August 23, 2007
As far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough pixels on your desktop. Until a few years ago, buying a larger display meant buying a larger display in the same, standard 4:3 screen layout-- 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1600 x 1200, and so forth. But widescreen monitors are increasingly popular. It's difficult to buy a larger monitor today without changing your aspect ratio to widescreen.
As the new owner of my very first non-4:3 widescreen monitor, I'm learning first hand that widescreen displays can be problematic in certain rendering contexts. The issue of scaling pre-rendered content to a widescreen display is a well-understood problem at this point; non-linear stretching techniques work reasonably well.
But when rendering dynamic 3D content, things are a bit more problematic. I just purchased the game Bioshock, which "supports" widescreen displays-- but, in fact, it doesn't. Here's a screenshot of the same scene displayed in 1600 x 1200 (4:3), and in widescreen 1920 x 1200 (16:10).
It's wider, technically, but you actually see less. The sides are the same, but the top and bottom of the display is clipped away in widescreen. In effect, the viewport is zoomed in. This is what you have to do to get static, pre-rendered content to fit a widescreen format, because that content is immutable. But this is a terrible solution for dynamically rendered content in a 3D world. Instead, the developers should increase the field of view.
If we turn down the FOV in Bioshock to something like 0.84 to accommodate our widescreen 16:10 aspect ratio, we can see more of the world, not less:
With the adjusted FOV, the wider screen is used to display more of the scene on the left and right edges. Makes sense, doesn't it? But this is not something you get for free-- the rendering engine must be programmed to allow and support changing the FOV.
In multiplayer circles, a wider FOV is considered cheating. If you can view more of the world than your opponent, then you might be able to see them coming before they see you. But this is a moot point for Bioshock; it's a single-player game. It's definitely possible to go a little crazy with FOV if you don't have enough physical display size to justify the field of view you've chosen:
It's a tricky balancing act, and not many rendering engines get it right. That's probably why there's a Widescreen Gaming Forum dedicated to dealing with FOV and widescreen issues, along with at least one other website, Widescreen Gamer. As the widescreen display format becomes increasingly popular, you can expect to run into this little rendering quirk eventually.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
siletnw, I don't really care about the game, I'm just interested in the FOV topic. This applies to all 3D rendering engines, not just Bioshock. It's particularly important to understand the problem because it's getting increasingly difficult to even *find* non-widescreen 4:3 monitors in medium and large sizes!
Well, you'd have to care a little - since you bought it... ;)
(my copy is in the mail...)
I am just jealous as all heck that you have the game.
I absolutely loved System Shock (and the sequel). I don't think my current PC would handle BioShock though... I need to upgrade.
Great post though Jeff. The FoV topic is interesting indeed, at least from a software engineering perspective :)
I find it amazing that the community already has a hack out to "fix" the FOV problem. That's impressive.
I have a copy at home for 360 that I haven't had a chance to play yet, but my wife has been playing it pretty much non-stop since Tuesday. :)
This same usage scenario is how many directors now shoot film, using the Super 35 format. (Notable examples include "Titanic" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.) In this format, directors simultaneously frame their shots for the 4:3 format and the widescreen format, usually "scope" or 2.35:1 (or 2.40:1, or 2.39:1 depending on your level of film geekitude). Film boxes on most modern films now say "Fullscreen Version" instead of "Pan and Scan" since the director composed both as intended.
I was under the impression that most videogames nowadays have directors -- is it not possible they use the same concept?
I'm surprised Jeff installed a game that put a rootkit on his system.
I agree that a game engine should be written to be viewport-agnostic but. I don't agree that you "see less."
The game should look "natural" (*waves hands*) in any aspect ratio. Changing the FOV ruins the "look" of a game (your Quake screenshot is a great example of this).
The real issue here is "visibility" - do you "see" as much vertically as you do horizontally? With 2 eyes side by side you have a much wider horizontal viewing area than vertical, so actually you "see" more with a widescreen viewport. Evidently the developers at Irrational realized this and have optimized the display for a widescreen viewport.
This is why movie aspect ratios are getting wider and wider - most movies are displayed in a 2.35 : 1 aspect ratio. They actually crop the film post-production in certain cases. There are actually a myriad of ways Hollywood creates wide content, see:
They shoot movies in "open matte" all the time and actually crop off the top and the bottom for widescreen presentation. Almost all of Kubrick's movies were shot this way. And if you remember, inaccurately representing this concept to consumers is what resulted in the MGM DVD settlement a few years back.
Cropping and distorting to fit content is almost never the right way to go. I'd much rather have some black on-screen than that. If 4:3 monitor owners want a wider FOV, then they should accept letterboxing. Similarly, I can't stand watching 4:3 content stretched and distorted to fit widescreen TVs or monitors.
Actually, I've read that Battlefield 2142 doesn't support wide aspect precisely because of the wider FOV giving an advantage to wide screen players. I assume they simply live with the fact that 1600x1200 resolutions and above is still like 1 percent of the market, or that the resolution increase isn't as useful.
I suppose an alternative explanation is that they didn't bother with it and came up with the fairness answer after the fact.
There are actually legit reasons why many games limit the FOV to known values. The biggest of these is that often the environments are built using a facade and now using watertight models. If you set a really large FOV, you can see "the man behind the curtain."
Increasing the FOV can also increase the number of objects that the engine has to render, which could cause performance problems is the bottleneck is how many batches the engine has to deal with.
(I wonder how many times I'll overhear a conversation on this subject this weekend. I'm writing this while waiting in line at PAX)
I wasn't aware of the monitor issues, Jeff... But if what you say is true, this is a much bigger problem than I previously thought.
You're confusing aspect ratio with FoV. They're independant variables.
Irrational chose to preserve horizontal FoV (which is more relevant to gameplay) instead of vertical FoV (which is what you want). Expecting them to change the FoV because your monitor is wider is stupid - would you expect a wider FoV on a 22 inch screen than on a 20 inch screen?
Hey Now Jeff,
Interesting post. Are you in the exclusive 4 monitor club now? I've heard you say before you like the 3 since your focus in a central monitor. Just wondering if you have 4 monitors now?
So apparently a Windows Service is now a rootkit. No wonder those hackers are so confused.
Hypervisor? Who needs those when we have dunce caps!
If you're going to offer multiple aspect ratios, then one or the other is going to have a larger viewport. Stanley Kubrick's movies were mentioned above. He preferred the 4:3 ratio for home video versions of his work. He didn't use pan and scan and crop out parts of the widescreen film version, though; you actually can see *more* of the frame on the fullscreen Full Metal Jacket, for example.
One version or the other is going to lose content, why is it a big deal that it's the widescreen version?
They set the FOV specifically for the widescreen version. It's the 4:3 version that's incorrect (they didn't matte out the top and bottom).
Changing the FOV can lead to a bunch of problems, one of which is seasickness. Just look at how many people can't play XBL marathon without getting ill. It's caused by a very WIDE FOV.
Thinking back to when I still played video games (the days of the first Quake), the FOV controls to that engine were vital. Part of developing as a player was increasing your field of view. The standard was ninety. Most of the folks I played with used somewhere between 100 and 120 degrees, plus a set of scripts that gave you effectively "binoculars" (by decreasing your FOV). I had one friend who played at 270 degrees onscreen.
Is it really now considered cheating?
This debate has already been beaten to death on countless other gaming forums, mostly in a reactionary and overblow manner. For the record, 2K/ Irrational has asserted that the cropped widescreen FOV is the original, intended FOV of the game, as seen on the 360. The 4:3 FOV is actually a hack to avoid complaints about letterboxing the content on a PC screen.
Of course, this is all a moot point by now, because 2K/ Irrational is releasing a patch to allow gamers to tweak the FOV to their desired settings.
"In multiplayer circles, a wider FOV is considered cheating." - Its true. I play UT2004 a lot and with my 24" dell widescreen, I have noticed a big boost in my "awareness". But how can you "enforce" this if the multiplayer game is over the internet and not in a physical location.
ON A SIDE NOTE, I HAVE TO VENT ABOUT GAMES LIKE BIOSHOCK!
