Wing Commander: Eagle Rising - A Game Idea

Deathsnake

Rear Admiral
Quick question, where did you get the number CV-09? Is there some list somewhere of all the used callsign designations? Have been doing my own mod for a while, and you've totally stolen my number! (don't worry, I just pulled the number out of my ass, I can easily change it).

CV-07 Tiger's Claw
CV-08 Kipling
CV-09 Eagle Talon

The others:

CV-01 Bengal
CV-?? Beacontree
CV-?? Exeter
CV-?? Kyoto
CV-?? Wolfshound
CV-?? Trafalgar
CV-?? Vanguard
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
107th Pursuit Squadron (Silver Knights): 16 F-54A Epee

The Epee is questionable. There's something that looks sort of like an Epee on Wing Commander Academy... but the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide gives a later date (2661) for them.

Name: TCS Spade (PC-562)
Nickname: ? (Suggestions Welcome)

Perhaps it would be best... wait for it!.... to call a Spade a spade!

Callsign: Dragon

There's actually already a Dragon! A Tiger's Claw pilot and one of the big heroes of the Vega Campaign... one of the top Rapier II aces (mentioned in the Academy manual and Star*Soldier, and also in dialogue in Wing Commander I.)

WC2 takes place in 2665 with SO1/2 moving into 2666. 2656-2664 is actually a fairly "open" period in the timeline.

Wing Commander II starts in 2665 and ends in 2667. Both Special Operations stories take place immediately afterwards in 2667.

Something else about the character that jumped out at me was the sudden transition from transport pilot to fighter pilot. Have you given any thought as to how that is going to occur in the character's back-story?

The Wing Commander I & II guide mentions that over 80% of Academy classes wash out of flight school and end up flying transports instead.

... but we've also seen transport pilots who go on to fighter training! Like the Firekkan pilot in Secret Missions 2.

I like the name of the carrier and how it fits with the theme of being sister ship to the Tiger's Claw.

The name is actually from the Wing Commander I & II guide as well. The Eagle's Talon stands in for the Tiger's Claw in the narrative for the Hubble's Star and Hell's Kitchen serieses and then goes on to support the 'Claw at Venice.

... actually, you should look up those chapters; we meet several Eagle's Talon pilots.

Also, OP, would a venture be an escort vessel like an Exeter would? I was always under the impression that Ventures were smaller transport vessels that were carried within a capship, then sent out on missions or trips when needed. Anybody know about this?

A Bengal-class has the facilities to land a corvette-sized ship (per the Confederation Handbook)... but they're nominally self-sufficient. The one we see in End Run has been on station for something like a year. I believe there's an escorting Venture in some of the Super Wing Commander cutscenes...

I assume by this you would mean a unique model. There are a couple of instances where hospital ships do show up in the WC continuity (the Dakota missions in WC1 come immediately to mind), and as a rule they're Draymans configured for the task.

There's a dedicated hospital ship on Wing Commander Academy, the TCS Pleiku. There's also a hospital ship among the sketches produced for Privateer Online... (not sure if this has been recovered yet or not, I just remember it was Boomer's favorite ship design.)

Onto other topics - does anyone have any character or mission ideas they would like to submit? Things they always wanted to see in a WC game? As I stated before - one goal is for you to actually feel like you have a command - every mission will grant you control over at least one other fighter.

I could have a more extended conversation about this later, but a few things have stuck with me:

- Larger bomber raids, especially where you fly escort. I have always wanted to fly the Wing Commander equivalent of a Mustang escorting B-17s. Protecting large formations of Broadswords as they head in to hit a planetary target, maybe.

- Characters who AREN'T elite naval academy graduates; lets meet someone who went through ROTC or someone who was drafted!

If you all are doing stuff between WC1 & WC2, I'd like to see some of the stuff in Privateer, too. Maybe we can pin down exactly what type of ship a Paradigm is supposed to be (and maybe make it look a bit more Confed-y?). Also, there are loads of ship types that are mentioned as having older, crappier variants, like the Arrow and Hellcat are mentioned as having older variants... an Arrow variant even older than the Armada one, I mean.

Did you miss the other two weird Paradigm threads you started where everyone pointed out that it's a destroyer? :)

This is early for the Paradigm, though; Origin FX has it as an advanced new warship in 2663.

