Created By: DragonQuestZ on May 5, 2011 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on May 17, 2011
Nuked

First Person Movement

Moving in a video game in first person.

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Trope
One of the best ways to avoid Camera Screw in a 3D video game is to put the camera on the eyes of the player character. That way the player controls where the camera goes, so if the player needs to see something, he/she can just turn the character that direction.

It's not perfect. Games can't intuitively turn the head independently of the body, so if you have to look to the side, you have to turn the whole body. And various limitations (both technical and practical) make the player not turn as fast as we can in Real Life, thus giving a "tank" feel to moving the character. Another issue is that in platforming, the view stays ahead when jumping, making it even harder to judge them. Some games get around this by having the view tilt down slightly when jumping.

While the earlier first person games allowed just turning, and walking forwards and backwards, recent games allow strafing, and looking up and down. The latter often uses Camera Centering.

Some games with mostly a third person view will go into first person when using certain weapons.

When done in games with vehicles, this view is referred to as the "cockpit view".

A Super Trope to First-Person Shooter (although actually a genre), Faux First-Person 3D, First-Person Ghost.

Compare Always over the Shoulder (applying this movement to third person games), "Jaws" First-Person Perspective.

Saving examples for another Sub-Trope I'm putting on ykttw, and then seeing what examples don't fit those. Otherwise this trope would be flooded with examples.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • May 6, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • May 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I was pondering that, but some might confuse it for shots in movies and TV like that, and some might also confuse it for adventure games that don't allow you to truly move around (unless you choose to go to another room), but make everything look first person (such as Shadowgate and Myst).
  • May 6, 2011
    Koveras
    Contrast First Person Ghost. Actually, most of examples of this trope are listed there under exceptions.
  • May 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It's not a contrast. It's a Sub Trope.
  • May 6, 2011
    jaytee
    I think First Person Perspective might actually be more useful. Is the use of the perspective in films, old adventure games a la Myst and modern FP Ss really a separate trope for each? They serve the same purpose (to immerse the audience) and are probably referencing each other to an extent (for instance, the first-person perspective in the DOOM movie is clearly a reference to the games).

    I'm not sold either way, I'm just musing on possibilities.

    Beyond that, I would mention that one of the pitfalls of such a view is that it significantly limits the field of view of the player, which is why so many driving games opt away from it as default.
  • May 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Doing it in film is not immersion. It's about point of view.

    As for any first person view in a game, that could be included.
  • May 6, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Doing it in film or other media is called POV Cam.

    If this is about the visual perspective in video games it must be called absolutely that; "first person movement" implies a control scheme where directions are relative to the character's direction, regardless of the camera perspective used. Which may be tropable on its own, but -- bluntly put, I think you've saturated the YKTTW with enough of these things for the time being, DQZ.
  • May 6, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 1. I'll note that in the OP.

    2. Yeah, so some might confused Always Over The Shoulder for a sub trope, when it's a Sister Trope. I'll work on the definition and description.
  • May 8, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Would it be better to call this First Person Control?
  • May 8, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I'm in favor of First Person Perspective, but that's just me.
  • May 8, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Again, that's too general. It doesn't indicate it's about video games.
  • May 9, 2011
    jaytee
    First Person Control doesn't indicate that it's about POV/cameras.

    First Person Game Cam is wordy but clear.

    I think First Person Cam might work. You don't hear "cam" in the sense of camera too much outside of video games and it demonstrates that it is a camera/POV trope rather than a control scheme.

    First Person Game might also work.
  • May 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @DQZ: On the other hand, what does the combination of the word "hit" with "points" have to do with videogames? Nothing about the words by themselves, only by the Popcultural Osmosis of its Trope Namer.

    Also, in the name of precision I have to ask: Is this about the camera system or the control system? They overlap a lot, but they are not the same.
  • May 9, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Hit Points are almost never used outside of games, while "Perspective" is. That's why it wouldn't work.
  • May 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    BTW, don't forget to link Faux First Person 3 D somewhere.

  • May 9, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Already did when I first wrote this.
  • May 10, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I also repeat: Is this about the visual perspective or the control scheme? The current title/laconic says it's about the latter, but the draft is about the former.
  • May 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    It's about the latter. The draft just needs tweaking.
  • May 10, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ If that's the case, now I can agree that First Person Perspective would not be the best title here. But then the draft needs more than mere 'tweaking', it needs a complete rewrite from the ground up.

    Character Relative Controls? First Person Control Scheme?
  • May 10, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    If you can fix the description, perhaps you could do one in a reply, and I could integrate it into the OP.
  • May 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I can't guarantee it will be any good, but....


    A class of videogame control schemes where the player's movement is expressed in terms relative to their character's own perspective in the game world -- instead of directions such as "north", "south" or "west", the directions are simply "forward", "backwards", and "sideways".

