Thought I’d share this. I have a 1280×720 tablet which runs TSTO with a really nice, wide viewport. That is, I can zoom far out and see a lot of stuff.
On my Note 3 phone, though, which has a 1920×1080 screen, I can hardly zoom out at all. When Arnie flies by in his helicopter, he takes up pretty much all of the screen space (which in itself is extremely annoying).
I guess a lot of us have been trying to use App Settings from the Xposed Framework, setting resolutions, DPIs and font scales, only to see everything remain exactly the same, except for dialog windows which would be ridiculously small.
Perhaps you also tried installing the TabletMetrics plugin for Xposed or did some build.prop hacking, and neither helped.
Today I accidentally stumbled across something interesting. I actually wasn’t even trying to fix the zoom level, I was just fed up with the performance of the latest Easter update, which is even worse than in the previous version. The experience is super laggy when I try to pan across areas in Springfield where I have a lot of buildings and decorations back-to-back.
So I thought I’d try to lower the resolution on my device to hopefully get better performance. I used a terminal emulator for this (you have to be root to change the resolution), but there are probably apps in the store for this — again, you need a rooted device. If you do use the terminal, this is the command (become root first by typing “su” and then enter):
wm size 1080x1920
That one will change the resolution to 1080p full HD. The first number is the horizontal resolution, the second one the vertical one. Since this is a phone, they are inverted, as the screen is held in that orientation By the way, that line above isn’t the fix in itself, so read on.
So anyway, I noticed that if I set the resolution to 720×1280, the same as the native resolution of my tablet, the next time I started TSTO, it would download updates. And not just a few, a LOT, like 250 MB. And once it started, the UI elements were smaller and the viewport definitely larger (that is, showing me more of Springfield, and letting me zoom out more).
I then tried lowering the resolution even more, to quarter-HD, or 540×960, and again TSTO would download updates (this time a smaller amount, though), but this time the effect on the gameplay was the reverse. That is, smaller viewport, less visible Springfield.
Puzzled, I then tried going in the other direction, aiming for something in-between full HD (1080p) and half HD (720p). I tried 900×1600 and once more got updates downloaded on launch, and an even bigger viewport than with 720p.
For the heck of it, I switched back to native full HD resolution and launched TSTO again. Again updates to download, and this time it was the massive 666 MB one that I’m used to seeing when installing from scratch.
It started to make sense. It seems the app downloads the textures and objects it deems appropriate for the current device, based on its resolution. So, for a full HD display, you get very high-res graphics, or putting it another way, very large graphics. That’s why we can’t zoom out properly (speaking in terms of pixels, we’re already zoomed out very widely), and also why the performance can be pretty darn sucky.
But when we trigger TSTO to download smaller textures and graphics (my uneducated guess based on the difference in attainable zoom level would be that they’re one fourth the size of the high-res ones), the same zoom level in terms of pixels would be several times wider when using these smaller graphics.
So, what triggers TSTO to do this? Well, I was thinking I’d just try decreasing the resolution incrementally in steps of 18 by 32 (2 * 9:16) on each axis and see which resolutions would trigger new graphics downloads. And here are the results (not sure there aren’t any more switches between 0×0 and 756×1344, but at least with 540×960 it’s the same, so test for yourself if you want to find out ;) ):
From 0x0 to 756x1344: Low-res graphics (okay to good zoom, excellent performance)
From 774x1376 to 954x1696: Mid-res graphics (good to excellent zoom, good performance)
From 972x1728 to 1080x1920: Hi-res graphics (bad to horrible zoom, bad performance)
So, basically, the sweet spot if you want max zoom is to use the highest resolution that’s the closest to the native resolution of your device. That is, for a 1080p device like mine, go for 954×1696. I can tell you, it’s awesome!
DPI settings, font scaling, none of that matters. It’s all about the actual resolution when you launch TSTO.