LOAF Fixes a Macintosh

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Well OS8 should be less system resource intensive then OS9 so it might very well be better for gaming. For general purpose PC, os9 had a lot of stuff including better file search system and much better internet capability then OS8, but you don't need all that. The very reason OS8 is recommended for sheepshaver.

Madman's suggestion of OS7 is probibly a really good one.
I'd imagine it would be even lighter then OS8, and as he said it is for free as download

http://download.info.apple.com/Appl...System/Older_System/System_7.5_Version_7.5.3/

Might want to update to 7.6 as it supposedly better supports PowerPC chips
 

st3lt3k

Rear Admiral
Well done!

I had never seen the Quickshot Master Pilot before! I found this comment on an almost 8 year old thread on the ideal computer setup:

Joystick set up is a first generation Sidewinder FF 'stick in Windows and a Thrustmater FCS/WCS/RCS combo for DOS. The old games support anywhere from one piece to all of Thrustmasters old HOTAS setup... and Privateer with rudders is a lot of fun. :) I also picked up a Quickshot Master Pilot console, which has 'overlays' for four or so Wing games. Not very useful for much - but it's an awesome glowing panel that makes your setup look more like a fighter plane.

https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/the-ideal-computer-system-to-play-wing-commander.6975/

It looks like multiple units can be connected "in a series to achieve the ultimate gaming experience."
http://www.quickshot.com/game_controllers/mp98.html

Again, well done!
 
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AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I found that Thrustmaster keeps their old Mac setup software available for download... hidden under "Legacy" and then "PC" at their support site. I also dug out my old Rudder Control System from my PC setup, which works on both Macs and PCs. Everything set up nicely and it all calibrates correctly, although I haven't found any way to get the Wing Commander sticksets to recognize the rudder (and as best I can tell the throttle doesn't actually /throttle/ in the games--so more to tweak there.)

PC WC3 didn't support rudder control until The Kilrathi Saga version. I have no idea if the Mac one did or not. The readme for the win95 patch for WC4 tells me that rudder and throttle support didn't exist in WC4 before the win95 patch either.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
PC WC3 didn't support rudder control until The Kilrathi Saga version. I have no idea if the Mac one did or not. The readme for the win95 patch for WC4 tells me that rudder and throttle support didn't exist in WC4 before the win95 patch either.

Yep, this was one of the reasons I was so excited for the KS versions. In WCP/SO, I found my rudder pedals to be essential for flying especially with the Vampire's increased mobility. You could roll away from any danger in a second. In WC4, they are especially useful for getting away from missiles.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
I'm fairly certain the mac versions didn't have rudder control, though i didn't have a joystick that was capable of it at the time anyway.

At least in dosbox you can button map rudder controls, but the only wc game I know that this works really well is Armada, WC3 requires the shift to be any use

Btw, another game of my childhood that completely inspired me to be the major flight/sim fan I am today is A-10 Attack! and it's expansion/sequil A-10 Cuba! (exclimation points part of the title) If you can get your hands on them, I highly recommend it.

Also the mac versions of some games were supperior than their dos couterparts and worth checking out.

Descent 1 displays cockpit mode at much higher SVGA grade resolutions, + it's own superb digitized soundtrack. (at least compared with the original midi tacks)

X-wing had redrawn cut-scenes and much higher SVGA resolution graphics as well. Though not the textures of the Win95 version. :(
 

Oggy

Rear Admiral
Textures on X-Wing and Tie Fighter games!, Heresy!!!!
(although I do own both copies, including the Win95 collectors edition)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I guess that's good news about the rudder--I can take it out and rig it up with the PC instead (here I was dreaming up some sort of two-box switch to switch the same rudder between two systems...)

No exciting progress to report. The CMOS battery should arrive this afternoon, so I'll at least get some cool pictures of what Bertha's insides look like when I'm swapping that out.

Still waiting for my copy of Mac OS8--eBay is so frustrating when you're used to Amazon Prime! Maybe today. At least that would give me something fun to work on for the weekend.

I didn't point this out earlier, but you can kind of see in the pictures that I dug out most of an old 5.1 gaming speaker system that went with my WC PC. I need to figure out where the two back speakers are and I'll set up WC4 Mac for some surround sound!

I also picked up a second mint-in-box Weapons Control System, so I can return Dund's to him so he can build his own WC Mac. Six bucks and the guy on eBay was SO nice about it--e-mailed me in the middle of the auction to make sure I understood it was an ADB stick rather than something humans could use today.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Bertha came through her battery surgery great! And testing confirms that she no longer reverts to thinking its 1956 every time she boots up. The process was surprisingly easy, despite the manual insisting that I needed to take her to an authorized Apple repair center to have the battery replaced (which WOULD have been funny in 2011.)

berthasurgery.jpg


These are some elegant guts. NO screws involved in opening her up: you press buttons on the front of the case and slide it it off, then the platter with the various drives swings up on a hinge to give you access the motherboard.

