Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

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Akira
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Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by Akira » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:33 am

I've been trying to make a custom skin for the Apocalypse(My Favorite HERC since the Original Earthsiege's Expansion pack). However, every time I save it and throw it into the game, the game Corrupts the colors. Is there any way to prevent it from corrupting the colors? An example is when I try to make a Blue and Cyan Apocalypse, it becomes yellow, green, brown, red and orange in a bunch of garbled colors.
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Collector
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Re: Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by Collector » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:52 pm

I know nothing about the game, but it sounds like it is probably a VGA game and you skins are not using the expected pallet. Perhaps if you can determine the original pallet and palletize your skin accordingly?
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Akira
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Re: Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by Akira » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:11 pm

The game doesn't recognize anything that's not a 256 color(8-bit) Bitmap file. The problem being, I never understood what a 256 color or 8-bit Palette was.
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Re: Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by DeadPoolX » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:29 pm

Akira wrote:The game doesn't recognize anything that's not a 256 color(8-bit) Bitmap file. The problem being, I never understood what a 256 color or 8-bit Palette was.
An 8-bit color palette is 256 colors. That's in contrast to 16-bit which is 65,536 colors and finally 32-bit color, which is the same as 16-bit color, but adds an alpha-channel. Alpha-channels are transparencies, which given the impression that there's greater depth to an object or can make an object see-through.

Starsiege is an old game and I distinctly recall having to save images in BMP format in 8-bit color for it to work. I made a lot of skins back then, mostly for my brother, myself and various squads (BK and RAGE come to mind).

For some examples of skins (to use as templates if nothing else), try the Junkyard. I think the files on that site are still available.
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Akira
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Re: Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by Akira » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:48 pm

I tried some of those skins and while some are good, some are downright weird. Then again, I'm the guy using a NEON PINK Cybrid HERC for laughs.
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Re: Starsiege Custom Color Mechs

Post by Collector » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:53 pm

It means that the number of colors used for an image is limited to a set of only 256 colors. In other words, each pixel will be one of the set pallet. The overall effect can seem like a larger array of colors because of a dithering effect, giving the illusion of in between colors.

In contrast, high color (16-bit) consists of 65,536 colors, or 256 squared (256 times as many colors). This is high enough that you will not notice the limited number of colors. True color(24-bit) consists of 16,777,216 (256 cubed) colors. Modern graphics typically use 36-bit color. This not only includes colors, but also extra information such as an alpha or transparency channel. Windows 7 has support for 48-bit color.

You can find more about color depth on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_depth

VGA games were limited to just 256 colors at any given time. Between dithering and use of multiple pallets, these games could have the appearance of a wider pallet. It also allowed the developers to use certain effects like swapping the existing pallet for a scene for darker pallets to to get dusk, night and dawn scenes using the same backgrounds and sprites.

On a tangent, something that has popped up here a couple of times in the past couple of years is an HTML5 demo of real time pallet cycling to give the effect of true color from a 256 pallet.

http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/

If you click on the "Show Options" button you can see the pallet being used and see colors in the pallet being swapped out.
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