Change the Global Palette
Change the Global Palette
AB3DII runs on a 256 colour screen, which requires a palette. There are three files supplied
containing the original AB3DII palette information in three different formats:
This is in the form of an IFF palette and can therefore be loaded into most commercial
This file contains the same information in a format specifically for use by the editors
and conversion programs supplied with AB3DII
This file is the one loaded by the game itself when run.
Say you are drawing a wall graphic. You can do this in one of two ways:
Using an art package with a 256 colour screen, load in the IFFPAL file as a palette.
Draw your graphics WITHOUT making any changes to the palette, and save it to disk. Then
convert the picture down to 32 colours (most art packages will allow you to do this
automatically) and save it again under a different filename. You will notice that the
colours you have used from the 256 palette will be present in the smaller 32 colour
palette. You can now convert the graphics as normal (see HOW2-Convert_Wall_Graphics).
This method usually gives best results because the colours you use are actually present
in the palette the game will use.
Draw your wall on a 32 colour screen using whatever palette you wish, and save it to disk.
The conversion program will match each colour you use to the best one available in the
global palette stored in 256PAL.
This method may not work very well if you try to draw a wall using colours not present
or very different from those in the global palette.
The palette supplied with AB3DII was used in the game but may not be to everyone's taste. If you
want to change the palette, this is the procedure you must follow:
Use your favourite art package to edit the IFFPAL file (make sure you are editing a copy
in your own directory, not the original file), then use the PALETTECREATOR program to
produce equivalent 256PAL and 256PALETTE files.
Use the PALETTECREATOR program to edit the palette and save out the 256PAL and 256PALETTE
files. It is not possible to save out IFFPAL files from the PALETTECREATOR program.
When designing your own palette, make sure there are plenty of shades of each colour, from
the brightest one you ever use down to very dark or black. Remember, the game only has YOUR
palette to work from; if you only have a bright red in the palette it's going to look very
wrong when it tries to draw something dark red (for example a red object in a dark room).
If you convert some graphics and then change the 256PAL file so that some colours you have used
are in different places or gone altogether, you MUST reconvert all the graphics you have
previously converted. The reason for this is that the old converted graphics won't otherwise
know that the file has changed and if, for example, you have changed a red colour to a green,
anything previously converted which used the red colour will suddenly start drawing it in
green instead! For this reason it is a VERY good idea to decide upon a palette before beginning
to draw and stick to it.
It is possible, with only a little effort, to enhance the appearance of your game by modifying the palette
file the game itself loads, without changing the IFF palette file or the 256pal file used by the converters.
How does this work? Easy. The converters will load your graphics and make decisions about which colours should
be used from the global palette not only for the graphics as you drew them, but also at all the
darker shades in which they may be visible. Hence if you have a grey wall, the conversion program will find
the nearest greys available when the wall is viewed in full brightness down to full darkness. It is very likely
that you will have a grey-scale in your palette somewhere (and I suggest that you set aside
AT LEAST 32 colours for this purpose, because grey is the most difficult colour to shade smoothly). Assuming
that you do, use the palette creator to change the high and low extremes of the grey scale, just slightly.
For example, you could make it shade from a dark, slightly red-tinted grey to a very bright, slightly yellow-
tinted white, rather than simply dark-white. Save out the modified 256palette file BUT NOT the 256pal file.
What happens when you run the game? Well, since the conversion programs are none the wiser about your
tampering, they will still match up dark grey to what is now dark, reddish grey. In the game, this means that
everything which is grey shades off to a slight red tinge in the distance, which works wonders for the
atmosphere of the game. AB3DII used this technique, changing the grey scale to be slightly green at the
dark end, which accented the alien surroundings.
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