Bioshock 2: Field of View

By Alec Meer on February 23rd, 2010 at 1:04 am.

That was supposed to sound like a nice little rhyme. Alas, it just comes across as a really boring, proasic headline – they should have sent a poet. Anyway, the point is that the promised widescreen patch for Bioshock 2 is due tomorrow (at 2AM PST), and will address the returning BS1 oversight/disagreement/confusion that the field of view remained at 4:3 settings even when played in 16:10. Just writing that turns my brain to mush, as it makes me feel as though I’ve been stuck in a temporal loop since 2007, forcing me to continually write something about Bioshock and field of view into a WordPress page again and again. It’s good news for people with nice monitors, however – and as well as that there’s both a larger patch and some DLC in the offing.

No word on what the big patch will address, but given there’s been a fair whack of bug-related complaints we can expect a glut of minor fixes. The DLC, meanwhile, will initially focus on multiplayer, throwing in new maps, weapon upgrades, multiplayer skins and a raised level cap in exchange for money. Which, basically, is an absolutely terrible idea if it’s as cut and dried as it sounds, as it’s splitting the community into haves and have-nots. I like Bioshock 2 quite a bit, but this sounds too much like a cash-grab. I’ll be quite happy to admit I’m a big silly if it turns out to be super and smartly-implemented, of course. The troubling add-on’s due next month and is yours for 400 Microsoft points, if you’re so inclined.

After that, apparently we’re due some singleplayer-centric DLC. I’ll be curious to see how they work that into what’s a self-contained story – will it delve off into side-narrative, and if so do you need to replay the game to see it, or will it star a new character? Or will it just be bunch of new plasmids and gene tonics? “In the coming months, 2K Games will also be publishing downloadable extensions of the single player experience that provide new insight into the world of Rapture. These packages will include more narrative, new tools and new challenges that extend the lore and fiction of the failed Utopia under the sea” is all we get for now – hopefully there’ll be an interesting concept underpinning this expansion, whatever it may be.

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62 Comments »

  1. ZIGS says:

    DLC is the cancer killing videogames

    • Max says:

      I agree, DLC and special pre-order items are beginning to really fuck me off.

    • Zealot says:

      Agree.

      So, maps and skins are DLC now !? Greedy bastards. Back in my days this stuff was free (UT, Q3, ET) ect.

    • drewski says:

      Can’t you just…not play the DLC?

    • Vinraith says:

      @ZIGS

      Fluff DLC is easy enough to ignore, by and large, the real problem with it is that many developers see mod communities as a threat to their DLC revenue and thus passively or actively discourage/prevent modding. If that trend continues, it’ll be the death of one of the platform’s principle strengths.

    • pistolhamster says:

      The ultimate fluff DLC must be the Horse Armor for Oblivion. It was Bethesdas test float to see if the idea would sink or not. It didn’t. And ever since all the world’s idiots with access to a CC bought Horse Armor, the game company execs have been all fired up to cash in on that.

      I bought the horse armor. I have regrets about it daily, still. Look what plague I brought upon us.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      @pistolhamster
      you…YOU MONSTER!

    • MajorManiac says:

      @Vinraith

      I agree that taken to an extreme this could remove one of PC gamings biggest strengths. However I think the PC games comunity is big enough and diverse enough to weather such storms. The truth (so I hope) is that its these games that are suffering now, as they will be forgoten. The ones we’ll remember 5 to 10 years from now are the ones with large comunities built on the support only modding can provide.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      The problem is that for many studios development costs just keep rising, whereas prices have been relatively static and sales are currently not so good either. A couple of years from now you might see one game with DLC that’s detested but provides much needed income, where another game has a thriving mod community and a developer who’s gone broke…

      Different people have different definitions of “success story”.

  2. internisus says:

    No; that would be digital deluxe editions that provide bonus items in RPGs or additional maps in FPSes for an extra $15, content of questionable value that nonetheless divides paying customers into haves and have-nots.

