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Of Frame/refresh- Rates And Sound Quality...
I know this topic is not directly mapping related, but it does definately touch gaming and I find it rather interesting. Anyways.

As some of you may have noticed, many gaming forums often have these flamefests where some people claim that games where you can't have a consistent framerate of at least 50 or so FPS are unplayable whilst others argue that they are perfectly fine with 30 fps and also say they hinestly can't see the difference between 30 fps and 80 fps. This discussions seem to pop-up here and there rather often, so it is obvious that there are at least some people who honestly belong to camp #2. I am wondering how this is possible?

Personally, I have an aging machine (AMD 1,1 Ghz, 512 mb ram, GF4 Ti4200) which obviously limits my gaming choices quite a lot and I can definately see a night/day kind of difference between 15/30 fps, 30/60 fps and even 60/100fps. Some people always seem to bring up the old retarded "but film runs at 25 fps and it looks just fine!" argument, but it is, well, retarded. Film is nothing like games.

What does complicate the matter even further is that different kinds of games require different minimum framerates to be "playable". World of Warcraft is definately playable at 20 FPS average, UT2004 is definately NOT playable even at 30 fps average.

I know quite a bunch of people who use compters and a lot of them do not seem to notice any difference between 60hz and 85hz refresh rate on a monitor and cannot hear the difference between 128kbps and 256kbps MP3s whilst refresh rates below 85hz make my head hurt and I can't listen to any music (besides techno) with bitrates below 160kbps.

Does human sight and hearing sensitivity really differ so much from person to person?
yes, it's the same as picture quality on say dvds. Most people ouldnt tell apart a crap dvd from a good one, but tome it's blindingly obvious.

I think the better equipment oyu have that can fully utilise the capability of something, the more spoilt you get, and the more you get used to higher end stuff. 
Buy A Ps3 

Assuming you have $5000+ to spend on a TV set. 
if you can't tell the difference between 30 fps and 80, frankly, you're blind.

mind you, that's a good thing because you don't need to buy as much hardware to be satisfied. :P 
Gentle Visual Feedback 
It's not that you can't tell the difference, it's that you refuse to play if the fps is too low. That's the retarded bit.

As for sound quality, I honestly can't hear the difference between the 96 kbps preview versions you get on and the VBR real thing.

Also there's the whole fagdance that erupted in #tf when I mentioned that my monitor is 60Hz and everyone was acting like I raped children for a living.

Basicly, if you come up to me and ask me how I can play q4 like that when I only get 30 fps, there is a significant chance that I will flip you off and make up my mind that I don't like you. 
How can you play q4 like that when you only get 30 fps? 
FPS are like most things in life - more is better, but less is fine*.

I can tell the difference between 30 and 60fps no problem, same with 128 and 256kbps and also with 800*600 and 1920*1200 (native res of my laptop, so I don't have much choice). But once I am playing a good game and get immersed, none of these things get noticed - hell, I used to play Doom in low detail mode.

I can play HL2 stuttering like a bastard on level loads at between 30 and 50 fps (probably) or I can play Quake at whatever the fps is capped at in fitzquake (or my monitor refresh rate) and have fun with either. Quake is UNarguably the most fun of the two games of course.

Obviously, if I could play HL2 at a steady 900000fps with no stuttering then that would be great, but Valve suck at making engines that work on the obviously TINY 512mb of ram I have, so I have to make do with the stuttering. Seriously, 512mb of ram is such a pathetic amount to be using I can't believe I haven't shot myself for using less than 10gb. I don't deserve to even be able to run HL2, let alone have smooth framerates and I should be grateful to Valve for all the market research they did that made them decide to make Source such a memory hungry piece of shit.

*Cockroaches, mosquitoes and genital warts are just some of the obvious exceptions to this rule. Some women might argue that penis size is another exception, but in a slightly different way to the above rule-breakers. 
Back when I used to play Q3, the only reason that I could tell between 800x600 and 1024x768 is that the console font was smaller at a higher resolution, and so you could see more.

I recently encoded a wav to mp3, and I was trying to find the idea bitrate to use to keep the file to a reasonable size, and I couldn't tell the difference between 64 adn 128. In the end, I went for 96, because at 64, the sampling rate drops to 22050Hz, which means that your frequency responce drops to about 11k, which can tend to make a difference...

As for Quake, I can notice when it drops below about 40fps, but anything over 20fps is still playable. 
As far as I know it's not the view/eye that matters but the input. The more frames per second you have the more fluently does the mouse input feel. If it's low fps then you might not be able to aim fast and accurate because your input is "lagging" around. This is important to FPS games at most of course (and games like Need For Speed), in RTS or other games your input is not that important. You don't need to move your mouse as fast and wide as in Quake for example. Also there is a difference between Singleplayer and Multiplayer. Multiplayer games need more frames because you have to be able to control the game much faster. When I first played Quake it was something like 16fps with timerefresh on start, it was enough to enjoy the Singleplayer part though. When I played with a friend in LAN it really sucked.

Lardarse: Seems like you don't have a nice audio setup to listen music on. I can sometimes (nonono, I don't say I can do it always ;) ) tell the difference between 128 and 192, 96 is way too low in my opinion. Try it with good headphones. 
On Sound 
also the quality of your speakers comes into play here. I couldn' tell between 160 and 256 encoded mp3's on my old speakers but on my new B&W 603's its blindingly obvious, there are audio compression artifacts all over my mp3 collection now!

The same could be said about fps/refresh rates as well, if you have a tip top monitor (or lcd) then its gonna be a lot more noticeable when the refresh is wrong or the framerate lowers. On my old old monitor I couldn't tell between refresh rates but on my old new monitor (I have lcd now so refresh is pretty much irrelevent) I could tell and my eyes hurt from 60hz.

Saying this though, my friend has a nice 17" CRT but he always has it running at 60hz and he does not notice, even when I explain to him what this refresh is. I set the monitor to 85hz (max) and he says "sure its better now!" then when I come over a week later or so its back at 60hz cos some game has changed it and he hasn't noticed.

So bleh, so many factors involved, basicly no-one is wrong and everyone is right =) 
Good Point DaZ... 
...I recently upgraded my sound sys, and when I put one of my fave old PWEI CDs on, a whole new depth of sound opened up. Lot's of stuff going on that I hadn't even heard on a conscious level. 
Even A Decent Pair Of Phones Can Make A Huge Difference 
I find myself noticing all sorts of extra rythms in music when I listen to it using a good pair of headphones, rather than through my pcs speakers (it's a laptop with built in speakers).

That said, a reasonable set of headphones can be fairly cheap, but when it comes to things like graphics cards, monitors and HD televisions, we aren't talking �40-80, we're talking �200+ or �2000+, so it's not such a simple upgrade, since most people don't have that kind of spare cash*.

*esp. after just buying an xbox 360 for �300 - the HD revolution is here my arse. 
Good Topic 
When it comes to framerates, I can tolerate a pretty low count if the game suits it... what really gets me punching my desk/keyboard/face is stuttering inconsistent framerates in games. HL2 annoyed me a little here, although it generally ran quite well.

Morrowind really pisses me off with the stuttering, despite it being pretty vintage, and my PC being pretty good. But it's sucked me in, like a black hole covered in golden syrup flavoured velcro, so my whining is by-the-by i guess.

On sound quality, excellent choice on the B&W 603s, Daz. I had some for a few months and they really were lovely, lovely speakers that made me do a little sex wee. Made me want to listen to my whole collection again, but some tracks were just horrible and i had never noticed.

I think 2006 might be the year of me splashing out on decent hi-fi equipment. Stupid Cambridge soundworks bollocks. 
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