In this X-Ray we’re going to put to rest the age old argument of “30fps is all you can see”. Much like Gates’ “640k should be enough for everyone” statement (misappropriated as it is), the debate over just what frames per second you need on screen for a game to seem ‘smooth’ is full of mis-information. If you’re in the camp that believes 30fps is the limit of human vision, stop reading now as we don’t want to break your fragile world. And speaking of vision, the human eye is where we’ll start this journey.
The human eye is, as they say, a rather spiffy device. It’s capable of discerning an incredible range of colours and intensities of light, can dynamically adjust the amount of light that enters, and can focus on objects near and far with ease. It’s also an analogue device – no frames here, just constant signalling. We really perceive the world as a constant stream, and the annotation of frames per second we aspire to in games is all about duplicating this experience by rendering images so fast that the human eye can’t discern where one frame ends and another starts.
And just where is that boundary?