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Asmusr

The ultimate palette

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I think we all agree that the colors of the TI-99/4A (9918A) palette are not optimal.

palette.png.23ad6d2f8118c3b94c2527630a669cd6.png

What do you think the ultimate 16 color palette would look like?

Please post your suggestions, and remember that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Bonus for considering some degree of backwards compatibility with the old palette.
 

Edited by Asmusr

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So, I've argued this before - that I like the three main (red, green, blue) gradients available on the 9918 palette (if you include Cyan in the blue gradient). 

 

Because without them, you can't do this:

 

image.png.b2222ada49d3d7cc5f95596897612a8f.pngimage.png.d0b4ff2d31e9567b99caa5820f4615d8.pngimage.png.064b818d511e0d2ea127a688428114c7.png

 

So I think I'd keep them. I'd be tempted to lower the brightness on Cyan a bit, but honestly, I feel like it's pretty key to the TI-99's identity and aesthetic.  So I'm not even sure I'd do that.

 

My inclination would be to provide only one true yellow, and darken the other one to a proper brown.

 

I'd make the reds a bit more distinct than they are.

 

And Magenta I'd probably sacrifice for a Dark Grey. 

 

I like the light grey we do have being available as a foreground colour.  Being able to do Grey on Blue is again something I wouldn't want to lose.  But also having a darker grey would be really nice.  And a lot more useful than Magenta, I feel.

 

I wouldn't want to revamp it completely around a design akin to the CGA palette, where it's a set of eight colours in two luminance variants.  I feel like the three variations on each of the primary colours is pretty central to the palette's identity. 

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Brown it technically the same thing as a dark orange.

 

If you design your palette correctly, you can double-duty one of the reds, brown/dark orange, and yellow as another color gradient, without sacrificing the red gradient at all.

 

(and ninja by Carlsson)

If you note in the above gradient I got ninja'd by, you will see orange brown and red make one gradient-- Yellow orange and brown another, Black, 75% grey, 25% grey, and white make a third, Cyan, skintone/ecru and pink make a very ugly fourth; Teal, true blue, lime, and dark green make a 5th... etc...

 

The same colors co-exist in different gradients.

 

This is very important to tie different game assets together cleanly without color clash.

 

However, I tend to personally dislike general purpose palettes, since they introduce arbitrary and nasty restrictions.  Also, try to avoid 100% saturation colors. blech.

Edited by wierd_w
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Id say natural colors, sky blue, ocean blue, sea green, sun Yellow, sugar white, tree brown, real black,fire red then shades of those.

 

Edited by GDMike

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Just now, GDMike said:

Id say natural colors, sky blue, ocean blue, sea green, sun Yellow, sugar white, tree brown, real black, then shades of those.

 

It really does depend what you are drawing.

 

You can do a lot with greens and browns, sure-- but you need warmer tones too.  If you are drawing something artificial, like a car, you dont want natural colors.

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I'm just drawing a tree by the ocean, with the sun out and clouds. Geeesh

What else is there?

Edited by GDMike

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The glint of crimson and aqua colored beach glass, pink seashells, grey-black barnacles on basalt boulders...

 

White flowers on the tree.  Flamingos dipping for shrimp. Black coconut crabs, and orange mangos.

 

Also, overweight tourist in hawaiian shirt, wearing a lei, relaxing on a beach chair and drinking a Mai-tai.

 

;)

 

(but the TI's 2 color per 8x8 tile restriction will make drawing that most difficult without doing per-scanline interuptions and other trickery.)

Edited by wierd_w
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So I used Wad's palette and applied it to a few pics. Those with three green hues, I replaced one with brown in the classic "Intellivision way" (that system has a palette with one forest green colour that for 40+ years has been debated if it is green or brown, and different TV sets and in particular different composite video mods and emulators display it differently).

 

I'm not sure if these are the best choices for testing a palette, but it was what I could find with a simple search.

 

titlescreen.png.b00e34b6a75937dcfdb69d58c97e8f00.png

 

frogger.png.e27e9255f46185e92096333dc154c35b.png

 

parsec.png.0866fa6c34405056a08821e66a4f389a.png

 

pitfall.png.04a8e2e3df040d817df9b3c929ba7542.png

 

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How about the transparent color 0, is the value it provides worth spending a palette index on?

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Nah, the sprite engine isn't using the transparent color for the unset bits, so I think it's okay there. That's literally only there to support the video overlay function -- which is hard-wired out on the 4A console. So we certainly could have used it as an actual color.

 

 

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1 hour ago, GDMike said:

Black

15 blacks (all different shades, obviously,) but one red for the door.

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On 9/25/2020 at 1:12 AM, Tursi said:

Nah, the sprite engine isn't using the transparent color for the unset bits, so I think it's okay there. That's literally only there to support the video overlay function -- which is hard-wired out on the 4A console. So we certainly could have used it as an actual color.

Sprites do not use color 0 but it does serve a purpose for character set color in BASIC, in that the screen color can show through without requiring CALL COLOR or equivalent.  I figure we are proposing an alternate palette, anyway, so it would need to be unlocked somehow.  I was quite happy with the VIC-II palette, and always jealous of 8-bits with 256 (or 240, whatever,) colors.

 

But if we are going that route, why not a user-definable palette?  Nonetheless, the 9918's quirky colors are part of the charm of the TI-99/4(A).  A new palette, even if user-selected, starts to stray away from that charm, and perhaps raises the question of what it means to be "TI."  Of course, what was it like transitioning from OCS to ECS and EHB mode on the Amiga?

 

I dunno; philosophy aside, a modified rainbow across 16 colors would work nicely for me.  I like the three levels of green, red, and blue, with magenta as the bridge between red and blue.  I believe an extra level of yellow toward an orange or brown would add utility.

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23 hours ago, carlsson said:

There are a few more suggestions in the same category.

I like Wad's Palette, but also this:

palette_sam.gif.9d7360b714537e11c714ee2abf98f3d0.gif

You would have many more options for blending colors into each other than for the 9918A palette.

 

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Skin colours need dithering though, unless you only draw people with white, yellow or black skin.

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2 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Skin colours need dithering though, unless you only draw people with white, yellow or black skin.

I don't know, most people look kind of magenta to me 🙂

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So I found an image with 100 female faces drawn with a "MSX palette" (but not adhering to MSX graphics limitations). I picked nine of them and repaletted them with the Wad palette. Of course some of the pics would benefit from repixeling when using a different palette, but here those are next to eachother for comparison.

 

girls-msx.png.52f1a4a1d1ad170de511976d28fb9636.png

 

girls-wad.png.7acf94b24a57d485cfa15dbbf8ac68f7.png

 

In this case, perhaps the TI palette isn't that bad after all, but again as I wrote if the pics were redrawn with a different palette in mind, they would look better.

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