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Isometrics – an introduction

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I am almost done with the Isometrics package. So I figured I would start a series of blogs/tutorials on the subject. Yes, yes, I know that there are several if not dozens of tutorials on the subject already. But since the orientation of my isometric ‘realm’ is not orthodox, I think it is a good idea to present the information in a different light.

So what are Isometrics or rather what is Isometry. Well if you google/wikipedia the term(s), you will find that an Isometric perspective is one where measurements/distances are equal in all three perceived axes (x, y and z). Put another way, it means that if you have a cube in an isometric world, the width, length and height are perceived equally without regard for distance from the viewer. If I have failed to describe in such a way that you can understand, here is a better and more thorough explanation of Isometry.

As mentioned before, my take on the orientation of the typical isometric realm is different than most. Well really, there are only so many ways to orient the axes but again, my take is the unorthodox approach. Generally in the 3D realm, the z axis is to be perceived as moving in and out of the monitor. And much like in the Flex/Flash IDE, positive movement in the x axis move from left to right and positive movement in the the y axis move from the top downwards. So the two main orientations of the isometric realm is that the x axis is from the upper left corner of the screen to the lower right corner of the screen at roughly 30°. The z axis moves from the lower left corner to the upper right corner, again at roughly 30°. Then the y axis moves vertically. With the axes positioned in this manner, there are a few variations on how positive motion moves through these axes. See the following illustrations (keeping in mind that I DID use perspective in the 3D models to make these images).

This is the typical orientation:


And here is my orientation of the isometric realm:


So in my orientation I have flipped the z and x axes. The reason for this is two part. A) Because I came from a drafting/autoCAD background and B) I think it is more intuitive to develop in this orientation. Imagine looking at a newspaper head on. This could be the equivalent to the traditional 2D, Flash style orientation. X goes left and right and Y goes up and down. Now imagine placing that newspaper down on a table in front of you. But instead of laying it down flatly, you rotate it on the table clockwise 45°. So this is how I came to this particular orientation.

Next I will explain some simple conversion techniques to translate between map (what I call the typical 2D orientation of Flash/Flex) and iso (which is in my iso realm). Also I will discuss map/iso equivalents.


One thought on “Isometrics – an introduction

  1. Love reading your blog. Great info!

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