Thursday, September 12, 2019

Setting up a stationary isometric camera in Unreal Engine 4

The project templates in Unreal cover most of the common game types. However, I'm interested in making something isometric with a stationary camera. The top down template uses mouse control rather than directions, and the third person template has a mobile camera rotated by the mouse. As I've never used Unreal before this, it took a bit of searching to put together how to set up a suitable starting point for this. Before I get focused on something else, I have transcribed the steps here for future reference.


First select the Third Person project. I don't think Blueprint or C++ makes a difference, but I used Blueprints.

Drag in a Camera, which will appear in World Outliner as CameraActor.

Next open the level blueprint and set it up to use the CameraActor on BeginPlay. The individual steps for this are explained in this clear tutorial from the Unreal documentation.
 Don't forget to delete off the front walls so the floor is visible.
Using cmd + shift + p or right clicking on the CameraActor will enter pilot mode which allows the camera to move while looking through its view. Unfortunately, this does not seem to work in orthographic mode, so it will take some trial and error dragging the camera around while checking the view. Here I have found some reasonable settings to use for now.
Finally, the default third person project uses the mouse to turn, so turn off "Turn" in the axis mapping section of the input section of the project settings.

Now running it looks something like this.
Now a quick comparison to a classic puzzle platformer for reference.
The camera needs to be lower. After quite a bit of time positioning the camera and hastily rescaling some geometry this looks more like the position.

After some more scaling, and applying some quick textures and light, we have something a little closer.


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