Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bye-bye 8x8 Color Grid: Nirvana Engine for ZX Spectrum Released

The Spectrum's inability to display more than two colors in a 8x8 pixel block has made it an easy target for ridicule, especially by disciples of a certain US-Amercian machine. Well, my dear friends of the big C=, those days are over. While you are still staring at your depressing grey-in-grey palette*, ZX Spectrum fans are now enjoying screens such as this one:

Yes, that's what Einar Saukas' brand new Nirvana engine looks like.

So-called "rainbow graphics" have been used on the Spectrum as early as 1985, with the game Hyper Sports being one of the earliest examples.
However, it would take another 24 years before Andrew Owen stepped in to really kickstart ZX multicolor development with his ColorPRINT-48 font driver.

With Andrew Owen's 2011 engine ZXodus and the release of BIFROST* by Einar Saukas a few months later, the use of multicolor tiles/sprites became easily accessible to ZX game developers.

Nirvana is the current cumulation point of the past 4 years of work in the field. The engine produces an multicolor tiled display across a whooping 30 columns and 22 rows. It's capable of changing color attributes every two scanlines, so effectively you get a near full-screen, 8x2 pixel display.

To make life easier for developers, Nirvana already integrates nicely with Boriel's ZX BASIC, and will support z88dk in the future.

Looking forward to the games that will be made with it. Until then, read more in the release thread on WOS.

* Dear C64 fans, don't take this too serious. I'm just cracking a few jokes at your expense, but really, I love the good ol' breadbox just as much, alright?


  1. Amazing deserved improvement for the old Speccy!!! Can't wait for try some games on this engine! Well done!!!