Home Game mechanics What are the differences between first-person video games and third-person ones?

What are the differences between first-person video games and third-person ones?

by Katherine Shawney

The real devotees of RPGs know the games of this genre like the games of some other genres, for example, shooters, are usually played in the first person or in the third person. Yet, are you completely aware of all the differences between these two visual systems and how they affect the entire game mechanics? Note, that such a categorisation is usually used exclusively in case of 3D games. While 2D games seem to be played from the third-person view, it is actually a different form visualisation of the game process since 2D games are featured with a fixed image and you can’t change views freely like it is done in 3D games.

If you would like to learn more about the details of these two types of video games, you will find a lot of useful information in this article.

What are first-person games?

As you can guess, first-person games are played in the way in which you are observing the world entirely from the perspective of your character. In such games, you are feeling yourself completely in the role of your character and actually, you can see as much as this person can see.

It means that first-person games won’t allow you just to change the camera view freely showing you all the parts of the map which can be seen at that particular point of the game. On the contrary, in such games, your view is rather limited and you are allowed to see exactly the things that would be seen if you yourself really entered the virtual world.

In practice it means, for example, not being able to manipulate the camera view in order to see your enemies. The gameplay is particularly realistic since once you want to check whether an enemy is waiting for you, you should actually come out of the place where you were hiding and this is rarely possible without exposing yourself to the enemy.

Usually, while playing such games, you will see the hands of your character as you own. At the same time, you will hardly have a chance to observe your character in any other way.

What are third-person games?

As you can imagine, third-person games are showing you your character from the perspective of an onlooker. This can be achieved with the behind-the-back view or over-the-shoulder perspective. Although you are in the control of your character like it is supposed to be in role-playing games or shooters, you are more of his or her observer rather than being able to feel like being the character oneself.

Of course, a great difference between first-person cameras and third-person ones is the fact that third-person games allow you to adjust the camera view so as you will be able to understand the current situation in the game world without exposing your character to any dangers. In addition to it, in first-person games, you can easily observe your character by the way he or she is moving or interacting with the world.

Furthermore, when it comes to third-person games, it is crucial to point out that due to the multiple opportunities for using the camera, there are actually several subcategories of such video games. The most common of them are described below.

Third-person games with fixed cameras

As a rule, fixed cameras were used to be popular in older games. They were featured with a permanent position, so the players didn’t have any opportunity to move the camera at all. Fixed cameras were readjusting their positions automatically every time you were changing your location. This way of a game visualisation was used in order to create a special feeling of tension.

Although this type of a camera is not particularly popular nowadays, you can find new games which are still using it for creating a special cinematic atmosphere.

Third-person games with tracking cameras

Tracking third-person cameras are more popular for games with linear events and can be rarely found in games with open spaces. That is so because, as the name of the camera suggests, it is tracking your character. At every step, the camera will be following your character and you won’t need to adjust it to the situation on the screen.

The technology of using tracking cameras in video games is now regarded to be out-of-date.

Third-person games with interactive cameras

The modern trend in third-person games, whether they are RPGs, shooters or of some other genres, is to use an interactive camera. On the one hand, such cameras are always following your character as it is in the case of tracking cameras. On the other hand, they are flexible allowing you to change the views. Personal computers are using mice for this purpose, whereas console controller allow you to use such a function with an analogue stick.

Obviously, the control over the situation in the gaming process is the best when you are using an interactive camera. Yet, this doesn’t mean such form of a game visualisation is perfect. Some games are equipped into interactive cameras of a rather poor quality which tend to get stuck to some objects and not allow the players to move smoothly while observing the world.

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