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Old 11-12-2018, 09:23 PM   #22
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: Autoduel the PC Game

Originally Posted by Parody View Post
I don't know when you were seeing this, of course, but the first three Ultima games and the Apple IIe predate the more colorful EGA and PCjr/Tandy graphics systems. (EGA and the PCjr/Tandy systems were introduced in 1984; Ultima III and the Apple IIe came out in 1983. I put a bit more tech talk below if anyone's interested and doesn't want to go look it up on Wikipedia.)

I would agree that they're not going to be very graphically impressive vs. a game designed with more colors and no color blocks to worry about, not to mention the availability of more RAM and storage.

The first Ultima game I had was Ultima IV and I've only played the Ultima games on the PC, so I don't have personal experience comparing them in their time. My first home computer was a Commodore 64, which I got for Christmas in 1983. My first mainstream CRPG game was The Bard's Tale, which was released in 1985 (the same year as Autoduel). Bard's Tale used its combined "current view of the dungeon"/"picture of the monster you're fighting" window well, but like a lot of games of its time the story was shallow. That didn't stop me from grinding up characters to high levels in all three Bard's Tale games, though!

So much nostalgia, purely based in what we had available. :)


The Apple II graphics mode that most people remember had 6 colors, but you could only use one of two sets of four colors (either black/white/blue/orange or black/white/purple/green) in each of the small blocks on the screen. Resolution was (effectively) 140x192, blocks were 7x1 pixels. You could also split the screen, turning the bottom four rows into text. The IIe (with 80-column card) and IIc added a 16 color version of this graphics mode.

The CGA graphics mode that most people remember let you use any of the 16 CGA colors (which was almost always black) combined with one of a few sets of three fixed colors (usually green/red/yellow or cyan/magenta/white) and was intended for a monitor. The resolution was 320x200. Actual CGA cards had a composite output as well, so you could hook them to a TV or composite monitor. Games could exploit this to get 16 colors due to color blending.

EGA and the PCjr/Tandy graphics both had a mode that's the same resolution as the common CGA one, but with 16 colors. The later VGA bumped this to 256 colors out of a much wider palette. EGA and VGA also had higher resolution modes with 16 colors chosen from their complete palettes. You didn't have the composte output, though, so you only had the sharp-but-bland four color CGA.

For comparison, the common Commodore 64 graphics mode let you use 4 colors (of a palette of 16) in each of its larger color blocks. Resolution was 160x200, so half the resolution of CGA and similar to the Apple II. One color was shared with the entire screen; the other three were selected per-block with a block size of 4x8 pixels. It also had sprites, small independent graphics that were shown on top of the screen and weren't tied to the screen colors.
In my opinion the Atari 8-bit graphics were far superior on the first Ultima 3 and 4 than on any other system.
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