hex (2)some games, as you may have noticed are not first person shooters.  There is a trend in games to take the first person shooter model and place that into a third person shooter, some with static cameras (Gears of war)  and some with dynamic spinning and sweeping cameras (Prince of Persia) the choice of camera is really an artistic one that developers make very early on and often its not something you can really change later in the development cycle.

The reason i am thinking so much about camera angles is that as i have said in my last post I have recently finished Portal 2 (and since then started work on the first Portal game, again) one of the things that has stuck in my mind about the game is how it stays entertaining and the camera angle is not something that comes to mind while playing, because its first person, and the joy of first person is that you are not only in control of the camera but you are the camera.

prince-of-persiaLast night i watched my wife playing Prince of Persia (the newest one, not sure what its called, something about time and or sand…. and Persian royalty) as she run about the walls and jumped on frozen water platforms and moved switches (and all the other things that Persians do) i was very aware of the changing camera angle, to be honest i found it a little counter productive.

I can see why the developers chose third person as it lets you see the price swing and roll much like a manly Lara Croft and this is a wonderful sight, when being played properly (my wife is very good) its fluid and natural as you navigate the insane structures but when it comes to fathoming the puzzle elements of the game the camera angle really is a pain in the, err eyes.

faith-dont-tryPortal 2 however was a fluid experience for me, granted there it no high octane parkour but for the purpose of looking around and pocking things its ideal and being first person. You tend to be entirely  unaware of the camera as a game-play element.

The third person camera is in many ways like standing behind someone while the sweeping and static cameras of Tomb Raider and Alone in the Dark are like watching a movie. Does first person feel more natural because life is experienced from this angle?

I wonder if our favorite MMO’s would be better as first person games, i know in LotRO at least, you can switch to first person camera but as with other MMO’s its rendered badly and you feel a little detached from your character becks weapons are not on screen and as you look around you feel detached from the characters body (often the POV is too low and you can clip into scenery)

I would like to see a traditional MMO with a first person mode that is well implemented and really usable as a game-play choice. in many ways i would imagine that this would play like Oblivion or Morrowind games, as we all know those titles where well and where well received with no mention of camera controls.

Even racing often benefit from first person angles (greatly depends on personal preference) and they stand apart from other genres as the first person views are used just as often as the first person angle, is this a gamers preference or is this more widely used because it tends to be implemented better as a whole than the crappy ‘make do’ implementations on MMO’s?

in the end though i can prove that first person is the right choice for any game because that’s the only angle that Valve use in their games, and they make the best games.