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LOAF was recently inspired to rebuild an old Macintosh computer for the purpose of playing the three Macintosh Wing Commander games: Super Wing Commander, Heart of the Tiger and The Price of Freedom. Turning the clock back nearly 20 years to assemble right pieces of hardware and software that WC requires is no small task however, and LOAF is in for a mission into unexplored territory. Follow the complete adventure over at the CIC Forums here.
I know I have enough Wing Commander projects to last ten lifetimes, but the recent news about Steve Jobs inspired me to finally get to work on something I've been meaning to do for myself for many years: build the ideal old Macintosh for playing Wing Commander. My aim is to go from some old surplus to a kickass machine for Super Wing Commander, Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV, tracking down all the cool extras they support in the process. I thought I'd start a thread so folks who are interested can follow my progress... and we can use it as a reference for anyone else wanting to do this.

First I should say that I have absolutely NO idea how old Macs work. As I mentioned in the other thread, I grew up with an Apple ][... but irony of ironies my father turned the skills he learned on that early Apple into a job for IBM and we never owned a Mac. I have a Macbook as my regular notebook and I use a Mini as my HTPC today... but beyond the occasional encounter in a middle school library, I've never touched anything before OSX. So this will be an adventure! Sort of.

(... and it goes without saying that I could use some helps from folks here who *didn't* skip the Macintosh...)

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Some questions to be answered, from thinking about this last night.

* What's the deal with hard drives? First: can the Macintosh WCs be run off the hard drive... and if so, what is my path to add a second drive to this machine? Macs of this era used SCSI drives, right? What kind can I put in it, and how?

* Can a Macintosh from 1997 read CDs burned today? I will want to transfer the Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander IV demos over along with various erratta (I'll make a list of everything when I actually do it, for future reference.)

* Could a 166 mhz computer be too fast for Super Wing Commander? I'm hearing that G4s and possibly G3s needed to be slowed down for the game. Not sure if that will be a problem for this slightly older model.

* What kind of LCD can I use? I need something that's 4:3 with a VGA input *I think* that has a 1024x768 mode. That may be a significantly limiting factor today. Anyone know monitors?

* Will the OLD Origin games work on this computer? I'm not /that/ interested in this since they predate Wing Commander and will be incredibly expensive to find... but I am curious. Origin released Ultima III, Autoduel, Moebius and Ogre for the Mac in the 1980s. There's also a licensed color version of Ultima III from the early 90s, I believe, that I should research.

* If I need an older OS... how do I get it and how do I install it over the newer one?

* What kind of cool flight hardware should I start looking for? Will the Mac Wing Commanders support the whole FCS/WCS/RCS setup I use on the PC?

* Sound. How does sound work on a Mac? Is it on the motherboard? What kind of output does SWC/WC3/WC4 give me in terms of needing a speaker setup?


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