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A Fresh Look At Multi-Screen PC Gaming

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-many-pixels-so-little-time dept.

Displays 146

crookedvulture writes "It has been quite a while since Slashdot last covered multi-monitor gaming. A lot has changed in the interim. Monitors prices continue to fall, and improved AMD Eyefinity and Nvidia Surround implementations make creating multi-display arrays incredibly easy. Graphics cards have gotten faster, allowing high-end models to handle the latest games at the ultra-high resolutions that multi-screen setups enable. Developers are doing a better job of supporting those resolutions, too, although HUD placement and single-screen cinematics are still problematic in some titles. Even in the games that do have niggling flaws, the wider perspective of a triple-screen config can offer a more engaging and immersive experience. As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch on, multi-screen setups look like the best upgrade for PC gamers."

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The last time i tried this (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609985)

There were versions of some of the popular First Person Shooters back in the day that would handle multi screens.
They were great, for about 15 minutes, then vertigo set in, and even walking up the stairs out of the basement became a challenge.

I suspect it was something to do with Visual Simulation of Motion with no motor or balance system feedback that did me in, but it could have
been the pizza and jolt cola.

Re:The last time i tried this (4, Funny)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610163)

my rig has 360 degree horizontal / 180 degree vertical, no bezels, retina display. it's called LIFE. high fps!

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610215)

Is it 24 or 32 bpp?

Re:The last time i tried this (4, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610483)

I know it uses Pupil(tm) technology for high dynamic range. It's closed source and hard to crack but I'm pretty sure someone in Science already used it for wall hacks. Those guys are l33t.

Re:The last time i tried this (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610317)

Yeah, but the FPS for that platform all really suck.

Re:The last time i tried this (5, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610353)

Yeah, but the FPS for that platform all really suck.

And getting it to respawn is a real bitch!

Force feedback is very realistic, however.

Re:The last time i tried this (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610605)

And getting it to respawn is a real bitch!

PEBKAC, noob.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/ [sacred-texts.com]

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610635)

the MMRPG is decent though

Re:The last time i tried this (3, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610987)

Not really - you can't pick your race or class, most of the newb zones are poor, and there's no re-rolling.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611191)

the wenches are unreal!

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611071)

Yeah, everyone's a camper.

Re:The last time i tried this (0)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610551)

But it has severe respawn problems.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610741)

I've tried that. Nice FPS, crazy high polygon counts and texture resolution. Gameplay's crap though and I can't find a save point.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610879)

wow, look at the resolution and framerate on that!

Re:The last time i tried this (4, Insightful)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610229)

I would imagine to properly implement multi-screen, the best method would not be to treat it as 1 big ass monitor with a divider in the middle, but instead 2 screens with different designated uses. Look at the DS, even among games that didn't need touch screen (IE the hinderance of a finger blocking the view). The bottom screen was rarely a continuation for the top screen. I could see the same approach for more advanced PC games. FPS: Primary monitor shows the field of vision, Secondary monitor shows, multi-level more detailed radar, coms information, HP, weapons etc... in some co-op games if it fits the storyline's abilities, possibly field of vision for team mate etc... RPG: Move all of the party information, skill bars etc... off the primary screen. make them more detailed and easier to see the hotkeys or whatever has been associated etc... Basically instead of using the monitor to make one huge split function screen, take everything that somewhat clutters the field of vision, but is also critical, and move it to the second monitor.

Re:The last time i tried this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610425)

nope, leave the CRITICAL stuff (health, ammo, radar, ... for FPS) on the main screen.
Secondary can have stuff like backpack, general map, objectives, chat, ...
Something like a 27" with a 20" in portrait next to it would work really well for that.

Re:The last time i tried this (2)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610469)

You need a 30" for the 20" to fit right, but they are a perfect match both in physical size and in resolution. Too bad none of the manufacturers support this mode properly. But it can be done, just in windowed mode. Meaning a single GPU at least on AMD.

I personally run 3 23" 1920x1600 monitors, on a pair of unlocked 6950s. Granted I've only played a couple of games, it does work extremely well.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610493)

SupCom had an ok implementation for a second monitor. Instead of normal RTS games with a tiny mini-map, your second monitor essentially functioned as a full-screen mini-map. That you could zoom in on. And give orders on. You couldn't do everything on the second monitor that you could on the main, but it was a huge leap forward from traditional RTS mini-maps.

