Field of view in video games

In first person video games, the field of view or field of vision is the extent of the observable game world that is seen on the display at any given moment. It is typically measured as an angle, although whether this angle is the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal component of the field of view varies from game to game.
The FOV in a video game may change depending on the aspect ratio of the rendering resolution. In computer games and modern game consoles the FOV normally increases with a wider aspect ratio of the rendering resolution.

Field of view calculations

The field of view is usually given as an angle for the horizontal or vertical component of the FOV. A larger angle indicates a larger field of view. However, depending on the FOV scaling method used by the game, it may only affect the horizontal or the vertical component of the field of view.
The horizontal and vertical FOV are calculated from the following equations:
where r is the aspect ratio, w and h are the width and height, and H and V are the horizontal and vertical FOV.
The different values for horizontal and vertical FOV may lead to confusion because the games often just mention FOV and not whether they mean the horizontal or vertical FOV.

Choice of field of view

Including peripheral vision, the visual field of the average person is approximately 170-180 degrees. Console games are usually played on a TV at a large distance from the viewer, while PC games are usually played on computer monitors close to the viewer. Therefore, a narrow FOV of around 60 degrees is used for console games as the screen subtends a small part of the viewer's visual field, and a larger FOV of 90 to 100 degrees is usually set for PC games as the screen occupies a larger amount of the viewer's vision.
Many PC games that are released after 2000 are ported from consoles, or developed for both console and PC platforms. Ideally, the developer will set a wider FOV in the PC release, or offer a setting to change the FOV to the player's preference. However, in many cases the narrow FOV of the console release is retained in the PC version. This results in an uncomfortable sensation likened to viewing the scene through binoculars, and may lead to disorientation, dizziness, or nausea.
Ratio1080p resolutioncommon nameVideo format
32:271280x1080pDVCPRO HD
64:272560x1080pUltra-WidescreenCinemascope / Anamorphic
32:93840x1080pSuper Ultra-Widescreen

Field of view scaling methods

The terms Hor+, anamorphic, pixel-based, Vert- and stretch are widely used in gaming discussions to describe how different video games change field of view dependent on the aspect ratio of the rendering resolution. The terms were originally coined by members of the Widescreen Gaming Forum.
Temporary changes to the field of view can sometimes be used as a special effect in video games. Reducing the field of view is commonly used to convey focus, whereas widening it may increase perceived movement speed or indicate lack of control.