Why It's So Important Quake Champions Runs at 120Hz

"That's why it's a PC game. No excuses. No limitations."


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When id Software announced Quake Champions at E3, creative director Tim Willits stressed that the shooter would run at 120Hz. Now, he's shared some further details on why the high refresh rate is so important.

In an interview with GameSpot, Willits said while many people may not be able to tell the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz, the pro players can--and without them, the game might suffer.

"It's everything from input sampling of the mouse to making sure that your monitor refresh rate is fast enough," he said. "Because even with Quake Live, we have found throughout the years that going from 30 to 60 is huge, but even 60 to 120--is noticeable.

"Most of us, and even me, I can't really tell the difference," he added. "But there are some players who are inhuman. And we can't come out and say we're going to make a game for them and not run ridiculously fast. Because if we lose the pro guys, we're in trouble."

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Willits went on to say reaching 120Hz is one of the reasons why Quake Champions is a PC-exclusive. "That's why it's a PC game. No excuses. No limitations," he said.

The game can reach 120Hz if your computer can support it and it also sports an uncapped frame rate. Overall, however, the game is designed to run on a variety of PC systems.

"We want to make sure that we have as many people as we possibly can," Willits said in an earlier interview. "You'll be able to turn down your specs and get a decent game at lower-end. But we want to shine on good systems.

Quake Champions will be a PC-exclusive for launch, but id Software has not ruled out console versions. "We're not totally shutting the door on consoles," Willits said.

Regarding a release date for Quake Champions, id Software hasn't announced one. Willits said the developer is not going to rush the game to release, in part because balancing the game (only four characters have been announced so far, but there will be more) is not so easy a task.

"It's going to come out after a really, really long closed beta. I'm telling people now, it's going to be a long beta," he explained.

More details about Quake Champions will be announced at QuakeCon in August.

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Avatar image for ECH71

I'm much more concerned with getting a smooth frame rate (~60fps) at 4K...

Pro gamers make up a small percentage of the community and so while I hope they get what they want, I'm also hoping AMD/NVIDIA don't focus purely on higher rates at 1080p/1440p.

My system's already in need of an upgrade -- I don't want to have to wait yet another generation for a viable 4K gaming solution.

Avatar image for dethtrain

I can notice the difference between 60 and 120 and I'm not inhuman

Avatar image for Prats1993

So glad it isn't coming to consoles.

Avatar image for Prats1993

If you play a game at 120 for a long time and then switch to 60, you will notice a difference but obviously it isn't as dramatic as the leap from 30 to 60.

Avatar image for stride21

@Prats1993: I think theirs a massive difference to me in FPS games. I think for 3rd person games like the witcher 3 60 hz is fine but when your move the camera around a lot in a game like CSGO its makes a massive difference.

Avatar image for ThePixelOmen

You forgot to mention that you also need a 120+Hz monitor. It doesn't matter how good your PC is if your monitor can't display the frames.

Also, I don't understand why this is even a story. A lot, if not most, PC games have uncapped framerates that can run at 120fps/Hz+.

Avatar image for louixiii

You can keep Quake. Bring me DOOM 2

Avatar image for DrunkenPunk800

There is no difference after 60fps. It is a total placebo.

Avatar image for ThePixelOmen

@DrunkenPunk800: It depends on the person, it's been proven that people can tell the difference.

Avatar image for BLiTZ_156

@DrunkenPunk800: There is, but not if you don't have the supporting hardware for it. (eg. not just a beefy PC, but also a high-end monitor)

Avatar image for DrunkenPunk800

@BLiTZ_156: The difference, if any, is more likely to deal with the sharpness of each individual frame, rather than an actual perception of 120 frames per second. LCD's have terrible ghosting, so if you had a monitor that could pump out double the frames per second, of course it's going to look better.

The closest I've gotten is a CRT that could output 85hz. It DID look better, but that doesn't mean I was actually seeing 85 frames per second. It was just that each individual frame was drawn crisper.

My DLP with 120hz subframe (each frame drawn twice from a 60hz siganl) had just as crisp an image.

Avatar image for Tiwill44

"Most of us, and even me, I can't really tell the difference. But there are some players who are inhuman."

I'm sorry, what? Anyone with a monitor capable of displaying 120 images per second will be able to tell the difference. That's not inhuman, that's just eyes working as intended.

Hell, for VR they recommend 120 fps to avoid motion sickness. Playing a FPS on PC is pretty similar to VR in the sense that you're pretty close to the monitor, so the fact they can't tell the difference is worrisome.

Avatar image for RicanV

Please remake DM3 the abandoned base and have a pure TDM game mode. I'll return to PC FPS gaming asap if they did.

Edit: Try not to read too much into the pro-player quote.

"Because if we lose the pro guys, we're in trouble." - Being a PC exclusive it's important to maintain as much of your market as possible.

Which is why they also stated:

""We want to make sure that we have as many people as we possibly can," Willitssaid in an earlier interview. "You'll be able to turn down your specs and get a decent game at lower-end. But we want to shine on good systems.""

Avatar image for Ayato_Kamina_1

Why are people reading the article thinking they're making this game just for pro gamers? They're not. They're just saying that having it run at 120hz so that it is the absolute best it can be. It's a PC game, so they'll make it as customizable as you want. If you have a dual 1080gtx sli rig, max settings, big resolution, 120fps. If you have a lesser PC, you can choose to lower the settings to get a higher framerate, or get more eyecandy at a lower frame rate.

This is purely from a technical standpoint that they're saying this. If they capture the arcade-like, fast, frenetic action from Quake 3 Arena this game will be a success.

