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Game Basics: How to Calculate Frame Time & What Does It Mean?

In this article, we'll explain everything there is to know about frame rates and frame times. By the end of this post, you'll have all the information needed to understand how much raw power your gaming rig needs to run those buttery smooth animations at maximum pixel counts.

Wondering how to calculate frame time and how many frames per second should I expect from my laptop or desktop and PC? In this article, we'll explain everything there is to know about frame rates and frame times. By the end of this post, you'll have all the information needed to understand how much raw power your gaming rig needs to run those buttery smooth animations at maximum pixel counts.

What Is Frame Time

The frame time is the time between frames. It's also the time it takes for your computer to render a frame of video, and it's a very important measurement in games. When you're playing a game at 60 FPS, you're not seeing 60 distinct images (whether they be frames or stills) every second—you're seeing 60 identical-looking images (frames) displayed in quick succession. Each one can take up to 16 milliseconds—or 0.016 seconds—to be generated by your GPU and shown on your screen, which means that frame rate times 1/16th of a second equals frame time; this means that if your game runs at 30 FPS or higher, it'll look smooth as silk because there are plenty of "blank" frames between each new scene; but if your game goes below 16 milliseconds per frame cycle, then things start getting choppy and jerky due to having insufficient time between frames for smoothness to occur during gameplay.

Why Frame Time Is Important in Video Games?

The frame time is important because it determines how smooth a game will feel. If you have a high frame time, the game will feel smoother and more responsive. The opposite is also true; if your frame rate is low, the game will be choppy and laggy. Framerate can be measured in frames per second (FPS) and this measure is used to determine how many times per second your screen refreshes with new images from your GPU or graphics processing unit (GPU). 

A good rule of thumb for determining performance requirements for competitive games: 30 FPS on average means you're hitting 60 FPS consistently with dips below 30 being rare enough as not to affect gameplay significantly; 60 FPS on average means you're hitting 120 FPS consistently with dips below 60 being rare enough as not to affect gameplay significantly; 120+ FPS on average means that even if there are drops in framerate or spikes under 100 fps (though those should never happen), they won't have any impact on the quality of the experience or responsiveness of controls.

How to Calculate Frame Time?

Frame time can be defined as the time elapsed between two consecutive frames, divided by the refresh rate. For example, a frame time of 16.7ms means that 1 frame took 16.7ms to render, which is pretty fast and you wouldn't notice any delay between when you press a key and when your character moves on-screen.

To calculate frame time, you first need to know how much time it takes a specific game engine to render a frame. If your game engine has been written well and is efficient, this information is often available online. In other cases, you can measure it yourself in the engine's debug mode by recording how long it takes to render each frame of animation at different resolutions or settings. Next, take your answer and apply the formula:

  • Frame Time = (1/FPS) * (Avg FPS / Resolution) * (Frame Count - 1)

 

As an example, let's use the frame time for a GPU running at 60Hz.

60Hz = 60 frames per second. If it takes 1/30th of a second to render each frame and the GPU is working at 100% utilization, then: 1/30th of a second / (1 - 100%) = 1/30th of a second / 0% = 0.33 seconds per frame. This is how to calculate frame time of your machine. 

Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped to demystify some of the technical jargon around frame times. The takeaway from this post is how to calculate frame time and the formula for calculating frame time. The frame time is defined as the amount of time it takes for a single frame to be displayed on the screen, in seconds. The formula for calculating frame time can be written as: frame time = 1000 / FPS Where FPS stands for frames per second. 

We also want to make it clear that even if your game’s frame time isn’t perfect, there are still plenty of things you can do to improve its responsiveness and reduce input lag. These include optimizing your animation systems or reducing the number of objects being drawn in each frame, but they also include improving graphics settings like texture resolution (which affects memory bandwidth) as well as anti-aliasing properties like MSAA level (which impacts performance).

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