I play all of my games at the highest refresh rate possible. For me, right now, that’s 144hz. Playing Overwatch, or any competitive shooter, at a high refresh rate feel the difference in my reaction time and my ability to see micro movements. My gameplay is smoother as a result.
Needless to say, I’m hooked. I bought a 144hz gaming monitor recently to make this dream a reality.
Now after this purchase, when talking with my brother about my upgrade, he asked me a bizarre question, “Does a 144hz monitor affect your GPU performances?” I explained to him that no, a 144hz monitor doesn’t affect the performance of the GPU in anyway. The GPU only sends a video signal to the monitor.
Through that conversation, it dawned on me that a lot of gamers don’t understand the relationship between the display and graphic output of the PC. A 144hz monitor isn’t going to cause any strain or heating issues with the GPU. So let’s clear up a few misconceptions and dive deeper into why this is the case.
Refresh rate is the number of times per second a screen is updated. This is expressed as a frequency, hertz (hz). A monitor that displays at 60hz will show 60 screens per second. At 144hz the screen can update 144 times per second.
In order to get the full benefit of a monitor, your gaming PC must be producing a FPS that matches or exceeds the the monitor’s refresh rate. For a 144hz monitor to fill all 144 frames, the output device needs to spit out 144 frames or more.
In short, to maximize a 144hz monitor in Overwatch, my PC needed needed to hit 144 FPS or higher. That FPS can be achieved in any number of ways. I needed to upgrade my GPU to increase and drop my settings down to medium to make this a reality.
Now keep in mind, pushing upwards of 150 FPS doesn’t benefit anyone with 144hz monitor. The monitor cannot display all those frames. Pushing for a FPS higher than a monitors refresh rate will help prevent frame drops during heavy action sequences and large fights.
Monitors won’t increase or decrease the FPS of a computer. It’s not going make your GPU hotter or overworked. You gaming PC runs completely independently from the monitor itself.
With that said, to hit the FPS needed to maximize you will need a strong GPU as it needs to have enough horsepower to draw all those frames. For most readers of this blog, that likely means you’ll have to lower the settings in your preferred game and possibly upgrade like I did to get the needed FPS.
Will a 144hz Monitor Make You Better
Being able to see a higher FPS will improve the smoothness action your seeing. Movement will be more fluid and visual information will be displayed more quickly on the screen. This combination will allow some gamers to be able to react sooner based on the what they’re seeing.
Are you going to be a pro gamer after buying a 144hz monitor. Of course not! There’s a lot of skill in understanding your opponent’s movements, mouse control, eye hand coordination, etc. A new monitor isn’t going to help with that.
As a college student, I’m cheap as hell but I also love playing Overwatch. The different play styles that each hero brings to the game makes for a fascinating variety of gameplay combinations. Getting that final push, in overtime, to win the game can be so sweet.
Playing Overwatch on my low-end PC was an interesting experience. Building a respectable gaming PC on a budget can be tough. Trying to upgrade a graphics card on a part-time, minimum wage was not fun. I imagine many others out there have been in a similar position as me. Luckily, Overwatch is a game that is capable of running on even some of the weakest PCs. It’s very well optimized which makes shopping for a GPU that much easier.
Helping others maximize their Overwatch experience by upgrading with budget GPU is why I wrote this guide. I’ve been gaming on low end PCs most of my life. Making due with pre-built Dell Inspirons and scraping enough together to get discount components it something for most of my life. Gaming cheap ain’t easy, but the below GPUs will allow you to better play Overwatch on multiple settings.
Discrete Desktop Graphics
Nvidia GTX 1050 TI
I was the proud owner of a Nvidia GTX 1050 TI For a long time (I’ve since upgraded and sold the card). But when I was using it as my main card it would kick butt for Overwatch. With Ultra settings, I could easily get 60 FPS at 1080p and very rarely drop any lower. At low settings I was able to get in the 120-150 FPS range at 1080p, which is useful if you have a 120hz or 144hz monitor.
With 4gb of GDDR5 memory, DirectX 12 support and no need for an extra power connector, it’s perfect for a budget friendly build. The GTX 1050 TI is more than enough to run Overwatch and almost any other game you could throw at it. Fortnite and CS:Go all run fantastic at 1080p. Even something more intense like GTA V would run at 60+ FPS.
