Listen To A Wing Commander Love Song

We've got OverMortal's latest song up today. It's not exactly a Wing Commander love song so much as a love song set in the Wing Commander universe. "It's about a pilot during the WC2 era and his girl back home," he told us. You can grab the 4.5 meg mp3 here. His previous songs were The Ballad of Blair and The Life of a Pilot. All of them are very much worth checking out. Here are the lyrics to his latest single.
"In Memories"

The sky is cold here
The day and night are endless stars
The void can't hold him like her arms
He's off in a Rapier
Slashing away Kilrathi bars
That hold these two lovers so far apart

She's working her day job
And keeps his picture on her desk
And prays that he will give his best
She misses him dearly
She's proud of what he's gone to do
To stop the Kilrathi from breaking though

And on the front lines
He faces death with every flight
But that won't stop him from smiling tonight
For as he thinks of her
She thinks of him and there they meet
His inspiration and her relief
You see
For a moment they can be
Together, across the void, in memories

He steps from the shuttle
She runs to him and they embrace
He's home from fighting the alien race
He opens his eyes again
The bulkheads and stale air reconfirm
He's out here in space and not with her

But only two days more
His tour will be over and he'll be home
The jump point holds secrets yet untold as they transit through
The ambush is opened
The Sarthas and Grikaths take their toll
The Fralthra falls but, in saving his lover, he falls too

And on the front lines
He fought to the death that very night
But her love still burns every bright
For as she thinks of him
The work he wrought has carried on
Her inspiration to heal her grief
You see
When she thinks of him they'll be
Together, across the void, in memories

Credits: Written, performed, recorded, critiqued, re-recorded, mixed, converted, promoted, and enjoyed by Nick Blitz

You can download "In Memories" here.

Electronic Arts Makes $3 Billion Per Year

EA has released its financial results for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2004. Their final revenues hit $2.96 billion, up from $2.48 billion in Fiscal 2003. There were twenty-seven million-selling titles in the last year, and six franchises broke five million units sold. Profit came in at nearly $600 million.
Fiscal Year Expectations - Ending March 31, 2005
  • Net revenue is expected to be between $3.25 and $3.40 billion - up 10 to 15 percent year-over-year.
  • Diluted earnings per share are expected to be between $1.95 and $2.10 - as compared with $1.87 for fiscal 2004.
Their biggest platform by far was the Playstation 2, with the PC and XBox roughly tied for second place. While virtually all platforms showed huge growth, there was one notable exception. PC revenues were down 37% from 2003. I remember when EA first broke a billion dollars in annual revenues, and that was driven largely by PC games.

Thrown for a Looped MP3

CC Rider has converted a number of pieces of Privateer music into awesome looped mp3s! If your playlist has been lacking that Gemini-sector sound then you owe it to yourself to download these!

Blair is Inside

I took a little trip up to Boston yesterday, where much to my surprise I found... Nephilim warships! It's a Lamprey shield killer (left) and a comm station (right)! You don't need a 3Dfx card to render these guys, though - they're part of a neat aquarium exhibit called Amazing Jellies!

HCl Develops Prophecy Video Skip Fix

Famous Wing Commander editor HCl has developed a patch that fixes the skipping video in Wing Commander Prophecy. Although it's a simple matter to adjust the sound card hardware acceleration, some people dislike this method. This alternative fix allows you to keep your acceleration turned up to its normal level and run Prophecy smoothly. Here's the directions HCl gave at WC Revival.
Download the patch at the bottom, and unzip it to the directory where WCP is installed. Then run Prophecy as usual. This patch co-exists quite nicely with the WCP High-Res patch, if you already have it installed. However, if you install the WCP High-res patch afterwards, you will have to re-install this patch, as a DLL will be overwritten.
You can find the 540 k file here.

Calling All Random HUD Fans

Filler has recently created a standard space sim heads-up display for one of Pedro's side projects. It's not currently going into a Wing Commander mod, but it's heavily inspired by certain Wing Commander games. He thought some of you might like it, so here it is.

Pictures Back From LOAF's Austin Visit

A few weeks back LOAF visited Origin in Austin for the last time. Here are some beautiful pictures of the building where so much great Wing Commander stuff was created. Don't be too sad though, the third picture has moving vans reflected in the windows, not demolition trucks. The building will be up for lease and elements of the old Origin team and material will be moved to EA's main campus in California.

The Broken Hellcat Lives On

Tolwyn reminded us about an old Hellcat that tangled with some Ekapshi fighters last year. If you're missing something in your Wallpaper collection, this one's formatted for 1024x768.

The link in our Wallpaper Section to Perry has been updated. Thanks Black Joker.

WC Saga Turns Two Years Old

Tolwyn from WC Saga called up to let us know that their total conversion for Freespace 2 has turned two years old. Here is a commemorative wallpaper to celebrate.
For more than 10 years people are being fascinated by the mythos of Wing Commander. Wing Commander games are more than just an entertainment; they are the force that binds us as a strong community together; the common link that touches humanity of all of us. And that is why we love Wing Commander.

