Remember Back To Winter '96-'97

We've got two classic game reviews today from Winter 1996-1997 (or summer for the Southerners). One is short & fat and one tall & skinny. They creep a bit closer to modern times than some of the other GamePro scans Jonathan Stone has been able to dig up. Privateer 2 launched in December 1996. It was a relatively quiet launch with dates uncertain and a nasty bug forcing some last minute fixes. British Wing Commander fans back in 1996 had to rough up Hal Taffin or risk falling off the story's path, but rough and tumble privateers weren't about to pay him for information anyways. Wing Commander 4 for the Playstation launched a couple months later. Although parts of the game were eliminated to fit on four discs, we got some neat small extras. The WC4 PSX website produced this exciting letter from Dr. Brody to Captain Eisen which helped us firmly establish the dates that the game took place.

PROTIP: Save your torpedoes. They're the only ordnance that can take out certain rebel ships.
Another helpful tip from GamePro. I'll remember that next time I'm playing X-Wing!

Read Some Religious Reviews

While we're on the topic of paired reviews, it might be neat to take a look at two Wing Commander Movie analyses by the church. The ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture liked the action, effects and casting, but faulted the movie's story a bit. In a rare move, the CAP Report believes Wing Commander actually got a slightly more restrictive rating in the US than it deserved. They would have expected a PG instead of a PG13. This is in stark contrast to many other PG13 movies in their database being branded the work of the devil. They gave it a 73/100 with points docked for things such as "sharp-toothed demon" looking Kilrathi, "22 uses of the three/four letter word," "open-mouth kissing" and other sins.
There were somewhat graphic battle deaths, some sex talk and innuendo, some booze and drinking, and a few other issues of unacceptable programming such as the usual plethora of foul language. One of the male pilots was seen atop a female pilot with his face on one of her breasts. Though both were fully clothed I suppose the comments and implications were strong enough to leave nothing to the imagination, which I suppose was the reason for the PG-13 rating.
Christian Spotlight On The Movies gave the film a two-star rating with average moral overtones. The scenes between Rosie and Maniac appears to have torpedoed the movie for Christians. This reviewer wasn't quite hip to the "Pilgrim" thing and replaced it with "pioneers" of spurious genetic origin.
Wing Commander followed somewhat closely from the computer games series. Some of the characters were the same. A lot of it seemed very different from the game play...

In short, not a good movie for Christians. [ If our reviews have been helpful to you, please prayerfully consider a donation to help pay the expenses for making this service available to you and your family! Donations are tax-deductible. ]

The review also received a couple of positive and well thought out responses from frequent visitors of the site that are worth checking out for a more balanced perspective.

Forstchen Moving Away From Science Fiction & Fantasy

Popular Wing Commander novel author William Forstchen has posted a minor update to the fans at his message board. He has been very busy these last year or two finishing up his Gettysburg Trilogy and caring for his ailing parents. Sadly, both of his parents passed away during that time. Lately he has moved away from science fiction and fantasy and has chosen to focus his writing on a more recent timeframe.
I will confess to a tad of disenchantment with the SF & F field these last few years. I feel we’ve or maybe now its they, have lost a sense of vision that the old masters such as Clarke, Heinlein, Sprague de Camp and others carried. Positive or cautionary tales of the future, independent works, not driven by the latest craze or media phenomena, and a field wherein a wide variety of political views were accepted, as it should be accepted by all Americans. It seems that political correctness and deconstruction have crept in and far too much formula writing. I think there are far too many book #xxx in too many series, rather than new and original ideas. My friend Sprague de Camp use to tell me no series should go for more than four books, unless you radically shift characters and POVs...

My many thanks for your kind thoughts and speculations. It stuns me at times and really means the world to me. . .honestly, it really does. In fact I’m stunned to the point of not even being able to reply. I hope that what comes next will not disappoint and know that your kindness really strikes to my heart and is deeply appreciated.

You can read his full remarks here. There is also some new commentary and criticism of his 1945 novel here.

War Of The Worlds Open Today

The new War of the Worlds movie opens today in the US to pretty positive reviews. Star Tom Cruise took the opportunity today to announce that he firmly believes in extraterrestrial life. Unfortunately he's also taking every opportunity to argue with interviewers about the crazy cult he belongs to, so the message will probably be lost in all that.
Asked in an interview with the tabloid daily Bild if he believed in aliens, Cruise said: "Yes, of course. Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe?

"Millions of stars, and we're supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there, we just don't know," Cruise, 42, said in the interview published in German.

Standoff Releases Progress Report And Screenshots

The Standoff website has updated their progress tally for the upcoming second episode. Work still continues, so no firm release date has been set yet, but the team has released a variety of new screenshots to tide of anxious fans.

