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Frame rates below 50 fps

Frame rates below 50 fps
by on (#86531)
Oh dear, 20 FPS games on a Dendy? Down to 16FPS now?

How many frames per second did the old Bugs Bunny cartoons have? 12.

How many frames per second did a lot of Game Boy games such as Balloon Kid have? Some dropped down to 15 fps to compensate for the slow LCD.

How many frames per second did Koei's turn-based strategy games have?

How many frames per second did Jurassic Park and Star Fox for Super NES have?

How many frames per second are the actual sprite cels (not the scrolling) in a typical NES game? For example, Mario in SMB1, SMB2 (J), and SMB3 has a 3-frame walk; how fast are those frames changed?

True, the games developed by Micronics tend to run at fewer than 50 or 60 frames per second. I know of a couple valid reasons to take longer than one TV field to render each frame. One is heavy reloading of CHR RAM to keep several different sprite cels active. Another is prioritizing clear code over fast code. For all I know, they might have been programmed in Pascal, C, or some other higher-level language to make them more maintainable and make the game-logic part (as opposed to the I/O part) more portable across platforms, not unlike Shiru's Alter Ego. Has anyone ever traced all the way through the main loop of a Micronics game to see why they're so slow?

by on (#86532)
I think Star Fox 2's frame coutner tended to be around 15 to 20 frames.

Bugs Bunny Birthday on NES seems to run at less than 60, but actually will run at 60 if you overclock it (in emulation).

by on (#86533)
I can make two guesses:

- Some games were slow because people who developed these were newcomers on the system, had no good docs and not much experience, so they just wrote some really bad code and got low framerate (it is enough to get a bit out of a frame time to get 25/30 FPS).

- As NES life started in early years of video games industry, some people who created new development companies may come from movie/cartoon industry, having not much understanding of video games specifics, and insisted that 25 FPS or slower is enough (like in the movies or cartoons), and programmers they hired were like 'oh, you want 25 FPS, alright, just don't forget to pay'.

by on (#86534)
I think you're exactly right, in that some games like that Bugs Bunny game, it just consistently runs out of time due to how it's programmed that it only runs 30 frames per second. Though that's probably better for it to be consistent than to constantly go between 60 and 30 frames per second.

by on (#86566)
Parodius is probably the NES game which lags the most. When enemies appear on screen and you have options I wouldn't be surprised it it plays at 3 times or 4 times slower than supposed.
What were Konami thinking ?

by on (#86567)
I think the most laggy NES game is Contra Force. Konami again, so it seems there is a reason. Maybe they were trying to use some high level language to speed up development.

by on (#86570)
Or it could just be inefficient code. It's not like these people were coding masters. Remember the first TMNT game on NES suffers from slowdowns pretty bad and when it does it often misses the sprite hit zero for the status bar at the bottom.

Gradius 3 on SNES I've heard it mentioned that the slowdown may be intentional. One reason you might intend for the game to slowdown so much is because it gets crazy and if it was still running 60fps you would have a harder time dealing with all the objects on screen.

by on (#86574)
Intentional, my ass. If it was intentional then they would actually code something to make the game slower, not let it just remain lagging.

And being slower doesn't make the game easier as YOU are slower too, it even make it harder as the framerate randomly jumps between 60fps, 30fps or even 20fps so it makes it harder to pilot your ship.

by on (#86577)
There is a genre that heavily depends on intentional slowdown - buller hell shooters. However, there are none of them on NES, and it is not even possible (not possible to create bullet hell with just 64 bullets). So I don't think there is intentional slowdown in NES games at all.

by on (#86583)
What do you mean you are slower too? Everything slows down, giving you more time to think about what you are going to do. There is no disadvantage except what you mentioned which is if the game suddenly increases in speed again. However in Graduis 3 on SNES you pretty much have control of that if you have 4 options and the laser beam as if you constantly shoot the game tends to move at the same slowed pace.

by on (#86585)
Recca is probably the closest you'll get to bullet hell on a Famicom or NES. It's pretty fast, but there are points where it does slow down.

by on (#86587)
What do you mean you are slower too? Everything slows down, giving you more time to think about what you are going to do.

True, but I mean your ship is twice as slow too so even if you have more time to think, it's not like if the bullets were slowing down when your ship would remain fast (which would make the game easier).

by on (#86593)
What? I don't understand why you think you are at a disadvantage. When the game slows down in Gradius 3, EVERYTHING moves slower. Both your ship and enemy objects. Since the framerate is slower you have more time to react and think. Your ship still moves at the same speed as everything else if the game were running at 60fps or 15fps, since they are all updated at the same rate. So the slowdown is an advantage, you don't move any faster but you have more time to think and see. Just imagine the advantage you could have in athletics or other tasks if things slowed down in your perception even if you couldn't move any faster. For example in baseball you would have an advantage batting since you would have more time to perceive the ball's flight path and react with your swing. The same would apply to precise shooting.

Slowdowns can certainly be annoying, but they sometimes have that advantage.

by on (#86606)
TAS is based entirely on the concept of making the system run slower so the player has all the time they want to decide on the next move rather than being limited by their reflexes. The ratio of the player's avatar's speed to the game environment's speed remains constant, in either case.
Once you watch a couple of TASes, the advantage of slowing down the universe becomes obvious.

by on (#86608)
If it can stay at 100% FPS most of the time do it. If it becomes inconsistent often then I'd lock it in at 30FPS. If it's inconsistent then, write better code or change the way some stuff works to get more time. I'd be hesitant to write any code that doesn't run 60FPS. If I have to I'd lock it in at 30 at the worst. Anything less to me is unacceptable.

by on (#86609)
Mega Man games often slow down when a lot of enemies show up on the same screen (it happens mainly when you decide to run instead of kill), and they're all considered great games.

by on (#86630)
When the game slows down in Gradius 3, EVERYTHING moves slower. Both your ship and enemy objects.

Yes, this is why it doesn't make anything REALLY easier. Yes, you are perfectly right, you have more time to react and think, so it's a bit better, but there is the risk of the frame rate changing any time, and your ship is also slower.
What would really make a game easier is if enemies/bullets move slower, but your ship would remain the same pace as usual, so you'd have an easier time to dodge the enemies/bullets.
I know I don't speak english well but you should get the idea, yes lagging can make thing a bit easier but it's not all that significant, as you can just aquiere faster reflexes with training, however you cannot change the ratio of your speed versus your enemies/their bullets speeds.

@tokumaru : The only place in Mega Man where I remember it lags all the time is this place in Top Man's stage where there is two huge trax mettaur enemies, and I wonder why Capcom left it as it - I mean if I was to develop a game and notice it lags all the time at a certain place I'll either reduce the number of enemies or optimize my code.

by on (#86631)
Constant slowdowns really make things easier, it is a solid fact, with examples given in this thread - bullet hell shooters and TAS rely on this a lot. TAS in particular pushes this to extreme, with going to every next frame by pressing a special button.

Random jumpy slowdowns could make things more difficult, no doubts here too.

by on (#86635)
Does Megaman 3 lag on a PAL system or Dendy?

by on (#86636)
Yes the PAl version of Megaman 3 lags.

by on (#86646)
One of the Mega Man developers mentioned that Mega Man 3 was his least favorite, and I think he mentioned it was rather rushed. That may be why.

About Gradius, you CAN increase your ship speed relative to enemy and bullets by getting multiple SPEED upgrades. Then when the game slows down you still move pretty quick and can still dodge enemy threats in time with that advantage of some extra time thanks to slowdowns.