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Demonstration of how frames work using an animation
An animation eight frames long that plays at two frames a second.

A frame is the primary unit of time in a Pikmin game's logic routine. Every frame, the game's world is updated, and the screen is redrawn to reflect the current state of the game. Frames "tick" at a regular interval, in order to provide a seamless stream of images that form the game's video. Processing cannot happen between two frames, meaning that an object's state can only be updated once per frame. Hence, the interval between two frames needs to be low enough to provide a smooth transition between an object's states over time (such as the position in the world map of a moving object), but high enough that the console can keep up with the speed.

In tool-assisted superplays, some tricks or glitches need to be "frame-perfect", meaning there is a one-frame window in which an outcome can happen. This makes them quite hard or impossible to perform consistently in real time.


The Pikmin games contain complex areas and several objects, more notably, the Pikmin themselves, with 100 of them being able to stay on-screen at once. In order for the console to process the world's logic and render all of its elements at a steady speed, it cannot render at a large framerate. Pikmin, Pikmin 2, Pikmin 3 and Pikmin 4 run at 30 frames per second, which is half of an ordinary TV's refresh rate (60 Hz).

The exception to this is the European version of Pikmin and Pikmin 2: because the framerate needs to be a dividend of the screen's refresh rate (to avoid poor framepacing), if the game runs at the PAL 50 Hz frequency, the framerate is lowered to 25 frames per second. Pikmin's physics are dependent on the framerate, thus the gameplay's speed is slowed down by approximately 16.7% as a result, while Pikmin 2's physics are adjusted so that the gameplay speed remains the same. The GameCube version of the first game only supports PAL 50 Hz, while its New Play Control version and both versions of Pikmin 2 also support PAL 60 Hz.

Other than that, the main menus of the first two games, and the options menu, high scores menu, bonuses menu, and area selection menu in Pikmin 2 all run at twice the framerate of the normal game.

Should the console have to process a large amount of instructions, it may fail to do all of them in a single frame, needing to extend the duration of the frame until everything is concluded. If this happens over a large amount of time, it can be noticed by the player. An example would be the landing sequence in Pikmin 3, which oftentimes slows down the cutscene visibly, but not in a way that negatively impacts gameplay.

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