Are They Serious?

Rasputin has started a WCTC for Serious Sam, titled Wing Commander: Marine Force. A web page is currently located here. They're looking for coders, mappers, texture artists, modellers and voice actors... so there's room for everybody to help out on this one. Here's the description...
A Total Conversion for the popular game Serious Sam, this multiplayer game allows players to use either Kilrathi Assembly of Clan Warriors or the Terran Confederation Marines. To fight in maps such as a Victory class Carrier to a desolate research station and onto a Fralthi class Cruiser. Based during the Wing Commander 3 era circa 2669.

Two teams, Terran and Kilrathi, fight for control. Victory can be obtained by eliminating the opposing force or completing mission objectivs; take no prisoners.

Commander ChrisReid says: "Serious Sam kicks ass!"

Invasion Update

Update from the Invasion mod for ST: Armada -- the previously announcted "public beta test" is actually a closed beta test... so, despite their earlier posting, you can't play it. What's worse, they seem to be being real jerks to people who are interested in the mod -- these new guys are real rocket surgeons, WildCat...

And Beyond?

GameSpy also posted this response regarding Origin's current status, from David Swofford.
"We're still called ORIGIN Systems, Inc. That part hasn't changed. The studio name will always be OSI. The only thing going away is the ORIGIN brand. All of the products coming from OSI will be branded either under EA Games or EA.Com. That's pretty much the way it is across all the EA studios, including Maxis and Westwood. As for UO, EA is putting a lot more resources into the UO world. Both in terms of money and manpower. The UO2 project has been canceled, but UO is alive and well and we expect it to continue to grow and prosper."

"We did have 85 cutbacks, but there are still more than 150 people here, working on UO and EA.com. UO development is still handled from here. That group is not moving to Redwood City. The OSI office is not being closed. The UO2 project has been canceled. Many from that team were part of the layoffs. Some are moving over to work on UO Live which is getting an influx of money and manpower. Others on that team are looking for work. They were given a severance package and outplacement assistance."

We Created Worlds (1983-2001)

Many ex-Origin employees attended a "wake" in honor of the company's glory-days, held by Ultima creator Richard Garriott -- featuring an EA-logo shaped bonfire. From GameSpy...
George Sanger, AKA The Fat Man, had a dot matrix printout design doc of "Squadron," the game that eventually became Wing Commander. He threw it onto the blaze and we watched it burn.

... Everyone I know who ever worked with Origin was touched in some positive way by the experience. and everyone tonight seemed to understand that the moment was something special. I think the love of that place and of the people who powered it gave the air a weird electricity. It felt like a watershed event tonight.

What a waste -- on every possible level (It's also a good thing that we've got a copy of that document). You can read the entire article here, or see some pictures from the event here. (Thanks to the many, many people who reported this). Update: More pictures here, posted by Boomer, of all people!

Care to Venture a Bengal?

Three neat new shots from the XWA/WC TC, showing off the Bengal class strike carrier. The mod will include graphics for four different Bengals: CV-07, CV-08, CV-24 and CV-43.

A Most Disturbing Trend

More highly inappropriate Wing Commander mentions... in a review of Serious Sam at The Firing Squad...
Oh, and for anyone who thinks that all this Doom talk means it's a straight ripoff - Sam is to Doom like FreeSpace 2 is to Wing Commander - all of the original and a whole lot more!
... and an article titled "Road to Nowhere" at CDMag (thanks, Delance).
On the other hand, films based on games are almost equally handicapped. Look at Wing Commander (or rather, don't), Super Mario Brothers (shudder), Dungeons & Dragons, or Mortal Kombat, to name a few.

Beyond the Guild

Shades forwarded us this Q&A from the Earth and Beyond FAQ...

Q: Will guilds exist in Earth and Beyond?
A: Player formed guilds and organizations will be encouraged and supported within Earth and Beyond, permitting powerful cooperative exploratory treks, trade missions and galactic raids.

He suggests that we start a Wing Commander Guild... or perhaps a Merry Guild?

By Their Own Hand

I was wandering around Electronic Arts' corporate website, when I found this list of particularly profitable properties... surprise, surprise.
FIFA Soccer
Madden NFL ™
NASCAR
NBA LIVE
Need For Speed ®
NHL ® Hockey
Tiger Woods and the PGA TOUR ™ Golf
Road Rash ™
Triple Play Baseball ™
Wing Commander ®

Gun Chart

That's right... the gun chart has been updated! See it in beautiful HTML format here. Thanks to Tye for the HTML, and Black Joker for some corrections.

Just in Time

Shane found a Wing Commander reference in the March 26th issue of Time Magazine. An article on the new Lara Croft movie included this; But the history of video-game transfers from the computer screen to the big screen is dismal. Remember Wing Commander, starring Freddie Prinze Jr.? How about Super Mario Bros. with Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper? Probably not, or at least not fondly. You can read the entire article online here.

Spector is God

I'm very tired tonight, so I'll let TC write this update...
An article at Gamespot UK titled 'The Godfathers of Gaming'

It doesn't mention Chris Roberts... but it does mention Warren Spector as one of the Godfathers of Gaming. No Wing Commander mention as one of the important titles he's worked on, which kind of makes me wonder how well Gamespot UK researched this... Ultima, System Shock and other OSI games are mentioned.

.../features/godfathers_uk/

TC

XWA Marks the Spot Redux

Nine more amazing screenshots from the WCTC for XWA... that's a great landing picture!

Midway Through Invasion

The Invasion mod for Star Trek: Armada is back from beyond the grave, with four fantastic new screenshots... A public beta, featuring four capital ships and four fighters, is planned for the near future.

