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Marn

Doom's infamously bad palette and how to fix it

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Posted (edited)

Doom's palette is a mess with no purple range, no dark reds, over-saturated blues and a bunch of duplicate entries that make no sense.

 

With this in mind, what's the best conceivable palette one could possibly/theoretically pull off without having to completely remap everything?

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Cell 0 (the top left in slade or ribbiks' pic) also needs to be black, because prb uses it as a background colour for certain window sizes iirc.

 

How "best" to improve the doom palette depends on how much of doom's oddness you want to preserve. Do you really want the enormous flesh pink range? Do you want to keep the normal blue and green *as well* as adding more shades, or do you want to replace them? And so on.

 

Anyway, the perfect 256 color palette is actually hexen.

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On 4/2/2019 at 12:51 PM, Grain of Salt said:

Anyway, the perfect 256 color palette is actually hexen.

 

I've never actually looked at the hexen palette before your comment, but it does indeed seem like a really nice palette with most (all?) the essentials:

 

hexenpal.png.0f709fa79b75e4f7ff0055a211eaa464.png

 

has anyone ever taken a stab at adapting doom assets to this palette? maybe there's more essential stuff missing from it that we are used to in doom than I'm not immediately recognizing at a glance

 

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Posted (edited)

That's really useful Ribbiks, are there any other palette numbers that shouldn't change too much? Which number determines the automap text colour?

 

EDIT: I might as well add that BTSX is a great base to build your own palette off of, since it solves most of the OP's objections.

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I'm looking for help with modifying Doom's palette for my project. Will likely create a separate thread in the near future.

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FWIW, I enjoyed trying to squeeze as much as possible out of the vanilla palette for OTEX and I think someone more skilled than me could do way more with it. The biggest pain points for me were the blue range—which blends with absolutely nothing—and some of the weird jumps in brightness towards the darker grays and browns. The 225:231 yellow range is also very hard to use, for me personally harder than the magenta range.

 

The BTSX palette has a lot of good optimizations, especially for darker shades. For another palette that is super well crafted to suit its purpose (and relies on similar fade-to-dark indexes), see Quake 2. 

 

You can also tweak palette optimization by only modifying COLORMAP; While Eviternity did alter the green and blue ranges, the COLORMAP was also tweaked subtly for most of the vanilla stuff.

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There's a lot of things gained when going 24 bit, but also a lot lost.

 

I don't particularly cling to the COLORMAP banding: Despite my pledged allegiance to oldschool aesthetics, I find gzdoom with no texture filtering and ambient occlusion turned on to look very pleasing. (The rest of my preferences are quite conservative: No dynamic lights, no bloom, etc). There is a certain mood provided by software rendering, especially in darker areas, that is partially lost though.

 

Where 24 bit color really loses me is for texture design. There's a grittiness and character brought out by an 8 bit palette, and it also enforces a sense of uniformity across a texture set thanks to the limited range. Sure, I've cursed at palette a thousand times while making textures, but to switch to 24 bit never ever felt like an option. So many of my textures like dull and bland until I switch to indexed color, where they are suddenly granted all their requisite character. This is certainly all doable in 24 bit too, but it's seemingly much more difficult, at least for me.

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