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PostPosted: 25 Jul 2010, 23:58 
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Aspect Centric, or maybe Aspect+ ?. (working name unless a different one actually exists?)

Note! This whole thing started here: http://www.widescreengamingforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=19514&p=196196#p196196

Because with the current Hor+ golden standard, imagine what would happen with someone using two monitors in vertical placement. (two 16:9's for example)
With the current Hor+ cert rule a poor 16:18 smuck would almost have their arms chopped off.
But with a Vert+ for <16:9 and Hor+ for >16:9 they would see the same width as 16:9 and extended height,
just like WSGF'ers expect to see the same height as 16:9 but extended width with surround gaming.

So in my eyes the ideal is aspect centric, and a dev truly only have a choice between extending in the larger aspect "direction" or boxing it.
And it's kinda silly that if a game used boxing it would get thumbs up, despite showing even less for <16:9 or >16:9 than aspect centric would show.

Think of aspect centric as the same as boxing, but with the boxing mask "removed" (or transparent).

I'm basically saying that Vert+ (w/Hor 0) for <16:9 and Hor+ (w/Vert 0) for >16:9 should be treated the same as 16:9 boxed at the very least.
Now, if a game does not meet "Vert+ (w/Hor 0) for <16:9 and Hor+ (w/Vert 0) for >16:9" then that is a blemish obviously,
but it's kinda hard to see from those two photos due to the different (left right rotation mostly) camera angle in them.

If I where making a game I would probably choose to use "Vert+ (w/Hor 0) for <16:9 and Hor+ (w/Vert 0) for >16:9" as that would ensure that everyone would see the 16:9 area, and those with extended view would get extended scenery in the dominant aspect direction in relation to 16:9.
And the fact that I hate seeing "unused" areas of my screen despite knowing that the devs. designed the world in 16:9 artistically speaking (camera positioning/distance character sizes etc.)

The Hor+ only rule made sense when games was basically 4:3 designed by default, but these days (mostly due to consoles) they are instead 16:9 designed, so non-16:9 owners either get unused screen space (boxing) or aspect centric (thus extended view) "Vert+ (w/Hor 0) for <16:9 and Hor+ (w/Vert 0) for >16:9"

So what would this mean for the grading system?

Just a small change:
Instead of "Hor+ for >4:3" it would be "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9"

Basically moving the "base" from 4:3 to 16:9, which kinda makes sense as 16:9 is starting to take over for 16:9 and 4:3 is diminishing quickly.

If anyone here thinks this is weird, then let me ask you this.
Do you penalize a game if it is "Hor+ for >4:3" but "Vert+ for <4:3" currently? (like say 5:4 displays), yeah just what I thought :)
In a few years when 4:3 and 16:10 is gone, 16:9 will be the minimum aspect, and everyone will have Hor+ regardless since 16:9 will be the minimum standard.

I'm just suggesting that WSGF moves from using 4:3 as the minimum base to using 16:9 instead.
aka: "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9"

How will this impact the list? Not sure, but I doubt that more than a few games will climb from B to A due to it,
the majority of games that do "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9" have other flaws impacting their grade anyway.

So if a change to "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9" only causes a minor change in the overall cert list then I think it's worth doing so now, rather than later.

Remember, a game can be fully certified currently if it has Hor+ for >16:9 and letterboxing for <16:9,
but if that letterbox is made transparent it's suddenly "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9" but that will cause it to not be certified, something I really do not understand logic of.
Heck that letterboxing for <16:9 could even be made transparent using a game setting or config, effectively making it "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9".

Maybe calling it Aspect Centric is confusing, how about Aspect+, it sound cooler and more descriptive, and add a description like this:
Aspect+ or aspect plus, refers to a behavior specific to certain games that support any resolution. An Aspect+ game is a game that when played on a screen with a wider aspect than it was originally designed for, it expands the horizontal component of the FOV while keeping the vertical component exactly the same, and when played on a screen with a narrower aspect than it was originally designed for, it expands the vertical component of the FOV while keeping the horizontal component exactly the same. This is similar to the Anamorphic behavior only without the letterboxing/pillarboxing. Aspect+ is considered the ideal solution since it takes advantage of the extra viewing area, while still ensuring that none of the originally designed scene's area is missing.


