So Close, Yet So Far

The Secret Ops website's Episode Two button is now lit. We're waiting for the Episode Two fiction to start arriving now. Remember your passwords.

All's well that ends well...

An unfortunate continuation of the problem we thought we'd fixed Saturday morning caused the CIC to be suspended yesterday. Many visitors noticed the lack of a news update Sunday. Although people were allowed access to the site, our Chat Zones and Poll were offline. The CIC regrets the loss of the Zones while SO is so new and our Poll in its opening week, but we may be looking into some improvements to allow more redundancy in CIC design in the future. Anyhow, thanks for bearing with us, the CIC is back online.

Rumors and Reports

Episode Two fiction for Secret Ops is here. Check out the new Eyes Only weapons analysis and another ISDN news report on a press conference featuring Admiral Rayak and Governor Cavazos.

AVault Attempts A Comeback

Adrenaline Vault released their review of Episode One of Secret Ops yesterday. It starts out very well, but the author makes some errors including a misspelling of Thrakhath, incorrect naming of the WC2 addons, not knowing the codename for the new Aliens, mixing up star systems, saying WCP Gold will be out this Winter, etc, but otherwise it's a good read. Check it out here. Thanks to Demolition.

Our Apologies

A bit of a server problem during the morning forced us to reset the chat zones and poll. Everything should be working again, please revote in the poll above.

Short and Sweet

ZDnet has finished their short review for Episode One of Secret Ops. It incorrectly says the game requires a 3D card, but otherwise it's a nice little article. You can read it here. Thanks to Shiva.

CHEATER!

As you have no doubt realized by now, two of the original Prophecy 'cheat' codes work in Secret Ops. Dynomite? Not on your life, its been disabled. Goodtarget (Yay! Goodtarget ROCKS) and moretunes still work, however.

SO on CD

PC Gamer has announced that the Secret Ops starter kit will be available on the included demo CD in their upcoming November issue. Something to look forward to, for those of you unable or unwilling to make the large download. The question, however, remains, is PC Gamer allowed to release the game like this? Time will tell...

Eggs Ya Glad You Knew This?

A number of people have noticed an odd egg in Secret Ops; apparently when you click on the Cerberus' map table (the cool 3D globe picture) the game says something that sounds like 'Prophecy' in bugspeak (1984 references abound!). Nobody can really figure out why...

Editing the New Classics

Wing Commander fanatic Locke has already begun to work his magic on Secret Ops! He's created several ingenious patches and updates for the games! First up is SOMusic, which allows Prophecy owners to add the much loved orchestral music to Secret Ops. SOCrazy replaces many of SO's alien ships with more difficult foes. Last but assuredly not least, SOShip switches around several SO ships, and allows the user to fly the Excalibur and Thunderbolt class fighters. This update officially linkarrific.

OGR puts in their two cents

OGR has put up its Episode One Review of Secret Ops. It gives out some spoilers and it seems to me that the author doesn't really know his Wing Commander that well (saying Origin "claims" to have new ships in future Episodes, etc). There's a couple screenshots as well. Thanks to Nighthawk.

That Bug Bit Me

Wonder why Secret Ops seems so hard? Apparently its difficulty level is determined by some of your answers to the registration survey! If you told it you'd played every Wing Commander, you may well have ended up starting off with a default of nightmare difficulty. Now we know what the survey was for...

Chunky vs Smooth

Secret Ops is now available in smaller chunks, from Origin's Download Page. For those of you having trouble getting the entire game in one bite, the 20 meg chunks will make grabbing SO much easier.

No One Who Speaks German...

Anyone waiting for the German version of Secret Ops need wait no longer! It's now available at Origin's German Download Page, in all the same variants as the English version (full, speech, engine and chunky). Have fun!

Wing Commander.. To the 3rd Dimension

We are proud to welcome the premiere Wing Commander 3D model page on the internet to the CIC. Run by our own Hadrian (Why do you think it moved here anyway?). It's a bit smaller than the one that was on Hadrian's server. New models include: The TCS Midway and A C-7 Pelican Transport.

CIC Improvents

The CIC staff has just finished putting online several upgrades to the site. Most notable will probably be the Poll above. It will be updated weekly, we'll have more information in the Poll section soon. The Poll and Mail Bag buttons do not work as I write this, but those areas will be completed before long. We'll also be archiving news later today so that this main page does not take so long to load. Please note that the main startup page for the CIC has changed from index.html to index.shtml.

Cast List

BuRaGo, who has been reliable for such things in the past, posted a cast list for the Wing Commander movie over at the zone. Based on what I know about the movie's characters, it looks correct... listed below are the minor characters we didn't already know about.
  • BELLEGARDE John MacGLYNN
  • TRAITOR Ken BONES
  • KILRATHI ADMIRAL Mark JONES (Animated Extras)
  • KILRATHI CAPTAIN Graham RIDDELL (Animated Extras)
  • POLANSKY Mark POWLEY
  • KNIGHT David FAHM
  • HUNTER Richard DILLANE
  • FLIGHT BOSS Simon MacCORKINDALE
  • HELMSMAN Fraser JAMES
  • RADAR MAN FALK Craig KELLY
  • WILSON (PEGASUS) Ken BONES
  • OBUTU Hugh QUARSHIE
  • PETERSON Kieron PHIPPS
  • RADAR TECH Jamie TREACHER
  • SECURITY OFFICER Cyril NRI
  • CONCARDIA RADAR MAN Jari KINNUNEN
  • RODRIGUEZ Raph TAYLOR
  • COMMUNICATION OFFICER Paul Courtenay HYU
  • MEDIC Chris KIBBEY

Documentary

Having problems installing the Secret Ops documentation? If so, download it in standard zip format here. Apparently a corrupt version of the file replaced the original placed at the SecretOps site. Unzip in your Secret Ops directory and follow the instructions in docsread.txt. It should be viewable through your SO Launcher.

All is calm, all is bright

As the 26 becomes the 27 things are looking up. This is just a confirmation, the downloads from download.com, cdrom.com, avault.com and other sites appear to be coming up clean. People are reporting great success with Secret Ops. If you haven't started downloading it yet, you can choose from our list of mirrors here.

Reactions and Thanks

People with 28.8 or 33.6 modems and good transfer rates who started downloading Secret Ops when it first became available are beginning to play the game and voice their reactions online. So far, things are going very well and it looks like another awesome Wing Commander game. Also, the CIC wanted to thank a number of people, including Nocturne, Chad Millar, Jason Tranchida, Richard Williams and all our supportive viewers, for their extensive help bringing the CIC up to date with the latest SO mirrors and CIH data last night. We hope everyone enjoys the game.

Official Statement About Virus

Boomer recently posted on the Secret Ops Chat Zone Origin's official statement about the virus, and the splash screen at the Secret Ops website also says the same thing...
ORIGIN understands that some of the files from the initial Secret Ops downloads were infected with the CIH virus. The infected files were present on the "East" Secret Ops FTP server between the hours of noon and 2:30 PM, CST Thursday, August 27. These infected files have been removed and replaced with clean, uninfected files that are now available for download. If anyone downloaded files during this time, please consult the McAfee web site for information on how to scan your files for the CIH virus. The web site can be located at:

http://beta.mcafee.com/PUBLIC/Stand_Alone/SFSCAN.HTML

(note the site address is case dependant)

We regret that this virus was found in the Secret Ops files. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Article and Poll at 3dnews.net

3dnews.net has posted an article about Secret Ops release last night. Although it is a bit outdated in the fact that it states Avault's copy is infected, which isn't the case anymore. Also there is a poll about advertising in games that mentions Secret Ops.

OSI Has It, Do YOU?

The Secret Ops website now has the Secret Ops Basic and Speech Files. You can find links to these at the SO Mirror page. Also, Origin has added two links to McAfee to help those possibly infected by an earlier virus at in Secret Ops.

Secret Ops Trailer!

C|Net (being just full of surprises lately) has released a brand new SO trailer that shows scenes from the first mission and also shows the new Dust Cannon in action. The file is a hefty 10 megs but is well worth the wait.

Secret Ops Trailer! Mini!

Our media specialist Hadrian was able to come up with a great compact alternative to the new GameCenter.com trailer. He has encoded it in realmovie format (like many of our files in the Files Section). It's virtually the same, except 1.5 megabytes and can be found here. Our server resumes with GetRight, unlike GameCenter.

Secret Ops, Week One Part Three

Today's fiction update, in the form of a third ISDN report, is up at the Secret Ops web site! Check out the cool Paulsen WCIV novel reference, somebody certainly did their homework...

Please Be Patient

We know that some people are upset that Secret Ops has yet to become available to download. Please be patient. The entire CIC staff is currently working to bring you conclusive news. Please do not flood the various WC forums asking questions about the situation. We already know what you want and we will have the answers here as soon as they become available. Thanks.

Precautionary Information

There are reports of a possible "CIH virus" in the Adrenaline Vault's premature version of the main Secret Ops package. We are still working on absolute confirmation on everything. In the mean time the CIC has asked Edward Pang to compose this precautionary information statement on CIH viruses. There's nothing to worry about however, it does not appear that any other locations with the Secret Ops package may be infected.
The Win95.CIH virus recently came into the spotlight after April 26 when it worked to delete the CMOS settings on infected computers, as well as removing the first sector of the hard drives it infected (rendering the computers unable to boot up, as all the startup data was lost with the CMOS).

