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Widescreen Gaming & You. - A Tutorial for GameBanana.

Your widescreen display and gaming.

Widescreen Gaming and You ========================= With widescreen monitors becoming the standard for modern day computer displays, I figured it would be a good time to give you a run down of how to play games on these newer displays. Current day game developers are taking this industrial move into consideration and generally include proper widescreen support in their newer releases; but sometimes a developer can be picky, lazy, or the game you are playing could just be too old for the new technology. "So what's the diff?" Well, in regards to widescreen gaming you have to take three parts into consideration to ensure you are getting the perfect experience for your new display. Resolution : The amount of pixels that your display can render, from the width to the height - measured in a common term of w#Xh#. Widescreen displays gain extra pixels to the width primarily, while the height stays in a normal number. You can tell if you require a widescreen resolution just by simply looking at your display. If it's excessively wider than it is tall, then chances are you are using a widescreen monitor. With games, if you don't set/hack/force your resolution to your native resolution, the game may appear fuzzy and/or stretched.
    Example of Resolution Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; Set to 1024x768
    Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; Set to 1680x1050
Aspect Ratio (AR) : Aspect Ratio is essentially the understanding of taking the above information into account. Proper A.R. will let the game run at it's native resolution while maintaining all detail and appropriate dimensions. For instance, there's some games that may support your widescreen resolution - but if the aspect ratio isn't correct then it may seem fish-eyed and stretched regardless. Common widescreen aspect ratios are 16:9 & 16:10; there's many others but these two are the ones you will encounter the most in your present day widescreen gaming experience. Example is that most current-generation console games run at either 720p or 1080p; these both are 16:9 aspect ratios. Two highly common computer resolutions are 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 - these are both 16:10.
    Examples of aspect ratio Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; 1680x1050 set to 16:10 Aspect Ratio
    Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; 1680x1050 set to 4:3 Aspect Ratio
As you can see, the incorrectly set aspect ratio image is highly stretched in comparison - but it IS set to the correct resolution. Field of View (FoV) : Correct field of view is actually one of the most important parts of taking full advantage of a widescreen display. The field of view is the amount of degrees you should be able to see. Seeing as your screen is now wider than ever before, you should there for be able to see more on your sides. There's more reasons actually to take proper FoV into consideration as well - prevention of sickness and discomfort is one of them. If you're playing a game on a display and you feel as if you're face-to-face with a brick wall and moving around - chances are your FoV is not correct. Field of View is most important in first-person perspective games; as it effects you the most here as you are supposed to be looking through the eyes of the character. For example of difference. A standard 4:3 display actually uses a general FoV of 65-70 degrees; to where-as a 16:10 display uses around 90-100. It's all personal taste in the long run, but these are the general defaults.
    Examples of Field of View difference Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; 1680x1050 set to 65 degrees
    Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare; 1680x1050 set to 80 degrees
There's additional pixels being rendered on the sides of the display now. Widescreen Methods : Not all forms of widescreen are the same, seeing as this is primarily a FPS gaming site I'm going to point out the three common methods of widescreen that you will see in your gaming career. Each of these methods effect the game in different ways, and some are more desirable than others.
    Horizontal Plus (HOR+) Horizontal plus games maintain almost perfect vertical view distance, and provide extra pixels into the width of the game. This is the best, purest, and most desirable method of widescreen - as you only gain instead of losing. Vertical Minus (VERT-) Vertical minus achieves it's widescreen by removing elements from the top and the bottom of the screen. Obviously, this is horrible as you're losing aspects of the game that standard 4:3/5:4 players can see. Stalker, BioShock, and almost anything on the Unreal 3 engine are perfect examples of Vert- video games.
    The grey bars show the idea of HOR+ whilst the red bars show the effects of VERT-.
    Anamorphic Anamorphic widescreen games play cleverly with letterboxes, you know those things found in widescreen movies. If you're playing on a standard screen, you will see there's bigger black bars at the top and bottom of the screen; on a widescreen display the bars will be smaller. The image size and quality is exactly the same though, which is what makes this method slightly more desirable than VERT-
    Stretch This doesn't really count as a "true" widescreen method, but it does exist. It's clearly obvious that this is the full worse option of all methods, but thankfully it's extremely rare.

"Understood, so what now?" Some games support full widescreen support right out of the box - generally Source games are a perfect example of proper widescreen gaming. These games are fine rare gems though. For others, you're going to have to mess with console settings and configuration files. You're best bet is to check the .ini or .cfg file that a game runs on for values such as seta cg_fov "65" or desiredFOV="65". I'm going to give you a quick run down of two of the most common popular engines and their methods.

iDTech 3 and 4

A multitude of games run on this engine, or a highly modified version of iDTech - this includes Quake 3 to Doom 3 - and even as you can see above - Call of Duty. To force proper widescreen support in these titles
  1. Navigate to the installation directory of the game. If it's a iDTech engine game there will be a /BASE/ folder in this directory; enter this folder.
  2. Snoop out the game's configuration file and open it in notepad (or your text editor of choice); there's a great possibility that there will be two files for the game provided there is multi-player in it. You will have to mirror the changes to both files to get support in both Single-Player and Multi-Player modes.
  3. Find the following lines and make changes as required.
      seta r_customaspect "0, 1, or 2"
    • 0 = 4:3, 1 = 16:9, and 2 = 16:10
    • seta r_customheight "####" seta r_customwidth "####" seta r_mode "-1" and somewhere in the configuration file add seta cg_fov "your desired degrees"
    • If you want to experiment with the FoV in game to find your sweet spot. Enter your game and hit CTRL+SHIFT+~ (sometimes it's just SHIFT+~, it's per-game). In the console type /cg_fov ###, after you find your desired number you can exit the game and add it to the configuration file.
This fix should work for the vast majority of iDTech powered games, there may be an oddball or two in the midst but I haven't found it yet.

Unreal 2

  1. Navigate to the installation directory of the game you would like to edit and find it's /SYSTEM/ folder.
  2. Look for it's .ini file, commonly named the exact same as the game. (i.e. - postal2.ini) and open this file with your text editor of choice.
  3. Find the following lines and make changes as required.
      FullscreenViewportX=#### <- Width of Display FullscreenViewportY=#### <- Height of Display
    Save and exit this file.
  4. Now open USER.INI and find the following lines and make changes as desired.
      DesiredFOV=### DefaultFOV=###
    Save and exit this file.

Mind you, the previous information only covers two popular engines. If you own a widescreen display and are vivid about achieving proper support I suggest you bookmark Widescreen Gaming Forum and keep tabs on them as new solutions, tips, and tricks are released almost daily.
I hope this helps those who are confused about why it's different to game on a widescreen display. If you have any questions just ask. All credit for the iDTech and Unreal fixes go to the original finder. The rest of this article was written by my hand with my own words without external sources.
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    > **Posted by Sebhael** > > **Posted by SkullRaven** > > > What is the game called that is on the last three screenshots? > > SiN /a month late Thanks.
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    > **Posted by SkullRaven** > What is the game called that is on the last three screenshots? SiN /a month late
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    What is the game called that is on the last three screenshots?
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    Posted by Nancy I'm wondering what method World of Warcraft uses when put into 1920x1080 resolution...
    World of Warcraft, being Third-Person (like I mentioned to Vashts) is VERT- Vert- really isn't bad for third-person games, it's definitely least desirable for first-person perspective games as you don't gain additional field of view. Most Third-Person games have an adjustable camera as well that helps to combat the Vert-.
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    Photobucket Great Tutorial Seb, will defiantely take into account when I buy my 24"
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    I'm wondering what method World of Warcraft uses when put into 1920x1080 resolution...
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    Posted by KaT_FisH
    Posted by Sebhael
    Posted by KaT_FisH I love how in source you can see through models and walls by standing close to them if your fov is wide enough
    Afaik the only Source games that allow for a edited FoV are mods (and TF2); such as Fortress Forever. The rest consider it a cheat; and I've never been able to get it to work. Which is fine I suppose; at least it's true HOR+ but it would still be nice to have some fov options.
    Just up the resolution and it automatically changes the fov
    Yeah, I know :P that's the effect of proper HOR+ widescreen. Though I thought you meant increasing the value with default_fov. I haven't had the issue of seeing through stuff at 1920x1200 though D:
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    Posted by Sebhael
    Posted by KaT_FisH I love how in source you can see through models and walls by standing close to them if your fov is wide enough
    Afaik the only Source games that allow for a edited FoV are mods (and TF2); such as Fortress Forever. The rest consider it a cheat; and I've never been able to get it to work. Which is fine I suppose; at least it's true HOR+ but it would still be nice to have some fov options.
    Just up the resolution and it automatically changes the fov
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    Posted by Toasty Fresh Nice tut, but it sort of doesn't work with MW2. I can't find the FoV part in the MW2 config. Great job though.
    Modern Warfare 2 has a lot of it's commands hardcoded restricted -- thanks to Infinity Ward lazying out the PC version of MW2. There's a fixer out there that is created by a non-hacker that is ideal to use; but it's still questionable if it's legal in terms of VAC or not. Apparently a lot of people have been using it and haven't received a ban yet -- so that's all up to you to test down. His name is "something?" Rufie.
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    Nice tut, but it sort of doesn't work with MW2. I can't find the FoV part in the MW2 config. Great job though.
    Bananite
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