Player Studio

The Look and Style of PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2 uses high quality normal maps, models and textures with all the modern technical bells and whistles of present day first person shooters. PlanetSide 2 is a gritty, realistic, Sci-fi shooter on a scale that is unsurpassed in the modern FPS arena.

The world is war torn. War has been raging for hundreds of years with no end in sight. The vehicles, weapons, buildings, and armor are well used, scratched, dented, chipped and dinged. Image a world that was continuously at war.

The Empires

Terran Republic

The look of the TR has been refined over the years. Rounds, curves and circles define their shape language. Their basic standard suit is a mix of somewhat modern looking materials.

The protective under armor vest is of high quality thick leather like substance. The shirt is more like heavy nylon but has the tread pattern of heavy denim. The gloves are a leathery like substance with insets of a material that looks like carbon fiber.

The armor is smooth and made from a light weight carbon composite. Most times it is painted a medium matte gray. The only high lights on the armor come from the painted stripes of red and black which is like enamel based paint.

The TR logo is a glossy decal that is in most cases chipped on the edges. You will find that the armor and weaponry of the TR is slightly worn, chipped and scratched but not as dinged and dented. The TR Logo is always prominent on 3 sides of the character armor and vehicle (3 sides of the triangle).

New Conglomerate

The New Conglomerate (NC) is the rebel force that split from the Terran Republic. The NC is rough and rugged. They use defined squares, hard edges, straight lines, and thick bevels.

Their base suit is comprised of many layers of practical materials. The base layer is made of something that is comparable to a thermal long sleeve shirt. This shirt is fairly worn, dirty and tattered. Over the top of that layer is a material that is comparable to a thick flannel. The final layer is a modern styled flak jacket. The pants are made from a thick canvas like material.

These guys are resourceful and persistent. Their armor is considered 'old', in comparison to the other factions. It is dirty, scratched, dented, dinged, and chipped but not compromised. The armor and clothing still needs to look like it can protect the combatant. The New Conglomerate and their technology are comparable to advanced modern day tech.

Vanu Sovereignty

The Vanu Sovereignty has embraced alien technology like a religion. Their armor and weaponry is very ornate. Fashion before form is their motto. You will see this alien influence in their armor, weaponry, and vehicles. Their look is elaborate with the feel of a carapace from a lobster. Techno-organic best describes the look that embodies the Vanu Sovereignty.

The base suit is a form fitting 'wet suit' like material. It has some thickness and some molded panels that loosely mimic the human form. The most prominent feature on the base suit is the metal spine that runs up the center of the back.

The purple portion of the suit has a light sheen that sports a hexagonal pattern in the specular highlight. The armor and weaponry is gently used with some paint chipping and some scratches. VS armor is the cleanest of the 3 factions.

Nanite Systems (Common Pool)

The common pool is PlanetSide 2's shared vehicle and weapon resource. Common pool assets are constructed by a company called "Nanite Systems".

They build weaponry and war machines for the three empires.

The look of the common pool is fairly generic Sci-fi or advanced modern technology. The lines are simple, beveled boxes, with some curved shapes. The common pool is simply a combination of all faction attributes.

PlanetSide 2 Player Studio Guidelines

Welcome to PlanetSide 2 Player studio! Here we'll help you get started with item creation and understand more about making a successful submission. Thank you for your interest and good luck!

The PlanetSide 2 art team relies on Maya, and Photoshop to create most of our in-game assets, but feel free to use any 3D modeling program you feel comfortable with. Just be sure the application you use supports OBJ format.

Helmet Modeling and Considerations

SOE will supply the base textures along with a base head for reference. Make sure that no unintended part of the head protrudes through the helmet.

Things to consider:

  • Coming up with an idea is one of the most challenging parts of asset creation. We recommend starting with a few sketches, until you find something you're happy with. Once you're happy with a sketch, refine it by adding cool design elements and details that will make your model stand out from the rest! Concepting is an iterative process but can save you time in the long run. We only need the model from you, so do what works best.
  • To improve your chances of being selected into the Marketplace, be sure what you create fits into the PlanetSide 2 universe. See style guide section above for more details.
  • The shape of the helmet should stand out. The silhouette should look interesting from a distance, and up close. Pay attention to how light bounces off the fine details, like bevels and creases.
  • Please do your best to maintain quads and edge loops in the mesh, in case we have to make any revisions.
  • Polygon budget. You are allowed a maximum of 6000 triangles for a single helmet.

