Planet X3 is now available.  Buy it here: Planet X3 for MS-DOS computers

Benedikt Freisen recently asked for the source code and added several new video modes to Planet X3. These include:

  • Hercules 720×350 monochrome
  • Plantronics ColorPlus 320x200x16
  • CGA grayscale 320x200x4
  • Tandy Hi-res 640x200x16
  • EGA Medium-res 640x200x16

Now I’ll talk a little about how each new mode.

Hercules 640×300 monochrome

This was added to the CGA version of the game.  It basically uses the same CGA artwork for the 640x200x2 mode, but scales it to make it fit the higher resolution of Hercules.  Obviously this isn’t using native Hercules artwork and so it isn’t going to impress Hercules fans, but it does work and there is no need to use any sort of CGA emulator anymore to play Planet X3 on Hercules graphics cards.

Plantronics ColorPlus 320x200x16

Many later model CGA cards (such as those used in the Commodore line of PCs, for example) support a 320x200x16 color video mode, but unlike the Tandy machines, very little software is known to support it.  Since we didn’t have any artwork designed for this video mode, the Plantronics mode uses the same artwork as the Tandy 160x200x16 video mode, but it does at least use the better font from the CGA 320x200x4 mode.  So it actually looks a little nicer than the Tandy mode, and a LOT nicer than the regular CGA mode.  Incidentally, I had to show a screenshot from the real hardware because DOSBOX doesn’t actually emulate this mode.

CGA Grayscale 320x200x4

So, this mode is a bit of an irony. It actually doesn’t work on most CGA cards.  But it does work on some newer ones, and most EGA/VGA cards.  Why you’d want to use it, who knows?  But it actually looks a lot nicer than the usual CGA palettes.  It kind of has a Nintendo Gameboy appearance to it.

Tandy Hi-Res 640x200x16

So, this mode is a very interesting hack.  First of all, not all Tandy models support this mode.  Only ones with 64K of video RAM do, such as the 1000TL series.  To use this mode, you actually need to run the VGA version of the game.  It will autodetect the Tandy video mode and use it.  It actually uses the same graphics as VGA mode.  This mode is twice the resolution, but half the colors.  So Benedikt came up with a dithering algorithm that works surprisingly well.  Unfortunately, the medium res Tandy mode (320x200x16) is the most common mode for games and is still not supported, but now there are at least two options.  And I suspect this is one of the best-looking games on a high-end Tandy machine that has the hi-res mode.

EGA Medium Res 640x200x16

This mode, as you probably guessed, uses the same graphics trick from the Tandy Hi-Res mode, and thus also uses the VGA graphics set with a dithering pattern.  EGA mode does require its own executable, which is PX3_EGA.

For existing owners of Planet X3, You can download the new executables here which will add the new video mode support.  This is just the executables so it won’t be of any use if you don’t have the rest of the game.

http://www.the8bitguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/New_Video_Modes.zip

Also, if you haven’t already, I recommend you join the Planet X3 facebook group!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/503277420168121/

Also, Planet X3 is now available for purchase in the web store, so feel free to share the word with anyone looking to pickup a copy.

 

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31 Responses

  1. Tom

    Thank you David for the Info 🙂
    I hope there will be a bundle package with planet x2 as well 🙂
    Wish you all the best
    t.

    Reply
  2. Scott Ferguson

    Missed the kickstart, waiting for the retail sale to be released.
    Enjoyed watching your videos.

    Reply
  3. Rachel Smyth

    I received the box set, but don’t have the digital download in the box. Was it sent to my email? Or where can I find it?

    Reply
      • Cean McCullough

        Can I make a request for you to have S.A.M. perform? I have a cute story to go with it. It is from when I was a kid, having S.A.M. read me the books I would type into Dad’s Atari 800, one line at a time. A word I typed in that came out with a great sound! Please let me know if you’ll help my dad and I walk down memory lane.

  4. DigitalDarkroom

    Please provide a way for us to buy a digital version of the game. Thanks.

    Reply
  5. Alexander

    I ‘d love to buy a digital version of Planet X3! I did the same with X2 and the game was worth every penny. Will there be a way to buy a digital copy of the game?

    Reply
  6. Travis

    Missed the kick starter looking foreward to playing planet X3 on my tandy 1000

    Reply
  7. Luca Papalino

    Missed Kickstarter, I’ll wait for the possibility to buy a copy as soon as you are ready!!!
    Please let me know when available for purchase.

    Reply
  8. Dale Forsyth

    I just order a copy on Planet X2 for the C64, and would also like a Planet X3… is there a way I can get them shipped together to New Zealand…

    Reply
  9. Wes Raven

    Just built the 386 of my dreams when I was a kid in the late 80s, and I can’t believe I will have a new game to install. Thank you for the immense effort, [patiently] looking forward to the public release 🙂

    Reply
  10. Malek Masoud

    Is Planet X-3 for MS-DOS compatible with computers running Microsoft Windows? More specifically, which versions of Windows does Planet X-3 support?

    Reply
  11. Athanasius

    Hello @The 8Bit Guy

    Will there be no purely digital download for this very interesting game? Unfortunately shipping rates are really high to my country…

    Reply
  12. SirYodaJedi

    Can’t wait for digital purchase option (I don’t have a spare retro PC lying around, much less a floppy drive).
    Any chance of a clean image of the cover that can be used to properly represent the finalized game on various wikis (such as PCGamingWiki: https://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Planet_X3)?

    Reply
  13. Carlos Teixeira

    Really happy about the addition of new graphics modes! That’s awesome. I wonder about Innovation SSI 2001 support, it is also a 3 voice card since its based on the SID, and even CMS Sound support. So i’m hoping for the addition of new Sound card support too.

    Reply
  14. Athanasius

    That’s one hell of a game, I’m really impressed! Once I’ve learned the basics of gameplay I had hours and hours of fun (and still many maps to go for!). I was reluctant at first, because I prefered a pure download version – especially as I don’t have a DOS-system anymore. But now, after experiencing the unique, very clever gameplay, the great graphics and wonderful music tracks, I have to say it’s easily worth to get the game boxed even if you don’t own DOS-computer. I like it so much I just ordered it again (boxed this time, I love that cover art!).

    Reply
  15. Primal

    Watched your video. Great game!

    Hope this comes out for Android (as keyboard, mouse and hardware controllers are supported), or at least as a Rom we could use in an emulator for Android. I’d love to play this on my Nvidia Shield TV.

    Also, the isometric artwork in the manual could be an indicator of a 16 or 32 bit version in the future! 😉

    Reply
  16. Jairo

    Hello,
    Is it possible to purchase planet x3 as a download only?
    I would like to try it but i have no intention of running on actual hardware
    A rom file would be nice or even a steam or gog download, that would be great

    Reply

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