I'm finally fed up with the restrictions put on consumers of games. This is the last straw, the final frontier, the point of no return...you get the metaphor.
For me it all started with Half Life 2 and Steam. I have to install a separate application that will let the application I just bought start. Not to mention the insane copy protection features built into it.
But I decided to give it a try and after playing with it for 2 weeks, I stopped because of the tediousness of it all.
Now, not only do they install "rootkits" and "activation locks" but they are starting to treat all users like criminals; guilty before innocent, hacker before legitimate user (one of the reasons I don't play any Blizzard games anymore).
I say enough is enough.
I will NOT buy games that are restrictive. [Keys are acceptable]
I will NOT let applications install 3rd party tools.
I will NOT be part of the masses who accept these ridiculous EULAS.
BioShock, I don't even want to know you.
There I feel better already.
I find if the FOV setting for a first person shooter doesn't match the actual FOV I'm seeing (i.e. a function of screen dims and eye distance from screen) then I quickly get motion sickness caused by objects towards the screen edges not moving "correctly" for where they are in my actual FOV.
Sorry, slightly off topic, but did anyone else get bitten by Vista WGA failing when they tried to upgrade DirectX as per the game's directions? Thanks Microsoft, now apparently my legitimate Vista is counterfeit!
I used to love having +/- slaved to zoom in/out scripts that would change the FOV. Because of the nature of Quake deathmatch, which was more keep-running-and-shooting, it wasn't much of a cheat except to campers, no more than surround sound - you were more likely to get shot if you tried to snipe someone. On less frantic games, like CS and UT, it could change the course of gameplay unless everyone used it.
Still, the more configurable a game's engine is, the more I enjoy it.
Wide screens might be better for playing games or watching movies, but most desktop UIs are vertically oriented. How often have you use horizontal scrollbars compared to the vertical ones? If those extra pixels were placed to increase the height of the display, one could view some more of the web pages, or source code, as the case may be.
Steam is by no means the start of the problem and in my opinion Steam is probably the most gamer friendly of all the systems. If you accept that companies want to protect their property, then it's the best way forward. Unlike SecuROM and the likes it provides benefits to counter the restrictions.
It doesn't install and rootkits or other sneaky things that run when you're not even playing the game, you know when Steam is and isn't running and can completely control that (apart from the fact it has to run when you play). It allows you to tie a game to an account, so you can play it anywhere and uninstall and reinstall it as many times as you like, but still only one person can play it. It's not even *too* big considering what it is (50mb for my install, minus game data).
Then it has the added features, including news, automatic updating and a community section (still in beta development currently), all of which are optional. There are 200 games available via. Steam from a variety of publishers. All sharing this same distribution and (in my opinion best) copy protection model. There isn't the situation of having 3 different types of copy protection installed with 4 different versions a piece. Some are Indie games which would struggle to find such wide publication otherwise and more are to follow.
Admittedly it got off to a shaky start. HL2 boxed editions required you to still download some of the content; The off-line mode was poorly supported without ad-hok switching; The friends mode was down for somewhere in the region of a year and a half; The interface was clunky. But all (Apart from the first, obviously. But the retrospective lesson learnt) have been fixed. If you haven't tried it in the last year or so I would recommend trying it again with an open mind. If you still don't like it, fine. But until you've tried the updated version it's difficult to criticise it based upon an old product (fair enough if you have tried it recently).
If you accept that developers need a way of protecting their content and that fast internet connections are becoming ever more prevalent, then Steam is certainly a good way forward.
Oh, I forgot to mention. You don't need to ever back up your games (and worry about disk copy protection) because they are all available from a central server. You can easily back them up though, if you so wish. Just in case Steam go out of business or something.
From a usability standpoint, I hate the wide screens. Why do I have to lose all that extra space on the bottom (where it was useful) to have it on the side (where it isn't useful). The only thing I can see useful with a wide screen is movies, and I watch those on a television, as antiquated as that sounds. I actually use my computer for work -- go figure -- and programming, in particular.
