Resolution Limitations

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Eisen Feuer, May 13, 2010.

  1. Eisen Feuer macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #1
    So on all my Valve titles on the PC, I can change my screen resolution to just about whatever I want. I have a Samsung T240 HD, native resolution is 1920x1200. With Portal now, I can only select the few resolutions that just so happen to be in the list of available resolutions when I pull up display preferences. My ultimate goal here is to get 1280x720, and right now the only 16:9 resolution listed is the odd 1360x768.

    Is there a list in the library or somewhere that OS X uses to retrieve available resolutions in the display preferences? Because if there is, Portal is using the same list. I'd like to go in and see if I can modify the list to include some pretty standard resolutions such as 1920x1080 and 1280x720 (both of which I can access on the same monitor when I'm booted in Windows).



    And to the zealous Mac apologists around here... no I can't 'get by' on the other resolutions. I record my gameplay with FRAPS on the bootcamp side when I play TF2, and I'm not looking for a performance boost or anything by lowering my resolution (on Windows I can run TF2 at ~180 fps at full settings 1920x1200 on my Mac Pro, Portal at 300fps), I'm simply looking to conform to a standard video resolution so the video I capture on either system is identical—I already have a vast library of clips at 720p.
     
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #2
    the reason you can't change the res to something 16:9 is because your display isn't 16:9; it's 16:10. Why do you *need* it to be in a 16:9 format?
     
  3. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #3
    I can run a plethora of 16:9 resolutions on the Windows version of Portal with the same display, the only reason I can't is because OS X has some built in limitations (a list of available resolutions) that the source engine for Mac abides by, annoyingly. (meaning, it is not my display hardware but rather software which is restricting my choice of resolutions.)

    See my last paragraph for exact why I need 16:9, or more specifically 1280x720.
     
  4. c-Row macrumors 65816

    c-Row

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    #4
    Does running the game in windowed mode offer more/different resolutions?
     
  5. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #5
    No the available resolution list remains exactly the same, in fact it still allows me to run at 1920x1200 in windowed mode which is technically larger than the available screens space in windowed mode (the bottom gets cropped off)
     
  6. ScottishDuck macrumors 6502a

    ScottishDuck

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    Feb 17, 2010
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    Argyll, Scotland
    #6
    In the game properties (right click the game within the steam client) you can set launch properties.

    For example for 1920x1080

    Code:
    -w 1920 -h 1080
    If that doesn't work, it wont work full stop.
     
  7. rbarris macrumors 6502

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    Irvine CA
    #7
    This might be something we could tune up. But note that Mac Source is not going to actually change the display device's operating resolution - only the resolution that game scenes are rendered at, before being scaled to fit your screen.
     
  8. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #8
    That was a great idea man, but I tried that out with -w 1280 -h 720, and the in game resolution turned out to be 1280x1024, and I could tell that was the truth because it was noticeably stretched on the X axis. There's got to be something hidden in OS X where the list of available resolutions are modifiable, because Portal is obviously pulling from OS X for these, as they mirror the available resolutions in the displays tab.
     
  9. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    Leeds, UK
    #9
    I noticed that - Probably not - but doesn't that result in a performance hit? I tend to play at around 720p too, seems odd to bump it up to the full 1920x native of my desktop.

    Although I'm glad it works like this so it doesnt jumble all my icons and programs around. :)
     
  10. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #10
    It works the same way on windows, the game is subject to the resolution change, nothing is different when you alt-tab to the desktop. I wouldn't expect nor would I want the system resolution to change, but from what I'm seeing the list of available resolutions in the display preferences and those in-game on Portal are identical, and obviously the system came first for Portal to copy off of. That list, which seems to be simply that and in no way connected to the actual resolutions my display can handle, is what I'm looking to modify, I just have no idea where it is.
     
  11. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #11
    I used to use switchresx to accomodate a really strange old monitor.. It let's you create custom resolutions.. Not sure if it'll help here but: http://www.madrau.com/indexSRX4.html
     
  12. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #12
    I'm actually toying around with that right now, it eludes me what I do with this random extension-less file it pumps out...
     
