A recent Game Boy Color program of Icarus Productions, has produced quite a hype among people from all over the world. Besides having our own front page newsitem on IGN
, a few people have contacted us concerning interviews for their (online) magazines. What's more, our visitor rate has increased by 300%, and we're nearly bombed with e-mails full of questions regarding the technique we used to bring more than 2000 colors on screen. This short article tries to cover the most frequently asked questions.
Would it be possible to reduce the colors in order to get a fluent game running?
This depends greatly on what type of game you're talking about. If you take a puzzle game like TetrisTM which doesn't require much CPU power, it would definately be possible to have a fully colored background for instance.
A more CPU demanding game could use a simplified version of this method to get a more colorful background, although the number of colors would have to be reduced. Again, this depends greatly on how the game works, how many objects (sprites) moves over the background, etc, so a general answer to this question is nearly impossible.
Getting objects (sprites) in hi colour will be a lot harder though, and is not something that can be expected except in very special cases.
Is it true that there's some easter egg in your hi colour demo?
Yes! Simply press SELECT to switch on a ripple effect! Looks pretty nice, eh?
How does it work?
It's actually a very simple technique, although the result gets a lot better what one might expect. It is a well known fact that you can change the palettes while the screen is being updated, and thus get more than 56 colors. Many games does this in the intro, menu, selection screens etc and a few does it during gameplay as well. However, in almost all cases it has been used to get different color fades (for instance the sky in Sqrxz uses this technique) because it's - simply put - easier.
We decided to take this a step further, and update as many colors as possible on each line to get as many colors as possible. This is all good and well, expect for the fact that the original picture most likely have a lot more colors than the Game Boy can handle. Thus you need to reduce the color in the original picture while at the same time taking into consideration the Game Boy limits.