To get the games to work at the correct resolution the software will modify the game config file. It also widens the Field of View (FOV). It’s not just a case of tripling the horizontal resolution – the side monitors give a slightly stretched fish eye view of the game world to mimic the how the eye perceives things. The centre screen will still dominate your field of view but the side panels will enhance your in-game peripheral vision. It works best therefore if you angle the screens slightly, so you can see them more easily out of the corner of your eyes.
Matrox’s game compatibly list consists of some 150 titles currently including some big titles, and you can check it out here.
Some game engine, such as Source, support widescreen natively, so you don’t need to use the Surround Utility- you just fire up the game, choose 16:10 ratio in the video settings and select the maximum resolution. However there is a bug in Counter-Strike as there’s no cross hair in this mode, which makes nailing headshots fairly difficult, to say the least. This is Valve’s bug however, not Matrox’s. Matrox told me that Valve was aware of the bug and that it would be fixed in an upcoming patch.
As you can see in the screenshots having a display this wide gives you a real advantage in gaming as you can see people coming at you to the sides. On one screen, you’d have to constantly flick left and right to cover the same area.
Oblivion also worked straight off the bat, and looked just incredible in this mode. I also played F.E.A.R, though to be perfectly honest it didn’t have as much impact as the other two games as you just got to see more walls to the side of you, but that’s because F.E.AR. has a more claustrophobic and hemmed in feel – big wide expanses are what really show off the three screens. I also tried Quake 4 using the utility and though it did span three screens, the FOV didn’t appear to be set correctly which meant that everything looked stretched.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.