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Author Topic: NES games showing 25 colors at once?  (Read 1390 times)

PresidentLeever

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NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« on: August 14, 2019, 05:58:01 am »
http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Games/Hacking/Wiki/index.php?title=NES_Palette

Were there any games that did or is that info wrong? I thought it was 13 max.

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Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 08:10:33 am »
Main background color
4 palette sets for background * 3 colors each
4 palette sets for sprites * 3 colors each

Total 25 colors. Battle city for example (in certain cases)
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PresidentLeever

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 08:14:08 pm »
Really? Never seen a game with more than 17 so far.
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Bregalad

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2019, 04:01:18 pm »
In practice, colours are reused among palettes. For example with sprites, most sprites needs a black outilne to look good, so it's common for games to have a "black" colour in all 4 palettes and only the other 2 colours differs.

The other thing is for the BG, the colour palettes are attributed to 16x16 pixel areas. If you want any colour to be shared between 16x16 areas using a different palette, other than the backdrop colour, it has to be repeated among BG palettes. This is less common, but still.

For games showing all 25 colours simultaneously, you'd have to look at the oldest games before black outlines became common, such as Legend of Zelda. Ironically games having more simultaneous colours aren't the one with the best graphcis, by far.

Also how did you measure this and claim you've never seen a game with more than 17 ? I doubt you can count this yourself.

PresidentLeever

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2019, 07:10:38 am »
Ok can you post some examples?

Just a color counter in paint.net on various screenshots of the best looking games. I haven't looked into it thoroughly.

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Disch

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 02:21:05 pm »
Your fallacy is you are equating "most colors on screen" with "best looking".

As has already been explained, putting 25 colors on the screen at once is not difficult and is something the NES is fully capable of doing without any tricks.  Most games just don't do it, however, because it wouldn't look very good since each 16x16 block is restricted to 4 colors.

If you are interested in the technical limitations of the NES, you need to look no further than the palette/PPU viewer in an emu like FCEUX:



This is from Final Fantasy.  The circled color is the background color.  The X'd out colors are not actually visible (they're transparent -- hard to explain).  But everything else can be unique.

Everything else is 3*8 = 24, plus the background color is 25.

Note, however, the duplicates.  There's a lot of black in the bottom row because sprites want to have a black outline, and so every sprite palette also needs to have black in it.  There's also lots of greens because this is from the overworld and pretty much every tile on the overworld has some part of it that's grassy, so every palette also needs a green.


Now, you could VERY EASILY change all those duplicate colors to all be unique.  And that would not be technically difficult at all -- a totally novice romhacker could do it for their very first hack.  But it would probably look like absolute garbage.  The map would look extremely blocky as there'd be rigid/hard color breaks on 16x16 boundaries when the palette changes.

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 09:23:59 pm »
I remember this thoughtful article on the Super Game Boy that talks about how DK94 managed to do some neat tricks to obscure block-by-block palette changes.
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kuja killer

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 11:31:56 pm »
i think i brought this up with Disch in the romhacking IRC once before, i dont remember. but i once saw an article on nesdev wiki explaining it was supposedly possible to use IRQ's to load unique colors into those really stupid "mirrored" parts that cant be used (3F04, 8, C, 10, 14, 18, 1C)

And i tried it once and it worked, but apparently it still wasnt possible to truly show those colors on the screen or use them really. :(

Totally sucks. SNES, sega master system, game gear, gameboy all can use those slots.... but not NES. :(

Disch

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2019, 12:33:01 am »
Totally sucks. SNES, sega master system, game gear, gameboy all can use those slots

Eehhhhh... not really.

Every system has to have a transparent color.  I know for a fact SNES also reserves color 0 to be transparent, so it's no different from NES.  And I have a very strong suspicion that the other listed systems are the same way.

Bregalad

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2019, 05:04:33 am »
Note to mention that if sprites had no transparent colour, they'd look like complete garbage. (and would HAVE to be blocky). Once again, more colours is not better graphics.

For BG it's different, and if I remember well the GameBoyColor allows different palettes to not share a common background colour. In this case it can allow for slightly better graphics than what the NES would be capable of.

I remember this thoughtful article on the Super Game Boy that talks about how DK94 managed to do some neat tricks to obscure block-by-block palette changes.
This is very interesting !

kuja killer

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2019, 06:10:50 am »
Eehhhhh... not really.

Every system has to have a transparent color.  I know for a fact SNES also reserves color 0 to be transparent, so it's no different from NES.  And I have a very strong suspicion that the other listed systems are the same way.

I meant those "mirrored" parts specifically, rather than the color 0 thing
like here
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 06:22:10 am by kuja killer »

Bregalad

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 06:15:02 am »
I know few things about the Sega Master System, but as far I know it uses 4BP graphics and no palettes, i.e. single 16-colour BG palette instead of 4x4 colours palettes like the NES.

Neededless to say this leads to much better background graphics, but you ought to compare what is comparable. Also the graphics use twice as much memory for the same objects.

PresidentLeever

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 10:38:23 am »
Your fallacy is you are equating "most colors on screen" with "best looking".

As has already been explained, putting 25 colors on the screen at once is not difficult and is something the NES is fully capable of doing without any tricks.  Most games just don't do it, however, because it wouldn't look very good since each 16x16 block is restricted to 4 colors.

