Stupid Palace Tricks
Welcome to the first installment of Stupid Palace
a collection of informative, stultifyingly
useless, or pointlessly fascinating tips from your host and his
Today's trick: taking control of the Palace room GIFs.
Almost everyone knows that the room pictures are GIF picture files,
stored in the "Pictures" directory within your Palace directory. As
you visit different places, new GIFs amy be added to named
subdirectories of "Pictures."
What most people don't know is that you can replace these
pictures with your own GIFs as long as they are the right size
(512x384) and use the Palace color palette, Palace
will never know the difference. So you could replace the Beach with a
shot of Lake Erie, or the Pit with a picture of your high school. As
long as the pic is valid, Palace will happily use it.
The picture at the right shows three versions of Harry's Bar. The very
top is just the plain old "BAR.GIF" image. The center is
almost the same: a light grid has been painted over it,
and the coördinates of a few key spots (such as the chairs) have
been marked. The bottom is a black-and-white dithered bitmap version
of the bar.
Why the alternative versions of the bar? The grid was originally added
to make it easier to "spoof" someone (i.e., use
"msay") in Harry's.
You can't use "msay" in a Cyborg-Free zone like Harry's, so having a
few key spots pre-marked, and the whole room gridded, made it easy to
quickly guess what "@" values to type-in by hand to get good spoofing
going in the bar.
The B&W version was made (along with B&W versions of all the
rooms) so that I could run Palace on my old Mac Powerbook 140 a
machine with Color Quickdraw in software, but only a B&W display. This
is an especially-stupid trick, because user props still come
in in full color (meaning they usually appear as nothing but a black
blob on the powerbook screen). Still, it works! And I have used it once or
twice when no other machine was handy. I even went so far as to
B&W-ify the splash page PICT resource in the Palace binary itself,
Other useful GIF hacks might include labelling doors, so you know
where they lead; insane tweaking of the color maps, for a psychedelic
palace; heavy blurring and resampling of the GIFs to make the files
smaller and faster-loading; recoloring all the rooms to complement
your own hair and eyes, Barbara Streisand style.