Having the best mouse is vitally important when you’re gaming. If your mouse settings are not set correctly, you’ll likely be held back from achieving your full potential. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you get the most from your pro gaming mouse.
Windows Mouse Settings
Before you do anything, you need to change your Windows mouse settings. You’ll find that the property settings are located in the control panel.
At the top of the page you’ll find the pointer options tab. Have a look at the ‘Motion’ category. You’ll see that the default pointer speed setting is in the middle of the sixth notch out of eleven. For 100% mouse accuracy you need to keep the pointer speed set at number six. If you want to adjust your pointer speed and retain 100% accuracy you need to change your mouse DPI instead. We’ll talk about that later on.
Enhance Pointer Precision
It’s important that the ‘Enhance Pointer Precision’ box is un-tick. This is usually enabled by default, so most people have it enabled. ‘Enhance pointer precision’ is Windows’ term for mouse acceleration. But what IS mouse acceleration?
Mouse Acceleration Is Bad!!
All the pros will tell you hat mouse acceleration is generally bad for gaming. Without mouse acceleration your mouse cursor will move an exact distance for every inch you move your mouse. For example, if you move your mouse 1 inch your cursor will move 1 inch on your screen, and if you move your mouse 5 inches your cursor will move 5 inches on your screen. This consistency and accuracy is extremely important in games. It’s the difference between victory and defeat!
If you have mouse acceleration enabled the distance your mouse cursor moves also depends on how fast you move your mouse. For example, if you move your mouse 2 inches very slowly your cursor will only move a fraction of that, and if you move your mouse 2 inches very quickly your cursor will move 10 inches or more on screen. You can see how difficult it will be to game with these inconsistencies. It means you will not be able to compete effectively.
Mouse acceleration restricts the speed you can make exact movements. With proper mouse settings and no mouse acceleration you can hit any pixel on the screen almost instantaneously. Your gaming will only be limited by your physical dexterity. Without mouse acceleration enabled, there’s no limit to your speed and accuracy, so you play with complete confidence. Even if you don’t use a gaming mouse, we recommend you un-tick enhance pointer precision.
Once you have your windows mouse settings setup correctly you can start experimenting with your mouse, adjusting the speed to something which you’re comfortable with.
Change your DPI
Changing your DPI setting is the best way to adjust your mouse speed. If you are using a non-gaming mouse which doesn’t have adjustable DPI we recommend you purchase one – or get used to the speed it is already at. Some mice have adjustable DPI settings which means you can adjust them through special software that came with your mouse or alternatively through physical buttons on your mouse.
What is DPI?
DPI stands for dots per inch. In a 2D setting such as the Windows desktop or isometric games, one dot translates to one pixel. So basically, DPI is how many pixels your cursor will move for every inch you move your mouse. A higher DPI will make your cursor move faster.
This is all down to personal taste, but we suggest you set your mouse to ‘highly preferential’. And when it comes to DPI setting, there is no ‘best’. Your ideal DPI setting will depend on several things such as your body measurements, monitor resolution, and physical dexterity. It’s trial and error to find the right mouse speed settings which work for you.
A good trial speed to begin with is approximately one inch of vertical mouse movement to move your cursor from the top to the bottom of the screen. To get this speed you would set your mouse DPI to the vertical resolution of your monitor. For example, if you use a 1080p monitor then 1200 DPI is a good setting to start at. If you ever switch to a higher resolution monitor, you’ll need to increase your sensitivity to achieve the same speed.
Which is best: Fast or Slow?
As we’ve already mentioned, the lower the DPI you set your mouse to, then the further you have to move your mouse – which makes it easier to make small precise movements. This can be good for sniping stationary targets but it also makes it so you have to move your mouse further which could make it take longer. The best thing to do is experiment and find what feels most comfortable to you. If you feel like you don’t have enough precision, then just lower your DPI and if you don’t feel like you have enough speed, then increase it. It will take a little time to find out the best settings for you, but it will definitely be worth it.
What exactly is a polling rate?
The polling rate of your mouse is how often your mouse reports back your movements to your computer. If you use a higher polling rate you will have less mouse lag and your movements will be more accurate. Polling rate settings are usually built into the software or there’s a physical switch somewhere on the mouse which you can adjust as required. If your mouse doesn’t have built-in polling options, you can find online guides to overclock your USB polling rate. The default polling rate for non-gaming mice is 125hz. Most gaming mice have polling rates up to 1000hz which is much better.
Which polling rate is best?
Always use the highest polling rate you can. Most new gaming mice have polling rates of 1000hz which we recommend you use.
Watch Your Wires
This may sound like an obvious point to make, but the impact which wires can have on your gaming experience, and ultimately your success cannot be understated. Wires cause inconsistent resistance which in turn leads to inconsistent mouse movements and lower accuracy. You need to ensure that your mice cord has enough slack, thus causing as little resistance as possible.
The only way to completely get rid of messy cord resistance is to use a wireless mouse. However, wireless mice aren’t perfect either – they tend to have inconsistent signals and can be subject to interference. Which is why most gamers will use a wired mouse. There are only a few wireless mice which are good enough for gaming and they’re much more expensive than wired mice. They are also generally, heavier because of the extra battery weight.
Negative Acceleration – what is it?
Negative acceleration is when you turn farther when you slowly move your mouse rather than if you moved it quickly! For example, if you move your mouse 6 inches at a medium speed and do a 360 degree turn in the game, then you move your mouse very quickly 6 inches and only turn 180 degrees. The game image should move faster, in line with your mouse, but it doesn’t. This isn’t easy to put in words, but the easiest way is to watch an online video explaining negative acceleration. There are lots on youtube.com.
Why does it happen?
There is a sensor underneath each mouse which measures the distance you move it in ‘snapshot’ time intervals based on the polling rate. When you move the mouse too far within one of those intervals it can exceed the ability of your mouse to accurately measure the distance it moved. The mouse will send a lower value to the computer than the actual distance it was moved. This is less likely to happen on mice with superior sensors. You are also more likely to experience negative acceleration when using your mouse on a poor tracking surface.
Negative acceleration can sometimes be caused by the games themselves. Some limit the maximum distance you can turn in one frame. The only way to get rid of the negative acceleration in games such as these is to get a higher frame rate. This can sometimes be achieved by lowering your graphics settings or uncapping your frame rate by turning off v-sync.
Angle snapping turns slightly curved mouse movements into perfectly straight lines, which can be very annoying when you’re gaming. Not all mice have angle snapping, but if yours does, then you can usually turn it off in the software which came with it. Turn angle snapping off if possible as it’s a big negative when you’re gaming.
Things which help you game like a pro!
The surface you use your mouse on can make a dramatic difference in tracking accuracy and your ability to aim – and ultimately can affect your chances of winning! Even if your mouse seems to be working on a particular surface, it may not be tracking as perfectly as it should.
Reflections will hinder you
If possible, avoid reflective or glossy surfaces. Most optical mice often struggle on reflective surfaces. Laser mice are usually better at handling them, but they don’t track as well as on a matte surface. So give yourself the best chance of success by avoiding reflective surfaces.
Go for finer detail
Finer detailed surfaces allow your mouse to take more accurate readings. This means that you can play with more precision and accuracy, making your gaming experience more positive. If there is less detail in the surface it is harder for your mouse to read distances.
Consistence means accuracy
It is better to have a surface which is the same all over. If you have an inconsistent surface – and by that we mean a surface which is rough in one part, and smooth in another – then your mouse will glide inconsistently. If this happens, it means your mouse will struggle to make accurate movements.
Surface gives speed
Personal preference plays a large part when it comes to the smoothness and speed of the surface you want to use for gaming. Pros will tell you that their mouse movement needs to be smooth, with little or no resistance from the surface it’s on. And they also want to be able to stop on a sixpence. Generally, if you use a heavier mouse, you’ll probably want a faster surface.
The right surface
It’s important to have a big surface area to use your mouse on. If you’re restricted, then it will likely harm your gaming. A small mouse pad may be OK for casual use, but a surface for gaming needs to be at least 10×10 inches. If your mouse moves off the edge, then you’ll lose valuable time in the game and some opponents only need a split second to finish you off! If you only have a small desk to play, then it might be worth considering using a smaller keyboard to give you extra space for your mouse.
If you only have a small space in which to use your mouse, it means you’ll be restricting your wrist movement. His put extra strain on your wrist as it makes you use much smaller movements than normal. It’s very common for professional gamers who use wrist movements to get RSI. Ideally you need enough space that you can use your wrist AND arm to make more natural movements.