Cameras, Perspective, and Empathy

Hello UE People! New entry here, I just started putting my filthy hands on UE, I’ve been coding for sever years (2 with Unity) but I never learned C++, and I feel like it’s just time to fill the gap. I just started designing my first solo-project and the first doubts started to emerge right before to write one line of code. Long story short, I’m working on a 3D graphic adventure that will be based in one single house, and I’m having a hard time deciding how to set up cameras.

I believe that watching the protagonist’s face is a key role for empathy, people are way more likely to feel connected to a character they see and perceive, seeing facial expressions and reactions in real time create a sense of attachment that is crucial, especially in a game where the story is everything. On the other side, a total indoor game is not the best option for a third person camera as it would need a lot of objects culling to run smooth on the entire building. There are many options that came to my mind, but I really can’t decide which one could produce better results:

  1. 3D person fixed-side: like This War of mine, I could create a lateral camera that renders the scene from one side. While it would probably be the better way not to hide stuff from the view, it is the most used camera of history, and being the project a one-house show, it’d take away not one but five view sides out of six, giving me way less space for the puzzles.

  2. 3D person fixed camera: very much like Siberia, each space will have its own camera set up, and when a player enter that area it gets activated. This solution would give me three sides to put the puzzles, but it would also make the game look old, static and probably give the player too many cues about how to solve the challenges.

  3. Orbital camera: an orbital camera would be a camera that rotates around the room in a 360 space, always focusing on the room center. When the camera is above, the roof is culled, when it is under the scene, the floor is. With this type of settings, I can use all the sides of a room, but it would be long and hard to code, and it would make the entire scene very artificial. Looking at a room from below really sucks, especially if you’re on the second floor and there’s another room you’re hiding below.

4)First Person Controller: this solution seems to be the best one in terms of gameplay, but it goes straight against what I’ve said in the post introduction. Unless I make the player live inside a house full of mirrors, it will take away a lot of empathy, and it will be harder for the player to link with the character.

All those solutions have pros and cons, there are also a lot of hybrid possibilities that could be used, but still, I can’t decide what to do. I’ll probably be testing most of these solutions over time, but I still wanted to start a conversation about it. What do you people do? Does FP == less empathy? What camera would you use for such a game?