So, a little while ago I was wondering how Gods by Bitmap Brothers was made (MS-DOS version). The game runs perfectly fine on my 286/16Mhz and when you start looking into the bandwidth required for a 320x200 256 VGA color mode side scrolling game, then you quickly realize that updating a screen that scrolls is basically impossible on such a low-spec system. The ISA bus simply doesn't have the bandwidth, and even 4 byte VGA video memory to video memory latch copies (unchained mode) aren't going to cut it...
So, I was breaking my head over on how they did this...
Then, a little white ago, someone, somewhere, can't remember exactly were, but I'm pretty sure it was a YouTube video, mentioned that the game is in 16 colors! I.e. mode 0x0D... What the...., it can't be!
So, the other day when I had some time, I dug out a screenshot TSR program for DOS and managed to grab a screenshot. The image looked garbled, but loading it into GIMP, yes, there it was, a 16 color palette. After a bit of fiddling I figured out that they resized the video buffer to be 352 pixels wide, i.e. the left and right side of the screen has 16 pixels extra each. This allows for smooth panning and, probably more important, they don't need pixel perfect screen clipping saving some precious CPU cycles. Anyhow, by adjusting the image width I was able to get the correct image to display.
To me this is absolutely amazing. The graphics artist's name is Dan Malone . If you look at the palette, then you can see that there are 2 gradients. A grayish one and a brownish one. The grayish one is used for walls, armor, marble and bricks while the brownish one is used for skin-tone, the ladder, pickups, marble, score and energy. Then there are these 2 super bright colors, green and yellow, accent colors. The green is used to differentiate the bricks, the yellow is used on the gem pick up and the marble high-light. On other levels the gradients might be slightly different tones but it uses the same principle. I.e. in other levels the skin-tone might be slightly different but as a player, you won't notice this.
Anyhow, the game still sucks to play but it's, in my opinion, the best looking DOS game and knowing now that it's only 16 colors, even more respect!