AMD Radeon RX 560 and Nvidia GTX 1050
Both the RX 560 and GTX 1050 are slightly weaker, but also cheaper, versions of the GTX 1050 TI. In fact, according to Techspot’s benchmarks, 90+ FPS was easily obtained at high settings and the GTX 1050 TI only out performed them by about 6%. These cards are about $40-$50 cheaper too. If all you’re looking to play was Overwatch, I’d save the money and buy either the RX 560 or GTX 1050.
Nvidia GT 1030
A while ago, my dad purchased a Nvidia GT 1030 so he could scratch that gamer itch of his. Obviously, he’s not exactly a pro-gamer but it was the perfect card for him. It’s low profile, so this GPU fits into his slim, pre-built computer. The processor paired with it is a 7th generation Intel Pentium G so there was no throttling. He gets solid performance in all his favorite games, Counter Strike: Go and Fortnite. And most importantly, this card is less than $100 dollars, so he didn’t need to spend a bunch of money to upgrade his computer to play games
Anyway, the GT 1030 gives him pretty solid performance in Overwatch. At medium settings, 1080p is playable at 50-60 FPS. Looking over his shoulder and from what I play tested on his machine, it certainly feels smooth. Dropping down to low settings will see a higher FPS in the 80-100 FPS range.
Similar Card: AMD RX 550
Nvidia GT 710
Shockingly, Overwatch is totally playable on a GT 710 (or 710m or 840m, it’s mobile equivalents). These cards are definitely not meant for gaming but, with low settings, 1080p at 50-60 FPS is completely achievable. Frame dips will be a problem in hectic gameplay but staying above 30 FPS is possible.
The GT 710 is really meant for small office computers that need multiple display outputs. As a result it’s passively cooled which means no noise. With only 1.8 gbps DDR3 memory, this card’s tech is a few generations old, however, there’s just enough horsepower to play Overwatch and other eSport titles.
AMD Vega 8 (Ryzen 3 2200g)
If you’re looking to build a new gaming rig, but need to save some money, buy an AMD Ryzen 3 2200g and use the Vega 8 APU instead of a dedicated graphics card. This is what I did initially before upgrading to my new video card.
I was able to achieve a very serviceable 50-60 FPS playing Overwatch at 1080p with medium settings. Using an APU does have some disadvantages in terms of gaming performance and other costs. The Vega 8 shares memory with the overall system. Ideally, I had to set aside 2 GBs of VRAM for optimal performance. Even then I found I occasionally dipped down to 35 FPS. A dedicated graphics card would see less severe drops.
Cost is also an issue when considering AMD’s APU. The Ryzen series requires a motherboard with an AM4 socket and DDR4 memory. Both of those have only recently been released. As a result, you’ll likely have to buy new hardware to utilize the Vega 8 making this a viable solution only with new builds. If you do opt to build around the Vega 8, you’ll have a solid gaming PC with a nice upgrade path if you choose to purchase a dedicated graphic card in the future.
Intel HD 630, Intel UHD 620, Intel UHD 630
Intel CPUs also have an onboard graphics chip so dedicated graphics aren’t necessary. From my play testing on a friend’s computer , the Intel HD and UHD chips are not nearly as powerful as the Vega 8. They are capable of playing Overwatch, however, the closest I could get to 60 FPS was at 720p with low settings. All the feedback I’ve found online seem to confirm this fact.
Finding a Deal and Buying Used
It can be difficult buying used graphic cards in this day and age. Specifically due to cryptocurrency mining and the high stress this process puts on the card. After about a year, these miners will dump the card on the market hoping to make some money back.
Generally speaking, I don’t recommend buying used GPUs to most of my friends. However, if you find a reputable dealer, preferably with solid reviews, it can be worth taking the dive. With used cards it’s all about price vs performance. If you do go down this route, here are some older generation cards that you could scout for:
GTX 750 ti
Thank goodness Overwatch is so well optimized for low-end PCs. It makes being a broke gamer so much easier. The GTX 150 and RX 560 are probably the best deals out there right now if you’re looking for a GPU at a reasonable price. But honestly, Overwatch is playable on pretty much any hardware; So, choose the best card you can afford and get to playing.
