People keep asking me for advice on how to get good, and while there is a lot to getting good (and most of it involves practice) I always first ask about gear. Just like you wouldn’t try to paint a portrait with a paint roller, you need a bare minimum of decent gear to get good at an arena FPS. Somehow, no one ever wants to spend any money, because its a ‘hobby,’ and yet everyone wants ‘serious’ advice to get good... But I’ve been there, and I have the answer! With a very small investment you can put together a setup that won’t hold you back.
Sauerbraten will run on a toaster. Anything that gets you consistent fps equal to your monitor’s refresh rate (so between 60 and 144) is good enough, as long as you use community edition client (in vanilla, input is FPS dependent). Sync it with /maxfps (not vsync) and you’re all set. – $0
It doesn’t matter. People might tell you it matters, but it doesn’t. – $0
Monitors are complicated, but for gaming, the two important specs are input delay and refresh rate. Most cheap/old LCD monitors are 60hz, which is noticably blurry, and probably have significant input delay. Unfortunately, a good 120hz/1ms monitor is not cheap, period – but you can get a CRT! That’s right, the clunky old shitbox in your basement is actually your ticket to budget gaming perfection. It has no input delay, and because CRTs scan and then drop a new frame every refresh cycle (rather than a cheap LCD which leaves artifacts as the crystals transition) even a 60hz CRT will give you less blurry picture than you were getting with the 60hz LCD (instead, it will flicker, but this is preferable – you are not being given false and confusing information). Don’t ask me to explain it better than that – but the difference is something you can see instantly. I played with a CRT and a laptop for years before I had the money to buy nice stuff, and my performance skyrocketed. You will have to get used to 4:3 resolution though.
STILL – If you don’t have/want a CRT or the money for a 120hz (120hz is plenty, don’t let anyone tell you you need 144), don’t despair. Acuerta played on 60hz for years and kicked plenty of ass. And Achille just used his laptop monitor…
– $0, but you have to raid someone’s basement.
On this, there is no compromising. You need to get a competent mouse. Don’t have the money? Yes you do. Save ten dollars a week for a month, and you will be able to afford something that is more than up to the task.
First, a word about choosing mice. If possible, find the right mouse for your hand size and grip. For an arena FPS, you probably also want it to be light, and it needs to have a high performance sensor. The link below (no affiliation) is a great resource, and he has excellent comprehensive reviews of tons of mice suited to the job of pwning at Sauerbraten.
But screw all that. You’ve got 40 bucks, and you just need something that doesn’t suck. Here are a few ideas:
Nixeus Revel: Okay, its $45. But it has the top optical sensor (Pixart 3360) and has been quite well reviewed. I almost bought one when it was $35 on Massdrop and it would be my top choice to get something brand new for cheap.
Microsoft Wheel Mouse optical: Like the CRT, this is the garbage you have lying around that is actually a godsend. You can’t buy one of these new, and they will eventually break. You also need to overclock the polling rate (very easy). But they are top performers that you can literally find lying around (or buy used for 15 bucks at your own risk). Quake pros win 10k tournaments with these, seriously. Anyone remember Saiga/Fluttershy of Sauerbraten? This is the mouse he used to be an insta champion (he also used a CRT).
Steel Series Rival 100: Simple good mouse, $30 bucks on Amazon right now from Steel Series.
Logitech G303: $40 bucks on Amazon right now from Logitech. Solid ambidextrous mouse.
Logitech g100s: I’ve heard the buttons can break on these. But I’ve also heard they’re amazing for the price. $30 on Amazon from Logitech.
These are just a few options to prove that you can get a top performing mouse for the price of a cheap pair of shoes. So no complaining! YRMV, so always do your own research.
This depends a bit on the mouse you get. Maybe you can get away with a cardboard box or a dull hardcover book (I did) or just the desk. I would recommend just getting a nice mousepad though – the small size of the Steel Series qck is $10, with comparable prices from other manufacturers.
So there you have it – total price: ~ $50. Really, if you’re spending 5+ hours a week playing Sauerbraten, isn’t that worth it?
~ Good luck!