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fullscreen == bad

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I don't know why most games prefer running in fullscreen than windowed. My analysis says that fullscreen comes from the old days of DOS where you have access to the whole screen. We still carry that habit along that you want fullscreen for every game you make. Today most platforms can handle multitasking, running more than one application at the same time. So I think it would be more convenience if games can cooperate with other applications by running in windowed, and let users switch between applications and your games without having to change resolution. Here are common issues running in fullscreen: 1. Your game crashes, if you do not handle this properly you likely crash the computer because there is no way for the users to switch back to desktop because your game window is the topmost window. 2. If target system barely meets the requirement of your games, switching between your games and desktop can take several seconds to complete (the system has to do all these restoration things). 3. You can barely multitask (using other applications) while playing games because you use the whole screen. I am not a professional, but does running in fullscreen give you hardware advantage? your games run faster? more stable? Even if there is any advantage, I don't think it would matter that much. [edited by - alnite on April 22, 2004 5:41:56 PM]

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It''s fairly obvious that in windowed mode games run slower because windows (or whichever OS) has to do all the drawing of desktop, icons, windows or whatever.

In the majority of cases the player won''t be likely to switch between the game and other programs all the time. It doesn''t make much sense.

Also the fullscreen aspect make the atmosphere of the game more immersive, like you feel more like you are INSIDE of the game.

Also a well-done program can switch between its fullscreen display and the desktop without crashing itself or the PC.

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Well, speaking as a game player, I prefer most of my games to run full screen because while i''m playing them i wont be doing anything else, for example i''m not likely to be writing forum posts while playing UT2K4

However, alot of games due have a ''run in window'' option and when in that mode to cooperate quite well with the OS and other programs running.

In answer to your issues;

1. This isnt a problem with fullscreen games, its a problem with bad programming. Your game should be able to exit gracefully from 99.9% of situations.
2. This is why fullscreen is needed to some extent. If the system you are running on can only just run the game then imagine what it would be like truing to run the game AND run something else with constant updates in the background to allow switching, the hardware just cant do it.
3. There are very few games you would WANT to multitask while playing, infact the only one i''ve ever come across which i wanted to do that with was Eve, and thats only so i can mine roids and talk on IRC/surf the web, as soon as i got into fights i wanted fullscreen action

I belive that running in full screen does make things better performance wise, you can lock the buffers and gain exclusive access to the graphics card in full screen mode, something you cant do in windowed mode. You can also change the refresh rate and color depths of the screen.

All in all, fullscreen mode is perfect for games, you need as much screen space as you can and frankly, most people dont multi-task while playing games because they need to focus on the game OR the work.
Alot of games however DO offer a windowed mode, but its not default because most people dont need it.

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quote:
Original post by VBBR
It''s fairly obvious that in windowed mode games run slower because windows (or whichever OS) has to do all the drawing of desktop, icons, windows or whatever.

Also the fullscreen aspect make the atmosphere of the game more immersive, like you feel more like you are INSIDE of the game.
Maximizing your window solves the problem.
quote:

In the majority of cases the player won''t be likely to switch between the game and other programs all the time. It doesn''t make much sense.
Talking to someone over IM while playing games in fullscreen isn''t fun.
quote:

Also a well-done program can switch between its fullscreen display and the desktop without crashing itself or the PC.
I didn''t say they crash, it takes some time.

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I switch between games and the desktop all the time. Usually I am playing a game when someone will IM me, so then I have to switch to the desktop, respond, and switch back, repeat. Now if only someone could get the IM window to pop up over the game. Does anyone know if dual monitors solves this problem? ie one monitor plays the game while the other has the Instant Messanger.

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, drown a man in the water and the fish will eat for a week!

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I think this is one case where the "User''s choice" card trumps what seems to be the better of the two ideas. Let the user decide how they want to play the game, don''t do it for them.

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quote:
Original post by alnite
I didn''t say they crash, it takes some time.


thats probably more down todo with ram swapping than being in fullscreen.
When i exit UT2K4 it takes a few moments for my desktop to redraw and my programs to start responding correctly because windows is having to swap back from the harddrive which is had to swap out to give to the game.

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quote:
Original post by _the_phantom_
Alot of games however DO offer a windowed mode, but its not default because most people dont need it.
I think it''s not because most people don''t need it, but because the fullscreen is the default. Make the default of your game windowed (but large enough to fill in the entire desktop such as maximizing it), and see if they change it to fullscreen. Players don''t care whether they see taskbar or window title while playing games.

Immersiveness is one thing, people do expect games to have larger window, but it doesn''t have to be fullscreen.

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quote:
Original post by _the_phantom_
quote:
Original post by alnite
I didn''t say they crash, it takes some time.


thats probably more down todo with ram swapping than being in fullscreen.
When i exit UT2K4 it takes a few moments for my desktop to redraw and my programs to start responding correctly because windows is having to swap back from the harddrive which is had to swap out to give to the game.
You only have that problem when running fullscreen.

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I care, i hate having extra bits of my screen taken up for no given reason and i dare say alot of people would do as well.
Why have a title bar when i dont need it?
why have a task bar visable when i dont need it?
that extra screen space can make a differance when playing certain games (RTS and RPGs for example).
Its the minority who want to play games in windowed mode, if that wasnt so then more people would ask ''why not windowed by default?''

you are probably right that joe public doesnt care if the game is full screen or a large window (aside from the performance loss due to not having exlusve access to the frame buffer), however average joe public also doesnt want to switch between tasks all the time to talk to friends on AIM, therefore they dont need to have it windowed by default.

