21:9 Aspect Ratio Support Feedback, Part 8

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The purpose of these threads is to discuss and provide feedback for the 21:9 aspect ratio support that was added in a patch on 19th July. Please keep the discussion civil and constructive! Debate is welcome, but no one gains any favor by name-calling or disparaging other users, Blizzard, or Blizzard's employees. Remember, the person on the other side of the screen (probably) loves the game as much as you do and just wants it to be the best experience possible. If you see someone who is clearly and consistently posting just to provoke a reaction from people without contributing to the conversation, the best response is simply to report and ignore (use the little blue button at the top-right of their post).

21:9 support is live! And, well, it's not that great. A lot of people have voiced support for reinstating modern display resolutions to the game, and some suggested that support would be welcome even if it was "crude" or compromised in some way to address the perceived issue of a wider FOV granting a "competitive advantage". As a result, Blizzard decided to try a less common approach known as vert- scaling. With this method, rather than widening the player's viewport and horizontal FOV (HFOV) to fit the wider resolution (hor+ scaling), the original image is scaled up to fill the viewport, cropping out part of the view and reducing the vertical FOV (VFOV). Unfortunately, this scaling method has introduced new problems, arguably more severe than the one it fixes.

The Effect
First, let's take a look at what vert- scaling does to the player's view. In Overwatch, the VFOV is (presumably) calculated based on the HFOV and display resolution. The formula for this calculation is (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_of_view_in_video_games )
VFOV = 2arctan(tan(HFOV/2) x height/width)
If we plug in 1920 and 1080 for width and height, and Overwatch's default value of 92 for HFOV, we get a VFOV of 60, which matches the value Blizzard stated back when HFOV was planned to be locked at 92. A HFOV set to the maximum of 103 scales the VFOV up to about 70. Now, if we use the same HFOV and height values, and increase the width up to 2560 to represent a 21:9 monitor at a resolution of 2560x1080, we get VFOV values of 47 and 56, respectively. These are extremely low for a PC game. Normally, you would only see FOVs this low when playing a game designed for consoles, which are generally meant to be played on a large screen several feet or more away from the player.

The Problems
1. Motion Sickness
This is the big one, IMHO. A FOV that is too narrow for the display can result in a feeling of dizziness or nausea for many users, and this holds true for both the horizontal and vertical axes. We're all different, and some people are affected more than others, but those who are affected physically cannot play a game for any extended period of time if its FOV is too narrow. This was surely a key factor in the decision to add a FOV slider and increase the maximum value to 103 after the game was originally planned to be locked at 92; please consider that vertical FOV is just as important as horizontal FOV to comfortable gameplay.

2. Aesthetics
Aside from the potential physiological impact of a narrow FOV, the player's view in 21:9 resolutions as currently implemented looks, for lack of an adequate term, permanently zoomed-in. I suppose this is necessarily a subjective evaluation to some degree, but personally the character hand/gun model is enormous, and the limited vertical FOV makes it feel somewhat like I'm running around with binoculars strapped to my face. Even without motion sickness, it just feels weird. Imagine if resolutions above 1080p were supported through upscaling, or if refresh rates above 60Hz were supported by duplicating frames. You would technically be getting an output with the desired characteristics, but it would feel "off" somehow, because it differs from what you're used to in every other game you play.

3. Competitive (dis)advantage
This is worth exploring since it was given as the justification for not implementing 21:9 using regular hor+ scaling. First of all, yes, a wider field of view is going to be an advantage to some degree. So is higher resolution, higher refresh rate, higher frame rate, lower frame latency, lower network latency, lower input latency, higher mouse sensor resolution, a good set of headphones, or any number of other hardware or software differences that may be present between two given players. No such difference is going to significantly impact a player's performance unless it is somehow directly interfering with the player's interactions with the game (e.g. input macros as a help, or a gamepad as a hindrance). How often would a team of bad players using high settings on $6000 PCs win against a team of good--or even average--players using low settings on $600 PCs? How much would a slightly wider viewing angle really impact those games, even if all other hardware advantages suddenly ceased to exist?

