Ships of the Animated Series: Ambulance

Wing Commander Academy further increases the number of specific support ships in the Wing Commander universe. This Confederation 'space ambulance' appears briefly in "Word of Honor."

EA Inks Deal For Sims 2 Web Series

EA announced today that Rooster Teeth Productions, the people behind Halo's Red vs Blue, will soon be making movies for Sims 2 using the in-game movie maker.
Rooster Teeth will use this movie making feature to create a whole series of movies based on The Sims 2. As The Sims became a cultural phenomenon and brought computer games to the masses, Rooster Teeth movies from The Sims 2 are poised to do the same thing -- bring Machinima to the masses. The short The Sims 2 movies will be available starting today with new movies premiering on a regularly scheduled basis on www.strangerhood.com.
Congratulations to the Rooster Teeth team. Hopefully they're making a lot of money doing what they want to do. The Intro available now shows off a little bit of what their style will be for the new series, and it seems to have some good potential.

Flight Commander Release Approaches

Eddie Benowitz reports that Flight Commander, his space combat simulator in the style of Wing Commander, is close to release.
A new release of Flight Commander is coming soon. Among the new features implemented are force feedback joystick support, 3d surround sound, and improved graphics and speed.

Screenshots, details on all the implemented new features, and a pre-release web site are up at flightcommander.solsector.net.

Ships of the Animated Series: Shuttle (C)

We don't see a shuttle in the original Wing Commander (though there is one in the introduction to Super Wing Commander - which is itself taken from Origin's Bioforge!), but here we get a chance to see what one assigned to the Tiger's Claw looks like. This craft appears twice: once as Admiral Bergstrom's yacht in "Chain of Command" and then as the ship which transports our heroes to shore leave on Oasis in "Recreation."

Ships of the Animated Series: Fighter Transport

This is a ship with much the same role as the TCS Tarawa in the Wing Commander novels - moving fighters from one point to another. In "Walking Wounded" the Kilrathi capture the TCS Morgan and turn her fighter complement (Sabres and Broadswords) against the Tiger's Claw. The Morgan's fighter complement consisted of nineteen ships in two launch bays: eight Dralthi, six Sabres and three Broadswords. Defensive armament consists of three dual-mount laser turrets, one single-mount laser turret and a dual-mount missile turret. The design is similar, but notably distinct from, the Achilles-class ship seen in other episodes.

Sims 2 Gone Platinum In Ten Days

Electronic Arts has announced that The Sims 2 has sold more than one million copies in its first ten days on shelves. This gives the game top honors as EA's biggest PC launch ever. Just ten years ago Wing Commander 3 held a similar position in EA's lineup with a million copies sold over the span of months. Half of The Sims were sold in Europe, mirroring Wing Commander's consistent success there as well.
The Sims franchise celebrated its fourth anniversary in February. The game skyrocketed to the top of the charts when it began shipping to stores in February 2000 and quickly became a universal gaming and cultural phenomenon. The Sims PC based product and expansion packs were the best selling PC games of 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. Translated into 17 different languages, The Sims has inspired seven top selling expansion packs. Combined sales for the franchise have topped 41 million units life-to-date.
The Urbz are up next.

Ships of the Animated Series: Hospital Ship

In the original Wing Commander we see Drayman-class transports converted as hospital ships (in the Dakota System). In Wing Commander Academy we get to see what a dedicated version looks like: the TCS Pleiku, a crippled hospital ship, is the setting for much of "Walking Wounded." The Hospital Ship is unarmed.

Monday Reminders: Void War Contest

Don't forget to email us if you'd like a chance at a free copy of Void War. Don't forget to include your name and a description of your favorite moment in a space sim to qualify! The contest will end in a couple days, so email right away. There is a demo of the game available to download now here.

Monday Reminders: Auction Ends Tomorrow

The latest lot of eBay goodies ends in less than a day. Origin vet Chris Todd is letting go of a variety of WC games and promotional items. Good luck!

Ships of the Animated Series: Byrd

Byrd-class hulls appear as reconaissance ships in "Chain of Command" and as transports in "Recreation." They are armed with one single-mount laser cannon located on their bow.

ATFW Finds New Home

A Talent For War has long been pretty much the only site on the internet dedicated to general space-sim news. After going through something of a quiet patch for some time, the site is once again back and being regularly updated, this time in a blog format at a new location. You can find the new-look ATFW here.

Virtual Reality Chat Project Announced

Flap is working on a 3D chat environment for Wing Commander fans. Here is the announcement that he sent in. You can check out the project here.
Hi everybody.

It is with pleasure that I announce the birth of a new project dedicated to Wing Commander: Wing Commander Online.

The project is an online virtual interface based upon the recently released Atmosphere program, by Adobe. The purposes of this project are multiple, since its features include virtual online chat (you can chat looking directly at the person you want to chat with, via a 3D avatar), you can enter in a complete virtual reality featuring a Wing Commander III era ship, called "TCS MEDITERRANEAN SEA," with a bar, a flight deck, a bridge and so on.

