Game Development


I know I’ve made a bunch of people nervous about my research topic. The fact of the matter is, it’s taken a backseat to all the other portions of the game. The professors ask me about it, and I nod and smile and say something to the effect of, “It’s coming along…” and then I quickly change the subject. In truth, I’ve been thinking about it, and mulling it over, but have been lacking on the whole implementation side of things … until now!

We are in the midst of a transitional period as far as display devices go. Some folks play their Xbox games on a 480i Standard Definition television (I pity them). Others have brand new expensive shiny 1080p High Definition televisions (those rich mother-shmuppers…). In addition, there are the somewhat more / somewhat less fortunate folks with a 720p set, as well as several outliers who use HDMI / VGA cables and go to a computer monitor that displays goodness knows what resolution. The point is, there exists a myriad of different display devices to which the Xbox can render.

As a game designer/developer, I want my game to look great regardless of what the end user’s display resolution happens to be. At the same time, I don’t want to take the time to design for every single resolution. Yes, the Xbox does automatically scale content from 1280×720 (a middle-resolution of 720p) up or down to match whatever output resolution it detects – but if the user isn’t viewing at 720p the result can (to a picky eye) look blurred or fuzzy. The XNA Creators Club recommends this practice, but I know we can do better. This is the motivation behind my research.

This evening (well, it’s morning now), I have successfully created a system for our game that detects the current resolution, and adjusts content to fit for perceptual congruity across display resolutions. The images below show the same build of our game as output to 480i and 1080i resolutions. Notice how similar the proportions of the logo image and text are relative to each example. Yes, I know there’s extra space to the left and right of the 1080i example, but that’s to be expected for a widescreen aspect ratio. Using this system, our players will be equally capable of reading the menus – regardless of screen resolution! It works!

We’re starting to get the game elements put together.  Here the boss assembles each of his unit types, meaning we have geometry loaded.