Reckoning Freelancer Mod Nearing Release

We haven't heard anything from the people behind the Freelancer based mod, Privateer: The Reckoning, for quite some time now, but behind the scenes the team has been very busy. So much so that Warzog reports that the mod is now being tested for a release next month.
Privateer: The Reckoning OpenSp Beta v4.0 mod for Freelancer is in Alpha testing and is expected to be released early next month.

  • This new version has 70 new systems which conform to the original game, 540 people populating 99 new bases, with 51 new wrecks, and 76 new rumors. New models include the TCS Vesuvius, Perry Naval Station, New Constantinople, and the original Privateer's Mining base.
  • All of the ships have been reworked to repair weapon hardpoints, with some ships receiving new textures. The wrecks have a new look, complete with sparks, smoke, and fire. And they are now destroyable.
  • Factions have been renamed, new music has been added, the Kilrathi have Kilrathi names, and capitol ships now have TCS names. A new faction, the Privateers, has been added, and they will even give out missions.
  • The commodities have been reworked to more closely conform to Privateer.

The Privateers, the crew working on the mod, would like to add the opening movie from the original game.
If anyone has one, or can produce one in the WMV format, please contact the lead programmer: warzog@gmail.com.

Universe Maps Get Updated

LOAF's Wing Commander Universe Maps is one of lesser known sections at the CIC, but it's very cool. It builds on the universe map which was included with Prophecy by adding systems featured in the novels and other canon sources. LOAF recently made a few fixes to the maps, so now is a good time to have another look at the section. Edit: Note that the large map, not the smaller sector maps, was the one that was updated.
  • Troy-War jump added
  • Pollux-War jump removed
  • Pollux-Troy jump removed
You can find the Universe Maps section here.

CIC Hit By Bandwidth Crisis

The end of the month is a difficult time for a lot of websites, and the CIC is no different. While going over our traffic figures I noticed we have too much bandwidth left over this month! Please help us out by downloading something. Here is a list of files that we added for our Sixth Birthday: Much more is available from our Files and Music sections. The FTP server allows two simultaneous connections per IP so that everyone gets good speeds. Happy downloading!

New Standoff Wallpaper Released

The Standoff team has released a new wallpaper for fans excited about their upcoming Secret Ops mod. It's another gorgeous look at several Wing Commander 2 era craft in action. Last week the Standoff team announced a lot of new information on their plans for the near future. You can join in on the discuss about their progress at Crius.net here.

The full image is a one megabyte png file at 1024x768.

Get Into A Movie Music Mood

Today we also have an archived review of the Wing Commander Movie Soundtrack from CineMusic. It's quite a positive review from a site that has many years of experience in grading the music you hear in movies. You can find the full review here.
Arnold's main theme opens the score with "Overture," a grand orchestral fanfare that has a dash of Stargate and a generous pinch of Independence Day. The liner notes include a comment from director Chris Roberts, "I guarantee you'll be whistling the title cue as you leave the cinema." And it is true--it is the sort of heroic anthem that one can hum easily, especially after the musical fireworks in "Big Damn Ending," the best (and appropriately titled) celebration of this theme.
If you never picked up the soundtrack, now is a great time to do so. Copies are available at Half.com for as low as $0.75 plus shipping. It might also hold you over until The Fatman's upcoming remix of the early Wing Commander music comes out this fall. You can find information about all the different Wing Commander music CDs here.

Cyberion Releases Escort Carrier Model

Cyberion has polished up a recreation of the Escort Carrier featured in End Run.
Helping out Raptor from "Holding the Line" web novel. I've modeled this carrier from the art found on the "EndRun" novel's cover. This model might be updated in the future to make it as realistic as possible. I will add some nurnes, details and create better texture maps.

It already looks pretty neat. You can find the lightwave file here.

Star Wars Galaxies: Jump To LightSpeed Launched

Expansion I to the massively multiplayer Star Wars Galaxies has been released and is now available in stores. It takes the original Galaxies and adds long-awaited space combat and travel to the game. Numerous stretches of space have been added to explore and fight in. Basic combat is performed like a regular space combat simulator with augmentations gathered from the RPG portion of the game. The experience doesn't just occur from the cockpit however. Wing Commander fans should particularly note that the larger ships have full interiors to live in as well. That's something I would have very much wanted in Privateer Online. As we previously mentioned, lots of Wing Commander veterans work on Galaxies

Queue the Launch Theme

Had you given up hopes that we'd ever see The Fatman's Wing Commander music CD? Fear not - it's still in the works! LeHah forwarded us this status update straight from the horse's mouth:
Good timing. We should have the CD complete and mastered by the end of November. It's been difficult finding time to work on this project, but we're finally able to do it. Hopefully it will be released some time in December.

