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FPS: The Quest for more: Ever wondered why it is exactly everyone keeps striving for more frames per seconds from games? Is it simply for braggin rights or is there more to it? After all we watch TV at 30fps and that's plenty.

Date: September 10, 2003
Manufacturer: N/A
Written By:


Anyone who even remotely follows PC hardware websites/magazines will have noticed that a lot of the high end items for computers are tested for there ability to improve frame rates in games. You've probably seen in forums or heard from your friends about the latest drivers for there system, and how many extra frames per second (or FPS) they got from them. About how the Latest Video Card supports such and such and gave them an extra 30 fps over there old card. Maybe you've just accepted all this as nothing more than a pissing contest but is there a real reason? Graphics cards and CPU's that can run 100 fps or more in UT2K3, 150 fps or more in Jedi Knight II, and not to forget Quake III Arena pushing upwards of 300 fps. So why do we do it? Apart from the obvious answer (because we can!) what is the actual point of it all? I mean, let's face it; we all watch TV at around 30 fps or less, right?

Quick Biology Lesson

I'm not a doctor, but I'm going to try and attempt (big emphasis on attempt) to explain a little bit about the human eye, as it directly relates to what were talking about here, frames per second. The Human Eye is made up of various components with different functions for each.

The Human Eye

The Cornea is the curved surface at the front of the eye where refraction occurs.

The Lens of the eye is for corrections in focus at different distances.

The Pupil is the hole through which light enters, with the Iris being the coloured part that adjusts in size to accommodate the amount of light entering the eye.

The Retina is situated at the back of the eye on the inside surface. It's constructed with an arrangement of light sensitive receptors called Rods and Cones.

Rods interpret position and intensity of light, and are essentially colour blind. Rods are fast and efficient.Cones are the part that determine colours; red, green and blue. Cones are more complex than Rods, and as such are not as fast. Cones make up a large proportion of the centre of the Retina.

At the very back of the eye is the Optic Nerve, which is the part that transmits the information perceived by the eye to the brain.

How we see the world around us is that light enters the eye with each of the above parts playing there part in filtering what we see. All the above parts process that information into electrical signals which are passed on to the Optic Nerve. All of the information entered through the eye and transmitted along the Optic Nerve is streamed continuously to the Visual Cortex. Now if we think of the brain as a really big hard drive, just like a hard drive the brain has only so much storage room to process the information received from the eye. Because of this, the Visual Cortex has a few tricks up its sleeve to allow us to receive the most information in the smallest and most efficient manner. The main one that's relevant to us is Motion Blur.


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