"It doesn't install and rootkits or other sneaky things that run when you're not even playing the game"
How would we know that. Its not open source so we can't verify the source code. Who's monitoring them? And if you say users, I am skeptical about that. People who care to monitor are far and few between and on top of that the people who have the skill to really dig into things are even fewer. Also, it might not do it now but I don't know about next time. Does that mean I have to KEEP checking it.
"If you accept that developers need a way of protecting their content"
Yes I do. Being a developer myself I see why. However, there are limits to end-user's patience and desperation for the product being offered. Do I really HAVE to have HL2? No! Is it a pain in the ass for ME to use? Yes!
I like my systems to be clean. I don't install software I either can't verify or trust (thats why I have VMs). Bloatware like steam just cause me to not use them.
"that fast internet connections are becoming ever more prevalent"
Yes they are. But not everywhere and not at an equal rate. I have lived in africa, asia, europe and the americas. A lot of places in africa and asia don't even get good dial up and broadband is either prohibitively expensive or non-existant. Does that mean that those users should not be able to use the product? If yes, then its just too arrogant and I want nothing to do with that company.
"Then it has the added features, including news, automatic updating and a community section"
Great. I get my news from the web. I only update when I feel the need and I prefer to get it directly from the website of the product owner. Community sections are not very interesting.
"But until you've tried the updated version it's difficult to criticise it based upon an old product"
To be fair, I haven't tried it in the last couple of months. But I did try it about a year ago when I wanted to show the game to a friend who had never seen it before. The process was still tedious enough for me to just give the game to him and say "you can go try it if you want and keep it."
"You don't need to ever back up your games"
I never do and I've never had a problem. I just image my drives when I need to.
I understand that they have all these features that some people might find useful but at the end of a day a wolf in sheeps clothing is still a wolf. Steam is restrictiveness with "features" [community etc.] to try to make it appear legitimate to a user. The same is true for Bioshock. Its a beautiful game no doubt. But restrictiveness is going to cause some users to just not use it. I am one of those users!
So lets just agree to disagree. :-)
Great article Jeff,
Nice to see more good explanations of the real issue rather than it being tainted by non technical assumptions and lame excuses about 'artistic vision'.
You will have hell of a time convincing non 3D/Techy types though (I know because i've been trying for 4 days now).
And the reason the issue rages on is not because of the original problem imo (Which is getting a patch now, 2k accept this). It's because of the amount of people who refuse to understand STILL debating the issue with such completely wrong evidence. Oh and factor in that 2k basically said we 'couldn't handle the immersion' and 'we meant it this way' or something laughable like that just fueled the topic more.
BTW, how many people realize the marketing job that's being pulled for widescreen displays?
It's not a "wide" screen, it's a SHORT screen!!!
Remember, they're sold by the diagonal measurement. As the aspect ratio gets higher, for the same diagonal measurement, you're getting less screen space. So a 19" 4:3 actually has a good bit more space than a 16:9. (12% more my calculations are right...)
I'm no expert on this, but this seems to be an arbitrary standard when it comes to video games. In a game, nothing is prerendered, theoretically you could render a panoramic view (albeit scrunched together to fit the monitor) because it's all potentially there, it's just a matter of if it's being shown.
Here's my question: would gamers be upset if the widescreen were the same as it is and the fullscreen had a smaller FOV? (I'm not saying if 2K were to patch the game to make this so, but rather if this were the situation from the get-go.) They most likely wouldn't; mostly because no one would notice to begin with. The problem here is the traditional notion that widescreen means you get more; that you have an advantage over fullscreen. In this case fullscreen got more, so people with a widescreen monitor feel they got less since they're so use to getting more. So IMO they probably feel cheated. I don't think much is being lost by them, I would even claim that that which is horizontal is more important than that which is vertical; enemies are more likely to be on your level or below you than standing above on balconies.
Those who brought up the fact that some films are cropped to be widescreen make a similar point. If those films were released uncropped, would people bought the film as the director intended feel gypped somehow? I think it comes down to whether or not you accept or reject the design decision.
"So apparently a Windows Service is now a rootkit. No wonder those hackers are so confused."
