Why Blizzard, Why?
So Diablo III launched yesterday with much fanfare and many "Error 37's". What it didn't launch with was proper Eyefinity or Surround support. Based on folks who played the beta, and feedback from the devs in the official D3 forums, we knew this was going to be the case at launch.
What I don't get is why. Blizzard knows how to make a multi-monitor game (they updated WOW with the Lich King expansion), and indie devs stumble into proper support without knowing it. Think I'm joking? Check this out...
We really appreciate your interest for Endless Space! However, our game is only in Alpha state, and it doesn’t support widescreens above 1080 very well for now.
However, if you think your community could still be interested in our game despite those issues, and if you can support us thanks to the large community you mentioned, I would gladly send you a key with an access to the Alpha version of our game. :)
I got the keys and passed them out to interested parties. One of our editors, Skid fired the game up and found it had almost flawless multi-monitor support. And here are the screenshots to prove it. So, it's obviously not difficult. But we already knew it was a willful choice on the part of Blizzard. In a question posed on the official battle.net forums (link), this was the response from Blizzard CSR, Bashiok:
It's a single-monitor only game, and that's because the game literally only pulls info from the servers for a specific distance away from the character for bandwidth reasons. The game is also built with those limitations in-mind: edges of maps don't extend way out.
Also, being able to see way out to the left or right of your character really wouldn't help that much. Triple monitor is cool for first/third person where you're getting a larger peripheral view, but in a fixed isometric camera it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Really? That's the best answer? Don't get me started on why my single player game would need to pull data from their servers (see "Error 37"), but who are you to tell me what is cool for multi-monitor? And triple monitor doesn't make sense with a "fixed isometric camera"? Really? Why don't we ask Runic Games about that? Not only do I get to see their beautifully rendered and colorful (in both palette and style) world rendered into my peripheral vision, but I get to FILL AND ENTIRE SCREEN WITH AN EASY TO SEE AUTOMAP. It's not necessarily about monster placement and world rendering. Sometimes it's about better HUD management and letting me better immerse myself in the action on the center screen.
But here's the kicker... Blizzard actually put in multi-monitor support - but it's crap support. We knew from the beta that it didn't work in fullscreen, but that it worked in "fullscreen windowed" mode. Silly me (I wasn't in the beta), I thought this was when the user selected windowed mode and then entered their screen res or manually resized the window to fill the screen and hide the title bar and borders. Little did I know that Blizzard actually put in an option for "Fullscreen Windowed" that simply gives you a windowed mode that fills whatever resolution you happen to have.
Are you kidding me, you put in support (against your expressed intentions) but gimp it to windowed mode? Why is it gimped you ask? In windowed mode you can't use AMD CrossFire or NVIDIA SLI. So the people who are running 3x the normal pixels, and could use the extra GPU horsepower, are prevented from using it. On top of that, gaming performance has always suffered when playing in windowed mode. So not only do users not get to use the extra HP in their GPU, but they are being penalized at the same time.
Way to go Blizzard, GPU-block the most fervent fan-base you have: those users who *LOVE* PC gaming and push the limits of what PC gaming has to offer. These are the people who are best to extol the virtues of PC gaming, but I guess you don't need them anyway (see, WOW).
Apparently, Diablo 3 has been in "polish mode" for the past two years. In that same time frame, Runic completed their entire development cycle on Torchlight II and in that time did a great service to Eyefinity and Surround users.
I guess the bottom line is that Blizzard doesn't need to support Eyefinity/Surround, or any other cutting edge technologies to be successful. Diablo 3 will be a huge success, as is basically every other title Blizzard gets around to launching. And this is why I like smaller/indie devs. They are more likely to listen to their users (posts made to the Torchlight II beta test forums by myself and Kayden were always answered in less than 15 minutes), they are more willing to take risks, and more importantly they *need* their users. And they appreciate them.
Seems like Blizzard is becoming the Apple of game development (and I say this as an Apple fan, writing from my Mac Pro). Blizzard knows better than us what we want, but we'll buy their products anyway...