A lot of User Experience comes down to psychology, not stopwatches. The goal is to make people feel good about the experience, not optimize the metrics.
This is most apparent in studies around progress bars. Users were subjected to several waits in software, each using progress bars with different strategies. Some tracked progress accurately. Others quickly approached 90%, then accurately scaled the remaining 10%. Others intentionally slowed down the first 90%, then caught up.
It turns out people preferred the progress bars that went very slowly at first, then sped through the final phases. Two interesting findings:
- People indicated those progress bars finished faster even though all progress bars in the initial tests had identical delays.
- In later tests, people rated themselves as more satisfied with the wait using the “lying” progress bars even when they took longer than the rest.
So sure, the math of the animation tells you it’s “not much slower”. But the people who play your game are telling you it feels wrong and is unpleasant. I don’t think it’s wise to respond to players by invalidating their feelings. This is you asking people to pay you to spend their free time playing a video game, not about being mathematically accurate.