High Resolution Prophecy Patch Released

Wing Commander editor extraordinaire HCl has struck again with an amazing upgrade to Prophecy. It has been tested with Direct3D and Glide in 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024, but should work at most resolutions in theory. You can download the Prophecy High-Res Patch (only 730 k) and view some screenshots here. He also has other neat tools such as the WC Movie Viewer and Secret Ops High-Res patch. What will he think of next? (actually he's working on a WC1 high res patch) HCl's editing site at wcrevival.de is one of several cool places to be for cutting edge tools and tweaks in the WC editing community. If you've developed something that you'd like to share, let us know! I can't wait to introduce high res WCP to my Wing Commander students.
Time to play through the game again!

Privateer 2 Windows Speed Fix Available

On the subject of really cool patches, Jonathan Scobbie has been up to some fine work as well. Back in January a patch for fixing the speed issues with Privateer 2 Deluxe was also posted on HCl's website. From the readme file:
This patches the windows version of Privateer 2 to make it playable on modern computers. Just copy the EXE to the P2 install folder and run it in a DOS box (so you can see the output) Currently the UI and space combat is patched. A few parts are still fast, but only the audio is affected, its 100% playable now! Check Mario's site for updates.
The patch can be downloaded here (2.2KB, scroll to bottom).

WCPolaroids: Hawk (1/7)

Just thinking about this picture makes me motion sick for some reason. I'm not quite sure if Hawk is about to pull out his knife and kill that girl or bow and ask her to dance.

New Prophecy Information in Two New Articles

A couple of new Prophecy articles today. The first is this Gamer.tv article and the other is this Games Domain article, both of which provide very similar information. There are however a couple of points of interest. The information included in the articles was provided by Take 2. Since Destination is the US publisher, we believe Take 2 will be the publisher for Europe and possibly other regions. Second point is the reference to there being nine ships flyable by the player. Raylight reports that there are more than this. In addition to the seven Confed ships that you can fly during the game, you can also fly some of the Nephilim ships in multiplayer mode.

There is no firm release date for Europe yet, though the Games Domain article seems to think it will be April.

Take 2 Interactive has announced it will be publishing Wing Commander Prophecy for the Game Boy Advance - nearly six years after the original game came out on PC. How technology moves on...

Developed by Italian-based Raylight Studios using a proprietary 3D engine called Blue Roses, Prophecy will take you through a branching 48-mission campaign, playing as a rookie space pilot called Lance Casey. PC fans will recognize some of the non-player characters encountered in the game, including Blair and Manic, with the story remaining faithful to the landmark series.

Pick a Platform

Still trying to recover, but we've got a new poll up. We promise this poll won't be up quite as long this time. You can check out past results here. We're focusing on what next generation platform you'd like to see a WC game on. We felt that putting "PC" on the list would skew the results, so we're looking at console type things here. Although Game Boy Advance is where we'll next see WC.. is that where you'd like to see it most? I suppose I'd group that Nokia N-Gage thing in with PDA/Cellphone, and Raylight has actually expressed interest in programming for it and the GameCube. Bonus points for those who recognize Quine 4000 off the top of their heads..

Freelancer Demo Released

Wolf and Ben Moore were among the first to let us know that the Freelancer demo went public ahead of schedule. You can get in the queue for it here. The demo lets you fly around the introductory New York System with a dozen bases and half a dozen ships implemented. I've gotten to go through it a little ways and it's a really neat game overall. A lot of what they've done with Freelancer is quite distinctive and unique, but for example, when I'm in the bar my ear tries to pick up a familar jazz tune in the background. There are more than a few familiar touches and it's slightly unsettling here and there in that regard. It's not too hard to get into, but I do wish I had a joystick to use (even the keyboard). That issue has already been discussed a ton, so I recommend you give it a try yourself. There's also a Crius.net thread for demo impressions here.

