Windows 2000 Patches For WC3 & WC4 Available

NStriker has developed patches to get several Wing Commander games running in Windows 2000. Wing Commander 3 Kilrathi Saga, Wing Commander 4 CD, Wing Commander 4 DVD and Wing Commander 4 DVD Alternate have patches now. The alternate patch is if you need to apply gulikoza's mpeg2dec file for the patch that runs WC4 DVD without a hardware decoder.
I've created patches for WC3 Kilrathi Saga, WC4 CD, and WC4 DVD that fix an offending API call and allow them to run under Win2K. There still seem to be some outstanding issues like WC3 being unstable in general and I have yet to get my joystick to work in WC4, though I believe neither are related to my patches. I'll try to work on those two problems, but I can't promise anything.
You can find more information on getting these games to run at Crius.net here. gulikoza also helped with this effort. You can find his work here.

Creative Wing Commander Pencil & Paper Game Developed

Lloyd Krassner from Warp Spawn Games has created a pencil & paper Wing Commander project for people interested in some board game fun. It takes place on a regular chess board, and people are responsible for drawing their own pieces and cards on paper mock ups. I'm sure some super creative people could print out pictures of ships to use in place of more basic representations. The rules might remind you of the official Customizable Card Game. You equip pilots and weapons and draw maneuvers in a similar fashion. A few moves are taken from traditional chess style play. Each side starts off with eight fighters and must destroy the opposing team's Wing Commander designate. If you've got a bunch of spare time, following the instructions and making your own game set looks like it'd be a lot of fun. You can find the complete rules and directions here. We've mirrored the file here in case something happens to the Angelfire site.
A Warpgame is a subset of war games. These are NOT computer-based games!!! These are old-fashioned, low-tech, paper-and-pencil affairs requiring some modicum of imagination to play. Included here are the rules (and just the rules, ma'am). If you want to play, you will have to make your own maps and pieces, as well as purchase a lot of funny looking dice. These games are FREE. All I ask for is some feedback. Please send your suggestions and comments to: kraz@Bellsouth.net

Mark Hamill About Comics & Wing Commander On G4/TechTV

ZFGokuSSJ1 recently caught an interesting Wing Commander feature on G4/TechTV.
Mark Hamill was just on G4TechTV's show 'Players'. He mainly talked about comic books, but there was about a minute's worth of video about Wing Commander.
Episode 302: May the Crunk Be With You contained the interview. It will be showing again on Friday, June 4 at 8 pm Eastern and 5 pm Pacific. Sounds like fun. Too bad I don't think I get the channel here.

Old Privateer 2 Mod Project Examined

Bob recently found the website for Quadrant Epsilon, a project to expand or improve upon Wing Commander Privateer 2. Of all the mods I've seen over the years, this might be the first for this game. It seems their work slowed down to a trickle a little while back, but if this sounds like an exciting idea to you, contact their team and see if you can restart things.
This project is aimed to create a sequel/clone to the almost-famous Privateer II. The main aspect of the game will be the multiplayer part. We are currently in a pre-alpha phase so no binary downloads are available at the time. We are close to an alpha release though, but the latest holidays kinda slowed things down.
That's not uncommon for fan projects, but putting in some good P2 work was a noble effort nonetheless. There's a couple background wallpapers to check out there and a forum to monitor their progress.

Space Sim First Look: Vendetta Online

Barret over at Crius has tipped us off about another massively multiplayer space sim called Vendetta Online. It is currently being designed for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Space combat is conducted in real time with emphasis based on player skill. There is an interesting choice of flight mode in Vendetta Online. Players can choose between the standard Wing Commander atmospheric mode or a Jumpgate style Newtonian space model. People can toggle back and forth and use whichever mode suits them best in certain situations. The game runs one large universe, rather than isolated servers, with a developing storyline in the far future. There are several distinct factions and a variety of neat locations. The game will be probably be in the $10-12 monthly range when it launches this summer.

Users may build their characters in any direction they desire, becoming rich captains of industry, military heros, or outlaws. A fast-paced, realtime "twitch" style combat model gives intense action, coupled with the backdrop of RPG gameplay in a massive online galaxy. Three major player factions form a delicate balance of power, with several NPC sub-factions creating situations of economic struggle, political intrigue and conflict. The completely persistent universe and detailed storyline add to the depth of immersion, resulting in a unique online experience.

A Bunch Of Random Things That Didn't Fit Elsewhere

Have you had trouble reading the CIC lately? Perhaps we're writing in a different form of English than you're used to. Snoop Dogg is here to help. You can run the CIC through Tha Shizzolator to read about Wing Commander news in style.
For a long time da CIC has watched muthas debate one of da important questions of izzle time: Who would win in a fight? Luke Skywalker or Christopher Blair n' shit. McGruff over at Crius.nizzle found da battle once again at da ridiculous CrossoverUniverse.com n' shit. They winner is no surprise, 'n we izzall know that shiznit's wrong n' shit. Yo' ass can join in wit yo' own thoughts at Crius here n' shit.

In other news, the Word Game thread at Crius.net has gotten its 5000th entry. During Dragon*Con last August, ace was amazed when it hit 2000 posts. It's still going strong. You know the rules, head on over and add your reply.

And finally, this last Wednesday the CIC hit one full year of daily updates. We spared no Christmas, Grandparents' Day or any other holiday to try to put together something of interest to Wing Commander fans each day. Hopefully there was something in there you found amusing. Here's to the next year.

Wing Commander on Sci Fi Next Week

The Wing Commander movie will be showing on the Sci Fi Channel again next Wednesday, June 2. The fun begins at 11:00 pm. Speaking of good Wing Commander television, don't forget that Commissar's Wing Commander Academy DVD sets might only be available for a few more days. He had formatted the series to DVD with interactive menus and custom cases. Sets go for about $15.