And so it comes that exactly two years ago I have started the project entitled Wing Commander Freespace Total Conversion. In these two years the project has grown and evolved and now it is close to completion.

In order to celebrate our 2nd anniversary I have created a wallpaper, which shows the entire TCS Kennedy flight group. More information regarding the Organization of the Carrier Battle Group can be found at the Fleet Tactics web site.

Enjoy!

They plan to make it playable off the Freespace 2 demo, so no external software should be necessary. I can't wait.

Meson Starport Academy Mirror Up

Since we've been having a few occasional bumps with our other mirrors, Meson Starport has also begun hosting the high resolution Academy television episodes. He's also put together a very nice episode guide with plot summaries. Lower res episodes should be coming as well. You can find his mirror and episode guide here.

What's Your Favorite Furball Style?

It was about a month and a half ago when we asked you which style of Blair was your favorite. Well, now we're doing the same thing.. with 100% more Kilrathi! Our new poll asks which type of Kilrathi is your favorite (not which character is your favorite). Here are the candidates:


WC I

WC II

Academy TV

WC III

WC IV

Movie

Electronic Arts to Support XBox Live This Summer?

Rumors and speculation have surrounded this subject for a couple years now, but IGN and other sources claim to have reliable information that EA will make an official announcement on XBox Live support in the next few weeks.

EA is known for their multiplatform simultaneous console and PC launches these days. A Wing Commander game in the near future would probably appear on the XBox, among other systems. The comprehensive online features provided by XBox Live would be more than welcome.

Madden NFL 2005, NCAA College Football, NASCAR Thunder 2005, and NBA Live comprise the sports package for Xbox Live this fall. The non-sports games are less concrete, but as IGN has learned from several sources close to the company, Battlefield: Modern Combat, EA's new GoldenEye game, and perhaps Burnout 3 are first in line for Xbox online compatibility.
If you're already an XBox Live subscriber, a whole bunch of people set games up via #Wingnut. Feel free to stop by some time.

Holding The Line Chapter 181

This week's chapter of HTL comes with a special message just for our Australian/New Zealandian readers. Here's Raptor with his chapter introduction and that message.
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with part ten of the "Into The Inferno" series, written by yours truly. As you saw last time, the strike force from the Confed and Border Worlds carriers was racing for the jump point, but the incoming scouts beat them to it. All was not quite how it seemed, however. This story picks up from there. Please send any and all comments to yours truly.

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

On a much more serious note, Sunday April 25th is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, when Kiwis and Aussies remember and pay tribute to all the brave soldiers who fought for the freedoms we take for granted. For all the Antipodean Wingnuts out there, be sure to attend one of the dawn services or parades if you can, and give generously to support our veterans. Buy a red Flanders poppy and wear it with pride.

Best, Raptor

Mark Dacascos Hosts Iron Chef Tonight

Psych and ace noticed that Mark Dacascos, who played Catscratch in Wing Commander 4, will be hosting Iron Chef America on Food Network. It begins Friday night at 9 pm ET/PT with replays throughout the week. Exact scheduling can be found here.

Actor and martial artist Mark Dacascos makes his Food Network debut on Iron Chef America. Prior to hosting the show, Mark has had numerous television, film, and theatrical appearances. His credits include roles in the television series "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven," the movie "Double Dragon" (1994), and "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001). Before being discovered in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Mark was a European martial arts champion. Introduced to martial arts by his parents, Mark trained with teachers in China and Taiwan.
Have fun!

Star Wars Galaxies Space Sim Shots Released

Sony has released a number of screenshots for the upcoming Star Wars Galaxies expansion set to feature space combat. Many former Origin employees have worked on Galaxies, which should be good news if you're a Star Wars fan. The expansion sounds pretty neat, and some of the larger ships that work in conjunction with fighters should be interesting.
Set in the Star Wars timeframe between Episode IV and Episode V, this first extension to the Star Wars Galaxies opens 10 vast and distinct space sectors, spanning from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim, for players to explore while engaging their opponents in intense real-time combat or uniting with friends in battle or exploration . Players can embark on more than 100 new missions, venturing through asteroid fields, nebulae and space junkyards while honing skills in four new space-specific professions. The game also features two new and completely customizable species.

You can find more information here.

DRAsvitt Makes More Ships

Following his return to active duty a couple of weeks ago, DRAsvitt has once again been hard at work. This time he has made models of the Steltek scout ship and the derelict fighter from Privateer. Also he has sent through a making-of picture of his Concordia model.

If you think his Concordia looks cool, keep an eye on eBay as he is auctioning it off tonight. Or if you'd rather try your hand at making your own models, watch this space! DRAsvitt hopes to have a guide to making your own ships ready in a couple of weeks.

Rylex Makes New Wallpaper

Wow, people sure have been hard at work since we launched our new Wallpapers section. Rylex is no exception, so he has sent us his latest work.. and here it is! Rylex asks that this isn't modified in any way and that it only be used for personal use.

