Mark Claypool and Kajal Claypool
Hardware and platform limitations restrict the display settings for most computer games, forcing a tradeoff between frame rate and resolution to achieve acceptable performance. Previous work has explored the effects of frame rate and/or resolution on a variety of multimedia applications, but most of these are less interactive than typical computer games. Previous work within the context of computer games has concentrated primarily on user actions for specific environments, such as combat in a first-person shooter game. This paper provides a detailed study of the effects of frame rate and resolution on discrete, canonical actions common to many games, shooting and navigation. The study uses a novel perspective based classification defined by the position of the camera relative to the user and the visual change in object sizes relative to the camera, to further refine the findings across a broad spectrum of game genres. A custom game with levels that combine actions and perspectives and measures user performance with different display settings provides the core for the user study experiments. Analysis for over 25 users shows that frame rate has a much greater impact on user performance than does resolution across all game perspectives and gameplay actions. Both frame rate and resolution impact user opinion on playability and quality. These insights into the effects of frame rates and resolution on user performance and opinions can guide game players in their choice for game settings and new hardware purchases, and inform system designers in their development of new hardware.