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Hey,

I swear this was asked before but.... I was wondering about pixel density/PPI and muscle memory/sensitivity. (skip to TL;DR if you know all about this)

Say for example I have two monitors - they are the same size (~24" diagonal) - but one is 1920x1080 and the other is 1280x720. The 1080 has a PPI of ~92 and the 720 has a PPI of ~61 (http://dpi.lv). Now say I was to move my mouse across both screens (desktop). The 1080 monitor would be much slower than the 720 monitor due to the difference in the number of pixels. But if you think about it, the mouse sensitivity doesn't actually change, so long as you move the monitor away from you so that it is the same size as the phone - since they are the same resolution.

For another example, say I have a phone and a monitor. Instead of having different resolutions they both have the same resolution. The size of the monitor is still ~24" but the phone is much smaller at ~5". Now if I were to move my "mouse" across both screens the mouse would move much slower on the phone but much faster on the monitor due to the difference in the pixel density. But if you think about it, the mouse sensitivity doesn't actually change, so long as you move the 1080 monitor closer to you so that it is the same pixel density as the 720 monitor.

I know that pixel density doesn't really matter because it scales bigger or smaller depending on how far away you are. But the tricky part for me to wrap my head around is if I DON'T move the screens to compensate for pixel density. Say for example I have the same monitor resolution, with the same size - therefore the same pixel density. If I move one screen away from me, the pixel density will be much greater. Since they are the same monitor but they are at different distances from me, what bearing does the change in pixel density have on my sensitivity?

 

TL;DR

I thought about all this because I'd like to get a gaming monitor that sits further away from me, but not sure how the change in distance will affect my muscle memory/sensitivity.

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I actually started working on a version of monitor distance that took account for a part of your question. So if you i.e. replaced a 22" with a 30", the physical movement would be the same (that's why there's a monitor size for the output game as well). But ultimately I don't think this would make a lot of sense, as your muscle memory (in most cases) tunes more to what it can see than how physically big it is. As long as the aspect ratio is the same, you would have a feel for movement to the edge of the monitor, rather the physical distance there.

When it comes to resolution on the same size monitor, it has quite a big impact in Windows since 1 DPI = 1 pixel. So on a 4k monitor you have to move your mouse twice as far with the same DPI as on a full HD one.
But in games it has zero impact, as they only care about degrees and not resolution. I.e. X DPI = Y degrees of rotation.

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I think this topic has some merit, limited merit. Resolution / aspect ratio are the more important factors here IMO. I would think using the same Resolution / Aspect ratio on a 27" monitor 2 feet in front of you will have the same 'feel' as a 60" TV 8 foot in front of you provided the former are the same..

Where this gets a little more tricky is if for example we have two 27" monitors with a considerable pixel density difference, hence different resolutions and ultimately much different 'feel' given two screens that are the same size & distance from you. (If your wanting to Match desktop to in game)

Edited by DNAMTE

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