Behind The Scenes: Making The WCM Universe Map

Everybody remembers the intro to the WC movie. It begins with beautiful views of a great looking universe map with pictures of ships and Kilrathi fading in and out. Well, somebody had to create that.. and LeHah found out who! The Lightning Studios site features a video showing the map as it was being made, along with video of the final product as seen in the movie. After it was used for the film, the map was hung in the lobby of Digital Anvil. You can video this making-of video here. The CIC has mirrored the file here as well.

WC Saga Shipyard In Operation

Starman© has posted the latest feature for the upcoming WC Saga mod. It's a very impressive Kilrathi shipyard. This a conceptual piece, as we don't actually see this design in the games. It's pretty much how I'd imagine a Kilrathi dock to be however. A large Bhantkara Carrier is under construction within the mesh of trusses, and command and construction modules are on either side. A flight deck for fighters and maintenance craft is also included.

Well, unfortunately we never get our eyes on one of those, but here is my idea of a Kilrathi shipyard. It's big enough to house even a Bhantkara class carrier. It's not certain that it will make it into the mod, but I wanted to post it anyway.
You can find more shots and provide feedback on the design at Crius.net here.

New High Res WCA Mirror Online

Dishwasher is back.. and this time he's in high res! Or rather the WCA TV episodes on his FTP are. If you'd rather download the older versions, they're on the FTP too. If you had trouble downloading from our original mirror, give this FTP a try. Here are the direct links to the high res ones:
Episode 01 - Red & Blue
Episode 02 - The Last One Left
Episode 03 - The Most Delicate Instrument
Episode 04 - Word of Honor
Episode 05 - Lords of the Sky
Episode 06 - Chain of Command
Episode 07 - Expendable
Episode 08 - Recreation
Episode 09 - Walking Wounded
Episode 10 - On Both Your Houses
Episode 11 - Invisible Enemy
Episode 12 - Price of Victory
Episode 13 - Glory of Sivar

Dishwasher warns that users of Internet Explorer may need to enable the "Passive FTP" option in the Tools - Internet Options menu under Advanced.

LOAF Reviews (?) Punisher

You know how everyone's always saying "Boy, I wish they'd give me a free comic book for seeing a movie."? Well, if that's the way you feel then The Punisher is the movie for you. Because they do. Give you a free comic book, that is. (Unfortunately, the free comic book seems to be about Spider Man - so I'm still not qualified to say whether or not the actual movie is a faithful adaptation. But when has a project related to Chris Roberts ever failed us on that count, anyway?)

The plot is as far from the opposite of silly as humanly possible: The Punisher, sensing his loved ones are in danger, decides to leave the country... but not before stopping off at a big honking family reunion! That happens to be next to a fuel storage depot and a mystical voodoo healer of some sort. Luckily, when the bad guys show up to kill his family he just happens to be looking at his father's collection of modified pistols. Really. Long story short, the bad guys (the way you know that they're bad is that one of them is John Travlota) kill his family, forcing him to wear a skull shirt and track them all down - murderously!

World's most blatantly expository first thirty minutes aside, it really was a fun movie. After that initial half hour, the movie is full of amusing moments and fairly neat action/revenge scenes (so, it's a nice alternative to that other movie - for people who are tired of film school pretension). It was also lacking in a lot of the elements that make many such movies horrible: no sudden love interest, no horrible CGI skull that shows up for no reason. Well, one out of two isn't bad.

So... go see Punisher? It's not bad - and Chris Roberts helped pay for it! Annoy your comic book liking friends by referring to it only as Chris Roberts' The Punisher! And so forth! (Speaking of which, watch for the scene early on where police officers throw a party for The Punisher. Does the officer obscured by Punisher's arm look slightly familiar?)

Run Wing Commander 4 DVD Without The DXR Card

This is very exciting news! Chat Zone poster gulikoza has developed a patch that enables the beautiful Wing Commander 4 DVD version to be run in Windows without the Creative Labs DXR decoder hardware. All that is required is unzipping the tiny 32 kb patch into the WC4DVD directory and setting the game's executable to Windows 98 compatibility mode. The folks at Crius.net have been working out the bugs for the last week, and almost everyone with Windows 98 or Windows XP should be able to use this to run WC4DVD properly. gulikoza has created a website with additional information here and you can post additional questions at Crius. We also have a couple samples of the video quality up for download.

Don't forget that our ftp server limits the amount of simultaneous connections, so you may have to download the patch and the DVD video clip separately. If that still doesn't work, it's possible that your download manager or browser settings are causing some sort of conflict. Try a different browser or download manager (without file segmenting turned on). gulikoza also has the patch mirrored at his website.

Happy Birthday LOAF!

LOAF turns another year older today. Bob has submitted a model of the unused fifth Privateer player ship to celebrate. It looks like a piece of cake.

