How to Improve Your Aim in First-person Shooter Video Games

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There's nothing worse than finally lining up that perfect shot in "Battlefield 4" only to get gunned down -- except maybe fighting a "Call of Duty" enemy one-on-one and losing because most of your shots missed. In any first-person shooter, your quick-draw and aiming skills are two of the most important tools in your arsenal: Refining these skills lets you obliterate your target before he has a chance to react.

Training Peripheral Vision by Juggling

  • Don't take this one too seriously--you don't need to sit there and track three juggling items at a time. Instead, look straight ahead while you hold on to a ball or a similarly sized object. Throw it into the air just hard enough so it shoots up past your vision. Without moving your head or eyes to track the object, try to catch the ball; if you don't normally rely on peripheral vision, you'll miss the ball the first few times, but you'll eventually be able to see the motion in the corner of your eye right when it's happening.

Refining Your Aim with Graphic Design

  • Using a photo editing tool like GIMP, Photoshop or even Paint, outlining the intricate details of a complex picture greatly helps train mouse control. Depending on the program, you can use the Lasso or Free-Form Selection options as you trace over with the mouse. Don't train yourself too thoroughly; your hand will definitely not forgive you in the morning if you spend hours at a time with this method.

Modifying Game Settings to Reduce Lagging

  • At some point, there's only so much your training does to help your aim. If you're still struggling due to slowdown in the game, such as multiplayer lag, you can try changing some of the settings to improve performance. For instance, decreasing the level of the graphics decreases how much the game has to transmit in multiplayer games. Reducing the sensitivity of your mouse helps as well; this means the cursor moves more slowly as you move the mouse, helping considerably with refined aiming. It doesn't have to be the lowest setting; use whatever feels comfortable.

Putting the Pieces Together and Adapting

  • When you're in a game, pay attention to its own particular nuances. For instance, each game programs its guns to recoil in a certain way and pattern; when you learn it, you can try to steady the gun as you hold the trigger down, ensuring most of the bullets fired actually hit the enemy, instead of flying past his shoulder. While you're still starting out, it can also help to stick to cover as often as possible, monitoring player behavior to see how others tend to react to combat. Adapting towards the specifics of each game will help refine your aim on a game-by-game basis.

Employing the Buddy System

  • Before jumping into a match with strangers online, start practicing in private matches with friends. If you don't have a friend who plays the same game you do, try a game like "Counter-Strike" that allows you to create offline games using bots: computer-run teammates and enemies that replace live humans in the match. If the game supports it, you can also increase the difficulty of the bots as you improve. Fighting bots won't put you in the same danger as well-trained human combatants, but you'll certainly get a good training simulation.

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