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Games and Staging

As with film, characters in game animation still need to play to the camera. The camera, however, is usually under the control of the player. This can bring up some thorny issues. Before you begin animating for a game, you need to understand where the camera is and how the audience will see your characters.

Games can be either first- or third-person. In a first-person game, the player sees everything in a POV perspective, which eliminates most animation of the main character. A third-person game shows you character's motion in its entirety, which should be a lot more fun (and work) for the animators.

If the game is shot in third person, you need to get some more information. How far away is the camera? If the player needs to see small, precise motions, you'll need to either bring the camera in close or animate the actions more broadly.

Another question involves cutting. Does the camera simply move with the character all the time, or will you use cinematic cutting?

The camera can follow the character by simply running along a rail locked to the character in an over-the-shoulder shot. This is very simplistic, but it works well for single-player games. One problem is that you usually see the character from the back, which restricts animation of the main character.

For games with multiple players, such as sports games or fighting games, the camera might need to be more dynamic to include the action of both players. In a basketball game, the camera's position could be based on the position of the ball. In a martial arts duel, it will need to frame both characters.

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