AuthorTopic: EGA Color Palette(s)?  (Read 8172 times)

Offline BladeJunker

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EGA Color Palette(s)?

on: December 15, 2012, 06:07:37 pm
I was looking into 8-bit aesthetics and tech and landed on EGA for a while, looked at past reference and tried the colors out with some stuff.



Despite finding some color ramps I could live with I was kind of missing orange and a better medium skin tone than the usual 'Lobster Red' or green & yellow typical to EGA. Also magenta is not a favorite color of mine to work with. :lol:

I just sort of stuck to the standard EGA 16 color palette explicitly which I read are matches for the colors found in CGA. Although not immediately I did come across an EGA game that used orange, although only one screenshot is specifically marked (EGA).
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/megatraveller-1-the-zhodani-conspiracy/screenshots

However going over the Wikipedia entree of EGA it does say:
"The EGA palette allows all 16 CGA colors to be used simultaneously, and it allows substitution of each of these colors with any one from a total of 64 colors (two bits each for red, green and blue)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_Graphics_Adapter

That lead my to the EGA Color Table.http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/EGA_Table.PNG From there I saw more color options and some oranges among other colors to use.

So my question (born of confusion) is if any games actually applied full use of the 64 color palette found in EGA for differing 16 color global palettes and if not why not? I looked through many games but did not find many games that didn't use the default EGA(CGA) 16 colors. I'm not saying the EGA color palette is the greatest but there are some nice alternative colors in there to use.
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/ghosts-n-goblins/screenshots
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/forgotten-worlds/screenshots
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/gods/screenshots

If anyone could shed some light on this or maybe some directions to where I might find someone to remedy my confusion it would be most appreciated. :)

Offline surt

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Re: EGA Color Palette(s)?

Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 08:48:34 pm
I was wondering about this a while back and got this enlightening reply from Ai:
...
Is that game high resolution (640x350, 640x400)? Custom EGA palette for 320x200x16 == not supported in hardware at all. 640x350 == high res EGA, 16 colors from a 64-color (4*4*4) colorcube. 640x400 == high res VGA.
...
I think that 16-of-64 colors was only available on EGA cards with 256k memory, which were a minority. (ditto for 640x350).
However, Wikipedia contradicts me on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_Graphics_Adapter
It's possible it was only a limitation of QBasic that prevented me from customizing the palette in 320x200 mode,
anyway I've never seen anything that customized the palette in 320x200 mode.
...
640x350 is harder to code for. Most highres EGA games are not action games, cause of the lack of special tricks we can do to get better scrolling/faster screen updates.
With standard 320x200x16, similar tricks to VGA ModeX were available for smooth scrolling, fast blitting, etc.
...

So it seems most 16 colour video mode games do not in fact use an EGA mode, but a 16 colour VGA mode.
For example, both the EGA and VGA video modes of Gods use only 16 colours (which blew my mind a second time about just how good Gods' art is when I discovered this).

I love the default EGA stuff. I want to play it all, and demand a full mockup damnit!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 08:52:01 pm by surt »

Offline BladeJunker

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Re: EGA Color Palette(s)?

Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 12:33:33 am
Thank you for the information, so such modes were only for a small number of EGA card owners. My buddy's first EGA card wasn't likely 256k as parts were quite expensive back then for a 'special' card, we did go halfsies on a Gravis Ultrasound since PC squeeker sucked. :)

I did come across the high res EGA stuff and it was a little spotty in usage which is most likely from a lack of card memory in most cases. I was interested since high contrast color dither looks much better at 640 than 320. This form of high res pixel art wasn't used much outside of Japan and most of the better examples were NSFW. :lol:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/timequest/screenshots
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/spellcasting-101-sorcerers-get-all-the-girls/screenshots

I see also in that thread some mentioning of the Amstrad CPC which I too found similar in color palette contrast to EGA which is also like Master System pixel art as well imo.

Well smoother scrolling and faster sprite blitting do take priority in action games so I can only concur with the choice to get the fastest performance out of the hardware that most PC users had. ;)

Yeah I thought Gods was quite impressive too, very nice 16 color work. I think it was a progression practice to support both standards until VGA took hold, I think the same thing was done in Rastan as well with a switch to a more balanced but still 16 color palette for VGA cards.
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/rastan/screenshots

Thanks for the compliment, I think I'm getting better but I still struggle with shading depth. I'll see what I can do about a full mockup but best not to hold your breath since this EGA experimenting was mostly an offshoot of a larger research into first person perspective games during the 8-bit to 16-bit era which was mostly 2D in setup.