Why do some apps want to give me the wrong screen size?

Here’s the deal- on some applications I’m given the correct screen resolution for my monitor. On some of the others, however, I’m not even given the choice, I’m given some goofball sizes of 1024 x 750, or 800 x 450.

Who the hell wants to run a game at that resolution? I don’t. I want my normally fine 1280 x 1024, but some of these apps don’t want to even give me that choice.


What irks me more is that I’ve run these games previously at 1280 x 1024 and everything worked fine. Now, not even the choice.

What’s going on here? I’ve got the correct driver for the monitor, and everything seems up to date, but a couple of times now the thing still thinks I can only run one set of resolutions.

The more I think of it, the more I remember something like this happening with my old computer, and even the old operating system as well. How the heck I got it to work back then I never know, but I can’t now.

Any ideas?

Win XP, fully updated and patched. Games would include Half-life, Madden Football 2001, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. It’s not limited to those three specifically, a couple of others tried doing that same nonsense with me and after a couple of goes it kind of ‘snapped’ back into shape and started working again.

What’s going on here?

When was “previously”? Different computer, different OS version, or what?

About a year ago, and both were different.

I remember it happening with Roller Coaster Tycoon. I was pissed because it screwed the size at which you could zoom in and out on the action. I remember I fiddled with the thing and then uninstalled it. When I reinstalled it later on, all was well.

At that time it was Win 98 and a Pentium 450 some-thing-or-other. It eventually worked correctly with that setup because I remember wondering what it was I did to fix it. Then, as now, I don’t know of anything I did that resolved it.

Now, the major players in this game are older games like Half-life and whatnot (I’m still loading some of these in, so it’s an ongoing thing). Some are coming up just fine, and give me all the correct resolutions, but others, others that worked fine, those seem to be acting up now.

I cursory glance and a couple of searches on the net didn’t yield much at all.

Some games have limited screen size in order to strike a balance between resources and speed. If the screen is too big and a lot of calculation has to be done between each frame of animation then you have to have fewer pixels. What is likely happening is you can’t set the size yourself in preferences somewhere, and the program always adjusts the size according to what it thinks your computer can handle. It’s wrong about that so you end up screwed because it doesn’t think your computer can handle it any bigger. Of course it could be about a thousand other things because it’s Windoze.

Isn’t WinXP based on Windows 2000? I’m guessing that it’s related to the way that XP emulates Win98 for the purpose of running the games.

The good news is I’ve heard that the emulation has many tweaks that are accessible by the user.

The bad news is that I don’t know anything them, so I can’t help you out.

Good luck.