Vengeance of the Kilrathi Shirt

Since everyone enjoyed the Wing Commander 3 shirt posted several days ago, here's an even older one... the Wing Commander 2 Dev Team Shirt! It was recently given to me by Mark Vittek, who worked on the Special Operations addons (and later went on to be lead designer for the popular Crusader series of games). Check out the cool slogan, "I Survived The Tiger's Claw" -- I can't believe that wasn't ever used in promotional material! If you have any other obscure or cool Wing Commander memorabilia in your collection, we'd love to see it... there are probably all sorts of other team shirts out there, at the very least!

JavaSet Undergoes Upgrades

Dishwasher sent us the following:
JavaSet is now updated to version 1.1 with 1 important bugfix considering the score timer, there are also some new features available like deselecting cards and shrinking the game screen size. Last but not least the game is now 100% compatible with Linux. You can get the new version from margo.student.utwente.nl.

Scores will not be affected by the update.

We reported on this JavaSet game here.

Space Sim First Look: Secret Sign

A new space sim called Secret Sign recently hit the Russian market. An English-language version of the website is now available in preparation of the game's worldwide release.
StarCalibur is a classic space shooter/simulator. It does not require any knowledge of Newtonian physics or astronavigation. The controls and movement of the ship are simplified and intuitive even for the beginners. StarCalibur features both first- and third-person view modes. The latter is not a simple feed from an exterior "camera", but a full-fledged view mode with its own FOV.

The player must accomplish a string of linear missions while flying a space fighter in first- or third-person view mode. During several missions the player directs the fire of the carrier's defense systems. Missions take place both in space and above planetary surfaces. In the course of the game, the player will gain access to newer, more effective weaponry, and ship upgrades (speed, maneuverability, weapon systems).
Gameplay features like directing carrier fire and controlling planetary installations is something I haven't seen very often. More screenshots and background information can be found on the website.

Secrets Of The Author Of Secrets Of The WC Universe

Mat Tschirgi has once again put his interviewing cap on for his site E-Boredom, and has interviewed Mark Minasi, author of the unofficial WC guide book Secrets of the Wing Commander Universe. These days it seems that Mark prefers writing books about Windows Server and the like, but that hasn't stopped him reminiscing.
E-BOREDOM: What made the original Wing Commander so fun to play?

MARK MINASI: With Wing Commander, it eases you in really easily. The card that came with the game led you into the first mission. You had to pretty much blow things up, it was really fun. The missions got harder at a reasonable rate, that's what got me hooked.

The beauty of the original game is that it's not a mindless shoot-em-up. You have a particular mission that's not too hard to beat... The X-Wing games were so complicated I couldn’t even make it past the training missions. You had to balance the power between managing shields, weapons, and engines-- I just want to blow shit up!

You can read the full interview here. E-Boredom's previous interviews with George Olziey and The Fat Man are still available too.

Flight Commander Got You Spinning?

Flight Commander was released last week after a four-year development cycle. Eddieb's now taken care of a bug in the joystick controls:
"I've put up a bug fix release of Flight Commander 1.0.1. Several folks reported problems with the ship continually banking and spinning. This was due to an error in the joystick code. If you were having problems with this, go to the download page, and get the small update."

You can download the file here (300 kB). Head on over to the Forums if you're experiencing any other difficulties or if you'd like to leave some feedback.

Holding The Line Chapter 192

As you've probably guessed by now, the latest HTL chapter is here.. and when you're done reading, Raptor has something he'd like a bit of feedback on.
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with the third and final part of Scraps Of Honour 14. As you saw in the last chapter, a flight of Border Worlds fighters from the reserves was rescuing a Tanfen VIP transport under attack by Nephilim fighters. During the fight though, Major Jack DeVille finds himself right in the path of a torpedo. This chapter picks up from there, and is 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/...

Also, I've been thinking about the shape of the new HTL site, and I've had an idea that I would like your feedback on. As I said before, the site is meant to showcase the HTL project, but I want it to be more than simply an archive. I'm thinking of adding a section called "The Reading Lounge". The name deliberately harks back to the old Aces Lounge, and I want that section to have a similar feel. I'm thinking of having a "Meet The Aces" subsection there (an intro to the Aces and what we do), a "Best Of The Aces" (showcase of non HTL writing), a message board where Aces can interact with each other and people from outside the club, and maybe a forum for news and views. What do you guys think? What else would you like to see? Let me know, and I'll do my best to make it happen.

Best, Raptor

You can let him know here.

Pokemon Rocks America In Seattle

Yesterday I attended the Pokemon Rocks America convention in Seattle. I wasn't just there to have fun on my own though. I also had the CIC staff's Pokemon Fire and Leaf cartridges in tow. Attending the event is a required step in capturing Deoxys. Fortunately the required file could be downloaded wirelessly, so I didn't have to explain to anyone why I had a pocket full of Pokemon games.

