What’s the best hardware setup for FPS games?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at several physical factors that will impact your aiming performance in FPS games. We won’t be discussing which gaming mouse is best or reviewing specific pieces of kit; we’ll be saving that for another day.
Instead, this article will discuss the physical positioning of your equipment and your body with the intention of improving your aim speed and accuracy and reducing the fatigue on your body while doing so. Let’s get cracking!
The humble mouse pad is an often overlooked but vitally important piece of equipment.
People will ask: “Do I need to use a mousepad for gaming?” The answer, my friends, is a definite yes. And here’s why:
1. Improved sensor feedback – crucial for accurate aim.
2. Reduced friction/smoother motion – having perfectly consistent mouse movement will improve your aim and speed.
3. Mouse life – Using a mouse on a desk can wear out the feet (the little pads in the corners) over time. If you’ve shelled out for a top quality gaming mouse you’ll want it to last as long as possible.
Here’s the thing some people aren’t aware of – you need a really large mouse mat for FPS gaming.
Typically gaming mouse pads are at least 320mm wide. Consider our recommendations on mouse sensitivity settings 28-43cm of horizontal movement should be required to perform a 360-degree turn. In a gaming situation, you would begin your movement from the middle of the mat so you need to be able to comfortably perform, at the minimum, a 180-degree turn without going off the edge of your mat.
An additional bonus of a large mat is that it’ll have greater surface area contact with your desk, increasing friction and reducing the likelihood of a slip at a crucial moment. A slipping mouse mat is an absolute disaster for aiming performance.
Desk & Chair
The setups of computer chairs and desks have been studied extensively by ergonomics experts far more qualified than us, so we’d suggest that for your long-term computing health, you should follow some guidelines.
But we’re not here to talk about ergonomics; we’re here to help you improve your aim.
Considering that, here are our top tips for gaming performance:
1. You need a big desk on which to fit your extra-large mouse mat.
2. You need desk space so that the forearm controlling the mouse has ample space and is comfortable (more on arm position in a moment).
3. Your chair must allow you to be close to the desk so that you can rest your arm on it.
4. Your chair height should allow your elbows to be level with the desk surface. If your elbow is hanging below the desk it will hinder your vertical movement as your arm will have to arc over the desk.
Arm position for FPS gaming is a much-discussed topic – there are three main contenders:
Wrist on the edge of desk:
Pros: It supports the wrist and allows for decent movement of the wrist joints.
Cons: No support is offered when you need to perform large horizontal movements because your wrists need to leave the desk. It can also be very difficult to perform vertical movements and uncomfortable, painful indentations can be left on your wrists.
Elbow on armrest:
Pros: Allows for greater horizontal movement. If your armrest is long enough, this position can also support vertical movement.
Cons: Pivoting the elbow on horizontal movements makes an arcing motion, meaning you’ll likely have to correct for vertical movement.
Forearm on desk:
Pros: Full arm support when moving in all directions.
Cons: Needs a really big desk
Forearm on desk is the preferred approach of the aiming.pro team! We believe it offers the greatest benefits for aiming performance. With so many professional eSports players using this method, it seems to work!
There are three main ways in which you can hold your mouse while gaming. Unlike arm positioning, we’re not convinced there is a huge amount of aiming performance difference between the grips types. Here is a brief description of each so that you can consider what’s right for you.
Palm Grip – Resting your palm on the mouse with your fingers flat over the buttons.
Claw Grip – Arching your hand so your fingertips are on the buttons and sides and part of the palm is resting on the back of the mouse.
Fingertip Grip – Using only your fingertips to hold and control the mouse.
Typically these are said to go from worst to best performance - fingertip is best, but also least to most fatiguing - fingertip is most tiring.
Personally, I can’t even do the palm grips because my fingers run off the front of the mouse and my and palm slips off the back. The fingertip grip raises my forearm off the desk which I find a bit awkward. For me, the claw grip feels the most natural positioning.
Getting yourself set up with a large mouse pad is probably the easiest thing you can do to help improve your aiming ability.
Getting your entire forearm over your desk is next up. This position can be temporarily detrimental to your aiming skills as you are learning a new technique. However, once you’ve forced yourself out of your old habits and got accustomed to this new position then you should expect to see great gains.
Finally, hardcore gamers like you will likely be at their computer for hours each day so it is really important you have an appropriate setup for your ergonomic needs. Please do some research and get yourself a chair which encourages good posture and offers support for your back, arms and shoulders.
So what are you waiting for? Try out some new aiming positions at aiming.pro!