Trivia 3 Week 22

If this week's trivia were a mass measured in tonnes, it'd be the same as the F-57A Sabre.
Welcome to Game Three, Week Twenty-Two 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 (April 1, 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.

-------
Answers to Questions from Week 21 (starting March 19, 2001):

Question 41: What happened with the TCS Tiger's Claw in the Kurasawa System in 2654?
Answers: There was some good Rapier flying, and pilots escorted in both the captured Ralari from Port Hedland and the damaged TCS Formidable.

Question 42: What happened with the TCS Victory in the Loki System in 2669?
Answers: The Behemoth destroyed Loki VI, the Behemoth was then destroyed, and finally the Victory group retreated fairly quickly.

Bonus 21: What happened with the TCS Belliard in the Morpheus System in 2681?
Answer: After having rescued the survivors of the Blue Horizon, she was found adrift with all interior airlocks exposed to space and all hands missing.

------
New Questions for Week 22 (starting March 26, 2001):

Question 43: What is a major warship that participated in a joint operation with the TCS Tiger's Claw?

Question 44: What is a major warship that participated in a joint operation with the TCS Gettysburg?

Bonus 21: What is a major warship that participated in a joint operation with the TCS Cerberus?

Submissions are due by April 1, 2001.

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

Lord British's Back (And There's Gonna Be Trouble)

GameSpy posted this interview with Origin founder / Ultima creator Richard Garriott -- who implies that he's going to use the recent layoff of the UO2 team to his advantage... we'll find out next month, when his non-compete agreement expires!

Invasion Plans Continue

WildCat asks that I post the following -- apparently Wing Commander: Invasion is back on track!
No doubt many of you have noticed the wc invasion site has been static for many months. Well due to travelling and other issues in my personal life I haven't had time to work on the project. Well I have good news. An armada guru has recently shown interest in the project and converted several ships. Also another WC project for armada full of talented people has joined us to create a single project. Work is progressing fast and we currently have an inside beta which we're testing. We've overcome many problems we had with multiple textures and I can say now that you can all expect a beta soon. It will feature some Confed ships. Fighters and Capships alike. I haven't done any work on the weapons yet but the next beta will have full WC weapons. For information please visit the invasion site (finally updated) at http://www.wcinvasion.com.

In further news I'd like to add that the Wing Commander clan for Armada known as Confed is no more. Also the Wing Commander Development Center is still out of action. Now that I'm back in the picture I'll remedy that as soon as possible. Also I can't speak to all of you on IRC since my ISP was banned from DALnet due to flood attacks.

WildCat
wildcat@wcmods.com

That's A-Polling

We now ask "When did you get hooked on WC?" -- respond with the poll above! And here are the results for last week's poll...

There is Nothing to See Here

Below is the "everything is fine" letter sent to EA employees following yesterdays layoffs. Doesn't feel so good when it happens to you, does it, Jack? IGN has an interview with David Swofford that's worth reading -- at least he's still at Origin.
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 17:02:35 -0800
From: "Riccitiello, John"
To: "EAWORLD @ EAHQ"
Subject: EA ACTION

Today, EA.com announced staff reductions to our online business that will put us on a quicker path to profitability by reducing costs and focusing our efforts. I want to make sure that everyone understands the scope and context of these actions.

We've made changes in three of our online business locations to align and consolidate geographic resources, provide more resources to successful products and to transition our new team at pogo.com into our business.

The reasons behind these decisions are:

First, the acquisition of pogo.com put us two years ahead of schedule on our goal of having the leadership position in family-oriented online gaming. Pogo built a site that was judged by Media Metrix and others as one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the entire Internet. Integrating that content and expertise onto our site resulted in some duplication in our Pop Channel, tech support, quality assurance and customer service in EA/Redwood Shores, Austin and EA/Virginia. The headcount reductions announced today in those locations reflect that consolidation.

Second, we've decided to dedicate more focus on Ultima Online. After pioneering the Persistent State World genre in 1997, UO continues to amaze us by generating greater and greater numbers of loyal subscribers. Rather than create a second world that would compete with UO, we'll dedicate our resources to improving the core product. There will be new lands, new creatures and a world that continually evolves. Some of the people who had been working on the UO2 Team will be reassigned to UO in Austin and other PSWs in development at Redwood Shores, Maxis and elsewhere in EA's global studio system.

The reduction in workforce will impact fewer than 200 people, the largest portion of which is associated with the pogo integration. Making tough decisions about staff reductions and profitability isn't easy - but making our online business profitable is the quickest way to demonstrate that EA intends to lead in this space. Long-term success in online gaming will translate to a win for our employees, consumers and shareholders.

EA.com/pogo is now one of the most popular sites on the Internet - not just among game sites, but among giants like eBay and MSN. When we introduce richly entertaining offerings like Majestic, Earth & Beyond and The Sims Online, the result is going to impress a lot of people.

In the next few weeks, I'll send more news about our progress and plans for the growth of EA.com.

John

Hey, Paula

And here's something even more important than a crazy Pilgrim holiday: A CIC-style happy birthday to Paula Puccio (soon to be Garrity) of the Origin Museum -- she's 29 today. She's a great friend and the one person capable of making many of our crazy plans possible.

High Holy Day

Today is the annual Holy Day of Acclivity in the Pilgrim religion. The event celebrates the ascension of Ivar Chu McDaniel into a higher form of being (300 years from now). For the next seven days, the current Pilgrim Protur will go into hiding on McDaniel's World, praying and fasting to seek communion with Ivar Chu.

To SubSpace... and Beyond!