Warren Spector Possibly On The Move

A few people were happy to see Warren Spector was doing well when we met him at E3 a few weeks back. Thief (3) Deadly Shadows was released this week, and the reviews for it are absolutely amazing so far. There's some bad news coming out today however. The rumors are that Eidos has laid off a couple dozen Thief team members in Austin, since the game is complete. There are conflicting reports about Spector's status now. Some people would like him to stick with Ion Storm a bit to follow Thief's release, while others would love for him to get a fresh start with a new company. Mr. Spector seems like a super friendly and talented guy, so I could see him being upset if his fellow team members were suddenly let go. Hopefully everything works out well for him.

Space Sim Closer Look: Dark Space

Dark Space is a massively multiplayer space sim and strategy game that was released in late 2001 and early 2002. I don't believe there was a whole lot of hype around it at the time, and we never got around to mentioning its launch. They're still alive and well today however, and they've recently put together a free trial for people to take advantage of. There is an extensive backstory that involving several factions lead by a large Human navy and mysterious alien menace. Players complete tasks and gain experience to get higher ranks and badges which allow them to command bigger and better ships. There are different kinds of ships (beyond just size), so there is some variety in what you can do. More complicated mission objectives require teamwork with other players. The developers have been adding to the game for quite a while, and now appears to be a good time to give the game a try. You can start a five day free trial here.

DarkSpace is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game set in the time of space travel and interstellar warfare. The universe has become a tumultuous place in the future of political infighting, economic sanctions and diplomatic posturing. All of the factions have high hostility towards one another with a few outposts staying neutral, at least initially, to determine their best interest.

Wing Commander X-Type Coming

Pedro has been working on a small side project for school that is shaping up into a game of its own. It's based on classic R-Type with Wing Commander ships. Below we've got some screenshots of the Java beta, but so far the response has been somewhat positive and the game will be improved upon in C++. Selectable resolutions, full screen mode and better graphics should be forthcoming in a few weeks. Here's some fun shots to see for now.

Privateer Gets Sirius

Acid had sent us ten screenshots showing off his new FreeLancer mod, Privateer in Sirius. He describes the mod as "a proper integration of the ships into the Freelancer universe" - meaning that the famous Privateer ships (Talon, Centurion, Tarsus, Orion and Galaxy) will appear properly balanced in the service of various NPC factions rather than just as a player-only hack. Acid asks that we be sure and give credit to Drifting Ghost for creating many of the models you see here! You can get the mod from TheLancersReactor at this page.

Poll: Ending Is Such Sweet Sorrow

It's poll time again. The winner of the last poll, What's Your Favorite Furball Style?, was Wing Commander III with 49.03% of the vote. It was followed by WC2 (25.6%), WC4 (9.35%), WC1 (6.29%), Academy (4.95%) and the movie (4.79%). Our next poll question asks "Which game had the best ending sequence?" Here's a quick rundown of your options. Be warned, descriptions contain spoilers for each game. If you haven't played Wing Commander III yet, stop reading now.
Wing Commander: Fighters battle in space as the Tiger's Claw moves in on the last Kilrathi planet in the Vega Sector!
Wing Commander II: Blair is made a Colonel again, he receives a big cinematic kiss from Angel... but Thrakhath vows revenge!
Wing Commander III: Kilrah explodes, Melek surrenders and Blair returns to Earth for a well deserved vacation.
Wing Commander IV: Climactic trial scene convicts Tolwyn. Blair becomes a flight instructor or an Admiral.
Prophecy: Blair gives his life to stop the Nephilim - but for how long? Casey and Stiletto look to the future together.
Secret Ops: The second Nephilim gate is captured. Admiral Rayak and Governor Cavazos plot the next operation.
Privateer: Admiral Terrel is grateful for your help... enough to read you the games credits.
Privateer 2: Lev's insane younger brother meets a bad end - but the Kindred is yours!

Not Your Daddy's 2D Green Blob

Expert 3D modeller Howard Day is on a mission - to build the most accurate 3D model of the Confederation's Hornet-class light fighter ever constructed! Here's a look at how it's going:

Spear'd By the Shrike

Sean Murphy, who's Thunderbolt VII appeared in the news just a few days ago, has put together a new image using the Wing Commander Prophecy 3D models! This fantastic artwork shows off two of his designs: the Shrike bomber and the TCS Midway megacarrier herself.

Formerly New Istanbul

Warzog has forwarded us screenshots of the New Constantinople model they're using in the Privateer: The Reckoning mod for FreeLancer. The mesh was built by Bob McDob and textured by LVXOCCVLTA. New Constantinople was the political capitol of the Gemini Sector... ignoring, of course, the mysterious Gemini System. Thanks, Captain. The 3D rendering is on the right, while the in-game model appears on the left. Enjoy!

WC4 Ad Found With Syndicate Wars

Syndicate Wars was a popular 3d shooter in the late 1990s (1996 PC, 1997 Playstation) developed by Bullfrog and published by Electronic Arts. It was the sequel to the old school Syndicate game that found its way onto a number of platforms. All were published under the aegis of EA, and Syndicate Wars' Playstation debut timed nicely with the Wing Commander 4 PSX launch. Back in 1997 EA spent a lot of money on marketing the Wing Commander franchise, and a number of unique WC4 ads made their way out. Last year we found one of them with Crusader: No Remose. Syndicate Wars has another.
Take off... Take aim... Take 'em out.
  • Heart-pounding space combat action!
  • Stunning sci-fi special effects!
  • Starring Mark Hamill... as you!

Babylon 5 Mod for Vega Strike Making Progress

Jerome from the Babylon 5 Chronicles mod let us know that his project has been making quite a bit of progress recently. B5C is a mod for the Wing Commander themed Vega Strike. Unlike many fan projects, Vega Strike uses an original engine and is relatively versatile for attempts such as this. It's pretty neat to see how much work has gone into VS and its derivatives. The engine is still regularly updated with new features and bug fixes, and the B5C project has produced some interesting stuff so far. Here are a few shots of their ships.

You can find more information and additional screenshots at the Babylon 5 Chronicles website. If you're interested in how this project has developed over the last year, there is a thread about it at the Vega Strike forums.

HoTT Has Competition

When TC gets bored, he goes hunting for Wing Commander items and usually brings back something completely terrifying. This time is no exception. He has come across some art which challenges HoTT's position as king of strange WC crossover art. Found on this Cats Don't Dance unofficial fan site is this piece of art by Dennis Hu, which is a crossover of Cats Don't Dance and the WC movie.

Ultima 7th Anniversary Edition Coming Soon

Although many Wing Commander fans were saddened this year with the apparent closure of Origin, there have been hints that Electronic Arts is keeping the brand alive to some extent. Their historic Austin campus is still being vacated, but as we mentioned previously, some of their staff is being moved to Los Angeles. The remaining staff's belief was that some titles may yet be published with the Origin logo even. A tentative Ultima X Odyssey box art has been circulated, and it lacks the logo, but a new box has appear that includes it. This box is for the recently announced Ultima Online 7th Anniversary Edition.

The new UO package is actually quite impressive. For $19.99 it includes all the previous UO expansions and a free copy of Ultima IX: Ascension with some minor improvements. There are various free gifts included for players of UO, and the box will come with seven friend-codes that you can give out to other people. Each code allows someone to play UO for a free month. Sounds like a really great deal to me. More information on the features of this set can be found here. And if you missed it earlier, Origin has announced that a sixth UO expansion should be released in the fall.

Holding The Line Chapter 183

The HTL team have been welcoming some new talent as this week's chapter has been written by a newcomer. Here's Raptor to tell you about it:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with a great story written by Kevin "Wolfman" Foster. Kevin's a newcomer to HTL, but he's a very promising writer. As you might know, the battlecruiser Nemesis has been accompanying Battlegroup Valkyrie, but she was never designed to be a carrier escort. She's a convoy raider, designed to strike hard and fast at the enemy's weak spots. Now that the Nephilim fleet has jumped in, it's time to turn her loose. Please send any and all comments to Kevin at wolfman_borden@yahoo.ca

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

Best, Raptor

Wing Commander Videos 101

We always encourage people to include Wing Commander in their college work, and that's exactly what Yongxin Cui and Allen Kim did. They produced a nice rendered video of an attack on a Kilrathi starbase for their Computer Graphics class. The video was produced in 1997, but I don't think we've seen it before. You can find a summary of what is included in the video including still pictures of the ships here, and you can view the finished product here.

New Space Sim First Look: Star Wolves

Star Wolves is a space sim that's quietly been in developement for some time by Xbow Software and 1c Games Company. It's part space sim and part role playing game. Players control a party of up to six pilots in a Privateer-themed sci-fi environment. The story includes conspiracies between the space "Empire" and large corporations that control portions of known space. As the game progresses you acquire wingmen and level up their abilities in combat, so there is less direct control of the ships than you'd find in a traditional Wing Commander game. Certain aspects of the HUD are selected and controlled similarly to Freelancer. The graphics look neat so far and there seem to be a good variety of ships and locations. Star Wolves should be complete towards the middle of 2004. 3dGamers has a 50 megabyte trailer and quite a few additional screenshots.

WC Fan Spoofes The Kilrathi

Spoofe has done a rather sharp pencil sketch of a Kilrathi warrior. He made a cafeful note to describe his creation as depicting the Kilrathi from the games. I'd place it approximately as a Wing Commander 3 era design. He has quite a bit of additional art of various design at his site.

Thunderbolt on the Loose

Wing Commander artist Sean Murphy has a portfolio online where he displays some of his work. There is a big Origin section with artwork from Bioforge, Strike Commander and Wing Commander. This stunning 1280x1024 rendition of a Thunderbolt really stands out and makes a great wallpaper.

There is also a neat Space Quest 5 area (under Dynamix) for all you Roger Wilco fans.

What You Need To Know About D*C

To celebrate the release of the new Dragon*Con website, we decided that now would be a good time to update about TyeDyeBoy's D*C FAQ. If you have never been before, it tells you pretty much all you need to go about going, including why you'd want to go in the first place. Additional posts by other experienced D*C veterans cover the rest.
1 - What the bloodly hell is DragonCon?

D*C is a sci-fi convention held anually in Atlanta, Georgia. It happens in late August-Early September (this year it will be September 3-6) at a couple of hotels downtown. Recent years have had upwards of 20,000 attendees over the weekend. The events involved vary every year, but you can expect to see everything from classic Sci-fi (Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5) to fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Dragonriders of Pern), to horror (there are wannabe goths EVERYWHERE) to pretty much anything else even remotely related. There are discussion panels, costume contests, gaming events (lots of gaming... whole lot of gaming), live music here and there, and the list goes on. www.dragoncon.org is the official site, though it's down at the moment.

2 - Why would I want to go?

Are you kidding? It's a nerd paradise. Ever wanted to wear Spock Ears or Jedi Robes to school? You'd get laughed at, wouldn't you? That won't happen here, because everyone feels the same way. In addition to that, there are dozens of kickass chances to meet your favorite stars (Aaron Allston wrote some WC and Star Wars stuff, we've met him a couple of times, he's a great guy), and attend panels that they discuss genres on. Plus there are collectibles that you can't find elsewhere... though those get pricey.

On top of all of that, we do tend to have a great time amongst our tiny WC crew. The parade was a helluva lot of fun, for example. It is also incredibly cool to be recognized by other attendees. The first year a few of us wandered about wearing flightsuits, and a small party of Klingons joined us on the elevator and chatted about how great WC was.

You can ask questions or comment on the advice given in this thread. It's worth reading just for the Joe Garrity/Alice Cooper story and the Danger Woman story. The Danger Woman event has scarred me for life. So to sum up, everyone needs to go this year. I go from the UK, so no excuses about it being too far away.

Saga Shows Off New Excalibur & Fleet

We haven't featured any mod progress updates in a little while, so Tolwyn from WC Saga sent a batch of shots showing their latest updates. First is their updated Excalibur. It's shaping up quite nicely. The following shots show an assembled Kilrathi fleet. There's a lot to see there. You can find their conceptual designs, plus a classic Corvette, Destroyer and others.

