zMUD 3.62a Color Setup

(Shalla, 2003-07-06)  3.62a is the last free version of zMUD. We recommend paying for the full, most recent version. It is only $25. Setting up colors on the full version of zMUD is a lot easier, too! You can do custom tweaks if you like, but really all you need to do is change "VT100" to "ANSI", and the colors are fine. But in the free 3.62a version that many people use, the "out of the box" colors are wretched... large chuncks of Darkover's text are completely invisible! But this is no major loss, since it is easy to reconfigure the color scheme. The process is outlined below.

Out of the box...

By default, zMUD 3.62a looks like THIS!

[Nasty zMUD 3.62a Default Colors]

Fix #1: Get That Black Visible!

As you can see, it looks wretched. The first thing to do is to undo zMUD's "make regular colors bright" setting. What the setting doesn't tell you is that it also makes bright colors regular, and that turns all the charcoal text invisible! To fix this, click on the Colors button, select the Foreground tab, and do two things. First thing, click "Make regular colors Dim". Second thing, under the "Use highlight flag to..." list, choose "select upper colors". That will get you the color scheme below,

[screenshot of making fix #1]

[zMUD 3.62a After Fixing Charcoal]

Fix #2: Ungreen the Green!

Well it still looks pretty bad, but at least all the text is there now, not invisible! Next thing to do is un-green that green. This is easy. Click on the Colors button again, and you should find yourself on the left-most tab called "System Colors". The third setting down is "Default Color", and you'll see that it's green. Click on the button to change it, and select gray. The correct gray to select is the one that's "paired" with pure white. White should be in the bottom-right, with gray above it on the top-right. Don't choose the gray that's paired with black.

[screenshot of making fix #2]

[zMUD 3.62a After Fixing Default-Green]

Fix #3: Tweak RGB Values

Things are looking pretty good so far. The colors are all where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to be. You could stop after Fix #2 and be good to go, but many users find zMUD's color scheme dark and hard to read, especially on regular red and regular blue. You can manually change the RGB values on the colors, by clicking on each color in the Colors / Foreground settings, one by one, and clicking "Define Custom Colors". We have a recommended color scheme in our "RGB Color Values" article to the left. If you make these changes, you'll get what's shown below,

[screenshot of making fix #3]

[zMUD 3.62a With Brighter RGB Values]

You might like this brighter, richer color scheme... or again, you might not. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, though. If you mostly like one color scheme, but prefer a color or two from the other, you can mix and match. And whatever you do, you'll have come a long way from zMUD 3.62a's default colors!


The scheme above is a "classic" ANSI terminal. I used a thick font, Fixedsys. My default color is gray, and "bold colors" are represented by being brighter than the "regular colors". You can see this in the two different shades of red. The brighter one is bolded.

There is a second way to do things here, that some zMUD users prefer to the classic ANSI terminal style. In involves three differences: 1) use Courier New as your font, 2) "make regular colors bright", 3) on the "Use highlight flag to..." option, choose "bold font". If you do this, you'll have a thinner font, and all colors will be bright (the two reds above will be the same), but the "bright" parts, instead of being brighter, will have thicker letters. It is more or less necessary to use Courier New in this setup; Fixedsys looks horrible in bold.

I do not recommend doing this, as it makes the game less colorful. If you find the "dim" colors hard to read, check out the article on RGB values, and adjust them. If you cop out and "make regular colors bright", you will only see 8 colors in the game, not 15.

As for the font, use whatever you like, but Courier New was made for printing, to look like an old typewriter: black ink on white paper. If you like Courier New and think it looks good, that is one thing. But if you ever think it's "skinny" or "vague", try Fixedsys (or Terminal). These fonts were made for viewing gray or colored text on a black computer window. They are thicker, and make the text and colors in the game appear more solid. I used Fixedsys in my screenshots, because a lot of zMUD users have never tried it, and I want to draw attention to it.