There is no good reason to go windowed by default, yet a number to go fullscreen by default, given that its pretty blatant why fullscreen is the setting the majority of people use and why they dont complain about it.

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quote:
Original post by alnite
You only have that problem when running fullscreen.


Its not a problem however, running in fullscreen meams the game gets more resources, more control and better performance, thats what I and the majority of people want.
The few seconds of delay at switch back is a little price to pay for that.

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quote:
Original post by _the_phantom_
I care, i hate having extra bits of my screen taken up for no given reason and i dare say alot of people would do as well.
Why have a title bar when i dont need it?
why have a task bar visable when i dont need it?
You use them. Maybe not all the time, but you use them to switch to other applications.

quote:

that extra screen space can make a differance when playing certain games (RTS...for example).
In RTS that does make a difference because you need the screen edges to scroll the map, that you need fullscreen. Maybe that''s the reason why Blizzard games never support windowed mode.

quote:
There is no good reason to go windowed by default, yet a number to go fullscreen by default, given that its pretty blatant why fullscreen is the setting the majority of people use and why they dont complain about it.
They go fullscreen because that''s the default. And they don''t complain is not because fullscreen is better than windowed, but because of the immersiveness thing, which can also be achieved even when running in windowed mode.

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the point is, when playing a game I DONT need it, i dont want anything to distract me from playing the game, that includes title bars and the task bar, when playing something dark like NWN the last thing i want is a blue and green task bar at the bottom of my screen, it totaly runis the effect of me, thus the mood of the game is broken.
When playing a FPS I dont like the title/task bar being there because it draws my eye slightly and disrupts me from the game (when testing a HL mod i sometimes ran it in windowed mode, but it was too distracting.

Also, as another point, I run my desktop at 1600*1200, and while i''m sure my 9800xt could handle a number of games at that size (although something like UT2K4 would probably die framerate wise) I prefer to play my games @ 1024*768, which in windowed mode gives me a small window in the middle of the screen which is horrible.
So running games at different sizes to that of your desktop is a pretty good reason against default windowed mode.

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It''s a question of performance. Running fullscreen means your program has full access to the the graphic device of the system it is being run on. The legacy example of this would be palettized displays. An other would be with switching the resolution: do you want to play a game in 800x600 in a tiny window? Wouldn''t you rather have it fullscreen while still taking advantage of the lessened resolution? Or take, for instance, double-buffering. You can only fake it if you''re running windowed. Full-screen, you can take advantage of the hardware to the max.

And quite frankly, windowed games are a pretty useless idea. Why, frankly, would you want to chat while playing? I can''t think of any reason why anyone would do this. "Oh hey, Bob, can you stop shooting me a sec? I have to ask Mike something on IRC." You''re not playing freecell if you''re playing full-screen.

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Dude... what kind of games are you playing? It''s a no-brainer that processor usage and frame rates go to hell when you are windowed. In some games, that''s an option. In others, that is fatal.

Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

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"You use them. Maybe not all the time, but you use them to switch to other applications."

to switch to other apps, if I ever want to without exitting the game, I use my keyboard

having a windowed mode just kills the immersion and your concentration on the game.
and actually, if someone sends me a message on an IM soft and if a window pops on the top of the game while I''m playing it, I would almost wnt to kill or torture that person... that is so frustrating... you''re having a duel at quake, with a really intensive and immersive gameplay, and *ding* hello, you''ve got a message (and get fragged by the same occsion )
and running in windowed mode is even worse, it runs slower, it''s displayed smaller, and you''ve got a huge amount of spaace wasted and distracting you...

"I don''t know, I just think game developers shouldn''t stick with fullscreen all the time."

then wht default? windowed? I would hate it if a game went to windowed by default, and the first thing I would do is switch it to fullscreen, I asked some guys around me about that, and they all had the same reaction as I did.

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quote:
Original post by alnite
You guys make valid points, especially about the resolutions.

I don''t know, I just think game developers shouldn''t stick with fullscreen all the time.

It makes sense that the option should be there; it isn''t difficult to support. Still, given the potential difference in performance, fullscreen should definitely remain the default.


"Sneftel is correct, if rather vulgar." --Flarelocke

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If I may ask, what are you going to be doing in terms of multitasking while playing a game? The only thing I can think of is downtime/busywork during an MMORPG, in which case you still might need to focus entirely on the game at a moment's notice. Why should games bend over backwards to perform well in a mode that has very little practical use to most gamers?

[edit] I know this has already been asked; I just think it needs to be underscored a bit. I can understand wanting to pause a game and Alt+Tab into something else (say, a hint sheet or strategy guide open in a browser window, or something like that) but it is far easier and more reliable to implement Alt+Tab support than it is to overcome the problems with getting a game to perform nicely in windowed mode.

[edited by - ApochPiQ on April 22, 2004 8:41:44 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
In general the windowed modes can''t get full speed out of your 3D card. I''ve had it be as much as a 50% frame rate hit.

All well programmed full screen games allow you to task switch with the keyboard if you really want to.

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quote:
Original post by cmptrgear
Does anyone know if dual monitors solves this problem? ie one monitor plays the game while the other has the Instant Messanger.


Yes they do, my friend does just that in fact. He throws the game to the second moniter and is able to switch between them at will ;o. Sometimes he throws the server window on the other moniter so he can watch server status and play the game.

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I do not play fullscreen whenever I can. I HATE full screen.

When I play starcraft, I force WineX to put it in its own window. All other linux games I have support windowed mode.

The only exception is counterstrike. and thats just because I need every inch of resolution so I can see people moving from far away...

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