Gameplay Camera and its effect on character design for games

Gameplay Camera and its effect on Character Design

Ubisoft’s secret recipe for game success are the 3 c’s. Camera, Character, and  Controls. As game artists we don’t  have direct influence on controls so lets focus on the other C’s that we can impact.

The genre of gameplay will often determined how the cameras is used. It’s also important to remember the emotional experience that you’re trying to create for the player and that the cameras is an extension of that expression. The gameplay camera has a direct impact on character design, environment design, and Ui so be sure to work closely with game designers to determine what is the best camera for gameplay and narrative.

The camera does not have to be a static object. Its behavior can and probably should be varied based on action and items of interest.

Different situations that may call for specific camera behaviors.

  • Navigation
  • Combat
  • Combat 1vs1 vs multiple opponents
  • Special moves
  • Item discovery
  • Celebration
  • Death
  • Different mechanics (fist or sword versus a gun or bow and arrow. Cover mechanics)
  • Zoom





Here is a listing of the most common camera viewpoints used in video games and why they are used.

First person

  • immersion.
  • Full view of action.
  • Twitch gameplay.
  • Most common in Shooters.
  • Unobstructed view.
  • I am this person. I am creating the story

Deus Ex have a very use of first and third person cameras depending on mechanic used.

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Third person 

  • Role playing games. Adventure games
  • Greater narrative potential
  • Character envy.
  • Opportunity for creating desire to build up character.
  • I want to take care of this person. I am having a story being told to me.
  • Easier to get a sense of scale and emotion. Requirement for movement is more precise.
  • Dead space camera is intimate. Your peering over his shoulder. The framing of the characters interesting and claustrophobic.

You can demonstrate the different emotional properties by playing Forza Motorsport in first vs third.

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Side scrolling camera

  • Twitch or timing based mechanics
  • Testing reflexes
  • Immediate moment to moment gameplay
  • Less immersive
  • Great for platformers and runners
  • Nostalgic
  • Good for creating modular content quickly.

Example of modular content. In this instance it’s more about repeating pattern and texture.

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Please note the farther the zoom level, Color becomes that much more important to identify you the player from the environment. Also note if your character is smaller on screen, that your animations will need to be more pronounced to be recognized.


Platform based gameplay with modular components. The entire world is built this way.


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Super Time Force

Notice how pronounced the visual effects are as they become obstacles for present and future versions of the player.

Please watch this video. There is a great conversation about Time travel gameplay mechanics and how special circumstances must be made in order for the game to behave fairly. It’s around minute eight.

Isometric/god view

  • Strategic
  • Greater view of the gameplay space
  • Turn based mechanics





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