Wing Commander – Amiga Demo

With Loaf building his Amiga and two Amiga Wing Commanders to be going on with, I figured one of those had to be the next one to try out. Before that, I thought I should have a look at the demo. Loaf posted a link to this in the wcnews forums saving any searching on my part. It allegedly didn’t work on emulators but I found that hard to believe given the healthy state of Amiga emulation so I thought I’d give it a go anyway.

My knowledge of Amigas is non-existent. It’s the machine I should have owned instead of a CGA PC back in the late 80’s but I’ve never had one in my possession to this day. As such I have no idea how I’m supposed to get AmigaDOS up and running properly but I’ve managed to learn enough to get the job done. The demo was launched via what appears to be the Amiga equivalent of a batch file with each small section having its own executable launched from in there.

After some googling, I found a list of basic DOS commands of which I only appeared to have a small subset available to me in the emulator, presumably because I need to use a boot disk I don’t have to get the full OS. One of the missing commands was the one that executes script files. However, I managed to run the demo by manually launching each stage from the command line. I’ve edited out all of that at and put the final result on Youtube:-

There is no sound or gameplay but there is a little original spiel and some of the cutscenes. The only changes I noticed on here were that the pilots are a lot more friendly when running for their ships,the cockpit visor slides in from a jaunty angle and the landing screen showing the ship damage has a very different colour scheme.

I would imagine that this was an extremely early preview long before the game was playable. Ultimately, the decision was made to drop to 16 colours so that it would run on A500’s whereas this demo makes use of a larger palette and looks all the better for it.

3 thoughts on “Wing Commander – Amiga Demo

  1. Awesome! I’m relieved to see that it still ‘works’. I still haven’t managed to even GET the demo on to the Amiga! It doesn’t seem to like my CD-Rs at all, so I’ve ordered a null modem cable to push the files over that way.

    This is the demo I was thinking of. It was done for CES in Summer 1992 and apparently it was then made available on the cover disk of an Amiga magazine in the UK (I haven’t found the details about that yet.)

    I’m told there was never any hope of running it in 64-color mode, though, and this demo was shown along with a disclaimer that the graphics would be different in the final release. (It’s supposed to show how well the port reduces the 256-color graphics to 64, from which they would then be dithered to 16.)

    I think the text is the same as Origin’s Wing Commander I demo… but the visuals are obviously supposed to show off how different elements will behave on the Amiga (the rotating ships, especially.)

    It DOESN’T have the Sivar, though, which is interesting. That shows up in all the 64-color magazine screenshots of the time even though the ship doesn’t appear in the finished game. (Although Amiga Wing Commander does give you the option to start Secret Missions with a note that it’ll be available soon… and Pelling says in interviews at the time that he’s going to be porting the mission disks.)

  2. Was the missing command “execute”? Because running “execute rundemo” should launch through the whole script and as far as I can tell that’s a built-in command.

    • That’s what I tried but it was coming up unknown command. I couldn’t even use dir for a directory listing. I’m sure there will be a simple solution but I’ve not even tried looking for it yet.

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