bug in one that isn't present in the other, it will be immediately obvious that it's one of these few lines of code that is wrong--and sometimes immediately obvious exactly which line of code is wrong.  This doesn't turn into a spaghetti code situation where you have ten thousand lines to implement some feature and a bug in the feature is hard to track down.




City of Steam does a combination of third person and isometric-ish views. The combination itself isn't confusing, but the control scheme they've chosen is. They have one control scheme with two different available view points. If they separate the control scheme, so that the isometric view uses "standard" controls and the third person view uses "standard" controls, then there's no reason both can't work together. Other than the control schemes, there don't seem to be any issues with having two different points of view available to the player. I don't see why it couldn't work.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  aesperus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4758

4/21/13 4:30:06 PM#44

I'm a bit confused as to what the benefit of such a system really is (aside from giving players an advantage in PvP).

I suppose you could maybe do some interesting puzzles that force players to toggle views... but, what is really being gained here? Just seems like a very annoying design hurtle you'd be putting on yourself for no real reason.

Personally I like both views, but I also feel they work better when games are specifically designed for one or the other.

  Karahandras

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Joined: 8/11/08
Posts: 1667

All it takes for evil to succeed is for the good to stand by and do nothing

4/21/13 4:38:01 PM#45
Some single player games mix 3d and isometric views.  Spellforce is the best I can think of.  Rise and fall and a couple of others i can't remember the names of atm aswell.  Would be interesting to see it in an mmo though.
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

4/21/13 5:06:27 PM#46


Originally posted by aesperus
I'm a bit confused as to what the benefit of such a system really is (aside from giving players an advantage in PvP).

I suppose you could maybe do some interesting puzzles that force players to toggle views... but, what is really being gained here? Just seems like a very annoying design hurtle you'd be putting on yourself for no real reason.

Personally I like both views, but I also feel they work better when games are specifically designed for one or the other.




From a player's perspective, the primary reason I could see is allowing the player to have the control scheme that they are comfortable with, with a perspective that enhances it.

In third person view, people are primarily going to WASD move with the mouse as the camera controller. The player would be using the keyboard and the mouse together. In an Isometric view, players are going to be accustomed to click to move, using only the mouse. If a player has a preference, they can choose to play the way they want.

It doesn't sound like the ability to offer both views is a heavy burden, and the players might appreciate the effort.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/21/13 5:22:11 PM#47
Originally posted by lizardbones

City of Steam does a combination of third person and isometric-ish views. The combination itself isn't confusing, but the control scheme they've chosen is. They have one control scheme with two different available view points. If they separate the control scheme, so that the isometric view uses "standard" controls and the third person view uses "standard" controls, then there's no reason both can't work together. Other than the control schemes, there don't seem to be any issues with having two different points of view available to the player. I don't see why it couldn't work.

 

Either it is isometric or it isn't.  There is no isometric-ish.  Isometric should have an isometry.  More to the point, if two identical objects appear on the screen rotated the same at the same time, they should be exactly the same size on the screen, even if one is far "in front" of the other.  That's really the clearest distinguishing feature of an isometric viewpoint.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/21/13 5:25:30 PM#48
Originally posted by aesperus

I'm a bit confused as to what the benefit of such a system really is (aside from giving players an advantage in PvP).

I suppose you could maybe do some interesting puzzles that force players to toggle views... but, what is really being gained here? Just seems like a very annoying design hurtle you'd be putting on yourself for no real reason.

Personally I like both views, but I also feel they work better when games are specifically designed for one or the other.

No, no, no.  I don't want to force players to use one viewpoint or the other.  And I especially don't want to force players to switch back and forth.  The entire point of offering both is precisely not to force players to use one or the other, but to let players use whichever they prefer.

  Quizzical

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Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/21/13 5:28:14 PM#49
Originally posted by lizardbones

In third person view, people are primarily going to WASD move with the mouse as the camera controller. The player would be using the keyboard and the mouse together. In an Isometric view, players are going to be accustomed to click to move, using only the mouse. If a player has a preference, they can choose to play the way they want.

Isometric means click to move?  Since when?  20 years ago, nearly all games were isometric, but few were click to move, as consoles didn't use a mouse much.

For what I'm doing, click to move really wouldn't work.  You can't dodge very well that way, so you'd just get killed in a hurry.

  User Deleted
4/21/13 8:13:33 PM#50
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by asmkm22

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...

Controls would be exactly the same.  The game world would be exactly the same.  Game mechanics would be exactly the same.  Many games now have a 3D perspective viewpoint that lets you zoom in and out or rotate the camera direction.  Are you proposing that games should abolish that and force a fixed camera angle and distance at all times?

As for bugs, you could run into culling bugs, but you're looking at a few hundred lines of code in the entire game that would differ between 3D perspective and isometric viewpoints.  If you find a bug in one that isn't present in the other, it will be immediately obvious that it's one of these few lines of code that is wrong--and sometimes immediately obvious exactly which line of code is wrong.  This doesn't turn into a spaghetti code situation where you have ten thousand lines to implement some feature and a bug in the feature is hard to track down.

Every game that i've played where the two views are available, either have different control setups (isometric is usually click to move and 1st person is usually wasd) or the controls are the same but with only one being "good."  It's like when an RTS lets you zoom in to what is pretty close to an over-the-shoulder 3rd person view; you aren't going to play that way, but since the engine is already 3d, it's easy enough to impliment.