(LOAF) The greatest gift of all is friends like you guys. Hah, just kidding, it's DVDs, of course.
What are you waiting for? Send him some DVDs!

EDIT: Sorry for the earlier confusion, the actual model was built by BoH_Havoc! Bob is working on texturing it for The Reckoning, but it is an original BoH_Havoc model.

Dan Orzulak Working on GoldenEye 2

GameSpot recently reported that Dan Orzulak is among a handful of people who appear to be working on a new GoldenEye title at EA's Los Angeles studio. Though they credit him as a famous member of the Bungie team that created Halo, we all know him as the Origin Quality Assurance Leader that worked on Privateer, Righteous Fire, Armada, Kilrathi Saga and Wing Commander 3. His profile is highlighted on page 93 of the Official Wing Commander Armada Playtesters' Guide.

Dan's reputation as one of the best computer flight sim pilots in existence is only exceeded by his reputation for one of the most bizarre hair-styles known to man and by his own perception of his greatness.
That is a pretty wacky haircut, even for 1994.

George Oldziey Still Orchestrating

While LOAF was checking out The Punisher, ace saw the second Kill Bill and noticed something kind of neat. Apparently veteran Wing Commander musician George Oldziey also had a role in orchestrating aspects of Quentin Tarantino's latest film. Oldziey did the orchestral score for Wing Commander 3 through Prophecy, plus various Origin music in Crusader and Ultima. You can find a couple samples of his work in the Music Section.

(Invasion + Poetry) * Bob = Wallpaper

This one is a slightly different type of wallpaper than the usual that has been popular lately. Originally it was a WC Invasion mod screenshot. Bob has glossed it over and added a W.B. Yeats poem to the side. The image has a certain special intangible quality to it.

Happy Birthday Aces, Acenet Story Archive Renewed

The Wing Commander Aces Club turned nine years old this week. I remember coming online in 1995 and 1996 and being amazed at all the Wing Commander fans working together in this massive organization. Years before the CIC was established, these people discussed Wing Commander news, created new ship designs and wrote big story arcs together. Although club activity has diminished of late, there are still thousands of devoted Wing Commander fans who can benefit from their stories and experiences. Jibbo has gone ahead and put a number of old adventures together. Here's Raptor to tell you about it.

In addition to setting up the new Aces Board, Justin "Jibbo" Lee has also set up an archive site where past Aces stories can be archived and preserved for the future. It's vitally important that we preserve the Club's past work at a central site. Otherwise, we risk these stories being lost as people leave the Aces Club or trade in their old hard drives for new ones. There have already been a huge number of stories archived there, and you can view them at www.justinlee.ca/wca
That site has a dual purpose as a story archive and temporary message board to discuss ways to revitalize the club and find new Wing Commander things to do. The Aces Club is part of our common history and reading their stories provides a window into the minds of hardcore Wing Commander fans in the mid 1990s.

Official Origin Wallpapers Available Again

LOAF has added the official Origin graphics to our Wallpapers Section. Because they are in the area of ten years old (wow!), the resolutions are not as high as what people are used to today. The OriginFX wallpapers include a few from Privateer 1, plus Ultima and Strike Commander. These are in classic 648x480. A variety of 800x600 graphics cover Privateer 2 locations as well.

New Chris Roberts Film Released, Punish or Perish

The new cinema adaptation of The Punisher releases to theaters in Canada and the United States today. Chris Roberts is executive producer on this one. His next two movies should be The Big White and American Knight. We should have a review later this weekend.
Special agent Frank Castle had it all: A loving family, a great life, and an adventurous job. But when his life is taken away from him by a ruthless criminal and his associates, Frank has become reborn. Now serving as judge, jury, and executioner, he's a new kind of vigilante out to wage a one man war against those who have done him wrong.
I sure hope no one else releases another, more popular movie about revenge tonight! Nevertheless, show your support for everything Chris Roberts has done for us by seeing The Punisher this weekend!

Bill Forstchen Breaks His Ribs

There's a bit of odd news from the William Forstchen front. His official site reports that the famous Wing Commander novel author broke some ribs doing who-knows-what in who-knows-where.
On other fronts, Bill spent last fall in Mongolia exploring the country on horseback. He even sustained a "battle injury." While partying with Mongolian friends atop a sand dune in the Gobi, an inspiration to imitate Gary Cooper in the movie Beau Geste seized him and, fueled by a heady dose of fermented camels milk, he flung himself off the dune. Three broken ribs were the result. Bill said, "I discovered that Gary Cooper, or his stunt double, had ‘stunt sand.’ Mongolian sand is filled with rocks!" ... On his return across the Gobi, while nursing the broken ribs, Bill and his friend John Mina (yes there is a real John Mina), made a “pit stop.” By incredible random chance, where they stopped they discovered a ten pound meteorite laying on the ground. Unfortunately they were not allowed to take it home but their friends at the University at Ulan Bator said it was a “one in a million” find.
Yeah, stuff like that doesn't happen to me for some reason.

