The Darkening's Enhancement Patch Gets Even Better

HCl has released an update to his major Privateer 2 Patch. The initial version fixed crashes, smoothed out audio, improved mouse control, stabilized game speed, added no-cd ability and deinterlaced the cutscene videos. [take a breath] It was even compatible with all version of P2 from DOS to Windows to GOG. The new update gives players the ability to toggle the interlacing, fixes additional bugs and adds even more features. Grab the patch here (500 k zip) and unzip to your P2 folder. The original install files should remain preserved - just run DarkFix.exe to play the enhanced game! And be sure to let HCl know how it works for you at the CIC Forums.
Change list from previous version:

- I tweaked the mouse DirectInput wrapper a bit, so it now re-acquires the mouse if it is lost for some reason. That should fix the sporadic mouse freeze.
- Added a toggle to enable / disable video de-interlacing (in darkfix_setup).
- It's now possible to change the default CD number the game assumes is in the drive when the game starts (in darkfix_setup). The nocd patch will still change the CD automatically if the game needs another CD in order to proceed.
- Added support for windowed mode (configurable in darkfix_setup). It seemed to work fairly well in the tests I made so far, but, think of it as experimental in any case, since a couple more tweaks may still be necessary. (known issue: ALT+TAB'ing away from the game while in a base sometimes caused the background music buffer to fill with static. This came up a couple of times and is being looked into. Workaround: Leaving the base room and re-entering should make the problem go away...)

This Thud Is Slightly Sleeker

ScoobyDoo has mocked up a new Thunderbolt VII variant based on the concept art for Wing Commander 3. The Heart of the Tiger's famous development wall featured a host of Confed ships that generally appeared more squat with certain rounded features similar to the ships of WC2. Scooby's design builds on that idea and adds some forward stabilizers/pylons as well as his nifty transparent radome assembly. As we know, the final designs ended up having a 'modern' angular look to them. Both styles have diehard fans - which do you prefer?

Full Afterburners, Go, Go, Go!

Klavs has helped amp up the VK Day festivities with a glorious new Excalibur render. He's taken the famous FLEE image and recreated it from a new perspective. His version has a few additional details that are really nice - you can clearly see the WC3 style flight suit in the cockpit, and a "300" is prominent on the fighter's nose. Excalibur 300 was Blair's ship designation in the Heart of the Tiger novel. The background also gets a bit more detail with a visually satisfying explosive crackle at the Temblor Bomb's ground zero. Who's got a new desktop wallpaper now?

Local Newspaper Highlights Wing Commander's Musical History

The Austin Chronicle has printed a preview of tomorrow's Austin Civic Orchestra concert featuring Wing Commander. The article notes that the music was originally created locally by George Oldziey at Origin, and this year's successful Kickstarter campaign gets a nod too. It also points to this really fun writeup from 1995 that talks about WC3's soundtrack and the burgeoning field of video game music. Be sure to check it out!
The Austin Civic Orchestra kicks off its season this weekend by embracing the Past & Present. Video game enthusiasts might be interested in the "present" portion of the show with locally composed music from the seminal Wing Commander series. It wouldn't hurt for you to hear some Beethoven either.

The "past" half of the show consists of Ludwig van Beethoven's "2nd Symphony." We're told he's a pretty talented guy, but if anything is going to get the kids to the symphony it's a video-game tie-in. In this case, ACO will play music from World of Warcraft and a Wing Commander Suite. You've likely heard of the former, but Wing Commander might not be as familiar.

The Wing Commander series developed by Origin put local game designer Chris Roberts on the map in the mid 90s. The spiritual successor to the outer-space dogfighting series, Star Citizen, is currently in development by Roberts with reports of funding over $50 million.

Wing Commander III and IV incorporated some of the most cutting edge technology of the time: CD-ROMs, live-action cutscenes (starring Mark Hammill and Malcolm McDowell no less), and the sweeping MIDI orchestration courtesy of local composer George Oldziey. The soundtrack to the game is a testament to the beauty that can be found in technical limitations with MIDI versions of the usual orchestra instruments. This gives the sounds an electronic timbre. It's like aural pixelation.

