Many DF level
and component editors out there have had problems with palettes.
Sometimes it's annoying little transparent holes in a graphic, trying
to use the color black. Sometimes it's extraneous brite-mapped pixels
on a wax that only show up once it's placed in a low-light secotor.
Sometimes it's a texture that looks great in one level, but can't
be used in another because it uses a different palette.
I want to show you a procedure that can end all that a procedure
that converts images into a form that is safe to use in all DF
palettes and under all lighting conditions.
What you need: An image editing program that loads, saves, and
edits palettes. (I usually use Photoshop,
but I know this can work in Paint
Shop Pro 3 as well.) You can also
use these graphics:
using the secbase palette.
using a default, no-brite palette.
Take a look at the second image. It shows the entire arrangement
of this specialized palette. With the exception of the Color 0,
all of the brite-mapped colors, the level-custom colors, and the
special colors have been set to yellow. Color 0 has been set to
bright purple. The remaining colors are the colors that are consistent
throughout all of the Dark Forces levels (and briefings.) If you
make your image use just these colors, it will work in any level.
The first bit of prep work you need to do is to go into your image
editing program and load up these images. Find the colors/palettes
section of the image editing program and save the palettes of
each image (in
Photoshop: Image, Mode, Color Table -> Save; in Paint Shop Pro
3: Colors, Save Palette). You
should probably save the palettes in the image editor's native
PS, it's .ACT; in PSP3, it's .PAL (JASC PAL)- notice this is not
as DF's .PAL.)
that is done, you are ready to convert your images to be level-safe.
transparent parts should be purple. If there are any non-purple
parts that you want transparent, use a pencil tool to color them
in purple. Any remaining black pixels will be solid. You should
also check the edges to fix any anti-aliasing problems that may
what you want to be converted. If possible, include only
the parts you want solid, do not include in your selection the
parts you want transparent.
a new document the size of what you copied.
the color to be the bright purple of DEF-NOBR's
Color 0 (RGB: 255, 0, 255). If that file is open, you can use
the eyedropper tool.
the new document with that color purple.
Paste your image into the new document.
now need to convert the image into an indexed color mode, using
the default-nobrite palette.
- PS: Image, Mode, Indexed color -> Custom, Load [DEF-NOBR.ACT]
- PSP3: Colors, Load Palette
The image editing program should now automatically
do the best match of the colors in your image to the default-nobrite
way that I check to see how safe my image is is to load in another
default-checking palette used here:
you load the secbase palette into your image.
- PS: Image, Mode, Color Table -> Load [SEC-SML.ACT]
- PSP3: Colors, Load Palette [SEC-SML.PAL] - Make sure you check "Maintain indexes"
your file as a .BMP/.PCX/.PICT file and it's ready to convert
using a default checking palette.
With this palette, all of the brite-mapped colors turn
all the custom colors turn yellow,
while the background turns purple.
This way, I can check my images, and see if there are any potential
problem areas and fix them.
The colors here can of course be modified if you modify the palettes.
You can also modify the technique so that brite-maps are included,
but not the custom colors (or vice-verse.) You could even make
something to convert to ONLY the brite mapped colors if you wanted.
The downside to all this is that your image could loose some of
its depth, since it is using less colors. Therefore, this technique
may not be for everyone, especially with custom textures. But
for making general custom components, especially waxes and fmes,
this can be extremely useful.
If you are fortunate enough to use Photoshop, I suggest you set
this procedure to an Action, so you can quickly use it to convert
One last thing: when you are converting your image into a Dark
Forces format, if at all possible do a straight conversion - do
not specify any palette to use. Your image has already
got the correct color indexes, making palette conversion unnecessary.
You also don't have control over how the ->DF program will convert
the colors. So it could really screw things up.