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Retrothomas

Target resolution for Mac/Win game?

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This seemed like the best spot so I'll post here. What's the best guideline for resolution to use when developing a Mac/Win game? Do you target your assets for the largest possible resolution and then scale it down for smaller resolutions/windows, or do you do the reverse and scale up?

Specifically, I'm using the SDL libraries with C++. I assume it has support for resolutions/screen detection/aspect stuff.


I've done a lot of development but haven't considered this point until now.


Thanks in advance! :)

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Since there is really no maximum possible resolution, this is not an option. Scaling the assets up works, but will give everything a blurry look. Your best bet is to target a resolution that is commonly used and scale up or down to the users actual resolution.

I usually use 1280x720 (aka HDTV's 720p).

Another issue that will come up sooner or later is aspect ratio. Computer screens usually have 4:3, 5:4, 16:10 or 16:9. The easiest way to deal with this, is to do everything in 16:9 (for instance) and put black bars on top and bottom. If your GUI consists of independent elements that don't cover a lot of screen space, you can also stick them to the sides of the screen or something similar. This is, of course, better for the players. ;)

I hope that helps!

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Thanks a lot, Rattenhirn, for your detailed reply! So 1280x720 is a solid choice? I'm just thinking of my iMac which runs at 1920x1200. The upscaling to that kind of resolution won't result in a blurry appearance?

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Just my opinion, but I think that if your game isn't too resource intensive, you should at least make it playable on netbooks to reach as wide an audience as possible. I think just about all netbooks can handle 1024x600, but some of them have that as a max resolution. I don't know how easily your game will scale resolutions, but I don't think SDL has any sort of built-in functionality for scaling stuff. My 2-d games for PCs typically target 800x600.

Good luck.

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It shouldn't end up being very resource intensive.

On your games that target 800x600, do you upscale to accomodate larger resolutions or do players have to play in a window?

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Just my opinion, but I think that if your game isn't too resource intensive, you should at least make it playable on netbooks to reach as wide an audience as possible. I think just about all netbooks can handle 1024x600, but some of them have that as a max resolution.
A lot of netbooks have ~800x600 as their native resolution.

Also, some people have 2 and 3 monitors, giving them 48:9 and 48:10 ratios!


It's not something to worry about. Just design your game around whatever works best, and render more or less depending on the ratio. Widescreen games do this by just rendering a little more at the top and bottom. So the player can still see all of the wide image. This works especially well in the newer fighting games.

4:3 games expand by just centering the game on top of a background image. Final Fight Double Impact solved this nicely by housing the original game image on a model of the original arcade cabinet(see image below).
156160-final-fight-double-impact-unveiled-20091124085753207-000.jpg

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That's an excellent thought. Thank you very much for your reply. These responses were what I needed :)


Here is another example: Castlevania: SOTN running in 16:9.

http://www.nexgam.de/media/cache/nexgam/img/articles/5398/Castlevania-Symphony-of-the-Nights-1.jpg

Just like Final Fight, both of these games can be run in full screen, and with different filters, but they always look awkward and stretched because you can't change the ratio of an image and get good results.

Don't think of pixels, just ratios.

16x9 and 16x10 is a very small difference. Especially in 3D. just render a bit more height wise and forget about it. 4:3->16:x is more problematic, but you know about it now when you are designing the game. Either plan for a game that works with both, or recompose the scene in the other ratio.

Widescreen is the norm now. You can just letterbox your game at 4:3 (640x360), or pull out and render more. If you have a puzzle game or a board game, just recompose the whole layout, like SOTN and Final Fight did.

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