As we all know DayZ at times becomes pretty much a sniper simulator. For better or worse, most engagements are at long ranges. However even the closer encounters can be shaped by the lighting on the battlefield. Yes I called it a battlefield. If I have a gun and you have a gun, it’s a battlefield. In the hills, in the woods, in the cities, and even inside buildings shadows play a huge role.
Seeing and Being Seen
Success in DayZ, ArmA, other FPS games, and even real life combat has distinct stages. Sometimes both partys are moving, hopefully they are using ALT to turn their heads, scanning and sweeping. We call this “keeping your head on a swivel”. Checking ridgelines, fields, treelines, and other potential ambush positions. Other times one party is stationary and the other one is moving. In this case the stationary party has a huge advantage as I point out in this blog post about movement in DayZ. As long as the ambushing group stays still and stays hidden they should “get the drop” and be able to shoot first. When the bullets start flying people tend to freak out and forget all their tactics. Also, it is usually very hard to tell where the shots are coming from. This leads to a huge mess and often ends up with a lot of flies in the air.
Your skin and also what gear you are carrying play a large part in how you are seen in this game. The Czech backpack is not very large, but it is fully cammo making it a great pack for the sniper that has not found a ghillie suit yet . The ghillie suit basically removes the skin and model of your pack so it does not matter how the pack looks. The ALICE pack is a great pack. Large, easy to find. The problem is that it sticks out like a sore thumb, especially at the lower LOD levels. LOD or Level of Detail just means that as you are farther away from an object the skin changes and gets less detailed to save processing power. The ALICE pack currently has an almost white skin at longer ranges (chick pants anyone?).
Click the link below to see the shadow comparisons and read the rest of this post.
Below is a comparison of different shadow settings for DayZ. The first shot shows you the 3 example ghillie suited survivors. Click on the thumbnails at the top to go to the next images. The second one is without the highlight, and with the relevant settings turned all the way up. The next one shows objects on low, not a lot of change here. The 4th shows objects at very low and shadows off. It is really easy to see the ghillies now. Not only will shadows turned off make the figures easier to see, but it will also give you a nice performance boost. We could be talking like more than 20% better here. My computer is really old so in all multi player games I turn shadows off right away.
Shadow Comparison by Doctor Dentist
mocmocmoc81 sent me another nice graphic that shows how loot on the ground will disappear at a very short range if object detail is set to very high. I am not sure if the game is not rendering it, or if the game is “hiding” the object in the grass. There is apparently a function where a player or object is “blended” into the grass if they are still and past a certain distance. More research on that is incoming.
Leave the pretty HDR, flash, and gloss for Skyrim. Keep your PvP games lean and mean. It is going to help you two fold: better performance and an easier time spotting that SOB sniper in the grass. Go try a few of these different settings and report back in the comments below.Z