Goodbye Letterbox, Hello Overscan

When the iPhone 5 came out I was pretty disappointed to see them introduce yet another aspect ratio.. i saw all of the design changes i would have to make for my legacy games and seeing that none of them were big money makers, it didn’t seem like time well spent.  So I figured letterbox would be it for the future..  It insured that no matter what device it was viewed on everyone would see the same thing.

However with recent explorations of Finger King and Fredex, I realized that I wanted both of these games to be on Windows 8 and very likely OSX and in testing things, I saw how much letterbox there was going to be if I designed with the 4:3 / iPad resolution (see image above)..  this sucked pretty bad so I’ve spent the last two days (among other things) experimenting with how I could adapt both games to work.  FredEx wasn’t too bad overall.  It looked great to see all the extra space.  Finger King required me to remove several HUD elements which actually was a good thing as I felt the timer and stars really didn’t enhance the game so i now have a more elegant looking game.

So moving forward I’m excited to explore ways to create a better experience for wider screen devices while never punishing players using devices with a 4:3 ratio device.

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About Caleb

Game Producer at Part12 Studios here in greater Boston area. Caleb loves game design and the execution of game development. He is also a semi-serious old school skater and a married father of two wonderful boys.