WC Toolbox Adds Ship Editing Feature

UnnamedCharacter has released a new version of his programming library for interfacing with Wing Commander 1's game data files. This newest beta release (3.3.0) lets you edit ships, hardpoints and flight formations, and there are some general fixes and improvements to existing program features. Below you can see an output sample of the XML Unpack command. The package includes a command-line client as well as a program with a graphical interface to simplify the extraction/compilation process. Download the new version here.
<Ship ClassIdentifier="12" Radius="100" Mass="125" MaximumScale="1024" PowerPlant="5" Fuel="200000" Damage="5" Explosive="4000" MaximumSpeed="42" ... Shields="40 40" Armor="45 40 30 30">
  <Weapon ShipIndex="24" HardpointIndex="0" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="24" HardpointIndex="1" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="28" HardpointIndex="2" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="28" HardpointIndex="3" Selected="false" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="29" HardpointIndex="4" Selected="false" />
  ...  
</ships>

Kilrathi Durasteel Polished For Homeworld Mod

L.I.F. has published another update to his Homeworld mod, Flag Commander, that significantly cleans up and brightens the Kilrathi capship textures. The new ships have a stronger metallic look to them with fewer distracting wear marks. There have also been improvements to missile lethality. For future updates, he's working on how to implement a penetrator Avenger that can insert marines in MIPs. Sounds neat! The Black Lance's flashpak is also working now, but it's still in testing to make sure the weapon doesn't disrupt game balance. Here's the full details on the latest version:
- brighter Kilrathi ships, from the Kamrani to the Hvar'Kann
- much, much more effective missiles, as from now on, anti-fighter missiles can reasonably be expected to kill enemy fighters in one or two hits if they connect, and they WILL connect unless you are doing a lot of dodging maneuvers or, for light fighters, you outrun the missile. They will also be largely more reliable as to intercept enemy cruise missiles... if you angle your shots correctly (a deflection shot is much less likely to hit than a rear or frontal shot, like in real life).

-- FF missile: very agile, short range, low damage, 9 seconds worth of fuel, usually carried by bombers for self-defence purposes
-- ImRec missile: agile, intermediate range, intermediate damage, 15 seconds worth of fuel, usually carried by medium fighters
-- IR missile: minimum agility, long range, high damage, 20 seconds worth of fuel, usually carried by light fighters for sniping

Keep in mind too that as all units tend to fire more at missiles, a frontal encounter between several flights will probably end up with some missiles being shot down before impact. But now, getting the drop on an unaware flight from missile range can be quite devastating.

Wing Commander Finally Gets Its Due?

Den of Geek recently ran an article on the 50 Underappreciated DOS Games. As one of the best selling and highest rated DOS games of all time, we'd probably agree with Space Game Junkie that Wing Commander doesn't really fit on this list. Rather, this instead seem like a missed opportunity to highlight something like Wing Commander Armada or perhaps Privateer 2. Nevertheless, we'll take it as a fun look back at some of the highlights of yesteryear. Check out the full article here.
DOS was no stranger to 3D space combat simulators, and while there were some incredible titles to be had, not many gamers seem to recall the original Wing Commander too much these days.

Like some cheesy 80s sci-fi film, the intro credits roll to heroic music, space dogfights, and passing asteroids. Then it’s to the bar on-board the TCS Tiger’s Claw for a spot of chitchat with the crew, including Paladin’s magnificent mustachios.

With girly pin-ups in the barracks, blue hair, scenes of the crew running to their ships, and such names as Blue Devil Squadron and the Killer Bees, Wing Commander was a hit from the word go. It was a breakthrough game, utilising the current PC hardware to the max. Playing now, it’s amazing how difficult the game actually is.

Ron Cobb's Wing Commander Concept Art Found!

LOAF recently uncovered several pieces of exotic concept art for the Wing Commander Movie! These treasures were drafted by Ron Cobb, who is famous for creating some of the iconic imagery for Star Wars, Alien, The Last Starfighter and more. Each is dated 1997 before Chris Roberts and producer Todd Moyer decided to go in a different visual direction, although some of the promotional material such as the 1998 SFX WC magazine still credits him with the "texture" of the film. It's neat to finally see what he envisioned, and some of these ships are pretty wild! The Rapier and Dreadnought are flashy designs while the Diligent actually isn't that different and has kind of an Avenger vibe. "Configuration 1" may have been a different take on the Broadsword. How do you like these compared to what ended up on screen?