The only snag is knowing what the game was designed for, but these days 16:9 is replacing 4:3, and unless the port from console to PC is messed up most console games that support widescreen are usually designed around 16:9.
I'd love to see the WSGF logo and/or "Aspect: 4:3+" or "Aspect: 16:9+" or "Aspect: 18:9+" or similar on boxes and feature lists for games, indicating the viewable area will always expand from 16:9 to whatever the display is, and never reduce view area.


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 02:17 
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I have never seen any games that behave this way. Alpha Protocol doesn't count - we have conflicting information on its TH support, and its evaluation is pending further information. I don't see the point of this method either. If the devs really "designed the world in 16:9 artistically speaking," as you say, and you are not using a 16:9 monitor, then you *should* see black bars on the top and bottom. "Filling in" the black bars with content just distracts from the focus, which is the 16:9 frame that were are presuming the devs intended for you to see.

Basically moving the "base" from 4:3 to 16:9, which kinda makes sense as 16:9 is starting to take over for 16:9 and 4:3 is diminishing quickly.

Games with a 16:9 baseline should be anamorphic in narrower AR's and hor + in wider AR's.

Do you penalize a game if it is "Hor+ for >4:3" but "Vert+ for <4:3" currently? (like say 5:4 displays), yeah just what I thought

What's just what you thought? Nobody answered yet. Fact is, we don't check for 5:4 behavior. Not because vert + for 5:4 is "correct," but because we don't care how a game implements 5:4. We do, however, care how a game implements 16:10, and "vert +" is not desirable, even if we take it for granted that is what's going on.

How will this impact the list?

Enormously. Every single hor + game on the list will suddenly be flawed, because we are now assuming 16:9 has the amount of width we are meant to see, and 16:10 users aren't getting the full width.

the majority of games that do "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9" have other flaws impacting their grade anyway.

The majority of what games? There aren't any.

Remember, a game can be fully certified currently if it has Hor+ for >16:9 and letterboxing for <16:9,
but if that letterbox is made transparent it's suddenly "Hor+ for >16:9" and "Vert+ for <16:9" but that will cause it to not be certified, something I really do not understand logic of.

Letterboxing keeps the focus on the vertical FOV that you are meant to see.


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 08:16 
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I probably explained myself in a confusing manner (I tend to do that), I re-thought the whole thing based on your feedback,
and maybe the following will makes things clearer: http://emsai.net/projects/widescreen/aspect+/
As you can see the boxing/masking let the game fall under the WSGF Anamorphic class,
however there are bound to be games that does not have/support the masking (it could be a artistic or design choice as well),
in which case the current WSGF criteria would fail the game as it would be neither Anamorphic nor Hor+.

So what I'm saying is that if such a Aspect+ game is encountered then it should be considered the same as a Anamorphic game, only with "invisible" boxes if you understand what I mean. (such a game is basically a hybrid of Hor+ and Vert+ and Anamorphic depending on the origin aspect and whether a boxing option is toggle-able or not or even present at all)

I think there might be the odd B ranked game that could have this behavior (, maybe someone else can confirm this ?) it would be nice to have a already tested game as a reference point.


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 13:50 
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Very interesting topic Rescator, thanks for offering your ideas for discussion. :cheers


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 14:24 
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I understand what you're saying. You're discussing a hypothetical game that has a baseline aspect ratio of 16:9, and is hor + at wider AR's, but vert + at narrower AR's. The thing is, being "taller" isn't really an advantage. Most of the time you'd just be seeing extra floor and ceiling, which doesn't help gameplay, and can detract from the frame composition. For instance, this:



has the intended frame composition, and has more dramatic tension than this:



(this movie was shot at 4:3 but intended for widescreen - the VHS and old DVD is open matte - the letterboxing is simply removed, but the new DVD and Blu-Ray stay letterboxed)


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 18:06 
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Cranky really thats a bad example because if you think about it the other way, "ie take the bottom image and make it Hoz+", all you get to see is more wall, which isn't an advantage ether.

If your about to the argument that there might be a door, well there might be something clinging to the roof, or there might be an attic.

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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 19:46 
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But the hallway *does* have doors on the sides. Whole scene:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFVyAjj3Bs0

Turning left and right a lot in a FPS is normal, not just for aiming, but to see what's to your sides. More horizontal FOV is therefore an advantage. You don't look up and down nearly as much, or to nearly the same degree. The very rare moments when you'd be able to see an attic without needing to look up doesn't justify having more vertical FOV than the frame composition needs.


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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 21:18 
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That might be true for FPSs but what about flight simulators? or RTSs? Extra vertical view can be just as important as extra horizontal view. Simply discounting his idea based solely on one a part of the gaming industry rather then all of it isn't a good reason to discount it.

Besides on a different angle, you can't really fault game developers for developing with 16:9 or 16:10 as a base line, because that means they are deliberating coding their games for widescreen monitors as a preference.

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PostPosted: 26 Jul 2010, 22:01 
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That might be true for FPSs but what about flight simulators?

Seeing the ceiling and floor of the cockpit isn't really useful either. And if you're weird and play your flight sims in chase cam mode, the sky and ground still isn't as important as the horizon.

or RTSs?

Designing an overhead RTS with a widescreen baseline in itself doesn't make a lot of sense.

Besides on a different angle, you can't really fault game developers for developing with 16:9 or 16:10 as a base line

I don't find fault with developing for 16:9. Believe me, I *want* to see developers use 16:9 as a baseline. But I find fault with ruining the frame composition for anyone with a narrower monitor than what was intended.


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PostPosted: 27 Jul 2010, 00:07 
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I find fault with ruining the frame composition for anyone with a narrower monitor than what was intended.


I know, but what if the developer designed the game so that they have a 16:9 area where the focus is, but with a extended view area.
The two shots you showed was done like that, it was shot in 4:3 so the director made sure that the shot looks ok at that, but the camera also has a 16:9 rectangle where the action should take place.

And please look at the Aspect+ description image again, do you see that the 5:4 has about as much letterboxing as the 18:9 does?
Which isn't so much, there hardly exists more narrow screens than 5:4 except for the odd guy stacking them vertically or mounting monitors on the side),
but there is a lot of monitors or arrays that are much wider than 18:9 out there.

You are arguing that those with screens narrower than 16:9 see too much height... So do you intend to fault games that let you look up/down as well?
And surround gaming let you see 3-4 or more in the width that the original design.

Someone mentioned a overhead RTS, a RTS uses the extra space for the GUI.
Almost every single 3D game (not to be confused with stereoscopic) out there renders the world in 3D space, and they let you see up/down/left/right, FPS shooters and similar usually let you see 180 degrees up/down and 360 degrees left/right.

So saying the frame composition is being ruined seems a little odd.

Remember, in the future there new "wide" might be 18:9 or even 1:2.40, wouldn't you want to enjoy the game on all of your old 16:9 screen?

And please note that the Aspect+ proposal states that games "must" support this aspect+ only behavior , but that they "should" support letterbox/pillarbox masking,
and if they support that then they "should" default that to on but let it be user toggleable so the user can choose later if they want the Aspect+ experience.
I'm pretty sure you'd be always leaving the boxing option on. (but I hope for you that they have letter and pillar separate since you also seem to want Aspect+ only in the horizontal but not the vertical :P )

The reason so fired up on this is that ATI's and Nvidia's new programs not only let people create wider displays by combining them, but they fully support vertical combination too. So a developer that wish to be validated under the Eyefinity or the 3D Vision programs need to support that, and letterboxing takes a little more effort than simply rendering fullscreen. So all such games will end up failing the WSGF criteria just because they allow Vert+.

There is one thing you could do right now that would harm nothing, just slightly change the Anamorphic criteria for the WSGF certification to allow the masking to be user selectable. (i.e. the user can toggle the masking off, thereby extending the viewed area)
That would be compatible with the Aspect+ part of the standard where there is masking and it defaults to on but can be toggled off by the user.

This would also be more fair with online gaming as servers could enforce masking should be on. While during solo play the user might want the masking off for surround gaming, etc. and in some games that has pre-recorded cutscenes rather than rendered there would probably be temporary enforced masking during their playback.


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