I'll just quote another poster to one of the many forums where this is being discussed:
"Securom's site say it's a suite of services and state no rootkit is used. However, since it does seek to hide itself, installs silently and (apparently) doesn't disappear when the game is uninstalled then rootkit it is. I'll be applying rootkit revealer and investigating..."
But hey, I guess some people don't mind windows services opening backdoors for Sony/BSA/(MP|RI)AA/etc. on their system.
Sigh... it's not a warped view if the game was designed that way.
If looks zoomed in, then measure and find the *proper viewing distance*. This is home theater basics, folks.
Yes, horz+ for widescreen is preferred, but it doesn't mean it is "correct", or that vert- is invalid.
Besides, if you have a big 4:3 monitor, why should it have a smaller FOV? It's not simply about aspect ratios.
The bigger the screen, the more you should see. But that would make it completely unfair.
I remember playing Quake with that kind of crazy fov... would make my head ache every time.
Oh btw Jeff, I think I saw some Vertigo candy bars in the store here today.
As the new owner of my very first non-4:3 widescreen monitor,
Did you never have a 1280 x 1024 LCD or two? They're actually "Narrow Screen" - 5:4 aspect - something that's often ignored...
Almost all 3D games can support changing the FOV, the only real question is whether or not the developers allow access to the users to change it. I've personally run wider FOV values on almost every FPS game I've played since Quake came out, on 4x3 monitors, so it would only be natural to me to increase it even more on a widescreen monitor.
As for the questions of cheating, it seems largely dependent on the community of the game itself. In many cases people don't care much at all, as everyone's more or less comfortable with their own fov settings. In other cases, especially when real cheating is rampant and/or a game has been out for a long time (and the core group of players is dwindling), it becomes a big issue for a small number of vocal opponents that overblow the benefits. My personal opinion is that a wider fov makes the games feel more open (after all, we don't have a 90 degree fov in real life), and reduces the visibility of targets in the distance (the negative side).
Most people that have issues with fov changes (and the reason they're disabled in many multiplayer games), have issues with reducing the fov, since you can zoom in on your target this way, and many games restrict zooming to specific weapons or classes to deal with certain types of balance issues (i.e. not allowing zooming on rapid-fire weapons). Furthermore, some developers have taken the time to implement a minimum fov feature to prevent users from zooming while still allowing them to use wider fov values.
I don't want to derail the conversation much further, but I will clarify that my comment about increasing internet speeds was in relation to the fact that most of the benefits of Steam are best with a good internet connection. Aside from a huge blunder they made with HL2 you can buy boxed sets and play them in offline mode (which has become a lot better) with no trouble. It rightly doesn't alienate those with slow or even (for the most part) non-existant connections.
Personally I would prefer letterboxing, especially as widescreens are becoming more common (especially among the gaming community).
I think I saw some Vertigo candy bars in the store here today.
Yes! :) We've actually special ordered some of those Vertigo bars. They're more like chocolate lollipops, actually.
This discussion seems to have devolved into a discussion about anti-copying techniques (Steam, SecuROM, Safedisk). It would be interesting if you were to do an article about how such systems work and their effectiveness. Obviously the companies make money and are still in business. However their effectiveness at curbing piracy is in question given all the content on PirateBay and other bittorrent sites that was supposedly "protected" by these systems.
This FOV discussion is soon to be forgotten because of the evolution of the 16:10 format. Soon only a minority will have 4:3 monitors and all games will support 16:10. Superior standard replaces inferior standard.
However the discussion here was far more interesting about anti-copying techniques so I agree with Brendan Dowling and second his call for an article about the best anti-copying technique in your opinion.
Not to beat a dead horse about 5:4 monitors, but here's another example about how ignorance of 5:4 causes issues. Older versions (around 2005) of the ATI MMC drivers used to preserve the 4:3 broadcast ratio for TV-input (on All-In-Wonder cards), so that you'd see thin black bars on the top and bottom of the picture in fullscreen mode (which is correct, IMO). Newer versions seem to just stretch (not crop) the display, so again, the picture is vertical stretched from 4:3 to 5:4, resulting in distortion. Of course, there is an option in the control panel for widescreen monitors, but not 5:4.
