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


Scary Ship Stalks Spacelanes
2017-08-22 -- Dark Sentinel has managed to once again create one of the most detailed Nephilim capships ever rendered. The subject today is a dark and brooding Orca class destroyer. It's followed up by a smaller Barracuda corvette.

Album Campaign Reaches $15,000 Milestone!
2017-08-21 -- George Oldziey's campaign to create a second Wing Commander Album had an amazing weekend! After getting a big boost from some generous matching funds, the story was picked up at Slashdot. Altogether, this brought in more than $5,000 in just the last four days, which means the project successfully hit its $15,000 minimum threshold!

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2017-08-21 -- There's a Privateer 2 News Bulletin that's especially timely today! This blurb was a way of conveying that the price of optic nerve commodities was increasing on planet Hephaestus (and it was written as a poem because P2 is weird). Specifically, "magnifiers" had been used to view the planet's eclipse rather than "smoked glass," hence the need for these medical suppliers.

Happy 19th Birthday, CIC!
2017-08-20 -- Welcome to another CIC Birthday Party! Counting our grand opening event in 1998, this is the 20th time we've gathered to celebrate how the Wing Commander series has brought together this amazing community. It's always a great opportunity to re-energize with our fellow fans and perform some important site refreshes.

Happy Birthday Sing Along!
2017-08-20 -- Origin composer George Oldziey recorded this extra special video message to help celebrate the CIC's 19th! Sing along at home with everyone else and join the fun! His campaign to make a second Wing Commander album had a successful matching drive this past week and is now up to $12,500!

Happy 19th From DefianceIndustries!
2017-08-20 -- DefianceIndustries kindly sent along these cool graphics to commemorate the CIC's 19th Birthday. But wait, there's more! People have been asking us about CIC gear for a while, and it's been a long time since we've had anything new.

Check Out Flat Universe's Nav System & New Screens
2017-08-20 -- Here's an exciting look at the next iteration of Wing Commander Flat Universe! For starters, there's a peek at the depth of the game's navigation system. The Maslas Brothers have created an entire database out of the Prophecy universe map for pilots to explore.

And Then Play Flat Universe Multiplayer!
2017-08-20 -- And you can now register for the open Flat Universe multiplayer alpha! The game will be playable on both 32 & 64 bit versions of Windows, Linux and MacOS! It incorporates numerous improvements from smaller scale tests and is the coolest version yet!

Or Play The New Model Upgrade Pack!
2017-08-20 -- DefianceIndustries also has a new release ready to go for the slick Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. This new build revamps several major cap ships and implements the joinable Skate clusters. Grab it here (65 MB exe) and have fun!

Document Archive Keeps Growing
2017-08-20 -- In our daily updates, we sometimes share fascinating background information related to the development of a Wing Commander product. This could be never before seen storyboards, pictures from the film set, early draft scripts that differ wildly from the final version, or high resolution source files used in the creation of the box art. In 2004, we launched the Document Archive with the purpose of collecting and categorizing these materials so our visitors can more easily research the development history of their favorite titles.

Prophecy Completes Holovids FMV Archive
2017-08-20 -- It's an exciting day for the Holovids section - all of Prophecy's cinematics have been converted and made available for streaming. This means that every single cinematic from the FMV games are now online! Continuing his work from previous years with WC3, WC4, and Privateer 2, AD has taken the DVD-quality cinematics and added them to Holovids for your viewing pleasure.

CIC Now With Added Arena
2017-08-20 -- A little under a month ago we were all celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wing Commander Arena's release, so this seemed an appropriate time to revisit our coverage of the game. In doing so, our Background section has now been given a dedicated Arena page, and our original Arena mini-site has been brought in line with the rest of the site. Our dedicated Background page can be found here, and if you missed it don't forget to check out Chris' amazing 10th anniversary coverage!

Download List Gets Birthday Update
2017-08-20 -- Over the years, the CIC has gathered a huge number of files in our archives from all types of places. We've been working on organizing many of those files, 116 gigabytes of them to be exact, in our Downloads section. It's been given a birthday update to cover the things we've posted the last few years.

Any Questions?
2017-08-20 -- Here at the CIC, we get asked a lot of questions. Sometimes they are even about Wing Commander. But when we noticed that we were no longer getting so many questions about running Prophecy on a 3Dfx card in Windows 95, we decided that it was time to act!

Cake!
2017-08-20 -- It's a CIC Birthday, so here's a CIC Birthday Cake!

New Poll: Still With Us?
2017-08-20 -- The traditional birthday poll is now up with another year added to it. How long have you been coming to the CIC? We get a steady stream of newcomers, but we know a lot of Wingnuts have been with us since even before the very beginning!

Thank You!
2017-08-20 -- And that's another year down! The community came through again with some really cool releases, and hopefully you enjoy the updates we've made at the CIC as well. A big thanks to George Oldziey, the Maslas Brothers and DefianceIndustries for their contributions to the event.

You Are Cordially Invited...
2017-08-19 -- To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 19th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in #WingnutFeaturing...Some of the best Wingnuts you'll ever meet!

Last Chance To Grab Matching Funds For Album Campaign!
2017-08-18 -- It's been a productive 24 hours for George Oldziey's mission to make a second Wing Commander album. The project is well past $10,000 now, but there's still some room to go if fans would like to take advantage of a generous Wingnut's matching pledge. Overall, about $4,000 needs to be contributed in the next week for the project to get the green light.

High Caliber Plunkett Cruises Into Upgrade Pack
2017-08-17 -- Here's a peek at the latest addition to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. DefianceIndustries has finished texturing Dark Sentinel's Plunkett and getting it to function in the Vision Engine. This powerful cruiser now has some high quality detailing to match its imposing stature.

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