Main Window

The place where the action of the game takes place.

In almost all recent games (except Interactive Fiction and Role-Playing Game), the Main Window takes up the entire viewport of the game, and is usually overlaid with a HUD.

In a first-person game (such as an FPS), this window will show what the player character is looking at. In a third person game, the image is generally rendered from the point of view of an imaginary camera which is always centered on the player character. The control axes of the game generally follow the orientation of the display on the main window — which can make precision maneuvers difficult if the camera moves suddenly (Some games do use this point of view with character-relative control axes, which make it easy to move in a straight line, but can easily disorient the player).

In older games, the Main Window was generally smaller. There are a variety of reasons for this, most of them technological: a smaller main window reduces the amount of processing to render its display. On more primitive systems, HUD elements were either impossible or computationally infeasable, so the smaller Main Window left room for incidental displays. Also, many of the very first home games were ports of arcade games designed to use a 3:4 display, known as "tate" (Japanese for "vertical" — normal televisions and computer screens are 4:3), so a smaller main window was used to reproduce the original aspect ratio (a layout known as "ghetto tate").

Not to be confused with the Jimmy Stewart film by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window