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roshan

The decline of isometric perspective.....

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The aim of this topic is to lament the decline of the isometric perspective since it is quite obvious from the nwn screenshots that it will be 3rd person, which sucks like hell.

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Actually I think the devs already said they were designing everything to look good from an isometric perspective.


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Isometric means one distance.

 

It generally refers to a locked camera view. Technically, a locked third-person camera could be construed as isometric.

 

People seem to think that isometric means third-person, distant view that people are familiar with from games like BG and FO.

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To be honest, I like the 3rd person perspective in RPGs. I find it helps me suspend disbelief and find roleplay easier. I think the three camera options of NWN is a good way of doing things. That way, everyone gets what they want, right?

 

On the other hand, when it's a Strategy Game, it's not worth playing in my opinion unless it's isometric or top-down. Which is why C&C after Red Alert 2 sucked so much. I assume that the desire to play combats in a strategic manner is why many like the isometric view in RPGs? Personally, I generally tend to see combats (except for major Boss battles and such, when in NWN I do set it to an isometric perspective) as the tedious thing I have to do to get to the next bit of the story, so if I can just hack my way to the quest item or the next town in a 3rd person view without (too much) strategy, so much the better.


Hawk! Eggplant! AWAKEN!

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Guest Fishboot
Isometric means one distance.

 

It generally refers to a locked camera view.  Technically, a locked third-person camera could be construed as isometric.

 

People seem to think that isometric means third-person, distant view that people are familiar with from games like BG and FO.

 

Eh? In the original academic sense it means a 2D representation of 3D where the x,y, and z axes are on equal scales in 2D (meaning it is the same 2D distance between 0,0,0 and 0,0,1 as 0,0,0 and 0,1,0 etc.) Thus, "isometric" or equal metrics/measurements. That actually doesn't even necessitate a fixed camera, since the camera can move like a bead on a line equidistant from all three perpendicular axes (so you could zoom in and out). Kult does that, actually.

Edited by Fishboot

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I loved the isometric view. But then I discovered the immersion factor of 3D worlds and I've never looked back.


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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To be honest, I like the 3rd person perspective in RPGs. I find it helps me suspend disbelief and find roleplay easier. I think the three camera options of NWN is a good way of doing things. That way, everyone gets what they want, right?

 

You're not the only one who prefers 3rd person. There are a number of games I wouldn't have played unless the option of switching away from the first-person viewpoint was available (Morrowind for one, which was billed as a first-person game). I find it restrictive, awkward, and claustrophobic. CGW made a rather bold blanket statement in the latest issue that 'Gamers prefer first-person', which annoyed me considerably; but they went on to say that Pandemic was 'adding' the first-person POV to the Battlefront II game. That's fine; it's fair. And it's a smart dev who takes into account the various playing preferences, to reach the largest possible audience. My only suggestion to them would be to publicize the games' adaptability better, so that gamers don't have to wait for a reviewer to mention it before they purchase the game.

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Isometric means one distance.

 

It generally refers to a locked camera view. Technically, a locked third-person camera could be construed as isometric.

 

Depending on the game, changing the camera view can be a help or a hindrance. (Hitting the wrong key in the heat of battle can get your character killed, if you're not totally familiar with the keyboard command for switching back and are hunting for the manual.) A 'swinging' camera view also bothers some people (vertigo?)--my daughter can't play certain games because the motion makes her seasick; she cites Kingdom Hearts as one she wanted to play but simply can't. 'Fixing' the view in those types of games could provide enough stability to make them playable.

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First person has its drawbacks, as does third person, but in general isometric is a strategic point of view derived from the old miniature tabletop games (and one step up from the overhead view of RTS's). As such, isometric tends to create a sense of distance between the player and the character, as if the character is a piece on a board instead of your personal perspective. This works if you like to see RPGs as tactical combat simulators in addition to RPGs, and works especially well if you don't have very good 3D models and thus does not want the player to look closely at the characters, but ultimately it's not a format endemic to true immersion.

 

Frankly, I'm not exactly sure that the format of staring at a character's butt all the time, as is the case in KOTOR, is any better in this respect, so I can understand the criticism. First-person definitely lends itself to the most immersive experience, but there are serious problems with using first-person in a party-based game. As such, in the end it's a matter of what game the devs want to make. A party-based, squad-combat centric RPG will do fine with an isometric POV, whereas a game that stresses the immersive experience of a single protagonist will need to find alternatives such as first-person or dramatic 3D camera.


There are doors

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Like others mentioned, NWN2 is going to likely give options of what camera you use. It's not set to a single one. It would be completely silly if Obsidian takes away such a feature to a sequel using the same enegine as its predecessor. I presume to give the benefit of doubt to Obsidian to use logic in this case.

 

P.S. 1st person is not immersive. It is the least immersive perspective I have EVER seen in games. EVER.

Edited by Volourn

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Oh yeah, looking down through the roof of a building on your party of 6, now that's immersion!!1 Even better if the max resolution is 640x480 and the characters are represented by sprites instead of polygons!!1!oneone


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Just what people are actually talking about when discussing immersion in videogames? Do they just use it as a synonym of absorption and fascination? If that is the case, then I find it difficult to believe they can objectively attribute more value to one perspective than another, when both first and thirdperson unmistakably make players feel like they are "there" by the simple reason that they allow them to view the gameworld where they are playing. You can easily be fascinated by a gameworld wheter you're seeing it trough a perspective which simulates your vision or wheter you see your characters from a detached perspective. A different perspective has no bearing on the fact that the characters are in the gameworld and that you are experiencing the gameworld trough them.

 

And because of this, I have to wonder just how seeing trough the 'eyes' of a character with no periphal vision whatsoever is more immersive (or more realistic, as some say) than seeing the gameworld in all its glory from an overhead or isometric view. If people's appraisal of a gameworld, if the way it reaches out to their imagination and desire to be a part of it, or if the way it makes them feel like they (or their actions) actually matter to the gameworld comes solely from the perspective used to present them the gameworld, then I seriously doubt they understand immersion at all.

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Oh yeah, looking down through the roof of a building on your party of 6, now that's immersion!!1 Even better if the max resolution is 640x480 and the characters are represented by sprites instead of polygons!!1!oneone

Yep, it is impossible to immerse yourself into the role of one character, but it is possible to imagine that you are 6 people who are having a shared out of body experience with poor vision.

Edited by EnderAndrew

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Oh yeah, looking down through the roof of a building on your party of 6, now that's immersion!!1 Even better if the max resolution is 640x480 and the characters are represented by sprites instead of polygons!!1!oneone

Yep, it is impossible to immerse yourself into the role of one character, but it is possible to imagine that you are 6 people who are having a shared out of body experience with poor vision.

 

For me these are irrelevant points. Whether I see something from the point of view of the character or from a birds eye perspective has nothing to do with whether I become immersed or not. As far as I am concerned, the main purpose of the camera angle should be to not to hinder immersion.

 

When in NWN I spent more time rotating the goddamned camera than playing the game, that hurt immersion.

 

When I clicked on enemies in kotor, and my character ran up to them and started firing his ranged weapon point blank, that hurt immersion. When I had to constantly keep turning around, that hurt immersion. The worst part of the camera was that it was 'immersing' me in the middle of a world where pretty much everything looked the same.

 

The purpose of the camera angle should be on simplifying the gameplay and making controls easier, not on 'immersion'. Good gameplay, a good story/dialogue and good art are much more important for immersion then some stupid camera angle that makes the game much more frustrating to play.

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Just what people are actually talking about when discussing immersion in videogames? Do they just use it as a synonym of absorption and fascination?

 

One definition of immersion is as a measure of the suspension of disbelief, the feeling that you are in the game world rather than out of it. Another is people's use of the term for the experience of being a character, but that, of course, denotes a natural affinity for the first person.

 

If that is the case, then I find it difficult to believe they can objectively attribute more value to one perspective than another, when both first and thirdperson unmistakably make players feel like they are "there" by the simple reason that they allow them to view the gameworld where they are playing.

