C r e a t i n g   a n d   U s i n g   a   C u s t o m   M a s t e r   P a l e t t e 

by Neo

(Additional Appendixes by Rinku)

(please note: this requires a little technical knowledge - not much, but if you're having trouble working out CUSTOM.EXE, then don't try this :) 

A few updates ago, James fixed a bug which was causing CUSTOM.EXE to load it's master palette from OHRRPGCE.MAS (rather than the master palette in the RPG file you are editing).

James hasn't yet implemented a master palette import feature, but I have written a utility which will help you change your master palette.

(not change-during-game.. change the palette that you use in the editor.) This article is designed to help you create and use a custom master palette, which allows you to choose from different colors than the default ones..

Rinku asked me to list which palette entries were used for menus and such... see the bottom for this list.

It is easiest to do this just after creating a new RPG file. If you change the master palette of a game that has already got graphics in it, you may have to re-import some or all of your BGs, and may also need to change some/all of your sprite palettes. 

Step 1) Get 2MAS from HERE.

Unzip it somewhere in your PATH. If you don't know what your PATH is, unzip it in C:\dos (if you're using dos) or C:\windows\command\ (if your using windows) Read the readme file carefully.

Step 2) Create your palette.

Start up your paint program. If you have one that is good with 8-bit (paletted, 256 color) images, follow the instructions in 2mas's readme.txt.

Otherwise, load in the palette.pcx file. (this is the default OHRRPGCE palette)  ( 8x real size)
Convert it to 24bit (or RGB, depending on your paintprogram).

Choose a brush that is one pixel in size (ie. it's a single dot).
Select a tool that doesn't smooth the edges when you draw (in Gimp, it's the pencil tool. I think it's the same for PSP).

Pick colors and start painting pixels(use the table in 2mas's readme.txt as a reference)

When you're satisfied with the result, save it under a different name. ** it needs to be saved as a PCX,TGA,or BMP file. Other formats aren't recognized.** (I suggest you save it in the same directory you have your RPG file in, for convenience..)

Step 3) Convert it to MAS format and install it.

In dos, change to the directory where you have your new palette (and your rpg file). type (without the quotes):
"2mas mypal.xxx mypal.mas" and press enter.

(replace mypal.xxx with the name of your new palette (eg. "mypal.pcx"), and mypal.mas with the filename that you want to output to..(eg. "mypal.mas") The .mas file should be named similarly to the RPG - ie. if the RPG's filename is MYGAME.RPG, the mas file needs to be named MYGAME.MAS) )

type (w/o the quotes) :
"insert mygame" and press enter.

(replace mygame with the filename of your game, WITHOUT the .RPG extension.. (eg if your game is called SPIFFYGAM.RPG, you should type "insert spiffygam") ) You will be prompted if you want to try to recover your file (don't worry). Choose "yes".

 Your new master palette is now installed in the RPG file.

 I hope you found this article helpful.. Cheers!

-- Neo
We now return you to your regularly scheduled rodent.

Appendix A - colors used to draw various menus and textboxes etc..

(this part by Neo)

These colors are used both in CUSTOM.EXE and GAME.EXE.

  • 0 - background color - normally black
  • 6 - "Incomplete OHRRPGCE Editor 20010611"- normally brown
  • 7 - unselected menu item - normally mid-grey
  • 7 - bitset which is on
  • 7 - unselected hero
  • 6,7 - selected bitset which is currently off.
  • 8 - disabled menu item - normally dark grey
  • 8 - bitset which is off
  • 14, 15 - selected menu item - normally yellow and white, respectively.
  • 14, 15 - active hero pointer in battle (which hero's turn it is)
  • 14, 15 - selected bitset which is currently on
  • 14, 15 - selected hero in battle
  • 18, 28 - colors used for the border and inside of a textbox using bordercolor 0, respectively.
  • 18, 28 - inside and outside of : menus, inbattle boxes.
  • 21 - color inside active hero's timebar
  • 34, 44 - textbox w/ bordercolor 1 - also selected save slot
  • 35 - color for energybars
  • 50, 60 - textbox w/ bordercolor 2
  • 66, 76 - textbox w/bordercolor 3
  • 82, 92 - textbox w/ bordercolor 4
  • 98, 108 - textbox w/ bordercolor 5
  • 114, 124 - textbox w/ bordercolor 6
  • 130, 140 - textbox w/ bordercolor 7
  • 146, 156 - textbox w/ bordercolor 8
  • 162, 172 - textbox w/ bordercolor 9
  • 160 - 174 - colors that the enemy selector cycles thru. for best results 160 and 174 should be similar in color.
  • 178, 188 - textbox w/ bordercolor 10
  • 194, 204 - textbox w/ bordercolor 11
  • 210, 220 - textbox w/ bordercolor 12
  • 226, 236 - textbox w/ bordercolor 13
  • 242, 252 - textbox w/ bordercolor 14 - also "quit" box colors and unselected save slots

Appendix B - how to calculate which pixel corresponds to which palette entry.

(this part by Neo)

palette_entry = the number of the entry you wish to modify.

x= the remainder of (palette_entry/16)
y= non-fractional part of (palette_entry /16) (eg 3,10,12)

or to convert from coordinates to palette entry..
palette_entry= (y*16)+x


Appendix C - Some Palettes 1 - Variations on the Ohrrpgce Default Palette

(this part by Rinku)

These are variations on the ohrrpgce palette. These are for if you already are working on a game but want to try out how it would look with a palette change. In other words, it won't make your graphics look like jibberish if you change your palettes to these. Another useful idea is to use these for special effects (using neo's program to change them to hss files, then changing the palette using plotscripting).

Saturated palette... that is, slightly more foggy than the original ohrrpgce palette, but basically it's the ohrrpgce palette.

Even more saturated. Useful for foggy areas or games with a pastel look.

Hue shift.

Another hue shift.

A negative of the default ohrrpgce palette.

A very dark palette with a slight hue shift and some added saturation. Useful for a night scene or a dark game.


Appendix D - Some Palettes 2 - New Palettes

(this part by Rinku)
These are palettes you may want to use if you are beginning a new game and don't have graphics to mess up.

This one is a modified version of the default PC VGA/Super-VGA Palette. Instead of choosing different hues and varying luminosity and saturation, this palette chooses different saturation and luminosity levels and varies hue. I added the last seven colors, since they are usually left all black in the typical version of this palette.

This is the ohrrpgce palette, but replaces the five rows of '5-scale' which tend toward iridescence with five greyed scales which tend toward fogginess.

This is a nice rainbow palette I made years ago, and main one I used to use when I made games in c back in 1995-1997. 16 basic hues (including greyscale), each varying from dark to light over 16 luminosity levels.


Appendix E - Some Palettes 3 - Weird Palettes

(this part by Rinku)
These are palettes you may want to use if you want a challenge and/or want to make a really weird looking game.

It'll be a challenge just finding the color you're looking for if you use this palette.



Appendix F - Screenshots of Snowy.rpg

(this part by Rinku, but game by Neo)

Neo made a 'technology demo' called Snowy.rpg. It's basically just an example of what this article explains how to do. Here are some screenshots from it. Notice that things which are typically 'always blue' such as the health bar and the status/spell menu now have different colors.

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