Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 88 / SEPTEMBER 1987 / PAGE 8

Readers Feedback

The Editors and Readers of COMPUTE!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you would like to see addressed in this column, write to "Readers' Feedback," COMPUTE!, P.O. Box 5406, Greensboro, NC 27403. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot provide personal answers to technical questions.

Colorful Text

I own an IBM PC and have seen more than four colors in programs that are written in BASIC. Unfortunately, the machine language games that I purchase always use the same colors: powder pink, blue, white, and black. Why this arbitrary restriction?

Raymond A. Scruggs

When the PC was designed, colorful graphics were a low priority. The most common color adapter, the color/graphics adapter (CGA), can indeed display 16 colors simultaneously, but only in text mode. It would be difficult to draw a tank, airplane, or olympic athlete with the text-mode character set built into the CGA adapter, so programmers use the bitmapped screen, which allows each pixel on the screen to be addressed separately. Unfortunately, the CGA's bitmapped screen is limited to four colors. Newer IBM graphics cards like the EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter) allow more colors, but only now are software publishers beginning to support them. Some manufacturers are designing games that sense what kind of graphics card you have installed. If you upgrade your system, you may see an improvement in the games you play.