Research: Cameras and Character Controllers

Super Mario 64

Ocarina of Time

A sensible place to start will be to study 3rd person movement controllers and how to create them. Games such asMario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time are a resourceful place to start, and are often considered pioneers of 3D space – or at least notable in how they did so.

Ecco the Dolphin

Unfortunately, they don’t answer many questions about how to handle vertical movement, to simulate swimming underwater. The 3D Ecco the Dolphin game, Defender of the Future, is a useful starting point to observe how this could work. The gameplay GIF above shows this in action and also proves useful to examine how elements of the user interface can be handled. As the player swims, arrows and other markings appear on the screen around the character to guide them. This provides immediate and constant feedback on the location and goal of the player. Placing this information directly alongside/around the character works well – possibly better than if it were around the edges of the screen. This means it is where the player’s eyes are focused already, and may also make it easier to relate the information and map it to the 3D space they are exploring. However, having said this, I feel it is also important to be wary of detracting from the immersive experience of exploration. When creating a world, I want the player to become lost in it. Overlaying too many 2D, UI elements may start to take away from this experience and break the immersion. Perhaps the best option is to search for a balance between this.

Unity Third Person Control Tutorial [Source]

I’ve begun looking for some resources and tutorials online that may be a good starting point to decide whether I am capable of achieving this with my own game. I can follow the tutorials and experiment with the result to get a feel for whether this is a realistic goal, or if I need to rethink my plan.

Windwaker character controller (WIP) recreated in Unity 3D [Source]

Windwaker HD on the Wii U [Source]

Journey PS4 Gameplay [Source]

An excerpt from The Art of Journey [Source]

All aspects of Journey are a huge inspiration for my own project. In particular, there are a few things I want to take away and learn how to recreate in my own way:

  • Emotive colour-script – how colour changes/progresses throughout
  • Sense of scale and wonder the player experiences
  • Simple, minimal yet beautiful art and modelling – looks low poly
  • Atmospheric lighting/shader techniques, particularly the underwater-esque scenes
  • Fluid movement of the player – especially sliding/gliding mechanics
  • Innovative, minimal (almost non existent) UI

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