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Can't change background color

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Posted by Whininguser   Canada  (30 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Thu 23 Jun 2011 11:07 AM (UTC)

Amended on Thu 23 Jun 2011 11:08 AM (UTC) by Whininguser

This is what I use:


Trying to change the background color, I went into config and fiddled with ANSI colours, but the background color just wouldn't change no matter what I did.

What should I do? Thanks for any help.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,674 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #1 on Thu 23 Jun 2011 12:43 PM (UTC)
Have you tried sending a tell to Fiendish on Aarwdolf? It isn't clear which background colour you are talking about. Some of the windows at least can be configured by right-clicking on them.

I think the "main" background window is actually an image (a fairly dark one) which is why you may have trouble changing it (without disabling it or substituting a different image).

Fiendish can probably help you.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Whininguser   Canada  (30 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #2 on Thu 23 Jun 2011 10:24 PM (UTC)
Thanks for the directions, Nick. You're right about the background image, and Fiendish just told me to suck it up and wait for the next update. :D
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Posted by Fiendish   USA  (1,775 posts)  [Biography] bio   Global Moderator
Date Reply #3 on Fri 24 Jun 2011 12:05 AM (UTC)

Amended on Fri 24 Jun 2011 02:20 AM (UTC) by Fiendish

The bg image isn't the main problem. The main problem will be changed in my next development snapshot.

Changing the background color from black to something else is pretty much universally considered to be a bad idea, though. Nothing else will provide the same color contrast with vibrant colors.

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Posted by Whininguser   Canada  (30 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #4 on Fri 24 Jun 2011 05:13 AM (UTC)
Vibrant colors surely look pretty, but I'm more comfortable looking at a light-grey background with dark colors.
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Posted by Eloge   (20 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #5 on Fri 24 Jun 2011 01:08 PM (UTC)

Amended on Fri 24 Jun 2011 01:10 PM (UTC) by Eloge

Whininguser said:

Vibrant colors surely look pretty, but I'm more comfortable looking at a light-grey background with dark colors.

Yeah, me too.

Besides. why has nowadays every main word processor dark colors on a white (or light) backgrond. Because it's easier to read, not so hard for the eyes. Do I want a MUD that looks like a word processor? Does it not remove some of the adeventorous feeling? Yes, absolutely, i want a word processor look - rather a nice friendly screen that does not hurt your eyes than a feeling of 'good adventure'.

If you want to have a spectacle on the screen, Fiendish, then yes but if you want a clear and readable text then at least I'd prefer black colors on in light background. I tried for months - when i begun mudding - to change the background to light but no, I did not succeed. I just had to do as it was. I did then not know of Nick's forum and had not anyone to ask for advice on how to do it.

I think that many players would prefer the dark colors light background, if they had that alternative. Depends of course upon what you are acccustomed to.

So I look forward to the next update. Thanks for it, too!

++ Eloge
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Posted by Worstje   Netherlands  (899 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #6 on Fri 24 Jun 2011 02:14 PM (UTC)

Amended on Fri 24 Jun 2011 09:25 PM (UTC) by Nick Gammon

I think there is several factors that play a role.

First of all, telnet and by extension MU*s come from consoles, which have a black blackground and electrons bombarded at the stuff that needs to light up, e.g. text. As such, black backgrounds have become the defacto standard. In comparison, word processors were that way in the beginning, and over time they changed - WordPerfect on DOS gave it a blue background with white letters by default. In the end, white became the background because people intend to print on white paper, and so it makes sense. And to double-back upon the original subject of MU* output, that is not meant to be printed.

Second, the ANSI color protocol, which is the old and most-used protocol for colors. It maps actual colors which you can see in the ANSI Colour screen of the World Configuration. Colors are very finicky for as far being readable goes, with contrast and brightness differing per screen and precise settings, and the quality of ones eyesight. To make it worse, once you start turning things around by making the (default) background white, all colours need to be re-mapped to colours that are still legible for the same combinations the original colours were. (And then one also needs to consider all the other backgrounds, making for an even worse hell.)

Finally, many games will have an item like 'a yellow ball' be printed in yellow, either for the whole text or just the word 'yellow'. But once you have a white background, 'yellow' tends to become unreadable, so it is substituted for a brownish shade. (Similar examples work for cyan, lime, etc.) You might argue that the original issue exists for the black backgrounds with 'black pebbles' or 'dark blue trousers', but those will usually have had no color codes associated, or a more readable one. Most people use black backgrounds on MU* games, so that is what is designed for and tested with.


I forgot to write about this other thing. Another factor, but this time from the players perspective.

Calling a light background 'easier to read' is subjective as hell. What works well for you does not work for others. I don't blame you for finding it easier to read, but it is worth noting light-on-dark text is far from a pariah.

Let me back it up with a fact. I know someone who is visually impaired and who relies on Windows features that gives him better accessibility. Among those is the High Contrast theme, which makes everything black, selected stuff green, and text whitish. Other colours are barely used. The screen is most readable to him like that, he can't properly use it otherwise. Other people with other issues or habits regarding their vision might have other reasons to hate white background for long-term reading. I myself find that it exhausts my eyes because it bombards my eyes with direct light from the screen - black backgrounds play far nicer with eye fatigue in comparison.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,674 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #7 on Fri 24 Jun 2011 09:34 PM (UTC)
Just to give you some history ...

When the client was first written it just supported the 16 "standard" ANSI colours (eg. red, dark red, etc.).

Pretty early on the ability to customize those was added, by using a palette. That is, instead of storing "red" I stored "this is intended to be red". You could then change what was actually displayed by configuring the "ANSI colours" configuration page.

And indeed in early versions I chose a gray background rather than black because I preferred it. However I soon got complaints that the default "wasn't standard", so I changed it to accurately reflect standard ANSI colours (you could of course change it back).

However after a while things got muddied. For one thing, MXP allowed colours to be expressed as "#F4A460", so it was possible to use thousands of colours (thus making a palette less useful). Also it then supported the "256-colour ANSI" sequences, which allowed for more colour shades.

You can use the MapColour script function to change any colour to any other colour, on-the-fly, at display time:

Template:function=MapColour MapColour

The documentation for the MapColour script function is available online. It is also in the MUSHclient help file.

There are still issues. For example sending an "ANSI reset" usually sets the background back to black. However some MUDs rely on "reset" and "black" to be different things. For example, if you have black text on a blue background. If you map black to white then the effect is different to what is intended (and possibly unreadable).

With judicious use of the ANSI colour configuration, and MapColour, you can probably force the output to be pretty-much what you want, but it might be some work. It would also depend on how much colour information the MUD sends down. Some send more than others.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Whininguser   Canada  (30 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #8 on Sat 25 Jun 2011 06:12 AM (UTC)
Fiendish's already uploaded the new version, and it's working pretty well. Thanks for the speedy fix, Fiendish!
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