Types of Camera perspectives in the 2d world

So initially I thought that this was going to be a pretty straight forward post about types of camera perspectives in video games. I did not realize the amount of history and misconceptions that would be associated with these angles. I will not be covering everything because frankly a lot of it is pretty trivial at this point in time. However I will be linking to some resources I found for those that are interested in the history of how these got their names.

In this post we will be looking at the 2d versions of camera angles generally found in video games. There is no definite names for these types of camera views, at least from what I could find. As an example something as simple as a top down view. We all know what a top down view is, but there is no mention of it in any online dictionary that I could find.

Top Down

Just in case someone did not now what a top down camera perspective is, lets start with this one. Imagine a tic tac toe board or say Pac-Man. Both of these have an “aerial” view of the playing field. This is considered a Top Down perspective. Top Down being around since the early days of video games, there is a ton of examples online and surprisingly a few variations of it.

Fully Flat

This is what normally comes to mind for a Top Down perspective. No degree change in the camera. You are looking at it as if you were exactly above the object.

Angled or 3\4 Vertically

So this is one of the new ones to me, I didn’t realize that 3\4 was a thing. The main difference between Fully Flat and 3\4, is the perceived angle at which you are looking at the objects. So you still have the aerial view of Fully Flat, but now you can see walls in the y axis or vertically. People will argue the degrees of said angle, but I feel that it does not really matter.

Isometric or 2.5d

Now lets take that 3\4 top down perspectives and turn it 45 degrees. Now you can see the top of the object, walls on your y axis, and now walls of your x axis. Pretty much if you seen anything in real life, you are going to see these sides of it. Its like 3d, just on a fixed angle. In my younger days it was always called isometric, but after some knit picking from the community it seems that 2.5d is the more acceptable terminology. This being because isometric is suppose to be on an angle of 30 degrees, not always the case when people are making video games.

Side Scrolling

Ah classic Mario, I’m sure everyone remembers this one. So basically if you went from a top down and moved the camera in a straight line on the y axis until all you could see is the wall, that would pretty much be a side view.


Your Thoughts?

Do you prefer isometric or 2.5d? let me know in the comments below! thanks and I will see you guys next week!

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