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Hacking Wing Commander for Windows 7 Compatibility

For everyone using  a later version of Windows like Vista or Windows 7 they will probably never get to enjoy the awesomeness that was Wing Commander…until now. [Jari Komppa] has managed to use DirectDraw to his advantage and hack out a solution to this disappointing problem.  He used DirectX to do this and has even managed to get OpenGL to load from a DLL after a few problems with Windows XP and Windows 7.  This is truly a step forward in retro gaming.  No more should we have to load a virtual machine to play Starcraft.  Hopefully getting this ported to even older games such as Sim Farm or Commander Keen are on the way!

Comments

  1. chaos says:

    I’d be happy if someone could fix the original Diablo to play on windows 7.

  2. magnavoid says:

    umm.. first off who needs a virtual machine to run starcraft? i and plenty of people i know run starcraft perfectly fine on windows7 and even vista. And another thing Commander Keen is freaking awesome.

  3. Andy says:

    About running Starcraft (and WarCraft 3) on Windows 7… It works fine for me without a virtual machine if I set my desktop to run in 16-bit color mode… otherwise, the color palette gets bugged in game and looks kinda like the screenshot above. Both of the systems I’ve seen this on were running nVidia GPUs on Windows 7 Ultimate. Running as Administrator or in Compatibility Mode didn’t matter.

  4. JMLB says:

    Is it just me or was the graphic designer of commander keen 4 on a bad acid trip?

  5. CRX says:

    How to fix Starcraft colours on Windows 7:
    1) Right click desktop
    2) Screen Resolution
    3) Launch Starcraft
    4) Zerg rush
    5) Kekeke!!!

    (Thats right, just leaving the Screen Resolution window open in the background fixes all of the colour problems with SC1!!)

  6. Pablo says:

    I’m holding out for Sonic CD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_CD) – After trying the SonicFix to patch the graphics it still wouldn’t play on Windows 7 or in a Windows XP VM.

    It plays fine in a Windows 98 VM, but the music doesn’t play because the Windows 7 virtual machine host doesn’t really support sound.

  7. Ben Ryves says:

    CRX: Interesting. I’ve also heard that other DirectDraw palette issues can be resolved by killing all instances of explorer.exe when running the program.

  8. MS3FGX says:

    This is a terrible summary…

    He didn’t use DirectX for this, the whole point of the project is to NOT use DirectX. He implemented a sort of OpenGL compatibility layer that interprets ddraw.dll calls.

    While we are at it, both Sim Farm and Commander Keen are DOS games, and as such would have absolutely nothing to do with DirectX. Use DOSbox if you want to play them.

  9. draeath says:

    Ooooh…

    I totally forwarded this over to the folks at GoG.com. In particular the “logger” sounds interesting:

    “DirectDraw wrapper DLL sources. Logs incoming calls to a text file and passes calls to the actual ddraw.dll”

  10. razor says:

    Actually Commander Keen is already on Steam, as are the King’s Quest series, the Space Quest series, and others as well. Looking at the settings for DOSBox used to run those should help resolve a lot of issues for some games. I do admit though, that using DOSBox still produces the atrocity you see in the screen-shot on some games. The original X-Com game had the same issue in XP, as did System Shock 1 (which you can fix the graphics and sound for the intro, but the game itself is still want to crash at the drop of a hat).

  11. razor says:

    OOO yes GoG.com would LOVE that, as they have a lot of old DOS games as well, really old ones! Anybody remember Under a Killing Moon? :P

    (dammit, I just became a troll AND a hipster… just shoot me!)

  12. orly says:

    or you can just kill explorer.exe fixes alot of old games that have issues.

  13. Carson says:

    Seconding the explorer.exe option listed above

    just make a batch file to kill it then run the program, but remember to restart explorer :P

  14. GaryC says:

    @razor i still have an orginal copy of Under A Killing Moon, loved the Tex Murphy series.

  15. bob says:

    just gotta say commander keen 4 was the best & jet pack

  16. kory says:

    I’m pretty sure all you need to do to fix SC is make it run off a batch file that kills explorer.exe then restarts it when you finish.

    taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
    C:\”Program Files”\”Starcraft”\”StarCraft.exe”
    start explorer.exe

  17. Pilotgeek says:

    Well, I run Linux, so I kinda have to use a virtual machine…

    /What’s wrong with virtual machines?

  18. pRoFlT says:

    Sierra games rocked! I went to high school in oakhurst, ca. Birthplace of Sierra Online. Games like Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest and kings quest. I would love to see those games ported to windows 7. I guess a virtual machine for those games would be okay. Not like they need i7 core CPU with 1GB mem video card. ;)

    Crazy enough, i dont normally purchase games (cough cough), but i do have Wing Commander III “Heart of the Tiger” in its original packaging. http://flic.kr/p/8zex4b

  19. Thomas says:

    @MS3FGX
    Hackaday has gone greatly down hill. The post authors have ADD or something and can’t get anything right.

  20. plingboot says:

    “has managed to use DirectDraw to his advantage and hack out a solution to this disappointing problem. He used DirectX to do this.”

    This is completely and utterly wrong. In fact it’s pretty much the OPPOSITE of what he has done.

    The guy has implemented old deprecated DirectDraw (which is part of DirectX) with OpenGL.

  21. Hitek146 says:

    The first Tex Murphy game led to one of my first “hacks”. “Mean Streets” was one of the first games to manipulate the interrupt timer for a PC’s internal speaker, using it to play back digitized audio. Since PCs didn’t have “proper” sound cards back then, the only way(that I knew of) to connect the speaker output of the PC to a stereo or other amplifier was to splice an RCA cable with a series capacitor into the PC’s speaker connector. Good times… :)

  22. Jim says:

    Launching commander keen from within a “rar” file works for me. Take the CK directory and using winrar, compress into a single file. Now when you double click your new file, winrar will open providing an explorer like interface. Run the exe right out of winrar and it games.

  23. Blair says:

    how to play wing commander privateer using win 7 instead of using dosbox.

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