From looking at the components I believe Berth has had her hard drive and battery replaced before. Shockingly little dust inside.

Still no sign of Mac OS 8. Come on, USPS!
 
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wcnut

Rear Admiral
Wow with all that space you could probably stick a voodoo card in there if you wanted.

According Lazy Game Reviews, you wouldn't even have to get one that has a mac specific flashed bios.
A PC one would work fine so long as you used the latest extensions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUlCkH5v938

just a thought ;)
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
I have to admit LOAF, she looks prettier on the inside than I thought. I was kind of preparing for the worst...
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I must admit, I am curious as to what would have gone in those slots in 1997. Everything I really want is on the motherboard (sound, video and so forth.) I certainly have Voodoo cards lying around, but I can't really imagine what they would do for me here. :) Mostly I'm not too interested in upgrading beyond my needs for running the Wing Commanders--keep it simple and all that. What do you think about more RAM? I don't want to get to a point where Super Wing Commander runs too fast, but it might be nice to speed the boot up process.

I was really surprised by how easy it was to get in and by how upgradable it seems to be. I remember one of the stories at Folklore.org is about Steve Jobs being adamant during the design of the original Macintosh that it /not/ be expandable in any way because he didn't want customers opening up the computer. I suppose that thought didn't survive into the 1990s--and Bertha's design was probably as far removed from Steve's influence as possible (born February, 1997--so the first model of Macintosh to be released after he had returned to Apple... but before he had become CEO.)

Still the ease of opening her up and the simplicity of the layout inside reminds me a LOT of the Apple II. They were just beautiful inside and a real joy to work with. I remember when I first discovered that--I came across a room full of ostensibly broken Apple IIs and assorted spare parts at my old high school. They were bound for the scrap heap and I said well let me take a look see if I can get some running again and it was SO EASY. In an afternoon of swapping parts around I think I had all but one of them running fine again.

greycat1.jpg


Thank you so much for getting me a computer, says Grey.

greycat2.jpg


Now I'd like to play this game.

This weekend... I decided to try and get Super Wing Commander's stability under control. I started by dialing back to Mac OS 8.6, which didn't help at all. It was nice to have a completely fresh install, which cleared out a lot of the gunk Bertha's previous owners had left... but 8.6 seems largely identical to 9.1 and I would still get constant Finder crashes while playing Super Wing Commander.

So I went back to System 7.6, which was at least a shift backwards visually. And sure enough, success with Super Wing Commander--nice and stable.

... except now it couldn't read my "Wing Commander Mac Archive" CD. It turns out Mac OS 8.1 is the one that introduced the ability to read HFS+ file systems and everything earlier would need a special disc. Easy enough? Nope. Meanwhile, in the equally frustrating future, it turned out that OSX Leopard had specifically REMOVED THE ABILITY TO WRITE TO PLAIN OLD HFS FILE SYSTEMS. ARGH!

Luckily there was some software out there that convinced the Mac Mini otherwise and I Toasted an old-style CD-ROM with everything you could possibly need for Wing Commander on the 7300. I reinstalled everything, copied over the special sounds and so on. Thrustmaster profiles enabled, Super Wing Commander flew great.

I celebrated by clearing the TrainSim gauntlet. Interesting note--there's only 29 fighters in the Super Wing Commander version. You face only three waves of Krant and two waves of Gratha. It also doesn't record your score, despite showing you the various programmers' scores at the start and end of each session (I guess you're supposed to compare them?).

... except now there's a nasty bug with the sound! The computer KEEPS forcing the volume to mute after I've done anything. It doesn't seem to affect Super Wing Commander, but it's really harshing my buzz in Wing Commander IV and especially Ultima III.

When OS 8.0 arrives in the mail I'll try upgrading forward a little and seeing if this clears up. If not... more research is needed.
 
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Darkmage

Vice Admiral
3DO Super Wing Commander shares more with the mac port than a lot of people realise. The 3DO Development machines were Macintosh computers with 3DO cards in them. I've seen the developer machines sell for $3500 on Ebay previously. There was an "Orange" branded card that had an X86 cpu on it so you could actually run x86 PC code on a macintosh computer. There was also some really high end sound boards and disco light controller boards released for the old Macintosh machines. Because it was such a popular platform for music editing it had a lot of custom components available that Apple didn't even dream of originally. The internal design of every mac is amazingly well engineered. Especially the pro gear. I bought a Mac Pro recently, never seen an easier machine to upgrade. Even the CPUs/ram are on a tray that just slides out after flicking two switches.
 