Can't Keep A Blackmane Down

Tolwyn has posted four renders of the Confederation starbase from Wing Commander Saga (Freespace 2 mod). (It's just like yesterdays update, in reverse!) The design originally appeared in Wing Commander III, where it was used as the Blackmane Base in both the winning and losing Blackmane series' of missions.

Small Academy Returns Home

If you're on dialup (or if you just like to pretend you're on dialup), then you may be happy to learn that Dishwasher's 'old version' Wing Commander Academy mirror is back. These are the original DivX 3 Academy episodes, which weigh in at roughly 65 MB each. They're nowhere near as nice as the new, 200 meg episodes... but then what is? You can find them, along with the more recent high resolution releases, at our WCA Download Page.

Unknown Enemy 1.02 Patch Released

A small patch for the Unknown Enemy mod has been released. UE became the first full-length campaign oriented Wing Commander mod to be completed a few years ago. It also runs off the free Secret Ops engine. In this update some minor naming conventions have been corrected and small mission issues fixed. You can find the exact details and download the patch at the UE site here. Installation shouldn't affect the game you have in progress.
Long overdue indeed. Back in December 2002, I mentioned that a v1.02 patch was on the way, but would take a while because it's not a very high priority. Well, I don't think I expected that it would take this long. ;)

All things considered, then, perhaps a better question would be - why did we get it done now? Because I want to release the UE source code soon, and it seemed like a pretty good idea to fix at least some of the remaining issues before doing that.

WCSaga Opens The Geode

Starman© has posted seven in-game screenshots of the Kilrathi starbase from Wing Commander Saga (Freespace 2 mod). The base model features fly through bays and an internal 'reactor core'. These asteroid-constructed depots were originally featured briefly in Wing Commander III's Delius series of losing missions.

... IN 3D!

Maj. Striker has something even bigger than a Fralthi this time! He's created his first ever 3D animation. His e-mail claims that it's "amateurish"... but it looks pretty darned cool to me! You can get your copy from our FTP here (55 MB)!

Holding The Line, Chapter 180

Raptor has sent us the latest chapter of the Holding The Line epic. Read on:
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with Part Nine of the "Into The Inferno" series, titled Flashpoint, and written by yours truly. As you saw in Part Eight, Battlegroup Valkyrie and its allies had just received word of a *third* enemy force headed towards the Combined Fleet, and the carriers had scrambled a hastily assembled strike group to throw at the much larger enemy force. This story picks up from there. Please send any and all comments to yours truly.

The story is at: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~theraj/archives/ch180.htm

Best, Raptor

Happy Post CIC Easter

I hadn't seen last year's eggs for a long time, yet coincidentally made mostly the same eggs this year. The pictures are much clearer, and there are some hidden messages this time around though.

If you really like looking at eggs for some reason, check out the crazy ones my sister made in the bottom right here.

Auction Reminder

This is the final reminder for Mark Vearrier's set of Wing Commander auctions, which ends late tonight! This may be your only chance to snag things like a Prophecy medal or a WCIV poster. He was kind enough to send us this Banshee... so return the favor and bid on his auctions! Complete descriptions are available here. Good luck all!

DRAsvitt Shows Off His WC Models

A long while back DRAsvitt sent us a bunch of pictures of the very cool Wing Commander models he has been casting. It's been a couple years since we've heard from him, so this is a welcome surprise. There are quite a few on display here, and some are pretty detailed.

For size purposes I placed a quarter between the Excalibur and the Shok'Lar
Neato. You can find a bunch of his past designs here.

EA President Resigns

Various sources have reported that the EA president has resigned. John Riccitiello had been president and COO since 1997, shortly before the original Prophecy launch. Before taking the helm of the world's largest video game publisher, he was president and CEO of Sara Lee. I'm sure there's some joke waiting to be told there. Current EA CEO Larry Probst will be acting president in the mean time.

I Don't Even Miss the Spheres

Maj.Striker has finished his Fralthi 3D model (previous story)... and has introduced it to a planet with pretty cool results! He explains that the spherical turrets have been omitted to keep the poly count down. Discuss the artwork in this thread at the Chat Zone.

Destroyers Lead the Way

Two more from Starman © - showing off some in-game action in Wing Commander Saga. The first shot shows two Sheffield-type destroyers in space. The second shows a trio of the same class engaging a Kilrathi fleet. Like the man says, this game will feature some big capships.

Screen'd Like a Banshee

Mark Vearrier has done it again - to thank us for the interest in his auctions, he's sent an amazingly high resolution Wing Commander IV image for us to post. You may remember that he also sent a trio of amazing Prophecy images a while back... but I think the detail on this blows even those away! Check out the fantastic picture of a Border Worlds Banshee-class light fighter below. Be sure and let him know how much you appreciate images like this by bidding on his auctions!

