Damian Walker

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A CGA Blog Post Series

CGA palette combinations.

I put these blog posts together when I'd just finished CGALIB: a Graphics Library for CGA Games, and was developing the first full game that uses it, Ossuary for DOS. After introducing CGA Graphics it goes into some detail on trying to get the best out of its 320x200 4-colour graphics mode.

CGA: So Why All the Cyan and Magenta?


29 Aug: Part 5 of a blog series on CGA palettes. Since the 1990s I've known about some of the possibilities that the CGA graphics card offers, and looked with disappointment on the shades of cyan and magenta that grace what must be at least 50% of games on CGA. If an amateur game developer with little artistic talent such as me could see the possibilities, why were professional game companies not taking the time to explore them? At the ... (read more...)

Some Background on CGA


22 Aug: Part 4 of a blog series about CGA Palettes. Black is a very useful colour, and artists don't give it up lightly. But CGA can give you some great rewards if you're willing to sacrifice that default black background colour. Suddenly a lot of interesting choices open up. Frogger II is an early example that led the way: it used the red, cyan and white foreground palette I mentioned in the previous article, but swapped out black for ... (read more...)

CGA Graphics: Not All Cyan and Magenta!


15 Aug: Part 3 of a blog series on CGA palettes. Reading the original BASIC manuals for my first PC, I found out what CGA claimed that it could do in 320x200 mode. Firstly, it allowed you to select one of the following two palettes for your three foreground colours: green, red, yellow, or cyan, magenta, white.  While this binary choice is limited, we already see possibilities. A game set in a snowy landscape would benefit from the palette ... (read more...)

What Can CGA Do?


8 Aug: Part 2 of a blog series on CGA palettes. Today I want to give a broad outline of what the CGA card is capable of, particularly for gaming. Modern gamers who've been exposed to it might think that it's capable of black, cyan, magenta and white, but there's a bit more to it than that. Before talking about the graphical capabilities, it's worth discussing the text modes. There are four text modes on CGA, two monochrome and ... (read more...)

My Journey into CGA Graphics


1 Aug: Part 1 of a blog series on CGA palettes. One aspect of computing that has been fading from the collective consciousness is that of CGA graphics. Gamers of the early 1990s will remember that many PC games had support for multiple graphics standards: often the list was CGA, EGA and VGA. CGA was the oldest of the three, having been launched with the original PC in 1981. In capability it struggled to compete with the home computers of ... (read more...)