Bioshock - Widescreen and Securom Woes
A couple of issues have exploded for Bioshock. We mentioned the widescreen problem yesterday and Cult of the Rapture has responded:
We understand there has been some concern about the implementation of widescreen mode in BioShock. Hopefully, we can clarify how we’ve chosen to do this.
The first thing we want to make clear is the mode we developed the game on and the optimal mode for playing the game is the widescreen mode. 90% of our development stations were widescreen displays: artists, programmers and designers.
- BioShock was primarily developed and tuned for widescreen mode. Artists and designers worked with widescreen displays and chose a field of view (FOV) that best reflected their intentions with respect to the way the world is perceived, the perceived speed of movement of the player relative to the world and the amount of the world they wanted to be viewed for the best game-play experience. We went through dozens of iterations and finally settled upon a widescreen aspect ratio that best suited the gameplay experience.
- When playing in widescreen modes the game makes use of the full screen resolution, and does not crop or stretch a lower resolution image into a wide screen one. For example, at 720p the game renders natively to the full 1280x720 resolution.
- Once this FOV was established, we chose to keep exactly the same horizontal FOV for standard def displays, so as not to in any way alter the gameplay experience.
- Instead of cropping the FOV for 4:3 displays and making all 4:3 owners mad in doing so, we slightly extended the vertical FOV for standard def mode: we never wanted to have black bars on people’s displays. (This way, everybody is happy…) This does mean that people playing on a standard def display see slightly more vertical space, but, this does not significantly affect the game-play experience and, we felt that it best served our goal of keeping the game experience as close as possible to the original design and art vision on both types of displays. Reports of the widescreen FOV being a crop of the 4:3 FOV are completely false.
One thing we can assure you that all these decisions were made with the best interests of the game in mind. We didn’t save any money or development time by choosing this set of parameters. We did what we thought was the best thing for the game: developing and optimizing it for widescreen displays, and making the decision not to do the usual crop for 4:3 displays. As a consumer, you certainly have the right to disagree.
We understand that not all users might not be happy with these choices and we will be looking into options for allowing users to adjust FOV settings manually. But as we mentioned earlier, changes to video game code do not happen in minutes or hours. We appreciate your understanding.
A community work-in-progress workaround for PC players can be found on the 2K forums.
Meanwhile, community liason Elizabeth has posted on the Securom issue, with confirmation that the copy-protection scheme only allows two installs if you don't uninstall first:
first, let me say this. you DO NOT NEED TO USE THE INTERNET EVERY TIME YOU PLAY THIS GAME. it is only the first time.
second, you can uninstall and reinstall this game, and if, by chance, you have 2 computers you want to simultaneously play this game on, you also can do that.
if by some chance you are reinstalling this game without uninstalling it first, a lot, there is a chance you may have to call securom and get a key, or deactivate some older installations.
but if you upgrade your hardware next week, you'll still be able to play the game. if you revamp your system and need to reinstall bioshock, just uninstall it before you go through the overhaul, and then do your reinstall.
calling it "hardware fingerprinting" is a bit alarmist. we do not transmit any of your data to any companies.
really, the only people who will be concerned about any of these security measures are those who are rapidly putting bioshock on many pcs... if you use the game as you normally do, you won't notice this at all.
Finally, Ken Levine commented on the 2K forums about these issues:
Sorry about all the conflict. IG development people (specifically Chris and Rowan who are both on vacation) were trying to take a day off today (we've been working about six months 6-7 days a week). I'm trying to see what everybody's concerns are and consult with the staff.
I know people are frustrated, but we are dealing with internet time here. It wasn't until 7 pm EST that I was able to even talk to anybody in our Australian studio, which is open today (9 AM their time).
I hear you that not everybody was thrilled with the PC launch. And I'm trying to collect information and see what the facts are. PC game development does not function in a matter of seconds or hours, especially when most of the team is on vacation. But I hear you, and we're looking into the issue. I'll only ask you have a bit of understanding as to the time scale that software development issues must occur in.
Who are IG? It's 2K Australia, Ken. ;)
In general Bioshock news, Shack is the latest site with an interview:
Shack: How does it feel to have the game hit such a critical mass of hype? It seems like suddenly the buzz shot through the roof.
Ken Levine: There's a book called The Tipping Point, which is not about gradual change, but a point where things radically change. It talks about prime rates, where things go off a cliff, up or down, and the reasons why. BioShock, and I think video games in general, I think we in the industry misunderstand how gamers think. We think most gamers are like us--journalists and developers--where we scour every page for information, but in reality, most gamers think about games like we think about Diet Coke or Oreos.
Thanks Lucky Day for some of the links.
Platform: PC, Xbox 360