Post news RSS DevLog: Preview on Minimap and New Camera Controls

BattleJuice Alchemist gets a minimap, compass, freely rotatable camera and lots of customization. In this devlog I'm telling a story about how something that seems simple at the first glance can turn out to be quite a challenge.

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Hey everyone,

recently I decided that I could no longer make this a future-me problem: some playtesters found camera movement not perfect in places. You could freely move the camera in zoomed-in third person mode, but not in top down view. Implementing free camera movement is a bigger can of worms than one would expect, but your wish is my command.

TopDownCameraRotation 3MB


So why is this so difficult? Here is the deal: BattleJuice Alchemist now is a game where you can play in top down perspective and in third person, move by clicking and by WASD input and switch between all four combinations seamlessly. In top down mode you expect the character to move "down" when you press down. But what actually is "down"? If you rotate the camera in top down mode, "down" is not aligned with south anymore. You expect to move in reference to your camera rotation. In third person on the other hand, you maybe do not want your character to move towards the camera when you press down. Should the character walk backwards? Or should the camera pan around the character until it is behind the character again? One person might expect that the left and right buttons in third person perspective rotate the camera, another wants them to rotate the character and a third person might want them to move the character. You want keybindings and UI buttons to turn the camera in 45 degree steps, but also want to have complete freedom to look with the mouse. How do you do that when you also walk with the mouse? All these things and quite a lot more had to be taken into consideration and new control settings and bindings hat to be implemented.

To make all of that camera movement and input comfortable to use, I had to tie in a second feature: A minimap and compass.

CompassUI small


The minimap provided its own challenges, which were mainly performance related, but I won't bore you with that. For now, I am happy that only a bit of testing and polishing has to be done and the new features will be ready to be rolled out within the next patch. If you want to check it out, you can still join the open alpha playtest on Steam.

Thank you for sticking with me and have a great day!

Alain

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