Holding The Line Chapter 175

This week we wish HTL a happy birthday as the project celebrates its fifth birthday. Wow, time sure flies. Now here's Raptor with the latest chapter:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with "Finest Hour", the fifth story in a series about the big Finale battle which is written by yours truly. As you saw in previous stories, what had been expected to be a mopping up operation had suddenly turned pear shaped. The Combined Fleet had been forced to scramble its fighters as news filtered through of a powerful new enemy force bearing down on it, and its commanders had been left searching for some way out of the situation. This story picks up from there. Your comments and feedback are much appreciated.

On another note, HTL celebrated its fifth birthday this week, having started publishing stories on 28th January 1999. In that time, HTL has gone from being an underdog storyline comprised of mostly unknown writers to being the Aces Club's main story effort. It is now close to 90 percent complete, and currently publishing its final battle arc.

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

Best, Raptor

We Want To Measure You

Among the various promotional items we've proposed lately, it looks like our polo shirts will pan out first. If you intend to pick up one of these shirts and are a registered Crius.net member, drop on by and vote in Jibbo's size poll. This will help us determine how to balance our order. The price is expected to be about $20 per shirt with higher costs for the larger sizes and overseas shipping. Thanks for the input.

Several New Ultima X Updates Surface

The official Ultima X website has updated with a variety of new information. There's a new video, screenshots, bestiary entry and more. They also have an interesting survey. UXO seems to be shaping up as a fairly interesting combat and character based massively multiplayer game. Hopefully it does well so Origin can expand a bit into other things.

The game is still a few months off, but beta signup should begin very soon.

Battle Stations Team Still Upbeat

Although it's been a little quiet for a couple weeks, the team from WC Battle Stations is still working hard on their project. Recent efforts have gone towards end level bosses and some basic story elements. They've also added a staff member.
I will like to announce that Alex "Rylex" Grober will be helping us with the creation of the Video Scenes for WCB.
Rampage is also looking for a good Rapier model to integrate into the project. Let him know if you can help.

New Reckoning Build Released

Tomanak noticed that the renewed effort to bring Wing Commander ships into the Freelancer engine has made a new build available. The Hellcat, Vindicator, Thunderbolt, Crossbow and half a dozen other prominent ships make an appearance in the WC Reckoning mod. You can update your Freelancer game with this mod by using the Freelancer Mod Manager. Lancers Reactor now hosts The Reckoning's download package here. They also have some cool screenshots of a Wraith and Thunderbolt going at it. You can discuss this mod in the Crius Reckoning Forum.

Pens, Pens, Pens

Our new shipment of pens just arrived from the Agincourt, so we're back up to a reasonable stock level. I should be able to catch up on a few old debts before too long. Thought you might want to check out the box they came in.

Fralthra Flak Rains on Standoff

The mighty Fralthra has been imported to the Secret Ops engine for Standoff. It looks quite impressive. I really get a kick out of seeing the older ships in the Vision Engine. The third shot below also showcases the new flak turret effect that the Standoff team has created.

You can find other screenshots from Standoff here.

WC Saga Unveils Its First Campaign

Tolwyn has announced the storyline and premise for the introductory campaign for WC Saga. This is where the game will begin when the project is released.
The flagship campaign of Wing Commander Saga, “Front Line of the Devil” begins right before Wing Commander 3 and concludes with the ending of the Terran-Kilrathi War (whether or not the Terrans win depends on you).

It has been six months after the Battle of Earth, and in spite of new fighters, carriers, and technology joining the Fleet, the War Effort is not going well. Every day, more news of fresh defeats and losses make their way around the Confederation Forward Fleet, who have to face the possibility that they will not be the ultimate victors.

You are based on the TCS Hermes, one of the handful of large carriers left on the front line. You play the role of Second Lieutenant David Markham, a pilot recently transferred to the Hermes.

And on it goes. The epic campaign will span 35 missions with many exciting features. You can find more information here.

Retro Interview: Making the WC CCG

In the early days of Scrye magazine, Jeff Grubb created an article on the making of the Wing Commander Customizable Card Game. This dates back to Issue Ten in 1995. It goes into great depth on the background and implementation of this project. The layout is fun, so I've got some relatively high quality (half meg) scans of each page to preserve the full atmosphere. The article gives some background about the Wing Commander series and what events had to come together to produce a card game. The article has some cool behind-the-scenes information such as the original idea to give the Kilrathi the early edge and reward the Confed player for perservering over time. It also mentions how it was Margaret Weis, Richard Garriott and Andrew Morris who originally suggested and perfected the now-famous diamond hexagon playing field.

We always plan to each year, but this year we have to have a CCG tournament at Dragon*Con. Some older Scrye Wing Commander scans can be found here.

Fleet Tactics Moves to Solsector

The 7th Fleet Headquarters has a new location. We're proud to be the new hosts for Psych and Jibbo's impressive Fleet Tactics site. They've been making lots of improvements and fixing things up since their original debut a month ago. If you missed their initial introduction, you're in for a treat. Fleet Tactics takes a look at the Wing Commander universe from the perspective of the WC3 era and examines many different possible angles. Go ahead and redirect your bookmarks to tactics.solsector.net.

