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VGA games with only 16 colors

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Reply 20 of 40, by sf78

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MusicallyInspired wrote:

I thought the number of colours were printed on the box regardless whether it said VGA or not.

And again, Sierra was the worst offender. I remember buying the EGA version of Red Baron by mistake because it had this transparent sticker on the cover which you easily missed. I mean look at it, that is such bullshit! Obviously they had the little sticker in the corner where it said EGA/VGA 16 colors, but all the box images were from a VGA version anyway.

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Reply 23 of 40, by dr.zeissler

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That's an interesting topic.

Some early VGA games only use 16 colors. But that should mostly be the same EGA palette.
But there might be VGA games that use 16 colors specially optimized for VGA.

I think that the bitmap brothers used special 16 colors in their PC-conversions, or am I wrong here?

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Reply 24 of 40, by rmay635703

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Some “256” color games only used a fraction of that but more than 16

I remember well into the VGA ERA 16 color graphics seemed to be a selling point even when vga/ega was on the box

https://www.google.com/amp/s/trixter.ol ... bm-pc/amp/

Reply 25 of 40, by filipetolhuizen

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Afterburner also seems to be running with only 16 colours in both EGA and VGA modes. The palette differs a bit in each mode, though. Same with California Games that has EGA/VGA mode and MCGA/VGA mode. It tends to recommend EGA/VGA mode but MCGA looks a lot better IMHO.

Reply 26 of 40, by dr.zeissler

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I am interested in this toppic because of my 286/8 bridgeboard in my amiga 2000. I am using a 16bit ET4000 from diamond with 1MB.
Because the machine is so low-end, I mostly play EGA games on it. Setting this ET4000 in EGA Mode does fix some games that do not
run, if the card is still in VGA mode and has to display EGA. Interestingly some games do run on that ultra-low-end that I never expected,
the first is BodyBlows and the second is DynaBlaster. These seem to be excellently coded. The Bitmap brother-ports are also really great.

I am still collecting games because I have lot's of space on that setup (4x2GB PCDos 5.0).

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Reply 27 of 40, by Grzyb

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rmay635703 wrote on 2020-01-14, 00:37:

Some “256” color games only used a fraction of that but more than 16

This may have something to do with the fact that for a few years many PC games were conversions from Amiga, with 32-color graphics.

Reply 28 of 40, by eL_PuSHeR

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I think most Bitmap Brothers games (Gods, Speedball 2, Magic Pockets, etc) also used a 16c VGA palette.

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Reply 29 of 40, by Jo22

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Generally speaking, several games from the shareware/freeware sector used Standard VGA (640x460 in 16c, that is).
Games that comes to mind:

Digger
Asteroid
several chess games

Also, DOS/V games often used 640x400 view port..:

Marble Cooking
Rusty
Seasons of Sakura
Runaway City

(I assume, that the "mode" behind was 640x480 still.)

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Reply 30 of 40, by Stretch

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Rambo III

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Reply 31 of 40, by leileilol

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The Dynamix Incredible Machine/Toons games also do the VGA640 palette thing at a lower vertical resolution, and are often mistreated as 4:3 modes in emulation (or at least i've always remembered them looking fairly letterboxed on real CRTs of the time, it wasn't like 640x400@70 VESA modes)

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 32 of 40, by HunterZ

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I don't know of any lists. Maybe we should start one.

Sierra's PC ports of Japanese games are weird ones that might be relevant:

It always bothered me that Firehawk's MCGA/VGA driver uses only 16 colors at 320x200, while the EGA driver runs 16 colors at 640x350 and uses a sort of dithering to simulate a much higher color palette. I wish someone would write a proper 320x200 256-color driver for it!

Similar deal with Zeliard, except somehow the 16-color MCGA still looks so good that I was convinced for a long time that it was using a custom 16- or 64-color palette. The only reason it's better in EGA is because it actually takes advantage of the higher resolution for some more detailed graphical elements in addition to using it for dithering.

Reply 33 of 40, by Jo22

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HunterZ wrote on 2020-01-20, 03:01:

It always bothered me that Firehawk's MCGA/VGA driver uses only 16 colors at 320x200, while the EGA driver runs 16 colors at 640x350 and uses a sort of dithering to simulate a much higher color palette. I wish someone would write a proper 320x200 256-color driver for it!

