Friday, May 27, 2005

Widescreen solutions

The new widescreen laptops feature viewing areas 1/3 wider than traditional computer screens. The widescreen aspect ratio is typically 16:10 or 16:9 vs. the traditional 12:9. Most programs display in windowed mode, which makes them indpendent of the screen's aspect ratio. Many games, however, use full screen mode, which can cause flattening or elongation of the images. Fixing this distortion seems to be a game-by-game proposition. My experience with Trainz, MSTS, and BVE resulted in three different solutions.

Trainz is easiest and most satisfactory. Open your TRS2004 folder and open the trainzoptions.txt file using Notepad. Add a line at the end of the file for the display width and another for the display height as follows:


I've used the numbers for a 17" widescreen. Use the appropriate numbers for your screen. The save the file. The Trainz display will now be full screen and without distortion.

The best I've been able to achieve with MSTS is a windowed display of 1600 x 1200. The trick here is to launch MSTS from the Start menu by selecting the Run... command and adding the -vm:w parameter as follows:

Select Start > Run...
When the Run dialog opens, browse to find and select the train.exe program file. It will then appear in the Open: field with quotes around it (e.g., "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\train.exe"). Add a space and then the parameter -vm:w and selectthe OK button.

MSTS will now open in windowed mode, free of distortion.

I expecte dthe method used for MSTS would work for BVE. It didn't. BVE DOES have a windowed mode option built in, but that mode produces a window with 640 x 480 resolution, which is a small on a large widescreen laptop.

-- Al