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.

Pilgrim Legacy Full of Untapped Potential
2014-07-29 -- Wojo has dabbled in various WC fan mods over the years, but he's had one pet project going for quite a while. The game would take place in the WC Saga engine and borrow elements from the Wing Commander Movie. It came up again recently in a thread on various add-on campaigns, so Wojo released this single teaser image.

Congrats Again Lord British!
2014-07-29 -- Congratulations to Origin founder, second generation astronaut and Wing Commander fan Richard Garriott and wife Laetitia de Cayeux, who welcomed their second child into the world yesterday. Ronin Phi Garriott de Cayeux was born yesterday on the 41st anniversary of his grandfather, Owen Garriott's, launch to the Skylab station. What an out-of-this-world family!

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2014-07-28 -- Shaggy's planned WC1 Beat Hazard lineup is complete with the addition of the Jalthi. Predictably, this one is a beast with its heavy gun load out. There's now nine Vega Sector favorites available to fly while enemies are generated to the sound of your own music.

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Sounding Off About Obscure Sound Cards
2014-07-26 -- LOAF was catching up on some early '90s issues of CGW this morning and came across several sound card advertisements that exemplify the times. It's been many years since people have had to spend much thought on the particular sound card for their new PC, but back in 1992, the market was on fire. Over just a couple short years, the industry converted from simple beeps & boops to dynamic music and digitized speech.

Thrakhath Sets Off For Earth
2014-07-25 -- The Confed homeworld has more to fear than a Shiraak! The Hakagas that were under construction in the far flung reaches of the Empire have been completed and are on the move. Everything about the vessel in Klavs' latest render feels heavy and well armored.

Mark Hamill on Star Wars
2014-07-24 -- The BBC caught up with Mark Hamill at the Guardians of the Galaxy red carpet event in London. They spoke briefly about the new Star Wars trilogy, which has recently started filming. Luke Skywalker is one of several characters from the original trilogy to have a supporting role.

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