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The Benefits of Multi-Display Gaming
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by Rob Williams on May 10, 2010 in Video Cards

Think that gaming across three or more displays delivers little more than a larger game? Not true, as the wider the resolution, the more of the game you see. Not only can multi-display gaming increase the immersion level, but it can even give you a competitive advantage online. Yes, we have many examples to help prove our point.

First-Person Shooters

Aliens vs. Predator

As mentioned on the previous page, compared to a single 1920×1080 display, 5760×1080 will deliver 300% of the game world, and that can be easily seen in our first game test. At 1920×1080, the Predator’s saw-like hands hit and exceed the edges of the screen in a normal stance. At 5760×1080, you can see almost the entire area in front of you.

You could compare this to looking out a house window, but standing back about 10 or so feet. The closer you walk towards it, the more of the outdoors you see. The same kind of effect happens here.

What you might notice also, is that you actually see far more of the game at 5760×1080 than you do at 5760×2160. The reason is due to the scaling. At 5760×1080, the game is forced to be wider, while at 5760×2160, there’s more room for it scale properly, which it does. The upside is that 3×2 gives you a lot of viewable screen, but the downside is that you see a lot less of the actual game world. You do still see a lot more of the game world than with a single 1080p display, however.

Aliens vs. Predator - Eyefinity Gaming

Aliens vs. Predator – 1920×1080

Aliens vs. Predator - Eyefinity Gaming

Aliens vs. Predator – 5760×1080

Aliens vs. Predator - Eyefinity Gaming

Aliens vs. Predator – 5760×2160

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Because BC2 is a very popular multi-player game, it’s inclusion is appropriate here. At 1920×1080, you don’t see much of the game world relatively speaking, but at 5760×1080, you can see far more to the left and right. In a single player campaign, the real advantage is simply immersion, but online, having so much extra viewable space can be the difference between conquering or dying.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - Eyefinity Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – 1920×1080

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - Eyefinity Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – 5760×1080

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - Eyefinity Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – 5760×2160

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

Bound in Blood may not be as graphically-pleasing as other titles today, but it’s amazing just how much of an improvement widening the game world can make. At 1920×1080, in the exact same scene, we can barely even tell that people are to the right of us, but at 5760×1080, we can see them all fine, along with a lot more of the environment. At 5760×2160, the effect is once again good, but not quite as impressive as 5760×1080.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood - Eyefinity Gaming

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – 1920×1080

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood - Eyefinity Gaming

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – 5760×1080

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood - Eyefinity Gaming

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – 5760×2160

Crysis Warhead

Without touching on the fact that Crysis Warhead at good detail settings runs about as fast as tar dripping from an Alaskan rooftop on more than one display, the effect we’re greeted with is no different than what we’ve seen up to this point. With the single display, we’re limited to only seeing the bridge in front of us, and a bit to the sides, but at 5760×1080, it’s as though we’re looking at the world through a wide-angle camera lens (a good thing).

Crysis Warhead - Eyefinity Gaming

Crysis Warhead – 1920×1080

Crysis Warhead - Eyefinity Gaming

Crysis Warhead – 5760×1080

Crysis Warhead - Eyefinity Gaming

Crysis Warhead – 5760×2160

Portal

In a game like Portal, having so much extra real-estate doesn’t really increase your effectiveness at the game, but the entire experience can be vastly improved, since it makes you feel like you’re in an actual world, not only a single room. That about sums up multi-display gaming in general, there’s just no real confinement, and games truly are more fun to play this way.

Portal - Eyefinity Gaming

Portal – 1920×1080

Portal - Eyefinity Gaming

Portal – 5760×1080

Portal - Eyefinity Gaming

Portal – 5760×2160

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Continuing in a similar vein, having a wide-view in Half-Life 2 might not make the game easier, but it sure as heck can make the game a lot more fun to play. At 1080p, all we see is what’s directly in front of us, but at 5760×1080, we can see the trees and large rocks to the left, and rocky hill to the right. At 5760×2160, the overall view is again limited compared to 5760×1080, but it’s still a large improvement over a single display.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - Eyefinity Gaming

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1080

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - Eyefinity Gaming

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 5760×1080

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - Eyefinity Gaming

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 5760×2160

Counter-Strike: Source

Counter-Strike: Source is without question, an aging title, but it’s still one of the top-played games online, according to Steam. So it’s no surprise that there are numerous clans and competitive leagues based around the game, and anyone who belongs to one tends to take the game rather seriously. If that’s the case, then moving up to a 3×1 setup seems more like a necessity than a luxury.

That might seem silly to say, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s true. With a 3×1 configuration, you simply see far, far more of the game world, and in a competitive game, that’s going to be rather important. In this particular example, if an enemy was located at the end of this pier to the absolute right, you simply wouldn’t see him with a single display, but he’d be easily viewable with three. Again, 5760×2160 isn’t quite as effective in this regard.

Counter-Strike: Source - Eyefinity Gaming

Counter-Strike: Source – 1920×1080

Counter-Strike: Source - Eyefinity Gaming

Counter-Strike: Source – 5760×1080

Counter-Strike: Source - Eyefinity Gaming

Counter-Strike: Source – 5760×2160

Next up, third-person shooters and real-time strategy games!


  • Jay Jardin

    This is what made multiple screen gaming so enjoyable. Now that you can get 3 monitors for the price of 1 it is a shame not to enjoy it.

  • Jay Jardin

    This article is worth a repost with the addition of portrait mode and 4k.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      I agree on both counts. The main restriction for a lot of people today with regards to 3×1 isn’t so much the cost, but rather having the space to support it, haha.

      I’ll aim to update this article soon, and include both 4K and portrait resolutions. Wee bit swamped for the next little bit, so I am not sure when it will be posted, but it should be interesting once done.