 

If we went by your definition of immersion, I agree absolutely. In terms of the first definition I offered, however, you ought to consider what is revealed to the player with respect to the gameworld in first-person vs. isometric. In isometric view, you are only given a top-down view of the world which, depending on the angle, may be extended to a half-view of vertical structures. This is not how *we* view the world, and as such leads to a distancing between the player and the world, the same as if you were staring at the World Map versus as if you were traveling the world yourself. Clearly, the two experiences are not the same, and the latter is more convincing of you "being" in the world.

 

If we take the second definition I offered, this effect is exacerbated. We should now consider that the experience of being a character is a function of the distance from said character. If we can experience what said character experiences through all five senses, then we are in Full Immersion. Clearly, a first person view here is far superior of an immersive experience because looking down upon your character is not as close to the experience of being him as looking from his eyes.

 

None of this is to say that you cannot have a great game either way. However, when your purpose is to close the distance between the player in the real world and his character in the imaginary, which is in fact a major concern of RPGs, your choice of camera perspectives undoubtedly has an effect on the extent of the immersive experience. Good directors understand this and will exploit it in films. By analogy, good designers should also be concerned with it.

 

However, before I'm branded as a first-person fan, let me be the first to say that a first person perspective is NOT necessarily the most satisfying or dramatic viewpoint, even for a RPG. In real life, many events that would've, under a different viewpoint, offered dramatic expression, come off as being rather mundane and plain by virtue of our first person perspective. Easy example of this is a battle: watching a battle unfold before you creates a greater sense of excitement than watching a battle from the first person perspective. Seeing two lovers kiss is more romantic than seeing your partner's oblong, depth distorted face as you kiss (hence why many people close their eyes).

 

It is for this reason that the statement "the first person perspective is the most immersive of all perspectives" must be taken with a grain of salt. That may very well be true depending on your definition of immersion, but it does not necessarily mean anything with respect to how to best tell a story.


There are doors

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Guest Fishboot

Another point: Before any more arguments are put forward regarding the isometric view, ask yourself, "How would this argument sound if it were being offered by a "Bird's Eye" view fanboy?" If, in fact, you could simply substitute the term "birdseye" for every instance of "isometric" and instantly convert your argument to pro-birdseye, you are making a useless argument. I had half a mind to go off on a page long faux crazy birdseye satirical rant to put that across, but unfortunately I'm lazy.

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rosh's so cute when he shows his fanboi side.

 

I'm just thrilled he's got a new keyboard :p

 

btw: love the sig quote :D

 

 

ST@U* N00B!

 

*Censored because I have been warned for using this acronym in this manner before, fill in the blank, you're a smart girl.**

 

**Seriously though, twas in jest.

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I remember the time I was playing a game of UT2003, and I jumped of a large tower, and the horrible sinking feeling I felt in my stomach as the ground came closer. Urgh. Or playing Bloodlines, thinking I cleaned the sewers of all those tzimisce beasties, then one jumped over my shoulder and scared the baby jesus out of me. Or the first time I turned a corner in Thief and came face to face with a Hammer Haunt, nearly falling of out my chair...

 

This is what I think immersion is, when the mind and body forget, if only for a moment, that we are just playing a game. When the player reacts in the real world in the same way they might in the virtual world. First-person is better for such things as when playing it is both the character and the player experiencing the event. The character is falling and the player feels as though they are falling, etc. In an isometric (or bird's eye or top-down or whatever) view, the player isn't experiencing it themselves, they are whating someone else (the character) experience it.

 

Of course what one may find immersive another may not. A first person perspective may be all it takes for one player to be immersed, while another might find the lack of peripheral vision or the hud or the lack of a body or whatever craziness they could come up with to be immersion killers.

 

In the end there is no one "true" perspective for RPGs. I love turn-based combat like that in Jagged Alliance 2 or Silent Storm, and for such combat only iso wil do, whereas exploration of the environment is much more interesting in a first-person perspective.

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When I had to constantly keep turning around, that hurt immersion.

So having to turn around in real life hurts your immersion in the real world then?


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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When I had to constantly keep turning around, that hurt immersion.

So having to turn around in real life hurts your immersion in the real world then?

 

 

 

 

In real life I can turn around pretty much instantly. In computer games I need to hold down the right arrow and wait while the character slowly spins around.

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