Wing Commander has never had a hard and fast visual continuity... Ships look different between WC1 and 2 (heck they are different within WC1 even). WC3 and 4 depart heavily from WC1,2... The movie and Academy are no different in this regard.

Not to mention Super Wing Commander!

Quick question, where did you get the number CV-09? Is there some list somewhere of all the used callsign designations? Have been doing my own mod for a while, and you've totally stolen my number! (don't worry, I just pulled the number out of my ass, I can easily change it).

It's made up :) There are very few 'canon' hull numbers (the Tiger's Claw is 7 and that's the only Bengal we know.)
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
The Epee is questionable. There's something that looks sort of like an Epee on Wing Commander Academy... but the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide gives a later date (2661) for them.






There's actually already a Dragon! A Tiger's Claw pilot and one of the big heroes of the Vega Campaign... one of the top Rapier II aces (mentioned in the Academy manual and Star*Soldier, and also in dialogue in Wing Commander I.)



Wing Commander II starts in 2665 and ends in 2667. Both Special Operations stories take place immediately afterwards in 2667.



The Wing Commander I & II guide mentions that over 80% of Academy classes wash out of flight school and end up flying transports instead.

... but we've also seen transport pilots who go on to fighter training! Like the Firekkan pilot in Secret Missions 2.



The name is actually from the Wing Commander I & II guide as well. The Eagle's Talon stands in for the Tiger's Claw in the narrative for the Hubble's Star and Hell's Kitchen serieses and then goes on to support the 'Claw at Venice.

... actually, you should look up those chapters; we meet several Eagle's Talon pilots.



A Bengal-class has the facilities to land a corvette-sized ship (per the Confederation Handbook)... but they're nominally self-sufficient. The one we see in End Run has been on station for something like a year. I believe there's an escorting Venture in some of the Super Wing Commander cutscenes...



There's a dedicated hospital ship on Wing Commander Academy, the TCS Pleiku. There's also a hospital ship among the sketches produced for Privateer Online... (not sure if this has been recovered yet or not, I just remember it was Boomer's favorite ship design.)



I could have a more extended conversation about this later, but a few things have stuck with me:

- Larger bomber raids, especially where you fly escort. I have always wanted to fly the Wing Commander equivalent of a Mustang escorting B-17s. Protecting large formations of Broadswords as they head in to hit a planetary target, maybe.

- Characters who AREN'T elite naval academy graduates; lets meet someone who went through ROTC or someone who was drafted!



Did you miss the other two weird Paradigm threads you started where everyone pointed out that it's a destroyer? :)

This is early for the Paradigm, though; Origin FX has it as an advanced new warship in 2663.



Not to mention Super Wing Commander!



It's made up :) There are very few 'canon' hull numbers (the Tiger's Claw is 7 and that's the only Bengal we know.)


Wow! Thanks for all that info LOAF. Drats on the Epee...I was kind of hoping to include it for two reasons. One showing the transitional period of the game, and two because then I wouldn't have to change the Standoff Hornet model to fix the terrible gun convergence :p.

I'll definitely check out the WC1+2 Strategy Guide to find some Eagle's Talon pilot names. Is there anyplace I can find a copy of it?

As for the timeline - I realize what I wrote was unclear. What I meant is that it would take place over the same amount of time (roughly 1-2 years), as WC2, but after making some story revisions, it looks like the campaign will take place in roughly a year (early 2656 to early 2657).

I got the inspiration for my pilot's switch from that scene in SM2 where Blair mentions that he recommended the Firekkan transport pilot to switch to fighters.

As for commissioning sources - I plan to have a lot of ROTC/Mustang pilots there. As a ROTC graduate myself, I feel that they are sorely under represented in the WC universe - there's just no way that Confed could fill their pilot quota from the academy alone.

The CV-09 is purely conjecture on my part, but I feel it fits in with the naming scheme. We can guess that since Kipling followed Tiger's Claw that she would be CV-08, and Eagle's Talon is one of the few other Bengals that we have an official name for. (I think the others are Trafalgar and Wolfhound).

