DirectDraw Hack 1.0 Released

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.

sol has 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.

Update published on . View all news from that day.

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Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

Academy Preservation Project Is Go!
2016-10-26 -- After barely ten days of campaigning, the community has strongly backed the initiative to save the lost production materials of Wing Commander Academy! The $9800 raised will go to acquire 30 boxes of art and other resources created during production that were recently uncovered after years in storage. As a wonderful bonus at the end, the dealer that owns the material has found a 31st box that they will include in the lot for free!

Confed Fighters To The Solar Empire Rescue
2016-10-25 -- After several rounds of exotic Nephilim fighters and capships, it's time to jump back to Confed fighters that have been recently added to the Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. There's some nice lookers in this bunch! We don't see the Crossbow a whole lot, so when we do it's usually a treat.

Wing Commander Album 25% Funded, New CD Option Added
2016-10-24 -- George Oldziey has added a new tier to his campaign to create a second live Wing Commander album. Fans who missed the first orchestra recording can acquire a CD and digital download of that album for $40. The ongoing campaign has crossed $9,000 with three weeks to go.

The Price Of Freedom Ebook Announced!
2016-10-23 -- There's more great news for Wing Commander fans out of Baen! ^Death_ spotted that their January (3, 2017) Bundle will include Wing Commander: The Price of Freedom as an ebook. This is the novelization of Wing Commander 4 and will be their fourth electronic release after Freedom Flight, Fleet Action and Heart of the Tiger.

Watch Academy Live Stream Today!
2016-10-22 -- The Imperial News Network will be hosting LOAF today for a special live commentary of Wing Commander Academy! A Star Citizen themed chat will kick off at 11:30 AM Pacific US time (2:30 PM Eastern US, 10:30 PM BST London) on their Twitch channel. The Wing Commander event should begin around 1 PM Pacific (4 PM Eastern US, Midnight BST) and the series takes about four hours to stream in its entirety!

Space Sim First Look: Everspace
2016-10-21 -- Today we take a look at Everspace, an upcoming space sim from the creator of Galaxy On Fire. Everspace promises a non-linear storyline, upgradable ships and a pick-up-and-play experience. The player can scour a vast universe for resources or take on one of the hostile factions.

Help Save Academy, Get Rewards, Watch LOAF Dance!
2016-10-20 -- The campaign to archive and digitize the lost art of Wing Commander Academy has reached a major milestone! Ten of the thirty boxes available have now been funded. LOAF has posted a cool video thanking everyone for their support and sharing some of the interesting discoveries that this project has already uncovered such as ship names and confirmation of suspected universe lore information.

Watch WC Album's Reorchestration Process
2016-10-19 -- George Oldziey has posted the first update to his campaign to make a second symphonic Wing Commander album. It's a video that goes into great detail about the process he uses to recreate his classic WC music for a live orchestra. There's some very interesting technical challenges as well as clever techniques that he employs to bring everything together - a lot of work goes into it!

All Talented Hands To Action Stations
2016-10-18 -- We're past the half way point of Inktober, and NinjaLA has kept up the daily sketching! He's got two new Wing Commander drawings that are pretty nifty. The first features a well-accomplished Confed pilot stepping away from her fighter after a mission.

Nephilim Fleet Invades Solar Empire
2016-10-17 -- Last week we saw a variety of smaller Nephilim ships added to the Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. Now we can see Nomada_Firefox's larger mainline craft: the Orca destroyer, Hydra cruiser, Leviathan carrier and Kraken shipkiller. It's a pretty well-outfitted bug fleet!

Help Preserve Wing Commander Academy!
2016-10-16 -- Archiving Wing Commander material is a subject that's very near and dear to us here at the CIC. From the University of Texas to EA Mythic and dozens of other projects, we've been on a mission to preserve Wing Commander history for nearly two decades. The next great adventure kicks off today as we attempt to save thousands of pieces of artwork created during the production of Wing Commander Academy.

WCM Tape Conversion Complete!
2016-10-15 -- LOAF recently completed a very cool archiving project. Over a hundred tapes full of production material from the Wing Commander Movie have been digitized! They include a variety of things such as content for computer displays and background recording of the sets.

Second Wing Commander Album Kickstarter Launched!
2016-10-14 -- The campaign to create a second album of fully orchestrated Wing Commander music is now live! Origin composer George Oldziey has kicked things off with a recap of the fantastic efforts Wing Commander fans undertook in 2014. Last time, more than $46,000 was raised to enable the live recording of fantastic WC music with a full symphony.

Homeworld Mod Gets New Rapier & Maybe Snakeir Next
2016-10-13 -- You've seen DefianceIndustries' high res beauty shots, and here's the pictures of the new Border Worlds Rapier in L.I.F.

Well Armed Rapier Patrols The Frontier
2016-10-12 -- The venerable Rapier has been outfitted for the Border Worlds in DefianceIndustries' latest design. It's a derivative of the variant seen in Wing Commander 2 with some nice streamlining improvements to the cockpit and airframe, plus a badass stormfire gun mounted underneath. There's also a light coat of rusty UBW paint applied here and there.

Solar Empire Mod Branches Out With More Nephilim Designs
2016-10-11 -- Nomada_Firefox's Nephilim fighters were a big hit, so he's moved on to even more designs. The first shots below reveal the Triton transport and Lamprey utility ship, but he's actually evolved beyond that to several new designs that will fill critical roles in his Wing Commander mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. Lots of people have made new human and Kilrathi craft over the years, but original Nephilim designs are pretty rare.

Prophecy Unlimited Removes Ship Limit & Enhances Gun Mechanics
2016-10-10 -- gr1mre4per has taken the Vision Engine to new heights yet again for his Prophecy Unlimited project. Now that many of the constraints on individual ships have been lifted, he's moved on to hacking the engine to allow for vast numerous of objects at one time. The screenshot below shows off hundreds of dogfighting fighters - check out that radar display!

Heads Up! New Poll Inbound
2016-10-09 -- There's a new poll today that asks what your favorite heads up display is. Is it one of the early optional virtual HUDs that just dropped away the physical dashboard? Or did you prefer one of the later purpose-built displays designed for maximum visibility?

Privateer 2.39: The Cheapening
2016-10-09 -- has an unusual sale going through Monday where a mixed bag of EA games are on sale. Each title is 60% off individually, and the whole lot is 85% off.

Visit The Argent Sector's Slickest CIC
2016-10-08 -- Flat Universe's latest picture update features the CIC! Not the CIC here at, but rather, the combat information center for Daedalus Station.

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