Games not detecting MBP screen resolution

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aevan, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #1
    Not sure why this is happening but a lot of apps/games can't seem to properly detect the new MBPs resolution. I first noticed that the Ars Technica review said:

    "Note: Older 15" MBPs are running at their default resolution of 2880×1800. The 2016 15" MBP is running at its default resolution of 3360×2100."

    This had me confused, because we know the native resolution is unchanged - 2880x1800. However, I think some apps are detecting the native resolution wrong, so that's what confused the Ars Technica reviewer (most likely GFXBENCH that they used detected the native resolution wrong).

    My example is Diablo 3 - my old MBP detects 2880x1800 as the max resolution. On the new MBP, there are numerous resolutions - going much higher. The funny thing is, even though the display cannot go higher, it seems that when set at some really high resolution (it maxes out at something like 3800x2400) the game is rendered at that resolution, then downscaled to the screen, as the performance actually takes a hit when compared to the screens actual maximum. In fact, the 2880x1800 resolution isn't even offered, I have to take something really close to it.

    BTW, WoW properly detect 2880x1800 resolution, but also offers a higher resolution.

    Anyone has similar issues in apps/games?
     
  2. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #2
    It gets rather confusing because so much of similar terminology is to describe different things.

    On macOS, when you're viewing your desktop on a HiDPI screen, the scaled resolution is rendered at double the resolution and then downscaled to fit pixel for pixel at the displays native resolution.

    So, if you're desktop is set to a scaled resolution of 1440x900, it's rendered at 2880x1800 and in that case, it's a perfect fit (no down-scaling necessary).

    However, the newer default scaled setting is 1680x1050 on the new 15" MBP, which means it's being rendered at 3360x2100 and then downscaled to fit on the 2880x1800 native resolution of the screen.

    The Ars reviewer knows the native resolution of the MBP, but the benchmark chart footnote you quote is confusing by using the term "native" - what they meant was the scaled off-screen rendered resolution, which is different from the off-screen rendering they indicate in the benchmark chart.

    Video games like Diablo 3 also have their own resolution settings - they render the game graphics at the resolution settings in the game, independent of the resolution scaling settings in macOS. Performance can be affected by whether the game is running in windowed mode or full screen (potentially bypassing the desktop scaling), macOS scaling settings, etc.
     
  3. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #3

    Thanks for the clarification, makes perfect sense. While I knew about the 4x pixels per point and how the 1440x900 size is achieved with the native screen resolution, I did not know that 1680x1050 is actually rendered at 3360x2100. Then I'm actually surprised there isn't a bigger performance hit (even on previous MacBook Pros).

    As for Diablo 3 and their own resolution settings, it's still strange it offers the panel resolution (2880x1800) on the old MBP and not on the new one (there are similar resolutions available, but not 2880x1800). And yes, I tried setting the resolution to 1440x900 first. It's probably because the 1680x1050 (3360x2100) is actually the default now - but it's still a little weird.

    Also, are you sure the offscreen resolution is so big? I'm not saying you're wrong, but it does seem a bit weird. Wouldn't it be better to just downsample 2880x1800 with a 1.5x (or something) multiplier instead of 2x? I always assumed this is what they did.
     
  4. littlepud macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    #4
    defaults write com.blizzard.diablo3 DesktopModeIsDefault 1
     
  5. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #5
    What does this do? It set the resolution to.... something that seems native, although the options display some weird minimum res. Did it make it switch to the system resolution or native panel resolution?

    Thanks anyway :)
     
  6. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #6
    Yeah, I don't know for sure - if both screen resolutions are set to the same scaled setting, and same version of macOS and game, then the only thing I could guess is that it has to do with the display settings Sierra makes available on the new MBP... every Mac I have seems to have different choices for the resolutions made available (without using a third-party screen resolution utility).

    I'm sure about that (only because I've read about it in Apple support documents and related tech articles).

    I didn't write the book on this, but it makes sense that using 2x integer scaling for off-screen compositing (i.e. "rendering") just works and takes the onus off the application developer (this is why Windows HiDPI has been stuck in mud for the last decade - while their approach offers faster performance, app developers have to re-write their applications to work with it, and until HiDPI displays hit critical mass, most developers simply haven't cared to implement it fully). The GUI resources are all at standard sizes, e.g. icons are 64x64 pixels, 128x128 and so on... so when compositing, it simply uses the double sized resources to composite the desktop at double size, and then down-scales the composited desktop to fit the display's native resolution.

    I'm probably misunderstanding what you were trying to suggest, but in your example, there's nothing to downsample at 2880x1800 - you're already at the MBP's native display resolution.

    I know you're one who appreciates learning about this stuff, so if you haven't already, the Apple Guidelines paper on HiDPI ("About High Resolution for OS X") is really interesting and informative and relatively easy to understand by the typical tech enthusiast.
     
  7. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #7
    Thanks a lot for this, I will read it for sure!

    As for what I meant, you're right, I was completely wrong. I thought that they somehow rendered it at some slightly higher resolution, not double the resolution, and then downsample by some smaller factor, instead of double.

    What you explained makes perfect sense, actually. Windows scales the UI, it doesn't render the entire screen at higher resolutions and downsamples it, they try to render just the UI at various resolutions - which works for vector graphics, but whenever something is bitmap, it's either up to the developer to provide assets in 100%, 150%, 175%, 200% (and so on) sizes, or it just doesn't look well and you have all that cluster**** Windows has with hidpi screens. This explains why Adobe bypassed that entire scaling thing with Photoshop and just offers 100% and 200% modes while on macOS you can have multiple levels of scaling natively.

    This was really informative, thanks!
     
  8. littlepud macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    #8
    Diablo normally has some hard-coded resolution options in the games video settings. That command unlocks a few more choices that are essentially based on your desktop resolution from the System Preferences.
     

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