The Science behind Aiming How to Achieve Consistent Aim via Motor Learning, 3D AIm Trainer

The Science behind Aiming How to Achieve Consistent Aim via Motor Learning

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Consistent aim between 3D Aim Trainer and it’s 10 supported FPS Games

Consistent aim between game and 3D Aim Trainer. This video clip demonstrates true consistent aim between a supported game and our 3D Aim Trainer platform. This is accomplished by synchronizing both in game mouse-sensitivity and (FOV) field of view between game and 3D Aim Trainer. If you want to learn more about the science behind all this and the positive effects on your performance as a gamer, we invite you to continue reading and take a look at the following video clips.

CLIP 11 | Consistent aim for superior muscle memory

The video clip demonstrates the result of dedicated aim practice by using the same consistent aim to build great muscle memory and hand-eye coordination.

When we talk about aim we talk about motor learning or muscle memory and more specifically about hand-eye coordination, which is the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement and the processing of visual input to guide the hand, that in our case guides the mouse to our target in video games. It goes without saying that for training your muscle memory and hand-eye coordination, consistency is key. Think of it like shooting a basketball, when you shoot consistently from the same distance, you get the feel of shooting the ball from that distance so your average aim accuracy will go up. Needless to say, after a while your accuracy will raise when shooting from that distance since your motoric skills have increased through consistent aim practice, and this is no different for aiming in video games.

When you play with the same consistent aim over and over again you will get a feel for it too. As a result of this, your average accuracy will skyrocket and the time it takes to get your crosshair on a target will drastically go down, since you won’t need to compensate that much for over or under aiming.

Over time your muscle memory will be so developed that it will become more a controlled reflex then an active thinking process leaving you sometimes amazed at how fast and accurate you have become.

CLIP 1 | Synchronizing mouse movement between game and 3D Aim Trainer

Based on your input (in game sensitivity and CPI) our trainer calculates how much distance your mouse needs to move to perform a 360 spin in the selected game. Then our trainer will match the same distance by adapting its own in game sensitivity (called lookspeed) so that both mouse sensitivities are perfectly synchronized. Meaning you have the exact same mouse movement as in your selected game.

Before continuing, let’s address the commonly misused term DPI (Dots Per Inch) for expressing mouse-sensitivity. While this is a commonly used term by people and gaming manufactures, It should be CPI or Counts Per Inch. Or in other words, the number of counts a mouse registers when moving one inch. We use “Counts” instead of “Dots” Just know they refer to the same. So when moving your mouse in a desktop environment 1 mouse count represents 1 pixel of your display.

So if your display has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels your mouse will register 1920 counts if you move your mouse pointer in a straight line across the display. However, in video games, it all depends on your in game sensitivity, the higher the sensitivity is, the faster you turn when performing the same mouse movement. So by combining mouse CPI and in game sensitivity you get a certain mouse-sensitivity that can be expressed in a 360° spin or turn.

In other words, the distance your mouse needs to travel for your character to turn 360 degrees to see the whole environment, this is usually measured by inches or centimeters. The amount of counts the mouse will move is the same 27457 for both 3D Aim Trainer as game meaning that the distance the mouse travels is equal in both clips.

Our 3D Aim Trainer has adjusted its in game sensitivity to match the sensitivity of the game so when the mouse travels 27457 counts our 3D Aim Trainer turns exactly 360 degrees just like the game, meaning that both mouse sensitivities are perfectly aligned. Still, synchronizing this distance alone won’t necessarily give you a consistent aim between game and 3D Aim Trainer.

Reason is, while your 360 spin might be the same, that doesn’t mean your visual information is. If you look closely at the clip above, you will notice that the displayed image of the 3D Aim Trainer moves faster than the one in the game. So while your mouse and hand are moving the same, your eye isn’t getting the same information. This will be further explained below.

CLIP 12 | Synchronizing Field Of View (FOV) between game and 3D Aim Trainer for a Consistent Aim

When we talk about Field Of View, it’s about what you can see as a player on your display.

Field of view is the extent of the observable 3D environment that you see on your display at any given moment and is measured as an angle in degrees. This video clip demonstrates that our aim trainer will adapt to your preferred field of view, giving you the exact same viewing angle you experience in your game.

We will dig deeper into this topic, going from the visual projection, to the effects on your hand-eye coordination and consistent aim. In many video games you can change your field of view in the options or console menu. Changing your field of view has a major impact on your viewing experience.

