Essentials:

How to make the Levels the Two Towers Way

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Place final Cameras

  1. CM placed final cameras based on LD, GM and AD’s notes
  2. Cameras approved by LD, GM, AD.

The final step is placing cameras. Now the planning for the cameras should be done roughly in the 2d map stage by marking on the map where the cameras will go (see figure 9). Special attention should be paid to the portal and sectors, because you can only show one portal and two sectors in the shot at a time. Then attention should be paid to the scene direction between the cuts, just like in Filmmaking 101, and then game play coverage is the next important thing to consider. Last on this list of concerns should be creating dramatic and aesthetically pleasing shots and camera angles.


Figure 9

After the 2D map stage of camera planning is done and approved, the cameraman can then place first pass cameras in the blocked out geometry stage. This is where the real work of camera placement can get done, because once the player is running around and temporary geometry is in, the cameraman can get a real feel for how the cameras are going to look. He can’t do the final cameras till the creatures are in, and all the game play works, and the lighting is done. But he can do the bulk of his work in the 3d block out stage with much of problem.

I really want to emphasize how contentious camera placement can be. Programmers, game designers, level designers, and the art director and environment artists will all want to have their say because the camera placement affects all that they do. For example is the camera is always facing north in a scene then the geometry from the north side of all the boulders and tress can be removed to save memory and speed up load times. But if the Environment Artist has no idea where the camera will go he will just assume the cameras will see the north side of all those objects and build them in. Another example is if the camera needs to back up in order create a long shot, but it backs up inside cliff geometry or into a tree, the world geometry is going to have to be reworked to accommodate it. But if the cameras are placed during the 3D block out stage, this problem can be detected early and the environment artist can make sure when he builds the final world geometry, there is room built in for the camera.

If the camera placement is done early on, one can avoid the ever so painful tug-o’-war that will happen between the three disciplines near the end of the project. So plan cameras from the beginning. Your future self with thank you for it.

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