I want to take this opportunity to thank Popsicle Pete for providing me a copy of WCPPas to start looking through the Unknown Enemy source code. I plan to learn the basics from there and then hopefully get into the more advanced scripting that Standoff tackled. Its been a while since I dealt in Boolean logic, but its been a fun refresher so far. As an aside - LOAF - the copy of WCPPas in the files section here is outdated, and doesn't have the actual .dll files needed to run the editor. It only has the executable.
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
Good-o. Since you've bagged CV-09 & I only have one piece of art to change, I can easily choose a new number. Bagging CV-13! Officially! I'm pretty much just going out on a limb and making up stuff so I don't trample all over canon. Hopefully in development I can figure out a way to 'close loop' everything - in much the same way as we never hear about Pilgrims anymore! Or something.

And dammit! You beat me to it with the female player character!
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Okay - so it looks like the Epee wasn't in service till 2661....however....the Arrow and Ferret are possibilities to supplement the Hornet. I've started to code a couple of practice missions. Later on we're gonna modify the Hornet model so the gun convergence actually allows you to hit something. I was playing with it in the Standoff simulator....and I could barely hit a Jalthi with it.
 

Malcolm Reynolds

Rear Admiral
Okay - so it looks like the Epee wasn't in service till 2661....however....the Arrow and Ferret are possibilities to supplement the Hornet. I've started to code a couple of practice missions. Later on we're gonna modify the Hornet model so the gun convergence actually allows you to hit something. I was playing with it in the Standoff simulator....and I could barely hit a Jalthi with it.

For such a great ship, the Hornet sure did have some flaws in Standoff. The Hornet was my favorite ship and I was looking forward to playing with it in Standoff. Was there some reason it was such a clunker?
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Well they made the gun convergence what the model actually looks like and not what it was in WC1. I'm going to change it by just having the two laser cannons converge at their maximum range instead of firing straight ahead.
 

SpikeTheElder

Spaceman
With the recent release of Saga and the upcoming release of an SDK which incorporates some of the things they have developed, it got me to thinking about new campaigns that could be developed using that engine. To that end, I created a rough draft of a game idea that has floated around my head for a while. None of this stuff is set in stone, and I post it here to solicit comments and suggestions on ways to move forward. I have also started designing some missions for the game, which I plan to post once I complete the outline. I don't have any coding experience myself, but I'd love to find people interested in this idea who could get together and possibly get something started. Your comments are welcome!

While I have never programmed the Freespace-2 game engine (or any game engine for that matter), I have a couple of decades programming experience with various languages for scientific computing applications. Based upon what I have seen the Saga team produce, I am intrigued by the idea of programming a fan-based game using the Freespace-2 engine. Let me know if you still need programming folks for this effort.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
While I have never programmed the Freespace-2 game engine (or any game engine for that matter), I have a couple of decades programming experience with various languages for scientific computing applications. Based upon what I have seen the Saga team produce, I am intrigued by the idea of programming a fan-based game using the Freespace-2 engine. Let me know if you still need programming folks for this effort.

Spike, I would love to have you onboard! I've actually decided to program using the Vision engine, which is what was used to create Wing Commander Prophecy/Secret Ops and what the mods Unknown Enemy and Standoff are based on. It uses a program called WCPPas which is based on Pascal. I'm in the process of learning it now - its a bit involved but it allows really complex campaigns and mission scripting to be made, which is why I felt it was better suited for this mod. I've been getting some learning assistance from forum members Popsicle Pete and Quarto, who helped program Unknown Enemy and Standoff.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Could you point me at some documentation or a tutorial for WCPPas?

Unfortunately as the engine was developed in-house by Origin Systems back in 1997, they really didn't provide documentation for it. However, the source code for Unknown Enemy is available, and its well annotated by that team. Popsicle Pete and Quarto both programmed that game, and they have no problem assisting people in learning. I'll send you the WCPPas package along with instructions on how to use it. You'll want to head to unknownenemy.solsector.net and download both the game and the source code package. Once you get WCPPas up and running, you can open up the mission and asset files. I've learned how to set up nav points and spawn ships at the moment, and my first mission should be ready to compile soon so I can test it out. It only took me three days to get to that point and I'm not a programmer.

The way I've been learning so far is that I will play a mission, and then I will go back to the source code and match up the variables to what I saw in the mission. It's helped a lot with me to understand how the game operates. I would suggest checking out the simulator missions first, as they don't need to incorporate the global variables which govern campaign progress (which I haven't learned yet :p).
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Update for everyone - I've finished the outline of all the missions for Act I. There will be twenty missions created for Act 1, with the player flying approximately 12-14 of them depending on your progress in the campaign. Once I actually get any of the main missions coded, the hope is to do an episodic release with each Act released seperately.

