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.

Simple Hack Brings Armada Editor Into The 64-Bit Era
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Kilrathi R&D Kicks Into High Gear in Homeworld Mod
2015-05-28 -- Several new updates have continued to round out and enhance the new Kilrathi faction in the Homeworld Remastered mod. The tech tree has been significantly refined so that a proper upgrade path is now available. Background spacescapes and menus look better in the latest release, and there have also been graphical fixes incorporated for torpedo detonation and texture reflection/glow.

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2015-05-27 -- The Wing Commander SciPubTech poster is a great success story for Wing Commander fans. SPT was responsible for some incredible Star Trek cutaway posters that hit it big in the '90s. A TCS Tiger's Claw representation was first announced in 1999 and teased in a tiny postage stamp thumbnail.

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Nimble KF-227 Harasses Vega Supply Lines
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TCS Phoenix Still Holding the Line in Gemini
2015-05-24 -- The crew of the TCS Phoenix is still cruising the star systems of Gemini Sector rooting out pirates and fending off the Kilrathi. For fans itching for old school '90s style forums-based role playing, Wing Commander From the Ashes is their best bet. The adventures follow the crew of a Confed ship assigned to the Potter and Humboldt Quadrants in many of the systems we became familiar with as privateers.

Ultima Art Project Moves Forward, But WC Element Still Possible
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Elite Dangerous Available For Mac
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LOAF Talks WC3 For A Good Cause
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