Making Games

A door to iPhone X

If you choose to be a slow-ass developer, people go and release new devices and come up with strange screen ratios just to mess with you. Apple released the iPhone X only to troll me with a 19.5:9 screen ratio, when all normal people are happy with the golden 16:9 ratio.

A game in landscape orientation, where a valiant hero runs from left to right, appearing from the left screen edge and disappearing under the right screen edge, does not compute when the screen width changes. The hero needs to run a longer distance, changing the pacing by creating boring emptiness.

I considered several options to allow the hero to continue appearing close to the 16:9 edge, also in the weird iPhone X ratio:

  • Black foreground objects (i.e. dark items really close to camera) to hide the hero’s appearance from thin air (Didn’t since in some levels the hero spawn point is at the top, and having black things floating/hanging there would be strange.)
  • Borders around the “old tv” bulge effect that would show a bit of the actual tv outside the “tv screen” (Didn’t like because it’s such a waste of actual screen estate.)
  • Add actual walls to the room, after which there would be blackness, or “outside” wall paneling. (I almost went with this option in desperation, but I like the airiness of the levels that have no walls, so I didn’t.) A variation of this to leave the ceiling intact but create deep dark shadows to the edges, from where the hero would emerge. But that just looked odd.
The options on what to do with the left edge.

After much raging, what eventually happened was a door. A door from where the hero pops out on iPhone X. A door that 16:9 device users are blissfully unaware of. A door to the future!

Depending on the width of the screen, the hero appears either from a door or classically under the left edge. I need to tune the timing a bit still, but this keeps the pacing the same for each device the same, although 16:9 people need a tiny bit quicker reflexes.

Left side of the orange line will only be seen by iPhone X elitists, and whichever Android devices want to emulate Apple.

Nobody will ever notice (or care) that this is going on, but at least it’s written down here on this blog, so we know the struggle was real.

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