sol_hsa has completed his DirectDraw upgrade ddhack! It now works with all Kilrathi Saga games - Wing Commanders 1, 2 & 3 - plus the Windows version of Wing Commander 4. The program has come a long way since the initial release that added bilinear smoothing to the classic graphics. The latest edition adds several other filters, including a new deinterlacer for Wing Commander 3. On top of all this, the patch fixes some significant compatibility/palette problems that some people have experienced in recent versions of Windows. You can grab the program here (56 k zip). Instructions are included. The source code and debug tools are also available.
posted an entertaining story about the exploration that lead him to development of the ddhack patch at his website. It includes some useful background on how each game implements the upgrade and really shows how much dedicated Wingnuts can accomplish when they set their minds to a task!
In the Beginning
It all started about a month ago, when one friend of mine had decided to follow his dreams and was moving to the states, and he had to get rid of a lot of stuff. Among his discard pile was a bunch of Wing Commander games, which I bought off him, figuring they might be interesting research material, as I'm planning on a game with similar game play structure (as in story combined with game play, not a 3d space shooter).
So, I found myself in the possession of Wing Commanders 1, 2, 3 and 4, all Windows versions - the Kilrathi Saga and WC4CD to be specific. I installed the first and tried it out. My Win7 switched to 256 colors at a 640x480 resolution, but the game ran.. with completely wrong palette.
Bugged by this I played with the compatibility options, and got the game to almost work well, with the palette going wrong at some points.. so the game was sort of playable, but I hated the fact that Windows changed to 256 colors and I couldn't see my mailbox properly in the other screen, etc.
I also tried WC2 and WC3, and they had similar - or worse - problems. I even learned the steps to get WC3 to work properly:
1.Find the WC3W.EXE executable, turn on (basically) all the compatibility options.
2.Start task manager.
3.Find and kill all instances of explorer.exe. Your desktop will disappear, along with the task bar.
4.Using task manager, launch WC3W.EXE
Naturally the screen resolution and color mode will be 640x480 and 256 colors, but if you've bent backwards that much, you probably don't care all that much.
Seeing that the games use DirectDraw, I decided to roll my own.
Péricles has finished his latest paper model, the Rapier II Blade from Wing Commander Arena. The authentic Arena meshes were used to design this ship, and the general shapes from the game appear especially well suited for construction. Hopefully this means we'll see more designs soon. The model textures look sharp printed out, and the original Confed markings are still present. Grab the instructions here to get building!
Thanks my friends!!!! It's my pleasure to inform you that the Rapier Blade is avaliabe to download from the
Paper Commander site. I'm very happy with the finished results.
JasonRocZ has completed another new ship for Collateral Damage. The ship bears a striking resemblance to the classic Southampton destroyer from Wing Commander 3, but it also tastefully incorporates numerous elements seen on Wing Commander Arena's battlecruisers. His current story concepts revolve around one of these warships falling into mercenary hands.
Originally I wanted those yellow boxes to be nothing more than something aesthetic, but I thought maybe they could be some kind of small shielded power plants for each individual plasma gun. So I tried to make them look like they had some type of exhaust ports.
The model itself started out as nothing but a Southampton class destroyer, but then I added a hangar, some newer engines and a few details. I got this idea after watching a television program about different types of converted destroyers during WW2. Some were designated into fast troop transports or minesweepers.
It's been a very productive Sunday for Team CIC at DragonCon! The morning started with a chance to talk with Wing Commander Freedom Flight author Mercedes Lackey and her husband, former Origin artist Larry Dixon. Both are enthusiastic Wing Commander fans. Their only disappointment with the series is the lack of new games lately, but they're hopeful that the series will get a break in the future!
Members of the HTL team are trying to wrap up the long-running fan fiction story. Wing Commander: Holding the Line began in January 1999 as a play-by-email campaign of the Aces Club. It continued strongly for many years, but the last chapter was released in 2007. However their website has just been updated with all 219 parts fully archived and ready to read. A new chapter is now in work by NeoDevilbane. Keep an eye on htl.solsector.net or their Facebook page for more updates
If the Nephilim manage to break through, millions if not billions of Terran lives alone could be lost. While the crew and brave pilots of the Midway tries to cripple and/or destroy the Alien wormhole/gateway, the hastily assembled group of Confed and Border Worlder ships - a Combined Fleet - have to take on the massive Nephilim attack fleet largely within the confines of the Border Worlds space itself. They are outnumbered and outgunned, but they know failure is not an option.
