16 Color CGA


2019-04-14

Does anyone happen to know a DOS game that uses the standard 320x200x16 color mode of CGA? It seems many CGA cards (not modern video cards with CGA mode but actual CGA cards) were lax in following the CGA standard so standard 320x200x16 would not work on them.

2019-04-14
Are you sure there was an actual 16 color mode CGA? Wasn't 320x200 resolution only 4 colors (with different palette versions, like you could chosse sometimes between the blue/cyan or red/greenish one). Basically its a 4 colors from a palette of 16 possible. And thats what nearly all CGA games use.

2019-04-18 (updated 2019-04-18)
CGA supports 16 colors simultaneously on some display modes (both text and graphics), but I would think most games use one of the paletted modes to avoid consuming too much system resources. Computers weren't very powerful back then, so using the full color range might've not been very viable. Or it was just too awkward to use, I'm not sure.

Standard graphics modes seem to have been:
* 320×200 with 4 colors out of 16 (one of the many palettes)
* 640×200 with 2 colors out of 16 (not sure how this one works)
* 160×100 with 16 colors available only on very specific CGA cards

And then two text modes with full 16 color support.

I wouldn't be too surprised if some people invoked the power of UB to hack support for 16 colors in higher resolution graphics modes, but I somehow doubt it was very performant.

In the end, I don't think the 16 color option was used by graphical games. It might've been, but I think EGA would've been getting out by the time systems were good enough for it.