Most new computers are immune to the CMOS overwriting portion of this relatively rare virus, as modern motherboards have a physical switch that must be depressed in order to rewrite CMOS information, though the deletion of the first sector of the hard drive (containing bootup information) will hamper infected users. It is a memory-resident virus that infects every program that is run within the 32-bit environment of Windows, but does not operate while in DOS or Win3.1 modes, due to the 16 bit environment. Check http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/data/cih.html and http://www.drsolomons.com/vircen/valerts/win32cih.html for more information on the virus itself, and scanners to detect and delete the virus can be found at www.avp.com (AntiVirus Toolkit Pro was the first program to detect it in action), www.symantec.com/avcenter (follow the KILL CIH link), or www.drsolomons.com.

Note that the file must be run before it can infect Windows, and that it does not operate in DOS mode. If you suspect your computer is infected, perform the following instructions:

1: Download a command-line scanner like NAVC from www.symantec.com/avcenter

2: Put in a clean, write-protected boot disk into your disk drive and reboot the computer. Do this before the 26: it deletes files at this date.

3: Run the scanner, and scan all the files on your computer. It is only found within EXE files, however.

4: Reboot your computer. Download AntiVirus Toolkit Pro from www.avp.com and install. This scanner has proven effective in detecting CIH in all its incarnations.

Note: The SiN demo had this same problem. It set off CIH warnings. But it didnt have it in reality. McAfee says the Probability of having the CiH virus as Minimal.

The CIC thanks Edward and Hadrian for researching for this situation, however we hope that there is no need for these instructions. Again, we have apparently uninfected copies of the Secret Ops package in our Secret Ops Mirror page and there is nothing to worry about.

Elimination of Certain Elements

Edward Pang has very kindly provided us with information on getting rid of the Win95.CIH virus, for those of you unfortunate enough to be infected. Hell of a night to be a destroyer skipper...
1: Go to http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/kill_cih.html and download the file.
2: Run Kill_CIH.EXE from the 'run' command or better still, download it to the desktop and double-click the icon. It will inform you if you have CIH (and will disable it from infecting other files), or will let you know if you're clean.
3: In either case, download AntiVirus Toolkit Pro from www.avp.com and reboot. Run AVT Pro, and it will automatically clean the infected files. Or delete the offending file (though this is not recommended).
4: If you are using a command-line scanner like NAVC, type 'navc /doallfiles /repair'. Make sure to do this from a clean boot disk.

If you're having trouble registering..

People have reported not being able to register due to an internal server error. Origin is now aware of the problem. It appears to have cropped up in the middle of the night for them, so don't panic if it's not immediately fixed. Just sit back and enjoy the rest of the site. Try again later after Origin employees have had sufficient time to get to work in the morning and look at the problem.

Secret Ops Countdown

An article at Gamespot (with the same title as this update) has been released, and while it doesn't tell us anything new, you might want to read the article for the sake of it or if you have been in a hole the past two months. Read the article here.

Registration problems are no more..

The registration problems at the Secret Ops site reported by some people who have been getting an "Internal Server Error" message have now been fixed. The problem, according to Boomer over at alt.games.wing-commander, was due to the installation of "new servers on both the East & West coast for Secret Ops".

Everyone knows about SO..

Another Secret Ops article has popped up at Sci-Fi Wire. As with all SO articles these days, nothing new is given away but all will be revealed in a matter of days anyway. Read the article here.

Stick with Shockwave

You might have noticed that the little spinning Confed logo on the Secret Ops website no longer appears. It was used to tell people whether or not they had the required version of Shockwave. The detector does not appear to be working at the moment however, so do not worry if splash screen seems to indiciate that your Shockwave version is not current enough. Origin is aware of the problem. If you were previously able to view the site, you still have full access.

Yet Another Good Cause

Ever sit around wondering why you aren't truly happy? If so, it's probably because you don't have a copy of End Run, the second and rarest Wing Commander novel. Check out Operation Tarawa over at Combat Games Central to help convince Baen to reprint the quite excellent novel. Although, one can only wonder why they didn't call the project Operation Back Lash...

Allowable Fiction

According to Boomer, Wing Commander: Prophecy Gold will contain a 'local' version of the Secret Ops web site, so as to allow us the ability to read the fiction updates.

Catch the Worm

Incredibly exciting news from Boomer that will shock and amaze you... check it out.
Not unlike a motion picture studio releasing a summer blockbuster with a pre-release Premier showing, through an exclusive arrangement with C|net, the files required to play Secret Ops (e.g. basefile, optional speech pack and the full executable) will be available from www.download.com on *Wednesday* Aug 26 at 8PM CST.

This exclusive 'engagement' is only available from C|Net at www.download.com. While you can go directly to download.com, we will also activate the link to download.com from the Secret Ops website as well (it will be the only download source that is 'live')

Of course Secret Ops will also be 'in general release' from Origin (and other sites around the country) on Thursday August 27 as previously announced.

Belated Happy Confederation Day

Long live the Confederation! Yesterday was the largest holiday celebrated around the Confederation, in honor of the creation of Confed. The first major fleet action of the Kilrathi War also took place on Confederation Day in 2634.

The Basics

Yes, today is the 24 of August. And yes, we're expecting Episode One fiction today. Everyone remember that Origin is in the US and that most of the world is in later timezones. Even in their own time zone, Origin does not release things until the late afternoon or early evening usually. Don't flood anywhere with "Where is it!?!" questions, please calmly wait. We'll have an announcement here if anything changes. In other news, keep checking back here, we'd like to have at least one special new CIC related thing up later today.

Come and Get It!

The second trailer is now up at the Secret Ops website. This kicks off the fiction for Episode One. Stay tuned in the coming days formore fiction and the big download on Thursday. It's an amazing opening to Secret Ops. The rest of the site has minor and major upgrades as well, there is much more to see and do. If you are having difficulties viewing the trailer, go to http://www.secretops.com/trailer2g.swf and save the file to your hard drive. It should then play normally when viewed through your web browser. The Registration Button is lit at the site now as well, however Origin is still in the process of getting the site fully online. We'll have more in the coming hours, stay tuned.

They'd just like to ask a few questions..

You can now Register at the Secret Ops site. Don't forget your Username and Password. If you find any problems, keep in mind that they're still in the process of putting up the site.

These Secret Ops articles are popping up everywhere...

Not to be left out, 3DNews has a short update about Secret Ops. It doesn't contain anything new and it currently incorrectly reports SO as an add on to WCP, but you can check out the update here. At least 3DNews doesnt call SO "Special Ops" this time. :)

Various Dan Based Moviestuffs

More from Dan's Wing Commander MovieSite: Digital Anvil will not be doing a Wing Commander movie related game, Blair is not called "Maverick" in the Wing Commander movie and Chris Roberts is currently in England reshooting parts of the film. Isn't it cool how Dan knows everything now?

Time Delay

Sorry, due to technical problems (24 hour installation of Windows 98 and an addiction to DVDs) the timeline is delayed for a few days. Expect it up soon, sorry about that.

Vote WCM in '98

Thought only Gamespot had those nifty polls? Probably not, since that's not the sort of thing people think about. Anyway, the Adrenline Vault's mini poll begs the question -- which game based movie are you waiting for? Head over there and vote for Wing Commander (as of right now, tis in the lead! possibly since it's the only one of those movies actually being made...). Thanks to Jibbo for pointing this out.

Welcome Home

Thank Sivar, Dan from Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site is back from his trip to Digital Anvil in Austin! Go check out the article about everything at his site. He saw a whole lot of dashed cool stuff, and he assures us that the Wing Commander movie is going to be incredible. Like we didn't already know that... Anyway, the really cool thing is that Dan is going to be doing the official Wing Commander Movie site for DA! As earlier expected, it'll be at wcmovie.com. If it's anywhere near the quality of his current movie site (and he promises it'll be even better), it'll be very impressive.

Getting a Date for the Movie

Wow, update from Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site (yeah, I know, already?!) regarding the release date of the Wing Commander movie. Apparently the date has yet to be set, and it is entirely up to FOX. Apparently a December release date is still a possibility, and if not we should expect the movie around January or February. I'm psyched... (well, I was already psyched about SO... so now I'm more psyched)

The End of the Beginning

The official Secret Ops website has undergone another update! The last pre-SO fiction (an ISDN update) has been added...

INTER-SECTOR DAILY NEWS
(ISDN)

New Confed Ship Online

(Miyahira, 2681.56) In time for the TCS Midway's return to Sol, a new cruiser is being unveiled by the joint military/Bartok Enterprises team that constructed her. Although several images have been released of the vessel in action, nearly every aspect of her abilities remains highly classified.
   In development for over ten years, the vessel is a quick strike heavy cruiser that will initial act as a peacekeeper in the war torn sectors hit hardest by the alien threat. Although details of the cruiser's specific fuction, location, and compliment has been kept classified up until this point, it is believed that it marks a technological step forward as great as the Midway.
   A minor bone of contention has arisen amongst conservative members of the governing ranks. This has to do with the name of cruiser, which is the Cerberus. Anominous moniker that had many at the press conference regarding her activation concerned. The press conference featured the head of the project, Dr. Jacob Hildreth. He acted as coordinating production engineer on the project and had the following to say:
   "Names contain the basis of all primary psychological constructs. If a name is referenced with specific imagery, the end result is a host of assumptions about capability and function. This initial judgement is in the minds of any enemy pilots who would think about assaulting the vessel, as well as the pilots assigned to defend her. That is a personal hypothesis I have been exploring, however, the actual motivation for the name was the image of relentless strength and eternal vigilance as embodied by the guardian of Hades. After all, a cruiser such as Cerberus is intended to guard the interests of Confed and her allies from any aggressive force that dares cross into our space. the religious implications of the name should be balanced by the fact that Cerberus was a mythical creature that is not referenced in any active religious belief. As a symbol the name holds power, and we are glad to note that this has not been lost on the general public."
   The rest of the presentation revolved around the subsequent images provided to the press. As we learn more the specifics regarding the capabilities and ultimate function of the vessel we will keep you informed.

