Never Say Lev-Arr(is) Again

Wedge007 reports that Clive Owen is apparently no longer in the running to play the next James Bond. A widely repeated wire report cites a 'credible source' which claims that "Owen lacks the necessary lightness of touch to make Bond a box-office success." The current front-runner is X-Men star Hugh Jackman. Too bad, as Clive Owen taking the role would have lead to literally thousands of Bond-related news headline puns ('Lev' alone! 'Lev and Let Die', 'From Russian with Lev' and 'You Only Lev Twice'...).

That's No Casey... It's a DANE!

Here's the man Casey was... two drafts and a shooting script before he became Iceman's son:
2ND LIEUTENANT TOM DANE

Cadet Pilot. Early twenties. And our new PLAYER. Dane was a foundling; an abandoned child of unknown parentage adopted by a generous foster family. He's full of fight, enthusiasm and a deep desire to prove himself -- and to find out who he really is.

The one thing Dane does know is, despite the fact that his adoptive family were all "earthworms," he has always had a burning urge to be a pilot. And getting admitted to the Academy was a hard won first step in that quest.

Dane is very bright; a quick, analytical thinker who can get right to the heart of the matter -- which is not to say he never shoots his mouth off or makes mistakes. This kid has an edge; a not inconsiderable streak of daring that often leads him into major trouble. Dane is prone to take big gambles from time to time; something which frequently brings an angry Blair down on him.

Indeed, it seems to Dane (and others) that Blair lives for the chance to land on him with both feet. There is clearly something going on between him and the Commandant, but Dane is damned if he can figure out what it is.

Dane's closest (perhaps only) friend is Maestro. It is a relationship which will be sorely tested when Maestro is captured and tortured by the aliens. Maestro returns to Midway radically changed; no longer interested in Dane's friendship or much of anything else. This is a tremendous blow to Dane; one from which he will barely recover.

Dane should be impetous at times, young, vibrant a little brash, but a great pilot. He embodies the balance of a truly gifted flyer and someone who must grow up fast in this war. He experiences loss, tries to deal with the constant rag of Maniac and the sexual tension/competition of Nemesis.

Happy Halloween

Today is another happy day in the US and other countries where you can get away with walking around absolutely anywhere in a Wing Commander flight suit or Kilrathi armor. That's what I'll be doing. If you don't have either, I suggest painting your face like a cat and calling it good.

Return of the King?

Zor Prime reports that he spoke with John Rhys Davies (Paladin, Wing Commanders 3 & 4) at the Dallas SciFi Expo last weekend... and that Mr. Davies claims that he'll be having lunch with Chris Roberts on Friday to discuss working on a new Wing Commander title! While this doesn't quite jive what we believe Chris Roberts is currently pitching, it is certainly more than possible - several other rumors in recent months indicate that EA has taken an interest in developing a new Wing Commander title. We'll let you know more as it becomes available! (The plot for a new game pretty much writes itself: aliens let all the air out of Paladin.)

The Way We Weren't

Here, for your enjoyment, is the original first draft script summary for Wing Commander V (later Wing Commander Prophecy). It's pretty vague, but it includes two elements that clearly would have improved Prophecy: Casey isn't named Casey, and Maestro dies. Enjoy!
WING COMMANDER V -- SYNOPSIS

Nearly a decade has passed since the Border Worlds conflict. Blair is now Commandant of the Confed Academy, in charge of a new class of cadets who are eagerly approaching graduation. Their relatively peaceful lives are thrown into chaos when a giant wormhole appears near the shattered remains of Kilrah and a huage alien fleet of unknown origin invades Confed space. Despite Blair's misgivings, his rookie pilots are pressed into service to confront this seemingly invincible armada -- and to stop it before it can reach Earth.

Our story centers on LIEUTENANT TOM DANE, the best of the best new pilots, as he pursues a series of critical mission objectives. His base ship will be the carrier Midway; his opponents will consist of various enemy aces, capital ships, and, ultimately, a Dreadnought-class vessel.

Dane must fly recon, escort Space Marines to designated drop points, and battle alien fighters. With each completed mission, he helps Confed move closer to its primary goal of stopping the invasion. But the cost will be high -- blasted ships, dead civilians, and lost wingmen.

Dane will also confront a variety of personal obstacles. His best friend is captured -- a beautiful young cadet is constantly (and aggressively) competing with him -- and the secret that Blair eventually reveals to the youngester will have a tremendous, gut-wrenching impact on his future.

Our hero perseveres through every challenge -- right up to the moment that he leads his Wingmen against their final and most important objective; the alien-built Command Center which maintains the wormhole portal.

During the battle to destroy that Command Center, both Blair and Dane's best friend are lost. As the alien wormhole collapses, the invasion armara posed on the other side of it is blocked access to Confed space. Tom Dane has bought Earth some desperately needed breathing room. Until next time.

This war is not anywhere near over.

A Different Kind of Wing Commander Canon

PeteyG followed a link at Slashdot that details how certain bodies are seeking to create a noble gaming canon. Their hope is that all game developers should know and understand what made each canon game great and incorporate a little bit of that into their future works.
"The 300 Games Every Game Developer (and Gamer) Should Know." Games that are definitive and that any person who seriously considers themselves a gamer should be familiar with. Everything from Tic-Tac-Toe to Doom. Much like Jane Eyre or Heart of Darkness are part of literary canon, now it seems Wing Commander is part of gaming canon.
The list is pretty much just a fun idea some guy had at the moment, but it's not the first time something like this has come up. Something like this won't ever be nailed down absolutely on some webpage somewhere, but instead will be defined by the collective beliefs of the gaming community. It's great to see that Wing Commander so often ranks on these list. Though Ultima did make the list, Ultima Online did not. As the GameSpy article we reported a few days back discussed, you don't really have MMORPGs like you do today without UO in there somewhere.

CIC Does Boston

Live in the Boston, MA area and want an excuse to scam some free CIC pens? Then join us for the first ever Boston Wing Commander Fan Thingy (Nov. 13th-16th). All the cool people will be there: LOAF, Frosty and ace. Also, LeHah will be there! There aren't any set plans, but any Wing Commander fans are more than welcome to hang out with us. Want to try out WCPGBA's multiplayer mode? Here's your chance! Always wanted to go to the New England Aquarium with Frosty? There you go! All the fun of Dragon*Con (minus the science fiction, costumes, video game destruction and ChrisReid)! Contact LOAF.

Now That's HotT!

HeartOfTheTiger strikes back!... with his... ah, unique... brand of artwork. Up to bat this time are two Star Wars parodies and... well, the less said about the third, the better (save to quote that he has already "tried to cross Peg with the likes of Finley, Stilleto and Hawk"). The extraordinarily brave can find all sorts of similar masterworks at his homepage.

Sure Beats a Silent Threat

Someone should let Electronic Arts know that they haven't outlawed Space Sims -- and here's the proof: GameSpy has posted a preview X2: The Threat ("Say, Bob... what if our game featured some kind of... threat?" "Genius!"). Here's the quote that matters:
Overall, though, X2 could turn out to be one of the truly great space sims, ready to take its place among the Wing Commanders, Freelancers, and Independence Wars of the genre. The visuals alone may well carry this game to greatness. If the gameplay turns out to be a strong as seems to be headed, X2 may even be the long-awaited successor to the Elite throne.
Elite throne?

Something Awful Trashes Everything

Today's SA feature takes a closer look at some of your favorite games of all time. Origin gaming legends Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott take their rightful place. Sort of. The whole article trashes every recent game of note, yet mentions off-handedly that the original Wing Commander Privateer was great. You can find the feature here.
Zoctan felt that Lord British and the makers of Ultima 7 could do no wrong.
I'm sorry, I can't offer any criticism because my computer has never had and will never have enough extended memory for Ultima 7.
Eek, flashbacks of getting Wing Commander 2 running with speech. Oh, and don't stop reading until you get to their Freespace 2 bit.

Clive Owen Bombs With Angelina Jolie

A few weeks ago we mentioned that Privateer 2 star Clive Owen might be next in line to take over the James Bond role. This weekend he received what might be considered a setback. His new movie, Beyond Borders, co-starring Angelina Jolie took in barely $2 million according to estimates. That's quite a bit lower than either Wing Commander or Tomb Raider. Yikes.

Gamespy Analyzes the MMORPG

Beginning with an in-depth analysis of whether "MMORPG" is the correct term or not, Tye noticed that Gamespy is currently building a giant feature on the history of the massively multiplayer game. Some of the people who were working on Origin's Privateer Online are quoted throughout.
Koster, who worked at Origin Systems, remembers things differently. "The massively multiplayer term was coined by Electronic Arts marketing. At that point, Ultima Online was announced. I remember the meeting in which they told us they were going to call it 'massively multiplayer' and we were like, 'Okay, whatever.'" (Looking back, Koster admits that it is possible that 3DO coined the phrase and that Electronic Arts marketing borrowed it.)
You can find the very beginning of the article here. They start getting into Origin and Ultima Online's role as one of the MMORPG pioneers in the week one writeup.

