Last Chance To Vote Site Of The Year

This is your last chance to vote for Wing Commander Site of the Year and Fan Project of the Year in 2003. You have the opportunity to vote for one site in each category for the sites that you believe contributed the most to the Wing Commander community in 2003. We've decided to do something new to increase the number of votes we get. We've opened a Crius.net thread for voting. Those with Crius accounts can list their votes in a reply and have them count that way. We recommend you email votes so that they remain private, but posting to the thread is better than not voting at all. Here are the nominees one more time. You can vote at Crius.net here.

Site of the Year:

Fan Project of the Year:

You can email your votes in here. Just one vote per category. Thanks to all who have voted already! The winners will be announced in a couple days.

WC Icons For Your Desktop

Fancy changing your My Computer icon in to a Rapier? Or your Recycle Bin in to an Ekapshi? Well, now you can. M Rohde has created a pack of 7 .ico files based on ship pictures from the CIC's ships database. If you show your appreciation (perhaps by posting to the forums), then maybe he'll release the whole pack of about 100 icons. But for now, you can download the sample here.

WC Saga Gets A Dubav

The people behind WC Saga have been busy in their shipyards. Next up on their list of ships to be included in the mod is the Dubav class light carrier. Never heard of it? Well, it's somewhat rare as I'll let Tolwyn explain.
This next ship on the line is the Kilrathi Dubav-class light carrier, a warship that was cut from Wing Commander 3. We were able to find it in the “Making of WC3” CD-ROM that Origin released with its first official WC3 guide. Psych was also able to prove this carrier’s existence through Victory Streak and False Colors. For the time being, we named this carrier class the “Dubav” as a tribute to the False Colors novels, in which the light escort carrier Dubav was Lord Ragark’s flagship. We intend for this ship made to be that warship.

Armament is six Laser Turrets and a torpedo launcher. As this is a carrier, its fighter complement is 40 combat spacecraft (five 8-ship combat squadrons) and a support squadron of 8 Naktarg shuttles. Length is still being debated but we’re guessing to be around 600-ish meters.

This above picture is the exact picture as seen from the Making of WC3 CD-ROM. The below pictures are the new model themselves.

You can discuss this design at Crius.net here.

I've Got Some Wing Commander Twos

Now that I've got my new camera, there's a few nifty things I'd like to take pictures of. My collection in no way compares to that of LOAF of Joe, but here's a few copies of Wing Commander 2 that I had lying around. The boxes include full copies, and the spindle is solid WC2 as well.

I Got A New Poster

I got a new Wing Commander poster. This one's a relatively rare Italian movie promo. There are quite a few different international Wing Commander movie posters, and many of them have rather cool art like this.

Didn't Get An SP For The Holidays?

If you didn't get a GameBoy for Christmas but are still thinking about getting into Prophecy Advance, GameSpot has announced a new limited edition model coming soon. It has the Platinum base and Onyx top. These hit North America on February 9, 2004 for $99.99.

Wing Commander Saga's Specular Victory

Back in September Chris reported on some WC Saga models with specular maps added to improve their appearance. Earlier this month Tolwyn released a screenshot of the TCS Victory with specular mapping in the Freespace 2 engine:

The Wing Commander Saga project has a forum on Crius.net.

I've Found Babylon 5

A lot of WC fans back in the day were hugely disappointed when Sierra decided to cancel their space sim game based on the hit show Babylon 5. Some people responded with a petition while others attempted to make a Prophecy mod. Now the idea has been taken one step further with a whole new game created by fans! Going by the slightly odd name of "I've Found Her" the game is still in fairly early stages, offering a prequel campaign. Weighing in at 220MB, it's quite a hefty download. You can find out more from the game's site. There are no screenshots on the official site, but this Gamer's Hell page has some.

Run Super Wing Commander in Windows

Tolwyn has sent information regarding Super Wing Commander operating in Windows XP. If you're not familiar with SWC, it was a special Wing Commander game produced for the Macintosh and 3DO. It followed the chronicles of Wing Commander 1 and Secret Missions 1 in a completely redone graphical engine on par with Privateer or Armada. It also introduced a new campaign between Secret Missions 1 & 2 where you hunt down the shipyards that produced the Sivar Dreadnought.
You may be interested to know that it is possible to run Super Wing Commander on a Windows-based platform using the Basilisk 2 emulator. If anyone is interested I could provide configuration data.

A few people have had varying levels of success getting SWC to run on different platforms before, but Tolwyn sent along some screenshots of the game in action.

You can ask Tolwyn any questions about running this at Crius.net here.

