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PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

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Blackhawk
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PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:57 am

...or how I am attempting to up my game. I figure this would be a good place for others to share their tips for all sorts of games, too (just as likely it'll fall off the front page with 43 views and two replies, never to be seen again...)

The folks in the Apex Legends were discussing FPS games, skill, the effects of age, reflexes, and so forth. I've been playing shooters (both first and third person) since a few months after I got my first computer, and they've probably comprised the largest slice of my gaming pie in the decades since. Lately I've noticed that I'm not as quick as I used to be, no doubt a function of age and eyesight. I set out a couple of months ago to rectify that. I offered, in the Apex Legends thread, to share some of what I've learned. Now, I'm not a pro. I'm not an expert. I can't compete in high level play. I don't want to be in esports. I'm just a guy who spent some time researching the skills behind shooters and how to improve that skill.

tl;dr: If this all seems like to much hassle, the bare minimum to improve is: Turn off any mouse smoothing/acceleration in Windows and in games, lower your sensitivity, and make sure your sensitivity is identical between different games. There are a lot more tricks in the long version, though, and they add up.

There are several factors that go into shooter skill:
  • Hardware. This might seem obvious, but it's not just about having the right hardware, it's about configuring it correctly.
  • Precision. This means that everything moves the way it should.
  • Technique. How you do things. How you hold the mouse. How you move the mouse.
  • Muscle memory. This is what you practice to build. Muscle memory is how, when you repeat an activity often enough, you take the thought out of the action. When you drive a car, you don't think about where the brakes are or how much to turn the wheel. You think 'stop', and your foot moves to the right spot with the right amount of pressure. You look at the turn and your hands turn the wheel the right amount. That's what you need in shooters; you see the target, and you don't think about how to move the mouse; the crosshair just moves there.
  • Consistency. Lack of this is the bane of building muscle memory.
Hardware
  • System. Obviously you need a system that can run the game you're playing. If the game is jumping all over the place trying to render the frames at 17 FPS, you aren't going to hit anything.
  • Keyboard. There are some speed benefits to a good mechanical keyboard, but it isn't a huge factor as long as there isn't a delay between you pushing the button and your character moving.
  • Mouse pad. There isn't a lot to this. You just don't want to have to drag your mouse over the pad - you want it to glide. Hard or soft, fancy or cheap, whatever's fine as long as it is big enough that you're not running the mouse off the edge and isn't interfering with moving the mouse. You also don't want a thin, soft mousepad over an uneven surface. Put down a thin piece of wood, metal, plastic, or even a super-cheap rigid mousepad under the soft one. A good mouse pad isn't expensive. The most common pro mousepads are the Logitech G640, Razer Gigantus, SteelSeries QcK, BenQ Zowie G-SR, and Artisan brand pads. If you're getting one, don't get a Windows sized mousepad. Get a large one. You want room to move.
  • Accessories. The only one I really feel is necessary is a decent mouse bungee if you use a corded mouse. You don't want to be tugging the cord or have the cord tugging the mouse.
  • Mouse. This is the big one. If you want good results, you need a decent mouse, and that $20 Wal-Mart mouse isn't it. You need something precise, fast, and configurable. You want a decent DPI (how sensitive the mouse is at the hardware level) and a good polling rate (how often the mouse reports its position to the computer - for a modern monitor you want 1,000Hz - 1,000 reports per second, or 1ms per report.) A low DPI mouse will be inaccurate, and you'll have to compensate with less precise software. A low polling rate will create input lag. Input lag is a delay between the time you move the mouse and the time it registers the movement and shows it onscreen. It's best to have a configurable lift-off distance, too (how far you have to lift the mouse off of the pad before it stops tracking.) You also need to have a mouse that fits your hand and fits your grip, and is weighted appropriately (fingertip and claw grips generally need a lighter mouse.) Personally, I use a Corsair M65 Pro. It's the best mouse I've ever owned. I also do my best to avoid Razer due to their poor quality control and worse customer service.