Star Citizen Fan Creates Wing Commanderific Squadron 42 Box

Illusive_Man has mocked up a pretty clever Squadron 42 box based on the classic Wing Commander 3 art. It mirrors the original fonts, backgrounds and all of the arrangement. Mark Hamill and John Rhys-Davies' positions are the same, as is the placement of the catlike alien and their exploding ships. Gillian Anderson appears to be in Flint's spot and Gary Oldman takes the place of Admiral Tolwyn. Good job!
Star Citizen "Squadron 42" PC Big Box Design - Wing Commander 3 Style:

I recently got my copy of Wing Commander 3 "Heart of the Tiger" and thought: wouldn’t it be nice to recreate this cover for Star Citizen "Squadron 42"? I’m really happy with the end result.

Annual Community Vote Begins!

We've left 2015 in the past, but there's one more thing to do as we move further into 2016. You've sent nominations in over the past month, and now we're kicking off our annual awards to recognize the fan projects and websites that had some of the most impact over the past year. We had an even larger number of worthy projects this year than normal, and we definitely wanted to get this out before the end of January, so excuse the brief listings of each choice. Although we'll end up with just a few winners, we appreciate what everyone here - plus all of the others keeping things going daily basis - have done for the community. On to the voting!

Medium Size Capships Get Visual Upgrades & New Orders

Back on the Homeworld front, L.I.F. has taken to texturing capships to continue the graphical overhaul of his mod. He recently completed variants of both the Confed Southampton and Tallahassee class escort ships. As you can see from the shots here, one iteration of each is a muddier worn texture while the other is a bunch cleaner. He's requesting feedback on which looks better. What do you think? In related news, improvements are also being made to the operating procedures for ships like these so they behave a bit more focused on offense than some of the smaller capships.
So, to take some work off from DefianceIndustries in the texturing department, I've done the textures for the Border Worlds destroyer, with two variants, rusty and non-rusty. Which one do you people prefer?

New tests done, new gameplay fix: I will remove the "Aegis" script that made all capital ships from the Confederation and Kilrathi faction abandon what they do to target enemy missiles. This script will remain on escort ships such as corvettes and frigates, but will no longer be present on larger ones. OTOH, I added a better priority for all other units of these two factions so that they still target missiles, but without going their own way and disobeying orders.

By the way, that test, while it ended early with a connexion issue, had a pretty epic moment when the TCS Victory, having located a Kilrathi light carrier and escorts, remembered Captain Kirk's words and used the third dimension effectively. Eight Longbow, fifteen Hellcat and fifteen Excalibur took off from above the enemy Dubav as it was chasing the Arrow recon flight. The Excalibur flights, under cloak, took position near the Kilrathi carrier group, which had all its fighters from Darket to Vaktoth launched. Meanwhile, the Longbow attack force was closing in, escorted by Hellcat.

The Kilrathi player saw the incoming bombers and sent his fighters to intercept as they were closing torpedo range. The Excalibur chose that moment to attack, as they were behind the Kilrathi fighters. A massive furball ensued, with the Kilrathi distracted at the critical moment and sixteen torpedoes were fired. A quarter of them got shot down by the Kilrathi gunners.

The rest hit home. That's what I dreamed of being able to do in a game for a decade. This was exactly as glorious as I hoped. :)

The $6 Million Dollar Game Arrives on 3DO

Flashback Nation, a Twitter account dedicated to all things retro, recently put up this scanned cover page of the Winter '94 issue of 3DO Magazine UK. Wing Commander 3 is featured prominently on the cover, and the issue included a review of the "$6 Million Dollar Game." The coverdisk (which appears to be free sampler disk #1) would not have included the playable 3DO demo of Wing 3. That was included on the third interactive sampler disk, published the following year.
I remember this issue of 3DO Magazine, Bought Wing Commander with the console because of this. No regrets.
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