CLIP 2 | Difference in viewing experience between a 90° FOV and a 120° FOV

Both 360 spins are matched but the field of view is different. In the top clip the FOV is 90 degrees and in the bottom clip it’s 120 degrees. In the top clip the targets are larger but you see less of the gaming world (1/4th) meaning the image moves faster when both sensitivities are the same. In the bottom clip you see more of the gaming world (1/3rd) and the image moves slower but this comes at the cost of significantly smaller targets than in the top part of the clip, and are therefore harder to hit. Needless to say this also has an impact on your hand-eye coordination, since in most games field of view and mouse-sensitivity are independent from each other. Meaning that changing your field of view is potentially changing your hand-eye coordination.

CLIP 3 | The effect on your hand-eye coordination when using a different field of view

The mouse moves the same distance regardless of the field of view. So while your hand and mouse are moving the same, the visual input you are getting from your sight is quite different. In this particular example the distance the mouse needs to move is 2188 counts to hit the center of the barrel regardless of the FOV, which is 90° degrees for the top clip and 120° for the bottom one. However, the position on the screen of where the barrel is displayed isn’t the same at all.

In the top clip the barrel is positioned at 4.43 inch from the display center while In the bottom clip the barrel is positioned at only 2.56 inch from the display center!

As a result of this your hand-eye coordination is disturbed when changing the field of view.

In case of changing your FOV from 90° to 120° your muscle memory will still have the habit to move your hand and mouse 2188 counts when seeing a target at 4.43 inch from the display center, like it should when the FOV is 90, but because it’s changed to 120 this would result in an under-aim. Increasing your FOV causes under-aim and decreasing your FOV causes over-aim which is the opposite effect.

CLIP 4 | The relation between field of view and under / over aiming

In the top clip the FOV is 90° but I move my mouse to match the distance of where the barrel in the bottom clip is displayed which has a FOV of 120°. And vice versa for the bottom clip.

This shows the difference in mouse and hand movement when changing your field of view.

The mouse in the top clip needs to move 1450 counts to match the distance of the barrel in the bottom clip while the mouse in the bottom clip needs to move 3850 counts to match the distance of the barrel in the top clip. This is a significant difference in mouse movement, and is a direct result of the 30 degree difference in field of view between both clips. This causes severe under or over-aim, depending if you increased or decreased your field of view. To get a better understanding of how this is possible, you first need to know that FPS games are using a rectilinear projection method (image bending) in combination with a wide field of view to create peripheral vision and perspective for a sense of depth. This makes our mind believe we are looking at a 3D environment while it’s just the 2D flat surface of our screen.

The following video clip illustrates several examples of a rectilinear projection with different fields of view from a front and top perspective.

CLIP 5 | The rectilinear projection method used in FPS games to create peripheral vision

From the top perspective you can clearly see that the rectilinear projection of the gaming world looks like an arc circle and has the largest radius in the first image which has a 90° FOV and the smallest one in the last image which has a 133° FOV. Also note that the position of the display leans the most towards the center in the last image. This is because they need to be projected 43° degrees more of the gaming world in the last image than in the first one. But since the display size remains the same 27 inch, the only solution to create more space is to move the display more towards the center of the circle creating a larger arc to give the user a 43 degree wider viewing angle (133 degree). While in the first image the FOV is only 90 degrees meaning that the display can lean more towards the edge of the circle creating a smaller arc because of the 43 degree smaller viewing angle. This also implies that the circle radius gets smaller when the FOV gets higher. If the FOV would be 180 degrees the display would be placed in the center of the circle and would have the same size as the diameter. This explains why a wider FOV causes a higher cylindrical shaped image.

As the FOV increases, the display moves more towards the center creating a larger circle arc.

This forces the displayed image to bend more into a cylindrical shape, creating more image bending and depth because the distance increases between the top of the arc and the display center as the FOV gets wider. But since our display is a 2D flat surface that can’t create real depth but only the illusion by creating perspective, the image will start to distort and somewhat collapse when you overdue the FOV increase. It feels like the image is bowed inwards as if someone is pushing a needle or pin into the center. That’s why this effect is also called “pincushion distortion” which makes objects at the edge of the display unnaturally large in scale and will tend to misestimate the size and shape of objects, giving misleading visual information since the objects will rescale and significant decrease in size when turning towards them.

Pincushion distortion can have a negative impact on your visual input when it’s heavily noticeable.

CLIP 6 | The visual impact of the pincushion distortion effect in FPS games in relation with field of view

While it’s the same object, there is a significant difference in scale and shape between the object projection at the edge of the display and the one in the center, even with a 90° FOV it’s still noticeable. When the FOV increases the image is forced to bend further backwards and the scale difference between both projections builds up very fast, distorting the image and starting to mess with your visual input.

Again, the wider the FOV => The more bent the image is => The greater this effect will be.

