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I'm either not searching correctly or there is really not a lot of material on Character Movement in 3D games.

I'm mostly interested in how people usually implement character movement in games like FPS and action games where usually the WASD keys are used to move backward and forward and for strafing, with the mouse used for turning. I'd like to learn what methods are generally used and what makes the movement handling feel right.

For example, I tried to implement movement handling using some 'walking' force to move my character by integrating the equations of motion. Needless to say, this felt more like handling spaceship rather a human.

Others probably use just some velocity to steer the characters, maybe coupled with a deceleration when no buttons are pressed.

I tried something similar in following code, but it still feels kinda clunky.

if(move_comps_[*entity]->mv_direction != glm::ivec3(0)){
    glm::vec3 mv_dir(0.0);
    mv_dir += (float)move_comps_[*entity]->mv_direction.z * transform_comps_[*entity]->forwardVec();
    mv_dir += (float)move_comps_[*entity]->mv_direction.x * transform_comps_[*entity]->rightVec();
    mv_dir = glm::normalize(mv_dir);

    glm::vec3& velocity = move_comps_[*entity]->velocity_;
    velocity += dt * move_comps_[*entity]->acceleration_ * mv_dir;
    if(glm::dot(velocity, velocity) > sqr(move_comps_[*entity]->max_velocity_)){
        velocity = move_comps_[*entity]->max_velocity_ * mv_dir;

    transform_comps_[*entity]->pos_ += dt * velocity + 0.5f * move_comps_[*entity]->acceleration_ * sqr(dt) * mv_dir;
else if(glm::length(move_comps_[*entity]->velocity_) > 0.0){
    glm::vec3& velocity = move_comps_[*entity]->velocity_;
    glm::vec3 mv_dir = glm::normalize(velocity);
    velocity -= dt * move_comps_[*entity]->acceleration_ * mv_dir;
    if(glm::dot(velocity, velocity) < 0.01f){
        velocity = glm::vec3(0.0);
        transform_comps_[*entity]->pos_ += dt * velocity + 0.5f * move_comps_[*entity]->acceleration_ * sqr(dt) * mv_dir;

Here in essence, I use an integer vector which can hold -1,0,1 in each dimension. When a walk_forward_start event is fired for example, this z component is increased by 1 and decreased when the player releases the button. This vector is used to find out in which direction to move the player. I also added a simple deceleration mechanism. As I said, this still doesn't feel right and is certainly not really smooth. What could I do to improve it?

Others have gone as far as implementing advanced techniques such as inverse kinematics too. I wouldn't go that far, but how far do you have to go to make a movement system feel good?

Essentially, beyond the sauce, I want to know what makes pushing forward, strafing, turning and stopping feel smooth and what are some standard methods to achieve this. Do you use some impulse/force based method? Do you use a linear velocity method?

Note: This may seem like a subjective question and it might be up to some point, but I think there must be some general consensus or else there would be a big variations on how these controls are handled by games.

EDIT: I have edited the question slightly to make it a bit more specific.

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I think the question "what makes it feel right?" highly depends, although responsivness sure is really important; but from reading your question you know that already. It will also depend on the Input Controller I imagine. (Keyboard != AnalogStick) So you are looking for a realistic way to do it? Maybe you can get some inspiration from the Assassins Creed games. – ScrambledRK Feb 19 '13 at 8:18
Nobody can answer this question as it encompasses studies from both the artistic and scientific spectrum. Have you any bibliography you've consulted so far? Motion capture, interpolation, inverse kinematics are all too complex to fit in one, two or three answers to your question about natural movement. What kind of "code" would you like to see here? If you want to cheat a bit: add cam shake, inertia and a periodic sine to mimic walking gaits. You should be fine and dandy without going behind the scenes of motion artistry. – teodron Feb 19 '13 at 11:02
Thank you for your comments, I edited my question to make it more specific and concentrate on the problem at hand, meaning to create a smooth and good feeling movement handling. Although I love to learn about more advanced techniques some people use as @teodron mentions, it is probably more fit for discussion in the chatroom. As a side note, I was expecting to find some books with concentrated knowledge about the matter but I didn't have any luck. – Grieverheart Feb 19 '13 at 18:54

It will also help to tie the velocity of the character to the stride length of the animation so that it doesn't appear like the character is sliding along the ground. To go further with that you could also adjust the velocity by adding an acelleration whenever a foot of the character is in a push off position and then an overall decelleration for the rest of the animation(until the next push-off) which would artificially replicate the lurching gate of someone running/walking.

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