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What could cause frame skipping?

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The time it takes to update and render a frame fluctuate depending on a million variables inside and outside of the game's control, causing apparent skips. Variables include: Simulation load, rendering load, system load, system resources, hardware, and physical environment.


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The only way frame skipping can be achieved is if the update logic is ran more often than the rendering logic. Usually, if this is true than even when the game runs smoothy, not every frame is being rendered. In the cases where the game looks choppy, but the rendering is consistent with what would be expected (I.E, a character moves at the same speed as expected, but doesn't seem to pass through every space it should have) it could have a couple sources. On a network game it could be the client updating to an accurate representation after a long lag has caused it's estimated representation to get out of sync. Or It could be the result of a game noticing that the rendering is taking longer than expected and purposefully skipping rendering to lighten the load.  However, if the character actually takes a longer amount of time to travel the same distance, but the game still looks choppy then there is likely no frame skipping occurring, just slow down due to lack of resources.

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  1. Running in Visual Studio®’s debugger rather than just as a raw executable.
  2. Printing debug messages to the console.
  3. Fractional FPS rates.  At 59.8 FPS you will skip a frame every 5 seconds.
  4. File access, memory allocations, memory flushes, page flushing, etc.
  5. External system resources that cause the same as #4.

 

L. Spiro

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