Guide to Pixel Perfect Tiles

December 19th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

The newest version of Pin Steam has options to ensure you can make the best looking tiles possible for your start screen. The way you do that is by doing as little scaling as possible, here is how Pin Steam helps you with that.

The Start Screen Scaling Factor

Microsoft designed the Modern UI and the start screen to be scalable and work on many different devices with large and small screens that have large and small resolutions. The way they do that is the Scale Factor. It determines by how much items on your screen are smaller or bigger than a default resolution. It also determines the resolution of your tiles. There are 4 scale factors.

Scale Wide tile size (in pixels) Square tile size (in pixels)
80% 248 x 120 120 x 120
100% 310 x 150 150 x 150
140% 434 x 210 210 x 210
180% 558 x 270 270 x 270

Pin Steam will detect if your scaling factor is 100%, 140% or 180% and tell you which tile size you should use. But 80% is special, it is only applied to the start screen, so Pin Steam cannot detect if your start screen is 80% scaled.

The scaling factor is determined by the DPI/PPI of your monitor that is how many pixels there is per inch on your monitor. It turns out that if you have a Full-HD 1920×1080 23″ or 24″ monitor, chances are you are running 80% scale on your start screen.

How to get the best quality tiles

First you need to figure out exactly what your Start Screen scale factor is and make sure that is the scale you chose in Pin Steam.

You’ll get the best looking tiles if you can avoid scaling (with the right mouse button) when cropping your input images, but often you can’t avoid it.

If you’re using the Steam provided game header, there is now a new Crop button above the wide tile, you can use that to crop the provided header and that will give you higher quality images because Pin Steam will not have to scale the header to fit the tile size.