Indeed (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610991)

I just got back from a con where they had the old Battletech pods set up. For those not familiar, it's basically a glorified version of Mechwarrior, played in an immersive pod/cockpit with 5 screens. There's the main "world view" screen which is actually reflected up onto a "lense" type glass that creates a wide perspective view, a full-color radar/control screen below that, and three green monochrome status screens up top.

Only the main screen displays the world, the rest display status/controls. While the graphics are still top-end 1995, the immersive experience is still top-notch.

One big "drawback" to enabling multi-monitor displays in FPS games is it's essentially a cheat - the player with the wider field of view has an advantage. Multi-screen displays for HUD purposes are closer to a convenience advantage.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610463)

I remember playing Doom on 3 monitors (using 3 computers, of course). Also multi-player, always waiting for the 386 to finish loading the level.

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610687)

I thought of the exact same thing. I seem to remember launching the app with a command line switch like /left or /right on separate machines.

Is this one of the downfalls of DRM, where software companies don't want you loading the game on multiple machines?

Re:The last time i tried this (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610549)

There were versions of some of the popular First Person Shooters back in the day that would handle multi screens.
They were great, for about 15 minutes, then vertigo set in, and even walking up the stairs out of the basement became a challenge.

That's why I had my gaming rig set up on the first floor. Problem solved.

It was damp down in the basement, anyway, and my mom's knees were beginning to give out, so I started having go get my own snacks. Who needs that kind of aggravation when you're capturing the flag?

On the down side, now I have less time to pull my pants up when I'm playing Bayonetta. Right?

Re:The last time i tried this (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611281)

my mom's knees were beginning to give out, so I started having go get my own snacks.

I bought your mom a pair of pads. Not my fault her knees gave out.

Re:The last time i tried this (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611273)

The best solution for that is to stay in the basement.

Mom! More hot pockets!

Niggling flaws? (-1, Offtopic)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609999)

You crazy kids and your new terms. I've never heard of a "niggling" flaw.

Re:Niggling flaws? (3, Informative)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610093)

nigglingpresent participle of nigÂgle (Verb)
Verb:

        Cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety: "a nasty leg wound which still niggled at him".
        Find fault with (someone) in a petty way: "he loved to niggle and criticize people".

Re:Niggling flaws? (1)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610179)

remember the world bank guy who used the word "niggardly" in congressional testimony, and got fired for it? it means "stingy" but you can see how it would raise people's eyebrows. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niggardly [wikipedia.org]

Re:Niggling flaws? (3, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610347)

Wow you must be pretty old when a term that is 500 years old is considered "new" to you.

Space problem (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610043)

I really don't see multi-screen gaming really catching on because of the simple fact that a lot of people don't have a whole heck of a lot of space, especially in the "core" gamer demographic who tend to either be living with their parents or living in a cramped apartment. Desktops aren't exactly space savers and decent sized monitors aren't easy to fit 3 or more on a normal sized desk.

Re:Space problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610127)

more to the point; what games are there for PC's these days? Blizzard is fighting the good fight though....

Re:Space problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610167)

Blizzard hahaha. Wait let me laugh some more. HA!

Re:Space problem (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610177)

more to the point; what games are there for PC's these days?

I don't know if you're kidding or not. There's plenty of alternatives in every genre for PC gamers and with the rise of online markets like steam it only seems to be growing.

Re:Space problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610251)

Really? just about every shooter outside of halo, all of which play better on pc where you can actually get better frame rates and input devices.
The blizzard titles, SC2, Diablo3, WoW.
League of legends.
pretty much any MMO.
Anything on steam.
quakelive/quake3, hell people still play quake1 competitively.

PC gaming is doing just fine, and would actually gain popularity if games weren't so dumbed down for consoles and the lowest common denominator.

The difference with PC gaming is you cant just release the same crap every year and call it a new game and automatically get a bunch of people to buy it like Madden. People will stick with games they like for years.

Re:Space problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610457)

Skyrim. And it supports multiple monitors. In fact, I seem to remember a video of the nVidia engineers running it on a 6 screen rig. My wife, who is playing it right now, said that I have the okay to buy the screens and hardware to do it... As long as I also buy a nanny for our daughter because neither of us would be doing much but playing that game.

