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Planetside 2 - Epic online FPS battles with armies of players (F2P)

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For some this'll pass you by, but for some of us this is the best news in ages. SOE has announced they're having a press conference on Friday with fresh details of Planetside 2, which as also recently been referred to as Planetside NEXT.

http://www.vg247.com...friday-morning/

EDIT: New trailer:

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This went ahead yesterday at the SOE fan faire; Joystiq has some info:

For you rookies, Planetside 2 is a re-imagining of the popular MMOFPS, and SOE is deploying its new Forgelight MMO engine in order to make thousand-player online battles a reality. Planetside 2 will feature three factions that will seem familiar to long-time fans, and players will be able to choose between the Terran Republic, the New Conglomerate, or the Vanu Sovereignty before heading off to the kill zones. Choice also plays into Planetside 2's character advancement, as the game boasts what SOE is calling a "free-form class-based system" complete with skill trees and unique combat roles.

Weapons, vehicles, and outfits are all customizable, and SOE's fact sheet also drops a curious player-generated content hint relating to the game's mission system. "Both SOE and players will be able to drive content, easing new players into the game and allowing veterans to feed content to players," says the press release.

Finally, Planetside 2 will feature that rarest of MMO prizes: a reason for all the fighting. The core gameplay revolves around holding territories and controlling resources (as opposed to just a match timer). "Battles will last for days or weeks, and finally taking control of the base means it's yours until someone can take it back," SOE says.

It certainly looks like a visually improved version of the original at this point; can't wait to see more. Planetside really was massively ahead of its time and if they can nail the format, they might really be onto something big.

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With the caveat that I didn't stay in EVE long enough to partake in fleet operations, battles in Planetside were the most intense, epic fighting I've ever done online. Despite the rather bland environment and weapons, it was a sight to behold.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

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I still don't really understand why the MMOFPS genre didn't take off, PS started it and there's not been anything else since, has there?

More Planetside = good thing.

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I still don't really understand why the MMOFPS genre didn't take off, PS started it and there's not been anything else since, has there?

More Planetside = good thing.

There wasn't broadband, basically. Also all the VC money ran after WoW.

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I still don't really understand why the MMOFPS genre didn't take off, PS started it and there's not been anything else since, has there?

More Planetside = good thing.

SOE had this habit of making games not for the spec of current users, but for the spec they'd have in 2 years time - as it made it easier for their games to have a 5+ year shelf life. Planetside was great with 1gb of RAM, but it could be choppy with 768, and even worse with 512. The problem was that at this point, many people still had 256 and 512 was only starting to become the norm. This is a single example but it applies equally to all of its required specs. The game was very popular for the first year but it faded off soon after.

This also applies to other elements of the game - namely that pay-to-play FPS was seen as controversial; I remember the equivalents of Kotaku back in the day doing big "don't get Planetside - don't let the man know you'll pay to play an FPS" which must have tarnished it in the eyes of some. The MMO genre with its subscription based payment system was gathering momentum and people were worried that games like CS would one day go pay-to-play. Conversely though this made the game great as everyone was really "into" it - I ran into very few griefers.

Due to these and several other issues, the game never really "took off" - I think it did OK (otherwise I doubt they'd have a sequel in the works) but of course WoW re-defined what success means for an MMO title. Of course, this means that everyone else decided to copy WoW in an attempt to reproduce its success.

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It was a game ahead of it's time, the original Planetside. Loading onto a drop ship and then jumping down into an enemy base from the clouds to do battle was awesome.

It wasn't perfect but it was really special.

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It was a game ahead of it's time, the original Planetside. Loading onto a drop ship and then jumping down into an enemy base from the clouds to do battle was awesome.

It wasn't perfect but it was really special.

Remember the Grief Points system? I just recalled that. It had this really cool system of preventing griefing; if you damaged a team-mate, you got some "Grief Points", which would appear in red on your screen accompanied by a warning noise. A random stray hit would net you 1 or 2, whereas a second shot on the same person would get you 5 or 6, then a third shot would get you 10-20 - so as to not punish small amounts of team damage which pretty much everyone would cause in an average game, but assigning a lot of GP to teamkillers. GP would gradually decrease over time, by a point every few minutes. However, if you racked up too much, strange things would start to happen, such as your weapon jamming, or your accuracy with weapons would get significantly worse. Eventually if you got too much GP you would get a 24-hour ban.

It was a really simple yet elegant system.

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Couple of interesting points about this.

lg-1.jpg?v=58.2

The continent in these screenshots looks a lot like Solsar from the original Planetside. People might remember Solsar as the desert continent with the massive base at the north end called Seth, with the two watchtowers looking over the base in a kind of basin. Naturally also those characters are still very much recognisable as Terran Republic soldiers.

lg-2.jpg?v=58.2

This one's quite similar. One thing to note though is what seems to be impassable terrain in the distance - Planetside 1 had very little of this; I think the only continent to have a lot of it was Esamir, one of the ice continents (which, primarily being on the NC side, I didn't visit very much).

lg-3.jpg?v=58.2

Spot the warpgate in the distance?

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The warpgate beyond the impassable terrain? Yeah.

More interesting terrain is something PS really needed. For all its spectacle, it could feel bloody flat at times. It'll affect strategy and battles pretty well.

On the broader discussion on PS failing - the lack of perpetuality to the outcome of battles, the move towards a more standardised FPS model where you just changed class all the time, "the twist" event and subsequent map thatade no sense, the ill-thought out cavern stuff and weird CTF variant thing they introduced all contributed to its failure as much as technology.

Frankly, it wasn't that far ahead of BB (in the UK most urban centres had it at release and rural areas were maybe 12 months behind) - the lack of direction, content and real development post launch meant it lost much of the huge volumes of momentum it had. Its advocates died off, it wasn't MM and then it didn't keep going.

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The warpgate beyond the impassable terrain? Yeah.

Perhaps I was a little vague on what I meant. In the original Planetside the terrain was such that if you wanted to get pretty much anywhere on foot, you could point in the right direction and just hold "forwards" and you'd eventually get there without too much maneuvering on many of the continents. Even the huge mountain in Cyssor could be walked up, pretty much. Continents like Esamir had actual cliff walls like the ones in the image that were impassable - you had to either fly over or go around. So the warpgate probably has a few mountain passes that lead to it.

More interesting terrain is something PS really needed. For all its spectacle, it could feel bloody flat at times. It'll affect strategy and battles pretty well.

I agree; whilst the game did do some things very well, such as having different environment types well-represented, such as snow, desert, grasslands, forests etc. (with real-time moving weather fronts - rain, fog, snowstorms, sandstorms!) overall the terrain was somewhat lacking in detail, and it is nice to see that changing.

On the broader discussion on PS failing - the lack of perpetuality to the outcome of battles, the move towards a more standardised FPS model where you just changed class all the time, "the twist" event and subsequent map thatade no sense, the ill-thought out cavern stuff and weird CTF variant thing they introduced all contributed to its failure as much as technology.

Ah yes, "the bending". That was ill-advised. Also with the expansion the player base was a bit divided between those that had it and those that didn't, which kinda threw a bit of a spanner in the works. Though the LLU/CTF thing actually worked pretty well once people sussed it out. They did improve a few other things whilst it was live too; when the game was released, the different base types had different names and layouts, but following a patch they actually did different things, and they conferred those abilities on the bases they were linked to via the lattice.

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Haha, the bending, that's the one. I loved the way they introduced it, massive server wide event stuff with asteroids crashing and everything. It mattered because it felt like it was the only thing that would ever make a difference.

I still remember headshotting a dude just as the counter ran out.

I bailed shortly before the mechs but tried out everything else. It really was a wonder - if it looks like it'll e popular enough I'm going to upgrade I think.

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I bailed shortly before the mechs but tried out everything else. It really was a wonder - if it looks like it'll e popular enough I'm going to upgrade I think.

The mechs were OK, but overall I don't think they added much. The interesting thing about them was they had an energy shield that you had to disable by destroying a kind of "shield projector" thing on their back. That being said, I think the tanks etc. were enough.

I actually just managed to dig up a screenshot from the old one - remember there are two people in each of those tanks!

psscreenshot0018.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

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It looked so much better in my head.

Probably - but I should add that the Vanguard invasion had been planned for a week or so on the forums, so I turned down my graphics options due to my PC likely not being able to cope, so the game did actually look better than that.

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I recall showing it off to a mate, along with BF2, and saying "all of these are ACTUAL people"

The future was crazy back then.

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I used to enjoy driving the APC thing that acted as a spawn point, so satisfying when you found a sweet spot, let it cloak and then see your team mates appearing in front of you. The hierarchy / promotion system was also pretty decent, as you went up in rank, you could start to lead squads and then eventually become some sort of commander that could communicate with other high ranking officers to coordinate the battles.

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It's a shame the Vanguard tank was probably the worst out of the three. The Vanu one (the Maglev tank) could travel across water and run people over easily as it could strafe, and the Terran one gave the driver a gun as well as the gunner. The NC one was still powerful, but overall the worst.

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How did the original handle population imbalances? My biggest concern would be one side gaining critical mass (and then everyone joining it "because it's the winner") and steamrollering everyone else into submission

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How did the original handle population imbalances? My biggest concern would be one side gaining critical mass (and then everyone joining it "because it's the winner") and steamrollering everyone else into submission

There were incentives to joining the weaker side if there was ever an imbalance; slightly faster gaining of XP, and if the imbalance ever got severe, a percentage more health and armour was granted to the weaker side - but generally people were quite dedicated to the side they played on and this was rarely needed. All three sides had a different "character", with many different weapons, different music, etc.

Also, if you played as one side, you couldn't "switch" until 24 hours had expired.

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It shows you how sucky the netcode has become these days when you've got all them tanks lining up!

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It shows you how sucky the netcode has become these days when you've got all them tanks lining up!

Actually, Planetside's netcode was quite unique in that all hit detection was client-side. This is very different to how most online games do things. Normally in an online game, when you shoot at an enemy, your computer pings a message off to the server, then the server decides based on the information it has about you and your target whether or not you hit them.

In Planetside's approach, if you fired your weapon at an enemy player and saw it hit them, your machine would ping a message off the server just saying that you'd hit X person with Y weapon. The server would then apply that damage to your target and message that to their computer. This could be a problem as if you were being shot at by a player who was very laggy, their information onscreen could be up to a second behind yours - so you'd jump into cover, but still take damage for a full second as on their screen, they were still hitting you.

That make sense? It was the only way Planetside could have possibly coped with such large player numbers, and it was exacerbated by many people having slow connections. It was one of the worst things about the game, but people generally didn't complain about it because it was a necessary evil. I'll be interested in seeing how Planetside 2 handles things.

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This news makes me very happy, even if I'll never have enough time to play it like I did at uni :)

I'll never forget the first time me and myusual crew witnessed commander chat for the first time.. All the little squads lining up in the safe area, then boardng dropships and flying across the world for strategic simultaneous drops :wub:

The map was RED by 5am that morning!!!

Terran Republic for life, yo.

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This news makes me very happy, even if I'll never have enough time to play it like I did at uni :)

I'll never forget the first time me and myusual crew witnessed commander chat for the first time.. All the little squads lining up in the safe area, then boardng dropships and flying across the world for strategic simultaneous drops :wub:

The map was RED by 5am that morning!!!

Terran Republic for life, yo.

Nah, it was all about the NC. ;)

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Skip to 3m12s to see a battle in full swing. Definitely feels a lot like the original.

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Oh yeah, looks nice. In fact it looks like how my imagination remembers the original!! :lol:

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Looks incredible. HBAO to the max. :)

It really looks magnificent. One thing that's interesting is how much it seems like the original; the weird thing was that in terms of the breadth of mechanics, the original was so far ahead of its time that it would still feel fresh being released now - even stacked up against the likes of Battlefield 3 - so I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising that really they're just bringing it visually up to date and polishing up any areas that were a bit poor in the original, rather than massively changing its direction.

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