Sunday, 2 October 2011

Screen Resolution Choice

Do PC games really need a screen resolution choice these days?
This question struck me when designing the menus for the game. Most reasonably modern PC's have LCD monitors therefore the screen resolution for the desktop and in a game should match the monitor's native resolution to avoid blurry pixels. Older (CRT monitor) machines will have a desktop resolution that is suitable for the monitor.

This leads me to think that the game should just pick up the desktop resolution and always use that.

As a side note it's irritating when you install a new game and the resolution is 1024x768 when the desktop is set to 1680x1050 or similar. This seems to be a leftover from a bygone era and long gone are the days when a game has fixed resolution (e.g. Starcraft I).

The only reason I can think of for changing the resolution is to turn down the detail on a bleeding edge game but this will still ruin the crispness of the graphics on an LCD screen. It seems more likely that polygons, anti-aliasing and effects would be reduced.

I might be wrong about this... we'll have to see if there's a backlash when my games don't include the option!


Anonymous said...

My new game is starting at the highest resolution, 1920x1080. It tests each res to see if it exists on the graphics card, then goes to a lower one if it doesn't. Right now I only have 5 resolutions, all of them widescreen except 800x600, which is in there for minspec. Once the game starts, you can pick the res you want. I wonder if I should add more choices? Does anyone play on a 3:4 screen anymore?

I think it's fine to use the desktop res, as mine is set to 1920x1080 all the time anyway. I'm not sure why big budget games have to be manually set in the game options. It seemed pretty simple to me to set to the highest as default or do what you are doing and grab the desktop res. I would think the only reason to turn to a lower res is if the game runs too slow at high res.

Any gamers out there want to comment on this?

Gary said...

The most common resolutions for 4:3 screens are 1280x1024 (very common on LCD) and 1024x768 (CRT). I'd say they are at least as important as 800x600.

My secondary monitor (screen 2 on PC, main screen on Mac) is 1280x1024.