As you may understand, the main objective at the time is to give the Wing Commander Community (and of course the CIC) a true ship to be in, to chat with other wingnuts and -somehow- to live together. Imagine to be really in the world of Wing Commander, with the rules of Confederation ships. All the RPG based game could receive a big helping hand by being put in a virtual world-universe like this.

Moreover this is not a mod but a completely new project, based upon a brand new engine. This together with many other features leads the way to let approach new fan at the Wing Commander Universe.

Which means: giving Wing Commander a future

To find more information please head your browsers to: frwebworks.altervista.org or frwebworks.tk projects area.

Thank you all,

Francesco "flap" Rossi

Sounds interesting! You can discuss the project on our Forums.

Ships of the Animated Series: Light Cruiser

Next up we'll be identifying the ships created specifically for the animated series - from Confederation battleships to Kilrathi stealth fighters to unusual fighters no one has managed to conclusively identify! First up are the nine original ships of the Terran Confederation!

The TCS Manassas, a light cruiser, appears as part of Admiral Bergstrom's battlegroup in "Chain of Command." Unfortunately, we are never given a clear view of the ship -- so its complement and capacities remain largely unknown.

Void War Copies Up For Grabs

To celebrate the game's release, Jay Barnson from Rampant Games has kindly donated three copies of their WC-inspired space-sim Void War for us to give away. We're going to make you work for your chance to win though - you'll actually need to email us! Just send us your name and tell us your favorite space sim moment. It doesn't even have to be from Wing Commander. Our favorite three answers will win copies of the game.

The contest will run for about a week, and we'll post the names of the winners along with instructions for claiming your prize shortly after we close the contest. If you need a reminder of what the game features, you can check our first look here. Don't forget to email news@wcnews.com with your name and favorite space sim moment!

Ships of the Animated Series: Fralthi

Wing Commander's Fralthi-class cruiser makes a very brief appearance in "Expendable" - and not just any Fralthi... Ralgha nar Hhallas' eventual command, the KIS Ras Nik'hra! Oddly, the ship is referred to as being a destroyer... but you can't win them all! Four dual mount laser cannons are visible during the Fralthi's brief appearance.

Wing Commander Auction!

Another Wing Commander veteran is auctioning rare collectables! Chris Todd, a programmer on Wing Commander III (the manual credits him with Gameflow System and Gameflow Design and Implementation), is selling a lot of Wing Commander memorabelia. It includes copies of The Kilrathi Saga, Wing Commander IV and Wing Commander Prophecy as well as a number of other exciting items:
  • Making of Wing Commander III VHS
  • Wing Commander III Behind the Screens CD
  • Wing Commander 3 Poster
  • VHS tape with three hours of raw WC3 footage
  • WC3 Team Shirt
  • WC3 Magazine Demo
  • The original WC3 release candidate CD-Rs
  • Sounds pretty darned cool! Everything is being sold together, and you can find the auction here. The auction ends in just under five days - bid early, bid often! Good luck!

    Ships of the Animated Series: Bengal

    We started looking at Wing Commander Academy ships because I wanted to catalogue all the many turrets which appear on the Tiger's Claw in Wing Commander Academy. Now, at long last, the armament can be revealed -- and it's very heavy! Thirty five dual laser turrets, six triple laser turrets and a single single laser turret. The Bengal-class may be the most well defended ship in Wing Commadnder history. Two Bengals appear in the animated series - the TCS Tiger's Claw (CV-07) in episodes two through thirteen and the TCS Trafalgar in "Chain of Command." You can more about the Bengal's history here.

    Two New Ways To Play Console WC Games

    This week both Sony and Nintendo announced new hardware. The Playstation 2 is getting a compact redesign, and the Game Boy line is evolving with the Nintendo DS. In the first few days of November, the model 70000 PS2 (or two) will go on sale for around $150. It reduces the original PS2 size by about 75%. The network adapter is also integrated as well.

    On November 21 in North America, the Nintendo DS will launch for about $150. This is actually Nintendo's first main product launch to occur outside Japan. As previous mentioned, it includes more buttons, a secondary touch screen, microphone port and wireless play. It will be compatible with GBA games and newer DS specific games.

    If you don't have them yet, time to stock up on Wing Commander 3 and 4 for the Playstation and Prophecy Advance for the Game Boy.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Dralthi

    The KF-100 Dralthi-class Medium Fighter is, as always, the signature Kilrathi fighter of Wing Commander Academy. Dralthi appear in episodes one, two, four, five, six, seven, nine, twelve and thirteen. Like the animated Scimitar, the Dralthi closely mirrors its game-based insipration - it carries five missiles (two in racks above the cockpit and three in a centerline hardpoint) and two forward laser cannons. You can more about the Dralthi's history here.