    • internisus says:

      This was meant to be part of the thread under ZIGS above.

      As for the question “Can’t you just…not play the DLC?” a lot of people, myself included, feel that they would not be playing the complete game, even when the specific content provided by the DLC itself isn’t that great. A good example of this is Assassin’s Creed 2, since we know that the DLC for that game was actually originally intended to be a part of the game; but even when that is not the case the knowledge that there is some so-called bonus mission or some stupid set of items available is just poisonous.

      I hate all this manipulative crap.

    • Optimaximal says:

      your use of the words ‘a lot of people, myself included’ tells me that its not a problem with the game/developer, rather the buyer who simply must have the best, even if it costs them. The publishers are just leading you with carrots.

      That said, the CE/Digital Deluxe version of ME2 is annoying because all the extra armour is rubbish – not stat-wise, but they’re all in one sets that coat Shepard in metalic fluff. The genius of the normal armour is the customisation.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Why should the concept of “haves v have-nots” be restricted to the world of cars, houses, jobs, consumer electronics, and just about everything other than video games?
      I used to play Battlefield 2 online and I didn’t complain when I saw multiplayer games playing on maps that I didn’t own. I understood that that was because I hadn’t bought the expansion.

    • drewski says:

      @ internisus – believe it or not, you don’t have an inalienable right to consume any media you choose at any price point you choose.

      The developer – and as the creator of the media, this is their right – has chosen to allow you access to some portion of the game at one price point, and another portion at another price point. If you don’t wish to support actions such as this by developers, simply don’t buy the DLC or don’t buy the game at all, if you’re not prepared to accept a cut down version of the game at the reduced entry price.

    • Skye Nathaniel says:

      I meant more of a subjective complaint than any kind of principled objection. I like the idea of DLC in general, and certainly there are examples of good DLC, but its use has slowly been getting cruder. It would be stupid to say that companies have no right to try and charge me for additional content. However, the old way of considering a videogame (especially a single-player one) holistically, as a complete, standalone experience, is becoming untenable, and that’s… challenging.

      Another way to look at it is to compare to home releases of movies. There may be several available editions that provide different packaging and bonus materials such as making-of documentaries, but the film itself is generally unchanged from one SKU to the next. In exceptions such as uncut, director’s cut, alternate ending, or unrated versions, generally a prospective viewer would do a small bit of research and come away with a clear understanding of which version of the movie is the ideal. No one offers additional scenes for a couple bucks that will slot into your movie if you paid for it before it was even available or elected to pay five dollars more than everyone else. If they did, it would be for some dumb American Pie flick or something; not a movie you could be expected to take seriously to any extent.

      But when games are sold with optional deluxe editions that cost an extra ten to fifteen dollars and include an additional location and some items or weapons, how am I supposed to take the work seriously? How am I supposed to feel about a single-player game whose parts are apparently interchangeable as the developer provides mod sets that I can pay for and slot in to change the very play of the game?

      And if one package costs a stupid amount of money but includes the fullest, most complete product, how could I buy a lesser one? DLC can be nice, but pre-order and deluxe edition content bonuses are just… They’re gross, and despite how it makes me sound I might even say that they are, yes, immoral and unfair. But again, this is a subjective argument. About feelings and crap. Companies are free to offer me whatever they want. Except love.

      For reference, the first such edition I noticed that made me gag was the Dragon Age digital deluxe edition on Steam, so that’s a pretty good example.

    • drewski says:

      I think you’ve got your analogy all wrong there. You’re essentially saying that you don’t feel a game is complete without the DLC – but the developer has agreed for it to be released without the DLC. I’ve never played the DLC in Fallout 3, but when I get around to it, I will treat it exactly like I treat the goodies on a DVD version of a film, or a Director’s Cut – as extra bits I paid a little bit more for to get a fuller experience.

      I mean, you’re entitled to your perspetive and all, but it’s about five years out of date and nothing’s going to change the way companies do business except consumer pressue, and it seems like DLC is broadly supported.

