Improving Screenshot Technology

455 wc

Dear MMO Developers: Sometimes I want to take screenshots. Almost all of you are really great at providing a “take screenshot” key. Most of you even put it in the proper place, which is the “Print Screen” key if you don’t know. (Why some of you still insist on forcing us to use F12 or F9 or F10 or even F11 still boggles my mind, but I can let that slide. And there are even a few of you who think that saving your screenshots in a format other than JPEG is okay, but I won’t name names here.)

Isn’t it about time that we take the screenshot concept to the next level? I read that WoW just added a “selfie” thing, which I suppose in some way could be considered an advancement in the evolution of taking screenshots, but I’m looking for something a little more dramatic. And less dumb.

I want more control over the camera. I want to be able to control the composition of my screenshots. I realize I can do most of this by zooming into first person view, but I want to see my avatar, too.

There is really just one thing I need in order to make this happen: I want to be able to point the camera somewhere other than my avatar. Basically I would like a key that will put me into “mouselook”* mode when I’m not in first person view. It can be a toggle key or just to hold down. Then I can make a screenshot where my avatar is down in the lower left. Or perhaps I want to move him so that he/she is closer to the bottom of the screen. Being able to position my avatar anywhere but the exact center of the screen would be the most awesome thing ever.

So that’s it. A third-person mouselook key. Please add this in all current and future MMOs. (Or tell me how to do it if it’s already there.)

If you really, really want extra bonus points, you can also give us a way to change the focal point. I don’t know if 3D engines are capable of doing that yet, though. Something like that in, say, ESO, would provide some of us with hours and hours of entertainment from just running around taking pictures of your beautiful game world.

If you’re a free-to-play game (and you’re worthy of screenshots), I might even pay to enable this feature. Not much, though. Let’s not get crazy.

* The term mouselook originated, as with almost everything in 3D gaming, with Quake. (I think.) It means being able to move the camera around by moving your mouse, or being able to “look” with your mouse.

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