NES palette colors -- notable games list?

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arhop
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NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by arhop » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:53 pm

Hello, I'm currently editing a palette, adjusting hues and tweaking colors. Is there a usable list of games that are notable for certain color codes?

Like here's my working list so far. Hoping to find more troublesome games to flesh out my palette better. Using a Voltage level YIQ2RGB Sony CXA one atm.

Accuracy is not important to me; I just want something faithful and playable. Preferably less per-game palette swapping.

Code: Select all

$01 ~ Azure
- Duck Tales = title background, Himalayas sky
- Blaster Master = area 1 sky

$02 ~ Blue
- Super Mario Bros. = world 1 sky
- Dr.  Mario = magnifying glass

$03 ~ Violet
- Krusty's Fun House = rats, hair
- Dr. Mario = medium background

$04 ~ Magenta

$05 ~ Rose
- Bionic Commando = map, area 1 steel, enemy uniforms
- Dr. Mario = title logo, heart, red virus
- Blaster Master = vehicle, outfit, options, fireball
- Goonies II = Mikie, cursor
- Makai Island = pirate skull, ship flag

$06 ~ Red
- Duck Tales = map room, Amazon flower
- Super Mario Bros. = Mario
- Goonies II = cabin walls
- Bionic Commando = map

$07 ~ Orange
- Blaster Master = area 1 rocks
- Goonies II = title logo

$08 ~ Yellow
- Bionic Commando = area 1 bricks
- Krusty's Fun House = room 1 walls, Simpsons
- Dr. Mario = yellow virus

$09 ~ Chartreuse Green
- Bionic Commando -- comms unit

$0A ~ Green
- Duck Tales = Amazon forest
- Super Mario Bros. = hill
- Bionic Commando = hero uniform
- King's Quest V = Sierra logo

$0B ~ Spring Green
- Bionic Commando = computer room walls
- Crystalis = computer naming console

$0C ~ Cyan
- Super Mario Bros. = underworld
- Bionic Commando = computer screen
- Blaster Master = options outline
I might have to make 2-3 palettes though if developers liked to play with the TV phase controls (0,15,30).

Color $05 confuses me more because it has that purple - pink tint but sometimes it feels like a more red boost feels more appealing at times. Are there games that rely on $05 being traditional Pink Rose?

Thanks for any helpful pointers. Or links to other threads.

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zeroone
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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by zeroone » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:49 am

What exactly are you trying to achieve?

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by dougeff » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:59 am

04, the mountains in the initial screen of Rygar
14, the mountains in next screen to the right.
34, the color of the pants of the Gurus in Rygar.

(I used this game when testing palettes)

The title also has a nice example of 17/27 colors
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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by Pokun » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:30 am

I think the SMB sky is color $22. Or are you only listing the first hue in every lightness group?
Are there games that rely on $05 being traditional Pink Rose?
The $05 hue is both used as red and as pink. $15 is used for red pills and viruses in Dr Mario as you say, and Pauline's dress in Family BASIC sample games and in Pinball (at which time she was still called Lady) is using $25 which I think is supposed to be perceived pinkish (although she wears red in Mario Odyssey). In Donkey Kong however her dress uses colour $24 and is also clearly pink. Besides often not using the same palette, Mario and Pauline are not reusing the same sprite pattern data either across these games. In Mario Bros and Pinball, Mario swapped his shirt and overall colours as well (blue overalls like in later Mario games).

Another interesting thing is the slime from DQ who is canonically blue, is kind of cyan/turquoise in DQ1.


If you just want some examples of what colours are used in games I have some old notes with some examples I can post. Notes were for Famicom so Japanese names were often used (like Meta Fight instead of Blaster Master) but I doubt the localizations changed the palettes.
Here they are:

Black and white
$0F - commonly used black
$30 - commonly used white

Grey
$00 - DQ mountains (dark grey)
$10 - DQ mountains (light grey)

Azure
$01 - FF menu blue
$11 - DQ water/sky, Rockman armor (dark part)
$21 - FF sea, FF thief hair, Dr Mario blue pill
$31 - FF sea

Blue
$02 - Mario shirt and hair (Donkey Kong)
$12 - Mario overall and hair (Mario Bros, Pinball), DQ hero blue armor
$22 - Super Mario Bros sky
$32 - no examples