Or a proper 640x400 256c driver for it. 😉 640x400 was a standard resolution on Japanese Computers (PC8801, PC98, Sharp X1 etc).
In our place, in the west, some prominent ISA SVGA cards of the time could do that mode with as little as 256KiB of Video RAM.
Like the PVGA cards by Paradise/WDC. Also, 640x400 was the lowest VESA VBE mode, as well, so a VESA driver may do, as well.

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Reply 34 of 40, by HunterZ

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That would be boring, though, because it would just look like EGA.

I did a mock-up of what I'm talking about:

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EGA for comparison:

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MCGA for comparison:

firehawk-mcga.gif
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Reply 35 of 40, by shiva2004

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-01-19, 14:11:
Also, DOS/V games often used 640x400 view port..: […]
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Also, DOS/V games often used 640x400 view port..:

Marble Cooking
Rusty
Seasons of Sakura
Runaway City

(I assume, that the "mode" behind was 640x480 still.)

That's because they're straight ports of PC-98 games and these machines used a weird "letterboxed" mode of 640x400 square pixels in standard 4:3 CRT displays (in fact PC-98 laptops used 16:10 screens way before it was a common aspect ratio in the west).

Reply 36 of 40, by Norton Commander

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My very first PC was a Commodore PC-40 AT (286-12MHz AT clone 1 MB Ram DOS 3.3). It had an on-board VGA with 256K RAM. VGA mode was 640x480x16 which was standard for all other PC clones of that era I compared it with (some had support for higher rez/colors but were higher-end 386 machines). Yes, it also had MCGA 320x200x256 but it seemed that 640x480x16 WAS pretty standard for VGA at that time (Late 80's?). The games I bought and shareware I downloaded were either 320x200x256 or 640x480x16 with some higher resolutions/depths supported depending on the game.

Reply 37 of 40, by dr.zeissler

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Games with 640x480 16colors on 286? can't remember these...

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Reply 38 of 40, by rmay635703

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2020-01-25, 14:11:

Games with 640x480 16colors on 286? can't remember these...

I had a variety of slow paced games for my VGA equipped Tandy 1000rlx that used 640x480x16
A bunch that also used higher resolution ega modes.

Most were card games, “Japanese games” board games, hangman, “learning games”, typing games and a few one on one aim the cannon type of games.

Reply 39 of 40, by Jo22

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2020-01-25, 14:11:

Games with 640x480 16colors on 286? can't remember these...

Pretty much all text adventures with graphics and simulations ran in 640x480@16c. Or higher. 😉
- That excludes the popular, less demanding Point&Click Adventures from Sierra/LucasArts, of course.
From what I remember, esp. Sierra On-Line used VMs for their Quest series that didn't even make full use of 320x200.

Games that made full use of 640x480 and higher resolutions :
(Edit: This is about commercial games. List incomplete.)

- Text adventures from the 80s ran in 80x25@16c mode, giving ~720x400 on VGA cards. 😉

- Adventures by Magnetic Scrolls used 640x350 (EGA) or 640x480.
The re-releases and later releases used 800x600 in 16c, too.
https://www.mobygames.com/company/magnetic-scrolls

- Knights of Xentar used 640x480 and dithering effects.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/knig ... Id,769986/

- Frederik Pohls Gateway series used 640x350 (EGA) or 640x480, 800x600.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/frederik-pohls-gateway

- Spellcasting series used 640x350 (EGA) or 640x480, maybe 800x600.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/spel ... the-girls/

- Eric the Unready used 640x350 (EGA) or 640x480, maybe 800x600
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/eric ... otId,9342/

- Shannara seems to use 640x,480, too, according to the dithering effects.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/shan ... Id,299422/

- Callahan's Crosstime Saloon seems to use 640x,480, too, according to the dithering effects.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/call ... Id,467116/

- Timequest used 640x350 (EGA) or 640x480, maybe 800x600.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/time ... Id,734054/

(^Most of these are Legend games..)

- Microsoft Flight Simulator series supported 640x350, 640x480 and higher.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/micr ... ulator-v50

- Sim Series (SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnts)

- Space M+A+X
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/spac ... Id,956322/

- Star Control 3 used 640x480 in 16c, or higher.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/star ... hotId,390/

(* Adventures also often silently supported CGA in 640x400, monochrome.)

Some games that I know which require 640x400 in 256c:

- Die Höhlenwelt Saga used 640x400 in 256c.

List of SVGA/VBE games:
https://www.mobygames.com/attribute/she ... p,2/so,0a/

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