It looks better every time.

The Big Question Returns

For a long time the CIC has watched people debate one of the important questions of our time: Who would win in a fight? Luke Skywalker or Christopher Blair. McGruff over at Crius.net found the battle once again at the ridiculous CrossoverUniverse.com. Their winner is no surprise, and we all know it's wrong. You can join in with your own thoughts at Crius here.

Congratulations To Everything

Yesterday was something of a triple holiday for us at the CIC. Kris turned 23 and the alt.games.wing-commander newsgroup turned 9. Yesterday was also the 24th anniversary of Mount St. Helens' eruption. The second Vesuvius class carrier was to be named after it some seven hundred years later.
<KrisV> Looks like I'm Hitler again.

Commissar Providing Slick WCA DVD Package

Crius.net poster Commissar has taken our high res Wing Commander Academy television show episodes and made a DVD set with them. He's invested a lot of time with this project and is offering to duplicate his work for Wing Commander CIC visitors. You're just paying for the materials and shipping, Commissar isn't making money off this. The source files are killing his computer at the moment though, so he will only be producing copies of his WCA DVD set for two more weeks. There are two packages he is making.
Well, I currently sell sets in two price plans. Both include shipping inside the US. A basic set runs $10.00, and consists of only the four DVD's in individual jewel cases. It's a good deal if you're just interested in the series, itself, or if you'd rather make your own cases or labels instead of the ones I offer. The deluxe set costs $15.00, but includes all 4 DVD's, stamped & labeled with cover art, inside 4 DVD cases with custom case inserts.

Both sets are still currently available; I just ran out to pick up more supplies today. I take payments by Paypal, yes, but if you would prefer to send your payment through the mail, instead, e-mail me and we'll set something up. I'm flexible. Thanks!

This is a great opportunity that might only be available for a short time here.

Here's a screenshot of the first disc's menu. Keep in mind that each cell is animated with about 30 seconds of footage from its respective episode. Music is also playing in the background -- the WC main theme from the first game.
You can ask questions at Crius.net here and order a set from Commissar here.

Electronic Arts CEO Conducting Interviews

EA CEO and Chairman Larry Probst has conducted a few interviews to coincide with last week's E3. They're somewhat helpful to get a feel for where the company is going and what got it to its current state. GamesIndustry.biz has an article talking about Mr. Probst's predictions on the next generation of consoles. He sees game development becoming more demanding and many smaller publishers falling by the wayside. This means the established intellectual properties and franchises of these smaller companies may be up grabs in the next couple years.
However, Probst claimed that the steep learning curve for the new technology will not present much difficulty to EA, and he remains confident that his company will emerge from the transition with an even larger share of the growing interactive entertainment market.
GameSpot has an extensive interview as well. Curt Feldman at GS introduces the tough character and fast-paced business style that Mr. Probst constantly exudes. The EA CEO talks a lot about long range forecasting and competition. He is supremely concerned with growth of the company and leveraging EA's status as the largest game publisher to negotiate deals no other company could get.
I think everybody understands that one of the key growth drivers for our company, longer term, is going to be how good we are in developing new intellectual properties. Last year we had 27 titles that sold more than a million units. I hope at some point in the future we’ve got double that number. The way you get there is to constantly develop new intellectual properties--or through our copublishing partners create that kind of success in the marketplace or go out and license.

Chris Attempts Undercover Surveillance

You may remember that on the way to E3, Chris stumbled upon the new EA compound completely by accident. Well on the way home, he took the opportunity to get a better look, this time in the daylight. Unfortunately he had to abandon the attempt when EA security got suspicious, but not before grabbing a few photos.

The last 16 photos from Chris' excellent E3 adventure are now in the gallery, and he'll get the commentary for the final day up when he has fully recovered.

Now Accepting Polo Shirt Orders

Chris has been showing off our new CIC polo shirts at E3 this past week. Most if not all of the people who pre-ordered have now received their shirts and the feedback has been great. Now that Chris is back, we're ready to accept new orders. People who'd like to get their hands on the limited remaining stock can send us an email to work out payment and shipping details. Regular shirts are $20 including shipping. The largest sizes add $2 and overseas shipping adds $5.

Warren Spector Draws Crowds At E3

Thee world renowned Warren Spector held an interview with the IGN LiveWire radio show at E3 last week. Many people attened to hear about his philosophies on game design. He is a strong proponent of non-linear open-ended gameplay. Titles such as Deus Ex and the upcoming Thief sequel can be played in many different styles. While both are action games on the surface, Deus Ex can be completed without killing anyone, and a player can complete Thief without ever even being seen. Mr. Spector also discussed some of his time at Origin and the obstacles he has overcome. His first game with OSI had a budget of just $250,000. As the gaming industry has grown, it has allowed him to fulfill more of his creative vision. You can find more on his gaming background at MobyGames here.

Quick! Turn On Sci-Fi!

Apparently the Sci-Fi channel is showing the WC movie TONIGHT at 11:30pm Eastern time. If you've somehow managed to miss it before, or you need a copy on VHS, this is your chance! Thanks to Shades for pointing this out.

A Closer Look At EA And The PSP

On Friday we spent some more time working in the EA areas and found their cushy secret VIP room at the show. It was more elaborate than the actual front offices of some other developers. We also got into a nice Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth screening that was fairly impressive. The game interface has been streamlined and made more efficient to handle the massive battles being carried out in the C&C Generals engine. Soldiers reactive intuitively to battle conditions (fear and excitement) and the scope of the conflict seems really great. We tried to make another run through the Nintendo DS line today, but too many people had the same idea. I did get a good look at the Sony Playstation Portable however. Yesterday I mentioned that I was pleasantly surprised by how the Nintendo DS worked out. The PSP is also surprisingly slick. The screen has to be seen to be believed. The games and movies playing on it look incredible, and the screen is even larger than the GBA's. It will play music and movies and also incorporate wireless functions. What if they release the Wing Commander movie for the UMD PSP format? There is also an exciting Global Positioning Satellite attachment feature in one picture I snapped. That has some exciting potential.

