Analogue Pocket - APGB Palettes - Pocket Sync
Image: Darren Calvert / Time Extension

The technical whizzes over at Analogue bestowed a early Christmas gift on us with the long-awaited Analogue Pocket Update 2.0.

This update brought with it a new CRT screen filter, just like the one that shipped with the Analogue Duo. Furthermore, it allows OpenFPGA cores to use display mode filters. This was previously exclusive to official cores.

Another exciting feature is the ability to create your own APGB Custom Palettes to customise how your Game Boy games look. You can now pick any colour variation of monochrome to match your limited edition Analogue Pocket, experiment with wacky bivert palettes, gaudy colours to give you a migraine, or Super Game Boy Enhanced style palettes.

The possibilities are limitless!

How do I update my Analogue Pocket to firmware 2.0?

If you use a tool such as Pocket Sync, this will make updating the firmware on your Analogue Pocket very quick and easy.

If you prefer the direct approach, simply head to Analogue's website and follow these instructions:

Prerequisites: A microSD card, formatted to FAT32 or ExFat.

  1. Download the firmware file you wish to install.
  2. Place the firmware file on the root of a micro SD Card. Ensure that no other firmware files are on the micro SD card
  3. Power your Pocket off fully.
  4. Insert the micro SD Card into your Pocket’s micro SD Card slot.
  5. Power your Pocket on. Pocket will automatically begin to update. Pocket will display a progress update bar on the screen while updating.
  6. The update process takes between 3-4 minutes. Do not power off Pocket during this process or disturb the unit in any way.
  7. When Pocket is finished updating, it will auto re-boot.
  8. Your Pocket is now updated.

Where to find APGB Custom Palettes for Analogue Pocket

Before getting started with creating your own APGB Custom Palettes you might want to dabble with some which have already been created by the community over at Reddit's Analogue Pocket page.

You can find a direct link to the archive to download here (Mirror).

Kudos to Reddit users: RAHelllord, Al_Levin, Flamepanther, TheWolfBunny64 and others for turning around so many tantalising options so quickly. Be sure to let us know with a comment below if you find a palette in this archive which really floats your boat.

How to create your own APGB Custom Palettes for Analogue Pocket

If you grab the latest version of Pocket Sync, you will be able to manage existing APGB Custom Palettes and create new ones. It's simply amazing that the tool's creator Neil Morrison was able to implement this so rapidly.

Analogue Pocket - APGB Palettes - Pocket Sync
Image: Darren Calvert / Time Extension

Another alternative is the Simple Palette Maker online tool, created by Reddit's Al_Levin. This tool has a helpful explanation of how the layers work which comprise a Game Boy palette, such as background, main objects such as characters and enemies (OB1) and minor objects, like effects or weapons.

How to install APGB Custom Palettes for Analogue Pocket

So now you have a stash of .pal files for all your APGB Custom Palettes, how do you actually get them onto your system?

Simply place the .pal files on the SD card in the folder /Assets/gb/common/palettes

How to apply APGB Custom Palettes for Analogue Pocket

  • Enter Settings > Pocket > Systems > GB > Video > Color Palettes and select Custom, then Load Custom.
  • Select a file from the list.

How to force GBC Display Mode

Custom palettes can be used with the GBC Display Modes when the Analogue Pocket is told to boot GB games in GBC mode via the settings. That makes most of the palettes look a lot nicer than with the Analogue GB display mode.

To change from auto-detect to force GB mode, simply change this setting on your Pocket:

Settings > Pocket > Systems > GB > Hardware > Force GBC Mode

Can I use APGB Custom Palettes with openFPGA spiritualized GB Core?

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this guide, spiritualized's openFPGA GB Core has not been updated to support APGB Custom Palettes, but it is thought that an update will likely not be too far away.

Until then, you can use these custom APGB custom palettes with original Game Boy carts which you might own, or use a GB flash cart such as the EverDrive.

If you are exclusively running ROMS from your microSD card, then a workaround is to convert your ROMS into .pocket files using a online patcher such as this.

Uploading your ROM will check if there is a patch which can be applied, if you are in luck, you can download the patched .pocket file and put into this location on your microSD card:

/GB Studio

To play these patched ROMS, you will need to go to Tools > GB Studio > Play Creations

You will be able to use all the base palettes which Analogue Pocket provides on these files, including the custom APGB Custom Palettes.

Over to you...

Hopefully this guide has got you up and running with using APGB Custom Palettes on your Analogue Pocket. Be sure to let us know how you get on with a comment below.