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Lazy Foo

Dealing with possible aspect ratios

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Lazy Foo    1113
For the uninitiated, I'm making a geometry wars style shmup with focus on vs combat. This is the basic layout I have for my battle interface: I just threw it together in photoshop in 2 minutes. The real thing won't be this ugly. It looks fine on 4x3 resolutions, but on 16x9 it doesn't look quite right with all the black space. What should I do so the widescreen interface doesn't look so empty? I was thinking of moving the life and weapon bars to one side and placing the map on the right but I don't want to give widescreen users an advantage. Also what other aspect ratios should I take into account?

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Krohm    5031
I believe 16:9 or 16:10 is to be preferred.
Yes, I'm semplificating it pretty much but the reason is simple: try to buy a bigger than 30" TV with a 4/3 ratio. TV screens are 16:9 or even wider, I would like to have a single format sooner or later.

Yes, I recognize this is pretty bold!

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Drigovas    509
How about moving the life and whatever 'B' and 'L' are down below the main screen on the 4:3 version [stretching from left to right or something similar], and have the play area span side to side completely. For 16:9, they can be on the side as you currently have them. Would likely absorb some of the black space with useful play area.

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Marmin    523
This is of course a common problem; I don't like the bars either, but, as I myself do not want to make the playing screen different size on different monitors you can do the following:
1) Leave it stretched (fits on 16:9 but, of course, is distorted). This is my preference
2) Make the playing field fit the 16:9 standard.
3) Leave the bars at the side.

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Pseudokai    142
For the 4:3 you could remove the black and have the bars partially transparent over the playing field, and then for 16:9 you could move them off and put black underneath them. It still gives the wide screen players a slight advantage, but I think that's how I would prefer it if I were to play the game.

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Ravyne    14300
There's a fair amount of standard aspect ratios around --
4:3 -- most common
5:4 -- common on LCDs with 1280x1024 native resolution
16:9 -- common on many televisions and some LCD Monitors
16:10 -- equally common, if not moreso, than 16:9 LCDs.

Really, you just have to design for it or accept the fact that certain setups will have an inherent advantage. Its common practice select one aspect and place a matte image around the play area as a border. This can be done with either a wide or standard play area. Given a geometry wars-style game, it probably makes more sense to stick with a non-widescreen area.

If you back up and think outside the box just a bit, a circular play area makes a lot of sense for this style of game -- 2D overhead, likely to move equally in all directions -- and has some advantages (or possibly disadvantages, depending on how you look at them) like having no corners to get trapped in, or to camp in. Maybe you could play the game on the surface of a sphere...

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Kest    547
If I were you, I would make the game view fill the entire screen on standard aspect ratios, and just have the bars overlap it while making them very transparent. When the aspect widens enough, move them out into the black and make them fully opaque. That should reduce the size of black on wider screens.

On the other hand, I can understand why you would want a square viewing area. If you want to stick to square, I would just go with what you have now.

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theMystic    122
Take a look at games like SubSpace.
Having a better screen resolution gives some advantage to the "newbie" player because more of the world is visible.
The more advanced players don't use this advantage as they aim using the mini-map located on the right bottom of the screen.

So I say: Include a mini map - and don't punish players with big screens.

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