Slashdot Warns of EA's Size

PopsiclePete let us know that late last year Slashdot was reporting on EA's growing wealth and considerable media influence. They refer to a Business 2.0 article that notes one in every four video games sold is sold under the EA brand and it is only a matter of time before EA eclipses Disney (I never though I'd link to that in a million years). The Business 2.0 article is a real good read into the mind of the CEO of EA, Larry Probst. Here's a quote I liked:
"In the end," Probst explains, "each year we only have to drive about 30 percent of our revenue with new things."
The discussion has mostly slowed down, but the general implication has Wing Commander, second only to the Sims, as one of EA's most noteworthy franchises here. It's neat when some of the meganews sites that inspired our original news efforts in the mid nineties give WC its due. I dug up some old BluesNews here, here and here.

Freelancer Shirt for Preorder

Hey, these things are always cool. If you've got plenty of Wing Commander shirts and need something more, certain retailers have a Freelancer shirt available when you preorder the game. You can check out the offer at GameStop here. I just got my copy and it looks great, but there's precious little time to actually play anything around here. The winners of the sneak preview contest have also been announced.

WCPolaroids: Finley (2/4)

Yikes, I'm not sure whether we're supposed to be scared or turned on by this one..

WCPolaroids: Finley (1/4)

Oh, dear God, the tiny umbrella just makes her huge eyes look even more enourmous! Actually, this is just about the sexiest WCPolaroid you'll see... and you have Adam Foshko and Joe Garrity (of The Origin Museum) for it.

Forums Name Change Complete

Congratulations to Filler who won our Forums logo design contest! We're not too sure what he's won yet though. His entry (below) out of four finalists was voted the winner and now it is in place, marking the end of the CIC Chat Zone and the beginning of CIC Forums. To dig up that old saying: Same crap, different name!

Busy Times

Sorry for the relative lack of updates this past week. Busy times for us make the front page of the CIC look a little less busy. Between snow, sickness, and Generals, the entire staff is coincidentally stricken one way or another right now. I think viruses (virii?) are contagious on irc. We've gotten a little bit of behind the scenes work done this week and there are a couple interesting projects in the queue, so it's just a matter of medicating, shoveling and beating the GLA, then we'll be back up to full speed.

WCPolaroids: Extras (16/16)

When the timer hits zero, the lady in red explodes.

That's all they wrote for the extras. Up next: a new batch.

Holding The Line Chapter 152

How's about a new Holding The Line chapter to brighten your day? Here's Raptor to tell you about it:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with the third and concluding chapter to End Of The Spiral 1, Full Circle. As you saw previously, the former TCS Valley Forge BG had regrouped after the loss of their flagship, collected the survivours, and mourned the loss of so many comrades. Now they have to both prepare for the battles ahead, and find out who or what is *really* behind what happened. This story is jointly written by all the Valley Forge team, so please send any and all comments to them via the addresses at the top of the story, not to me.

The story is at: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/...

Best, Raptor

WCPolaroids: Extras (15/16)

The crew of the Midway is one close happy family. Perhaps a little too close in some cases. Also, those orange suits are painful to look at.

Wing Commander to be Represented at CGE2K3

If you're nowhere near Atlanta this summer to attend the Wing Commander gathering at DragonCon, Wing Commander fans also have the option of visiting the Classic Gaming Expo. Billed as "the world's largest gathering of classic video game alumni ever held with the the most comprehensive collection of classic videogame hardware and software ever assembled," (whew, what a mouthful) this year The Fat Man & Team Fat will be performing live on the second day of the convention. I'm not sure if anyone on our staff will be able to attend, but if there's anyone in the Las Vegas area who can get us some pictures and impressions that'd be great! The CGE will take place on August 9th and 10th at Jackie Gaughan's Plaza Hotel & Casino in LV. You can find more information here.
The Fat Man and Team Fat have been doing videogame soundtracks since the early 1980's when it all began with the original score they composed for Intellivision Thin Ice. The music for titles such as 7th Guest, Loom, and Wing Commander can also be accredited to them. They will be performing LIVE on Sunday at CGE 2002!

Sims Still Sells

Wing Commander owner EA announced this week that The Sims continues to break sales records. Total franchise sales have now topped 24 million units, 8 million of which are attributed to the original Sims product. They also announced its sixth expansion pack, Superstar, today. For those keeping count, the Command & Conquer franchise originally started by Westwood has more than 20 million units in print and our own Wing Commander more than 10 million. Strike Commander? At half a million, it was EA's all time best selling PC game until Wing Commander 3 hit in 1994.

