Suggested RGB Values For Client Colors

(Shalla, 2003-07-06)  zMUD's default color scheme can be very dark and hard to read. Some people blame the client. Some people blame muds, like Darkover, for using too much color and say not to. For my part, I blame the client. I have used dozens of terminal clients with ANSI color support. The "mudding" clients, as a rule, have very dark colors, but the more professional "normal terminal" clients are brighter. What the mudding clients do is copy the exact colors from the DOS console, but this does not work well. On a DOS console, text is very thick and wide, and easy to read even when it is dark. But in a Windows client, the font is thinner, and the darker colors, especially blue and red, are very hard to read.

Fortunately, it is easy to solve this problem, at least if your client is zMUD. Below, I describe how to change zMUD's colors to something more suited to the thinner fonts we use in Windows, more easy to read, and in general, just brighter.

A Side-By-Side Comparison

Here is a side-by-side comparison of zMUD's default color scheme, and a custom color scheme I reconfigured zMUD to use. You change the color scheme by typing in new RGB (red,green,blue) component values for the colors. The custom scheme here came from a popular Windows terminal client (PuTTY) that I use to connect to the machine and write code.

(PuTTY is not a mudding client at all, don't download it thinking it's good for playing Darkover. I only used it here because its colors are more consistant, and easier to read, than zMUD's defaults.)

[zMUD Default Colors]

zMUD Default Colors
Color RGB Color RGB
black000 charcoal128128128
blue00128 bblue00255
green01790 bgreen02550
cyan0128128 bcyan0255255
red12800 orange25500
magenta1280128 pink2550255
brown1281280 yellow2552550
gray192192192 white255255255
[Richer, Custom Color Scheme]

Richer, Custom Color Scheme
Color RGB Color RGB
black000 charcoal858585
blue00187 bblue8585255
green01870 bgreen8525585
cyan0187187 bcyan85255255
red18700 orange2558585
magenta1870187 pink25585255
brown1871870 yellow25525585
gray187187187 white255255255

Ok, so how do I change them?

In my zMUD, the color settings are available by opening the "Preferences" window, then going under "Colors" / "Foreground Mapping". Click on the colors to change them, one by one. A window will come up, with a bunch of colors to choose from. Click on the "Define Custom Colors" button on the bottom, then enter the RGB (red, green, blue) values listed above for the color. (Our "zMUD 3 Colors" article describes how to do this with zMUD 3.62a, with screenshots. There are minor differences with the registered version of zMUD, but if you get stuck, the screenshots might help.)

Give the brighter colors a chance!

Try this color setup and see if you like it. Give it at least an hour or two before you make a decision. It is common, when changing fonts or colors, to think things look "different" or "weird" or "wrong". It will look different. But after an hour or so, for most people, I think you will also find it easier to read, and just generally better-looking. You can see a fuller comparison of the 2 color schemes in the article on "zMUD 3 Colors". Compare the screenshots before and after "Fix #3", near the bottom of the article.

What's up with zMUD Green and Gray?

You might notice that default zMUD green and gray have higher numbers than the other colors in the left side of the table. The gray being brighter is from the DOS console; it also gives gray higher RGB values than the other "regular" colors. The green being brighter seems to be a decision Zugg made. My guess is, he made green easier to read because many users have green as the default color.

What the new color scheme does is to up the other five colors, to make them consistant and equally readable.

Don't your "bright" colors appear more "washed out"?

Sort of, yes. I find it most obvious on "orange". If you brighten the regular colors to make them more readable, you have a choice. You can leave the bright colors alone, and your bright and regular colors will be more similar. Or you can brighten the bright colors more, at the expense of "washing them out" with some gray.

The colors are definately more washed out, though. I don't mind. I think it makes them easier to read... and past the first 5 or 10 seconds online on the game, readable text is what I want, not a color that would look cool on a t-shirt. But if you don't agree, you can keep the zMUD bright colors, and only up the regular ones.

You can try both sets of bright colors. You can try both values for "charcoal" independently. My charcoal is actually darker than the zMUD one, but I like it more. You can try half-way values, too, like (106,106,106) for charcoal and 42's for the bright colors instead of 85's.

But whatever you do, try at least brightening up the regular colors, to make the game easier to read. Microsoft ups gray on the console, and Zugg added green to the list of colors getting "extra help". Why not up them all? Your eyes will thank you, and your eq list will look better!

Further Customization

You can, of course, make as many custom changes as you like. No matter which color setup I use, I always make small tweaks to blue and brown, to make the blue easier to read and to make the brown look more "brown". At the moment, my blue is (33,34,197) and my brown is (151,147,0). Everyone perceives colors just a tiny bit differently, and you might be able to make the game look better for you by making minor changes like this.