Forge Light, Planetside 2's built-from-scratch graphics engine looks like it'll be able to fill our online shooting frenzy with some serious visual candy. But the change in rendering power will also mean a change in gameplay. SOE wants to use the new graphics engine to build PS2's battlefields with a much better balance of indoor and outdoor environments, according to president John Smedley. He'd like to see the maps have a 50/50 ratio, or maybe even 60/40, in favor of indoor environments.
Players will have lots to do in their vehicles, with the different types of continents (snow, desert, mountainous, lava) allowing different tactics and play styles and giving advantages to different players. According to creative director Matt Higby, "If you have a map that's all rolling hills, that's going to be a tank haven. Everybody who plays tanks is going to want to play in this area cause it has wide open vistas--you're able to see guys from far away. Infantry are going to be dead meat there. Either a plane is going to fly over and pick them off, or a tank is just going to bombard the sh*t out of them."
While there'll be a lot of new open, outdoor areas, Higby is quick to point out that they're going to keep lots of indoor areas, because that environment can provide lots of fun. What Higby's really excited about are the game's urban areas, where "you can have the main roads that all the vehicles are playing on and then you have all the side alleys and sort of little cutaways where you go around a corner and suddenly you're face to face with another player and its kill or be killed. Its quick little moments that happen. Maybe you go around the corner and you're staring down the barrel of a tank. That's really cool. That's really fun."