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Smokin'Guns guide

Postby sunrise » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:58 pm

Smokin'Guns guide:

Since i was asked to share my secrets, i decided to make a guide including tips,tricks&advices for everyone.
I will include a huge amount of information, so it's possible that some tips aren't 100% correct, if this is the case, i beg you to correct me.

Table of Contents:

  • I.How to aim
  • II.Increase your fps
  • III.Netsettings
  • IV.Sound
  • V.Jumping
  • VI.General tips

I.How to aim:
This is the most important step to learn. So lets start with some basics.
In order to aim properly you should optimize your crosshair.
It's mostly preference, but you can gain some serious advantages.
Basically you should try to reduce the size of the crosshair as much as you can.
That means it needs to be big enough to see it easily and small enough to aim at a head form one side of a huge map to the other.
Therefor you can use these 2 commands:

/cg_drawCrosshair "x"
  • for x you can use values in {0,1,2,3}
    This command allows you to toggle your crosshairstyle.
    I recommend to use 3, because the cross disguises the
    enemies at long range.

/cg_crosshairSize "x"
  • x can be any natural number. (I use 20)
    With this command you can change the size of your
    The optimal size depends on your screen-resolution and on
    the crosshairstyle that you use.
Before we go to some aiming techniques, its important to optimize your mouse settings.
So again some commands:

/in_mouse "-1" (works on windows only)
  • reduces input delay, a disavantage of "-1"is that when minimizing the game, you can't use your mouse and if you use low sensitivity its better to set it to“1“

/m_filter "0"
  • reduces input delay
Explaining these 2 commands would take to long and undertsnading them wont help you that much, so I just worte down your benefits of using them.
The next step is to disable mouseacceleration, because with acceleration your aim depends on the speed of your mousemovement which makes your aiming less consistent and less precise.
It takes some effort to get rid of the mouseacceleration completely:
First you need to disable it in smokin'guns with
/cl_mouseAccel "0"
Then you need to disable it in your operating system.
For Windows:
Look there under the section mousefix.
or there at “disable mouseacceleration”.
For Linux(I can't confirm if they work, as i haven't tested them):
ubuntu 10.10

Now after you got that, its still possible that your mouse's sensor has acceleration.
Sadly there's noway to fix it, but buying a new mouse. By the way the most new overpriced gaming mice have sensorside acceleration. In order to find out, if your mouse has this issue you need to google it, search/ask at overclock.net or look here

If you have a newer mouse, i suggest you to run it at 500hz or 1000hz, since you have less input delay.
Older mice can be overclocked look at funender under “Polling rate”(Windows)
For linux?.

The optimal dpi setting depends on your mouse and on your sensitivity, so you have to do some research on your side, but its always the best to use one of the native non-interpolated dpi steps.

Finally the techniques:

1.Most new players aim too low. Try to avoid to look at the floor, even if you don't see an enemy. The advantage of aiming higher is that you need to move your mouse less to aim at appearing enemies and you have a better overview.

2.When you walk around corners, aim at the edge of them. This is very useful, because if your opponent comes around the corner you are already aiming at him.


3.Use your strafe as an aiming help. So you just need to get your crosshair close to your enemy and correct it with your strafe. Using this way of aiming gives you two huge advantages:
You can hit easier and you are harder to hit, because you are moving.

Here you can see an example:
I think this is the most important trick. You need a lot of practice to automate this process, but the results are worth it.

4.If it's possible, crouch while shooting and don't run to keep the weaponspread as low as possible.

II.Increase your fps:
The ambition of this part is to get stable 125fps.
You may ask:
Why 125fps when I have a 60Hz monitor?
Why exactly 125 fps and not 140 or 80?

Hz is the refreshrate of your monitor, while fps is the refreshrate of your graphiccard. When you limit your fps to 60 with /com_maxFPS 60 your monitor refreshrate and your graphiccard refreshrate aren't synchronized. Vsync(you can activate it at your graphiccard-driver) basically fixes this issue for you, but in exchange it will add a huge amount of extra input delay. Consequently Vsync is not an option and you should make sure that it is turned off.
So you need some more fps than hz.
In addition there are more benefits of higher fps:
The other reason is that the game is single threaded and mostly uses polling for its input, so the more frames you get - the lower the delay between each mouse/keyboard poll and thus lower input latency.

The answer to the second question will be given in the netsettings chapter.

Use /cg_drawFPS "1" to display your fps, if you achieve 125 fps, you are fine.
If you don't here are advices:

  • Set quality to fastest in the smokin'guns settings(system).
  • Disable antialiasing and anisotropic filtering.
  • Enable compress textures and round images down.
  • In settings(gameoptions(performance)) you can disable everything, but low quality sky and boost fps.
  • If you have a multicore processor, use /seta r_smp "1"
  • if you have 1Gb or more main memory set /seta com_hunkMegs "512"
    and /seta com_zoneMegs "128"

In case you still don't get enough fps, you can try /seta r_picmip "9"
,but I would't recommand it.

Even if you have 125 fps I suggest you to use /seta r_vertexLight "1"

Here is why:
Vertexlight disabled
Vertexlight enabled:
As you can see the windows are far more transparent and it is easier to spot your opponents.


Optimizing your netsettings, can make your gaming experience more responsive and smooth, if you do it right.

Therefor I will give you a few commands:

/seta rate "x"
x in [1000,90000]
Measured in Bytes per second. This is the maximum rate at which the server will send data to you.

  • The value is limited on serverside with /sv_maxRate.
    Most smokin'guns server are using 13000 so i recommend to set your rate
    to 13000. Using a higher rate won't give you any advantages.
    A lower rate is only useful, in case you have a bad connection.
    In this case you need to experiment on your own to find the optimal value.

/seta snaps "x"
x in [???]
This setting is the maximum number of 'snapshots' that you wish to receive from the server per second.A snapshot is a 'picture' of what has happened in the game since the last snapshot.This is the data transmission equivalent of a framerate. Servers run at a constant framerate specified by their sv_fps variable. The most a server can give you is one snap per server frame. So you should set your snaps equal to (or greater than) the server's sv_fps value, which is typically 30.
Regardless of how high you set your snaps setting, you will not be able to receive more than the server has to offer.

/cl_timenudge "x"
  • x in [-50,50]
    This command suffers from a bad reputation among many players.
    Here is a quote from what i have once written at lamesblog:
-the command is cl_timenudge, cl is the short form of client
=>its only clientside
=> it doesnt affect the server in any way, it only changes how you see your enemies on your screen, but not how they see you.
In my view complaining about a negative timenudge value that “makes you hard to hit ” is only an excuse by bad uninformed players.
However there is one reason why i dont like timenudge:
Timenudge isn't some magic stuff which knows what will happen in the future, it caluclates (predicts) the positions of your enemies.
The point is timenudge can't calculate when they change their direction => the postion of your enimies on your screen and their real postion are completly different
=> then when you get the true informations form the server, they will beam.
So its harder for you to hit them.
For example you are playing with timenudge -50.
Your enemy is moving left, then he changes his direction and moves to the right, on your screen he will still move left for 50 ms while he moves right in real.
But if you have high ping (like 100 or higher) its almost impossible to aim accurate and you can profit of a negative timenudge.

/cl_maxPackets "x"
  • x in [30,125]
    If you achieve stable 125fps, set x to 125. Else you have to take a closer look at this
    in particular at “cl_maxPackets and com_maxFPS”.
    The higher your packets the higher your true ping gets(you can watch it with /ping or /serverstatus), but in exchange you get a more controlled aim feeling and a better hit registration.
Some images(from another game with a different netcode) as a demonstration:

tickrate 30

tickrate 100

Displayed are the hitboxes of a moving player(tickrate is equivalent to cl_maxPackets)

/cl_packetdup "x"
  • x in [0,3]
    for bad connections set it to 1 or 2
    else use 0


In this game your ears are your third eye. You can exactly determine your opponent's position by listening to the sound he produces, but remember they can also hear you.
So try to cause as few as possible noises.
As a sidenote this chapter won't help you much if you are a ballerbude player, since the sound system is modified to reduce the advantages.

Tricks to improve your Sound:

  • turn the music volume to 0 in sound options
  • wear headphones(closed, halfclosed or inear)
  • enable dopplersound, it helps you to notice if someone is getting closer to you or not.

Advanced tricks:

If you play a local game using "/devmap br_durango", with "/r_showtris 1", you will see that when an opponent geometry "disappear", you can't hear it anymore

  • For br_durango you can use any map name.
    In this way you can find the best positions, where you can hear everyone from every direction and you can find the ways, where you can run and nobody can hear you, if he isn't on the same way.

  • You can use a soundcard, which can emulate surroundsound for headphones.

  • Use “soundwhoring”. In order to do this you need audioprogram which is able to show the frequencies of audio tracks. Then figure out the frequencies of
    “...\Smokin' Guns\smokinguns\sg_pak0.pk3\sound\footsteps\” and increase them with an equalizer program. Thus its easier to hear footsteps without hurting your ears with too loud weaponsounds.
    I tried this method once and it is definitely an advantage, but i'm too lazy to switch audioprofiles every time i listen to music after playing smokin'guns.


The most jumps can be watched here(at how to)
Due to the engine of smokin'guns some jumps are very hard with 125 fps, because you slide and fall down, while they are very easy with 143fps.
So what you need to is to bind two keys to change /com_maxFPS.

For example:
/bind y com_maxFPS 125
/bind x com_maxFPS 142 or /bind x com_maxFPS 63 (if you don't get 143 fps)

Now you can press x before each difficult jump and y afterward to benefit of your optimized netsettings.

VI.General tips

Use a unicoloured mousemat for best and consistent mouse tracking.

For better visibility maximize the brightness.
You can also play with the commands:
/seta r_mapoverbrightbits "x"
/seta r_overbrightbits "x"
for x use a natural number >=0, but i suggest you to use the default values (2 and 0), since the game will be plain ugly otherwise which isn't worth the small advantage.

If you have a good connection:
/cg_delag 0 (default is 1)
/cg_cmdTimeNudge 0
both are explained here below “UNLAGGED CLIENT VARIABLES“

Surprise your enemies. You need to know them and think one step further then they do.
Always try to find the answer to this questions:
“What would I do, if I was in his place?”
“What does he expect me to do?”
and then do the opposite.

Tactic against campers(in DM):
If he is worse than you, kill him.
If he is better than you, avoid him.
Go to other side of the map.
He expects you to sneak up from behind and you will die with high probability. You will maybe kill him in your 3rd try (a bad deal :D).
But if you ignore him he will become inpatient and leave his position and this is the perfect moment to kill him.
Alternatively for every good camping position, there's mostly another position from where it's easy to kill him.

Tactic against rushers(in BR):
They always use the same ways.
Figure out those ways and wait for them at a superior spot.

The most important at the end, play and gain experience.
Last edited by sunrise on Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:31 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby /dev/random » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:03 pm

A good idea! Here's some small critique:

sunrise wrote:/in_mouse "-1"

At least in_mouse -1 only works on Windows (with the normal ioquake3 client). Disabling mouse acceleration and tuning USB polling rate works on Unix as well (go figure on your own ;) ).

sunrise wrote:Generally there is a difference between Hz and fps.
The point is: Hz is measured in constant intervals, while fps isn't.

Hz just means cycles/second, while FPS is frames/second - basically the same measurement method just for a different unit.
What you are targeting at is that you want to achieve a stable framerate. Generally the game tries to fit a maximum of com_maxFPS frames into each second, but it might achieve less frames due to high CPU utilization - which is what you want to avoid. Jitter in framerate causes problems such as difficult aiming due to game stutter in general and network issues as well.
Having a high framerate only has advantages in Quake 3 for two reasons; One being the good old rounding issues which allow you to jump higher at certain frame rates. The other reason is that the game is single threaded and mostly uses polling for its input, so the more frames you get - the lower the delay between each mouse/keyboard poll and thus lower input latency. The same applies to network output - with the appropriate network settings and a high framerate the game will send more packets with your mouse movements and key presses to the server (thus lower delay as well as higher chances of arrival).

All that being said, even those settings don't make you a pro over night. My current computer only manages a whopping ~60fps, yet I can score pretty well - due to a zillion years of practice. Some also blame my packetloss, my nationality or sheer luck :D
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby Biondo » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:49 pm

Seems like you took my chat words seriously, Sun. Good, LOL, nice. I asked you to reveal your secrets publicly (not just to me) only when you'd give up with SG, when you'd be tired to play.
Anyhow thank you, you have style!
Need time to read it all, since you've spent some time on it.
You surprised me, I'm moved.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby sunrise » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:48 pm

Thanks for the feedback, i will correct my mistakes. |D
For jumping im going to make a own chapter, but with 125fps you have some serious disadvantages in contrast to 60 or 142.
About acceleration in the operatingsystem on linux or mac i have no idea, since i have never used those systems.
I don't know anything about linux, so it will be hard to decide, if my research results are useful, but i will try it.
Anyway i have read about the linuxcommand /in_dgamouse which enabels rawinput(that's better then /in_mouse -1), sadly i don't know if it's availible in smokin'guns.

I think everyone can perform well with acceleration and lower fps, but if you once got used to no accel, low input delay and high fps you don't want to miss it.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby Bart202 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:28 am

A really good idea :)

I think the code makes the game easier to overview: ./r_mapoverbrightbits "x" [x can be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
I wouldn't rather more than 8, I use 7 but the most are using 3 til 5.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby sunrise » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:38 pm

Updated and finished, i hope you guys read it. :wink:
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby Biondo » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:53 pm

sunrise wrote:The most important at the end, play and gain experience.

You forgot the most most most important: "Have fun" (also trying to kill a camper adopting the worst of the existing strategies) :)

Nice tutorial, Sunrise.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby Biondo » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:00 pm

To say the truth, I'm not the one to spend my time in configurations. The only thing I'm proud of, is r_picmip 9 (made even a video published on Vimeo about it) and simpleitems :D
I tried to talk about q3config.cfg in *LAME* clan site when I was in the clan, but just to try to understand and to share what I knew with newcomers.
When you published the first part of your tutorial, I welcomed it and after some time I tried your suggestions. All I got was that I was moving like in a slow-motion movie and couldn't jump.
Was fun, but I had bad moments with my friends :)

I can't swear I haven't done something wrong. Fortunately I had a backup of my q3config.cfg file.

Conclusion: someone will find your tutorial useful, someone not, thanks again, and (to all) keep a copy of your old q3config.cfg, always.

Sun, you have put your heart in this tutorial and you spent a lot of time on it, I appreciate this more than you could imagine. I'm just saying that real world is not so easy.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby sunrise » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:34 pm

I found and added some images to demonstrate the benefits of higher maxpackets.
They are from an other game but they show exactly what needs to be shown.
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Re: Smokin'Guns guide

Postby /dev/random » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:42 pm

Biondo wrote:I can't swear I haven't done something wrong. Fortunately I had a backup of my q3config.cfg file.

You should put your custom configuration in a file called autoexec.cfg, in the same place where q3config.cfg lives.
The autoexec file is executed after q3config and thus overwrites its values. The game also never writes to autoexec, but automatically writes to q3config.
You can then safely delete q3config, as it'll be recreated by the game (and only those settings which you did not (aka forgot to ;) ) put into autoexec will be lost).
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