Fixed, Variable Or Smooth (Still Don't Understand)


I have been running the game with the framerate set to the fixed option. Most, if not all of the guides to SFIV:AE that I have found on the internet have basically said that Fixed is the only worthy option and to not use it makes you an idiot. I assume since there is such a solid consensus the reasons for choosing fixed must be very clear. I just haven’t found a good concise explanation yet. I have tried all three in the single player game and have not really noticed any difference. Fraps displays a steady 60fps for all three and I don’t notice any serious input lag, slowdown or any other annoyances. I have tried all three out in the included benchmark mode and I seem to recall that variable came out with the highest framerate, which was about 78.5 fps. Smooth and Fixed were pretty even, with Smooth coming out ahead in a best of 5.

Can someone give me a brief concise explanation of each. Like does fixed drop frames, and if it does how can it be called fixed. I always assumed when frames were dropped the framerate fell with it.

Is it just me, or is the PC version getting more popular?

Fixed caps your fps at 60, which is the intended rate the game is built around. Since the game uses frame counts as its basic units of measurement so to speak, this is a pretty big deal. The benchmark ignores vsynch, fixed rate and so on, and just displays the highest frame rate your machine can push, so you’ll see different reported numbers there. Dunno a great deal about the inner workings of the other settings since there’s no real reason to explore them, they aren’t usable, I’ve no idea why they even exist.

Online uses frame matching as a basic meter to synch your game and the opponent’s, so if you have a differing frame rate, horrible things happen. This can vary from sluggish response for you and/or the opponent, to outright slow-mo gameplay. This is why fixed setting is basically mandatory.

Moral of the story is use fixed rate always.


If your machine can consistently produce a higher framerate than 60, then variable will work fine.
Fixed is better, though, and I’m not sure what smooth is about. It seems to really lag.


“fixed” is the only option your should use. variable introduces slowdowns if you have performance drops (which will also slowdown the game speed of your opponent).

there seems to be a misconception about the concept of frame dropping. like I wrote in the other thread. if you have performance drops there are basically two options available how to deal with it. the first is to never throw away any frame (variable), so you have to slow down the gamespeed… which is the bad option (this only makes sense if you are recording an emulator demo file to an avi for example, which doesn’t have to happen in realtime). the other option (which is essential for multiplayer) is to skip frames and by this making sure the game speed is at constant 100%… which is called “fixed” in street fighter.

except for the benchmark you can’t get over 60fps anyway, so there is no benefit by using variable even if you have a performant system with steady 60fps all the time. it only introduces the chance of slowdowns.
really, variable is just a stupid option. imagine if you play call of duty / battlefield whatever and everytime a user with an old system joins the server the game speed will be slowed down to his level. yeah… sounds like a great idea, yet the pc port team of sf4 implemented such a setting.