As for people talking about using a controller to play... heh, this is Quake.

Avatar image for bobafetthatesu

Even at 120fps, I wouldn't bother playing this without the Xbox Elite controller. Pro gamers have spoken, unless you play with the Elite, you're simply playing with yourself.

Avatar image for MetaMods

@bobafetthatesu: LOL what pro gamers spoken? Do you even know who is pro gamers? All pro gamers going tell you keyboard and mouse is better than control.......jeez

Avatar image for Atzenkiller

Well, I doubt the game would be a success if only the few real pro gamers that can notice the difference would buy it.

Do you really wanna tell me that there's a difference gameplay wise between 60 and 120 fps? Even if you might notice some slight difference I really doubt that seeing the next frame 1/120 of a second earlier would give you any advantage. What other benefit do you get from it? A more fluid picture than you already get at 60fps?

Avatar image for senorbusyman

ive played games 120hz & its a huge difference. some of my friends cant tell but i can. its just so awesome & for my rig to have that kind of potential to play games at a higher res makes me glad i can use my rig to full potential. although im still missing my Nvidia 1080 but ill get it

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Because it's a not a dumbed down consolized shooter. Duh.

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

Fps this high seems like the end game to me. It is what you aim for when graphics literally stop improving. Till then I'll stick to 30-60.

Avatar image for Dark_Mits

It's very easy to make a game run at stable 120fps no matter what. You just have to use less effects, less polygons, lower texture resolutions etc. compared to 60fps on the same hardware. But this is something that's as taboo as the phrase "1080@60fps" nowadays.

Avatar image for milk

I don't get how anyone can stand to play any game with anything less than 120FPS. They're called video games, not slideshow games.

Avatar image for darthrevenx

Well there's a game off my list......i despise strictly made for pro gamer crap and for the record......QUAKE LIVE sucked ass......Quake 3 Arena on the other hand was pretty fun.....

Avatar image for BabeNewelll

Gooood .... Goood

Avatar image for Barighm

This sort of design philosophy-appeal to the smallest audience-has proven to be a poor one in the past. DOOM decided to go more old school in its design and has been hailed a success. Halo 5 rejigged Halo's excellent aiming system to appeal to the pros and...well, it's okay, but not as good as it used to be.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@Barighm: The design philosophy of "Make the best game you can" has proven to be a winning formula.

Halo has always been a consolized shooter - they've never tried to make the best game they could, forever chained by garbage controls.

Avatar image for iandizion713

Whelp, good luck with your "pro" game. I just want to play fun games.

Avatar image for Erics84

@iandizion713: Let me guess. You're a peasant?

Avatar image for iandizion713

@Erics84: AMD baby! My PC card plays bunch of fun games.

Avatar image for bobafetthatesu

@iandizion713: Oh... AMD.. ok... lol I can see why you say that.

Avatar image for MetaMods

@bobafetthatesu: what wrong with AMD? care to explain about it?

Avatar image for iandizion713

@bobafetthatesu: I ball on a budget. But my build is good and balanced.

Avatar image for elheber

YouTube video of someone testing: Can the human eye tell the difference between 60, 120, and 144 frames per second?

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

@elheber: Yeah problem with those "blind" tests is they aren't really blind. They play at one fps, then another and then another and the comparison between them allows the person to tell the difference.

Bit like putting someone in front of a 1080p screen and asking them to tell you what the resolution is. Unless you directly compare most people can't tell the difference.

Like this: http://www.gamespot.com/videos/reality-check-can-you-tell-the-difference-between-/2300-6423491/

What they should do is put someone in front of a PC with a random fps, and ask them to tell you what the frame rate is. Then wait a few days and do it again. I bet you ANYTHING they won't be able to tell you.

Avatar image for iandizion713

@elheber: Its pretty tricky stuff. Yes, your eye can tell the difference, your brain will even add motion blur to fix the fast speed to keep you from getting dizzy. But for some people, the content is too fast.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

You can definitely tell the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz, anyone who has a TV with motion smoothing can test this. The bigger the TV the easier you can tell.

Watching pans in movies at 24fps or 30fps is nausea inducing, 60fps is better, but you still see stuttering. At 120Hz and above it starts to fool the eye a lot better.

Anyway even if you can't tell directly, your brain uses that info to help you react better.

Avatar image for bobafetthatesu

But an xbox gamer on this site once declared that the human eye cannot see past 720p/30. Is it possible he was wrong?

Avatar image for Barighm

@bobafetthatesu: The reality is human eyesight is all over the place. The average eye seems to work at 1440/100 FPS, but this can change dramatically with some artists reported as seeing into the 15k range for "resolution" and fighter pilots seeing as high as 255 FPS!

Avatar image for ferna1234

@bobafetthatesu: they also claim that human hands do not operate on keyboard and mouse as accurately as they do on analog sticks on controllers.

Avatar image for bobafetthatesu

@ferna1234: Some have had a tight grasp on their analog sticks their entire lives.

Avatar image for Barighm

@ferna1234: True for me. Hmm...it's like I grew up with controllers or something...weird, eh?

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@Barighm: And you could have grown up riding a bike and know how to do it real well.

...A car is still faster.

Avatar image for Grim_DIcer

Why the console peasant cross the road?

To render the the buildings on the other side

Avatar image for hystavito

@Grim_DIcer: Heheh, how have I never heard that one before, or wait, maybe I have, anyway :).

Avatar image for Bilal100

@Grim_DIcer: as a console player, that one made me life. Cheers