    The Postal Projects Update

    It's been a busy month for us at the CIC. Things haven't slowed down much from the Birthday to DragonCon to our server rebuilding. A few people have asked for updates on a couple promotional/merchandising issues that have been taking longer than expected.
    • Birthday Present Mailings: Most Birthday presents shipped out before DragonCon, but we required additional packaging materials for many of the ones that included glasses. I've also gotten one or two packages returned in the mail for one reason or another.
    • Customizable Card Game Trades: We have selected and requested various cards from some helpful people and should be trading shortly. No actual mailing should happen yet, just hold on a little bit for some final coordination to make the mailing more efficient.
    • Custom Name CIC Polo Shirts: We are still waiting for a second batch of CIC Polos. We have generic ones in stock of various sizes, but our supplier has always been slow to deliver new shirts.
    • DragonCon Prophecy Flight Suits: It doesn't look like time will permit creation of additional flight suits in time for Halloween for everyone this year. It might be possible to get a couple done, but we can't take an official call for orders now. Let us know if you want one and would actually use it soon. Sooner or later we should be able to make these generally available for everyone.
    Thanks for the interest in all these projects. They take a lot of time to organize, but don't hesitate to send us emails or drop by #Wingnut for status checks if you want to see how things are going.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Dorkir

    The Kilrathi Dorkir-class Transport makes a brief appearance in Episode 2, "The Last One Left". The Dorkir is defended by three dual-mount laser cannons. According to the original Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide, the name "Dorkir" comes from a shortening of the phrase "Dorky Name Here"! You can more about the Dorkir's history here.

    Tonight's TV Pick

    Attention Americans: can't afford a $4.99? Just love pan and scan versions of things? Find the word 'balls' offensive? Well, the Sci Fi channel is showing that movie of movies, Wing Commander, tonight at 11 PM ET/PT! The last time we quoted the Sci Fi channel's movie promotional blurb someone got mailbagably crazy about how we were perpetuating an evil movie conspiracy... so for the record, this is *not* our description:
    This tightly directed military adventure about elite fighter pilots (and one cranky civilian scout) in a 27th-century war for interstellar domination stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer), beautiful Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea, Troy), Matthew Lillard (Thir13en Ghosts, Scooby-Doo) and J├╝rgen Prochnow (David Lynch's Dune, Das Boot). Shot through with submarine-drama suspense, it's easily one of the best movie adaptations of a hit videogame.

    Airs Tuesday, September 21, at 11PM ET/PT

    Thomas Perl Fixes Up Privateer 2

    Just over a year ago, Thomas Perl released the first edition of his patch to run the DOS version of Privateer 2 inside Windows. It had problems - but they're now fixed! Version Thomas has released version 2.0 of the patch which fixes such problems as joysticks not calibrating. You can download the new version of the patch locally here, then check this site for installation options.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Scimitar

    Our next series of Wing Commander Academy Ships of the Day will focus on those which originally appeared in the original 1990 Wing Commander.

    The CF-105 Scimitar-class Medium Fighter is the only ship to appear in all thirteen episodes of Academy. The armament of the Scimitar on Academy is remarkably similar to that which appears in the original game: five missiles (two above the cockpit and three in hardpoints below the fuselage) and two forward lasers. There is one odd addition - Academy's Scimitars have a light calibur laser turret in their nose, which appears only in "On Both Your Houses." In true Star Wars fashion, Academy's Scimitars are detailed in five different colors: blue, black, orange, green and purple. You can more about the Scimitar's history here.

    Joe Gets Hairy Hands

    Most think that there's nothing wrong with Joe Garrity's hands, but he really wanted hairy hands - so much so he bought two pairs on ebay. But it's not because he has turned in to a furry (he hasn't), it's because they're Kilrathi hands and they're the latest acquisition for the Origin Museum. They're big hands too - 15" long and 6" across at the palm. According to the seller, both pairs were used for Hobbes in Wing Commander III.
    Foam Rubber Creature Hands
    - oversized, but fitted inside for any size adult hand.
    - 15" long, palm is 6" across
    - fake fur and fake claws still in good shape
    - originally created for a "Wing Commander" video game development session (for the Hobbes character). Likely only worn a few times by a CG model.
    Sadly the photos featured with the auction have been taken down, but hopefully Joe can model them for us soon!

    Ships of the Animated Series: Kamekh

    The last Wing Commander 2 ship in our lineup is also the first capital ship: the Kilrathi Kamekh-class Corvette. Kamekh appear in Episodes two (very briefly), six and nine of the series. The corvette has six forward lasers (four in the wings, two under the nose), two missile bays (one below each engine) and an upper dual-mount turret. Privateer features a destroyer-class variant of the Kamekh. Another source features Kamekh around the same time as Wing Commander Academy -- they're in Hunter's list of capital ships encountered at Firekka in Freedom Flight.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Sartha

    Wing Commander II's lightest fighter also shows up throughout the series: the Sartha-class Light Fighter. They first appear in episode two, and then are visibile from episode seven through the end of the series. The animated Sartha carries a modest loadout: two laser cannons and two missiles in racks under the fuselage.

    Holding The Line Chapter 190

    Everyone here has been really busy since the CIC's birthday when we released a special double bill of Holding The Line. Raptor has been busy too, so he has only now had a chance to send us the next chapter.
    Hey all, Raptor here

    I know it's been a fair while since you last saw a new HTL chapter, but it couldn't be helped due to a combination of real life and technical issues. We're just coming to the end of the holiday season in the seaside town I work in, and the pharmacy has been very busy. In addition to that, a few E-mail problems after downloading XP Service Pack 2 have been taking up my computer time. It's all sorted now though, and it's back to business as usual.

    As you saw in the last few chapters, the fight against the Nephilim fleet coming in from Ymir has just started, but it's already getting bloody. As I'm sure you'll recall though, the human Combined Fleet is fighting off not one but two Nephilim forces, the second being the remains of the fleet that's been battered in the running battle to date. This fleet is coming in from the Loki jump point, and will be met by the Combined Fleet's reserves. We kick off that portion of the battle with part fourteen of the excellent Scraps Of Honour series, written by Nick "Chaeronea" Deane. Please send any and all comments to Nick at babylons@tpg.com.au, not to me.

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

    Best, Raptor

    Ships of the Animated Series: Grikath

    Wing Commander 2's Kilrathi counterpart for the Broadsword serves the same role in Wing Commander Academy. The Grikath-class Heavy Fighter appears in episodes three, six, seven, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen. Its forward armament consists of three lasers... but where the Broadsword mounted impressive energy weapons, the Grikath has an enviable missile loadout. The fighter carries a grand total of fourteen missiles: four in wing racks, two in fuselage racks and eight in internal wing hardpoints. Two magnetic grapplers (tractor beams) are mounted on the wings.

    Sky Captain Filmed WC3-Style

    Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow comes out in North America today, and the reviews so far are not bad. PeteyG found an article that discusses how it is the first feature film to utilize entirely computer generated backgrounds. While they are heavily promoting this fact for Sky Captain, we all know that Wing Commander 3 used this method a full ten years ago.

    "Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow" is the first feature film to be shot entirely against a blue screen with backgrounds filled in later using computer imagery. Given recent technological advances, a film done like this was just a matter of time.
    You can find the full article here. A more appropriate question might be: Given the amount of time blue screen backgrounds have been used in film and video games, what took them so long?

    Dijkman Sketches The Battle of Earth Up Close

    Dijkman has sketched another scene for everybody. The picture is set in an Arrow cockpit chasing a Dralthi over Earth.

    "Earth?" you might say, then this must be a scene from the Battle of Earth, and that is correct. In my opinion I find that this is one of the most important fights for human survival, and that gave me the inspiration for the picture.

    Besides the Arrow cockpit and Dralthi you should also recognise the dead Hellcat and large piece of hull of a capital ship. In the background a fleet carrier is slugging it out against various Kilrathi fighters and bombers, and even further away you see a carrier in drydock moments from its destruction.

    There's quite a bit to see in this one. The original was a bit light, so the one above has been darkened slightly. Dijkman's original can be found here.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Jalkehi

    Next up is the Sabre's Kilrathi counterpart, the Jalkehi-class Heavy Fighter. Gharal nar Hhallas leads a flight of Jalkehi appears in Episode 4, "Word of Honor," and they show up on the flight deck of the Agon Ra Sivar in Episode 13, "Glory of Sivar." The Jalkehi is heavily armed in Wing Commander II... but we see very little of this in Academy; all it fires on the show is a single, central laser cannon. Gharal's use of Jalkehi to rescue a downed Dralthi pilot indicates that the fighter serves in an SAR role.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Broadsword

    The CF-131/A-17 Broadsword-class Heavy Bomber is one of Wing Commander Academy's signature ships, appearing in seven of the thirteen shows (3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13). The Academy version of the Broadsword is very heavily armed, with a grand total of eight energy guns: two forward plasma guns, a dual-mount rear particle cannon turret and four laser cannons (two single mount turrets above and below and one dual mount chin turret). A central tube holds Dart and Spiculum missiles and a bomb-bay contains a pair of antimatter torpedoes. The Broadsword also has a tractor beam. According to The Confederation Handbook, the Broadsword entered service in 2635, and according to False Colors they have been retired to serving only with Reserve Wings by 2671.

    Eve Online Free Trial Available

    The massively multiplayer space combat sim Eve-Online is running a trial promotion with GamersHell. Serial keys for fourteen day free trials are available for a limited time. There's a 500 meg download to go along with that, but it's probably worth a shot if you have broadband. Regular thirty day trials normally cost $19.95. Eve supports over 10,000 simultaneous players in a single connected universe.