Re:Space problem (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611221)

As long as you are buying six screens, and doing it purely for the ludicrous number of pixels. If you are planning on using three sceens for a wrap-around experience, the distortion on the peripheral monitors is going to make you very sad about the money you've spent. While support for the physical monitors themselves is now excellent, support for the rendering of multi-monitor games has, if anything, regressed.

Re:Space problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610211)

A 4' wide desk easily fits 2 27"s horizontal or 3 27"s in portrait mode.

Re:Space problem (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610459)

Or 3x 21-23" monitors as well. They may stick past the edge about 2 inches, but the bases fit on the desk easily.

Re:Space problem (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610511)

I built a new desk using a standard size 32" hollow core door as the main desktop. It's great for five-across (two 17" and three 22", all widescreen landscape). There is a sixth monitor, an 8" 800x600 ancient LCD industrial monitor that I added for the hell of it. It's powered off Intel HD 3000, Radeon HD 5450 and Radeon HD 4550.... just enough to play Diablo III or Microsoft Flight on the center monitor, or Supreme Commander 2 on two monitors but not much more. Planning on upgrading to a pair of Radeon HD 7850's once they go down in price a little... I don't do a whole lot of brand new games and am perfectly happy on low settings for most games so it works for me.

Re:Space problem (1)

halofan_sd (683327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610253)

games I'm playing in 3 monitors now Max Payne 3 Saints Row 3 Deus Ex HR Bulletstorm Assassin's Creed series even free MMO's support multi monitor Lord of the Rings Online Dungeons and Dragons Online

Re:Space problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610537)

The real reason it won't catch on in the near future is that you have to make such massive compromises. Even if you're willing to spend more than $6,400 for video cards and monitors to go quad SLI, it wont' be enough power to pump out the pixels for three 2560x1600 monitors at a minimum of 60fps with all the eye candy turned on across the board, today. Much less on tomorrow's games. So, you have to compromise. How about we do 16:9, instead of 16:10? Oh, and how about three 1920x1080 monitors? (By the way, three 1920x1080 monitors have fewer pixels than just two 2560x1600 monitors).

Then, you still have to deal with bezels. You can debezel your monitor, but it's still going to have a big bar right in the middle of your display area.

Not to mention, just finding good monitors that are high image quality IPSes *and* large size (2560x1600) *and* have low input lag *and* low response rate (the specs on the box are bullshit -- such as the Dell U3011 which says it is 5-6ms but in testing is closer to 30ms), *and* non-shitty glossy or anti-glare screen treatments. Also, are you looking for something higher than 60hz so you can do more than 60fps? Good luck with finding that *and* most of the rest of the checkmarks in this paragraph, then.

So, basically, the technology just isn't there, yet.

Re:Space problem (2)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611271)

Also, it just looks like shit.

Apologies to everyone, by the way, for crapping all over the commenatry for this article. I swore several months ago to male it my life's mission to badmiuth multi-monitor gaming aggressively until NVidia or ATI, or possibly game companies (I'm not quite sure who is in the best position...) fix its horrific shortcomings.

I've been waiting for the issue to come up again, but I was late to the party, and I'm now working at double-capacity spewing vitriol for grotesquely distorted graphics, several-thousand-dollar multi-panel screens that incorrectly angle the peripheral screens (making anything displayed on them look worse), and GPU marketing campaigns that border on fraud.

Whatcha talkin' bout willis? (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611055)

I have a room that comfortably fits a twin bed, a work desk, shelving and bookshelves, and a two-desk setup with 4 monitors; 2 30" 2560x1200 and 2 20" 1600x1200 (rotated to perspective view), 30-20-30-20 setup, with the first 30 90 degrees left of chair and the other 3 in an arc so monitor plane at center is perpendicular to perspective.

Tough to fit a girlfriend in there, but plenty of monitor space.

Re:Whatcha talkin' bout willis? (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611309)

If you are playing 3D FPSs or RPGs, all monitors should be aligned in a single plane wth its center directly in front of you. Then either FOV should be adjusted until it matches the angle the monitors actually occupy, or you should adjust your distance to the center-pint until the monitors occupy an angle equal to your FOV.

Being at the center of an arc of monitors is mathematically incorrect, and makes distortion worse than it has to be.

Re:Whatcha talkin' bout willis? (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612095)

Unless each monitor was rendered independently by the engine from the same origin but a different camera angle, linked to the angle of the monitor. That way you could stick one on the ceiling if you wanted

Useful (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610051)

Back in the day old NuBus video cards and 15" displays were easy to come by so I hooked up a Mac IIvx with three displays and used it for A10 Attack [wikipedia.org] . Left screen was left window, front screen was front window, right screen was right window.

It really improved gameplay for that sort of simulation, because if you were in a cockpit, that's something like you'd have available to you. I looked a few years ago into setting up something like this with X-Plane but it needed a networked set of computers, which seemed like overkill. Maybe that's improved.

I'd imagine an FPS would be better off with goggles of some sort, though, if the resolution could be sorted out. Use the right tech for the right kind of simulation.

Re:Useful (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610521)

I recently downloaded MS Flight with the hopes of doing a cockpit view like that with my five-monitor setup. Sadly, it doesn't seem to give the option to use more than one monitor (unless I just haven't found it yet?)

I'd love to have Freespace 2 or X-Wing vs TIE Fighter using all of the monitors too...

michael kors bags (-1, Offtopic)

annaye (2681407) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610075)

Cheap Michael Kors Tote [michaelkorsceline.com] is a top quality bags

Not for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610095)

I really don't get the appeal. Instead of spending less money on a single, larger monitor, get three smaller monitors so you can have your screen have black bars down the middle for the few games that actually support it...?

I'd rather those secondary screens were used for tactical info, night vision view, something, anything else than just "peripheral vision". For that, I'll wait until bendable screens come out and they can sell me one long, curved monitor.

Re:Not for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610153)

Okay, where I can get a single, larger monitor that's > 6MP and > 42" diagonal to replace my 3 24" eIPS panels for under $1k total?

Re:Not for Me (1)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610217)

why don't you get a retina macbook pro. the screen has 5 million pixels.

Re:Not for Me (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610279)

And? My triple display has well over 6 million. Not to mention, its nearly 60 inches wide and cost less than a third of what the macbook does.

Re:Not for Me (1)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610369)

ok, so your display is a third the price of a self contained state-of-the-art computer. my lunchbox is much cheaper than a refrigerator. so?

Re:Not for Me (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610453)

so if you add in the price of the hardware of a macbook pro it's still cheaper

Re:Not for Me (1)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611039)

umm.. duh? where are you going to get the hardware for a mcp, other than in a mcp? it's not a bucket of parts OTS.

Re:Not for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610487)

A GT650M in a state of the art gaming computer (notice the article title?). Rrright.

Re:Not for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610367)

Yes, because when thinking "immersive gaming rig" the first thing that springs to mind is "hipster toy notebook".
*facepalm*
To GP: Why not a 1080p TV? No annoying bezels and the missing pixels shouldn't be really that noticeable in action games. Don't forget that at 1920x1080 you can run way higher AA than at 3240 or 3600x1920 using the same graphics card(s).

Re:Not for Me (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610485)

Just forget about the 1K and get those 30". I took the plunge in 2007 and I still adore those dell monitors - they totally were worth their 3k value :) Beside, it's the perfect width for a regular sized desk, which got to be a major selling point =)

Re:Not for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611207)

Way to miss the point, guy. You can't get a single monitor as large as your three put together. But I find your setup inferior to a single large monitor for gaming. You don't. Bully for you.

MS flight sim 90"s. Until they broke it. (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610183)

Flight sim allowed you to run views on other machines. It gave you a panoramic, out the window(s) display and a separate instrument panel display . They decided to kill it in FS2K or earlier and screwed the hardcore.

Re:MS flight sim 90"s. Until they broke it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610441)

You can't do it on other computers, but you can run many, may screens on Flight Simulator X. Just have to customize what goes where and youre good. Is actually pretty darn awesome. Too bad they killed the project for "Flight".

Re:MS flight sim 90"s. Until they broke it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610621)

X-plane's where the action is these days. I believe it supports using other computers, but I'd have to check to be 100% sure. It's got better flight models than the FS-X line, at any rate.

A problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610227)

More and more people are getting multiple monitor setups. The only problem seems to be games that lock the cursor or rescale the resolutions so that the other monitor becomes useless. This is very, very common.

Re:A problem... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610541)

Even worse are the games that only display on one monitor, use side-scrolling heavily but don't lock the cursor on the monitor. Then you move the mouse to the edge of the screen that borders the other monitor and the mouse disappears rather than scrolling the view.

