For a complete discussion of other important Bible Computer Lab issues issues,
consult our book, Teaching with Computers in Christian Education.
Depending on your screen settings and monitor type, software may not fill the screen, or your program graphics may appear stretched too wide.
This article addresses that issue for our software and our customers. (If you're not a customer, we hope it helps you too!)
Many kids software programs, were designed to display at a FIXED 4:3 aspect ratio (proportion), and at a lower resolution setting than your newer computer came set at. This is particularly true of some good older programs and 3d style games in our catalog.
For example, your new computer monitor may have come set for a typical wordprocessing resolution of 1280 x 720. But because your kids' software is preset to display only as big as 800x600, you'll get a THICK BLACK BORDER around your screen window, such as in the example here.
These days we've all gotten used to documents resizing across any size open window. But many games can't simply resize.
Fortunately, your computer comes equipped with graphic display options that allow you to reset your computer to various resolutions and aspects. Older computers usually have fewer options.
Some of the newer video graphic cards/chips will automatically detect a program's preferred width and try to adjust. Some aren't so smart. Same goes for the software. Some may try to adjust, others can't.
(Btw...the graphic seen above here is from our
Awesome Bible Stories CD)
I welcome comments that help clarify this article. Your questions are also welcome if you are a customer of ours.
Neil MacQueen, Sunday Software
ADVANCED NOTES FOR TECHIES:
Time was when all computer monitors had the same ratio of screen width to height and only a few screen resolution options. But as this chart to the right shows, those days are long gone. Many laptop and wide screen LCD monitors use a 5:4 or 16:10 ratio of width to height.
These differences sometimes require you to manage your display settings for different programs in our catalog. And if you don't know how to adjust your graphic settings, the software can look strange, small, fuzzy, or stretched. This article is here to help!
Your first computer was likely 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels high (a 4:3 aspect ratio or proportion. Then came 800x600 (also a 4:3 ratio). Then came the wide-aspect screens and higher resolution monitors. Laptops, especially, tend to have wide-aspect (widescreen) dimensions They are great for wordprocessing and browsing the web, but you need to be able to adjust the settings for many kids games.
Many kids software programs, were designed f to display at a 4:3 aspect ratio, and at a lower resolution setting than your newer computer came set at. This is particularly true of some good older programs and 3d style games in our catalog.
Fortunately, your computer comes equipped with graphic chip options that allow you to reset your computer to various resolutions and aspects. Older computers usually have fewer options.
Unfortunately, MOST people either don't know they have such options, don't understand them, or they change things without understanding how it affects certain software.
What do "maintain aspect ration," "full screen," and "center desktop" mean in your graphic settings?
Intel's website is little help. Here's my interpretation...
Fullscreen: This is the preset option which will stretch every program to fit your screen no matter what ratio you have. Thus, some programs, especially kids software, will look fat. Great for wordprocessors, bad for kids programs.
Maintain Aspect Ratio: This will stretch your program to fit your screen but keep a 4:3 aspect ratio. The problem with this setting is IF your computer's display resolution is set to 1200x800 pixel resolution, but the program was designed for 640x480 pixel resolution, the program graphics will appear MORE FUZZY as it 'interpolates up' to use all the pixels your display is set to. Use this setting only if you have set your screen resolution below 1200x800 pixels. If your display resolution is a mammoth 1900 x whatever, your game software graphics may look quite fuzzy as the driver attempts to fill in pixels by surrounding one pixel of info into several copies around it to fill the available pixels your screen is set to.
Center Desktop: This is the preferred option for many kids programs. This will maintain BOTH the aspect ratio of 4:3 and keep a program designed with 800x600 pixels in an 800x600 box. Thus the graphics will look CRISPER (in theory). And in my experience it doesn't affect your wordprocessor or internet browser appearance.