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ZX Spectrum Pallete vs. Commodore 64 pallete

category: gfx [glöplog]
alfsoft: Do you have some technical information on how to accomplish these fancy interlacing / alternating screen effects on speccy? I thought about that for myself, but concluded that there are no registers in the ULA to change the video memory base address (at least none I know of) and copying the screen contents "by hand" would be too slow, even with CPIR :(
added on the 2006-06-20 16:49:12 by KeyJ KeyJ
@KeyJ:

Interlacing is done by switching RAM banks at $0000-$3FFF area. This is only possible on 128K Spectrums ofcourse, so no standard 48K Speccy would do it. Well the Speccy scene has the strange behaviour of only doing stuff for the later Spectrum clones anyway, so no problem (Although my opinion is that Speccy demos should be working on 48K Speccy aswell).

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The C-64 pics look great, but the latter ones are using the "320x200" "trick" to get a higher resolution.

This is not true. Those two pictures are in real 320x200 mode. Ofcourse there are many pictures in the so-called IFLI mode which use two 160x200 images interlaced to get a 320x200 image, but in this case it's true 320x200. If you ask why people use the interlaced mode then, there's a simple explanation: It's much easier to draw in it, hardly any restrictions concerning color usage.
added on the 2006-06-23 22:33:48 by Zonkham Zonkham
Time to revive this old thread.

I've been looking at various screenshots of scene art and games from various platforms, and I'm more attracted to those with bright strong colours like the ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-Bit, Amstrad CPC and BBC Micro, which all use RGB or HSV colours. People on this thread have said that the Speccy colours are far too strong and garish, neon-y and child's crayon-y, and that the C64 has the well-rounded colours. However, not me: I find it the other way around: that the above platforms have perfect and natural colour, albeit severely limited, and it's the C64 that has the horrid dull, grey, purple-ish and brown-ish colours, and in those screenshots, all of the colours for the C64 offend me by their blandness.

Many people have said that the C64 palette looks much better in NTSC, and can ONLY look as intended in NTSC, and yet Commodore management (yes, I'm looking at you, Jack Tramiel) never saw fit to optimise the resistors used for the colour circuitry for PAL territories, because "it would cost too much". I also don't like the idea that the designers of the C64 palette picked those colours because "they liked them". This is why I think that the so-called garish RGB palettes for the other systems are better, because they're a broader range of colours for the artists to blend as necessary, using well-established colour spaces. In fact, with emulation, all systems that use RGB can use definitive 0 or 255 or 127 (CPC) settings to recreate the colours, and there's simply no dispute as to what colour should be used. The exceptions are of course, the C64, and to a lesser extent, the Atari 8-Bit which used Hue, Saturation and Value (but it seems without the Saturation).

Anyway, this is my two cents on retro computer colour palettes - make of it what you will.
added on the 2017-05-06 12:30:14 by Foebane72 Foebane72
Just compare:
BB Image
and
BB Image

For me, C64 colors are just more realistic and cosy, though not in all cases.
Colors like ZX has I'd call 'programmers colors' or specifically, 'HW designers colors'. :)

C64's VIC directly generates PAL or NTSC color subcarrier signal, hence the color selection basis was different in comparison with RGB beasts like ZX.
added on the 2017-05-06 14:05:31 by lvd lvd
Maybe the colours are more subtle, but they feel "off" to me: the so-called blues are purplish, the reds are awful shades of brown and it just feels like there's an overall TINT to the palette.

I've seen video footage from American adverts of the C64 from the early 1980s and the colours look fine there, but everything I've seen on this side of the pond tells me that the PAL colours here are entirely different from NTSC territories - am I right?

I would prefer not to be reminded of the godawful C64 PAL palette, but I have a bunch of C64 demos on my phone that have it, and they look muted and dull and "off" compared to the other platforms represented on my scene videos. At least the palette I'm using on my VICE emulator is more colourful (I think it's named "Vice").
added on the 2017-05-06 14:26:08 by Foebane72 Foebane72
everyone who whines about C64 colors being dull based on some palettes used by some emulators should go stand in the corner and shut the fuck up. srsly :)
added on the 2017-05-06 17:24:50 by groepaz groepaz
Quote:
I also don't like the idea that the designers of the C64 palette picked those colours because "they liked them".

Some colours are more useful (i.e. occurs more often in real life) than others. It makes more sense to have someone with basic understanding of art and human colour perception select a palette than to dice up an RGB cube into shades of neon. The latter really is garish (EGA):
BB Image
added on the 2017-05-06 18:18:45 by absence absence
Quote:
everyone who whines about C64 colors being dull based on some palettes used by some emulators should go stand in the corner and shut the fuck up. srsly :)


It depends on how many of those C64 screenshots on the internet came from emulators. Judging by the cleanliness of the images, most of them, I would guess.
added on the 2017-05-06 18:40:17 by Foebane72 Foebane72
Quote:
Some colours are more useful (i.e. occurs more often in real life) than others. It makes more sense to have someone with basic understanding of art and human colour perception select a palette than to dice up an RGB cube into shades of neon. The latter really is garish (EGA):
BB Image


So the C64 colour palette is based on HUMAN ARTISTIC PREFERENCE? That sucks. I obviously don't agree with their colour choices, and no doubt do nor many others. It's a wonder the C64 sold as well as it did. I think the real reason for C64 sales was SID, frankly, as it's obviously the best part of the platform.

I find that EGA picture quite pleasant, compared to the horrible colour choices used in CGA - I mean, how was such an awful cold colour combination like black, magenta, cyan and white used? Is it some kind of mathematical distribution? I'll have to investigate. If I remember correctly, CGA only had two palettes, and the other one was warmer, but still not very good.
added on the 2017-05-06 18:59:14 by Foebane72 Foebane72
Quote:

So the C64 colour palette is based on HUMAN ARTISTIC PREFERENCE?