    You also need to configure it properly. You want the polling rate high, at least 500Hz, 1000Hz if you have a 144Hz monitor. You don't want the DPI set too high. This is a mistake many people make - more isn't better. My own mouse is set at 800 DPI, which is actually a bit on the high side. With the proper sensitivity for accuracy, you are going to need to periodically lift the mouse, so you want a low lift-off distance so your mouse isn't moving without you.
  • Monitor. This one surprised me. Those of you who followed my thread in General Computing know that my son's computer died recently - motherboard, video card, and monitor all died. His grandmother kindly bought me a new video card and monitor so that I could pass mine down to him. I ended up with a 144Hz G-Sync monitor and a video card that supports the technology. Believe it or not, the change from a standard 60Hz monitor to the 144Hz made an distinct difference. It isn't just nicer, it is smoother. When you turn, the images stays fully in focus for the whole turn, and the turn is smoother. It may not sound like much, but it is like night and day when you're trying to focus on a target and move to it.

    One factor to be aware of on a monitor is response time. That's how fast the pixels change from one color to another, and it is one factor that contributes to input lag. A slow response time is why it took so long before LCD monitors replaced CRTs for gaming. Years ago, a 5ms response time was adequate for gaming. For accuracy, you want no more than 2ms, preferably 1ms. The monitor response time combines with the response time from the input hardware and any processing delay to give you your input lag. Again, that's how long it takes from the time you move the mouse to the time the movement registers on-screen. It can add up quick.

    It's also important to calibrate your monitor correctly, but that's beyond the scope of this page. Make sure you check into things like overdrive, ghosting, and input lag features on your monitor.
Precision

Precision means that when you move the mouse, it moves predictably. That means eliminating input lag (discussed above) and it means getting the system to respond to the same mouse movements you're trying to make. Turn off angle snapping in Windows. Turn off mouse acceleration (sometimes listed as 'Enhance Pointer Precision' in Windows) and in games. Disable mouse smoothing. When you're configuring your graphics, look into Vsync (tends to cause input lag), triple buffering (reduces input lag when used with Vsync) and numbers of pre-rendered frames, depending on the game (again, beyond the scope of this. Google is your friend.) And even after you disable the Windows acceleration settings, there is hidden acceleration that may affect games depending on how they capture the input. The fix is here.

If you have a G-Sync monitor, make sure you give this a read. Of particular interest are the sections on G-Sync ceiling vs VSync and the stuff on FPS limiters (short version - if you run at 144FPS on a G-Sync 144Hz, you'll occasionally jump a little above 144Hz, creating input lag. It works best if you globally limit FPS to three frames below the max - so 141FPS.)

Technique

The other part of precision is a hard pill to swallow for many people. It was for me. The way you use your mouse when browsing the web probably isn't the best way to use it in games. Most people have their sensitivity set way, way too high in games. Here's the difference: At a very high sensitivity, the spot on the mousepad you have to move the crosshair to may only be a millimeter wide. Move your hand to target, move it a millimeter too far, and it's a miss. At a lower sensitivity it will be several times that, effectively doubling or tripling the target size for your hand. You can be three times as accurate without becoming any more precise! I'll go into this more lately, but when talking about sensitivity across multiple games, the usual terminology is cm/rev (sometimes cm/360.) That is how many centimeters you have to move the mouse on your mousepad for your viewpoint in-game to move 360 degrees (printable rulers are your friend.) Most pros for non-flick games (CS-Go) have a cm/rev range of 30 or more. That's pretty extreme, but even what I currently use (about 22cm/rev) is far slower than what I used to use before I started this project. It also forces you to aim with your arm, not your wrist. It's not the way most people mouse in Windows, and there's an adjustment period, but the movement is much more stable, and therefore much more accurate.

But there's the rub. If you drop your sensitivity that much, a few things will happen right away. First, it will feel wrong. You will absolutely hate it. Second, you will suck. You'll die repeatedly while shooting a rock halfway to the guy who's killing you. It sucks. You'll want to go back. You'll beg yourself to go back. After a week or two, though, you'll be over the learning curve and you'll start to pull off shots you never could before. It'll be a month more before it's comfortable, but after that if you try your old sensitivity again (briefly), you'll wonder how you ever hit anything.

And remember, your mouse sensitivity is a function of both the mouse's DPI and the in-game sensitivity. Change either and you change your sensitivity.

Muscle memory

Ok, now to muscle memory. Muscle memory is when you perform an activity repetitively enough times that it can occur without conscious thought. When you're playing a game and someone turns the corner in front of you, there isn't time for conscious thought. We're literally in a race with the other person (or the AI) to react. Whoever can lift their weapon, get the sights on target, and fire first is the winner. If you stop to think and consider how to move the mouse, you've lost. That's why you need muscle memory. You see the target and your crosshair is already on it. Your mind moved your hand moved the mouse moved the crosshair the same way that your mind would have moved your hand alone to catch something. Instinctively. What's better is that when you achieve this, it frees up your mind from bothering with the mouse entirely, allowing to to think, consider the target, consider priority if there are multiple targets and so on while your hand is moving. Your hand doesn't need to dominate your thoughts anymore.

Gaining muscle memory is fairly straightforward. The only way to gain it is through repetition. Do what you need to do over and over. In other words, practice. It's vital that you practice in your game of choice, but not all games are good for practicing. Targets are few and far between, especially in a multiplayer elimination game (like a battle royale or most modes in R6:Siege) where you may only get a few shots per match. Games are great for applying skills, but there are alternatives for practicing for reaction speed, accuracy, anticipating and tracking movement, judging lead, aiming while moving, aiming while avoiding projectiles, and so forth. I offer up Kovaak's FPS Aim Trainer. An example of it in use. If you don't want to watch it all, skip around and see some of the practice options it includes.

Now here is a warning: Don't build the wrong muscle memory. You'll end up with a slew of bad habits that will just make things harder for you. Make sure your hardware is set up right first. Make sure you have considered the settings discussed in Precision. Look at what I said in the section on technique and get your sensitivity right first. Only after you have things set up optimally do you want to start building muscle memory. If not, it's like learning to play guitar while fingering the notes wrong, then practicing the wrong thing for months.

Kovaak's is also a great way to warm up for a few minutes before you play.


Consitency

Last bit. Thank goodness. My brain is getting tired.

Now here's the thing about muscle memory: If you practice one thing and build muscle memory, then do something similar but subtly different, and then something else that's subtly different in another way, you'll end up not building any muscle memory at all. You'll confuse your mind and it won't know what to do. In this case, that means that every game you play needs to have a near-identical sensitivity. You should be able to close your eyes and turn 90 degrees, or 180 degrees without looking. Otherwise your hard-earned muscle memory isn't going to help you, and you'll undo your practice by practicing differently each time.

This is easier than it sounds.

Kovaak's Sensitivity Matcher. Yeah, the same guy that wrote the FPS trainer. This one's free, though.

There's several ways to set it up. If you play Quake, Source Engine games, or Rainbow Six: Siege, you're in luck. Just pick your game in the drop down, tell it what your in-game sensitivity is (once you have it set where you want it), and click 'Physical Stats.' Input your mouse's DPI (under Physical Factor.) Down at the bottom it will tell you your cm/rev is. Tick the checkbox marked 'Lock Physical Sensitivity', close that physical stats, and click 'save to default.'

The second way is to ignore the first page. Open the physical stats box. Input your DPI. Now input your desired cm/rev (again, I use 22cm/rev right now, pros are generally 30 or higher, although super twitchy 'flick' games tend to be lower.)

The last way is more complicated. It involves going into a game with the app running, spinning around, adjusting the setting incrementally, spinning around again, adjusting again, and so on until it spins a perfect 360 degrees. You can then exit the game and the sensitivity matcher will have the precise settings you have that game at listed for you to save. Do this only if you absolutely must match everything else exactly to a specific game. Kovaak himself details the process here.

If you're learning a new sensitivity, try #2, test it in a game, adjust it, and try until your happy, then match everything else to that.

Whichever method you use to get the numbers for your desired sensitivity, just make sure that those numbers are entered (say, as cm/rev in physical stats, then locked), leave the app running in the background, and launch a game. Go somewhere and put your crosshair on a small, distant object. Be precise. Push a key combination (configurable in the .ini, viewable under the 'Info' button - by default it is ALT-[ ) and the app will send a signal that will tell your PC that the mouse moved precisely that far. If your sensitivity is right in-game, you'll spin a perfect 360 and your crosshair will be right where it started. If it didn't go far enough, adjust the in-game sensitivity up and try again. If it went too far, adjust the in-game sensitivity down. It only takes a couple of minutes and your sensitivity will be set to your standard.