Another Neat Windows XP DOS Games Emulator

Rylex has been experimenting with a DOS emulator for Windows XP entitled Abandon Loader. While MyJemm exists to help people play Privateer and Armada in Windows 9x, Windows XP users have been trying a variety of different methods with varying degrees of success. A program we mentioned earlier, VDMSound, is also linked from the Abandon Loader page. In conjunction, the two should help you get some of the older games running smoothly again.
I've found another great tool called "Abandon Loader" that is able to play old WC-games even in Windows XP and even with joystick and sound. I've been able to play WC1 with sound and joystick support! (and yeah this tool even allows you to slow your system down for older games) This is a tool that allows you to play nearly all old DOS-games under Windows XP. It requires some time to find your way how it works but I think you definitely should take a look at this one! You'll need the normal package, and please install the VDM-Sound BEFORE (!!!) the Abandon Loader. I hope this helps you bit ;-)
You can grab Abandon Loader here. If you have any problems, head on over to Crius.net for help. And if this version doesn't support certain games such as Privateer, the next version is expected to have enhanced memory fixes.

Palm Adventures For All?

MCheu sent us a note about a Palm emulator that might allow everyone to play the Space Trader Privateer mod released last week. It's the development tools for the PalmOS. You can grab the appropriate files here and grab the Privateer mod here. Hadrian is apparently addicted to the game, so it must be at least as good as hockey.
It's meant for people developing software for palmOS, and you can even get the official BIOS ROMs from them for it too.

Eight-CD Changer Required

LOAF has crossed another task off his list - getting every audio CD which has a WC track on it. One or two of the obscure Cobalt 60 CDs were difficult to get, but here they all are:

From the top left they are: Origin Soundtrack (Vol. 1), Origin Soundtrack Vol.3, Music From The Wing Commander Universe (George Oldziey), Wing Commander Movie Soundtrack (David Arnold), Wing Commander Prophecy Soundtrack (Cobalt 60), Wing Commander Prophecy Clubmixes (Cobalt 60), Wing Commander Prophecy Theme - Terminal Mix (Cobalt 60), Twelve (Cobalt 60).

2004 Dragon*Con Registration Open

If you didn't already pre-register while at Dragon*Con 2003, you can now register for 2004 online. As usual, the ticket prices are cheap right now, but gradually get more expensive as the event gets closer. Until 14 November, you can register for only $45 which is a saving of $40 on what you'll have to pay if you wait until July. Registration details are on this page. We're still working on our gallery of pictures from 2003, but you can always look over our 2002 pictures. Meanwhile, here's a picture of us (minus Death for some reason) shortly before this year's parade (picture stolen from Wolfen's 2003 D*C gallery).

Space Sim First Look: Battlestar Galactica

To accompany the new sci-fi channel Battlestar Galactica series, Vivendi is currently finishing up a console space combat simulator to add to the fun. I originally passed over this one because I thought it'd be more of a cheap tie-in than anything, but the game has shaped up and is looking quite good. The game takes place several decades before the original series and features very Wing Commander style space combat as the meat of the game. You can find a variety of screenshots and trailers at the game's official site here.

XBox and Playstation 2 versions are expected in mid November. You can also find a GameSpot preview on the game here.

During your missions you'll be joined by a host of other story characters who are unique to the game, and you'll receive transmissions from them that relay new developments in both mission objectives and plot. The basic flow of the gameplay in Battlestar Galactica will be quite familiar to anyone who's played Wing Commander, TIE Fighter, Colony Wars, or any number of other classic space combat games.

Privateer Themed Palm Game Released

Qbok has developed a Privateer themed mod for the Palm OS game Space Trader. It functions quite a bit differently from your regular space combat simulator, but it's a fun little adventure that uses a variety of Privateer graphics and items.
I've just completed refitting GPLed "Space Trader" with graphics from Privateer 1. All the in-game graphics (including about a dozen starships and four full-screen scenes) are now 100% "Privateerish."

Enjoy! By the way - this is a greyscale version (should work fine on color palms, of course). If there's some positive feedback, I'll be glad to do the full-color version too (that IS a bit of work, and I started with grayscale version because I own a palm with grayscale display).

As for the changes, 95% of graphics got redone; only other changes are: slightly rearranged ship info screen and changed names of the "buyable" ships (I've left the names of the few other ships unchanged). This leads to some differences between this version and typical Privateer ship characteristics. You get to fly two Kilrathi ships, and the Paradigm ended up as - well - big freighter, but I didn't want to screw up the balance of the game by changing ship statistics to better reflect the original Privateer's.

Looks fun. Wish I had a Palm Pilot to try it out with. You can download the zipped .prc file for this program here. Send Qbok a message if you like it.

Vega Strike CDs Available Online

Hellcat was happy to let us know that CDs of VegaStrike are now available to purchase at CafePress.
Vega Strike went gold last week and finally has become available to purchase online at cafepress.com. The Open Source Space simulator still is available for free at vegastrike.sourceforge.net however, many users were complaining about the size of the hefty 160 megabyte download, and some wanted a hard copy of the CD to admire.

