Majestically Taking Over Your Life

Like us, you may have been wondering where former Origin general manager Neil Young has been these past couple years. He ran a bunch of stuff at OSI in the early days of Ultima Online and Wing Commander Prophecy and also got co-executive producer billing for the Movie. He was also the guy that got us into the premiere. Well now he's leading the new EA game Majestic. If you haven't heard of it, it's a new type of "online game" for those looking for a little bit of mystery and excitement in their lives. Instead of playing a conventional program, you input your email address, messenger address, phone number, fax number and so on into the system, and over the course of days, weeks and months a conspiracy unfolds around you in "real life." Half of me thinks they won't be able to pull off a truly engrossing experience.. and the other half is real spooked that they actually might. You can find more here.
And since Majestic keeps track of everything you do, the experience becomes more and more tailored to you as you keep playing. “A character in the game might ask me the name of my wife. A few months later I might get a call saying, ‘Neil, if you don’t stop snooping, you might find Laurie in a pool of blood’.” Not for the faint of heart.
Good golly.

Tonight's The Night

Don't forget that if you're in the UK and get the channel Sky Movie Max, the WC Movie will be showing tonight at 11:00 pm. Have fun.

Tweaking The Classics

Boeman has made a marvelous short Wing Commander clip that you can now view in your web browser. It's a two meg download, and you progress through the scenes with the space bar. But unlike most fan movies, this one is done Wing Commander 1 style. It's really cool, but that's not the end of it. Boeman actually has a point and a mission. At the end of the clip, you're able to enter your name and information and then send a tailored message to Origin asking for some development tools. The project itself sounds like the WCESCRP, but with a twist. The specifics about what he asks for and how he asks are somewhat different. The movie itself is definitely worth the short download and viewing, and it wouldn't hurt a bit to sign and fill out his request form at the end. You can find WC Advocacy here.

I think he's bit harsh towards Chris Roberts there, since he did create the movie after all, but it's still a great clip.

The Man, The Mystery

To further our happy theme today, we're going to remind everyone that they can get plenty of happy music from the CIC's resident master composer, ace-1. Familiar classics like "Darfswartz Bobo and the Magic Panda" and "AimlessAlgernon'sJourneyThroughTimidity" or new hits such as "Tuna Fish" or "LOAF's Anthem" are available to download for free in mp3 format. "Nonexistent Album No.4" and "Voxel Dargon" are also available to purchase for the low price of $6.00. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to mp3.com today.

Trivia Week 14 Released

A few people have said the past few weeks have been harder than usual, so for Week 14 I'm giving everyone a bit of a break. You should find these a bit easier than last time.

Welcome to Game Three, Week Fourteen Trivia. We play each week. Every Monday two main questions and one bonus question are posted to alt.games.wing-commander and listed at the CIC. Please email answers to CReid1701@aol.com or ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Be sure to include a name you would like to be known under for the Scoreboard that will be up soon. Have your answers in *before* this coming Sunday (February 4, 2001) to ensure your answers are recorded. Answers submitted early may be returned and you may be able to fix incorrect answers, time permitting. Main questions answered correctly are good for 5 points, bonuses good for 3.

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Answers to Questions from Week 13 (starting January 22, 2000):

Question 25: Who was Prince Thrakhath's chee'dyachee?
Answer: Melek

Question 26: Who was Ralgha nar Hhallas' chee'dyachee?
Answer: Kirha

Bonus 13: What was the ultimate fate of Ralgha's chee'dyachee? (quasi hint: beyond Hunter)
Answer: He committed suicide after learning of Hunter's death.

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New Questions for Week 14 (starting January 29, 2000):

Question 27: What are two distinct types of weaponry that make the Confederation Class Dreadnoughts powerful?

Question 28: What are two distinct types of weaponry that make the Plunkett Class Cruisers powerful?

Bonus 14: What are two distinct types of weaponry that make the code named Tiamat Dreadnoughts powerful?

Submissions are due by February 4, 2001.

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Please email answers to ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Thanks,

Congratulations HTL!

The Wing Commander Aces storyline arc "Holding The Line" has reached a major milestone this week. Yesterday marked its second anniversary and the one hundredth PBM fiction chapter was released. Since 1999, over half a million words have been publised as part of the larger story. This is even more of an accomplishment considering that the once 600+ members strong club has been beset by some of the general depression that has lagged other parts of the WC community. Some of the past chapters can be found here. Some if it's quite good reading. If you have any questions, you can reach the HTL coordinator, Raptor, at theraj@es.co.nz.