Still a gimmick (2, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610297)

I've been running multiple monitors since Windows 98's beyond half-assed support for the concept, and have three on my desk right now. Really, the only titles that benefit from these arrangements are extremely hard-core flight simulators (as noted elsewhere in the discussion) and the very occasional macro-scale real-time strategy game where there's a benefit to shoving all of your production and resource manipulation readouts to a separate screen.

For just about anything else, it's a silly little frippery-- sure, it might be cute to have a clan battle's K/D ratios on a separate screen, or an automap and inventory, but those are hardly quality of life breakthroughs. Like stereoscopic glasses and VR goggles, it's a solution in search of a problem.

Re:Still a gimmick (2, Insightful)

TXG1112 (456055) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610355)

Nonsense! There are quite a few games where I would love to have a separate screen. With FPS's you could put the map, more detailed injury status, inventory and all sorts of things that might make for new and interesting game play. RPG's would derive a huge benefit as well in that you wouldn't need to waste game real estate on status, configuration or other information.

Your issue is that you are imagining today's game elements moved onto a second screen. I agree that this would merely be a marginal improvement, though one which I would welcome. Instead consider how the second screen and all that lovely space can be used to improve the game in various ways.

Re:Still a gimmick (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610897)

X2 had a pretty good dual monitor setup, where you could choose what went on the second monitor. It also didn't have to have the same resolution as the primary one. Having multiple status windows open made for a much better game.
With X3 they screwed it all up. You now had to have the same resolution on both monitors, and (worse), the primary monitor had to be the one on the left.

FS2004 worked too, sort of. But you had to pause, and then drag the windows over to where you wanted them, and then resize them to fit. But worst of all, your setup didn't survive restarts.
FSX was dumbed down, multi-monitor wise. There too, the presumption was now that you would have the same resolution and size of monitors, and would never do something like clicking something in the second monitor, because your focus would not always return.

But the real problem is the large number of games that are downright multi-monitor hostile - if you launch such a game, it will FIRST resize the screen and disable other monitors, and then switch to the game. With multiple monitors, the result is often that any icons or gadgets you had are now on the primary screen after quitting the game.
Or they don't do edge detect, and you move your mouse into the second monitor with unpredictable results.
Or it will use two monitors and place the crosshair on the edge between them. Which is worse than nothing.

I think it's because of the sheer number of ill behaved games that most people game on single monitor systems - even if they have multiple monitors.

Re:Still a gimmick (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40612105)

RTFA - one thing that I like the sound of is playing rally games, where you're sliding sideways .. with this you get to look out the side window to see your direction of travel much more natural than staring at the trees going past the front

Multimonitor gaming is only as good as the support (1)

Vulcanworlds (2628215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610329)

If Guild Wars 2 really delivers what the hype has been about recently, I may consider a 3x setup. If I can't customize my UI, have addons and such then I'll stay on one monitor. Look at League of Legends, no addon ability or UI modifications is the only reason (user experience, not game engine) multi-monitor LoL isn't possible. I would rather a 27" with 20" on either side turned vertical. Three 24" widescreens are too much on the eyes in either direction.

Re:Multimonitor gaming is only as good as the supp (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610739)

Multi monitor LoL isn't possible because multi-monitor LoL would be cheating. MOBA games must limit the total viewable zone for all players to exactly the same size, and for that reason, they also have a very limited maximum zoom-out.

Because getting a bigger tactical overview would give player an immense advantage in LoL. So if you ever did manage to get LoL to play on multiple monitors with wider view, you'd be banned in a very short order for obvious cheating.

Re:Multimonitor gaming is only as good as the supp (1)

Vulcanworlds (2628215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611211)

Multi monitor LoL isn't possible because multi-monitor LoL would be cheating. MOBA games must limit the total viewable zone for all players to exactly the same size, and for that reason, they also have a very limited maximum zoom-out.

Because getting a bigger tactical overview would give player an immense advantage in LoL. So if you ever did manage to get LoL to play on multiple monitors with wider view, you'd be banned in a very short order for obvious cheating.

Yeah, this is why I'm thinking it's best to go for a 'one big, two small' setup, to best accommodate games like LoL.

Extra screens + full screen game is real benefit (3, Interesting)

devforhire (2658537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610359)

I've been running a 3 monitor display (3 x 22" 1920x1080) for several years playing WOW, LOTRO, EVE, and BF3. The games look awesome covering all 3 screens, but it doesn't improve gameplay enough to make it worth my time. I typically play with the games windowed and maximized to a single screen. This lets me multi-box easily or play a game while watching a movie on another monitor.