I'm lucky enough to have a card (ATI 800XT AIW) which is supported by the old ATI drivers, but I guess anyone with a newer card that requires a newer driver is SOL. (If they even care, which I highly doubt). Even if they are cropping and not stretching, I still think this is the wrong solution. It should at least be user-configurable.
Funny thing is ATI *used* to do things the right way; I'm sure someone complained about the "funny black bars" at the top and bottom of their TV picture, so ATI decided to "fix" the problem by wrecking the picture for 5:4 users. Sorta like all of these HDTVs in the big department store showrooms are always running 4:3 SDTV stretched out on 16:9 widescreen TVs for their demos, because we'd all rather see grossly deformed actors' faces on our HDTVs, rather than suffering with black (or grey) bars on the sides of the picture.
I think Starforce is still the #1 anti-piracy solution. At least it's the most difficult/annoying to bypass as far as I know, also from personal experiences. Of course, in online games checking your cdkey against the master server is unbreakable. At least I've never heard of anyone managing to hack those in any relatively new game.
Steam as an antipiracy solution is no good. It has already been cracked several times and there has been cracked steam installs available which have everything unlocked and playable. Also, some Steam-only games have been available as "stand-alone" downloads (illegal, obviously).
As a content-delivery platform it's one of the best, though. Has had its issues that still give it some bad reputation, but it has matured a lot.
As I understand it, the developers deliberately extended the FOV to give the 4:3 user a better experience. The downside is that you have this problem with 16:9. But as I've read here in the comments, the problem is fixable. So people should really stop bitching about it.
Focus on the good points of Bioshock, I watched my brother play the demo and its pretty impressive and this is a minor hiccup at most.
Roddy mentioned 1280x1024 LCDs, which actually have an aspect ratio of 5:4 as opposed to the traditional 4:3 ratio. I agree this is often ignored, and leads to the following problems:
- A lot of non-widescreen wallpaper is 4:3, so even if you're running at native resolution, Windows' "stretch" option will distort the picture by vertically elongating. This is also a problem with digital photos. The only solution is to use an app that will *preserve the aspect ratio* as it sets the wallpaper (resulting in thin black bars at the top and bottom). Even Windows Vista doesn't get this right - there's no "preserve aspect ratio" option when you choose wallpaper, unless you install DreamScene for Vista Ultimate. OTOH, I believe if you right-click on a picture and select "Set as Background", then Windows will automatically crop your picture so that it fits your desktop, the aspect ratio is preserved, and there are no black bars. Talk about inconsistency.
- If you run the monitor at any resolution lower than native (say 1024x768), not only do you get the typical blurriness from LCD scaling, you also get the vertical elongation that comes with stretching 4:3 to 5:4. If you are running nVidia drivers under Windows, this isn't a problem, since there's the option to set fixed aspect ratio scaling in the driver, but ATI users are out of luck. You'd be surprised how many non-techie people run their LCDs at less than native resolution; maybe because the fonts are too hard to read at native (think 17" LCD@1280x1024) or because their favourite bridge game only looks good at 1024x768 (this is a real-life example).
To me, this is actually a pretty serious and annoying problem, especially since 1280x1024 is the most popular resolution for 19" and under LCDs. And it all stems from this stupid idea of "avoiding black bars at all costs". I'll never understand why people would rather see a distorted picture instead of black bars.
Does anyone know why VESA standardized on 1280x1024 (5:4) instead of 1280x960 (4:3)?
Whatever happened to Virtual Reality? Hasn't the technology caught up with all the VR hype of the late '90s?
It occurs to me that all of these aspect ratio discussions would be rendered moot (no pun intended) if games actually generated a real-time stereoscopic FOV instead of showing a "movie".
Bioshock's widescreen is not a bug or a programmer mistake. They've made a compromise, and I think it's the right one.
Later in the game, for reasons I can't explain without ruining its fantastic plot, your view is constrained into a circle for an extended period.
This view has a circular lens effect, restricted to the edges of the screen. Nothing is seen at the top and bottom because both wide and 4:3 are wider than they are tall.
This means that the developers had 4 options:
1) Same horizontal FOV for 4:3 and widescreen, with some vertical being clipped. (what they did)
2) Widescreen shows circular edges, but that's lost on 4:3 player
3) Widescreen is wider for most of the game, but spends this (extended) section with black bars at the left and right.
3) Render completely different views for wide and 4:3
I think they picked by far the best compromise.
I have to agree with Will. Anything to do with video is dumbed down to the worst common denominator.
Go to any bar, and they have a wide-screen tv, with a 4:3 image stretched to 16:9. Ignorant people think the distorted, blocky images look expensive. They'd probably throw an expensive sony trinitron in the trash.
Jeff, don't you realize that anything but an FOV of 90... doesn't look correct? Higher FOVs fisheye the image, and lower FOVs flatten the image. A good player should be able to tell if the FOV is greater or less than 90 just by moving the mouse.
Think of movies like "the matrix", which do the trick of moving the camera away from the subject, but zooming in the camera so that the subject remains the same size. Why would jeff want to run around in a FPS "wearing zoomed lenses"
Jeff, you didn't read the encyclopedia article that you linked to. If you had, you would have noticed that you were changing Bioshock's ANGULAR FOV in order to effect a difference in LINEAR FOV.
Since your angular FOV is too low, you would have to apply a fisheye effect to make the image look correct.
"The problem here is the traditional notion that widescreen means you get more; that you have an advantage over fullscreen. In this case fullscreen got more, so people with a widescreen monitor feel they got less"
All I want is whatever content is there to always display in the correct aspect ratio. For something dynamically that may "letterboxed" on the sides , I'm fine with that, just don't distort or crop the image. It's like watching movies on a standard def TV. I'll take the letterboxed version over "fullscreen".
"In multiplayer circles, a wider FOV is considered cheating."
It depends on the game. For deathmatch games like Quake or Unreal Tournament, it doesn't matter (although a wide fov is uncommon in UT). For a pseudo-realistic game like Counter-Strike, anything other than default fov is considered cheating.
I really enjoyed reading all the comments on this page and it helped me understand a lot about FOV, aspect ratios and resolutions because I was finding it all really confusing!
I played Bioshock before the patch where you could change the FOV, but I just had to stop playing it, because I wasn't enjoying the experience and it made me feel sick and gave me headaches. I felt like a horse wearing blinkers playing it because I could only see a fraction of what was going on to the side. I should add I have a 22" widescreen 16:10 aspect ration, 1680x1050 resolution monitor.
Once I discovered the patch I thought I would give it a try and see if it made that much difference and OMG!! It's like a new game!! Today I can't stop playing it and I love it. The perfect settings I have found for me are width .743 and height .733 although I am still adjusting here and there to tweak it.
I read loads of forums and people go on about it not being a big deal and they've only added a bit at the top and bottom for people with 4:3 screens, but they just don't get it at all. The way it was "out of the box" was just unnatural...you don't see the world like that at all and that what confuses your brain and makes you feel sick and gives you headaches cos it just ain't right.
Sorry for my rambling, but 2K got it wrong and this patch makes it right and how it should have been in the first place.
Best wishes to everyone,
This is a never ending problem. Lets look at the possible solutions:
- 1. If you design the game camera as a 4:3:
a) You can shrink the vertical FOV for widescreens. (most users say NO!!!)
b) You can widen the horizontal FOV for widescreens (most users say WEEE!!!)
- 2. If you design the game camera as a 16:9:
a) You can shrink the horizontal FOV for 4:3. (most users say NO!!!)
b) You can widen the vertical FOV for 4:3 (most users say WHAT???)
If you look at this thing, you could think (by symmetry) that in situation 2.b the users would say WEE!!! as it's the same thing as for 1.b (widening is better than shrinking). But, strangely, that's not the case.
I think the real problem comes from the myth that having a wider screen means to see more things. But that's not true. The real sentence should be: Wider screen means to see more things horizontally THAN vertically.
As long as the aspect ratio is ok, I am not the "i've got a widescreen so I must always see more than 4:3" kind of person.
my 2 cents