I'm continuing to make progress understanding the commands in WCPPas. If anyone else out there wants to learn how to program it, I'll hook you up with the compiler and we can learn together. Anyone with either modeling or website coding skills would also be very welcome.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Sylvester - I'm sorry I haven't yet had time to reply to your last couple of PMs, hopefully I'll be able to do that during the weekend. In the meantime, however, there is one thought that keeps bouncing around my head that I think is worth debating in public:

Which engine is the right one for this mod?

You seem to be increasingly set on WCP. I'm not surprised, it's a good engine, it offers everything a WC game should have, and we can give you lots of support. Freespace, even with all the changes made in Saga, still isn't quite Wing Commander. But the thing I keep coming back to in my head is capship combat. Never mind capship vs. capship battles, those can be faked any way you like - just plain old capship combat, with fighters trying to destroy an enemy capship. For us in Standoff, WCP-style capship combat seemed pretty natural, because Standoff is set in the WC2 era. What happens in the WC1 era, though? I don't think it would be right to require torpedoes to destroy capships in a WC1-based mod. Of course, it's not a problem to tweak the engine so that all guns can damage capship components - but even then, you'll have problems with the AI, which generally refuses to attack capships with guns (with the exception of one or two guns already hardcoded to be capship-killers in WCP). This is something you need to give a lot of thought to, because it may be that this one issue will make it preferable to go with FS2 after all, in spite of all the advantages of doing otherwise. At the very least, we need to talk about what can be done still within WCP's limitations to make more WC1-esque capship battles.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Quarto, would it be possible for me to have the game treat Capships as a fighter instead? That way AI ships will attack them with guns? I was still planning on using torpedoes though, as we see them used in WCA and they are obviously in use by the time of this mod, as we see Strakha's use them to destroy the Tiger's Claw (at least they seem to be torpedoes - I can't imagine six dumbfires would destroy the Claw if its shields were up).
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Quarto, would it be possible for me to have the game treat Capships as a fighter instead? That way AI ships will attack them with guns? I was still planning on using torpedoes though, as we see them used in WCA and they are obviously in use by the time of this mod, as we see Strakha's use them to destroy the Tiger's Claw (at least they seem to be torpedoes - I can't imagine six dumbfires would destroy the Claw if its shields were up).

We could have the game treat all ships like fighters, and maybe program a new missile type that will lock onto fighter type ships, but will have the lock time and damage of a torpedo. Of course this presents a problem as now these 'torpedoes' will attempt to lock onto any fighter.

EDIT - Sorry - thought I was editing my previous post here. Also, as an aside, perhaps 2657 could be the year that the pendulum swings back and torpedoes are required once again to penetrate capital ship shields.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
EDIT - Sorry - thought I was editing my previous post here. Also, as an aside, perhaps 2657 could be the year that the pendulum swings back and torpedoes are required once again to penetrate capital ship shields.
Well, it certainly could be... but that would defeat the purpose of making a WC1-based mod :). I think without the ability to gun down capships, you're going to wind up with a very WC2-like experience.

I don't think it would be possible to treat capships as fighters - they're much too different from the game's perspective. It may theoretically be possible to hack the AI so that it treats all guns as capship-killers, and then you'll have a more or less appropriate experience. It is certainly also possible to script an attack - just have the AI turn towards the capship, fly in its direction firing guns, and then turn away. That would actually be kinda fun, because you would be able to clearly tell which fighters are making a capship attack at any given time. Another possibility would be to create capships using only tower components (remember the wormhole at the end of WCP? Each of those towers was destroyable by guns), but this could result in other problems, and probably would not solve the issue because it's not guaranteed that the AI was actually ever aware of the destroyability of the towers (from the game's perspective, it wasn't needed - the player was supposed to be the hero). In other words, there are various possibilities to approach the problem, but it's something that bears a lot of thinking about.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
We could always run some experiments later down the line. One thing I wanted in this mod was not quite as many ships, but make them harder to kill. I want a capship kill to be a reward, and to be somewhat difficult to do with just guns, making the availability of torpedoes a bonus on any given mission where you have to attack a capital ship.
 
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