WC Sketches Up Close & Personal

We've got several character sketches today from NinjaLA. Fans may be more familiar with all of his ship drawings, but he also draws quite a few people from the WC universe. The Confed dude has a pretty interesting uniform (I like the gold trim), and the black and white warrior is a very classic Kilrathi. Ninja says that the cats in the middle "aren't strictly Wing Commander related but, honestly, who doesn't love space cats. :D" Swap out the sword or cane for a Dor-Chak and you'd be just about spot on.
I like space cats.
Everyone loves space cats.

Happy Birthday Wing Commander Prophecy!

It's been 20 years since Wing Commander Prophecy arrived in stores! Longtime fans may remember some of the original games being released in the early to mid '90s, but Wing Commander Prophecy represented the first game to come out after the initial internet boom. Yes, it was possible to find WC4 information online in late 1995, but a huge influx of fans throughout 1996 and 1997 completely changed the landscape of this internet community. The Wing Commander Home Sector, precursor to the CIC here at wcnews.com, was up and running and you can still go back and read the excited news posts from December 1997. It's a bit surreal for me to go back and read the news from decades ago and see my name mentioned. Prophecy was a big deal in so many ways. It was the first game post-Chris Roberts, the first to feature hardware 3D acceleration and the start of a new saga with a new enemy, which broadened the franchise considerably. It was the first game to be made with real time fan input online when fans contributed to the creation of the glorious universe map. At one point it was even supposed to feature "intense multiplayer scenarios," which sadly didn't make the final cut (check out 1:13 in the video below to hear this mention). And the Vision Engine it ushered in still serves as the foundation for some incredible fan mods out there.
Wingnuts have taken the engine to new heights with upgrades like the stellar OpenGL patch, but there's one nifty demo that we'd still like to highlight. The game's regular demo, which has a series of supplemental missions, has been upgraded, but the Prophecy 3DFX Test is unique and originally required the special 3DFX hardware. It was a relatively simple gauntlet mission, but it was another way for Origin to get early feedback on the game and was the first sneak peek many of us got to share with our fellow fans. Released in November of 1997, the people who had upgraded to a 3DFX card in anticipation of the game were able to enjoy an early look at the Midway and some of the best Wing Commander effects ever. Those of us without the gear to make it work eagerly anticipated reports of people experiences, pored over occasional screenshots and stood on the sidelines as elite pilots one-upped each other's kill scores. Now it's possible to give it a spin with a relatively simple glide wrapper, which itself is a technique more than a dozen years old! We've come a long way - Happy Birthday Wing Commander Prophecy!

Hats Off To New FMV Record Holder

Games that feature full motion video have undergone a bit of a renaissance over the past two years with a handful of innovative adventures hitting the market since 2015's Her Story. Two decades of dormancy, however, let Wing Commander reign as king of the genre in a number of ways. Now, one game has passed Wing Commander 4 for quantity of FMV, and The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker has the Guiness World Record to prove it! They kindly note that WC4 was previous record holder, which would actually be news to me. I wouldn't be surprised at all if The Price of Freedom had the most, but I wasn't previously aware that this was a category that Guinness tracked. If so, and someone has the printout to show for it, we'd love to see! Wing Commander does hold the official records for First Speech Pack, First Multiplayer Space Combat Game, First use of an animatronic character in a video game and First Hollywood star (Mark Hamill) to top both film and video game charts. Records are made to be broken, and we're glad to see FMV making a comeback. Congrats Doctor Dekker! (not to be confused with Lieutenant Colonel Dekker!)

WC1 Live Viewer Now Displays Medal Points

UnnammedCharacter has released an update to his WC1 Live Viewer program. The previous iteration of the app displayed game state statistics on flying objects throughout the battle space in your Wing Commander 1 game. It's not an editor, but rather, it can be paired with things like the WC Toolbox to help understand what's going on behind the scenes. In response to a number of recent questions on how the game grants medals, the mission's current medal point status is now displayed. This relates to a relatively complex formula that WC1 uses to score different actions and determine if the player achieves an eligible award for certain missions. The program works specifically with the Kilrathi Saga version of the game in Windows. You can grab it at the CIC Forums here.
Since there has been a few post recently about medal scores, I thought I would update the WC1LiveViewer. It has the same restrictions as before, only Kilrathi Saga is supported (WC1.EXE and wing1.exe).

