First-Gen iPad acceptable FPS

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by u2elan, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. u2elan

    u2elan Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2010
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    iOS Developer
    Portland, OR
    Hey guys,

    We are nearing completion on a highly visual game that utilizes quite a few large assets, both in size and resolution.

    I'm working on performance optimization at the moment for older devices, and am starting to split some of these assets up into smaller sprites to yield better frame rates.

    For iPad 2 and 3, things run great at a solid 60 FPS most of the time.

    I'm wondering if I could get some opinions on what gamers today expect in terms of performance for a first-gen iPad, though, as after some analysis, it's starting to look like things are going to be hanging out around 40-45 FPS.

    Thanks!
     
  2. AlienSpace

    AlienSpace Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2010
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    Independent developer
    "Acceptable" framerate will depend a lot on the type of game. Without even knowing this it's pointless to give advice.
     
  3. u2elan

    u2elan Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2010
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    iOS Developer
    Portland, OR
    Asking a question like this in a public forum allows others to benefit from the answer.

    Having a perspective in general, or for a specific genre of game, doesn't just benefit me, but also anyone else who discovers this thread in the future who have a similar question.

    So, I disagree. It's not pointless to give advice.

    In my specific case, it's a game that doesn't require a great deal of time-sensitive, tactile response. In short, it is not in the same genre ballpark as your games, for example.
     
  4. MHille

    MHille Well-Known Member

    #4 MHille, Jul 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
    Fps

    FPS isn't the important measure. Does it still look good and play well?

    I couldn't even render JiggleSaw at 30 fps on the first gen iPad. I simplified the graphics because it was effecting the responsiveness of the interface but never got the iPad 1 to hit 30 fps. It's still playable and looks very close to the other versions, so I shipped with iPad 1 support.

    Matthew
     
  5. AlienSpace

    AlienSpace Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2010
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    Independent developer
    You need to give more context because otherwise when you get replies, those will be incomplete and also without context. Then when someone comes for answers and reads an answer to a vaguely worded question w/o context, they may go away with the wrong conclussion.

    If you're specific on what you're asking and give context, then the answers can be specific to that and hence helpful to others.

    From what you describe, 30 fps will likely be quite acceptable. It might even be that 20 fps will also do. But, you need to test and get a feel for how the game feels and responds. If you can give it to a new tester and he/she doesnt mention a problem, then you're probably fine.
     
  6. DrummerB

    DrummerB Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2009
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    It really depends on the type of game you're making. For a fast paced game, like an ego-shooter or a jump&run game a high FPS is much more important then in a puzzle or card game.
     
  7. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    Berlin, Germany
    well if you can't keep it at 60fps maybe stick to steady 30fps lock on the ipad 1.. should give the use a smoother experience than if the fps are jumping up and down

    of course the ipad1 is already an "old" device and support for it is slowly fading by apple them self.. like its not getting an ios6 update.

    so while there are still a lot of ipad1 users out there the general focus is to "move one" at some point it just don't make sense to support legacy devices anymore, especially if you are a small indie outfit.

    but then of course like on older iphones those users are "used" to, that never games if they run, that they do not perform as well as on brand new ios devices.. often have reduced details etc.

    if your resources allow you to support it do it.. if not.. well then not :)
     
  8. u2elan

    u2elan Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2010
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    iOS Developer
    Portland, OR
    Great, thanks guys.

    I totally understand where you were coming from now with regards to the context.

    I'm so spoiled from having it run well on newer hardware, that perhaps I'm too hard on myself trying to over-optimize for older hardware.

    I think Mr. Ugly makes a good point that users on older hardware don't always have a frame of reference. If the game is playable and the experience is still good, they won't necessarily be frustrated that things run much more smoothly on newer hardware, because they don't have that hardware to compare to side-by-side.

    It sounds like 45 FPS is probably acceptable for two-year-old hardware, given that our gameplay mechanic is more passive.
     
  9. Runonthespot

    Runonthespot New Member

    May 13, 2012
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    london
    Agree with others in the thread- context is key.

    Any sort of reaction game if you're serious about supporting iPad 1 should try to be 30fps or better.

    I have a puzzle game that I am struggling to get about 20fps (multiple layers of transparency that plagues iPhone4 and iPad1) .. but since not much moves, it doesn't feel significantly degraded.

    Just bear in mind that while ignoring iPad 1 may be an option, iPhone 4 is still a huge chunk of the iPhone market, and suffers the same limitations of speed, so I think we'll be stuck supporting iPhone 4 for a good while yet.

    Heck, even iPhone 3GS is becoming quite common as it's being plugged as the sort of IOS alternative to the cheap/free android handsets.

    Mike
    @runonthespot
     
  10. cmo

    cmo Member

    Jul 30, 2012
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    Just one datapoint, but a lot of the companies that make sim-style games for iOS have settled for 10-20 FPS, especially in some older games, and still done quite well.

    Check out some older games in that category. If you know what to look for (and YOU probably do) you can see the jerkiness. But the typical user of one of these games doesn't even know what FPS is, and after a few play sessions they won't care, even if they learn the difference.

    For anything that's relatively static 30 FPS / not twitch-based 30 FPS is probably the margin of what most users could sense.
     
  11. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    UK
    #11 DemonJim, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
    As a side note to those reading this thinking of dropping iPad 1 support - I imagine anyone struggling to hit 60fps on iPad 1 will be on iPhone 4 as well.

    (note I mean the iPhone 4 not the 4S - the 4 is pretty much the exact same hardware as an iPad 1 but with ~22% fewer pixels*).

    So while it is a totally valid point about the iPad 1 being phased out with iOS 6, the thing is the iPhone 4 won't be, and will be a fair proportion of users for a while yet. So if you have to optimise for iPhone 4 anyway, then iPad 1 won't really need that much extra work to run nicely too.


    * and twice the RAM - very good point Justin (next post)!
     
  12. Justin@PhykenMedia

    Justin@PhykenMedia Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2011
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    The biggest difference between the iPad 1 and the iPhone 4 is that the iPhone 4 has twice the RAM (512 MB). We tend to come across a lot of performance issues with the iPad 1 that don't show up on the iPhone 4 but those are mostly related to memory usage which the additional RAM helps a lot.

    I really wish Apple would not have put iOS 6 on the iPhone 3GS. That would have allowed developers to drop the iPad 1 and iPhone 3GS by just making their apps iOS 6 compatible only (which may not be the best idea but at least the option would have been there).

    In the end, support for the iPad 1 is quickly slowing down and if Apple does release a 7" iPad in September you can pretty much kiss the iPad 1 goodbye.
     
  13. u2elan

    u2elan Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2010
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    iOS Developer
    Portland, OR
    Yeah, I have been getting slightly better performance on iPhone 4 in terms of FPS.

    It has been a bit of a time-suck trying to optimize, as I have been splitting assets into smaller chunks in order to use smaller sprites, and this has been a big help.

    Also: glClearColor was a new little trick I learned that gave me a little bump as well.
     
  14. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    App Developer
    UK
    Good point Justin about the RAM - that can definitely help things a lot.

    I always think from a consumer's point of view even though I'm a dev. I want to keep supporting the iPad 1 because it was still being sold brand new until not much longer than a year ago. Just because it won't get iOS 6 doesn't mean we need to be so keen to drop it quite yet. All those iPad 1s don't cease to exist - most get sold or handed down but there must still be a considerable market for games that run on it. People might think "oh it's only 5% of the market" (for example), so think it's not worth bothering with. But 5% of <total number of iOS devices> is still a big number :)

    I honestly think the life cycle is far too short for iOS devices. I think hardware updates every 2 or 3 years would actually be better all round. Conversely, I think console life cycles are too long (eg the Xbox 360 is really showing its age now compared to even very modest PCs). I'd say Nintendo have it just right with their handhelds. I'm proper old skool though, grew up in the 8 and 16-bit era - it were all down to me we'd probably all still be using Amiga 500s and using acoustic couplers (Google it kids ;-) )
     
  15. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    Game designer
    Lincoln, UK
    My game ShootStorm runs at 60 FPS (the iOS screen refresh rate, so no point going higher). When I tried it at 30 FPS, it was noticeably jerky because objects are moving so quickly.

    It ran at 60 FPS easily on iPhone 4, but was struggling on iPad 1. Dropping to 30 happened a lot more on an iPod Touch 1st gen, but was more noticeable on the iPad because of the screen size. I worked to get a smooth 60 FPS on iPad 1.

    I am currently working on a board game / puzzle project. Most of the time 30 FPS or even less would be fine, but it looks better at 60 FPS when doing full-screen scrolling, and when the larger objects are rotating. So I have gone for 60 FPS on that game also.

    As has previously been said, go for what your game needs.
     
  16. Hercule

    Hercule Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2010
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    If you need to choose between 30 and 60 fps don't forget that you can put twice much things in 30fps that you can do in 60fps. It's less smooth but you double your resource...
    If it's not a game with fast movement (like wipeout) target 30fps.
     
  17. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    App Developer
    UK
    Personally I think 60fps should be the target no matter what the game. Even if it's just sliding tiles around a Scrabble board it all looks and feels so much nicer at 60fps.

    Admittedly some people don't mind 30fps, I mean it didn't do Mario 64 any harm (in PAL territories that ran at 25fps). But I'm one of those that really appreciates it when a game manages 60. Trials Evolution on Xbox 360 is a great example of a dev that really understands why 60 is so important. RedLynx could SO easily have just accepted 30 and could have drawn more stuff AND released it earlier, but they wanted perfection.

    To be honest though the truth is (speaking as a professional AAA PC+console developer for 11 years) aiming for 30fps means you simply need to do less optimisation to hit your target. Not being cynical or offensive with that, it's just how it is - optimisation costs time and money, it's down to the dev to decide whether they think it's worth it.
     

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