German RPG Back in Business

Florian Lau wrote in to let us know that the German Kilrathi Empire Online Rollenspiel Deutschland is in the process of relaunching. Previous members and new people alike will be welcome to play just as soon as the rules have been rewritten.
I'd like to report, that the Kilrathi Empire Online Rollenspiel Deutschland (www.kilrathi-net.de) is being relaunched in mid-february after being sort of out of business for more than half a year. We used the time to restructure our RPG and to completely rewrite our rules, that finally set us apart from the german Wing Commander Rollenspiel, which we were originally spawned from.

We are, of course, still playing on the side of everyone's favorite cat-like alien species but our story now takes place in the year 2678, 9 years after the destruction of Kilrah. The empire is shattered and different fractions of the Kilrathi are fighting for supremacy. We are playing one of those fractions longing for power that seizes the moment as the Border World conflict is being stirred up again. After the assassination of Senator James Taggart who led the negotiations between the Confederation and the BWU the fleets of Space Marshall Geoffrey Tolwyn and Admiral William Eisen clash once again, leaving Kilrathi space unattended to and ripe for reclaiming by our glorious clan.

As you can see, there's been some modification to the timeline after 2672. The general storyline is partially inspired by 'False Colors'. Our recruitment centers are now open to the public.

Thra´Khrom nar Skabakhas
Gamemaster

Battle of the Cheap WC DVDs

So you got a shiny new DVD player for Christmas and need something to play on it? Or maybe you just want a new copy of WC since you can never have too many. Either way, Walmart and Outpost.com are battling it out to give you a good price. Walmart is offering the DVD for $5.88 + $2.98 ground shipping, although they are currently out of stock. Outpost's deal is $4.99 + $3.95 ground shipping, and they have stock. There's not much in it. Know of a better deal? Let us know!

Retro Interview: William R. Forstchen

We've been digging through our vaults, and have tracked down a collection of material from the CIC's ancestor, WCHS. First to be added back into our archives is an interview with Wing Commander author William Forstchen, which we performed way back in 1997. Mr. Forstchen talks about how the novel series came to be, dealing with continuity with video games, the then-upcoming Action Stations and False Colors and touches on several projects that never came to be. You can find it all here.

Mars or Bust

Scientists at NASA JPL are now one step closer to locating the ancient Steltek base hidden somewhere on Mars. MER-B "Opportunity" landed succesfully at Meridiani Planum early this morning - and is already sending back some pretty neat pictures. Just think - in 669 years, Maniac will be living there.

Hey, It's A New Space Sim

It looks like there's another Privateer themed space sim on the horizon. Perhaps this is a sign that this particular subgenre is doing a little bit better since Freelancer. This one's called Project Freedom, and as you'd expect of a space sim in 2004, the graphics look rather impressive. The premise doesn't differ all that much from Freelancer or the recent X2 game from what I can see, and if you like those, this appears to be your game. Similar to Freelancer or the recent Battlestar Galactica console game, Project Freedom focuses on a third person chase camera while you play. The lighting seems nice and the colors are pretty. Here's a couple shots to see for yourself.

All new colonies, bases and mines have been equipped with sophisticated defense systems and all scientific research has been taken over by the military. But defining national borders in open space is not as easy as it is on good, old Earth... Become a mercenary and take part in this perhaps final conflict for mankind. In exchange for your leadership, one of the sides will give you the only prototype of the new, experimental space fighter Epsilon.
Sounds like it has potential. I think we spotted this one at the newly reopened WingCenter forum.

Dragon*Con Prices Jump Soon

Dragon*Con 2004 ticket prices are set to rise to $60 in about two weeks. Until February 13 you have the option to get a four-day pass for $50. If you're debating whether or not to attend, now's the time to start to make up your mind and try to save a little money. Each year our Wing Commander Fan Gathering gets bigger and even more fun. Feel free to email us or visit Crius.net if you have any questions on travel and hotel arrangements. We're more than happy to try to convince you to join us.

Saga's Tallahassee Slips By

WC Saga's Tallahassee Class Cruiser slipped through the cracks late last year. It's quite a pretty ship, so we thought you'd all like to take a look.

The Tallahassee-class fleet cruiser is one of the new naval designs the Terran Confederation started to produce before the False Treaty was signed. It is a simple and efficient design that has been refined for mass production. To save cost, production time, and complexity, the shipbuilders seriously cut back on the fighter carrying capability which they had incorporated on the Waterloo-class heavy cruiser.

The result is a next-generation Confed cruiser that is more then a match for the Kilrathi’s Fralthra and Fralthi II class cruisers. The Tallahassee-class packs a heavy main battery of AMG turrets and a complement of heavy laser batteries, torpedo tubes, and cruise missiles. There is also a small flight deck to carry up to eight light or medium fighters, and four shuttles. Heavy shielding and armor makes it sturdy and durable during combat.

You can find numerous other designs from this fan project here.

EA MultiGame Pack On Sale

Circuit City currently has a deal on an EA package including four games, including the massively multiplayer space sim Earth & Beyond. Need For Speed, Freedom Fighters and C&C Renegade round out the bunch. You can pick this one up here. The pack goes for $9.99 and ground shipping in the US is free. It's probably worth it to test out E&B alone.

Earth & Beyond is trying hard to entice people into the game. Occasionally they hold an amnesty where old players are allowed back in for a short time.

