The Sights Fantastic

i don't see anything wrong with that.....whats wrong with disguising yourself as an enemy solider....
I shoot friendlies all the time. Correctly identifying friendlies is a issue in planetside 2, however I don't perceive it as a large problem. PS2 is really about tactics and coordination, the actual run'n'gun is secondary. People die all the time. The battle is not fought over these lives of soldiers, it's fought to prevent them from re-spawning, By capping the base, blowing up their bus, etc..PS2 is not about getting the highest K/D ratio. It's about making sure your armour is ready for when the light infantry has taken out the shield generator while air support is suppressing the enemy.Also, the best way to check in a split second to see if someone is a friendly or not is to simply shoot at him :)
Because then you get shot by your own people.
Thank you for posting this: I wasn't reading closely and couldn't figure out why the article wasn't flowing properly.Seriously, author: use conjunctions!
Problem: Can't tell what classes those three guys over there are? Solution: Kill them all! >:)
Yeah I shoot friendlies too.. when I am trying to fight through a doorway and he Leroy Jenkins through the door and puts his face into a stream of hot lead coming out of the end of my barrel... this also invariably results in him getting angry at me.. because I didn't have the common courtesy to have a second account on a second screen standing behind me watching for some stupid mook to run up behind me.If you think FF is a problem, it's probably because you got killed by it a few times.. also I'm pretty willing to bet more than half of them were your own stupid fault. *Stand near a tank and get run over when it moves? Your fault! * Cross a road and get run over because you didn't look on the minimap first? Your fault! * Run through a doorway at full speed and eat a bunch of lead! Your Fault! * Move near friendlies without decloaking (Hint we can see you but there's no arrow... soo yeah you're gonna get shot) Your Fault! * Playing light assault and jump pack intot he midst of a fight instead of behind the enemy? Your FaultAll of these things are ways I've killed friendlies, or been killed by friendlies. Difference is *I* learned not to do those things.. other did not learn at allFF will be reduced when everyone who does any of that stuff.. stops that.
If you want FF = off, there are plenty of FPS games that support that.
if they shoot back enemy if they yell at you friendly(ok they might not be friendly with you but you get the idea)
I think the most enjoyable thing about Planetside 2 is that it reveals what low standards PC gamers have for FPS. I play Eve and Halo4. Madness right? Well I'm not too busy looking down my nose at consoles to see why they make for a superior FPS platform (at least for people on a budget). Between the lag and the hideous appearance PS2 is garbage.This article praises the utter baseline in visual appearance for shooters 10 years ago. Go by an original Xbox and prepare to be blown away.

In any FPS, clear visuals are vital. Clear visual design communicates important details about your targets to you without you needing to think, you simply react to strong sight cues such as shape, size, and coloration. These clear visuals improve every game by letting you focus on the act of shooting instead of having to consider your target, this is especially important in a multiplayer FPS with incredibly high lethality on almost every weapon. Planetside 2, for the most part, avoids the easy pitfalls for multiplayer games, but certain customizations have muddled it.


Clear classes

Most of Planetside 2's visual design is laudable, the character conformity avoids much of powergaming that surrounds character customization in almost every multiplayer game to feature it. Each empire and class combination has very clear visual cues which tell you exactly what to expect, the rising shoulder pads of Heavy Assaults, the incredibly stripped down uniform of Light Assaults, or the skin-tight wetsuits of Infiltrators. Helmet design is another strong point of the game, the high domes of heavy assaults and the bright white of the medics' helmet both help distinguish these high value targets and to Sony's credit: most cosmetic unlocks don't break up these strong visual cues, almost every helmet-unlock does not detract from the helmet domes, vital for picking out heavy assaults and medics at range. The shoulder decals also do not attract attention, they are merely there.


camo trouble

The camouflage, however, has serious issues. Any camouflage that sticks to the basic factional color scheme is mostly fine (shades of purple with minty green highlights for Vanu Sovereignty, gunmetal gray, black, and bright red for the Terran Republic and New Conglomerate's blue, gold, and brown). It can sometimes stop you from quickly identifying a class at close range though, especially the distinction between engineers and medics who do not have the unique shoulder pads of the heavy assault or the strong center of mass cues infiltrators or light assaults have but you can still easily tell if someone is holding a repair tool or firearm.

Terrain camouflage breaks many of the carefully crafted color and outline cues that allow you to quickly discern if someone is on your side or not, the chocolate chip/mountain camouflage make you look distinctly NC with their bright brown and shades of tan, the arctic camouflage  too closely mimics the color designs of the Terran Republic with their blend of whites, grays and blacks. You need to consciously stop and check their helmet or firearm, if the angle permits, this breaks gaming rhythm and takes you out of the moment. In a heated firefight where friend and foe run together in a disjointed orgy or at long range this can lead to wasted ammo, team kills, and your own death far too easily.

The situation is even worse for generic vehicles, Terrain camouflage can make it nearly impossible to tell if that wad of Lightnings or that Sunderer is friendly – forcing you to rely on sparse highlights which don't show up at long ranges. This can effectively mean you end up killing your own faction's AA or spawn point during a firefight or losing an important opportunity to destroy an enemy spawn point. Sunderer blockade armor makes this even worse – the dark gray with slight purple hue panels closely match both Vanu and TR color schemes.

Clearly Sony intends the spotting tool to be a band aid to these issues but this presents more problems. The mechanics are unclear and rather finicky, sometimes spotting hostiles on the other side of a canyon and sometimes failing to ID a Vanguard sitting five meters from you turning your squad into 'fraggeroni'. Many people forget to use it in the heat combat or worse yet, aren't even aware it exists. It also requires you to take your eyes off the target at close ranges, away from their center mass, long enough to lose your chance to attack your target.


Uncertain future

Overall, Planetside 2's basic visual design is really strong, you can always distinguish the empire and class of a normal character by a number of strong cues such as their helmet, their shape and outline, and their colors. You will always be able to quickly tell what they're wielding, important for picking out things like Heavy Assaults when you're in a tank. Many of the customizations in the game consciously avoid tampering with these visual cues. But the camouflage issue is only going to get worse as time goes on and more patterns are released, further diluting the games otherwise very sound visual design and making it even more difficult to tell friend from foe.


Anna S. is a doctoral student of Virology at an American university. She enjoys Dota and hanging out with her wife, two cats, and chinchilla.