Isometric perspective in computer games

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Screenshot of the free MMORPG Atrinik
Screenshot of the game Simutrans , an economic simulation

The isometric perspective in computer games , sometimes also referred to as three-quarter view , is a form of representation of computer game content that is intended to create a three-dimensional impression. In computer games it usually shows what is happening from an overview perspective from diagonally above. The isometric representation is borrowed from architecture and is based on the mathematical basis of axonometry . It is particularly common in strategy games , sports and business simulations, and role-playing games .


Different graphic projections from diagonally above

Mathematically, isometry means that the three spatial axes are arranged at an angle of 120 ° to one another and the distortion or length ratios are the same over all three axes. In the reception of computer games, the term isometry is not always used congruently with the mathematical definition, but also extended to related and slightly varied perspectives based on parallel projections. Since, for example, a correct isometric perspective can sometimes lead to unfavorable representations due to the square shape of the screen pixels, which form the basis of computer graphics, the distortion angle is often adjusted. The computer role-playing game Fallout , for example, was also often referred to as isometric, but actually uses a gentlemanly perspective .


Together with the top view (bird's eye view) and side scrolling, the isometric perspective is one of the common camera perspectives for computer games created with the help of two-dimensional graphics. The isometric perspective is used, among other things, to create 3D-like effects with two-dimensional graphics. Reasons for this can be the lower development effort, the lower costs, the performance of the hardware base as well as aesthetic considerations. The representation is often done by an isometric engine .

First computer game with an isometric view of the arcade shooter applies Zaxxon by Sega in 1982, whose name also from the English " Axon derives Ometric projection" (axonometry). In group-based computer role-playing games, the isometric perspective was used in order to be able to depict the entire group of heroes and, until the advent of the 3D graphics engines, it was the de facto standard technique for generating a three-dimensional perspective.

Despite their origins in 2D technology, games with a 3D graphics engine sometimes also use the isometric perspective. Like its two predecessors based on 2D graphics, the strategy game Warcraft 3 mainly uses an isometric overview. Although the program also includes the option to zoom the camera closer to the game, the function does not offer the player any additional use for the game principle.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michel Deza, Elena Deza: Encyclopedia of distances . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-642-00234-2 , p. 498 , Isometric projection and Isometric action RPG ( ).
  2. Egenfeldt-Nielsen et al. 2008, p. 111.
  3. Nitsche 2008, p. 100.
  4. Kirk Hamilton: Fallout Could've Been About Time-Traveling, Dinosaurs, And Monkey Murder ( English ) In: Kotaku Australia . March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  5. Adams 2010, p. 39.
  6. Egenfeldt-Nielsen et al. 2008, p. 113.
  7. Egenfeldt-Nielsen et al. 2008, p. 66.
  8. ^ Adams 2010, p. 459.
  9. ^ Adams 2010, p. 477.
  10. ^ Paul Catanese: Director's Third Dimension: Fundamentals of 3D Programming in Director 8.5 . Que, Indianapolis 2002, ISBN 978-0-672-32228-0 , pp. 655 .
  11. Nitsche 2008, p. 100.