SM1.5 Campaign Ported to PC with New Modding Techniques

Fans have long been intrigued by the differences posed by Super Wing Commander. Ostensibly a remake of the original Wing Commander with newer graphics, the games' smattering of familiar fighters has much confusing crossover with ship models used in very different roles throughout Privateer and Armada. And while WC1 and The Secret Missions were pretty faithfully recreated in the new engine, SM2 was replaced by a brand new intermediate campaign where the Tiger's Claw seeks out and destroys the shipyards that spawned the Sivar Dreadnought. This special expansion, dubbed "Secret Missions 1.5" by fans, adds quite a bit of new story while borrowing a few elements from the original SM2 that help set up Wing Commander 2. To top it all off, the game was only made for older OS Macintoshes and the Panasonic 3DO, so few Wingnuts have actually played through it first hand.


delMar and UnnammedCharacter are now working on an innovative way to port the SM1.5 missions into the DOS version of SM2. They've extracted the core characteristics of the obscure expansion and come up with a prototype patch that recreates the game in the DOS WC engine. It's absolutely wild stuff! There are still a number of things that don't work quite right, but the fact that it works at all is amazing. delMar has recorded this YouTube clip below of an SM1.5 briefing in the Tartarus System, one of the few locales previously exclusive to the Mac and 3DO. It acts a little weird because it's a unique briefing that takes place in Colonel Halcyon's office, which normally does not happen outside SWC. Visit the CIC Forums here to try out the test release. Detailed instructions are provided in the post, and any feedback will go a long way towards enhancing this endeavor!
This is about bringing the Secret Missions 2 campaign from Super Wing Commander and 3DO, known as Secret Missions 1.5, to the PC.

For a start, I'll just make the files available here that have been converted 1:1 from the 3DO version. That's possible due to the awesome work of UnnamedCharacter and many others who paved the way. The zip file contains a readme file with all necessary information and instructions.

So, by downloading and installing this zip file to your Wing Commander I, Secret Missions 2 installation, you should be able to play the full SWC Secret Missions 2 campaign, which is commonly referred to here on the forums as Secret Missions 1.5.

AUTOMATIC INSTALLATION
----------------------
Unpack the zip file into the GAMEDAT subdirectory of your Wing Commander installation.
Execute the file "toSM15.bat" (or just "toSM15" in case file extensions are hidden)
The files should be renamed accordingly, continue at "STARTING THE GAME" below.

For playing the original SM2 campaign, execute "toSM2.bat".

STARTING THE GAME
-----------------
Execute SM2.EXE and start the game as usual.
When you talk to Shotglass and he is NOT talking about the Firekka, you seem to have done everything right.
Enjoy and please give feedback at the forums.

French Dub of WC4 DVD Playthrough Defects to the Border Worlds

DocteurJ tipped us off about the second chapter in OldiesGamesTV's high quality playthrough of WC4. Just like chapter one, this episode is spoken in French thanks to a special remixing of the audio from the CD version on top of DVD edition's high res video. Even for non-French speakers, it's pretty interesting to see how the voices are dubbed in a different country. It should even be possible to take advantage of a universal translator app to spell out any dialogue you might not remember or even listen in to what the player/narrator has to say.
Here is the reissue of Oldies Games TV #13. OGTV's subject was Wing Commander 4 on CD-ROM PC, but the game on DVD is only in English. But for your enjoyment I remade the show with videos from the DVD version and the sound of the CD release. A new way to enjoy Wing Commander 4 ... Bon visionage

Kat on a Hot Durasteel Roof

Dondragmer has been hard at work with fellow fans performing digital archeology on the art of Wing Commander 1, and he's made some interesting discoveries! The first reveals the ceiling panels of the original four Confed fighters. Everyone has probably seen these without noticing before, since they're briefly visible during the first person ejection sequence, but they fly by so fast that nobody ever gets a good look. It's fascinating to see what was slightly above our heads all along! Is the opening above your head the evacuation hatch? Or do the Hornet and Raptor have a sunroof?!
There are a few cockpit oddities in the WC1 file titled "PILOTANM.VGA".