  13. rbarris macrumors 6502

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    Irvine CA
    #13
    The scaled blit is pretty cheap compared to all the other stuff going on in the engine. Doing it this way is better aligned with the OS X direction, for example the calls to do it "the old way", where the screen device is completely captured, are deprecated as of 10.6.

    The upsides are that various overlays that can appear in front of the app work correctly (volume / brightness popups, command-tab switcher, growl notifications etc).
     
  14. palebluedot macrumors 6502a

    palebluedot

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #14
    Is there a resource hit that happens from these overlays? I know that WoW in OS X (when in non-windowed full screen mode) doesn't allow you to overlay things. If you go into windowed you can but I also notice that when you go into windows the gamma changes (to the OS X gamma rather than the game gamma).

    Does giving the OS the ability to overlay things like dashboard and growl add to FPS lag? I was trying to figure out why Portal would get really laggy when I accidentally hit the dashboard key (or when it was lagging without that) and was just curious.
     
  15. rbarris macrumors 6502

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    #15
    In Snow Leopard, there is cost when something actually appears on top, but when the view is clear there is no extra cost. The window manager is able to transition between composited mode and page-flip mode dynamically, using the latter for the common case of one large window.
     
  16. doh123 macrumors 65816

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #16
    what happens when you change the monitor to be running the resolution you want... in OSX before even starting up steam and playing?
     
  17. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #17
    The resolution I'm wanting (1280x720, or 1920x1080) are not available to change to in the first place, OS X or Portal.

    Mixel, can you enlighten me to the ways of SwitchResX?
     
  18. SpamBoy macrumors newbie

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    Dec 7, 2009
    #18
    I did it!

    I used SwitchResX to make a custom resolution (on the bottom tab w/ my monitor name > Custom Resolutions) - 1440x900.
    I then rebooted, and it was available in the regular "Displays" system settings and also within Portal. I play-tested and it works.

    Eisen Feuer, you are right - Portal does seem to use the system display list.
     
  19. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #19
    Sorry I didnt get back to this sooner.. I dont really know how switchresX works anymore.. When I used to use it they used the APE framework but they ditched that at some point before it came to snow-leopard (probably a good thing, it was pretty horrible).. Haven't a clue how it does it now. :confused:
     
  20. palebluedot macrumors 6502a

    palebluedot

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #20
    Thanks for the answer! You are always so friendly rbarris :D

    I think I get what your saying but I was wondering: If I am playing Portal or HL2 in OS X and I press the Dashboard key (or expose to answer an IM) and then go back to the Source game being ontop does that take a resource hit for the rest of the game? I know in Windows you could alt tab and usually not have a glitch but it seems like pressing Dashboard and then going back into the game slows the game down a lot.

    I figured it is just because the games are glitchy being just released (i.e. HL2 is running pretty slow, presumably because y'all just opened up the Pandora's Box of awesomeness so it takes time to work the kinks out/or because I have an 8600 256mb vram MBP) but I was worried that pressing the expose or dashboard key causes issues.
     
  21. benpatient macrumors 68000

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    Nov 4, 2003
    #21
    I think you'll find that ever Mac will show a different list of available resolutions in 10.6 or 10.5 depending on the graphics chipset and the drivers installed, because Apple is in control of their drivers. That's why the games run so much slower, and why the 7300 in an 07 Mac Pro isn't capable of launching a game that was released in 2004. Apple's *crappy* drivers.

    I think you'll find that the resolutions in the OS X drivers for a given graphics system are exactly the same as what Source games offer.
     
  22. SpamBoy macrumors newbie

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    Dec 7, 2009
    #22
    This is true, but you can change both using SwitchResX, which is pretty cool.
     
  23. Eisen Feuer thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2009
    #23
    Just a follow-up, SwitchResX effectively modified the system list and the resolutions I was looking for became available in all Steam games.

    My only tip is to make sure you copy/paste the refresh rate numbers from other resolution configurations you know work, because when modifying them for some reason the refresh rates decided to change as I lowered the resolution.
     

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