Trivia Reminder 3-13

Week Fourteen Trivia will be out tomorrow, so if you haven't done so yet, be sure to send in your current answers today! Some people have had trouble with the Kilrathi used this week. Don't forget our Kilrathi-to-English page is still up. But I won't make it too easy by posting a direct link. You can send answers in through ChrisReid@wcnews.com

Wing Commander On Free TV In The UK

Seb noticed that the WC Movie will be showing on the UK channel Sky Movie Max at 11:00 pm on Wednesday. This apparently isn't a pay per view event and is free if you have the channel. Be sure to check your local television listings to be sure. This is a nice treat since the UK got really screwed theatrically in regards to the movie.

Typo Fix For WCA Archivists Out There

A few people noticed this, but we thought it would minimalize confusion if we waited until now to post about it. Our previous two WCA episodes, "Recreation" and "Walking Wounded," were misnumbered. "Walking Wounded" should be episode 8 and "Recreation" should be episode 9. If you're building a library of divxes, you might want to make this slight correction to your file naming scheme.

New WCA Divx Available

Episode 10 of Wing Commander Academy, "On Both Your Houses," has been posted to BlackLance.org. In this episode, Blair, Maniac and Archer get more than they bargain for while searching for a crashed Kilrathi on a tropical world. You can download Episode 10 here. There's some interesting stuff in this one.

A Somber Anniversary

Today we'll take a moment to recognize the fifteenth anniversary of loss of Shuttle Challenger. If you're not too familiar with the incident, you can read up here. There are also numerous Wing Commander items named in honor of the ship and its crew, such as the McAuliffe System, Challenger Quadrant and STS-51L System. No doubt there are other references. Feel free to note them at the Chat Zone if you find some. Thanks to Death, Locke and Klaus for some of the information here.

Dreamcast Joystick Designed With SL In Mind

MadCatz is now manufacturing a joystick for the Dreamcast gaming console that is said to work great with Starlancer. There's even a little screenshot on the box. If you weren't aware, SL came out for the Sega system a few months ago and is playable online with PC gamers. If you'd like more information, SegaWeb has a bit of a review here.

Macross TC For Starlancer Seeks WC Help

BlackWolf thought some Wing Commander fans might be interested in a Macross mod for Starlancer that is currently in production. They have various models and such done, but they need help for the textures. If you're interested in texturing, modeling, sound work or mission editing or have any questions, be sure to send him an email here.

Improved Prophecy Graphics Possible with FSAA

Hadrian has done some experimentation lately, and he's also got some good screenshots of the differences between Wing Commander Prophecy with and without Full Screen Anti-Aliasing turned on. FSAA is one of the newer technologies available on the latest generation of 3d acceleration cards. These shots were taken with a GeForce 2 MX. I just picked up one of those cards myself, so I can't wait to try it out. Note that while FSAA can provide a substantial improvement to old games that weren't designed to take advantage of today's modern effects, there is a limit. Prophecy and Secret Ops are probably the only two games where you'll be able to get this benefit.

You can click on those for full screen images, but the area in question is the same in the thumbnails. You should be able to tell that the image on the right is a bit smoother. It's not a super major improvement, but I'm surprised that they have technology that can do that. Pretty neat, huh? You should be able to get this benefit from a Voodoo 4/5, a Radeon or any GeForce 2.

Prophecy Keyboard Covers Could Be Out

It's come to our attention that the official Control Zone Interactive website no longer lists the Prophecy keyboard covers for sale anymore. They've got other old games still for sale, so I suppose it's possible they sold out. LOAF noted that Chips & Bits still sells the item, but for the record, they presell Privateer 3 and the Privateer 3 Official Guide too (and for the outrageous price of $52.95!).

New Final Conflict Lasers Look Like Hell

According to WC Final Conflict point man Rylex, the new lasers in his fan made movie "look like hell!" I'm assuming that's a good thing. They certainly look nice to me anyhow. I hope this one makes it to completion. Send Rylex some mail telling him what you think.

Various Important Reminders

What is it? Cold and flu season? Mid-terms or finals? I'm a little bit disappointed in some of our post-operations here this last week or two. Traffic is up lately, so it's a little bit strange. And I bet you'll have more fun doing each of the following activities than you'd think at first.

1) We're not making as big a dent as I'd hoped in the Stratics Poll. Yeah, Wing Commander is up several points from where it was a few days ago, but if a fifth of the people who read this today went and voted, WC's share would more than double. And JG Stratics is a pretty cool site. If you're the least bit interested in the Privateer Online-like game Jumpgate, it should be one of several sites you should check out. Others are Netdevil, PJG and The Drakhai.

