Sunday, 22 April 2012

Move the viewport, not the world!

Two separate posts on drew my attention. It appears that some game programmers are getting it WRONG.

Superficially, it seems that in some games (think of scrolling games with enemies appearing of the edge of the screen), the enemies are all approaching at a constant rate.

But what REALLY happens, is that the viewport scrolls at a fixed rate, and each enemy starts at a fixed world-space position, and activates when the viewport reaches a particular place.

This is not a very important distinction for the player, but its a HUGE distinction for the programmer.

If the developer thinks it's good to have 1 million enemies, all of which are created at the beginning of the game, and then move each one of them, every single tick, to a slightly different position as the camera moves, then they are probably doing it wrong:

So games developers - remember - move the viewport, not the world!

Kevin Reid's answer to the "thousands of enemies" says it nicely "Don't move the enemies! move the camera"!