Looking for software for a widescreen LCD...

I’ve got a Dell 20" widescreen LCD that I love, but I have problems running older games on it - they don’t seem to be able to deal with the screen ratio.

I was hoping that someone out there knows of some software that can help with this, (maybe by forcing the programs to run windowed?).

I’ve tried running the monitor at a more typical ratio (like 1024x768), but that just distorts everything.

Any suggestions, Dopers?

This question is nagging at me - I just spent some time Googling but I couldn’t find what I wanted. I know at some time, when I played The Sims, you could right click on the program, the Properties option would come up, and inside of it would be the path to the executable in the Target field. From there, you could add command line things to make it turn differently. I know from there you could always make it run in windowed mode, but I just can’t find the correct command. Under that same menu, you can run minimized or in normal window, but I don’t know if that’ll work.

There’s also one other thing - on my laptop, it automatically tries to stretch the image when I go to a smaller resolution. In Display Options -> Advanced I could change it so it showed the actual resolution and whatever space was left was just dead black space on the monitor.

I’ll take a look at the monitor settings and see if I can do that. I was really hoping to find some way to get these older games to run in a window, though, so I wouldn’t have to change my system settings just play them (I’ve looked for, but not found settings or switches to get them to run windowed, though that might just be my lack of knowledge).

What games are you trying to run? The only game I can’t get to run (so far) on my 1680x1050 LCD is Scorched Earth, an old DOS game.
You can try hitting Alt-Enter to see if a game will run in a Window.

If you have your monitor connected by the digital (DVI) connection it seems to take care of maintaining the correct aspect ratio better.

Also, depending on your video card, the Control Panel, Display, Settings, Advanced may have some settings that will help.

I am connected via the DVI connection. I’ll try the alt-Enter thing (if that works, it would be ideal).

Normally I get green dots on the opening screen and then garbled/scrambled video when the game proper starts.

I’ve tried with the first two GTA games and a freeware game (Three the Hard Way) and several others that aren’t coming to mind right now.

These problems do not sound like a monitor issue. Specially if your monitor works fine the rest of the time. Can you check and be sure it’s not just 3D applications that doing this. If it is just 3d apps, the problem might lie with your video card. What type of card do you have?

It’s not new games that have the problem - it’s older, 2-D games. Anything that’s come out in the last 3-4 years (maybe more) works fine. I’m only seeing problems with games that don’t like the screen ratio, I think.

I’ve an older video card, GeForce 5500 256MB.

That’s good then. The green dots and video corruption still don’t sound like a monitor issue however. Though I would double check the refresh rate overide in the Nvidia control panel. make sure it’s set to 60 mhz in order to prevent other applications from changing this.

As for the stretching and fuzziness, yes, I know it sucks, but the only solution to that problem, short of a resolution (and aspect) hack for the particular game, is to deal with the black bars. Personally I’d rather put up with the stretched out image in the few games that don’t support wide screen than the bars (YMMV).

I don’t know what it is about widescreen/LCD, but Scorched Earth just shows a blank gray window that’s half off the screen, and then the game locks up.

You’ll probably have better luck trying to run DOS games in a program called DOSBOX: http://dosbox.sourceforge.net

It lets you specify the environment the older games should “think” they’re running in. It’s a bit of a pain to set up but there are quite a few tutorials if you search for DOSBOX TUTORIAL on Google.