Can't play at 2560x1600 - TEXT & GUI IS TOO SMALL!

Hiya, I just bought this, fired it up and the first thing that struck me is, there is no way I can play this game in its current state at my Native Resolution of 2560x1600.

The issue may be minor for a lot of you but for me, 2560x1600 is my native resolution, select any other resolution and ANY game, even the desktop is blurred due to the doubling/tripling of each pixel.

I’ve posted a few screenshots. and here is a detailed description of my system.

INTEL-SSD520 | WIN7-HOME-PREM-SP1-64BIT | 8GB-RAM | INTEL-Q9540 | ATI-6970-2GB | DELL-U3011

Notice THE RATIO OF GUI/TEXT VS ENTIRE SCREEN. Sit back from the image, 40-50cm, I need a magnifying glass to view any of it. That’s how it is viewed on my screen.

Click Here to see full 2560x1600 resolution | Home |

Click Here to see full 2560x1600 resolution | In game |


Is a problem I wish I had. Amazing resolution to play this game on, I hope one day ill be able to do it! Im still stuck on 1920.

This is a much much harder problem to solve than you think. The text is all drawn at the native resolution of the font, to make it clear and crisp. To provide bigger text would require multiple fonts, and a completely new set of every possible GUI parameters to make every single dialog box and window and GUI element scale smoothly. This is something possible with very complex third party GUI middleware that does this, but AFAIK the only game that does it is sins of a solar empire and galactic civilisations

Very few people are gaming at that resolution, sadly, and also generally those resolutions are available on very very large monitors. Essentially, your problem is that the panel is too small for its resoltuion, because ideally the pixels scale on a linear basis. If they don’t, you aren’t really getting the benefit of the res, because pixels are already small enough on a normal resolution.

I test GTB primarily on 1920 1200 res on a 40" iiyama monitor, which si the largest one I have.

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I thought proportional fonts were old news in 1990…
I know the popular perception of ‘Indie’ was that they were all retro 'n stuff, but still.

Can you really not render some truetype to sprites on initialisation? (I presume using a decent font renderer at runtime would be a serious performance hit)

(On the other hand - it puts GTB right up there with ‘AAA’ titles for consoles. They almost totally fail to implement scalable text.)

I would point out though that not too long ago, 1920x1200 was ridiculous-rez and the sane development target was 1280x1024. Old games which seamlessly cope with my current hardware get far more re-interest than those which seem to have been hardcoded with the resolution-of-the-day.

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its not a matter of the fonts not existing. even if, theoretically, you had code to, at run-time render out new spritesheets for every font that the game requried at the exact resolution you required (no game uses GDI windows rendering for text, it doesn’t sit well with directx, and is sloooooow), thats only a twnetieth of the problem.

Take any dialogn box or effect (like the tooltips) in the game. They are now all the wrong size, and need to be scaled to fit the new text. The 7 different windows on the unit design screen are now all the wrong size, the number fo lines of text that can be displayed on each one is totally wrong… all of that needs to adjust for the differing text sizes.
If you have an entirely vector-based GUI, like stardock use, then that system can work, but thats a huge and complex product for an indie game, and I’m not aware of anyone but stardock doing it in games.

Generally speaking a pixel size stays fairly constant as monitors get bigger, so it’s not a problem. It only is is a problem if you have a highr es but low physical size monitor, which is quite unusual. I’ve gone from a 640 res monitor to a 1920 res one over the years and never once adjusted the windows text size, for example. You just get more of it on screen.

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Thanks for responding so quickly Cliff, Much appreciated!

Just for comparison, here is the same setup but at 1280x800.

Notice the GUI/TEXT ratio to screen size (2560x1600) vs (1280x800).

Click Here to view full image.

If it is displaying based on resolution, and I’m not getting any more map shown per inch @ 2560x1600, then why is the GUI/TEXT vastly smaller? It should take up the entire bottom of the screen, taking up the same amount of space relative to screen real estate, like in 1280x800.

Extending this idea, why is the GUI, HUGE on 1280x800? shouldn’t it be the other way around. e.g 1280x800 the GUI should be smaller, and on a larger than 1920x1200 resolution the GUI is bigger?

Perhaps you could constrain GUI scaling to ratios, e.g 16.9, 16.10, if you were to implement it.

Just so you understand, I’m not interested in getting more map on my screen. Only that I use 2560x1600 to get crisp graphics and text that is readable.

But I understand the technical issues plaguing you and this is probably not something you want to change.


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When I first got it it was amazing. But I’m finding more and more games, don’t cater for this resolution, or if they do, they can’t scale the UI.

And, once you do get a game that does 2560x1600, and its 3D, then you have problems with FOV, or field of view. Where game developers make the FOV suitable for low-resolution but large (40inch+) TV’s for Xbox, they then don’t adjust FOV for smaller (30inch) higher resolution monitors, like mine.

Games I have played, that IMHO succeeded in scaling UI or designing UI in such a way that is UN-effected by resolution: shoot many robots, warp, skydrift, Desktop dungeons (a browser game), Deadly 30, trine1-2, Sentinel III, Orcs must die, and Defenders Quest to name a few.


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I see… I only recently upgraded to a 24" LED so 1920 is as far as Ill get for a few more years yet.

What Im interested in is the list of games you say do work well, most of which (the ones Ive played) are smaller, neat productions like survival games or tower defence.

offtopic Just as an aside, did you play Skyrim on it, and because im just going to assume the answer is yes, did it run at that resolution, and how awesome was it?

