Pac-Man Hacking Info - Palettes

Palettes... and You!

Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man/Pac Plus Color Palette (Super ABC PROM Ver.)

The Super ABC kit included an expanded color prom to support Pac, Pac Plus, Ms. Pac, Ultra Pac, and Piranha. This expanded prom retains compatiblity with official Pac titles by assigning color data to the same respective slots where it would be found on legitimate hardware, and squeezes in all the Plus palettes into each originally unused blank slot for Pac and Ms. Pac. Below is a list of each color found in this palette and their ID numbers:

Two colors found in Pac-Man Plus are absent in the Super ABC kit- a forest green and a dark grey color. The dark grey is completely unused in Pac Plus, whereas the forest green was originally used for the Peapod bonus fruit. The Super ABC kit instead uses a variation of the Melon/Pear palette for the Peapod due to existing similarities between the palettes. The main reason for this is compatiblity with Pac and Ms. Pac, which use a lighter shade of brown for some of the fruits. Pac Plus completely replaces this lighter brown with a slighter darker shade used for the Bread, Pancake, and Apple fruits, whereas the Super ABC kit includes both of these shades.

An easy fix for this would be to replace the light brown with the darker brown the same way Pac Plus does, and then modify the 4A to replace all instances of both browns with the same value, effectively freeing up a single slot for the missing grey.

IDEALLY, the two missing colors could be added directly to the 7F as the following values below:

But this doesn't seem possible when I test it out in Mame. There's 16 blank color slots in Pac/Ms. Pac/Pac Plus, why can't they be used?? It might be some sort of memory map limitation.

Every palette begins with a transparent black as its first color. All usages of black however are always transparent. The stock Super ABC 4A file assigns palette data as follows:

*Palette added with the Super ABC kit.

When used to color mazes, each palette's colors are assigned the following way:

For example, the first maze in Ms. Pac-Man is colored the following way:

Palette 1D

This gives us the traditional "reddish pink" starting maze in Ms. Pac-Man.

All color data is contained in a prom located at 7F on a traditional Pac-Man boardset. A table assigning these colors to individual numerically-identified 4-color palettes is contained in a prom at location 4A. To recreate this in MAME, extract the superabc.zip folder and then copy over the 7F and 4A files to an unzipped Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man rom folder. Rename "82s129.4a" from the Super ABC kit to "82s126.4a" and replace the original Pac-Man/Ms. Pac 4a file with the Super ABC version and you're good to go. You've now "unlocked" additional palettes for use in your Pac-Man hacks.

(Unimportant side note- the 4A palette table in the superabc.zip rom folder is named "82s129", implying that Two-Bit Score (the creators of the kit) used 82s129 proms instead of 82s126 like Midway originally did. These proms are functionally identical as far as I know, though.)

Oh yeah, palette data for the mazes in Ms. Pac is stored at location 0x5AE in the boot6 rom. Each level (up to a certain point) has an individually assigned palette, even when multiple mazes in a row use the same palette, meaning every single level can have a unique color scheme (up to the point where the game loops around, which is level 21 according to the code).