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Short Aiming Tutorial

At first

Meaning of this short tutorial is to tell you basics to get good aim. Basically this is applied to all fps -games(notice, for example speed/tempo of the game still affect), but now I use Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory as an example game. Notice, maybe I don’t explain all things throughout, you can watch from google or find information somewhere else and via that way you can make sure that things are like I will tell.
Also notice that not every player will see difference on some points and for basic public gaming it is not necessary to tune up every single details. But of course it is nice to own also on basic public gaming :p
Some changes would make your gameplay better instantly, others make them even worse at first, but on longer timeline all the nexts changes will make your gaming better.

At first some -good to know- terms:

Negative acceleration:
I think this will be easiest to understand with example. So let’s suppose that you move your mouse slowly 10cm and your character will turn 180 degree in-game. Now you move your mouse again exactly the same distance but much faster. Your character will now turn less, for example only 90 degree.

There is two different skipping. First, your mouse’s sensor can’t read information as fast as you move your mouse so your mouse will skip aka throw cursor to random way/position. Second, cursor may skip pixels, aka jump over some pixels for example when you are using too low DPI compared to resolution which you are using.

Target is to get the game as steady, smooth and clear as possible so aiming will be easiest.

Now I will go shortly through the most vital sectors:

1.0 Central Processing Unit

Basically the faster computer you have, the better. So you can get high fps so you game will be very smooth. 125fps is really enought and about 70fps is already smooth(I have read somewhere that human eye can see 74fps in games(well, in reality human eye doesn’t get information by frames but by light :p )). You can also get higher fps by reducing graphical details.

2.0 Monitor

Undying CRT vs TFT/LCD. Truth is that for fps gaming CRT is better. Reasons:

-You can set higher refresh rate(Control panel–>Monitor–>Settings–>Preferences–>Display–>Refresh rate). The game is much smoother with higher refresh rates (>100hz). On TFT/LCD panels maxium value is 75hz(60hz).

-TFT/LCD panels have response time and input lag. New panels can reach even 2ms response time but them still have input lag which is higher.

3.0 Mouse

I could write any amount about this but I try to get to with so little writing as possible.
First of all just think what type of player you are: highsens-, midsens- or lowsens player. Rought values in 360 degree turning could be:

Highsens: under 10cm (~4″)
Midsens: over 10cm (~4″) but under 40cm (~16″)
Lowsens: over 40cm (~16″)

(1″ = 2,54cm)

So it is sensible to tell sensitivity in the form of cm/360. You can find out what type of player you are when you measure how much you move your mouse that in-game characher turns 360 degree. Make sure you measure it right. Do that measure also several times.

That was made that you have some direction what mouse will be best for you. I mean optical mouse or laser mouse. Basically if you are lowsens gamer then optical mouse is your choise(because laser technology can’t handle yet fast movements making skipping and negative acceleration). But if you are highsens gamer then laser is maybe better for you nowdays. Though for example Deathadder and MX518 are still very good also for highsens gamer.
So choosing the mouse:

-Cord mouse (never wireless/cordless for gaming!)
-Technical information about mouse (especially important for lowsens gamers!)
-Ergonomic and design of mouse (how it fit to your hand)
-Lowsens/highsens gamer (optical or laser)

When mouse has chosen you can start optimize it. I go shortly through the most vital things:

3.1 Disabling mouse acceleration. First disable all acceleration from mouse drivers(if you have so called gaming mouse). Windows(at least XP) still have a little acceleration and disabling it needs a little operation. You can either download mouse accel fix.reg and use it or disable acceleration manually:

1. Press Start
2. Select Run
3. Type regedit and hit enter
4. Open the tree HKEY_CURRENT_USER–>select control panel–>mouse
5. Right clicking, modify the SmoothMouseXCurve and SmoothMouseYCurve hexidecimal values to the following:

(Remember to take backup copies from original values if you want later restore them)



6. Press OK after setting both(X and Y) values and you are done.

3.2 Speed of pointer. In control panel–>mouse–>settings of pointer set speed to half way aka 6/11. Do NOT cross Enhance Pointer Precision -box but leave it empty.

3.3 Overclocking the usb port. Windows has default 125hz(8ms) usb port but with overclocking it even up to 1000hz(1ms) you can get faster mouse reaction time and smoother mouse movement. At same time you reduce negative acceleration. Some mouses have ability to change this straight from drivers. If not, same thing is possible to do with some tool. One tool to that is hidusbf which you can get here: You can see the polling rate of usb port for example with mouserate checker -program. Target is to get as stable rate as possible(aka as high average rate as possible).
NOTICE! This operation could make problems for example with printer but I didn’t had any problems.
NOTICE! It’s useless to try to get high polling rate with basic mouses.

3.4 DPI(Dotch per inch, more closely Counts per inch). How much is enought? Is more always better?

(NOTICE! If you have basic mouse, probably you are not allowed to change your mouse’s DPI. Surely you can still check more closely from internet how it is at your mouse. Maybe with some drivers DPI changing would be possible.)

You can figure out necessary amount of DPI as follows:

Figure out what resolution you are playing with. Pick up the horizontal amount of pixels aka first value, for example I’m playing with 1280×1024 so my value is 1280. Multiply that value by four(4). By four, because screen shows 90 degree at time.

1280 x 4 = 5120

After that divide the total number of pixels by the total distance (in inches,) which is needed to turn your characher in-game 360 degree(remember, you have figured it out already). I need 50cm = ~19,685″. That’s how you get a rough idea of how much DPI is useful.

5120 / 19,685 = 260,0965… So about 260 DPI is useful for me.

Using more DPI than you just calculated for yourself doesn’t offer any benefit but mouse movement could feel smoother. Though on older mouses which uses 8-bit dimension, increasing DPI value increase crucially possibility to get negative acceleration. In turn using less DPI than you just calculated for yourself hinders your aiming because mouse will skip pixels.

4.0 Mousepad

This is mostly up to you what kind of mousepad you prefer to use (if you even use one). Some prefer the fabric surface when others prefer plastic for its “slippery” surface. It’s still preferred to use any mousepad so the mouse would have a smooth surface to move on. On a good surface the mouse will have also a better reading accurancy.
Especially on laser mouses, make sure the surface is compatible with the mouse. Some pad’s doesn’t fit for a certain mouse, but this doesn’t mean that the mouse won’t work on it.
You have to keep the pad clean, same goes for the mouse, i.e the cencor in laser mice might get dirty, making the mouse more inaccurate.

5.0 Increasing the Performance (Higher FPS)

In the beginning every player has a default cfg. Making the rigth setting changes/additions or making totally new cfg will give you higher fps and a clearer visibility. Next I’ll put some the most important settings which will help you to get higher fps, clearer visibility and some cmds help with aiming:

com_maxfps x (set x as the highest value which your computer can run stable. For better physics use the figure 43, 76, 125 or 333)

r_mode x (0-11. This’ll set the resolution. Lower resolution=higher fps. On the other hand if you use a too low resolution, it’ll be hard for you to spot enemies from a distance. Here’s some examples: 3=640×480, 4=800×600, 5=960×720, 6=1024×768, 7=1152×864, 8=1280×1024, 9=1600×1200, 10=2048×1538, 11=856×480 (wide). Using the value -1 you can set your own resolution by using commands r_customwidth “x” and r_customheight “x”)

r_picmip 3

r_ignorehwgamma 1


r_detailtextures 0

r_drawSun 0

r_fastsky 1

r_flares 0

r_dynamiclight 0

r_lodbias 2

r_lodCurveError 125

r_overBrightBits 1

r_mapOverBrightBits 3

r_gamma 3

cg_coronas 0

cg_showblood 0

cg_bloodFlash 0

cg_bloodDamageBlend 0

cg_atmosphericEffects 0

cg_wolfparticles 0

cg_bobyaw 0.000

cg_bobroll 0.000

cg_bobpitch 0.000

cg_bobup 0.000

cg_runroll 0.000

cg_runpitch 0.000

cl_mouseAccel 0

m_pitch 0.015001 (defines the vertical mouse movement, default value is 0.022. So it makes it easier to keep the crosshair at head height)

m_filter 0

There are also more of useful commands that help you but those will give you a nice start.

Also it would be good to change crosshair to a dot(preferably as small as possible), it will make aiming more easier. Choose bright color that you can see it clearly in every situations.
(Notice that this maybe a bit personal question what is good crosshair for you)

6.0 Internet Settings

Very short list of preferred setting to put in your cfg:

rate 25000 (lower for slow modem connections, i.e 15000 or even 5000)

snaps 20

cl_maxpackets 100 (lower for slower connections, i.e 60 or even 30)

cl_timenudge 0

Also older Operating Systems have problems with using the full speed of the faster connections. For this reason its profitable to change the TCP settings on older OS optimally for faster connection. A program called TCPOptimizer does the trick. All info what you need you can find here:

7.0 Finding the perfect sensitivity

Goal: Crosshair follows enemy all the time, preferably at enemy’s head.

Half-goal: Crosshair will stay all the time on the one little solid point.

Well, now when everything else has put in order, still you must find the right sensitivity what to use when you are playing. You can affect mouse’s cursor/crosshair speed of movement by windows settings, changing DPI and in-game sensitivity. Only in-game sensitivity is sensible to change when finding right sensitivity for you.


7.1 Go to empty server and choose some map. At first set some value to sensitivity, for example game’s basic 5(command: /seta sensitivity 5). Choose one little solid point from map(about size of your crosshair supposing that you have a dot as crosshair), which is rather at height of head. Start moving left and right(strafing), forward and back, going circle etc. and at same time trying to keep crosshair on that little point. Write down that value(5). Now double value(–>10), write it down and try to keep crosshair on that little point. After that half the original value(–>2,5) write it down and againg try to keep crosshair on that little point.
Notice, if your crosshair is bouncing around and jitters, your sensitivity is probably too high. In turn, if you notice that crosshair is falling behind target when you change direction when strafing or you must picking mouse much, your sensitivity is probably too slow.
Now when you have tried three different values, cross out EITHER highest OR lowest sensitivity, depending on which one felt worse. In this way you eliminate the worst sensitivity, leaving you with the best two sensitivities.

If you kept the higher sens, double it again, but if you kept the lower sens, divide it by two. REPEAT THIS UNTIL YOU GET A WORSE FOR THE NEW SENS. Now you take sens which you chosen and average sens of that moment and then you calculate average sens of those two sens. Then again test those two farthest sens and cross out worse sens, take average sens from two left sens and then again test two farthest sens etc.

Finally when you can’t for the life of you tell which of the two sensitivities are worse, you can watch average sens of that moment and see that it’s your new sensitivity. Write this value down and play some days with it.

Do this ‘finding the sens’ -thing a couple of times in different days and use enought time to it. Results should be very close that sensitivity which you get in first time.

7.2 After some days you can start fine tuning of your sensitivity. Set to average sens that sens which you got before. Now instead multiply or divide by two, multiply and divide by 1,25 because you have already found pretty good sensitivity for you, so there is barely big changes. Otherwise operate exactly as in chapter 7.1.

7.3 Now when you have found good sensitivity for yourself, it’s time to start practise with it in real situations. There is two way to do it. Both are recommended to use:

1. You play on public servers.
2. You train with friend on empty server (or alone like in ‘finding sensitivity’ -chapter)

On point 1 is barely any unclear situations. On point 2 train like this: first both don’t shoot, just move and try to keep crosshair on each other. When you will get bored, you can start also shooting, getting/simulating different situations like showing up behind corner etc. whatever you can imagine.

Also notice that when time pass, mouse’s paws wear out causing more friction. Therefore it could be good to change paws every now and then(for example every 6 moths or every 12 months) or use specific tape.

In the end

Hopefully you got even something helpfull from this short tutorial. I apologize that some things are explained a bit superciliously or didn’t explained at all. Maybe I will make a larger and better tutorial in future, or then not. I don’t know.

Patience, hard training and humbleness are for good in everything.

(c) BossHK 1/2009

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