These are the roof graphics. The final ejection graphics are stored in the respective cockpit files, PCSHIP.V00 to PCSHIP.V03. (PCSHIP.V04, the Dralthi, would presumably have one if you could eject from it. While the inability to eject from the Dralthi was given a storyline justification, was there first a technical limitation that prevented this?)

Something I'd never realised until I video-captured an ejection sequence is that these roof pictures get stitched on top of the regular front cockpit view. Even after all the hours I've spent in those cockpits, they look very different with the roof graphic stitched on.

Can't get enough cockpits? Check out the reference pack for 150 interior fighter shots from WC1, WC2, WC3, Academy, Armada and Privateer.

WCDX Restores Pinups, Planets & More!

Stinger has published another big update to his WCDX patch for Kilrathi Saga. It restores even more of the original DOS games' features to the Windows edition of the earlier Wing Commanders. Background planets now appear in space and the joystick can be used for menu navigation. SM2 for DOS added in the ability to click on the pinup posters against the far barracks wall, but this never worked in the Kilrathi Saga... until now! wcnut confirms that the package also functions in wine for Mac OS X users. Grab the latest beta here.
It took a bit longer than I'd planned, but 1.2 beta2 is finally here! Here's my list of fixes:
  • Planets are now visible in the stellar background and in the Wing1 victory sequence.
  • SM1 and SM2 now correctly search the local path for streams before looking for a CD (Wing1 already did this).
  • Fixed window title.
  • Joystick menu navigation now works correctly, showing the correct cursor and help text.
  • My initial fix for planets made them visible, but locked their orientation to your display. After watching a few YouTube videos, I found that my memory had been faulty; the original planets in the DOS versions actually did keep their orientation relative to the universe. Further, since the planet in the Wing1 victory sequence is drawn using the same code, planets also are drawn scaled at all times (just usually with a scale very close to 1.0). My original fix prevented the planet in the victory sequence from growing larger as the Tiger's Claw approached. This has now been properly fixed.
The joystick cursor issue took a lot more work than I was expecting. The bug may actually have been a result of some of the changes I made; it's possible that this feature worked correctly in the originally released Kilrathi Saga. Originally, the joystick handling code for the gameflow sequences would reposition the mouse cursor by calling the Windows SetCursorPos API. I think the resulting mouse "movement" would then trigger the code that updated the cursor image. As part of my changes aimed at making the game play nice with Windows systems, I removed all calls to SetCursorPos, so the second part of that sequence couldn't happen. Instead, I've reworked the joystick code to explicitly tell the rest of the game that the cursor position has been updated, and the gameflow sequences respond by updating the cursor image in the appropriate fashion.

Happy flying!

-----------------------------------

I've just released wcdx-1.2-beta3. In addition to fxing the planets loading bug, I've corrected what was possibly the most crucial oversight of the entire KS release:

That's right, I've added the poster back into the game! Originally added for Secret Missions 2, this highly important feature was left out of the Kilrathi Saga editions entirely. I have recreated the functionality from scratch, so the poster is now available for your viewing pleasure. Not only that, but I've added the functionality to all three games: Wing Commander 1, Secret Missions, and Secret Missions 2!

You're welcome.

Kick Back & Watch Some Wing Commander

With the proliferation of Twitch and ever-better gadgets for digital recording, online video game playthroughs are absolutely booming. Lots of people are playing and posting classics like Wing Commander. Some aren't newsworthy, but we like to share certain clips when a lot of effort has been put into them. Decadence Night has been working on his WC videos since late last year, and he's up to a dozen walkthrough nows. He started with very little prior experience, so it's interesting to see someone's take on the game 25 years after its debut. The author has a very open mind and loves the series' classic charm. You can find his full WC playlist with audio commentary here.
It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here! Let's Play Wing Commander! It's our first run outside the starbase. Will we make it back safely?

Seether Bombs Innocent Installation

Here's a funny/horrible story involving Robert Rusler, Seether from Wing Commander 4. Costar Robert Downey Jr. reports that the pair made a giant mess in a poor girl's trailer on the set of Weird Science. The unspeakable details are below. "You're gonna wish you never met me," indeed!
"It wasn't Kelly LeBrock. Myself and my costar Robert Rusler had been threatening that we were going to drop a three coil steamer in someone's trailer during a large portion of the shoot. Then finally, one hot hungover day..."