Standoff Split In To Chunks

There has been a lot of progress on the Standoff mod lately and the team have made some big announcements - including that the mod will be released in 5 episodes, Secret Ops style. Here's the whole update from the Standoff site:
Prologue coming along - with screenshots!
Yeah, yeah, I know everybody loves screenshots, and everybody's probably already clicked the link to the screenshots page by now. Well, do come back here later, there's really interesting stuff to be read on this update, too! :-P We're making steady progress on the Prologue, and also on the first few missions of the main campaign. We should have a new launcher soon (Tango says he's almost done), with more user-configurable options, and we have found a few new voiceover actresses (thanks to Tempest and his friend Sphynx), which is a very good thing. The main thing we're waiting for now is the music - Michael has to do some live recording for our cutscene pieces, and he's also working on Standoff's theme, so these will still take some time. As for me, I've finished texturing Standoff's version of our new Stiletto model (the one which was released for the CIC's birthday), and done some work on a splash screen for the Prologue (there'll be more than just one, but we gotta keep some surprises ;-)). There's screenshots of both the Stiletto and the splash screen at the screenshots section. The Stiletto screenshots are all from an actual mission from the Prologue, hence the comms, wingmen names, etc. I believe they're also our first 32-bit screenshots, thanks to HCl and Tango's work.

We're going episodic on you!
Those of you who keep up with what goes on in the forum might have seen this coming for a while, but now it's official: Standoff is going to be released in 5 episodes instead of just the old Prologue/Campaign separation. All the content will remain the same... We've simply split the Campaign in 4 episodes to allow for smaller releases, but closer to each other, rather than having another long wait after the Prologue's release, and then releasing the whole Campaign at once.

A bit of re-organizing going on
As the prologue's release approaches, I've decided to reorganize the site a bit. I've moved last year's news to a separate page since this page was getting too big. The link's at the bottom of this page. Also, the Progress page has been somewhat revamped so that it's easier to spot what's left to do until the release of the next episode. I've split fiction, music, voiceovers, additional graphics, and comm videos between episodes, since these items will be added to each episode as they're needed (unlike, say, cockpit graphics, which will *all* be included in the Prologue's release, even though you don't get to fly all the ships in the prologue). The extra red squares may scare you at first, but rest assured, it's just a more detailed way of keeping you informed of our progress. It'll also force me to update this site more often, which should hopefully make y'all a bit more confident that we have indeed always been making progress, even when we didn't post a single update in eight weeks or something. :-P

There's also a thread going over on the forums with a few more details and where you can post your own comments on the announcements here.

Check Out The WC3 Dev Team Shirt

We're currently going over some neat material from Chris Todd. Most of it will take some further processing, but here's a picture of the Wing Commander 3 Development Team t-shirt. I've put a CIC TCS Eisen next to it for comparison. They contrast surprisingly well.

WC Nascar Skins On The Way

Shaggy has been working on several Wing Commander themed car skins for EA's Nascar Thunder 2004. There are two Confed cars and a Kilrathi design. He is currently polishing them up and thinking about which to release. Feedback would be helpful.

Dishwasher Finishes Java Game

Dishwasher has finished that card game that we reported on last week:
Well the JavaSet game (and of course its Wing Commander Look 'N Feel) is all done and available for download here.

Remember to run the game jou need to have installed at least a JRE version of Sun Java 1.5.0 on your computer, if you don't have one you can get it here.

I'm now going to refocus on the UT2K4 map in order to get two projects finished ;). In the future one can also expect some updates to JavaSet (btw you can create your own Look 'N Feel for the game checkout the help section)

And last but not least I recreated my site structure and fixed all the links to Wing Commander Academy (If a link is broke it would sure be nice if someone just mailed me about it.). To get to all my projects (all two of em ;)) and the WCA hosting visit http://margo.student.utwente.nl/cees/DishStuff/

See Something Neat? Send Us The Picture

Jacob was driving around recently and saw a peculiar sign. The first thing he thought of was snapping a photo for the CIC.
My roommate and I were just going for a ride, trying to find a diner open at 2 in the morning, when we went past a shopping center. One of the stores was named Ultima II, and the sign caught my eye. Luckily my roommate had a digital camera on him, so we took a picture.

That is a little bit weird. Ultima is a regular sounding name, but I'm not sure where the II came from. Everyone should carry a camera. I'm still really proud of CIC Finance.

WC Unreal Mod Sharpening Up

Dishwasher's WC mod for Unreal 2004 is still progressing nicely, and he has sent us a new screenshot of his work-in-progress map based on a modified Durango Class Heavy Destroyer. Progress has slowed a little since his time is split between this mod and his new card game, but he has been able to add lifts and railings as seen in this more recent version of the flight deck. The first shot shows the railings and additional enhancements that have been made. The second screenshot here is from his previous update for comparison purposes.

A Look Across The Fence

It's a turbulent time for other space sim communities on the internet. Hard Light Productions, the largest Freespace community, has been offline for over a week after the Gamespy server they were on was compromised:
The dynamic servers were faced with a malicious attack and had to be shut down. All passwords for the sites ran on these servers have been compromised along with user information on forums, and other login services you may have been running.

If you have an HLP account and use the same password anywhere else, you have to change it immediately. The Gamespy servers are supposed to come online again soon, but it's not yet clear when the hosted sites will be accessible.

