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Mod Ideas/Enhanced Spectator Camera

Enhancing the Spectating Experience

Disclaimer

Previously, this disclaimer described how I owned a Mac and lacked UT2003 and lacked UED. That has all changed and now I have my very custom built PC and a copy of UT 2003. So, I have been immersed in trying to learn the editor. I'm back to clean up this article a bit.

Please leave the text I've written and add your comments at the bottom.

The Basic Concept

I first had a very complicated idea for a HUD driven system which could eventually be expanded to have video effects and all sorts of insanity. After playing a spectacular online round on CTF-Face, it dawned on me - the camera system should be simple and smooth. The viewer should be able to follow the action he/she wants and see it as if it were on ESPN... But it's not. Its USN - Unreal Sports Network! :D

Basic Improvements

  • Ability to store several bookmarks of your current camera placement.
  • A way to cycle through saved camera coordinates
  • A way to quickly jump between your bookmarks, free floating ("own camera"),
  • Zooming
  • Add a few hotkeys for controling the cameras functions

Special Enhancements

  • Smooth the data from a server in regards to a camera's focal point. Thus eleminating the nausea inducing jitters.
  • Create a player follow mode which detects the nearest 'Saved camera' and switches the view to it.
  • Have a special score display system that works like the sports tickers on CNN and ESPN
  • Have a way to automaticly follow the most exciting action.
  • Have a letterboxed mode
  • Be able to save all camera settings per map from within the game.

Basic Operation

Saving Camera Coordinates

A simple keypress I should think? No? It's simple, you enter a server and are automaticly viewing from 'own camera'. Fly around and find a great vantage point, click left mouse. Console feedback says: "Camera001 Created" — It should be that simple and functional.

Cycling Saved Cameras

A touch of complexity here. It's time to create viewing modes There should be four viewing modes in total:

  • Own Camera - The basic view, with total freedom. Type 'ghost' in console to pass through walls and meshes.
  • Bookmarked Cameras - The coordinates and settings of a previous perspective used by Own Camera. Bookmarks can be locked or free. They always start locked to prevent them from being accidentaly shifted. You will be able to move your view around, but not into the x/y/z/ planes. Press the hotkey though and the camera will be free again.
  • Player Cameras - The view behind and following a player. You can spin the camera around the player like you can now.
  • TV Camera - The most dynamic of the new modes...Also the most complicated, so I'll explain in a seperate section.

If I click the left mouse button I should be able to cycle between those four modes, with the console feedback letting me know I did so. The mouse wheel could now be used to cycle the Saved and Player cameras. The Own Camera is unique and does not cycle.

Zooming

Self explanatory I should think. I want to click that extra mouse button I have and zoom way into the watch, then zoom WAY out and watch from the blimp. Zoom should be two keys (Zoom in/Out). Zoom should work from with in any camera mode... Just think Wayne's World meets CTF :D

TV MODE

What's this all about?! Unreal Tournament got its own TV show?? No. Not really, but maybe someday you'll see your virtual self on the radical sports network. That's what I'd like this mode to feel like. A radical sports presentation. How would it work? It's success, and any good sports coverage, is dependant on good camera placement. Hence the idea of Saving camera coordinates. But to REALLY make this work, you need to have premade camera layouts made by the folx at Epic for the custom levels, and by mappers for their own levels. Each spectator could make their own... But come on! Imagine watching the superbowl feed from some d00d in the nose bl33d section. No, this needs to be done with style to really work.

TV Mode needs to be Un-Officialy Intelligent. What I mean by that is: The spectator should feel like they are enjoying the best the 'event' has to offer.

How does that work??? SIMPLE!!! Create a menu in preferences which lets you 'describe' the viewing experience you want.

TV Mode Preferences

  • Follow Best players
  • Follow Red/Blue team only
  • Follow Players on streaks
  • Follow Highest player density
  • Follow Campers
  • Follow Worst players
  • Follow Game Objective (BR Ball, CTF Flag, DD Points) -MythOpus
  • Add to this list

And so on and so forth. Of course, TV Mode is not without contol. Upon clicking the hotkey, the view immediatley returns to Own View. That way action can be followed that the saved cameras can't see or that TV Mode isn't keeping up with.

Closing

It has been a few months since I originally posted this idea, and I see a few comments have even been added! Plus, now I am actually building my own maps and digging into the new editing tools. That being said, I think it would be fairly easy to code the "Basic Enhanced Camera Mode". TV Camera mode would be a large undertaking so I doubt it will ever see the light of day (although Epic would be wise to add it in UT 2005!)

Comments

Guest: Great idea! I am a veteran UT player since the game was first released. I have created a couple of dozen maps for UT. How about adding a speed control for the camera, so that you can control the rate of movement speed? For example, a player with 100% adrenaline chooses speed mode; therefore he is able to run faster and you want to continue To follow him with the camera with camera speed rate control you will be able to increase the speed the camera is able to move, perhaps by using hot keys grey + and grey -.

Guest: How about having the camera able to follow the Bombing Run Ball, or to be able to choose which CTF flag to follow, and following the winning player?

MythOpus: I Like. ^ He Likes. We All Like :D And maybe (since this is such an ideal modification) at a program where a server Admin (or the host of a server) can set up a system where any player who doesn't wanna load UT/2K3 can just open up the program, connect to the server created by the admin and watch the game as a spectator ( Can/Can't Chat?) And add sounds like | WO ! | when the palyer drops the flag or ball , or | He's ON Fire ! | When some1 gets like 5 goals in a row or like 40 kills in a row. Just A Suggestion :)

MythOpus: Any1 interested in implementing this lil idea ?

The Twiggman: Lol, mint idea man. I think we need instant replays of say like multikills or something. That would be neat. Or have some audio so that you can have your annoncer talk more. Like for example "Joe Blow just got a multikill" or "Joe Blow scored a goal". Doesn't the game already have sounds for the bots names anyways, so that can't be hard to code. Just got to get the speech inbetween to work.

Lev: My thought on how the ui/controls would work would be have alt fire as change camera mode and primary fire as loop available cameras for that mode (just like the current spectator mode) then for each camera mode you have your option menu accessible through the voice comms menu ("V" currently I think) That would allow you to add new cameras and do lots of different actions pretty intuitively. Iím going to look into this and if itís within my ohso limited skills and be very interested in implementing the basic version at least.

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