If you have a question about the right GPU for you, leave a comment below.
Mousepads are a critical piece of gear for Overwatch players. That’s because the mousepad directly affects your ability to aim with the accuracy that a top level player would desire. If you bought an expensive, high-end gaming mouse and are using a cheap, flimsy mousepad, you’re performance is still going to suffer. The best mousepads for Overwatch will have a smooth, low friction surface allowing for better mouse tracking and more precise control.
Continue reading below for a rundown of the more popular mousepads among Overwatch pro players. Luckily, they’re all inexpensive, so you won’t break the bank for quality.
SteelSeries QCK Gaming Mouse Pad
The QCK is a ginormous cloth mousepad with rubber matting for grip and . It’s durable and never going to move during gameplay. Just as important, it’s soft enough to rest your wrist on while playing.
Pro Overwatch players love this mat because of its size. At 18 inches by 16 inches, low sensitivity players can make nearly 360 degree turns if they want to. Great control, smooth surface, great mousepad. The QCK is my personal mousepad of choice.
Razer Goliathus Control Edition Gaming Mouse Mat
Razer knows what gamers want. The Razer Goliathus comes in many size configurations perfect for any DPI or mouse sensitivity settings. The Small version is 9 inch by 11 inch, the Large version 14 inches by 17.5 inches, and the Extended version is at 12 inches by 36 inches (that’s crazy wide).
Frictionless and smooth, this pad could easily improve your game by itself. The Control edition is perfect for anyone looking for precise aim and mouse tracking. Also, that green is pretty dope.
Glorious XL Gaming Mouse Pad
While cheaper than the other brands listed here, don’t confuse this with poor quality. Glorious makes a pretty good all-around gaming mousepad. The mouse glides nicely on the surface, edges are stitched to prevent fraying, and has a very comfortable overall feel.
Zowie Gear Large Gaming Mouse Pad (G-SR)
Mouse speed is what you’re really going to notice with the Zowie Gear G-SR. Gliding the mouse from one side to the other never felt easier. This is one of the slicker mouse pads to own with some very smooth tracking. It’s size is similar to the SteelSeries Qck. The only downer is the cost, Zowie tends to be more expensive than the other brands.
Additional Tips for Buying a Mousepad
Size Does Matter…
Ever wonder how the pros get those tight head shots with such narrow sightlines? The key is low mouse sensitivity and turning off mouse acceleration to get smoother, more consistent aim control. Because of these settings, the mousepad needs to be larger to accommodate the extra distance the mouse needs to travel at those settings. Otherwise, you’ll constantly be lifting your hand every time you try to turn a corner, which is an effective way of getting fragged. Overwatch, Fortnite and Counter Strike players generally prefer something that’s well over 12 in (30 cm) wide.
Heavy vs Thin
Heavier (i.e. thicker) mats will help mask issues with the surface of your desk. Bumps, dips or large scratches will be less of a problem. That’s why when given the choice, I always go heavy.
Of course, some folks hate having their hands that extra distance from the desk. Some players feel like they have to lift their arm to properly aim using a heavy pad. If you’re in a similar boat, then you should buy a thinner mousepad.
Hard vs Soft Cloth
Personal preference is going to be the key here. Because mousepads are relatively cheap, I typically recommend trying both before making a long term decision. What feels right to one player, feels wrong to another. With that said, here are my general feeling towards both:
A hard surface (usually aluminum or plastic) will usefully provide less friction and smoother surface which is great for those wannabe AWPers out there. However, if you suffer from sweaty palm syndrome like I do, your hand will stick to this type of surface. And if you don’t take special care, any scratches or bumps on the surface can cause a optical mouse to freak out.
Soft cloth surfaces dare I say are the most commonly used for any First Person Shooter, including Overwatch. There’s a bit more friction but a soft surface is consistent, which is ultimately the biggest factor. If it gets dirty, throw it in the wash machine and it’s good as new. The real downer is the the edges can get frayed, but that doesn’t affect gameplay so I don’t get too worried about it.
Sweat makes the surface sticky, increasing friction as you play.
Grit, crumbs and debris can catch the mouse
Bumps, folds, scratches, or imperfections on surface can cause mouse pointer to dart
Consistent surface from the beginning to the end of a match
Toss in the washing machine to clean
Hard to scuff surface
Can fray if not properly stitched along the edges.
