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Direct Draw Hack: Helping The Aged On Win 7

Despite the PC’s unassailable status as undying gaming platform with an uncountable number of titles in its history, the exciting/chilling march of operating system progress has seen successive versions of Windows cruelly dispense with support for the golden, vital past. Most recently, the otherwise fairly splendid Windows 7 threw out Direct Draw support, leaving a slew of Windows 95-era games left in the emulation cold. A man has fixed this, and thus you should worship him.

Finnish software engineer Jari Komppa was dismayed to discover that the earlier Wing Commander games – most especially the first one – went all kinds of wrong in Windows 7, either screwing up the palette or making the rest of the OS look all screwy. For Reasons Too Complicated To Explain involving DirectX’s attitude to and emulation of OpenGL, he’s been able to fix this. And he’s put it here.

Most compellingly, it’s proving to have knock-on effects to other era-defining PC games – including early StarCrafts, Warcrafts and Fallouts. So, if you want to revist such august titles without delving deep into file-hacking, DOSbox and arcane user-patches, here you go. Microsoft’s unilateral “screw the old games” philosophy doesn’t have to hold true after al.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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