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Widescreen Games?

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I was looking at a postcard I got recently from some cousins of mine living in Sweden. The postcard is about 16:9 ratio. It made me think about how we percieve things. Sometimes when I watch a movie, I question myself, "In what axis would I like to see more of this picture?" I always answer myself, "Horizontal." Now that a lot of movies are in widescreen format, do you think it would be a good idea to make games in widescreen format? Even if the only computers out there with 16:9 screens are probably PowerBooks, I think that letterboxes would not be that bad for certain games. For strategy games or role-playing games, this might not be the best idea. But what do you think about adventure games or first-person shooters? I do not think that in these genres there is that much that needs to be seen in the parts that would be letterboxed. Letterboxing a game would also give the game fewer pixels to render, increasing the quality of the graphics. I have never played a game in widescreen format, so I do not know if this would be effective or not. What do you think?

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I always thought it would be cool to have a widescreen fps, especially considering you could give the player a little more periphiral vision than they would normally get. A lot of games have widescreen cut scenes, but most, if not all, games do not have widescreen gameplay. I think it would be interesting.

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I wouldn''t mind a widescreen FPS, but I think that you should put all the HUD elements (besides crosshair) in the part letterboxed off. Things like ammo count, score, health, armor, chat, etc would be more visible on a black background, and as somebody said it would allow for periphiral vision. It would be interesting to have the left & right edges of the screen somewhat blurred (maybe drawn at 1/3 size and then stretched out) to make it harder to identify friend or foe from the edge of your vision for ex. It would definitely be interesting.

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Wouldn''t you need a wide screen monitor for this too? You''re not increasing your viewport, you''re decreasing it with a normal monitor... or am I missing something?

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Hi!

There are many PlayStation games where you play in 4:3 screen, but it becomes 16:9 when you don''t control the action (dialogs, entering through door, etc...).

Also, there are games that let you choose 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio (for those 16:9 televisions).

...but I think a game made entirely 16:9 would be very very interesting. Also, B/W games could look very good.

theNestruo

Syntax error in 2410
Ok

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Letterboxing would decrease the overall resolution of the image, but it would still be widescreen and give you a wider side view, plus it would probably look pretty cool.

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I think that would be interesting putting all of the HUD data in the letterbox. But I am not talking about a console game. I am talking about a computer game. I also think that it would increase the players peripheral vision, giving him or her a better field of view. I think that this would work best in adventure games, and maybe RPGs, just having all of those stats and maps taking up all of the letterboxes.

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But the size of the monitor doesn''t change, so how does your view increase? And games have put the info on the bottom of the screen like that a long time ago (look at all those 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation FPS).

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The field of view increases. Think of it as a mild distortion effect. I''d go on, but I''m sure someone else can explain it better than I would.

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quote:
Original post by Kohai
But the size of the monitor doesn''t change, so how does your view increase? And games have put the info on the bottom of the screen like that a long time ago (look at all those 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation FPS).

Have you ever seen a letterbox movie? It''s the same effect. You get a wider effective viewing area (different aspect ratio) than on the same TV\monitor with pan and scan even though the overall size of the image is smaller.

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Why would a distorted image look better? Try increasing the FOV in Quake... everything looks bent. Then you''d have to sit closer and closer to your monitor so it wouldn''t look so bent. There''s nothing really wrong with that exept mothers would say the game caused kids'' to wear glasses... and then... oh never mind.

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Ok, I can''t explain this too well, but IT WOUlD NOT CAUSE DISTORTION! Sorry about that . Just think of it as a technique that gives you less y view and more x view.

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Goldeneye for the N64 had the ability to change the aspect ratio.
On a regular TV, I think it did cause some distortion though.

But you basically would get a wider FOV...but Quake 3 gives you that as an option as well.

Again, widescreen games would only improve on widescreens.
Regular monitors would actually lose on this deal since part of the screen is considered useless. On the other hand, making those parts of the screen menus or something would be better but at the same time, don''t most games do this already?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
i modified my drivers to support a bunch of weird resolutions:
-quake3 widescreen (856x480) (r_mode 11)
-neogeo 2xRES(608x448)
-CPS1/2 2xRES(768x448|800x768) (hor. and ver.)

there are 2 ways to use widescreen... using a weird resolution or using only a part of the screen.

u can set up all(?) q3-engine based games to use a custom resolution.. eg:

(console commands)
r_customheight "1024"
r_customwidth "1600"
r_mode -1
vid_restart

if the driver doesnt support the resolution by itself the image gets screwed :]

well... i thought it would be a nice idea to run q3 in widescreen... but it wasnt worth the stress - it''s really better to use the whole display.

on the other hand it''s nice for side-scroll-shoot''em-ups

//oNyx

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by GBGames
Goldeneye for the N64 had the ability to change the aspect ratio.
On a regular TV, I think it did cause some distortion though.