Privateer 2 Files Recovered

While hunting for a copy of the lost Privateer 2 demo, Kris found some files hidden deep within the depths of a vault. First up is a list of commodities and the best routes to take them in order to make a great profit. For example, Kris says that shipping brain implants from Karatikus to Crius is lucrative. You can find the list in Excel format here.

Or perhaps you're just lazy and cheating is more your style. In that case, this money giving hack is just for you. Just load it up, tell it which save file to edit, and tell it how much cash you want. Be sure and read the included readme file before using the program though.

Auction: Wing Commander Trailer

There's one more Wing Commander auction from Sean Murphy now available for bidding: a copy of the Wing Commander IV trailer on 35 mm film. These trailers were shown at theaters around the country in late 1995 as part of the game's marketing campaign. If you've seen 'film cels' from WCIV for sale, they're just images cut up from one of these reels - this is your chance to get it all! Opening bid is $5, you can find the auction here.

Five Minutes of Heaven

Remember the Privateer 2 Demo? Of course you don't - because no one ever made it available online for very long! Unlike its huge cousin, the Wing Commander IV demo, the Darkening demo was never made available through Origin's FTP. Instead, the little demo that could languished only on magazine cover disks, and quickly faded into obscurity. Thanks to Bob McDob we now have a copy available online! You can get it here. There's a stated mission, but the actual demo is just flying around the Tri-System within the given time limit. Have fun!

Wedge Completes Extensive Wing Commander Scripts

I'll let Wedge make the announcement himself.
After more than year's work (thanks to interruptions from life, no doubt), I've finally finished my collection of scripts for the whole Wing Commander series (barring Privateer 2 - the only WC game I don't have). I have made some changes with regard to spelling (translating to English), grammar (some of the casual spoken language was a bit too painful for me to leave), and bad language (say whatever you want about that) - but in the end, no changes were made to the actual meaning of the dialogue. I know there are the scripts for WC3 and WC4 in the CIC's files section, but there are many substantial changes between those scripts and the actual dialogue in the FMV. Anyway, I hope everyone can find these of some use - I know many of you have already done so with my earlier completed transcripts. Now there should be no excuses for not knowing about any bit of information given in the games!
These are wonderful resources for both Wing Commander veterans and those who might have missed a game here or there. If you have any questions or comments, please visit Crius.net here.

Operation Flashpoint Mod In The Works

Matt Schmitt noticed that Operation Flashpoint CZ has begun working on a Wing Commander mod. Yeah, even I'm surprised at this one. You might recall that this was a popular moderm military FPS from a couple years back, but the game did support the use of vehicles and apparently it is easy to work with.

Maybe you know the piece of game history called Wing Commander. Luke started a mod with these team. If you want to join this OFP guy, just contact him...you know how :)
That's kind of neat and a little weird. You can find more at Operation Flashpoint CZ under January 19's news.

Rhys-Davies Making An Appearance in London

I haven't heard from anyone who made it to John Rhys-Davies' Seattle appearance last week, but we know Starman will make it to his next appearance.
Just to let you know that the Wing Commander and Lord of the Rings star John Rhys-Davies will be appearing at the London Film and Comic Con over Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of March 2004. Also many other stars from other sci-fi series will also be appearing. These include Levar Burton, Brent Spiner, and Claudia Christian. More info can be found here.
I'm eagerly awaiting the first real guest list for Dragon*Con 2004, but I have a feeling Rhys-Davies might pop up this year. He had to cancel his visit last year at the last minute, but he's been making quite a few promotional appearances lately.

Galactic Conflict Opens New Campaign

Sangy from Wing Commander Galactic Conflict let us know that their RPG project is now opening a new campaign.
Wing Commander Galactic Conflict is opening a New Campaign in the Vega Sector surronding the primary conflict on the boards. This RPG takes place in 2710, and is just starting. This is a good time for new players to get registered and situated. As well, several War-Game operations will be started in an effort to help newer players learn the game.

Many more exciting RP events are coming up, and we have at last established a firm working RPG on the forums, all we need now are the players.

The Panama War Games campaign that we reported about last week had actually been concluded, but as Sangy mentioned, this is a good time to get started in a game like this.

WingCenter Returns From Long Break

The German Wing Commander hub WingCenter has more or less come back online. They've been down for a few months due to various issues. Apparently they've gotten ahold of an October backup and are restoring some of that. Right now their main page jumps to their forums, which is better than nothing.

You can talk about Wing Commander in German here.

It's A Good Week For RPGs

Kalfor has opened the new Wing Commander Frontiers site. This revamped project is primarily an irc-based Wing Commander role playing game. The site is flash heavy, so make sure your browser is ready.
Yes, WCF's new website is finally online! Yyou will be able to find there a large database of information on the Frontier, its nations and lore, plus information on the game's main carrier, the FMS Paradise, personnel and escort ships. As you will be able to see in the site, the game will be expanding to include mercenary games and soon a strategy/rping game. Check the site for more information.

You can find their site here. Drop by Crius if you have any questions. Other recently active role playing games are Galactic Conflict, The Edge of Chaos, and Holding The Line.

Traditional New Year's Poll Closed

The number of people voting Poor has declined over the years, with the latest figure dropping below 40% again for the first time since 2000. Just over 46% voted on an average to great year for Wing Commander. CIC traffic has grown steadily over the same period, indicating both interest and confidence in Wing Commander are increasing. The new poll asks which surviving character you would most like to see return in a future game. Thanks to Kishore Karra for the suggestion. Previous polls can be found here.