As usual, there are more pictures here. I also completed the writeup for Day Two, including some discussion on EA's place in the video game market. Thanks for visiting today.

Catching Up With Destination Software, Inc

At last year's E3 we got our first hands on look at Destination Software and Raylight Studios' Prophecy Advance. I found the Destination team again at this year's show and talked to them about the developments of the last year. The game finally made it out approximately one year ago and is still one of the most technologically impressive games on the system. Its original four-pilot multiplayer linkup is loads of fun. The DSI group was happy to find out that we bring people from around the world together to play exciting Prophecy multiplayer matches. Apparently sales for the title have been strong and the game continues to sell. Although this usually increases the prospects for additional games, the complicated licensing agreement involved with this one makes things more complex. I really really want a Wing Commander game for the PSP or DS now.

Check Out More E3 Inside

We've got a few more images from inside E3 today, including a quick shot of Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst. Apparently he was in a quite a hurry when we caught him however. We also got a chance to check out the Nintendo DS. The obvious emphasis is on the dual screen ability, but the touch screen seems to be where lots of innovation will occur. The combination of the two allows some really exciting game modes. The system will also play Prophecy Advance. Although the DS supports wireless linkup (with potential for online play), the older GBA games are not really compatible with the wireless technology. They'll probably need to make a new Wing Commander DS game for that to happen.

And Agent Bloodrayne said, "Hello." More shots can be found here. Complete descriptions of the weird things depicted within won't be up until this evening.

Help Save the 3D Kilrathi Fleet!

Attention master 3D artists: here's a chance to help preserve Wing Commander history!

See, I wrote this fanfic with this super-fighter...

Just kidding - I need someone to help recreate in as much detail as possible three Kilrathi capital ships! During the war they were our feared enemies... but since then their 3D models have fallen into disrepair! Textures are missing, models are broken and... so forth.

These three projects are divided into three difficulty levels.

DORKATHI - The Dorkathi is missing the textures to its cargo pods (CARG1.CEL and CARG2.CEL). You can download the rest of the ship here, which includes the model and the textures for the superstructure and habitat areas. We need someone to recreate the 'pod' textures based closely on the visual style of the rest of the ship and various reference pictures to be provided later.

DEPOT - The Depot is missing... everything. All of her textures seem to be lost to the ages (3DS tells me they were 'CNBALL.CEL', 'PORT.CEL' and 'OUTBALL.CEL'). This project is a little more difficult because there aren't any great cutscene reference pictures of the depot - just the ingame bitmaps. I will provide those plus any reference work you might need (textures from other models, scan of the proper logo, etc.). You can get the Depot 3D model here.

FRALTHRA - The Fralthra, one of the finest Kilrathi capital ships, is... gone. The model I have seems to be a damaged or incomplete file. I have included in this zip the following 3D elements: the damaged Fralthra model (ANFRAL.3DS), seven textures found referenced in the text of said model (DORWNG1.CEL, RIDGETBS.CEL, RALTOP.CEL, RALBOT.CEL, RIGDETGS.CEL, RIGDETG.CEL and RIGDETB.CEL), six textures that 'seem' like they go with the Fralthra (FRALBOT.CEL, FRALENG.CEL, FRALENG2.CEL, FRALTOP.CEL, FRALTOP4.CEL and FRALTOP6.CEL) and last but not least the 3D model of the "blown up" Fralthra wing (untextured, but possibly a good reference point to build from?). Maybe you can restore something from the original model, maybe it's impossible - but we need to finish with a Fralthra model in the end! I will provide reference shots as needed as well as any other elements you think you might need (do the Ralari engines look like Fralthra engines? They're yours!). Get the scattered Fralthra elements here.

Now, the key here is to recreate these models as closely as possible... I know you're all wonderful artists, and I know that modern technology allows us to put a lot more detail into a spaceship than we could in 1990... but we don't need to add anything to them.

Prizes: CIC pens for everyone who helps, plus the online release of all the other four Kilrathi capital ship models (Ralatha, Kamekh, K'Tithrak Mang, Intro Dreadnought) when all three of these ships are finished!

So go skin some cats!

E3 2004 Officially Begins

Today the 2004 Electronics Entertainment Expo kicked off. There are hundreds of different games and products being unveiled, so it takes a while to absorb everything. Although Prophecy Advance was on display the last two years, it doesn't look like we'll see something like that this time. I have found a nice tribute to the series which is highlighted below. I am currently trying to catch up with a few other items of interest to Wing Commander fans as well. Here are a few pictures from inside the show, including a meeting with Gary Coleman.

More photos from E3 can be found here. We had some camera trouble today, so the pictures mainly focus on the West Hall. Electronic Arts, NCSoft (Richard Garriott), Microsoft Game Studios (Digital Anvil) and other notable developers are in the South Hall. We'll catch up with them tomorrow.

Classic Games Expo Honors Wing Commander

The Classic Games Expo is being held in conjunction with E3 this week. In a portion marked "Vintage PC Games," Wing Commander Privateer joins Populous, Civilization and others to help remind people of the good old DOS days.

They also had lots of old "wooden box" home consoles, arcade cabinets, eight-bit Nintendos and other fun stuff on display.

Behind The Scenes At The EA Booth

We've managed to set up here in Los Angeles the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo. Although pictures of the construction phase of the show are generally prohibited, we've got some images of the Electronic Arts area being set up below. A variety of Origin and Wing Commander related personnel will be in attendance at the expo, and we'll remind them how many enthusiastic Wing Commander fans exist whenever we get the chance. Additional pictures can be found in our E3 2004 article here.

Electronic Arts Los Angeles Visited At Night

Last year we reported about the new EA LA compound where studios such as Origin would be consolidated in the future. While getting lost in Marina del Rey here in California, we happened across a surprising sight purely by chance. It was something of a shock because we were looking for Jack in the Box and not a major EA fortress. We were drawn to the area by some invisible force and had to stop to snap some photos. Although it was quite dark at the time, unique aspects of the building's architecture can be matched up to the concept art we posted last year.