    EVE Online is the next generation in massive multiplayer online games. Set in a world of galactic magnitude, governed by a hyper capitalistic economy. Your aim is to establish yourself as a major mover and shaker, trusted by your friends and respected by your enemies. Your main tools to accomplish this, apart from the whole panoply of sophisticated equipment, space ships and corporations will be your business acumen and social skills, Machiavellian thinking and cunning combat strategies.
    An Eve expansion, Shiva, is scheduled for this fall. You can grab your free trial pass here.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Sabre

    Wing Commander II's ultimate player ship, the F-57 Sabre-class Heavy Attack Fighter, makes an appearance in three episodes of the series. It appears as Karnes' pirate fighter in Episode 2, "The Last One Left," as part of the Tiger's Claw's complement in Episode 4, "Word of Honor" and finally as a Kilrathi prize in Episode 9, "Walking Wounded." Two different variants of Sabres' appear on the show. Karnes' fighter has three forward lasers and launches one missile, while the Tiger's Claw Sabres have four forward lasers and two dual-mount rear turrets.

    A Mixed Bag

    It was a close call, but Cinema came in third in our previous poll. This time we're asking what you like best, and I think we have something for everyone among the poll options.

    Archived polls are located here. Poll ideas are always welcome.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Epee

    Since we've received so much positive feedback about the recent 'Ships of the Animated Series' updates, we've decided to stick with what works and go through the rest of the ships in the series. Next we'll take a look at ships which were originally introduced back in 1991 with Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi...

    The oft-disparaged F-54 Epee-class Light Attack Fighter makes two appearances in the television series. It first shows up as part of Karnes' pirate group in Episode 2, "The Last One Left" and then returns to fly point defense for the Tiger's Claw in Episode 3, "The Most Delicate Instrument." The animated version of the Epee mounts a single, centerline laser cannon and four missiles - two on external wing mounts and two located below. Some have argued that this fighter cannot be the Epee, given the Wing Commander 1 & 2 Official Guide's claim that the Epee "replaced the Hornet just six years ago" (2661) -- but there's probably some room to maneuver, since even the Hornet is still in service eight years after that point.

    Behemoth Model Still In Progress

    Fatcat sent us a status update on his wooden Behemoth model. He has evened the sides up and put the nose cone on. I'm looking forward to the next shot.

    I apologize for the lack of developements on my Behemoth model. I've had almost non-stop vacation for a month, and I recently had some fitting problems. But I am now happy to announce that the hardest part of the model is compleated: the double-angled muzzle on the gun housing.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Avenger

    Our final "hidden" ship is the only one which originated with Wing Commander IV -- and it's another very brief cameo. The Union of Border Worlds' Avenger-class Torpedo Bomber shows up as the pirate shuttle that captures Blair and Maniac in Episode 3, "The Last One Left." Since so little is known about the backgrounds of the three 'spit and glue' militia fighters seen in Wing Commander IV, it's certainly quite possible for the Avenger to have been built as early as 2654!

    Movie in Germany

    Bakhtosh writes to tell us that the Wing Commander movie will be shown on the Sci Fi channel in Germany. This is a pay network, which you can subscribe to through a service called Premiere. You can find German synopsis' here and here. The movie will air October 1st at 8:15 PM and then again on October 2nd at 12:45 AM.Bakhtosh was also kind enough to scan the printed schedule for us, which you can find below (it's also a cool look at what German TV is like, for people from other countries)!

    Ships of the Animated Series: Longbow

    The third and final Wing Commander III fighter, the F/A-76 Longbow-class Torpedo Bomber, is a true case of 'blink and you miss it'. It appears in two very brief shots as a Search and Rescue ship in Episode 4, "Word of Honor". We don't know when the Longbow enters service (this episode is its earliest appearance in the timeline), but we do know that it is retired by 2681, according to a Secret Ops lecture transcript.

    Japanese Timeline Translated!

    I've always maintained that WingNuts are the smartest, most selfless group in all of fandom - and Noboru Akimoto has proved that belief by translating the Super Famicom timeline mere hours after it was originally posted! He sent in this list of changes to the original Claw Marks timeline... and there's some interesting new stuff in here!
    The differences between it and the normal Claw Marks timeline is negligable. Some small additional details exist after the 2619 date.

    1. At McAuliffe, before being destroyed the Confed fleet manages to destroy the Kilrathi flagship causing a disruption in their chain of command which is apparently what's attributed to their retreat.

    2. Slight clarification on the Enyo Engagement's mine plan. Primarily not only do the mines keep the Kilrathi clear of the jump point, but it splits them off decidely between the gunships in orbit and the fleet units assigned to intercept the Raptors. The plan not only involved a quick strike against the orbital guns but also the additional final pincer between the Raptors and the main fleet. Enyo engagement is specifically stated to have lasted "only two days" apparently intended to show that the engagement itself was short by war standards.

    3. 2642.082 - Two sides settle into a long and unending stalemate, which creates tension along the frontier. Several Terran worlds declare independence from Confed as a prelude to declaring neutrality in the conflict.

    4. 2646.005 - Starting with Baird's Star, seven systems declare independence from the Confederation. Confed attempts to break the stalemate and prevent other worlds from seceding by changing their strategic aims from direct engagement to intelligent, particularly in cryptography.

