Star Citizen is one of those of those games where you read about it every so often, but each and every time you are left with two questions: how? But also, why? In a recent lengthy developer blog on YouTube (embedded below), lead animation engineer Ivo Herzeg goes into painstaking detail into why they needed to come up with a new technique to capture the player field of view. Like said before, it’s lengthy, but it’s strangely enthralling as well. Check it out:
In case you do not have time or access to sound to watch the video, here’s the short of it: Traditional fields of view are suitable for FPS gameplay, yet not very realistic and are unable to truly capture the way your vision looks as you move around. The reason is, as your head moves, your eyes automatically correct your vision in order to smooth your vision. In video games, your eyes are always focused on one point and are not dynamic, hence why the camera usually looks unnatural and static. The team worked on several corrections to this, yet nothing came without a series of flaws.
Herzeg delved into how they managed to dig deeper on the issue. He said that this “issue was keeping us busy for a while so we spent time trying to understand how we humans are doing visual stabilization. It turned out, it’s a pretty complex mental process, and there wasn’t a practical way to get that into our first-person camera.”
However, they learned that birds cannot move their eyes around, and thus must steady their head with amazing control in order to see properly. Star Citizen uses this model in order to make their vision controls extraordinarily accurate. Herzeg explained further:
If you can’t keep your vision stable by moving your eyes…then the next logical step is to try to do the opposite. Just keep the head stable. And that’s what they do. Birds have long necks, so they just counter-translate the body motions. It’s kind of a camera stabilizer invented by nature.
Will it really matter in terms of game-play? Absolutely not. Is it really neat and a big step forward in terms of immersion and technical engineering? Definitely. It takes a game like Star Citizen to really go for these goals where normal triple-A games would cut due to budget, time, or interest.
Not much is known about a release date for Star Citizen. However, to sate your appetite for more information about the game, you can check out the rest of their video blogs for insights into the game’s development.