Deathsnake

Rear Admiral
Your Cat is looking my one:

my two cats on the desk ;)
bild1 016.JPG

and my new one : 8 weeks old :D
PIC_0130.JPG

^^ Kilrathi enter my house ;D
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Yes, the 3DO dev machines were Quadras with special cards in them (the generation of Macintosh which preceded Power PC's like Bertha.) Note that that doesn't mean there was some parallel development at Origin--Super Wing Commander for the Macintosh was actually ported after the 3DO version was finished, by an entirely different company (Lion Entertainment.)
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
If the original SWC game was made on Macs, were they used to make any of the other games?

It's possible that Origin must have had a separate Mac development team assembled for Super Wing Commander, which was released on 3do the very same year as WC3 on PC.

https://www.wcnews.com/articles/art40.shtml - According to this interview with Malcolm McDowell, Chris Roberts sent him a PC because their Mac wouldn't run Wing Commander 3, yet it received a 3do port the very next year, and then a Mac port (just like SWC!). Wing Commander 4 had a Mac port, and it also had a 3do port in the works. Surely these had relationships similar to the relationship between SWC 3do and SWC Mac.

I doubt any Macintoshes were involved in the programming of WC1, WC2, Privateer or their expansions. Though there may have been Macs (though more likely Amigas!) involved in things like music, sfx and art.
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
If the original SWC game was made on Macs, were they used to make any of the other games?

I guess it depends what you mean by made on Macs. By technical necessity, the machine that compiled the game and sent it to the test environment was a Mac... but the computers belonging to the coders, artists, designers and so on generally were not. Origin didn't have one type of computer that all work was done on. The meat and potatoes work of building a game was mostly done on PCS in the 1990s--they were much cheaper games could be tested on them, a much wider group of potential hires were familiar with them and so on. But Macs were common in other departments. Origin's publications group was almost exclusively Macs and they were used extensively for sound work (and then there were specialized machines for other tasks--SGI renderers and so on.)

It's possible that Origin must have had a separate Mac development team assembled for Super Wing Commander, which was released on 3do the very same year as WC3 on PC.

No, the Macintosh ports were all done by an outside company called Lion Entertainment. Lion was in Austin and employed a number of former Origin folks and there was a close relationship between the two companies... but they had their own office with their own computers. They were supposed to be a dedicated Mac devleoper, like Bungie, but eventually ended up moving on to do Playstation games... including the 1997 port of Wing Commander IV.

The initial 3DO Super Wing Commander was done at Origin, but not necessarily using Macs. 3DO developers needed a special Mac to compile and run their games, but the actual workflow was just like any of the PC games using the same resources--coders working on PCs, artists with rendering machines and so on. It was a separate development team, but it was really more of a university for the bigger teams, who snatched up promising members of that group for games like Crusader and Prophecy. (The Super Wing Commander team went on to do Wing Commander 3 and then Prowler before disbanding when that project died.)

(Super Wing Commander was a corporate requirement and not anything Origin *wanted* to do. The 3DO company was created by EA's founder, Trip Hawkins... and he pulled strings with his former company to have them develop games for his crazy "interactive multiplayer." Super Wing Commander was thrust upon Origin and intended to be a jewel of a launch title for the system... it ended up being delayed a little, though, and didn't come out with the first wave. That's also why Origin supported the 3DO well past when it was clearly a flop, pouring money into Wing Commander 3, Wing Commander 4, Prowler and even an M2 version of WC4.)

Anyway--good news:

macos8wins.JPG


This showed up in the mail last night! In the hopes of solving my audio problem and getting an operating system that was a little nicer than 7.6, I did a clean wipe of the computer and installed Mac OS 8.0.

... and it works! Super Wing Commander doesn't crash Finder in 8.0, everything else installs and runs correctly... and the environment itself is leaps and bounds ahead of 7.6 (all activity doesn't stop when I'm moving files, for instance.)

I also tested the Mac screenshot process and it's nice and simple and works perfectly with SWC--so you can expect to see mountains of SWC shots soon. How will I get them off? $11 bought me a box of 1.44" disks and a USB drive off of Amazon! Look for SWC wcpedia and front page updates in the days ahead.

I also made a neat re-discovery that I don't think anyone has seen in many years: the Mac demo of System Shock, buried on an old magazine cover CD. I hit up the System Shock community at the start of this process to see if such a demo even existed and they had no evidence of it. So if any of you are hardcore System Shock fans, spread the word!
 
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Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
I think it should definitely be preserved in some part of the website that Mac OS 8.0 works well for all the Mac Wing Commander games, so it would probably be the ideal OS purchase for someone looking to build/acquire a Wing Commander Mac like you have.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Still rather strange, SWC works just fine on 9.1/9.2 on my old beige G3. No crashing. Perhaps its just the extra power of a G3 processor. Glad you finally found an OS that suited your mac.
 
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