Want to play WCZone for SubSpace? I'm telling you, you do! And here's how...

1) Download and install SubSpace from SubSpace.net.
2) Download the new shipset from WCZone.net -- unzip it into your SubSpace directory.
3) Download the shipset update here -- unzip this in your SubSpace directory, too.
4) Run SubSpace, select "Find Servers", enter "sscentral.vie.co.uk" as the Directory Server Address and hit download list.
5) Add "ExS Wing Commander" to your list and you're in!

Another Game UO'll Never Play

Reports several days ago indicated turmoil at EA.Com -- this has now been confirmed: Origin has now cancelled Ultima Online 2 and Harry Potter, and laid off 85 employees -- including President Jack Heistand, the man who cancelled Privateer Online. They plan to focus on supporting UO!Live rather than attempting to compete with themselves -- something that they should have figured out a year ago. Best of luck to any former-Origin people reading this... you all created an impressive looking game, it just couldn't make up for EA being really dumb.

On a personal note: Don't brag about this, people -- it's not good news for us, and the Ultima Online fans were nothing but kind to us when our game was cancelled. Lets show them that same level of respect...

UE've Got To Help Me

Unknown Enemy is seeking voice-actors for its cut-scenes and musicians for its... music. Contact Pedro if you can help. They're also holding a new poll to determine whether or not they'll be able to make a graphics-addon that will not support Vodoo cards.

Snakey Name Here

The XWA TC posted some excellent shots of the Snakeir class carrier from Secret Missions 2... a truly fantastic modelling job!

Movie Teaser

Sawq asks that we post about a movie trailer he's apparently been working on -- download Wing Commander: Sniper's War here (12 megs). He promises that more information is forthcoming...

http://www.EA.Com/doomed

Saw an interesting article over at Lum the Mad -- apparently the current rumor is that EA.Com plans to lay off 200 people... no word as to whether or not this affects Origin, which is apparently part of the EA.Com venture. Read more about it here and here. Most interesting was this thread at FuckedCompany.com... someone claiming to be an ex-OSI manager explains the fallacy behind their involvement in the MMP craze.

Send in the OBJs

HellcatV reports that Lensflare 99 has created an .obj to Vegastrike format converter -- meaning that the fan-made game can now display any ship in 3ds (or even Homeworld) format! This shot of the Midway displays the game's new power (the scale is off, pending a shrinking converter) -- a downloadable .exe should be posted by mid-next week.

Fire-Proof

Here's the cover art for Peter Telep's second Night Angel Nine Book, Playing With Fire. The first was pretty good -- like reading ER. You can pre-order a copy at Amazon -- to be released in May.

Trivia 3 Week 21

If this week's trivia were a day in 2681, it'd be the day Kevin at TCIA sent Paladin a copy of Top Secret Report on Unidentified Military Threat #TGIA!
Welcome to Game Three, Week Twenty-One 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 (March 25, 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.

-------
Answers to Questions from Week 20 (starting March 12, 2001):

Question 39: Who was someone that died during the Peron Massacre?
Most Common Answers: Arnold Blair and Devi Soulsong

Question 40: Who was someone that died during Operation Backlash?
Most Common Answers: Svetlana Ivanova and Thaddeus O'Brian

Bonus 20: Who was someone that died during The Kindred's 'domination'?
Answers Included: Larn Regis and Jan Mitorr

------New Questions for Week 21 (starting March 19, 2001):

Question 41: What happened with the TCS Tiger's Claw in the Kurasawa System in 2654?

Question 42: What happened with the TCS Victory in the Loki System in 2669?

Bonus 21: What happened with the TCS Belliard in the Morpheus System in 2681?

Submissions are due by March 25, 2001.

Sabre the Moment

Darkmage sent us a pair of interesting screenshots -- the new Sabre model in action, showing off her guns. Very cool!

A Dark, Dark Demo

What exciting file are we hosting this week, thanks to BlackLance.org? The rare, ever-released-online Privateer 2 demo! It features both gameplay and two never-before-seen Privateer 2 movies. Get it here (55 megs).

WCZone: I Think I Love You

The opening of the WCZone for SubSpace was a grand success! A whole bunch of people showed up, and a good time was had by all -- the mod is very well done and the server settings are fantastic; a good time was had by all! Kudos to the WCZone team for a job well done!

Now That's Great Steak

Want a great background? TyeDye has taken five from Privateer 2 -- the various booth images can be found here... Tile them as your Windows background for a cool effect... or use them for web-page backgrounds! A million and one great uses!

Pukcal on Sivar

TC has calculated almost 6,000 years of Pukcal and Sivar Eshrad dates using the newly calculated conversion data... now you can know when to celebrate up through Privateer 2 (2790)!

V for VCD

CFF has been looking into converting our WCA DivX's into VCD format for viewing on DVD players -- he sent me this update!
Ok... That was a looooooooong testing. I did some readup on VCDs. Green book, White book,... Dropped green book as only philips CDI player really like it. Looks like there are only very few standards for white book. VCD-NTSC, VCD-PAL, VCD-FILM and SuperVCD bersions of the 3. Each one got one very exact defined MPEG1 datastream. The catch is that there are a huge number of VCDs that do not follow that specs. The 1 million $ question would be how far can I get away from the specs and have most players work. (Which means my failed VCD is indeed a correct one, just that my players are too picky...) Anyhow I did not want to try and stuck with 100% standard this time. Unfortunately that means a VCD can only carry 74 minutes of video. So one WCATV episode needs 250MB or so... With less quality then the MPEG4s that is. Much less. Looks pretty ugly on PC screen, but about about par with a VHS tape on TV. Anyhow as that would have ment 5 VCDs for WCA I dropped that project and instead did convert the audio visual presskit to a VCD as it is only 30 mins. A better test. Filled the rest with WC game ads. Then I had the next problem that for whatever reason Divx movies started to grow pink when converted to MPEG. Needed 2 days to find a fix (had a bug on my system - should not happen to you). Anyhow I finally did the conversion. What do you know the VCD worked :) Looked pretty ugly on PC as I said, but not too bad on TV.

