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Atari ST, Amiga (OCS)

Here’s a little budget puzzle game I worked on not long before I got the gig with Sensible Software. It was developed for the Atari ST with an Amiga version being developed almost simultaneously from the ported code and assets.

The art list for this one was quite concise requiring a simple title screen with logo, a handful of sprites and a selection of tiled background graphics. Once the game system was working creating the tile sets was a very quick process, all I had to do was make them look different enough I’ve included them here for reference.

Being Amiga based I had to ensure the graphics adhered to the Atari ST colour palette which until the STE came out was 16 from a possible 512. Mixing the RGB sliders on the Amiga you had a range of 4096 colours achieved using a mix of 0 to 15 for each of the Red, Green & Blue channels. On the Atari the range was far less which worked out at about 0 to 7 to achieve the 512 hues.

A simple trick I came up with was to only used odd numbers when mixing the colours, it wasn’t an exact match but close enough to ensure an accurate enough colour conversion when importing the files to the ST. If I had not done this the rounding up of colours proved to be too harsh and the final art would not look right.

Effectively you would be taking an image with a 12 bit palette (24)3 = 163 = 4096 possible colours and converting it down to one with a 9 bit palette (23)3 = 83 = 512 possible colours. Having seen less fussy developers blanket process images, there’s no way I would have just winged it like that, so it was always best practice to work from the Atari to the Amiga.

Looking back at these graphics I can’t help but think how good they would look in a Gauntlet style game with skeletons and treasure chests populating the maze like corridors.

Here’s a video I found of the Atari ST version.

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