Originally Posted by BlueNinja0
It's called crossfeed. It's true crossfeed might muffle slightly some sound, but it definitely brings more positional information. When you're using a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system in the end you're also only getting two channels because you only have 2 ears but it definitely brings more positional information than just stereo speakers.
Isn't that nitpicking a bit? Unless I'm mistaken crossfeed and crosstalk can be used interchangeably for the purposes of this discussion and you obviously knew what I meant :P
Besides, to nitpick you a bit - virtual surround sound doesn't bring more positional information, it brings more precise positional information, it's still coming from the same basic direction and the only real difference is whether you can easily distinguish 6 o'clock from 7 or 8 o'clock. The entire point I've been trying to make is that it doesn't matter, at least not when you're specifically talking about a competitive FPS. It would be different if you were talking about a movie or song and the enjoyment factor of the added immersion, but in the context of an FPS you have to turn around to get visual information in order to aim/shoot regardless of how precise the positional audio is.
That's why I've been adamant about saying that for casual or "for fun" play it doesn't matter and you should do whatever you enjoy most, but for competitive play (ranked, team or league) you should be doing what gives you the quickest and simplest audio. Which is hands down the headphones or 2 channel setting because crossfeed DOES create additional sound in either ear in order to provide the immersion and that can mask other soft but important sounds. That kind of thing isn't very important in casual play but is tremendously important in competitive play.
See, I think the problem here is that I view this discussion from a pretty rigidly defined set of conditions and most people who don't play competitively don't understand the difference, it's a lot like people who aren't low handicap golfers watching the PGA tour and failing to understand how much harder the conditions are on those courses and layouts. To me competitive means you're playing ranked on a ladder, a third party site with ranking or on a team in a league environment. That also means you're playing on a competitive map that was designed for 5v5 play, since every competitive FPS all the way back to Quake Team Fortress (the original, not the half-life remake) has been 5v5.
Playing under those assumptions means that you MUST have a fundamental understanding of the maps, positions and crosshair placement (what we call angles). Once you have those there is literally no situation you can be in where basic directional information isn't sufficient to determine what you should be doing. Knowing an enemy is at 8 o'clock just isn't relevant under those circumstances because you know your position and based on map knowledge you can immediately and instinctively deduce their position and alter your angle/position using that information.
It's completely different when you look at a casual game or mode, like a 24 player deathmatch or something. At that point the extra information may be useful because the maps are much larger, you can't possibly cover all the entrances/exits and there may be multiple from the same direction. That doesn't happen on a 5v5 map and I can give you countless examples with CSGO if necessary. It all comes back to how YOU intend to play the game.
If you want to play for fun and enjoy the experience: by all means, try surround sound and see if you like it.
If you want to play to compete at the best of your ability and improve as a player: use headphones / stereo setting and forget surround sound.
A lot of people think that audio will improve their game sense, it won't. If you don't know what game sense is it's basically your instincts and ability to anticipate and outplay your enemies when you are in a clutch (outnumbered) situation. Audio plays a big part in that because typically everyone is moving around using stealth (no sound) and a single audio cue can make the difference, however, that's why the muffling is such a detriment. It is really easy to lose that kind of a situation (1v2 or worse) because one person shoots at you and the other gets a free crossfire shot on you from a second angle because you didn't hear the single audio cue due to the sound of the distraction fire.
What really improves your game sense is just plain experience and high level analysis of professional play. It's thousands of hours of experience in competition and building muscle memory so that you know on an instinctual level how people react in clutch situations. How their positions/angles might change when it's 2v1 vs 5v5 or 1v1 and being able to exploit that information to your advantage. People who are new to competitive play or lack experience think that players are making amazing plays because they somehow magically pre-aim using sound while spinning or flicking their crosshair and they think it's amazing reaction times.
The truth is that it's none of those things. Yes, they have an audio cue but they aren't aiming based on audio, they are aiming based on their experience and knowing exactly what the enemy HAS to be doing to make a certain sound from a certain direction on a certain map...it's the KNOWLEDGE that lets them make the play. That and having a dialed in low sensitivity so that they know exactly how far to sweep the mouse to "flick" the crosshair a precise distance on the screen. It's not great reactions, it's timing, experience and thousands of hours of muscle memory with dialed in settings.
Now I don't think I can explain it any further so unless someone has a specific question for me I'm going to bow out of the thread since I think I've already beaten this horse mostly to death.
Thanks for reading and for maintaining a civil conversation, I very much appreciate when people can act like adults and not devolve to insults and flaming.
Edited by Aithos - 2/5/16 at 2:17pm