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Understanding Mouse Performance with KeyMander 2

To help better answer some of the common questions about mouse performance, here's some basics about several things that determine how the mouse responds in-game: Sensitivity Setting, Maximum Turn Speed, Turn Speed Setting, Deadzone Setting and Resolution.

The biggest reason to love KeyMander 2 can quickly become a frustration if the mouse isn’t setup properly, so here is some information that may help you to better dial in your mouse settings. KeyMander 2 is designed to provide as close to a PC gaming experience as possible on a game console, however there are a couple significant differences between playing on PC and using a keyboard and mouse with your console. Understanding differences in maximum turn speed and learning how to work with mouse sensitivity and acceleration are the keys to playing at the highest level with KeyMander 2. Getting to that level requires some also time spent learning how your mouse settings translate into the game, and also understanding the limitations of console games.

Sensitivity Setting

Properly setting mouse sensitivity is the biggest factor in getting good mouse performance with your KeyMander 2, and there is more to it than simply adjusting the sensitivity sliders in the K2 App. There are actually three other steps required before adjusting the software sliders, and forgetting them will lead to poor mouse performance. The first and most commonly overlooked step in properly setting up the mouse is actually making sure the aim/look sensitivity is maxed out in the game’s settings menu, so you have the full sensitivity range to work within. Next, you need to input the mouse’s DPI resolution setting into the K2 App Device tab for a smoother and more accurate adjustment range. Third, most gaming mice have a DPI button with multiple settings so make sure the mouse is set to the highest DPI step when connected to KeyMander 2. Only after those steps are complete do you begin making changes to the mouse sensitivity sliders.

Just like in PC gaming, bumping the sensitivity too high will cause you to reach a point where movement can become jittery and difficult to use accurately for precision shots, so reaching a balance is important. In the PC world this equates to the balance between low DPI and high DPI settings, where lower DPI is far more accurate for making small, precise movements (like needed for headshots) at the cost of having to move your hand a foot or more to turn a 360° rotation. In the older days of first-person-shooters, gamers playing titles like Counter Strike on standard definition monitors might have mouse resolutions set as low as 100 or 200 dpi, so they can snap off a headshot (without a scope) like it’s nothing. That type of play is a far cry from the common Rambo-esque, hard-charging free-for-all styles we see now in Call of Duty deathmatches, so just like in PC gaming, finding your own balance point is the key. If you run around in CoD with a shotgun and never aim-down-sight, having a highly boosted sensitivity may be fine for you, but if you later decide to pick up a sniper rifle you probably aren’t going to be happy with that setting.

To get a better feel for how to best set your mouse sensitivity, start at a point where you think the sensitivity is way too low, and move your mouse back and forth. Get a feel for the ability to find your aim point accurately, then boost your speed until you can get the accuracy you want, at a comfortable enough speed to stay within the game’s maximum turn speed or at least not far beyond it. Remember each game is different, and the difference can be huge when comparing a game like Call of Duty that has a high max turn speed, versus a game like Resident Evil 7 where you can use a watch to time how long it takes to spin around. By the way, several games actually have different horizontal and vertical look sensitivities that usually go unnoticed with analog sticks, but much more noticeable with a mouse. If vertical movement feels different than horizontal movement and you want to adjust it, you can unlock the horizontal and vertical mouse sensitivity sliders in the K2 App and adjust as needed.

Maximum Turn Speed (In-Game)

The biggest difference between playing on a PC versus playing on a console with KeyMander 2 is the turn speed limitation built into console games. Because console games are built for joysticks, every game has a maximum turn speed equal to having the analog thumb stick pushed all the way to the farthest position. This is the turn speed limit of the game set by the game developers and it basically caps the speed at which you can turn (look) in a given direction, no matter how fast you move the thumb stick (or mouse as in our case). You can test this with your controller by pushing the right thumb stick all the way left or right, and the speed at which your view rotates is the maximum turn speed for that game. This limit can vary widely from game to game as games like the Call of Duty franchise for example have a much higher turn speed limit that the Destiny franchise which can feel like the mouse is slow to respond if you do not adjust your settings and style of play a bit. The turn speed limit can even vary within a game depending on factors such as weapon choice, whether or not you’re in a vehicle, location in the game (especially in campaign modes), etc. Games can also have different horizontal and vertical turn speed limits, although vertical limits are normally less of an issue.

It is important to understand the game's maximum turn speed and the effect it has on mouse performance, since a mouse can deliver faster average and peak movement speeds than a thumb stick allows. When you exceed the game’s maximum turn speed (moving the mouse faster than the game allows), the mouse will feel sluggish or "laggy" as your on-screen aim/look view moves less than expected. An easy way to see this is to move your mouse at a fairly slow rate noticing how far you rotate, then move extremely fast and compare. If your KeyMander 2 profile is set up with very high aim/look sensitivity, you probably noticed that by moving slowly you rotated 360 degrees or more with a short swipe, but by moving very fast you rotated only a short distance. That poor movement you just experienced is NOT mouse lag, but rather the game's turn speed limit.

The easiest way to understand what is happening is to equate the maximum turning speed to distance turned (rotated) in a period of time. For example, let’s say with the aim/look thumb stick fully engaged it takes our game one full second to perform a 360° rotation, that would make our game’s maximum turning speed equal to one rotation per second. Now to illustrate how that pertains to our mouse, let’s say that with our current KeyMander 2 profile moving the mouse four inches in one second performs a full rotation; it would mean our max turn speed with the mouse is 4 inches per second. Now here is where the turn speed limit begins to show up with a mouse: if we move 8 inches in one second (double the limit in our example), the extra movement above the maximum turn speed is not registered and it’s as if you moved for only half the distance or half the time (equal to a half rotation for our example). Following the same formula if we move it 16 inches (four times the limit), your on-screen aim/look view moves only a quarter of the time/distance (equal to a quarter rotation for our example), and so on. Simply put, once you hit maximum turn speed, the faster you move the mouse, the slower you go. Unlike on a PC, using a mouse in an environment designed for a joystick also requires getting used to playing within the game’s turn speed limitation, but it’s a small trade-off for being able to play console games with a mouse and keyboard and it's easy to set up your KeyMander 2 profiles to work within this limitation.

Turn Speed Setting (K2 App)

One way to overcome the turn speed limitations built into some games is through the use of the K2 App’s Turn Speed setting, which progressively adds acceleration to boost your aim/look speed the faster you move. Slower movements stay slow and precise, but quick movements ramp up the turn speed to make spinning around much easier in games with lower turn speed limitations. Acceleration is usually avoided by most PC gamers since noticeable turn speed limitations are rare in PC games, however some console game designers understand that acceleration can be beneficial at times, and have begun adding the option in some games. TitanFall 2 is a one example, having programmable acceleration levels and curves in the game’s settings menu. The K2 App also has programmable mouse response curves to add similar functionality to games without these adjustments. When setting up your game profiles, remember to treat acceleration like salt at the dinner table; it’s there if you need it, but if it’s already good you probably shouldn’t add anything or you could end up making it worse.

Deadzone Setting (K2 App and In-Game Options)

If you are having problems with getting a smooth response from the mouse, especially when moving diagonally, take a look at the DeadZone setting. The Deadzone’s primary function is to overcome the area of the controller where joystick movement does not register in-game and allow instant response from the mouse, but when improperly adjusted it also influences mouse movement in a negative way. Having the deadzone set too low will cause choppy mouse response as initial mouse movements or very tiny mouse movements are suppressed. Having too large a deadzone will cause a floaty or accelerated feeling (pixel skipping), and can also cause a rough, “stair-step-like” movement in some games that reduces accuracy when moving the mouse diagonally. Some games also include a deadzone setting in the Options Menu, so be sure to check it and set accordingly for best performance. It is important to achieve the right balance, so if it feels choppy increase your deadzone setting and if the diagonal movement feels poor, lower the deadzone setting in the KeyMander software, in the game menu or both.

DPI Resolution (Mouse Hardware/Software & K2 App)

The conventional wisdom for setting mouse resolution with KeyMander 2 is normally to set the mouse to its maximum resolution and set the KeyMander 2 DPI setting to match it. This will provide the maximum amount of adjustment range with fine adjustment steps in between. While this normally works great with most games, there will be times when a lower dpi setting is actually advantageous. Games with built-in Aim Assist such as the Call of Duty titles, Overwatch, etc. will benefit from having a lower dpi setting which allows the aim assist to better “pull” you onto the target’s hit box. Having a higher dpi setting sends more data at a faster rate to the aim assist processing and causes what amounts to an overload situation, where the aim assist function is decreased or defeated altogether.

In games with aim assist it is important to test different resolution (DPI) settings so you can maximize the benefit (or remove it) for your style of play. For example, most Call of Duty games work very well with mouse resolutions between 3500-5000dpi for those that like the slightly magnetic feel of aim assist. If you prefer to snipe headshots, set the dpi higher at 6-16K to help breakout of the aim assist bubble as it will tend to "pull" you down when trying to snap quick headshots. Just make sure to match your KeyMander 2 DPI setting to your mouse DPI or your sensitivity will be way off.

As a final note, one of the things that can complicate getting proper mouse performance with high-end gaming mice is the manufacturer's custom mouse driver software, which often needs to be correctly configured on a PC so it doesn't default to some unknown/less effective setting. Mice from companies like Corsair, Logitech, etc. have downloadable drivers for setup, and usually store these settings in the mouse memory as configuration profiles. If you have one of these mice that stores profiles internally (especially Logitech mice as their software is a bit tricky), it is important to make sure you set the mouse to maximum resolution in their software first, and program it to default to that setting so the mouse is actually running at the full resolution offered. Because these settings have to be programmed using a PC, it will it will make your life much easier if you remember do this first before connecting the mouse to your KeyMander 2! After setting up your mouse, make sure to set the mouse resolution in the K2 App to match your mouse setting. Having a 12,000 DPI mouse is great, but if you forget to change the default setting in the K2 App (default is 4000 DPI) you won't getting the full benefit of all that resolution!

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