I’ve noticed a lot of conversation about Field of View (FOV) since the v2.6 Public Release dropped, so I spent some time looking into the issue today to see what I can learn. FOV, or the total amount of the observable game world at any given moment, is an incredibly important factor impacting comfort and playability. With a low FOV, some gamers experience discomfort, including motion sickness.
At issue with the new release is the fact that FOV is now locked, making it impossible to adjust for a given screen set up. It was previously possible to adjust FOV in the user.cfg file. It’s now optimized for a 16×9 ratio.
In order to get to the bottom of this, I spent a couple hours playing the game with different configurations to see what the experience was like. I then captured screenshots of four different configurations in both the Marine and Outlaw medium armor to compare them (See below). Shout out to anyone who had to play with me today. I was, without a doubt, the weakest link when I was capturing the screenshots.
The following screens are in 4 unique configurations:
- 1024 x 768 – I recognize this is ridiculously low but it provides a 4:3 perspective.
- 1600 x 900 – What the current FOV seems to be optimized for.
- 1920 x 1080 – The current max for one of my monitors.
- 5788 x 1080 – My current max across all three monitors.
All images are taken in Star Marine because it provided the opportunity to put on armor with the most restricted views (Marine Medium & Outlaw). This is an important factor since the helmet impinges on the total observable space. For each set of armor, all four images are of a single scene for easiest comparison.
I’ll add, I tried a number of other configurations but I only captured the four I will share for the sake of time and the fact that a wide range is represented. I also found it difficult to capture all the possible resolution options because the drop down glitches out after the second or third adjustment in any given session (See above).
After running these tests, I have the following observations to share:
- None of the tests resulted in the inability to play or see critical features like the heads up display. This is a complaint I’ve seen in the conversations around FOV and I believe there may be other bugs involved.
- Users should, without a doubt, be given the ability to edit their FOV. If an individual player would prefer a lower framerate and distortion at a higher FOV, that’s their choice.
- However, it’s also my belief that equipment selection should come with scenario-specific trade-offs. Constraints should apply to helmets which cover the face like the outlaw armor does.
- My guess, like others have speculated, is the lack of adjustment is a temporary condition for balancing.
- As you’ll see, the only situation where things ‘get weird’ is when using the outlaw helmet at the widest resolution.
For reference, my setup includes three Dell E2414H ‑ 24″ LED Monitors which are 1920 x 1080 (16×9) (FullHD). I’m running them on the NVIDIA 980GTX.
1024 x 768
1600 x 900
1920 x 1080
5788 x 1080
Finally, although I could not find any severe gameplay issues, the Star Marine configuration menu is unusable at 5788 x 1080 and impossible to back out of. (See below).
So in conclusion, my experience is there are no severe playability issues at any resolution I tested. However, this is in no way meant to suggest it’s not a huge issue for other gamers. For one thing, I have a really nice set up and the freedom to choose many different options. Above all else, if there are comfort issues at lower FOV’s, I think it’s critical to provide choice.
So what’s your experience been? Do you love the FOV? Hate it? Did you ever even know you could change it before? We want to hear from you. Leave a c0mment or feel free to let me know how wrong I am on Twitter. See you INNSide the ‘Verse!