WC Movie on UK Television Tonight

Thanks go to Seb for pointing out that the WC movie will be shown on BBC1 at 12:40am tonight. If you so far haven't been able to get hold of a DVD, this is a good opportunity to watch. You can find BBC's listing about the movie here.

More Auctions!

Wing Commander artist Sean Murphy (story) has put two more Origin collectables up for auction at eBay. As promised, they include a much sought-after copy of Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga (here, starting bid $20). Rounding out todays lot is the rarely seen Origin Audio CD Vol. 2 (here, starting bid $20). This CD, published in response to a joke gone wrong in the Ultima VII credits, includes music from The Black Gate, Serpent Isle and Chris Roberts' Strike Commander. View all Sean's auctions here.

Holding The Line Chapter 174

It has been a couple of weeks since the previous HTL chapter, but don't worry! The project is still going strong. Here's Raptor to tell you all about the latest instalment:
Hey all, Raptor here.
HTL continues with the second chapter of EOTS II Part 1, covering the saga of Battlegroup Auriga in the lead up to the final battle. This story follows own from the last two published chapters (the first chapter of EOTS II Part 1, and Keeping Hope Alive) and is jointly written by the Auriga team. Please send any and all comments to them, not to me.

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

Wing Commander Auctions: Stickers and Cards

Here's your chance to own the same Wing Commander memorabilia that belonged to the pros: Sean Murphy will be auctioning off several Wing Commander items collected during his tenure with Origin! First up are three squadron stickers used on the set of Prophecy (one Wolfpack and two Black Widow) - which you can find here (starting bid $10). These are the same stickers that were used to personalize Prophecy's 'black face' helmet props during the many VDU sequences. The second auction is for a mess of WC:CCG cards, including a starter, two boosters and some loose singles... bid here (starting bid $20).

Sean is a graphic artist who worked Wing Commanders IV, Prophecy and Secret Ops - he's also the namesake for WCSO's Murphy-class destroyers. He's also a really nice guy - I can personally vouch for the fact that he deserves your money! He plans on putting several more items up for bid, including an always-desirable copy of Kilrathi Saga!

John Rhys-Davies in Seattle Tomorrow

For those who missed it last month, John Rhys-Davies will be making an appearance in Seattle Saturday evening. He'll be primarily promoting Lord of the Rings, but the evening's discussion will turn to some of his past projects, likely including Wing Commander. You can find details here or here.

New Wing Commander Fan RPG Pops Up

Antman has opened a new RPG for Wing Commander fans to participate in. They have focused on three reference points to focus on: the Panama Wargames, the Gemini Conflict and K'Tithrak Mang. They have done some preliminary setting up at their forums here. This role playing game allows people to pose as characters and ship who play their positions across the various forums. This differ from other Wing Commander RPGs that mainly choose irc or email to carry out their stories.
In the Panama System, Confed is holding wargames involving elements of both the 3rd and 14th Fleets. However, this exercise is not like the standard fleet exercises, as a new element is added. This is a hypothetical weapon dubbed a "torpedo", which is light enough to carry on bombers, which can penetrate phase shielding. Hence, Blue Fleet trades off battleships for carriers. Red Fleet will be unaware of the "torpedo" to both avoid custom tailoring of the task force for anti-bomber work, and to simulate newly gathered intelligence.
To check this out, head on over to Wing Commander Galactic Conflict.

New Space Plan Officially Announced

As we mentioned last week, yesterday President Bush outlined a new set of objectives in space. Not content with orbiters and rovers, the new plan outlines a replacement for the space shuttle and the construction of a moon test base to prepare for visiting Mars. More than merely policy goals, Bush's announcement asks for billions of dollars of extra money to fund this program. Details on the announcement can be found at the NASA website. They have an interesting budget chart projecting the increased role manned exploratory missions might take through the next two decades.
We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.
Sounds a whole lot better than the prospects we were presented with in the last decade.

Filler Finds Filler

Filler stumbled across what may be the "earliest Luke Skywalker sighting." Four years before Star Wars and twenty-one years before Mark Hamill took up the mantle of Colonel Christopher Blair, he was interviewed for a small magazine fact file.
His name is mark Hamill and you asked to know more about him after his dynamite appearance on "Owen Marshall, Counselor At Law." Now, for the first time, here are the facts on groovy Mark!
Scary! At least there are some funny '70s pictures of him here.

WC Saga Imports The Concordia Class

The WC Saga team has imported the Concordia Class Carrier for their upcoming mod. You might notice some slight differences though..

Here are the latest pictures from the mod, which feature the famous Concordia-class TCS Hermes (CV-33). I may guess that some people will wonder and say, "Hey, the tower has to be on the left side!"

We are partial to the Concordia-class tower being on the right hand side. In WC4, they were forced to rehash the Victory all over again because they ran into probs with using the Connie. This way, this Concordia-class will look similiar enough to the Ranger, but just slightly different so one can say, "Hey, that's a different ship!"

Hey, the tower has to be on the left side.