    5. 2648.305 - Confed succeeds in breaking the Kilrathi encryption code. In order to prevent a repeat of the McAuliffe debacle, Confed takes pains to make sure their interpretation of Kilrathi code is accurate.

    6. 2649.189 - Terran Command using information on Kilrathi fleets and deployments gained through their breaking of Kilrathi encryption methods assemble a fleet consisting of 60% of the Vega Sector Fleet aimed at invading and occupying Kilrah itself. Given the overwhelming superiority in force and information as well as strategy, a Confed victory seemed well in hand.

    7. 2649.205 - Kilrah invasion fails due to unexpected resistance on part of the Kilrathi. As Confed forces stage a full retreat, their transports are left at the mercy of Kilrathi forces.(Presumeably this refers to Custer's Carnival.)

    This may not seem amazing to everyone - but finding out so much data about the early days of the war is very exciting to a timeline junkie like myself! The Japanese timeline also gives more specific dates for the McAuliffe Ambush and Enyo Engagement:
    McAuliffe Ambush: 228 and .235 are the same events as listed in Claw Marks. .239 is officially the day considered to be the end of the McAuliffe engagement, which apparently is the day the Confed forces are wiped out and the Kilrathi flagship destroyed.

    Enyo Engagement: 2639.033 is the date the Kilrathi attack fleet reaches Enyo, 2639.036 is when Confed begins formulating the counter attack. 2639.038 is the actual phase one of the Enyo engagement including the detonation of the mines. 2639.040 is the date the engagement actually ends with a pincer to the remaining Kilrathi forces the Raptors had been responsible for drawing out. I sort of doubt they could possibly have been fighting a running battle for two straight days, however. So this bit should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

    Ships of the Animated Series: Hellcat V

    The second ship in our rotation is the one you're most likely to have noticed: Wing Commander III's Hellcat V-class Medium Fighter appears as the 'computer simulated' fighter at the beginning of Episode 1, "Red and Blue". The Academy Hellcat seems to mount two forward lasers and a pair of missile in racks under its fuselage. Because a Hellcat statue is also visible at the Flight School, some have speculated that these fighters may in fact be the Wildcats introduced in Action Stations -- echoing the World War II similarity between the F4F Wildcat and the F6F Hellcat. It is believed that the Hellcat V has been retired by 2681: the Wing Commander Prophecy Official Guide describes the Tigershark as "the culmination of the Hellcat's evolutionary path". Many also claim that the final sequence of Episode 3, "Glory of Sivar", includes Hellcat parts in a debris field -- this would indicate that whatever the fighter is, it is in active service and could be found among the Tiger's Claw's complement.

    Japanese Reader Needed

    No matter how much you've found, there's always another little piece of Wing Commander lore out there. Case in point: the Super Famicom port includes an extended version of the Claw Marks' timeline... unfortunately, it's in Japanese! Can anyone out there translate two pages of Japanese text for us? If so, contact the staff as soon as possible. We know, for instance, that the timeline starts off by giving a 2615 date for the initial exploration of the Vega Sector... who knows what else could be in there? If you can read Japanese, you can download high resolution PNG files here:
  • Page 1 (1.7 mb)
  • Page 2 (1.7 mb)

    And if you can't, here's a picture of the game's fantastic box art:

  • Ships of the Animated Series: Arrow V

    The Wing Commander Academy TV series has always been lauded for its proper use of 'early' designs like Scimitars, original Dralthi and Broadsword bombers... but the animators also managed to sneak in several Wing Commander III and IV ships! Over the next several days we'll take a look at four of these cameos and briefly discuss what they mean to the greater Wing Commander universe.

    Our first ship is the Arrow V-class Light Fighter, which appears very briefly in Episode 1, "Red and Blue". The traitor, Burroughs, uses an Arrow to make his escape to a Kilrathi blockade runner. The 'V' designation occasionally referenced in fan circles (indicating that it is the fifth spaceframe named Arrow) comes from the Kilrathi Saga manual. This episode is the earliest appearance of the Arrow in the Wing Commander timeline, though the ship list which first introduced the fighter in Voices of War is curiously dated 2654. The Arrow is on its way out by the time of Prophecy; that game's official guide says of the Piranha that "the military is using it as a replacement for the out-of-date Arrow".

    Final Dragon*Con Day Up

    Sadly, Dragon*Con 2004 has come to an end. The last day of pictures are now online here. The thumbnails are about a megabyte, and they show us mostly packing up and getting ready to head home. The convention was great this year, and hopefully more of you can join us next year!

    Longbow 2: The Dagger of Amon Ra

    Starman has posted a composite image of the Wing Commander Saga - the F/A-76 Longbow-class bomber. The model was built and textured by Lynx, based on the original ship introduced in Wing Commander III. Check it out!

