# How can I have my third-person camera track slightly ahead of the player as he or she moves?

I have a 3rd person camera controller in a top-down game. I have my cameran following the player and I currently use linear interpolation to make the movement smooth and a little laggy. But I would like to do the opposite: when the player moves in a certain direction the camera moves a little bit ahead, so as to reveal more of what is ahead of the player.

    void Update ()
{
var newX = player.transform.position.x;
var newZ = player.transform.position.z - 17;
var y = transform.position.y;
var targetPosition = new Vector3 (newX, y, newZ);
transform.position = Vector3.Lerp (transform.position, targetPosition, 0.01f);
}

• ad a portion of the speed vector to newX,y,newZ Nov 21, 2013 at 15:52
• If you are moving the camera at all, and understand what you are doing, modifying this movement with a simple behavior change should be relatively trivial. So rather than try to figure out how to do something specific, make sure you understand your linear algebra, and the relationship it has with camera systems in games.
– Evan
Nov 21, 2013 at 16:02
• @ratchetfreak the camera does not have speed, its just chasing the players position. I tried adding to the targetPosition but could not get any result. Can you give an example? Nov 21, 2013 at 16:09
• I meant the player's speed Nov 21, 2013 at 16:14
• @ratchetfreak Dont you mean players moving direction? Nov 21, 2013 at 16:16

This is a lot easier when you put an emplty child object on your character for the camera to track instead.

Imagine your player is being pulled by an invisible dog whenever he moves and when not moving the dog sits next to the player. If your camera is lerping its position to that invisible dog instead of the player, the result is your character still moves and is controller by your character controller but your camera tracks ahead to the empty game object (or our invisible dog called Bingo.)

If you want the camera to always be ahead of the character then child an empty game object to your player and place it N number of units ahead of your character (however far you like according to your prefences.) If you want it to return to the player when he isn't moving then leave it at 0,0,0 local position.

In your script (which I assume is attached to the camera) you can reference that objects transform using the Unity3D insepctor instead of using your player transform so your camera will lerp toward where the player is looking.

public Transform trackingHelper;

void Update ()
{
var newX = trackingHelper.position.x;
var newZ = trackingHelper.position.z - 17;
var y = transform.position.y;
var targetPosition = new Vector3 (newX, y, newZ);
transform.position = Vector3.Lerp (transform.position, targetPosition, 0.01f * Time.deltaTime);
}


Please note: as you are using Update and not FixedUpdate that you should multiply your last Lerp argument by Time.deltaTime to attribute for frame stutter.

If you want it so this only occurs when your character moves then you can lerp the position of the child empty game object in another script so that it moves from 0 to N units when the player is moving. I am assuming the axis is the Z axis for the tracking helper being 5 units in front of your player and that this script is attached to the helper itself:

public float distanceAhead = 5f;
public GameObject character;

private Vector3 prevPosition;

void Update()
{
float newZ = 0;
if(!CheckCharacterIdle){
}
Vector3 targetPosition = new Vector3(0,0,newZ);

transform.localPosition = Vector3.Lerp (transform.position, targetPosition, 0.01f * Time.deltaTime);
}

//If your characters utilise rigidbodies you can probably use
// the isSleeping() function to check for movement / interaction
// otherwise use manual comparison of position each frame
bool CheckCharacterIdle(){
Vector3 curPos = character.transform.position;
if(lastPos == curPos){
lastPos = curPos;
return true;
}else{
return false;
}
}


This should sort the issue, I hope it helps.

• +1 for being pulled by an invisible dog. A great mental image when combined with many of the oh so serious games of today. Jan 6, 2014 at 16:32
• @Christian Well it helped me understand what I needed to do with my turret defense concept while dragging around the screen, my partner mentioned "So the camera is getting pulled around like it's walking the dog" and something clicked that you shouldn't make the camera try and stay ahead of the player but do it the other way around, have the player follow the camera. Jan 6, 2014 at 17:10