Meanwhile the Lancers Reactor is pondering covering more than just Starlancer and Freelancer news. They haven't decided if they will stick to what they know and cover the whole space sim scene or if they will expand to Microsoft games in general. In the words of one forum member, this bold move will put the Reactor back into Lancers Reactor. In completely unrelated news, Eraser replaced Bargib as lead webmaster earlier this week.

Edit: A Talent For War is also temporarily on hold as its lead webmasters are in transition. They expect to get back up and running in early November.

Electronic Arts Announced Second Quarter Highlights

The data from EA's conference call yesterday has now been summarized and put online. EA made $716 million in the last three months, compared to $530 million this time last year. Madden 2005, released two months ago, has reached 4 million sales. After its first month it became the best selling title of the year in North America. Sims 2, which sold a million copies in its first ten days, has gone on to sell an additional million in Europe alone. Burnout 3 has also sold more than a million copies just in Europe. They expect eleven of their upcoming holiday releases to become million-sellers. Fiscal year totals are still six months away, but the final numbers should be pretty impressive. You can find a recording of their conference call here.

Flight Commander Released!

We first reported on Flight Commander in October 2000. It's come quite a long way since then, and now the complete version 1.0 is out! Congratulations, Ed! You can download the game from our FTP (21 MB). It's very impressive for a one man team. Ships such as the Midway look very sharp and the game runs smoothly at high resolutions.
Ed Benowitz announces the release of Flight Commander 1.0.

The Flight Commander space combat engine was programmed from the ground up starting in 1999. After 5 years of effort, the Flight Commander 1.0 release represents a full-fledged game engine created by and for Wing Commander fans.

Flight Commander takes advantage of hardware acceleration, providing scalable graphic detail, 3d surround sound, and force feedback joystick support. Although the game programming was done from scratch, graphics, sounds, stats, and gameplay are similar to Prophecy. Gameplay allows for capital ship torpedo runs, defense missions, and patrol missions. Flight Commander music dynamically changes as the battle progresses, and features an original song as well.

Flight Commander is meant to be easily modified and customized. It provides simple interfaces for mission and campaign creation; a mission design, complete with a spoken briefing and 3d graphics, can be completed in under 10 minutes with an easy to use graphical mission editor.

For downloads, screenshots, and more features, visit http://flightcommander.solsector.net.

Flight Commander becomes the second major fan game to be completed, after Unknown Enemy in 2002. Check out the FC website for more impressive screenshots and information. Every day Standoff, Wing Commander Saga and Wing Commander Universe are getting closer to release as well. 2004-2005 will be a great time for fan projects and Wing Commander fans.

Space Sim First Look: Nexus The Jupiter Incident

Zor Prime let us know about a neat looking space sim due out this fall. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a space sim derivative of the Homeworld style real-time strategy game. The developers call it a Tactical Fleet Simulator. There will be many characters and locations in a big universe to explore. Multiplayer will feature built-in voice communication, which is something I think every game needs these days.
Innovative and groundbreaking, it is a real-time mission-based tactical space game featuring spectacular real time battles and breathtaking motion picture quality. Focus on tactics and action as you control up to a dozen battleships encountering aliens, unknown solar systems and astrophysical phenomena in your struggle to save Earth.

The game ships in North America next Februrary, but other countries should get it as early as November.

EA Conference Call Today

Don't forget to stop by the EA Conference Call today if you're bored and looking for something to do. We'll post updated financial information tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
2:00 pm Pacific Time (5:00 pm Eastern Time)
Dial-in number: (719) 457-2681, access code 220497
Webcast: http://investor.ea.com

Flight Commander Music Preview

Eddieb has released an audio track from his upcoming game, Flight Commander:
Wrote and performed this song for the Flight Commander game flow today. On the coding side, a number of Flight Commander bugs have been fixed recently, and the focus is now on pushing performance.

You can download the file (1.9 MB) here. Feedback can be left at the CIC Forums.

Dralthi Recovered Intact

Kn'Thrak 555 saw Fatcat's work-in-progress Behemoth model which we posted last week and decided to send us pictures of his own model. It was apparently constructed a little while ago, but seems to have held together. He didn't mention how big this Dralthi IV is or what it's made from, but regardless it's a great looking model right down to the indentations in the wings. It's the closest thing to a real Dralthi since LOAF's waffles.

New Text Instructions for Console Games Available

GameStop has put text instructions online for some older console games that they carry used. Wing Commander for Super Nintendo, Secret Missions for Super Nintendo, Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV have the files available. Prophecy Advance does not. You can find the text instructions at each GameStop information page or mirrored in our new Manuals Section.
You begin the game in the lounge of the Tiger’s Claw. Speak with crew members to learn new tactics. To speak with a crew member use the control pad to position the blue cursor upon the crew member until a directive appears on the screen, (EXAMPLE: TALK TO SHOTGLASS). Press the A BUTTON to raise and advance the DIALOGUE DISPLAY and converse with crew members. After you have spoken with the crew members in the lounge use the control pad to position the cursor directly above PALADIN then press the A BUTTON to CHECK PILOT SCORES. Use the control pad to position the cursor upon the BARRACKS door then press the A BUTTON to enter the barracks.