2) Trivia participation has been down for a week or two. It's very easy to go up and down in the ranking (especially when submissions are slow), so missing a few weeks can be important. New players should give it a try too. It's surprisingly easy to make the first few big jumps up the Scoreboard.

3) What happened with Red Planet? The people who reviewed it did a great job, but only a few people reviewed it. If you thought the "one in five" JG Stratics ratio would be easy to hit, it'd only take one in seventy CIC visitors to review Red Planet in order to double the number of current reviews there. It's not that hard and it only takes a minute. You click here, click Write an online review, then write your review. There's an outline of the unpublished Pilgrim Truth novel in the balance. See our December 2, 2000 news for more on this one.

And there we go. Have a nice day.

When Did You Find Us?

I like the poll we have up for the next cycle. This week we're asking when your first visit to the CIC was (or one of our precursor sites). I think it'll be pretty interesting to see how people spread out. Eight options is about the practical limit, so we're asking that you just round to the nearest major event. And here's the results of our previous poll.

Well.. at least I'm confident I'll have a great year here. :D

New Mark Dacascos Movie Hits Wednesday

Seems as though some people really like to follow famous WC actors about. Viper let us know that Mark Dacascos, who played Catscratch in WC4, will be starring in "Le Pacte des Loups" (aka Brotherhood of the Wolf) which should open as a very popular movie in France next Wednesday. Dacascos has actually been relatively busy since his role in Wing Commander 4.

Happy Birthday - Part Three

One more time. Today Matthew Lillard, who played Maniac in the WC Movie turns thirty-one years old. This year he'll be starring as the one and only Shaggy in the upcoming live action Scooby Doo movie by the way.. And according to IMDB, Freddie Prinze Jr, Blair from the movie, is gonna be Fred. That's freaky. Think that's it? Nope. They're also both starring in Summer Catch this year too. The world never ceases to amaze me.

Starlancer Keyboard Cover in the Works

A quick look over at the Control Zone Interactive website shows that they'll be releasing a keyboard cover for Starlancer soon. They're those plastic sheets you put over a regular keyboard to label each key and add some cockpit element to the experience. I wonder how well those sell. The company is also selling covers for Freespace 2 and Wing Commander Prophecy, among others. The going price is about $15 plus shipping.

Wing Commander Movie Tracks Could Be Rereleased

LeHah read in a recent BBC interview that David Arnold will be releasing a "Best of David Arnold" CD. Arnold was the main man behind the incredible Movie soundtrack theme. It's possible some of the hot movie tracks could make it onto this disc. There'll be more to come on this topic. If you don't have the original CD, you can still buy it at Amazon.com and other locations in our Where To Buy section.

We All Stayed

PopsiclePete found a funny Wing Commaner mention in an article about people camping out for the Lord of the Rings trailer. You may be aware that it came out with Thirteen Days not long ago. The whole situation is compared to the Star Wars Episode I trailer being showed before Wing Commander. You can find the article here.
I mean, the second Star Wars trailer came out with Wing Commander, and I don't think a whole lot of people stayed to see that, so this is a big step up.
I don't know about you guys, but in a dozen theater viewings I only saw a grand total of about one and a half people leave after the Star Wars trailer..

Stratics Pushing Today's Jumpgate News

For starters, JG Stratics has a poll going on that asks whether people would prefer the current realistic physics flight model in Jumpgate or a more Wing Commanderific mode of flight. It seems most hardcore JG players, as well as the developers, don't foresee a change in the future, but pushing Wing Commander to the top of polls is nothing we've ever looked away from. You can find this one here.

For those who missed last week's Jumpgate chat, we're going to let Stratics post the log for you. There should be a copy posted to their House of Commons section here shortly. The chat wasn't altogether that interesting for the general Wing Commander fan, but if anyone really wants to see a copy of the log and they haven't posted it before long, send us an email. This update is all TC's Fault.

Happy Birthday - Part One

It's Birthday Season over at the CIC again, and first up is Hadrian. Happy Birthday! If I were more witty I'd find a funny way to ask if you'd prefer cake or chocolate moose.

Trivia Week 13 Released

Last week was a tiny bit slower than usual. I think a few regulars might have missed the boat. If you've got the time, play before you forget! All new players are always welcome as well.

