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How to: Do a camera that is top Down/Isometric

HI all,

I'm trying to create a top down SHMUP similar to 19xx, aerofighters, skyshark, last star fighter. etc. I am going for the look and feel of 2.5D. I know that the new 1972 does this. Although the view is from above, I'd like to express some dimensionaility. Since a picture works best, how do I position a camera to get a view like the ones below?

alt text

This is more Isometric but I want the buildings to be featured at a 3/4 view like this.

Or: More top down

alt text

Also, are there any art considerations or techniques that I should consider for this art style? IE more textures, less polys? I appreciate any help you all can provide.

Thanks

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asked Feb 24 '10 at 01:33 AM

Marvin Hawkins gravatar image

Marvin Hawkins
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5 answers: sort voted first

For an Isometric camera: Create an empty GameObject called 'CameraTarget' at (0,0,0). Create a camera at (0,0,-10). Parent the Camera to the CameraTarget. Set the rotation of the Camera Target to (30,45,0) then check 'Orthographic' under the Camera settings. Adjust the 'Orthographic Size' camera setting to change the amount of zoom. Move the CameraTarget around the world to change the focal point on the map.

For the other type of camera: Do a similar setup as above except set the Camera Targets rotation to something like (60,0,0). Turn off Orthographic (there is a slight bit of perspective by the looks of it) and change the Camera's field of view to a low number like 30. You'll need to move the camera further away, so it's position will need to be more like (0,0,-30). Low settings on a field of view reduce the perspective and simulate a long zoom camera lens (hence needing to move the camera further away).

Some useful info about pictorial drawing views: Axonometric Projection

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answered Feb 24 '10 at 04:22 AM

Motionreactor gravatar image

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Feb 24 '10 at 06:30 AM Motionreactor
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See the answer by Motionreactor for good camera rotations you can use as a starting point.

However, none of the screenshots you posted use an orthographic camera - they both have perspective, the perspective is just not very "strong".

The way to get just a little perspective is to set the camera angle (field of view) to a rather small value (say 20 degrees). Initially, this will zoom the view in a lot, so you have to move the camera further away to compensate. If you move it far enough away, you'll be able to see as much as you could before with the larger field of view, except that there's less "strong" perspective, and the feeling is closer to that of an orthographic camera, but without removing the perspective completely.

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answered Feb 24 '10 at 08:57 AM

runevision gravatar image

runevision ♦♦
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On closer inspection you are right. Looks like both of the above examples have a small degree of perspective.

Feb 24 '10 at 11:43 AM Motionreactor

Also note that in the screenshot you can't see a lot of perspective distortion because the view is limited; with such camera facing down, you can't look very far. This means it may not even be necessary to modify the camera angle.

Oct 10 '11 at 09:41 AM bernardfrancois
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For isometric camera view you basically just use the Othographic checkbox in camera properties. The screenshot below seems to make heavy use of post processing like depth of field, I believe there's a DoF demo on Unity's example project site.

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answered Feb 24 '10 at 02:53 AM

Jaap Kreijkamp gravatar image

Jaap Kreijkamp
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That's a great suggestion Motion Reactor! I've already implemented and have started playing around with it to suit my needs. It's already much closer to what I was going for.

A question that hopefully you or rune can answer: Does an Orthographic camera completely remove perspective from the scene? I'd like to use the lighting that Unity offers and show off some dimensionality in the game objects

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answered Feb 26 '10 at 08:21 PM

Marvin Hawkins gravatar image

Marvin Hawkins
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Yes, Orthographic removes foreshortening of perspective.

Feb 27 '10 at 02:58 AM Motionreactor

@Marvin, it's really better to put your comments in a Comment to another Answer :) not a separate new Answer.

Jun 15 '10 at 05:39 PM Cyclops
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I found this tutorial which gave me a good starting point for working with the Orthographic camera view. http://forum.unity3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=28433

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answered Jun 15 '10 at 03:46 PM

detour gravatar image

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For more information about using the Orthographic camera view and a demonstration video, you can also check out the following blog post: http://www.previewlabs.com/2d-game-prototyping-in-unity3d-orthographic-projection/

Oct 10 '11 at 01:41 PM bernardfrancois
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asked: Feb 24 '10 at 01:33 AM

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Last Updated: Oct 10 '11 at 01:41 PM