Fingers pressing the WASD keys on a keyboard.
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To improve your movement in a first-person shooter, you must understand that movement is getting from one point to another with good decision-making. Good decisions make you a harder target and leave your opponents confused and guessing where you’ll be.

Understanding What Movement Is

Without thinking about it, it might sound obvious what movement in first-person shooters is. You’d think it’s just how you move in the game, but there’s a lot more to it. A player’s movement is the decision-making that gets them from one point to another. It’s how a player positions themselves to have the upper hand.

In most first-person shooters, having good movement differentiates professionals from good and bad players. Having good movement has a lot of technical aspects to it, but it’s easy to understand. However, it’s not as easy to implement in-game, primarily because it depends on making good decisions.

Let’s go through a basic example of finding the opposing enemy and shooting them down. If you and your opponent know where each other are, it’s not a good idea to run directly at them in a straight line. Doing so makes you an easy target to shoot at. Instead, you’ll want to move unpredictably, so it’s harder for you to get hit. You’ll also want to get yourself in an advantageous or unexpected position to fire at them.

Again, how you move is all about decision-making. Running directly at your opponent is poor decision-making. Throwing some kind of smoke grenade to block your opponent’s vision and then running through the smoke for a surprise attack is good decision-making because it’s unexpected.

Running into a building with multiple exits is also good decision-making because your opponent won’t know where you’re coming from. It all depends on the situation and what you think is the best course of action.

The point is that there’s a lot more to moving from one point to another in FPS. Having good movement requires good decision-making. The more you play, the better decisions you’ll make over time. It’ll come naturally with experience and practice.

Mastering Movement Keys

Movement keys are what move you in a first-person shooter. The forward movement key moves you forward and the back movement key moves you back. It’s pretty straightforward. Depending on the game, you might have additional keys.

There could be a sprint key, jumping key, crouching key, and even flying key. Regardless of the number of movement keys, you’ll want to master all of them. If you can master them, you give yourself more options to move unpredictably. The more unpredictable you are, the better your movement will be.

Mastering a key isn’t as simple as knowing what it does. It’s about using it in conjunction with other keys to make yourself a difficult target to hit. It’s also about leaving your opponents wandering, confused, or afraid of where you’ll be.

Imagine you’re hiding behind a very wide box, and you’re shooting at an enemy. If you crouch, your opponent can’t see you anymore. If you stay crouched for five seconds, your enemy won’t know if you’re coming from the left or right side of the box or if you’re still in the same spot if you uncrouch! This is a basic example to give you an idea of using a single movement key to keep your opponents guessing.

Watch the Pros

Similar to watching professional sports, you can learn a lot by watching professional FPS gamers. One of the most popular sites to watch the pros is twitch.tv. On Twitch, you can watch a streamer’s recent broadcasts to pause and rewind the gameplay.

As you’re observing, pretend as if you were playing and ask yourself how you would move to get the next kill. Then, compare what you would’ve done with what the professional did. Try to figure out why the pro moved the way they did and compare it to what you thought of.

You don’t always have to compare, either. As you’re spectating from the professional’s point of view, try to understand how they move and see if you can incorporate anything into your own movement. Don’t just watch, learn.

And remember that there is no correct way to move in FPS. There’s only good movement and bad movement. Both can succeed and fail. However, good movement will yield better and more consistent results in the long run.

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Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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