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Discussion about software development for the old-school Gameboys, ranging from the "Gray brick" to Gameboy Color
(Launched in 2008)

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#1 2022-01-07 09:54:34

Mozartkügel
New member
Registered: 2019-09-24
Posts: 4

Colors in way forward games - good palette or some trickery?

Hi guys, I always liked the original GB and recently I bought an GBC with an IPS screen. I'm also interested in doing some small game for them at some point. I started wondering about one thing though. Are the Way Forward games Shantae and Wendy using standard GBC colors with a well thought out palette or are they using some trickery or "bigger cart" for more colors or something like that? I think the colors in those games really stand out! (Not that I don't like games with simpler colors too, as an "8-bit fanatic"). I suppose at least the main sprite has stacked sprites for that many colors, since I thought sprites are 3 colors + transparent for sprite tiles?

Any insight into how the games are made / colors would be appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by Mozartkügel (2022-01-07 10:02:31)

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#2 2022-01-08 00:38:42

nitro2k01
Administrator
Registered: 2008-02-22
Posts: 242

Re: Colors in way forward games - good palette or some trickery?

There's not really any trickery going on, just artistic skill and good use of the hardware.

A few notes on Shantae's graphics:

- Yes, indeed, Shantae is using stacked sprites with 3 different palettes for the genie herself. It's a bit of a sacrifice, but makes sense for the graphics that the player will look at all the time.
- Background objects are artistically designed so that they will melt in with the background and the tile based nature is less obvious. A potential downside of this is that some of the BG palettes always have to contain the background color to make this possible, leaving only 3 "regular" colors.
- The game appears to have a lot of variation in the palette between stages.
- The game makes full use of the extended tileset of the GBC, doubling the amount available tiles.
- The game makes use of the background priority flag for the tile map, which allows sprites to be "behind" the background. (This is available before the GBC as well, but only on a per sprite basis, and not per tile in the background map, which complicates movement between two adjacent level areas where you want a sprite to be in the background and foreground respectively.
- The game appears to update the player sprite every 5th frame, giving a rate of 12 animation frames/frame. (In traditional film animation, which is based around 24 FPS, this would be equivalent of animating "on twos", ie every second frame in that case.) However, the attack animation is faster. But crucially, the movement is updated at 60 Hz which makes the animation still feel fluid and responsive.


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#3 2022-01-08 17:54:41

Mozartkügel
New member
Registered: 2019-09-24
Posts: 4

Re: Colors in way forward games - good palette or some trickery?

Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to answer! I've watched some videos and read some articles about the technical details about making graphics for the GB and GBC, but I'm still a GB rookie, so I have to pound those restrictions in my head. This really helps breaking down Shantae technically and will be a lot of help when I look at the graphics and sprites, and analyze them.

Truly a masterfully made game, it looks so colorful compared to a lot of GBC games, and the contrast is really good too. Wont loose sight of the important things on screen.

Thanks again man! 😊🙏

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