They have to hold off the Aliens long enough for Confed and the Union to reinforce them. They are the ones who have to hold the line.
Woohoo! Lots of stuff happening here, but no big news to report. LOAF told the president of Baen that they need to reprint more Wing Commander books. Here's a handful of pictures of our adventures over the last day.
Team CIC has made it all the way to Atlanta for DragonCon 2010. The convention doesn't really get going until mid day Friday, so there'll be lots of crazy pictures to come. I'd post more now, but we're off to get our Freedom Flights autographed by Mercedes Lackey! The cellular system here is a bit overloaded, but we'll be posting updates to the Facebook page and Twitters ( @banditloaf, @aclawson & @chrisreid) on the go.
And congrats to our 250th Facebook follower, Tim Ray!
Dundradal and the team working on the WCPedia have been making great progress, and now they're putting together what will come next. They will be holding a planning session in #Wingnut later this month to shore things up. There will also be multiplayer Wing Commander games going, and Dund's even got some prizes up his sleeve.
Earlier this month at the CIC's 12th birthday party many of us said that we should do events like the birthday more often. It was nice to see everybody and have some great discussions. We'd like to do it again.
On September 18th, 7 pm EST (currently GMT-5) in #Wingnut we'll be doing it again.
WC chat, MP games, a few prizes (yeah, I've got a few things I'd like to give to some deserving fan) and just an overall good time.
We'll also be doing quite a bit of chat about WCPedia which has really taken off since the birthday party. We've been adding content faster than we ever have before. From historical documents to mission entries to battle histories we've been making serious headway. I think my goal of doubling the project will be shattered before the year is out...
So if you missed the party earlier this month or were one of the people who said we should do this more often, here's your chance.
If you don't know how to join #wingnut see the instructions here on how to set up an IRC client or just use the CIC Java chat client here.
Kevin Caccamo has released photos of the updated Rapier II to be featured in his Freespace mod, WC Hostile Frontiers. Two basic paint schemes have been revealed, and both revolve around the Republic of Landreich faction. Their use in this remote region mirrors their late era service in the Border Worlds (WC4 novel) and Epsilon Sector (Arena). A variety of authentic weaponry based off the classic WC1 blueprints are underslung beneath the frame.
TonViper has cleaned up the textures on his Excaliburs a bit more. These will eventually get added to the Homeworld 2 Mod, which will allow them to be built on command. This pushes the design more towards a fresh factory paint scheme instead of a worn scorched look.
Still adding details. Here's a progress shot of how far I've gotten now. I'm still looking for a better base texture and an effect that barely shows up on one base texture looks exaggerated on another base texture. That's the reason for why the black lines are surrounded by very obvious white borders. They won't be nearly as obvious when I'm done.
I will be adding lots more detail before I'll call it done. I'm getting closer to how I want the surface to look, though most of the ship is still without any details.
I'm not sure how dirty I want the ship to end up being, firstly because you aren't going to run into much dirt as such in space, so scorch marks are more likely, and secondly because it's going into HW2, where the ships are built on demand, so I'm probably going to go for a "fresh off the assembly line" look for it.
I'm glad I have a copy of the old WC3 playguide for reference, so I can see where they put the panel lines on the original high poly model. Unfortunately, most of the shots in there are greyscale, so there's not much in the way of color reference. At least the front cover is in color.
Bonus trivia question of the day: Who knows where this update's headline comes from?
wc3 tipped us off about Star Ruler, which was just released for Windows. It's a space sim/strategy game with dynamic "procedurally generated" galaxies. Individual technologies can be developed throughout the game, and there's a large multiplayer component. It also has built-in support for modders. The game is available for $25 via digital download. Check out some sample videos here.
Take command of a vast interstellar empire and safeguard your species from total extinction. Prove your species' ingenuity through a deep and intricate combat system where anything (from individual components on ships to the stars themselves) is a target of opportunity.
Research deadly new weapons, new engines, shields, and more with a research web whose contents are shuffled with every game. Explore vast interstellar phenomenae such as black holes and asteroid belts and exploit them for yourself or destroy them to deny your foes. Match your wits with up to 10 online or LAN-linked opponents, save the game when dawn breaks, and boot it back up at dusk. It isn't over until you say it is!
Mod the game to suit your playstyle! Your weapons, your ships, your rules. Almost the entire game can be modified entirely through an editor as simple as notepad. Easily add new models and particle effects to the game with a robust set of out-of-the-box developer tools. Features
Copyright 1998 - 2018 The Wing Commander CIC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED