Modyfication old games to look better. :)

Started by ZbyniuR, 05:44, 25 March 23

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On Amstrad there are some games in MODE 1 (4 colors) with a badly selected palette, e.g. only shades of blue, or colors so random and non-contrasting that you don't want to look at them. Surprisingly, I counted over 40 of them, including 10 well-known and popular ones.
And they can be changed with just a few POKEs, just to find the right place where they hide.

I started with one of my favorite games, although it is not one of those with terrible colors. I'm talking about Prohibition. If you like the picture below with a piece of map in new colors, you can play from DSK below with such colors.
To find and modify POKEs I used a free PC program - Hex Editor Neo. And I've been tinkering with the whole DSK. It took just few minutes. :)

The next one I took a look at is "Nigel Mansell's World Championship" (1993) - Don't confuse with "Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix" (1988), but unfortunately, despite several hours of tinkering, so far no result. :( My enthusiasm has waned a bit, I have a few more fancy and time consuming ideas how to discover these POKEs, but rather next time when I feel do some retro I will choose another title, maybe it will go easier. I'm attaching the concept of new colors. The blue ones are the original, then the 1st and 2nd, rather final concept. :)

Here are the other candidates for change:
Afteroids (1988), Hero Quest (1991), Hudson Hawk (1991), Iron Lord (1990), Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (1990), Midnight Resistance (1990), Untouchables (The) (1989), War In Middle Earth (1989), ...
In STARS, TREK is better than WARS.


I've been messing around with Nigel Mansell's code and for some reason the programmer wrote a weird routine to set the palettes. You have to poke  #9F2,17 #9E3,0A and  #9DA,1E to get the blue and yellow scheme that you wish. Wich btw, it will serve for other colours you would like to try with.
Bare in mind that this will also change the colours on other screens, and certainly it could be done in a better way but at least it does the job  ;D

Anthony Flack

I'm really liking some of the games that have been modified to use the Plus palette I must say. Tweaked mode 0 games on the Plus can look almost 16 bit with no more than a few simple palette adjustments. It makes such a difference. 


This is how we end up with limited games on a system seen as not very efficient. ;D
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

Anthony Flack

I know it's not exploiting the Plus to its full potential but I've always had a difficult relationship with the old CPC palette, and the Plus colours just look so delicious.

Too bad Amstrad didn't integrate Plus features into the Basic and everything instead of pretending it was hardware locked to the cartridge port. I really think it's worth it for just the colours alone, but I'm sure home coders would have loved to have had a crack at the new features as well, and other users would have appreciated having, you know, software. Even if it was only magazine pokes to give your old games new colours.


I had loved a 6128 with a 4-bit palette. 12-bit palette is great, but the limited number of displayable colours is more frustrating.
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)


As a woke up too early for a sunday morning  :picard:  I've decided to create a patched dsk of the version cracked by XOR for the in-race palette changes, not affecting the rest of the screens. In this case it will be needed side B of the XOR version ofc. 
Besides, for further modifications, it is possible to arrange any palette of choice, changing the values from #93 to #96


@trocoloco - I don't get it how to find this #93 to #96 ??
If you mean offset in file NM1992, there are zeros.

I beleve better pallet are colors 20,16,9 not 11,24,12, that was early concept I had. And it's not so bad colors for whole game. Including mono monitors.
Can you change pallete for ech scenes?  Earth with flags, modify car area, podium, etc.

Yesterday after your first post I found on DSK (XOR version), 5 places with colors set the same way as at address you gived, I was happy for a while, because I thought that pallets for each scenes, but if I change least 1 byte, game is reset itself. So I don't understand your sorcerys.

I see only 2 person took Prohibition and nobody said a word. Is it better or not?
In STARS, TREK is better than WARS.


I have not made myself clear. I meant when game is loaded in memory you have to check memory positions  going from &93 to &96 (hexadecimal), those are the four bytes with the value for ingame palette, but if you open the file in a hex editor the values surely are in the same positions. 

I don't know if is the best choice of colours or not as that is just a subjective point of view. I've just followed the first of the screens that you showed and used as an example... As far as I know there are a few palettes, for the intro screens, 4 blacks, menu and ingame, they are starting at &994 and the composition is "00 XX 01 XX 02 XX 03 XX FF", so there's only one palette for ingame. Not sure but I suppose that with a lot more time and patience it could be patched so every scene could have a different one... 

Regarding the "sorcery", in order to not provoke for the game to do weird artifacts due to the jumps in memory just to get a value to set the colours ??? ,  what it is done here, is simply skipping the game routine and jumping to a routine placed at &80 , that just sets the palette located right after everytime the racing part is loaded 


Values 53,4C,56,54 match the colors of the 3rd image, which look better IMO.
But maybe we can find even better!


use RASM, the best (and fastest) assembler ever made


Using grey (the misnamed cyan) rather than green should be more realistic, indeed.
Also, we can't have a blue sky if it's raining  :-\


Thanks guys for your help. I really appreciate your knowledge and effort. Now the game looks the way I wanted. All made in the same colors 0,20,16,9, although you can make a different one in options than in race. Some flags and cars look quite good, others a little less, but still better than in the original colors. :) If someone wants to explain to him how to modify it, because he has an idea for a different palette, and does not understand how the hardware colors work, just ask. DSK below. :)

For relaxation, I'm putting some imaginary pictures from Lotus 2, which will probably never be made  CPC. And next time I'll try to improve Hudson Hawk and Untouchables. :)
In STARS, TREK is better than WARS.


Quote from: Jean-Marie on 21:52, 26 March 23Using grey (the misnamed cyan)
Problem with your CTM? :-\ This colour is not grey but cyan (dark) or teal. (R=00%, G=50%, B=50%)
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)


Quote from: ZbyniuR on 11:46, 26 March 23I see only 2 person took Prohibition and nobody said a word. Is it better or not?
Personally I prefer the palette of the original version of Prohibition (brown, grey and white).


It should be a different work depending of kind of mode 1 game. Nigel Mansell or Hudson Hawk are speccy port, Iron Lord is converted from Atari ST.
And Teenage Queen (sadly) ?


What an awesome project!

Hero Quest also suffers from late Gremlin blue effect. ;)


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