Picotron, a fantasy pixel-art gamedev demoscene workstation

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/22/picotron-a-fantasy-pixel-art-gamedev-demoscene-workstation.html


When I started (hobbyist) game development on the IIe, we only had 6 colors (not counting black or white) in high resolution graphics, and we were happy to have them! Several of those could only be achieved by placing certain colored pixels in specific arrangements relative to other specific colored pixels, causing something funky to happen with the NTSC signal. (It’d be interesting to see if any of the modern emulators actually capture that dynamic… it allowed more colors, but mostly it just made it impossible to get the colors you actually wanted.) If you used low resolution graphics, which wasn’t useful for much, you could get 13 colors (theoretically 16, but that included black, white and two shades of grey that were literally the same).

All these “retro” and “simple” computing efforts always feel very modern and complicated to me…


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