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Field of View - what it is, why it matters, and how consoles differ from PCs

Barack Lesnar

Banned
Jun 7, 2010
19,181
0
0
This is one of those things about games that I hear people complain about, but it never bothers me.

Add me to the list of people that have never noticed this in games. And probably never would have. Can't see it ever bothering me personally.

'tis a timely thread though - been seeing this topic crop up more and more recently and was curious what it was all about.

I'm glad I've never had a problem with this. I don't care at all about FOV, it's all good to me.

Glad I'm not alone. I've never really noticed it. I'm playing through Darkness II right now which is supposedly an egregious offender but still don't notice it or if it's there it has no affect on me.

I'm also the type that can play my PC games at like 20-30 FPS with lots of dips in the mid 20s and not be bothered so could be that I'm crazy.
 

zephervack

Member
Apr 12, 2010
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I think they referring to segmented FoV's where one group is using narrower FoV vs the ones in the know using the largest possible. You get the advantage of seeing people before they see you. I'm sure they would be more open to widescreen at the time if widescreen install base were as high as it is today.

The thing is that, everything in computing has a pro and a con, larger FOV also cause far away enemies to look really small, so there is some balance there.

Anyway, it seems that now they have opened their eyes and have a FOV UI option in BF3, thank god.
 

bdouble

Member
Sep 5, 2007
3,151
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0
Yeah I agree. Its distracting and makes things appear more like a window. Its really noticeable on bitter screens.

It also helps when people get motion sickness from games. Raising the Fov in a pc game reduces the nauseating affect that you get with a lower fov.
 

Waaghals

Member
Oct 29, 2007
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975
You know, i would really like to see a benchmark done regarding this, im almost positive it doesnt really affect framerates at all, if it does, its probably negligible. I know its rendering more on screen, but the difference is so little.

To the people that say they dont notice low FOVs, I recommend you never try to do your own experiments about FOV on PC, once you realize the effects, you wont be able to go back, playing games in the correct FOV is like night and day.


I don't think there's all that much of a difference in performance on pc, I certainly don't notice one.

It is a different story on consoles. By keeping the FOV as low as possible the game have to render less at any given time. The performance benefit might just be in the range of 10% in certain situations (pulling number out of my ass here), but it might still allow the frame rate to stay at a locked 30 fps when you need it the most.

I only assume this of course, it is possible that it is also done for the sake of visibility, though very narrow FOVs also negatively affects visibility, even when viewed from a distance.
 

TheExodu5

Banned
Nov 27, 2007
38,096
2
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Ottawa, Canada
Here's an example from Counter-Strike: Source I made a few years ago.






These are the default FOVs for the different monitor aspect ratios, from 5:4 to 16:9.

I think 4:3 is set to 74 HFOV and 16:9 is 90 HFOV. VFOV is set the same. They're scaled the same to give a better sense of how much more you're seeing. With the lowest FOV, you can only cover people coming around the wall from the left. With the highest FOV, you can also cover people coming from the alley on the right.

Most console games basically take the second image designed for old 4:3 TVs and cut off the top and bottom to fit a 16:9 screen instead of giving you the last image.


Here's the 74 FOV version overlaid on the 90 FOV version.


The drawback is that everything on the screen is smaller, but if your screen is big enough or you sit close enough, the extra visibility outweighs the size reduction.

Widescreen Gaming Forum is a good resource for finding FOV settings for a game.

Awesome post and examples. Bookmarked for future FOV threads.
 

SillyEskimo

Member
Apr 14, 2011
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I remember one of the DICE devs saying they wouldn't support widescreen FOVs in BF2 because it was tantamount to cheating.

But BF3 supports Eyefinity so this makes no sense. Speaking of, if I can't play a PC game with my Eyefinity setup I don't even bother. Unless of course it's SC2 and Diablo 3 (really Blizzard?). It still pisses me off though. Luckily, every other game I play supports triple monitor gaming. Triple monitors = PC gaming for me. Without it, I would rather be playing on my consoles. Going back to a single monitor is taking several steps back and I hate it.
 

zephervack

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Apr 12, 2010
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But BF3 supports Eyefinity so this makes no sense. Speaking of, if I can't play a PC game with my Eyefinity setup I don't even bother. Unless of course it's SC2 and Diablo 3 (really Blizzard?). It still pisses me off though. Luckily, every other game I play supports triple monitor gaming. Triple monitors = PC gaming for me. Without it, I would rather be playing on my consoles. Going back to a single monitor is taking several steps back and I hate it.

