I told myself I'd try to keep pace with any developments across the web related to our frame-latency-based game benchmarking methods, but I've once again fallen behind. That's good, in a way, because there's lots going on. Let me try to catch you up on the latest with a series of hard-hitting bullet points, not necessarily in the order of importance.
Also, a word on words. Although I'm reading a Google translation, I can see that they used the word "microstuttering" to describe the frame latency issues on the Radeon. For what it's worth, I prefer to reserve the term "microstuttering" for the peculiar sort of problem often encountered in multi-GPU setups where frame times oscillate in a tight, alternating pattern. That, to me, is "jitter," too. Intermittent latency spikes are problematic, of course, but aren't necessarily microstuttering. I expect to fail in enforcing this preference anywhere beyond TR, of course.
The colored overlays that track frame delivery are nifty, but I'm pleased to see Ryan looking at frame contents rather than just frame delivery, because what matters to animation isn't just the regularity with which frames arrive at the display. The content of those frames is vital, too. As Andrew Lauritzen noted in his B3D post, disrupted timing in the game engine can interrupt animation fluidity even if buffering manages to keep frames arriving at the display at regular intervals.
Those folks who are still wary of using Fraps because it writes a timestamp at single point in the process will want to chew on the implications of that statement for a while. Another implication: we'll perhaps always need to supplement any quantitative results with qualitative analysis in order to paint the whole picture. So... this changes nothing!
Although it may be confusing to some folks, we will probably keep talking about frame rendering in terms of latency, just as we do with input lag. That's because I continue to believe game performance is fundamentally a frame-latency-based problem. We just need to remember which type of latency is which—and that frame latency is just a subset of the overall input-response chain.
That's all for now, folks. More when it happens.
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