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The Legacy Collection is a look back at some of the mods I have created, giving a bit of insight into how they evolved and why they were created.

This is a page about the development of my On-Foot Cinematic Camera mod.

Current version number of this mod is 4.0.4

Interesting...
I have actually just discovered there was a serious bug in this mod today (2nd May 2018) that meant the melee camera wouldn't activate if you were doing a targetted melee attack.

It seems that when you do that, aim cam becomes active and that isn't classed as a 3rd person view for the player. That also affected stealth kills, which is ironically the first types of attack I ever got working.

Ah well, C'├Ęst la vie, as the French would say. At least it's fixed now.

Legacy Collection: OnFoot Cinematic Camera


OFCC was the first mod I created on 5Mods and the first major mod I created at all. This was a request by someone in the forums and I took it on because camera mods seemed like an interesting aspect to deal with. I had a pretty good idea that this wasn't going to be easy and sure enough, this had a learning curve like climbing a cliff one-handed.

My first idea was to take a specific aspect and deal with that, so I chose stealth kills. I could check for those with Natives, so it seemed a good choice.

 

This was one of the first videos I made where only Stealth Kills were available. It's a big buggy but it was a good proof of concept, so I could move on from that.

The next thing I wanted to tackle was getting into and out of vehicles. I thought a more dynamic approach to the simple task of vehicle entry could really add something, so I developed a system where a camera was placed somewhere in a box relative to the vehicle and that would focus on the player. This is where I started to realise that my fears were going to be proven true... this wasn't going to be easy. All vehicles were different, some had two doors, some had no doors, some only had doors on one side, some could only be entered when you were in water etc...

Here's a demo video showing the early vehicle entry system, along with the more flexible combat camera that no longer relied on the attack being a stealth kill to work. The notifications are debug messages to let me know what was happening.

 

What I realised at this point, was that I had another major problem. What would happen if the camera was behind a wall? So I knew it was critical for me to advance the system to cater for blocked line-of-sight and that's where the solution for the final piece of the puzzle came in.

I implemented a system of probe-sets, that kept track of which views were clear and those probes would be added to a list that the camera system could pick from. So that meant that in theory, I would always have a camera to pick from... or at least that's the theory. The reality was very different and it left me with a problem that actually took a long time to solve.* But these probe sets were assigned to different actions, there were vehicle entry probes, melee probes and for the final and most important part, on-foot probes. This is a very early test video of the walk-cam.

 

So after many more hours coding, and testing**, and coding, and walking round the desert... I had a reliable system that would keep a clear line of sight during the different events. But whilst that might seem like problem solved, it once again, created another problem. Having cameras that changed when they were blocked seems like the ideal solution right? Well it is, unless you're walking behind trees, or lamp posts, telegraph poles etc... you get the idea.

So that brought about what for me was the finesse piece, like smoothing the lumps on a newly iced cake. The solution was simple, a block-timer (best name I could think of at the time). As you walked behind something, a timer started, if the camera was still blocked when that timer expired, it would change to a clear probe. But if the probe regained its line of sight, the timer was reset. Final short video showing how that worked.

 

I also added a secondary line of sight check to the camera. The first aimed at the player's origin, the pelvis root. The problem with this was that if you walked behind a low wall, the camera would change... which felt wrong. So I added a second check to the head and both would have to be blocked to trigger a change. Suddenly, the camera system felt more intelligent and that made the whole thing feel much, much better.

The latest version of this mod has additional code added to enhance the zooming/rising/falling on some cameras, plus additional code to add more variation to the vehicle entry probes. Even after 2+ years, I am always thinking about ways to make my mods better. As I learn more, I can do more...

 

* The problem I hinted at was that in certain conditions, there were no clear lines of sight from the probes and the system would just fail. It wasn't ideal but I couldn't afford to use processing time just looking for somewhere to get a clear view from. About 12 months after I had finished, the solution hit me... the gameplay camera. The gameplay camera always kept a clear line of sight, so if all my probes were blocked, I simply placed a camera at the location of the gameplay camera.

** I used to spend around 4 or 5 hours a day just testing on this mod and at times, that was 5 hours out of a total 18 hours or more spent working on the mod in a single day. It was during the development of this mod that over a 3 day period (that's 72 hours), I had just 6 hours sleep. So that's around 60 hours of work in just 3 days, such was my dedication to getting this right.