Despite the advances in technology in most video games, camera control in them has stayed stuck in the past; leaving gamers frustrated and annoyed with gameplay.
Luckily for flash developers, most flash games are still created two dimensionally these days. This makes it easy to just plug a vcam into your game and forget the camera for the rest of your development process. While that’s fine for some games, if you really want to immerse the player in the experience start with the window they’ll be viewing the game through.
Since we’re limiting ourselves to 2d game design, you have two options. You can go an overhead view in which the player views the character and enemies as if they were looking down from the sky, or you can go with the side-scrolling view in which the player views characters horizontally from the side.
The overhead view is typically used in arena type games, RPGs, racing games, shooters, sports, or strategy games. The advantage to overhead cameras is that they offer a greater view of the area, allowing players to scope out enemies and view characters. Fewer graphics are needed since you can use a tileset to create all your levels and your levels can be more open since gamers are not limited to a horizontal playing field.
The side scrolling view is most seen in fighting games, shooters, adventure games, and platformers. The advantage of side-scrolling is that it lets you create depth into your game; letting you include jumping, climbing, and falling into the gameplay. This opens up a whole world of game design possibilities including physics, platforms and multiple tiered levels that just aren’t possible with an overhead view.
When it comes down to it, the differences between an overhead and side-scrolling view really depend on the type of game you want to make. Some games may only be possible with a certain type of camera but for the rest, it’s really up to you and your players to decide.