Peripheral Vision (5, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610475)

One benefit of multi-screen games is that they can provide, when angled inward, is peripheral vision.

Even an infinitely wide flat display can only provide 180 degrees of view. However, depending on the widths, position of the viewer and amount the panels are angled, a multi-screen system can do much better.

Anyway, are there any tweaks in the softawe to account for this? If you DO angle the displays, then you no longer have a flat "window" into the virtual 3D world. So the software should account for this (and ideally also the size of the bevels) and ask you the angles that you've set up your monitors. (I'm not a gamer so I don't know, maybe this is commonplace).

A really sophisticated setup would allow you to place arbitrarily sized monitors at arbitrary locations and angles, like portals onto an imaginary world. Would be best for flight/ship/tank simulators. Actually, if you're going to go this far, maybe it's just easier to use a virtual reality headset.

Re:Peripheral Vision (2)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610971)

I find that the peripheral vision is awesome in most FPS games. I have none of the issues people seem to state as 'main problems'.

* Vertigo?.. um no.
* Driver support (amd eyefinity) works ok for me. Some games have a shitty implementation assuming the aspect ratio can be found from just the width (which in my setup is 5760 pixels...). Most work fine though.

But really, for gaming it is nice. For everything else it is flipping awesome.

Reference docs on right monitor, visual studio or putty on the center, and browser/spotify/skype/debug windows on the left screen.
I've gotten so used to it now that I feel almost cramped on the two 22" monitors at work.

http://omglolbah.net/ksh/mobilkamera/random/triplehead_setup.jpg [omglolbah.net]

It DOES take up a bit of space. I'm considering spending the 500 bucks for a proper 3-screen mounting rig. It would free up all the desk space under the monitors and allow me to adjust the height easier.

To address your specific points:

Eyefinity has bevel compensation. It is surprisingly easy to set up. You get some angled lines that you "line up" across the bevels.

Most FPS games will give you a much wider field of view when you use such a wide display. In Battlefield and counter-strike I get almost 180 degrees of vision.
Toptip though... If you stand looking parallel to a wall in CS/Halflife/TF2 the side screen will 'cross into' the wall... not rendering it...
You in effect have a limited wallhack in the driver. It is fairly amusing at times ;)

I also found that I rapidly adjusted to the way the aspect ratio and 'distortion' of sorts at the edges of my vision. It just becomes natural.
Same thing in WoW and SWTOR. It works -excellently- in those MMOs. Both support eyefinity out of the box.

Diablo3: http://omglolbah.net/ksh/mobilkamera/random/diablo3_5760x1080.png [omglolbah.net]

WoW (with a heavily modified TukUI package) http://omglolbah.net/ksh/pictures/wow/uimods_2012_01_01__21_34_comments.png [omglolbah.net]

Re:Peripheral Vision (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611173)

This is why multi-monitor gaming is garbage. None of thes wonderful/necessary ideas are supported (except bevel compensation).

Apart from incredibly rare, fancy flight simulators, there are no games that will render a separate angle for each screen. This makes it mathematically impossible for any number of monitors to produce a 180 degree view, let alone the wrap-around or CAVE-type views they could be capable of.

The only proper arrangement for a three monitor setup is for all three to be lined up perfectly straight. Any other arrangement is geometrically incorrect in a way that is currently uncorrectable in software.

once they are positioned, you will probably also need to keep your eyes about six inches from the screen to correct for the distortion on the peripheral screens.

ATI should be embarrassed to tout multi-screen gaming when it is broken on such fundamental levels.

Re:Peripheral Vision (1)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611201)

I do exactly this to get my fix in Team Fortress 2. 3 x 24" screens running 1920x1080. The outer screens are angled ~30 degrees in and using the bevel removal tool for the ATI card seems to get the perspective thing sorted out.

I have hotkeys in the ATI Control Panel that allow me to switch configs between the three screens being seen as a single display (giving me 5968x1080 with bevel correction) and 3 x seperate 1920x1080 for normal use.

Why 3 screens? Well, if you have 2 - look at the bevels between the two screens, and your aiming point in just about EVERY FPS game will be smack bang in the middle. Use 1 screen or 3. Don't even try with just 2!

Re:Peripheral Vision (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611429)

Angling your displays is mathematically incorrect. Distortion will only be resolved placing them in a single plane an making sure your FOV matches the arc the monitors take up.

