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freeworld

would a fixed resolution make you not want to buy a game?

25 posts in this topic

I'm working on a project right now, and from the beginning I've held the notion that the game will be at a resolution of 1024x768 and nothing else. especially nothing lower than that. If I decide to allow it to go bigger... ie people who run wide screen laptops might want o run fullscreen I would just add black border padding to keep the aspect ratio correct.

[b]My question is how turned off would you be if when browsing through a download portal like steam or D2D, you saw a cool looking game, but in the requirements it stated "ONLY RUNS at 1024x768 RESOLUTION, WINDOWED or FULLSCREEN." ?[/b]

My game is a casual game and I designed it so that the player can start it, jump into the game and finish a level in 10 - 30 minutes and still be able to watch tv :). I guess I always visioned the game being played windowed, to make it easier to minimize when the boss came walking by.

I know other games in the past have done this, Civ 3 comes to mind, and it had no problem selling millions. And if steams reports on the hardware people have are accurate, only 8-10% of my target audience would be forced to play the game in fullscreen. The rest would have no problem playing in windowed. (that is ~8% people have a resolution with a height 768 or lower).
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For me it would be an immediate turn-off. I expect any game (indie or no-indie!) to have a full spectrum of resolutions available. I do make allowances and would probably play it if the game was good, but my first impression would be a screaming giant sign of "LAZY!" plastered all over my face.
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes running a single resolution is necessary or even preferable (e.g. Consoles). But having the option locked-in would suck - I have displays all over the place (1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1024x768 and one or two more that are obscure enough to make me forget the numbers); notice that only one of those wouldn't have to scale your game! Lots of old games are locked in, so I guess you'll be fine, but it seems like such a trivial thing to add that it just screams MEH from the developer to me?

And, IMHO, no no no to black borders - unless I am watching a cinematic or something I do NOT want to have black borders all over my screen no matter how causal the game is that would be a no-sale for me (and quite a lot of other people - I guess it depends on how extreme we are talking here, but I got an image that made me cringe; not just bottom/top bars but basically a black-boxing type of deal...)

Anyhow, good luck to you and your game! :)
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I wouldn't be offput if it was 1024*768 in a window but fullscreen and with black borders I would be (my resolution is 1920x1200 so there would be hideous amounts of black). No reason why you can't limit it to 1024*768 but stretch it to fit. I don't mind little black bars down eitherside as much.
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Maybe I'm just a bizarre gamer... but I haven't run a game fullscreen in a several years now. but having a 32inch monitor still allows for big resolutions. I just multitask alot I guess, example this is what is running on my desktop at the moment. Torchlight, iTunes, windows Media Player, Visual Studio, Photoshop, Firefox, several folders, notepad++, and steams download window. All of them are visible and accessible at any one time.

Also I guess I should've stated the biggest reason for aiming for a static resolution is the game is 2D, and uses hand drawn graphics. Stretching and resizing these images cause horrible blurring and artifacts. aswell as allowing widescreen would either cause strange empty spaces... or allow a unfair advantage to those with a widescreen.

Thank you for your response though, I'm just trying to get peoples honest feelings on it.
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I use a UMPC pretty heavily these days, but its native resolution is 1024x600. Its kind of upsetting when I can't play a game on it due to these kind of restrictions.
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In the past I had CRT so I would not mind. But now I have LCD and it is crappy in all resolutions other than native. I do appreciatte higher selection of resolutions in games. Hard to tell if it would make me not but the game... probably not. It also depends on amount of text ingame (more reading = better resolution desired).

Why don't you make rendering in one resolution and then resize it to fit the screen no mater the resolution selected? Or even better, resize the game screen and put dynamic interface on top of it (I think they did it this way in Civ 4).
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[url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/338886--read-before-posting---mandatory-posting-template-/"]World of Goo[/url] runs at a fixed resolution of 800x600, and is a massive success.

If your game is good and is marketed well it will sell; there is now a growing market of gamers who will buy and play games but don't even know what resolution [i]is[/i]. There are plenty of gamers who simply won't care. There are plenty of gamers that [i]will[/i] care but will try your game anyway if they hear that everyone else enjoys it.

Doing things "properly" is nice, but actually releasing a finished product is better.

