This guide is written by Nawyria (Miller NC)
As the title suggests this is a guide for the mouse sensitivity settings for the FPS-MMO ‘Planetside 2’. It covers the factors affecting the movement of your crosshair, what overall sensitivity would benefit you, as well as how to set it, the effect of DPI on your settings and finally non-Infantry sensitivities.
If you’re already bored of reading and haven’t previously thought about your settings, use one of these.
Would you like to know more? Read on. Everyone’s doing their part, are you? The war effort needs your effort. Service guarantees citizenship.
What affects your in-game movement?
The way your character handles in-game should be determined by just two variables, your mouse’s DPI (or CPI, if you want to be pedantic) and the in-game sensitivity sliders. To achieve this, enable the Use Raw Mouse Input setting and make sure Mouse Acceleration is turned off.
The former makes sure that any software mouse acceleration from your Operating System does not affect PS2 while the latter disables any acceleration from the game itself. Mouse acceleration increases your crosshair’s speed depending on the speed at which you move your mouse and it is almost universally considered best to play with this setting turned off, as it reduces your accuracy.
Lastly, OS mouse sensitivity settings do not affect the movement of your crosshair, neither do your PS2 Graphics settings such as your Field of View or Resolution (unless your settings are too high and your machine cannot maintain a stable, high FPS. If your CPU is bottlenecking performance, ticking ‘Reduce Input Lag’ can help alleviate control problems.).
However, note that graphics settings, especially FoV, can have a significant impact on how the game feels. The lower your FoV, the faster your camera seems to move around the world as you are effectively playing ‘zoomed in’ with only a smaller portion of the game world rendered on your monitor. You can play with this setting a bit to see what’s comfortable for you; a higher FoV gives more situational awareness, while a lower FoV makes it easier to see things in the distance.
Turn Distance / Overall Sensitivity
The handling of your character is measured by the distance you have to move your mouse to make a full turn of 360 degrees, a.k.a. Turn Distance. This is a useful number to know as you can use it to make sure your settings are the same across several games, allowing you to carry over muscle memory.
To find your Turn Distance, simply point your crosshair at a particular spot and move your mouse horizontally until you’ve made a complete turn and are looking at the same spot again. Then, using a ruler, measure the distance that your mouse has traveled.
Settings with a longer Turn Distance are referred to as having a low Overall Sensitivity while those with a shorter Turn Distance as having a High Overall Sensitivity.
For Planetside 2, the relationship between your DPI + Sensitivities and the Turn Distance is rather involved. Halving your DPI doubles your Turn Distance, but the Sensitivity has no easy relationship to the other two. For instance, at 400 DPI at a sensitivity of 1 corresponds to 1.85cm/360, while 400 DPI at 0.5 sensitivity corresponds to 7.9cm/360.
Fortunately there are calculators online that do this work for you. You can make a copy of a calculator I’ve created here that will do the math for you, or you can have a look at http://www.mouse-sensitivity.com/ where you can convert your settings to and from other games.
Note that the in-game sliders only allow you to configure sensitivities in steps of 0.004. You can set a much more precise sensitivity by opening UserOptions.ini in your Planetside 2 directory and manually inputting values.
They can be found under the [General] header and here you may enter any number between 0.000000 and 1.000000 for any sensitivity you like, as long as the number has exactly six decimal places. This is especially useful if you use a high DPI as you need a lower sensitivity to compensate.
What is a good Turn Distance to use?
Among veteran players it is generally accepted that a high Turn Distance is desirable. As such, values around 20cm/360 are common, but many players will use a setting closer to 30cm/360 (dedicated fps players may even use 50cm/360 or beyond). This allows a player to be much more precise, enabling them to score hits and headshots from much farther away than they normally would.
On the other hand, having a very large Turn Distance means the controls are more cumbersome, which is not good for your ability to respond to being attacked from behind. With Planetside’s emphasis on verticality and the fact you can be attacked from all sides, this is a bad thing – especially if you’re playing a mobile Light Assault or SMG Infiltrator.
The answer to the title of this section may disappoint, as there is no one good answer here. The perfect Distance/360 for you will depend on your playstyle, your habits, the size of your mouse mat, your mouse grip and a wealth of other factors. Trial and error is the only way to find what suits you. Still, here are a couple of pointers.
- Try to go up to at least 12cm/360, preferably 15cm/360. These are still considered to be on the high-sensitivity end, but are perfectly serviceable. Note that most games offer 5cm/360 to 8cm/360 by default so this might feel like quite a jump to you, but you’ll get used to it in no time if you stick with it. Do so, the benefits are worth it. You can consider going higher eventually, but this is not strictly necessary because of point 4 below.
- If you use a Fingertip grip to hold your mouse you may find it harder to adjust to this Turn Distance or to move beyond it. Chances are that this is because the movement of your mouse is coming from your wrist and fingertips rather than your entire arm. If you do this, learning to use your arm to aim can help you. Though Palm and Claw grip users likely already do this, it’s worth restating that the movement of the mouse should come more from your arm the higher your Turn Distance.
- For obvious reasons, it’s not a good idea to set your Turn Distance higher than the width of your mouse mat. A reasonable upper limit would be 90% of your mouse mat’s width. This ensures you can do a half-turn in either direction without having to lift your mouse. If you want to go higher, it’s advisable to get a bigger mat. Regardless of size, a good quality mouse mat is a good investment for any shooter.
- It is possible to have a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario where you retain both the mobility afforded by a low Turn Distance and the accuracy of a high Turn Distance. Planetside 2 has different sliders for different purposes: “Mouse Sensitivity” affects Hipfire only, “Aimed Mouse Sensitivity” affects ADS (Aiming Down Sights) using Ironsights, x1 and x2 Reflex sights, as well as the IRNV scope, “Scoped Mouse Sensitivity” affects ADS for x3.4 scopes and above.
Note that the Turn Distance for any ADS mode is increased by a factor of 1.6 and then further multiplied by the magnification of the sight. Ironsights and x1 sights secretly have a x1.35 magnification built-in so, for the same ADS and Hipfire sensitivities, a x1 Reflex sight will have a Turn distance that is 1.6 x 1.35 = 2.16 times larger. All other sights have the magnification they claim to have, so a x2 Reflex will have a Turn Distance that is 1.6 x 2 = 3.2 times larger and so on. The Aimed and Scope Turn Distance in this guide refer to the x1 Reflex and x6 Scope (default sniper), but the calculator provided can do the math for any weapon optic in the game.
This means that you can retain your high-sensitivity hipfire Turn Distance of 15cm/360, but set higher values for the ADS modes. I personally use 15cm/360 for Hipfire, 30cm/360 for Aimed and 100cm/360 for Scoped. This gives me a nice balance between mobility and accuracy. I wouldn’t recommend setting your Aimed and Scoped Turn Distance at much higher than x2 and x6 your Hipfire Turn Distance respectively, as that makes it difficult to compensate for recoil on automatic weapons.
- To get more mileage out of these values you can use a variable DPI option present on most modern gaming mice. I’ve a function called “DPI Shift” bound to a button that, when pressed, cuts my DPI in half so that I get 60cm/360 aiming and 200cm/360 scoped. This is really useful for counteracting scope sway on Sniper Rifles and for any kind of shooting beyond the 40 meter mark. If you plant to use this, ensure that your variable DPI does not go below 400, which will introduce inaccuracies.
The Effect of DPI
So far we’ve talked a lot about Turn Distance, but not too much about DPI. This is because, unless your mouse DPI is set exceedingly high, you will be able to find a sensitivity that gives you your desired Turn Distance. That is to say, for hipfire, 0.347074 sensitivity at 400 DPI gives you the same 15cm/360 as 0.078411 sensitivity at 2000 DPI. That said, the raw DPI of your mouse does play an important factor in the accuracy of your mouse movement. Many other, more qualified people have written at great length about this so I’ll keep this short.
Roughly speaking, a lower DPI at the same overall sensitivity will make your mouse movement less fine-grained and vice-versa. If you set your DPI too low you may experience pixel-skipping, which makes it more difficult to aim at things in the distance. Conversely, if you set your DPI too high even the slightest movements of your mouse will make the crosshair jitter across the screen, which decreases accuracy.
There will be several DPI values that avoid either extremes, depending on the specifications of your mouse. Setting your mouse to a non-native DPI will also cause inaccuracies and, if you’re not entirely sure of what your mouse is designed to handle, a DPI of 400 or 800 is a safe choice. For comparison, a Google Docs spreadsheet on GS:GO pro players’ settings reveals that DPI values between 400 and 1800 are common. If you would like to know more, there are a couple of links below. Understanding mouse settings is important, we can ill afford another Klendanthu.
- Demonstration of Pixel Skipping from this Reddit thread.
- High DPI isn’t always good linked to in the same thread.
- Comments on Native DPI and Polling Rate from the same thread.
- Check out the links in this blog’s Performance Guide for more technical guides on gaming mice.
A word on non-Infantry sensitivities
With the luxury we are afforded by having three separate sliders with distinct purposes for Infantry gameplay, it is unfortunate that the sensitivities are a bit of a mess when it comes to vehicles. I don’t have a lot of experience as either a driver or a pilot so I will refrain from giving any comments on what your settings should be, but I will remark the following.
Non-Infantry sensitivities are a lot less of a mess than they used to be. Recently Daybreak has created a new slider specifically for vehicle secondaries, which alleviates some of the issues we had before.
- Stationary turrets, such as Base turrets or Engineer MANA turrets will use your Hipfire sensitivity when firing normally, but your Aimed sensitivity when holding down the right mouse button. Base turrets have a built-in limit that restricts your turn rate, even if you set the sensitivity very high.
- When in a Lightning or Main Battle Tank, the turn rate of your main gun is determined by your Vehicle sensitivity and, like base turrets, have an upper limit to the traverse speed of the gun. Unlike base turrets, however, the turn speed of your main gun is still determined by the Vehicle sensitivity when you use your optics (zoom/thermal/nightvision). This means that you need to choose between turn rate and accuracy for your main gun’s sensitivity.*
- Secondary weapons both Ground and Air vehicles use the Vehicle Gunner sensitivity, whether using optics or not. The maximum turn rate of these mounted weapons is not restricted in any way.*
- Aircraft use Flight Vehicle Sensitivity for everything else, even the optics on the front guns. Strangely, the roll and pitch rate for aircraft is directly affected by the sensitivity setting and can be massively increased by using a higher sensitivity. Go into VR Training, equip a Galaxy with High-G or Precision Drops Airframe and set your sensitivity to maximum and watch your skywhale dance like a ballerina. Try the same thing with your Empire-Specific Fighter of choice.
Obviously, a high sensitivity makes aircraft difficult to control and makes it neigh-on impossible to hit anything with front guns (if any). However, if you’re just looking to get from A to B and evade fire, a high Flight Vehicle Sensitivity may benefit you.
*I’ve read in multiple places that dedicated tankers often use a mouse button to reduce their mouse’s DPI to improve long-range accuracy, especially with the Saron Laser Cannon on top of a Magrider or Harasser.
Thank you for reading this guide, I hope the information therein is useful to you. Feedback, or pointing out any errors or inaccuracies you spot is always appreciated and can be done in the comments below.
Happy Shooting!And remember, the only good bug is a dead bug!
Updated Oct 9, 2016 to reflect changes in vehicle settings. Also added a an extra paragraph on how FoV affects the feel of gameplay.