The instructions seem to have been written by a company called Playcare.

Vote For Best Tavern

Wing Commander Armada turned out to be more popular than expected. Until Prophecy Advance came out, Armada was the only Wing Commander game to feature multiplayer support. You can review older poll results in the archive. This time we're asking what your favorite ship's bar is.


Check Out Some Super Soakers

When Hades came over earlier in the summer to help me set up for DragonCon, there was one project we left out of the photo galleries. We spent one day performing an inventory on my Super Soaker Collection. It took the entire day, but we displayed everything and did a proper tally of the different models. There are 269 Soakers broken down into 168 unique models at the time of the inventory. You can find the pictures and details at a page we've set up here.

For more information on Super Soaker collecting, check out iSoaker.com.

Now With Spit And Polish

Lynx has put the finishing touches on the Arrow model for Wing Commander Saga. The picture shows what the ship looks like in-game, before the Freespace engine adds metal shine, glow and some darkening lighting.

You can talk to the Saga team at the CIC Forums.

DragonCon Fan Galleries Online

The DragonCon website has finally gotten around to adding attendee photo galleries from this year's event. You can find them here. The CIC's gallery is also listed. If you spot people in Wing Commander flight suits in other people's galleries, go ahead and click the "discuss" button below and add the link.

EA Conference Call Next Week

Next Tuesday Electronic Arts is holding a conference call to discuss quarterly results. These are usually pretty interesting. Details can be found here.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
2:00 pm Pacific Time (5:00 pm Eastern Time)
Dial-in number: (719) 457-2681, access code 220497
Webcast: http://investor.ea.com

Work on Behemoth Continues

We have another update from Fatcat:
Just finished putting the ends of the ship on, and I've sanded them flush with the rest of the ship. I also got photo-etched girders for the Bridge.

The model is being made out of wood and fiberglass. We previously reported on this in July and September. If you're into arts and crafts you can also try your hand at building a wooden Hornet or a paper SWACS.

Striker's Animated Assault

Maj. Striker's newest fan animation is his most elaborate yet, including scenes from the cockpit and planetside action. The six minute DivX file weighs in at 33 megabytes.

Other work of his is featured in our news archive. We reported on Striker's previous 3D animations in June and April.

New Section Collects Game Documentation

Have you lost a manual? Do you want to know what Claw Marks or Voices of War is about? In the new Manuals section we've collected some of the most essential Wing Commander game manuals that people have put online in one form or another. Some are in PDF format and mirrored for Replacementdocs.com, others are complete HTML conversions with hyperlinks added for easy browsing. We hope to eventually add high quality scans to the Archives. A list of just game controls is still available here.

Ships of the Animated Series: Agon Ra Sivar

We've come to the end of our road - with the most impressive Kilrathi capital ship of the lot... the Agon Ra Sivar-class Dreadnought. The dreadnought makes its first appearance in "Chain of Command," and continues to appear as Crown Prince Thrakhath's flagship in "Expendable" and "Glory of Sivar." His armament consists of five dual mount laser turrets, six forward laser batteries and eight single mount laser turrets - as well as a full complement of fighters. Many have compared the Agon Ra Sivar's design to that of the Confederation Durango-class from Wing Commander IV... so don't let apperances deceive you! The dreadnought has three times the shielding of an average carrier!

Well, that's it! We hope you've enjoyed this survey of the many varied ships of Wing Commander Academy. Did we miss something? Want to let your opinion out in a mailbag? Let us know!

Dishwasher Sets Sights on Card Gaming

In SET your goal is to identify sets of three cards from a deck of 12. If you're not familiar with the game you can read up on the rules here. It's trickier than you might think. Dishwasher is now working on a Wing Commander themed version:
Hi, for the last few days I have been working on a java version of the card game SET, coding has been going well so I got it into me to create a Wing Commander theme for it! :) Although all the game mechanics are present in this version of the game i recon that it will take a few more days to complete all the more fun details like a decent user interface and highscores etc etc. I guess I will eventually post the game on my website for everybody to enjoy, but for now i've included a screenshot.

Oldziey Website Wants Feedback

The website of Wing Commander music composer George Oldziey is currently being upgraded. The webmaster is looking for feedback and suggestions for more Wing Commander based content. Send them an email if there is anything you might like to see. You can check out the site here.
George and I would welcome any suggestions you may have for me to build George a Wing Commander page on his web site. Please contact me directly at webmaster@oldzieymusic.com if you have any suggestions.

Also, you can listen to free sound clips of Wing Commander music that George has written at the site, too! All efforts are appreciated!

Ships of the Animated Series: Tug

Another show of Kilrathi force - the mighty salvage tug! The tug makes its appearance in "Recreation," attempting to capture the Warrior King and his sleeper ship. The tug is armed with two dual mount laser turrets and a magnetic grappler.

