Yes, I’m aware that there is not much movement at all when gaming, besides your eyes and hands. There’s no running involved (there should be), nor is there any real risk of your breathing becoming particularly difficult (if it does, consult your physician). However, I think adding a little torso movement to your FPS pwning might be beneficial.
Here’s what I mean: playing Red Orchestra 2, I found myself trying to see under something my character occasionally looked beneath. In reality, of course, there’s no physical way to alter what your in game character sees at any single moment.
However, I think there’s something to be said for the psychology of the movement, the effect it has on your in game mindset.
Are you six feet under the surface?
This theory does, of course, rely on your immersion into the game you’re playing. If it’s something like Call of Duty where your split second reactions mean life or death by chopper gunner/nuke, the kind of thing I’m talking about here is less applicable. However, for slower games where actual thought, rather than instinct alone, plays a role, I think there’s something to be said. RO2 is certainly more than slow enough, as is Battlefield at some points. TF2 slows down if you make it do so, or you play a more passive class in a casual server. Speed, however, is not everything. If you aren’t sucked into the game at a certain level, this doesn’t work. If games don’t do that for you, go ahead and stop reading here. For the rest of the article, I’m going to assume your game of choice puts you in that illusive zone.
Action before application
Before I go into how to put this idea into practice, here’s a few ways, stress on few, to move as you play. Some of these will occur on their own based on how you act in real life, but putting conscious effort into acting more like you would in the real world in-game might be beneficial.
Lean to Look: This movement is what precipitated this article. If you’re looking around a corner, under or over a wall/ledge, rise or slouch so that if said wall/ledge were real, you’d have a better view around/over/under it. You don’t have to get out of your comfy chair, but I think it’s surprising how this changes perspective.
Quick Gasp: I do this when I Axtinguish someone in TF2; my chest clenches and I lean forward slightly. The Pyro him/herself might do the same, or at least, I think he/she does. If you imagine your in-game avatar gasping in surprise or in preparation for some strenuous action, do so yourself. Try it.
Squint: This does sometimes provide some physical benefits, but for the sake of this article, again put your eyes in the head of the person you control. Would the sniper squint his scope-eye?
Head-tilt: I know that when I come across something that seems weird, I tilt my head to the side and grimace slightly. If you’re playing and something out of the ordinary occurs that the in game character reacts to (being hit by Jarate, for example), react with them. Cringe or stick your tongue out.
Kick the air: I don’t recommend this if you game with your feet near a wall, but if there’s free room and there’s in-game kicking going on, try it. Make it a small motion, lest something break, but maybe there’s something to this.
Why this could work
If I know the gamer’s mind well enough**, I know that the best of them lose themselves in the game they’re playing at that moment. The best wouldn’t be the best if they didn’t cut themselves from the real world for the sake of a ten minute feast of destruction. What I’m suggesting here is a way, I hope, to help you get closer to that level of mental commitment. If your standard, real world actions and reactions begin interfacing with a game you’re lost in, I think your mind will forget almost completely the break from reality games give you. All this done, your physical self is connected to the game world only through your hands and your mind fooled into thinking the hands on the screen are those on the mouse and keyboard/controller. I’d assume such an innate connection speeds up reaction time by a couple instants, getting those kills otherwise out of reach. I could repeat the above info in a dozen different ways, but I hope you’ve got my drift.
And if any of you have been trained in human psychology or mind-body interaction, please correct any incorrect assumptions I make here. I don’t want to be giving information not based at least partly on actual science.
*I do not have nor profess to possess any actual psychological training. I just don’t mind looking weird when I play.
** I mean this in a general sense, not to any particular group of gamers, like CoD kids or PC elitists.