Split screen (computer graphics)

Split screen (computer graphics)

Split screen is a display technique in computer graphics that consists of dividing graphics and/or text into non-movable adjacent parts, typically two or four rectangular areas. This is done in order to allow the simultaneous presentation of (usually) related graphical and textual information on a computer display. Split screen differs from windowing systems in that the latter allows overlapping and freely movable parts of the screen (the "windows") to present related as well as unrelated application data to the user, while the former more strictly conforms to the description given in the above paragraph.

The split screen technique can also be used to run two aspects of an application, with possibly another user interacting with the other perspective.

In computer and video games

Split screen feature is commonly used in non-networked computer games and video games with multiplayer options.

In its most easily-understood form, a split screen for a two-player video game is an audiovisual output device (usually a standard television for video game consoles) where the display has been divided into two equally-sized areas so that the players can explore different areas simultaneously without being close to each other. This has historically been particularly popular on consoles, which until recently did not have access to the Internet or any other network.

The only alternative for multiplayer games would be to have a separate television set for each player - this would require the console itself to have separate output wires with different signals for each television. Although 82% of homes in the United States have more than one television [http://www.nielsenmedia.com/nc/portal/site/Public/menuitem.55dc65b4a7d5adff3f65936147a062a0/?vgnextoid=48839bc66a961110VgnVCM100000ac0a260aRCRD Average U.S. Home Now Receives A Record 104.2 TV Channels, According to Nielsen] (and this figure would have been even lower Fact|date=July 2007 during the rise of consoles during the 1980s-1990s), very few people would have more than one in the same roomFact|date=July 2007. Therefore, games consoles were not designed to offer this facility for multiplayer games.

One specific issue with split-screen multiplayer is screen peeking, where one player examines opposing players' screens to gain a sometimes unfair advantage. Some console games have gone to the length of supporting tiny auxiliary displays in each player's controller as a counter-measure.

See also

* Tiling window manager


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