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<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-cameras.html>Cameras</a>


Camera is an abstract game element that decides what is the player's current view to the game world.

Example: Real-time strategy games allow the players to move the camera across the whole game world but the position of the game elements, and in many cases not even the terrain, is typically not revealed. God games, in contrast, allow players to have a complete view of the area that is being viewed. First-person shooters, as the name implies, usually provide first-person views while racing games often let players choose between first-person views to support spatial immersion and third-person views that allow better overview of the local game world environment.

Example: Super Mario 64 provides an exception to the rule that Cameras are abstract objects that are not explained within the game world: although not affected by events in the game world, the camera, and the cameraman, can be seen in mirrors. Another minor exception is the camera in the party game Monkey Boxing in Super Monkey Ball 2, which can be hit during the celebration scene when one of the monkeys has won the game.

Using the pattern

The type of Camera is usually closely linked to how Focus Loci and Spatial Immersion are used in the game: games with Avatars use First-Person Views or Third-Person Views, while games with Units use God Views. While First-Person Views and Third-Person Views easily support Imperfect Information to players by limiting their control of the Camera, God Views can achieve similar effect by using Fog of War.

Games with Avatars that include fast movement often let the players choose from several different camera views based on First-Person View or Third-Person Views. Examples of these are chase cameras, which do not follow the Avatar but missiles or bullets shot by the Avatar and fly-by cameras, which lock the camera position while tracing the movement of the Avatar.

Making the decision to allow players to control the Camera include making decision of what Extra-Game Actions related to Cameras should be provided: rotation, zooming and absolute movement for God Views and rotation and zooming movement for First-Person Views and Third-Person Views. This increases players Freedom of Choice and Spatial Immersion (as not only the player can make the Avatar or Unit move in the world but also the Game World move around these) but increases the conflict with Consistent Reality Logic.


Cameras that can be manipulated by the players allow the players to decide what parts of the Game World they want to focus their attention on. In games with Avatars this is typically limited in such a way that the Avatar is always in the center of the view. This maintains the symmetry between what the Avatar and the player sees so that Tension and Surprises can be achieved and also to strengthen spatial Immersion.

In games with Units, the Camera movement may be completely free to allow the players to move between different game elements and to enforce them to make Tradeoffs between which parts of the Game World to focus their attention on. The ease of the use of the Camera, and relevant Game State Overview, decides how much the game helps the players to perform Attention Swapping.


Instantiates: Attention Swapping, Extra-Game Actions

Modulates: God Views, Spatial Immersion, Units, Tradeoffs

Instantiated by:

Modulated by: Fog of War

Potentially conflicting with: Consistent Reality Logic

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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