Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A 16-bit Color Switch

Just thought I would share this really quick in case it helps anyone.

In most cases, when you go to run DS under windows, your computer will tell you to switch to 16-bit color if you haven't. This can be pretty frustrating, especially if you prefer to stay in 32-bit color. I recently went searching for a way to fix this, and this is what I came across. Of course, try this at your own risk; everyone's computer setup is different and I only know what works for me, so don't hold me responsible if you screw up your computer.

There's a little command-line application called QRes that makes switching color-depth from the command line possible. Download it, put the exe somewhere (I just put it under C:\ for sake of ease), and create a batch file (that is, a plain text file with the extension changed to .bat, see this guide for more info if you've never created batch files before) with the following simple text:

C:\qres.exe /C:16
C:\qres.exe /C:32

Obviously, if you don't put qres.exe in C:\, you'll have to change those paths to match. Save the batch file in your DS folder, and create a shortcut to that batch file on your desktop, start menu, wherever you want it, and run DS from that shortcut whenever you want to play.

If all goes well, your screen will flicker a bit as it changes to 16bit color, and then DS will start. After you exit DS, you'll get more lovely screen flickers as your screen changes back to 32bit. Then you can carry on as normal.

This works great for me under Windows 7, and I imagine it would work fine for older versions too, but I haven't tested it outside of my specific situation.

If you have any problems feel free to mention them here-- I might not be able to answer them but I'm sure there are people in the CC that know more about this stuff than me. Maybe this will spark people to come up with an even nicer solution.


  1. Awesome idea. I get sick of changing that manually all the time.
    In theory that should work on most computers. There are plenty of other games that do this automatically. Presumably they have some similar code built in.

  2. Unfortunately, it seems that this trick only seems to work for Docking Station. For Creatures 3, I just get told that I need to specify a game name in the command line.

    Personally, I just got used to leaving the display settings in 16-bit, but I can see how some people could find this useful.

    1. Actually, scratch that first remark - I got it working for C3 by adding " --autokill Creatures 3" after the "engine.exe."

      Second remark still stands, though.

    2. You might want to put double quotes around Creatures 3, otherwise it might be using just the Creatures bit. /shrugs
      Perhaps GNAM would be affected/enlightening?

  3. This is extremely useful! Thanks so much. I've been sick of switching my settings back and forth.

  4. This is awesome. I will definitely be trying this as soon as I get home from work! Crossing my fingers :)

  5. I came up with something similar to this a long time ago and even posted it to CCaves. It's nice to see your parallel iteration, as it were, helping people out! :)