You can check specific progress and find more screenshots at the Standoff website here. On the subject of game upgrades being introduced in episode 2, Eder had this to say.
The updated files will be included in the episode 2 package, and they will also affect episode 1. The same holds true for most changes we've been making to the game: as long as you have the latest episode installed, the entire game will be as up-to-date as possible.

Come And Join Us

The late addition of New Constantinople to our last poll turned out to be quite popular, but Perry Naval Base came out on top. Every option had its fans, and no choice completely bombed out. Maybe you can keep a Blackmane down though.

Our next poll asks what sort of thing would be most likely to get you out of your house or across the planet to a Wing Commander fan gathering. If it's just money holding you back from attending DragonCon each year, the first option is for you. The other choices were popular requests in our old convention survey.

Watch Wing Commander's Pioneering Special Effect

The Wing Commander movie was full of exciting special effects, but one of them was especially cutting edge in 1999. The Time Slice scene was conducted to show the jump effect as the Tiger's Claw passed through Charybdis. Their website has a page describing the project, and a 1.5 meg .mov of the scene is available here.

The 'Josephine' Rig
This camera gives a five-metre long 90 degree circular tracking shot in time-slice®, live-action, long exposure, high-speed shutter or any combination. The camera performs like a compact motion-control rig. The optics are multi-coated, allowing the camera to perform to wide screen feature film standards. Again the construction is robust, enabling the camera to travel to far flung locations and work under the harshest conditions (as has proven the case with natural history work).
Just before the Movie came out, a special edition of Starlog devoted their cover and a lot of space to the movie. There was a small interview with Chris Roberts about special effects in the movie.
One of the most innovative of these effects is the Time Slice sequence, which involves a series of 60 cameras placed in a 120-arc around the subject, allowing the crew to take two seconds worth of footage moving around the action that's esentially frozen in space. Though a similar effect has been seen in TV commercials, it hasn't been succesfully utlized yet in a theatrical feature. "When I was in pre-production, you didn't see it everywhere, and I haven't seen it in features yet," says Roberts. "There was a bad attempt in Lost in Space, but that's very different from what we're doing."

"There are about three points in this movie where people go through jump points. In the Wing Commander Universe, you can't go faster than light. You go through faults in space called jump points, and as you go through a fault in space, everyone freezes in time, and so at the time we started pre-production, it seemed like a really great effect. The sequence itself works quite well -- the closer they get to the jump, everything is shaky and it's all going to hell in a handbasket. Then as soon as they breach the jump, bam! It's like everyone is frozen and it's sort of serene."

WCU Needs A Splashy Artist

crouton is looking for submissions for potential Wing Commander Universe splash screens.
The new screen will be displayed at the beginning of the standalone installer process, as well as every time the game loads. Since WCU is attempting to encompass the entire Wing Commander mythos, a good splash screen should have some of the following:

A space background
A fighter-class ship (Confed, Kilrathi, or both)
A capital-class sihp (Confed, Kilrathi, or both)
'Wing Commander Universe' in a font that compliments the WC games and the other items on the screen.

So far there aren't many submissions, so everyone has a chance.

If there's more than one good submission, multiple splash screens might be used in rotation.

Second Nexus Mod In The Works

RAT from Russia has successfully imported a number of ships into his Wing Commander mod for Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. WC Tactics and the original game put a lot of focus on the capital ship, but this mod will attempt to enhance the role of fighter craft. The Hornet and Rapier I have been imported, and there is an untextured Snakeir for them to assault. More progress reports and a website for the project are forthcoming.

Helicopter Delivery at EAHQ For Battlefield 2

Electronic Arts has released Battlefield 2 for the PC to very positive reviews. Employees at the EA Redwood Shores facility got a special delivery of the game in a military helicopter. Developers dressed in camo fatigues rushed the first shipment to the on-site store. The dramatic launch was caught on video as well. The videos are 12 and 83 meg .movs.

HoTT Brings In The Cats

HoTT has returned from.. somewhere, bringing with him a brand new photoshop in his own unique style. This one seems to be a suggestion for alternate WC3 wingmen with cartoon cats (or cat-like things) as the common theme. Can you identify them all? Because we sure couldn't. Most of them probably wouldn't make good wingmen anyway since, as Graham noted, "they dont have fingers to move the sterin stik." If you think you can identify some or all of the characters, click the discuss link below and let us know!

DOS Environment Package Updated

Cyberion has updated his DOS Environment Package. The latest version includes bug fixes, optimizations and support for VIA sound cards. Although the program was specifically created for Origin's Crusader series, it's another decent alternative if you happen to have any sort of problem with DOSBox and similar utilities.

Cyberion also wanted to mention that the UK/Scandinavian version of Space Rangers 2 has been released. It's supposed to be a great 2D mix of space combat, RPG action and RTS gameplay. You can find more at the official site here.

Say Hi To Your Own Rapier

Just last week we were talking about renting a battle-hardened CF-117B Rapier for £2000.00. Today we have an absolute steal compared to that. A film prop reseller in the UK is currently listing a Rapier I for only £500 on eBay. It would need to be picked up from Edinburgh, Scottland by July 1. Unfortunately shipping might end up costing much more than the unit itself, but if you had the room, it'd be worth it. Any CIC reader who ends up with this modified P1 Lightning can count on some fanatical visitors in the near future. Thanks to Vorsuc for spotting this one.

New Ultima Online Expansion Announced

Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy has been officially announced to the public. LOAF got a chance to discuss some of the new features of the game a few weeks back, and it looks fairly neat. A new playable race, the elves, are being introduced along with a variety of foul new enemies. There are new dungeons and areas in addition to a special spellweaving skill. The quest system has been revamped and storage capacity increased. The most interesting new feature for us is the exciting cooperative collection infrastructure. Friends can band together to fill museums, libraries and zoos and earn rewards for keeping their collections up to date.

The expansion should be released this fall at $29.99 with all the previous UO expansions included. Periodically people bring up the subject of role playing a group of stranded Confederation pilots in Britannia. This might be a good opportunity.
Q: Can you give some more details on Community Collections?
A: Community Collections are designed to provide a means for players to voluntarily participate in large-scale cooperative activities. Community Collections allow individuals to donate and earn points based on their direct participation towards the group effort.

Q: What kinds of containers can be labeled?
A: Just about everything! New labeling tools have been created for metal containers, wooden containers, leather containers and spellbooks. Some examples of containers that can be labeled include: backpacks, bags, pouches, crates, potion kegs, chests, SOS chests, etc.

Q: Will cooking get any changes/additions?
A: Yes! There will be new cooking recipes. Cooks will be able to make food and drink that increases the regeneration rate of stamina and if eaten while poisoned, it reduces the number of “ticks” remaining on the poison. Other new food removes curses, increases damage (both melee and spell) for a brief burst of time, and grants a blessing when eaten.

There will also be a Food Decoration Tool that can decorate cakes, cookies and pizzas.

Character transfer to the Origin Shard should now be allowed as well.

Say Hi To The WC3 Trailer

Last fall we mentioned a VHS tape with three hours of footage taped on the Wing Commander 3 set. There was a bit of a mix up, and the tape actually contained only a three minute trailer for WC3. The quality on it is quite nice however, so we've prepared a divx for people to check out. The file size of this high quality version is only twice that of the original low quality one, but it looks a whole lot better. Compression sure has improved. You can grab the 37 meg divx here. Today's three minute trailer is actually different from the five minute clip we've posted previously. If you were looking for a good reason to play Wing Commander 3 again, either of these videos should get you in the mood!

On some computers, the sound will cut out if you fast forward ahead in media player. Just watching the video normally with a recent version of divx should be fine. The tape was originally part of Chris Todd's personal collection.

Standoff Outlines Upcoming Episodes

Eder from the Standoff team has explained how the upcoming episodes in this Secret Ops mod will work. Decisions you make in the first episode will have lasting consequences throughout the game. This is a minor spoiler about the mission tree and overall structure, but no plot information is given away below this point. You can grab episode 1 of Standoff here.
Episode 1 is almost entirely linear... in the end you get a different mission depending on the ship you choose to fly and a different ending cutscene depending on a choice you make in the cockpit. This choice also affects the inflight dialogue and the cutscenes for most of the rest of the game.

Episode 2 is also almost entirely linear. Near the end there's a different mission you might get depending on your performance. This affects your *entire* episode 3 (all missions, the story, all dialogues, etc).

All subsequent episodes work the same way... Meaning there's basically two different episodes 3, two different episodes 4, and two different episodes 5. The path you will get depends on your performance in each episode.

Then, in episode 5, your performance will affect the ending scenes. Some (all?) endings are shared between the two versions of episode 5, so that there's no such thing as a dead-end losing path.

Memories From DragonCon: 71 Days To Go

Things got to a late start today, so here we have another of my favorite pictures from last year's Wing Commander fan gathering at Dragon*Con. In this shot our pilots are caught in some sort of time warp. While the rest of the world zips by, Teonnyn uses his technology to help bring the squadron back into the regular continuum. To his left are Frosty, Lisa and LOAF. You can find more fun adventures like these in our Conventions area.