WCPolaroids: Extras (14/16)

What a strange way of storing your gloves. Still, it makes them handy next time the Midway catches fire.

Prophecy Launches with GBA SP, Wings Advance Ships

In a combination of new announcements, today Raylight Studios announced that their world war dogfighting simulation Wings has shipped to stores. IGN has rated the game 7.5 out of 10. And in related news, the launch of Prophecy Advance has now been tied to the US release of the GBA SP in mid March.
Wings Advance, that has been entirely developed in house, is another confirmation that Raylight is able to create good games for the GameBoy Advance. The next game will be the award winner Wing Commander Prophecy that will be available together with the release of the GBA SP in march.
Raylight is always looking for new publishers and developing opportunities for the GBA, GameCube and now also for the newcoming Nokia N-Gage.

Thanks for your time and attention
Regards
Raylight Studios S.r.l.

Good to hear! I'll be anxious to try out Wings and see how well it comes across. Though it is not a 3d Blue Roses game, it should indicate some of the quality that Raylight puts into its games.

UO Age of Shadows Ships

Good old Origin Systems, Inc is shipping Ultima Online: Age of Shadows today. Just a little note to remind people that they're still out there doing their thing.
The much anticipated Ultima Online: Age of Shadows™ expansion has started shipping to a retailer near you! Remember, be an Early Settler and get one of 20 Miniature House Collectibles and a bless deed for each of your characters! So go out and get Age of Shadows today and try to get the cool rare castle or small thatched hut!

Freelancer's Golden

Numerous sites are reporting now on Freelancer's gold status. After some five years of work, they're finally ready to print and ship the game. Ben Moore sent us the Official Announcement. Congratulations to Digital Anvil! Here's what GameSpot had to say.
Microsoft has announced today that Freelancer, its long-awaited space combat and role-playing game, has gone gold. The finished code has been shipped to manufacturing, with an expected retail ship date of March 6. Freelancer was developed at Digital Anvil, the company formerly headed by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts.

Official Prophecy Release Date At Last?

Nintendo's own Prophecy GBA page has had a bit of an update. It now contains a nice description of the game, and interestingly enough, a specific release date. Where it used to say just "Feb, 2003" now reads "Feb 25, 2003". This is the date currently listed by many retailers including EB. Could the wait be over in just over two weeks? Here's a quick quote from part of the game description:
Missions will challenge you to destroy alien fighters, escort friendlies, and rendezvous with drop ships, all while keeping your ship in one piece. Depending on your spacecraft, you can select from various weapons, including Ion Cannons, Lasers, MK 2 Cannons and missiles.

The emphasis is squarely on arcade-like action. Maneuvering your ship is fairly intuitive. A handy indicator shows you how far to lead (i.e, fire ahead of) your target.

Moderating your speed takes a rather complex set of button presses. The afterburner is a nice solution, though. Simply hold the L and R buttons simultaneously to get a speed boost.

Crius.net Hits Another Milestone

Earlier this past week the Crius.net forums slipped past 2000 registered posters. Things have been moving along nicely there for some time now. Welcome to our newest posters: lovecraft, bulch, cannabis, Diesel, Catweasel, BexHeck & JeffB this week. If you haven't voted yet, the poll for our new logo is still available here. And if you missed it earlier, our other primary communications hub at irc #Wingnut has switched servers because of the recent dal.net problems.

WCPolaroids: Extras (11/16)

All smiles here except for sleepy-guy from yesterday, who this time looks like he is in pain from shrapnel in his leg or something.

WingCenter.de Relaunches This Week

The German Wing Commander hub WingCenter.de has relaunched this week with a new layout and new content. They've widened their focus a bit to the larger Space Sim genre, but focus on Wing Commander fan projects. It's worth a look for everyone as their news is presented in both German and English. It's always nice to have some major international sites for all the Wing Commander fans that don't speak English. Besides the United States, we actually get more visitors to the CIC from Germany than any other country (just barely edging out Canada).

WCPolaroids: Extras (10/16)

NO! NO! Somebody didn't like these extras so they got crossed out. Possibly because the guy on the right looks like he just woke up.

