I was watching a gameplay demo of Ship of Heroes and was surprised to see the screen get blurry when the player character suffered a stun-like effect. Note the UI elements were still crisp and in focus. It was just the camera portion that blurred. See here at about time=33 seconds
This led me to thinking what other kinds of camera effects could exist to spice up a game.
The first and most obvious effect is camera shake. Explained superlatively by Candlesan here:
I think he forgot one axis of shake: Zoom shake.
I suggest camera shake could be used for certain power sets (super strength comes to mind), certain hard-hitting powers, and when your character receives a critical hit.
- There are other camera effects we could implement:
- Dolly Zoom, for when we go really really fast. The focal length extends and the field of view narrows when we enter super speed travel. There is at least one other MMO that does this, and nowhere would it be more appropriate than in a game where actual superspeed is an option. Here's a video showing how a guy does this in the unreal engine:
(note: Unfortunately in the video the guy incorrectly widens the field of view when pulling back and narrows when zooming, which is the opposite of a Dolly Zoom, but the process is laid out well)
- Underwater Waviness. Like Munch's Scream:
A wavy effect in the worldview would be good for when your player character is under certain mez effects like, for example, Fear.
- Not a camera effect, per se, but something some games use to great effect is a damage overlay for when your HP is getting low. A bunch of different indicators could exist to help the player realize thier character is running low on HP. (anyone who'd ever suffered scrapperlock knows what I'm talking about). So an overlay such as a dimming or reddening of the edges of the screen, start playing a heartbeat pulse and maybe some zoom shake that coincides with the pulse.
- Energy loss could also be represented, perhaps by desaturating the colors on the screen.
- Momentum will also be a thing and I think it would be pretty cool if momentum could be represented by the sounds of a roaring crowd, although I'm not sure how we could do it visually.
- Blurring the camera view the same way Ship of Heroes does it might be okay, but making things go out of focus like that seemed pretty jarring to me and could be headache-inducing if it happens regularly. I know that affects some people even worse than it does me, so I would probably rule it out as a camera effect unless it was taken to a further extreme. Things being just slightly out of focus causes the unease because our eyes try to adjust and can't. But if we put the screen extremely out of focus, our brain tells our eyes to just wait it out, and that would be better. So if we were to use a camera blur, it should be extreme, and it should be used for something appropriate like stuns.
- I noticed that among all the status effects we can suffer, blindness is not one of them. @Tannim222, I hope you will someday bring back Blindness. City of Heroes deals with blindness by making all eligible targets invisible and untargetable, which is pretty slick. But since City of Titans' control effects will be non-binary, I suggest dimming the camera (the camera only, not the UI) or putting random black splotches in the field of view such that a 100% blindness sees nothing but blackness. More of the screen then becomes visible with less effective bllindness. Of course, as always, don'r mess with the UI. That should always be immune from camera effects.
These are just some ideas.
What do you think?
I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.