Field of View in Titanfall 2 – A New View on Console Gaming

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Titanfall 2 has been out for over a month and scratching itches I didn’t even know I had. While I haven’t put out my final review of game, I’ve got some background context around what made Titanfall 1 so delightful.

Amazingly, Titanfall 2 has already put out its first title/balance update. Perhaps the most amazing component of the entire update is a dedication to customization that’s evidenced in their aiming adjustments and especially in the Field of View (FOV) slider.

PC gaming has had FOV sliders for years, but this is the first console title that I’ve been conscious of that has had a FOV slider added.

Now let me tell you, I loved the default Titanfall 2 view and gameplay feel that was set to 70 FOV. Now that I’ve experienced the game at 80, 100, and 110… I honesty can’t go back.

 

Field of View Explained

Field of View is, at its most simple, the amount of degrees that you can see from your point of view. The human eye naturally has an almost 180-degree FOV, with about 114 degrees of both eyes overlapping, and 60/70 degrees of one eye accounting for peripheral vision.

To understand the complex science of FOV, peep this video by FZDSchool.

 

Field of View in Games

Console games tend to have a FOV around 70. This is fairly low, but is done for performance reasons (less modeling of the environment on screen) and because FOV makes things seem up close (an important factor when gaming from ten feet away from the TV).

Take a look at the difference in feeling and visual perception below (gifs created and edited from this source).

 

For gaming, a higher FOV :

  • Makes you see more of the screen.
  • It makes things look like they’re further away, and thus smaller on-screen.
  • It makes movement walk speed appear faster, because there are more objects on your periphery moving beyond your vision at a greater speed relative to your character movement.
  • It makes the turning speed of your character’s aim actually seem slower, though it covers the same actual in-game distance.

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For gaming, a lower FOV: 

  • Makes objects appear much larger on-screen, though you see less objects around the periphery in general.
  • Things appear closer on-screen, and characters/enemies you encounter are much closer.
  • Movement speed feels much slower, as the tunnel-vision of your view does not present as many objects on your periphery.
  • Turning speed feels much faster, so your cursor aiming might feel a bit more sensitive, though the cursor’s trajectory is actually the same physical distance, it appears faster because the entire view is pulled up closer.

 

60-fov

For an extreme comparison, peep this video, or the gif below of 40 vs. 150 FOV.

40-fov-vs-150-fov-speed

Titanfall 2 FOV and why it works so well 

Titanfall 2 is the first console game I’ve seen that actually cared to allow users to customize their view and gaming experience in this way. It makes a HUGE difference and it’s actually it’s pivotal for a game so reliant upon sense of speed, player observation, and aiming.

One large potential issue I had with TF2’s beta was the change from demanding visual acquity to enemy visibility assistance with the addition of a stark red outline to enemy pilots and titans. While first off-putting, the more and more I played and realized the fun of the game was in responding to threats as opposed to straining to identify them, the more I viewed this change as a positive design.

With the addition of the FOV slider and ability to play at 110 FOV, spotting pilots on my periphery, aiming, and my sense of speed have been tailored to maximize the strengths of Titanfall and minimize the FPS struggle.

tf2-fov-options

The FOV in Titanfall came in a Title Update, increasing customization from the default 70 all the way up to 110. Lemme tell you, 110 feels slick.

That is to say, Titanfall 2 has become faster, more responsive, enemies are still easy to spot, and the game has crafted yet another design advocacy in its desire for player customization.

 

Gameplay Design Worth Advocating For:

  • A field of view slider greatly increases player customization and allows a tailored experience.
  • Higher FOV = more sense of speed, less sensitive feeling aiming.
  • Lower FOV = slower movement, higher sensitivity to cursor aiming.

 

e-vaughn


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