Widescreen support in PC games?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by Ozymandis, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. Ozymandis

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    I'm kicking around the idea of getting a widescreen monitor (maybe CRT, maybe LCD) next month, and I'm just wondering how many PC games have support for 16:9/16:10 ratios?

    Anyone else here have a widescreen monitor?
     
  2. vogel

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    All Unreal Engine games I'm aware of support widescreen either by modifying your .ini file or by entering "setres XxY". I only wish there was a way to play BF1942 at 1600x1024.

    -- Daniel, Epic Games Inc.

     
  3. Ozymandis

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    Sweet. That's great to hear, as I play a lot of UT2k3 :D

    And I checked, and Quake3 engine games support custom resolutions as well. I've basically got my bases covered :twisted:
     
  4. V3

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    Don't you need to be able to do custom aspect ratio as well to get the most of it ?, instead of just stretch image ?
     
  5. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    I believes many 3D games assume 1:1 SAR (source aspect ratio). So as long as your display has 1:1 SAR, you'll be ok.
     
  6. Crusher

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    1:1 source aspect ratio? I thought the aspect ratio of the viewport was supposed to match the display resolution ratio...
     
  7. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    But games do not know the aspect ratio of your display, so the best they can do is to assume 1:1 SAR (square pixels). Normally a 4:3 display has 4:3 resolutions (such as 800x600, 1024x768, etc.), a 16:9 display has 16:9 resolutions (such as 1600x900). However, there are some exceptions, such as 1280x1024. If you try to use 1600x900 on a normal 4:3 display, you'll see distorted results in most 3D games.

    There are other options for 3D games, such as fixed DAR regardless the resolutions. For example, a game may provide an option for the user to set the DAR (display aspect ratio), such as 4:3, 16:9, etc. Then they can display correctly with any resolution. This is also used by MPEG-2, which provides only four different aspect ratios: 1:1 SAR, 4:3 DAR, 16:9 DAR, and 2.21:1 DAR. So although DVD resolution is fixed at 720x480 (or 720x576 for PAL), 352x480/576, or 352x240, it DAR is fixed at 4:3 or 16:9 (DVD does not support 2.21:1 DAR).
     
  8. Sxotty

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    Quake3 does widescreen.
     
  9. Crusher

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    Now you're confusing me... is the aspect ratio the ratio of the width to height of the image being displayed, or the ratio of width to height of the actual screen? Are you saying that a 1280x1024 image on a normal monitor should be using a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of a 5:4 aspect ratio?

    I assumed the aspect ratio was strictly tied to the resolution of the image being displayed, which is easily calculated by the application and can easily be used in the formation of the projection transformation matrix.
     
  10. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    That depends on the aspect ratio of your display. If your monitor is 4:3 and the picture covers the full display, you should use 4:3 DAR regardless the resolution. In this case, 1280x1024 has non-square pixels.

    However, some monitors, especially LCD monitors, always have square pixel on its native resolution. For example, an LCD with native resolution of 1280x1024 is likely to be 5:4, not 4:3.

    So to keep a square displays like a square, you'll need to know the real aspect ratio of your monitor. Some CAD users calibrate it using rulers.

    This is only true when you have square pixels (1:1 SAR). Many resolutions have square pixels, including all 4:3 resolutions on 4:3 monitors. However, some resolutions are not 1:1 SAR, such as 320x200. For 16:9 wide screens, you need 16:9 resolutions for square pixels such as 1600x900 or 1280x720. There are some special monitors which have strange aspect ratio. For example, my sub-notebook has a native resolution of 1280x600, that's 2.13:1.
     
  11. Crusher

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    Hrmm... I'm going to have to disagree. The aspect ratio used for the perspective transform matrix should be the same as the aspect ratio of the window the image is displayed in, regardless of the physical dimensions of the monitor. It will be using non-square pixels if the resolution isn't the same aspect ratio as the display, but that can't be helped. If you use an aspect ratio of 1, however, the image will be distorted. I offer some screenshots of examples demonstrating this:

    aspect_ratio_of_1.jpg
    aspect_ratio_of_4_to_3.jpg
    aspect_ratio_of_5_to_4.jpg

    (too large to show here... please be patient with my 768k SDSL :) )

    The sphere and pyramid look as they should in the 4:3 and 5:4 screenshots. In the screenshot with the aspect ratio of 1, they appear to be squished vertically. This observation is made on a dislpay with a 4:3 ratio, where both the 4:3 and 5:4 look similar, apart from the size in pixels.