Ok, for the tech stuff... I found a lot of useful stuff at http://www.moviesoftware.net/ About every converter, codec, etc. you need is there...

Also found a great converter, TMPGEnc, there. Newest version at it's homepage here: http://www.tmpgenc.com/

That beast is small, fast and full of features. In fact it is only slightly worse then the best (commercial) ones. Awesome tool. If it could write MOV and also do read/write RM I'd be in love ;) I really like that proggy. It even has the VCD formats predefined. BTW: You know of any RM to whatever (AVI, MOV, MPG,...) converter?

Finally you need a VCD capable burning software. I used ahead Nero Burning Rom 4.0.9.1 Demo (an ancient version on my HD) for that. You should be able to get a 30 day trial for free. Look here: http://www.ahead.de/en/demo.asp Wow, version 5.0 already... Mmm, no idea what changed. Anyhow it is easy to use, you should not have problems with that version as well I expect.

Well I think that is all. IF you got any questions, ask...

Karl "CFF" Frank

Crius.Net: Sexier Than You Think

Our sister domain, Crius.net, has hit some impressive marks recently. The site, home to the third incarnation of the CIC message boards and our free e-mail service, has hit the vaunted 40,000 post level -- over 750 people are registered to discuss Wing Commander topics there. Further, more than 250 people use Crius.net's free e-mail service daily! Who said WC fandom was dead?

Zone Reminder

Tonight's the big night -- the WCZone for SubSpace opens at 7 PM EST! Enjoy Wing Commander themed MMP action based on the classic SubSpace basis. Download the SubSpace client here, and the WCZone materials here.

LOAF's Dating Tips

It took an entire mini-yellow pad of math and a very creased copy of Voices of War, but I've properly calculated Kilrathi timespans... the 'Sun Year' is 522 'Moons' long... and for every 1.77 moons occurs 1 Terran Day. This means that the dates for the Pukcal and Sivar ceremonies each year must now be recalculated -- this year's Sivar is on May 13th, the Pukcal on June 30th. Data for previous and future years will be posted this weekend. TC took this information even further, and created a Terran/Kilrathi conversion program -- available here.

No Sausage: TC Needs Links!

We're re-vamping our links section! If you have a Wing Commander site that isn't listed, please contact TC immediately for inclusion in a massive update.

Zone-In!

Because of a technicality, the WCZone site can't yet host their shipset update -- but we can! Grab the update here (requires original shipset, available at wczone.net), from BlackLance.org... and then join the SubSpace fun tonight at 7 PM EST.

Once in the game, access the zone from server 'sscentral.vie.co.uk' -- the title is "ExS Wing Commander".

WCIV Movies Redux

Phoenix has sent in a fully functional, user friendly version of the Xan Codec -- you can get it, with instructions, here. Great job... He's put up a fully converted DivX of the Orlando Depot scene here.

Get In The Zone!

The WCZone for SubSpace is opening! Be on hand this Friday at 7 PM EST (Saturday, 12 AM GMT) to get in on the action... You can download SubSpace, now freeware, at subspace.net... and then the final shipset (due to be released very soon) at wczone.net. Looks like one fan project is just about finished...

Play It Again

What follows is some utterly fascinating research regarding a non-Xanmovie method of playing Wing Commander III and IV videos from K Moon...
Reading up about xanmovie, and having recently (as of a few months ago) acquired a copy of Wing Commander IV, I was intrigued by claims that, though a normal AVI file, WC3/4 movies could only be played by a special file.

Installing the Win95 patch for WC4, I noticed the addition of the xanlib.dll file. Looking at it with a text editor exposed some interesting-looking lines at the end. I reasoned that it was possible that Xan was implemented as a standard Windows AVI codec, which means it wouldn't be terribly hard to add support for it to standard Windows Media Player.

At first, I thought I'd need to do some heavy hacking with the files. I began by disassembling the code, exporting symbol tables, and other programming activities, researching the interface to xanlib.dll. Before actually writing any code, though, I decided to try something stupid: just add xanlib.dll as a video codec.

Well, it worked.

My initial experiment, hacking the registry under Windows 2000, was a remarkable success. However, trying to apply it to Win98SE, things didn't work as I expected. After a few minutes of reflection, I hit upon the solution.

You need to add the following line under the [drivers32] section in the system.ini (in C:\Windows). It's simple text file that I'm sure many frustrated Windows users were familiar with, before the advent of Win95 and friends.

vidc.XXAN=xanlib.dll

You also need to copy xanlib.dll into the C:\Windows\System directory, so Windows can find it.

Now there's a XXAN decoder available for decoding movies with XXAN compression (the Wing Commander 3/4 movies!), and normal Windows Media Player (I used version 7) can play it.

I tried this out with the hidden Wilford scene available from the CIC (hidden3.zip) and it worked beautifully. The only problem? No sound. I believe the audio is just encoded as regular PCM, so it's a real mystery why it can't read it. I'm going to do some research into the AVI file format, and maybe turn up an answer.

Until then, it's a start. Also, since XXAN is used as a standard decompressor, it might open the possibility of reconverting it into another format using standard video editting software.

