Attack of the Palette Jackers

While farking around with my monsters in my latest map, Mining Praxis, other players joined in on the server I was running. I'm never quite sure what parts of the Zandronum engine are going to do with customization which go beyond the original Doom model. In this case, one of my interlopers, err... guests to the server must've had his/her player color set to some shades of blue. The palette I've been using in all of the levels I've made since Chap DM 3 has the classic Doom blue color ramp portion of the palette replaced by a pair of alternate color ramps; one purple, the other teal.

Initially, I'd replaced two color ramps in the Doom Palette. This included accidentally stepping on the portion of the palette responsible for the colors of Doomguy's fist! That's when I realized there wasn't much I could borrow away from the standard Doom palette without having craploads of unintended consequences on other elements of the game. So the blue ramp was really the only one available for piracy. Rather than have to choose between purple hues and teal hues, I chose to split the blue ramp in half which also has some unintended consequences. What Doom engines do with color ramps during rendering is step down on a ramp to progressively darker portions of that ramp as the viewpoint of the player gets further away from an object, wall, floor or ceiling painted in that color. So, for instance, a water flat painted on a floor gets darker the further away the sector painted that color is from the player. Luckily, I placed my purple hues on the lower end of the original blue ramp.

There is no way to inform the Doom/Zandronum engine (that I know of) that you have split a color ramp in half. So if I paint textures, flats or objects using the teal part of my new color ramps, eventually, either through lighting values of sectors or by the diminishing brightness caused by distance, I reach the darkest teal and the only place for the engine to go darker is my first purple value which happens to be my brightest purple hue! This killed off my plans for my aquapipe texture.

But there were really only two instances where I desired to use the teal portion of the palette enough for me to insist on keeping it. One was the lightning attack of my electrodemon monster. The other is as a component of colors used in the "electrolyte solution" (think water) I wanted this monster to spawn from. Confining the teal hues to the actual attack of this demon really simplified things since the frames of this demon's attack are rendered in Bright mode which ignores external lighting and distance shading entirely. Most of Doom is rendered in hues of brown, gray and green. Avoiding using textures or flats in blue hues is darn easy to do. As for objects, there wasn't too much meddling I had to do with that stuff. The list is pretty short:

  • potion bottles
  • soulsphere
  • invisibility sphere
  • light amp visor
  • 200% armor bonus
  • blue firesticks
  • two types of tech lights
  • blue key/blue skull key
  • plasma gun fire, shots and detonations
  • item regeneration fog
  • wolfenstein shooters
  • the eyes of the arachnotron
  • the open mouth of the cacodemon

Most of this stuff I'm not even using! I'm not using potion bottle health bonuses. Wolfensoldiers? Nada. The big one on this list is the soulsphere, which is a four-cell animation, a very easy recolor actually. Item regen fog and plasma gun fire? I'm happy with what the new palette does to brighten these up without me needing to paint any sprites. I was actually replacing the arachnotron with one of my own which has green eyes instead. But that cacodemon?... Yah, I needed to do something about the mouth on that one. Well, I got a little carried away and ended up completely replacing the monster with cacodemental.

Mr. Big Mouth has some wacky sickness

Nice to see electrodemon emerge victorious tho'

Anyhow, there's this aspect to online deathmatch play that I hadn't really considered during construction of the levels/maps I've made nor the consequences of the implementation of my new palette in them. That aspect is custom player coloring done at run time. It's a feature I like in Zandronum, which if memory serves correctly, was also existant in ZDaemon. I changed my own player's color to a darker, foresty green a long time ago and haven't monkeyed with it in the decade since.

Other players, however, sometimes choose a color scheme from that blue ramp of the Doom palette. I'd imagine that they'll look different when playing in Unidoom 3 as well.

Sure, you're camouflaged up there... come on down!

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