EA Officially Confirms XBox Live Compatibility

Rounding out our EA news for the day is the information from the Microsoft Pre-E3 press conference. At the event representatives confirmed that numerous Electronic Arts titles would be taking the XBox Live plunge this year.
The first game to include Xbox Live capability will be NCAA® Football 2005, scheduled for release in July. Madden NFL 2005, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 2005, NASCAR® 2005: Chase For The Cup, NBA LIVE 2005, NHL® 2005, and NCAA® March Madness™ 2005 will follow. EA GAMES titles on Xbox Live include GoldenEye: Rogue Agent™, Need for Speed™ Underground 2, Battlefield: Modern Combat™, Burnout™ 3 and TimeSplitters Future Perfect™.

“Microsoft has always been one of our best business partners,” said EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. “This agreement took time because we needed to get it right. This agreement enlists EA to further expand the Xbox Live community and allows us to build a business around premium content. The agreement is good for Microsoft, good for EA and most of all, good for the players.”

You can find more information on the announcement here. Sources indicate that at least fifteen EA games will be surported by Live by the end of the year.

Save Enterprise

Let's take a step back from Wing Commander for a moment to talk about something almost as important: the latest Star Trek series, Enterprise, is apparently in danger of being cancelled. If you're a Star Trek fan, I'll personally vouch for the fact that the show has significantly improved in quality in its third season. If you're not, read on for details as to why this is important.

Let me relate this to Wing Commander, through a hitherto secret tale of intrigue: Back in October, 2001 we received a phone call from a TV producer who was working with Chris Roberts to develop a Wing Commander television show. He wanted our help with some statistics: how dedicated is the fan base, what kind of traffic do we do, how many Wing Commander websites are there? I knew that the concept had been (and presumably still is) floating around Hollywood for quite a while, so I asked him why there was now an interest? His answer: Enterprise's premiere episode, Broken Bow, had scored much higher than expected ratings and the industry was interested in developing similar shows.

The lesson here is the same one we learned from Freespace - the success or failure of a similar product affects the entire genre. If Enterprise had been a smash hit through its first year we would probably be watching a Wing Commander show right now. More than that, though, if Star Trek is cancelled then everything built on its back will be in danger; saving Enterprise should be just as important to Stargate fans and Battlestar Galactica fans and Wing Commander fans as it is to Trekkers.

You can find mailing addresses, phone numbers and the like for who you can contact to plead the show's case at SaveEnterprise.com. Do it if you love Star Trek, do it if you hate cheap reality TV or do it if you just love Wing Commander.

Return of The King

Major Striker, Wing Commander fan artist extraordinare, has a new picture for everyone to enjoy. Here's his explanation from the forums thread: The Ralari and gratha are my 3d models of course, the guy on the left is me, the girl on the right is Jennifer Connelly and of course the guy in the uniform in the middle is Elvis, the King of Rock 'n Roll!!! Well, of course! Enjoy:

Replacement Game Covers Ready For Printing

Forums poster The Wuqked has been hard at work on making DVD covers so that you can store your WC games in nice shiny DVD cases. Some of these are still work in progress, but they look really great.

You can comment on these in this thread.

CIC Polo Shirts Arrive

We'll have some pictures featuring these later in the week, so now might be a good time to show off the final CIC polo shirts that Jibbo and Filler have helped us make. They're super cool. Wing Commander fans who preordered shirts should have them in their mailbox today or tomorrow. People who'd like to get their hands on the limited remaining stock can send me an email and we can work something out when I get back from Los Angeles next week.

Regular shirts are $20 including shipping. The largest sizes add $2 and overseas shipping adds $5.

Last Vearrier Auction Reminder

Just a heads up to everyone interested in Mark Vearrier's latest set of Wing Commander auctions that bidding ends later today! The lot includes a number of shirts, patches and best of all the head of the Kilrathi Emperor from Wing Commander III! You can find details on all of the items here or a complete eBay listing here.

Good luck -- and can we see some love for the keyboard frame? No one has bid on the poor guy yet!

Holding The Line, Chapter 182

Raptor has the latest chapter of Holding the Line for us:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with part eleven of the Into The Inferno series, written by yours truly. (And if you're getting a little tired of stories written by me, this is the last one for a few months, I promise. *G*) At the end of the last chapter, all the loose ends were being tied up before the big battle. Now, the fireworks begin. Please send any all comments back to me.

The story is at: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~theraj/archives/ch182.htm

Best, Raptor

It's A Perry Party With The Reckoning

Bob from the Reckoning team has released a shot that shows the transformation that the Perry Naval Station has undergone for his Freelancer mod. The Perry in the upper left is an original Wing Commander Privateer design. To the right of that is a draft they made when importing the station into Freelancer, and the bottom image is their final version. I always loved Perry. In a lawless region like the Gemini Sector, there's something special about having this symbol of Confed stability.

The textures were done by lvxoccvlta and the model was created by Bob. You can find out more on The Reckoning at Crius.net here.

End Run Cover Used Again!

Last week we reported that the Polish version of David Weber's Honor Among Enemies was using a modified End Run cover. Bob noticed that it looks like the Russian version of Honor of the Queen uses yet another version of the End Run art. It's pretty freaky.

You can find the Honor Among Enemies graphic here.

Vega Strike Interview Featured In Australian Magazine

Vega Strike is an experienced project with a lot of history and lore behind it, and they're still going strong. Last year they won runner-up in the CIC's Fan Project of the Year contest as well as a major French software association award. Kinnear let us know that in the special 100th issue of PC PowerPlay, the magazine's Garage Games feature interviews Vega Strike's primary developer, Daniel Horn. Although the magazine initially compares the game to Elite, we know it has huge Wing Commander roots as well.

PCPP: How long has it taken to get Vega Strike to its current state and how many people have been involved in the project?

