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I examined several quite popular games to determine what perspective angle they are using. For the purpose I created a grid that is 45 and 60 degrees isometric viewed and put it onto a screenshot (of Diablo II in this case). None of these grids fit to the game's perspective. So I tried to find the angle that fits best to the perspective and it is close to 53.5 degrees. However, this number seems like coming from nowhere and I believe there is a strong logic behind the number that defines the perspective angle. I tried 9/16 * 90 degrees and 3/4 * 90 degrees (coming from ratios of screens resolution 16:9 and 4:3) but none of my assumptions seem to be correct. Here are screenshots of what I mean:

60 degrees enter image description here

45 degrees enter image description here

Something between the two - 53.5 degrees - quite near to the real number enter image description here

I really need to know what the real degrees are and where it derives from. Any help is quite appreciated! Thank you!

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closed as too broad by Josh Petrie Jun 20 at 1:15

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Traditionally the angle would have been a side-effect of choosing a pixel size for the tiles, and not the other way around. This is why the bit in Sam's answer about integer values is important. The original Diablo's tiles appear to be approximately 56x42 which would fit the 5x4 ratio. – Kylotan Jan 10 '13 at 18:18
Diablo II, is a bad example. They use somekind of perspective hack. If you look closely the tiles at the bottom are rendered bigger then the tiles at the back cleverly mimic perspective on a orthogonal tileset. These days we could simply mimic this by seting up the tiles in the same way we always do but render it using a perspective camera. – Menno Gouw Aug 17 at 10:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I believe your intuition was correct, just not your formula.

atan(4 / 3) = 53.1301024 degrees

This ratio can be useful because it forms a Pythagorean triangle, meaning that the length of the diagonal is an exact integer value.


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The camera angle used by most "isometric" games is actually 30 degrees (a true isometric view where the x, y, and z axis have the same length is 35.264 degrees). The reason for this angle is so that the width of the tile ends up being twice its height. This way you can get an even 2:1 ratio when drawing the diagonals so the tiles line up neatly without any gaps.

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