PC Games Widescreen Report Card

The Wide Screen Report Card

I'm working through my vaguely-current catalogue of games to work out what works well in widescreen (nice alliteration there), and document any tweaks required, if I find them.

Test System:
Athlon XP 2800+
Abit AN7, 1GB RAM
ATI Radeon 9800 non-Pro 128MB
Apple Cinema Display 20" LCD (the 2004 model).

I have Scale To Screen disabled in the ATI driver options; I'm trying to get native 1680x1050 res with no stretching "helper" where possible, and as a bonus, get a modified FOV/aspect ratio that suits the screen too. (The Apple Cinema Display doesn't appear to do res switching on its own)

Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising

Has a "Widescreen" option, but it seems to have the opposite effect from what I'm looking for (squashes the screen horizontally into the defined resolution, in preparation for being re-stretched by a monitor(!?)).

Aspect ratio is adjusted by this, but I'm not convinced about the "rely on it being stretched" technique (or maybe I've got it backwards, and they're assuming that people will have stretching, and are just trying to help out in the other direction?). I get a good framerate at 1280x1024, med-high detail, but I have a gig of RAM. Tip: folk that don't have as much RAM tend to suffer as detail is increased, despite their ninja video card.

In Widescreen mode, it looks good enough, but I'm using driver scaling to stretch the "pinched" widescreen mode, and comparing it to the regular mode. I'm not sure which way is better yet.

Doom 3

Custom resolution required. Bring down the console (something like Ctrl-Alt-Tilde) and type:
set r_customwidth 1680
set r_customheight 1050
set r_mode -1

The last line restarts the video subsystem, and you should have native widescreen.

I'm not sure if it's squashed or not, but it looks good.

X2: The Threat

With version 1.4, you just pick 1680x1050 from the list, and it works. Can't really tell if it's stretched, which is a Good Thing.

Max Payne 2

Squashy - Max seems somehow shorter! (I thought I remembered a “widescreen” option, but I can't spot it) - just pick the resolution.

UT2004 / Alien Swarm / Red Orchestra

You need to edit one of the INI files in the System directory of the mod you're using - it seems to work well (not sure if FOV is automatically modified or not).

find the [Windrv.WindowsClient] section in the UT2004.ini (or Modname.ini for other mods) and edit the two FullScreen lines:

Far Cry (1.1)

Just pick the resolution, and it's perfect. Couldn't fault it, it's like an ad for the monitor! I now have a Far Cry screen as my desktop background. No offence to Doom 3 or anything, but Far Cry looks like a travel brochure, while Doom 3 looks like... well... hell. (A very pretty hell, but not really "light and airy" desktop background material).


No fullscreen DOS support with this video card (clone ATI Radeon 9800) and monitor. No boot screen while XP loads. The first you get is the GUI. So I need a secondary monitor for BIOS updates etc. Nvidias sometimes seem to have better luck on this front.

Halo PC

Edit shortcut to add command line switch:

 -vidmode 1680,1050,60

Seems to work nicely, might be squashed a little, but it's all good.

[Updated 2 Sep]

Operation Flashpoint (Resistance)

Still able to throw more polys at the CPU than it can handle in Very High detail mode, and still some of the best large-scale scenery graphics around (though the age is really starting to show). Squashy, though!

Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic

Standard fixed 4:3 resolutions only - hacking the INI file just didn't work.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

I think I'm hitting an ATI driver issue here with the 9800 Pro, but I'm not sure. 1680x1050 mode (set through console as per Doom 3 instructions) seems to display through a 1280x1024 viewport, with the left and right sides clipped (vertical letterbox). There's an r_customaspect=1 setting I've seen documented, but it's just not working for me. Sigh. It's disappointing - there's an 860x480 widescreen mode (or something like that), but nothing that approaches fullscreen.

[Update 23 November 2004]

Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source

Native support, it rocks. Just pick 16:10 as the aspect ratio, and pick native res from there. Beautiful.

[Update 24 June 2005]

Battlefield 2:

Seems to work pretty well in the release version, though I don't get AA with the 6600GT at 1680x1050.

Edit the shortcut command line to read something like: "C:\Games\BF2.EXE" +menu 1 +fullscreen 1 +szx 1680 +szy 1050

[Update 11 Sep 2004] A friend linked me up with this: The Wide Screen Gaming Forum . Loads of information and tweaks to get games to behave on a wide screen!