My Mac experience with Super Wing Commander

mkdud

Captain
Over the past couple months, I have been working on restoring an older Power Mac (7300/200) as well as a original Blue Bondi Imac (G3 233) mainly for playing Super Wing Commander. Thanks to the advice from "Bandit LOAF" and others, I have finally assembled a machine that is playing Super Wing Commander very well.

I wanted to post this as I have received some interest from other CIC members who potentially wanted to do the same thing, and some wondered if it is worth going to such extremes when we have been blessed with SM 1.5 .

IT IS WORTH IT! If you are a big fan of WC1, WC2, and the Privateer era WC games, you will love playing SWC on a proper system. Smooth graphics and animation, great sound, actually good voice acting, and some very unique (and tough) missions make SWC an awesome experience.

My 7300/200 was a storage unit rescue that cost me $100. It was a complete desktop (with no monitor, keyboard, or mouse) and it would boot. However, it was running OSX when I received it. It was covered inside and out in concrete dust. It took me days just to get all of this crap out of the machine.

7300/200 as received: 32 mb ram, 604e (820-0928-01) 200mhz processor card, 256k cache, 2 gb HD, 2 mb Vram, no keyboard or mouse. This was too fast as stock to properly run SWC, and it also had issues that I will explain in my next post.

To be continued...
 
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Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
I will be following this closely, as I had zero luck getting the game to run proper on the Sheepshaver and Basilisk Emulators, as well as my old iMac which runs MacOS 9. Currently, the 3DO Emulator gives me the most playable results, such a shame.


Man, if we could just get the source code for this game and port it over to a modern machine... Such a brilliant piece of entertainment! If we ever manage to tackle this sucker (or remake it in Wings of St. Nazaire style), count me in!
 

mkdud

Captain
I guess a comment on SWC for the 3DO is warranted here. I did buy a 3D0 FZ-10 in December of 2015 primarily for SWC. I also managed to get a brand new CH Flightstick Pro for 3D0. I enjoy SWC on the 3DO, and also feel that WC3 is done pretty well on 3DO. I would say that it is fairly worth it to get a 3DO for these, as well as Star Control II, and some other 3DO titles.

HOWEVER, the control on these WC games seem to have been designed around the stock digital 3DO gamepad. Even with my 3DO NOS CH flightstick pro, the games lack the sense of proportional control that you get on a proper Mac with a nice Gravis Blackhawk, Mouse Stick II, or ThurustMaster. You are also going to have control issues if you are a traditional PC WC fan who is used to a PC with a nice flightstick. It's not that the games are unplayable by any means on 3DO, or the Sega CD, which has no flightstick support that I'm aware of. The control is just WAY superior on the Mac.

Is it worth it to buy a CH flightstick pro for 3DO? I would say yes, but not for the money that I spent on the NOS one ($95). If you go hunting for one on 3DO, make sure it is in good condition.

This control issue, combined with the Mac's superior rendering of ships, smooth animation, explosions, and sound make the Mac version the GREATEST by far. Hell, even the asteroids in Mac SWC look and behave better than about any other version. Long story short, save your money to build a proper Mac.

To be continued again....
 

mkdud

Captain
I will be following this closely, as I had zero luck getting the game to run proper on the Sheepshaver and Basilisk Emulators, as well as my old iMac which runs MacOS 9. Currently, the 3DO Emulator gives me the most playable results, such a shame.


Man, if we could just get the source code for this game and port it over to a modern machine... Such a brilliant piece of entertainment! If we ever manage to tackle this sucker (or remake it in Wings of St. Nazaire style), count me in!

Tell us about your iMac. Is it a G3? What processor? How much ram? Are you aware of an awesome app called G3Throttle? Do you have a Griffin iMate, or similar ADB to USB adapter?

