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1025595 Posts in 41098 Topics- by 32705 Members - Latest Member: Kailem

July 22, 2014, 01:33:03 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeArtMinimal number of (workable) colors
Poll
Question: #of bits per pixel to look half decent
2-bits / component (RGB222 - SMS/EGA) - 10 (58.8%)
3-bits / component (RGB333 - Atari ST/Sega Genesis)) - 2 (11.8%)
4-bits / component (RGB444 - Amiga) - 1 (5.9%)
5- bits / component (RGB555 - GBA/bunch of others) - 2 (11.8%)
8-bits / componentn (RGB888 - modern hardware ) - 2 (11.8%)
Total Voters: 17

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Author Topic: Minimal number of (workable) colors  (Read 1611 times)
z84c00
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« on: March 28, 2013, 12:51:15 PM »

Hi all,

I was talking to an artist friend of mine and he stated that 'the minimum number of colors should *at least* be 3-bits/component (i.e. 512 colors total, each rgb component ranging from 0..7)'. While I'm not artist, I know the Sega Master System used 2-bpp, or 64 colors and had some decent looking games. OTOH, most EGA games look like ass but that could be contributed to the fact that games were erm, 'different' then :-)

So what say you?

-Z8
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happymonster
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 01:00:03 PM »

There are potentially two different things here, a palette range (3 bits per component = 512 colours), and the number of colours. A lot of the old 8/16 bit machines only had around 16-32 colours on the screen at once (without trickery) and still looked great.

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z84c00
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 01:26:37 PM »

There are potentially two different things here, a palette range (3 bits per component = 512 colours), and the number of colours. A lot of the old 8/16 bit machines only had around 16-32 colours on the screen at once (without trickery) and still looked great.

Yeah, it's a bit murky that. For arguments sake let's say you can any number of palettes which means you can have the maximum number of colors allowed on-screen. The thing I have a little with 2-bits/component is that classic arcade games are usually fine but more modern games (rick dangerous EGA / Batman caped crusader EGA / California games, etc ) all don't look that great.

So I guess it's all dependent on what you're making. Games with lots of dark / moody themes, like Spelunky don't really scale down well (tried in promotion) as the dark blues just disappear. The main character / most of the blocks looks decent though, albeit somewhat saturated :-)

-Z8
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happymonster
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 02:39:46 PM »

Well, that's where the artist would use other colours in the palette rather than letting a program reduce the colours and leaving it at that.

There is a limit to smooth shading with a 2 bit RGB palette though, unless you can cope with a lot of dithering.. Smiley
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moi
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 02:50:47 PM »

It is as dumb as discussing if one art style is better than another.
There were very good graphics on the SMS (I wont mention the NES because its "palette" was optmized for piss and puke)

Personally I think the games looked better on SMS than on megadrive because the ratio useable colors/total colors was better for the SMS (32/64) than for the Megadrive(61/512)

But if you dont HAVE to restrict your colrs, I suggest you don't do it, because even with 512 colors, some subtle things can be difficult to pull off
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z84c00
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 04:33:43 PM »

Thanks for the input guys!

Personally, I'm still somewhat on the fence but think it all depends on the type of game you're making and keep the color restriction in mind from the start. Fez is pretty poppy and could (probably) be done in RGB222 with some concessions, whereas something like Spelunky would have a harder time.

-Z8
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Polly
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 07:26:31 PM »

Fez is pretty poppy and could (probably) be done in RGB222 with some concessions, whereas something like Spelunky would have a harder time.

You're right .. although Fez actually ( secretly ) has allot of color nuances, which don't easily translate to for example the Master System. Here's a quick conversion attempt nevertheless.



.. using the following palette ..

Quote
.db 0x3D,0x00,0x2F,0x3E,0x0E,0x2A,0x16,0x09,0x15,0x05,0x26,0x10,0x04,0x0A,0x1B,0x3F

Obviously, you would get better results creating / redoing the graphics for a platform specifically compared to a conversion.

And just for the heck of it, Spelunky on MegaDrive ( using a separate layer for the background ) Smiley

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cirpons
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 09:40:00 AM »

EGA colors are good!

A good game using ega was Loom:


Now there are some great mockups too, like this one by Arachne:

Or this by Adam:


And this one by Surt.

Some artwork
By ptoing:

Helm:

Jinn:

xegnma:


Are C64 colors also considered 2bit(16 color)?
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z84c00
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 11:33:40 AM »

Thanks for the images guys..

There are definitely a lot of decent games out there that use EGA colors. Arcade-y games from ye olde era definitely beat converted ones. For Example:


New Zealand Story SMS


Penguin Land SMS

On the other hand, it's painfully obvious to see the difference between Rick Dangerous EGA and the Atari-ST / Amiga original, which is 3-bit/component:


EGA version


Original Atari-ST version.

While Spelunky's main colors seem half decent, the grey/gray background becomes a single color and loses most of it's appeal IMO.

So here's an odd-ball question: How about RGB3:3:2? Most arcade games use this scheme with the blue component being 2-bit as the eye's less sensitive to it... Best of both worlds? Being techie I don't like them not being all the same bit-width but hey.. :-)

-Z8

P.S. I don't think you can classify the C64's palette as 2-bit due to the fact that they're fixed. So even though there are only 16 colors, they're made up of higher resolution components.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 11:46:18 AM by z84c00 » Logged
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