Daniel Horn: I started Vega Strike in 1998 in high school. I remember because I wrote it all down in the news system and managed to keep that intact, so you can even go back to see old news reports when I wrote with many exclamation points!!

The installer package is now 165 megs. I remember testing out tiny incremental versions every few days back in 1998. The game has really come a long way and now forms the core for a variety of other projects. You can find more information and try it out for yourself at the Vega Strike website.

We Missed Some Neat Saga Shots

We've reported about a lot of new specific ships in WC Saga over the last month or two, and a couple really neat singular shots fell through the cracks. I really like these three. From left to right, it's a Ferret, Cruiser and Excalibur. I love each of the designs and the new lighting/perspective the Freespace engine gives them is neat.

In the ship viewer Excalibur shot, it's also fun to see all the different craft listed that we'll eventually see.

WC Saga Goes Back To The Drawing Board

Over at the forums, Psych has unveiled the latest new ship to make it in to the WC Saga mod for Freespace. Once again they have managed to transform a ship from a drawing previously only seen on the "Making of WC3" CD-ROM in to a full 3D model.
As mentioned in the artwork, this is a Kilrathi cruiser. But it’s very different from the notorious Fralthi II-class cruiser from WC3, so it’s assumed as a different ship class. The reasons we decided to classify this warship as a light cruiser is because not only does it fills in the gaps for a light cruiser (the Fralthi II is a heavy cruiser), the existance of a Kilrathi light cruiser is also confirmed through Page 49 of the Wing Commander 3 novel.

Approximate length is 500 meters and tonnage is around 17,000 tons. Fighter complement is eight fighters, a single squadron. This cruiser’s weaponry has to be balanced so that its less then the heavy cruiser (4 Anti-Matter Turret, 11 lasers) but more then the heavy destroyer (3 tachyon turret, 10 lasers). After much thought, we are making this cruiser’s weaponry to be 5 tachyon turrets and 10 laser turrets, as well as a cruise missile/torpedo launcher.
You can read more and comment in this thread.

Electronic Arts Announces E3 Lineup

EA has announced that it will be showing 23 titles at next week's Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. These include their eight annual sports franchises, plus GoldenEye Rogue Agent, Battlefield 2, Battlefield Modern Combat, Catwoman, Def Jam Fight for New York, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, LOTR Battle for Middle Earth, LOTR The Third Age, Medal of Honor Pacific Assault, The Sims 2, The Urbz, Burnout 3, TimeSplitters Future Perfect, Armies of Exigo and Black & White 2. There will certainly be other surprises and minor announcements at the show as well. We'll be in LA next week to report live from the show.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 2004--Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment software company, today announced its unrivaled E3 lineup of Sports, Action, Racing, Role-Playing, Fighting and Real-time Strategy games. EA's 23 E3 titles will debut next week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). EA also will announce its support for Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation Portable (PSP) hand-held game machine, delivering four EA titles at the system's launch with 10-12 additional titles following within the year.
You can find the full press release here.

Wing Commander Case Mod In Progress

Castle02 over at Crius.net is currently working on a computer case mod dedicated to Origin. Here's the first photo of it.

This is the start of a brand new server case I bought for modding. I decided to make it a Wing Commander-ish theme. I plan to install a blue cathode light, led fans and paint the case black. The top will have a silhouette of a Centurion Fighter (not done yet) with a blue led fan in the center of it. I've got it almost all sanded and ready for primer. It might be a while before it gets done, but stay tuned. I hope it all turns out.
Last year Castle made some really nifty Wing Commander themed car decals too. We can't wait to see the finished product!

Standoff Mod Needs More Voice Actors

The Wing Commander Standoff team is looking for people to fill in some extra voice roles for their upcoming Secret Ops mod. Here's Tempest with the announcement.
Hey everybody. Commencing ad campaign!

After going through all the lines I have in stock, I'm in need of many generic voices to be recorded. Even if you've done other lines in the game, if you feel you can change your voice slightly, then please do so, as it would greatly help.

If anyone feels they can lend their voice, I'll send out the lines to you individually. Just reply to this thread, or send me an email at: rileyrock@hotmail.com.

This will really help us out, guys, and will be appreciated. Oh... and the first of those to respond will get the best lines.

If you'd like to contribute some lines to the mod, send Tempest an email. You can find out more at Crius.net here.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

To help promote the 'lost' Wing Commander novel, Pilgrim Truth, we've set up a web page devoted to Wing Commander movie author Peter Telep! We've also added HTML versions of the Pilgrim Truth prologue and outline. Tell your publishing companies you want to see Pilgrim Truth published! The prologue was previously released for only a short time at Telep's official website... its return online here is courtesy of Valiento's hard work! Just 24 more chapters to go!

You Will Adapt to Service Us

Mark Vearrier sent us another image as thanks for posting about his auctions! This logo was used on a shirt given out to Origin employees some years back... and I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

Bring Me The Head Of... Wing Commander Auctions

Wing Commander artist Mark Vearrier is back with a third set of Wing Commander auctions - including the head of the Kilrathi Emperor! Here are the details:
WCP Team Shirt: It's the shirt made famous by Captain Johnny! These awesome shirts were given out to members of the Wing Commander Prophecy development team. They feature the 'jumping Vampire' image on the front and the Prophecy logo on the back.: (6 Days Left, Currently $5)

WC4 Monitor Frame: Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum was nice enough to give me one of these once... and I hadn't ever seen one before or since! These were given out to promote Wing Commander IV back in 1996, and they feature all of the commands (no more asking how to cloak!). My only complaint is that it's too small to fit on my Wing Commander machine's 21" monitor - but it's a darned cool piece of memorabelia!: (6 Days Left, Currently $2)

Universe Map: This is a rolled version of the Wing Commander Universe map - no more creases through your sectors and quadrants! The inclusion of the entire universe map in Prophecy was one of the coolest pack-ins Origin ever did - I'll choose it over Ultima 8's pentagram coin any day!: (6 Days Left, Currently $10)

