The 10 foot rule

I’ve been hit with a few UI sizing issues on my game recently, and this whole 10 foot rule keeps getting thrown back at me as a rule of thumb.

So whats the actual deal with the 10 foot rule? Should I be standing 10 feet away from a 20 inch screen, 30 inch , 60 inch? Is it even realistic to assume people would be sitting 10 feet away from a 20 inch display? This rule doesn’t help me if I don’t know what size of screen it’s being compared to by the QA testers.

The TV I’ve been using to test in my bedroom is a 32 inch 1080p screen, and I can get a solid 12 feet away before things start becoming too small. At 12 feet away the screen is also impractically small, and at this distance it’s a user that at fault for straining their eyes at a distance, not the developer.

The TV in my basement is a 61 inch 1080p screen, and I sit 13 feet away from it and everything on my screen as as expected, fully readable and fine.

I looked up desirable distances for different sized screens, and found some interesting results.



So if the 10 foot rule is ment to be scaled with desirable screen size, we should be testing on 50 to 75 inch screens, testing on my 32 inch TV I should be fine with sitting between 4 to 6 feet away from my TV. It’s a bit of an ignorant assumption on my part, but I really don’t know what this 10 foot rule of thumb is supposed to mean.

I’d really really like it if this were cleared up, I know I’m not the only one who’s been a little taken back by the rule and the countless UI sizing issues that keep getting brought up during each review.

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The rule is your game on a 32 inch TV needs to be readable at 10 feet. The ten foot rule isn’t intended to make games look good, it’s intended to make them playable on any reasonable TV at any reasonable distance.

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Exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks.

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