Abysmal Camera

The camera for Hostile Territory has been a sticking point for the game.  After returning from GDC I spent a lot of time working on the camera with other team members.  There were a lot of ideas on how the camera should function.  A primary issue was zooming in when occlusions occurred such that the character filled most of the view provided by the camera.  Being in a cylindrical environment without a definitive up direction creates interesting camera problems.

Possible solutions were:

  1. The camera could drive itself.  The player would move relative to the camera facing direction.  The primary problem with this method is figuring out where the player shoots.  An outcome of this method is that the player can shoot a target that they are not looking at however shooting accuracy would need improved to make that outcome meaningful.
  2. The camera could be fixed from the center looking at the player.  The outcome is a more isometric camera making the curved space flatter and potentially providing more strategic gameplay if shooting were revised to be bombs only or something similar.  Shooting is not a good fit for this camera option.  Level design is constrained to surfaces with a defined pivot point.
  3. The camera could always be at a fixed distance and the environment can become transparent.  Conversations about camera seemed to be focused against zooming functionality, so removing zoom seemed to be a simple option.  The problem of the tube obscuring the view was removed by applying transparency to the back faces of the tiles making up the tube.

We chose to implement option 3 quickly to see if that resolved concerns.  The result was decent.  There were still desires to shoot in a direction not faced by the camera.  There may be a good way to get that to work.  I tried forcing each player to look at each other so the view was constrained to one dimension, but that was disorienting since both camera views moved whenever either player moved.

The result turned out decent.  There was not much talk of the camera at EAE Fest.  The transparent backgrounds allowed three dimensional shooting.  With the constraint of shooting, transparent tiles were a worthwhile solution to an issue that had plagued the project since August 2014.

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