Materials and UVs

To make item creation as accessible as possible, we will only be providing you with two maps - a Diffuse (Color) Map and a Normal Map - to work from. Below you will see other maps that are used by the art team. We may enhance your submission with any appropriate additional maps to make sure it works best in game.

List of Texture Maps:

  • Diffuse (Color): Assign the UVs to any area of the texture sheet except for the areas marked in bright red.
  • Normal: To stay within triangle limitations it is good to find areas of your helmet that can use normal map detail.
  • Smoothness (specularity): Surfaces like lenses, glass, or polished metal have high spec which appears white on the map. Matted or flat areas with little or no specularity are black or darker values on the map.
  • Metallic (shine): White makes the metal appear chrome. Darker values give the texture a flat metal finish.
  • Dielectric (Gloss):White gives a glossy finish. The darker the value, the thinner the glossy coat.
  • Emissive (Brightness): White is 100% brightness. Most of our emissives stay around 50-75% white so as not to be too distracting in game.
  • Detail Select: is on a 2nd UV set (not supported by OBJ). This 2nd set is assigned to the detail cube. Each color on the Detail Select map represents a side of the cube containing a custom pattern. UVs on the 2nd set are kept uniform so that the patterns flow nicely on the model.
  • Tint (Color or Pattern Overlay): The tint map is black and white, white being the tintable area.

Example maps 1-8 mentioned above:

Note when laying out UVs: UVs should be oriented the same as the 3D mesh so that the normals read correctly. Having UVs flipping vertically or horizontally will result in inverted normals.

The Following images are an example of our workflow for creating helmets from concept to completion.

When creating a concept, it is best to start with loose thumbnail sketches to find the shape or silhouette of the helmet. From those thumbnails pick the one you like most. Here are some examples from the art team.

Here, Zbrush is used to quickly block out important shapes that define the look of the helmet. Zbrush is one of several options you can use for high poly sculpting, so use the one you feel most comfortable with. Zbrush and similar applications are great tools for baking out normals and cavity maps (you will need to use the SOE provided normal maps for helmets).

Once, most of the helmet is in place, the artist spends more time refining the sculpt.

Next, the artist retopologizes the sculpt, so that the helmet can work with the SOE’s proprietary engine. The artist does his best to retain the shape and appearance of the high poly sculpt. Since players naturally look at the front of the face, it is important to use most of your polygon budget in that area.

The finished helmets should be tested on all classes to ensure no clipping occurs once exported into the game.

Here’s the resulting helmet in the Engine with all textures applied:

And finally another look at the helmets attached to a character model.

We will provide to you a male head model to help ensure that your helmet fits on the head and make sure the head is visible when modeling.

Here are several examples of helmets each approximately 5000 triangles. The UVs are colored green so that you can see what areas of the texture sheets were commonly used. There are no restrictions to what type of helmets that can be created. Helmets do not need to cover the entire head, for example: goggles, gas mask, caps, etc. are acceptable submissions in the helmet category.

Please keep the model under 3500 triangles. We will provide the chrome textures for reference. When creating hood ornaments it helps to model out a stand so that there is separation from the vehicle and the ornament. Placing your model on a stand will also help your hood ornament stand out.

Final Decal texture size must be 1024x1024.

  • Make sure your decal is clearly visible from a distance, so stick to simple shapes and silhouettes.
  • Your decal should be scaled to the edge of the texture as much as possible to get the highest quality possible.
  • DO NOT use any text in your image, and please refrain from using any explicit or vulgar content that you think may be unsuitable for PlanetSide 2.
  • Please make sure your designs are 100% original! Do not copy or enhance existing logos and imagery, and do not use 'royalty free' images.

Here are some examples of Decals with early roughs. Note that the green background is Alpha (transparent, allowing whatever it's placed on to show through).

More decal examples:

Cockpit Glass Decals texture must be 1024 x 1024 when submitting. We will provide to you all faction cockpit glasses as reference. Look at the UVs to help with Decal placement. Decals should be visible from a distance, so make sure it's scaled appropriately and fills up significant area on the glass.

More cockpit glass decal examples: