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.

Hunting for The Awakening
2017-04-26 -- Earlier this year, we reported that the band Die Krupps has re-released the song they composed for the Wing Commander Prophecy OST, updated for a more recent album. This song, The Vampire Strikes Back, is one of three on the album that were 'inspired by' Wing Commander. What about the other two?

Visual Reference: Wing Commander I Rooms
2017-04-25 -- Following our gallery of Wing Commander II backgrounds, here is a smaller selection of backgrounds from the original game. There weren't as many places to go on the Tiger's Claw, but it's interesting to note they didn't 'double up' on similar places--the Hangar Deck and the debriefing area have separate backgrounds.

Goofballs Battle for the Enigma Sector
2017-04-24 -- Last year, I was lucky enough to take part in a 25th Anniversary livestream of Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. Unfortunately, if you missed the live showing it has not been available... until now!

Wing Commander Makes History
2017-04-23 -- It's time for some serious history! The Digital Antiquarian has put together an excellent article titled From Squadron to Wingleader which follows the first half of the development of the original Wing Commander! It's a story hardcore fans are likely familiar with (much is sourced from Mike Harrison's Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide), but it has never been presented in so-compelling a form.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It!
2017-04-22 -- Happy Earth Day, everyone! There are certainly important issues facing the world today… but let’s take a moment to jump forward and see what disastrous await our home planet in the Wing Commander timeline! Soon Earth itself will be in our grasp...

Visual Reference: Special Operations 1 & 2 Rooms
2017-04-21 -- Earlier in the week, we collected all of the 'uncut' Wing Commander II 'sets.' Today we're following up that selection with the new rooms created for the Special Operations addon disks. A key consideration in that era of development was disk space; the mission disks could budget only a small amount of space to add new art content.

Got Any Brilliance?
2017-04-20 -- In honor of April 20th, here's a quick rundown on some of the recreational drugs of the Wing Commander universe! Blaze up some Arakh Leaves or swallow an Elysium capsule and let's get started...BrillianceBrilliance is probably the Wing Commander universe's signature drugs.

Visual Reference: Wing Commander II Rooms
2017-04-19 -- Wing Commander has, from the start, been called an interactive movie... and the team building the games embraced that in many aspects of the production process. For example, all of the 'talking head' scenes in Wing Commander, Wing Commander II and Privateer were constructed just like film shots, with different camera angles and purpose-built 3D environments (or sets!

Wing One Goes Mainstream
2017-04-18 -- Did you miss out on The Fatman's Wing Commander soundtrack, Wing One? Good news: it's now available via mainstream digital music storefronts including Amazon and iTunes. The 27-track album includes all of the music from the original Wing Commander recorded using a Roland MT-32 (plus a few surprises, including a lullaby version of one track and a live recording of the theme from CES!

Model Upgrade Pack Upgraded
2017-04-17 -- Good news for pilots who want to make their games especially pretty: DefianceIndustries has launched version 0.21 of his Wing Commander Prophecy Model Upgrade Pack. This is an unofficial update to the game that replaces the original 3D models with much higher quality, modern versions...

Wingmen Back from the Dead!
2017-04-16 -- Happy Easter, WingNuts! In honor of the holiday, we present a list of Wing Commander characters who (intentionally or--often--otherwise) came back from the dead! (Presented in the spirit of good humor rather than sacrilege.

Happy CIC Easter!
2017-04-16 -- Hope you all had an eggscellent Easter out there!

Japanese Translators Needed: Mega CD Manual
2017-04-15 -- Remember Lyle Starbuck? That's the name used for the player character in the Mega CD port of Wing Commander I's manual! It's one of at least three original Japanese-language Wing Commander publications that we'd love to explore further.

Pillow Talk
2017-04-14 -- One of my core philosophies is that you can always find a little bit of Wing Commander in the least expected places... and so I was not at all surprised when I happened across Raumstation Vokhila, a German-language blog that puts the author's DIY projects on display. It features what can only be described as a pretty cool pillow!

Classic Game Cover Arts Funding Imminent
2017-04-13 -- Mike Winterbauer's Classic Game Covers book Kickstarter has reached its funding goal and is rocketing (auto-piloting?) towards the finish line! The campaign ends in just four days...

Homeworld Mod Has Claws
2017-04-12 -- The Homeworld Remastered mod marches forward! L.I.

Dralthi Fun!
2017-04-11 -- Remember the TrainSim (aka Squadron)? The 'arcade game' in the Tiger's Claw was both your first step into the original Wing Commander and a fun way to learn to fight the Kilrathi. Under the hood, the game treats the TrainSim as its own series of four missions (in fact, this is likely why there are four 'slots' in each series for potential missions in the first two games.

Wing Commander Album Campaign Prep Continues
2017-04-10 -- There's music in the air... or, at least, we're getting closer! Wing Commander III, IV and Prophecy composed George Oldziey is continuing to make preparations for his next Wing Commander album crowdfunding project.

Privateer 101 Stream
2017-04-09 -- Welcome to the Gemini Sector! I was recently lucky enough to host another live 'RSI Museum' segment for Star Citizen's Happy Hour program... this time, talking about Privateer!

VG&CE Behind the Screens of Wing Commander
2017-04-08 -- Here's an especially interesting gaming magazine scan: a longer cover story from the October 1990 issue of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine. Published alongside the game's release, this may have been the first on-hands 'making of' article about the game.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff