[Vehicle] Real Lightning Projectiles Have Curves!

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by ColonelChingles, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. ColonelChingles

    So after this thread on crosshair overlays, I had tested the concept and found that it gave tanks a significant advantage in the third person view, allowing them the freedom to fight while maintaining a better awareness of enemies and obstacles nearby.

    Given that, I decided to make a crosshair overlay specifically suited to the Lightning AP cannon. Using incorporated "bullet drop compensators", the goal would be to allow tanks better first-shot accuracy against infantry-sized targets assuming that the range was known. I figured it would look something like this:


    Where you simply have to adjust for elevation. The further you are, the higher up you aim.

    Boy was I wrong. After testing and figuring out where the shells hit at what range, it looked like this:


    Sorry for the transparency... against a white background there's text indicating 50m, 100m, 150m, 200m, and 250m marks, as represented by the circles.

    In other words if you want to hit a target 150m out, you put the third circle from the top over your target.

    But the weird thing is that all the shots start out from the far left and then move closer to the main crosshair the further each shell gets.

    This means that with the initial shot, Lightning shells travel very rapidly to the left. And then it starts to move to slowly to the right over time. So if you are fighting at close range against infantry, this means that you could very easily miss!


    So at about 50m (the indicator is a bit off because I'm aiming slightly behind the target), you could miss an infantry target even if you were aiming squarely at it. The shot lands to the left.

    This is a diagram (not to scale) that shows the difference between third person LoS (yellow dotted line) and the actual trajectory of the shell (red line):


    Why is this the case? I assume it's because the Lightning cannon (for whatever reason) is mounted slightly to the right in the turret. This means that for the first person camera to "work", the shell has to curve. I assume that this is not so much a problem in first person view, but in third person view it creates the strange wiggling shell.

    Anyhow, one way to fix this is to give the Lightning separate fire modes for when they are in first person and third person view. In that way you can have consistent shell trajectory instead of the strange things that happen now. Or simply adjust some of the camera angles.
    • Up x 4
  2. ColonelChingles

    A new improved version of the crosshair overlay.


    I've only tested this on my monitor using the "Reticle Overlay" for Overwolf, and I play PS2 in a 1920x1080 resolution. This crosshair needs to be set to 0.15 image scale and have an x offset percent of 50.1.

    Each of the red dots represents a target in 50m increments. So for a target 50m away, place the highest red dot over the target. For a target 250m away, place the 5th red dot from the top (the lowest) over the target. I got rid of the range text because it was really just too small to see.

    In testing this significantly improved first-shot accuracy. Infantry targets could be accurately engaged out to 250m. There was something funky going on between 100-150m, but it's fairly close. Vehicles could be easily engaged out to 250m, and beyond that most shots will drop fairly close to the center of the regular crosshair. Engaging at extreme long range is not advised because in 3d person view you will not be able to see your target through your own tank.

    Range finding is most easily achieved by using the Range Finder implant. There is also a built-in infantry range finder in the top right corner. Simply line up the standing infantry in your sights and figure out which bar is closest to their height. The tallest one is 50m, and each shorter bar represents another 50m of distance. For example, if the infantry appears to match the third bar from the right, then the infantry is about 150m away. This technique may also be used to estimate the range of enemy vehicles if there are infantry nearby that you can measure.

    Against larger vehicles where precision is not as big a deal, it often works best to simply have the entire red dot curve placed over the enemy vehicle. So long as the enemy vehicle is within 50-250m, then your shot will connect. This is an excellent strategy for engaging targets while moving. For more precise shooting (engaging a hull-down MBT), the red dots will still work.

    Keep in mind that for targets closer than 50m, you will have to compensate significantly by aiming to the right.

    Also remember that in 3d person view, Lightnings do not experience recoil. Once you have a target "dialed in", you may continue to engage the target without worry of adjustment or missing (unless you or the target moved).

    I probably will continue to work on it, maybe extending the range to 500m (the limit of the Range Finder implant). However this might be difficult because it will be significantly less precise (has to be tested against vehicles instead of infantry for render reasons).

    Other than that, enjoy this completely fair and non-advantage giving crosshair overlay! :p
  3. FLHuk

    Tis good valuable work once again high lighting stupid "features" of our beloved game.

    I still prefer my "ala Quake blue tack on screen" version which has done valuable anti vulcan work for ages ;)
    • Up x 1
  4. Movoza

    Can you tell me why you want to gain an incredible advantage using 3rd party software? I mean however you twist it, it is never your skill that allowed you to perform better. When I was younger and played GTA or prince of Persia, cheating felt extremely hollow, as none of it felt like my doing. How can you stand that feeling?
    • Up x 1
  5. Cynicismic

    Interesting. I've also noticed that playing in the third-person view for my Lightning, (at least when using the HEAT main gun), adds several more degrees of gun depression when aiming as close to the ground as possible - it is very noticeable. This is invaluable when adopting hull-down tactics, considering that the Lightning ideally excels in this role due to the turret being so small, and henceforth very hard to hit. In the first-person, the gun depression on most of the Lightning's guns are very difficult to work around, whereas when in the third person, sometimes my main gun actually goes into the side of the tank because it is pressed down so far. When you move the turret, it snaps up and into the standard lowest point of depression, though if you position yourself just right in first-person view, aim as far down as possible, then switch to third, just watch as your gun snaps far lower than it realistically should go.

    It's pretty useless, though I thought that it was interesting, and relevant to the discussion somewhat.
    • Up x 3
  6. CorporationUSA

    To be fair, this game should have 3rd person crosshairs included. Since there is no way to detect them using cheat detection, anyone can use one indefinitely and never get caught. The best solution is to include it in the game so those people don't have an advantage. It's not like it's something that should have been excluded in the first place, it's just a crosshair.
    • Up x 3
  7. ColonelChingles

    Hey, according to the Devs things like crosshair overlays are not against the terms of service, even though to really anyone who reads the thing it would definitely seem like a violation. To quote:

    Even though this seems to squarely fly against the EULA:

    I mean being able to accurately engage targets while moving about in 3d person does seem like it would impact game play a little... but what do I know about legal documents anyhow? :p

    From a moral, non-legal standpoint, maybe you do have a point. And maybe I have said something similar in the past...

    So I figure that because the official position isn't to forbid crosshair overlays, the next best thing is to freely give out a crosshair overlay to everyone. In that way if everyone is using it, then no one has an unfair advantage.

    I mean I could have very easily made this overlay and kept it to myself... but here I am explaining exactly how to use it, its limitations, etc.

    Also at this point I think Lightnings are in a fairly bad spot with all the Vulcan-H and co.'s running around... so any bit of help to Lightning operators ought to be a totally fair thing! :D
    • Up x 3
  8. ColonelChingles

    Oh yes. I've noticed that as well.

    Yet another non-advantage of being able to shoot accurately in 3d person view!
  9. Pikachu

    Allow 3rd person and crosshair but only render enemies within the first person camera's viewing frustum.
  10. CorporationUSA

    I don't see why that trade off would need to be made, you're already sacrificing thermal and zoom optics by using 3rd person.
  11. ColonelChingles

    That was one of the issues of engaging in 3d person. Sure it would be possible to get a 1st round hit on a stationary infantryman at 250m, but it essentially came down to being exactly on target. A single pixel to the left or right and it would be a miss. Without an adjustable DPS mouse, this would require a high amount of marksmanship.

    For example, this is an infantry target at 250m:


    You can barely make out a few pixels stacked on top of each other... and that's all you have to aim at!

    If it came down to hitting moving targets at 250m... chances of that happening would be highly unlikely. Especially given the relatively slow velocity of the Lightning AP shell (225m/s, compared to 650m/s sniper rifles).
  12. Movoza

    There's probably a lot of cheats that can't be caught at the moment. ESP, subtle hacks and all those. That doesn't mean they all should have it.
    I know it is a hyperbole, as giving everyone crosshairs isn't destroying the game and might actually add something, in contrast to ESP and all those subtle hacks. Still, the argumentation feels a bit flawed. But right now, adding it to your own computer and giving you an advantage on many, many players who don't have it and widening the gap especially with enemy beginners is just morally wrong. It isn't only in 3rd person mode, but also gives many hand-eye coordination, reaction time and target acquisition advantages. This effect is multiplied when hit by EMP. I'm wondering if this feeling of unjustified extra "skill" is justified by others. How can they think it is fair game?

    Although I don't know what he was exactly thinking, I think RadarX was referring to the overlays that tracked stats and helped with the communication. The ingame communication system is flawed and not extensive. They promote these things for more engagement in PS2, as tracking your own stats will attract many "MLG" players. Communication between teammates and such is also promoted to gain a more stable community. Both change gameplay, but give their advantages in a very indirect route, and isn't only used for advantages through communication.
    That being said, I think I remember that one time they did directly say that they would condone crosshair overlays. This might be more due to the inability to find and act on people using it. As many said, you can have a monitor with it build in or even just put a marker on the middle of the screen. It affects gameplay very directly, as you gain the aforementioned advantages over other players.

    So they can give it to everyone, but I'm very curious how players using it now are justifying it. Although I expect many players will justify it with "other players are using it, so I need it to compete" or simply ignore it and think it adds to their real skill, making them feel better as they get better results.
  13. CorporationUSA

    No, but there is no reason not to add 3rd person crosshairs. It would be useful, especially if it cuts down on the advantages other people may have from using an overlay. They can't add aimbots and wallhacks to the game, that would break it, but a crosshair would not. If anything, I think it is something that makes the game more enjoyable to play. Kind of like how people playing WoW use button scripts to make the combat less tedious and clunky, or how people in DayZ use teamspeak when they play as a team, rather than the in-game chat that everyone in the area can hear. As far as I'm concerned overlays are just a way for the players to overcome a bad design choice.

    EMP is a bad design specifically because of this. They could make it not affect the hud and only drain shields and special abilities and this wouldn't even be a problem. Otherwise, I don't really think anything else you listed is a huge deal.
  14. ColonelChingles

    Well I'm using it in a tongue-in-cheek way because it certainly isn't impacting my gameplay any! No siree! :p

    Apart from a bit of ironic rebellion, I've also thought of the following reasons:

    1) Improves immersion and realism. Real tanks come with laser range finders (free Range Finder implant) and most Fire Control Units will take care of drop for you. You pretty much just tell your FCU "hey, I want to hit the thing in my crosshair" and your computer will do the rest. While the crosshair overlay isn't the perfect solution, giving tanks range-finding capabilities (WWII tech, but why not) as well as drop markings (what the reticles should come with anyway) doesn't seem the least bit unfair.

    2) Makes up for Lightning design flaws. Namely the curving shell. If it was just a matter of correcting for elevation, that'd be fine. But to give Lightnings a shell that curves sharply to the left and then swings right is kind of mean. Also the slow Lightning shell is ridiculous (IRL tank shells travel much faster than rifle bullets). A crosshair overlay helps to "fix" many of these design problems.

    3) Makes up for general balance issues. With the introduction of the Vulcan-H and equivalents, Lightnings are pretty short-lived at the moment. Being able to accurately engage Harassers in 3d person slightly evens out the playing field. Allowing for better first-shot accuracy against MBTs increases the Lightning's role as an ambush hunter or an armour stalker. This helps to keep Lightnings relevant to the game.

    4) It's not entirely a substitute for skill. You still have to know how to lead moving targets. It's also difficult to engage targets above you (like aircraft). And you still can't use enhanced optics to help make engaging distant targets easier. It simply allows for more accurate fire in 3d person mode, which before simply relied on guesstimating where your shot was going to land.
  15. MrJengles

    This seems like a serious bug or oversight to me.

    I thought all guns now fired from the centre of the screen?

    This was done after the furore over the Reaver's offset nose gun trying to compensate in a very similar way to your diagrams, causing shots that should hit to miss. Certainly, the change affected other vehicles like the Prowler's offset cannons.

    If that state is unacceptable for aircraft shouldn't it also be fixed for Lightnings?
  16. Imp C Bravo

    That's -- really weird. I guess you could practice with it to shoot around obstacles? o_O
  17. FieldMarshall

    Too bad some people get banned for overlays and some dont.

    Would be really great if a dev or something could sticky a thread saying "Overlays are ok. Here is the link to download overlay software"
    All i ever heard is "We cant guarantee that you wont be banned", "We have a zero tolerance policy for everything, except recursion" etc.
  18. Alan Kalane

    I'm all for it.
    Imagine if everyone could customize their crosshair the way they wanted... We could get some really interresting overlays. Maybe even with a slight artistic twist.

    Now I just have to learn assembly so I can write a script that makes my scope overlay hide when I release the right mouse button... As strange as it seems there is no good way of doing that in an overlay using the higher-level programming languages and this functionality has to be built from the ground up.
  19. ColonelChingles

    Further testing suggests that with the velocity normalization, this also seems to work for HE/HEAT as well.

    Probably will not work for the Viper, and definitely not for the Skyguard. :p
  20. Meeka

    I drive a tank in third person, and always shoot in first... I don't use zoom, and even if I'm aiming at few pixels of an infantry man, I can still usually hit my target. I have a mouse button which switches me from 1st to 3rd person as necessary, so I can do it rapidly and quickly.