It just seems like, out of all the problems present in game design right now, focusing on making two camera views available seems kind of weak.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

4/21/13 8:43:09 PM#51
Originally posted by asmkm22

It just seems like, out of all the problems present in game design right now, focusing on making two camera views available seems kind of weak.

Yeah it's that tradeoff that's the main thing.

Without a clear picture of the advantages of multiple views, it's like: Do you want another camera angle...or 1-2 new player abilities, or functional ladders, or 3 new interactive objects, or smoother walk animations (better world traversal code), or...?

Basically when you weigh a second camera angle against some of the other really cool-sounding features you could do instead (with that same dev time), it starts to put things into perspective.  (And even some of the stuff that doesn't sound that cool (like smoother walk animations) actually ends up making an important but subtle difference in the feel of a game's overall quality.)

  Quizzical

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OP  4/21/13 9:05:58 PM#52
Just don't make this into an argument of "instead of that, you should implement something else that takes 50 times as long instead".  Much of the reason for this thread is precisely that it is easy to implement.  It's not a "what would you add to a game if you had another $1 million to spend?" sort of thing.
  Quizzical

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Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/22/13 3:53:49 PM#53

If you worry that it's a waste of effort to add more camera options and make them all work well, I'd counter that getting at least one camera option to work well is certainly not a waste of effort.  And some games don't even get that far.  An isometric viewpoint is probably easier to get to work properly than a 3D perspective one, as the camera not existing at some particular location in the game world means that you don't have to worry so much about where to stick the camera.  Furthermore, an isometric viewpoint is completely immune to near plane clipping artifacts unless you're really stupid about how you implement it.  Isometric also makes it much easier to avoid depth buffer rounding error artifacts.

One downside of isometric, though, is that the camera always has to be pointing down at some angle.  If you need to look up and see something from below, isometric simply doesn't work.

  mmoguy43

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Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2300

4/22/13 4:06:13 PM#54
What about the elevation? If you have to lock the camera in you either have a really flat world which will look terribly plain in 3D? If there is some change in elevation the player will look really small or really big depending on the distance? Isometeric seems to work well for a large interior, like a cave dungeon and not so much for a large open world.

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

  Quizzical

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OP  4/22/13 10:04:40 PM#55
Originally posted by mmoguy43
What about the elevation? If you have to lock the camera in you either have a really flat world which will look terribly plain in 3D? If there is some change in elevation the player will look really small or really big depending on the distance? Isometeric seems to work well for a large interior, like a cave dungeon and not so much for a large open world.

Look at my screenshots in the initial post; there are hills in both perspectives even if I didn't make very large hills.  Isometric doesn't mean purely 2D tile graphics.  You use the same game world either way, and it would appear just as hilly with an isometric viewpoint as 3D perspective.

Now, an isometric viewpoint doesn't work very well if the camera angle with the ground is less than the angle of a hill, as you just see the wrong side of a huge hill that hides the real action.  But a 3D perspective viewpoint doesn't work very well with steep hills, either, as you have to manually adjust the camera angle up and down to match the hill as you move around or else you can't see what's going on because it's alternately off the top or bottom of the screen.

Tall cliffs are more problematic, as an isometric viewpoint that isn't straight overhead or awfully close to it will leave your character behind the cliff so that you can't see what's going on.  You can decline to draw the cliff and make the action visible that way, but then you might not realize that there's actually a huge cliff there.  Probably the cleanest solution is to automatically adjust the camera angle when you're near the base of a cliff--and to automatically adjust it back once you move away.

A 3D perspective viewpoint can handle cliffs cleanly by moving the camera closer to you when your back is to the cliff.  Sometimes that pushes the camera really close to you so you can't see very much, but it more or less works.  Even so, I hate big cliffs, even with a 3D perspective viewpoint.  I also hate fall damage when you have no idea whether jumping down will instantly kill you or not.

  lizardbones

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I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

4/22/13 10:27:45 PM#56


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by lizardbones In third person view, people are primarily going to WASD move with the mouse as the camera controller. The player would be using the keyboard and the mouse together. In an Isometric view, players are going to be accustomed to click to move, using only the mouse. If a player has a preference, they can choose to play the way they want.
Isometric means click to move?  Since when?  20 years ago, nearly all games were isometric, but few were click to move, as consoles didn't use a mouse much.

For what I'm doing, click to move really wouldn't work.  You can't dodge very well that way, so you'd just get killed in a hurry.




In most of the RPG that I've played, yes, isometric view meant click to move, not use WASD. This could be because of a preference on my part. i.e. I try a game with a fixed camera angle and it uses WASD to move around and I just don't like it so I don't play it and edit it from my memory. I could also be neglecting to include games that were written twenty years ago as being relevant, and instead I'm focusing on games like Diablo, Path of Exile and Torchlight.

** ** **

If we ignore some of the details of what I'm saying (or not saying, or garbling), the idea I was trying to get across is that the control scheme is more important than the point of view. Of complaints about games on these forums, point of view seems to be the least complained about feature.

If the players are comfortable with the control scheme, then letting them pick their point of view is a bonus.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Quizzical

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13411

 
OP  4/22/13 10:53:21 PM#57
I would certainly agree that a control scheme is important, and that players should be given as many options as practical.  Fighting against awkward controls as much as against mobs is bad game design.
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