Fixed screen sizes for games- opinion?

MonitorFlickers
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Post: #1
I was wondering what everyone thought was the maximum 'safe' screen size to use for games that cannot resize their interfaces on the fly. Back in the day it was assumed that 640X480 was a safe size when you had a GUI that couldn't be reshaped at will for various monitor sizes, but times have certainly changed...

I'm currently working on a project that uses 1024x768. Is this a safe size to use? Obviously resolution switching and other techniques can be used for people with larger monitors, but I'm wondering how many gamers I might exclude who may be using monitors that can't go that big?

all opinions welcome.
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Moderator
Posts: 1,560
Joined: 2003.10
Post: #2
Nowadays, 1024x768 is pretty much the standard minimum resolution you can expect from a typical user's display. I have to ask, though, is it absolutely critical to use a fixed resolution at all? Making your graphics scaleable is almost certainly a better option. Resolution switching is one of those things that's best avoided if at all possible.
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
You can't assume any particular resolution will be available. LCDs only have one that looks good, and it's often something fairly unusual. There are some older Macs that can run Mac OS X that have a maximum size of 800x600, too, so 1024x768 is not necessarily a safe minimum, either.

Design your graphics to be scaleable. If you absolutely require a fixed aspect ratio, letterbox/pillbox 'em into the available screen real estate as appropriate.
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Member
Posts: 89
Joined: 2005.06
Post: #4
"Resolution switching is one of those things that's best avoided if at all possible."

O.o? Why is allowing the user to change their resolution a bad thing? Maybe I am not understanding.

Well since everyone else is doing it:
Twilight Coders
CIMyAdmin
Whatever
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
Allowing them to choose the resolution is clearly a good thing, and usually necessary. Forcing them to choose the resolution (or worse, choosing it yourself) is a very bad thing.
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Moderator
Posts: 1,140
Joined: 2005.07
Post: #6
I believe the safest would be to have 640x480 default, then allow users to switch. That way, it's guaranteed to run on every monitor, and if you start on the lower settings, older computer users will have a good first impression. People with more powerful computers usually first go to the settings and pump them up anyway. (at least I do Rasp)

My fractal program wouldn't show the entire window on less than 1024x768, and I got a comment on Versiontracker about somebody saying it was too large for their screen. So yes, people are indeed using less than 1024x768. I'd say the current minimum maximum would be around 800x600.
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Member
Posts: 110
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #7
OneSadCookie Wrote:You can't assume any particular resolution will be available. LCDs only have one that looks good, and it's often something fairly unusual. There are some older Macs that can run Mac OS X that have a maximum size of 800x600, too, so 1024x768 is not necessarily a safe minimum, either.

Design your graphics to be scaleable. If you absolutely require a fixed aspect ratio, letterbox/pillbox 'em into the available screen real estate as appropriate.

I have to comment that running OS-X on any of the 800x600 macs...
like old ibooks really sucks.

For instance things like the control panel screen ( If I remember correctly )
don't fit on screen.

Anyone using a OS-X on a 300Mhz ibook should be shot anyway Wink

Really if you look at the amount of harware out there you can probably safely skip 800x600.

In our companies case all new games are designed around 1024x768
which seems to be a good standard size between 90% of macs and Windows machines.

Since we are using T2D... and open GL etc...
you can run it on 800x600 if you want to...

- Mac Lead ZeniMax Online Studios
- Owner Plaid World Studios
- Resume: http://www.chrisdillman.com
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AlStaffieri
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Post: #8
Hmm... I'm running OS X 10.3.9 on an iMac. I keep my monitor at 800 x 600 with thousands of colors. My monitor can go to 1024 x 768, but it's just too small to read easily.

Al Staffieri Jr.

AlStaff@aol.com
http://www.macgamemaker.com
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Member
Posts: 110
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #9
AlStaffieri Wrote:Hmm... I'm running OS X 10.3.9 on an iMac. I keep my monitor at 800 x 600 with thousands of colors. My monitor can go to 1024 x 768, but it's just too small to read easily.

Al Staffieri Jr.

AlStaff@aol.com
http://www.macgamemaker.com

That sounds like an older imac to me.

What make and model are you running?

My 60 year old parents need to run at 800x600 on old 15 imacs
but now that they are on 17inch even with bifocals it is not much of an issue.

Usually anyone who has not updated their computer in 5 years in not part of the market simply cause sales stats show them as not buying software.

- Mac Lead ZeniMax Online Studios
- Owner Plaid World Studios
- Resume: http://www.chrisdillman.com
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AlStaffieri
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Post: #10
Hi Chris,
Yes my Mac is almost 5 years old. It's an iMac DV SE 500mhz.

I do think sometimes you can get lost in the statistics though. It goes in a circle.

1. New software has higher requirements.
2. Older users slow their buying because requirements for new titles are getting higher.
3. Statistics show older users have slowed their buying.
4. Programmer decides he can raise requirements because older users aren't buying as much.
5. Go to step 1.

What you don't want to do is make requirements so high that you hurt your sales. Don't read the statistics on this stuff too much. It's just as much the programmers contributing to them as the buyer.

Al Staffieri Jr.

AlStaff@aol.com
http://www.macgamemaker.com
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Nibbie
Posts: 2
Joined: 2006.01
Post: #11
Luckily you don't have this issue in 3D Rolleyes

I would prefer dynamic... but if you have to choose: find out what your players use. 800x600 could be quite safe.
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Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #12
akb825 Wrote:I believe the safest would be to have 640x480 default, then allow users to switch.

800x600 is the minimum "official" resolution under OS X; 640x480 is deprecated and only still around for compatibility. I don't remember exactly where this is documented, but I'm sure it's in there Rasp
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