The Man Gets Around

Daylight Productions, the home of a number of people who have worked on Wing Commander products in the past, has just added three musical selections composed by George Oldziey, the orchestral composer of WC3, WC4 and Prophecy, among other things (click on "Music and Audio"). The three wavfiles range from 2 to 3.25 megabytes.

In related news, Filmscore Monthly will be publishing an article written by Oldziey at an unspecified future date. The CIC also recommends going here to sign a petition to makea CD compilation of his Wing Commander music. Thanks to Lee Plumley.

By the way, if you look at Daylight Production's Product page, you can find a nice write-up on the upcoming Wing Commander Prophecy DVD version.

Before the Storm

Quick note (tm), the amazing Secret Ops site (surgeon general's warning, not to be taken as a substitute for The Amazing Johnny Guentzel) has undergone some redesign! There's a cooler-as-a-moose front page that tells us site requirements and such. It looks as though it's also been set up to display the upcoming Trailer #2, so stay tooned!

Casey, It's a Shame to Be Alone

Yay, the next to last pre-SO fiction, an E-Mail, has been added to the officialy Secret Ops site! I suppose we can expect the last ISDN update tommorow! Doesn't it feel good to know that SO is so close?

EMAIL

TO: Sarah Casey
FROM: Lt. Lance Casey
SUBJECT: RE: Hello! Congradulations!

Hi Mom,
   It's great to hear from you too. I've been worried that the stress of all this might get to you, but I've got a great bunch of pilots with me who kept me out of trouble. So don't worry, I'm safe and sound and plan to stay that way as long as humanly possible.
   I'm not allowed to say too much (regulations being what they are) but I do have some bad news.
   The war isn't over yet. The sectors that bore the brunt of the fighting have seen their fragile infastructure all but collapse. Confed's reconstruction program is going ahead as planned, but in the meantime they are going to need folks to keep the peace and clean out any troublemakers.
   They cancelled leave for me and some of the other pilots. We're scheduled to ship out to a different cruiser, and help out with this cleanup work.
   All the details are classified and extremely confidential. Even I don't know exactly what this job will entail, yet.
   I hope you are right about Dad being proud of me. Sometimes it's all more than a little overwhelming. I've seen two of Dad's old friends die, and lost a few new friends as well. Somethings I think Dad would be prouder if I'd gone into engineering, or bio-mechanics. Then I get into the cockpit of the fighter and I know that's just a dream. Sometimes it felt like he was right behind me during some of those missions. I could see him just bite down and fix his gaze on me saying, "Good work, kid." You know that whole I'd smile but my face would crack look Dad would get? At least from all the vids he made for me, I assumed that's what that look meant. Really wish I could have seen his face outside a holo.
   I don't know... I'm rambling now. Not a lot of time before I jump ship for the new gig, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to write again.
   I was really looking forward to coming home and seeing everybody, but don't let my absence prevent you folks from having a good time. I'll be there in spirit, and freeze the leftovers for me.

   Love,

   Lance

Incredible Journey

Wow, Dan (voted most likely to have us wish he was part of the CIC staff) from Dan's Wing Commander Movie is going to Austin to see what Digital Anvil is doing with the Wing Commander Movie. His site should sport a full report (read that out loud, you'll have almost as much fun as I did writing it) by late Friday/Saturday. We'll borrow whatever cool stuff he finds, but you should probably go on over to his site, because it's just as cool as the CIC. Like you needed a link to the CIC...

The Joy of SecOps

A few people mentioned having gotten this (not sure how Origin knew who to send it to), and a bunch of people who haven't (read: SXGlory) want to see it, so here's an advertisement for Secret Ops that Origin's been mailing to people. Just another sign that SO is almost here...

Subject: The Next Wing Commander Game
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 15:48:31 -0500 (CDT)
From: wcso-send@origin.ea.com
To: wcso@origin.ea.com

ORIGIN does it again with the Internet release of Wing Commander: Secret Ops., a brand new, exciting game that continues the epic struggle for the domination of the Universe from "Wing Commander: Prophecy". The adventure begins Monday, August 24, with the release of the first episode. A new episode will be posted each week for seven weeks--- and it is absolutely FREE! Click on http://www.secretops.com and check out this unprecedented Internet event.

Hate to Burst Your Cloud...

Funny, people over at the CIC Chat Zone were just debating how to usefly a Panther right, and here it appears the topic of the newest Eyes Only report over at the Secret Ops site. Hey, am I the only one wondering how they're going to distribute the last 2 pre-SO fiction updates before the real stuff starts on Monday?

LECTURE TRANSCRIPT TSY
F-108a Panther:
Class B Space Superiority Fighter
Guest Lecture to Confed Flight Academy
2681 2nd Semester
Given by Captain Kenny "Hottman" Hott

You know, I've had the chance to fly with some really good pilots from both Confed and the Border Worlds. It's just a real shame that most of them don't fly the Panther to their fullest potential. The Kilrathi war vets are just as bad about it as green rookies, sometimes even worse. After several years of putting your faith in the Hellcat or Excalibur, old flying habits die hard. But times change, and so do the ships you fly. So,having said that, let me give you an overview of the F-108a Panther.
   The most important feature in Confed's most recent generation of spacefighters is the self-articulating nacelles on the Panther and Vampire. So what does this mean? Well, in the case of the Panther, it means that the yaw rate is almost two times the rate of it pitch. Let me give you an example. Get into the simulator and run the Panther programs. Orient yourself to some reference point and drop your throttle to 0. Now push down on the stick and count how many seconds it takes you to get back to your starting position. then try pushing the stick to the left and count how long it takes. You'll see the difference.
   Yeah, I know what you're thinking. So what? Well, when you are trying to stay on the tail of an enemy ship or flying a Shelton slide turret run it can mean the difference between life and death. When an enemy ship pitches up, experience Panther pilots don't pull back on the stick to follow! Instead they roll to one side and then turn to keep on the tail of their enemy. Oh yes, you can rank up quite a few kills using that one very simple technique. You can do the same thing when you are stripping enemy turrets. Start a Shelton slide, but don't change your orientation by pulling forward or back on the stick. Just turn. It's faster and you will have more shots on target. Trust me, your bomber wing will love you for it and buy you drinks when you finish the mission.
   As for the weapons, the Panther can pack a wallop. But be careful, the gun pool is not that much greater than other ship models. The panther usually has two types of guns. I think the current configurations the Confed Dev boys are playing with are the chain ion cannon and cloudburst guns. I've seen a few guys just hold down the trigger to watch the pretty light show the chain ions throw. Then they complain the guns couldn't strip the shields off a junked Salthi. The truth is.. they're right, the chain ion guns really aren't that good at stripping shields, but they do a decent job at plinking away at armor. Personally I think that the chain ion cannon is a crutch for aiming. Fire enough bolts at something and even an engineer flying in the simulator at lowest level can hit something. when I fire, I make certain that both the "cluds" and ion bolts fire at the same time. time your shots and resist the urge to start the light show. You can only get off a few shots before draining your gun's energy pool, but there aren't many fighters that can take those few shots.
   As for its missiles, you get what you're given. Nowadays, unless you are given some unusual mission specific loadout, that means six Pilum Friend of Foes and six Artemis long range image recognition missiles. Maybe it's just the advance in fighter technology, but the Pilums don't seem to have the punch they used to during the Kilrathi war. It's best to use them once you have pounded the enemy ship with guns first. As for the Artemis missiles, they are new and I haven't had a chance to use them under true battle conditions, but I've had a chance to interview several pilots from the Midway and it looks like the Artemis is their new best friend.
   There really isn't any substitute for experience. All you can do is practice on the simulator until you get your chance. For the next week I'm told you will all put in thirty hours on the simulators re-flying the 'Second Battle of Kilrah'. Isuggest that you use that time to explore the limits of the ship. I wish you good luck and hope to see you all on flight rosters throughout Confed soon.

Short, and To the Point

In what is probably the most concise Secret Ops article in the history of ever, PC Gamer again explained the upcoming experience (in just 2 sentances!). Read all about a lack of it here.

A Date For Destiny

Yep, while we're not sure exactly how Wing Commander Prophecy Gold will work, we do know that it's coming out October 14! Or, at least according to the people over at Electronic Boutique... So go get on your local store's Gold waiting list, because EB seems to get WC games before even EA Direct can ship them out...