    And here's their official description:
    The F/A-76A Longbow is Confed's replacement for the venerable Broadsword bomber. The Longbow bomber has a single job, to deliver torpedoes to enemy capital ships, and it does this extremely well. On the downside, its lack of maneuverability and acceleration attract enemy fighters like hornets. On the upside, the Longbow's formidable set of defensive missile weaponry, armor protection, and gun turret will make any hostile fighter pay the price for entertainment.

    I Don't See Any Of Those Hornets We Flew At The Academy

    Famed fan artist Maj. Striker is at it again (did he ever stop?) -- this time he has a fantastic 3D model of Wing Commander's F-44A Rapier II. Check out the shots below - he's certainly done the lady justice. The Rapier's service entry is often recognized as the aerospace advancement that marked the sea change of the Vega Campaign's final months -- and I think we all remember how stepping into a Rapier cockpit for the first time was like falling head over heels in love. You can read more about the Rapier II's history here in the newly restored ships2 database... but first, check out Striker's fantastic art:

    Oh, Day, Can You Three?

    In continuing with our new tradition of excellence in D*C photo posting, here's the Day Three Gallery. We'll be adding more comments in the near future... but I've provided enough to let everyone know what's going on. Enjoy!

    Home Again

    You know those "somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot" cartoons? Well, I'm back in Austin... and the cities of Albany, Baltimore, Old Saybrook, Seattle, Southampton and Taylors can also rest easy knowing that their native sons-slash-daughters have returned from Dragon*Con. We'll be dealing with all the unanswered mail, threatening bank notices and Freespace vs. Sprite Remix forums threads over the next few days. It also looks like Kris has valiantly dealt with all of the terrible server issues. Alls well that ends well! (P.S.: Sprite Remix wins every time.)

    Parade Pictures Lead The Way

    In real time we're packing up to leave Atlanta now. It's a really sad and rushed series of events. Our photo gallery from Saturday is up now however. More comments that detail the events will go up later, but the pictures themselves are available here.

    The Day Two gallery comes in at about a meg and a half.

    Celebrate By Downloading Something

    As of today all CIC sections should be restored in full. This includes the website, Forums, files section, music area and all hosted sites. If you do find something is missing or if you're having trouble logging on to your Solsector account, please let us know. We went through an unplanned server move and these things are never easy or smooth.

    If you're just looking for something to download, then the August 11 news is a good place to start. We added over a Gigabyte worth of downloads for our 6th birthday.

    Check Out Convention Day One

    We've been super busy here at Dragon*Con, but we've assembled the photo gallery for Friday, September 3. This was the first official day of the convention. We spent a little time with Wing Commander CCG co-creator Margaret Weis and WC1 Clawk Marks author Aaron Allston. Many people recognized us and were happy to see our squadron patrol the Hyatt and Marriott lobbies Friday night. Someone even bought a spare flight suit right there on the spot. You can find our Day One gallery here. We also still have our Convention Webcam available here.

    The Day One thumbnails page is just under two megabytes, so thanks for your patience loading.

    He's Pretty Fly For A Drakhai

    We were debating whether or not to sing in the Wing Commander Parade yesterday. "Pretty Fly For A Drakhai" came up as a potential candidate. It's been four years since LOAF wrote the lyrics to it, so we thought we'd share them with you.
    And all the kitties say he's pretty fly -- for a Drakhai (to the tune of "Pretty Fly For A White Guy")

    You know it's kind of hard
    Just to get eight-kills today
    Our subject isn't chakta
    But he fakes it anyway
    He may not be a Thrak'hra
    And he may not die kabaka
    But for everything he lacks
    Well he'll make up with zu'kara

    So don't debate, a furball straight
    You know he really doesn't get it anyway
    He's gonna play the field, and keep it real
    Trav'hra'nigath! Trav'hra'nigath!
    So if you don't rate, just cut your jugular
    At least you know it'll all end at ko'bar yagar
    The world needs Kilrathi,
    So do that jak-ta thing

    He needs some cool prey
    Not just any will suffice
    But they didn't have any ukta
    So he bought a side of bak
    Now cruising in his Sartha, he sees Hornets as he pass
    But if he looks twice
    They're gonna kick his kitty ass

    Now he's getting a tattoo
    He's gettin' ink done
    He asked for a 'nagga', but they drew a 'merdha'
    Takhars say he's trying too hard
    And he's not quite zaga
    But in his own mind
    He's not rugalga

    So don't debate, a furball straight
    You know he really doesn't get it anyway
    He's gonna play the field, and keep it real
    Trav'hra'nigath! Trav'hra'nigath!
    So if you don't rate, just cut your jugular
    At least you know it'll all end at ko'bar yagar
    The world needs Kilrathi,
    The world needs Kilrathi,
    So do that jak-ta thing

    If You Still Can't Connect

    There are still some off and on DNS issues as we attempt to set up our new server. If you're experiencing problems loading the site, you can manually point your browser to 67.19.216.109. IRC is now accessible at the same IP as well.

