Mastering weapon-spread to increase your accuracy
In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory you do not necessarily shoot at where your cross-hair points: like in real life bullets do spread. There are three dimensions where you should know the details to master spread and improve your accuracy and aiming: (A) the game engine, (B) your setup/configuration.
But now to the insights…
(A) The game-engine and weapon-spread
In ET the spread of your standard weapons (mp40, Thomson, Luger, colt, Sten, …) is affected by 5 factors:
1.View: moving your cross-hair / looking around increases spread
The more you move your cross-hair around, the more weapon spread you will get. In times you move your mouse, spread increases while in times you don’t move your mouse, it will decrease steadily. Player velocity does not have any impact on spread of unscoped weapons. You can see the size of your weapon spread by activating cross hair-pulsing for example:
set cg_crosshairPulse 1 // activate cross-hair pulsating
set cg_drawcrosshair 4 // cross-hair: little spot in center plus pulsating circle around it
So be aware of the ET’s hitbox model (hitboxes are much bigger than the models which makes some cross-hair-movement unnecessary) and reduce cross-hair-movement to a minimum. Especially avoid erratic mouse-movements and trace as smooth as possible. RaZiel mastered the idea of aiming like this – have a look at his tutorial.
2.Shooting: continuous shooting increases spread
Short range fights usually don’t last long and every hit is crucial, so in most cases you are forced to shoot continuesly and shooting bursts is no option. Long range combats often last longer. Shooting small bursts of 3 to 5 bullets each should be considered if you can’t start of the fight with doing massive damage to your opponent. Concentrate on short range duels to get the maximum out of you rounds.
3.Receiving Damage: getting hit by bullets increases spread
When you get hit by your opponent, your screen shakes. This will hurt your aim. Further more the knock back will raise weapon spread (analysis/implications from overdrive). Both make it inevitable for you to do your best not to get hit – strafe with and without stamina, use obsticles as cover, crouch, prone, …
4.Movement: crouching and proning decrease spread while beeing in the air dramatically increases spread
[GORE]Hallelujah did an analysis on how movement affects weapon-spread back in 2003. He found out that spread in standing/crouching/proning-position is nearly equal, when you fire small bursts of 2-3 bullets. If you fire continuously, the spread of crouching and proning is still the same but in standing position it is much higher (see screenshot). Further more Madscientist found out in his analysis 2006 that crouching will reduce spread to 50% from standing position. Being in the air (jumping, free fall, strafing on rough terrain, …) will result in twice the maximum spread you get when shooting in standing position. And proning will give you maximum spread for the first second and then decays to half the spread as crouching does.
5.Experience-Points: light weapons level 4 and covert ops level 3 decrease spread
When you receive light weapons level 4, your weapon spread will reduce by 35%. (Note that it is level 4 and not level 3 like the manual says as [GORE]Hallelujah points out). Further more covert ops level 3 reduces spread by 35% for the Sten and the FG42. Interestingly this spread reduction seems to be transportable on the standard-weapons and also combineable with light weapons level 4 for maximum spread reduction (see analysis again from [GORE]Hallelujah). You should be aware of that to be able to evaluate your own aim and that of others on the server (e. g. if you join a server with players who have many XP).
6.Your weapon choice: the MP40 (Axis) seems to have slightly less spread than the Thomson (Allies)
Ifurita from planetwolfenstein did an analysis some years ago in RTCW on how many rounds a weapon is able to fire per second. He found out that the MP40 has a slightly higher firering rate than the Thomson (~ 6 vs. 5 rounds per second). You should now probably expect compensating the Axis advantage by having more spread. On the contrary: from the screenshots he made you can conclude that the MP 40 also has slightly less spread when fired in small bursts from 3 to 5 rounds. Of course all on the condition that the analysis is a.) correct and b.) also applies on Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
(B) Your Config
1.Mousepad/-underground: Make sure your mousepad is clean and you just a minimum friction between pad and your mouse. The more friction, the less smooth will be your mousemovement.
2.Sensitivity: a sensitivity of zero would reduce weapon spread due to crosshairmovement to zero of course. But that wouldn’t be practical. Low sensers have got some advantages considering weapon spread. So they usually also do more headshots than high sensitivity users.See the Aiming by RaZiel-Tutorial for finding your sensitivity.
3.FPS / Frames per second: As overdrive states in his article, FPS increases recoil and your mouse will react a lot faster the higher the frames per second. Keep your FPS high, but as stable as possible at the same time.
4.Mouserate: the higher, the smoother your aim can be. Basically you can chose between USB and PS/2. RaZiel stated 2003 that for him PS/2 worked better than USB, because with his Logitech Mouse he het a.) a higher mouserate of 200hz and b.) a more stable one that with USB (120hz). Overdrive stated 2006 in his article, that nowadays for most mice USB would be more suitable than PS/2 and that you can archive 450, 500 or even 1000hz. I myself use a Logitech MX518 with 200hz and inputbufferlength 100 on PS/2. With USB I could only get a maximum of 120hz. To check how often your mousedata gets refreshed check mouserate.exe from that RaZiel-Package (Tools-Folder).
5.FPS > mousrate:Madscientist found out about the phenomenon that spread due to cross-hair movement will decrease when you got more frames per second than mouse signals per second. This sounds logical as some for some frames the game engine cannot register any mouse movement which results in decreasing spread. Turn spread can be even reduced to zero (!) when FPS is twice as high as the mouserate. So if you put your mouse on USB with standard polling rate of 125hz and you have constant 250fps – … lucky boy!
6.Mouse-DPI / -Dots Per Inch: the more dpi, the smoother your aiming can be. But be aware of a little bug in the quake-engine that causes negative acceleration with high DPI.