30 May 2010

Widescreen Isn't Just Letterboxing!

When Tyrannis was released, I immediately noticed something was wrong with my HUD. I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then I was directed to the a forum thread: So why did "widescreen" go the way of "medium shader" again?

That was it. Parts of my HUD had, at one point, been in the letterboxes. Now, the widescreen feature has been removed.

CCP Eris Discordia offer the excuse that adapting changes to work with the feature was too much of a burden.

Several in the thread have pointed out that the unintended advantages the letterboxes gave to the visually impaired were being exploited by macroers.

Yes, I am upset to see the widescreen go. I am more upset, however, to see the number of idiots in the thread that didn't realize that the widescreen mode actually let you have a wider field of view. You could see more. It wasn't just letterboxes laid overtop of the display to crop it and create a widescreen effect. The field of view was actually increased. For that to fit on the screen, it had to be letterboxed.

So the non-widescreen option is actually a cropping of the widescreen option.

The same is true for movies. The letterboxes aren't just for dramatic effect. Movie theater screens aren't merely bigger. They have a different aspect ratio for a reason. Humans have a much better side-to-side peripheral vision than they do up-down.

I could rant on and on, but the internet is full of articles that have already covered this. I invite everyone to check with Google and read for themselves why widescreen actually shows more. Another great place to start is Wikipedia's article on apect ratio.