#Wingnut's A-Live

Hopefully a lot of you guys got some cool gifts during the holiday season. Quite a few regulars in #Wingnut got some new toys. If you'd like to join some Wing Commander fans, and play some of your new games, drop on by and see what people have. Here's a couple shots from a quick game of Rainbow Six 3 on XBox Live we had last night.

Testing out my new digital camera here, so those aren't direct screen caps.

The Reckoning Alpha Released

The Freelancer Wing Commander mod The Reckoning has released a preview alpha build for you to try. A variety of Wing Commander ships have been incorporated into the game so far. Tolwyn has made the preview available at his site here. The file is about a megabyte and a half. It requires the Freelancer mod manager which you can get here. Here's a couple of older shots if you forgot what this one looked like.

You can discuss the mod at Crius.net here.

John Rhys-Davies Event Coming to Seattle

Lord of the Rings and Wing Commander 3/4 actor John Rhys-Davies will be making an appearance in Seattle next month to talk about his latest projects. He'll be downtown on January 17 at 8:00 pm. You can find details here.
Join noted British actor John Rhys-Davies for a rollicking evening as he talks about the meaning and the making of The Lord of the Rings and answers audience questions about his long career in films and TV. Davies, who plays "Gimli" and supplies the voice of "Treebeard" in The Lord of the Rings, is also known for his roles in the Indiana Jones movies and in the science-fiction series "Sliders." Host for the evening will be film critic Michael Medved.

CIC staff members LOAF and Hades meet with Rhys-Davies at Dragon*Con 2001. Our 2003 gallery is coming, I swear.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

And Happy Holidays to everyone else! A lot of Wing Commander fans have been active over this holiday break, so they're putting together quite a bit of stuff for us to report on. We know many of you will just be stopping in briefly today, so we're going to spread some of it out over the next few days. From all of us here at the CIC, we hope you have a happy holidays and can find some time to relax.

Announcing Fleet Tactics V1!

As a special Christmas treat, Psych has unveiled an amazing new website for everyone. We're proud to announce the opening of Fleet Tactics. It is a multipurpose Wing Commander hub with a huge amount of content and information on the Wing Commander universe. You could spend all day checking out the site's features. Fleet Tactics is very polished and ready for your enjoyment.
Me and Jibbo are giving our personal "gift" to the WC fan community, the Fleet Tactics page - a technical reference in the Wing Commander 3-era. And it's more then just ship stats. To make this site, we have spent over a year of extensive research into the WC games, novels, scripts, manuals, guides, and even unreleased information from Origin. The result we hope is not only a WC fan page, but an experience.
The site has a lot of character, and the enthusiasm put into its creation really shows. You can visit Fleet Tactics here. You can discuss the new site at Crius.net here.

And A Classic Holiday Favorite

Once again, the classic Twelve Days of the CIC..
On the first day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. rumors of Privateer three..

On the second day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the third day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the fourth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the fifth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the sixth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the seventh day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the eighth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. eight amazing updates, seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the nineth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. a brand new poll, eight amazing updates, seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the tenth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. ten thousand hits, a brand new poll, eight amazing updates, seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. the Wing Commander card game, ten thousand hits, a brand new poll, eight amazing updates, seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Johnny gave to me.. Thrakhath's severed head, the Wing Commander card game, ten thousand hits, a brand new poll, eight amazing updates, seven new episodes, movie merchandise, five.. Prophecies.., four new books, the price freedom, two Dralthi IV's.. and rumors of Privateer three..

Yay! You can find our other holiday tunes here.

Book 'Em A Little More

LOAF has added one more section to his Wing Commander Book Collectors' Guide. A few international publications can be found here. Below is the full-color original (non-translation) Japanese official guide to Wing Commander 3 for Playstation.

Merry Christmas Eve

In a bit of early Christmas house-cleaning, LOAF has trimmed the ban list at Crius. So perhaps a few more of you now can wish the Forums a Merry Christmas. Most of the staff here has shopping and other last minute things to get done, so we'll see you guys tomorrow.

Book 'Em!

Interested in collecting Wing Commander merchandise, or perhaps just the history of the franchise? We can help! You can find the CIC's new guide to American Wing Commander books here and the guide to German Wing Commander books here. We've provided author names, cover art, ISBN and history for every work of Wing Commander literature that we know of - including official guides, unofficial guides and novels! Notice anything missing? Then let me know to help this embryonic collectors guide grow!

More From Johnny

Captain Johnny has posted another model to the Forums.

If you can't name at least two Wing Commander products that this ship appeared in, you need to check out the discussion at Crius.net.

Site Of The Year Voting In Progress

If you missed it last week, you can still vote for your favorite Wing Commander website and fan project. If you're new to this, we run annual awards in two categories. You may submit one vote from each of the listings below.