Out of the Bag

Boomer was at it again this morning, posting something to agwc that CIC readers should find most interesting... keep watching our Secret Ops area, it's undergoing a major retool, so as to add a whole lot of really cool stuff!
We're donating some cool Wing Commander stuff to CIC for their contests. I have a leather jacket Maniac wore in the filming of WCP, some blue confed jumpsuits, a copy of Wing Commander: Prophecy autographed by Mark Hamill, confed patches (for use on uniforms in the filming), 'tubed' maps (not folded) and maybe some other stuff.

Keep an eye on www.secretops.com, and www.wcnews.com for upcoming info.

Alas Poor Gold Guide, We Hardly Knew Ye..

This morning the CIC received this from Chris McCubbin, the author of the Official Guide to Wing Commander Prophecy, among other things:
The Prophecy Gold guide has been cancelled, sorry. Prima was afraid that folks wouldn't be interested in it after SO had been up on the net for a month or more already.
Although this development is disappointing, there are other great Wing Commander books in the works that we'll have in good time.

CIC, The Place for Prizes

After further researching by Boomer and the CIC staff we've found out that the CIC will be the primary place for people to play games and win prizes to celebrate Secret Ops. Gamespot will have a special Secret Ops feature, but online promotions for the game will not be as widespread as previously reported.

Rebuilding Begins in War Torn Sectors

The latest from the Secret Ops website:

INTER-SECTOR DAILY NEWS
(ISDN)

Rebuilding Begins in War Torn Sectors

(Alcor, 2681.56) What began only a few short weeks ago has ended, and now the citizens of the war torn systems of Hellespont, Alcor, Tyr, Dakota, Tartarus, Ymir, and others, have begun the arduous process of rebuilding what was destroyed. With damage estimates at a calculated ten percent share of all Terran Confed Sector resources, officials are moving quickly to establish firm guidelines for labor division.

Colonel Julia Novak is in charge of the planning team and spoke briefly at a conference held at the primary mineral processing facility of the Epsilon sector. At the conference,she read the following statement:

"As peopel grieve for the loss of loved ones and look to the Terran Confederation for guidance, we wish to assure all citizens that their eneds will be seen to. Already we have established reconstruction management facilities on thirty planets and stations scattered throughout the affected sectors. At this time we are very positive about achieveing the complete damage assessment and resource allocation within forty-five days. At that time, Terran Confederation Reconstruction officials will assemble reclamation response teams and the process can then begin in earnest. We know we shall succeed in rebuilding the lives, homes, and hopes of the citizens of the confederation as surely as we have defeated the menance which threatened them."

Hardest hit by the conflict, Hellespont settlers have voiced concern over what they perceive as the slow response time of the Confederation. Governor Milam Weir of Hellespont offered the following words to ISDN following Colonel Novak's statement:

"As is expected, folks around here are a little neverous at having anywhere up to fifty percent of all vital services cut off. The fear is that Confed is moving as fast as it can, and that may not be fast enough to save lives threatened by exposure, starvation,and disease. However, having seen the way the Midway handled the alien threat, I have no doubt that these fears are unnecessary. I appeal to all citizens to be strong and give full cooperation to the Terran Confederation officials that come to assist you. This is no time for bickering and unrest. Let's come together, as we always do, and rebuild our future."

Several systems within the Hawking and Argent sectors, well removed from the conflict, have voiced their objections to the steep resource donation estimates. The outspoken controversial grassroots leader of the Arcadia system, Representative Joshua Irium stated that he did not want to see his sector's resources "squandered on temporal hotbeds, which offer little to the citizens of the Argent sector other than financial and emotional stress over sectors which are constantly in trouble. How many times must we rebuild before we decide to stop expanding? This engagement and the lives lost should serve as a warning for future expansion."

Regardless of the criticisms he received after making his comments, Representative Irium plans to take his concerns to Governor Cavazos in Sol. The meeting should occure in one solar week from this transmission. For any citizen who has damages they need assessed by Terran Confederation Reconstruction officials, please contact your nearest local representatives for all pertinent forms.

Another Newsgroup Run

For the second day in a row Boomer covered alt.games.wing-commander and answered many questions posters had asked. Here's a summary of the most important info:

Let me make this perfectly clear to everyone: Origin will not sell this info to anyone.

True, we are asking for your email address during registration for 2 reasons:

1. to email the password required to unlock the executable back to the player (so players will have a 'written' record)

2. to offer Wing Commander newsletter type updates *IF DESIRED*. There is a box to check if players do NOT want such upcoming info/updates sent to them.

The (demographic) info collected during registration is simply for internal use only and designed to allow OSI to better understand the 'space combat game' market.

One more time: ORIGIN IS NOT GOING TO SELL THIS INFO.

The episodic missions will be ONLY be available from Origin (and we're including 'permission to distribute must be obtained' type of verbiage to ensure it). Simply because we've gone to a great deal of trouble to make this a unique experience and want people to experience the episodes as they evolve (and are intended to be enjoyed).

The executable however (what is needed to play the episodes) will be available from a number of sites.

Note the episodic fiction will be presented in HTML (not flash)

Will Secret Ops also available in the german language?
Yes

SecretOpsgate

One of the writers over at 3DNews.net posted an odd little article questining whether or not Origin would charge for later episodes of Secret Ops. I've had my problems with Origin in the past (pretty much given up getting working Pacific Strike disks), but why don't people understand that Origin is not out to scam us? SO is free, it's great, take it at face value. Yes, they'll use it to test the validity of future online ventures, but we aint paying for this one. (Thanks to Mohammedfor finding the article).

That's, like, SO Banners

Anybody who knows me knows that I don't like those stupid banner advertisements. That's why you haven't seen any here at the CIC; until now that is... here are three banners worth posting at the CIC! Attention other WC webmasters, you may all want to post 'em and link to secretops.com too. Speaking of which, expect a major redo of the CIC's Secret Ops section, including useful stuff like this, coming in just a few days.

Digesting SO Info

Boomer went on a posting spree over at agwc that can only be described as Reidesque. Check out some of the exciting Secret Ops stuff he posted about...

You could wait till it's all over and download the whole thing at once, playing it like a normal game. But we're hoping people get into the 'spirit' and follow along each episode. Just note that if you wait till it's all over you can't be involved with all the debates/discussions about 'what happened', 'what does this/that mean' (which I would expect to be numerous ;)

OK.. this password thing sounds like it's getting confusing to everyone (rest assured, it's simple and when you start playing it won't be as confusing as it seems now).

#1 when you register (before or after you download) you will receive a 'password' (based on your callsign and other things) that will 'unlock' the executable (e.g. when you 'fire up' the executable it'll ask for the password).

#2 Then, after finishing the missions (per episode), depending on how well you fared you will get a 'code' at the end of the last mission. When you come back the following Monday for the fiction for that weeks upcoming episode you can enter this 'code' and get custom fiction based on how well you fared. Note this 'code' isn't necessary. If you don't enter anything it'll just give you the normal, default fiction. The custom fiction is just a lil something the designers thought up to provide a bit of a 'twist' to the experience.

Secret Ops will remain on our website for a while (not sure how long, but it's not going to be removed just as soon as it's over if that's what you're thinking).

Plus, if you want it on CD it will be available via Wing Commander Gold edition released soon after the SO episodes are completed.

Wing Commander Gold is essentially Wing Commander: Prophecy with Secret Ops included.

The Secret Ops *episodes* begin (Monday) Aug 24 with 'set-up' fiction for that particular (1st) episode. The actual download of the executable (and 1st missions) will occur on (Thursday) Aug 27.

Then (thereafter) each Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, new fiction will lead-in to (set-up) that weeks episode mission (avail on Thursday). Thus you have the weekend to play the (preceeding) weeks missions.

The fiction being delivered now (preceeding the episodes 'et al') is designed to give players some background to Wing Commander as well as introduce Secret Ops.

(Your callsign) is not like the password (not code.. see above) is tied to the game direction. It's just required to 'unlock' " run the executable.

It's Time For Five Questions...

Wing Commander author Andrew Keith was kind enough to answer a few quick questions for us... read on! (Thanks to Dundradal for setting this up).

1. What can you tell us about the upcoming Wing Commander: False Colors?

Understand that I don't know what changes may have been made in the novel's two-year odyssey since it left my word processor. However, it WAS the story of a band of humans whose breakaway frontier worlds are threatened by Kilrathi warlords, interstellar politics, and Terran apathy in the wake of the long war. To save themselves, they set out to recover a damaged Kilrathi carrier and put it back into service, meeting some surprising enemies -- and allies -- along the way.

2. Will you be involved with future chapters of the Wing Commander universe?

I certainly hope so, but I haven't been approached as yet.

3. Why are you 'Andrew Keith' in HOTT and 'William H. Keith' in FC?

As far as I know, I am NOT William H. Keith in False Colors. At least, they got my name right on the cover. (I suppose you've seen some promotional piece that messed this up). My brother, William H. Keith, has also been doing some work for Baen (very good work, I might add), writing books set in Keith Laumer's Bolo universe and a very funny sf comedy (with Peter Jurasik of Babylon Five) called Diplomatic Act. I suppose somebody in Baen's publicity department got confused.

4. What else have you been up to lately? Any non-WC books coming up?

I've got one book in the pipeline (under the name H. Jay Riker) in the ongoing SEALs --The Warrior Breed series about the early days of the war in Vietnam. "Riker" is also just starting a new series following modern submarine warfare, of which I'm writing (at least) the first book -- my brother or I will be doing others down the line. I'm also just beginning to plot out some notions for a book, not contracted anywhere yet, following a space-going carrier battle group, sort of like Wing Commander meets Tom Clancy but against a backdrop of my own devising.

5. I understand you've seen the cover art. What can you tell us about it?

The cover is a little odd, showing about half of a snarling Kilrathi face above a spacebattle (which thus appears to be flying out of the cat's mouth -- one ship appears inimminent danger of running into a fang). As covers go, it isn't horrible, although frankly I liked the HOTT cover better.

Lists, Lists, Lists!

A first for the alt.games.wing-commander Posters List, three new posters (Dustin Evans, Firefly and SX Glory) were added in one night. This comes after adding two others (Kris Vanhecke and James Boswell) this week since the CIC's opening Monday. The ICQ List also has grown by twenty-two people in five days with more to be added soon. Remember, to qualify for the Newsgroup List you must have 125 posts and a year's experience or 250 posts credited to your name. To be added to either list, or if you have any questions or comments, email here.

Comm and Get It

According to Boomer over at the Chat Zone Secret Ops will indeed have comm videos, which will be subtitles only unless the user downloads an optional speechpack.

IE Know What You Did Last Summer

Quick note to readers with IE3, the CIC *should* now function properly, sorry about the delay. Unfortunatly I can't really test it, as that I can find no one who actually uses IE3. Can anybody out there help?

Size. Doesn't. Matter.

Interesting blurb in today's news at OGR, which contains the exact sizes for the Secret Ops files: the total Startup Kit is 114 megs, made up of a 51 meg executable an an optional 63 meg speech pack. Each episode will weigh in at about a meg.

Stop the Presses!

It's... a new SO press release, answering your many questions...

ORIGIN is breaking all the rules with the unprecedented Internet episodic release of the next Wing Commander game. Wing Commander: Secret Ops will be available the week of August 24 and is being distributed free of charge, except for standard Internet service provider fees, via innovative weekly downloadable episodes. This is a one-of-a-kind event in the computer gaming industry. Players can download and tune into the Secret Ops experience just like they would tune in to their favorite weekly television program. With Secret Ops, players can count on a new episode to download and play each Thursday for seven straight weeks. On the days prior to each download, new interactive fiction will be posted on the Secret Ops web site (http://www.secretops.com), setting the stage for each playable episode.

The Wing Commander franchise is the longest running space-combat series in the history of computer gaming. Since its inception in 1990, the series has received numerous game of the year awards and is currently being developed into a feature film.

ORIGIN is making the first Secret Ops episode, including the Startup Kit, available on August 27 on the Secret Ops web site and on other commercial Internet sites. Stay tuned to the Secret Ops site for a list of other web sites where the Startup Kit will be available. Players will have a choice of initial downloads when the first episode becomes available on August 27:

Secret Ops Basic Startup Kit: The required startup kit consisting of the Secret Ops executable file, graphics, music and episode 1 (four missions). Approximate size: 63 MB
Secret Ops Speech Kit: An optional speech pack download (requires Basic Startup Kit) that includes in-flight comms and mission briefing audio. Approximate size: 51 MB
Secret Ops Full Startup Kit: The Basic Startup Kit and Speech Kit combined. Approximate size: 114 MB

Prior to playing the game, users will be required to fill out a short registration form. Once the registration form is filled out, the user will be given a key code onscreen and via email, which will unlock the game so it can be played. In addition, users who fill out a series of optional questions will be eligible for prizes.

Episodes 2 through 7 will be approximately 1 MB each and will be available only on the Secret Ops web site. The Internet episodic release of Secret Ops will be available for alimited time only. Secret Ops is a stand-alone game and does not require any previous Wing Commander game in order to play.

Just Picture It

Words can't really describe the feeling when you get pictures from a new Wing Commander product... so, rather than ramble on, why don't you all experience that feeling yourselves, six times over?

Comm and Get It

Never in all my years did I expect getting cool new Wing Commander canon would become an expected event each day. Check out the Secret Ops site for an all new 'Eyes Only' report.

PERSONNEL REPORT
TCS MIDWAY
OFFICE OF SPACE FORCES
HUMAN RESOURCES
MIRANDA DAY

   A REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL HAS BEEN RELAYED TO THIS OFFICE FROM THE KREIGER STARBASE CIS OPERATIONS LIAISON. CERBERUS IS SLATED TO BEGIN OPERATIONS ON 2681.63. BETWEEN NOW AND THEN, MIDWAY WILL RETURN TO SOL SYSTEM FOR REFIT AND A TOUR OFTHE TAX-PAYING COLONIES. WE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO ACQUIRE THE BEST PILOTS FROM THE FLIGHTCREW ABOARD MIDWAY AND HAVE THEN TRANSFERED TO CERBERUS BEFORE MIDWAY REACHES JUPITER.
   1ST LIEUTENANTS LANCE CASEY (C26354), AND JEAN "STILETTO" TALVERT (C14322), ALONG WITH MAJOR KARL "SPYDER" BOWEN (C08992) HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF THEIR CHANGE OF ORDERS. BY 2681.61, ALL SHOULD BE EN-ROUTE TO COURAGE SYSTEM TO BOARD CERBERUS IN TIME FOR HER MAIDEN VOYAGE.
   1ST LT.'S TERRENCE "ZERO" O'HEARN (C26202) AND MAX "MAESTRO" GARRETT (26367) ARE SLATED TO COMPLETE ESCORT DUTY FOR REPAIR TEAMS ON LAUGHLIN 5 BY 2681.60. THEY WILL THEREAFTER BE NOTIFIED OF NEW ORDERS AND WILL BE SENT TO RENDEZVOUS WITH CERBERUS IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO HER FIRST MANEUVERS.
   MIDWAY'S CAG PROVIDED THE HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THESE PILOTS. THIS ASSURES THAT THIS CLOSELY-KNIT TEAM WILL EASILY ACCOMPLISH ALL ESCORT, ADVISORY AND TESTING DUTIES.

LOYALLY,

MIRANDA DAY
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES /
PILOT DIVISION

FOR TRANSCRIPTS OF THE ORIGINAL ORDERS AND ORDER MANIFESTS FOR THIS SERVER, CONTACT THE READING OFFICE OF TCIS MAIN OPERATIONS ON JUPITER STATION.

Classified Topic Statement Reveals Nothing

Gamespot is running one of those SO articles based on the press release and images we showed you all earlier. Nothing new, really, but, hey, they probably write better than I do... check out their article here.

Gold Guide

Someday I'll look back and reflect that I got way to much good news from Barnes and Noble. That said, it appears as if Prima is going to publish an Official Guide for Wing Commander Prophecy Gold! According to B&N 336 pages long and will retail for $19.99 (the original Prophecy guide was 249 pages). The Gold Guide (just rolls of the tounge) seems to be scheduled for an October 1998 release, look for it under the ISBN # 0-7615-1772-3.

Forstchen's Latest

Just picked up my copy of Forstchen's Article 23, the followup to the earlier Star Voyager Academy. If you enjoyed Forstchen's Wing Commander books, you may like Article 23... it's definatly for a younger audience, but it's a really fun read (and there's a whole lot of classic Forstchen visible). The important note, however, is that it includes a list of Wing Commander books at the start which includes "False Colors by William R. Forstchen and William H. Keith, Jr. (forthcoming)." Just another sign that FC is getting close...

An Update about GMS

Good news, the guys at GMS have been very polite about working out a deal... we're now able to link directly to the images on their server, which IMHO seems fair. Good to get this one matter behind us... or not, they're going to help us out with some cool stuff in the future, so keep watching!

...And I'm Not Going To Take It!

Yes, what a day, Boomer responded to one of those silly 'SO will suck' people over at the SO Zone. It explains some neat stuff, check it out below...
Allow me to restate some reasons why we're delivering Secret Ops via the Internet in the manner we are:

#1, We're convinced there is a convergance of traditional broadcast media and the Internet. Granted, the Internet won't be a substitue for TV or movies anytime soon, but there will be a point in the future where people will look to the Internet for entertainment just as they do for TV/movies now. One compelling element the Internet can deliver (vs TV/Movies) is the ability to deliver *interactive* entertainment.

Now what is so compelling about dramas such as 'ER' or 'Hill Street Blues'? The fact there is a continuing story line, carried over week to week. People become involved with the plot & characters and thereby become 'involved' themselves. Another metaphor is the old time Saturday 'cliff hanger' serial. Before the matinee every Saturday, 'Rocket Man' or 'Lash Larrue' would save the day, only to end up in a situation where all was lost. You couldn't wait to come back next week to see how they got out of that jam. That's entertainment.

#2 Anyway, OSI wanted to repay its fans for contributing to our success. But just giving something away (like on a magazine CD) doesn't make sense... by and large, there is no perceived 'value' in something you get for absolutely nothing. So how could we give something back, but make it worthwhile and *mean* something. Why not deliver it in episodes, like the weekly 'soaps' or old time serials? Allow people to enjoy the experience by delivering it in a manner to (if I may borrow an old entertainment adage) 'leave em wanting more'...

We just feel by offering it in this unique manner it will be enjoyed much more than if you just got some free game on some shareware CD. The intention is to 'draw you in' to the story.. let you 'live vicariously' as Casey, reading his email, his newpapers, etc. on a day to day basis, just as if you really *were* him. You cannot deliver that experience on a CD (because you could read 9 days worth of fiction in an hour ;). This way, you *are* Casey... you just have to live your life, having NO idea what might be happening tomorrow. Will I get a letter from Mom? Or secret communications there are saboteurs onboard... Will my next mission be a 'milkrun'? Or am I going to have to fight for my very life.

