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Tearing effect - Stuttering image on LCD when playing first person shooters

29.10.2007, Happy, main   Bookmark and Share

Tearing effect

Did you notice stuttering/choppy image during gameplay of a first person shooter game on a LCD ? This issue, also called tearing effect, is mainly visible, when you try to rotate your view (ie. looking around, circle strafing), image is not moving smoothly then, horizontal breaks appear in the image. Visibility of this issue depends on your LCD vendor, refresh rate and graph. driver settings.

This is caused by discrepancy between refresh rate and FPS (frames per second). LCD panels are some kind of "fixed-refresh-rate video equipment" compared to CRT monitors, so you have to try to feed it with the FPS corresponding to the refresh rate. But how ?

There is V-SYNC technique, which solves mainly "tearing effect issue". Just turn on V-SYNC in your graph. driver setting. What will hapen ? V-SYNC = vertical synchronisation, your FPS will be equal monitor refresh rate. But the tearing effect may still appear, what to do ? Even the V-SYNC is on, when your FPS get lower then actual LCD refresh rate, tearing may appear again. You have to try to turn on double or better triple buffering. V-SYNC and triple buffering should remove "tearing effect".

Steps to remove "tearing effect" :

  1. Turn on V-SYNC in your graph. driver setting (please remember, your FPS will get lower, it will be equal to LCD refresh rate !)
  2. Turn on V-SYNC in your favorite game, enable triple/double buffering
  3. Tearing effect is still there ? Check config file of your favorite game, if it is based on Quake engine (opengl) you have to modify config file and add following code to turn the V-SYNC on :

    seta r_swapInterval "1";

    This will apply for example for these game titles Quake, Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, True-combat : Elite, Call of duty, Warsow, Doom, Medal of honor, Soldier of fortune etc. Just take a look on Google.

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