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Title Safe Area in professional games

Last post 8/5/2009 4:56 PM by Willow Ridge Software. 28 replies.
  • 8/4/2009 10:12 PM

    Title Safe Area in professional games

    So it seems the title safe area is the inner 80% of the screen.  I've noticed that many professional games, and even the Dashboard itself, do not always honor this 10% border.  Seems its generally more like 6 to 7%.

    Anyone know why the title safe area is 10%, and how important is it to actually use 10%?  When viewed on screen, this is a big chunk of real estate.
  • 8/4/2009 10:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    I've noticed that many professional games, and even the Dashboard itself, do not always honor this 10% border.  Seems its generally more like 6 to 7%.
    Special cases are made sometimes and some graphical items don't necessarily need to be in the safe zone. In addition, some items may only need to be partially in the safe zone to be readable and usable.

    xPox:
    Anyone know why the title safe area is 10%
    Worst case scenario.

    xPox:
    how important is it to actually use 10%?
    Very. Having used two very crappy TVs for the last year and a half, I can tell you that the safe zone is very much important especially for SDTV users, but it's still as relevant for HDTVs where there is no promise that you won't lose some pixels.

    xPox:
    When viewed on screen, this is a big chunk of real estate.
    Indeed, but again not everything needs to be in there and some things may only need to be partially inside. It's a hard balance to make, but it's worth the effort.
  • 8/4/2009 10:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    My current TV has the worst case of overscan, and nothing in the dashboard is obscured.
  • 8/4/2009 11:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    So it seems the title safe area is the inner 80% of the screen.  I've noticed that many professional games, and even the Dashboard itself, do not always honor this 10% border.  Seems its generally more like 6 to 7%.

    Anyone know why the title safe area is 10%, and how important is it to actually use 10%?  When viewed on screen, this is a big chunk of real estate.


    The title-safe area is the area essential info has to be within to be guaranteed visible - incidental stuff can be within the action-safe area of 5%, where most people will be able to see it.
  • 8/4/2009 11:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    If you put any text outside the title-safe area, you can rest assured that people like me won't be able to play it. :)

    Yes, you're going to give up a lot of real estate, but it's very important that you honor the title safe area. Different televisions will cut off things differently, especially around corners. My TV is especially bad about this: the left side cuts off far more than the right. Be creative with your layouts and remember that unimportant graphic elements can be placed outside the title-safe region.
  • 8/5/2009 12:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    I can vouch for how important this is. On my modern (name brand and bought last year) 22", flat screen, 720p LCD HDTV, it has terrible overscan. I haven't checked it against a safe area template, but from testing my games the text that I align to the TitleSafeArea is just right up against the edge of the screen. So it's not only old SDTV that are affected.
  • 8/5/2009 3:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    I understand what the title safe area is and why it's important.  My question is why we are told to use 10%, instead of say 6 or 7%, when I can see clearly that many professional developers do not use 10%, even for important text.  I do understand that developers should plan for worst-case scenarios - I just have a really hard time believing that there is a TV out there that loses a full 20% of its actual screen data. 
  • 8/5/2009 8:42 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    My question is why we are told to use 10%, instead of say 6 or 7%, when I can see clearly that many professional developers do not use 10%, even for important text.


    Well spotted. I did a little digging through the Xbox TCRs (technical certification requirements) and whitepapers after reading your post, and you are right, the TCRs are far less stringent, and the examples you give are all ok. I'll leave it up to an XNA team member to post the actual values, as I'm not allowed to pass the information on.

    Is it really the case that you are being asked to use a 80% title-safe area for Indie Games? If so, this needs reviewing in light of what the current TCRs are.
  • 8/5/2009 9:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    CosmicFlux:
    Is it really the case that you are being asked to use a 80% title-safe area for Indie Games? If so, this needs reviewing in light of what the current TCRs are.


    I don't think there's anything forcing you to stick to the Title safe area it is just recommended.  BUT it is likely to fail peer review if any one of your testers can't see any important part of your game on their screen.

    See the The Evil Checklist for playtest/peer review:
    http://forums.xna.com/forums/t/19525.aspx

    As others have said above, it is only essential items that need to be in that area.  There's nothing stopping your artwork nicely disappearing off the edges.

  • 8/5/2009 9:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    JCBDigger:
    CosmicFlux:
    Is it really the case that you are being asked to use a 80% title-safe area for Indie Games? If so, this needs reviewing in light of what the current TCRs are.


    I don't think there's anything forcing you to stick to the Title safe area it is just recommended.  BUT it is likely to fail peer review if any one of your testers can't see any important part of your game on their screen.

    See the The Evil Checklist for playtest/peer review:
    http://forums.xna.com/forums/t/19525.aspx

    As others have said above, it is only essential items that need to be in that area.  There's nothing stopping your artwork nicely disappearing off the edges.



    This isn't my thread, so I'm not really that bothered right now, but out of interest I could only find the following, which does not define the title-safe area, but merely references it:

    Test case 5: Video modes, font sizes and safe area. Start game in various video modes, whatever the TV supports. Check if the game crashes or if anything is drawn in such a way that the game is unplayable (important stuff outside of titlesafe area, fonts too small to read, etc.).

