Bluepoint Games Discusses 30 FPS And 60 FPS For Titanfall
The next generation of consoles has brought about a massive interest in the technical side of graphics, particularly with resolution and frame rate. Often we hear developers claiming that they prefer 30 fps for whatever reasons, whether its practicality or claims about the ‘cinematic experience’, while not a whole lot of games actually manage to hit a constant 60 fps. Many PS4 games, however, feature unlocked frame rates which allow them to go over 30, and games like Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and Killzone: Shadow Fall are on this list. Titanfall for Xbox One is another.
Bluepoint’s president Andy O’Neill discussed the issue in a recent interview with Digital Foundry, elaborating on the 30 vs 60 fps debate and explaining why developers usually go for a locked 30 fps rather than aim for 60 fps or an unlocked frame rate.
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In case you need a slight reminder, Bluepoint Games are the guys behind the Titanfall port on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 version ran at an unlocked frame rate which came at the cost of screen tearing. However the game also had a locked 30 fps option for players’ preferences. Andy spoke about the reason as to why Bluepoint opted for an unlocked frame rate.
We’d set a 30fps cap for large scale test, and it had ‘stuck’ due to concerns about tearing with a variable frame-rate. While we were working on the day-one patch, we snuck in a 60Hz on/off option and didn’t tell anyone about it. It didn’t take Respawn very long to find it, and they much preferred the feel of the unlocked frame-rate like we did. EA found out about it a bit later [laughs].
Andy explains that even though 30 fps can be preferred, if developers lock the frame rate from the beginning and target 30 fps, it becomes the expectation over 60 fps.
“If you lock the frame-rate at 30 for too long during development for demos or stability etc, 30fps becomes the expectation and you’ll never ever hit 60,” said Andy.
Bluepoint Games ended up with an unlocked frame rate as the default option because of the higher frame rate’s lower input lag. The trade off thoguh was screen tearing.
PS4 exclusives Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son all run at unlocked frame rates, while Killzone includes an option to lock the frame rate at 30 fps. Other non-exclusive PS4 games like Tomb Raider and Ground Zeroes also ran at an unlocked frame rate, while the Xbox One version of the former ran at a locked 30 fps. Clearly, there is more confidence in releasing games at an unlocked frame rate on PS4, although these are early days still.