Moreover, even if FOV differences could substantially affect a player's performance (outside of potentially inducing motion sickness), let's go back to the numbers we looked at earlier. Holding HFOV constant, a player at 21:9 with VFOV of 56 sees 20% less of the game world than they would at 16:9 with a VFOV of 70. By contrast, scaling the HFOV up from 103 to 118 for 21:9 resolutions (using the same formula as before, with HFOV and VFOV swapped) results in only a 14.5% difference in viewable area. So the current solution actually creates a more pronounced competitive advantage gap than it is intended to solve. And again, I only bring up the idea of "competitive advantage" because it has been used to justify the current state of 21:9 support--any actual advantage gained or lost by a few degrees of FOV is completely negligible. I would happily cut my viewable area by a small amount if it meant a better overall game experience, and I likewise wouldn't begrudge other users a larger viewable area if it meant the same for them.

Finally, the idea of "proper" support for 21:9 aspect ratio assumes that it would work similarly to how 16:9 does now with respect to other aspect ratios. What that means is that just as non-16:9 displays can currently use 16:9 resolutions in a shadowboxed format, non-21:9 resolutions would be expected to support 21:9 in a shadowboxed format, so that all players would have the option to use it. In other words, even if you completely dismiss all of the reasoning above, any potential advantage gain introduced by 21:9 support would be available to everyone. Those with ultrawide monitors would be able to play in their native resolutions, and those without would be able to gain a few degrees of FOV if they feel it improves their experience with the game. Everyone wins.

TL;DR please read the post :(

Other Thoughts
Horizontal FOV of 90 was common in first-person PC games back when 4:3 monitors were the standard. With hor+ scaling, this translates to 106 on a 16:9 display, and 121 on a 21:9 display. Requests for a max FOV of 120 aren't as ridiculous as they might sound.

Diagonal FOV clamping has been suggested as a compromise that would somewhat normalize viewable area for all aspect ratios:

wolf39us offers a more succinct take on competitive advantage:
07/20/2016 09:37 PMPosted by wolf39us
Consider this. Most FPS players, even ones of little skill, are constantly scanning their surroundings to get the best idea of what's around them. In the PC world, your mouse usually can give you a full 360 view with very little effort.

What do you think the chances are that I'm standing completely still, not scanning around me, and you come up next to me just inside of my peripheral vision, and I kill you on the spot and win the game, because I saw you first?

Pouncey articulates the importance of keeping a cool head:
07/22/2016 08:18 AMPosted by Pouncey
To add on to my last post, I want to add that one of the standard steps in dealing with customer backlash, if the company doesn't want to just capitulate, is to point out people over-reacting and say that the people who are complaining are simply being unreasonable.

One of the things they will do to accomplish this is to put out inflammatory remarks to provoke people into anger.

I see a lot of people are already being overly dramatic and angry about this. The most effective way to deal with that particular PR tactic is to refuse to be angry, do not overstate the situation or be dramatic about this, and simply continue providing evidence for why the situation is unacceptable and should change as calmly and reasonably as possible.

You guys just want to gain an unfair advantage!

Please see the TL;DR.

You just said the higher FOV you want wouldn't be an advantage, then turned around and said the lower FOV you have currently is a disadvantage.

No, I said that (1) the competitive advantage gained/lost by a small difference in FOV is negligible, (2) the impact of the current lower vertical FOV is greater than the impact of the desired higher horizontal FOV would be, and (3) the biggest difference between the two implementations is that one is a much better experience than the other.

Blizzard already said no. Go away.

Here is the response that was given early on to feedback from some who tested 21:9 support on the PTR:
07/12/2016 05:55 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
We do not plan to increase the max FOV beyond 103, in any resolution. As a result, this doesn't leave us with a lot of options for 21:9 support. I know this is not the answer our 21:9 players want to hear. But we feel like it would be unfair to 16:10 and 16:9 players if 21:9 gave a substantial FOV advantage.

Blizzard said they "do not plan to increase the max FOV". Just like they did not plan to provide a FOV slider, increase the max FOV to 103, or remove hero stacking. Obviously, that doesn't necessarily mean 21:9 will get the treatment we want, but the point is that Blizzard have deliberately left themselves open to making further changes if they deem it worthwhile. Convincing them that it is worthwhile is what these threads are all about. And, as the 21:9 adoption rate continues to rise, there will only be more users who want this functionality, not fewer.

Wouldn't 16:9 users be forced to play in 21:9 with black bars to stay competitive?