Hope that helps! [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]
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It would be a strike against, for sure. Mentally, when I see a game with just one resolution setting, it makes me think that the development team cut corners on things like compatibility and features, so I go into it expecting the game to have problems that might break the experience for me. I don't actually make games, and what little I know about the process I learned here, but I assume that ubiquitous features like resolution support is something that can be "dropped in" from some kind of readily available toolkit, like it's some kind of module or something. Since I believe it to be trivial to code-wizards, its absence makes me think that the game is not the real deal, but instead some kind of lame project that was made in a hurry as a midterm in a college class.
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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1297121662' post='4771109']
[url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/338886--read-before-posting---mandatory-posting-template-/"]World of Goo[/url] runs at a fixed resolution of 800x600, and is a massive success.

If your game is good and is marketed well it will sell; there is now a growing market of gamers who will buy and play games but don't even know what resolution [i]is[/i]. There are plenty of gamers who simply won't care. There are plenty of gamers that [i]will[/i] care but will try your game anyway if they hear that everyone else enjoys it.

Doing things "properly" is nice, but actually releasing a finished product is better.

Hope that helps! [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]
[/quote]

I forgot about WoG, and thanks for the uplifting reply.


[quote name='Iron Chef Carnage' timestamp='1297123355' post='4771125']
It would be a strike against, for sure. Mentally, when I see a game with just one resolution setting, it makes me think that the development team cut corners on things like compatibility and features, so I go into it expecting the game to have problems that might break the experience for me. I don't actually make games, and what little I know about the process I learned here, but I assume that ubiquitous features like resolution support is something that can be "dropped in" from some kind of readily available toolkit, like it's some kind of module or something. Since I believe it to be trivial to code-wizards, its absence makes me think that the game is not the real deal, but instead some kind of lame project that was made in a hurry as a midterm in a college class.
[/quote]

I'm not trying to say adding support for different resolutions would be hard, it's the fact that the game play is based on that resolution and changing it otherwise would break gameplay. This will be my first game I go head strong on and actually put all my effort into getting it published and available on some market. I was just curious about how people would react to having to run it windowed or be forced to play a stretched out game.
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[quote name='Iron Chef Carnage' timestamp='1297123355' post='4771125']
I don't actually make games, and what little I know about the process I learned here, but I assume that ubiquitous features like resolution support is something that can be "dropped in" from some kind of readily available toolkit, like it's some kind of module or something.[/quote]
It's not quite that trivial -- don't get me wrong, it's not overly difficult if planned for, but it's distinctly non-trivial -- supporting multiple resolutions means you need to either scale your graphics to fit, have multiple graphics of different sizes or some combination of the two. If you're stretching your graphics will you allow them to stretch to whatever size the player has (potentially leading to problems with the game in years to come), or will you set a theoretical maximum?

You have to decide how to deal with different aspect ratios; should you letter-box wide screen monitors, display more of the playing field, or perhaps show the usual playing field but add an additional graphic that is not visible on a non-wide screen? You could simply stretch your graphics, but you might end up with things being oddly shaped and looking squashed or stretched. If you decide to support multiple options and let the player decide then you've got more code to write, and more different situations that need to be tested.

You have to take into account that your decisions may impact game-play; if your game is multi-player and you've decided to show a larger playing area on wide-screen monitors then you may be giving some players an unfair advantage. Even a single-player game where achievements are awarded or scores are submitted to an online scores-list may lead to complaints of unfairness.

If you're already handling multiple resolutions will you also support multiple monitors (which are becoming increasingly common), and if so how will you do so? If you're not going to support multiple monitors will you provide an option to black-out an unused second or third monitor?


Supporting multiple resolutions certainly isn't the most difficult thing in the world, and I appreciate that your point of view is probably one shared by a lot of players who don't know much about the development process, but it certainly isn't trivial; there is a very real cost in time, effort and potentially money involved in deciding to support multiple resolutions, and it's a decision that may in some cases impact gameplay as well.
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My monitor at home has a native res of 2048x1152 -- a 1024x768 window only takes up 1/3rd of the screen.

If I was playing your game, in it's little "1/3rd of the screen" window and I press ALT+ENTER, I'd expect the window to expand to cover the whole screen, with the game taking up 1536*1152 (same aspect, scaled up to fill the screen), with 256px black columns on each side.

Likewise, if I'm playing in windowed mode and I decide to resize the window by dragging at the corners, I'd expect the content to get bigger (while maintaining aspect with black borders).


Basically, I want to be able to make use of my monitor. Resolution of the rendering doesn't matter to me ([i]rendering at 1024 and upscaling to 1536 is perfectly fine[/i]), I just want to be able to say how big it is on my screen (in meaningful terms, like inches or centimetres).
To take this idea to the extreme, let's say that in 10 years time I've got a 20480x11520 monitor -- your game will then only take up 0.3% of my screen, making it unplayable.
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Not caring about windowed and fullscreen modes and varying screen resolution is a mark of shoddy and arrogant design.
Example: the recently released "indie" RTS [url="http://www.indiegames.com/blog/2011/01/aurora_released_free_for_today.html"]Aurora[/url] [b]fails to start[/b] on a dual display PC. Had I not previously run it successfully without the second monitor, it would have been uninstalled on the spot.

You should provide some combination of extended playfield (only if it's fair: unreachable scenery in tower defense is harmless, seeing further in a platformer or RTS is not), scaling by good looking factors, padding with supplemental graphics, alternate layouts (e.g. score moved from the top of the screen to a side panel in case of wide displays), plain old black bars.

If the game is fun, nobody will be angry for slightly suboptimal graphics; users with strange display resolution are going to be particularly tolerant of adaptations because they cannot reasonably expect the game to be optimized for them, while users with high resolution displays aren't going to forgive the uselessness of small and nonresizable windows.

Old games (like Civilization 3) got away with fixed arbitrary resolutions because CRTs supported them and they looked good; nowadays LCD and LED displays have fixed pixels and only their "natural" resolution looks good.
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[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1297124234' post='4771131']
I was just curious about how people would react to having to run it windowed or be forced to play a stretched out game.
[/quote]Wait, I was assuming there would be a fullscreen mode. If we are talking about windowed mode then there is a completely different story. I would never, ever buy a game, even cheap and top best my favourite if it was only windowed and no resolution selection. I would simply be unable to play it without changing the resolution of my desktop which is no fun at all since I would be forced to rearrange my icons afterwards.

Stretched out is OK, as long as it is done automaticly and I don't need to resize and adjust the window myself.

Generally, I would be extremely hesitant to play games not in fullscreenmode (resolution is a secondary issue).
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[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1297110805' post='4771035']
[b]My question is how turned off would you be if when browsing through a download portal like steam or D2D, you saw a cool looking game, but in the requirements it stated "ONLY RUNS at 1024x768 RESOLUTION, WINDOWED or FULLSCREEN." ?[/b][/quote]
There is usually a right way to go about doing things but it is very much dependent on whether you are using sprite graphics or 3D. Also dependent on what your game world is like. Please tell about these things.

For example, a sprite-based strategy game where the viewport does not affect the mechanics can accommodate higher resolutions by simply showing more stuff on the screen at the same time, keeping the 1:1 pixel mapping. Not scaling, or scaling by integer factors, are key to retain perfect sprite graphic quality.

When considering a solution, you can consider how it would work (or not) on 600p netbook, 23" 16:9 1080p screen, 27" 16:9 1440p screen, 16:10 13" 900p screen.
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I think fixed, fullscreen resolution is best... However... I think that fixed resolution should match the user's screen resolution... It not hard to implement GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN) and GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN) for example...
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[quote name='forsandifs' timestamp='1297180662' post='4771383']
I think fixed, fullscreen resolution is best... However... I think that fixed resolution should match the user's screen resolution... It not hard to implement GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN) and GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN) for example...
[/quote]

Are you serious?
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[quote name='Stroppy Katamari' timestamp='1297185805' post='4771416']
[quote name='forsandifs' timestamp='1297180662' post='4771383']
I think fixed, fullscreen resolution is best... However... I think that fixed resolution should match the user's screen resolution... It not hard to implement GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN) and GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN) for example...
[/quote]

Are you serious?
[/quote]

Absolutely. Games look terrible when stretched, and monitors can't handle higher than native resolutions. So there really is no point in a full screen implementation with customizable resolution. -> Full screen, native resolution only.

Ofc windowed mode is another story. But I'm not interested in windowed mode. Just wanted to make a point about full screen resolution.
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[quote name='forsandifs' timestamp='1297186146' post='4771418']
[quote name='Stroppy Katamari' timestamp='1297185805' post='4771416']
[quote name='forsandifs' timestamp='1297180662' post='4771383']
I think fixed, fullscreen resolution is best... However... I think that fixed resolution should match the user's screen resolution... It not hard to implement GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN) and GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN) for example...
[/quote]

Are you serious?
[/quote]

Absolutely.[/quote]
I think the meaning of "fixed resolution" has escaped you. It refers to a game designed to only ever run at one resolution. One.


[quote]Games look terrible when stretched, and monitors can't handle higher than native resolutions. So there really is no point in a full screen implementation with customizable resolution. -> Full screen, native resolution only.

Ofc windowed mode is another story. But I'm not interested in windowed mode. Just wanted to make a point about full screen resolution.
[/quote]
A lot of this is true. It doesn't make "fixed resolution that matches the user's screen resolution" any less absurd.
You are apparently thinking about [i]rendering[/i] resolutions. There are actually good reasons to render at a lower than native resolution, though.
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1) Render your game to a texture at the 4:3 ratio
2) If the window is the same size, just draw the texture there as is.
3) If the window is bigger, center your game over a background image.

The above is only if you game is stuck at the 4:3 ratio for some reason. Like a port of an old game, or a game based around a small square playing field. Otherwise, its a case of just being stupid and lazy.


As for native resolution. Most off the shelf PCs can't render games at their native monitor resolutions at appropriate frame rates.
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It is defiantly a turn off.

Remember every time you force some sort of system requirement you are losing part of the player base. The monitor I'm working on right now has a resolution of 900X1600. So I wouldn't be able to play your game unless I flipped my monitor over every time.

World of Goo may be fixed but it's a very safe resolution.

What's the reason behind feeling it would be best played at your desired resolution? Is it personal preference? Personal preference is generally a bad way to make a business decision.
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If I'd like the game, I'd buy it, as long as it's a casual game. If I'd really, really like it, I'd buy it no matter the genre.

You'd probably lose about 40% of the potential buyers (my own personal estimate).
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In a casual game, it wouldn't be a turn off for me. Just running in a window would be acceptable for me. I would def not want the black bars option though.




But from the replies you've gotten here, it definitely seems you would lose some sales.. as referenced by the World of Goo example though, making a [s]good[/s] great game is far better for sales than meeting the technical checklist of your would-be buyers.




Good luck either way!

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[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1297188936' post='4771437']
1) Render your game to a texture at the 4:3 ratio
2) If the window is the same size, just draw the texture there as is.
3) If the window is bigger, center your game over a background image.

The above is only if you game is stuck at the 4:3 ratio for some reason. Like a port of an old game, or a game based around a small square playing field. Otherwise, its a case of just being stupid and lazy.


As for native resolution. Most off the shelf PCs can't render games at their native monitor resolutions at appropriate frame rates.
[/quote]

This is exactly how I handle it at the moment. but once the resolution gets big enough, everything becomes very blocky and unpleasant to look at let alone hard to tell what things are.

I've decided to go for making two sets of textures, a low res version and a high res version. probably means another month or two of tedious work for me, but sometimes you got to please the masses.. At least things wont look horrible at higher resolutions.

I should've asked what kind of gamer you guys are aswell. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and assume most of you that scoffed at the idea of a fixed smaller resolution are more on the hardcore game side? Ofcourse I want to aim for the biggest audience as possible, but deep down my target isn't those that think Crysis 2 will be the second coming of jesus. but more for a the younger and older ages groups. the same group of people that love handhelds and the Wii.
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[quote name='freeworld' timestamp='1297886936' post='4775095']
[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1297188936' post='4771437']
1) Render your game to a texture at the 4:3 ratio
2) If the window is the same size, just draw the texture there as is.
3) If the window is bigger, center your game over a background image.

The above is only if you game is stuck at the 4:3 ratio for some reason. Like a port of an old game, or a game based around a small square playing field. Otherwise, its a case of just being stupid and lazy.


As for native resolution. Most off the shelf PCs can't render games at their native monitor resolutions at appropriate frame rates.
[/quote]

This is exactly how I handle it at the moment. but once the resolution gets big enough, everything becomes very blocky and unpleasant to look at let alone hard to tell what things are.

I've decided to go for making two sets of textures, a low res version and a high res version. probably means another month or two of tedious work for me, but sometimes you got to please the masses.. At least things wont look horrible at higher resolutions.
[/quote]You have still not explained what this game is like and whether it uses sprite graphics, 3D or what. What you have told about your course of action, two sets of textures etc., sounds quite weird and suboptimal to me.
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If it was a good game or one that interested me then no a fixed resolution would not put me off. If it is very much a pick up ad play for 30 min game then i don't see an issues. If i was to play it for extended periods of time i suppose i would rather have some options when it comes to size. Without playing it i cant really have a strong opinion either way but form what you have said i cant see a serious problem with it.

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