# Camera angle in PoE vs BG2

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Okay, honest question: why is this important?

It's important for modding purposes.

Also, as the first page of this thread demonstrates, it's a perfectly good issue to fight a holy war over...

lmao @ "holy war"

Any details on this Mod? I love Mod's and recently released my own for a different game. I wish PoE had a game editor.

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I'm afraid I haven't figured out (yet?) how to do the math in this case. Help is welcome!

Of course if there was a screenshot showing a large horizontal circle, I could use that because circles don't care about horizontal rotation...

If you assume that the fence in the picture is indeed quadratic, then you can construct a circle (in terms of the original scene) around it.

1)

Set the (x,y) axis parallel to the monitor edges such that the origin is the intersection of the diagonals and extract coordinates of the corners of the fence.

2)

Compute the unique ellipsoid ax² + by² = 1 parametrized by (a,b) that the corners of the fence lie on, e.g. such that the equation holds on the corners. Since the corners of the fence are point symmetrical with regards to the origin, you have two equations and two variables to solve for, so it should be doable.

3)

The stretch factor you are searching for should be \sqrt(a/b), you can then carry on with your usual calculation.

I'd do it myself, but I don't trust my skills in properly extracting the coordinates with paint.

EDIT: Made some mistakes at first.

Edited by Doppelschwert
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Okay, honest question: why is this important?

It's important for modding purposes.

Oh and also of course:

Any details on this Mod?

I'm just casually investigating this stuff for now. Haven't committed to actually creating a mod yet...

Does anyone know different reasons why the camera angles were chosen?

A low angle lets you see more landscape/scenery at once in an open map. It also lets you get a better look at the front faces of vertical structures, such as cliffs or buildings.

A high angle lets you get a better overview of a closed room, without having the front walls obscure too much of the room's floor.

Also, as Sensuki pointed out, a high angle lets you get a more tactical overview during battles, regardless of the terrain. But of course there are other things which have a bigger influence on this (such as the obtrusiveness & opacity of spell effects), so it's debatable how important the camera angle really is for this, all things considered.

If you assume that the fence in the picture is indeed quadratic, then you can construct a circle (in terms of the original scene) around it.

Thanks! I'll try this later today.

I'm pretty sure that it's quadratic, because the grey curbstones along the red outline have exactly 10 segments in each direction.

Edited by Ineth
• 3

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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May i ask why 35.3 degree, no rotation constitutes 'true' isometric?

Edit: found it.

Edited by Gruftlord
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I believe that to count as Isometric the angles between the axes must be 120 degrees; all vertical lines are drawn vertical but horizontal lines are drawn 30 degrees to the base. Since we are talking about rotation (camera angle), the standard for projection to achieve proper perspective is: 35.264 degrees (or 35.3 as the OP stated). Instead of the good 'ol sine/cosine we use arcsin/arctan.

Edited by Zenbane
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Alright, I used Doppelschwert's proposed method for calculating the vertical camera angle in Fallout, and got a result of 25.7°.

Here are the details of the procedure, in case someone wants to double-check:

1. I measured the screen coordinates of the ground rectangle's corners (shown in white):

2. Then I derived a formula for calculating the ratio of the bounding ellipse radii a and b (shown in yellow) from these corner coordinates:

2. Then I simply filled in the measured values:

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"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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Bravo! You just became my 2nd favorite poster on this forum. If you follow up with your Mod, do keep us in the loop.

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Pillars seems to emphasize slightly more depth in the scene while the classic Infinity Engine games tend to feel just a tad flatter. It could be argued that the higher angle to the camera in the Infinity Engine makes indoor environments easier to see in, but Pillars seems to do just fine because it has wider and more open hallways (which makes party management much less frustrating in interiors). The Infinity Engine games struggled more with this, and later on moved away from really tight spaces as a result (i.e. far less Firewine dungeon maze nonsense).

I don't think the camera angle matters so much as the art direction working in conjunction with it. To that end I think both games do a good job of designing environments for their respective camera angles.

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I actually disagree that Pillars does "just fine" indoors. The shader used to visualize characters behind walls isn't good for visibility compared to that cool dithering(?) effect used in the IE engine where you could see the characters just fine and in Pillars, characters disappear behind the lower wall of most dungeon corridors that have a somewhat flat vertical axis.

In rooms this doesn't happen, but characters are still obscured by other characters (and 3D FX).

The Infinity Engine camera angle is just flat out better for visibility of units in combat. I agree that Pillars goes more for depth of the scene, and structures look more impressive - and that was the reason why the angle was chosen, for the environment art - not combat clarity, which in turn is the consequence of that change, and one I doubt they considered when doing it.

Edited by Sensuki
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Hmmm. Now that we have an exact measurement formula, I wonder whether all the Infinity Engine games used the same angle or could there be slight differences.

Edited by Infinitron
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Alright, I used Doppelschwert's proposed method for calculating the vertical camera angle in Fallout, and got a result of 25.7°.