That’s why it’s important to find for yourself a good middle ground between what you want to see of the environment at any time (FOV) and the amount of image distortion that occurs with it.

The field of view is not only influencing our visual information, but mouse behavior as well.

In fact, mouse movement in FPS games isn’t linear at all because of the rectilinear projection method  causing image bending, and that’s where the “problem” lies.

This clip below will demonstrate mouse behavior in a 3D environment with different fields of view.

CLIP 7 | Mouse behavior in FPS games in relation with field of view and consistent aim

To demonstrate this effect I’ve written a script that simulates linear mouse movement in combination with an overlay that equally divides the display into a percentage, so 0% represents the center of the display and 100% the edge. When the clip starts most people without any background assume the crosshair will move in a linear fashion. On it’s journey from 0% to 100% there isn’t any linear movement to be noticed. Instead, it keeps accelerating until it reaches the 100% mark representing the edge of the display. Also the acceleration itself isn’t linear, but increases more towards the 100% mark. When we see this from the top perspective it’s also clear why.

If we take a look at the circle arc representing the image then we can clearly see that the track object follows a linear turning path along the arc and that the decrease in distance between the display and the track object (or arc) is directly proportional with the crosshair acceleration, as illustrated in the video clip between 50 – 100% the distance decrease per mouse count is a lot higher than between 0 – 50% and so is the crosshair acceleration. As usual is the crucial factor in this all, field of view as it determines the image bending and so the arc curve.

The wider the field of view => the more the image will bend => the more the circle arc will curve

=> the greater the distance gap will be between object and display => the straighter the object will close in towards the display edge => the higher the crosshair acceleration increase will be towards the edge => The more deviation there will be from linear mouse movement. So to do some myth busting, this also means that you cannot synchronize a linear mouse movement like a 2D desktop environment with a 3D environment like a FPS game across the whole field of view, but only with one point on the display.


CLIP 8 PART 1 & CLIP 8 PART 2 | Synchronizing mouse movement between desktop and 3D Aim Trainer

It’s still a common misconception among gamers to think that you can fully synchronize your in game crosshair movement with your desktop pointer. Part 1 of this video clip will demonstrate that this cannot be accomplished. While part 2 shows the best thing we can do to get as close as possible and that’s something we call “Reference point synchronization”. Basically this means that for every field of view you input, we calculate the best point on the display to synchronize both types of movement with. So that the overall deviation between 2D and 3D mouse movement sticks to a minimum.

To illustrate the fact you cannot synchronize your crosshair with your desktop pointer I have made two overlay’s, one for the 3D Aim Trainer representing “3D mouse movement” and one for the desktop environment representing “2D mouse movement”. I also made a central line where all values will be displayed so you can clearly see all results. It’s clear that 3D mouse movement deviates quite a lot from 2D mouse movement. 2D mouse movement has a linear pattern that divides all 1280 mouse counts equally across the display meaning that every 10% represents 128 counts. (When using a 2560*1440p display)

While 3D mouse movement has an irregular pattern that divides mouse counts depending on the used field of view. It’s impossible to synchronize both mouse movements across the whole display since they have a different movement pattern. But what we can do is synchronize them both with one point on the display. Therefore we calculate the best reference point for the field of view you input to bring the overall deviation between both types of movement to a minimum across the whole line like part 2 of the video clip demonstrates. To illustrate how reference point synchronization works I have made three examples, using three different reference points with the same 133° field of view to synchronize both types of movement.

The first example uses the 20% mark, the second one uses the 57.4% mark and the last one uses the 100% mark which is the edge of the display. The results speak for themselves, the 57.4% mark is the best reference point when using a 133° field of view, doing overall the best job in keeping the deviation between both movement types to a minimum across the whole display. The 20% mark is only a better choice between 0 and 38% of the display and the 100% mark only between 68% and 100%. Also note that the amount of mouse counts differs from 1280 when using the 20% and 57.4% marker as points of synchronization. This is normal since the lookspeed of the 3D Aim Trainer has been increased because the crosshair needs to catch up with the arrow of the desktop 75% and 42.6% faster than when synchronizing with the 100% marker. So to compensate for the increase in lookspeed, the amount of mouse counts needs to be decreased to make sure that the distance the crosshair travels remains the same, else the crosshair would just fly by the 100% marker.

And that’s what is all about, creating a consistent and controlled environment so you can train your hand-eye coordination, and obtain amazing aim for hitting that top spot on the leaderboard. 

1 thought on “The Science behind Aiming How to Achieve Consistent Aim via Motor Learning

  1. So is there a point in having ridiculously high DPI and sooooooooouuuuuuper low in game sense if your eDPI is the same regardless?

Comments are closed.