The nominees for general Site of the Year are..

And the nominees for Fan Project of the Year are..

You can email your votes in here. Just one vote per category. Thanks to all who have voted already!

Unknown Enemy 2 on the Horizon Post-Standoff

Last month we missed a little bit of info on the upcoming Unknown Enemy 2 project. For those who have been following Fan Projects and mods, UE is considered by many to be the first completed full-length full-featured mod for a Wing Commander game. A variety of newly introduced ships take you through an exciting campaign in the Secret Ops engine. UE won our "Fan Project of the Year" award in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Because it is now complete it's not in the running for 2003, but much of the team is currently working on Standoff. They had this to say.
So, while the UE2 project continues to vegetate, the first anniversary of UE's release quietly slipped by. Hard to believe that it was already so long ago :). Anyway, we are still busy with Standoff, which is progressing nicely. So, not much to report for UE2. The plot has been kinda hanging where we left it a few months ago. However, in the last few days, I have done some work on the new fighters for UE2 - that is to say, I've been writing out their development histories, and working out their stats (a process that includes repeated in-game testing). This is fairly trivial stuff, but it actually does help a bit with the plot - knowing how many of the new fighters are available helps to work out exactly what roles they will play in UE2. And of course, testing the stats is a lot of fun ;).
I know quite a few people who will be looking forward to this one when it's eventually complete. You can find out more on Unknown Enemy (and grab the game for yourself!) here.

Nominate Prophecy at IGN

A lot of gaming sites are doing their year-end reviews now. Some are carrying out different awards and will ask for reader submissions next month, but IGN has gone ahead and put theirs up already. Since it was IGN that first revealed Prophecy Advance to the world through a Technological Excellence Award, it would be somewhat fitting if the game won something here. They are taking nominations in several categories. Prophecy should be a contender for Best Overall, Best Action Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Graphics, and Best Game No One Played. Those are the links to submit write-in nominees. To check our their actual feature, visit the site here.

KIS Karga's Fusion Engines Brought Online

Today in the year 2670 a team from the FRLS Independence restarted the fusion engines aboard the abandoned KIS Karga. Dubbed Project Goliath, the operation to restore this abandoned Kilrathi Bhantkara Class Carrier took a positive turn this weekend.
The Karga is operational; emergency power, lights, some instruments and partial artificial gravity are online. The Karga's fusion engines are brought online. Project Goliath conferences are now being held in the Operations Planning Center on the Karga instead of the FRLS Independence.

Primary flight control is online. Half the flight wing from the Independence is transferred to Karga, to the dismay of Captain Galbraith; they need the Confederation planes until everyone can get trained on the Kilrathi craft. The portside flightdeck will take a few more weeks to repair. Shields and maneuvering drives are given priority from now on.

The Independence and the Vision Quest are to head back to Landreich space the next week. Bhaktadil's marines are assigned to the Karga.

If this sounds unfamiliar or nostalgic to you, it's time to read Wing Commander False Colors.

Johnny Discovers Doppelgangers

Over at Crius, Captain Johnny has posted a variety of dual-use and neato Wing Commander models. Can you place where the ships came from? There is more than one correct answer.

If you don't recognize each of the ships from at least two separate Wing Commander games, you've got some studying to do! You can check out Johnny's hints and the ensuing discussion at Crius.net here.

Origin Still Hiring

Periodically we like to take a peek at Origin's job postings page. There currently appear to be about half a dozen positions available at OSI. Two are Programmers for Ultima Online, and two are multipurpose customer service reps. There is also a slot for an artist and quality assurance engineer. Ultima X is their current big title in production, and it appears that all these current positions revolve around the Ultima franchise in some form. If you'd like to take a peek, you can find Origin's job page here.
Take this opportunity to join ORIGIN Systems, the undisputed leader in online entertainment software and home of such acclaimed titles as Wing Commander and Ultima Online. Current openings include..

WingCommander.de Invites You To Play

Martin Schatz from WingCommander.de sent us a note about the continued success of their online Wing Commander role playing game. "Wing Commander Online Rollenspiel Deutschland" has been in operation for about six years now and boasts over a hundred active members. I'm not sure about the details of their gameplay methods, but the game is conducted in German. Anyone who speaks the language might consider giving them a look. Wing Commander has been extremely popular in Germany over the years as evidenced by the number of language translations official products have received. You can find more information on the RPG here.

