While revealing my team based shooter on Quarter to Three, I received a comment regarding the fact that a third person shooter view is considered inferior to the first person shooter cam. Well thanks to that comment I got inspired to do another entry, about why the first person view isn’t perfect for all shooters.
A long time ago when I first thought up this idea I had to make the decision about the camera. At first I thought that the game could work in first person, but the more I thought about it, the more failings I found with the camera for what I wanted to do. Gun control and aiming are better with the first person view I can’t deny that, but there is more to this game then just shooting. The player needs to have area awareness, so that they don’t run into a wall or bump into their friends. With a first person cam, that is impossible to reproduce as the game camera can not replicate our peripheral vision perfectly. Yes a wide screen view could work, but it still won’t be the same as the real thing. Melee is another factor; I’ve yet to see a game with a first person cam handle melee realistically or accurately. The problem is that you cannot gauge the right length for swinging a weapon or fist, while a third person cam isn’t perfect it is better in this regard then the first person. Next is spatial relations to the environment, a first person cam cannot do this period. As the player can’t view their body in relationship to the world without having peripheral vision and the wider view we have compared to a PC monitor. Ironically in my opinion, the player can personify themselves with their character with a third person view better then in first person, as the player can see the character in great detail from that view.
I’m very interested to see how Mirror’s Edge handles these issues with the first person cam. An addendum, I have no problems with the first person cam and some of my comments are my opinion. There are just some things that can be done better in third person then in first person. Perhaps virtual reality will take off again and we’ll never have to worry about these problems again. Although having the machines rise up and imprison us in a virtual world would be a greater problem.