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.

Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

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

Kilrathi Workhorse Arrives On Scene
2016-05-30 -- Klavs has built another Kilrathi model, and this time out it's the Kilrathi Kamrani class corvette. Throughout the vast majority of fan projects, it's the destroyers, cruisers and dreadnoughts that seem to get all of the artists' attention. But enemy corvettes are everywhere in Wing Commander 3 and they're a surprisingly formidable opponent for the size.

Reimagined Confed Cruiser Packs A Major Punch
2016-05-29 -- DefianceIndustries has taken a stab at creating an original design for the WC Homeworld mod that heavily draws on Wing Commander sources. The intent was to put together an all new take on the sometimes confusing Gettysburg cruisers. Although the Gettysburg class TCS Austin is depicted by the (360 meter) Exeter model in The Secret Missions 2, Freedom Flight describes it as larger than a (500 meter long) Fralthi.

Getting Emotional About Wing 3
2016-05-28 -- The retro blog Emotional Multimedia Ride has followed up on their WC1 and WC2 piece with a long look at Wing Commander 3 for PC. Like the one before it, this article touches all the bases with an overview of the main cast, the quality of the graphics and video, reflections on the gameplay mechanics and the way the player's actions (directly through conversation choices or indirectly through mission performance) impacts the storyline. Technically, the game is a two-sided sword.

From The Set of Wing Commander 4
2016-05-27 -- The DosGamesBlog YouTube channel has posted a compilation video of behind the scenes footage from Wing Commander 4. The video doesn't specify a source for their material, but we know that a 1996 issue of CD-Rom magazine MultiMedia World Live! contained seven brief videos in which interviews with the cast and Chris Roberts are interspersed with scenes from the set.

Listen To (And Watch!) The Wing Commander Roland MT-32 Difference
2016-05-26 -- Space Game Junkie recently managed to score one of the legendary Roland MT-32 sound modules, and he's put together a new video to provide a comparison and show off how he got it working. While it's possible to emulate and tweak your way to some pretty great sounding music in Wing Commander games, this is the real deal. An especially cool feature here is that Brian points an embedded camera at the device while firing up some classic space games.

New Version Of Wing Blender Accesses Exotic Files
2016-05-25 -- Kevin Caccamo has finalized and released the latest version of Wing Blender. Version 1.6.

Cerberus Gets A New Coat Of Paint
2016-05-24 -- DefianceIndustries has started texturing the Cerberus, and so far it's coming along nicely. A couple different hull plating variants are pictured below with the later shots being the likely final candidate. The material has kind of a retro marbled pattern combined with a bit of futuristic gloss and red accents.

Sweep Around WC Capship Sim's Starships
2016-05-23 -- Arraen has pulled together a neat video that shows off the remodeled fleet of his strategy game, WC Spaceship Universe. Each of his four workhorses are encircled so that fans can see them cruising through space in his Unity engine. The project has gone through a few evolutionary upgrades that have stretched out the development timeline, but the results evident now look pretty good!

It Helps To Get A Running Start
2016-05-22 -- Klavs has posted a new angle on his developing Concordia model, and this time it comes with a piece of accompanying fiction. When asked whether the ship's familiar hangar opening runways will make a return, he let a member of the crew answer with a pretty interesting response! After clicking the thumbnail below to get a better look, also don't forget to hit "download" and then zoom in on the detail.

Get Your Wing Commander Film Posters From... Sears?
2016-05-21 -- AD noticed that some unusual Wing Commander search results appear at the websites of some major big box retailers. It's not hard to find copies of Wing Commander on Blu-ray or DVD in stock all around the web, but both Sears and Walmart list Wing Commander Movie posters that have been out of print for some seventeen years. Unfortunately, this does not signal any particular release, but rather, these retailers allow private "marketplace" type sellers to list a wide variety of goods.

LOAF Interviewed in Major Print Publication
2016-05-20 -- The May issue of German PC gaming magazine GameStar contains a big Wing Commander retrospective, including an interview with Star Citizen community manager and CIC founder Ben Lesnick. Brian Chambers of Star Citizen's Frankfurt branch shared a teaser on Twitter. Pick up a copy if you can!

WC1 Live Viewer Reveals Programming Details In Real Time
2016-05-19 -- UnnammedCharacter has made a neat little app that provides enhanced visibility of each WC1 object in space. It shows ships and their speed, of course, but the really cool aspect is that it reveals exactly what each of the enemies pilots/ships is "thinking." By tapping into the game's AI routines, you can see exactly which ships are patrolling a nav point, holding formation, wandering, chasing our hero and more!

Vintage Videos Visit WC3 & P2 Film Shoots
2016-05-18 -- FMVStory has posted a couple of really cool set visits for Wing Commander 3 and Privateer 2. The clips come from Bad Influence, a '90s show that covered tech items and video games. A lot of people are familiar with the WC3 Behind the Screens footage, but the first video below shows a few really neat and rarely seen glimpses of the Kilrathi animatronics in action.

Unused Cruiser Found In Prophecy Files
2016-05-17 -- Kevin Caccamo has made a cool discovery while digging through the guts of Wing Commander Prophecy. Using a modified version of Wing Blender, he was able to import an unusual ship file. The result is a preliminary version of a rarely seen Confed cruiser that did not appear in the final game.

Quick Strike Cruiser Zooms Into Secret Ops Upgrade
2016-05-16 -- DefianceIndustries has taken a break from player pilotable craft for a moment to work on the most iconic ship of Secret Ops, the TCS Cerberus. He's got the shape down pat, and now he's adding subcomponent details throughout the model. Compared to the Midway and other contemporary capships, the Hades class had a cool blue hull with neat red accents, so we're anxious to see how this one comes out with texturing on!

Amiga Article Takes Us Back Nearly 25 Years
2016-05-15 -- Janne Rautiainen tipped us off about a really cool July 1992 article on the development of Wing Commander for the Amiga platform. The piece was originally published in Britain's The One magazine and is saved at archive.org.

Hamill Talks Return To Space Sims
2016-05-14 -- There's a new PC World interview making the rounds that takes a moment to pull Mark Hamill away from Star Wars Episode VIII filming to talk about some of the other sci-fi ventures he's been involved with over the years. Major topics include working with Chris Roberts again as well as the shift from live FMV to motion-captured CGI video. He notes that the majority of his Squadron 42 work was a reunion with John Rhys-Davies.

WCDX Examining Cockpit Malfunction
2016-05-13 -- Stinger's WCDX patch streamlined and fixed a lot of minor annoyances with Kilrathi Saga WC1, and even improved the graphics rendering and compatibility with newer versions of Windows. There is an early, playable version of the patch that fixes some of the issues plaguing the Wing 2 port, but getting KS WC2 up to the same level of refinement is proving to be a major undertaking. In a forums post, Stinger provides some insight into one strange aspect of the Windows port, namely its framerate.

Brazilian Gaming Site Posts Arena Video
2016-05-12 -- The Video Game Database website posted an interesting video of Wing Commander Arena in action. Since the game was released in 2007, it came a bit before recording and streaming things like this became common. They start the game, briefly peek at the modes, pick a ship and launch into space combat.

Shrike Swoops Into Secret Ops Upgrade
2016-05-11 -- DefianceIndustries has added another ship to the Cerberus' roster with the completion of the Shrike "Class B" torpedo bomber. Despite its mass, the ship has some pretty sleek curves, and its turrets help convey how much punch this ship packs. It'll definitely do some damage to any bugs trying to invade!

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff