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Top-Down View

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Top-down view, also sometimes referred to as bird's-eye view or overhead view, was a common perspective in video games before the advent of 3D, and is still in use in some genres today. Commonly found in Real-Time Strategy games and occasionally in Simulation Games that don't use Isometric Projection. It is also used in some Action Games, such as the early Grand Theft Auto series.

Some of these games, in addition to having the camera angled straight down, also use a perspectiveless top-down projection in which everything on the screen is viewed as if the camera were directly above it. Not everything can be drawn well in this perspective, though, which is why Cheated Angle is often applied to character and item sprites.

See also Isometric Projection, Side View and Three-Quarters View.


Top-down projection

Non-Video Game Examples

Films — Live-Action

  • Exit 0: The first shot of the movie is a top-down view of the car containing The Protagonists driving along a road.
  • The Swarm (2020): The first shots of the movie are a top-down view of a road through a cornfield as the intro credits roll.
  • The Widow (2020): Some shots of the van driving through the woods are filmed from a bird's-eye view, right over it.

Alternative Title(s): Birds Eye View, Overhead View