Re:Peripheral Vision (1)

Exrio (2646817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611295)

Actually, if you're going to go this far, maybe it's just easier to use a virtual reality headset.

Easier, yes, but the problem with VR headsets besides resolution and image size is that you can't use eye movement, only head. That gets tiresome soon and is somewhat clumsy.

The best is big curved screen, like IMAX dome, or the closest thing you can get to that. Multimonitor angled is the closest most people can get.

Re:Peripheral Vision (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611437)

Unfortunately, games don't render correctly for angled monitors or curved screens. Curved screens would be particularly tricky to implement. Where having multiple sparate views would make sens for monitors (but isn't supported yet), a curved screen would require curved lines of perspective, which sounds like the fevered dream of a madman.

why (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610671)

I can see it for flight sims or racing sims, but for normal gaming why? so I can see my characters ass split between 2 screens with an inch of bezel in their crack?

Re:why (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610909)

Multimonitor gaming is almost always 3 displays. That is why it has taken so long to catch on, up until the past few years 3 displays was not very commonly supported on decent gaming adapters.

Re:why (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610935)

I can see it for flight sims or racing sims, but for normal gaming why? so I can see my characters ass split between 2 screens with an inch of bezel in their crack?

No, so you can have status displays, inventories, maps, and other things that obscure your display on the second screen. That increases the immersion.

You don't even need 3D acceleration on the second screen.

the question I have is.. (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610699)

Is it better to have a 30" hd tv (1080p) for about $400 or three 20" computer monitors about $120x3=$360. *prices subject to change. but they are pretty close.

Re:the question I have is.. (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610917)

One 1920x1080 display at 30 inches... or three 22" displays for a total of 5760x1080?

I went with the spiffy option of fine resolution. It works great.

http://omglolbah.net/ksh/mobilkamera/random/triplehead_setup.jpg [omglolbah.net]

Re:the question I have is.. (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611073)

but are those extra pixels worth the dead spots between monitors? also you can't exactly watch movies using a triple monitor setup.

Re:the question I have is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611117)

I have a tv for movies ;p
And yes, it is well worth it even with the bezels.

As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch.. (2)

MSRedfox (1043112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610707)

"As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch on" the post is pretty much trolling on the basis that stereoscopic gaming is failing. If anything, it's getting more support lately. Nvidia not only supports 3D monitors, but now also supports playing games in 3D via 3D HDTVs over HDMI ( www.nvidia.com/object/3dtv-play-overview.html ). ATI finally offers good stereoscopic support via HD3D ( www.amd.com/hd3D ). And 3rd parties like TriDef offer nice 3D support for a variety of video cards. I personally enjoy playing a game with added depth and would take a single monitor in stereoscopic 3D over 3 displays (though I'd love to do 3 displays all in stereoscopic 3D).

Re:As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catc (0)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611059)

So what does Nvidia pay for you to post this? Or do you work for another company shilling 3d?

Re:As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catc (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611365)

All I have is an old iz3d monitor with heavy ghosting, and rampant artifacts, and I find 3D gaming to be much more enjoyable than multi-screen. I'm certainly not shilling for their monitors, because I think they are now out of the hardware business.

Re:As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catc (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611411)

ATI has pure shit for 3D support and so does Nvidia. With Nvidia, its like 40 bucks for a downloadable driver fix that you can install 3 times for your 40 bucks. ATIs native solution depends on developer implementation and so far the only game that *should* work natively with my new HD 7870 card (Deus Ex), doesn't even give me the option to turn stereoscopic ON.

With 40+ inch passive TV screens now in the 500 dollar range, they'd be wise to start pulling their heads out of their collective asses and start providing some real support before the latest generation of consoles hits.

WSGF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40610713)

Widescreen Gaming Forum for all your multi-monitor needs. http://www.wsgf.org/

RTS/etc. (1)

Loopy (41728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40610777)

RTS games almost universally get the shaft in these stories. Main combat screen on one monitor, status/minimap on the other. Supreme Commander is a great example of well-done multimonitor RTS games. Alas, RTS tends to suck when you only have like 5 buttons and a poor pointing interface on your controller. ;)

Multi player multi screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611093)

When I worked at a large video card manufacturer, I demoed multi screen multi player gaming to the marketing guys and got them hyped up on it. I had 4 player L4D working with xbox controllers and keyboard mice with 4 screens (each player had their own screen). It was "zero lag" multiplayer gaming and didn't require much more than controllers (if you already had a multimonitor setup, it was just a repurposing of the monitors). They thought it was awesome and went to talk to the game manufacturers. Hard stop - idea dead.
I wonder what really killed that initiative. It seemed like something they were told would not happen.
I know half of it was Windows piss poor multi-input support but it still would have been nice.