Welcome to Game Three, Week Thirteen Trivia. We play each week. Every Monday two main questions and one bonus question are posted to alt.games.wing-commander and listed at the CIC. Please email answers to CReid1701@aol.com or ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Be sure to include a name you would like to be known under for the Scoreboard that will be up soon. Have your answers in *before* this coming Sunday (January 28, 2001) to ensure your answers are recorded. Answers submitted early may be returned and you may be able to fix incorrect answers, time permitting. Main questions answered correctly are good for 5 points, bonuses good for 3.

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Answers to Questions from Week 12 (starting January 15, 2000):

Question 23: What happened to the TCS Tiger's Claw on its maiden voyage?
Answer: Despite a minimal and under experienced crew, the Claw managed to rout an unexpected superior Kilrathi invasion force.

Question 24: What happened to the TCS Tarawa on its maiden voyage?
Answer: The newly outfitted Tarawa covered the initial raid of Vukar Tag, then proceeded to launch a devastating covert attack on the Kilrah System.

Bonus 12: What happened to the TCS Grimalkin/Gamal Gan on its maiden voyage?
Answer: The commandeered Grimalkin sneaks in a pair of Morningstar advanced tactical craft to destroy the Mandarin headquarters at Ayer's Rock.

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New Questions for Week 13 (starting January 22, 2000):

Question 25: Who was Prince Thrakhath's chee'dyachee?

Question 26: Who was Ralgha nar Hhallas' chee'dyachee?

Bonus 13: What was the ultimate fate of Ralgha's chee'dyachee? (quasi hint: beyond Hunter)

Submissions are due by January 28, 2001.

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Please email answers to ChrisReid@wcnews.com and do not post directly to the Newsgroup. Thanks,

Trivia Reminder

To start the day out, I'm going to remind people that Week 12 Trivia is due this evening. Seems a number of the regulars have forgotten this week, so now's your last chance. New players are always welcome as well. You can find everything you need to know about CIC Trivia here.

Mail Bag Alive Again!

Thanks to Hades, the wonderful CIC Mail Bag is back in business. In this very special edition, three satisfied customers don't complain about anything, whine about Wing Commander or ask questions we've heard seven thousand times. Hopefully you have a tenth as much fun reading it as we did writing it (if not, by all means send us an email here). You can find the new Mail Bag here.

WCMC Project Takes A Step Forward

Hot on the heels of Chris' update from yesterday, the official Wing Commander Marine Corps page has been updated with the following exciting features:

1. The First Screenshots have been added. - As you may or may not know, WCMC is now planned to be an exciting mod for Unreal Tournament. Since work is only just beginning (regardless of the fact that the lead designer insists that WCMC is the oldest WC fan project ever), there currently aren't many modifications. Which explains why the screenshots look to be no different from Unreal Tournament.
2. New Link has been placed up for more specific project news, such as what will be in the game. - Currently this page only tells you what I have already said, that the mod will be for Unreal Tournament. However I'm sure that the page will include more usual information in the near future.
3. Info about the TCS Arnem map has been placed under the progress link. - This info basically says that the map is 80% done, and it only needs textures and lights. This would of course explain why the afore mentioned screenshots look like Cranky Steve material. Other information on this page details the characters and weapons.
4. A full character list has been added, under game progress link. - More details can be found here. Some of you may remember this character list from the Chat Zone. The good news is that the list of mistakes spotted by our very own LOAF have now been fixed!
5. Still need most of the help from below. - Visit the WCMC page for the list of help needed. Coincidentally, Kris' project needs a similar amount of help.

Best of luck to both projects!

Jumpgate Chat Going On Now

Over on the irc server irc.stratics.com, there is currently a chat with the developers of Jumpgate in progress. You may recall Jumpgate as the open beta massively multiplayer space sim with striking similarities to Privateer. We also reported some months back that when Origin was working on Privateer Online they were possibly interested in licensing the game to form a part of the actual POL. Anyhow, the party's on irc.stratics.com in #JGHOC right now. Sorry for the lack of advance notice. If there's anything interesting, we'll come up with a log later. For more on irc and our permanent DALnet home, check out our #Wingnut section. On a slightly related note, you can find the website of The Drakhai here. They're a clan of Wing Commander vets who are currently in the beta.

