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.

Ultima Art Project Moves Forward, But WC Element Still Possible
2015-05-23 -- If you're not a Patreon follower of Denis Loubet, you may have missed the results from the recent vote for his next Origin-themed artwork. Unfortunately, Ultima fans won with a request for a new cover of Ultima VII. This is actually a very cool subject for Origin fans though as "The Black Gate" originally had just a stark black box!

Elite Dangerous Available For Mac
2015-05-22 -- Elite Dangerous, that other major crowdfunded space sim, is now available for Mac. David Braben's adventure/trading game was released for PC late last year, with Mac and Xbox One versions still in the pipeline. Mac users can now get the game directly from Frontier Developments or through Steam, and players are able to fly alongside PC users.

LOAF Talks WC3 For A Good Cause
2015-05-21 -- Cloud Imperium Games community team members James Pugh and Disco Lando recently conducted a 24-hour video gaming livestream for charity. There's a wide variety of games on deck, including Wing Commander 3. LOAF even starred on the stream for a bit and provided a running commentary before taking the controls.

"Let's just say she could hypothetically cruise at a cool 500 kilometers per second..."
2015-05-20 -- While cleaning his hard drive, Lc4Hunter stumbled upon old Excalibur model he'd created long ago. It brought back so many fond memories that he just had to take a stab at recreating it with all of the skills he's learned over the years! The result is a high quality update of one of the most beloved fighters in the series.

Behind the Scenes of the WC2 Demo
2015-05-19 -- Wing 2 director and script writer Stephen Beeman recently shared some interesting facts about the WC2 demo, now almost a quarter century old. The awesome, 'alternative' intro animation is embedded below, or you can download the demo and check it out for yourself. Mr.

Hari Sector Scans Reveal Gigantic Menace
2015-05-18 -- There are several great new updates to the Homeworld mod. For starters, the incredibly massive Kilrathi dreadnought has been implemented. All of its turrets are also individually targetable when it's time to defang the beast.

WC Vega Sets Up Classic Dogfight
2015-05-17 -- Two iconic wings of fighters have been added to the WC Vega flight roster. Two foam-and-cardboard Scimitars were completed first, but they've been the most challenging design to build so far. A pair of Dralthis came together a bit more easily, and their presence allows Mike Peters and his students to set up some slick space combat action in their upcoming fan film project.

Bearcats Bagged By Border Worlders
2015-05-16 -- Klavs returns from Speradon with a fan favorite -- the iconic Bearcat heavy fighter. Its slick but powerful design has always had a huge appeal, although the ship itself only made a brief appearance in the series. Klavs has also provided a short animation showing a pair of Bearcats en route somewhere, possibly a manufacturing plant of some kind.

Lunchables Uploaded Reloaded With More McDowell
2015-05-15 -- Lunchables Uploaded has produced three more videos of their spokesman, Malcolm McDowell. Although he's most renowned for his serious roles, Mr. McDowell is a super funny guy.

Make Or Break A Strategic Shakedown Cruise
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