60FPS, Necessary for Action Platformers?

Do you think 60fps is necessary for action or platformer games?

No. It’s nice, but it’s not totally necessary. It’s not something I’d mark a game down for, but I’d leave a demerit. The faster the pace, the worse low FPS is. If it’s something like Marvel versus Capcom or Smash Bros, then less than 60 FPS is actively hazardous. For RTS games, it can run at 24 FPS and work fine. Brood War ran at that. DMC4 is fast enough that 30 fps is a detriment too.

FPS is more important than resolution, neither are be-all and end-all. Both are more important than graphical fidelity, which I feel is the common tradeoff. We don’t need so many elements making draw calls. We can honestly live with less.

Having low FPS makes it harder to see what is going on when something fast happens. It hurts fast games the most. Higher FPS is always better, 60 FPS is what should ideally be the minimum, but the market does not respond to this, and developers generally do not care. Higher fidelity graphics tends to work better in marketing, because it is more clearly demonstrable. Most people claim they cannot see the difference between different framerates, and their purchase tendencies seem to reflect this.

An animator would argue that there are a lot of effects that are put into even 24 FPS animation that people cannot see, but they feel. For example this tends to be true of impacts, like punching people or crashing into things. A common trick is to have the object touch the surface of impact for a frame before the impact happens, to make it feel slightly stronger, or to have the object stretch to the point of impact the frame before it impacts to make it feel even stronger. The audience won’t notice this, but they’ll feel that there is more transition between frames, so the impact will feel stronger in a completely unrealistic way that never the less works.

I think it’s reasonable to extend this to the 60FPS phenomena, even if people cannot consciously perceive the difference, they will still have a clearer perception of what is going on over time.

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