UT4 Bright Skins and Player Visibility

NATO_chrisjm: The community is enormously fractured, and while things like visibility are universal the views on possible solutions are wide. It doesn’t help when the devs make a firm statement such as ‘we don’t want brightskins’ a chunk of the community yell at them that it’s going to be a failure if it’s not included. Feels like there’s a lot of distrust coming from the community right now, which doesn’t encourage the devs to open up.

Overall a well thought out and put together post.

Player visibility is one of the key points epic could have handled better during Unreal Tournament 4 development. There was a lot of noise about difficult to see players and Epic repeatedly stated that they did not want to go the neon bright bright skins route and would solve the “problem” using other methods. This seemed acceptable for many players and the ones it was not fine for was more from a “we don’t trust you or your track record*” rather than “that is impossible” point of view. Of course there was a minority (often vocal) that refused to accept that there was any other way to do it, but lets ignore them. Player vis was an aspect where epic could have easily won points from the community by actually implementing something, even to the point of pushing it a little far (to win supporters) and dialing it back at a later date. They did open up about this point.

However nothing was done. Then some community members created threads comparing methods of player highlighting – followed by bright skin mutators (not a problem) and then Epic finally pushed something useful in the last few builds. This is not to say that the community brightskins spurred Epic to put their own solution in place. Are the new Epic skins perfect? No. Is it good enough for shells? Probably, they are a huge improvement on shells on a map like chill. Are they good enough for meshed maps? Probably not. But it is better than one of the previous Epic visibility changes that was along the lines of “slightly changed XYZ by 1.27% to improve player visibility”. When they make changes to something that is essentially zero change it is hard to think they will implement anything… or approach it at such a slow, teeth pulling rate.

But they have only implemented changes recently. They should have done it months ago.

This is different to weapons being considered OP by large swathes of the community – you could create a game with a weapon that is ridiculous and if that is epics vision then, whatever. You could also create a game where all the players are black. But to straight up state that they want to address a problem in a specific way then do nothing? Or the equivalent of nothing (slightly changed XYZ in a single build). It is understood they are a small team but it was/is a fairly large point that they specifically commented on – and their track record has been poor on this aspect of the game from 2k3 onwards. So if they were planning something it would be important to show us rather than just say “Yeah we don’t like bright skins but you will have to deal with it until we get around to doing something”.

Maybe points from the community don’t matter, or whatever, but this is not an aspect like crap mouse input that is difficult to track down, diagnose and fix, if that is even possible as it may be the underlying engine that they lack control over.

*This was reasonable and further highlights why this would have been a good place for epic to start winning the support of the community. If the current red/blue visibility was in game.. 12 months? 6 months? ago when this was a hot topic it would potentially have gotten more people on side.

Unreal Tournament Visibility Track Record

So for new comers, players that never paid attention to this or just curious bystanders some explanation may be in order. It was easy to see players in ut99. It was very difficult to see players in the base game of 2k3, so epic implemented shoulder mounted lights – horrible sprites that sort of solved the problem. utcomp came along and added glowstick style bright skins as well as force model which was accepted by the competitive community. 2k4 came around and epic put their own version of bright skins in, which was probably acceptable, but once again no force model (from memory).

The whole visibility saga was replayed in ut3 in a similar manner.

Not sure this is 100% how it played out but it is roughly there. Not learning from past experience is most certainly one of Epics more annoying traits.

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