I have an option in my game which allows Player to choose between video modes:

  • Fullscreen Fake
  • Fullscreen Real
  • Windowed

First and second corresponds to SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP and SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN in the SDL library.

While their meanings whould be clear for GameDev people, for average Player, I think, it will be not so obvious. I never saw any examples of that kind of Video Settings. Other games often provide just a choice between the two: Fullscreen / Windowed.

What names and explanations I should provide, so it will not be confusing for a common user ? Are there any examples of games which have similar options ?


From the SDL Docs:

SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP for "fake" fullscreen that takes the size of the desktop

This sounds like what other games call Borderless Mode, Borderless Windowed Mode, or similar. I'm sure, gamers will understand these terms.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ To me a borderless window in Windows behaves a lot better than a fullscreen window (atleast on a multimonitor setup) and SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP atleast on my Win 10 system behaves like the SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN, while a custom borderless window implementation works nicely, so I don't think SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP is actually a borderless window. The actual difference is that FULLSCREEN can be set to use any resolution, while FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP uses always the underlaying desktop resolution. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyyppi_77 Feb 25 '17 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know much about SDL but if SDL_WINDOW_FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP is just a worse fullscreen mode, whats the point of it? \$\endgroup\$ – tkausl Feb 25 '17 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not really sure, perhaps I've missed something but who knows, this wouldn't be the first weird SDL thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyyppi_77 Feb 25 '17 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tkausl FULLSCREEN mode basically grabs the GPU and prevents other parts of the system to use. This means that if you try to Alt+Tab away the other processes have to flush all the GPU memory (several gigabytes these days) and restart the GPU context, if you then try to re-Alt+Tab into the game the same has to happen again. This not only takes forever, it often causes crashes of the game. FULLSCREEN_DESKTOP should provide about the same functionality of FULLSCREEN but with less problems in that regard. \$\endgroup\$ – Bakuriu Feb 25 '17 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tkausl, Thank you! I googled: "game BORDERLESS mode", and yes, it seems that it is a common term for "Fake Fullscreen". As for me, it is kinda confusing though. The one could think that it means Windowed but without the Window decoration. But looks like we have to live with that... \$\endgroup\$ – subGlitch Feb 25 '17 at 17:46

I'll assume you're referring to PC because prior to Android Nougat, mobile doesn't really have "Windowed". On a PC, even one connected to an SDTV through a scan converter, you have room to explain what each mode does:

  • Exclusive full screen
    Uses full GPU capability and allows changing display resolution. Switching to other apps is slow.
  • Cooperative full screen
    Fills the screen and shares the GPU with the desktop. Switching to other apps is fast.
  • Windowed
    Runs in a window and shares the GPU with the desktop.

But in the era of fixed-pixel LCDs and cheap upscaling on the GPU, there's somewhat less of a need for exclusive full screen except on machines near the game's minimum system requirements that can't fit both the desktop and the game in VRAM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I am referring to PC. \$\endgroup\$ – subGlitch Feb 26 '17 at 8:50

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