Violet
$03 - no examples
$13 - no examples
$23 - Akumajou Dracula whip
$33 - no examples

Magenta
$04 - no examples
$14 - no examples
$24 - Lady pink (Donkey Kong)
$34 - Akumajou Dracula whip

Rose
$05 - no examples
$15 - Dr Mario red pill and heart cursor
$25 - Lady pink (Family BASIC and Pinball), cursor (Donkey Kong)
$35 - Lady skin (Family BASIC), DQ common skin

Red
$06 - Donkey Kong monkey brown
$16 - Mario red (either the overall or shirt in many games with Mario)
$26 - no examples
$36 - Mario skin (some games), Lady skin (Pinball), FF common skin

Orange
$07 - no examples
$17 - Lady hair (Family BASIC), barrel brown (Donkey Kong)
$27 - Samus yellow, Lady hair (Donkey Kong), DQ tree stem
$37 - Zelda 1 ground, DQ desert and hill

Yellow
$08 - no examples
$18 - FF monk hair, MetaFight bush
$28 - FF thief/monk skin, MetaFight bush, Dr Mario yellow pill
$38 - Rockman face and rockbuster beam

Chartreuse Green
$09 - Mario Bros pipe (darkest part)
$19 - Luigi green (used in several games with Luigi), FF forest
$29 - Link green (Zelda 1), DQ grass, FF forest, MB/SMB pipe
$39 - no examples

Green
$0A - MetaFight bush
$1A - DQ tree/grass, FF grass/tree/forest, SMB pipe
$2A - Link green (Zelda II), Robot screen flash (the color used to flash the screen with in ROB games)
$3A - no examples

Spring Green
$0B - no examples
$1B - no examples
$2B - no examples
$3B - no examples

Cyan
$0C - DQ title screen backdrop, DQ slime
$1C - no examples
$2C - FF stream, Rockman armor (light part)
$3C - no examples

"Forbidden" colors
$0D - forbidden black is used in Game Genie, Maniac Mansion (NES port), Skate or Die 2, The Immortal
$1D - no examples (blacky)
$2D - no examples (dark grey)
$3D - no examples (light grey)

Duplicate colors
$20 - Rockman white of the eyes
The other blacks - no examples
Last edited by Pokun on Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by lidnariq » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:59 am

Do note that the exact angle of hue varies as a function of brightness: brighter colors are more clockwise in the YUV plane. You probably actually want to design your palette for each individual master palette entry, without assuming that each column can be the same angle.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by nesrocks » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:24 pm

$02 ~ Blue
- Super Mario Bros. = world 1 sky

$02 certainly isn't smb's sky color. What am I missing?
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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by tepples » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:30 pm

The first post is organized by hue, not by lightness. Thus $02 refers to all of $02, $12, $22 (Super Mario Bros. sky color), and $32.

trueform
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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by trueform » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:44 pm

Adding to everyone's lists.


Azure
$11 - DuckTales (Amazon sky)
$21 - Bionic Commando (area 1 sky)

Blue
$12 - Pac-Mania (bridge, world select bg)
$22 - King's Quest V (sky, water), Pac-Mania (blue ghost)

Violet
$13 - Pac-Mania (title menu bg), Bee 52 (game hud, title bg)

Magenta
$04 - Bee 52 (codemasters logo bg), Pac-Mania (purple ghost)
$14 - Tiny Toon Adventures (Babs' skirt)

Rose
$15 - Mega Man II (several boss robots, title logo), Bee 52 (Camerica logo)
$25 - Tiny Toon Adventures (Babs' fur), Pac-Mania (pink ghost)

Red
$16 - Tiny Toon Adventures (Buster's shirt), Castlevania II (intro text, Simon, life bars), Jurassic Park (blood), Makai Island (pirate uniforms)
$36 - Legend of Zelda (title bg)

Orange
$17 - Gun.Smoke (stage 1 dirt), Castlevania II (forest trees, citizen clothes), Legend of Zelda (dungeon 1 tree entrance)
--- Note that this can easily go from dark brown to orange-ish depending what you prefer
$27 - Super Mario Bros 3 (goombas, coin blocks, ground), DuckTales (rocks, chests, Amazon gorillas)
$37 - Super Mario Bros 3 (title bg), Rygar (area 1 sun)

