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I am getting very close to releasing a new beta with a lot of new replacement map textures.   I am hoping to get it out before Christmas but I don't want to make a promise since of course it is a busy time of year.  It may be early January instead.

I just finished down converting all the bitmap textures to 8-bit dithered images of 256 colours.   Why you may ask?   Swat 3 runs in 16-bit colour mode in Windows which only gives a maximum of 65,536 colours.  With Bitmap images (.bmp files) you only have two choices.    You can have either 8-bit images (256 colours) or 24-bit images (16.7 million colours).    I have a theory that using 24-bit images leads to horrible colour banding in the game since it can't handle the extra colours.    When they released all the original maps with Swat 3 they did exactly this (down converted to 256 colour images).

The added benefit to using only 256 dithered colours is that the file sizes are about 50% smaller so I assume it will allow the game to run on video cards with limited VRAM.

Don't worry though.   I am keeping all the textures on my hard drive backup in full colour 24-bits in case somehow we magically figure out how to hack the game into giving a larger range of colours.


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