There has been many threads and topics devoted to the colors of WinVice on a variety of forums; particularly for the NTSC region. The developers have certainly done tremendous work with the emulator and it is commendable.
Even relatively recently, the following was performed respecting the video display:
It brought contrast and saturation to a default value of 1.250. It makes the current NTSC default display appear as follows:
While indeed appreciated as a rather 'dull/muted' look is part of the issue with the way the NTSC display appears, there is another issue which was brought up previously that cannot be corrected properly through the video options offered via WinVice.
The default red and blue ratios are not what many NTSC users experience. The worst and most evident being the amount of red applied to blue as noticed on the boot screen, but there are other issues as well. The testimony of many NTSC users on these boards as well as numerous online examples of the actual NTSC hardware running on official Commodore equipment (I.E. 1702) as well as other CRT displays makes this clearly evident:
A shift of the tint value (More green/less red) will correct this (improperly) to a degree, but it also impacts the entire palette and will cause greys to look greenish as well as a slew of other undesired adjustments. Again, the main issue is red and blue ratio values, not something a tint/hue control can address the right way.
So here is hopefully something to assist those NTSC users. This is not hand-picked or manually manipulated palette colors. Rather we take the default.vpl file values from WinVice and offer up the following comparison:
Quickly looking over the chart especially the first three (Default, Default15, Default30) one may not notice much if any difference, but there is as we compare the various boot screens with the default and variety of ratio adjustments using the default user adjustable video option values of WinVice.
*Note: All screen captures going forward are in the following order:
default15.vpl --> default30.vpl --> default15-15.vpl --> default30-30.vpl.
Once an individual can figure approximately where their display falls in the spectrum, then other adjustments can be applied (Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Tint). Here is what further difference the boot screen can appear with just contrast bumped up:
You'll notice from the boot screen that the default15 and default15-15 does not appear to look different; ditto with the default30 and default 30-30. To truly notice the full range of what has changed and not changed (Or hardly changed) let's take two popular titles utilizing again the default user video option values:
The differences from default and the four new default values should hopefully be much clearer.
The issue (red/blue portions) is not unique to the C64 under the NTSC region. All three Atari systems (2600/5200/7800) and the NES (Both with vastly different ways of how their palettes are generated) experience a similar phenomenon. The only proper way to address it is with the option of modifying red, green, and blue ratio proportions, once a set of default values are obtained from the appropriate performed calculations.
You'll notice that the percentage of 15% and 30% were utilized. Every 15% is where a very significant difference becomes apparent as highlighted in the captures. A higher percentage is possible but evidence of any online examples or personal experience of the ratios within a range greater than 30% is lacking.
How to apply the different palettes:
Copy the palette files to the C64 sub-folder found within the main folder where the main executable resides.
After copying the files you normally should be able to select them via the GUI interface: 'Settings' --> 'Video Settings' --> 'VICII Palette' tab. However, that appears not to work.
An easy method is to just open the vice.ini file (Found in the main directory where the executable resides - i.e. C:\WinVICE) with Notepad and about a third of the way down you will find two lines:
Change "default" to one of the new default files and change the 0 to 1. So for example if you wanted to try the "default15-15.vpl" file, the lines would be modified to:
Please make sure you save the file.
Proceed then to launch WinVice and make whatever additional video changes you desire - contrast, brightness, saturation, etc.
It would be wonderful to perhaps see these options/values incorporated and included in the WinVice distribution. To assist further and in aiding any who believe or desire to make manual adjustments to the default calculations here is the complete chart of palette values:
Download the chart in Excel format here: CHARTDELTAS.zip 8.53KB 168 downloads
Finally, the four new default palette files for WinVice can be downloaded here: WinVice_Default_Palettes_20131207.zip 1.46KB 215 downloads