The right tools for the job

Competitive multiplayer PC gaming is thrilling but you'll need the right kit to truly excel, says Jason Saundalkar.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  January 28, 2008

Natural gaming talent can only take you so far, as if you want to really excel at something you'll also need to use the right kit. In PC gaming terms this means employing anything from a specialised keyboard to a speed-enhancing steering wheel. Jason Saundalkar explains exactly how such gadgets can help...

Competitive multiplayer PC gaming can best be summed up in two words; fun and thrilling. If you compete in big events, you can add lucrative to that list too, as gaming events such as our very own WGC (Windows Gaming Championship), which is again coming up this summer, make it possible for you to walk away with thousands of dollars in prize money. However if you really want to become King of the gaming kingdom, you're going to need the right products for the job.

In the world of gaming, and depending on the genre of game you are playing, there are literally hundreds of peripherals that will afford you a competitive edge, whatever your budget.

In terms of fast-paced first person shooters for example, you can boost your kill score by purchasing a mouse with tailorable sensitivity and multiple buttons. The variable sensitivity setting enables you to toggle between high and low, so that if you're shooting say with a sniper rifle that requires you to be ultra-accurate, you can tone down the setting to more accurately target your opponents. However, if you have a rapid fire minigun on the go and need to take down multiple targets, or single targets that are moving fast, you'd be better ramping up the sensitivity; allowing you to take aim quickly.

In the second instance, a gaming mouse would also stop your hand from getting too tired, compared to a normal mouse that is, as you wouldn't have to move your rodent quite as frantically. You could also assign the mouse's additional buttons to act as weapon buttons rather than using the keyboard, which should really be used more for moving your character around the game.

In the case of gaming keyboards, certain models also allow you to store key strokes, allowing you to perform complicated moves at the touch of just a single button.

Moving on to driving games, there are a number of product options that you'll find will make it easier to play and win, and in some cases these will enhance your overall experience too. You could for example bag a fully-fledged driving wheel, pedal and gear shifter set, which not only makes the game feel more real but, in my case at least, helps you drive better. I can't play racing games on a keyboard to save my life but hand me a wheel or a gamepad and I usually walk away victorious. In my case, the wheel just feels more natural, like I'm driving a real car, and in terms of the gamepad, the controls and button placement are comfortable, which again makes it easier for me to win.

So if you really want to up your game, you'd be well advised to think about the gear you're using or are going to use. There are plenty more useful products out there besides those mentioned here, but to get the fully skinny on those you'll need to pick up the April 2008 issue of Windows (on sale during March), in which we'll have just the feature for you.

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