Nice job again! I double checked, seems alright to me. You did a better job explaining where my formula was coming from as well.

Apart from the angle, I think proportions also play a big role in how visible everything is. Comparing screenshots from BG2 and PoE (has been a while since i played BG2) seems to indicate that the doorways in PoE are much higher and I'm not quite sure about the height of the walls, which plays a crucial part in occlusion as well.

I feel like the characters in PoE are too small compared to the buildings around them, but I'm pretty sure that was on purpose for visibility.

I don't know what this potential mod people are refering to in this thread is supposed to do, but if it's supposed to change the angle of view, then I'm not sure if this is going to work out. After all, the way I understand it is that after the maps are made in 3d for their respective angle, the paintover is a 2d overlay made specifically for the chosen angle. If you were to change the angle in the engine somehow, I'm not sure if you can transform the paintover such that it still looks appropriate afterwards.

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The practical difference is so minor that it's hardly worth mentioning. Naturally, completely top-down camera angle with icons clearly representing roles of different units is by far the most practical way to display a game. From practical standpoint, both IE games and PoE do a poor job of conveying information on screen clearly - and both games are guilty, IE is more readable due to slow speed of combat, on the other hand PoE shows info on hover, has info boxes above heads of characters and shows such things as AoE.

Still, there's much more to RPGs than just clarity - these games are also trying to present player with a world, both in their own way. Arguably your preference of how the camera is angled will stem from how much do you like what do you see, and personally, I prefer art style in PoE to that in BGI and II.

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I actually disagree that Pillars does "just fine" indoors. The shader used to visualize characters behind walls isn't good for visibility compared to that cool dithering(?) effect used in the IE engine

They added an opacity slider for the shader in one of the latest patches, so that visibility problem effectively disappeared.

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They added an opacity slider for the shader in one of the latest patches, so that visibility problem effectively disappeared.

Cool.

Still, there's much more to RPGs than just clarity - these games are also trying to present player with a world, both in their own way. Arguably your preference of how the camera is angled will stem from how much do you like what do you see,

Well, it's not necessarily about that - the lower camera angle does make structures look more impressive. No doubt about it. It's just that it's less practical for the actual gameplay. The question is whether you care about that or not. I do. Some don't.

Edited by Sensuki
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Hmmm. Now that we have an exact measurement formula, I wonder whether all the Infinity Engine games used the same angle or could there be slight differences.

It's only as exact as one can measure the corner coordinates of a horizontal square. Going even half a pixel off with those measurements, will change the calculated camera angle, and it gets worse the smaller the square in question is.

For best results, I need a screenshot of a part of the game world where there's a horizontal square with these properties:

• represents a perfect square (not rectangle)
• as large as possible
• has perfectly straight borders
• has its borders marked by thin lines

Large rooms with tiled floors seem to work pretty well, for example:

If you help me get suitable screenshots like this from the Infinity Engine games, I can make more measurements.

Edited by Ineth
• 1

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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I don't know what this potential mod people are refering to in this thread is supposed to do, but if it's supposed to change the angle of view, then I'm not sure if this is going to work out.

Nah, I don't think anyone is trying to do that...

When I said that the extracted camera angle and geometry data is useful for "modding purposes", I was thinking about these 4 use cases:
1. Adding a custom-made pre-rendered object to an existing PoE map --> You need to know what camera angle you need to render the object at, so that it will fit the perspective of its surroundings and the characters.

2. Creating a whole new custom-made map for PoE --> Ditto.

3. Porting an existing map from another game to PoE --> You need to know if the camera angles are similar enough to allow an unmodified port, or otherwise by what factor the background needs to be stretched to attempt to "fix" the perspective.

4. Porting an existing map from PoE to another game --> Ditto.

No.3 and 4 are actually what interests me the most at this point.

Of course, stretching an image is generally a poor substitute for a proper perspective change. But for backgrounds consisting mostly of free-form terrain, we can get away with it. For example, here's a screenshot from PoE's Russetwood, (original here) vertically stretched to the correct ratio for Infinity Engine games, and some Icewind Dale characters & spell effects placed on top of it:

It sort of works, doesn't it?

Sure, the high grass and rocks look like they're slightly sloped away from us because we don't see as much of their top and back sides as we should. Some photoshopping could fix that. But even as it is, this could be used as part of an Icewind Dale map...

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"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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Yeah, that looks pretty sweet

Somehow I always think mods are about changing what is already there instead of adding something, so I guess that's where my conclusion about what the mod was supposed to do came from. Of course, content generation clearly needs the angle to be available.

By the way, I would be surprised if there was some inconsistency in the angles between baldurs gate 1/2 and icewind dale 1/2 since they use the same sprites whose perspectives are fixed at least. On the other hand, I can't remember if there is sprite overlap between torment and the others, so if there was a difference, I would guess it's between those games.

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Torment uses a different scale for the sprites (bigger), so I'd be extremely surprised if there's overlap.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I like the size of torment sprites.