So with the help of PeteyG's cover art, and Cafepress.com, we have fashioned a Vega Strike CD product there for $11.99. The CD features additional bonus features including the best songs from the game as CD audio tracks and mp3's on the CD as well as an optimized engine to eek out the fps on older machines. Details are also available at vegastrike.sf.net. Enjoy,
Daniel - AKA HellcatV

Wing Commander The Reckoning Lives Again

Tolwyn called us up to deliver some happy news, the Freelancer mod The Reckoning is back in business! He will be utilizing models from the Wing Commander Saga Freespace 2 mod to continue the work that has already been done.
If everything runs smooth and if we can start welcoming new folk soon, we might very well release a ships pack in a few months. December seems to be a realistic release date.
Because Freelancer is one of the most graphically advanced space sims of the bunch, I've always thought this mod looked quite nice. I especially liked Bob's Concordia Supercruiser in the FL engine. Tolwyn has mocked up a few new screens for us that show off the Ferret, Crossbow and Thunderbolt. These are really pretty shots, and I'm looking forward to a Wing Commander ship pack.

It's Map Time!

Greetings, carto-fans! It's that time of year once again: the leaves are changing colors, the weather's turning colder and the nights are getting longer... and it's time to re-edit the Wing Commander Universe map! So, here's your job -- tell me what changes need to be made.

So far the only thing obvious to me (aside from some layout changes Wedge suggested months back) is adding a pair of jump lines: Calimachus {-} Orestes and Orestes {-}Sol, as per the Wing IV novel Vesuvius chase. Other possibilities:

  • Hari Space. Should I add the Hari systems referenced in Fleet Action? Meaning: add ~974 'burned out' systems to the Hari Sector region. If I do this, should I connect them with random jump points, or just leave them sitting empty in space?
  • More Anomalies. Should I mark nebulae and star types and what-not? If so, how? We'll need to come up with a list.
  • 'Development' Systems. Over the past few months I've had access to outlines for things like Privateer Online and such... should I add the sectors designed for those games? Or not because they were never published?
  • Take into account distances. The map isn't to scale (since it's a jump map)... but should I add charts and such showing distances between given stars?
Give me your thoughts at Crius.net here. You can find the CIC Wing Commander universe maps here and our special map archive here.

Fleet Action Homeworld Mod Updated

While some talk of a Homeworld 2 mod continues, NewCommanderondaBlock had updated the original Homeworld mod, Fleet Action. The ship files have been updated slightly to enhanced playability. Most original ships have been replaced by Wing Commander equivalents. Previous crashing issues have been narrowed down to the Weapons Effects Pack, so don't use that.
The pack contains Kilrathi (race 1, Kushan), Confederation (race 2, Taiidan), Border Worlds (Pirates 1) and Nephilim (Pirates 2). The Border Worlds and Nephilim ships are only for maps with them built-in. All you need is the original Homeworld. Install it by extracting the zip file to your Homeworld directory. To uninstall, delete the folders "r1," "r2," "p1," & "p2" and files that end with ".ll" and ".script" that are in your main Homeworld directory. Please note, that this mod is NOT compatible with Homeworld: Cataclysm or Homeworld 2.

Though impressive, the mod still lacks real textures for the newer ships. You can download this update to Fleet Action here.

Gaming Industry Leaders To Watch

TC noticed that Wing Commander and Origin veteran Warren Spector made 1up.com's list of 50 gaming executives to watch. Spector was involved with the first several Wing Commander and Privateer games as well as System Shock, Wings of Glory, Crusader, Ultima and others. I got a chance to watch him play the new Deus Ex earlier this year and he's a pretty nifty guy. His style of production is refreshing as he seeks to create games that provide the player with a variety of options to solve problems. Through the freedom he gives the gamer, Spector noted that occasionally players will find new solutions to situations that the developers originally did not have in mind. You can find Spector's page in the article here at #39. Who's that at #35? EA CEO Lawrence F. Probst III. The full article begins here.

Holding The Line Chapter 168

It's that time of the week again for Raptor. Time for another HTL chapter that is. As usual, I'll let him tell you about it.
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with the third part of my "Into The Inferno" series. As you've seen earlier in the series, what had been expected to be an easy final campaign for the human fleet had suddenly turned to custard. After all the doom and gloom of the two stories, this one is a little more light hearted. Your comments and feedback are most welcome.

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

Best, Raptor

Crimson Skies Coming to XBox Live Later This Week

I've been looking forward to Crimson Skies for the XBox for quite a while, and I just got the chance to introduce it here. Drumroll please... Gaming Age makes an ever-so-fleeting reference to Wing Commander in their review of Crimson Skies here. Aside from that, I got a chance to play this one a bunch at E3 and it's pretty great. Justin and I ranked 15th and 16th in the Crimon Skies tournament they were holding. The game is pretty easy to get into and apparently has a pretty compelling story. The alternate-universe 1930's distopian North America backdrop is pretty neat. Because of inter-state feuding, regular lines of transit have broken down and people have taken to the air to conduct their business. There are a variety of different fighters that will be the foundation for your gameplay, but you can exit and mount antiaircraft guns or hijack opponent's planes. Massive aerial zeppelins fly around and go up in very impressive explosions when you torch them. What really seals this one is the impressive multiplayer over XBox Live. Several of us in #Wingnut will be playing later this week, so drop on by if you'd like to join us. It's the closest game to Wing Commander on XBox Live so far.

From Star Wars and Wing Commander, to Star Fox and Top Gun, flight combat games have been around for nearly as long as vector graphics and simple polygons have existed.
I ranked 1st in the Mario Kart tournament. Still looking for a good opportunity to update about that one..

More Homeworld 2 Badges Available To Play

StarSaint and Filler have released additional badges to use as ship logos in Homeworld 2. These are pretty neat and simple icons to attach to all your ships in-game. Click on any of the following names and save to the Homeworld2\Bin\Profiles\Badges subdirectory on your hard drive. The badges will be selectable when you choose your ship colors and preferences. You can find a Crius thread with additional badges and information on badge editing here. Try out Black Lance, Border Worlds Flat, Confed Star, Dark Confed Star, TCS Victory Star, Concordia Battlegroup, Kilrathi Emblem, and Border Worlds 3D.

Weasel and Tye also snapped a few shots of these badges in use.

Past the Midpoint with Academy

Two new episodes go out today. These take place after "E5 Lords of the Sky" and "E7 Expendable." Next is "E6 Chain of Command" at 64 megs. Chronologically after that comes "E8 Walking Wounded" at 69 megs. Get them while the Wing Commandering's good. You can find the earlier episodes in the series here.

Legions Realm Isn't a Wing Commander Magazine

Legions Realm isn't a Wing Commander Magazine, but they cover all sorts of miscellaneous science fiction and gaming. They graciously put up a nice Wing Commander CIC page in their latest issue. October's Legions Realm contains topics including:
  • An in depth look at Black Orc Games and their miniature battle game - 100Kingdoms & Warband.
  • Legions-Bowl 2003: The Finale! We take a look at weeks 8-10, the playoff's, the All Star Game and the fist ever Legions Bowl Championship Match-Up.
  • Comics & Graphic Novels: Dreamwave and Marvel Comics
  • NEW Reviews from the following companies: WOTC, Green Ronin Publishing, Bastion Press, Mongoose Publishing, Mystic Eye Games, Eden Studios, & More
  • Trading Card Game Corner: Decipher's Lord of the Rings and Ents of Fangorn Expansion
  • Magazine Montage: New Magazine reviews from TITAN, Decipher, Paizo and more....
  • Miniatures of the Month: New Miniatures and products from Games Workshop, Wizkids and more...

If this sounds like it might be your kind of thing, head on over to their website here. Their e-zine is a downloadable 5 meg pdf. On a slightly related note, I've had a craving for some sort of new customizable card game recently. I've discovered they still pump out new ones like it's 1995 and wonder what a good one to collect would be. Guess I should check the magazine..

Casper Station's First Novel Project Complete

XJ from Casper Station has completed Wing Commander DDX, his online novel project. All fourteen chapters are available online and ready for viewing. An updated special PDF version is in the works, and XJ is looking for feedback to help create this edition. If you're a Crius member, you can easily provide feedback at the Casper Station forums here.

This is XJ from Casper Station, just announcing that I've finished my novel, Wing Commander - DDX, and published it in its entirety on my website. I'm looking for some reader reviews (positive and/or negative) - please post them on the Casper Station forum and I'll include some in the upcoming PDF version. Thanks and enjoy!
You can find Wing Commander DDX here.

Cinescape Reviews Prophecy Advance

Cinescape Games has chipped in with their Prophecy Advance review. I wondered how we'd missed this one so long, but it hasn't yet been up for a month yet. This one's a pretty late review, but better late than never, and Cinescape gives it a very positive A- treatment. Graphics get a strong A, while Sound and Gameplay receive a B. The lowest mark is a B- in replayability, which I think would be higher had the review gotten to do a little multiplayer. Despite some radar and control difficulties, the reviewer's A+ tilt rounds out the review and makes me want to go back and play a little more myself.
The game may be a bit more confined than the PC version, but this port of WING COMMANDER PROPHECY is a testament to how great the little Game Boy Advance really is. A must-buy for flight sim fans.
You can find the Cinescape review here.

Pilgrim Truth Synopsis Back Online

It was early 2001 when we were eagerly awaiting the final instalment in Peter Telep's Wing Commander movie-based novel trilogy - Pilgrim Truth. Because of numerous delays, an outline of the novel was released providing a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of what would happen in the new novel. At the time, we stored the file on a lousy free web site because of bandwidth issues. Sadly, the novel was cancelled by its would-be publisher despite being completed, however the synopsis hasn't been forgotten. We now have it back on our own server in its original MS Word format. You can download the file here.

On a related note, some of the rights regarding the WC movie will be changing in 2004, which may allow the release of Pilgrim Truth and various things. We'll be renewing our efforts to get the book published should the circumstances allow it.

Golden SPs Next To Come

It's been a month or two since the last new GBA SP color, so we thought Nintendo might be slowing down. To no one's surprise, they have announced another color though. This time the Starlight Gold color. It appears this one will be a Japan Toys R Us exclusive though.

Currently Fry's Electronics has the best deal on Prophecy Advance here.

Raiders Reworked and Ready To Fly

Cam has published his polished F-109 Vampire that will be used in his upcoming Wing Commander Raiders computer generated film. He has published a formal Concepts & Goals document that outlines his plan to complete this fan project. Raiders has been in the works for a long time, but there are some exceptionally high quality creations as a result.

I'm currently working on retexturing my Vampire model and when completed I will fix up the Excal some more. I retextured my Excalibur model last year but I left my Vampire looking the same as it does in Prophecy. This is not to my liking, since I wish to separate as much as possible from the existing WC4/P look and generate a unique Wing Commander experience. Visually, I will be accomplishing this through darker, more monotone colour choices. The Vampire is no longer blue, but a dull grey (like modern American aircraft) tone, with contemporary-styled markings. I will later be adding similar markings to my Excalibur model, and my Albatross (my version of the Pelican) model.
I can't wait for the day when this will all be done. You can leave feedback and discuss Cam's upgraded Vampire at Crius here. You can find a high resolution shot of the Excalibur he mentions here.

More Academy and New mIRC

For people who are too impatient to wait for us to put Academy episodes on our FTP, you can now get all episodes from a file server on our own IRC server. Just join #Academy and type "GetWCA" to get started. For people who haven't used a file server before, here is a nice how-to. While waiting for your download, you can always kill time in #Wingnut.

In other news, Khaled has recently released mIRC 6.11. This new version includes 64 additions and fixes. mIRC is the IRC client of choice for most people, and Chris and myself have recently registered our copies. It's worth every cent for a program which we've used daily since 1997 or earlier.

Update: mIRC 6.12 has just been released. Apparently it is a release to fix a vulnerability which exists in version 6.0 and later.

Academy Activity

We have been posting episodes two at a time, and while there have been lots of downloads of the odd numbered episodes, the even numbers have missed out. We think people have been forgetting to download the second episode posted in each update, so we're having a Blow Up Our Bandwidth Day! Here is a complete list of download links for the episodes posted so far.

Whew, that's nearly 400MB of files there. As a reminder, "episode 7" aired after "episode 6" originally, but chronologically "Expendable" takes place after "Lords of the Sky." For this release we'll be putting up the episodes in timeline order. Also a quick note for people who like using "download accelerators" or segmented downloads: Don't. Our FTP limits people using multiple connections so it won't work.

'The Ballad of Blair' Chronicles Confederation History

OverMortal has released his second track. "The Ballad of Blair" tells us about a good chunk of Confederation history through the eyes of Christopher Blair. He recorded a revised edition for us, but we decided his original performance was the one to go with. The lyrics might be slightly out of sync because of this, but it's a fun song either way.
The universe was a happy place
We all had a smile on our face
But then the Kats came

We were making friends in outer space
Colonizing all over the place
But then the Kats came

We spent our money on happy things
Brilliance and diamond rings
But then the Kats came

But then the Kats came

So we went to Goddard Colony
But it had been destroyed with gravity
Because the Kats came

Now the Tiger's Claw is a pile of debris
And everybody started blaming me
Because the Kats came

The invisible Kats came

So I spent ten years on Caernarvon
Took a Ferret out on a milk run
And then the Kats came

Now I'm back to work in Enigma
Flyin' missions on the Concordia
Because the Kats came

And I fell in love with my hot C.O.
And I became a big hero
Because the Kats came

Because the Kats came

So my girl went sneaking around Kilrah
But Thrakhath found 'em and he killer her
That's when the Kats came

So I dropped a bomb and blew their planet up
And Melek said, "Hey we give up"
And no more cats came

And no more Kats came

Eleven years later, we met some bugs
And let me tell you, they had ugly mugs
That's when the bugs came

I got stuck on a shielding tower
And there I had my final hour
Because the bugs came

Because the bugs came...
Download Nick Blitz's Ballad of Blair here (5 megs). You can provide feedback and discuss the songs at Crius here. OverMortal's "Life of a Pilot" can also be found here.