#3 One might say OSI is arguably THE industry leader in successful online gaming. But we aren't simply going to take a 'status quo' approach and view online interactive entertainment industry in purely 'conventional thinking' terms. We want to blaze a trail... look for new ways to deliver interactive entertainment online. In short, think 'out of the box'. As I said earlier, right now the Internet isn't ready for 'real time full featured 35mm quality Interactive Entertainment'. One day it will be, but heck, let's be realistic... right now it's difficult to get a grainey lil video bigger than a matchbox delivered. So where do we start if we want to be the 'NBC' of online entertainment in the 21 century? What can we do NOW to get ready for the 'big time'

Episodes. With 'custom' fiction delivered daily, depending on the outcome of last weeks episode (remember the 'cliff hanger'? ;)

Does OSI benefit? sure.. we have the opportunity to experiment, gain knowledge in unknown territory. Do the players benefit? In spades. The more we work on this, the more things 'come together' the more excited & happier everyone involved gets because we just *know* players are gonna have a great.. make that awesome.. experience. Like nothing ever offered before ;)

Sorry if it seems I'm on a soapbox and gotten long winded here (hard to see just how much you've written in this tiny lil window). But the closer this gets, the more convinced I am this falls under the category of being 'visionary' and I'm damn proud to be a part of it ;)

CGI, CGI, We All Fall Down

Hey, great article about the WC Movie's SFX over at Aint It Cool News! It talks about the first minute of the film in which (WC MOVIE SPOILER) the Kilrathi launch a surprise attack on Confederation Fleet Command at Pegasus Asteroid Base in the Vega Sector.(/SPOILER) Check it out here. (Usual, 'It came from Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site disclamer applies. That would be a good title for some sort of old monster movie...).

Novel News You Need to Know

Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site reports that the Wing Commander Movie Novel has been completed and is being sent to HarperCollins. The author will be (as previously rumored) Peter Telep. Telep is now working on the Junior version of the movie adaptation. Both should hit the stands in mid/late February. Hey, a moment for us... just want to say, I've had the pleasure of being in contact with Telep, who is a really, really great guy. He's incredibly interested in the quality and continuity of his books, and I think that's really going to show in his movie novels... I personally can't wait.

Methods of Distribution

Dateline: alt.games.wing-commander. Asked if Secret Ops would be available as a CD purchasable directly from Origin, Boomer had this to say...
No. Secret Ops will only be available via the Internet. Later (at the end of the episodes) Secret Ops will be included in the upcoming Wing Commander Gold.

Secret Ops on TV!

Dagger reports that Secret Ops is mentioned on Dollars and Sense today! Theoretically the segment will be reran throughout the day, so catch it! Note that it is part of CNN Headline News, not the other CNN channel. The mention calls the free add on 'previously unheard of'.

CNN, Take 2!

This just in, an update to the CNN report. CNN's web site now has an excellent article on Secret Operations. The article notes that the original download will (as expected) be 50-60 megs, but that there will also be available a second 50 meg speech pack. There's also another bit of exciting news in there: the next retail Wing Commander game (WC6, although it surely won't have the number) is slated for release late 1999. (This is, again, thanks to Dagger, who has an unhealthy obsession with CNN).

Casey, It's Been So Long Since I've Seen You

It appears as if everyone's favorite son of someone named Casey has gotten mail from his mom! Or, at least, someone claiming to be his mom (her name, however, is apparently Sarah rather than Kylie...). Anyway, check out the Secret Ops site to see the update! Note also that Origin has modified the SO site so that the text is now white, and thus easier to see.
EMAIL

TO: Lt. Lance Casey
FROM: Sarah Casey
SUBJECT: Hello! Congradulations!

   I love you so much! It took Gloria, David and the Helfmans (you remember the Helfmans don't you? They went with us on the Christmas trip to the Miyahira nebula resort) to keep me on the ground when I heard of the news of your victory! All of us here have had to see the doctor to get our fingers uncrossed !
   It's been so long since I've been able to send you mail. I kept getting red flag responses, and spec. grab dumps. I know you've been on the line, and haven't been able to write back, but I wish you could've gotten a word back to us. Relying on TC news and second hand military info has been so very stressful.
   I thought I was prepared for this after living through your father's time in the service. I guess those emotions all came bubbling back up when the Midway engaged the aliens. TheN I hear that you are the pilot who helped route the aliens and you've gotten a medal, and a promotoin, and... well... Your father would be very proud of you, son. I can feel it. Anyway, I'm just so very glad that those fears were unjustified. Your Aunt Linda and Uncle Rob are as eager as I am for your return home! Now Lance, I'm certain that will be soon, they can't deny you at least a week of leave to visit your family. We're all preparing a big party!

Please be safe!

Love,

Mom

Blurb Extracted

Harbinger has very kindly typed up a copy of the Secret Operations blurb that appeared in this months PC Gamer. Check it out...
Free and Clear

New Wing Commander game to be distributed for free

   The next installment in the Wing Commander series will be available toward the end of the summer. What's even more exciting for fans is that it will be available online for free – all you need is a connection to the Internet, and you'll be able to download a new episode every week.
   The new game will be called Wing Commander: Secret Ops, and the story will pick up where Wing Commander Prophecy left off. Ownership of the previous title is not a requirement though, as Secret Ops will be a stand-alone product with an all-new game engine and cinematics. There will be a total of 56 missions split up into seven episodes. Leading up to the release of each new episode, Origin will be posting a background story on the web site that will prepare players for the upcoming missions. The action-packed gameplay of Prophecy will remain intact, but Secret Ops promises new weapons, larger, more intense battles, new Confederation bases and remote stations to explore, and cameos from past Wing Commander ships.
   Origin says that the reason it is giving away Secret Ops for free is because the company wanted to say "thank you" to its customers and supporters, according to Rod Nakamoto, executive producer of the project.
   To see a preview of Wing Commander: Secret Ops, go to www.secretops.com and bookmark it so you can return later this summer to enjoy the one thing that everybody says you'll never get – something for nothing.

Fight the Power

Hey guys... I recently learned something that really disturbs me. GMS has forced us to remove the 'full' versions of the Wing Commander movie images from our screenshot archive, saying that we were (and I quote) "steeling the watermarked originals". Now, this brings about several questions. First off, how are we stealing them? There is absolutely NO disclaimer at their site regarding the use of the images, and one wonders why they have enourmous watermarks on them, if they are intended for GMS' use only? Plus, the email sent to us calls them their 'official images', where many of them are the same as the ones distributed to the press by Digital Anvil. In short, they are screwing over Wing Commander fans because they're more interested in their own site than promoting the Wing Commander movie. I've already taken steps to report them to DA and OSI, but I urge you all this: do not visit their so called official site (it is indeed NOT the official movie web site, which will be up at a later date), and protest their actions if possible. You are invited to mail the man who contacted us, Roland Roth. I invite GMS to make a full apology to true WC fans (either via email or at the Chat Zone) within 36 hours. If no apology or comment is recieved I will take this to mean that they have no problems with us reposting the 'removed' pictures.

A Serious Thanks

A while back at WCHS I once asked for help trying to locate a portion of Origin's old Wing Commander IV web page... Psychopath found a hard copy and typed it up for me today! Above and beyond, man...

Fiction Update

And Origin said, 'Let there be light', and there was the light of the newly illuminated 'Secure Channel' button at SecretOps.com. And the light allowed access to the first fiction update, which may be found below.
INTER-SECTOR DAILY NEWS
(ISDN)

Midway Triumphant!

Sol citizens celebrate victory over Aliens with the Confederation Flagship!

(SOL, 2681.55) The TCS Midway is scheduled to return home as part of a Sector wide tour beginning with a Confederation Military reception at the Jupiter Station. After the terrible conflict that has left over two million dead, and one hundred thousand military and civilians missing in action, all of humankind are breathing a well-earned sigh of relief.
   The initial reception will feature keynote speaker Governor Cavazos, as well as Admiral Rayak, and Commander Patricia Drake; the Commander Air Group for the Midway.
   Executives from Bartok Enterprises will be on hand to discus the launch of the Confederation's newest weapon against terror, the Cerberus. This quick response military vessel will be put to work keeping the peace in the systems hardest hit by the alien menace.
   Although the reception is highly classified and restricted to official invite only, Confederation representatives have assured ISDN staff that a full press package will be made available for download shortly after the proceedings.
   After the Midway leaves Jupiter it will make its way straight to Earth where it will stop at the Terran Ship Yard Arcology. The governing staff of the Arcology, which is home t more than two hundred thousand, has begun immediate preparations for the arrival.
   Leon Tuyen, managing officiate of the TSY council commented at a press conference following the announcement of the Midway's visit: "It is such a great honor to be a temporary home for such a fine vessel. We will make sure she is up for her victory lap of the nearby systems. All of us owe a debt of thanks to the Midway and pray she never again need engage in such a conflict."
   When Officiate Tuyen was questioned about the recent troubles at the Arcology and if they posed any saftey issues, she responded: "Although some would call it coincidental irony, I believe it only fitting that a vessel which has overcome tremendous odds should find a home at a station that has, itself, overcome tremendous difficulties. To all involved with the rebuilding efforts following the bombing, this is a validation of all their hard work. We hope that the Arcology and the Midway stand as inspiration to all that face the trials life presents them. With the renewed assistance of Bartok Enterprises and Hurston Dynamics personnel, we should be fully prepared for their arrival."
   The Terran celebration will be held both planet side and aboard the Arcology in a sector wide simulcast to be relayed to all outlying sectors the following solar day. As well as speeches from various dignitaries, the event will also feature performances by Ghira Johan and Jillian Tong, among others.
   There has been no report as to whether the pilots who flew the final missions against the aliens will be present for any of the festivities. ISDN will bring you complete coverage of the events as the time approaches.

