Developing with Unity (Pt. 4)

Isn’t it great how a camera finds you and follows you around?

Just like that guy who followed you home from school every night. Except less creepy, more essential, and less likely to result in a restraining order or other legal action! It’s one of the unsung parts of game development. When you think about everything you see when you first load any game (the GUI, the character model, the environment, the monsters etc.) you never think about the one thing that makes it all work- the camera. Without the camera the GUI has no canvas with which to display precious information. Without the camera there is no way you’d be able to see your character and the environment around them.

While systems, statistics, formulae, and other goodies make everything do what it is supposed to- cameras show you that it’s working. Or not working. Yet, funnily enough, you never really think about that and how to attribute cameras to an object in order to persistently follow its adventures.

The other thing about cameras is that the angle, rotation, and type are very important in what kind of game you make. Something like Diablo II could be made with a first person camera but a lot of the core design, the graphics, and interactions would need to be changed. Likewise, while The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim could be made in isometric top down style, it would sacrifice a lot of the detailing already present in the world.

So, in short- cameras are the best.

But within this there are many questions revolving around the control system. For instance, most first person games don’t have a point and click control system as it wouldn’t work overly well, while they are also reliant on key binds, and more attention is paid to exploring up close and personal. In isometric games, while key binds are present, they aren’t as required for most functions as you can click the elements on screen, and often you click to move. This means some games inherently work better with W, A, S, and D while others are better point and click.

All of these little details swirl around my brain as I think of how to build my camera and how to follow my character through the world.

I have opted for the point and click method as that is what I would prefer my game to be. Something where you can click the terrain, explore the world, click chests, and generally it fits the art direction I am going for. However, I am encountering a few bugs switching from an over the shoulder to point and click camera rotation.

Mostly in the case of higher terrain elevations that the point and click method cannot compute methods to reach. While there are likely some ways you could make it compute those methods- I’m actually not too bothered as I’m not set on what I want my starting zone to look like. I know I want a beach. Maybe. Which is why I can easily restructure it as a lot of what I use is stored in prefabs anyway. So I can simply bring those models back into the game world fully customised.

Time has also been spent updating the various systems in the game and polishing things such as combat so that, in a crude sense, but one with a few bells and whistles, I have a basic outline for magical and special attacks. I also have an outline for attack speed. While my older scripts already calculate a number of combat formulae.

So, basically- lots of good stuff!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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