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Enemy Territory Aiming

  • "What's your sensitivity?" you ask, after switching to spectator in an attempt to comprehend what just happened to you.


    "It's 1.0," I reply. Truly. And then I let you know where you can get my config. (2000 dpi if you're curious)


    But that won't help you.


"What's your sensitivity?" you ask, after switching to spectator in an attempt to comprehend what just happened to you.


"It's 1.0," I reply. Truly. And then I let you know where you can get my config. (2000 dpi if you're curious)


But that won't help you. You aren't asking the right question. It becomes clear when I sit down at your computer and do roughly the same thing to people. So what the hell is going on.


When I sit down I'm going to make a few tweaks:

  • I get 76 or 125 stable FPS
  • I max out maxpackets and rate (this gets technical and might be worth another post)
  • I get as much player constrast as I can (this is subjective)
  • I put on my preferred crosshair (cyan dot) (also subjective)
  • I turn off mouse acceleration (subjective -- but is there anyone who actually prefers mouse accel?)
  • I adjust the sensitivity until I can mostly track a non-sprinting target (practice on teammates running by)
    • I also like mAus's advice on being able to comfortably do a 180 degree turn

And that's it. There's no secret sensitivity, no special script. I need to be able to see my environment, my enemies, and my crosshair. Then I make it so that the crosshair overlaps the enemies. Simple, minus the 10 years of building up muscle memory to instinctively move the mouse.


If you were in awe of a friend who could play piano, you wouldn't think it's the brand of piano that gives them that sound. While that does matter, you would recognize it's mostly to do with their ability to push the keys at the right times. It's a nuanced skill they've developed, likely through years of practice. When they tune it they need feedback to know how to adjust the strings.


In order to frag I need to easily see the opponent and then put the cursor on them quickly (initial snap) and then smoothly track them until getting the kill. You're going to need "good enough" hardware to do this, which most people have by now. Get a laser mouse, a good (big) mousepad, a low-latency monitor, and that's about it. This may sound strange, but part of the hardware is making sure your body is able to interact with the game fluidly. You need to be able to see the screen, hear the sounds, move the mouse, and punch the keys both comfortably and accurately.


You do not share my hardware configuration. I have long arms and fingers. I grip the mouse like a claw and move my entire arm for coarse aiming and use a combination of wrist and fingers for fine aiming (wrist movements for snapping and fingers for finer tracking). Also, my mouse happens to be outside my peripheral vision and is at a different elevation from my keyboard. The point is not to imitate this set up but rather to recognize that you need to dial your configuration into something comfortable for you. If you don't or can't interact with your hardware like this then my sensitivity setting is of no use to you.


What you're really asking is how you can achieve the same effect. If you're serious about trying to do what I do (or anyone else) you would record and watch my games. Then record yourself playing and try to compare the two. Actually, you may not even need to see me playing: just record yourself and watch it as a critic. You'll likely be able to figure out on your own what you're doing wrong, then you can focus on correcting that.


You need to have control of your body and mind (emotions). It's unacceptable to miss non-moving targets or flanks (and they had better be head-shots!). Figure out what's going wrong, because that's the equivalent of missing a layup in the ET world. Sometimes when I spectate a player I'm reminded of the head bobs of a toddler who hasn't developed motor control. Train, record, and be honest with yourself about your ability to put the crosshair on specific targets. Focus on doing it accurately first, then try to develop speed. Over-correcting squirrel aim isn't going to beat out slow methodical tortoise aim. Load up a local server in developer mode with hit boxes rendered to make sure you understand them, since hit boxes don't necessarily match the player models.


I think you'll find that your damage numbers will go up just by practicing your stationary crouch aim, coupled with occupying strategic map locations. In a pub where there's chaos, a lot of opportunities open up to the point that it's just a question of whether you have the capability to capitalize on it. Your team fight will improve because you can casually pick off enemies from afar. You can deliver damage while not blocking your team. You can "peek" enemies around obstacles, where you line up the vision to see only 1 or 2 enemies in a pack of 3 or 4. You can gib critical players from afar. You will exhibit better control in general and have a larger impact on the game. But you can't do any of this if you can't aim. Speed matters, as you'll find opportunities leave just as fast as they arrive.


"Are you saying I don't need to strafe to dodge bullets?"
I'm saying that when you're ready, you won't need to.


Strafing is still important in aiming. It gives you a nice linear trace path with the cursor, assuming your target is traveling over level terrain. It's also effective to try to match your enemy's strafe pattern in a duel. But if your first instinct is to strafe wild to avoid shots that are not even coming at you then something is wrong. You likely learned this against lower skill enemies who can't hit the backside of a barn or have no confidence in your own aiming ability. It's a whole different game when your enemy can actually aim. You better put them in limbo first before they do it to you. You want go from flailing your arms to throwing straight punches.


Which is another great point: play against players better than you. But don't play against players that are so much better that it's overwhelming (the point here is to learn from your mistakes). You know that you don't get any better by fragging bots (well, it is useful for figuring out hit boxes and otherwise understanding how a 3-dink is supposed to go) -- so why do you think beating up on people worse than you will make you better? Especially starting out, when you get wrecked you're in a sense learning what doesn't work. Consider that everybody had to start at the bottom and there does seem to be a ceiling on skill level. That means you can catch up.


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