      You either have to a) not watch the film at all; b) pay x to see the theatrical release or c) pay xx to see the director’s cut with commentary and a short the director made which elaborates on a minor plot point that got brushed over in the film.

      I mean, people pay extra to see all two gagillion hours of the LotR films, but you don’t see many people running around complaining that they should get that content for free just because they saw the theatrical release.

  3. Miker says:

    For me, a proper FOV is a necessity. Playing on a 24″ monitor a foot away from my ugly mug makes playing with a narrow FOV borderline aggravating. Having a higher FOV also increases your sense of speed in the game world. Borderlands comes to mind — sprinting was noticeably faster (sprint-ier?) with a higher FOV.

  4. Twigg says:

    I think DLCwould be quite a good way to combat piracy if it were free todownload with a legit copy of the game. Instead you find yours paying £5 on suprisingly little content. Ok maybe its just me but i’ve never paid for a DLC that i thought was worth it in the end

    • SmartChimp says:

      Those who pirate games can also pirate DLC so really that would not stop pirating… I’ve come to the conclusion that pirating is never going to go away. I personally buy/rent/borrow all my games but that little speed bump will not stop anything. Personally the only DLC I’ve bought has been for Rock Band. Most of the time when DLC comes out I’ve finished the game or decide it’s too expensive for what it’s giving me. But they must be making a profit since they are still doing it.

    • ascagnel says:

      Rock Band is a different beast when it comes to DLC, and is also the shining example of how to do it right (along with GTA4). RB’s DLC allowed you to port the songs from RB1 to RB2, the actual DLC will work with either (and sometimes Lego Rock Band, depending on how family-friendly the song is), and is fairly priced ($2 for an individual song is a fair price, when iTunes is $1/$1.30 for a song).

      If anything, RB has handled DLC far better than the Guitar Hero series; Activision put out a glut of games under the “Hero” banner and flooded the market instead of doing DLC for the already-released titles. The band-specific games were a particular failure. Why would anyone want to pay $60 for content focusing around a single band? Rock Band Beatles was an exception, since I can’t think of a band that has the breadth in their discography or the social impact of The Beatles. However, the same can’t be said for Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen (the bands that have had the Guitar Hero treatment) or Green Day (the upcoming Rock Band game).

    • Optimaximal says:

      how is GTA4 a ‘shining example’ of how to get it right when it was basically two massive stand-alone episodes that were initially only released for one format?

    • Stu says:

      @ascagnel: Another example of the Guitar Hero franchise getting it massively wrong is the fact that Activision stopped releasing DLC for GH World Tour as soon as GH5 was released, only a year after the original, whereas as you rightly point out, the original RB game from 2007 can still be kept up-to-date with the latest DLC.

      I would argue that Metallica are worthy of their own game, though. The game’s been a massive seller which proves that the market’s there, and the bonus artists chosen complement the featured band well (as opposed to the bands in the other artist-specific games).

      Also, from what I’ve read, GH5 offers definite improvements over GH:WT (if World Tour is the Guitar Hero version of Rock Band, then GH5 is their equivalent of RB2), and Band Hero is a more family-oriented game (directly equivalent to Lego Rock Band), so those are two titles that you can’t really complain about without also complaining about Rock Band. That compilation of old GH-franchise songs spruced up for full band play could definitely have been released as DLC though.

  5. Kakrafoon says:

    *gnawing table* argh, I just finished it 5 minutes ago, with the nice ending btw, and now I hear that there’s a patch for the field-of-view? I KNEW there was something fishy with how the game looked, but couldn’t put my finger on it. I played on 1920×1200, and was ready to believe that the stunted vision was due to the fact that the main character is wearing a big daddy helmet with very narrow portholes…

  6. Gabe McGrath says:

    Alec,

    You should have gone with “Bioshock 2: Electric Boogaloo instead.

  7. Noc says:

    …wait, so that oversized image was a formatting error and not a clever visual pun!

    Man. I was giving you guys the benefit of the doubt, too. I chuckled.

  8. Feanor says:

    DLC is great if done right. Like the RE 5 expansion level just released.

  9. Thants says:

    I can’t understand how companies manage to mess up FOV settings. It’s just a number! Before the game ships, assign someone to look up the standard FOV for each resolution and set it to that. It’s not rocket-surgery!

    • TheSombreroKid says:

      it’s not about resolution it’s about distance from the screen, and for most of the cross platform users a fov of 65 or something is perfect, for someone sitting right infront of the screen you need to double that.

      a lot of games don’t let you change it because they’re worried about changing the way the game feels and sometimes consider it a cheat, which is ridiculous.

    • internisus says:

      I thought it was about having part of the in-game graphics simply sliced off rather than adjusting the whole picture for different aspect ratios?

    • Aemony says:

      FOV isn’t just about a number but about complicated math. A game can be either stretched, vert- or hor+ (describing how the FOV changes in different aspect ratios). For stretched games you get the exact same default FOV just stretched to fit your resolution, this usually means that the HUD and everything else also are stretched to fit your resolution. This is the ugliest way of doing aspect ratio support.

      Bioshock 2 seems to be vert- right now, meaning that when changing 4:3 to 16:10 you loses vertical FOV on the top and bottom of the screen. Now they will come with true widescreen support in the patch, meaning the patch will change the behavior in the executable of the game from vert- to hor+. This means that instead of losing in vertical FOV you gain in new horizontal FOV.

      It would be great if the developers remember these kind of annoyances but I’m sure they are more concerned with creating a good engine etcetera than they are on coding for every possible screen size. I guess the mistake lies somewhere in the QA staff and testers, as they have probably overlooked this error.

    • robolove says:

      If they don’t model the weapons for a wide FOV there ends up being nothing in your hands where the added space is. Only a problem for things that hang off the side of the screen like rocket launchers and stuff like that.

    • Tei says:

      Is just a number. May need to recompile the maps if the fov value is to high. Other than that is just a number. On all games that include a fov setting (console or menu) you can change it on the fly, not problem, and some of these games have the Unreal engine and a HUD. Bioshock is not different to these games. Gameplay changes/ unfair advantage my ass.

    • Geoffrey says:

      Based on screenshots, Bioshock 2 is vert-/horz+ for 16:9/10, and vert+/horz- for 4:3 (<a href="http://www.wsgfmedia.com/ibrin/bioshock2fov.jpg&quot; title ="see this for reference"). They split the difference, and the amount of whining on the topic is ridiculous. They gave widescreen users some extra horz, and they gave standard users some extra vert.

      Complain all you like about not having a customizable FOV: that's a design decision or lazy programming, with valid arguments all around, and entirely preference-based.

      But the idea that WS users are somehow being ripped off by not inherently getting more than their 4:3 brethren is obnoxious. (For a fun little thought experiment, imagine that 16:10 was the standard, and 4:3 was "tallscreen".)

      Disclaimer: My TV, PC, and laptop are all widescreen.

  10. Karthik says:

    I like the idea of free DLC.
    Case in point: ME2. A new companion and new missions. Either Bioware was still working on these when the game was released, in which case it’s a welcome addition, or they held it back so they could release it as a counter-piracy measure, in which case I don’t mind it.

    As I remember, ME2 had deluxe content you could pay for, too, which I simply skipped. No big loss there.

  11. malkav11 says:

    Free-in-box DLC isn’t an antipiracy measure. As was mentioned previously, the pirates just snaffle the DLC as well. It -is- however an anti-used-game-sales measure.

  12. icemann says:

    Not all DLC is bad. The DLC for Fallout 3 was fantastic. Cheap and provides hours of extra gameplay. For a game that someone like me couldnt get enough of, it gave me the extra gameplay I craved. Thats the only game Ive even bothered with though for DLC.
    For games like Rockband and guitar hero, they live off the damn stuff. I`d not pay a cent for any tracks on those games, but if their free why not.