Scenes of McAuliffe

BradMick is working on a project that will visualize the McAuliffe attack from Action Stations. Here's the announcement:
Alrighty, i've finally decided to commit to this rather lengthy project of mine. 'Scenes of McAuliffe' will be an eventual series of stills which will show the kilrathi attack and various other scenes from the book Action Stations. As part of this project, i'll be designing all the ships which are not seen in the universe, and taking the ones which are in the universe and making them look like they belong in the Wing Commander movie. Now, i've chosen to do this for one reason and one reason alone, to create visual continuity. Don't get me wrong, I love all the ships of the WC universe, but it's my artistic opinion that all the ships should have the same feel, as opposed to the original super rounded ships of the sprites to the boxy early 3d models of the later WC games. Some may disagree, and even myself I have to admit it's a tough decision to stick to, but in the end I think it will help with the continuity of the scenes.

Anyway, with that said, i'll put this out to. This project will take a very, very long time. Maybe not as long as I or anyone else may think, but it will take a considerable amount of time. Please do not beg or plead or demand any kind of time table or expected release. All models will be released as I finish them in LW format for anyone who wants them. Those with other packages will have to do their own converting as I don't have the time, and it's a pain in the but as well.

Be sure to leave your comments on the Forums.

Ships of the Animated Series: Strakha

Yet another Kilrathi Strakha, this time the predecessor of the WC2 and WC3 versions, appears in "Invisible Enemy" - based on look alone, this black and purple fighter is a variation on the Sartha-class spaceframe. Its weapon is not the "full" cloak seen in Wing Commander 2 forward - it is more akin to the Confederation's Shroud-type cloaking device (seen in WC3), which hides a fighter from sensors but not to the naked eye. The Strakha carries two forward lasers and three missiles: two ordinary missiles and one torpedo-style weapon capable of deploying three smaller projectiles from its warhead.

Ships of the Animated Series: Jump Buoy

The Tiger's Claw comes up against armed Kilrathi Jump Buoys in two episodes, "Expendable" and "Glory of Sivar". These automated weapons carry two pods with four missiles each.

Holding The Line Chapter 191

There's big things happening at HTL headquarters. Raptor wants to tell you about it, and for good measure he has put up a new chapter too.
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with the second part of Scraps Of Honour 14, which carries on Nick "Chaeronea" Deane's excellent series following the Border Worlds reserve forces. As you saw in the last chapter, the reserves were preparing themselves to take on the Nephilim fleet that had jumped in from Ymir, a much more dangerous assignment than the one they had been told to expect at the start of the campaign. By using the "Matador Strategem" however, they just might be able to pull it off. In the meantime, a civilian ship has gotten too close to the combat zone, and a flight from the Sicily is racing to help. This chapter picks up from there. Please send any all comments to Nick at babylons@tpg.com.au, not to me.

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

HTL will also be getting a new presence on the Internet in the coming months. This is very much a long term project, but the HTL team is working on putting together a master site for the entire Holding The Line project. At the moment, we've got the project's starting point on the HTL homepage, most of our older stories on the Solsector archives, new stories on the current chapter archives, and unit and faction information on various homepages, some of which are still online and some not. The current set up gets the job done, but with HTL wrapping up, we wanted a site where people could see the whole thing in its entirity.

For that reason, we recently registered the domain name holdingtheline.net, though there's nothing there at the moment. Cyberion, who created the tasty ship renderings that we presented a few weeks ago, is working on additional ships and artwork for the site, and the other writers and I are working with a professional web designer to put the web site itself together. We aiming to have the core site going live at the end of this year or early next year, in time for HTL's 6th anniversary and a couple of other major milestones which are coming up. That will be far from the end of the project though, as we aim to keep adding to and expanding the site afterwards, making it a one stop shop for everything HTL related. Watch this space.

Best, Raptor

Paper Ships Aren't Just For The French

Back in March we brought word of the French site S.F. Models Annexe, which features some impressive looking ships - all made out of paper. Rick Salemi noticed that the site Starship Modeler has added to the collection with a paper SR-51 Seahawk SWACS.

That's a great looking piece of paper. You can find the original page with a write-up about the model here.

Ships of the Animated Series: Shuttle (K)

This shuttle is hardly the height of fearsome Kilrathi ship design - for a species that values jagged, knife-lie ships, the Kilrathi certainly have made a cute little pod-shaped transport. These shuttle ferry Princess Zukara in "The Price of Victory" and "Glory of Sivar"..

Ships of the Animated Series: Transport (4/4)

The Transport, the final design of this four ship series, appears in Episode 2, "The Last One Left." The transport is armed with three single-mount laser turrets (two above and one below) and a dual mount laser battery.

Prophecy ICIS Online Updated

Wedge's online version of the TCS Midway's Integrated Combat Information System has been updated.
A number of pages have been updated. I have a scanner now, so I've added in some various headings with esoteric fonts, plus added Finley's picture, a couple of missing fighters, and the missile pictures. Oh, I also updated the pics on Paladin's letter too. They're relatively small changes, but I think it makes it look just that much nicer (and closer to the original).
And you can never have enough Null-G Bomblets.

