Camera zoom angle rework for aircraft

Do you agree with all of the shortcomings presented?
  • Yes
  • Some (I will clarify with a comment)
  • No
0 voters
Would you like to see the solutions given below implemented?
  • Yes
  • Some (I will clarify with a comment
  • No
0 voters

This suggestion aims to highlight problems with the third person camera when controlling aircraft and provide possible solutions as to how this can be resolved.

Even though I dislike the current camera angles, I recognize that this can be a subjective topic so its crucial that if this is added, its added in as an optional setting and not as a direct replacement for the existing camera angles.

Shortcomings of the current camera setup

1 - It is counterintuitive to use in larger aircraft


The current system has worked well throughout the games life cycle and as such, an improvement was never really necessary. However, with the addition of large 4th generation aircraft such as the F-14 and Su-27, I would say that the camera has started to show its shortcomings. Below is a screenshot of what zooming-in in the Su-27 looks like (Figure 1.1).

As we can see, the mouse aiming circle is positioned at the top. Ideally, the crosshair would be at the center of the screen to give the player a sense of their surroundings. However this is not the case in these aircraft. As not only is the bottom quarter of the screen covered by the aircraft itself, the crosshair lies in the top of the screen which limits vision when engaging targets especially those above the mouse indicator circle.

As seen below, this issue is exacerbated when pulling up as its normal to easily lose the mouse aim indicator (Figure 1.2). As we pull up, we lose sight of what we are pulling up to. I would argue that this is a significant shortcoming that has already cost me a few head-ons and makes strafing ground targets harder with guns.

2 - The infamous mach cone


In game, IMO one of the prettiest effects is the mach cone. However, the mach cone can easily blind the player when they are zoomed in. This has already been a recognized issue that had attempts to fix it and it still persists as an issue. I think that the root cause of this issue lies in the placement of the camera itself and not the mach cone itself.

The images below shows the blinding effect of the mach cone as it occurs in-game. The first image is without the mach cone (Figure 2.1), the second one is with the mach cone effect (Figure 2.2).

As we can see above, visibility is almost completely blocked for around a second.

3 - Camera angle and controls don’t adjust to aircraft flight parameters consistently


During level flight, the free cam looks like the image below (Figure 3.1).

The above image looks fine, visibility is ok and everything is as it should be, moving the mouse does what you would expect. However, if we pitch up as seen in the image below (Figure 3.2).

While pitched up, the free-cam will lock its position according to the angle which was set (as pitched up). This causes the camera to behave counterintuitively shown in the image below (Figure 3.3).

As you can see, the image we get in Figure 3.3 is significantly worse compared to the image we get during Figure 3.1. Additionally, the control of the camera is also adjusted according to the angle at Figure 3.2 which I find is very counterintuitive and difficult to use. Personally, this causes serious disorientation during gameplay and should be given an option to be alleviated via the options menu.

Possible solutions for the given shortcomings

Solution 1: Option to mount the camera to either side of the cockpit


I imagine this to be a possible solution to problems 1 and 2.

In real life, the weapon systems and visibility of the jet is designed around the pilot. Therefore, it would make sense to base the zoomed in third-person camera around the cockpit in order to ensure maximum usability. This will also solve the issue of mach cone blocking the players sight while aiming, as it will generate behind the camera, not in front of it.

Thankfully other games that are similar to War Thunder already have experimented with this. One such example is Battlefield and I have put an example of its implementation below (From @ SilkOCE on YouTube)(Figure 4.1).

This view, while definitely not perfect (Ignore the mess of a UI), gives us a more coherent picture compared to the one currently present in-game (Figure 1.1). I have tried to recreate the view I had in mind via the in-game replay system. While these pictures are admittedly crude, the aim is to give an idea of what a better angle might look like. I have attached both pictures below (Figures 4.2 and 4.3).

Additionally, Here is what it would hopefully look like on propeller aircraft (Figure 4.4 and 4.5):

As we can see, the aiming circle is more centered and provides a better view of the ongoing battle. Ideally there would be an option to adjust how far away the camera is positioned from the pilot as well.

Crucially, the zoom should not be utilized when the player is either using keyboard controls or free look. This is because the camera angle presented in this solution is for ground/air attack purposes, not for spacial awareness. By extension, using this angle to look around the battlefield would result in more tunnel visioning.

I would personally say that this is a significant improvement over the existing camera angles but let me know of any feedback.

Solution 2: Options to have the camera consistently adjust to either the aircraft or ground


To alleviate the problems shown in shortcoming 3, the option to have the free cam either adjust according to the aircraft or according to the ground solve would solve this. Fortunately, the third-person camera in full-real controls already does this and I don’t see how that couldn’t be implemented as an option for mouse aim too.

I hope this suggestion can successfully highlight the problems I face with the current camera angles and inspire the developers to come up with a better solution.

Please let me know of any mistakes or incoherencies. Feedback and corrections are very much appreciated!

1 Like

I agree with the points you’ve brought up here. I don’t play supersonic jets all that much, but the problem remains for large aircraft like the BV-238 that have a super tall rudder. When you zoom in the rudder is mostly just in your face and limits your view.

I would want to see Solution 1 ingame, but not with the camera positioned to the side of the cockpit. I would want to keep the camera in the cernterline of the aircraft. So I would want to see the camera zoom position itself just in front of a plane’s rudder. Or with supersonic aircraft, just before where the mach cone forms.

Hm, I don’t understand what you mean here. Could you demonstrate it with a picture?
From my experience a bomber such as the BV-238 mainly is concerned with bombing targets or utilizing its turrets to shoot attacking planes down. When it comes to gunner camera, I don’t see the rudder really getting in the way. For bombing, I don’t see a difference as its generally better to use the bombing camera instead.

However, I do think that the camera could be reworked for straight line CCIP bombing. Currently, its quite common for the plane itself to be in front of the CCIP indicator, which is quite annoying when targeting a moving threat. So I think that a camera option positioned below the aircraft would allow for better visibility (at the cost of other things of course).

What I mean

I could also see an interesting addition where the camera angle can be tied to the weapon you have selected. So for example If we have bombs selected, the camera angle should be adjusted to improve the chances of an accurate shot.

I agree with the points, however in my oppinion the camera needs to be centerlined with the aircraft instead of offset at the side.

As an example, this is what the camera currently looks with the Javelin ingame

Instead i would suggest the following

The camera positioned over or in front of the cockpit

And from the explaination of @super_cacti

I would imagine it would be something like this, maybe a bit further forwards, so the view is in front of the tail

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While I disagree with the camera angle issue, partially cause I much prefer the aim point of third person being from center up for all aircraft, I do have support for additional methods of view.

I support adding your suggestions as alternative toggles in main options. They could even be in air battle settings at the top.


I support additive features in this regard rather than replacement.
Edit reason: Removed unneeded statement.

i have to agree with Alvis on this one

That is a perfect photo of what I was talking about. I didn’t have time to make a screenshot myself but yours is spot on so I won’t have to anymore.

The thing @Thunderphenol brought up on point 1 might still be present on some aircraft when the camera is positioned on the rudder. So maybe the camera would have to be a little bit futher forwards, and be a little lower, like where the root of the tail starts to go up from the fuselage

i think that a diffrent camera angle could work, or maybe just changing the zoom factors for bigger planes, but for most of the planes in game the camera is not really that big of an issue, and i think suddenly forcing a change in the camera would make many players, new and old, quit

Definitely, which is why I put a text in bold below the polls to highlight that. I’ll make it so that it stands out a lot more.

1 Like