Chris Roberts' Crowdfunding Success Officially Recognized

Roberts Space Industries has chalked up another achievement. They've been included in the 2015 Guinness Book as the most crowd funded project in history. They earned the spot with $40 million, but the latest tally is actually $54 million with no end in sight! As you can see in the photos below, while Star Citizen moves forward full steam, the team at Cloud Imperium Games has surrounded themselves with plenty of Wing Commander memorabilia in the office to remind them of their roots.

Wing Commander in Concert This Weekend!

Here's a reminder that George Oldziey's Wing Commander suite will be performed this weekend by the Austin Civic Orchestra. The show will be Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM at the Anderson High School Performing Arts Center. Austinites are really lucky to be so close to this! There will be other video game-inspired music performed, including a selection from World of Warcraft. Order tickets now for $10-12. If you can make it, let us know!

George's live album is also coming along well. The orchestration is more than 3/4ths complete now and the project is still on track to record in Bratislava starting October 31. If you'd like to hear a preview, check out the Austin Symphony Orchestra performing a Wing Commander medley at this year's amazing Fourth of July performance!

I'm right on schedule, and VERY much looking forward to hearing the music finally played (and recorded) by a great orchestra!

As a side note, the Austin Civic Orchestra (not the Austin SYMPHONY Orchestra, which has already performed the Wing Commander Suite) will be performing the suite in a concert on Sunday, September 28th at 3 PM here in Austin, TX. They are a fine ensemble for being an all volunteer organization, and should provide a good performance of the work. If you are in the area that weekend and would like to hear the performance book your tickets now!

All the best,


Happy VK Day!

On September 24, 2669, Colonel Christopher Blair launched his successful Temblor Bomb strike on Kilrah. Its resulting blast wave took out the Emperor and Prince Thrakhath's enormous invasion fleet massing in orbit. The crown prince himself was also bested in combat just prior to Blair's descent to the planet's surface. Faced with this unfathomable loss, Thrakhath's chee'dyachee Melek immediately surrendered. VK Day was patterned after VE and VJ Day celebrated on Earth after World War 2. False Colors was the first to give us a name for the event in the WC universe. Also of note, Star*Soldier mentions VN Day, which strongly suggests that some significant victory over the Nephilim was also achieved by the year 2701. You can read about other major holidays in the Wing Commander universe here. Also don't miss Dundradal's historical comparison between VJ and VK Days here!

...Colonel, later Commodore Christopher Blair dropped the Temblor Bomb on Kilrah, destroying the planet. Soon after the Terran Confederation and Empire of Kilrah signed the Treaty of Torgo, know to the Kilrathi as the Treaty of Ko-bar Yagar, on the deck of the TCS Victory in the Torgo system. The Kilrathi had actually captured the system from the Confederation following the loss of the TCS Behemoth.

Much like the ceremonies on the USS Missouri and an unnamed frontier base, a simple table was the only furniture. Baron Melek, retainer to the deceased Prince Thrakhath, signed for the Empire of Kilrah. Crown Prince Thrakhath had been killed by Christopher Blair during the raid of Kilrah. Admiral Tolwyn signed for the Terran Confederation. Again the Terrans had a large delegation while the Kilrathi brought only a few. A flyby by four Hellcats took place at the end of the ceremony. The war was over.

Fans Continue to Push 3D Printing Envelope

The Arrow kit build we showed off last week isn't the only new 3D printing project in the works. poopnoodle got these miniature Hellcats printed from Sculpteo based on Klavs' designs. Although the color models are really popular, artistic fans get a kick out of the blank canvas versions. Since this technology is still emerging, there's quite a few issues associated with most options - quality, size and price have a ways to go, but they are improving. Klavs continues to reach out to other companies to explore new options. His latest project involves a professional model kit company, but it's a bit spendy. Visit the CIC Forums for details if models are your thing and you'd like to help.
Got this email from Fantastic Plastic. Interesting stuff. I have no way to afford any of this, but here are the numbers. A couple of other companies have also responded with similar numbers, but this gentleman seemed most interested. Anybody want to organize a donation program? I'll provide the 3d work, given most of my models are 3d printing ready already.
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