Chapter 13: Scene View

By | April 22, 2019

lesson 13: Scene View

In this lesson we'll discuss the Scene View. We'll delve into alternate modes of Scene View navigation and the most efficient mode of egress. We'll also look at the different types of visual information Scene View presents by default. Of importance are Perspective, Isometric, and Orthographic observational types and their uses.


Fig. 13.1 shows the Scene View.


The Scene View displays the game world in such a way as to be convenient for editing. From the Scene View it is easy to imagine what the level will look like when played, yet contains additional visual information and options necessary for editing. Scene View is where you position GameObjects.


Fig. 13.2 shows the Scene View Control Bar.


The Scene View Control Bar along the top offers drop-downs, buttons, and text input. The first drop-down menu offers a variety of rendering options some of which give insight into performance. Textured should be left as the default; this render type most resembles what the player will see. RGB also relates to rendering method and should likewise be left as default. The button 2D Switch is by default toggled off. Clicking it will enter 2D mode and strip the scene of its depth. Except when editing UI, it is almost never used in the creation of 3D games. The next button features a sun icon and represents the Scene's lighting. It too is toggled off by default. It may seem counter-intuitive that in a new scene turning lighting on actually makes the Scene go dark. Think of the Lighting Switch button as representing a theater's stage lighting; toggle it on and the stage lighting takes over. Switch the stage lights off and the theater lights come up. In this analogy that means the entire Scene editor (the theater) becomes visible. In short, having the Lighting Switch on will illuminate the Scene View with the lighting elements you've implemented but switching it off may make it easier to see the Scene for editing purposes. Next to Lighting Switch, the speaker icon toggles Scene sounds on and off. It is named the Audio Switch. The Effects Menu/Button references rendering effects such as fog. Fog is great for limiting the player's view and cultivating an atmosphere of uncertainty and dread. While that may be great for gameplay, it is awful for editing. You can turn effects such as fog on and off in the Effects Menu drop-down. You can toggle Effects on and off en masse by pressing the Effects Button. Note that doing so makes absolutely no difference as to what effects render in the Game View and resulting game, it only effects what is seen in the Scene View. The Gizmo Menu drop-down allows you to edit what types of visual information and Gizmos are displayed in the Scene View. There should be little need to edit any of these defaults.


In the Scene View proper you will see a visual representation of your Scene. It will be augmented with visual information conducive to editing. The visual information typically takes the form of icons and Gizmos. For example, the Main Camera uses an icon for representation (it lacks a mesh) and a Gizmo to illustrate its field of view. Previously we discussed the use of the Toolbar's View Tool to navigate the Scene View. Alternative to that, holding the right mouse button down will enter you into Flythrough mode. You can then navigate your Scene in a manner more familiar to gamers by using the WASD keys. While in Flythrough mode, E will float you straight up, Q will move you straight down. Holding SHIFT will speed things up. Most of the time, however, Flythrough mode movement is unnecessary. You'll want to simply teleport to whatever GameObject you have selected. This is done with hotkey F.


In the upper right hand corner of the Scene View is the Scene Gizmo. First, let's define some important terms of art, literally, terms that originate from the art world.


Fig. 13.3 illustrates the differences between Perspective, Isometric, and Orthagonal vantage points; note that there is no foreshortening in the Isometric or Orthagonal cases.


Perspective is an observation type that most closely resembles what we see with our eyes. It's a technique for representing 3D imagery (game world) on a 2D surface (video screen). A hallmark of perspective technique is the use of foreshortening (distorting objects as they recede) and single point convergence (parallel lines such as train tracks appear to meet together in the distance). Perspective is commonly used in First Person Shooters such as Call of Duty. Isometric view removes a sense of depth by eliminating foreshortening and single point convergence yet still supposes three dimensions. This observational type is commonly used in retro rpg and retro city simulation games such as the original SimCity. Like Isometric, Orthographic removes a sense of depth. The difference between Isometric and Orthographic views is that with Orthographic, the view is cast perpendicularly upon the subject and thus has only two dimensions. This observational type is commonly used in 2D side-scrolling games such as Super Mario Brothers.


Scene View's default observational type is Perspective. If you need an Isometric view, you can toggle the word Persp beneath the Scene Gizmo or by clicking the Scene Gizmo's nexus. If you want your view to align perpendicular and parallel to the World axes, you can click one of the Scene Gizmo's arms. Note that they are colored and labeled x, y, and z. Isometric + perpendicular alignment = Orthographic.


Note that the text below the Scene Gizmo will update to keep you apprised of your orientation. If you are creating a three-dimensional game you will spend a lot of your time using a Perspective observational type. That being said, Orthographic vantage is much more useful for ensuring the proper positioning of GameObjects and for UI work.


Finally, Scene View has Picture-In-Picture functionality. With a Camera selected, a Camera Preview element will appear in the lower right hand corner. With the Main Camera selected, the Camera Preview image is identical to the Game View image. Segue!


In this lesson we learned all about the Scene View. Scene View navigation was expanded upon. We looked at the different types of visual information contained within Scene View. We learned of the different observational types Perspective, Isometric, and Orthographic and their uses. In the next lesson, Game View!

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