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Why are some games a stuttering, screen tearing mess w/vsync off and some aren't

#1AnatomyHorrorPosted 8/4/2013 4:35:38 AM
?

Was playing Syndicate (2012) and I had to turn vsync off to get rid of the mouse acceleration/lag. It's super smooth and there's no tearing while running between 150-200fps. Other games just go bonkers with tearing and stuttering when playing at that fps.

Why is that?
#2SlaynPosted 8/4/2013 4:55:14 AM
I don't know, vsync is a *****. Sometimes you have to play around with it between enabling in a game or enabling it in your video card's control panel ( and disabling the other one ). For instance I use Nvidia's adaptive vsync, and then disable it in all games, and it usually works fine. Not always though.
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#3ZeraphLordSPosted 8/4/2013 5:32:51 AM
Tearing is what we get when a frame is partially overwritten by the in-progress frame. A tear is invisible if you're standing still, because frame 40 would be identical to frame 41.

If you happened to be strafing to the left at 40fps, with an onscreen change of 8 units per frame, you'd have a tear. At 80fps, the onscreen change would be 4 units per frame, and thus much less visible. At 160fps, the change would be 2 units per frame, and be even less visible.

If it helps, at 100fps, the tear would be from a frame drawn at 10ms, and a frame drawn at 20ms (10ms differential). At 200fps, the tear is from a frame drawn at 5ms, and a frame drawn at 10ms (5ms differential).

The screen only displays the frame in the buffer every 16.67ms (at 60hz), so in the first case it would be frame 2 partially overwritten by frame 3, and in the second case, frame 4 partially overwritten by frame 5.


The higher your movement speed (or camera movement), the greater the difference between frames is going to be. Tears will look worse in a game with faster movement, because the difference between the two frames will be greater the faster you move. Panning and rotating cameras make the effect particularly bad.

Higher framerates are greatly beneficial in mitigating this effect, but do not eliminate it entirely.

That's the only technical explanation, some games are just horrible and do weird arbitrary engine-specific things that aren't really typical.


If you're normally okay with vsync in games, Syndicate could be using Triple-Buffering, which has double the input lag of Double-Buffering. There are various ways to force the implementation of your choice, but it can also come down the engine.
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