Fan Projects Chat Zone Launched

Hi. I just wanted to let everyone know that both LOAF and Hades are working on some interesting updates, but various travels and computer issues have stalled their reports for yesterday and today. Everything should be back to normal real quick. Anyhow, while I've got the floor I'll take this opportunity to mention one of the many minor cosmetic changes we're continually applying behind the scenes here at the CIC. You may have noticed that our aging Editing Chat Zone has been dragging behind a bit lately. Back when it was originally created there were calls for a similar Fan Projects zone, but Fan Projects played a much more minor role at the time. Since things have switched places over the past year, we're now officially setting up the Fan Projects banner in the Editing zone. We still encourage major announcements and so on to be posted in the General forum, but now people working on or interested in the many unofficial projects in progress can have a bit more informal forum for that activity. You can reach the CIC Chat Zone at Crius.net here.

UE Up Against The Wall

Unknown Enemy has posted a fantastic new wallpaper, done by noted Wing Commander 3D artist Rylex. The UE site also reports that Locke is now working on mission 7a/b and that PopsiclePete is working on simulator missions and preparing to begin work on mission 6.

Trivia 3 Week 12

Time for Week 12 of CIC/agwc trivia. You can find the new questions below, andall previous scores here! Best of luck...
Welcome to Game Three, Week Twelve Trivia. We play each week. Every Monday two main questions and one bonus question are posted to alt.games.wing-commander and listed at the CIC. Please email answers to CReid1701@aol.com or ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Be sure to include a name you would like to be known under for the Scoreboard that will be up soon. Have your answers in *before* this coming Sunday (January 21, 2001) to ensure your answers are recorded. Answers submitted early maybe returned and you may be able to fix incorrect answers, time permitting. Main questions answered correctly are good for 5 points, bonuses good for 3.

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Answers to Questions from Week 11 (starting January 8, 2001):

Question 21: What was a major Society of Mandarins base of operations?
Answer: Ayer's System.

Question 22: What was a major Church of Man base of operations?
Answer: Eden System.

Bonus 11: What was a major Demon's Eye Pack base of operations?
Answer: Valgard System.

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New Questions for Week 12 (starting January 15, 2001):

Question 23: What happened to the TCS Tiger's Claw on its maiden voyage?

Question 24: What happened to the TCS Tarawa on its maiden voyage?

Bonus 12: What happened to the TCS Grimalkin/Gamal Gan on its maiden voyage?

Submissions are due by January 21, 2001.

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Please email answers to ChrisReid@wcnews.com and do not post directly to the Newsgroup. Thanks.

Trivia Reminder

Please remember to have your Trivia Week 11 answers Chris Reid by midnight tonight. Week 12 questions and scores will be posted tomorrow morning.

What To Do? Everything!

The WCMC mod posted a 'to do' list to their web site. If you can help them with any of this, contact TAKFAW.
  • Characters
    • Character moddeling (marines will basically be the same except for head)
    • Character skinning (marines will basically be the same except forhead)
    • Character lines (different per character (like charge!!! etc...))
  • Weapons
    • Basic weapon design (drawing, damage, etc...)
    • Weapon moddeling (in hand and on floor)
    • Weapon skinning
  • Sounds
    • Voice recording (dependent on the lines)
    • Musical soundtrack (I'm thinking of new songs and old (wc 3,4) inrock)
    • Weapons sound recording (I have to think about how to do this)
    • Other sound effects
  • Levels
    • Thinking up levels
    • Creating levels (will prob. be up to me for the time being)
    • Creating custom textures
  • General
    • Changing the HUD
    • Getting UT/Q3 to start WCMC
    • Changing the main menu
    • Testing (for mistakes and fun)

Just Call Me Angel

Peter Telep's latest book, Night Angel Nine, is now available for purchase. No word on whether or not it's available in stores yet... the titles for the next two books in the series have been published at Telep's Official Site: Into Temptation & Something for the Pain. If you're a fan of Mr. Telep's work, or just interested in finding out what would have happened in Pilgrim Truth, be sure and review Red Planet at Amazon.com.

Never Ask the Cost

TC reports that the January issue of PC Gamer talks about Wing Commander IV in an article titled 'Where Does your Money Go?'.
Production Costs - $4.00
Full motion-video shoots can run from tens to hundreds of thousands ofdollars or more and may require set construction, hiring professionalstudios and actors, and travel to exotic locations. Wing Commander IV's FMV took nine weeks to shoot in Hollywood and cost a total of $8 Million, while C&C: Tiberian Sun's team spent days under the blistering sun of Nevada's Red Rock Canyon National Park filming cut scenes.

Another 3D Movie!