Production Values

QuickNote (tm), The Carousel Picture Company's official company web page should be up within 6 weeks. It will include the current WC Movie page we all know and love... (Thanks to the guys over at GMS!)

The Morning After

Wow, last night's CIC opening IRC party was, IHMO, a big success. I've never seen so many people in a WC channel before, thanks for all your support... we'll do it again real soon! For those of you who missed it, here's a lengthy complete log. Special thanks goes to the people who helped us work out minor bugs when the site was launched, and to the Origin guys who stopped in to wish us well... Boomer gave us some exclusive Secret Ops news, too, quoted below.
When you play a mission, you will get a 'password' depending on whether or not you win/lose/draw. At the end of the mission, when you come back to the website next Monday, you'll have 'custom' fiction depending on how you fared in the previous mission. If you don't enter the password, you'll get the 'default' fiction. LOAF & CIC can't post the different passwords because it'll be based on you call sign ;) When you download SO, you have to enter your callsign. Do you think people with identical call sign will always win/lose/draw the same way? Never, never forget your callsign, the registration # is derived from it.

Movie Music News

What's a Wing Commander news site without news taken from the incredible Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site? Not much, I'll tell you that. Apparently Dan mailed Richard Gibbs (WC Movie music man) and learned this...
I am somewhat familiar with the game - however, I will not be making thematic reference to the music therein. I can tell you that the score I am writing will be an orchestral one of epic proportions. I am still in the early stages and things may change so I am reluctant to give you many more details at this time.

Countdown, to Infinity

People who know me know that the Encyclopedia and Timeline are my pet projects, what I've always dreamed of doing... now, dates have finally been set! Check the subsections for counters... (the timeline is coming soon, the encyclopedia is a ways away).

Very Creative

Deathlok mentioned on IRC last night that Daylight Productions has sent the Wing Commander Prophecy DVD off to Creative Labs, presumably to be bundled with some upcoming DVD product. No word as to when or how it will be released, however.

Pretty Colors

While kindly visiting our own Secret Ops Chat Board Boomer responded complaints that the Secret Ops Website's text is to difficult to read. Boomer notes that the people in charge of the site are going to be changing the color of the text, thereby making it easier for us to read!

Guiding Light

Amazon.com (like Barnes and Noble except not) now lists the Privateer 3 Official Guide! The guide is weighs in at 240 pages, was written by David Ladyman for Prima, and will in theory be available September, 1998. ISBN number 0-761-51586-0.

SFX, At Long Last

The long awaited Wing Commander Movie article from SFX is finally on the newsstands! If you're in England, it should be available everywhere. For those of you who aren't so lucky, Skyfox has generously provided us with scans of the article! Unfortunately almost all of the pictures were old (see below), but the article itself is full of useful information. You can read it here.

Regarding Henry

Wing Commander Movie PR Director Henry Eshelman posted a request for help at Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site. He's offering a small reward to anyone who can send him copies of the following WC Movie TV appearances:
  • MTV USA--was supposed to air May 17
  • E! Television--dates were supposed to be starting on April 27
  • MTV Europe--aired sometime in May

Official Site!

The official Wing Commander Movie site from the Carousel Picture Company is up! Much of it is still 'coming soon', but it's great to see some movement on this particular front. The site boasts a few new pictures, including the logo and the two graphics below...

It's the Articles, Really

Patrick Bryant reports that the following blurb about the Wing Commander Movie appears in the August issue of Playboy. No comment...
Get set for Wing Commander -- the movie. Freddie (I Know What You Did Last Summer) Prinze Jr. and Matthew (Scream) Lillard will star in the PC game-turned-$27 million Fox flick. Shooting started in February, but there's still no word on a release date.

Privateer 3 URL?

I'm sure you'll all be shocked to learn that I'm (dramatic pause) out of domain jokes! That said, it may or may not be important to note that Electronic Arts has registered Privateer3.com. (Of course, they registered almost a year ago, but mentioning that would be 'objective' journalism).

They Want You

Digital Anvil, that is. They're looking for someone to do 3D rendering for the Wing Commander Movie. Read all about the job requirements here. Of note, however, is the fact that the page notes that the job is expected to last until mid-October of this year.

Still Single

According to Cobalt 60's web site there's another Prophecy Single available (the first came with Wing Commander Prophecy Special Edition). The reported CD contains 4 tracks (Prophecy - TerminalMix, ÄläktrohmMix, BtkMix and Galactic Hives), but is only available to DJs. Any DJs out there?

Save the Music

Never has there been a more noble cause, Wing Commander fanatic Lee Plumley has started a campaign to convince Origin to produce a Wing Commander Music CD! How can you help? Glad you asked, head on over to his site to find out more.

It's About The Future!

Finally, news that doesn't involve the Wing Commander Movie! At long last, it's Secret Ops info! And good Secret Ops info at that! Boomer posted a note to alt.games.wing-commander about the upcoming addon, of which you can find an excerpt below. Keep watching SecretOps.com...
Starting early next week, between then and August 24 expect to see some serious increase in activity on the secretops.com website. That's when things should begin begin to accelerate... Beginning with the web based episode 'interface', we'll be adding some 'lead-in' fiction to start setting the stage for the overall plot of Wing Commander: Secret Ops. The 1st installment of fiction is mainly designed to umm.. 'explain' the Wing Commander universe to those unfamiliar with the Wing Commander games (we're hoping to attract people to Wing Commander that has never played it before). That will lead in to fiction that is designed to set the stage & plot for Secret Ops (All you 'old hands' will probably have some good fodder to pick apart ;). By then it'll be time for the episodes to begin.

The Avalanche Has Already Started

Just when we thought it was safe to adopt a format which allows us to put little thumbnails of any new screenshots right here on the front page, what do they do? Release 108 new Wing Commander Movie pictures, that's what. All garnered from the Official WC Movie Site, they're pretty dashed cool looking. Check them out in our WC movie picture archive. The new movie site was also updated with the below summary of the film's plot.
Based on the famous computer game series. The future - the Terran Confederation is in an epic war against the 'Kilrathi', a race of 7-foot, cat-like creatures determined to wipe us out. Christopher Blair is one of the Confederation's finest upcoming pilots and he and his wingmen are on their way to a fierce battle against the 'Cats'. However enroute they pick up a distressing message, and following it to its source they discover the Kilrathi have built a massive vessel with the power to destroy all life across a star system. The fate of the Confederation rests in the hands of these young pilots who must destory this vessel before it strikes any nearby populated systems.

It Means No Worries

Even if you've been living under a rock for the last several months, you probably know about Origin's web based Secret Operations, coming soon (unless, of course, you're too busy yelling at the wall about the WC movie kats). You're probably also wondering how Origin is going to support the tremendous strain on their FTP sites, what with everyone downloading the estimated 50 meg startup program at the same time. While there's no definite explanation how, Origin's Boomer over at alt.games.wing-commander promises that "we're putting a *lot* of effort into ensuring there is ample capacity and tremendous simultaneous ftp capability." Yay!

At Long Last...

Yay! A respectable news magazine (CGW, no less) has finally tackled (well, almost tackled) the big question: who would win in a fight, Chris Blair or Luke Skywalker? Check out page 34 of their September issue for a whole list of such match ups...

Rock On

Incredibly helpful WingNut Rocker has kindly provided us with three new Wing Commander Movie pictures! Check 'em out below...

The Best Thing Since Crushed Ice

Hey, it's more Secret Ops news from Boomer! He's so good to us... hey, am I the only one who keeps calling it 'Special Ops'?
The game code 'behind' Wing Commander: Secret Ops is this >||< close to 'going gold' (it's in QA for final testing now). The supporting fiction is all but finalized. We're still working out the details on the script for the 2nd trailer but the basic website is all but complete (just making some last minute refinements).

It looks like the Secret Ops 'experience' will be gaining speed with next weeks launch of the core website. From then, we'll be periodically adding some 'lead-in' fiction (to introduce new players to the Wing Commander universe). All this is going to 'kick off'' next week and will progress (e.g. new fiction added) throughout the month of August. We're still on track for the episodes to begin Aug 24 (and almost daily thereafter for 7 weeks).

The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Byydo

Ever want to simulate Bablyon 5's White Star class ships in Wing Commander Prophecy? Of course not, it never crossed your mind, which is why we should all thank Sivar that Byydo's mind doesn't work like ours do. Why? Because he's made two cool stat updates for Prophecy. The first, Bugs of Steel, enhances all the Nephilim ships to make Prophecy harder (but, hey, you just KNOW he did it for the name...). The second, Legendary Spacecraft, modifies Prophecy's ships with statistics to emulate a whole load of 'classic' space ships: the USS Defiant, the Death Star II, the White Star, Thunderbolt and Aurora class Starfuries, as well as a pair of cult favorites (Ace's Happy Donut and Diamond class fighters). For use with WCPEdit.

