Why does this even matter? If you have a large delta time then your game is fucked anyway. Collision detection will likely also be broken and the game is unplayably choppy anyway so it doesn't even matter.
I remember a car trick (do a barrel roll) in GTA San Andreas that for the life of me I could not accomplish. I found out that this variable physics was likely the problem - I dropped the graphics settings to minimum, and I was able to do the trick.
This is on a quad core, 8GB ram, 1GB video card machine - it's no slouch - but the subtle difference was enough to make my task impossible.
This is incorrect. The suggested approach makes the game significantly more accurate adding 3 multiplications and an addition. This does not make the game noticeably slower. If you're concerned about 3 multiplications and an addition you're going to need to show me some profiler data that shows this as a specific bottle-neck in the game-logic.
No, you are talking about adding all of these operations per object in the game world.
It doesn't stop at gravity either. Virtually everything in the game world is moving via acceleration. If you were going to do this in a consistent manner you would need to do this for every single physics calculation for every single game world object.
You are correct that you would have to profile it to determine how much of an issue it would be but it sounds like potentially a lot of deadweight to add to the game. Especially since when games slow down it is often due to having a lot of objects in the gameworld simultaneously.
Because without fixed deltaTime, if the framerate is too low, you can't jump in Quake. With the "new algorithm", in the 3fps example, you still have to luck out and get a tick at the right time.
And with a constant delta, if you choose it right, it can be easier to get collision detection right. You can possibly get away with checking if two things are colliding with each other right this tick instead of checking if they might have run through each other between ticks. With variable delta, if you want to get it right, you might have to check where things where half a frame ago and such, and at that point it might be easier to just check more often instead.
And I think you should probably ask the same question about variable deltaTime. Assuming that coupling rendering and game logic is not some best practice that you should default to, why would you want variable deltaTime? (There may or may not be some good answers to that, and maybe it totally depends on the game and so on.)
Constand delta time does not solve collisions. You should always be using continious collision detection for things you care about, or eventually something will go to fast even for fixed dT.
One good argument for variable dT is if you do enough logic such that game time may be a major performance bound. If on a machine that is running fixed dT cannot perform all computation in the allotted time, then the game will get behind schedule, and how do you resolve the problem of having a wall clock 10, 100, or more frames ahead of simulated time when you can't keep up. In that regard variable dT degrades more gracefully.
There's a large difference in feel between 30 Hz and 60 Hz. So much so that some devs will be absolutely inflexible about dropping below 60.
Also, it's very important to people's perceptions of performance (whoa) to maintain a consistent frame-rate. The variations are much more noticeable than the absolute rate. Finally, on lots of hardware, you can't actually display at 59Hz, say. You'll either be at 60 or 30, and will oscillate between the two in a most annoying way.
The point being that it doesn't matter if you believe people will not play the game because game performance; if they really like it the will ignore it. And if they paid for your game you should at least try to give them an experience as good as possible.
No I am just being realistic as an actual game developer. This is not a conceptual discussion. It doesn't make any sense to implement this change because if your fixed timestep for the physics system is breaking down then gravity not calculating correctly is the least of your problems. The controls would be unresponsive if the dt became large anyway. You are talking about more than doubling the number of operations for all acceleration based movement which is just about every movement and applied force in the game. If you thought the framerate was hurting before because too many objects were on screen doubling the physics calculations is not going to help you out. It might not hurt that bad but it really depends, you would need to profile it. It doesn't matter though because the tunneling would be another bigger issue that you would also have to address for this to even matter, and that would definitely hurt bad to check for.
During the far majority of use cases the timestep is fine, and you are just creating deadweight by doing this. Plus I guess you are now doing tunneling checks as well to create further deadweight for the rare occasion when someone has framerate issues.
I am looking at this in the sense that I would actually implement this in a game I make, and I would not because the upside of doing this is basically "if the game is already fucked I want it to be maybe not as fucked but still having many other big issues with pretty much every other component of the game logic", vs a bunch of deadweight when the game is running correctly, which should be 99.5% of use cases.
Am I adding assumptions here? I guess so but they are real ones for real game developers. Unless you are doing something very unusual these would be your concerns.
This is not an academic exercise for me like it maybe is for you and most of the commenters it seems like.
> the game is unplayably choppy anyway so it doesn't even matter.
My point originally was about this statement of yours, that is purely conceptual and you skew the discussion to address the other part of your comment (or you through that was the point but didn't explain so in your answers)
But anyway, one assumption is that every game should have a fixed gamestep, in many single player games (real single player games) you don't want to do that, because is preferable that the user can see the ball coming to the player than to magically appear behind the player even if that is "timely correct"; the ball/interface going slow is a lot less frustrating that losing without realizing why. Platformers for PC with (virtual) high speed movements come to mind as a common example of this.
Even multiplayer games suffer of this; in most online FPS if the server suddenly slows down all the players start experiencing lag and everyone looks like they are "teleporting"; with a not-fixed-timestep you could slow everyone down so the problem becomes a lot less frustrating because the player still have complete control and understanding of their in-game character; just a bit slow-mo until the server speeds up to normal. The teleporting should be used only to sync with the server when the client connection is the one with problems updating.
Oh well unplayably choppy is more subjective but I was going with the true problems a large dt would create like collision detection failure and controls not working.
I can't think of a framework that doesn't have a fixed timestep except for maybe gamemaker or some of the simpler frameworks. Maybe some of the html5 stuff is non-fixed timestep but that is a field that is just coming into its own right now.
None of the bigger 2d or 3d physics engines today that I know of use a non-fixed timestep.
In platformers with high speed movements fixed timesteps are even more important because of tunneling. You can often account for tunneling in some of the better physics engines but it is sloooow.
In fps games there is a lot of interpolation going on with the server correcting player and object positions. If the server lags you and everything else is going to teleport no matter what. The server is not even accepting your control input at that point so either you are going to desync or you are going to teleport when the server tells you your real position. Generally in fps games only critical physics objects are being server corrected anyway, this is usually a small fraction of the physics objects. For example if an enemy fires a rocket at you that is not usually server corrected. If you get hit in the server calculations then you got hit whether or not you think you dodged it client side.
My point is that if the server hiccups your jump being slightly off is not the big problem, The big problem is that the controls are unresponsive. Also when the server hiccups it is rarely the actual fixed timestep serverside that is your problem, it is the internet. If your computer hiccups then it is not updating positions from the server so all critical objects are going to teleport. Could there maybe be slightly less teleporting on non-player controlled critical physics objects? Maybe so but if you are losing that many timesteps than things are going to jump around on your screen no matter what because your framerate is like 5.
> in most online FPS if the server suddenly slows down all the players start experiencing lag and everyone looks like they are "teleporting"
Why would server lag effect FPS? I can only see how it would effect the reported positions of the other players because you aren't getting updates to changes in their movement. Server lag should never effect your FPS.