Making Wayland Game-friendly

Luke Benstead kazade at
Tue Nov 9 01:28:40 PST 2010

Hi all,

This is my first post to this list, and I fear it may be a lengthy one, so
bear with me :)

Firstly, I may be totally off base with this. I'm working under the
assumption that once complete Wayland will take care of resolution changes
instead of xrandr (as xrandr is obviously an X extension). If someone could
point me to any information on resolution switching in Wayland I'd
appreciate it.

So, the rest of this email is based on the assumption that Wayland has, or
will have, an API for switching resolution. If I'm wrong, just disregard :)

The reason I'm emailing is there is a minor issue in the way xrandr behaves
that causes issues to games, or other fullscreen, non-native resolution apps
(e.g. media player visualizations), and I'm hoping that Wayland doesn't
inherit it.

Basically, xrandr is designed under the assumption that a resolution change
is permanent, or at least semi-permanent (e.g. until reboot or manual switch
back) and system wide. The problem is that games (as an example) require a
temporary resolution change that is associated with a single window. What I
mean by this is that when a game initializes it sets the resolution (through
SDL, X, Win32 on Wine etc.) and this is frequently a resolution below native
normally for performance reasons (e.g. your PC may not like running Alien
Arena at full HD, but it will run perfectly well at 1024x768).

Ideally, if that game then crashed, or someone ALT+TAB'd to a different
window, the native resolution would be restored. If the user then switched
back to the window, then the game's resolution would be restored. On
Windows, it's possible to pass a temporary flag to the Win32
ChangeDisplaySettings()* function for this behaviour.

At the moment, if a game crashes (either native, or run via Wine) on X you
are left with a low resolution and have to find your way to the Monitor
control panel to set it back. Which is obviously not ideal.

So, basically I'm hoping that Wayland can fix this issue by allowing a
resolution change to be associated with a single window.


Luke. (see
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