One of the things I learned writing racing games was, reaction times really aren't key unless you design the game to require it (the Burnout series springs to mind).
For a while, I worked for a company that made free to play PC skill-games, usually physics based (racing etc.). In order for replays to work properly, the physics update and input code were completely decoupled from the rendering side of things. So while the simulation ran at 100Hz, the rendering could be as choppy and as low as you liked.
There's an implication in the latter, as it means that the time between the player seeing something happening and reacting, increases. In fact, it often increases beyond the typical sudden-event reaction time (half a second). And what I found was ( and I believe a few studies by the British MOD confirm this) the reaction time wasn't really key in a simulation and also real life.
When you're driving a car, you're typically focused on what's called "visual range". That is, your brain is predicting (using visual cues) what will happen when your car reaches a certain point, two seconds from now. And it's the ability to accurately predict that, that makes a good racing driver. And this rang true for my simulation because, I could have the graphics update running at around 15Hz, looking absolutely terrible, but people were still able to play the game very well.
Why? Because the human brain is great at filling in gaps. Especially gaps that are a constant delta time...as long as the error in what they see remains constant, a person can make very good judgement on near-future events. Essentially...it showed that reactions weren't the key factor in being able to drive a car at speed.
As long as racing sims have been around there have been the FPS arguments;
Person A: "The human eye can't see more than 25fps"
Person B: "I can tell the difference between 30 and 60fps massively" (For the record I can tell the difference between 110and 130 as I have a 120hz screen which looks really choppy when the sync exceeds the FPS).
Person C: "I won the world championship playing at 12fps" (some of the fastest sim drivers rarely had the best kit).
You are right it's all about the prediction time and the picture your brain is building in your head about the future. Take braking points or corner turn in for example, you don't reach this point and then
react to it, you predict it based on your current speed and make sure your turn in correlates exactly with your turn in point by compensating for your reaction time.
Edited by Tenmantaylor, 03 December 2012 - 10:54.