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[Adonthell-artwork] Fwd: Screen resolution(s)

From: James Nash
Subject: [Adonthell-artwork] Fwd: Screen resolution(s)
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2010 23:34:37 +0100

Sending the original failed (probably because I had attached an image). Here it 
is again with a link to an uploaded copy of the image...

Begin forwarded message:

> From: James Nash <address@hidden>
> Date: 2 August 2010 23:29:33 GMT+01:00
> To: address@hidden
> Subject: Screen resolution(s)
> Hi again,
> This will be my last brain dump for the day...
> *Update* Since I started writing this mail I see you guys have replied to 
> some of my earlier ones. I had assumed we were still targeting 640x480 but it 
> looks like that's not 1024x768 - still, the basic principle is still valid I 
> think...
> I've been thinking about screen resolutions. If I'm not supporting we have 
> currently fixed the game at 640 x 480 (aka "VGA").
> The main reason is that this allows us to delivery a consistent game 
> experience to the player. The amount of map that is visible and the size of 
> characters and objects relative to that remains fixed. (Imagine if we used 
> the same graphics but scaled the viewport up to a big resolution - you'd 
> probably see the entire Waste's Edge village on one screen but you'd need a 
> magnifying glass to find your character!)
> The problem is of course that hardly anything these days has a native 
> resolution of 640x480. Therefore, either the game gets scaled up (which can 
> make the graphics a tad blurry) or it operates in a 640x480 resolution which 
> can be quite tiny on today's monitors. (also there is an increasing trend 
> towards widescreen aspect ratios which means we either have vertical black 
> borders or stretched graphics when running full-screen)
> I'd like to propose an approach where we maintain a (relatively) fixed 
> viewport on the world but allow for scaling up to modern resolutions without 
> the ugly smoothing. Basically, we should pick a lowest common denominator 
> size that can be scaled up in integer multiples and thus avoid the smoothing. 
> (e.g. scaling by 2x in each dimension means each original pixel is now 
> represented by a 2x2 square of pixels - just like the iPhone 4 or iPad scale 
> apps written for older iPhone generations). This kind of upscaling will make 
> things look "blocky" but they will also look crisp.
> If a user prefers the existing smoothed upscaling, then that can be achieved 
> by running the game in a low-res mode and letting the OS scale it up to fill 
> the screen. However, even in this case having a selection of low resolutions 
> in different aspect ratios would help avoid borders or stretching.
> Sadly there's quite a few different screen resolutions and aspect ratios in 
> use these days. Here's a few I can think of:
> 4:3 ratio
> 640x480 ("VGA" - rarely used these days, but mentioning it since that's what 
> Adonthell uses)
> 1024x768
> 1280x1024
> 16:9 ratio (wide-screen)
> 1280x720 (aka "720p")
> 1920x1080 (aka "1080p")
> 2560x1440 (used on big monitors like the 27" iMac)
> 16:10 ratio
> 1280x960
> 1920x1200
> Others
> 1280x1024 (One of my monitors at work uses this!)
> (I'm deliberately omitting WVGA resolutions found on some smart-phones as 
> well as the iPhone's unique 960x640 res - more on that later)
> I've given it some thought and, unless you pick something considerably 
> smaller than 640x480, there is no single size that will neatly multiply into 
> all those resolutions. I therefore suggest we have two basic sizes:
> The "maximal view" which is the biggest possible view of the game world that 
> will never be exceeded. This is 640 x 512 pixels.
> ...and the "minimal view" which the biggest region within the maximal view 
> that is guaranteed to always be visible. This is 512 x 360 pixels.
> At this point, a diagram will probably help explain what I'm on about...
> The outer box is the maximal view - this is not a real screen res (that I'm 
> aware of), but it's the smallest box that the other resolutions fit into. The 
> red area is the minimal view - again not a real res, but whatever is in it 
> will always fit on the screen no matter what actual res you are using.
> The other boxes are:
> 512 x 384 (4:3) - double the pixels et voila, you have 1024 x 768
> 640 x 360 (16:9) - double pixels to get 720p (1280x720), triple the pixels to 
> get 1080p (1920x720) and quadruple them for big monitors like iMac 27" 
> (2560x1440). Incidentally, 640 x 360 is the resolution many Symbian 
> smartphones currently use... just sayin' ;-)
> 640 x 400 (16:10) - double pixels to get 1280 x 800, triple for 1920 x 1200 
> (found on some larger wide-screen monitors)
> 640 x 480 (4:3) - our current res. Double gets you 1280 x 960 which is not 
> uncommon in monitors.
> So, if we designed our graphics to fit comfortably within these sizes and 
> layout maps (and design the gameplay) such that things a player must be able 
> to see on screen fit within the minimal view area, then we can scale and 
> stretch to pretty much any common screen resolution using integer multiples.
> What do you think?
>       - James

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