Sharpening the Piranha's Teeth

I know what you're thinking. Can Thomas Brucker possibly attach a booster to the Piranha with a feature he hopes to add to a future version of WCPEdit? The answer, is yes. But don't take it from me, try out the Boosted Piranha yourself.

An Exciting Look at Things to Come

Excellent WC Movie guy Rocker informs us that we should keep watching the GMS WC Movie Site, because they're hoping to put up a copy of the movie's trailer very soon, as well as possibly some more of those exciting pictures... fingers crossed.

X Marks the Spot

Everyone's favorite newswoman, Barbara Niven (who can't tell the difference between the letter X and the roman numeral for 10) is pictured in this week's TV Guide! Check out the blurb at the bottom of the page here, which talks about her addition to the cast of Pensacola: Wings of Gold. Stranger things have happened...

He Shoots, Gibbs Scores

It's the answer to all you're Wing Commander Movie Music questions, and is found below! This comes straight from Film Score Monthly... (Naturally, thanks to Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site.
SCORING ASSIGNMENT NEWS FLASH: The composer for Wing Commander, the new feature film based on the popular computer game, is Richard Gibbs. It's pretty far from Doctor Dolittle and in fact represents the first big action score - not to mention sci-fi score - for the composer. Should be interesting!

FAQsimile

Probably attempting to prove that he is indeed cooler than a moose, Origin's front guy Boomer has made up this Secret Operations miniFAQ...
Will the missions be archived? (If we miss a Thursday are we s.o.l?)

Each of the 7 episodes will be presented as follows:

Monday - fiction elements 'A'
Tuesday - fiction elements 'B' (plus 'A')
Wednesday - fiction elements 'C' (plus 'A' and 'B')
Thursday - episode mission becomes available for download

So if you come in on (say) Thursday just to get the mission, you will have all the fiction available (just not delivered in any order). While there is no 'dependency' of one piece of fiction being important to read before another, for the 'purest' experience, I recommend reading the fiction as it's delivered (daily).

But to answer your question: When it starts, there will be 7 episode buttons. As each episode begins (on Monday) the appropriate button will be enabled. So (say) by week 3, episode buttons 1 thru 3 will be enabled (with 4 thru 7 still 'dark') and yes, you can go back and 'relive' earlier missions (remember, you already downloaded the mission so it's just the fiction you'll be needing). However, there is a cool 'twist' to this that I really don't want to disclose just yet (keeping it a surprise for now ;)

And how big a download are we looking at? (Would it be a good time to upgrade to cable?)

The size isn't finalized yet so I'd rather not try to 'predict' what it will finally be. Suffice to say (as everyone expects) it's going to be rather big (afterall, it is a whole game). But not really any bigger than some of the more popular demos out there. Still, we're working on ways to minimize the 'pain' of downloading. For example, current thinking (it could change) is to offer it as a 'base' file and an optional 'speech pack' (and a 'full download' that incorporates both). As noted, the optional speech pack isn't required to play Secret Ops.

He's an Admiral, no, a Captain...

Hurrah, it's a new (sort of) WCIV scene! Remember that little comm video of Admiral Wilford ordering you to disable a Black Lance transport? Now, thanks to the Nut-Boy, it's available as a full sized bit of FMV. Grab it here. Note that this requires XanMovie, which comes with a number of recent Origin products.

The Blink Thing Again

In case you missed them here, at Dan's, or anywhere else, you can find the best of the best of the new official Wing Commander movie shots at OGR and at DarkHorizons.

Lost, But Not Forgotten

We promised 'em to you, and here they are... the missing Wing Commander III scenes! These were found originally only in the Playstation and 3DO versions of Wing Commander III, but can now be viewed as realmovies on your PC! This is all thanks to the incredibly talented WildFire-, who promises a few more in the days ahead.

Everybody Love's Articles

With all the recent exciting news about Secret Operations, it's not surprising that the major gaming sites are putting up articles. Check out PCM&E's here, and CGS+'s here.

Secret Ops Site Update

Yep, it's an update so worthy of your attention that it's not in the least bit witty or annoying. The beginning is near! The Secret Ops web site has finally been updated! It's not one of those sucky 2 bit updates, either, it's a full fledged more info than humanly possible update... go check it out, now! Screenshots and text quoted below...


Captions to the Screenshots (in order)
  • The Cerberus' BFG provides your backup.
  • Heavy artillery cruiser.
  • Test the classified 'Cloud Burst' weapon.
  • More defense for the cap ship strike missions.
  • New 'Plunkett' Class cruiser.
  • 3D accelerated graphics.
  • New 'Murphy' Class destroyers.
  • Game engine cinematic.
  • The Cerberus - quick-strike cruiser.
  • Alien scouts observe their prey.
  • The Cerberus' BFG provides your backup.
What is Secret Ops?

Wing Commander: Secret Ops is an unprecedented episodic game release available exclusively over the internet.

Secret Ops is a stand alone space combat action game with 56 new single player missions split into seven downloadable episodes. A new Secret Ops episode, consisting of 6-8 missions, will be posted on the Wing Commander Secret Ops web site each week beginning later this summer. On the days leading up to each episode, new fictional experiences will be posted from the Secret Ops story which sets the stage for the upcoming downloadable episode. Over a 7 week period, a new episode of missions will be available for download on each Thursday.

The actual game incorporates a new story, new weapons and more intense battle scenarios than ever before. The Secret Ops story is a continuation of Wing Commander: Prophecy, released late last year. It introduces the Cerberus, a quick-strike cruiser and many other surprises. Players will be propelled through the story via all new cinematic scenes rendered on-the-fly in full 3D, plus gripping new in-flight coms. Game play will include new, enhanced weapons and multi-stage capital ship strike missions. The game universe is packed with unique environments including dense asteroids fields, new Confed star bases and remote stations to explore. There are even cameos from past Wing Commander ships.

And by the way, you can experience this unprecedented gaming event for FREE*.
* (except for standard Internet connection charges).

STORY:
Wing Commander: Secret Ops is set in the aftermath of the alien war that took place in Wing Commander: Prophecy. The super-carrier Midway's very best pilots are assigned to escort the Confederation's first "quick strike" assault cruiser: Cerberus. The Terran Confederation Intelligence Service (TCIS) has slated Cerberus for 'deep cover' duty in foreign systems. Her specific capabilities remain TOP SECRET.

But, to the Ace pilots from Midway, it is no secret that unrest is brewing in Sol and Vega sectors, that Kilrathi space (now littered with Alien debris) is a hotbed of looting and that the real WAR has just begun.

Key Features

  • 56 pulse-pounding single player missions, divided into seven downloadable episodes.
  • Exciting new in-flight cockpit comms will keep the story alive as you fight through each mission.
  • Annihilate the aliens with never-before-seen weapons, including the "dust cannon" and "Mosquito missiles".
  • Fly into combat along-side powerful new Confed starships, including the heavy artillery cruiser, quick strike cruiser and civilian cruise-liners.
  • Fight to the death in five sleek Confed starfighters and bombers, each with their own weapons and performance characteristics.
  • Join the war efforts of other Confed wings, including cameo appearances of past Wing Commander ships like the Excalibur, Thunderbolt and Confed Carrier.
  • Immerse yourself in this rich story of Confed's cover operations through amazingly-detailed cinematic sequences rendered on-the-fly in crisp 3D graphics.
  • Witness dazzling special effects like shockwave explosions, colored ambient and dynamic lighting, massive starships with moving gun turrets and crisp Dolby Surround sound.
  • Experience larger, more intensified battles than any other spacecombat game.
  • Discover new mission environments like secret Confed Star Bases and Remote Stations.
  • Feel the heat of battle in multi-stage capital ship strike Missions.

Into the Void

Interesting little article over at MSNBC about the recent rash of game designers leaving well known companies, and as expected Chris Roberts is talked about. Check it out here.

My HCl's Back, & He's Gonna Be Trouble...

Shortly after making a much needed Sheridan-esque return from beyond death, Wing Commander editor guy supreme HCl has released a new version of his mission compiler. It includes a utility called SMB, which helps new users design simple one nav point missions with ease. Grab it here.

The Priv's Have It

It's the results to the recent Gamespot poll about Wing Commander! Check 'em out...
Which is your favorite Wing Commander game?
Privateer: 37%
Prophecy: 21%
Wing Commander IV: 15%
Wing Commander III: 11%
Wing Commander II: 7%
Wing Commander: 6%
(8,505 respondents)

This just in!

This afternoon Gamecenter put up a new Secret Ops preview. Wolf Dog brought it to our attention as we were opening the CIC. There's some old stuff and a bit of new stuff as well. Check it out here.

Welcome!

On behalf of the entire Combat Information Staff we'd like to welcome you to the opening of our site. I could go through our splash screen talking about our new features, but you can look around and find those for yourself. What we listed on the Countdown to the CIC is only the beginning. We've been working literally dozens and dozens of hours in the past week alone and there is still a lot we wont have ready for today's opening. Anything and everything is possible, we'll be constantly updating with new stuff. This is a great time for Wing Commander and we're glad to be a part of that. We've put an unbelieable amount of time into this and we hope you enjoy the site!

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