I also have an eyefinity setup and god... you most not play a lot of games, even for games that run in triple screen, i sometimes resort to play in single screen because the performance is awful, (looking at BF3 and Witcher 2).

That being said, playing games in triple screen is amazing and there used to be a time where I would play any game that supported triple screen even if it was a shit game. Just because it is so awe inspiring.
 
Aug 23, 2007
4,274
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England
Glad I'm not alone. I've never really noticed it. I'm playing through Darkness II right now which is supposedly an egregious offender but still don't notice it or if it's there it has no affect on me.

I'm also the type that can play my PC games at like 20-30 FPS with lots of dips in the mid 20s and not be bothered so could be that I'm crazy.
You don't care about FOV, you don't mind 20FPS, you prefer gamepad to KB+M for FPS, what is wrong with you?
 

Stitch

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Nov 26, 2006
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The FOV in Darkness 2 is so horrible that it gives me motion sickness. Haven't had that in years. Even Modern Warfare can't do that to me :-/
 
Jan 23, 2009
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NJ
The FOV in Darkness 2 is so horrible that it gives me motion sickness. Haven't had that in years. Even Modern Warfare can't do that to me :-/

I had the same problem. I could only play D2 for about 15-30 minutes at a time before my eyes started hurting. It's flat out lazy to not add an FOV slider to a port of a console game.
 

Barack Lesnar

Banned
Jun 7, 2010
19,181
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0
You don't care about FOV, you don't mind 20FPS, you prefer gamepad to KB+M for FPS, what is wrong with you?

Yeah, I don't know. FOV I don't even notice. Drops to 20-25 fps are like nothing. As long as it's around 30 for like 60-70% of the game I'm fine. If it hits sub 20 then it's a bothersome problem as the game becomes nearly unplayable.

The 360 windows controller is the best PC gaming related purchase I've ever made.

The one thing that really gets me is tearing. Can't stand it. Thank god for D3DOverrider. Brainstew deserves a medal for that thread because I use that for every single game I play.

The FOV in Darkness 2 is so horrible that it gives me motion sickness. Haven't had that in years. Even Modern Warfare can't do that to me :-/
I had the same problem. I could only play D2 for about 15-30 minutes at a time before my eyes started hurting. It's flat out lazy to not add an FOV slider to a port of a console game.
Man, motion sickness? That bad? I'm playing through the game right now and am in love with the visuals (both technically and the comic-ish art style). This is one of those things I'm glad I'm so ignorant on lol
 

2San

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Dec 11, 2009
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I never really had problems with this till I played the crysis 2 demo, which was pretty claustrophobic experience. I didn't understand what caused till I looked on neogaf. Saw it was the FOV. 90 seems to be my sweetspot.
 

dLMN8R

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Dec 14, 2007
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A tighter/narrower field of view can give the impression of being more cinematic and immersive. In film, 63 degrees is already considered "wide angle." The FOVs you've been talking about are much wider, which, at least in my opinion, makes them seem a little bit more flat and fake looking (which could just be due to my conditioning from film.) In my own experience, narrowing the field of view can help you feel like you're really "there." Obviously there's a trade off: a narrower FOV can prevent you from seeing game-critical information: that's why you're more likely to see a narrow FOV in a survival horror game (where the player character is supposed to have limited abilities.)

Third person games create unique difficulties because you have to deal with camera collision. You can make a third person game look really cool by narrowing the FOV and dollying the camera back to compensate. This helps to create a sense of immediacy, and still lets you see a lot of what you need to see. The problem is now the camera's location in physical space is very far back from your character, which starts creating huge problems when you are in a tight interior and the camera needs to avoid clipping through walls.

Something to think about with FOV's is that it isn't just about the field of view, it's about the sense of depth. Obviously if you're playing a fast paced, competitive FPS, being able to see as much critical information as possible may be your top priority, but in other types of games the developer may have other concerns.

In film, the director decides what's important at any given time, and therefore what you get to see. In games where you're constantly in control of your own view, the same standards simply don't apply.

In addition, when you're directly in control of the camera, it can lead to motion sickness if you're presented with something limiting and far more limited than what you might be used to.
 

Utako

Banned
Jan 24, 2010
3,539
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I game on my PC from a comfy couch. Actually, I need a better couch, but I don't sit a couple feet away.

This should be configurable, I agree. There should be as many options as the developer can afford.
 

subversus

I've done nothing with my life except eat and fap
Oct 26, 2009
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You know, i would really like to see a benchmark done regarding this, im almost positive it doesnt really affect framerates at all, if it does, its probably negligible. I know its rendering more on screen, but the difference is so little.

To the people that say they dont notice low FOVs, I recommend you never try to do your own experiments about FOV on PC, once you realize the effects, you wont be able to go back, playing games in the correct FOV is like night and day.

It does affect perfomance a lot, I checked it in MP beta of Crysis 2.

Also I can play with the wide FOV as well as the narrow FOV. It's not a rule that once you tried the wide FOV you will never be able to stomach the narrow FOV.
 

BadData

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Jan 22, 2011
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In games where you're constantly in control of your own view, the same standards simply don't apply.

In games you're only given the limited camera control that the developer has allowed for you. I'm not saying the same standards of film must be applied to games, but that a narrow field of view can offer a game a more filmic quality.

I definitely get that there can be a danger of motion sickness, which you can potentially compensate for by slowing down the camera movement. Again, this isn't something that's appropriate to every game, but it's a useful tool for developers to utilize, just like in film.
 

SillyEskimo

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Apr 14, 2011
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I also have an eyefinity setup and god... you most not play a lot of games, even for games that run in triple screen, i sometimes resort to play in single screen because the performance is awful, (looking at BF3 and Witcher 2).

That being said, playing games in triple screen is amazing and there used to be a time where I would play any game that supported triple screen even if it was a shit game. Just because it is so awe inspiring.

I don't get performance issues at all, but my rig is pretty nice (Alienware, a little over 1yr old). I also tend to play older games a lot (for example, no Witcher 2) which may help things in that department. Still, games like Crysis, CoD, WoW, Dawn of War 2, CiV5, and countles others run great. I play in 5760 x 1200 btw. If I had to, I would gladly drop settings to play on triple monitors.

The notion that triple monitors or enhanced FoV is cheating is a developer copout IMO. Diablo 3 is incapable of 5760x1200 but Titan Quest from 2006 supports it by default? Torchlight supports it by default? Magika too? Every Valve game ever made? The list goes on and on.

Also, Blizzard thinks it gives an unfair advantage in SC2, yet won't even allow it for single player? Geez, every other RTS made in the last 7 years supports a triple monitor set up. Even Blizzard's own game, World of WarCraft supports triple monitors, but that's not an unfair advantage in PvP? It's all BS.
 

TheExodu5

Banned
Nov 27, 2007
38,096
2
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Ottawa, Canada
You know, i would really like to see a benchmark done regarding this, im almost positive it doesnt really affect framerates at all, if it does, its probably negligible. I know its rendering more on screen, but the difference is so little.

To the people that say they dont notice low FOVs, I recommend you never try to do your own experiments about FOV on PC, once you realize the effects, you wont be able to go back, playing games in the correct FOV is like night and day.

Depends on the engine.

I know it affects BF3 performance.
 

goodfella

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Apr 17, 2011
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To the people that say they dont notice low FOVs, I recommend you never try to do your own experiments about FOV on PC, once you realize the effects, you wont be able to go back, playing games in the correct FOV is like night and day.

Yes I agree completely.

In fact, we should delete this thread in order to save those blissfully ignorant PC gamers that have yet to rage at every other game that is released due to poor FOV. :p
 

MattKeil

BIGTIME TV MOGUL #2
Aug 4, 2004
16,221
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To the people that say they dont notice low FOVs, I recommend you never try to do your own experiments about FOV on PC, once you realize the effects, you wont be able to go back, playing games in the correct FOV is like night and day.

Not really. I've done the experiments and tweaked a couple games here and there, but I play with default FOV 95% of the time and it just doesn't bother me. Much like framerate hitches and tearing, I notice it but it doesn't impact my ability to play anything, ever. Total non-issue.
 

RockAction

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Sep 22, 2011
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I've noticed this recently having bought a few games like half life 2 on my computer, and being able to change the FOV, then going to skyrim on 360 and wishing i could change it, everything appears too close and can be off putting for the first half hour or so
 

colt45joe

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Apr 24, 2011
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Halo CE was one of the exceptions to the rule with its pretty nice FOV. They scrunched up the screen shortly after in the Halo series, to its detriment.

older games, before widescreen , had a nice fov. when widescreen came into play, most developers did not expand the fov. they reduced it. they cropped the top and bottom off, instead of expanding the sides. it still seems to be a problem, and its ridiculous.
 

RoboPlato

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Oct 29, 2006
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The FOV in Darkness 2 is so horrible that it gives me motion sickness. Haven't had that in years. Even Modern Warfare can't do that to me :-/

I don't get motion sickness but for some reason Darkness 2's FoV seems lower than any other game I've played (although I just played the demo). I never really complain about it but that game seemed especially cramped.
 