FreeSpace Available

The Freespace 2 WCTC is now available for download! It's a massive 10.1 meg file, available at the mod's download page. If anyone tries it, please sent some screenshots! The mod includes WC1, WC3 and WC4 fighters...

Fit as a Ferret

Brad McKinstry, a new renderer at the WCMDF, is working on a new P-64 Ferret model... looking good!

Second First Contact

The Veritech R&D Facility, producers of the First Contact campaign for XvT and XWA, has announced First Contact 2 - The Kilrathi Saga -- described as "The sequel to First Contact. The Empire is defeated, but a threat enters New Republic space, from the Confederation's Galaxy."

Call to Rebellion

#WingNut regular Ladiesman^ asked me to post this information about a Star Wars: Rebellion mod...
Hello everyone. I started working on alittle something mainly for myself, but I figured if i'm doing it I should do it good, and release it. It's a mod for the game Star Wars Rebellion. There's two things I need for it, which I probably COULD do myself with some doing, but it would help alot to have someone help me out.

1) I need someone to take some screenshots from the various games, mainly of charecters. There might be a few other things I need. I would do this, but I don't have alot of the WC games. Contact me and i'll give you a list of charecters/things i'd like screenshots of.

2) Someone who knows about .DLL editing. This isn't a huge deal, but it would add alot to the game. The editor i'm using allows you to do alot, but there's still a few things I can't get to. Everything in Rebellion is in .DLLs, so if I could edit them directly, I could edit almost the entire game.

If you can help me out, drop me a line at tjmsr@bellatlantic.net I'll probably make a little website sooner and later and put what I have done, if your one of the whole 10 people who bought this game and might be intrested. Thanks.

Ich Bin Ein WCnewser

We're not above shameless self-promotion... GameKit.de has added us to their simulations section -- apparently, they give us a rating and count how many people pass through their link!

Model More... And a Ferret!

Darkmage, head of the Freespace 2 WCTC, posted a request for modellers to the Chat Zone. He's looking for someone with TrueSpace or Segeltuch to apply the skins to meshes of twelve WC1/2 era models... reply to this thread with your e-mail address if you can help. He also e-mailed us to let us know that the large release of models previously mentioned will be released in the very near future -- in addition to a P-64 Ferret.

Trivia 3 Week 20

If this week's trivia were a year in the 27th century, Dr. Kohl would have died on Ghorah Khar!
Welcome to Game Three, Week Twenty 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 (March 18, 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.

-------
Answers to Questions from Week 19 (starting March 5, 2001):

Question 37: Where was Geoffrey Tolwyn sent shortly after academy graduation?
Answer: A covert operation that would lead into the first major battle of the Kilrathi War at McAuliffe.

Question 38: Where was Todd Marshall sent shortly after academy graduation?
Answer: Aboard the Tiger's Claw for primarily Vega Sector combat.

Bonus 19: Where was Lance Casey sent shortly after academy graduation?
Hint: Not the Midway
Answer: Shuttling VIPs around in the Diplomatic Corps.

------
New Questions for Week 20 (starting March 12, 2001):

Question 39: Who was someone that died during the Peron Massacre?

Question 40: Who was someone that died during Operation Backlash?

Bonus 20: Who was someone that died during The Kindred's 'domination'?

Submissions are due by March 18, 2001.

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

Making the Movie - Part 3

And last, but not least, in our weekly 'making of the movie' series is nine-minutes of footage shot on the Wing Commander movie set -- it's a very interesting look at production. Thankfully hosted by BlackLance.org.
  • Trailer - Version #1 (5,038k - 1:21)
  • Trailer - Version #2 (2,320k - 0:35)
  • Featurette - with text (16,222k - 4:47)
  • Featurette - without text (16,256k - 4:51)
  • Film Clips (9,950k - 4:19)
  • Selected Soundbites (30,336k - 12:31)
  • Unedited B-Roll (31,868k - 8:49)

VoidSurfer Bows Out

Void Surfer, former head of the Fleet Action TC for Homeworld sent us the following. He ran one hell of a mod (don't worry, Fleet Action isn't gone!) and we should all wish him the best of luck on future projects...
My life has become increasingly busy, and the Fleet Action mod had become a low priority in comparison to college and other real life obligations. Furthermore, the time that I did spend on the mod was accomplishing little except to show me that my skills were in areas that would not be very helpful to the mod's production. However, abandoning the mod would have left everyone interested in it high and dry. As I wished to avoid that outcome if possible, I asked an acquaintance of mine to take over project leadership and the conversion roles that go with it.

Newcommanderondablock has been following the mod for a long time, and contacted me several months ago. As time passed he showed me ships he had got into the game on his own; while untextured it was still more than I could do. When I reached the decision to step down as project leader, I thought he was the most qualified person I knew to take over the job, so I asked him and he accepted.

I will still be the webmaster, email guy, and part time stat person. However, I will have a much less active role in the mod due to other obligations.

We are currently reorganizing to see what we can do. Outside of this news update it will be several days before the site itself is updated - I am in the midst of spring break and have been away from my pc for most of that time.

While we have to see which members are still interested in the project, we do know that we need someone that knows how to create skinmeshes on models so the texturers can work with them. We do have models waiting to go. Anyone interested in helping us out with skinmeshing should contact newcommanderondablock@hotmail.com.

Editing Just Gets Better

We missed several updates to Thomas Bruckner's work in the past month... he's created a tool for editors to change the collision sphere of a model (first picture) and has been working hard on a 3D Exploration plugin (second and third pictures).

