Games /

"The Language of Games: Adjectives"

So, you’ve begun playing a professinal game, and creating your own. You’re thinking in the “langauge of games,” and considering the “nouns” of the game (characters, goals, rules). What’s next?

adding textures to characters

This Topic, we’ll be capturing the action by attaching a game camera physics forces for our character to interact with, and discussing the mechanics of games.

If that’s all Greek to you, don’t worry - these are abstract concepts that require exploration to really experience, so roll up your sleeves and jump in!

Explore: Visuals and Game Camera

Most platformers, particularly early ones, use a scrolling game camera.

The following is cited from the article “The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers.” It deals with the scrolling camera view, but there are many different views and perspecitves used in game design.


Scrolling or Panning refers to any attempt to display a scene that is larger than what fits in a single screen. There are many potential challenges with scrolling, like choosing what the player needs to see, what we as designers would like the player to focus on, and how to do it in a way that’s fluid and comfortable for the player.”

Attention, Interaction, and Comfort

  • "Attention: Use the camera to provide sufficient game info and feedback (what the player needs to see);
  • Interaction: Provide clear player control on what’s displayed, make background changes predictable and tightly bound to controls (what the player wants to see);
  • Comfort: Ease and contextualize background changes (how to reconcile those needs smoothly and comfortably)."

In Practice: Mario’s Camera Motion Through the Ages

Side scrollers can have many different tracking tricks. “Keep attention on your control subject.” This is usually the main character, but not always solely, as you’ll see with Mario.

Mario Bros. (1983)

Camera Shake: an example of disconnection between the camera and the controls, as achieved by a camera/screen shake, which provides a sense of drama to the action.

Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Speedup-Push-Zone: when inside the push-zone, gradually accelerate the camera to catch up with player’s speed.

Super Mario World (1990)

Platform-Snapping: adding environment, the camera snaps to the player only as it lands on a platform.

Camera-Window: push camera position as the player hits the window edge

Region-Based-Anchors: different regions (even within levels) set different anchors for position and focus

Dual-Forward-Focus: player direction changes switch camera focus to enable wide forward view

Manual-Control: controller provides extra panning (horizontally).

Viewing: The Lanugage of Games, Part 2: “Adjectives”

Let’s continue the discussion with a game’s “adjectives!”


How Art and Style Create Tone:

Lab: “The Rantler,” Part 2: Camera and Destroyers

Part 2 focuses on creating a camera and attaching it to your character - just in time to kill him off.

Please login to Moodle when you are ready to access lab materials and requirements.

Interested in Learning More?

We may be small, but we’re glad to offer you additional (and excellent) places to go if you’re interested in learning more.

A Closer Look at Using Destoryers and Cameras that Follow

More from Missoula’s own Seazen Studio!

Infinite Runner with Camera and Destroyers

The video below will explore developing a basic infinite runner game and details the code needed for creating destroyers and camera movement.

2D Flying Game

Below is the first of 11 videos that goes with this tutorial series. The full text tutorial with scripts can be found on Pixelnest.

Casanis Tutorial Series

Here’s another great tutorial series for 2D Game Creation!


Brackeys offers some great resources, scripts, and tutorial videos for Unity 2D Development. Check out the 2D Meg Pack associated with this tutorial.

Project: None

There is no project for this topic.