Camo Coverage vs IFF

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Klypto, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Klypto

    I need someone to argue with me on this because no one has yet.

    Right now SOE is planning to increase faction colors on all characters and tint down camos. I do not agree with this.

    The core problem is that SOE is trying to do two Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) systems at once. For simplicity I will call them the Battlefield and Team Fortress 2 Systems.

    The Battlefield system is to put an indicator over the heads of allies and a bad guy indicator over the heads of spotted bad guys. They have this because both allies and bad guys look the same and are typically wearing the same camo color. Similar to Planetside 2, players have the option to dress up in fancy camo too to make them look cool and stick out or blend into the environment better. It's very easy to learn and does not take any noteworthy effort to put into practice. You just have to look above the guy and immediately know what faction they are on. This system is simple and obviously works with humans 99% if not 100% of the time, otherwise Battlefield would have many confused players and would not be a very popular series.

    The Team Fortess 2 system is to paint everyone in blatant faction colors. Make it super obvious what team someone is on by pouring a paint bucket of faction color on them. You just have to look at the guy's clothes and immediately know what faction they are on. This system as well obviously works with most humans, otherwise Team Fortress 2 would have many confused players and would not be a very popular game.

    **Both systems on their own work, however both systems together do not.**

    Planetside 2 is a game that is trying to do both. SOE wants to have their cake and eat it where players are to spend money and dress up in nice cosmetics, but at the same time they want players to be able to not only identify people using the Battlefield doritos system (which works perfectly fine), but the Team Fortess 2 faction colors system which irreconcilably contradicts camo and other cosmetics. As much as you wish, will, pray or try, you cannot have both and be at 100%.

    People have mentioned several times already is that we have more experience than other players which is why we are able to identify them so easily. However, do new players in Battlefield despite everyone looking almost identical have difficulty determining who is the enemy? How is it that Battlefield is able to escape this issue, yet Planetside 2 players need lots of experience to properly learn IFF?

    Players in general will always go for the most obvious, intuitive solution that appears to work. When you paint people in faction colors it becomes the forefront standard for IFF from their perspective. They take on the Team Fortess 2 system at first because it appears to work for them. This does not mean that the other IFF methods are not intuitive, it's just that color matching overpowers the other methods by being right in front of the player all the time. Things such as doritos, q spotting, silhouette or shape matching all fall into the background for them. We will call people using this system Color Players to make it simple. In most games there is nothing wrong with being a color player. I use color matching all the time in games where it works fine, Planetside 2 however...

    When a color player encounters another player with camo in Planetside 2 it will cause a delay on their IFF. Having colors that go outside of their experienced standard will cause a moment of confusion. There are just too many possible camo and armor combinations out there for a new player to handle it well. You flat out cannot stop this from happening without breaking camo.

    For Planetside 2 to use the TF2 system properly, they would have to destroy all camo coverage to the point where it is simply an accent or feels like an afterthought. You can't go half ***** on this or you will not solve the problem. Yes, even the current NC and TR camo coverage does not work. If the colors are not strong enough, some people, especially new players, who start off in Planetside 2 learning to use the partial TF2 system will still be confused.

    I will throw in my terrible anecdotal evidence and say that I still get shot at or even killed (even as a max!) on a daily basis by lower level friendlies who in my eyes are blatantly using the TF2 system. When I ask them why, they simply reply back that they were confused by the color I was wearing. This on my NC character which has globs of yellow and blue in places all over it, and yet somehow they are confused by my sunshine yellow, white, dark black, ugly SOE Live green or other camo I happen to be wearing at that time.


    This is what sets experienced players apart from from the inexperienced players. We've already gone through the process of intuitively trying to identify people with the TF2 system. At some point or another we learned that it just does not work well and we "unlearned" that system and started using the other methods of IFF. That's right there feels like a bad design. It's not intentional, but it widens the skill gap by adding in a pitfall for new players to get stuck in during their learning process.

    Battlefield doesn't have that. There are no faction colors being thrown into the mix that might serve to confuse you when you play. Sure some have flags or decals on the shoulders, yet they are so small that nobody looks at that anyways. The first line of thought is to look at the triangle over their head because it's the most intuitive thing to do.

    You don't want your players to have to go through hoops, loopbacks and tricks just to try and learn how the game works (unless you are making some mystery or psychedelic game). The partial TF2 system in Planetside 2 only serves as a red herring tricking the player into believing in an unreliable system.

    As one of several solutions, they are revisiting camo coverage trying to push where they can to a nonexistent balance point between IFF colors and camo coverage. As a customer who has paid for their camo, this makes me very uncomfortable to have a constant threat of "we are going to change the looks you paid for on your character at any time to make it more ugly". Based on what they said, Vanu is not going to be the only one changed.

