ShackTac’s usage of crosshairs


Update, Nov 2015:

My decisions about crosshairs in Arma were formed in Arma 2 and prior games, and after quite a bit of Arma 3 time and developmental efforts, I wanted to take another look at the viability of no-crosshair for our sessions. After weighing the pros & cons of Arma 3’s rather significant changes in this area, I’ve switched crosshairs off on our server. The basic technical reasons are as follows:

  • Arma 3’s weapons handling and general mechanics are much better than A2’s ever were. Better mouse control, smoother sights, faster zooming, better mechanics such as sway, sight misalignment, recoil, proper collimated optics, resting/deployment, etc. Having swappable sights also makes it less likely to end up with a ‘broken’ optic as could happen in A2’s mod set.
  • The scripting requests that were made in the past about things that could be used to make a less-precise/gamey crosshair were not implemented, taking that away as an option for toning down their usefulness or introducing more interesting mechanics.

While this isn’t a perfect situation, the only significant feature we’re currently lacking is that of both-eyes-open translucent weapon visualization. I made a mock-up of this here – I hope that some day we see this appear in Arma as an option, as it’s about as close as you can get to representing real-world capabilities without needing to use something like a VR setup.

So, TLDR: A3 weapon handling and mechanics are good enough that we can disable the crosshair and live with opaque weapons for now.

The prior post about my A2-era crosshair stance from Aug 6th of 2012 can be found below.



Hey Dslyecxi. I noticed that you guys play with cross-hairs. Why?

I prefer crosshairs for a few reasons.

The first is simply that it helps to abstractly represent the kind of physical intuition you’d have from holding the weapon. When I have any of my rifles shouldered “for real”, I have a very good sense of where I’m pointing – same with pistols, for that matter. This is what allows snap-shooting and such to happen with a bit of practice.

Next is TrackIR. Having a crosshair allows me to easily know where I’m aiming vs where I’m looking, and keep track of them.

Third is that the crosshair actually better models how a red-dot optic works than the in-game non-functional red-dot optics (update: Arma 3 fixes this with their collimated sights, which is great).

Fourth, in reality a trained shooter will fire and fight with both eyes open, meaning that the weapon will not obstruct his view. This is not represented in Arma, though VBS has an option that allows this – an option that I should add was requested by USSOCOM on the grounds of realism. Since Arma lacks this feature, I prefer to use crosshairs in some situations where in VBS I might stick with irons.

Fifth, our crosshairs do not have the ‘magic pipper’ that is in the default crosshair system. You’ll note that it’s just the two vertical bars, and not the ‘muzzle indicator’. This makes it useful for close-range shooting, but not longer-range accuracy.

All in all, I find the notion that crosshairs are “unrealistic” to be pedantic and misinformed. Until ArmA or other games can accurately represent what is involved with using firearms in reality, abstractions will be needed to get the end result to be correct. This is just one of many such abstractions that exist currently.


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    • Mango on October 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm
    • Reply

    A bit late to reading your post, but is the option to remove the muzzle indicator part of the serverside options? or part of the mod? Since I do like the idea of having the cross hair, but still not allowing use for longer ranges.

    1. It’s a minor mod we did to the crosshairs.

    • Mango on October 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm
    • Reply

    Would you happen to think about releasing the minor mods? I tend to enjoy your useful minor mods. 😀

    • Schmuddel on February 23, 2013 at 9:20 am
    • Reply

    I always thought the trend of FPS’s using iron sights was a little unrealistic, the worst part being that they’re designed in such a way that bullets will always travel EXACTLY where the iron sights are pointing, and the recoil is supposed to make up for any natural inaccuracy. If a gun won’t fire exactly where you want it when using a traditional crosshair, what makes anyone think it will suddenly have laser-precision when looking down the sights?

      • joe on July 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm
      • Reply

      In ArmA and other sim games, bullet drop and sway and wind and other things are accurately represented,

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