Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Real-Time Cameras: A Guide for Game Designers and Developers

Real-Time Cameras: A Guide for Game Designers and Developers
Mark Haigh-Hutchinson | Pdf | 530 pgs | 3 mb
Video games and other interactive real-time applications are often required to present a view of a virtual world in a manner that is both contextually appropriate and aesthetically pleasing. The internal mechanism responsible for this process is colloquially known as a virtual camera system. As the main avenue through which the viewer interacts with the virtual world, the effectiveness of the camera system at presenting such a view has a major infl uence on the viewer’s satisfaction and enjoyment of the experience. A poorly implemented camera system will likely cripple the application to such an extent that excellence in graphical presentation or interactive mechanics may be insuffi cient to overcome it. A brief perusal of video game reviews, for example, will reveal common problems such as poor framing, cameras passing through environmental features, and so forth. These recognized problems will have a negative effect on the rating that the game receives. On the other hand, a well-designed camera system — one that presents the virtual world in an unobtrusive and easy to understand manner — allows a great interactive design to become fully realized. In light of this, it is surprising that there is so little information available to the designers and implementers of interactive camera systems.

Real-Time Cameras is aimed at expanding the knowledge of designers and programmers regarding this crucial yet often overlooked topic. While there is common ground between traditional cinematography techniques and virtual camera systems (especially, of course, with respect to non-interactive movie sequences), the dynamically changing nature of video games and other interactive real-time applications demands different approaches and solutions. Interactive application design lags behind traditional movie making in that the underlying principles of real-time camera design are still in their formative process. However, enough information is now available to establish a set of ground rules that should apply regardless of the genre or presentation style.

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