PS4 ICE Team Programmer On 60fps: Better To Have Extra Effects, Talks About Refresh Rate And Lag

Cort Stratton gives an in-depth explanation on frame rates and graphical effects.

Posted By | On 08th, Jan. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

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Cort Stratton who is PS4’s ICE Team Programmer as well as one of the developers working on the PSSL, which is the PS4 API for rendering games, has shared his thoughts on frame rates in video games. He believes that instead of aiming for higher frame rates, developers can instead achieve more graphical effects in the game.

He explained his stance in a number of Tweets which we have combined together. He first outlines the advantages of prioritizing graphical effects over higher frame rate. “I agree that >30Hz looks smoother; no argument there. But there’s more to visual quality than silky-smooth animation. More complex scenes, higher-quality AA, less blocky shadows, more accurate physics, higher clip distance, more particles, etc. To say nothing of the non-graphics-related gameplay features that are sacrificed to fit the frame into a 16.6ms budget,” he said.

(For reader’s information: Reducing the frame rate from 60 to 30 fps results into a gain of of 16 milliseconds of frame.)

However he believes that if you want smooth animation and reduced input latency then 60 frames per second is the way to go. “Personally, I’d rather have all of that (and more!) than smoother animation. If smooth anim is your #1 priority, 60+ Hz FTW. Yes, input latency & smooth animation are the clear benefits of 60Hz. In some genres (FPS, fighting games, etc.), that’s key,” he added.

It must be noted that this is Cort’s personal opinion since he is not much into first person shooters and fighters which perhaps explains his stance on having more graphical effects rather than a higher frame rate.

He also spoke about how games that are not divisors of 60fps bring in screen tearing on 60hz screens. “Most displays refresh at 60Hz. If a game’s frame rate isn’t a divisor of 60, you get either get screen tearing or stalls.” He also doubts that there will be much benefit if one plays a game that runs at 30 or 60fps on a 120hz television. “Lag won’t be an issue. I’m not sure there’d be much benefit though; aren’t most console games are locked at 30 or 60?”

It’s always intriguing to know about what developers think about frame rates in video games. Cort’s stance shows that developers will most likely push for added effects instead of higher frame rates, and in the process save more frame time.

But what are your thoughts on this subject? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Ummm…i’ll take 60FPS over more particles and less blocky shadows. I’m usually moving in game – not standing still admiring everything

    • d0x360

      I’m guilty of enjoying great visuals and I will stand in place and look at odd things for extended periods of time but despite my love of great visuals I would take 60fps any day of the week. Less judder, better control, better looking lighting… Way more important to me personally than the gains afforded by 30fps.

      The problem is great graphics sell games. The order has decent hype and its all based on its visuals. I have zero interest in that game BUT if it were running at 60fps I’d probably buy it because 60fps just makes for a more solid responsive shooter so the lack of compelling gameplay would be made up by higher quality control.

    • Depends on the game, Battlefield I’m on the move no time to stop an smell the flowers but in games like Skyrim where the pacing is completely different and im trotting through the country side I would want more detail.

  • Sunny

    For really fast moving games then 60fps is good.
    But for slower games where I would notice and stop to look at the beautiful visuals would gladly take 30 for better visuals

    • Guest

      60fps is always better, even in slower games as it decreases the input lag.

    • Sunny

      Input lag is not major that you would notice, if you reduce the input lag of your tv via game mode etc that should suffice.

    • DarthDiggler


      It depends on the game. We understand your shallow, uninformed opinion. No need to repeat it.

  • Michael Norris

    I like to have both…but 30fps is alright just not for FPS/Fighting games.


    How about no jitter/jutter and or tearing of the screen with 60fps…..? With 4k televisions able to up convert the display to 4k 60hz I do not see the real issue to begin with.

    I find it hard to play anything that is less than 60+ FPS as I’ve been spoiled at 120hz on my PC for years now. I notice a perceivable difference in playability when going with lesser of a refresh rate.

    • DarthDiggler


      Up conversion isn’t good for gaming, it ads lag to your display which lags your input.

      4K TVs are pretty terrible for gaming, none so far have impressive input delay.

  • Gamingfan

    60fps is superior. They should be putting framerate before graphics and resolution but instead they damage control.

    • Guest

      I know right? Such a disappointing console generation. Truly weak PoS hardware and the the gap with the PC is only going to grow bigger thanks to the new low level APIs.

    • DarthDiggler

      Your face is a weak POS that only a mother can love. 🙂

    • DarthDiggler


      Go away loser.

  • TheWayItsMeantToBePlayed

    “60FPS is a standard. 30FPS is a joke” – Palmer Luckey

    The fact that Sony is giving up so early on the 1080/60 dream makes it seem that once more, all their hardware promises were hollow, just like the “power of the cell” (A server CPU ill suited to gaming), “toy story graphics” on the PS2 and more. The spirit of Ken Kurtagi never left. It in habited Mark Cerny instead. And look how little we talk about him now either.

    • DarthDiggler


      Well given that I don’t think you own a PS4 — what does it matter to you?

      Go away ahole troll.

    • TheWayItsMeantToBePlayed

      It does matter if they are going to push this “Joke” towards PC gaming. Ubisoft have already made a play to try force 30FPS with locking The Crew at 30FPS (Then backing down) and intentionally downgrading Watch_Dogs so it didn’t show up the heavily marketing PS4 version with it’s vastly superior lighting effects.

      It matters when developers are lowering standards per generation instead of going higher with them because the hardware they built and designed is NOT up to the task

  • GHz

    It’s just his opinion, but given his position and level of access to the PS4 and its API, I have to imagine he is also sharing the opinion of Sony’s game division. Remember when Guerilla Games told us that having 60fps some of the time was better than having 60fps all of the time? 0_o

    I still think we’ll get our cake and eat it too. We’ll still get Great looking games at 60fps. These consoles are only a year old and we haven’t seen nothing yet.

    Anyways, for pple who game strictly on consoles like I do. Do 30fps take away from the fun of your gameplay? Do the game becomes less enjoyable when it drops a couple frames while you play? When you’re playing a game like destiny, DC, or FH2 with your friends, do you find that 30fps annoying?

    • DarthDiggler


      Depends on the game and the developer. Everyone was b!tching about DriveClub being 30fps, but when you play the game you don’t really notice it. If the developer gives you good controls and good gameplay the frame rate should be secondary. Sure people if asked will opt for 60FPS, but that is just based on the Bigger Is Better argument.

    • GHz

      With DC, all I noticed was a great playing game. The presentation is top notch for what it is. As for what should come 1st, graphics or fps, It’s all about design for me. All I ask of developers is that they stick to their vision of what they want us to experience and ship the game when its done. Let us decide w/o the nit picking. I regard games as art forms as well and shouldn’t be subjected to opinions of who I suspect are mostly PC gamers who happen to sometime game on consoles. Two separate cultures.

  • Dustin McFadden

    60fps isn’t always best. I’ve played quite a few games in 60fps and even though it looks kind of neat, it really just looks kind of weird and slightly unrealistic how it moves. Screaming for a high frame rate will only lower the quality of games. 30fps is good enough, in fact movies are filmed and produced in 24p and are just fine that way. James Cameron toyed with filming in 48p and when viewed by critics, it had mixed reviews but most said they didn’t like it because it breaks suspension of disbelief.


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