WC Saga Gets Relay'd

Starman has posted another new Wing Commander Saga (FreeSpace 2 mod) rendering: the Confederation Relay Station. These stations were introduced in Wing Commander IV as part of an effort to 'flesh out' the Wing Commander universe... to give the player the feeling that he was flying missions inside a living, breathing universe rather than an objective-specific void. Here's the WC Saga team's take on the design:

Origin Auction Update

Mark Vearrier (WC3, WC4, WCP, WCSO - and the man who gave us these very cool images) is back with some even cooler Wing Commander auctions! Here's the details:
Prophecy Hero's Medal: This is the prop medal awarded to Lt. Casey at the end of Wing Commander Prophecy. It don't believe it's ever given a name in the game, but it's certainly styled after the American Medal of Honor (and therefore may be the modern equivalent of the 'Pewter Planet' medal of honor given out at the end of the original Wing Commander). (9.99, 4 Days Left)

Prophecy Medal & Ribbon: This is the prop medal given to Casey roughly half way through Prophecy. It's referred to in the FMV as the "Confederation Flying Cross". These medal auctions are very cool - they're probably the only examples of these props ever created, and they certainly look amazing. (9.99, 4 Days Left

Large Confed Patch: Love the Confed 'Unified Space Command' logo? Well, then, you'll want an EVEN BIGGER version! This is the large patch that could been seen on Casey and Maestro's duffle bags in the introductory video sequences of Prophecy. (9.99, 4 Days Left)

Prophecy Squadron Patches: This is a set of the 'squadron' logo patches used in Prophecy (Diamondbacks, Black Widows and Wolfpack). These patches seem fairly rare - I've only ever seen a lot of them appear once before! (The only rarer patches are, I believe, the Kilrathi Saga dev team and the WC3 'Unified Forces' logo). (9.99, 4 Days Left)

WC4 Costume Patches: These are the famous faction patches used in Wing Commander IV's massive film shoot. They marked the Terran Confederation, Black Lance and Border Worlds uniforms. There are a number of these sets out there... but there are also a lot of copies comissioned by clubs and web sites - so make sure your WC4 patches are real by buying straight from the source! (9.99, 4 Days Left)

WC3 Movie Poster: Here's one we haven't seen recently - a Wing Commander III movie-style poster. These are very high quality posters which were given out on a limited basis to people who pre-ordered Wing Commander III way back when. Since collectors went for the 'Premiere Edition' and regular people didn't care about a poster, they're few and far between. Signed by Chris Roberts and Mark Hamill! (9.99, 4 Days Left)

WC4 Movie Poster: The less I say about a Wing Commander IV poster the better. Spend as much money as possible on this! Only twenty WC4 posters were made available to the public, as part of a contest back in 1996. Plus, it's signed by Chris Roberts and Mark Hamill. How cool is that? (9.99, 4 Days Left)

WC Guides & Mouse Pad: A collection of official guides (WC1/2, WC3 and WC4) plus a rarely seen Wing Commander Prophecy mousepad! (9.99, 4 Days Left)

So, get out there and spend some money! Mark Vearrier is also selling two other Origin-related items: a Chris Roberts-signed Bad Blood Print and a lot of signed Ultima Stuff (including an Ultima VII - the game that features a cameo by Wing Commander II's Bloodfang fighter). You can see all the auctions at once here.

Fiery Ardor Now Accepting Players

The Wing Commander MUSH Fiery Ardor is now accepting players. We mentioned last month that they were looking for staff members to polish things to a play-ready state. Although there are still a number of things to implement, you can join the game, create a player and role play a bit. Complete space combat is yet to come, but a large part of this game is character development and that is ready to go.

We're quite a bit along now. So much so, most of the staff agrees that we can now accept players. Only catch is that the space combat code is not 100 percent complete yet. Regardless, the areas and everything else are pretty much done. So if you just want to hang out and RP or even just chat, Character Creation is now unlocked and folks can go through.

Our site host is: ardormush.quackster.net
Port is: 8888

You can connect with a standard Windows telnet client, but Ierocis recommends SimpleMU or MUSHclient to play. He can field questions at Crius.net here.

Unreal Tournament 2004 Space Combat Compared to WC

One of the biggest multiplayer shooters to grace the PC in the last year is Unreal Tournament 2004. Although it is well known as a great first person shooter, the 2004 interation includes varied gametypes including a space borne assault. A larger starship is attacked by fighters, and then the ship's crew ends up defending against boarding parties in a more traditional Unreal setting. Quite a few reviewers have picked up on this mode's similarities to Wing Commander.
GameSpy: Starting in the cold vacuum of outer space, the map comes complete with controllable spaceships offering Descent-style freedom of movement and some Wing Commander-type dogfighting.
IGN: Even more impressive, another map starts with both teams piloting spacecraft for a Wing Commander-style dogfight, the attacking team attempting to board a giant Skaarj mothership. Once the ship is boarded, the action switches on-foot.
IGN: The combination of initial Wing Commander-like dogfights with more traditional troop assault worked very well, and apart from a few control and targeting niggles, it's a smooth transition from flying to running.
ActionTrip: There's a space-based Assault map called Mothership, which thrusts you off into orbit and allows you to challenge other players in classic Wing Commander-style dogfights.
PalmBiscotte: Chars, jeeps, camions, speeders, chasseurs, bombardiers, chasseurs spatiaux pour les bases dans l'espace (et là on dirait du Wing Commander en plus beau), il y a le choix. Ce mode est génial,
It seems like there's at least a little Wing Commander nostalgia on the part of the gaming journalism community. If you're both an FPS and space combat fan, this one is a great match. With the associated mod tools already available, Unreal looks ripe for a good Wing Commander mod if you ask me. Here's a few example shots for good measure.

Sorry dial-up Wing Commander fans, I know we've been picture heavy this week. There's been lots of pretty stuff in the news.

Simple WC Asteroids Clone Made For DIV

Daniel Brito recently stumbled upon a site with various user created games for the game creation language called DIV. The DIV game studio package lets people put together simple graphics into custom environments and output fun little games. Someone has taken the time to make an asteroids clone in the Wing Commander style with a couple of Wing Commander 1 ships. It looks like it might be fun, though the game setup doesn't look automatic. I believe you need some application software to execute the program, but the small 25 k starter file and other accessories should be available here.

Wing Commander Wallpapers Organized Together

A lot of people have been interested in the Wing Commander wallpapers which have been displayed recently, so we've gone ahead and made a simple section that combines them. It's similar to our Fan Art section, but focuses on the pieces formatted and designed to fit your desktop. Links back to the original news stories are included as well. You can find our new wallpaper section here.

LeechMachine Presents Wallpapers Too

LeechMachine runs a comprehensive wallpaper site and among his collection are some Wing Commander wallpapers (he also has lots of Star Trek, odd shapes and hot girls). Here's a Heimat Patrouille sample.

You can find his wallpaper site here

Space Sim First Look at Starshatter

LeechMachine also suggested we introduce you to another promising PC space combat sim on the horizon. This fall Starshatter should be released. The game has been in development for a while and a demo is already available. The game begins with a fighter pilot or small starship commander that must work their way up the ranks. Ultimately a carrier with full fighter wings and escort ships can be directly controlled. The game also has a strategic element where deployment of the resources under the player's command can be coordinated. The game will include all manner of cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, plus modding tools for fans to improve the game. Items, ships and locations can be created with the included software to enhance the universe. The scope of the space combat side as well as the integrated strategy interface are what make this one stand out. Here are a few screenshots.

You can find more at the official Starshatter site here.

TheDoctor's Dralthi Flies Across Your Desktop

TheDoctor has assembled a number of wallpapers for your desktop backgrounds at his site, The Main Control Room. Among the Star Trek, Dr Who and other miscellaneous images, we found a pretty nifty Dralthi image. Art like this should be in a museum wall somewhere.

New NATO Handbook Could Be Wing Commander Art

Filler dug up the cover image for the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization handbook. The NATO star resembles the Wing Commander Confederation star, but its coloration and placement on the handbook fit especially well with the Wing Commander theme. Here they are side by side.

EA Reviving Several Old Franchises: Wing Commander Next?

Spong has a very interesting article announcing that Electronic Arts plans to announce a return to their classic Syndicate and Desert Strike with cross platform releases to be shown at this years E3. The article goes on to claim that EA has begun a "drive to rekindle some of its unused and much-loved intellectual property" and that "several other as yet undisclosed franchises will be dusted off and receive full home console and PC revivals."

What does this mean for us? It's a hope, however slim, that a new Wing Commander game could be in the works. Wing Commander was, for a time, EA's most profitable (and certainly most beloved) franchise. If this new policy is true, it could mean that a new Wing Commander game is even now in development or could be developed based on the success of a 'first wave' of retro titles. What's more, we can say that roughly a year ago EA held discussions with several former Wing Commander developers regarding just such a plan. Hopefully, we'll know more when titles and business plans are formally announced next month at the E3 convention. We'll be there to beam back instant reports if something exciting happens.

You Foolish Fools!

In case you haven't already guessed, all of the updates yesterday were jokes. No, you shouldn't need to be told that - but keep in mind that I received at least one angry instant message from someone trying to find the diamond manta ray on eBay. If you enjoyed yesterday's updates, consult a physician... and then check out the April 1st updates from 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999. So, to recap: no FreeLancer, no helium, no Credit Cards, no toothpaste and no watermarks. Lillard was on Last Call and Akkbar is still pretty ugly, though.

CIC Finance to Boost Fund Raising Efforts

Each year the CIC upgrades its servers and provides greater features to help our growing community. This gets increasingly expensive as time goes by. We have tried various projects in the past to generate some income and believe we now have found a new project to successfully sustain our efforts indefinitely. With our new CIC Finance division, Wing Commander fans can send us money and we'll hold on to it for them. Are you a broke Wing Commander fan? We'll let you borrow the money other people sent us. Here's a picture of LOAF and I opening the new store front in Austin.

You can apply for a CIC Credit Card and inquire for further information by filling out this very simple no-obligation form.

Step 1: Introduce CIC Finance
Step 2:
Step 3: Long-term Financial Stability!

Cavities: The Silent Threat

Volition, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRAP) announced Wednesday that it would be developing a toothpaste based on its quasi-professional line of space combat sims. The toothpaste, produced in cooperation with a generic foodstuffs corporation, will be on store shelves soon. "We here at Volition all agreed that the awful nebula effect in the original Freespace was really the best thing about the game... so the tie-in was obvious!"

Freespace brand Toothpaste is priced and styled similar to popular brands such as Crest, though it tastes worse, provides less cleaning power and completely lacks any semblance of a story. Still, company officials believe that it will appeal to large demographics, including both stupid fanboys and very stupid fanboys. Added Freespace creator Mike Kulas, "Did we tell you about how big the capital ships are?"

Some in the toothpaste industry, however, are worried - fearing that, as the brand did with the space sim genre, the poor quality of Freespace toothpaste may simply cause people to stop brushing their teeth altogether. Kulas was unconcerned, replying that "seriously, the ships are big. B-I-G big."

Tentative plans call for the addition development of a 'Freespace 2' line of hygiene products, which will be even more derivative and wildly unsuccessful than this initial offering. The current business model calls for Freespace-brand toothpaste to be distributed in two ways: 'regular' toothpaste will be thrown out of speeding cars at bums and hobos, while a 'special edition' will sell for upwards of $50 years after its printed expiration date.

Electronic Arts Announces Periodic Relocation

In a move which many claim is "long overdue", Electronic Arts has announced that in order to save space all employees will be shifted four elements up on the periodic table. At press time, EA's workforce is primarily carbon-based. All current employees will be given the option of either conversion to a Helium-based matrix or recieving a small severance package.

Electronic Arts recently relocated all of their subsidary companies to a tiny farm house in Redwood City, CA. This subsequent atomic reshuffling will save money, space and, claims PR representative Correy Pennington, have some unique positive side effects. "Plenty of Helium means plenty of balloons! And balloons mean *fun* -- just like our games!"

The following chart explains the dynamics of EA's plan:

The move will not affect EA executives or stockholders, whose super-dense brains make them immune to both physical science and common sense.

FreeLancer 2 to Feature No Controls Whatsoever

In a surprise move last night, Microsoft issued the following statement: "We want to let the gaming public know that we have heard their pleas. Response to the original FreeLancer was overwhelming - and as we gauged fan reaction, we found that the single underlying issue was with the mouse based interface. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that FreeLancer 2 will feature absolutely no control mechanism of any kind."

The original FreeLancer was developed without any provision for a flight stick mode, in the hopes of appealing to a gaming public that by and large regards such hardware as the domain of only 'hard core' flight sim players. FreeLancer 2's take is even more daring - but if succesful, it could cater to the huge percent of the buying public which no longer has a joystick, mouse or keyboard.

Pictured below is an artists rendering of what a computer optimized for the new FreeLancer title will look like:

Industry watchdog groups agree that an entirely non-interactive game is a unusual risk - but, as one insider pointed out, it can't suck any harder than those Freespace games.

eBay Alert!

Continuing with our tradition of helping to promote Wing Commander-related auctions by Origin employees, we are proud to announce that Mike "Boomer" McCoy is selling a very special piece of memorabelia:

This diamond encrusted manta ray was comissioned by Boomer himself to promote Wing Commander: Prophecy at the 1997 E3 and CES trade shows. Valued at approximately $28,000 each, only seven hundred were made - all but one of which were distributed to journalists and store managers. Prophecy featured alien 'Manta-class' fighters designed by noted Sci Fi visionary Syd Mead -- so the tie-in is obvious. As thanks for posting this auction, Boomer has promised to give away the ending of Secret Ops again. (Current Bid: $5, 1 Day Left)

CIC to Watermark Images

We always try to use pretty pictures in our news updates, but one negative side-effect is that they get hotlinked from various other sites. Then we get stuck with the bandwidth bill while getting nothing in return. For many years we've put no watermark on our images whatsoever. Unfortunately the time has come for a change. These wallpapers from Standoff are among other hotlinked files being used across the internet. In the future, you will be able to tell when an image comes from the CIC by our new, nonintrusive watermark. Let us know what you think.

Matthew Lillard on Last Call with Carson Daly

Mercury reports that Matthew Lillard was a guest on Carson Daly's Last Call late night talk show on Wednesday, March 31. Lillard played Maniac in the Wing Commander movie. Apparently Wing Commander was compared to a horrible ghost movie he did ages ago. Although I didn't see the interview myself, but I can only guess the entire audience gave him a standing ovation when they realized his amazing credentials.

Run! Hide!

Parents shield your children's eyes!

Picture size limited to prevent damage to your monitor.

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