We do a lot of research and development here at FSFX Packages. We're always looking outside of the box to offer something new to the Flight Simulation community.
While designing ChasePlane, we stumbled on an issue where some views may look different from one computer to another because of the WideViewAspect setting.
When FSX was designed in the early 2000s, Microsoft thought it would be a great idea to use the simulator's window height as a reference for the zoom setting. If you resize the window vertically, you would see more on each side but the content of the view would remain the same at the top and the bottom. A video made by Almost Aviation explains it better than I ever could, go and watch that video to understand how WideViewAspect actually works.
There is an undocumented parameter you can add to the FSX configuration file that changes this behavior (WideViewAspect=True). This parameter makes it so that the width of the simulator window becomes the reference for the zoom setting instead of the height. In Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, there is an option available in the Graphics settings called "Wide-view Aspect Ratio" to change this behavior without going in the configuration files.
Under normal circumstances, this shouldn't cause much of an issue. The real problem comes when you want to share those cameras with other people with different settings.
For example, if you want to share a camera preset with a friend, if you have WideViewAspect set to true and he has it set to false, the imported camera preset will be zoomed way in compared to yours. See the comparison below:
So what is the ideal solution to this issue? We have multiple ways of going about the problem. One would be to ignore it all together like our competitors do. Another would be to force users into a single, universal setting. The last one would be to do some mathematical wizardry to match both to look the same.
When we released ChasePlane Alpha 1, we went with the second option: forcing users to enable WideViewAspect to ensure that all presets are created equal from day 1. We were planning on switching to the 3rd solution at some point in the development stages. We heard a lot of complaints on the forums and the support emails about this decision and we decided to make the change now, in Alpha 1.5.
Today we are announcing a definitive solution to this issue. Later this week, we will be introducing our mathematical wizardry trick to match both settings seamlessly. You will be able to set WideViewAspect to True or False to your liking.
Many users said that setting WideViewAspect to True resulted in a distorted image and non-natural views. Let's take a look at this claim with our "super scientific test" to see if there is any truth to it.
Here are 2 pictures taken using ChasePlane with the mathematical compensation to match a WideViewAspect=True zoom setting. They look mostly identical except from a few details.
1: No unusual distortion is observed in both True and False settings. ChasePlane adjusted the zoom to match a WideViewAspect set to True.
2: The Zoom indication in the simulator takes into consideration the WideViewAspect setting and gives different results depending on the Aspect Ratio of the simulator window.
3: Scenery details seems to be affected here. The Level of Detail (LOD) seems to react to the change when it comes to some specific scenery objects. In the following pictures, you can see a difference in the way the Terminal, Jetways and other 3D elements are rendered.
So there it is, those were the results of my short but totally "scientific" research. Results are the same when in the Cockpit or when using Static Cameras. One tip I could give to users seeing distortion when using WideViewAspect is to zoom in a little and adjust your presets from there.
Let us know your opinion and findings on the forums.
Thanks again for all the good feedback we received in the past months, it's been and still is great.