No, but that option would be available for anyone who truly feels it is the competitive choice. In fact, the current implementation would be adequate if the maximum FOV were raised to 120 from 103. That would make 21:9 a satisfactory experience, and 16:9 resolutions would receive a wider range of FOV options. Everyone wins.
Use DFOV clamp.
103° in HFOV is ≈ 110° in DFOV (Da = sqrt(Ha*Ha + Va*Va)):

Apparently Jeff Kaplan thinks it is unfair for 21:9 monitor users to see significantly more than 16:9 monitors.

Why would you think it is OK for 16:9 monitor users to see significantly more than 21:9 monitor users though? It isn't; especially with all the other decisions OW has made.

At least fix 16:9 borderless windowed mode so I can see my desktop since I can't play the game in your 21:9 mode. (It sucks really bad)
Blizzard, please implement proper 21:9 support for Overwatch. You have no idea how happy I was when I played Battleborn for the first time and Ultra-wide just Worked! Honestly this makes me (and I'm sure most of us with Ultra-wide monitors) feel somewhat unappreciated. I don't even understand the resistance on this, the competitive advantage is so negligible for most consumers that it is not a valid argument against proper 21:9 support.
Stanley Parable joke 8.
No but I'm surprised this is still going.
I haven't played Overwatch for almost a month now.


    My reasoning is simple.
  • There are other good games to play
  • I have limited time to play games
  • Overwatch team directors alienate anybody who doesn't own a 16:9 monitor
  • 3 months of abysmal support post launch live and counting
  • Uncounted months of ignoring PLENTY of beta feedback requesting 21:9 support

This is probably the first PC game first that reeks of a console port.
How do you calculate the difference in aiming from different Fov's? does it change the sensitivity in any way for aiming at targets?
I don't even have an ultrawide , but this movement will gain my continued support. Why? Cause I play at 144hz , and I would be pretty pissed if the game suddenly got capped at 60fps , probably enough to make me quit.
I've quit Overwatch over this issue. It's not fun playing overwatch anymore and watching this issue get completely ignored.

I have Battleborn which is a hero shooter that does support 21:9 natively no restrictions.
I also started playing CS:GO as well, which supports even eyefinity natively.
Literally every game I play supports 21:9 natively, and yet overwatch doesn't.

This is really sad, and upsetting.
I feel like Blizzard giving absolutely no answers to the outrage over 21:9 and not providing any further arguments than their initial "comp advantage" they didn't elaborate it anymore makes their decisions on this subject seem like they were made quickly, without much thought, and plain negligent of the community.
Bumping for support.
This is getting pretty desperate at this point. I want to play Overwatch so badly, but the black bars just upset me, and the pan and zoom makes me physically uncomfortable.

We'll keep waiting, eventually we'll get another Hero shooter like Overwatch that supports 21:9, or maybe Blizzard will cave, but that's seeming less and less likely the more threads we make that go ignored.

It's such a small request that would make such a huge difference to thousands of your players. It's a shame you'd rather ignore us.
Please Blizzard, support ultrawide.

Several other games (multiplayer and single-player) are more than fine with it. There are so many 'advantages' between any two players can have - enabling ultrawides won't be a game changer.
Blizzard, also check your HUD setup on 21:9. Make it customizable. That horizontal extra space on ultra width is just for immersion. This is no active viewing area where you put important cooldown, hitpoint and ammo displays. Your main focur is still in the center of the screen and given the fast pace of the game every look to the far screen corners is a distraction.

Grab a 21:9 and play the game by yourself on that format! Play against Pharah or Genji with a lot of vertical movement. You'll notice quickly what a mess 21:9 is right now.
08/08/2016 07:59 PMPosted by Killnetic

This is probably the first PC game first that reeks of a console port.

You're forgetting Diablo 3
Hopefully they are working on a 21:9 fix and not just ignoring us. They might not want to say anything since the last time Jeff said a support is coming then it came out !@#$ it pissed everyone off. ...Hopefully
21:9 +1
+1 for support,-100000000000000 for this shame
I would honestly think, or like to think, the 21:9 "support" was not really thoroughly tested and they realise that it sucks. It takes half a game to start feeling dizzy, so I guess they just don't use this format and just checked if things scale and ready. I guess they are maybe, maybe really working on it and don't want to say anything until it's ready. Oh boy, that would be a nice surprise...

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