Scrooge McDuck: gaming 101

People keep asking me for advice on how to get good, and while there is a lot to getting good (and most of it involves practice) I always first ask about gear. Just like you wouldn’t try to paint a portrait with a paint roller, you need a bare minimum of decent gear to get good at an arena FPS. Somehow, no one ever wants to spend any money, because its a ‘hobby,’ and yet everyone wants ‘serious’ advice to get good... But I’ve been there, and I have the answer! With a very small investment you can put together a setup that won’t hold you back.


Sauerbraten will run on a toaster. Anything that gets you consistent fps equal to your monitor’s refresh rate (so between 60 and 144) is good enough, as long as you use community edition client (in vanilla, input is FPS dependent). Sync it with /maxfps (not vsync) and you’re all set. – $0


It doesn’t matter. People might tell you it matters, but it doesn’t. – $0


Monitors are complicated, but for gaming, the two important specs are input delay and refresh rate. Most cheap/old LCD monitors are 60hz, which is noticably blurry, and probably have significant input delay. Unfortunately, a good 120hz/1ms monitor is not cheap, period – but you can get a CRT! That’s right, the clunky old shitbox in your basement is actually your ticket to budget gaming perfection. It has no input delay, and because CRTs scan and then drop a new frame every refresh cycle (rather than a cheap LCD which leaves artifacts as the crystals transition) even a 60hz CRT will give you less blurry picture than you were getting with the 60hz LCD (instead, it will flicker, but this is preferable – you are not being given false and confusing information). Don’t ask me to explain it better than that – but the difference is something you can see instantly. I played with a CRT and a laptop for years before I had the money to buy nice stuff, and my performance skyrocketed. You will have to get used to 4:3 resolution though.
STILL – If you don’t have/want a CRT or the money for a 120hz (120hz is plenty, don’t let anyone tell you you need 144), don’t despair. Acuerta played on 60hz for years and kicked plenty of ass. And Achille just used his laptop monitor…
– $0, but you have to raid someone’s basement.


On this, there is no compromising. You need to get a competent mouse. Don’t have the money? Yes you do. Save ten dollars a week for a month, and you will be able to afford something that is more than up to the task.
First, a word about choosing mice. If possible, find the right mouse for your hand size and grip. For an arena FPS, you probably also want it to be light, and it needs to have a high performance sensor. The link below (no affiliation) is a great resource, and he has excellent comprehensive reviews of tons of mice suited to the job of pwning at Sauerbraten.

Find A Mouse

But screw all that. You’ve got 40 bucks, and you just need something that doesn’t suck. Here are a few ideas:
Nixeus Revel: Okay, its $45. But it has the top optical sensor (Pixart 3360) and has been quite well reviewed. I almost bought one when it was $35 on Massdrop and it would be my top choice to get something brand new for cheap.
Microsoft Wheel Mouse optical: Like the CRT, this is the garbage you have lying around that is actually a godsend. You can’t buy one of these new, and they will eventually break. You also need to overclock the polling rate (very easy). But they are top performers that you can literally find lying around (or buy used for 15 bucks at your own risk). Quake pros win 10k tournaments with these, seriously. Anyone remember Saiga/Fluttershy of Sauerbraten? This is the mouse he used to be an insta champion (he also used a CRT).
Steel Series Rival 100: Simple good mouse, $30 bucks on Amazon right now from Steel Series.
Logitech G303: $40 bucks on Amazon right now from Logitech. Solid ambidextrous mouse.
Logitech g100s: I’ve heard the buttons can break on these. But I’ve also heard they’re amazing for the price. $30 on Amazon from Logitech.

These are just a few options to prove that you can get a top performing mouse for the price of a cheap pair of shoes. So no complaining! YRMV, so always do your own research.


This depends a bit on the mouse you get. Maybe you can get away with a cardboard box or a dull hardcover book (I did) or just the desk. I would recommend just getting a nice mousepad though – the small size of the Steel Series qck is $10, with comparable prices from other manufacturers.

So there you have it – total price: ~ $50. Really, if you’re spending 5+ hours a week playing Sauerbraten, isn’t that worth it?

~ Good luck!


  1. swatllama

    Great guide – I appreciate that you’re pointing people towards cheap(er) mice rather than being one of the people who screams “DEATHADDER / other $80 USD mouse OR YOU CAN’T GET GOOD”. Pretty much, go for something of the style of a mid 90’s – 2000’s generic mouse and you’ll probably be ok. Maybe the HP mouse that came with your all-in-one isn’t a great choice, but it’s not disqualifying if it’s comfy.

    My mouse progression went (10 yearsish? Frosty and Skillz also used this for a long time) to that for effic and logitech g300 for insta (why? Cause I was quite adaptable in my youth and the g300’s scroll wheel sucked but I paid $40 and it felt nice) (I think 3 years) -> Roccat Kova + (8 months) -> Razer Abyssus (1 month, got a replacement, also 1 month for that =P) -> Microsoft wmo -> Still works but this one’s scrollwheel also isn’t great.

    RIght now, my keyboard is some piece of shit. I’d like a mechanical again, but it makes no difference for gaming and keeps other people awake.

    Mousepad: I’m on the qck+ from SteelSeries because I somewhat had the space. I don’t use most of it. Before this, I used some generic, but that didn’t fit snugly and slid around my desk. Until 2014 (I think), I played on a piece of chipboard. It’s like plywood. It was bumpy, but I’d been using that shit for decades, so no discomfort there.

    One thing you didn’t mention was sound! For ffa, my favourite setup is the right speaker on the right, the left speaker on the left, and the subwoofer kind of to the right and in front. Gives great directional sound :D I’ve been told that some people use headsets, which may give better directional sound, but I am not used to them so I seem to make more misjudgements with them.

    1. notas

      You’re absolutely right that sound is important, but I would say this guide is about unlocking the ability to improve to the point where things like precise positional audio are what’s making the difference in your games, at which point you can decide for yourself how to address them. Whatever they’re already using is fine for the time being – $0

      For what it’s worth, I think headsets are a waste of money. Get a pair of nice open back headphones (open back always feels more spatially detailed to me) and then get a 3 dollar mic and clip/tape it to the headphones or desk.

  2. star

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    ZahariaHome: GPU Clock:+55 Mhz
    ZahariaHome: i have like GTX 1060 3GB?
    ZahariaHome: 1.073.67 RON GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 3GB DDR5 192-bit
    ZahariaHome: CUDA Cores 1152

    1.6mb!!!! 1 . 6 m b !!!!!!!

  3. DAI

    ORLY? 1 day before this post I made a post where I explained how did I improve, and 1 day after, I see this in sauerworld… coincidence?

    1. notas

      did you make this post on the back of a bathroom stall? I never saw it

      also my guide doesn’t advise cheating LOL

    2. Acuerta

      Make a tutorial on how to be as obnoxious as humanly possible. Could turn into your biggest contribution to mankind.

  4. Friteq

    I have to agree that mouse and mousepad are important things. I use SS Rival and I highly recommend it, about mousepad…Tesoro Aegis ;)

  5. notas

    Since I wrote this guide yesterday I have ALREADY had another discussion with someone who didn’t think it was worth it to buy a gaming mouse to replace their current (broken!) regular mouse. I don’t get you people. If your hobby was dirt bikes you wouldn’t ride a tricycle. If you played basketball you wouldn’t wear sandals. I am totally aware that you can get ‘pretty good’ if your ‘regular’ mouse happens to be on the less shitty side of the scale. But a good mouse will unlock skill you didn’t know you had. Every single time I have upgraded my mouse I have started aiming better. You are already spending 15-20 dollars on your new ‘regular’ mouse, don’t tell me you can’t afford 20 more for something you are using 5+ hrs a week for years. Just cut the trips to McDonald’s for a month, bam, you’ve got a nice mouse and you’re also healthier

  6. greenadiss

    Nice post notas, it’s so true. Recently I upgraded my PC so now I don’t experience this annoying FPS-lag in game which used to happen in some really important moments but I still play like before, didn’t get skilled at all. Strong computers won’t make you stronger if your old PC could handle sauer with (almost) no FPS-lag, though they can make you less nervous during games :D

    About mousepads: I use my Razer Goliathus Control (alpha size) for like 4 years already and it looks almost like new (if you close your eyes on the scratches my DESTROYERS made on it). The texture of this mousepad isn’t too smooth, it helps to control your mouse more precise. That’s what I like about it. Also this texture is nice for sandy environments because you won’t really feel small sand particles which are so annoying when they occure during games :D
    During the years of the use of golizthus I have tried some other mousepads like Qck+ (borrowed from my brother) which wasn’t bad but way too smooth for my SS Sensei and deathadder which I had before.

    Some words about monitors: I am not sure how a CRT monitor can help someone like me, who just isn’t skilled enough to feel the difference. Even if I somehow find the difference, I am sure it won’t make a big influence on my skill, so it’s pretty useless, at least in my case.

    And of course sound: Having a good sound system helps a lot since you can easily detect the source and location of the in-game sounds.

    1. notas

      I had a goliathus control for some time, it was not for me. I’ve been using goliathus speed for a long time since and its much better, the low friction is what my style needs. If i needed to replace it I would get something less obnoxious (stupid razer design) but unfortunately it seems like it will last forever.

      About monitors, its not something you feel, its something you see! You can’t say it won’t make a difference without ever trying it. I understand that not everyone wants to deal with a big old bulky CRT – neither did I long term, so I bought a refurbished asus vg248 once I could. But I assure you, 60hz LCD is a handicap, even if CRT/120 or 144hz LCD might not be enough to turn you pro ;-D

      1. starch

        Ha, ive used the goliathus control for years, and my style has always included heavy mice and as much friction as possible.

    2. Acuerta

      You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference a 120/144 hz monitor makes.

      Not necessarily in terms of skill improvement (which is definitely there!), but I daresay that people who’ve played on such a monitor would NEVER EVER play on a 60hz monitor again.

      1. swatllama

        I used to play on a CRT, although that was only briefly in my sauer history and when I was worse.
        My old screen (5:4 but I ran 1024×768) ran at 75hz. This screen (16:10, 1680×1050) is 59hz – YES 59, I don’t know why. I cannot tell a difference. I did not suddenly start playing worse once I got adjusted to the different dimensions.

        When I briefly had to use my brother’s 16:9 -> 1920×1080 monitor @ 60hz, I played much worse, but there were a lot of factors like 16:9 being cancer and the screen itself being crap and appearing at less than 59hz.

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