    New Poll

    Normally I'd begin by saying that our previous poll is archived here, but there's been a delay in getting our data back. Our new poll asks on what platform you'd like to experience a future Wing Commander product. We've got all the classic options and new portable devices like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP are capable of running a Wing Commander game.

    Calling Solsector.net Site Owners

    We will restore the Solsector.net websites as soon as possible. At the moment we can't access the old server and we won't have access to the backup until Hades returns home from parading around Atlanta.

    All FTP accounts are set up again. People who wish to do so can reupload their site right away. If your content changes very often our periodic backup is unlikely to have the latest version of your files. We will check before we restore anything from backup, but if you want to be certain we don't accidently overwrite your files, let us know at staff@wcnews.com that your account doesn't need restoring. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.

    Console Game Production Costs To Increase

    Over at everyone's favorite game developer/publisher EA, there is apparently some concern about how the games industry is going to cope with the introduction of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2 consoles. EA estimates that the cost to produce games for the systems will be between 100% and 200% more expensive than games for current systems. The costs mean that some smaller game developers will be unable to survive resulting in further consolidation with companies like EA. It is unknown whether the increased costs will be passed on to consumers, but it is unlikely as many feel that games are already too expensive. You can read an article about the changes in the games industry here. EA made $600 million profit in the year ending March 31, 2004.

    Almost Live From Atlanta

    We've wrapped up our highlight photo gallery for the two days in Atlanta before the convention officially starts. It weighs in at two and a half megs for just the thumbnail shots, so give yourself some time for it to load if you're onl dialup. Here are a couple select images. The full gallery is here.

    We went to the Coke center and played some epic Wing Commander card game matches. The convention starts today, so there should be some interesting shots tomorrow. The hotel room webcam is available here.

    CIC Status Update

    We're still plagued by the horrible server problems which hit us suddenly Monday. If you're seeing this, you're being redirected to the new site. Kris is still trying hard to recover the old one rather than patch together our local backups. If you need something specific, go ahead and email us. The IRC server has been acting up as well, so you can find that by connecting to 67.19.216.109 if you're encountering problems there. Thanks for bearing with us. With 5/6th of the staff away from home and Kris tied up with the site reconstruction, we might be a bit light on the Wing Commander specific updates this week. There's more in the queue however, and we'll get to it as soon as possible.

    IRC Server Moved Again

    About a week ago our IRC server was suddenly moved to a different IP address. Up until then South Americans had been unable to connect. In recent days however the IRC server has become unreliable, so we've decided to move it to a different provider. Until the DNS changes kick in you can connect to irc2.wcnews.com. At this time we can't confirm if South Americans are able to connect.

    PreConvention Gallery Available

    Before we start with the pictures from Atlanta, our first photo gallery details some of the adventures a few of us got into before we made it here. Hades always comes to the United States a week before Dragon*Con starts, so he always features prominently. We played a lot of games, went to the Penny Arcade Expo and visited the world's first science fiction museum. To see how this unfolded, visit the PreCon Gallery here.

    The PreCon Gallery weighs in at just over two megs of thumbnail images, so beware if you're on dialup.

    Live From Atlanta

    If you couldn't make it to Atlanta for Dragon*Con this year, there's another way to experience the fun. The full picture galleries come once a day, but we've also set up a webcam in the hotel room. Hopefully the room will be empty most of the time, but you can watch us work on CIC updates and hang out here.

    Has SETI Found Aliens?

    For quite a few years now, millions of computers have been running the SETI program, analysing radio signals in the hopes that maybe one will be from aliens. Even though extra-terrestrial life has been somewhat elusive so far, the SETI project has marked a signal that has so far occurred three times as being significant. Apparently coming from a point between the Pisces and Aries constellations, the signal could be anything from an astronomical phenomenon to aliens. It could also be a false reading generated by the telescope. Analysis is still ongoing, but you can read more about the signal here. Personally I hope it is aliens.

    Welcome Back To The CIC

    As you can see, we're still experiencing some extreme technical difficulties, but we have this new server up and some backups have been replaced. A small percentage of the internet has redirected wcnews.com to the new machine, but it'll take a little while for everyone to make it. Thanks for the concern and encouragement people have been sending as we fix this poorly timed problem. We know a lot of you make visiting the CIC a small part of your daily routine, and one of our main goals right now is to restore the daily front page activity. I expect regular CIC updates to resume Thursday (Live from Atlanta!).

    We're Here!

    Yes, www.wcnews.com is finally starting to redirect to http://67.19.216.109/, so that's a big relief, but that's not what I'm talking about here. Hades and I have stormed the beach in Atlanta and set up our base camp for the annual Dragon*Con Wing Commander fan gathering. ace and Blonde are touching down in Hartsfield as I type this, and Wingnuts of all shapes and sizes will be arriving steadily over the next two days. Larger galleries of pictures will be available tomorrow.

    Here's one important shot though. They finally fixed the missing possessive apostrophe on the Hartsfield International Airport sign. That's been bugging me for years.

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