I'm working on a Curses-based roguelike; it should (and does) work in both Linux and Windows (various flavours of each).

Currently, I'm enforcing a hard requirement of "your terminal size must be 80x25 to play. Please fix it and come back" to ensure I have a consistent UI.

This works on Windows. But not on Linux; it seems that Ubuntu, at least, uses a terminal size of 80x24 instead.

Since Google is not useful, what can I reasonably expect as far as terminal size support across various Linux distros?

(If it is 80x24 or even as low as 80x20, I can probably work with that.)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This seems like something the users of Superuser may be better equipped to answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Apr 2, 2014 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshPetrie possibly, although I posted it here because it's more relevant to game development IMO. \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Apr 2, 2014 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ashes999 I think you should add the text-based tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lysol
    Apr 2, 2014 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Go with the dwarf fortress method: opengl rendering quads, sampling a texture atlas of ascii characters. It scales to any width of characters, allows coloring, and and can be replaced with actual graphics by eager modders. (Please don't really do this.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 17:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SethBattin using a terminal emulator instead of relying on the terminal itself is out-of-scope. Nice try though :) \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Go with classic VT100 dimensions. It's the kind of terminal that such things would be run on when it was actually a game you played on a terminal.

From http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/vt100.html I see that the display is 80x24 or 132x14 character cells, optional 132x24.

I don't recall playing it at the 132 resolutions, but 80x24 is "classic"

  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, thanks. Can you suggest why DOS/Windows defaults to 80x25, then? \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ashes999 - a hangover from the original IBM PC I would guess, it used a CGA adapter which offered 40x25 and 80x25 modes: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ VT100 and such terminals were before the PC and CGA. VT100 came out in '78. Think about the fact that you've got 200 pixels height on that CGA. 200 / 8 = 25, so you can't really get a nice "24" out of it. Numerically and computationally, there was probably some nice reason for 320x200 as opposed to 320x198 (24*8). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Apr 3, 2014 at 3:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah and the /8 is about an 8 pixel tall font character. Its all about the pixels and font rez if you dig deep. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Apr 3, 2014 at 4:23

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