Old-school games were little more than a few sprites painted onscreen with some bleeps pumping through the speakers. But as technology has evolved and our craft has become more sophisticated, attention to detail has increased as well. Today, games involve millions of polygons, visual and audio effects not so different from those used in movies, and strong cinematographic production values. Placing the camera and illuminating the scene is extremely important from a narrative standpoint. It helps convey the story, but also can act as a gameplay improvement. How many interesting games have been spoiled due to bad camera angles?
This chapter tries to shed some light on the world of interactive cinematography. More than a structured chapter, it is an unordered collection of techniques that can be used to control cameras and lighting in a variety of games. Most of these algorithms will not be very complex. Some trigonometry and algebra should suffice. But these simple techniques will in the end make a difference, enabling you to create games that truly showcase a movielike experience to the player.