Stardew Valley is an impressive game. Clearly inspired by the Harvest Moon series, it has many of the trappings of an SNES classic.
How do you make a game like this? Eric Barone is the one-man development team of ConcernedApe. The game engine was development from scratch in C# using the XNA api beginning in 2011. An interesting decision to say the least.
Why the Creator Would Recommend Not Going This Route?
Game development is hard work. Programming a game engine on top of that is even harder. By choosing to create the engine from the ground up, Eric took on the work of generating the code for every facet. Low level procedures such as loading in sprites and music must be created before you could ever see a character walking around on screen. It’s a strategy he wouldn’t recommend new developers using.
It’s easy to take for granted the type of things game engines take care of for you as a developer. Games are about systems that can give players a sense of accomplishment. They’re a mix of visuals, music, and play styles that resulting in some impressive interactive art. As a game designer, building the game is the most time consuming aspect of development, so avoiding the mechanisms of the game’s underlying engine is of great benefit.
Engines for Making a Game Like Stardew Valley
To start if you’re an aspiring game developer, it’s best to avoid creating your own game engine. Coding a game from scratch can be very rewarding if you’re a computer programming wise, however, it’s extremely time consuming. Stardew Valley took over 4 years to create in its entirety, including the art, music, and game engine.
Odds are there’s engines out there that you can take advantage of immediately. Tools matter less than execution. Players can only judge your product by how well it plays, not the tools you use. Below is a list of engines to explore:
Scratch is perhaps the simplest 2D game engine to get you started. It’s a tool for creating game and visual art without the need for complex programming languages. Designed by MIT, with middle schoolers in mind, Scratch is great for anyone new to designing video games. The interactive, web-based editor allows you to start experimenting quickly. I find Scratch is great for prototyping.
Construct is based in HTML5 so your games can run in any browser. In addition, you can port your game to several platforms including mobile (IOS, Android) or Console (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo). Again, it doesn’t require typical game programming, but many commercial companies have used this engine.
Game Maker is likely the most popular indie 2D game development engine out their. Many popular games, such as Hyper Light Drifter and Hotline Miami, were crafted using this tool. It has it’s own scripting language (GML) and can compile games to all major platforms.
The remaster for Capcom’s classic for Resident Evil 2 is out and it’s a beautiful mix of new mechanics and old-school gameplay. Many of the elements you remember from the original game are present but remixed.
Enemies have a new set of rules. For instance, Lickers are as violent as ever but blind. If you sneak by quietly by walking slowly, you can move out of harms way without being attacked. Regular are now bullet sponges; You have to get a couple head shots on them to kill them for good.
Luckily, many of the things you probably loved from the original. Ammo is a scarce resource. You’ll often be weighing the decision of shooting zombies or skirting by to conserve ammo for the bosses. All those weird esoteric puzzles are back too. Why are there key’s based playing card emblems? Who cares when a tyrant is chasing you!
The remake brings with it the over the shoulder, third-person camera angle popularized since the fourth game. Thank god, no more tank controls. Leon and Claire are a little slow turning but there’s button for you to turn 180 to quickly get away from trouble.
What The Critics Are Saying
Pierce Turner of Gaming Trend gave the game a perfect score. He was particularly into the suspense the Resident Evil 2 offers. Many of the boss fights will come done to that last bullet or healing herb. All the enemies, even the typical zombie, are a danger to be leery of.
Alessandro Fillari of Gamespot loves the atmosphere of the game. He notes how “you’ll rarely feel safe in Resident Evil 2, even if you are.” The eerie sounds and blood splatter hallways make for a disturbing scene. Because everything has been reworked to account for the over-the-shoulder controls, there’s more opportunity to really soak in the environments.
Zak Wojnar of Screenrant was disappointed that the interplay between Claire and Leon. The differences between the two scenarios are downplayed and, unlike the original, you’re decisions in one scenario won’t impact the other. However, he still gives the game 4 out 5 stars because it’s such a fresh take on the original game.
So, What You Waiting For?
As big fan of the original game, especially the N64 version, I cannot wait any longer to jump into this remake of Resident Evil 2. It’s out now for Xbox One, PS4 and PC for $60. I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be playing this weekend!