To answer your first question, I think when a UI does not require a lot of text to explain how each element works, while in game, or it gets away with highly detailed icons, then your resolution becomes less of a problem.

Also I think a GUI that floats, or more importantly is not boxed in or over-designed or has ‘sliding’ panels, is another way around the problem, because there is less to scale, there is less detail lost because there wasn’t intricate detail there in the first place. Those small indie games all build their GUIS more so out of constraints of time/money/motivation. It actually helps the player get to the nuts and bolts of how to play faster (IMHO).

Also I prefer contextual GUI over ‘giving me all the information about everything all the time’, I just lose focus and become frustrated. As an example I really like sentinel 3’s interface, it’s GUI is to the point without any need to scan the screen to find out whats going on (probably because it was an iOS game ported to PC).

And Really good icon design, with inbuilt feedback can do away with a lot of the text descriptions, so it can be scaled quite easily.

Here’s what I thought from the list of games:

  1. Shoot many robots @ 2560x1600 - it’s effectively the same game at a higher resolution, you don’t ‘see’ any further.

  2. Warp @ 2560x1600 - it’s effectively the same game at a higher resolution, you don’t ‘see’ any further.

  3. Skydrift @ 2560x1600 - pure 3D engine, very simple icon driven gui, xbox native. no problems.

  4. Desktop dungeons (a browser game) - flash vector scaling

  5. Deadly 30 @ 2560x1600 - custom build engine, don’t know how they achieved proper scaling, but they did. Mind you the interface is very large to begin with.

  6. trine1-2 @ 2560x1600 - whole thing plays out in a 3D engine, scaled fine, and the interface is sparse.

  7. Sentinel III - homeworld @ 2560x1600 - really simple gui, scaled fine, It looks like the entire thing is a giant sprite with more pre-rendered sprites on top, still looks amazing and has style.

  8. Orcs must die @ 2560x1600- I must admit in this game the GUI was a tad small.

  9. Defenders Quest @ 2560x1600 - this game scaled up while retaining its ratio of 4:3, it has a lot of text embedded in its interface. It uses adobe air, so the whole thing was probably a vector.

About skyrim, I played it at 2560x1600, it was smooth and fluid immersive, but it had to be tweaked the moment I started the campaign, because the FOV was so small, it felt like I was watching everything through a telescope. Changing the FOV to about 100-110, made it more like a fish-eye lens camera, but the sheer size and res of the monitor compensated for that.

If you aren’t worried about colour quality, you could always get three cheap 24 inch monitors and hook them together instead of one big 30inch. You actually end up with a much much better feeling of immersion that way, at the expense of quality. There are several methods to achieve this, so see the wide screen gaming forum for more information.


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Erm. The gui is X pixels high. I can’t be bothered to measure it, but lets call the minimap 200 pixels high.

200 pixels on a 1280x800 screen is a quarter of its height. 200 pixels on a 2560x1600 screen is an eighth of its height - and indeed, your screenshot backs that up.

What this whole thread is missing is:

2560x1600 on a 30" monitor is approximately the same pixel density and physical GUI and physical font size as 1280x800 on a 15" screen. If you can’t read one then you wouldn’t be able to read the other, and people haven’t been complaining about the 15" screen support.

Sit as close to the 30" screen as you would to a 15" screen and you’ll be able to read it fine. Sit further away and drop the resolution, because frankly there’s no point having those pixels because you can’t differentiate between them anyway. If you could, you’d be able to read the text.

I hate games that take a UI designed for 800x600 and scale it up so that it obscures the whole playfield on 1920x1200. I didn’t pay for high pixel density just to have it taken up with UI elements, on an RTS I want more of the map visible at once. So even if you do add UI scaling Cliff, can you make it a toggleable option please :slight_smile:

I’m saying it should be adjusted, so the ratio of GUI VS Resolution gets bigger as the resolution increases. As is not the case I pointed out.

In most games, high resolution equates to more in-game area displayed per inch, not just pixel density. As an example, in a 3D game, if you looked down a corridor, you would see the sides of the corridor and the door at the end. For a lower resolution you would just see the end of the corridor.

For a RTS or Tower Defence, usually a higher resolution equates to more map per inch, but not in the case with gratuitous tank battles beta (see comparison shots). I’m not complaining about lack of extra map, all I’m concerned with is a readable GUI and non blurry text/graphics.

On a monitor this size, it is very easy to see distortion. On a 15inch widescreen you have a choice of turning the resolution lower without too much distortion. Not so with 2560x1600, its native, and any other resolution will distort graphics and text to the point that it is unreadable, and for someone like me who is blind in one eye (arrrrgh Im a pirate!), its unacceptable.

Also, a distance of 15cm away from my dell 30inch, I would only be able to see one 3rd of the screen, its impossible to use at that distance. And more importantly Workstation Ergonomics demands that eye strain will follow if you sit too close to your screen.

See below:

Lots of ways to handle this:

  1. If the GUI was a set of floating Icons that scaled up, or completely configurable.
  2. Gui Slides away
  3. Treat this like ‘Defence Grid’ - Each active map turret ‘block’ is a contextual selection, by left clicking the block you automatically open a menu > press up/down > return for the desired turret.
  4. Uses ibomber defenses gui system, click and drag turret icons to their destination, rollover for floating description windows.

I do agree that on the slim chance there is a GUI change, then make it a toggle switch or something :D.