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I'm currently experimenting with movement in a isometric perspective world and i'm thinking about how the movement should work. The movement can be either by WASD or gamepad.

Since the player can rotate the camera, what do you feel make a more natural movement? Pressing up would always move the character to the world z like this:

World Z

Or is it more natural to move forward in the characters direction when pressing up like this:

Character Z

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is your player a capsule? Or will you have an actual character with legs? Why do you think there would be a difference between "isometric" and "non-isometric"? The camera can rotate how, do you have only four preset positions, or the whole circle around the player? Do you have specific issues with either of your approaches and would like help resolving those? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Apr 8, 2021 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vaillancourt Well, the camera can rotate 360°, it's a orbit camera that follows the placeholder-capsule-player that also can move in any direction. So yes, there will eventually be legs. And there's not so much as an issue of implementation of said movements, more of a conceptual issue of how movement would feel, so a design issue i guess? \$\endgroup\$
    – Gixen
    Apr 8, 2021 at 17:15

2 Answers 2

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The convention I've observed in most modern games is neither option you've proposed.

Instead, W or "Forward" on the stick usually corresponds to "Upward" on the screen from the current viewpoint, what we call "camera-relative" controls.

This way, the player does not need to attend to which compass direction they're currently looking toward, or the direction their character model is pointing. If the place they want to go is on the right half of the screen, they press right. If it's on the bottom half of the screen, they press down. This keeps the mental mapping very simple and intuitive.

We have lots of past Q&A about implementing this style of input and movement, in case that can be helpful to you.

In some isometric games, movement is restricted to travelling along the world axes, so only up-left / up-right / down-right / down-left is allowed. It sounds like this does not apply to your game. For those games, mapping W to "upward on the screen" doesn't quite work, so games will often rotate the mapping slightly, so your "up" key corresponds to "up-left" on the screen, for instance. The important thing here is that the mapping is consistent, so once the player learns it, they don't have to re-calibrate their mental link from screen to keys each time they turn their camera or character.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the search you provided gave me lots of useful insights on how others have handled movement in this kind of free rotating world perspective. Your points on keeping the mapping consistent was especially useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gixen
    Apr 8, 2021 at 18:24
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I feel like you should give the player the option to pick whichever one they prefer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I ended up doing both so you can switch between modes. One moives the player relative to the world and the other relative to the view as @DMGregory mentioned. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gixen
    Apr 9, 2021 at 6:10

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