Freespace Comes Back

Thought they'd given up on the Freespace WCTC? Well, you were wrong -- dead wrong! (Well, not dead...) FreeSpace Watch posted this several days ago...
I am sorry that I have treated you all so badly. I promised a few months ago that I would release my Wing Commander ships. But that never happened. Today I am releasing ALL my work on the WC mod. The file is a massive 10.1MB and contains all the mod files in it. The only thing not contained is the music. I need someone to download the mod and work on the table files. Almost all of the ships will load in Freespace2. There are many new Wc 4 ships as well as ALL of the WC1 confed fighters. Enjoy!!

Here's the Beef

In the absence of an official site, TAKFAW sent a pair of pictures from the upcoming WCMC TC for Unreal Tournament... Beef has some pretty neat guns!

I'm Devastatored

After a long dry spell, the Lancers Reactor has posted three new Prophecy ships! Included in the pack, available here, are the TB-81 Shrike, TB-80 Devestator and SF-8a Manta. If anyone has a chance, grab some screenshots and we'll post them later...

Still the One (of Five)

HoTT found an interesting article over at CGW -- it rates Wing Commander II as one of the five greatest action games of all time...
A high-concept, summer-blockbuster space opera—that's the best way to describe Chris Roberts' magnum opus. There are those who feel that either the third or fourth Wing Commander games were the best that Roberts put out, but they're just plain wrong. WCII did what modern action games are trying to do: It fused narrative and action together into a tight package. It gave you a compelling reason to fly forth and tear those Kilrathi ships in battle. It made you care about its various characters, and then taunted you by killing them off. It also tapped into the inner Star Wars geek within, by providing one of the first opportunities to flitter around in space and blow things up. Hopefully, Chris Roberts will find a way to use current technology to replicate the experience, and not try to make any more movies.

RPG and a Half

Darkshear and company have added a fascinating new aspect to the long-running Wing Commander RPG, The Edge of Chaos -- they plan to release a 3D Wing Commander Movie as the finale to a major RPG campaign later this year. Titled "The Long Cold Winter", a beautiful 6.28 meg teaser trailer is now available here.

This Means MechWar!

Warren Liu points us out this review of MechWarrior 4 at GoneGold, which rates the game up there with the very best of them: "Personally I was reminded of Wing Commander, which of course is always a good thing, though the missions themselves seemed oddly ho-hum after a while."

UE Avenged

Unknown Enemy posted three exciting new screenshots -- a refueling scene, a picture from a sim mission and a picture from an unannounced cut-scene.

WingNut Scores

LeHah sent us this announcement about an interesting Wing Commander fan project he's decided to undertake...
Yeah, I know, I never delivered on the Wing Commander: End Run goods, but someone beat me too it when I was 2/3rds done and THEY did as good of a job.

However, I've begun writing music on my computer using various programs like acidburn and whatnot. I've begun early writing on a peice of music (or score) to the well-known scene from FLEET ACTION, where Ian St. John seeks out and destroys the Kilrathi Stealth near Hellhole. I'm going back to make my scoring notes and hopefully will have it posted.

I orignally wanted to do an alternate score to the WC movie, but lets not bite off more than I can chew...

-J

The Base Below Space

Here's a keen screenshot I took showing off the WCZone's beautiful new Wing Commander themed SubSpace map! (I have absolutely no idea what the update title means -- but it'd make a great Dr. Who episode title!)

Prophecy-ize in Style

We generally do not post information about auctions in progress -- however, Captain Johnny (WCP/SO designer) has been nothing but a help to Wing Commander fans everywhere for years now... and he's auctioning off his Prophecy Design Team jacket here. There are very few people more deserving of your hard-earned cash!

Ginger and Space

It's the sequel to last month's Stiletto and Flint update -- agency photos of Ginger Allen and Barbara Niven. Allen starred as Rachel Coriolis in Wing Commander's 3 and Prophecy, Niven played Barbara Miles, the Kerri-Lee of space. You can check the original eBay auctions here and here.

17 Ways to Please Your Man!

There's no such thing as bad PR -- the latest CGW cover (below) features "8 New games that make Wing Commander look like Asteroids". I think that's what they said about FreeSpace 2 -- but you'd have to ask the guy who bought it. CGW features an extensive article on Earth and Beyond.

Academy for Doomsday

PhilPro checks in with some good news for NZ WingNuts -- Wing Commander Academy is back on TV -- PhilPro reports that TV3 in New Zealand is currently running the show. It started this week with the first episode, Red & Blue -- WCA airs at 7:30 AM Wednesday mornings (local time).

Regional Confirmation, Nothing More

More word on the Region 2 DVD situation -- reports from Denmark and Sweden (thanks Reaver and Jakob) that a Region 2 DVD is currently available, but that it does not feature anything different from the Region 1 release. Good news for those hoping to watch WC DVD in Europe, at least...

Corrections

Just a correction from the previous article on the upcoming Region 2 DVD -- the credit should have read CFF, not CCF. So, ah, apologies to Karl. (He, incidentally, promises to keep us informed when the DVD is released!)

Does It Exist?

Seb reports that a Region 2 Wing Commander DVD is currently available in Sweden -- can anyone out there confirm or deny this? I haven't been able to find any evidence thereof at Swedish DVD sites...

Very Mice, HoTT

I'll just let him say it: "Hello, here I am with another piece of Fan-art. This is another Disney-WC-realted fan-art, based on "The Rescuers" movies. My logic for this was that all of the heros are rodents, mainly mice. And since the Kilrathi are feline, it's only logical that rodents would fight against them."

To Earth... and Beyond!

