I was wondering what was the best way to model characters for an first person shooter game?

Assuming I have 2 modes to show, first person view (the player's view) and 3rd person view (viewing other players) - Here is a sample of what I mean FPS/3rd person

I guess the simplest way to do it would be managing only the 3rd person view, and try and make the camera on the player "look through the eyes" of the 3rd person model, but I failed to achieve any decent results using this method, due to the model's animation not working well in first person view.


  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I dont think those are two same models. Think of it as two completely unrelated things. The hands on the picture are just animated UI, nothing more or less. \$\endgroup\$ – wondra Aug 29 '14 at 23:19

How many first-person shooters do you know where the player can see their legs when looking down?

Most games use completely different models for other characters and for the player-character when in first-person view. In first person view, the player-character usually doesn't have a body, except for the arms and the currently held item, which are always positioned relative to the current viewport.

The first person models for the arms and items are permanently in the view of the player and always seen from close-up. This means they are often the most prominent 3d models in the game, which means that they deserve extra attention. The first-person versions of arms and weapons are usually much more detailed than the third-person versions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's what I was afraid of, so much extra work to sync all this up - but I figured there's no way around it. Thanks for the answer \$\endgroup\$ – Ron Aug 30 '14 at 18:33

Short answer: use a model for first-person view and another model for third-person.


  1. In first-person view, you need to show a very detailed hand and weapon, since the first-player will always have a close-up view. Also, the animation should be very realistic. In third-view models, details may be not so critical.

  2. A good animation for one point of view may not be so good for another point of view. You've found already that is usually harder to get a nice animation when "looking through the eyes" of the 3rd-person model. If you have to animate a simplified 1st-person model, you'll find it easier.

Look an example of using this approach: link.

If you follow this suggestion, don't forget that other players must see only your 3rd-person model (that's obvious), but you also need to consider other side-effects, like: shadows, mirrors and body collision.


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