How to make game appear to run faster?

I believe I read somewhere that there is a technique which will make games appear more smooth than they are. I believe it is some visual trick, but I don't remember which one. (It is be something like "You percieve game to be more fluid if there is good shadows").

I may be wrong and there is no such thing.

• I'm looking for the technique to make games appear to be more fun than they are ;) – Tim Holt Jun 14 '11 at 19:35
• I think that instead of just calling Draw() in your game loop, you should do : for(int i=0; i < 20; i++) { Draw(); }. Then your game will appear faster. – Jonathan Connell Jun 15 '11 at 8:06
• @3nixos is that a serious answer? – Skeith Jun 15 '11 at 11:09
• @Skeith Of course not :P – Jonathan Connell Jun 15 '11 at 11:22
• Technically that's not even an answer, that's a comment. – o0'. Jun 15 '11 at 12:33

You're probably thinking of motion blur.

Edit for more content: Here's a bit from GPU Gems 3 on motion blur:

Motion Blur as a Post-Processing Effect

One of the best ways to simulate speed in a video game is to use motion blur. Motion blur can be one of the most important effects to add to games, especially racing games, because it increases realism and a sense of speed. Motion blur also helps smooth out a game's appearance, especially for games that render at 30 frames per second or less.

• Omigawd look at the kitteh go fast! – Jonathan Connell Jun 14 '11 at 16:06
• I absolutely hate motion blur. It is physically painful to try to track a heavily blurred object with my eyes. – AttackingHobo Jun 14 '11 at 16:25
• This is almost definitely what the asker was thinking of; it's the only rendering technology which I've ever seen people claim as improving perceived smoothness. (Whether or not it actually works, I think, is still questionable. But the claim has been widely made.) – Trevor Powell Jun 14 '11 at 23:06
• @AttackingHobo: I disagree... if done right and in small amounts, it greatly increases immersion (at least for me) but it does require extra processing power. So it is not a technique to make your game appear smoother for 'free' because it is running on low FPS due to hardware limitations – Samaursa Jun 15 '11 at 17:36
• @AttackingHobo: Well, that is when you are tracking the object with your eyes, and not spinning around. Try spinning around (in real life) and see how well you can track an object (our eyes still fixate, which is hard to emulate). Game should (maybe some do?) add a focal point where the blurring has no effect (and maybe increase its size artificially to allow for precision loss). Not sure how well that will work but I know they use it when you look down your iron-sights for example. Though I do agree, our brain is able to compensate for a lot of movement which cannot be translated to games. – Samaursa Jun 15 '11 at 18:44

There is a way to allow updating at fixed rate, and rendering at whatever rate the users system can handle.

You need to implement a fixed time-step, which has the upside of making your game simulation determistic. And you need to implement interpolation in the drawing method, which will allow the drawing rate to be much higher than the updating rate, while looking really smooth.

Fixed time-step

Semi-fixed or Fully-fixed timestep?

Interpolation

How to Interpolate between two game states?

Check out Real-time Frame Rate Up-conversion for Video Games, which was presented at Siggraph 2010.

• That looks absolutely horrible. Unless you are going for the effect of objects constantly warping the space and geometry behind them – AttackingHobo Jun 15 '11 at 19:18

You can't really make the game overall appear faster than it is, but you can make slow parts look faster (or at any rate less noticeable) by de-coupling them from everything else so that everything else can run faster. Indeed, this is precisely why network commands are done asynchronously.

Similar things can be done locally, whenever one part of the game is slower than other parts. For example, physics updates are often run asynchronously from the rendering loop. Perhaps character animations are updated on a separate thread from background graphics, etc.