csgo-Proficiency-Recoil-Mechanics-and-Compensation-Curves

CS:GO is arguably the top shooter out there now, posting excellent eSports numbers and drawing in new players every day. There are many reasons behind the success of the title, and obviously, one of those reasons in the physical realism it strives to convey, coupled with outstanding weapons-mechanics. Part of this package is something that will leave beginners flabbergasted and even some of the experienced players struggling to understand: the recoil mechanics and the inaccuracy. One can’t expect in real life to fire a real life weapon and to put all the bullets through the same hole…weapons come with a spray pattern resulting from  mechanical inaccuracies and recoil. The same goes for CS:GO, and advanced players have obviously learned to compensate for these issues, managing to condense their spray patterns into a neat, tight spot well worthy of envy.

How can you too compensate for the recoil and inaccuracy though? First of all, you need to understand how these factors are implemented in the game. The best way to determine the spray pattern of a given gun (like the AK-47 for instance) is to aim at a point on the wall and to fire a full clip, keeping the cursor steady. What results this way is a sort of a T-shaped pattern, which starts low, goes upward, then to the left and then side-to-side. Replicating the exact pattern is impossible due to inaccuracy, which adds randomness to it all. Inaccuracy is greater when you move, jump, climb or fire several shots in succession.

Recoil is something that’s present from the beginning, but weapons on full auto get more recoil added after every shot (the recoil-index is increased by 1). In the case of handguns this is done in a random manner, which makes it much trickier to compensate for.

Anyway, back to our AK-47: in order to compensate for recoil, advanced players push their crosshair down, then slightly to the right and then left, waving it side-to-side. This is obviously easier said than done, but it can indeed be done and this is the sort of compensation which results in much more tightly-packed bullet-impacts in one’s spray pattern.

Interestingly, the spray patterns of the AK-47 and the M4A1 are nearly identical, with a slight advantage for the M4A1. Even more interestingly, the use of a silencer brings about some radical improvement (especially for the M4A1). In fact, it can be said that with a silencer on, the M4A1 is the rifle with the smallest recoil in the game. Keep that in mind too when it comes to tightening up your spray pattern. The rest of it is practice. Proper recoil-compensation can only be accomplished through an almost unconscious, instinctive motion, which can only be mastered by those who truly “feel” the physics of the game.

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Peter Wassenberg
Having grown up on Starcraft and Heroes II-III, Peter Wassenberg joined the Gosugamers team in 2004. Although these days he can no longer afford to play as much as he would like to, he's still an avid gamer and he's taken a keen interest in the business side of the eSports scene. He's a firm believer that eSports are the future and that mainstream sports networks will sooner or later bring about a true revolution in the genre.