You may not have to go nuts trying to build a Power Mac, provided you have a proper iMac. ALSO, do NOT get rid of your OS9, my PowerMac 7300 is running OS9.1 that I'm currently playing SWC on.
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
I guess a comment on SWC for the 3DO is warranted here. I did buy a 3D0 FZ-10 in December of 2015 primarily for SWC. I also managed to get a brand new CH Flightstick Pro for 3D0. I enjoy SWC on the 3DO, and also feel that WC3 is done pretty well on 3DO.
I have WC3 and Shockwave Assault on the Mac and UrQuanMasters for my SCII needs. Not many good games left I would say :)

This control issue, combined with the Mac's superior rendering of ships, smooth animation, explosions, and sound make the Mac version the GREATEST by far. Hell, even the asteroids in Mac SWC look and behave better than about any other version.
I know, I played the hell out of that game as a kid (barely understanding english, that is). ;)

Tell us about your iMac. Is it a G3? What processor? How much ram? Are you aware of an awesome app called G3Throttle? Do you have a Griffin iMate, or similar ADB to USB adapter?.
Yeah, I am aware of G3 Throttle. I have a G4 iMac, one of the 800Mhz iLamps [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G4]. That machine is in fact playing SWC best, if a bit too fast and uneven in regards to the framerate. Having big color corruption problems though, even with the screen colors on 256.


General note: I really did not want to side-rail this thread, as it is about your journey to SWC perfection. If you are in fact interested in tutoring me in regards to getting SWC to run, I can gladly do that via PM or via a thread of its own [in this case, I will edit this post and post a link here for future reference]. One thing though is that I am also trying to achieve a long-term solution instead of keeping my old machines around. I want to be able to experience this game 15 years from now, that is why I am looking into emulator-based solutions first. To quote Starcraft 2 HotS' Dahaka: "Iiiihh --- collecttt --- things."
 

mkdud

Captain
I have WC3 and Shockwave Assault on the Mac and UrQuanMasters for my SCII needs. Not many good games left I would say :)



I know, I played the hell out of that game as a kid (barely understanding english, that is). ;)



Yeah, I am aware of G3 Throttle. I have a G4 iMac, one of the 800Mhz iLamps [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G4]. That machine is in fact playing SWC best, if a bit too fast and uneven in regards to the framerate. Having big color corruption problems though, even with the screen colors on 256.


General note: I really did not want to side-rail this thread, as it is about your journey to SWC perfection. If you are in fact interested in tutoring me in regards to getting SWC to run, I can gladly do that via PM or via a thread of its own [in this case, I will edit this post and post a link here for future reference]. One thing though is that I am also trying to achieve a long-term solution instead of keeping my old machines around. I want to be able to experience this game 15 years from now, that is why I am looking into emulator-based solutions first. To quote Starcraft 2 HotS' Dahaka: "Iiiihh --- collecttt --- things."

I totally agree with your "Wings of St. Nazaire" reference. This would be something to see, a SWC in the St. Nazaire engine...If you like, e-mail me (remove the number 1's) and I can try to help with SWC on your iMac G4: 1mkdud1@aol.com .
 

mkdud

Captain
Ok, so back on track. I have discovered that in my opinion the ideal Mac system for SWC (in reference to speed) is a Power Mac with a 604 running at about 120 or 132 MHZ. I'd suggest 64 mb of ram or more, (it's cheap enough) and 4mb of Vram or more. I would suggest OS9.1, as this has pretty good USB support.

Yes, I said OS9.1, and USB support because you may want to install a PCI USB card. This is so you can use a modern USB CD drive. Many factory SCSI CD drives (as well as floppy drives!) in 20+ year old machines can get flakey, and you will find it nice to have modern USB drives. Also, this gives you a way to import files from a modern internet browsing computer (either PC or Mac) through a USB memory stick. I have yet to network my 7300 to my modern A10 PC, or a modern Mac. (Networking can be a whole separate headache in itself, as well as getting your 20 +/- year old Mac to browse the internet) .

So, I discovered that the 7300/200 with a 604e was just too fast. I could find no app to slow it down to properly run SWC. If anybody knows of something, please post it.

