Aiming Concepts and Glossary
For anyone who enjoys nothing more than pumping lead into the enemy on any First-Person Shooter (FPS) game, the ability to aim quickly and accurately is an absolutely vital skill. And with more people having access to the internet and online computer gaming than ever before, the competition out there has never been greater.
Added to this is the fact that the games of the moment, like Overwatch, Fortnite, and the continuing classic, Counter Strike, have ramped up the speed of play and placed greater demands on a player’s ability to aim. Aim practice is required!
So, to help you earn some extra skills, start popping off headshots, and generally become an all-round gaming god, we’ve put together a few aiming techniques that will boost your aim and improve your gaming.
This article will expand over time as new concepts are added.
Wrist Aiming vs Arm Aiming
The wrist and arm are, along with your hand, the parts of the body that have a major say in the motor movement of your mouse. For gaming purposes, your mouse controls your crosshairs, and your crosshairs often control your gaming destiny.
We’ve already written in-depth about the wrist aiming vs arm aiming question so we won’t comment much here. Suffice to say that both must move in tandem, working together for improved results. Repetitive aim training and aim practice can really help to refine your muscle memory when you’re patrolling the playing field.
Human beings’ peripheral vision is a wonderful tool that constantly helps us to maintain a clear field of vision in our daily lives – even though you might not be conscious of it.
In games, peripheral vision can play a role similar to real life; it allows us to notice objects, potential dangers, or enemies when they’re not directly in our line of sight. Peripheral vision can be a real aim booster, offering a few milliseconds advantage in an online duel to the death.
To improve your peripheral vision as an aim training technique, try practicing soft focus. This is the ability to notice activities around you, not solely in the middle of your crosshairs, and will improve your skills at quick aiming. In fact, soft focus is popularly taught forsports players and can help a gamer improve their kill count dramatically.
Flick aiming is not one for newbies. In fact, it will take a lot of aim practice and training in any game to get to the point where your flick aiming becomes deadly. But hitting that sweet spot and being able to flick aim reliably will ensure you’re on your way to becoming an elite gamer.
So what is flick aiming? Well, as the name implies, flick aiming is the art of “flicking” your wrist – itself controlling your crosshairs – quickly and accurately to hit a moving target before they can react. This is the central use for flick aiming: to hit targets moving quickly or erratically. Good peripheral vision is also necessary.
Flick aiming is different to tracking aim (see below), and requires a different skill set.
Flick aiming, also known as “twitch-aiming” and “flick-shotting” requires a great amount of unconscious muscle memory, which can only be built through purposeful aim practice. Because of flick aiming’s speed, the player should not need to consciously think about the shot.
In Overwatch, aim practice can be easily had by setting up a game against AI bots who can’t attack you. Their hitbox is also small in comparison to other characters online, so your aim should be sharp.
Take an aim test every now and again to see how you’re advancing. Heightening your in-game mouse sensitivity will help with flick shots too.
Tracking aim is closely connected to flick aiming yet serves a separate purpose.
While flicking is for targets moving erratically or quickly, tracking aim is better served when “tracking” opponents. That is, when an opponent is moving smoothly and predictably through a map.
Track aiming is ideal when you need to put a full clip into an enemy. For example, when you’re using the AK47 in Counter Strike. Tracking aim helps keep crosshairs focused on the opponent so that you can apply maximum damage on a concentrated area. The head is always a good place to go for!
When track aiming, keep the crosshairs on the target at all times. Lower mouse sensitivity is helpful for this, though that can negatively affect your ability to flick aim.
Again, track aiming can be trained for using AI bots.
Hit Scan vs Projectile
The Overwatch community is full of questions surrounding hit scan and projectile aiming.
These two terms aren’t difficult to understand if explained properly. Simply put, the hit scan is the game’s technique to “scan” an area that a player has fired at. Hitscan weapons, such as those used by McCree and Widowmaker, are “instant” in effect, so as soon as you pull the trigger – no matter the distance – the game will “scan” the area to see if a shot registered.
Projectile weapons are, on the other hand, those that shoot ammo that takes a certain time to hit the target. An example of this is Parah’s rocket launcher, which has a projectile speed of 35 meters per second. Though it travels more slowly than McCree’s Peacekeeper bullets, it has a damage radius of 2.5 meters.
So what’s the difference? Well, with the hit scan weapon a gamer requires accuracy whereas projectile weapons are more forgiving on accuracy but emphasizes the ability to predict an opposing player’s movements.
The hit scan weapon is ideal for those who are adept with flick aiming, which tracking aim is preferred for projectiles.
For either aiming technique, aim practice and training are required. The added aim booster of AI bot training in Overwatch is a fantastic resource for gamers to improve their overall aiming abilities.