Forums Logo Contest Voting Now Open

The entries are in and now it's time for you to choose your favorite! You must be registered on the forums to vote, but you're already registered, right? If not, do it now! You could be our 2,000th member! As of writing the registered users count is at 1,999. You can place your vote here. The entrants are:

Filler

Meson

Soma

Dejan

Freelancer Lowdown at Game.uk

Privater_Maestro let us know that the store Game.uk.com has compiled a decent preview for Freelancer. At some point we'll have to draw the line because there are sure to be dozens of reviews in the next month or two and we're not a Freelancer site, but we understand a lot of WC fans have a lot of interest in this title. Our own Freelancer hands-on impressions were pretty positive. You can find Game.uk's article here. Also of note for British fans, they're got preview information on the GBA SP as well.
Overall though, it seems the wait will be well worth it. So far it's been difficult not to mention the classic mid-80's space-trading title Elite, but that's definitely where Freelancer's roots lie. With possibly the biggest playing environment in the history of ever, a promising storyline, 16-player online servers (unfortunately there's no multiplayer option in this particular pre-release code) and intuitive yet deep gameplay which means you have plenty of options for shaping your own destiny, it's something we shall wait eagerly for. Watch this space for the review a few weeks down the line, and then get ready for developer Digital Anvil's next title which should happen at about the time our sun goes Supernova.

WCPolaroids: Extras (8/16) Part Two

Many German Wing Commander fans wrote in yesterday to let us know that they were well acquainted with the extras in our last polaroid shot. Obee and Catweasel replied to our post within minutes:
Hello, the right one in the picture is Smudo and he's part of one of the greatest german HipHop bands called 'Die Fantastischen 4' aka 'Fanta4'. He is seen in one or two scenes in the backround playing cards, IIRC (which LeechMachine confirms).
More about Smudo and Fanta4 can be found here:
www.smudo.com
www.smudo.com/smudo/wc5.htm (sorry, german only)
Even if you don't speak German, there are some very cool set photographs at that last site. And Weirdrew also added that he believes the woman in the middle of yesterday's polaroid tossed a drink in Maniac's face in one scene. So there you go. Even the extras in Prophecy have legions of fans.

DragonCon Prices Set to Increase Soon

Whew, just fixed some nasty computer problems this past week so I can get online and H'hrass everyone about DragonCon again. After February 14, tickets for the four day convention are going up. They are $45 right now and will ultimately reach $75 at the door. We also need to set up our grouped hotel suites soon, so if you have any questions about the Wing Commander gathering, we've made a forum thread here.

Never Find The Words To Say

It has been a hectic week for us here, so we're a bit late in acknowleding the Columbia tragedy. There's not really much for us to say or do, but we know that many of our frequent viewers are especially touched by events such as these. Perhaps even moreso than in other communities, we consider the astronauts that died on Saturday to be heroes and pioneers for our future. If the CIC is your favorite portal, feel free to send us a memorial note.

Last Call For Contest Entries

If you're thinking of entering our fantabulous (best fake word ever) contest to design a new Chat Zone.. uhm, I mean Forums logo, time is running out! Starting on Monday, we'll be opening the voting for you to choose your favorite entry. If you want details on how to enter, you can read up here. Current entries are as follows:

Filler

Meson

ChrisReid

KrisV

The fate of the Forums is in your hands!

Holding The Line: Chapter 151

Holding the Line continues here on the CIC. Here's Raptor with the introduction to the latest chapter:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with the second chapter of "End Of The Spiral", Part 1. As you saw in the last chapter, the remaining ships of the Forge's battle had finished regrouping after the loss of their carrier, but the survivours still have long way to go in dealing with the deaths of so many crewmates. This chapter picks up from there and is jointly written by all the Valley Forge writers. Please send any and all comments to them via the addresses at the top of the story, not to me.

On another note, HTL marked it's fourth anniversary on the 28th of January, making it one of the longest running projects both in the WC Aces and in the WC community in general. It's been a heck of ride so far, and I hope our readers will stay with us as we head into the big finale. The best (and bloodiest) bits are still to come. ;-)

You can read End of the Spiral here.

WCPolaroids: Extras (8/16)

Does anyone remember actually seeing these people in the game? No, me neither.

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