Best resolution for desktop

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  • I have not really found a definitive answer for this question, but I think it's important, and will be informative to quite a few people.

    What's the minimum resolution and best single aspect ratio for a professional-quality (why not ;) ) game designed to be played fullscreen in letterbox mode?

  • Going by valve's hardware survey statistics, 16:9 followed by 16:10 is the most popular aspect ratio. I'm making my game 960x540 letterbox scaled (half of 1080p).

  • can you get away with a resolution that small?

  • It seems to be ok for me, a little blury but since it's an action game I think its fine. I could have done a higher resolution and bigger sprites etc., but the memory/vram would have been so much higher!

    It depends on your game though, it's going to be different for everyone probably.

  • 960 x 540? is that best solution?

  • No, there is no best resolution. It's going to depend on the type of the game, your goals, and your audience.

  • Usually i'm using 1024x768 or 800x600 for casual stuff, it's still more or less office resolution in my country.

    For personal projects I'm making my games 1280x720 (small HD)

  • OK, then, another question. 1080p vs. 720p. Is there any reason I would need to use 1080 over 720? Are most professional-grade games at 1080?

  • I don't think a minimum nor best resolution exist. It's what's best for your game!

    GameBoy: 160x144

    GBA: 240x160

    NES & SNES: 256x224

    The most common resolution I've seen, but mostly for retro/indie games, is 320x240 and multiples of it (640x480,1280x960)

    To my knowledge 720p and 1080p are reserved for 3D games or like..Muramasa type stuff.

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  • Keep in mind I'm not aiming for a retro feel. Fullscreen is also a must.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is mostly used.

    Regarding what resolution you want, it really depends on the game you're making.

    Are you concerned about the size of your visual assets and how it will affect your project size?

    Do you feature a crisp, hand drawn artwork that will benefit on a higher resolution?

  • If you use letterbox fullscreen mode, you don't really need to worry about a minimum resolution (it will just scale down), and you only favour one aspect ratio over another (since if the user has a different aspect ratio black bars will appear and it will still play fine). I think in the long term there is a big move from 4:3 to 16:9, so I'd design for 16:9. Of course, the other option is to use just 'Scale' mode and design it to handle different aspect ratios, but that can be tricky.

  • Thanks, Ashley! I suppose that makes sense. I'm just worried my game will look blocky if I design for 720 and it is played on a 1080 screen.

  • It's more probable that it will look blurry, but then you can minimize the perception of blurriness by enabling a sharpen filter on the layout when the display resolution is bigger than the original.

    I wouldn't recommend going bigger than 720p for the time being, the drop of performance to 1080 is high, and you can use that extra performance to polish better your game and ensure responsive gameplay.

  • I wasn't aware of the performance drop. Why exactly is that? is it because of more objects on the screen or something else?

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