If you are interested in the technical limitations of the NES, you need to look no further than the palette/PPU viewer in an emu like FCEUX:



This is from Final Fantasy.  The circled color is the background color.  The X'd out colors are not actually visible (they're transparent -- hard to explain).  But everything else can be unique.

Everything else is 3*8 = 24, plus the background color is 25.

Note, however, the duplicates.  There's a lot of black in the bottom row because sprites want to have a black outline, and so every sprite palette also needs to have black in it.  There's also lots of greens because this is from the overworld and pretty much every tile on the overworld has some part of it that's grassy, so every palette also needs a green.


Now, you could VERY EASILY change all those duplicate colors to all be unique.  And that would not be technically difficult at all -- a totally novice romhacker could do it for their very first hack.  But it would probably look like absolute garbage.  The map would look extremely blocky as there'd be rigid/hard color breaks on 16x16 boundaries when the palette changes.

Me? I just wanted to see some examples and judge for myself, of course you'd have to optimize it to make full use of it and have it look great. Yes I do understand transparent colors. Thanks for the explanation though.

SMS was surprisingly flexible in this regard, and the limited sub palettes was a bit of an achilles heel for the MD compared to SNES and PCE.


August 22, 2019, 10:48:38 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I know few things about the Sega Master System, but as far I know it uses 4BP graphics and no palettes, i.e. single 16-colour BG palette instead of 4x4 colours palettes like the NES.

Neededless to say this leads to much better background graphics, but you ought to compare what is comparable. Also the graphics use twice as much memory for the same objects.

There aren't any carts with extra mappers on SMS either is there? Guess that's why backgrounds tend to be a bit simple in terms of tile variation and animation.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 10:48:39 am by PresidentLeever »
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KingMike

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 11:33:31 am »
There are mappers on the SMS.
Nearly any 8-bit console is going to use mappers because most if not all 8-bit CPUs are limited to 64KB addressable memory space, which for cartridge-based console often limited the ROM size to 32KB to allow room for RAM or memory-mapped IO.
And even by the mid '80s, 32KB was seemingly paltry for a game console, thus the need for mappers.
(so MSX did do. SG-1000 was right on that border so I heard only game for it used a ROM mapper for expansion. Seemingly some other games used a mapper to split the ROM into two memory regions... on some copies... for unknown reasons.)

However I don't know if any were used to enhance graphics (I think that may have been exclusive to the NES, as it was the only console to put the video memory on the cartridge.
I have heard NES COULD support use the internal VRAM which is normally used for the nametables by itself as a single NT with few tiles, if no VRAM/VROM was on the cartridge, but I don't know of a single game that used it. Even Space Invaders, seemingly the one game simple enough it could work, still used VROM.)
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PresidentLeever

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2019, 12:40:25 pm »
I see, interesting. Yeah I meant for graphics.

Ristar for GG seems like one of the better examples for background variation and animation.
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Psyklax

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2019, 01:09:28 pm »
Feels like I'm necroposting despite the thread being just a week and half quiet but still... :)

The Master System has awesome graphics compared to the NES. Limited RGB means you have at least some example of every colour you might need, rather than the NES's excessive blues and no good yellow. The big difference is that the NES needs cart mappers to change the graphics available, whereas the Master System loads them directly into VRAM. So if your cart is big enough, the only limit is the available VRAM. It can take time to load graphics in though: I made a title screen hack of Rygar and the game pauses for longer than normal because my title screen was bigger than the original. It wasn't a problem adding it to the ROM, I just added it to the end. But loading it into RAM took time.

Basically the SMS kicks the NES's ass in the graphics department. Shame the (non-Japan) sound sucks. :D

PresidentLeever

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2019, 06:12:00 am »
Yes although in terms of the palette, the NES at least has more greytones and one or two more brown-ish shades.


SMS

NES (real hardware approximated values by Kizul)

I honestly prefer the best 2A03 stuff to the best OPLL/YM2413 stuff I've heard on SMS. Certain MSX games sound a bit better though and the mark 3 bios sounds nice (PSG+FM).
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 06:23:10 am by PresidentLeever »
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KingMike

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Re: NES games showing 25 colors at once?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2019, 01:42:18 pm »
The Master System has awesome graphics compared to the NES. Limited RGB means you have at least some example of every colour you might need, rather than the NES's excessive blues and no good yellow. The big difference is that the NES needs cart mappers to change the graphics available, whereas the Master System loads them directly into VRAM. So if your cart is big enough, the only limit is the available VRAM. It can take time to load graphics in though: I made a title screen hack of Rygar and the game pauses for longer than normal because my title screen was bigger than the original. It wasn't a problem adding it to the ROM, I just added it to the end. But loading it into RAM took time.

Basically the SMS kicks the NES's ass in the graphics department. Shame the (non-Japan) sound sucks. :D

I'm sure there's pros and cons to both.
Having only palette on SMS, you can't do palette swaps as easily, needing to create duplicate tiles.

There is one NES "game" with a mapper which used extended VRAM. A paint program called Videomation. It is incredibly slow. Well, being published by THQ probably didn't help either. :P (arguably the worst licensed publisher on the platform)

Using CHR-ROM did allow for enhanced graphics effects due to instantaneous loading (comparing the released SMB2 USA to the leaked prototype is a good example of extra animation, though comparing Dragon's Lair US (CHR-RAM) to the JP/PAL (CHR-ROM) versions shows how much of a difference it can make, with the latter removing the lag that makes the US version nearly unplayable.)
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