Ships of the Animated Series: Blockade Runner (3/4)

The Blockade Runner appears in Episode 1, "Red and Blue" (it's the ship Blair and Maniac actually fighter at the end of the episode - the simulated ship at the beginning of the episode is a carrier.) The Blockade Runner is armed with two single-mount laser turrets (above), one single mount laser turret (above) and one dual mount laser battery. The ship's fighter bay accomodates a light complement of Dralthi. Interesting aside, the Star Wars-style classification comes from the movie-related Terran Confederation Handbook; Blair and Maniac's flight school records include mention of their having engaged a Blockade Runner!

Last Chance To Guarantee Hats

It looks like Jibbo and LOAF's design for hats has been pretty popular. If you'd like to make sure you get one, email Jibbo by Friday. Payment and shipping within the US will be $15. A custom name can be added to the back for $5, but this must be done before we place our initial order.

Electronic Arts Centralizing Online Games In China

Electronic Arts has announced that their new headquarters for online gaming will be in China. As many massively multiplayer games stumble in the United States, games launched in Japan and South Korea have been met with unprecendented success. And although China ranks behind other countries now, trends have indicated that they could become the largest Asian market for subscription based games within a few years. Some companies have been hesitant to release games in China and other countries with rampant piracy, but they have found an alternative in subscription based content. EA anticipates generating $1 billion in annual revenue and employing 500 people at its Chinese center by 2010. You can find a complete article on this development at USA Today here. Reuters also has a related article on XBox Live's success in Asia.

Ships of the Animated Series: Destroyer (2/4)

The Destroyer version of the four-pronged Kilrathi design appears in three episodes: "Chain of Command," "Walking Wounded" and "Invisible Enemy." The Destroyer is armed with a dual mount battery, four single-mount laser turrets (three above, one below) and a missile launcher. The Destroyer carries a complement of four Dralthi and four Grikath in a lower ventral bay.

Vendetta Online Accepting Open Beta Testers

Forcystus let us know that the Vendetta Online team is now accepting players to test out their upcoming massively multiplayer space sim. You can apply here. This is the mmo with a variable atmospheric/newtonian control scheme and all players coexisting in one universe.

You can also find our previous coverage of the game here.

Check Out This Simulator News Site

Death recently tipped us off about Joystick Required, a site dedicated to PC simulations and the era of games when more complex control schemes were better appreciated. They went online earlier this year, and they're currently trying to build a bigger user base. They focus on a lot of space sims and update in a style similar to A Talent For War. If you're looking for more space sim fans, you can find their forums here.
Just thought it would be cool to set up a news/review site for space/flight sim games that can be played with joysticks. While there are many good mouse/kb controled games out there, I much prefer the freedom of using a joystick. There are lots of games out there and many don't get much attention. So what the heck, might as well put up a site and talk about them.

Ships of the Animated Series: Carrier (1/4)

Wouldn't ship identification be harder if every ship looked the same? That seems to be the principal behind the series of four Kilrathi capital ships we'll be looking at next - four different classes of ships that all have the same essential design... a design which is, in and of itself, taken from the Hvar’kann-class dreadnoughts seen in Wing Commander III!

The Carrier appears in "Red and Blue" (in the simulation), "Recreation," "Invisible Enemy" and "The Price of Victory." The Carrier is, naturally, the most heavily armed of the ships: it carries two dual mount laser turrets, one single mount laser turret, a dual mount missile launcher, six single mount laser turrets and one dual and one triple mount laser battery -- in addition to a full complement of fighters in a forward bay.

Winners Selected In Void War Contest

This was a really tough one. Many people sent in a lot of great submissions that detailed very touching space sim moments. Eventually we had to narrow it down to top contenders and pick somewhat randomly. Don't feel bad if you didn't win, we plan to eventually put many of the submissions in a future Mail Bag for others to see. Let us know if you don't want yours included, but most everyone sent in good submissions to be proud of. And the Void War winners are... Edmo Suassuna, James Lillian and Tim Nguyen.

Here is Edmo's moment:

My favourite Space Sim moment was probably terrible at the time, but I fondly recall it. My first computer was an used 386 my father bought, and in it's HD there was WC1. I knew very little about computers, and nothing about pc games. I started the game, amazed with the images and the blips that came from he pc speaker. I talked to the people in the bar, tried the sim a few times and decided it was time to leave my mark on that killboard.

My first mission was probably very hard for my meager skills, but I triumphed after a couple of tries. I talked to the other people in the bar again, thrilled with the imersion and interactiveness of it all. Then I proceeded to the second mission.

Spirit and I went on the escort the Drayman mission. I didn't know about the autopilot key, no manual. So I flew with the cargo ship, and as Spirit tried to keep formation, she crasshed at the 'sport so many times that she simply blew up and died!