Tip: I found it much easier to drop the sensitivity in-game super low to start with and slowly move it up than the other way around. With it too high, it's hard to tell whether you turned too far or not far enough when you end up pointed directly behind you. Was that 180 or 540 degrees?

There have been a few games that capture the keystrokes and wouldn't let the app spin me. Since I know my cm/rev, I just lay down a printed ruler, line up, move my mouse 22cm, and adjust the in-game sensitivity the same way. It's also worth noting that not every game has the kind of fine adjustment needed to get a perfect 360. For those, just get as close as you can. Once you've done a few games, it'll only take maybe two or three minutes when you set up a new game. Just remember: it is vital to set this sensitivity in any game where you use the mouse to turn the way you would in a 1st/3rd person shooter, otherwise you'll be practicing muscle memory for contradictory movements.

A couple of other tricks that aren't directly skill related, but which pros use constantly:
  • Gamma. Gamma clears out shadows. A lot of modern gaming monitors have a hardware version under various names (mine is 'shadow control'.) If not, there is either an in-game setting, and there is always your video card's configuration software's version. It makes shadows brighter, which makes it easier to see enemies hiding in those shadows. Be aware that this causes other colors to look washed out, and makes lighting less dramatic.
  • Graphics settings. Many pro gamers crank the eye candy way, way down. Reflections, bloom, blur, grass in the field, clutter on the ground, smoke effects, particles, that sort of thing. It all looks great, but it also makes it harder to see your targets. Plus, if your system isn't up to snuff, it prevents low frame rate from screwing with your aim. Of course it makes your game uglier, too.
    *Note: I personally don't use either of these options for exactly that reason, but if your performance is more important than the look of the game to you, this is a place to start. Even if you don't, though, it's worth being aware of. After all, that bush in the shadows you're hiding behind? Your opponent may have both the bush and the shadows turned off.
  • Wires. The most skilled gamers won't touch a wireless mouse or keyboard. They say that the input delay is enough to be noticeable. The jury is out on whether that's true for normal folks, but the pros are fast enough to notice. Besides, a mouse wire isn't in the way if you have a mouse bungee, and I can't think of the last time I used my gaming computer's mouse or keyboard further from the desk than their cords reach, so why bother?
Last thing, and it's something that most of us, by this point, have either embraced or roll our eyes at. Ergonomics. Tensed muscles throw off your aim. Poor breathing throws off your aim. Fatigue throws off everything. Pain moreso. It really helps. At the very least get up and walk around the room during loading screens or between matches. And the one I've found most important is the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Your eyes are designed to look at distant objects. Keeping them focused on something close requires tensing a muscle. Looking at something distant relaxes that muscle for a few seconds and prevents it from getting achy. If there isn't anything to look at, at least close your eyes for a slow 20-count every now and then.


Ok, that's all I've got right now. Just remember my disclaimer: I'm not a pro, I'm not an expert, I'm not even all that great at shooters. I'm still going through this process myself. I just thought I'd share what I've learned over the last couple of months. I hope it helps.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by coopasonic » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:59 am

Awesome. Thanks for putting that together Blackhawk.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:16 am

coopasonic wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:59 am
Awesome. Thanks for putting that together Blackhawk.
+1. Not sure when I'll comment or even finish reading it, but I very much appreciate it and definitely plan on putting some time into reading it fully.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by coopasonic » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:18 am

All I need is a new monitor, mouse, mousepad, PC and, possibly, brain.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:26 am

coopasonic wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:18 am
All I need is a new monitor, mouse, mousepad, PC and, possibly, brain.
Add in at least one new wrist on top of that and I'm good to go.

Actually I picked up a new monitor, mouse and mousepad during my PUBG heyday, so I think I have those covered. PC is starting to look a little long in the tooth however.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:55 am

It's worth mentioning that I listed all the options - not all the requirements. Even with whatever you have lying around, getting it configured right, matching sensitivity, and practicing correctly should improve anyone's game without spending a penny.

And it's easy on the wrist, because you'll be aiming with your arm.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:09 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:55 am
And it's easy on the wrist, because you'll be aiming with your arm.
I'm listening...

My wrist has been damaged for so long that co-workers wonder why I always use shortcuts if possible rather than clicking on the "thing" that is right there. I have an aversion to clicking. Remember those "click the moving monkey" clickbait ads? Those actually caused me to recoil in horror at the very idea of chasing the little dude around. So...yeah, accurate clicking is not my forte. Watching my PUBG videos in slow motion, it looks like I make a macro movement to get the cursor close, then a micro movement to put the reticle actually on the target. That's a slow process and results in me being beaten to the punch about 80% of the time.

Keyboarding doesn't seem to cause the damage or pain that mousing does, although when my wrist is acting up (it is right now) I can feel it as I type.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:21 pm

CTS? I messed up my wrist (and elbow) years ago when I was writing reviews, manuals, and strategy guides on a daily basis, sometimes putting in 14+ hour days. I learned a couple of things that helped me: first, wear a brace to bed if it's acting up. It lets it heal overnight. The other thing is to keep it warm. In the winter I have a small desk heater that I lay down and keep pointed not at my hand, but at my wrist. It prevents the tendons from stiffening when it's cold.

At the time it was bad enough that I had to stop using a mouse and switch to a trackball, and had to trade my keyboard in for an ergonomic model. I had to stick with that setup for several years, but it helped a lot. Especially the trackball.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm

Get you a wrist brace from the pharmacy or the bowling alley pro shop.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:34 pm

I've never had it diagnosed.
Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm
Get you a wrist brace from the pharmacy or the bowling alley pro shop.
I use a little foam wrist band pad (was super cheap at the pharmacy) that supports the wrist and worked great for years. I bought a number of them but I haven't been able to find the same make/model in years and the last time I searched Amazon I didn't find anything I thought would work for me. The one I have left is basically worn out and is more placebo than anything at this point.

I'm open to suggestions. Like I said, I looked through Amazon pretty thoroughly but I'd be willing to take another look if you have something specific in mind.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:48 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:34 pm
I've never had it diagnosed.
Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm
Get you a wrist brace from the pharmacy or the bowling alley pro shop.
I use a little foam wrist band pad (was super cheap at the pharmacy) that supports the wrist and worked great for years. I bought a number of them but I haven't been able to find the same make/model in years and the last time I searched Amazon I didn't find anything I thought would work for me. The one I have left is basically worn out and is more placebo than anything at this point.

I'm open to suggestions. Like I said, I looked through Amazon pretty thoroughly but I'd be willing to take another look if you have something specific in mind.
Something like this or this is what I used. Its for sleeping, not for working. The whole point is that it forces your wrist into the correct position so that there is zero pressure on the tendons while you sleep. That gives your wrist 8ish hours of healing time every night. And I don't know how much computer work you do that isn't gaming, but if it is a lot, I'd strongly suggest looking at trackballs. There is a learning curve, but your wrist stays put while your fingers do the work. You could still use your mouse for gaming.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:13 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:34 pm
I've never had it diagnosed.
Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm
Get you a wrist brace from the pharmacy or the bowling alley pro shop.
I use a little foam wrist band pad (was super cheap at the pharmacy) that supports the wrist and worked great for years. I bought a number of them but I haven't been able to find the same make/model in years and the last time I searched Amazon I didn't find anything I thought would work for me. The one I have left is basically worn out and is more placebo than anything at this point.

I'm open to suggestions. Like I said, I looked through Amazon pretty thoroughly but I'd be willing to take another look if you have something specific in mind.
Treat yourself to a Kensington Expert Trackball:

Image

If you have wrist damage, it's easily one of the most comfortable pointing devices available.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by rittchard » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:40 pm

Many years ago I had horrible carpal tunnel and switched to a vertical mouse. While it didn't completely solve my problems, it was a huge help, and nowadays using a regular mouse for any significant period of time aggravates it. Some people just hate the feel, but the people who get used to it pretty much swear by it so YMMV. Conceptually it makes a lot of sense to me as your hand engages it in a much more natural position rather than twisting your wrist 90 degrees.