Westwood has officially announced their new MMP space game -- the one Origin cancelled Privateer Online in favor of. Read about Earth and Beyond in this article at AVault. You can now read about E&B at the official site here -- if you've got a nice enough system, you can also apply for the demo. (Thanks WildFire).

Mine's Bigger

Supdon3, from the Chat Zone, created this new capital ship size comparison chart -- it's an ongoing project, so expect an update in the future... still, it's pretty cool!

Think Link

Got a link? Kris is planning to update the Links Section, so anyone with a Wing Commander site not listed (or anyone who knows of a current dead-link) should drop him an e-mail.

Second First Contact

Beta 1.5 of the First Contact mod for X-Wing: Alliance has been released (the last release was for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter). The mod includes a series of missions which utilize various Wing Commander ships. (As reported at ATFW).

That's A-Polling!

Kris has updated the CIC with a new poll, asking "Who is your favorite Kilrathi ace?" -- the possible responses come from the results of four previous poll questions, asking for the best ace from each game.

Trivia 3 Week 19

If this week's trivia game were a mass given in metric tonnes, it'd weigh the same as a Vaktoth!
Welcome to Game Three, Week Nineteen 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 (March 11, 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 18 (starting February 26, 2001):

Question 35: What is a Pewter Planet?
Answer: Nickname for the Terran Confederation Medal of Honor.

Question 36: What is something made of Tungsten?
Answer: Common civilian grade armor.

Bonus 18: What is a mineral the TCS Devereaux examined?
Answer: Kilrantium or Borenium

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New Questions for Week 19 (starting March 5, 2001):

Question 37: Where was Geoffrey Tolwyn sent shortly after academy graduation?

Question 38: Where was Todd Marshall sent shortly after academy graduation?

Bonus 19: Where was Lance Casey sent shortly after academy graduation?
Hint: Not the Midway

Submissions are due by March 11, 2001.

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

Making the Movie - Part 1

Here's the second of our three part release of the Wing Commander Movie's electronic presskit. This week, you can download (thanks to BlackLance.org) part six -- interviews with the cast and crew. It's probably the most interesting 'making of' segment -- it features a very excited Freddie Prinze Jr., and a seemingly bewildered Tcheky Karyo. Check back next sunday for the last part!
  • Trailer - Version #1 (5,038k - 1:21)
  • Trailer - Version #2 (2,320k - 0:35)
  • Featurette - with text (16,222k - 4:47)
  • Featurette - without text (16,256k - 4:51)
  • Film Clips (9,950k - 4:19)
  • Selected Soundbites (30,336k - 12:31)
  • Unedited B-Roll (31,868k - 8:49)

SabreWing off on a Wild Tangent

Travis posted this to the Chat Zone... sounds like a very interesting project -- you can reply to his post here if you can help.
Howdy. Been lurking about here for a while.

I recently built an online space combat sim called SabreWing: http://www.sabrewing3d.com. Has pretty obvious WC influences. What am I saying - REALLY obvious.

On the sly, I'm ruminating on doing a Wing Commander 3 TC using my current codebase. All the hard work is done, it's basically a media conversion. Most of media work has been done by other users in the community, converting the 3D ship meshes to intermediate formats. I have a lot more freedom than with using pre-existing games though, since all the code is mine, and I won't have to do wierd workarounds for the right effects.

Why Wing Commander 3? It's the best one, of course. The last WC with Kilrathi. WC4 with all those PEOPLE was just boring. (blasphemy, I know)

Anyway, I did some preliminary tests and was very pleased with the overall WC3 'feel' that could be achieved. ("YOU CANNOT DEFEAT THE DRAKHAI!")

On to my questions. I've searched round about on Thomas Bruckner's site, and HCL's legacy files and info, but haven't found what I'm looking for.

Is it possible to extract the cockpit graphics from WC3? They aren't MAT's are they? I've made some attempts at manually reconstructing them from the (meager) screenshots of WC3 I've managed to scrape up. Unfortunately, I'd like to have the hand animations intact, which isn't possible if I do that. I don't even have WC3 anymore, and just can't bring myself to shell out 200 bucks for a copy of Kilrathi Saga on EBAY when I don't know if this is even possible. That said, are they extractable from the demo (if extractable at all)?

Can the inflight comm movies be extracted to any usable format?

How about comm voices? Sound effects?

Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated. If you've already extracted them yourself, and wouldn't mind sharing them, that would also be fantastic.

Media in hand, it would take about a week of evening-time to rework SabreWing to use exclusively WC media. Boy, I'd like to relive the WC3 glory again (with hardware acceleration, of course) and I know some other folks would too.

Thanks for any info you might have!

Getting to the Source

Hellcat over at Vega Strike is looking for someone to compile the game's source and send him a windows .exe file -- the game will be made available for Windows users at the VS web site as soon as someone compiles it. (A fan project that updates their site every day -- how great is that?)

That's Not Advertising, Maniac...

For a change, here's something less insane from WC/Peanuts creator HotT (site) -- a retro WCIV advertisement he scanned for us all...

A Keen Disappointment (But Not)

Since recent conversations have indicated that many of the Chat Zone patrons are also Commander Keen fans, it seems natural to post that iD has announced plans to release another Keen for the GameBoy Color! Read all about it at GA-Source. And hey, if Commander Keen can come back after a decade then so can Wing Commander!

For Once in Your Life, Be Regionable

A Region 2 Wing Commander Movie DVD is in the works -- Europeans need wait only until May 17th! Specific details are as of yet unvailable, but you can pre-order it here at Amazon.de. A German PAL VHS version will be released on the same day. (Thanks to CCF from agwc).

WC... to the MAX!

