So earlier this morning, I read a post in response to someone talking about Dust's frame rate problems. The original post claimed to have frame rates as low as 1-3 per second. This is a serious problem as first person shooters running at anything below 30 frames per second don't function very well. Hell, most PC gamers can't stand anything below 60 and pros generally favour 120 FPS.
The response was an interesting claim to solve the problem however. By forcing Dust 514 to run in 572p, the game could achieve a much higher and more stable frame rate. I had some time before the servers went down today, so decided to try it out.
The first thing I noticed was an immediate sense of nostalgia. If you've ever wondered what closed beta looked like, 572p is a fairly good indicator. The performance is a bit higher now though, as the game has seen some general performance increases since then.
The second thing I noticed was the menu animations were much smoother. Granted the game looks like ass and could be mistaken for a PlayStation 2 title, but there's hints that the game is running better. Menus are more responsive and animations are smoother.
This was all good and well, but how did it perform in a live match environment? I loaded into a faction warfare match and it was like nothing I've experienced in Dust before. The frame rate was higher than I'd seen before and the responsiveness felt incredible. I'm normally a terrible shot with a scrambler pistol, but here I was racking up head-shot kills. For the first time in a long time, I was enjoying playing Dust for the sake of playing Dust. Christopher Franklin's "Kinaesthetics" video comes to mind when trying to describe this.
Now this match was obviously not under the stress that PC battles can put on a system. People were using equipment, but not spamming it everywhere. I would be interested in hearing how it performs in a more stressful environment compared to 720p though. If it didn't make my eyes hurt so much, I'd probably never play Dust in 720p again, but I can see this being less bothersome to people who want the extra edge.
There's a potential nightmarish outcome to all this. If CCP don't improve the 720p experience, it's possible a group of players could exploit the frame rate drop from equipment spam while avoiding it themselves. The endgame to all this would be a world where players are forced to play in 572p and spam equipment to compete. Here's hoping it won't come to that.