Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to plot the graph of FRAPS frame times easily

If your gameplay isn’t smooth or is laggy even with a reasonably high FPS (above 40fps), chances are that your PC setup is causing micro-stuttering. You cannot do much about it other than try a different driver or hope that AMD/NVidia will fix it in the next driver update or play with the graphics settings.

If you want to make sure that it indeed is micro-stuttering, you can activate the “benchmark mode” in FRAPS (free version is limited in functionality), which creates few files in the benchmark folder that you specify, one of which cane be used to plot a graph of frame times. The file that we are interested in is the one that ends with “frametimes.csv”. (For example, farcry3_d3d11 2013-02-16 13-16-37-40 frametimes.csv).

You can either use Excel to plot the graph but it requires a bit of work first. The easy way to do is by using the small tool called FRAFS Bench Viewer.


You can download it from HERE.

What you do is, you install FRAFS Bench Viewer and drag and drop the **** frametimes.csv file to the main window. Then, voila, the frame time graph would be plotted. Easy stuff.

Now how do we know if micro-stuttering is there? If you see sudden spikes like every few seconds (it should repeat every few seconds or so, otherwise it doesn’t give you the illusion of lagginess), then, it is micro-stuttering. What we are plotting here is the time it takes to render individual frames. Micro-stuttering is seen when there are frames that take an abnormally long time to render compared to the ones around it. Those are what the spikes are.

For example, here’s e graph that doesn’t show micro-stuttering. (ignore that spike in the middle – it is not micro-stuttering. It was caused my something else.)

farcry3_d3d11 2013-02-16 13-37-33-68-Time

Here’s one that shows slight micro-stuttering. But not a big issue. You might notice is slightly, but not always.

farcry3_d3d11 2013-02-16 13-22-01-41-Time

Here’s one that shows heavy micro-stuttering. Playing a game like this will be a nightmare!

farcry3 2013-02-16 08-28-42-55-Time

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