    I propose we sidestep this headache go with the full battlefield system. Remove all obvious faction color paints and go back to the original concepts of Planetside 2 where stock characters were duller, industrial greys with super light accents of faction colors that are not feasible for determining who is who in combat. If you want to look nice, put on some camo.




    New players will no longer be tricked but to learn the correct and easy methods of IFF.

    Paying customers will not only have the value of their products saved from a negative decrease, but actually be increased (you can raise camo coverage with no consequences to IFF).

    Everybody wins.
    • Up x 75
  2. EagleGuardian

    Great explanation, and fair suggestions as well.

    This is something I'd love to see implemented (and if the vehicle art changes on PTS are anything to go by, hopefully it will be soon). Right now the infantry faction colours stand out too much, and take away from the military realism. Some camos just don't work well because of this, which is a shame.
    • Up x 8
  3. ColonelChingles

    I agree with most of your theory, but it's worth pointing out that the IFF doritos in PS2 are fairly unreliable. Relying on doritos by themselves can get you and your allies killed.

    It's not an insurmountable problem and one that the Devs can likely fix, but it must be fixed if your other suggestions are to be viable.

    Ah, if PS2 had gone the Borderlands route of cell-shaded characters and vehicles. Now that would be a coherent art direction.

    As it exists now I don't know exactly how to describe PS2's aesthetics. It's not the Gears of War level of grim browness. But it's also not TF2's joyful comicbookness. PS2 kind of mashes different aesthetics together, which is partially why it is so jarring. The terrain looks dark and semi-realistic, but the characters are a few yards of spandex away from appearing in a Marvel comic from the 80's.
    • Up x 11
  4. TriumphantJelly

    I'd alo like to accentuate the subtler shapes a little, to give big, dangerous classes like the HA an "OHS***" warning at range, but only if someone is observant. Now all we have are jetpacks, medic paks and how skinny/bulky someone is. This would help with class identification and make things look good, at least if SOE get it right. With a "battlefield system" as you propose, this'd also help with IFF if factions get more structural flair.

    In a nutshell, a cosmetic buff that helps counter the homogeonising of colours for new players whilst affecting gameplay positively for veterans, for Planetside is nice when it's pretty.
  5. HadesR

    Does BF have a spotting feature or are Doritos always shown ?
  6. FateJH

    I think the basic problem that everyone runs into is a simple misunderstanding: camo is not intended to make you harder to see in this game. The best you can hope for is delaying someone's trigger reaction because they can't tell by looking whose side you're on (and this is because they're looking at colors rather than shapes). That's not to say that some camo doesn't make it harder for you to be seen under certain conditions but that is merely a side-effect.
    • Up x 1
  7. Klypto

    Spotting has been in the series for a while (some of the older iterations are bizarre though, like binoculars). But enemy doritos don't show until you point at the enemy or spot them depending on the game. Friendlies always have one or at least their name tag.

    With a doritos system you always assume something that does not have your faction doriot is a target. SOE could secretly put in birdmen and tree monsters to come in and attack and I would just mow them down instantly without question because they don't have my faction dorito over them. It doesn't matter what they look like.

    It's also why I can easily switch factions and not shoot my teammates, I just change in my mind what color dorito is my team. I always think it's weird when experienced players ask about shooting teammates when I switch teams. Sure there's other IFF things that I get forget sometimes like a bouncing betty will actually kill me, but that's my problem.

    But that's does not change the fact that it's 100% valid and reasonable to request near full if not full camo coverage to not look ugly.

    It's a cosmetic.
    • Up x 8
  8. eldarfalcongravtank

    Klypto... you have my DEEPEST respects for this post. seriously, if i could i would give your post a million likes. best thread on the forum ever!


    it really saddens me that we, the players, have to tell them this. why don't their marketing managers come up with an idea like this? a simple equation for you, dear business analysts:

    more coverage = more value for camo = more attractive for customers to buy = more sales = more revenue for SOE

    • Up x 7
  9. Paragon Exile

    Klypto, you may constantly murder me in-game generating endless rage, but on the forums you are now my favorite person.

    • Up x 1
  10. Flapatax

    The vast majority of BF4 servers have friendly fire disabled--people shoot each other constantly but there isn't a penalty for it.
    • Up x 2
  11. Ronin Oni

    Problem: The dorito IFF system is buggy and unreliable as all hell in PS2.

    Solution: Breast plates, shoulder plates, and boots in faction colors.

    The biggest problem, by far, is allies IFF doritos not showing. Happens ALL the time.

