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.

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Update published on . View all news from that day.

Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

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

Sketch-a-Day Results Celebrate Wing Commander
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Saving a Dragon!
2014-12-16 -- Way back in 1998, I was invited to take a tour of Origin Systems. I was a senior in High School, and was visiting Austin to tour the University of Texas… of course, what I really cared about was Wing Commander (and that hasn’t changed much!) Our WCNews.

Elite Pilot Takes Cockpit Design to the Next Level
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Goodbye, Larry Latham
2014-12-14 -- LeHah has conveyed some unfortunate news, Wing Commander Academy producer and director Larry Latham passed away last month. I'll let LeHah expand:Bearer of bad news, Wingnuts. One of the best of our best has passed on.

GOG Winter Sale Slashes Wing Commander Prices Again
2014-12-13 -- It seems like GOG was just in the middle of its Fall Sale, but now their holiday-accelerated Winter Sale is coming to a close. They're going out with a bang, and Wing Commander is once again marked down by 80% for this weekend. This means all DOS and Windows Wing Commander games are available for under $10!

Prinze Talks Wing Commander
2014-12-12 -- Wing Commander actor Freddie Prinze Jr. was recently interviewed on the Full of Sith Star Wars podcast. Prinze mostly talks about his early exposure to Star Wars and his recent voice work for Star Wars: Rebels, but around the 23:30 mark the topic shifts to the Wing Commander movie.

Anticipation Builds As Orchestral Album Approaches
2014-12-11 -- Composer George Oldziey is back with another big update on his mission to record a live album of Wing Commander music. Mixing the tracks is coming along well, and the target is to get a preview of the Bratislava portion out to backers this month. Work on the additional digital reorchestrations and the physical album CD will continue into 2015 a bit.

World of Wing Commander in the Spotlight
2014-12-10 -- World of Space Ships has put together a history piece on Chris Roberts' road to Star Citizen. They passed over his early days starting with game coding on BBC Micro computers through Bad Blood at Origin and jumped right to the first Wing Commander. Each of Mr.

Privateer MIDIs Rerecorded With Top Roland Hardware
2014-12-09 -- C75 doesn't play Wing Commander games, but he loves video game audio! After carefully going through each of the tracks in Privateer, he's put together a treat for fellow fans. The original MIDIs have been run through a fancy SC-55 and the gorgeous audio output has been captured in lossless flac files.

Happy Birthday Wing Commander 3!
2014-12-08 -- Today is the twentieth anniversary of Wing Commander 3's ship date! The logistics of high profile game releases were not as advanced as they are today, which meant there were few overnight shipments and zero midnight digital preload unlocks. But the game steadily made its way to stores, and ravenous fans bought them up in droves.

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