Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

For discussion about Trine, firstly released in 2009 for Windows and on PlayStation Network.
Saturn2888
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Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby Saturn2888 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:56 pm

I originally played the game at 1920x1200, a 16:10 aspect ratio. In this, all the 2D images at vertically stretched. This is the same issue I had with quite a few other games designed for the Xbox 360 or PS3 because they are strictly designed for an HDTV 16:9 aspect ratio and nothing else usually. It's common to have those issues in a 2D game, but for a 3D game, I have never seen what the problem is. In my own experience with game development, the engine has to have the default aspect ratio hard-coded in for 2D graphics to scale properly. From there, the only way to allow for higher resolutions is to force letter boxing on all 2D graphics, possibly even the entire game.

I believe I've even seen some games do this properly where, if you want to put the game in widescreen but you're on a 4:3 monitor, you can turn on a resolution like 1600x1200 and the game will letterbox when you enable widescreen mode; otherwise, the game would be cutting off parts of the intended viewing area. As an example of the wrong way, on my Wii, if I enable widescreen it will fail to letterbox nor will it give me the option to do so. The widescreen options merely changes the aspect ratio and nothing else which, on my CRT TV, will squish the content horizontally. A game like StepMania allows you to go into the configuration file and manually setup that you want to display 16:9 aspect at a set resolution and allows you to enable or disable the letterboxing.

There are a few reasons you would not want to always force letterboxing. Setting a 16:9 resolution would display both 2D and 3D correctly.

If the TV is already stretching the image, then having a 4:3 image on an HDTV would actually display the 2D correctly (using anamorphic pixels) and the 3D incorrectly. A way to fix this is to allow a 16:9 aspect ratio in the game while in a 4:3 resolution. This would have to be a separate option and would, since the TV is stretching the image, make everything appear normal. This is the way DVDs do widescreen.

If you don't have a video card capable of displaying higher resolutions but want to play the game on an HDTV without messing up the 2D images, the game would need to then letterbox properly and the TV would need to allow for a ZOOM or a 16:9 stretch feature. This would allow you to run at 1024x768 while letterboxing and properly display the game fully on an HDTV.

Lastly, people that have cards that are not scaling 1920x1080 content properly will also benefit from a letterboxing option so you can run the game at 1920x1200. I have run into graphics cards that scale everything properly, but as soon as you go to 1920x1080, it will stretch it vertically. The only fix is to go to 1920x1200 at a 16:9 aspect ratio and then letterbox it in.

All of these are needed features especially in today's age of multiple display resolutions and aspect ratios. To accommodate the majority of video hardware out there, aspect ratio adjustments are necessary. My main concern is that there as nothing denoting I should keep the game at a 16:9 aspect ratio as much as possible or risk stretching the 2D images out of proportion. I have seen other people post pictures of their game and seen the stretching of the character icons for the very reason. I purposefully left out the 5:4 aspect ratio which the majority of LCDs have at the fixed 1280x1024 resolution. It's just strange, and I do not like to deal with it.

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fb_joel
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Re: Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby fb_joel » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:44 pm

Sorry about this, but there's really no way to make this go away. The GUI we use in Trine is a big, old mess, originally designed for 1024x768 and then scaled to whatever PC resolutions. Since Trine was a PS3 game too, we added totally separate configs with 1280x720 in mind (used with PC too). I'm not sure how the game decides if it's going to use the "wide" layout or the 4:3 layout, but in any case those two are the only options and then it's just scaled to fit whatever the resolution is.

In a nutshell, it's just another thing that we hope to be able to fix in the future. However, I should point out that while the 2D graphics stretch, I think it's still better to allow the user to use any resolution he wants. I've seen some other games that have a very limited resolution selection choices, so at least Trine basically lets you play at any resolution that is supported by Windows/GPU (you can edit it manually in Config\options.txt ). It'd be nice to have more options of course but there's only so much you can achieve with one game. :)

And you can believe me when I say that the artists have said a few "choice words" over the years to the programmers about the GUI code... :mrgreen:
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

Saturn2888
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby Saturn2888 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:08 pm

Haha, yes, I've always loved a game with a multitude of resolution choices. Actually, letting us have an advanced mode where we can type in resolutions (x and y) as well as aspect ratios (1.777778) would be really cool. That way, if we're on an HDTV and are connecting via S-Video, we can still display the image full screen, but also compensate for the stretching (1024x768 @ 1.777778). Since you're gonna fix it, not much else to say. I'm glad you guys have even noticed. I would say that, in future revisions, maybe make a note of that so people who want to pay in the correct aspect ratio at least know which those are.

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fb_joel
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Re: Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby fb_joel » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:34 pm

Just to clarify, we're not going to fix this for Trine, but for future games. Anyhow, to change the resolution, you can just go to the Trine folder, and then config folder and open options.txt, and there's lines:

screen_height = 768
screen_width = 1024

You can put whatever you want here, and the game should work (although the Launcher may at times overwrite settings, so it's advised not to touch the Launcher options if you alter options.txt manually). The aspect ratio is not configurable though.
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

Saturn2888
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby Saturn2888 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:40 am

Aw darn. Well it was a good try. I can't wait for the next game then which will hopefully include all of this new GUI code.

Saturn2888
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:37 am

Re: Aspect Ratio problem with non-16:9 resolutions

Postby Saturn2888 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:33 pm

I wrote a post on what I think all PC games should have. This post I wrote after having played PC games since age 6 and going through all sorts of different problems along the way transitioning around to different hardware and display devices. Here's the link: http://blog.umkcddr.com/?p=2136


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