Help Us Plan CIC Promotional Gear

It's been a busy year for us at the CIC, and the plans for promotional gear we had last year didn't come together. It's a new year now though, and we've brought in some experienced help to get our CIC Gear back on track. Jibbo is currently operating a Crius thread to gauge interest on a variety of promotional items.
1) A black polo shirt with the main CIC logo embroidered on the front in colour (~$20-$25)
2) A red t-shirt with "TCS EISEN" printed on the front and "www.wcnews.com" on the back. Like what they wore under the jumpsuits at Dragon Con. (~$10)
3) A black baseball cap with a blue confed star logo embroidered on the front. (~$15)
4) Replica Jumpsuits which were worn at Dragon Con. (~$70-$90)
5) The Original Black CIC T-shirts with the six-colour main CIC logo screened on. (~$12)
All of the above are still in the preproduction stage, but your response will help us determine what items we pursue. If any of this sounds interesting to you, let us know at Crius.net here. The number of interested people will determine the final cost on items. It helps us the most if you can imagine what you actually might like to spend money on. Thanks.

Profiling Female Characters In Gaming: Spirit

WomenGamers.com features a variety of news and articles that takes a look at the position of female characters in the video game industry. Heart of the Tiger recently noticed that they have a big profile on our own Mariko "Spirit" Tanaka from Wing Commander 1 & 2. In this particular article they give a decent summary of her background and then launch into analyzing her different traits. It's a fun article, though they choose some slightly unflattering shots of her. I'd have gone with a WC2 kimono picture instead of a WC1 manly flight suit rear-shot. They rate her well on looks, attitude, intelligence, stance, voice, scripting and marketing.
You come across various plot devices and story arcs, centering around love, betrayal and the need to win against the Kilrathi. When your commanding officer says good-bye to all the characters before one mission, in case they don't come back, it adds to the game and the personality of the characters. When a character dies, it stings bad. And the script is very much character driven. Throughout the course of the game, you learn of your wingmen's fears and uncertainties of the war, their hopes and dreams and their personal lives.
That pretty much sums up all of Wing Commander there. You can find the article here. See if you agree with it. Although it's quite a positive character analysis, I think a couple items might be a bit off.

HotT Strikes Again, Without Disney

Prolific alternative style Wing Commander artist Heart of the Tiger has sent three of his recent pieces. This time they all prominently feature the Hades Class Cruiser. The first and second shots feature snow and nebula gas respectively, and the third is an anime inspired scene with a Hades drydocked in the background. As usual, his art comes from an interesting and creating perspective.

You can find more art from HotT here.

Jutland Makes it into Secret Ops

The Standoff team has released pictures of the Lynx-designed Jutland carrier concept operating in the Secret Ops engine. This popular new ship has been slightly redesigned to match the Wing Commander 2 era design of the Standoff ships. In recent news, the team has added staff to handle certain aspects of music and voice overs. With much of the graphics and ship work well established, story audio and mission design remains. You can find the latest news on the project here.

You can find more screenshots at the official Standoff site. We previously reported about their work in progress models some weeks back. The same ship presented in the Freespace 2 engine are also available.

Battle Stations Looking for Help to Speed Up Work

Rampage from the Battle Stations scroller project. A 2d artist for capship art and a MIDI music composer would help him speed the project along. More information is at the WCBS site.
The project is going well, slow but steady. To make it faster I need someone that can help me with some 2D graphics, especially with the capital ships. A MIDI music composer will also be greatly appreciated if you are interested in helping me.

WC Saga Now Hiring

Wing Commander Saga has been in the works for a long time, but they've been steadily progressing from simple concept work to impressive visual displays. While many fan projects fade away over time, they have remained vigilant and kept up their hard work. That's not to say that members of their team have had to refocus on local obligations however. Since some team members have had to bow out, the Saga team is currently looking for a few volunteers to help them finish certain aspects of their mod. I'll let Tolwyn take it from here.
Wing Commander Saga is a Freespace 2 Total-Conversion for the famous and outstanding Wing Commander series.

We have been working on this project now for (21) months. We can proudly say that we are almost 70% done and standing shortly before a first release. We have come a long way since the beginning, and with time we have enhanced the project more and more, not only due to the possibilites the SCP-Project give us, but also through the experience gained during our work. Currently we are working on our main campaign, an epic storyline set in the WC3 timeline. In addition, others are working on a mini-campaign set after WC4.

We are honored by being awarded with a CIC Fan Project of the Year Award along with the WC Standoff crew, but we noticed that we'll need a few more staff, especially since some of our other members have finished their work and will be moving on to real-life world obligations. We plan the release of our mod within this year, and this is a very good time for anyone to help apply "the finishing touches" to our mod.

They are looking for artists, modelers, voice actors are coders. Many people ask us how to start their own projects, and we often tell them that entire projects are probably out of their reach. We instead recommend that eager and excited Wing Commander fans first attach themselves to a well established project. This is one of those opportunities. For more information check out the Crius thread here.

Another Battle Stations Peek

Over at the Battle Stations site you can find one more teaser image for this fun looking Wing Commander themed scroller. It features a nifty looking Tiger's Claw.

Solsector.net Welcomes Battle Stations

A few days ago we updated about a new fan made WC arcade shooter which is being worked on by Daniel Brito. Now the project has its own website, based on the CIC's own Sol Sector hosting service. The site is still in early stages, but you can expect it to grow as the project progresses. You can view the WCBS site here.
Wing Commander Battle Stations is a fan made shooter. Taking place during the Wing Commander I Era, you will encounter numerous foes. But you are not alone in the battle, you will be aided by other Confederation fighters and carriers in a battle to save Vega Sector from the Kilrathi.

New Space Initiative Appears Imminent

A number of sites are reporting rumors that President Bush will be kicking off a new US space initiative within the next few days. I'm actually quite surprised at the number of sources carrying the story, especially since none of the details are yet announced. Most prominent among the rumors are a new reusable space vehicle, returning to the moon, a manned moon base and a human Mars mission. It sounds ambitious, but if that sort of talk gets you excited, you might want to pay attention to the news around Wednesday. Geebot was the first to bring this to our attention.

Huge Wing Commander History Presented In Major Russian Mag

Journalist Andrew Schour has recently published major Wing Commander article in the Russian PC gaming magazine Game World Navigator. More than just an article really, this 18 page spread dominates a major portion of the November issue of this magazine. Virtually all aspects of the Wing Commander universe are covered in close detail. Starting with Wing Commander 1 and touching on spin off games, novels, merchandise, the television show, Privateer Online, Prophecy Advance and much more, he provides a complete Wing Commander history for all (who can speak Russian) to see. Using dozens upon dozens of pictures and extensive background information available here at the CIC and WC in Russia, he's crafted something of a masterpiece Wing Commander work. There's good news and bad news about this however. The bad news is that it's not available for sale outside of Russia (and the November issue should be off news stands), but the good news is that they have supplied us with a high quality, complete and exclusive PDF of the entire article! It's really quite a joy to look at, even if you can't read Russian, because of the obvious attention to detail, research and numerous pictures of a diverse range of Wing Commander items. I'm inclined to print this out and use it as a reference when introducing new acquaintances to the Wing Commander universe. You can download this 10 megabyte PDF file for yourself here.

Furthermore, on the magazine's cover DVD they have included some of our Wing Commander Academy episodes, various patches and other great files. This is an awesome tribute to Wing Commander.

Jibbo's Got Some WC2s Too

Jibbo apparently had too much free time on his hands over the holiday, and decided to clear out his basement. It turns out that he had quite a nice collection of WC bits hidden away down there, including quite a few copies of WC2 (although he still can't compete with Chris).

And what better to do with your collections than post pictures in this thread? Hey, that's a mighty fine CIC shirt he has there on top of those WC2s.

Updates on Pens and More

Speaking of fine CIC shirts, I got a question about the CIC pens that trivia winners won several months back. That contest ended shortly before DragonCon, and as many people have heard, we gave out a hell of a lot of pens at the convention. So our supply has been somewhat depleted. Although we've been slow to reorder, we plan to do so soon. Speaking of DragonCon, the lack of a full photo gallery has been the result of the sheer number of pictures we've taken. We're currently cutting hundreds of shots to make the overall gallery more viewable. And I hope to show it and other CIC goodies in the coming weeks.

Thanks for the interest, and sorry for the delay.

Saga of the Warrior King

It's Saturday morning, November 16th... 1996. 10:45 AM. I'd been up for hours - too excited about a new episode of Wing Commander Academy. It's smack in the middle of those thirteen perfect weeks where there was another Wing Commander story every Saturday morning - and then a weekend of talking about it in #Wing-Commander and at the Origin's Official Chat Board. My tape is ready - I've tuned in early so I can't possibly miss anything. I was always nervous when it came to taping things.

Savage Dragon is ending. It's an awful show based on a presumably awful comic book about a guy who turns into a dragon. A savage dragon. Hey, Michael Dorn is playing some sort of viking - that's neat. It's 1996, people still like Star Trek and the world is still pure and clean. It ends, I hit record and then... Mortal Kombat?! What the heck, man?! Mortal Kombat is supposed to be on at 11:30, after Wing Commander. The terrifying possibilities rush through my brain - did WCA get cancelled? Did they air it earlier?! What happened?! I know there's supposed to be an episode today, "Recreation" - the USA Network maintains a remarkably thorough scheduling website (for 1996).

Okay, breath. Watch Mortal Kombat, maybe there'll be a commercial. There is - Wing Commander Academy is next. Whew. That's a load off my mind. I'll tape it then. Who knows why it got switched around - I'll just be more careful in the future. The episode starts... a Kilrathi tug! Awesome awesome awesome. Wing Commander Academy at its finest! Huzzah!.

But wait... it's... Michael Dorn... as a space viking! What the hell?

What the hell indeed. Though I did not know it at the time - and do not understand it to this day - Wing Commander Academy was playing a part in the strangest TV crossover ever imagined. Somehow - and I have in the last eight years seen no commentary on how or why this occured - four separate animation studios agreed to pool their efforts and have Michael Dorn travel as a space viking through their shows. The USA Network further obliged this insane plan by changing the airtimes of the shows so they would follow the story in the proper order - with Street Fighter first and Wing Commander Academy last. And doing nothing else.

If you watch only your show (Street Fighter, Savage Dragon, Mortal Kombat or Wing Commander) you will not know that there is a crossover. Nor was a crossover ever promoted by the network - there were no commercials, no between-show bumpers... nothing to indicate that the fact that Michael Dorn plays a Space Viking in all four shows is anything but the worst kind of coincidence.

The story starts on Street Fighter in "The Warrior King" (Season 2, Episode 9). The show opens with Space Viking ("Warrior King")'s castle under attack by wizards riding dragons. There's some exposition ("If the wizards get the orb, Warrior's World will be lost!"), and then a good wizard opens some sort of space portal and shoves Space Viking and his Magic Orb through. They end up in Street Fighter's version of the Middle East, where the evil army officer guy steals the orb and uses nature to destroy... whatever it is the Street Fighter characters are protecting. The world, I guess. Space Viking teams up with the girl Street Fighter and they save the world. At the end of the episode, the orb and the Space Viking get shoved in another Fry-hole.

... to end up in Savage Dragon! In "Endgame" (Season 2, Episode 8), Savage Dragon and Space Viking team up to rescue the orb again. I haven't actually seen this episode since 1996 - but I'm working on tracking down a copy. They save the orb and end up in another Fry Hole.

Next, Mortal Kombat, "Resurrection" (Season 1, Episode 9). The evil force that fights the Mortal Kombat people winds up with the orb, and uses it to fight the... Mortal Kombat... characters. The Mortal Kombat people recover the orb, and then open their own space-hole at the end of the episode. You see Space Viking for only a second, jumping after the orb as it goes into said hole.

Finally, Wing Commander Academy. "Recreation" (Season 1, Episode 9). There are no amazing space holes - Space Viking is found frozen on a sleeper ship, and escapes at the end in a stolen Scimitar. The Nature Orb Dealy is giving life to a barren planet full of weird aliens, and instead of stealing it to rebuild his planet, Space Viking decides to let it be in the end.

But why? And how? And... all sorts of questions. No one knows. No one I've ever talked to who worked on Wing Commander Academy was even aware that such a crossover existed. It's just... strange in every possible manner.

Why bring it up now? In 1996 I was horrified and wanted to hide it - it was... embarassing. In my old age, I'm kind of interested in preserving it... and I found out that two of the episodes are available on DVD. You can get Street Fighter's episode on this set (R1, NTSC) and Mortal Kombat's episode here (R0, PAL). I'm working on tracking down a bootleg of the Savage Dragon episode, so people can once again enjoy this strange and pointless piece of Wing Commander history.

WC Thesis Fun Continues

If you were impressed by yesterday's thesis, you'll like this one. Quarto, who some of you may recognise from the forums or Unknown Enemy, wrote a thesis a few months ago in which WC features heavily.
Seeing your news update about WC showing up in a master's thesis, it occured to me that I should probably mention my own master's thesis, which also discusses WC. I finished a few months back, but I only made an online version of it a few weeks ago (even now, the website is in a very rudimentary state). Officially, I was studying film & television, but my thesis deals with computer games, and more specifically, storytelling in games - a subject area especially convenient for inserting lots of WC references ;).
Don't forget, everyone should take every opportunity to mention Wing Commander. You can read the thesis on Quarto's site.

Wing Commander Makes Graduate Thesis

The website of Wing Commander 3, WC4 and Freelancer screenplay writer Terry Borst has keyed us into a neat little item. In his Wing Commander area, he has a link to Matteo Bittanti's thesis, "The Technoludic Film: Images of Videogames in Films (1973-2001)."
The "sophisticated storytelling" of the Wing Commander series is now the subject of graduate school theses. Here's one (see Chapter 4).
The link requires a free Gamasutra registration to view. I encourage everyone to incorporate Wing Commander into their professional and scholarly lives such as this. And for continuing updates on Mr. Borst's work, you can bookmark his site here.

Animated Fan Guide Relaunched

It's not necessarily going to be animated anymore, but Admiral Maverick has relaunched the Fan Guide project at guide.solsector.net. It's a collaboration to orient new Wing Commander fans and present another resource for veterans looking for information.
Yes, that's right! After an Unduly long time in suspended animation, Admiral Maverick has returned to continue the work on this project. With a new website up and going, and a renewed interest in the project, as well as a re-designed plan of action, this Guide is taking off again.
They have a number of pictures and feature downloads with information on various aspects of the Wing Commander universe. If you'd like to help or peruse their site, you can visit them here.

And The Winners Are..

We've tallied the votes and figured out who the winners are for our annual Site of the Year contests. As usual, voting was close. Thanks to all our active Wing Commander sites for contributing to the community this year. All our nominees worked hard in 2003 to enhance the image of Wing Commander.

The winner for the Web Site of the Year contest is Wing Commander in Russia!

Their dedicated fan base and position as preeminent source for Russian Wing Commander fans seals it again.

The runners up for Web Site of the Year are Wing Commander 3D and Wedge's Wing Commander Site!

Both are content driven resources that Wing Commander fans can depend on when they need information.

For the first time, we have a tie for Fan Project of the Year winner! The winners for 2003 are Wing Commander Saga and Standoff!

Both are extremely exciting projects with talented teams that have been working hard this past year.

The runners up for Fan Project of the Year are Vega Strike and Holding the Line!

Both have been around for quite a while and shared the runner up position previously in 2001.

Thanks to all who voted and those who maintain Wing Commander sites and projects. You can find our previous winners here: 2002, 2001, 2000 & 1999. Good luck in 2004!

Wing Commander Battle Stations First Peek

Dbrito sent us a preview shot of a little arcade shooter he's working on entitled Wing Commander Battle Stations.

This is the first public image of a little game I'm creating using Game Maker 5. I call it Wing Commander Battle Stations! Is a vertical shooter. This is an arcade style game from the WC1 era. You fill fly from 5 to 10 levels (not sure the final number) from space to a Kilrathi Base that is launching an attack. I know it is hard to believe that a single hornet can kill a lot of Kilrathi ships and even capital ships, but it supposed to be fun an non realistic.
I took out plenty of capital ships in a Hornet back in my day.. And I've been eagerly awaiting a WC scroller shooter ever since TC made this image a while back.

Holding The Line Chapter 173

The holidays are over now for the HTL team, and Raptor has sent in the latest chapter.
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with a great little story called "Keeping Hope Alive", written by Jeremy "Echo" Johnson. This is another Battlegroup Auriga story, and is set between the two chapters of EOTS II Part 1, following some of the pilots who arrived with the Hades in our last story. Please send any and all comments to Jeremy at dopplerd240@charter.net, not to me.

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

On a personal note, as we put one year behind us and look forward to 2004, I would like to thank everyone who has helped keep HTL going through this, our fifth (!!!) year of publishing stories. Special mention goes to the writers for all their hard work and dedication, and for putting with a coordinator who can be pretty damn demanding at times. Thanks also to the many readers who have sent in comments on the storyline. Last but certainly not least, many thanks to the CIC for allowing us to bring our stories to an audience outside the Aces.

Best, Raptor

Spirit Gets To Mars

While the British Beagle lander has gone AWOL, NASA's effort has gone a little better. Their Spirit rover successfully landed on Mars last night and has already begun beaming back pictures. It has generated a lot of talk among WC fans, both in this thread, and in #Wingnut where people got together and watched the live NASA broadcast together.
<jetlag> Yay!
<LOAF> Yay!
<Duriel> yay!
<LeHah> What the hell?
<LOAF> They just confirmed that the Spirit landed, LeHah.
<LeHah> Yay!
<jetlag> It looked like that hugging guy accidentally punched some guy in the face in the background.

Full Wing Commander Icon Set Released

Mike Rohde has gone ahead and released the full Wing Commander icon pack we mentioned a few days ago. You can download them all here. The author would really appreciate some feedback. You can discuss this topic at Crius here. The icons themselves are a bit dark, and work best if you have a black background.

Word Game Thread Still Going & Going

Somehow Crius.net's famous Word Game thread is still going, and it's just broken 3,000 replies. After nearly ten months, some people are still addicted to it.
The Word Game is very Simple. I say a word and the next person has to come up with a related word, and then the person after that comes up with a related word to the previous one and so on.
You can join in for yourself here. We can all blame TopGun for this silliness.

Jutland For Standoff WIP Released

Lynx's Jutland Class Carrier has made the leap from WC Saga to Standoff. It has incorporated some slight structural changes and the coloring has been changed to match Standoff's style. It's very cool to see the similarities and differences in this design in both the Freespace and Secret Ops engines.

The above shots are works in progress. The ship still needs turrets and some texturing. You can find the original history of the ship and its screens from WC Saga here. A Crius thread for discussing the design is open here. They've even posted some updated shots.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for continuing to visit us during your holiday time. Another year has melted away and we've got a whole fresh new one ready to go. 2003 was a very happy time for us. You visited the main page nearly half a million times in 2003 to view more than 750 updates. Including Crius.net and Solsector.net, we served some six million pages and over a terabyte of information. In the past year we saw the launch of a new Wing Commander game for the Game Boy Advance and got new information about a brand new Wing Commander audio volume coming up soon. Our annual birthday party set record attendance levels with over a hundred guests and we had a great time at our annual meeting at DragonCon. 2004 promises to be just as bright. Hopefully soon we'll have more information on Team Fat's music CD and several major fan projects should reach completion. We're already working on making our next birthday and convention gatherings bigger than ever. Origin will also reach new levels of activity with Ultima X and their additional staff. I'm sure there will be plenty of surprises as well. Thank you for making 2003 our busiest year yet, and we hope to make 2004 even better.

What Do You Think?

Our annual New Years poll is now up. Each January we ask you what sort of year you think it'll be for Wing Commander. Although the outlook has been somewhat more negative since work was halted on PC games, it has improved over the last several years as the community has come through and worked with each other to celebrate Wing Commander.

The last poll took the winners from our previous Favorite Carrier polls and pitted them against eachother. The Confederation Class Dreadnought just barely beat out the Bengal and Midway Class Carriers, but the votes were very close! You can find our old poll results here.

Feel free to send in your site of the year votes until we update with the final results.

Hot Supercruiser Makes Its New Years Debut

Psych has sent through a nice New Year's gift, courtesy of the WC Saga team.. the model of a Gettysburg class cruiser - the famous TCS Austin. It's a great looking ship!

For all intents and purposes this ship is the class for the famous TCS Austin. If you didn’t know already, the Austin was only seen very vaguely in WC SM2 (and even then, they used an Exeter model as a placement), but it has been featured a lot in the WC scripts and the Freedom Flight novel.
You can read the rest and post your feedback in this thread. This is another beautiful design courtesy of Lynx.

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