Alex "Phoenix" Lorentzen sends this exciting piece of news about another fan-made 3D Wing Commander movie. We'll keep you informed...
I thought that i'd let you know now that I am, and have been for the past month or so, making a movie based on Wing Commander. The movie will be in the style of the cut-scenes seen in Wing Commander 3 and 4 and it will use ships from WC3/4 and some I have made myself. The title isn't thought of yet but the basic storyline has been layed out. It is basically about a rogue group of Kilrathi who attack the Confederation/Border Worlds with a makeshift fleet.

The movie will contain mainly space based action with some planet-sidescenes. The movie will have character voice overs with digital transformations (for Kilrathi) and will be released in both a DivX ;-)format and a smaller ASF format. So far a few test scenes have been rendered, models of the WC4 Hellcat and the WC4 Transport Ship have been built from scratch and textured. The movie will probably be ready later this year and and will get itself a homepage within the next week.

I'll keep you informed if you like and give you the details of my website when it is up and running. Here are some screenshots if you want to include any of them (sorry for bad quality, JPEG compression, I wanted to keep them small).

Correction

Rylex asks that I post the following correction regarding my last report on Final Conflict : "I used NO plugins for the engines - everything was done with "normal" 3D-Studio Max tools. NO PLUGINS WERE USED !!! What I still want to tell you is that there are still some problems regarding the range-mode of the engines. If you look at the engines from a far distance - then it will not look that great... I gonna correct this !!".

Now That's a Hat

History was made on Sunday night, when the highest price for a Wing Commander auction ever was paid. Joe and Paula Garrity of the Origin Museum paid $725 for a helmet prop used in the Wing Commander movie. Joe, who's incredibly lucky to have a girlfriend who understands him, beat the previous record (set by himself) of $499 for a movie-used flight suit. See the auction details here.

CIC Does DragonCon

Want a chance to meet other Wing Commander fans? Then head to DragonCon in Atlanta this August -- the CIC, in cooperation with the Origin Museum, is trying to organize something for you WingNuts. Contact LOAF if you're interested in attending!

Keep the Engine Running

Rylex sends this request for help with his fan made Wing Commander Movie, Final Conflict.
I'm getting very desperate... Well - I need engine plugins for my movie. The engines of my ships don't look perfect !!! Please could anybody help???(Please !!!!!!) Or if you have sample-files of some 3D Studio Max scenes...everything might help !!! Thank you !!