Oct 9, 2005
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Anyone know what FOV Bad Company SP has? First time I remember being bothered by it. Felt like I was constantly looking through a 2x lens.
 

NIN90

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Apr 13, 2008
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Yeah, I don't know. FOV I don't even notice. Drops to 20-25 fps are like nothing. As long as it's around 30 for like 60-70% of the game I'm fine. If it hits sub 20 then it's a bothersome problem as the game becomes nearly unplayable.

The 360 windows controller is the best PC gaming related purchase I've ever made.

The one thing that really gets me is tearing. Can't stand it. Thank god for D3DOverrider. Brainstew deserves a medal for that thread because I use that for every single game I play.

You are my Nemesis. I don't give a shit about tearing btw. Sometimes I kind of get a kick when I notice it. Gives a nice gamey feel.
 

Mattakuevan

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Jun 28, 2011
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Keep in mind that proper FOV values differ for 16:9 and 16:10 monitors.

What would you say are the proper values for each? I'm curious cause I always fiddle with it more than I should and I can't seem to find a good balance at 16:9 game to game.
 

Sinatar

Official GAF Bottom Feeder
Jun 7, 2004
36,859
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1,745
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What would you say are the proper values for each? I'm curious cause I always fiddle with it more than I should and I can't seem to find a good balance at 16:9 game to game.

I'd say for 16:9 if you want no fisheye at all go for 82.5. For 16:10 it'd be 75. Obviously this can be adjusted for taste but those are about as wide as each can go without any distortion in most games that use horizontal FOV's.
 

Hayvic

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Jan 27, 2010
482
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The forced FOV change inside vehicles in BC2 is the reason I never took the gunner seat in the blackhawk. I understand it would be overpowered otherwise, but man it made me hurl. I would guess it forces it below 50.


^^^ around 140 I believe.
 

EatinOlives

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Oct 23, 2011
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A tighter/narrower field of view can give the impression of being more cinematic and immersive. In film, 63 degrees is already considered "wide angle." The FOVs you've been talking about are much wider, which, at least in my opinion, makes them seem a little bit more flat and fake looking (which could just be due to my conditioning from film.) In my own experience, narrowing the field of view can help you feel like you're really "there."

 

rollingstart

Banned
Dec 12, 2006
38,762
1
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eviloreisarapist
narrow FOVs are nearly game breakers for me.

for instance, the Darkness 2 demo seemed like it was a good game but I couldn't enjoy it because of how cramped it felt. it's incredibly unpleasant. back when I played Modern Warfare 2 I used to get dizzy whenever I got within a few feet of an enemy.

even if it's just for single player games, let me adjust the fov.
 

SunhiLegend

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Aug 4, 2009
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KZ2 and KZ3 have low FOV and I just hate it. I really hope they widen the FOV for KZ4 on PS4. I like the FOV in BF3 on PS3. Does not have that claustrophobic feeling and everything feels open.

Thats the whole point, in KZ2 anyway, too make you feel very claustrophobic during the many shootouts in small tight areas.
 

Special J

Banned
Sep 2, 2010
1,766
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i need to better understand the physical spacial distance in relation with the ideal FOV and the size of the display.
 
Mar 16, 2011
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In games you're only given the limited camera control that the developer has allowed for you. I'm not saying the same standards of film must be applied to games, but that a narrow field of view can offer a game a more filmic quality.

I definitely get that there can be a danger of motion sickness, which you can potentially compensate for by slowing down the camera movement. Again, this isn't something that's appropriate to every game, but it's a useful tool for developers to utilize, just like in film.

"Filmic quality" is fucking garbage. Film is the low end of the totem pole, not something to aspire to. This is akin to that "I want my game to be a choppy 30FPS or sub-30FPS because it is more cinematic". To say film is the thing to aspire to in technical quality is to basically say that you want your eyes covered in mud.

Although ultimately I know to ignore a poster if he uses the words "immersive" and "cinematic" anyway.
 

Scapegoat

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Aug 12, 2010
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Given that gaming setups for both consoles and PC will vary from gamer to gamer I'm all for more options: more games should feature FOV options (on PC at least).

That said I'm also very glad that I've never had any problems with low FOV on any game I've played.
 

Manabanana

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Jun 13, 2004
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All said, there are PC games which I simply can't play due to low FOV and that making me incredibly motion sick within 15 minutes sometimes. It's a mystery as to why this isn't a standard configuration in any FPS and even 3rd person titles on PC.

I did play Bioshock 2 on PC to completion, however, but I do remember only being able to play it for short bits at a time ; /