Thread: Screen res in games

  1. #1
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Screen res in games

    Most of the games on the PC are built on top of top-notch graphics systems or very good in-house systems.

    Why is it then that games that are only 1 to 2 years old have a very hard time changing screen resolution to something other than the auto-detect feature detects? Is it that hard to change screen resolution? Is it that hard to re-compute the aspect ratio (width / height) for the projection matrix?

    This really has me wondering if all these 'super' code bases are really all that 'super' at all. Something like screen resolution should be left to an ini, xml, or some other type of human readable file. And then the engine should be able to adjust for various resolutions. This allows players in the future to play the games on newer hardware with different resolutions. And not to mention it's not exactly rocket science.

    From a Direct3D standpoint I cannot fathom why it is difficult to setup the D3DPRESENT_PARAMETERS width and height members to user-specified values. I also cannot fathom why they cannot setup the projection matrix correctly to fit 16:9's and/or 4:3's. It's simple math that any engine should be able to do. Even my crappy little D3D framework can support any resolution the card can support.

    Are devs really hard-coding resolution into the games? Surely not. Seems like huge oversight to me and my confidence in the abilities of the gurus coding these 'engines' has slipped just a little.
    Seems like a very basic hard-fast rule that screen resolution should never be fixed and a game should never be built to fit only certain resolutions.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 07-15-2009 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #2
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Most engines that I'm aware of allow for this Bubba. Gamebryo, CryEngine, Unreal,...
    But you are right in that this is not made obvious, since custom resolutions need to be made either through game ini changes or console scripts. Why isn't there a custom resolution entry on games' Advanced Options, really beats me.

    I'm thinking Doom 3, which forces the user to create a console script to run the game on 1440x900, for instance. No 16:10 support, and only minimum 16:9 support, if I remember correctly. Or Bioshock with that strange decision to force a 4:3 FOV on widescreen resolutions. They did change it on a later patch, but damn me if I understand their initial decision or their announced unhappiness at being forced to include a new option for widescreen resolutions. Fascists!

    I guess anyone with monitor greater than 21'' has to go through all this crap all the time.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #3
    Internet Superhero
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    Sep 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I guess anyone with monitor greater than 21'' has to go through all this crap all the time.
    Yesterday i reinstalled Age Of Mythology, in a moment of nostalgia, and lo and behold, the resolution is capped at 1600x1200. Same thing goes for SimCity4 and UT99. (Although the last one was fixable after a bit of googling around)

    Seems to be a tendency with old(ish) games mostly, i've never come across a new game that wouldnt run @ 1920x1200, or even 2560x1600.

    1600x1200 just doesn't look good on a 1920x1200 native LCD...
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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