    I was wondering where the 80% mentioned by the original poster comes from, as that figure is clearly wrong...
  • 8/5/2009 9:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    CosmicFlux:
    I was wondering where the 80% mentioned by the original poster comes from, as that figure is clearly wrong...

    From Shawns blog...

    "To make sure everyone will be able to see them, all graphics created for TV (including things like DVD menus and news coverage as well as console games) are expected to keep their important material within the inner 80% of the screen. This is referred to as the safe area".
  • 8/5/2009 9:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    So it seems the title safe area is the inner 80% of the screen.  I've noticed that many professional games, and even the Dashboard itself, do not always honor this 10% border.  Seems its generally more like 6 to 7%.


    I find this interesting because, I suspect like you, I also didn't like all the apparent wasted space.  When I started I did a lot of reading of threads and eventually decided it was safe to use the 10%.  I do push that to the limits sometimes and allow portions of icons, but not text, to slip over.

    (removed comments as no longer applicable after reading the orignal post correctly!)

    Regards
  • 8/5/2009 9:40 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    Bigfellahull:
    CosmicFlux:
    I was wondering where the 80% mentioned by the original poster comes from, as that figure is clearly wrong...

    From Shawns blog...

    "To make sure everyone will be able to see them, all graphics created for TV (including things like DVD menus and news coverage as well as console games) are expected to keep their important material within the inner 80% of the screen. This is referred to as the safe area".


    Oh right. As far as I can see, that figure is out of date, as the OP has noticed.
  • 8/5/2009 9:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    So it seems the title safe area is the inner 80% of the screen.  I've noticed that many professional games, and even the Dashboard itself, do not always honor this 10% border.  Seems its generally more like 6 to 7%.


    I re-read the original post after CosmicFlux's comment.

    See the following in the XNA 3.1 documentation:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb203938.aspx

    The recommended is now between 80-90% meaning the border can be as low as 5% each side.

    6-7% would be a sensible average giving a safe area of about 86% of the resolution.

    Save time, jump to Shawn Hargreaves post on page 2, it's quite clear.  Use 80%.

    Regards
  • 8/5/2009 11:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    Some games that are being submitted are now giving the player the ability to tell the game what area they can see. You could put such a feature under the game's options.
  • 8/5/2009 1:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    xPox:
    I just have a really hard time believing that there is a TV out there that loses a full 20% of its actual screen data.
    Believe it.

    I actually have trouble playing some retail games because text and other important elements are so close to--or crossing over--the sides of my television set. :(
  • 8/5/2009 1:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    While my SD TV isn't that bad I still get some XBLA and regular 360 games that get chunks cut off. Give the player the ability to set the viewable area.
  • 8/5/2009 1:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
  • 8/5/2009 1:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    CosmicFlux:
    Is it really the case that you are being asked to use a 80% title-safe area for Indie Games? If so, this needs reviewing in light of what the current TCRs are.


    Indie games are not certified so what the TCRs are is not relevant in any way. What 'Professional' games do, again, is not relevant
  • 8/5/2009 2:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    Pheel:
    CosmicFlux:
    Is it really the case that you are being asked to use a 80% title-safe area for Indie Games? If so, this needs reviewing in light of what the current TCRs are.


    Indie games are not certified so what the TCRs are is not relevant in any way. What 'Professional' games do, again, is not relevant

    The TCRs define what Microsoft believe to be the correct safe areas for games that will be played upon the Xbox. If you have evidence as to why those values are not conservative enough then feel free to share...
  • 8/5/2009 2:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    CosmicFlux:
    The TCRs define what Microsoft believe to be the correct safe areas for games that will be played upon the Xbox. If you have evidence as to why those values are not conservative enough then feel free to share...


    No, they don't. The TCRs define the correct safe areas for games that go through cert and are submitted by publishers. This does not apply to Indie games. If Peer Reviewers can't see the content you're displaying then how do they know whether it's prohibited?

  • 8/5/2009 3:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    Pheel:
    CosmicFlux:
    The TCRs define what Microsoft believe to be the correct safe areas for games that will be played upon the Xbox. If you have evidence as to why those values are not conservative enough then feel free to share...


    No, they don't. The TCRs define the correct safe areas for games that go through cert and are submitted by publishers. This does not apply to Indie games. If Peer Reviewers can't see the content you're displaying then how do they know whether it's prohibited?


    That has to be the most ill-considered argument I've seen in years. Think about it.
  • 8/5/2009 3:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    What 'Professional' games do, again, is not relevant

    Actually, it is relevant to anyone whose goal is "I want my game to be as similar in feel to a 'pro' game as possible."
  • 8/5/2009 3:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    If by "feel" you mean "can't see stuff", that's not a good way to go. It's already been stated that some "pro" games don't deal with title safe area as well as they should. Given that peer reviewers may not have a TV that will be able to see as much as everyone else, either offer a way to configure what the person can see or play it safer than the "pros" or you'll risk getting your game rejected. End of story.


  • 8/5/2009 3:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Title Safe Area in professional games

    CosmicFlux:
    That has to be the most ill-considered argument I've seen in years. Think about it.


    I'm not sure what you disagree with but the fact is this isn't going to change
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