    I know that in the DX8 help document, Microsoft demonstrates creating the perspective transformation matrix with what they refer to as a "typical" value of 1. I think this is incorrect, and should only be when your display resolution is a 1:1 aspect ratio. If any games are using an aspect ratio of 1, I believe they are doing it incorrectly.
     
  12. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    Did you change the resolution to 1280x1024 to view the picture in 1280x1024? If not, you'll see correct aspect ratio because both of your 4:3 and 5:4 images assumes square pixel.

    On the contrary, your 1:1 image assumes 1:1 DAR, since most monitors are not 1:1 DAR, it will looks squashed. If you use a 1:1 DAR monitor and use 1024x960 resolution to display the image, the image will display correctly.

    The projection matrix in DX8 document (and many other 3D text books) assumes 1:1 SAR, so the DAR can be directly computed from the size of the window.
     
  13. Crusher

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    I took out a ruler and measured the sphere in fullscreen in both resolutions, and apparnetly using a 5:4 aspect ratio isn't quite right at 1280x1024. However it's still a hell of a lot better than using an aspect ratio of 1.

    So what you're saying is, it's impossible to display things correctly all the time automatically... and every single tutorial/reference document on the subject is wrong (I've found numerous OpenGL examples using the window width / window height as the aspect ratio). That's nice.
     
  14. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    Actually they are right, as long as you have 1:1 SAR (square pixels).
    It's incorrect only when you use monitors/resolutions with non-square pixels, such as using 1280x1024 on a 4:3 monitor.
     
  15. Crusher

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    Yeah, but as you said earlier, you can never know when that is, since you don't know what the physical dimensions of the display are, only the resolutions it supports. I suppose you could count the number of resolutions that were detected for each aspect ratio, and then use the aspect ratio that has the most number of supported resolutions, but even that's not guaranteed to be correct.
     
  16. Gnep

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    To reply to the original post, I don't see why the games listed here:

    http://www.matrox.com/mga/3d_gaming/surrgame.cfm

    wouldn't work in widescreen - they are pretty much all doing single-viewport rendering (just across 3 screens in Parhelia's case), and support custom resolutions and field-of-view. Usually just a bit of tweaking in the .ini file needed :)
     
  17. pcchen

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    Yes. A solution is to let the user to select the display aspect ratio. Common aspect ratio includes 4:3 DAR, 5:4 DAR, 16:9 DAR, and perhaps 2.21:1 DAR, and an additional 1:1 SAR. The default can be set as 1:1 SAR since it's most common. If the result is distorted, the user can select the correct aspect ratio.

    In thoery, you can get the dimension of the display from the Windows DC. However, I don't know how many monitors support it, nor how accurate they are.
     
  18. Nappe1

    Nappe1 lp0 On Fire!
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    well, mý example might be bad, but I'll try it anyways...

    in Super Video CD PAL standard, frame size is defined as follows:
    - 480 pixels width, 576 pixels height.
    - aspect ratio 4:3

    if you calculate image's resolution based aspect ratio, it is nowhere near to 4:3. still, players always display it as 4:3 (using streching)

    this is the as in Grand Theft Auto 3 PC version... you can force the engine to render images on widescreen (16:9) even if you would be using 4:3 resolution. this is because on regular TV outs cannot use 16:9 proposed resolution modes with standard non-HDTV. With using overscan and 16:9 style FoV settings, you are still able to display game right with only 800x600 resolution on 16:9 tv.

    while using anlogical CRTs, streching to wider resolution on CRT than in original image, isn't any problem because quality and sharpness of final image isn't good enough to human notice errors especially when image is changing fast enough. (of course FoV must be set correctly for 16:9 visible field.) BUT when we are talking about TFTs that have native 16:9 resolution, things change a little bit. (image no longer consist lines like the image which CRT draws.) and streching errors become visible very easily.
     
  19. T2k

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    ?

    Daniel, I didn't change ANYTHING but Unreal II IS working fine here at 1920x1200... :)
     
  20. T2k

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    Yes, the two most important FPS-engine does support widescreen. IIRC, Serious Sam also sports this feature.

    So far we covered 80% of the FPS' now... :D
     
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