Back in the day there was only one company that did a good job, Evoluent. Now there are a number of cheaper options from other companies (just check on Amazon), and Logitech has an offering that I use now for my main gaming machine:


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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Pyperkub » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:07 pm

If you are a touch typist, use ESDF instead of WASD (pertains to muscle memory).
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:40 pm

Pyperkub wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:07 pm
If you are a touch typist, use ESDF instead of WASD (pertains to muscle memory).
As it turns out, I just switched from ESDF to WASD because there are too many games that make it hard to rebind to anything else and I got sick of fighting it after 20 years.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by stimpy » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:58 pm

Anonymous Bosch wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:13 pm
GreenGoo wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:34 pm
I've never had it diagnosed.
Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:24 pm
Get you a wrist brace from the pharmacy or the bowling alley pro shop.
I use a little foam wrist band pad (was super cheap at the pharmacy) that supports the wrist and worked great for years. I bought a number of them but I haven't been able to find the same make/model in years and the last time I searched Amazon I didn't find anything I thought would work for me. The one I have left is basically worn out and is more placebo than anything at this point.

I'm open to suggestions. Like I said, I looked through Amazon pretty thoroughly but I'd be willing to take another look if you have something specific in mind.
Treat yourself to a Kensington Expert Trackball:

Image

If you have wrist damage, it's easily one of the most comfortable pointing devices available.
We use these at work. Toook some getting used to, but after a bit it's so much better than a mouse.
It makes my dookie twinkle.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:27 am

I just noticed that they make a wireless version now. That's what kept me from buying them before (I still use a trackball for my laptop.)
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:38 am

Blackhawk wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:27 am
I just noticed that they make a wireless version now. That's what kept me from buying them before (I still use a trackball for my laptop.)
Looks like the Wireless Kensington Expert Trackball is currently a wee bit cheaper than the wired version on Amazon, too.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Kasey Chang » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:46 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:34 pm

I use a little foam wrist band pad (was super cheap at the pharmacy) that supports the wrist and worked great for years. I bought a number of them but I haven't been able to find the same make/model in years and the last time I searched Amazon I didn't find anything I thought would work for me. The one I have left is basically worn out and is more placebo than anything at this point.

I'm open to suggestions. Like I said, I looked through Amazon pretty thoroughly but I'd be willing to take another look if you have something specific in mind.
FWIW, I bought this from Amazon. it has hard plastic top and bottom "ribs" so it really holds your wrist in place and not letting it bend.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Kasey Chang » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:34 pm

One area I felt that hadn't been addressed... A proper CHAIR and a proper computer desk, and accessories. Most desks have the keyboard shelf at the wrong level and you need to compensate with the proper chair. I am overweight and I had to order a chair rated for 300 (most chairs are rated only for 250)

I've also added "elbow rest" to the edge of the desk so I can rest my arm on it which improves mousing comfort by quite a bit.

A proper monitor shelf to raise the monitor to the right eye level is also important.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by coopasonic » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:20 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:34 pm
I've also added "elbow rest" to the edge of the desk so I can rest my arm on it which improves mousing comfort by quite a bit.
I think an elbow rest would go counter to Blackhawk's guidance of mousing with your arm rather than your wrist.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:16 pm

coopasonic wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:20 pm
Kasey Chang wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:34 pm
I've also added "elbow rest" to the edge of the desk so I can rest my arm on it which improves mousing comfort by quite a bit.
I think an elbow rest would go counter to Blackhawk's guidance of mousing with your arm rather than your wrist.
Not necessarily. A lot of arm aimers move their arm from the elbow rather than the shoulder. Most do this with the arm lightly resting on the desk, but many push their mousepad way, way back in order to rest their elbow on the desk. In fact, a few actually sit at a 45-degree angle to their desk, with the monitor, mousepad, and keyboard similarly angled to let their elbow rest on the desk while keeping their keyboard close. I myself added a pad to my desk chair to achieve a similar result, but the arm rest Kasey linked to is something I'm going to look into.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:21 pm

Here's an example of someone with their mousepad pushed way back to keep their elbow on the table (I have also seen that weird keyboard angle a bunch of times, but haven't quite figured out the appeal yet.)



And here's an example of someone doing the more typical style of laying the forearm on the table.



Note that those are both examples using Counterstrike, which has unique aiming requirements that are different from most shooters from what I've read (I don't play it myself.)
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:54 pm

I did just find this guide, which does an excellent job of illustrating and clarifying some of what I wrote about. It's designed for Overwatch (which I do play), but much of it is the same for other games.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Redfive » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:43 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:21 pm
Here's an example of someone with their mousepad pushed way back to keep their elbow on the table (I have also seen that weird keyboard angle a bunch of times, but haven't quite figured out the appeal yet.)


My keyboard is usually canted at about half that angle when I play FPS games. Much easier on my wrist. That pic looks a little extreme.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by morlac » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:47 am

Great topic.

My quick observations...


I just recently overhauled my "gear".

1. Hyper X Elite mechanical keyboard. Cherry Red.
2. Corsair M65 pro
3. Pulse labz gaming chair

Combined those have made a huge difference. I would guess I have seen a 15% - 20% increase in my "gaming" efficiency. Id say the keyboard was the biggest difference maker as I didn't realize how old/unresponsive my old one was. This is my first mechanical keyboard in about 15 years. Great investment!

Based on BH's write up I am going to investigate a new monitor today. In particular a 144 hz one. I have a solid 1080P Asus 1ms one but the allure of 144hz is strong. Of course, I'm not sure investing in a 1080p makes sense now. I have a 1060 gt 6 mb card but 1080p is kinda it's max so new monitor would mean new video card. And If I'm doing that I might as well get a 2000 series. Of course I'll need a new power supply and then if I'm doing that...

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:01 am

Maybe that new NVIDIA 1660 series?
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:51 am

Kasey Chang wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:01 am
Maybe that new NVIDIA 1660 series?
From what I've read, that would be a good immediate upgrade for anyone below the 10-series, and will probably be pretty cheap (under $300.) The next price/performance point seems to be the recently released 2060.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by morlac » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:16 pm

I am seeing 2060's around $350 if you shop around. That's fairly tempting as it would not need a new power supply but after looking around yesterday I decided to wait until this summer to upgrade. I have a little more budget this go around and really want to go current gen on this next rig but need the CPu and GPU prices to come down a little. I've seen crappy prebuilts rocking 2080's at $1500 so another 5 months should be a good buy time to get a more quality build at that price.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:11 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:46 pm
FWIW, I bought this from Amazon. it has hard plastic top and bottom "ribs" so it really holds your wrist in place and not letting it bend.
I impulse purchased this on Friday and it arrived today. As a Canadian, Sunday delivery has been science fiction my entire life so I'm weirdly in awe of Amazon because of it.

I bought the large/x-large version (has adjustable straps) but it's a bit tight even still. My hands are not particularly large, but I'm no drumpf either. I did read in the comments before I bought it that several people had to loosen it up a little and I'll probably need to do that as well. But that's around the hand/thumb hole. The wrist wrap barely fits. I'm right at the max length of the velcro straps, but luckily it just fits. My wrists are not particularly large either so this was a surprise given I bought the biggest one they offered.

Gotta say I'm pretty excited about having a new support for my wrist. As I mentioned, my current support was more placebo than anything at this point.

Not sure how keyboarding is going to go with the new support, but we'll see.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Jaymann » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:30 pm

I remember playing Quake 3 on dial up, with a joystick! I wanted to pull that trigger. I only had two tactics:

Fire the rocket launcher at hallway intersections at random intervals.
Camp the BFG ammo with a BFG.

Needless to say I got pwned mercilessly.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:11 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:11 pm
I impulse purchased this on Friday and it arrived today.
edit: It's a left handed brace, for reference.

Initial impressions: Bulky. Bit of a challenge to type, but not severe. Not sure how an 8hr day will go. It doesn't seem to fit quite right. It's tight (too tight really) on my thumb and completely loose on the side that touches my hand (the cloth part between thumb and hand) (edit: tightening the top strap significantly reduced this loose fit. Feels almost too tight now though). It looks like it should be rotated from right to left which would loosen the thumb and tighten the hand part, except that brings the bottom brace from under my wrist to the side of my wrist. I'm 99% sure that's not the correct location for the curved brace piece. So I'm stuck with the brace in the right place and my thumb being pinched. I think eventually the thumb hole will loosen up and that'll help, but to me the brace is too small. More cloth on the right side between the top and bottom braces would allow it to sit properly. The top brace starts almost on the side of my wrist, which I'm 50% sure is not correct.

Basically I love the brace, but think it's too small. :( Tightening/loosening the straps is not relevant for what I'm talking about, as there is literally not enough material between the top brace and the bottom brace on the right side to allow both braces to sit properly. I seem to have a choice between the top brace sitting properly and the bottom brace rotated to the side of my wrist, or vice versa.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:26 pm

The one I have at the moment is a reversible Mueller wrist brace.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by dbt1949 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:57 pm

The way I play games is sitting in an olde broken down Lazy Boy recliner with a hospital table scooted over me.
I use a thumb trackball. I don't play first person shooters and it works well enough when I play Fallout or Skyrim.
It does have one drawback tho, I sometimes have a little Yorkie laying on me while I play.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Kasey Chang » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:56 am

GreenGoo wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:11 pm

Basically I love the brace, but think it's too small. :( Tightening/loosening the straps is not relevant for what I'm talking about, as there is literally not enough material between the top brace and the bottom brace on the right side to allow both braces to sit properly. I seem to have a choice between the top brace sitting properly and the bottom brace rotated to the side of my wrist, or vice versa.
Darn, you have one THICK wrist... Want to get a tape measure and measure it?

I found one that supposedly fits a 10-inch wrist XL size, but it's also twice the price.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Redfive » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:04 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:56 am
GreenGoo wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:11 pm

Basically I love the brace, but think it's too small. :( Tightening/loosening the straps is not relevant for what I'm talking about, as there is literally not enough material between the top brace and the bottom brace on the right side to allow both braces to sit properly. I seem to have a choice between the top brace sitting properly and the bottom brace rotated to the side of my wrist, or vice versa.
Darn, you have one THICK wrist... Want to get a tape measure and measure it?

I found one that supposedly fits a 10-inch wrist XL size, but it's also twice the price.
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:16 pm

I don't really get it, as my hands have always been reasonable for a north american male with european genes. I'm only a couple of inches taller than average in NA, and my hands have always been similarly scaled. I've always thought my wrists were on the skinny side of things. Sure, I'm put on a zillion pounds but wrists are kind of bare boned. Not a lot of room for growth, even with weight gain. Barring monstrously morbidly obesity, but I'm not there (yet).

My father in law's hands by comparison, are basically Andre the giant's but to a lesser degree. I always feel like I have baby hands when I shake his hand.

I was thinking if I lost some weight the brace might fit better, but looking at it, I'm not so sure. The wrist part is mostly fine, although a bit tight, it's the part that covers the top/bottom and the connecting material in between that seems a little on the small side. Not sure weight loss is going to shrink my hand down enough, although there is *some* room for weight loss there. I can't imagine it's enough though. My hands are not meaty/fleshy to begin with.

The brace is the largest they sell, and I assume they believed that adjustable straps would take care of any variation. For a "sports" brace, it's unreasonably small, as many athletes are large by their nature. I can't help but notice after the fact that the promo pictures all show the brace being worn by a woman. :?

Still, I'm wearing it. There is some discomfort that I think is mostly from being forced to change my mousing habits to a more arm based rather than wrist based movement, but I'm not sure. The brace is bulky enough that it will push my mousepad around if I am mousing at the bottom of it with my wrist off of it. Essentially I need to make sure I mouse in the middle of the pad, which is fine.

My precision has gone from poor to non-existent, but I believe that will change back to poor with some acclimatization.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:31 pm

Brace is causing some additional stress and pain by restricting my usual movements. Whether this is good thing (forcing me to not move in a bad way but also meaning I have to relearn mousing) or a bad thing (new, different, possibly worse damage/pain) I have no idea. Change is not easy, and this is particularly not easy. I'm getting some pain right at the end of the brace where the bottom plate makes contact with my forearm muscle. Not sure why. I don't think it's the contact that is the problem, I think it's that the brace ends there so it's a place where my forearm goes from rigid to flexible. That means bending (even if just a little) in a place not usually restrained/bendy.

After decades of pain and instinctual movement to reduce that pain, this pain feels instinctively bad. Like, I'm just doing different damage to my wrist. I might have to give up on the brace if things don't improve within a few days. I'm already in enough strain that I feel the urge to get away from my computer, particularly typing. Not good.

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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:19 pm

I mentioned it earlier, but do you wear a brace when sleeping?
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Re: PC Gaming Tips & Tricks

Post by GreenGoo » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:59 pm

No, I don't wear anything while I sleep. I only recently just bought the brace being discussed.

Continuing that discussion, my wrist is feeling pretty rough right now, after wearing the brace for a couple of days.

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