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Third-Person Views

Third-Person Views

Players are shown the game world with a focus on a game element under the players' control

Many games center the view of the game environment upon a game element, which the players control. These Third-Person Views, where players observe the game environment as seen from outside the game element they control, let them see more of the immediately surrounding environment than could be achieve by observing from within the game element.

Example: Pac-Man is shown from above in the game with the same name, giving players the possibility to see what is behind walls in the maze.

Using the pattern

There are a number of different types of Third-Person Views: isometric, which shows the game elementfrom above slightly to the side; overhead, which provides excellent relations to the surrounding but which offers little information about the game elementitself; chase-cam, which follows the game element exactly behind in the element's line of movement. These can be modified by either linking the movement of the Camera to the movement of the game element or locking the Camera to a position relative to the environment. The same trick can be used for Public Information with Third-Person Views.

Third-Person Views offer the design option of letting players have control over the Camera which creates the view. Although this may affect the Right Level of Difficulty and require more Dexterity-Based Actions, it can allow players to have a complete view of the Game World.

Games with Third-Person Views that require Imperfect Information about the terrain of the Game World at a different level than the view must either use Fog of War or divide the game area into sections.


Third-Person Views focus the view of the Game World around an Avatar or a Unit. Since the entire surrounding around that game element, and specifically the area behind the game element, is visible to the player, this view provides a form of Game State Overview. The centering of the view around a Unit makes Third-Person Views support the identification of what Unit is controlled in moveable Focus Loci.

The feedback from performed movements in Third-Person Views is not as natural as those of First-Person Views, as it is the relation between the Avatar or Unit and the environment that changes rather than the just the environment. Third-Person Views can still support Spatial Immersion, especially in chase-cam modes, and the better Game State Overview may make Maneuvering easier in this view than in First-Person Views. However, Aim & Shoot actions become more difficult since players have to take both the target and shooter positions and movement into account when performing the actions.


Instantiates: Spatial Immersion, Focus Loci

Modulates: Aim & Shoot, Fog of War, Game World, Maneuvering, Game State Overview, Dexterity-Based Actions, Public Information

Instantiated by: Avatars, Units

Modulated by: Fog of War

Potentially conflicting with: God Views

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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