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.

Which Way Back to Base?
2015-04-26 -- The new poll asks which game had the best nav map. Although maps are often a mundane afterthought in most games, they were a critical component in the Wing Commander series. in WC1 and WC2, the game had an incredible sense of freedom thanks to the ability to reroute a patrol around an asteroid field or head straight home after a particularly tough encounter.

Relive Blair's Story in Seven Minutes
2015-04-25 -- Szych has put together a tribute video to the Wing Commander series. He hits the highlights of WC1 through 4 as well as Prophecy in one composite package. While the clip is jam packed with different scenes, it's not just a music video with random edits - he does a good job of trying to cover many of the major plots points in a fun nostalgic trip.

Flat Universe on Mission Design
2015-04-24 -- The Maslas Brothers have again taken to the forums to answer questions from fans, this time focusing on map design. The playing field in Flat Universe is made up of distinct scenes or maps, interconnected through jump points. Each map can have any number of hotspots, such as space stations or asteroid fields, and missions may span multiple maps.

New WC Saga Tools Released To Assist Pilots
2015-04-23 -- Luke has created two more useful tools to help both players and modders of WC Saga. WCS Base Extract is a utility that unpacks Saga files as a first step towards creating new missions in the game. Mouse Trap improves control for pilots who fly with a mouse.

WC Film Project Energizes Next Generation of Gamers
2015-04-22 -- Mike Peters is a high school teacher and a huge Wing Commander fan. For an exciting summer project, he's working with his students to put together a fun film series. They've already started on the story, which will center on Colonel Halcyon and Commodore/Admiral Tolwyn prior to the events of WC1.

Wing Commander Added to Origin Humble Bundle
2015-04-21 -- Last week's leak about the Origin Humble Bundle has been officially announced! The baseline bundle with Dragon Age, Peggle, Dead Space 2, Medal of Honor and C&C Generals is available at any price, but gamers who pay more than the average unlock eight additional titles, including Wing Commander 3&4, Sim City 2000 and Ultima 7. The average is currently just $4.

It's Hip To Be Square
2015-04-20 -- We haven't heard much on Ron B's WC strategy game lately, but he's back now with an update. The biggest change is that the hex-based space grids have been turned into squares to streamline development. Other aspects of the project have been coming along well, so he actually expects to be able to share a playable test release soon.

New Utility Boosts Prophecy & Secret Ops Framerate
2015-04-19 -- gr1mre4per has put together a neat new upgrade patch for Wing Commander Prophecy & Secret Ops. There are patches that upgrade the video to DVD quality, enable OpenGL graphics support and even add multiplayer, but the game is still locked at 32 frames per second. grim's patch updates the Prophecy or Secret Ops executable to run at any custom refresh rate, although 60 seems to work the best and provides nice and smooth motion.

Rapier + Ninja = Boulder Blaster
2015-04-18 -- Wojo is well known as an aficionado of the WC Movie's Rapier I fighter. Recently he was shocked to see one Lego's latest toys, the Ninjago Boulder Blaster. It's a cylindrical fighter with a big rotary cannon for a nose.

New Preview Features Wing Commander Star
2015-04-17 -- Many of you have already seen it, but a hot new video is exploding across the internet. Wing Commander's Malcolm McDowell has been made the new spokesman for Lunchables Uploaded, but he's not a great fit. His hilarious new commercial is below.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff