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2D Is there a working resolution...?

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Hello, I am rewriting my pixel art game program and have decided to support the following resolutions:


1920 x 1080

1280 x 720

1024 x 768



I think they all look fine on the different sized monitors.  Does anyone have an opinion of any other needed resolution to support?

When I started this research I seem to recall a general response of it might be just important to have the aspect ratios.  What does this mean exactly?  Why?

Thank you,



Edited by Josheir

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I have screens that are:

  • 3840 x 2160
  • 2880 x 1800 <-- 16:10, some people just letterbox down to 16:9
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 2560 x 1080 <-- this is the bitchy one, at 21:9
  • 1650 x 1080

I would want to be able to play on those in some sensible fashion, whether it's resized or whatever.

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4 hours ago, Josheir said:

might be just important to have the aspect ratios.  What does this mean exactly?  Why?

You can always scale up and down, that's trivial. Yes, things get pixelated when you scale up too far, but someone with honking great monitor probably expects that a large subset of 2D games will do that, and lives with it.

It's harder to deal with ultra-wide or ultra-tall monitors. You can just scale to the minimum dimension and put giant black bars on the other two sides, but... Promit most likely didn't buy an expensive widescreen just so that he can stare at black pixels all day.

Also, the mobile world has a lot of different aspect ratios, and folks there don't expect to see black bars on the sides of their games - the screen on a phone/tablet is small enough already.

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What are you going to do on other sized screens? Run in windowed mode with a non-resizable window? Draw black borders on the edges? Rescale from one of your supported resolutions to the screen resolution? That last one would require care around aspect ratios. 

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You should probably pick a popular resolution to target, such as 1080p (1920x1080), so that your art looks optimal. And then have the actual screen resolution be fluid to whatever resolution or aspect ratio the user has. For example, some people (like myself) use 4K TVs as monitors, it which case the screen would just scale up 4x to fit (this is easy since it's a multiple of 1080p and the same aspect ratio). However, ultra-wide screens are more popular these days and (less so) multi-monitor configurations, and it would be nice to support an arbitrary aspect ratio. In that case, your game would render art to the left and right of what would normally be seen on a 16:9 screen. In any case, it would be a mistake to hard-code a few resolutions and expect that all your customers just happen to have the same monitor you do.

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I dont understand... if this is a pixel art game, then presumably the art only makes sense at a specific resolution so that the pixels are at a certain scale, right?   So why not just do like cyberpnk says and support just that resolution, and then you can scale and letterbox to support the final screen (or window) resolution?

Seems like you're just making life hard for yourself.

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Please look into actually asking the monitor what resolutions are supported, since your list of resolutions is never going to be exhaustive enough to cover everyone's monitors. It will break when you try and set it to a resolution that the monitor doesn't support, which is very easy to do, and then you will be flooded with complains about how the resolutions are messed up or how you don't support X special snowflake monitor. On Windows this is done using EnumDisplaySettings. On Linux I am not sure, you can look into XRRSizes and XF86VidModeGetAllModeLines to start.

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While less likely in a gaming scenario, some people also use their monitors in portrait mode, so a 16:10 becomes a 10:16. But if you are also targeting mobile, you may want to support portrait mode anyways.

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