Re:Multi player multi screen (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611389)

Is anyone there working on correcting perspective for extra monitors for a single player? I'm sure game developers would bear some of the burden, but it seems like driver support could make it a lot easier to do.

Re:Multi player multi screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611447)

My guess: The game companies want 4 users at 4 locations buying 4 software licenses, paying 4 online subscription fees, and having 4 trackable game connections. They don't want one license satisfying 4 users offline...

Why landscape orientation instead of portrait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40611119)

Why are everyone seemingly assuming or advocating landscape orientation of the monitors?

Best way to roll, in my opinion, is tripple portrait mode, giving an aspect ratio of 27/16 (1.68 compared to 1.88 for 16/9) for hd monitors and a resolution of 3240*1920

Now, if they only could make borderless monitors I would be completely happy.

I don't understand (5, Funny)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611203)

Why would invest in such a setup when apparently PCs are dead, tablets are the future and so all this tech will be worthless in... (check's current technologist predictions)... about three months?

Now go away while I transfer all my personal data to the cloud. I hear we won't have a need for hard drives anymore soon either.

Multiscreen should not mean widescreen (5, Informative)

dinther (738910) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611333)

Just about everyone that uses a multi screen setup uses 3 screens in order to avoid the bevel in the middle. Usually the left and right screens are angled inward as to for a viewing arc. That is actually not a bad idea. Especially if the angles are such that the optical axis of each screens intersect at the user viewing position.

BUT...

Eyefinity or Nvidia surround don't work that way. They simply fool the rendering engine in believing the aspect of the rendering context is much wider. The result is that the virtual camera in the game uses a wider angle lens (Not quite but it will do to make my point). This causes the edges of the left and right screen to look rather distorted. Adding more screens width wise is really not worthwhile.

What is needed is multiple 3D contexts like you can have in Microsoft Flight simulator where each camera looks at a slightly different heading. But, why bother to solve that at the game engine level. NVidia and ATI pay attention this tip is free!

It should be possible to build true multiscreen logic into graphics drivers. If NVidia can do stereo they ought to be able to render outputs at different angles. Not only that, each output should not even assume that the optical center is in the middle of the screen either. Enter head tracking logic.

I did lots of experiments with multiscreen and what it would take to have the ultimate multiscreen experience. I even wrote some demo software to prove the point in these old videos show that I made four years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBdtPz2V_vY [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku76aHq3pps [youtube.com]

(Sorry about the cheesy sound track)

And still we are stuck with dumb distorted multi monitor widescreens!

Re:Multiscreen should not mean widescreen (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611525)

I love you. Can we start a club?

My own personal experimentation was with iz3d's 3D drivers. They allow you to adjust parallax and convegence to nonsensical levels, and I realized one day that if I ran it in "dual projector" mode and adjusted the convergence outward, I might be able to simulatemhaving two different viewports.

Unfortunately, they don't produce the second view by changing the rendering angle... All they do is translate points parallel to the monitor plane depending on depth. It's was interesting to learn and explains why bump and parallax maps don't work under their drivers... because they are rendered from the same angle to begin with. If bump and parallax maps are 3D on NVidia's stereo drivers, they may be doing things right.

I think most game engines also unload/skip geometry that's behind you, too, so if you trying to retrofit current games using GPU tech could result in a lot of empty voids or untextured geometry in your side screens. Or maybe it's the GPU deciding to skip it. I'm not a scientist.

No, I'm just a man. A man who wants games to look better. But who do we petition? And who will join our cause? It's absurd that I. An render something as gorgeous as GTA4, but can't project it correctly onto three walls. This should be the basic stuff we sorted out ten years ago.

Re:Multiscreen should not mean widescreen (1)

G-forze (1169271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40611989)

Since ATI and NVidia don't seem to be listening, couldn't this be included in something like the open source Noveau drivers? I know the 3D is still seriously lacking, but hopefully, some day, they will be up to speed and then adding something like what you suggested should be relatively simple, right?
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