MMP in Space

Elias Takacs wrote this article on massively multiplayer games, with a focus on the oft-overlooked spacesim genre. It was originally published in the print edition of the Ryersonian.
Where have all the PC space simulation (space-sim) games gone? Only a few years ago, the market was thriving with Wing Commander and X-wing products left and right. Today there only a few space-sim shreds left in the videogame market which has since turned its full attention to medieval real-time strategy and role-playing games. Today's medieval role-playing games were most likely inspired by no other than Dungeons and Dragons, the grandfather of role-playing games. D&D is a game played with pen and paper according to set rules published by the creators, which used to be TSR but they've since been bought out by Wizards of the Coast. The game's origins are traced way back to the early 1970's and it allowed people to create and upgrade fantasy characters and interact with any players all over the world. It really became international with the advent of the Internet, which allowed people to interact with one another even more. In fact it's been such a popular underground movement that a Dungeons and Dragons movie will be released on Dec. 8, 2000 almost 30 years after the idea was developed. But because of the Internet, D&D has since been superceded both financially and in popularity by its computer counterparts, like Baldur's Gate, Diablo2, and Asheron's Call which are role-play video games. But in addition to that, these games have also left the space-sims in the dust. "The space simulators simply aren't selling," says John Caldwell of Microplay. "Mostly it's the Diablo type games that are selling. All the real-time strategy or role-play games." According to CanadianGamer.com Diablo2, a medieval role-playing video game is still the best selling computer game in Canada despite being released several months ago. Medieval strategy game Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors which is only an expansion pack, not even a full video-game, is at #9 on Canada's best sellers list. There are about 10 space simulators on the market right now with the majority of them being trashed by critics and gamers alike. There are no space sim on any best-seller list, not even the much coveted FreeSpace 2 and not even Homeworld: Cataclysm which is an improved sequel to the 1999 PC Gamer game of the year, although it's more of a strategy game in space than a space simulator. In strategy or role-playing games your character or army is only as good as its statistics, and you usually end up watching the battle instead of interacting actively. A space simulator puts you in the cockpit of a space ship and lets you take out the enemies personally, it is your dog fighting and piloting skills that allow you to win. Usually a space-sim is accompanied by some sort of plot, which is presented to you in the form of a movie. Some space-sims have limited strategy involved,like 1994's Wing Commander: Armada and to some extent Privateer 2 but both of these Origin products are much outdated. Wing Commander: Armada is so old it doesn't even play on Windows. Regardless, the space-sim movie plots limit a game to be played by one player only, which is a big reason why these games have dropped in popularity. "A lot of people are looking for real-time strategy or role-playing games. Its main appeal is Internet play. Diablo 2 alone has more than 40,000 people playing all over the world (through the net)," says Caldwell. A big reason is because Blizzard, the makers of Diablo 2, have set up Battlenet which players can use to log on and play Diablo 2 with others on the Internet. It's the one place where everyone meets. ~ If you take the multiplayer aspect away from Diablo 2 it would be a lot less popular," says the Gameshack's Rommel DeMesa. Microsoft's Age of Empires 2 is supported by MSN Gaming Zone on the Internet, which thousands of people use every day. Both Battlenet and the Zone are free. "None of the space-sims have a set site from which to interact with other people," says Caldwell. Tony Espinola, 23, an avidgamer says, "Most people don't like playing single games anymore because they prefer to interact with human players than with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is often limited while human players are more challenging." But why are video game companies not setting up multiplayer space-sims on the net then? The answer is not simple. In fact only a few months ago, Origin still had plans to create Privateer Online, a space simulator which would enable people to interact on the net. But o nMarch 30, 2000 the Wing Commander Combat Information Center received an internal memo, which stated that "Origin president Jack Heistand announces that Privateer Online was cancelled in favor of the Ultima Online series. There are currently no plans to revive the Privateer or Wing Commander series." A day later the news was confirmed by Origin. Ultima Online is Origin's own medieval role-playing game. But the truth is that space-sims are limited because of their movie plots which appear repetitive after a while and don't allow any flexibility to the player. In a role-play game you create your own plot and develop your character to your specifications. Wing Commander 4 and Wing Commander Prophecy - the last installments in the Wing Commander series - received bad reviews because of the repetitive plots, "We can only hope that the next two (Wing Commander) games in this new trilogy really do provide something different, because Origin can't keep on doing this forever." Not even last year's Wing Commander theatre movie was able to rescue the franchise. But in a statement to encourage fans to remain loyal to Wing Commander and space-sims in general the Wing Commander Combat Information Center says, "in an effort to promote fan made Wing Commander projects, hopefully we can make (the Web site) a world-class forum for helping the fans keep the Wing Commander Universe alive."

Trivia 3 Week 11

It's that time of the week -- Week 11, that is, of CIC/agwc trivia . Posted below are the new questions, as well as last weeks answers -- current scores can be found here!
Welcome to Game Three, Week Eleven Trivia. We play each week. Every Monday two main questions and one bonus question are posted to alt.games.wing-commander and listed at the CIC. Please email answers to CReid1701@aol.com or ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Be sure to include a name you would like to be known under for the Scoreboard that will be up soon. Have your answers in *before* this coming Sunday (January 14, 2001) to ensure your answers are recorded. Answers submitted early maybe returned and you may be able to fix incorrect answers, time permitting. Main questions answered correctly are good for 5 points, bonuses good for 3.

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Answers to Questions from Week 10 (starting January 1, 2001):

Question 19: What are a few things jump buoys do?
Most Common Answer: Mark jumpable anomalies, relay communications, provide minor sensor data & provide minor defense.

Question 20: What are a few methods of interstellar travel?
Most Common Answer: Hopper Drive, Jump Drive, Wormholes & Jump Gates.

Bonus 10: What are a few Wing Commander related things you'll do in 2001?
Most Common Answer: Replay WC games, reread WC novels, experiment with fan projects & hunt down WC collectibles.

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New Questions for Week 11 (starting January 8, 2001):

Question 21: What was a major Society of Mandarins base of operations?

Question 22: What was a major Church of Man base of operations?

Bonus 11: What was a major Demon's Eye Pack base of operations?

Submissions are due by January 14, 2001.

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Please email answers to ChrisReid@wcnews.com and do not post directly to the Newsgroup. Thanks,

ExoSquad Update

Greg Haroutunian asks that we post this about his previously announced Exo-Squad movie project.
As told in a news announcement there is an exosquad based movie that I used to lead, but unfortunately I can no longer head up this movie. Don't fear, this project is not going to die, as long as it has your support. If you are interested in helping out, please e-mail Steve who will be the new project leader, his e-mail is s_komorek@yahoo.com. Thank you for all your support and keep it up people.