Two More Academic Episodes Available

I'm going to do something slightly different this time and post Episodes 5 and 7 today. They are 5 and 7 going by the order in which they originally premiered on television, but should be 5 and 6 when viewed chronologically. E5 - Lords of the Sky is one of the smaller downloads at 60 megs. E7 - Expendable comes in on the other end of the spectrum at 75 megs. Don't be afraid to come back later if you're going to just grab one for now. The episodes are numbered according to premiere schedule, but you might want to rename them in timeline order for your personal collection. You can find information on episode numbering here.

Prophecy Keyboard Covers May Be Produced Again

A look around Control Zone Interactive's website shows a few signs of age, but apparently their current Keyboard Cover production halt may be temporary. After the release of the original Wing Commander Prophecy, CZI produced a plastic keyboard skin that simulated a fighter cockpit. These were pretty cool items that enhanced the feel of the game. The company's been quiet for a while, but recently said that they may be restarting production. They also made Freespace 2 covers and were working on a Starlancer design. We'll let you know if more can be purchased.

LOAF is also using this design to create one of the keyboards for his custom Wing Commander computer. He's got the coloring down, but needs to find a way to customize the letting of each individual key.

In Today's News

On 2654.283 (October 10, 2654) Major Puzaki and Lieutenant Shannon of the TCS Eagle's Talon launched in Scimitars to escort Drayman tankers back to the Talon, which was low on fuel. The Talon was a Bengal Class Carrier similar to the TCS Tiger's Claw. Each day you can visit the Encyclopedia to see what happened in Wing Commander history. Keep in mind that the database currently draws from just a small part of the Wing Commander universe. There's a lot more to come in the future.

OverMortal's New Single: The Life of a Pilot

OverMortal is currently on hiatus from the Forums and has channeled his energy into something more constructive. He's recorded a song for us. It's obvious quite a bit of effort went into this one. The lyrics are below so you can follow along.
Have you ever flown a fighter
Going 500 kps
With the turrets aiming at you
And your heart racing in your chest
Have you ever dropped a dumbfire
In a fralthi's first nacelle
Did you live to fly another day
Oh, the stories we could tell

The life of a pilot

Have you ever tailed a vaktoth
With your armor close to nill
Or got caught up in a furball
Where you racked up tons of kills

Chorus 1:
The life of a pilot, oh
The Kilrathi in your gunsights
The life of a pilot, oh
When your wingman saved your life
The life of a pilot

Did you ever fly a mission
With the autopilot off
Have you ever wondered if
A Kilrathis' fur is soft?
It's the things besides the killing
That keep insanity at bay
But the numbers are ten to one out there
And I like it fine that way

Chorus 2:
The life of a pilot, oh
Your next flight could be your last
The life of a pilot, oh
No mercy given; no mercy asked
The life of a pilot

Have you come back from a mission
With your wingman not in tow
Did you mourne them as a loved one
Did you hang your head down low
But for all the ones around us
And the ones we love back home
We will take it to the kittens
Cause it's up to us alone

Repeat Chorus 1&2
You can download "The Life of a Pilot" here. He's putting the finishing touches on his next song as you read this. Stay tuned.

Checking Out Heart of the Tiger's Lost Works

Heart of the Tiger let us know that a variety of his unique fan art creations have been overlooked over the past year. Anyone who's seen his past work knows how unique that really is. Among various things, HotT specializes in Disney/Wing Commander crossover art. A few of his creations are pictured below.

That's not all! He's working on a fiction story right now. I'll let him describe it.
"Fire Down Below" is a bit of a cross betwen Disney's "Talespin," a TV series played around the early 90's and now featured only on Toon Disney, and Wing Commander 4. In fact, a lot of elements of WC4 are heavily incorperated in this story.
You can find the story along with writeups describing the background behind each picture at his site here.

Another Wing Commander 4 DVD Sample Scene Up

We've had a full color version of the scene where Wilson orders Blair to the Black Lance transport for some time in XanMovie format. In WC4 the scene is only played in-flight. Now Tolwyn from WC Saga has provided a high quality version ripped straight from the DVD in Divx format.

Admiral Wilford

You can download the 5MB video here. The CIC also has a mirror here.

Vega Strike Gets Easier For Linux

PopsiclePete let us know that Lindows, a very user friendly Linux distro, now has a prepackaged installer for the Vega Strike engine.
Lindows.com promotes... Vega Strike! It would seem they prepared a one-click install package with it and made it available through their "Click-N-Run" catalog. Take a look!
Vega Strike is a Wing Commander themed space combat engine that was made from scratch by HellcatV. If you haven't checked it out before, Lindows users are just a click away. Well, two clicks. Check out the Lindows Vega Strike page here. Lunix

Movie Marine Suit Sells on eBay

Dave Moore recently sold his set of Marine Armor from the Wing Commander movie on eBay. We tend to not post about auctions before they're over, but that didn't stop bidders from pushing the price up to nearly $900. Eight people bid over $500 for the set. That's more or less the average for screen worn movie flight suits. Armor can go for up to 50% more.

Pretty neat. The rifle was not included.

Mission: LOAF Successful

LOAF is currently on a plane on his way home from Texas having completed the mission we mentioned the other day. After meeting with some very kind people in Austin, it appears that there will be some special new Wing Commander material available for viewing and download in the future. Sorry to be vague, but this should be good news for everyone once everything is together. We hope to have more details soon.

Holding The Line Chapter 167

It's another crazy busy Sunday for us here at the CIC. With the staff trying to get real life stuff out of the way, we'll be doing some fun things like putting together our Dragon*Con 2003 gallery soon. Meanwhile Raptor saves the day with another HTL chapter.
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with the second part of my "Into The Inferno" finale series, picking up a few hours after part one ended. As you might recall, a flight of Confederation recon Excaliburs stumbled across a Nephilim force set to stab the Combined Fleet in the back, turning what had been expected to be a mopping up operation for the humans into a potential mopping up for the Nephilim. Your comments and feedback are most welcome.

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

Best, Raptor

Joe's New Rare & Exciting Wing Commander Merchandise

Joe from the Origin Museum stopped by #Wingnut to show off a few of his latest rare Wing Commander finds. The first image is a Wing Commander 3 luggage tag. Second is an Origin squeeze & float keychain that was made to celebrate the company's anniversary in 1994. We then have three shots of Joe's Wing Commander 1 & 2 marker pen set. These were manufactured exclusively for South Korea through a company called SKC Soft. They're now known as WizardSoft.

LOAF and Joe keep amazing us with the extraordinary merchandise they can find. Speaking of which, LOAF is currently on assignment in Texas trying to discover even more exotic things. If he finds anything that we can reveal, you'll see it here. You can find Joe & Paula's Origin Museum here.

From Lev Arris to James Bond?

Kris noticed that Murphy's Place is discussing the growing rumor that actor Clive Owen is under consideration for a future James Bond starring role. Although some places are discounting the rumor, IMDB and MSNBC have picked up on it as well. Owen played the bad ass Lev Arris in Privateer 2. Although rumors like this often tend to prove false, it'd certainly be neat if he got the role.
Croupier star Clive Owen is poised to be unveiled as the new James Bond next year, according to reports... According to British tabloid the Daily Record, movie bosses are expected to announce Clive, 38, will take over the role - after being recommended by 50-year- old Pierce [Brosnan].
You can find the full bit here.

Prophecy Advance Hex Edit Codes Available

CMGSCCC has compiled a list of known hex edits to modify Prophecy Advance. If you have a Code Breaker GBA, you can enter these to modify gameplay.
Enable Code (Must Be On): 0000967A 000A 10000468 0007
Infinite Health: 8201B970 032A
Infinite Fuel: 3201B989 0068
Infinite Decoys: 3201B996 0063
No Overheat: 3201B959 00FF
Max KPS: 8201B992 1387
More can be found here. Our previously released Easter Eggs can be found here.

John Rhys-Davies Appearing at Dallas Comic Con

ZorPrime noticed that John Rhys-Davies, Paladin from Wing Commander 3 & 4, will be appearing at the Dallas Comic Con on October 25. He'll be there for just one day to primarily promote his Lord of the Rings role. It might be fun for anyone in the that area to check him out. Rhys-Davies was at the 2001 DragonCon, but had to cancel his 2003 appearance.

Wing Commander 4 DVD Sample Scene 1 For Download

Tolwyn from WC Saga has provided another video for people to check out. This time it's a scene involving Tolwyn and Blair off the DVD version of Wing Commander 4. Even compressed somewhat this is much higher quality than the original video. The 20 meg file is available from his space here. The file is also mirrored here.

In somewhat related news, the WC Saga Battlegroup Serpent website has been reworked and moved to its new File Planet host. They are hard at work on Awakening of the Claw, their first campaign for this Freespace 2 mod. The beautiful Ferret we posted earlier this week is an example of their work.

Wing Commander Academy Back Up

Thanks to yet another upgrade, we're going to begin hosting Wing Commander Academy again. Today the first two episodes are going up and we'll see how that goes. Episode 1, Red & Blue, is available here as a 65 meg divx avi. Episode 2, The Last One Left, comes in at 63 megs here. Although we previously heard of some incompatbilities playing the episodes in a different divx version from what they were originally encoded in, the latest divx package seems to work okay. Also keep in mind that the episodes we have for download are numbered in the order that they originally premiered. This was actually slightly out of chronological order for the series. You can find the exact ordering here. Happy downloading. We'll have more for you soon.

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