Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I assumed this was a straightforward problem but it has been plaguing me for days.

I am creating a 2D game with an orthographic camera. I am using a 3D camera rather than just hacking it because I want to support rotating, panning, and zooming. Unfortunately the math overwhelms me when I'm trying to figure out how to determine if a clicked point intersects a bounds (let's say rectangular) in the game.

I was under the impression that I could simply transform the screen point (the clicked point) by the inverse of the camera's View * Projection matrix to obtain the world coordinates of the clicked point. Unfortunately this is not the case at all; I get some point that seems to be in some completely different coordinate system.

So then as a sanity check I tried taking an arbitrary world point and transforming it by the camera's View*Projection matrices. Surely this should get me the corresponding screen point, but even that didn't work, and it is quickly shattering any illusion I had that I understood 3D coordinate systems and the math involved.

So, if I could form this into a question: How would I use my camera's state information (view and projection matrices, for instance) to transform a world point to a screen point, and vice versa? I hope the problem will be simpler since I'm using an orthographic camera and can make several assumptions from that.

I very much appreciate any help. If it makes a difference, I'm using XNA Game Studio.

share|improve this question
I should add that the camera I'm using works perfectly well for the purposes of drawing. The rotation, panning and zooming works exactly as expected. I'm using SpriteBatch with a custom BasicEffect parameter and setting the BasicEffect's View and Projection matrices to the corresponding camera transforms. – vargonian Jan 4 '11 at 9:58

Is you screenPoint between values (-1 ; 1)? If you are using ( 0 ; screenResolution ) it will not work.

//conversion from pixel values to unit cube (result of projection)
vec4 screenPoint = ( (clickedX / screenWidth)*2.0 - 1.0, (clickedY / screenHeight)*2.0 - 1.0, 0.5, 1.0);

screenPoint.Z defines distance from camera 0.0 = znear, 1.0 = zfar. As you are making 2D game, you dont care about it propably.

screenPoint.W have to be 1.0

share|improve this answer
Didn't it help? You can post example values i will try to help you – Notabene Jan 5 '11 at 17:28

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.