Wing Commander CCG Cards: The CCG remains one of my favorite tie-ins. Back in 1995 companies were rushing to release card game versions of every possible license... and Wing Commander fit the bill perfectly. If you're coming to Dragon*Con, you'll need your own Wing Commander CCG deck -- we'll make sure this single release outlives all of those other "popular" games (like SimCity: The Card Game)!: (6 Days Left, Currently $2)

WC4 and Prop Shirt: Wing Commander IV plus a TCS Lexington shirt. You can use the game to betray the shirt! (6 Days Left, Currently $5)

WC3 with Team Shirt: Here's a copy of Wing Commander III with a very cool team shirt -- I've actually never seen the back logo before. Amazing! (6 Days Left, Currently $5)

WCP with Prop Shirt: Need Prophecy? Sure, everyone does... and this one comes with a red 'TCS Midway' shirt, as seen in the game! That's a fair sight better than our CIC versions (which were just red shirts). (6 Days Left, Currently $5)

WCIV and WCP Patches (1): These patches were given to members of the Wing Commander IV and Wing Commander Prophecy teams (respectively). They're certainly rare items (the only patch I've seen less of is the Kilrathi Saga dev team patch)! (6 Days Left, Currently $10)

WC Blueprints: Three of the blueprints from the original Wing Commander - great for finishing off an incomplete copy. You can tell they're from the original release, as later versions of Wing Commander came with only two sheets of blueprints. (6 Days Left, Currently $2)

WCIV and WCP Patches (2): See above - this set includes an alternate design of the Wing Commander IV patch. (6 Days Left, Currently $10)

WC3 Premiere and Prop Shirt: Wing Commander 3 Premiere Edition plus one of the blue 'TCS Victory' shirts from Wing Commander III! Very cool! (6 Days Left, Currently $10)

Privateer: This is the original release of Privateer - check out those purple labelled diskettes! Privateer was the last disk-only Wing Commander game, and I certainly have fond memories of the install process. (6 Days Left, Currently $2)

Privateer 2: If you're from outside North America, you probably aren't familiar with this design - the European version of Privateer 2 (the first edition released) came in a package with a big eye! Privateer 2 was the first Wing Commander game released in a 'modern' box. The cover lifts open to reveal... things about Privateer 2. (6 Days Left, Currently $2)

Kilrathi Emperor's Staff: No, it's not Melek... it's the top portion of the staff the Emperor holds in Wing Commander III! Worth a look, even if you're not bidding -- I don't think there's ever been a closeup picture of it before. (6 Days Left, Currently $49)

Kilrathi Emperor Head: This is the big finale - the Emperor's head! This is an absolutely amazing piece of Wing Commander history... I certainly hope someone out there will have a good home in which to preserve this artifact. (6 Days Left, Currently $99)

He's got a few other non-Wing Commander titles (including the rare Crusader Collection)... you can check them out here. Good luck on your bids!

Fiction Archive Project

Online fiction isn't limited to the Secret Ops release - Origin and Digital Anvil webmasters have been adding to the Wing Commander continuity for years. Are these documents gone for good now that we've lost a number of the official sites? Nope - we've preserved them for future generations, and are in the process of archiving them at the CIC. Here's some pieces of Wing Commander fiction you may have forgotten about:

Eisen Letter: Remember when Captain Eisen hid his e-mail from Blair in Wing Commander IV? This is what he was reading! It was an 'easter egg' at Origin's Wing Commander IV PSX site. Aside from being a fun piece of fiction, it provides two great details: a specific date for WC4 and a first name for Dr. Brody.

Midway Orders: These 'transfer orders' were shown the first time a user logged on to the Wing Commander Prophecy official website (wingcommanderprophecy.com). It creates a bit of interesting background fiction, implying that Casey transferred to the TCS Midway from the TCS Kalamazoo.

Paladin's Log: This 'journal entry' by Paladin was part of Digital Anvil's Wing Commander movie website (wcmovie.com). It provides a little bit of background to the movie, and acts as a companion piece to The Confederation Handbook's letter from Paladin to Tolwyn. Note that both documents use the same signature image for Paladin - now that's continuity!

Secret Ops Fiction: This is the online fiction you know and love - the 118 pieces of background fiction written to accompany Wing Commander: Secret Ops. They were available online at SecretOps.com until just recently - unfortunately, international concerns prevented their inclusion on the Wing Commander Prophecy Gold CDs.

Sunglasses Not Included With This Wallpaper

Tolwyn's latest WC Saga Wallpaper features a gorgeous Arrow veering away from an explosion. It's formatted for 1280x1024 screens and is able to light dark rooms with its presence.

It is not nearly as advanced as my previous art, but on the other hand it is my first try to create a good looking explosion ;) I hope you will like it.

Electronic Arts Crushing Competitors And Boosting Stock Prices

The May 10 Issue of US News & World Report has a lengthy article by James Pethokoukis on EA's continued dominance of the video game industry. It seems like I've read this article several times over the years, but it's no less true today. There are some neat bits of information included throughout as well (and some funny factual mixups). They note that EA has 22% of the game software market, doubling second-place Nintendo's 11% share in North America. They cover 30% of Europe. The article mentions that EA is still targeting goals for online revenue (15-20% of total revenue in the next console cycle), which is one of the things that caused much grief with the Secret Ops sequel and Privateer Online.
So let's see here: EA is the major force in a fast-growing industry and--even better--looks to be making a power play in the one sector it doesn't dominate. Perhaps Probst should start holding meetings in one of the company's other conference rooms--the one nicknamed "Resistance is Futile."
You can find the whole article here.

Polish Novel Gets End Run Treatment

The Polish version of Honor Among Enemies by David Weber has gotten a special version of the End Run art for its cover. Although it's still the Dralthi attacking a Confed carrier that we all know, a different part of the Sabre strut is visible and the image has been cropped closer, resulting in a larger image.

Kind of interesting. They use WC cover art for non-WC books and make crazy new art for German translations of WC books. Thanks TC.

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