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.

Super Ships Join Homeworld Fray
2015-08-26 -- L.I.F.

It Takes Two To Tango
2015-08-25 -- DefianceIndustries continues to bulk up the Border Worlds fleet, and this time he's upsized his efforts with a preliminary model of the Durango class heavy destroyer/light carrier. It's already looking super sharp and appears to be ready for texturing work. If his fighter models are any comparison, the final paint scheme should be a sight to behold!

New Kilrathi Escort Added To The Armada
2015-08-24 -- Klavs has produced a massive fleet of iconic Kilrathi warships, and that's left him with a variety of major subcomponents on the cutting room floor. He's cobbled together these parts to assemble a pretty compelling new kat design. The consensus seems to be that this could be some sort of destroyer or light cruiser.

Party Logs Now Online
2015-08-23 -- If you couldn't make it to the big party last weekend, now's your chance to relive the event virtually. Our Seventeenth Birthday logs are available online here. Hop down to 16:00 to see when the party officially got started.

Clive Owen Joins Luc Besson’s Valerian
2015-08-22 -- English actor Clive Owen is going back into space. Reports say he's been cast in the lead role of Valerian in the live-action adaptation of a long-running French comic series. The actor joins director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Léon) and co-stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in the big budget sci-fi epic.

Frontline Nephilim Invaders Recreated
2015-08-21 -- Dark Sentinel has returned with complete versions of his Nephilim Manta and Devil Ray fighters. Both have been fully textured, and there's a third bonus fighter: the reddish brown Manta bomber. Nephilim skins can be very hard to pull off, but these execute a colorful organic vibe without just being splotchy psychadelics.

First Glimpse Of The 'Starship Tactics' Fralthi
2015-08-20 -- Arraen has had a busy summer adding lots of Confed ships to his strategy mod. Now it's time to start bulking up the Kilrathi fleet, and fans have been clamoring for a Fralthi to give the kat forces some muscle. The shot below is the first teaser of the new enemy light cruiser in the game.

WC Movie Briefly Disappears From/Reappears On iTunes
2015-08-19 -- In all of the excitement late last month with Wing Commander joining Netflix, we noticed that the movie simultaneously disappeared off iTunes. Our theory was that it was related to Chris Roberts regaining the distribution rights and set off to investigate. But, before we could get too far, the film popped back up!

Digital Wing Commander Tracks Almost Complete
2015-08-18 -- George Oldziey has provided a status update for the digital reorchestrations he's working on to round out his Wing Commander album. The supplemental 15 minutes of music is now a bit more than three quarters complete. Once this is wrapped up, the physical compilation discs can proceed.

Excaliburz Wit Attitudes
2015-08-17 -- We were going to post this one on Saturday, but it got missed in the crazy party shuffle! Richard H ran this one through the Straight Outta Compton meme generator, and it was a hit on social media. It's definitely the best one I've seen!

Time to Claim Party Prizes
2015-08-17 -- It's time for the lucky and talented winners from Saturday night's party to claim their prizes. If you're one of the folks listed below, please submit your IRC name, real name and address now. If you had an unclaimed item from a prior year's party, now's the time to get in touch with us.

Happy 17th Birthday, CIC!
2015-08-16 -- Welcome Wingnuts to the celebration of the CIC's 17th Birthday! The years keep racing by faster and faster, and the site is now older than many staff members and visitors were in 1998 when we first set up shop at wcnews.com!

Massively Revamped Flat Universe Released!
2015-08-16 -- The Maslas Brothers' impressive top-down Wing Commander shooter, Flat Universe, has been upgraded to version 0.8.5.

Documentary Chronicles Exciting Live Orchestra Performing Wing Commander
2015-08-16 -- Last year George Oldziey's successful crowdfunding campaign allowed him to hire a live orchestra to record our favorite parts of the Wing Commander 3, 4 and Prophecy soundtracks. Supplemental work continues to digitally remaster even more music, but here is the behind-the-scenes look at what happened in Bratislava! Crank up the volume, blow it up for the full HD version and prepare to get chills!

Break Formation and Open Fire!
2015-08-16 -- NinjaLA has created some great Wing Commander art over the years. This time is no different. He's created an incredible scene as a Confederation force prepares to attack the mother-of-all-carriers, a Kilrathi Hakaga.

A Defiant Few Episode 6 Released!
2015-08-16 -- Plywood Fiend and the voice actors of A Defiant Few are back with Episode 6 of their Wing Commander audio adventure. Their story follows Admiral Sandra Goodin's valiant defense of the Gemini Sector against the Nephilim hordes. Check it out here, or find the links to previous chapters below if you need a refresher!

Homeworld Mod Bounces Back With Slick Border World Ships
2015-08-16 -- L.I.F.

WC vs History: 25 Years of War
2015-08-16 -- It's been 25 years since the original Wing Commander was released in 1990. What an amazing quarter century it has been! So many advances, events, and discoveries have transformed the world we knew, well some of us knew, into the world we know.

Wing Commander Multiplayer Hub Launched
2015-08-16 -- Over the years, Wingnuts have come up with various workarounds, patches, and methods to take advantage of the Wing Commander multiplayer options. That information has been scattered across dozens of places for years but we now bring it to you in one easy to access, and update, location: The Wing Commander Multiplayer Hub.This is intended to be a "living document", where all wingnuts can add to it as new information and methods become available.

Document Archive Revamp Kicked Off With Advertisement Roundup
2015-08-16 -- We post a lot of cool advertisements for Wing Commander products in the news, but it can be hard to find them all through the years. One of our goals with the CIC Document Archives section was to make it easier to research interesting aspects of history like this. We've gone back through and sorted dozens and dozens of cool items and categorized them under the headings below, and there are even more items in our personal collections waiting to be scanned in the future.

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