Multimedia Technical Documents Compiled

Mike Melanson and Mario "HCl" Brito have compiled some very technical research into the codecs and file formats used in the later Wing Commander games. The Multimedia Research Institute Site has added a number of documents concerning these details. Information on Wing Commander 3's MVE multimedia file format can be found here. The famous Xan codec is covered here, though currently it covers the Wing Commander 3 variant. And TRE file research for WC3, WC4 and Prophecy can be found here. And more is on the way.
I am a multimedia hobbyist, historian, researcher, and fanatic. I maintain a little website called the Multimedia Research Institute (MRI). The MRI carries as many useful, specific, technical details about computer multimedia formats as I can possibly track down and publish.

Edit: Got another piece of info here.

I neglected to mention another useful piece of data on the site-- The following document has a collection of simple audio coding algorithms, including the Xan DPCM algorithm used in Xan AVI files: "Simple Time Domain Audio Coding" and Xan DPCM is here.

WC Weapons Fail To Sell

Last week, an eBay "live auction" took place. Among the lots were two weapons, apparently from Wing Commander. One item was a rifle, and the other was a "flame thrower." Sadly the picture links in the auctions are now broken so we can't identify what the weapons actually were. That said, neither weapon was actually sold since they failed to reach their reserve price so maybe they'll resurface in another auction somewhen. You can read more details about the weapons, including how they were used in Star Trek at these links: Rifle and Flame Thrower.

Update: Justin Beitelspacher has kindly provided us with pictures of the items. I'm still not sure where in WC they are used.

Forstchen Gets Beaten Up

The Citizen Times has decided to celebrate Christmas by posting an article about moments when WC author William Forstchen has suffered physical pain. The highlights of the article include when Forstchen had his lip split by a crazy woman, and when he broke three ribs falling over in Mongolia. Forstchen is quite fond of Mongolia and intends to write a novel set there soon. You can read the full story here.

March To A Different Theme

Kind of nervous after The Fatman's recent announcement that the Wing Commander music would be "reorchestrated"? Well, fret no longer - he was kind enough to provide LeHah with a sample... which you can download here. It's a pretty-darned-impressive version of the first portion of the Wing Commander theme (MP3 format)!

Forstchen Christmas Panic!

Wing Commander author William R. Forstchen and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have written a short Christmas article at PHXnews.com, which reflects on the holiday during the American Civil War. Forstchen and Gingrich recently published Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, a highly detailed alternate history. To quote:
The true miracle of that Christmas at war... that in the end we as a nation would heal. In defense of our freedom, great-grandsons of the soldiers of 1862, North and South, white and black, would serve side by side in the freezing cold of Bastogne and in the extraordinary heat of Guadalcanal, and on this Christmas of 2003, soldiers of our country yet again stand the long, lonely watch, so that back home, we may quietly celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, and the Miracle of the Lights in the Temple.

Vote Fan Sites Of The Year!

There's just two weeks left in 2003, and now's your chance to pick which sites you feel created the most positive influence in our community this year. As usual, we've divided the categories into general standing websites and fan projects or mods. This year has been a great year for Wing Commander fans, and many other people beyond the administrators of the sixteen sites below have helped us this year. Thanks to all, and now let's vote.

The nominees for general Site of the Year are..

And the nominees for Fan Project of the Year are..

And there you have it! Please email your top pick from each category to vote@wcnews.com. Duplicate or suspicious voting methods will result in disqualification.

Final Lord of the Rings Premieres Tonight

Many of us have a date with a movie theater later tonight to catch the final chapter in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. On December 12 TheOneRing.net did an interview with John Rhys-Davies who plays Paladin in Wing Commander 3 and 4 and also stars as Gimli in the Rings trilogy. Several versions of the Quicktime interview are available here. I met some of the OneRing people at DragonCon some years back. They had a laptop set up with it with a copy of their site to check out.

WC Saga Uses Lost WC Ship

Tolwyn from the WC Saga mod has written to us about the latest ship to get imported in to the mod. It looks to be shaping up quite nicely.
The next vessel being rolled out is a Kilrathi capital ship that was seen in the Wing Commander CCG and video game versions of WC3, but wasn’t seen in the PC version of WC3 itself. However it was seen in the ending movie of WC4, in which there is a flashback of a flashpak decimating a Kilrathi vessel. This ship is that Kilrathi vessel. There is no official classname to this, and until one can be confirmed, ConFleet Intel has codenamed this the “Dork’lath”-class transport, a member of the “Dorkir” family.

For all purposes, this thing is a complement to the modular transports that we have all seen, loved, and destroyed during WC3, but this is more inclined to carry personnel, assault Marines, etc etc. Therefore, to make its purpose just a bit different from the regular Kilrathi transport, the staff is calling it a troop transport. But this is a logistics hull afterall, and can be configured to carry anything and everything, not just troops.