Invasion Plans

The Wing Commander Invasion mod for ST: Armada has announced plans to release 18 new fighters -- starting in the near future, two ships a day will be published for a period of nine days. Following this, a pack of all 19 Armada ships with WC weapons and a damage indicator graphic will be released.

Contest Reminder

The Lancers Reactor Capital Ship Conversion Contest winners will be announced at the beginning of next week! Head over there and get your two cents in while it still counts...

Non-WC Fan Project

Hey, it's proof that people read my inane ramblings! Anyway, if you loved ExoSquad as much as I did (you know... physically), then see if you can help this interesting project out!
Hello, I am a huge Wing Commander fan, but an even bigger Sci-Fi in general fan and it is on this note that I feel the need to report. I remember a while back on the News Loaf said something about missing someone as much as he missed exosquad, well don't fear because I am trying to head a fan project that will create an original Exosquad movie probably dealing with the First Neosapian rebellion. While this project is still in its infancy, I thought I should tell you being that this fan project was inspired by the huge amounts of Wing Commander fan projects. Also I was wondering if you could send me names of people who might be willing to help out with the animation and or voices. Finally I was wondering if you could inform me as to a place where I can find a server that allows pages that contain large downloads (our currently planed movie is to be approx. 30 to 45 mins in .asf or .avi format). Thank you for your time

Gregory Haroutunian

Nine from Two

Rylex has sent nine screenshots from the final version of Final Conflict's second scene! Scene 2 is 23 MB, and took 8 hours to render -- he's added a lense flare effect, engine flickering, a blue nebula and over 1,000,000 stars!

UO'll Always Have a Future

Here's an interesting article at CNN.com, titled Gamers Looking to Hit the Jackpot Online.
EA.com, majority owned by No. 1 independent game developer Electronic Arts, has about 200,000 players on its role-playing game called Ultima Online. EA.com's next move is to offer online spinoffs of its hottest-selling PC and console brands, charging monthly fees. Sport games will be available online early next year, followed by an online thriller called Majestic and The Sims, in which gamers create characters they control.

I'm Ready for my Closeup

The nice new look was done primarily by KrisV, with help from Cpl Hades, Chris Reid and myself (and, of course, graphics by Hadrian). It's based on a graphic by Kevin "Phoenix" Scholl. We're still working all the little bugs out, but I think it looks pretty cool! Please report any problems, and be sure to let us know what type of setup you are using.

Trivia 3 Week 10

Here are the Week 10 CIC/agwc Trivia questions! Last weeks scores can be found here! Good luck!
Welcome to Game Three, Week Ten Trivia. We play each week. Every Monday two main questions and one bonus question are posted to alt.games.wing-commander and listed at the CIC. Please email answers to CReid1701@aol.com or ChrisReid@wcnews.com. Be sure to include a name you would like to be known under for the Scoreboard that will be up soon. Have your answers in *before* this coming Sunday (January 7, 2001) to ensure your answers are recorded. Answers submitted early may be returned and you may be able to fix incorrect answers, time permitting. Main questions answered correctly are good for 5 points, bonuses good for 3.

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Answers to Questions from Week 9 (starting December 25, 2000):

Question 17: On what major holiday did the Kilrathi choose to launch their first massive assault against the Terrans?
Answer: Confederation Day

Question 18: Where was the 2654 Sivar-Eshrad ceremony held?
Answer: Dolos.

Bonus 9: Where was the 2621 Sivar-Eshrad ceremony held?
Answer: Ghorah Khar

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New Questions for Week 10 (starting December 25, 2000):

Question 19: What are a few things jump buoys do?

Question 20: What are a few methods of interstellar travel?

Bonus 10: What are a few Wing Commander related things you'll do in 2001?

Happy New Year!

Submissions are due by January 7, 2001.

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Please email answers to ChrisReid@wcnews.com and do not post directly to the Newsgroup. Thanks,

Anything But WC

Here's an interesting quote from Chris Roberts, out of the feburary 2001 PC Gamer. The magazine also features an interview with former Origin president Neil Young. Thanks to Joe and Paula.
When asked why the Microsoft move led to his leaving Digital Anvil, Roberts compared the experience to his time at EA. "I left Ea because I had to be in a big corporate entity. I'd have to run a studio, and that's not what I'm interested in," he explains. So what are his plans for the future? "I'm intrested in focusing on the film side, and in broadband interactive stuff." Interestingly enough, Roberts told us one film he definately won't be doing anytime soon is a sequal to his Wing Commander Movie.

Happy New Year!

Enjoy the new layout -- more information on it will be posted soon! Please report any bugs here.

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