How to Create a First Person Camera


This tutorial will show you how to make an Entity which controls the Camera in first person mode. The general steps we'll follow are:

  1. Create a FlatRedBall Steps

  2. Create a large repeating Sprite which we'll use for the ground

  3. Create an Entity which will control the Camera (called CameraController)

  4. Set the initial position of our CameraController instance in our Screen

  5. Implement code to move and look

Create a 3D project

If you already have a project created, you can skip this step. If not, to Create a project:

  1. Launch Glue

  2. Select File->New Project

  3. Name your project FirstPersonProject

  4. Click Create Project!

Now we'll set the Camera to be in 3D mode:

  1. In Glue, click the camera icon

  2. Change the Perspective to 3D

Finally create a Screen which will contain the rest of our project. This is not necessary if you already have a GameScreen:

  1. Select the Quick Actions tab

  2. Click Add Screen/Level

  3. Click OK to create a new screen called GameScreen

Create a large repeating Sprite

Now we'll create a large Sprite which will serve as our ground. To create this:

  1. Drag+drop redball.bmp onto GameScreen's Files in Glue

  2. Select the Quick Actions tab

  3. Click Add Object to Game Screen

  4. Search for Sprite

  5. Click OK

Now that the Sprite has been created, let's make it really large and repeating:

  1. Select the new SpriteInstance

  2. Click the Variables tab

  3. Set the Sprite's Texture to redball

  4. Set the Sprite's TextureAddressMode to Wrap

  5. Set the Sprite's RightTextureCoordinate to 32000 - this makes the Sprite repeat 1000 times on the X axis

  6. Set the Sprite's BottomTextureCoordinate to 32000 - this makes the Sprite repeat 1000 times on the Y axis

Create CameraController Entity

Now we'll create an Entity which will control the Camera. To do this:

  1. In Glue, right-click on Entities

  2. Select "Add Entity"

  3. Name the new entity "CameraController" and click OK

Next let's have the CameraController control our Camera. To do this:

  1. Right-click on CameraController's Objects

  2. Select "Add Object"

  3. Verify "FlatRedBall or Custom Type" is selected.

  4. Select "Camera" and click OK

  5. Drag+drop the "CameraController" into the MainScreen's "Objects" to create an instance of CameraController

Set CameraControllerInstance's Initial position

Next we'll set up our initial position of the CameraControllerInstance. We'll be setting position in Glue, but we'll set the rotation and orientation in code, as Glue does not allow us to set some of these values. To set the CameraControllerInstance's initial values:

  1. Select CameraControllerInstance in Glue

  2. Set Z to 10. This is the height that the Camera will be positioned above the ground

  3. Open Visual Studio

  4. Open CameraControllerInstance.cs

  5. Add the following code to CustomInitialize:

this.CameraInstance.UpVector = new Vector3(0, 0, 1);
this.CameraInstance.RelativePosition = new Vector3();
this.RotationX = Microsoft.Xna.Framework.MathHelper.PiOver2;

At this point we can run the game and we should see the Camera looking into the distance:

Implement code to move and look

Finally we'll add code for movement and looking. We'll add looking first, then add moving. To do this, add the following code to CustomActivity in the CameraController entity:


Now implement the LookingActivity function:

// This would normally be a Glue variable,
// but added here to keep the tutorial shorter:
const float rotationMultiplier = .006f;

int xMovement = GuiManager.Cursor.ScreenXChange;
int yMovement = GuiManager.Cursor.ScreenYChange;

Vector3 absoluteZAxis = new Vector3(0,0,1);

this.RotationMatrix *=
        absoluteZAxis, xMovement * -rotationMultiplier);

Vector3 relativeXAxis = this.RotationMatrix.Right;

this.RotationMatrix *=
        relativeXAxis, yMovement * -rotationMultiplier);

Next we'll add movement activity. To do this, first add the following code to your CameraController's CustomActivity:


Next, we'll implement the MovementActivity function:

const float movementSpeed = 36;

// Let's get the "forward" vector - this is a vector that represents the way the
// camera is looking:
Vector3 projectedForward = this.RotationMatrix.Forward;

// We're going to use this vector to walk forward and backward.  The user may
// be looking up/down, which means the vector's Z value could be non-zero.
// We're going to zero it out, so that the user doesn't move up into the
// sky, or down into the ground when moving forward/backward:
projectedForward.Z = 0;

// If the user was viewing straight up or straight down, then zero-ing out the
// Z value will make the entire Vector have 0 length. If we normalize when a Vector is of
// length 0, that will throw an exception.
// LengthSquared() and Length() will both return 0 if the length of the vector is 0,
// but LengthSquared is faster, so we'll use that.
if (projectedForward.LengthSquared() != 0)
    // The vector is not of length 0, so it's safe to normalize it

// This is the "right" direction for the player.  
Vector3 right = this.RotationMatrix.Right;

Keyboard keyboard = InputManager.Keyboard;

// Let's reset the velocity - we'll change it below according to key presses
this.XVelocity = 0;
this.YVelocity = 0;

// W is forward
if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.W))
    this.Velocity += projectedForward * movementSpeed;
// S is backward
else if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.S))
    this.Velocity += projectedForward * -movementSpeed;

// A is left (inverse of right)
if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.A))
    this.Velocity += right * -movementSpeed;
// D is right
else if (keyboard.KeyDown(Keys.D))
    this.Velocity += right * movementSpeed;


This shows the basics of how to set up a First Person camera, but it is by no means a final implementation. First person games (and 3D games in general) are complicated and require a good understanding of 3D math, and quite often of rendering technologies.

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