"It was not [LeBrock's] trailer. If it was her trailer, she'd of had a sense of humor, but it was this gal named Babette Props who was just this sweet, nice Christian girl and we happened to go take a dump in her trailer."

"We're not doing it in the toilet! I think we did it on her set chair. Whatever it was, it was wrong. We were crazy and were going to let everyone know how risque and off the wall we are. So [Props] comes back into the trailer and walks out literally holding her nose and then Joel Silver, who I knew only as someone I was afraid of and was a big Hollywood producer, said 'Everybody line up!'"

"[Silver] lined up the whole cast. He goes to Rusler, 'Did you do it?!,' and Rusler goes 'Nope,' even though I'd done the poo poo, but he had taken the pee right on top of it. So I started thinking, 'What would I say if I hadn't done it?,' so [Silver] goes, 'Downey, I'm going to ask you one time...' I go, 'No... I wish I did.'"

WC4 Homeworld Mod Remastered!

The WC4 Mod for Homeworld has now been fully relaunched! L.I.F. has made great strides over the path month with integrating czacen's original project into the Homeworld: Remastered framework. The game is now fully functional with the updated version of the core game. Multiplayer is operational, and some slick bonus features are in work for future updates. Confed, the Border Worlds and Black Lance are all playable, and L.I.F. is even considering adding a fourth Kilrathi faction if he can get some modeling assistance. A tester made a really cool preview video below that shows off the exquisite blend of fighter combat and large scale capship battles below. Homeworld Remastered owners can grab the mod here!
Well, that's it! The Wing Commander 4 mod is now fully operational on Homeworld Remastered. It features are:

- everything from the CIC-hosted version of the mod (including torpedo defense)
- the engine improvements from Remastered
- fuel management for all strike crafts outside the Excalibur and the Dragon, forcing you to come back to your carrier regularly
- functional tech tree for all three factions
- working AI for all three factions
- "hero" fighters, for each faction, unique crafts with boosted stats and, for Blair in the Border Worlds, the possibility to choose his ride. One special pilot for each faction, possibly more to come
- hidden units you have to unlock for your faction the Dekker way (two already, I'll try to get more in future updates)
- multiplayer functionality (requires an additional step explained on the mod page)

And as a call to the community, if anyone with 3D design experience has models of Kilrathi ships/fighters and would be willing to share them for this mod, I would be grateful for any material helping me to build a Kilrathi faction for the mod.

The Fur's About to Fly!

DigitalOrigami has put together an amazing scene with the help of Klavs' Model Archive. The backdrop is a large Kilrathi Dorkir convoy lead by a Fralthra and Rigakh. This combination of capships isn't one you'd ever naturally encounter in-game, which adds an artful extra layer to the melee. The Confed attack force has a similar mixed makeup with Rapiers, Sabres and even Klavs' Wilcat design swooping in. As an extra bonus, the canvas here is absolutely massive. Anyone who wants to zoom in, and especially Wingnuts with 4K or Retina displays, can grab the full 3500 pixel wide version here.
Klavs has released some wonderfully detailed Wing Commander models. Some of them needed a bit of work in modo, and a few need substantial U/V work and/or textures, but it's an amazing collection of ships.

Modo being modo, it choked on having more than 6 ships in the scene at a time, so the major Kilrathi ships were done in one scene, the 5 nearest Terran fighters in another, and then the smaller ships were done individually and duplicated in photoshop. I really like the ability now to render out different aspects of a scene - diffuse colour, spec, luminosity, etc., but modo did this wonderful thing in giving me a completely different gamma for the individual aspects than it did for the normal final color render. Didn't find this out until I spent several hours rendering stuff out and then bringing it in to photoshop. Found out there's about 6 different places one can change the colourspace and eff things up. Except, all I did was duplicate the existing final colour render output and change its effect to spec, diffuse, etc.

Really anticipating the next Lightwave crossgrade offer.... Anyhow, thanks for the trip down memory lane. Lost more days than I care to admit on the Wing Commander series.

extremetracker

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