I would either have to change the motherboard, and go to a 7600-ish board to get to 120-132 MHZ on a standard 604, OR go faster, and run G3Throttle. I chose to go to a Sonnet Crescendo G3 500MHZ processor with 1mb cache, and run G3Throttle. I have the throttle set at a wait setting of 10, and SWC is running perfectly. I can also run WC3 and WC4 and adjust the throttle to make these play perfectly; this is the other reason I chose to go to a G3 in the 7300.

I have installed a Keyspan 2 port PCI USB card. I use the USB to connect to a PNY USB 2.0 8 MB memory stick. (NOTE, get USB extension cables, your ports on a Power Mac are in the back) and this is how I was able to transfer files such as G3Throttle, the Gravis Blackhawk and mousestick II drivers, the Sonnet Crescendo install drivers, as well as USB overdrive . I'm currently trying to use USB overdrive so I can get SWC to recognize a nice USB joystick such as my TM top gun fox 2 pro. This is a whole separate project in itself...I'm not going into it here.

Remember, your game ports on the Power Mac are ADB. I'm currently using the Blackhawk ADB stick as well as the mousestick II for SWC.

Enough for now, to be continued...
 

mkdud

Captain
More on Mac SWC - For those of you who have a G3 or G4; I have run across a really killer utility called PowerLogix cache control.

http://www.macobserver.com/news/99/may/990525/g3cacheprofiler.html


This, combined with G3 throttle, can get your SWC speed about perfect on a G3. I'm still experimenting with this on a G4 and I'm almost there. I'm trying to modify it so the G4 will run as nicely as the G3. I'll post my results here if there is any interest.
 

mkdud

Captain
I am running G3 Throttle and Cache Control on OS 9.1. I don't think G3Throttle works in OSX or above...
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
There is no need to install OSX on G3. The version required would be so low, nothing modern could run on it.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
This, combined with G3 throttle, can get your SWC speed about perfect on a G3. I'm still experimenting with this on a G4 and I'm almost there. I'm trying to modify it so the G4 will run as nicely as the G3. I'll post my results here if there is any interest.
How did this end up working out? If you have any more info or even screenshots on how people should configure this, that'd be great.
 

mkdud

Captain
Ok, it's been a while since I had a chance to post. Here are some specs on what I've been running SWC on, I'm doing the IMac first:

IMac G3 333 MHz, 128 gb ram,


1999 APPLE Blueberry 15" G3 iMac M4984 M7440L 333MHz 20GB HD, OS 9.1


I am running G3 Throttle set to a wait state of 7 for SWC on this 333 MHZ machine. PowerLogix cache control can be used in addition to G3 Throttle if your processor is faster than 333 MHz.

CompuCable mini-ADB USB Adapter , (NOT a Griffin iMate)


I replaced the original optical drive with this super drive: Super 85JCA DVD/RW Optical Drive Apple P/Ns 678-0531 678-0554 Panasonic UJ-85J-C



I added this POWERED usb hub: Plugable USB 2.0 7-Port High Speed Hub with 15W Power Adapter



I have also started using a CH products adb F-16 fighterstick, with the CH software version 1.03a.




I'll explain my choices of items in my next post. Thanks, mk
 

mkdud

Captain
UPDATE: After some more experimenting, on the IMac G3 333, I'm now running G3 Throttle at a wait state of 6, and I have PowerLogix Cache Control set to 111 mhz. This has improved the overall gameplay smoothness and stability a bunch. Even in melees with lots of ships, (including cap ships) this seems to have things really smooth and stable.

I still have to post my memory settings for SWC; I believe the minimum file size is at 4238k, with a preferred @ 5238k.

I have had several Wing Nuts ask me what I felt was the best "ideal" setup for SWC. If your primary purpose is SWC and WC3 + WC4, I'm starting to see some real virtue in the 1999-2000 series G3 IMacs running OS 9.2. They can be bought for relatively low prices (under $100 +/-), and for a small additional investment (about another $100) on a nice ADB stick, ADB to USB adapter (I use the CompUCable, I had numerous problems with Griffin's Imate), replacement optical drive, and a powered USB hub, you can have a pretty good Mac SWC to WC4 system.
 
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