I'm working on TSC3 and have reached a point where I can start to think
about level basics. One of the first choices I have to settle on early
is which resolution is "native" to TSC, that is, which is the resolution
on which nothing will be scaled when playing.
If the game is played with a non-native resolution, the excerpt of the
level shown on screen is scaled (up or down), so that regardless of
screen resolution, it will always be the same area from the level that
is displayed to the player. This way, problems with large screens
revealing secrets like in Supertux are prevented.
For non-native resolutions that have an aspect ratio different from the
native resolution, it is possible to adapt either the window size (in
windowed mode) or add black bars (in fullscreen mode).
The native resolution is the resolution that graphics assets should be
developed for (i.e., export dimensions in Inkscape are determined by
Now, which resolution shall be "native" to TSC3? There are a few
1. 640x480. The tradional resolution for games, guaranteed to exist on
every old graphics card around.
2. 800x600. A younger variant of 1), excludes graphics cards
manufactured before about 2003. This is TSC2's native resolution.
3. 1280x768. An even younger variant of 1. Should
be available on any screens and graphics cards manufactured after
~2007, and probably even earlier.
4. 1280x1024. A modified variant of 3 with more pixels in the height,
should be similar with graphics hardware support as 3.
5. 1920x1080. Also known as Full HD or 1080p, this is the standard and
native resolution for today's consumer screen and graphics hardware.
You probably need a post-2012 graphics card for this.
The options 1-3 all have the same aspect ratio (4:3) and will thus
result in the exact same area of the level to be shown to the player.
Options 4 and 5 have aspect ratios that are different (5:4 for option 4,
and 16:9 for option 5) and will result in more of the level being shown
to the player.
Option 5 will effectively prohibit playing TSC in windowed mode for the
native resolution (and only for that one), since not many people have
screens that support resolutions above 1080p. Experience has shown that
most people like to play TSC full-screen.
Picking the native resolution has nothing to do with a minimum possible
resolution; SFML can scale up just as well as it can scale
down. Regardless of what we choose, we can thus offer different, and
even lower, resolutions to the player in the options menu. However,
since no scaling is required, playing TSC at the native resolution
yields the best possible performance.
Personally, I would settle for option 5 as native, and option 3 as
minimum resolution. This is going to cause black bars / smaller windows
for options 1-4, but is the proper way into the future I think. Most
people will find black bars for their normal resolution (which today
mostly is 1080p) unsatisfying.
With specific regard to option 3, here's what happen if we chose option
5 as native resolution:
* For someone who uses a standard 1080p widescreen monitor, he can play
TSC in fullscreen in native resolution (= best performance).
* Someone with a 1080p monitor can also play TSC in windowed mode, but
probably not at its native 1920x1080px resolution, because that window
would be bigger than his desktop (window decorations!). He'd need to
choose a smaller resolution.
* For someone who has a 1280x768px monitor/card, he can play TSC in
fullscreen mode as well, but it will run at 1280x720 with thus 24px of
black horizontal bars above and below the game (48px black bars in total).
* The person with a 1280x768px monitor/card could also run TSC in
windowed mode, in which case the window would be of size 1280x720 or
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