Yellow
$28 - Pac-Mania (Pac-Man, logo)

Chartreuse
$09 - Bionic Commando (comms bg)

Spring
$0B - Faxanadu (castle sky)
$3B - Legend of Zelda (title waterfall)

Cyan
$0C - Mega Man II (Wily's sky), Castlevania II (title reel), Faxanadu (intro sky)
--- I've seen lots of variations. Do you like more green-blue or dark blue?
$1C - Legend of Zelda (dungeon 1), Metroid (area 1)
$3C - Super Mario Bros 3 (stage 1-1 sky)

Forbidden Black
$0D - Bee 52 (night tree trunks, grass)


Mega Man 5/6 have colorful palettes.

lidnariq wrote:Do note that the exact angle of hue varies as a function of brightness: brighter colors are more clockwise in the YUV plane. You probably actually want to design your palette for each individual master palette entry, without assuming that each column can be the same angle.
This +1.


I'd suggest starting with one of the base palettes that others created and then start tweaking. FirebrandX, NES Classic, Sony CXA. Personally I wanted vibrant, livelier colors so I went with CXA and then started pushing up/down ~8/16/24 RGB. Like Cyan should be less blue-tinted imo. Boosted rose + red. Desaturate some. Darken 0x. Then check the hue values in GIMP to see where you landed.

After enough time, you can strike a decent acceptable balance. Ignore perfection, have some fun and forget about it for awhile. Until you hit that 1 game where the colors you feel could be improved or don't mix together. It can be work but you start to appreciate the artwork more and detect how scenes were painted.

If you use Retroarch, you can convert your table to a shader which can be edited faster. Then have switch toggles for "deep black" or for games where you want specific (un)boosted colors.


Actually I've got a question. Why does Rose $05 / $15 come off as purple-ish in many palette creations but a shade of red-pink on some CRTs? Is it the phosphor warmup time (Atari problem) or the 0 / 7.5 IRE can have that much effect?? I never really got this but I remember seeing this on real TVs (purple to salmon), but not on the Commodores iirc.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by lidnariq » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:22 pm

trueform wrote:Actually I've got a question. Why does Rose $05 / $15 come off as purple-ish in many palette creations but a shade of red-pink on some CRTs?
Colors $05 and $15 are out of gamut, generating YUV/RGB tuples that can't correspond to a physical color. Different TVs do different things when given negative values for green.

You can see this in the diagram in the lower left in Drag's NES palette generator - a bunch of colors are on the triangle between the primaries available due to this clipping.
Is it the phosphor warmup time (Atari problem)
... uh, what? Link please?
Commodores iirc.
The C64 generates color in a different way, and the palette was modified from that of the VIC-20 (which also has a bunch of out of gamut colors), replacing those out of gamut colors with greys.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by trueform » Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:03 am

Atari 2600, 5200, 7800 have this effect where the hues shift as the system warms up for like 30 minutes. You can see a green - brown - golden hue shift for Joust, Dig Dug, Commando, Choplifter and enough other games. This one shows it the best.
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/21659 ... w-clothes/
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/21008 ... -you-want/

Some developers look like they chose cold colors and others adjusted for the warmer temps, so making a likable palette can get terribly annoying.


Might start adding Micro Machines to the list since some of the raceboards have reference colors for cereal, oranges and other common world items.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by lidnariq » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:15 am

trueform wrote:Atari 2600, 5200, 7800 have this effect where the hues shift as the system warms up for like 30 minutes. You can see a green - brown - golden hue shift for Joust, Dig Dug, Commando, Choplifter and enough other games.
Oh, I see. Not the phosphor warming up, but instead the TIA, since it generates the delay between the different hues by biasing a bunch of MOSFET pull-ups inside its die.

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Re: NES palette colors -- notable games list?

Post by ccovell » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:10 pm

Pokun wrote:"Forbidden" colors
$0D - forbidden black is used in Game Genie, Maniac Mansion (NES port), Skate or Die 2, The Immortal
$1D - no examples (blacky)
$2D - no examples (dark grey)
$3D - no examples (light grey)
$2D - Used liberally in Three Stooges (eg. title screen)
$3D - Grey wall in 1st stage of Totally Rad!

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