Monday, January 26, 2015

Racing game camera views

I've recently been putting a lot of time into Forza Horizon 2 on my Xbox One. And by a "lot" of time I mean it's quite likely I've spent more time driving cars in the game in the last couple of weeks than I have spent time driving my real car in the real world.
The game itself is great - like the original Forza Horizon but with most of the annoyances taken out. But it reminded me of something that I've never quite understood : the above-and-behind camera view. I'm not sure why the game designers continue to put this view into the games. It's pointless, it's not realistic, and it makes the game much, much harder to play. The in-car or on-hood views are by far the easiest camera views to use, and both are a huge improvement on the helicopter-chasing-my-car idea.
It comes down to how you experience the world. In your own life, you don't see yourself in the 3rd-person - you see out of your eyes - 1st-person point of view. This means that when a game presents you with a 3rd-person point of view, it's unnatural and awkward. I said above I don't understand why the game designers do this - I suppose I do really - it's to let you see the car you're driving in all it's detail. Looks nice, but it's counterintuitive.

There's another videogame series that suffers the same problem - Metal Gear Solid. It's a shooting game (like) but the camera is above and behind the player (not like) which makes aiming the gun and hitting anything with any accuracy completely impossible.
If you enjoy driving/racing games, surely the point is to have fun and try to hone your skills? If you have a camera that presents an unrealistic fish-eye view of the world from behind you, you can't place the car properly on the road and you spend most of the time fighting the awkward camera view.
Apparently though I know nothing about this because it seems the best competition and career racing gamers all use the above-and-behind camera views, which makes me wonder how much faster they'd be if they used the 1st-person view instead? Personally, on a circuit race somewhere like Catalunya, my lap times are a good 1.5 to 2 seconds quicker when using the correct camera view.