VOGONS


First post, by Good_Punk

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I always felt that EGA games using the original color palette had their very own charme. I'm not sure what it is but there's something about those bright colors that just makes me happy. <3 😁
So at some point I wanted to give it a shot and try to recreate that look in one of my own games. Technically it's not using an EGA graphics adapter obviously but I tried to stick with its limitations as close as I could.

I hoped to maybe find some like minded EGA enthusiasts around here that would be interested to take a look at it and play it. The game is a house party simulation where you have to take care of your guests and there's a lot of crazy things going on there.

I've released a Shareware version on itch.io: https://tim-rachor.itch.io/party-host-85
Or you can get it on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1660500/Party_Host_85/

Cheers

Reply 1 of 15, by kdr

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I'm another fan of the EGA aesthetic. Your graphics are reminiscent of the early Lucasarts style from Maniac Mansion and the university scenes from the first Indiana Jones. Vibrant colours (you could almost call it 'garish') but not much use of dithering. That would come later, in LOOM and Monkey Island, perhaps as the artists gained more experience working with the fixed 16 colour palette.

Have you thought about making your game run on a real (or emulated) EGA card?

Reply 2 of 15, by Good_Punk

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Yes I thought about that but that would have meant a loooot of learning to code in DOS and writing my own little engine or something. It would be cool though but being able to release the game for modern machines and on Steam obviously opens it up to a wider audience which is also a nice benefit. 😀

And yes dithering made a huge difference... when I think of games like the Colonel's Bequest... that made amazing use of the technique. I thought about using it for the menu screen but I couldn't really pull it off without making the menu harder to read. I'm tempted to give it another try in the future though. 😁

Reply 5 of 15, by Good_Punk

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mihai wrote on 2021-06-27, 07:59:

I am quite fond of EGA esthetics, actually I believe the best version of Monkey Island / Loom are the EGA ones.

Yes they at least have a very special charme.... makes me feel young again, bringing back good memories. 😅

Reply 9 of 15, by digger

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I'll never forget how incredibly lush those 16 colors looked in graphics mode, when I first saw Space Quest II in 16-color EGA at a classmate's house. I ended up resenting those 4-color CGA palettes that I was limited to on our PC at home.

Funnily enough, I recently saw a YouTube interview of one of the graphics designers at LucasFilm games, who told how he and his colleagues hated the (in their view) harsh and unnatural 16 colors they had to work with in EGA and PCJr/Tandy modes. They were particularly unhappy with the results in Zack McKracken, and as a result, they made the best possible use of dithering in the initial 16-color version of Monkey Island, and were relieved when they later got to make a 256-color version of the game. 😅

Yeah, I found a reference to this on Wikipedia:

According to artist Steve Purcell, that became a major limitation for the art team; due to a low number of "ghastly" colors, they often chose bizarre tones for backgrounds.[27] They chose black and white for Guybrush's outfit for the same reason.[23] The VGA version of the game later corrected these issues by implementing 256-color support, which allowed for more advanced background and character art.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_of_Monkey_Island

It's funny: those colors looked so lush to me in the older AGI games, but at the same time were described as "ghastly" by graphics artists who worked at Sierra's major rival. I guess it's because those 4 colors looked so limiting and depressing in comparison, that the 16 colors (even though I already had them back home in text mode), just seemed to pop out in graphics mode.

Reply 10 of 15, by digistorm

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Some artists had worked with Amiga’s before, and then EGA will look quite harsh in comparison. Even the 16 colors of the C64 look more soft and approachable, but that is of course a matter of taste😉

Reply 11 of 15, by Jo22

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digistorm wrote on 2021-06-29, 08:40:

Some artists had worked with Amiga’s before, and then EGA will look quite harsh in comparison. Even the 16 colors of the C64 look more soft and approachable, but that is of course a matter of taste😉

The VIC-20 has the same colors.
The Famicom has pastel colours, too, I believe.

https://www.atelier-betoux.com/1-1-colors-on-nes-famicom/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_8-bit_c … rdware_graphics

What's funny, though. EGA's predecessor has soft colours, too. Composite CGA and the NTSC artifact colours are less aggressive looking.

http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2013/11/i … aphics.html?m=1

Edit: User dr.zeissler has a collection of some fine EGA art.
Re: EGA cards: are there significant differences between models? Recommendations?

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 12 of 15, by Errius

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I remember inviting my Amiga/ST owning friends over to play games on my new PC compatible. The first game was Double Dragon.

"Why do they all have measles?"

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 13 of 15, by dr.zeissler

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In direct comparison the early sierra/lucas adventures look better on atari-st/macintosh as on PC with EGA. Most noticible are the skin-tones. I was a very big fan of EGA...but if you can compare it directly you clearly see the differences.

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Reply 14 of 15, by digger

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Yeah, now that you mention it, the lack of natural looking skin colors really stood out. All (presumably) white characters had such red faces all the time!

Apparently, a very small number of games allowed the use of alternate 16-color palettes chosen out of the 64 colors that EGA would normally only support in 640x350 high-res mode. This would require specific EGA cards combined with specific monitors in order for it to work, though. But it was a huge improvement, specifically w.r.t. skin tones. An interesting blog post about it can be found here, with screenshots: https://swarmik.tumblr.com/post/179660020524/aaaa

Perhaps IBM could have implemented downwards compatibility for CGA monitors in the EGA standard in a smarter way, so that the support for these alternative palettes could have been made more widely available.

Heck, IBM could have added a 320x200x64 standard that would allow all the 64 colors supported by EGA monitors to be shown at the same time, at least at the lower 320x200 resolution. Although still not as flexible as VGA, I wonder what impressive things artists could have done with 64 colors.

Reply 15 of 15, by digger

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2021-07-27, 13:19:

In direct comparison the early sierra/lucas adventures look better on atari-st/macintosh as on PC with EGA. Most noticible are the skin-tones. I was a very big fan of EGA...but if you can compare it directly you clearly see the differences.

Right. That's also why some 16-color games offered a separate VGA mode. It would still show no more than 16 colors at the same time, but it would run the game with a more optimized palette. (Well that, and the MCGA graphics on the lower-end PS/2 systems didn't support EGA 16-color modes.)

Assuming that most of these games used the same artwork between the different architecture-specific ports, but just with a better tweaked palette, that makes me wonder how feasible it would be to write patched drivers for these 16-color games that would make them look better on VGA/MCGA, simply by running the games with an alternative 16-color palette, that would better match the palettes used on Amiga and Atari ST systems. It can be a bit tricky, though. If you simply replaced "light red" with "light skin tone", an undesirable consequence would be that items that were supposed to be light red would get the wrong color as well. Still, it might be something fun to play with.