Why do we need 60fps or don’t need it?

In the current generation, many titles have selected 30fps or less, because the GPU of the current generation isn’t powerful enough. But, you can play an action game in 30 fps? Less frame rate means that you get less amount of information per second from screen. By that, many action games had to become easier, I think. For example, some games help users to modify jump behavior. When we tap a jump button around the edge of platforms in these games, it makes sure that our player character reaches to other one. When he can’t reach, he ignores that we’ve been tapping a jump button. Instead of that, these games provide beautiful graphics and good story. I love and enjoy it!

But, I want to research why some games still need 60fps. I think frame rate is a kind of resolution of information. So 30fps gives some impact to any users including core gamers who have played almost all games in 30fps.

In a fact, Japanese arcade games are basically 60fps. It’s difficult to create 60fps games in less power GPU and smaller project’s budget. But developers try to keep 60fps. Some developers prepare special hardware to keep it.

I think there are two reasons why we should do that;

One of them is that there are many action games. It needs more resolution of information per second. If the game program of these games helps a player to jump or other actions, he/she never get gameover and might play the game throughout a day with $1. We should give more amount of information which players need, instead of that we don’t support their control. It’s fair.

Another one is that arcade games are for normal people. For example, a father plays drive games with his child in an amusement center. He drives his car daily, but he may not play games often. Delay and less frame rate make him feel bad, because the real world doesn’t have delay and “frame rate”. No delay is also important for kids.

My guess is that “30fps is enough for watching movie. But, 30fps isn’t enough for normal people to interact the game world as the real world”.

And I want to know what should I do when I create 30fps games for normal people. For example, “keep speed of camera movement under [X]”. Even if I use 2.5D motion bluer post effect, it might not cover some pixels that move in screen from outside.

In the next generation, are many studios keeping 30fps? I’m interesting that.

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3 Responses to Why do we need 60fps or don’t need it?

  1. Graeme says:

    I remember about 5 or 6 years ago some of the reason people started suggesting 30 fps was because of hardware occlusion culling where the occlusion information was only available the next frame. I think that might have been a reason that the 60 fps people started thinking it was worth investigating how a game feels at 30 fps. Then it eventually became acceptable to do it to up the graphics level, I think. But there might be other reasons also.

    I think one problem that comes up now that didn’t in the past is that we have tools for designers to build the game themselves and they can create scenarios where the frame rate will drop a lot. If you lock at 30 fps you give the designers more room to work in because it’s much worse to have the frame rate vary than to just cap it lower.

    But I agree with you that 60 fps is better. My comments are really just excuses for why this happened.

    One thing I’ve wanted to try is to always poll input at twice the target frame rate and see how that feels. Even though less information gets to the player, he can accomplish a full button press and release with less latency. Have you ever tried this?

    As for your final question; what do you consider next generation hardware to be?

  2. minahito says:

    I agree with you that it’s worse to have the frame rate vary than to just cap it lower. So it’s really difficult to keep 60fps throughout the game. In the previous product, I and game designers had changed level design many times. I like 30fps and want designers to create game without strongly limitation.

    I’ve tried to frequent pull input and lower frame rate. When I tried to play our example game with polling input per 1/60 sec and 20fps rendering, I felt that the functionality of the input device was random, even if our game interpolated character’s movement. I think players can’t trust the input device of such games and don’t want to pay $1 to play the games.

    Polling input per 1/60 sec and 30fps rendering was not bad. However, as I wrote on this entry, I think it won’t fit into some kind of arcade action game, because players still feel delay.

    Generally, arcade games kill a player in three minutes, if he didn’t develop his skill enough. But, it must be fair. It’s not fair that enemies’ attack is too quickly on 30fps game. In addition, recently arcade games have LED monitor not CRT, so the delay of these is 3-4 frames on 30fps.

    But I may have another solution to keep fair when I create 30fps game.

    Imagine that a player must dodge quickly from CPU enemies’ attack in a 30fps arcade game. If 30fps doesn’t warn enough to the player when the enemies attack to him, the arcade game can take another way such as a special peripheral or another output system. For example, we may make the input device have a solenoid switch to vibrate it to warn enemies’ attack for the player. Or, we may play warning sound through the specific speaker that doesn’t sync with the display. Because, the solenoid switch needs a moment to start moving and amusement centers want to turn off speakers of arcade machines :(, these are not perfect solution. But arcade game makers can have some ideas and reflect to the hardware design of the game.

    As for your final question; what do you consider next generation hardware to be?

    I think that some developers will use the performance of those hardwares to realize 1080p and 60fps, because they don’t find the way to invest fully the performance into appearance. In a fact, many arcade game developers don’t have large budget, I think they (we) won’t prepare a large number of high quality assets. They will use the performance for highly resolution (including 4K or stereoscopic) and highly frame rate. If new techniques like Forward+ will get speed back to rendering, many developers will focus on high frame rate. But, when next generation console runs with 4K display, the game must be half frame rate.

    Anyway, all developers will be able to have many options.

  3. Graeme says:

    I’ve only ever worked on one vs many action games on consoles. On these games 30 fps was always good enough. But I guess it is a different challenge for the arcade. If you expect to only play for a few minutes then you probably want a higher quality experience for your ¥100. On a console game it is usually fine to make the player feel over powering and let them play longer because they already paid ¥8000 for your game.

    Even though we have good rumble and sound on consoles, none of the games that I’ve worked on ever used them to warn the player like you described. We would occasionally time-scale the enemy’s attack animation while it was playing so that the wind-up frames were a little slower to give the player a hint. We would also keep the attack collision capsules small until the frame that the attack should land was reached. Then we would scale it up again. This way if the player tried to dodge a little bit late, but not too late, they wouldn’t be punished too badly. Also, the second that the dodge button was pressed we would scale down the player’s defense capsules so they were harder to hit for the entire dodge animation. If you can lock to 30 fps then you can usually balance this so that it feels okay.

    I think it will be interesting to see how well the 4k TVs do when they arrive. The difference between 720p and 1080p is already difficult to notice unless your TV is bigger than around 32 inches. So who will rush out to buy a 4k TV? Therefore, I agree with you that if the next generation hardware has enough fill rate to handle 4k, I would rather use that power to do 1080p at 60 fps.

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