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.

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

EA's First XBox Live Arcade Title Gains Backwards Compatibility On XBox One
2016-07-29 -- The list of Xbox 360 games supported by XBox One backwards compatibility grew to 230 this week with the addition of EA's Boom Boom Rocket. We began closely watching this title in early 2007 as Electronic Arts first began developing games for Xbox Arcade, the name for early downloadable content on the platform. BBR was a pretty fun rhythm/puzzle game, and it was followed by Wing Commander Arena a few months later.

Fatman Interviewed for Game Sound Documentary
2016-07-28 -- Beep is an upcoming documentary about the history of game sounds, ranging from Victorian mechanical games, to pinball machines to modern video games. The documentary was financed through crowdfunding and is set to come out this Summer. In the meantime, the creators have been releasing webisodes that are free to view.

Wing Commander Running On More Micro PCs
2016-07-27 -- Allan Pead took this photo of Wing Commander 3 running on a LattePanda micro computer. Like with the Raspberry Pi, newer and better low-cost units continue to be developed, and it's great to see fans putting them to the test by seeing how they emulate WC games. It has a funny name, but if it can run The Heart of the Tiger, it's okay in my book!

Invulnerable WC1 Speedrun Focuses On The Fight
2016-07-26 -- Christopher DeWitt put together an interesting video of a Wing Commander speedrun. Lots of people have recorded themselves fully playing through the game, but Chris wanted to see how fast it could be done with invulnerability on. Some might consider this cheating, but he did not use "alt+delete" instant destruction command.

Wing Blender 2.0 Beta Adds Many New Features
2016-07-25 -- The first test release of Wing Blender 2.0 has been released! The program allows models to be easily imported and exported between the Blender app and Prophecy/Secret Ops Vision Engine for easy 3D model manipulation.

Full Speed Ahead On Flat Universe's Torpedo Development
2016-07-24 -- This week the Maslas Brothers are showing off some of the heavy ordnance that will be featured in the game. Three different grade torpedoes will be available: the Valiant and Firestorm from Prophecy as well as the heavier Lance which debuted earlier. It sounds like there'll be some pretty explosive assaults to come in Flat Universe!

Welcome Home LOAF!
2016-07-24 -- We've got some great news to report this weekend! After a very long week in the hospital, CIC co-founder Ben 'Bandit (LOAF)' Lesnick is finally home. He'll be taking it easy for a bit to get back up to full health, but it sounds like the roughest part is fortunately in the past.

Tips For Running Super Wing Commander On A Mac
2016-07-23 -- Super Wing Commander pro mkdud has written up some info to help Wingnuts play this relatively illusive game. One option is to secure a 3DO, or fans can try to find the right old Macintosh computer. After quite a bit of tinkering, he's settled on a recommended suite of computer hardware and software that performs well.

Short But Sweet Profile Shows Love For Amiga WC
2016-07-22 -- AmigaLove.com is a database that highlights the greatest games that were made for the platform. Wing Commander has earned its place as one of the top Amiga titles, so it's a perfect fit for the site.

System Shock To Be Remastered
2016-07-21 -- System Shock, the 1994 shooter/role playing game published by Origin, is getting a remake. Night Dive Studios, best known for acquiring licenses to DOS classics and updating them for modern systems has initiated a crowdfunding campaign to secure the necessary funds. This studio is also credited with last year's enhanced edition of the original System Shock, which increases the screen resolution and fixes several gameplay and usability issues.

WC RPG Wrapping Up Encounters, Mocks Up New Ships
2016-07-20 -- capi3101 is back with quite a few WC RPG status updates as well as a sketch for some new fighters. First up, he's made lots of house cleaning type updates concerning things like category listings for different chapters in his project wiki. Additional Kilrathi translations have been made, and encounter scenarios are almost finished.

Homeworld Remastered Mod Debuts In 2.0 Engine
2016-07-19 -- After a marathon month of coding, L.I.F.

Wing Commander Reorchestration Calculates The Price Of Freedom
2016-07-18 -- Origin composer George Oldziey continues to make great progress on his second album of orchestrated Wing Commander music. He's moved on to Wing Commander 4 next, and it sounds like he's having a lot of fun doing it! This time there's also a sneak peek at the physical arrangement he's in the process of writing.

Flat Universe Reveals Fighter Wing
2016-07-17 -- This week the Maslas Brothers have released another two-pack preview for Wing Commander Flat Universe. There's been some focus on the game's capships lately, but here you can see all the fighters and bombers that should be playable. In some cases, multiple different variants or paint schemes further add to the diversity of the flight roster.

Think Positive Thoughts For LOAF
2016-07-17 -- We've got a bit of unfortunate news to share today. CIC co-founder Ben 'Bandit (LOAF)' Lesnick came down with an infection earlier this weekend that was serious enough to warrant a hospital stay. While things are improving, he'll still need to be there for a few days yet as everything gets taken care of.

Less Than One Month To Party Time!
2016-07-16 -- We're now just four weeks away from the CIC's 18th Birthday Party! Time really flies. The actual date is August 10, but we've selected Saturday, August 13 to celebrate so that more fans can participate.

RPS "Have You Played?" Feature Visits Wing Commander 3
2016-07-15 -- Veteran retrospective writer Richard Cobbett is back with a new article at Rock Paper Shotgun. This time he writes about Wing Commander 3 and the greatness it should be remembered for. While there are a few obvious similarities to stories like Star Wars, the game has an overall tone that's grittier and more desperate than your typical action adventure.

Wing Blender Updated, Now With Fewer Collisions
2016-07-14 -- Kevin Caccamo has released version 1.6.3 of his Wing Blender tool.

Digital HD Wing Commander Discounted to $7
2016-07-13 -- A couple of the digital platforms that reduced their prices on HD copies of the Wing Commander Movie have now dipped further to just $6.99. Both VUDU and Amazon Instant Video sport the new lower price.

Basic Functions Restored To Kilrathi & Confed In Homeworld Mod
2016-07-12 -- L.I.F.

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