It did give som distortion on a 4:3 TV. Rare also has 16:9 mode in their standalone "sequal" Perfect Dark. I think they repiffed it a bit there and it works better.

I agree that 16:9 should be viewed on a widescreen TV/cannon. However, it gives you a movie like touch if you have it run in 16:9 even if you don''t have a TV that is. That is a feature I like, the feeling of interacting inside a movie, so I say go WS go!

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I eventually think that wide screen format maybe become a standard. A lot of new tv''s and such are coming out at this new ratio. How soon, who knows.

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2006 is the television station conversion mandate. All Americans should have HDTV if the US government has anything to say about or they'll be forced to go without TV. (I'm skeptical of this actually happening but that's another story all together.) The rest of the world is already converting at a much faster pace than the US. It won't be long after that before a console comes out where its default setting is 16:9. The real question is if the game image is anamorphic. Most games are developed in 4:3 and through viewport tricks made to work on a 16:9. Often times this is no different than turning on your stretch mode on your monitor or TV. In many cases the viewport manipulation causes distortion and the game actually looks worse.

For consoles, it'll be a good day when games are developed with a widened viewport that doesn't distort the image, though if I had my way, I'd rather have console games developed for the 1080i, 720p, 1080p NTSC formats so that I could get significantly sharper images. Currently 480p is the highest resolution supported by most games on the Xbox and the PS2. For technical reasons, legacy issues with TV construction and RCA port bandwidth the lowest common denominator display is very limited. The jump to HDTV formats would have a significantly greater impact on your overall console experience. (Think brighter reds/greens/yellows, no color bleeding, sharper lines, more information on the screen...) At this point, supporting legacy 4:3 TVs is holding back the console experience and that is tied to the HDTV mandate of 2006 imposed on the US by the US government.

With respect to PCs, I have no idea when they will be primarily widescreen. Their flexibility and higher resolutions get in the way of progress being mandated by the government. There's also not 80 billion in bandwidth revenue at stake like there is with HDTV and Widescreen TV adoption. I'm not even sure that there is a large demand for widescreen computer monitors. They don't help you type into this forum, or edit a word document. Outside of games, I suspect adoption of a widescreen format monitor for PCs is a ways off on any grand scale.

Kressilac

[edited by - kressilac on February 12, 2003 7:43:11 AM]

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A 16:9 image drawn letterboxed onto a 4:3 monitor would be no more distorted than drawing the image fullscreen onto a 16:9 monitor. Assuming the aspect ratio of the on-screen image is 16:9 and the field of view and aspect ratio of the viewing volume are the same in each case, the shape of the monitor will make no difference in terms of distortion.

[edited by - chronos on February 12, 2003 8:59:57 PM]

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Age of Empires 2 ans well as most RTS games end up similar to the idea where the HUD is in the letterbox of a widescreen format. Most of those games have HUDs on the bottom taking up a lot of space while the rest of the screne is used for the actual game. This is technically not widescreen and also not an FPS which is much different... still just thought I''d mention it... Also, I''d like widescreen games to have the good old 4:3 ratio an option. Mostly because, when viewed on any screen in my house, any widescreen movie/game ends up being maybe a foot tall... maybe. Gets annoying with a small TV.

If I had a widescreen TV or at least one that was BIG, I''d probobly love it

Tazzel3d ~ Dwiel

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Heh -- all I could think of since the third post was DooM.
When the display isn''t set to fullscreen you have a wider aspect ratio. This resulted in a trimming of the top and bottom, however, instead of a widening of the filed of view. (Pixels were more valuable due to the low resolution, so widening the FoV would mean a shorter maximum viewing distance.) You could get away with this in DooM because the vertical axis wasn''t all too critical (despite it being a key feature at the time.)

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Having a wider screen ratio would not distort the image you see in games that have an isometric projection, as they don''t represent an arc of view.

But as Kohai pointed out, in a game that has a projection that is supposed to represent a 45 degree field of view on a current screen looks ok when you sit 2-3 feet from it. But when you try to fit a greater field of view into the same width say 60 or 70 degress FOV then you have to move your head much closer to the screen in order for it not to appear distorted, or give you a massive headache.

On a normal monitor with a normal ratio I might rotate my eye 22 degrees to the left to see the left side of the screen, and my eye expects to find an image that represents that angle. If my eye finds an image at that side of the screen that represents a 35 degree angle it will appear distorted. To alleviate this, as Kohai said, I would have to move my head closer to the screen so that the arc through which I rotate my eye to the edge of the screen matches the angle that that screen edge represents.

One symptom of this which had people puzzled farely recently was with the origional battlezone, which had only a 40 degree projection. This was because the screen was so far from the player, as it was mounted in an arcade machine, that it could not support a greater field of view.

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