    Old habits die hard – System Shock

    • Aemony says:

      The DLCs of Mass Effect 2 was also quite annoying. I hate DLCs which doesn’t integrate good into the original game. While I’m fond of the Fallout 3 DLCs integrations they could have been a lot better.

      I don’t get the idea that you “suddenly” gets a message from nowhere just giving you the quest/mission. IMO a DLC should integrate itself into the world so you must pick it up like any other mission and if you want to know where that is you’ll have to check the DLC description outside of the game.

      Zaeek and Normandy Crash Site was the two ugliest DLC integrations I’ve ever seen. I had already gotten the missions, and completed them, before I noticed the two mails regarding them in my inbox. Imagine my surprise and annoyance that reading those wasn’t required to start the quests.

  13. Kirk Diggler says:

    I think that new games start looking better and better.
    All this pay for DLC is luckily being countered by the swath of new games; AC2, MW2, BFBC2…
    …..
    …..
    I loves me some Battlefield ….
    Bioshock2, Heavy Rain, Uncharted2, Crysis 2…ooooo “Maximum Fun”

    Maybe I’m getting old, or I own too many systems, but I am truly having a hard time keeping up much less play DLC.

    What is 400 points? like $5, I hope Bad Company2 DLC is as cheap, who am I kidding? I will buy whatever DICE throws my way

    I wanted to mention Borderlands but they are the biggest DLC whoores out right now

  14. Kirk Diggler says:

    If i could edit that i would totally put
    “Maximum Kick Ass”

  15. KillahMate says:

    Another Contact reference. Did you guys watch the movie recently or something?

  16. dadioflex says:

    The future of PC gaming is Kongregate. I’m okay with that.

  17. Chizu says:

    I hope the singleplayer DLC fills in on what happens to Tenenbaum . She just vanishes never to be heard from again after the start of the game. That really got on my nerves. I wanted to know what happened to her.

    • Curious_Orange says:

      Tannenbaum’s appearance was pretty odd and brief, I expected her to be the good voice to Lamb’s evil one, but after about ten minutes she palms you off onto Sinclair and is never heard of again! Maybe the dev thought having two women with stern faces and European accents talking to you would get confusing…

      Personally I don’t give a tinkers about the multiplayer DLC but I can’t wait for the SP – hopefully it’s actually something interesting, not just the Challenge Room DLC for the original, which was a series of glorified minigames.

      Depending on what they want to do with the sequel, you could imagine the DLC possibly exploring Delta’s life after he got sent to Persephone but before he was turned into a Big Daddy. The bit in the Plasmid theatre where Alex The Great talks about him being this sort’ve weird early Plasmid demonstrator has some potential I think…

      If you ask me though, I reckon they’re going to put you in the shoes of Mark Meltzer, the main character from the ‘There’s Something In The Water’ pre-release ARG. He comes to Rapture before Delta reawakens, but after events in the first game, his audio diaries make clear he tries to fight his way through Rapture to find his abducted daughter Cindy, giving combat potential in the style of the first game. And then there’s the fact that according to the Audio Diaries he *SPOILORZ* eventually finds her, transformed into a little sister, is subdued by a Big Sister and is given the choice by Lamb to die there, or be transformed into a Big Daddy, so that he can be with his daughter forever (until you kill him later on in the game anyway…).

      It seems to fit in nicely with the themes of the game, has a real poignancy and tragedy that might actually make for really memorable single-player DLC (a first?) and would enable them to use new weapons and Plasmids, as Meltzer wouldn’t be a BD, at first anyway.

      Plus there’s the interesting fact that Meltzer’s portrait from his AD is the only one in the entire game that’s in colour… very odd.

  18. Evert says:

    No one has paraphrased Wilde yet?

    I suppose it is incumbent on me then:

    To mess up field of view once may be regarded as a misfortune; to do it again looks like carelessness.