The big moment is: I was so immersed and caught up with the game that I actually dispaired! When I returned to the Claw and attended her funeral I was even more distraught! I expected my fellow pilots to be mad at me for letting Spirit die, and stopped playing for that day.

I will never forget the level of emotional involvement I got from Wing Commander after 2 missions! I think it is a great moment indeed, and that it summarizes the greatness of the WCU. I've had many others, but this was special.

James' submission went like this:
My favorite space sim moment is from Privateer. It falls under the category of “Crap!” and gets your heart rate elevated. In Privateer I flew the Centurion (as I guess most did). You are exploring way out from civilization and enter an asteroid field. Then a bunch of Kilrathi show up and want you dead. So you have 2 options, fight the Kilrathi (and probably die) or hit your afterburners and pray you can dodge the asteroids! There’s nothing like watching your back shield being shot out while dodging rocks whizzing by your cockpit at max kph! And then you reach that jump point and hit hyperspace to get away! (Hoping you are not jumping into something worse!)
Tim Nguyen is the final winner:
My most favorite space sim moment was in Wing Commander IV. It was one of my first, if not the first, space sim I have ever played. I remember playing through and getting to the Border Worlds' mission where you had to drop Vagabond and Sosa off at the Comm station. It was my first time through so I was still a bit shaky on flying. I auto-piloted to the station and immediately cloaked. As I closed in on the radar buoy, I got a missile lock. I uncloaked and fired my missiles and destroyed the buoy. Then I locked onto the comm station and fired the two MIPs.

By then, I received a message from Pliers telling me I was about to get some company. As if on cue, three Hellcats showed up on my radar. I switched my guns to the stormfires and took them head-on. I destroyed one Hellcat as the other two flew right by me. I flipped my Avenger to take on the two remaining Hellcats. Just as I finished flipping, I saw the two Hellcats bank right into each other and go up in a blaze. "What luck," I thought and started to concentrate on the laser mines.

Unfortunately for me, three more Hellcats came up and started pounding away at me. I turned to take them on at about this time the cutscene showing Vagabond getting shot popped up. Then, Sosa came out in her MIP. I was starting to get a bit panicky 'cuz my shields were gone now and my armor low. I decided that if I was gonna go down I was gonna take someone with me. So I turned and went head-on with one of the Hellcats, blasting away with my guns. Of course, its shields and armor were still full while mine were almost non-existent. I ended up ramming into the Hellcat and received the dreaded "cracked screen of doom" (that's what I called it anyway). What little was left of my armor went bye-bye and I watched as my ship twirled in space giving off explosions and finally turning into space dust.

Yes, it was a failed mission and yes, I had to do it again but I'll never forget how insane that battle was and how those two Hellcats in the beginning flew into each other.

Many others submitted great stories as well. Runners up include Sphinx's great depiction of an epic Freespace battle, Raymond Shum's mention of Spirit's death at Heaven's Gate and Daniel Goodwin's first experience in Wing Commander 1. All six of the above contestants win a CIC glass, but thanks to everyone who entered.

Ships of the Animated Series: Achilles

Achilles-class hulls appear as destroyers in "Chain of Command" and as transports in "Recreation" and "Invisible Enemy." They carry at least three dual-mount laser cannons.

Ships of the Animated Series: Sleeper Ship

In "Recreation" the Tiger's Claw rescues The Warrior King's sleeper ship from a Kilrathi tug. He had ostensibly been using the ship to try to track down his Orb of Nature following the events of a Mortal Kombat episode. Production of such ships ceased around the 2350s.

Void War Contest: Final Reminder

This is your last opportunity to e-mail us for a chance to win a free copy of Void War. To qualify, you must send us your name and a description of your favorite moment in a space-sim (any series).

You can download the demo at rampantgames.com. The contest winners will be announced soon.

Pre-Order CIC Hats Here

Jibbo has been hard at work on the long-awaited CIC hats, and we're now ready to start taking orders. Jibbo will fill you in:
Alright folks, we're ordering embroidered CIC hats in a couple weeks.

The final design for the hat is attached below.

The cost for the Hat will be $15 which includes shipping in the US. International shipping will be a few dollars more.

We will be offering Custom Name Drops (like we did with the polo shirts) on the back of the hat. The text will be arched around the back opening. This is available for an extra $5.

If you want a custom name drop, you must order and pay for a hat by FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2004.

The name drop will be done in white.

Also, we are only ordering 24 hats. To guarantee yourself a hat (even if you don't want a name drop), please order and prepay for one by FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2004.

The hats will be ordered mid October and should arrive close to November. We will ship the hats when they arrive.

To order a hat please cut, paste and complete the following, then e-mail it to cichats@justinlee.ca. I will acknowledge your order within 48 hours and send you payment details.

Name:
Name Drop (Leave blank if none):
Address:
Quantity:

Ships of the Animated Series: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Well, here it is - Wing Commander Academy's sole addition to the Confederation's roster of space fighters. Is it something spoken of in Action Stations or the movie material? A wildly deformed Ferret? No one knows! These unusual fighters are armed with two laser cannons.

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