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Third-Person Perspective

Also known as the "over-the-shoulder" view, the third-person perspective is another popular choice among game designers these days, especially because most games are in 3D. A third-person perspective is when the player can see the character he or she is playing onscreen. This perspective has its advantages, too, because more of the environment can be seen while playing; plus, you can see the moves your character can make—which is impossible in a first-person perspective view.

Many console and PC games use this view, including Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the Tomb Raider series, the Spider-Man series, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, the Metal Gear Solid series, and the Resident Evil series.

Figure 02

Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider was one of the first big hits to use a third-person perspective with an "intelligent" camera that followed heroine Lara Croft around. This is a screen shot from the latest game in the series, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. (Used with permission by Eidos Interactive, Inc.)

Figure 03a Figure 03b

Some games—such as Microsoft's Halo, shown here—switch between the first-person and third-person perspective. While on foot, the game is played from a first-person perspective. Inside one of the many vehicles, it swaps to a third-person view so players can see more of the environment. (Used with permission by Microsoft, Inc.)

This perspective is not limited to just action/arcade games; sports games (almost all of them) honor this view, as well as RPGs (Final Fantasy series) and adventure games (LucasArts' Escape from Monkey Island).

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