Choose One Option

We've been working up to this one. These past four months we asked which type of capital ship from Wing Commander I through Secret Ops you would most like to serve on. Our new poll asks which of the five winning options is your absolute favorite.
The Bengal class Strike Carrier from Wing Commander
(i.e. TCS Tiger's Claw)

The Confederation class Dreadnought from Wing Commander II
(i.e. TCS Concordia)

The Ranger class Light Carrier from Wing Commander III
(i.e. TCS Victory)

The Vesuvius class Heavy Carrier from Wing Commander IV
(i.e. TCS Vesuvius)

The Midway class Heavy Carrier from Wing Commander Prophecy
(i.e. TCS Midway)

Holding The Line Chapter 172

What's more exciting than the capture of Saddam? Why, the next HTL chapter, of course! Here's Raptor:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with Part 1 of End Of The Spiral II, follows the crew of Battlegroup Auriga, formerly based around the late TCS Valley Forge. Part 1 of EOTS II is itself two chapters long, of which this is the first chapter. (Got all that?) It's also a fairly long arcing story, stretching from the final parts of the retreat in Loki to the present stage of the battle. This story is jointly written by all the Auriga team. Please send any and all comments to them via the addresses in the header, not to me.

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

Best, Raptor

WC Saga Concept Music Available

Tolwyn from WC Saga has passed along an mp3 by Glyn R Brown for their upcoming Freespace 2 mod. It's quite a nice orchestral track inspired by Wing Commander. There are some cool familiar elements incorporated into it, and it flows well. At 3.3 megs it's a good one to grab. You can download "WC Saga Idea" here.

Geoffrey Tolwyn Reinstated

On this day in 2668, Geoffrey Tolwyn takes command of Third Fleet and is authorized to halt invasion into Confederation space by any means necessary as outlined in Emergency Decree 394. This was in response to the Discovery of the Hakaga Fleet inbound towards Earth and end to the false armistice of 2668.
Emergency Decree 394A allows pilots from the Confederation's active reserves to be called back to active duty. The decree was declared before the Battle of Earth in 2668 and had never been lifted.

WCSOM Opens For Business

Solsector has a new resident. WCSOM is now open for business. Primarch has found a segment of Wing Commander fandom that's been neglected for some time. Before the big mods such as Unknown Enemy, Standoff, Saga and others came together, people created exciting simulator missions for Secret Ops. Strung together, mini-campaigns were created and explored. WCSOM goes back to the roots of Secret Ops modding and archives some of the first attempts at modern fan projects.

Rebellion is not quite as long as Alien Legacy. It has four episodes with a total of twenty eight missions and several cut scenes. As with Alien Legacy all missions will come with individual briefings as well as a Simtext file that will allow a limited pre-flight briefing on the actual simulator screen.
I think a lot of people missed out on these fan campaigns back in the day. I know the CIC missed reporting on them from time to time. Now's your chance to catch up!

Neil Young on Movies, Games & LOTR

Over in #Wingnut today we were having a big discussion about games we'll all be playing in 2004. We play a lot of Generals in #Wingnut, so we've been eyeing the Lord of the Rings game using the Generals engine. It looks pretty neat, and it looks like old Origin general manager Neil Young has a hand in it. EGM has an interview here where Young talks about his involvement in EA's recent crop of hit LOTR games. It's a good read if you're interested in this kind of stuff.

Big New Information On Wing Commander Album

The Fat Man and Team Fat has some exciting news for us. We've been following this potential project for a long time, and while it appears to be a good half-year away yet, it's taken an interesting turn. Although we've had some minor updates to keep things going over time, today's update represents a big boost to the project. If you haven't been following this topic, Team Fat is responsible for classic Wing Commander music in the first several WC games. Here are some of the important parts of our new development.
I'm just fine, and please send my love and thanks to all the Wing Commander fans! Regarding the Wing Commander CD. We have had it all set, musically, for over a year. However, before I got around to writing up the liner notes, an interesting light came on in my mind. This happened as a result of all the accolades for the great sounding orchestral scores that are coming out now for games...

It seems fairly evident to me that the tone of the orchestra brings a real joy to the hearts of people who hear it. And while Team Fat may be providing equal composition skills, and may be bringing an equally worthy personal vision to the listener as the New Orchestral Breed (many of whom I admire greatly: Michael Gioccano, the SoundDelux people, etc.), our vision is not going to "get through to" people as well without the big orchestral tone.

If it were a big hassle and a great expense for us to create that magnificent tone, we might be tempted to release the album "as-is," get closure, and let it go at that. However, it just so happens that we are in a remarkable position as far as orchestration goes. Dave Govett is known in all of the film, TV and Game circles as "The Man" for orchestral samples. He's begun to score for Hollywood movies, too. SO...

We decided a couple of months ago to re-orchestrate all of the WC music before we release it. We've been meeting on the topic regularly...the latest meeting was this morning at breakfast. Looks like we won't be quite able to meet our March deadline...I'm thinking we'll shoot for June or so. I'll try to leak some snippets to you as we go.

You can find the complete text at Crius here. The emphasis is mine. This is great news! Although it means a little delay still, what we'll be getting will be a treat. If you missed it earlier, we posted their original Wing Commander "surf theme" a few months back here.

Black Isle Studios Shut Down

Many sites have recently reported on Interplay's closure of Black Isle Studios. As the creators of great series such as Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Fallout, there are many fans saddened by this news. Wing Commander fans can relate, although since Origin is still standing on some level today, Black Isle's situation may appear to be more dire. Best of luck to them.

Macross Transformation Shots Available

Although I originally had a lot of doubts about the Macross: Do You Remember Love mod for Secret Ops, it seems to be developing at a steady pace. Blackwolf had released a number of new shots again, and now you can see some of the Macross ship transformation in action.

We are still working hard, but the holidays are coming and some work will slow. I'll be releasing in-game shots now and then and answer the question you might have. I have updated the web site and will add more pages as soon as I get them done. Note all models are now high polycount and work great in game and still even have higher resolution textures.
You can find a variety of alternative screenshots at the main mod site here and at the Macross mod forum here.

Chris Roberts Produced Movie Spawns Game

It's not quite Wing Commander: The Movie: The Game, but it's close. If you haven't been following his every move lately, Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts is currently executive producer of the upcoming comic-inspired Punisher movie. Several sites have recently reported that the new movie will have a video game to go along with it. The game will be released for the Playstation 2 and XBox is the fall of 2004. So far it doesn't look like Chris Roberts himself will have anything to do with the game's production.

Prophecy Score For Download

Top Dollar has ripped all of the in-game music from Prophecy and made them available as high quality MP3s.
This is one of those game scores that evoke nostalgic feelings in me. For other people, this might apply to one of the countless Final Fantasy scores or the (awesome) Chrono Cross. But for me (who got into japanese video game score much, much later), this was one of the first games I would have bought the accompanying OST. Some might say: But there WAS an OST for it. Yes, indeed, BUT: The OST featured nothing from the score by Oldziey and only two songs by Cobalt 60 featured in the game. So I skipped this one.

If you would like to leave him some feedback, his contact details are in this readme. Among other things, the file also includes some technical information on the audio quality and the codecs used. You can download the tracks from our ftp:

Dragon*Con Video Fun

Sadly our own Dragon*Con gallery is coming along rather slowly, but now you can pretend that you were there. Or at least watching the television there. DCTV offers a selection of original videos which were made for the event. Highlights include "Stormtroopers Go Wild" and the "Used Starship Sale". We might be able to get some of our own video footage up soon. Don't forget to make plans to go to D*C 2004!

WC Standoff Site Updated

Eder had done a long-awaited update to the Wing Commander Standoff mod site. There have been developments with cockpits and comm videos, and they've added a new staff member. While their site has been quiet for the past month, members of their team have been hard at work building different aspects of the game. The Stiletto's cockpit is available to check out now. I can't wait to fly it for the first time.

You can find more at the Standoff site here.

We Have Two WCA Mirrors

Dishwasher's been getting hit pretty hard this week, so we'd like to remind everyone that the local WCA mirror here at the CIC is still active. Both mirror lists are available from the Academy section here.

New Academy Mirror Online

Dishwasher has graciously offered to host an Academy mirror for us. You can find links to his mirrored files in the Academy section here.

If you don't get sound when playing these, try installing the older DivX 3.11 alpha codec. WCA episode numbering can be a little confusing. This previous update will tell you what order to watch them in.

R-Type III For GBA To Be Released

Gamestop now lists a December 17 release date for Raylight's (of Prophecy fame) R-Type III.
The evil Bydo Empire is seeking to wipe out our species. After their failure in two campaigns, the Bydo Empire is launching the definitive assault. You are the last pilot on Earth: you must fly the untested R-90 against the evil Bydo. Great game features like three unique Force Pods with their varied weapons: Round Force, Shadow Force and Cyclone Force and excellent level design with outstanding special effects, combine for a great arcade experience.
Another SNES classic makes it to the Gameboy Advance.

Wing Commander Movie on Dutch Net 5 Today

There's not a lot of time between now and the showing, but for the few of you who'll get this, Peter from The Netherlands found this listing. At 8:30 pm Saturday night the Wing Commander movie will be showing on the channel RTL 5. Good luck catching it in time.

Edit: It's RTL 5, not Net 5.

More on Ultima X

I wrote an entire UXO update yesterday and left out one of the main quotes that I'd planned to include. IGN's RPG Vault has a series of developer interviews that is following the continuing progress of Ultima X. It's a good read that describes the game in fairly good depth and provides some good Q&A. The quote on this page struck me as quite funny.
Jonric: What is the role of player vs. player combat in Ultima X: Odyssey, and how does it function? What were the major considerations when you made your key decisions in this area?

Amy Sage: There's no better AI than that of a human being, which means there will always be a desire to incorporate PvP in a way that allows you to experience that rush of adrenaline.

I bolded the odd part. You can read the whole article here.

More On Eve Online

On the topic of massively multiplayer games, I noticed at ATFW that Homeland has just done a similar developer interview for the Privateer themed Eve Online.
HomeLAN - What are some the most surprising things that CCP has encountered since the release of the game?

Sigurður Ólafsson - We had expected that people would be dedicated with the time they spent in the game but we have numerous examples of players that have gone much further than we expected. We have gotten reports of players that never sleep more than 80 min at a time as that is the time it takes to fill their industrial ship with ore, while we were at E3 there was a constant stream of players asking if they could log in using our demo computers to train a new skill. We have been contacted by the parents of disabled children who say that EVE has brought light into their live, one had even constructed a special input device for his son so he could play EVE, such stories have brought us joy.

You can find the full interview here.

You can find out more about Eve Online here.

Another Look at Ultima X Odyssey

We haven't really taken a good look at Origin's Ultima X Odyssey since it was announced this past summer, and there have been some various developments since then. I'll frontload this update with pictures. New ones have been steadily released and they look pretty neat.

In these shots you can finally see more of the interface and a couple of rather cool animals/monsters are revealed. A number of videos are now available for UXO as well. In their Download Area you can even find footage from the Premiere Event. The Origin Museum's Joe Garrity can be seen and heard throughout. AIM icons, wallpaper, music and other bonus downloads can also be found here.

System requirements have not been finalized yet, but the release date is tentatively set for about March. A pricing structure has been announced as well. Subscribers to the original Ultima Online will also get a discount on a dual subcription.

Regular Pricing
If you subscribe to either Ultima Online™ or Ultima X: Odyssey™, the rates* are as follows: $12.99 each month, $34.99 every three months (about $11.66 per month), & $59.99 every six months (about 9.99 per month)

Ultima™ Premium Pricing
For players who want to play both Ultima Online and Ultima X: Odyssey, we offer reduced pricing on Ultima™ subscriptions. The result is that you’re getting both Ultima games for one low ubscription rate, even though you are being billed separately for each game. $19.98 each month for both, a savings of $6.00 per month, $54.98 every three months (about $18.33 per month), a savings of $15.00, & $99.98 every six months (about 16.66 per month), a savings of $20.00.

There should begin a public beta soon, so stay tuned for information and signups on that. CIC staff member ace and many other Wing Commander fans were part of Origin's original UO beta back in 1997. I remember when the idea of a massively multiplayer game sounded so crazy and high-tech. Now there's a new one each week. But I'd keep my eye on Origin and keep my fingers crossed so this one does well.

Wing Commander on Sci Fi Channel Saturday

As we reported last month, the Wing Commander movie will be showing on the Sci Fi channel on Saturday. It begins at 12:30 pm Eastern US time. That's shortly after noon. Or you could buy it from Walmart for $5.88. Or both!

WC Saga Unveils Jutland Concept Design

Tolwyn has announced the latest ship for the Freespace 2 mod, WC Saga. It looks pretty neat, and I'll let him introduce it here.

The first is the Jutland-class CVA, a Fleet Attack Carrier that entered service between WC1 and WC2 times. Named after famous sea battles, notable ships are the Jutland, Trafalgar (End Run novel), and the Leyte Gulf (Fleet Action novel). Other sister ships include (but are not limited to) the Coral Sea, Tsushima, and the Gibraltar.

Length is still being debated but it's around 750-800 meter range. Armament is the modernized “WC3” loadout: 2 Anti-Matter Turrets, 2 IFF Missile Turrets, and 10 Laser Turrets. Its original trio of flak cannons were replaced by missile turrets and lasers. Complement is 90 aircraft.

We didn’t want to make this a radical ship, but rather, we intended this design to blend in both WC3 and WC2 ship design. The bow borrows a lot from the Confederation-class dreadnoughts, but also has a fly-through launch bay just like the Concordia and Ranger carriers. The side conning tower is a tribute to the Victory and the Lexington, and its location near the stern serves as an inspiration to the later Vesuvius-class supercarriers.

It should be noted that the ship model and textures are the real model, and what it looks like is exactly what you’ll see in WC Saga. For purely “showoff” purposes and to connect the novel to the views, we have named this the TCS Trafalgar in spite of WC3 era paintjob that has no basis in WC2 times. The WC Saga Campaign will feature another Jutland-class carrier. Small changes are needed to this model, such as workable turret models, and the small shift of the rear name from top to bottom of the launch bay near the stern.

Lastly, this disclaimer will be said and you will see it again whenever we unveil our other new vessels. It will be arrogant to say that this vessel ship design is canon. The existance is the vessel itself is canon and undeniable, but the concept art was never shown to us and it was up to us to figure out what it looked like. What you are seeing now is merely an artist’s interpretation, and one that we hope is the most qualified for the time being.

The concept art and blueprints were done by psych and the modeling and textures by Lynx. Good job!

Server Move Complete

Looks like everything took just two and a half hours. The CIC is even more secure now in the event of nuclear war or epic flooding.

Look At My Stick (The Things We Do For Love)

Some time ago we reported on the existence of Europe-only GameCube flight sticks. Unfortunately, they haven't been available in the US - since the prevailing industry opinion seems to be that Americans are no longer interested in flight games. But all was not lost! My recent trip to France was an excellent excuse to smuggle a GameCube 'stick back to the states (wrapped in dirty laundry, to evade customs crack team of joystick sniffing dogs).

But how does this help us? There's no Wing Commander game for the GameCube - and no one cares about freakish new ways to navigate Animal Crossing. You forget, however, the GameBoy Player! By putting one (GameCube), one (GameBoy Player) and one (GameCube Flightstick) together, I was able to play... PROPHECY ADVANCE WITH A JOYSTICK! Here's some pictures!

How does it play? Surprisingly well - it took me about ten minutes to become acustomed to the sensitivity of the joystick (I'm used to regular Prophecy with a first generation Sidewinder FF) -- but after that, Prophecy was smooth and fun! Now we just need a GameCube throttle and rudder pedals...

Joystick sniffing dogs?

CIC On The Move - Scheduled Downtime

Some time in the next 36 hours the CIC server will be moved to a new datacenter. If all goes according to plan, there will be a downtime of up to 4 hours, during which it will seem as if we never existed. Normal service should resume as soon as our server is switched on again at the new location. Depending on when that happens, the staff may or may not be around to immediately deal with any problems that do come up, but we'll make sure everything is up and running as soon as possible. The sites affected are wcnews.com, crius.net, solsector.net, wc-aces.com and ace-1.com.
PST: December 3,  9:00 pm - 3:00 am
MST: December 3, 10:00 pm - 4:00 am
EST: December 4, 12:00 am - 6:00 am
GMT: December 4,  5:00 am - 11:00 am
CET: December 4,  6:00 am - 12:00 pm
This includes irc.wcnews.com as well.

More Macross Ships Coming This Week

Determined to keep working hard on his unusual Macross mod, Blackwolf has announced a number of ships that will be incorporated into the Secret Ops engine this week. If you're a Macross fan, you can check out some of the upcoming ships here.

X2: The Threat Shipping Imminent

GameSpot and others are reporting about the imminent shipment of X2: The Threat for the PC this week. The game originates from Germany, and its launch has been slowed slightly because of that. Certain sites such as GoGamer.com have had the game for about a week, while mainstream North American retailers have shipping dates that range over the next few days. Tye has already received his GoGamer copy and loves it, so the game certainly does exist now. X2: The Threat is the sequel to 2000's X: Beyond the Frontier. The sequel seems to improve on a number of the spaceflight trading aspects from Privateer and Freelancer. We've also reported in the past that a number of ships in the game bear a striking resemblance to Wing Commander Prophecy ships. The Midway, Triton, Tiamat and others have clear counterparts in the game, and the bug-like alien ships can combine similarly to the Stingray and Skates. But so far most reviews are quite positive. The game looks quite good and has a variety of nice features for the Privateer fan. And here's a little tip from Tye.
This game rocks. Tip for all of you for X2. A few missions in they give you a new ship, a transport ship. You still have it AND the little scout they gave you. I'm regretting giving up the scout right now, because I coulda sold the transport for some wicket upgrades for it. Oh well.
The game has two official sites. One with Enlight and one with Egosoft.

From Wing Commander to Ozzy & Drix

Wing Commander Prophecy Advance developers Raylight are wrapping up their next game. It's called Ozzy & Drix and it's based off the Kids' WB television cartoon and movie. I've never seen the show, but the game's technical performance looks stunning. Similar to Prophecy Advance, it doesn't even appear to be a gameboy game at first glance. The game's site has screenshots and video available here. It should make it out in the next couple weeks. No word recently on Raylight's upcoming R-Type III title.

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