    :-)

  19. SomeCallMeDave says:

    As long as we keep paying for DLC and all these stupid pre-order bonus’ and addons they companies will keep shipping it out, i sit in the camp that i feel like i’ve not played the full game without it.

    At the moment i’m particularly annoyed with Borderlands, 3 DLC packs costing more than i’m willing to pay, these add to a very bland game that needed more variation, the real kicker is in the latest DLC they’ve added 15 new enemies to flesh out the world a little more….bastards

  20. oceanclub says:

    The FOV problem has a workaround anyway, so the patch isn’t such a big deal (add something like “NumPad5=SetFOV 110″ to your user.ini), but still, nice they did it.

    I finished the game in 5 days, which is a record for me. Wonderful stuff. I would look forward to new single-player DLC – anything that gives me more chances to cyclone-trap Brute Splicers up into the air, then incinerate and machine them on the way down, warms my cockles.

    P.

  21. +--JAK--+ says:

    All i want is for them to remove the “Physics 30fps cap” that makes all ragdolling corpses look like stop/start animation!

  22. oceanclub says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    All i want is for them to remove the “Physics 30fps cap” that makes all ragdolling corpses look like stop/start animation!

    Oh Christ, yes; it’s so annoying. Even after dozens of hours of playing, the effect is still incredibly jarring.

    P.

  23. Bowlby says:

    Give me a patch for the 360 version that fixes the freezing issues and multiplayer lag.

  24. Max says:

    Patch v1.001
    http://www.fileplanet.com/209922/200000/fileinfo/BioShock-2—Patch-v1.001

    “….but this patch doesn’t fix the widescreen issue completely, it allows for widescreen 16:10 mode.”

    And check this out, “BEWARE, this patch breaks mouse clicking in multiplayer mode basically not allowing you to play multiplayer. “

  25. Cooper says:

    How can you miss something as simple as editing the FOV for certain resolutions in the original release? Especially if it was always solvable by a minor config file edit, and was, oh, I don’t know, a LESSON YOU LEARNED BEFORE.

  26. SheffieldSteel says:

    Games need a webcam and head-tracking software, then the camera position and FOV can be updated on the fly.

    Imagine getting closer to your screen so you can see a wider field, or even leaning to one side to peer around a corner. It is the future, I tell ya.

  27. Roadrunner says:

    Bollocks. I completed Bioshock 2 already. I’ve never played a multiplayer as bad as the one in bioshock 2. Just…oh..god…

  28. Blackwing says:

    Agreed. I can barely get into a game ,and when I do it’s so laggy as to be unplayable. Not to mention the huge disparity between in game levels. I was level 1 and was put into a game with a level 40 person who won not based on skill, but instead because of all the crazy upgrades you get when leveling up. Modern Warfare 1 and 2 at least give lower level people some decent starting equipment to hold their own until they level up a bit.

  29. matte_k says:

    I found a fix for the lag, the problem I seem to have with multiplayer is that it is stuck in a godawful 640×480 resolution, no matter what I do in the options. It’s so pixellated at full screen I have problems discerning players from scenery, which makes me very easy to find and shoot- i’m the one firing plasmids into the windows…

    Anyone who knows a fix/workaround for this?

  30. Jahkaivah says:

    A leveling system which will divides the “Haves” from the “Have-nots”?

    Sounds like they are just trying to make the Objectivist experiance as genuine as possible.

    Which would also explain the DRM thinking about it.

  31. oceanclub says:

    I finally got a few lag-free games under my belt last night and, despite the fact it’s still clunky and jerky-looking, I had a lot of fun. The levelling system doesn’t seem to make a huge amount of different – at least, I came top of the scoring once, even though I was only at level 3 and the next lowest was 10, with some of them at 40.

    ‘Course, it could be just cos I is 1€€t.

    P.

  32. What Was Done says:

    Getting old is only in our mind.
    Age never prevented people from doing things:
    http://www.whatwasdone.com/

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