    This is, by definition, the style of movement used in every First Person Shooter ever made, but it also occurs in other genres as well depending on the needs of the game. For example, a racing game may utilize a control scheme where 'left' and 'right' correspond to the steering wheel, while 'up' and 'down' correspond to the gas pedal and brakes.

    In its most basic (and earliest) form it consisted of one movement axis (usually mapped to the "up" and "down" keys) which allows the player to travel forwards or backwards relative to the current direction their character is facing, and a rotation axis (usually "left" and "right") which allows the player to change the direction they are facing (without actually moving the character). This was merely sufficient to enable free-roaming travel in any direction across a flat plane, but also resulted in a so-called "tank"-like feel, as the player character was unable to move "sideways", but instead needed to rotate that direction before moving forwards.

    The addition of "sidestep" or "strafe" keys allieviated this, allowing the player two axes of character movement, with the usual left/right keys for rotating their character to face another direction. The evolution of 3D Polygonal Graphics and level designs incorporating changes in height (as opposed to a flat plane) similarly saw a second rotational axis, used to adjust the player's view vertically. Today, with the dominance of dual-joystick game controllers, it is considered "standard" for one joystick to control the character's movement, while the second joystick controls which direction the character is facing.

    The fact that this control scheme is relative to the in-game character makes this setup resistant to the Camera Screw associated with many third-person videogames; specifically, should the camera change perspective suddenly, this will have no effect on which direction the character is traveling. On the downside, it does have a bit of a learning curve compared to screen directions, and can make certain maneuvers (such as precision jumping) difficult to evaluate if the player cannot control the game camera.


    Examples

    Because this is an inherent part and parcel of every first-person videogame ever, please limit examples to videogames utilizing a third-person perspective.

    • The control scheme in Asteroids consisted of "left" and "right" to rotate the player ship, and a "thrust" button to propel the ship in its current direction. Part of the game's challenge was the lack of Space Friction, which enabled such things as rotating and shooting in different directions while the player's ship drifts in a given direction.
  • May 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    You seem to think this is just about movement. This is about moving in third person, thus having third person examples is missing the point.

    That would be a good ykktw for tank movement, not this.
  • May 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ You lost me. What?
  • May 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Your attempt at a new description actually includes third person views, which is not this trope.

    Not to mention your ykttw you just put up is basically what this is supposed to be.
  • May 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I asked in ^8 whether this was about the visual perspective or the controls, to which you answered it was about the controls. Now you say it's not about the controls at all ... then it must be about the visual perspective.
  • May 12, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    That was a goof on my part. I meant both the perspective and the controls. So your ykttw is still redundant.
  • May 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Well, in virtually all free-roaming cases, the controls come bundled with the perspective by definition. In that light I have to return to my stance that First Person Camera or First Person Perspective are acceptable titles.
  • May 15, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ One is a redirect to an existing trope, and the other looks like another redirect. Again, even if this is just the perspective, it has to be clear that this is about games using this, not just a type of camera shot.
  • May 15, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Redirects can be swapped where needed, and First Person Camera isn't attracting much attention to itself. I still complain that your current working title and laconic are no better because they focus on movement at the expense of omitting the perspective.

    But if you really want to 'officiate' some title brainstorming, there's always crowners. At the moment the title discussion is basically you vs. me and it's getting the YKTTW completely nowhere.

  • May 16, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I'm not saying we can't go with a new title. Just that it has to indicate this is about video games, not a camera shot.
  • May 16, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I think you are being too strict here.
  • May 16, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    How is stating a media specific trope shouldn't have terms that mean other media being too strict? In case you didn't know, names broader than the tropes cause misuse more often than not.

    Now this can be broadened to the perspective instead of just movement, but it still needs a name that doesn't imply it's something other than games.
  • May 16, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Hey, I spend time in the TRS too. The goal is to have a title that's clear and concise, and isn't likely to get confused for other existing tropes. I think your insistence on #3 may be at the expense of the other two which are just as important. We don't need to spend years searching out that One Perfect Title if we have a few that are arguably Good Enough across all three counts in general.

    (I could cite plenty of pre-existing media-specific tropes whose title doesn't convey the media in question, but that's kinda off-topic.)

    You did clarify that this is about the visual perspective first and foremost (matching controls come bundled with it almost by definition), so the title needs to reflect the perspective first and foremost, too.

    As for the draft itself, I personally don't like the first line being a remark about Camera Screw as if it's the most important part of the trope (it's not). Consider the draft I wrote on my (for lack of a better term) duelling YKTTW as suggestions.
  • May 17, 2011
    Jeysie
    POV Camera? Seeing/Looking Through the Character's Eyes? (I have to admit First Person Camera doesn't seem that bad to me either.)
  • May 17, 2011
    Jeysie
    ...or maybe Eyes Control the Camera/View?
  • May 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @Jeysie: POV Cam is already established for cases (mostly in non-game media) where a first-person perspective is temporarily invoked for effect.
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