    You just can't rely on a dorito to tell you not to shoot. And only shooting when you get an enemy dorito is just as likely to get you killed as relying on friendly doritos to not shoot a friendly

    This too

    They even had FF on/off as an option for classic for a while, but ultimately just decided that FF will be OFF.

    The only preset that has FF on now is Hardcore which is a **** fest for other reasons. (And no doritos too, with no faction colors, and just sigh)
    • Up x 2
  12. Klypto

    This can easily be corrected through simple bug fixing.

    Personally I believe this is a fallacy as a counterargument. From my experience players are in fact not shooting each other all the time due to iff issues unless they are being overly lazy about their fire discipline simply because there are no consequences. Even then it's not on a scale to be noteworthy.

    People would turn friendly fire off on servers for the same reason people get annoyed at friendly fire in Planetside 2...

    Because people. Only worse.

    It's downright obnoxious. The number one reason was that players would team kill each other all the time to try and get the tank / helicopter / WhateverOPVehicle. Following that is griefers who would harass non-stop because they were pissed at last match or had nothing better to do. Other issues included being shot in the back because you were in between Mr. Greedy and the evil bad guy or you accidentally stepped into someone's line of fire by not paying attention.

    Even with Friendly Fire turned off, people would still grief by whatever methods they could find including driving a jeep at you and then bailing out so it would kill you.

    Actually if you look at discussions of FF in Battlefield over the years, IFF is not brought up as the issue. In the few cases where it was, it was far overshadowed by complaints of griefing.
    • Up x 4
  13. Shadowomega

    Klypto, I whole heartily agree. The only use color coded IFF works for is when players can have the same character model on the other side of the fence like you stated as TF2 or Quake/Unreal Tournament. PS2 we have character models that are totally aesthetic different this alone should be enough. The developers even said this was the case years ago when the TR got the skeeter, and the NC got the Reaver instead of those being common pool vehicles like in PS1 as each would look so different they could easily confirmed who it fights for in a hot dog fight.

    Character models. TR is more rounded edges with bulky armor, NC are Boxy with sharp edges, VS have layered plate mail with odd angles to them.

    Further more it isn't just difference in the character model but also the characters texture as well. TR clothes have more of a cotton/nylon fabric, NC have khaki leather look to theirs, VS have a Carbon Nano weave, plastic with little Hexagon patterns.

    Now audio, besides each faction having distinctive character call outs each factions other audio clues give them away. The Foot steps of the Max units all are different audio effects. The sound of infiltrators cloak/uncloak have different audio. To ESF to MBTs as well.

    If anything needs to be done NC and TR should be brought up to the same level of camo coverage as the VS.
    • Up x 2
  14. FieldMarshall

    I just look for the triangle above their heads. Its the first place i look. (Also handily located at their heads where i aim anyway).
    If its not friendly, i shoot.

    Never had a problem with IFF, and never understood the fuss with giraffe
    • Up x 1
  15. BobSanders123

    I think the cell-shaded effect would definantly make this game look more pleasing!
  16. Eyeklops

    The major differences between BF and PS2 doritos are PS2 doesn't always show friendly doritos at range, BF does. This is done for performance reasons (less draw calls) and having all friendly doritos render isn't really an option right now.

    I personally IFF infantry differently based on range. At short to medium range I go by silhouette, at long range I "Q" spot and wait for the dorito to pop. Obviously IFF by silhouette isn't for newbies though. PS2 also has an IFF reticule that turns red on enemies at very short range. I'm not for or against your ideas, just pointing out an important difference you missed in the comparison.
    • Up x 1
  17. Bhudda V1

    i read your opening post 3 times Klypto and all other posters and the more i think on it the more i am thinking about the possibility of having a setting in the graphics menu that is on by default to turn off all camo and cosmetics for new players and possibly give them a small performance boon in the meanwhile as they learn the game so they can learn what is what then uncheck it when they hit a battle rank or uncheck it themselves.

    while this is not exactly the best idea i admit it just something that might help some of the new blood a little get the hang of the game a little easier

    also like your idea would be cool to make the game look a little more gritty and realistic.
    • Up x 2
  18. radrussian2

    woo. SoE fixing **** that wasn't broke and no one was asking for. unlike the ******* resource system and battle islands/cont lattice....
  19. Zero M0nster

    Yes, an awesome thread. Think of all the camos that will be ruined with this "update". They will all look duller and you wont be able to mark them out. IFF tags are the way to go. Thats how it is in most games like COD and it works! Dont nerf giraffe the other camos please!
  20. Yuukikun

    My dad's stronger than yours.

    (just using the typical forumsider cherry picking technique)
    • Up x 1