To use it, start the game, then this program (WC1LiveViewer). If it recognizes the running process, it will populate the table with game data. Since the game data is continuously updating, I find the best approach is to keep pausing the game during gameplay.

Check Out Rebel Galaxy's Delightful Blueprint

The creators of Rebel Galaxy, already well known for their incredible Privateer April Fools commercial earlier this year, have made another awesome Wing Commander tribute. They've created a fighter diagram for the game's Coyote fighter that's a perfect match to the style of WC1's blueprints. Sure looks like Howie is having fun!
“Douglas McCall” is a WC nod, too! Douglas Aerospace and McCall Industries were ship manufacturers introduced in WC3. (Themselves named after WC ship artists Chris Douglas and Dean McCall!)
And hey, their space game looks pretty neat too! It's available from/for Steam, GOG, Xbox and Playstation 4 for $20.

Backers' Wing Commander Album Scores Released

Wing Commander fans who pledged for the second Wing Commander album at the $80 level and above now have a treat waiting for them. The PDF digital scores for the seventeen expected orchestral tracks have been released. Contributors can now log in to their Kickstarter Message Inbox for a special note from George Oldziey with a download link and access password. The image below is an idea of what to expect, although this sample is from the first album.
Greetings all! I've finally gotten all the PDFs of the scores for Volume 2 ready.

Thanks again for your wonderful support, and have a great holiday season!

George

Homeworld Mod Now Spoofs Missiles

Yet another new feature has been added to the Homeworld Remastered Mod. Electronic Countermeasures are now available to the fighter fleet so that they have a much more robust defense against large missile salvos. Check out this post for exact effectiveness percentages by model. Additionally, ModDB is hosting its annual Mod of the Year contest, and you can vote for this project here. Look for the big "Vote for this Mod" box and help support a very active WC mod! Last, but not least, some cool pictures of last week's skipper missile have been posted. We couldn't include the images in our previous update, obviously, because the missile was temporarily invisible.
And I'm uploading a small feature for the fighter combat. It was a bit tiring to see fighters getting wrecked on both sides by the first missile salvo, so I added an ECM system (Electronic Counter-Measures). From now on, all fighters and bombers will have a chance of defeating incoming enemy missiles as they arrive at close range. The chance... depends on the fighter or bomber.

OK, so what do we have: elite fighters and the Strakha have gotten a huge boost to survivability against both the "first salvo" and various capital ships. They are now a lot more dangerous against fighter spam, as they should be. But in addition to this, the Confederation gets a sensible buff: its roster of planes is much more homogeneous and it starts right away with what other factions would consider as their "advanced" roster.

The Border Worlds, once at Tier 2, will be on a much more equal footing with the Confederation, and their Banshee is really impressive when dodging missiles. The Morningstar gets a top-level ECM because, 1, it is canonically awesome and 2, its current model's real life inspiration has an ECM self-defence suite which is apparently stuff of legends in the aerospace community.

Then, we have the special case of the Zakhari Jammer, which has the only available medium-area ECM suite and might be joined sooner or later by the Zartoth once I find a way to balance it without going too far either way (much harder than one would think for this one). This new capability can be a really interesting addition to the fleet defence, as it offers a proximity defence against torpedoes and missiles in addition to the larger area debuff to enemy craft.

Hornet Zooms Towards The Action

NinjaLA is back with a nifty sketch that shows off his "gradient mask coloring" technique. There are two images this time so you can see how things begin as a simple pencil sketch... and progress into a very sleek Hornet! And be sure to blow the picture up to see the cool mix of glossy and speckled textures being employed here (not to mention the cute little Dralthi kill tallies).
Experiments with gradient mask coloring: original and 'colored' versions for comparison. I still have some experimenting to do before I am any good at it.. but it's really easy since you can apply gradient masks in layers. Getting some cool effects so far. Just gotta do cleaner masks around my edges. :P
extremetracker

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