I think the actual gist of his post is that in real life, colours like grays and browns exist, not just harsh RGBs. And that the C64 palette is meant to reflect that. It allows for a more 'natural' palette so that games (obviously the big thing driving sales) might look more realistic.

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I think the real reason for C64 sales was SID

The actual reason was price and, later, availability and quality of the software (i.e. games).
added on the 2017-05-06 19:46:54 by Alpha C Alpha C
zx spectrum is crap.
Quote:
Time to revive this old thread.

I've been looking at various screenshots of scene art and games from various platforms, and I'm more attracted to those with bright strong colours like the ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-Bit, Amstrad CPC and BBC Micro, which all use RGB or HSV colours.


and this is purely a subjective opinion ;)
added on the 2017-05-06 20:31:19 by DanLemon DanLemon
Question: what is your skin color and are the things around you (people, animals, furniture, food, household objects etc) colored in primary colors or more subtle hues?
added on the 2017-05-06 20:37:33 by Preacher Preacher
There are lots of people who have no sense for subtle things.
added on the 2017-05-06 20:44:27 by yzi yzi
fwiw, the choice of colours on the c64 palette was pretty arbitrary:

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I'm afraid that not nearly as much effort went into the color selection as you think. Since we had total control over hue, saturation and luminance, we picked colors that we liked. In order to save space on the chip, though, many of the colors were simply the opposite side of the color wheel from ones that we picked.

(source)
"we picked colors that we liked" ... i.e. totally not arbitrary at all.
added on the 2017-05-06 21:07:22 by yzi yzi
Quote:
Quote:
I think the real reason for C64 sales was SID

The actual reason was price and, later, availability and quality of the software (i.e. games).

If by "availability" you mean "free cracked stuff to trade with the other boys in school", then yes. ;) And this reverence for SID music is more of a retro phenomenon; I don't think it was held to such high regard back then. It was certainly not a major selling point as far as the general public was concerned, graphics were way more important.

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It depends on how many of those C64 screenshots on the internet came from emulators. Judging by the cleanliness of the images, most of them, I would guess.

99% of them. And even a lot of the csdb shots seem to be taken with Vice's default palette. Also note, that when you use Vice's build-in screencap feature, it saves the screenshots without PAL emulation artifacts, aka "perfectly clean"
added on the 2017-05-06 21:46:33 by tomaes tomaes
(...not to mention 0.1% stitched-together-in-photoshop shots, coming from alternating interlaced frames :D)
added on the 2017-05-06 21:54:22 by tomaes tomaes
Quote:
Question: what is your skin color and are the things around you (people, animals, furniture, food, household objects etc) colored in primary colors or more subtle hues?


You can still achieve somewhat decent hues by dithering RGB colors. But you cannot get bright ones by undithering a palette which does not cover the full color range somewhere.
added on the 2017-05-07 02:23:41 by T$ T$
tomaes: go read through some old ZZAP!64 issues (and some of the other mags) , SID music was revered back then. In the UK at least the mags were the places we found out which composers were working on which games, and people did use to buy games just for the music. (especially the budget titles)
added on the 2017-05-07 02:33:12 by 4mat 4mat
It´s true, many musicians bought the C=64 for being sold as being capable of full sound synthesis...the price of the C=64 was unbeatable in this regard at that time.
But i doubt there were millions of musicians that bought it for the SID! ;)
It´s the kids that wanted more games that bought the most machines for sure.

About the colors: Looking at c=64-graphics on a TV with it´s blurriness and scanlines is completely different to looking at it in "clean mode" (emulator, Plasma/TFT-Screen (unblurred, no scanlines))
...even an original 1084-Monitor (that many people use(d) for C=64) gives a different experience than on a TV.
...also each TV will let it look a bit different. Most people use(d) their c=64 with a TV.
And the point is: the colors were chosen to look good on a TV...and so only this should be subject of this discussion...while the whole discussion is 100% subjective anyway.

To me the c=64-colors look way better than the full-RGB-colors of the Spectrum...especially on a TV-Screen.
subject of discussion = object of discussion
4mat: Sure, some cared (especially in the UK?) and it influenced some people. But if you look at contemporary print adverts in general, they pushed software and price of the machine; also consider the size of archives like HVSC and compare the number of people there to the number of machines sold (I think it's roughly 1:10000). Very few people made music on the 64, even if HVSC is off by a factor of 2, or 5, or 10. It was overall a niche thing. The number of people worldwide who bought a C64 primarily for the music it produced should be rather small indeed. :)
added on the 2017-05-07 08:58:51 by tomaes tomaes
Yes but Commodore were still trying to sell it as a buisness machine in the '80s, whereas it was being bought primarily for games. People were being exposed to sid music through that medium, which was where the quality bar in sound was being constantly raised.
added on the 2017-05-07 11:14:52 by 4mat 4mat
Quote:
Quote:
It depends on how many of those C64 screenshots on the internet came from emulators. Judging by the cleanliness of the images, most of them, I would guess.


99% of them. And even a lot of the csdb shots seem to be taken with Vice's default palette. Also note, that when you use Vice's build-in screencap feature, it saves the screenshots without PAL emulation artifacts, aka "perfectly clean"


It seems that the C64 palette varies greatly among different displays and emulators with their own palettes. However, the YouTube channel "C64 Studio" claims to use real hardware, yet their demo recordings use the same drab palette as I've described before. I asked before if the C64 palette suffers under PAL and got no answer - so does it?

Quote:
And the point is: the colors were chosen to look good on a TV...and so only this should be subject of this discussion...while the whole discussion is 100% subjective anyway.


So?
added on the 2017-05-07 11:25:56 by Foebane72 Foebane72

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