Cinemax will be showing Wing Commander four times this month -- starting at 6:15 tonight. Here's the schedule... (thanks, WildFire).

Sat, Mar 3 6:15pm MAX East
Tue, Mar 13 10:45am MAX East
Sun, Mar 18 1:30pm MAX East
Fri, Mar 30 1:45pm MAX East

Soundtracks to the Revolution

Nobody got the GOLD STAR yesterday! The correct answer was that there have been six commercially released Wing Commander music CDs -- two Origin Audio CDs (Volumes 1 & 3), three Prophecy soundtracks (the album and two different singles) and the Movie sountrack. Better luck next-time!

Soma, however, had a very interesting answer, and so gets a SILVER STAR...

WC- Prophecy soundtrack
WC Movie- Official score
WC Movie- Original soundtrack (by Kiner & Arnold who did the official score and also have 17 d/l-able singles @ cdnow, so I don't know if those count since they're not technically on cds)
Cobalt 60- has a single w/ Terminal Mix & Darwin was right
Fear Factory- Remanufacture has Cloning Technology (WCP)
Rammstein- Rammstein has Eifersucht (WCP)
Junkie XL- Saturday Teenage Kick has Billy Club (WCP)
KMFDM- KMFDM has Stray Bullet (WCP)
Brooklyn Bounce- Beginning has Theme (of progressive attack trip mix)(WCP)
Juno Reactor- Bible of Dreams has Komet
so that brings us to 10 cds plus the 17 d/l-able singles....

More Vega Stuff

Work is apparently continuing to progress on the long-quiet Vega Strike project -- from the official site...
After about 30 hours of work, I have finally hacked up SPHERE_MAP to work view independently. Normally SPHERE_MAP keeps the environment map facing you...which is terrible...but I was able to hack up the GL_PROJECTION matrix to carry the camera rotation so that the sphere map was independent of camera facing! Yes! this means about 200% speed increase...or more!!!!!!

I kept trying to use texture matrices to rotate the SPHERE_MAP in 2space after it had been incorrectly faced towards the camera...I met quite nice success for the ammt of terribleness of the problem...almsot acceptible...but nowhere near the above solution!!!!!!

The newest source code and data files are now available for download here.

Ribbon Candy

Here's something interesting(?) found thanks to Wing Commander IV DVD... Blair and Seether wear the exact same set of ribbons, in the opposite orders. How strange is that? Check it out...

Shake, Rattle and Reid

Despite constant rumors to the contrary, Chris Reid has survived the Seattle earthquake intact -- so, you can keep mailing him trivia responses. I'll bet there's a great Akkbar joke that should go here...

A Stirring Tribute

In the spirit of HotT's Peanuts strips, Twister has made a WC/Marvel Comics cartoon as "a sign of appreciation to all the fan projects". Awful nice of him!

Six Days A Week!

Here's this week's schedule for Wing Commander on Canal+... excitement guaranteed!

Thursday, March 1st - 20:30 (+1)
Friday, March 2nd - 09:21 (+2)
Saturday, March 3rd - 22:11 (+1)
Monday, March 5th - 08:36 (+1)
Tuesday, March 6th - 03:40 (+2)
Wednesday, March 7th - 10:06 (+2)

Final Goodbyes

Rylex asked that I post this, regarding his cancellation of the Final Conflict 3D movie project.
Hi to everybody out there,

It has happened... I will leave the community very soon. My last work will be finishing some screens for Pedro with Unknown Enemy. And if Phoenix has any problems with his movie "Wing Commander REBEL ASSAULT", I will try to help a bit. I'll also offer him my AMD Athlon system for rendering...

Anyway... Final Conflict is canceled. I'm really sorry about this, because it was a very interesting project. But I can't do it anymore because of school and work and some other personal problems (girlfriend) ... I was asked if I would provide my Final Conflict Data to a Homepage. Well - I won't do that because I want to keep the scenes and Models for my own. My whole Movie-Directory including Pedros projects and my models has over 450 MB - a bit too large in my opinion... I want to say here that Final Conflict will be canceled and NOT be continued... but ... I know myself... it might be possible that I'm interested again in a few years (when I got more time)... but I don't want to say anything more about this. The offical version is that I'm leaving the community. Who knows what might happen in a few years... - but please don't wait for my return...

I want to thank a few people by the way:

Thanks to:
Phoenix... for helping me with my movie and supporting me with software
WildCat... for offering me a Website for Final Conflict
LOAF... for updating the CIC
Pedro... for giving me some interesting work with Unknown Enemy
Hadrian... for helping me with Lasers and engines...
Everybody out there who helped me finding Plugins and giving me hints for the movie

----------
I really would like to stay, but the problems are to big to continue working. It's really hard for me to write this mail, but everything has an ending... ...as I said - don't wait for my return...

I'm sure Wing Commander will live on in the future. And I wish you all luck with your projects... just look ahead.

Best wishes for the future,

Alex (also known as "Rylex")

Almost in the Zone

Great news from Filler -- the WCZone mod for SubSpace -- their host has a new, faster connection and current plans are to open the zone soon! The map is complete, save for one base, and expectations are that the graphics set will be completed in time for launch.

Sound it Out

Zor Prime, from the Chat Zone, has set up a site with pictures of his home-made Wing Commander soundtrack graphics -- check it out here. There's a GOLD STAR for anyone who can name all of the 'official' music CD's containing Wing Commander tracks!

Within Strike Range

The Vega Strike team recently accomplished three major goals -- they now have a 3D Location Select option, two forms of ship selection and a new physics system which adds orbits, planets and star systems. They hope to release a demo in the near future.