Modern Solar Sail Launched

akula reminded us that the Cosmos-1 solar sail craft was launched yesterday. Although the Russian lift rocket apparently sufferred engine failure, there have been reports that the sail reached a low orbit and was transmitting weak signals to ground stations. CNN has some more details on the launch. There has been no word yet on whether the sail has stumbled into any tachyon eddies that will take it to Cardassia.

Mark Hamill: Voice Actor Extraordinaire

AdmiralHuang just came across a new interview with Mark Hamill by Shadow Chronicles News. The meat of the article talks about Hamill's experiences in the voice acting industry and new projects involving Robotech and Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go. You can begin reading about their discussion here. On the third page Wing Commander Academy gets a good mention with some very nice pictures.
SCN: Looking back at Wing Commander, another show that you voiced. That was kind of similar to the original Robotech that ran in 1985, as they were both geared towards older audiences but they fell into timeslots that only kids could find them in. Now that more and more animation is being targeted towards adults, like Adult Swim, how do you think a show like Wing Commander would have done today?

MH: Well, now that you’re in this era of 500 channels, I think that you can be more successful with what you might call “niche” products. In other words, more adult-orientated animation. I mean, Batman [The Animated Series] was really sort of ground-breaking in that area in terms of taking what was nominally thought of as a children’s product, and giving it a more mature edge.

I think Wing Commander was a great project; I love Chris Roberts and really enjoyed the challenge of doing a multi-scenario, interactive game, (which is how I first was involved, the animated series came later). I think that one of the things that surprised me about Wing Commander was that the demographics were so broad, and I love working on projects that appeal on many levels.

I'd like to meet Mr. Hamill and talk about Wing Commander some day, but I'm afraid he'll be overwhelmed by the legions of Star Wars fans at any convention. Fortunately interviews such as this delve from his most famous role and dig into some of the many other great things he's worked on.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Jonathan Stone found an old review of Super Wing Commander that stood out from most of the others. While GameFan was devoting multiple page spreads to talking about how great SWC was, GamePro was talking about how disappointing it turned out. Both reviews discuss the same version, but GamePro found the controls and pacing difficult to get used to. The article actually has quite a bit of text describing the various features of the game, and it credits some improvements over the Super Nintendo standard Wing Commander.

PROTIP: When a Kilrathi ship flies past, spin your ship 180 degrees and it should be in view.

Tactics Bengal Model Complete

Chevieblazer has finished his take on the Bengal Class Carrier design for the WC Tactics project. The design comes complete with a chewy fun flavored background. Chevie is now working on the lightwave conversion of models into the Nexus game. You can discuss this and other nascent Wing Commander fan projects in our general projects forum here.

More Ships To Test In Space Combat

Overmortal has prepared a couple new designs for the realistic space simulator Space Combat. The designs might not be as pretty as some people are used to, but the goal of the SC engine is to test different physics and mechanics with various spaceframe designs. The Dralthi and Rapier are each about 150 k. You can also find a Galaxy here.

Flight Commander Gets New Ship Viewer

eddieb's Flight Commander has been updated with a few additions to help out mod makers and fans interested in making some missions. The first upgrade is a Prophecy style ship viewer which could potentially be used to select a fighter before a campaign or simulator mission. The display is somewhat basic right now, but we can expect this to improve as the game develops.

The second addition is the ability to read 3D Wavefront .obj files directly in to the game, without needing to go through the traditional special Flight Commander conversion. As an example, eddieb has been able to directly import Cyberion's Rapier II model which was released a few days ago.

If you'd like to play around with the new update, you can get the file here, but you must be sure to apply the two previous updates first.

CIC Fan Fiction Forum Goes To Hell

Some time ago forums member Sylvester released the introduction to "Wing Commander: A Fool's Trip to Hell." You can read parts one and two of the first chapter here.
Flight Deck - TCS Tiger's Claw (CV-07)
Dakota System - 2645.155 (June 4th, 2645)
0455 Hours

Loud noises of varying type echoed through the vast flight deck of the TCS Tiger's Claw. The fighters of the strike carrier were lined up neatly in a row for the morning sorties that soon would be leaving her. Multitudes of Scimitars, Hornets, Raptors and the soon to be retired Wildcats sat quietly, waiting for their pilots. Some of the craft looked abused, metal plates covering laser hits, and miscolored parts taken off a fighter that wasn't so lucky on the last mission it went out on.
Fans who have never written a Wing Commander story before are encouraged to give it a try in the Wing Commander Fan Fiction Forums.

Happy Anniversary ace And blonde!

Today marks the first anniversary of ace Hyphen One's marriage to blonde Hyphen One. We can only assume that the past year has been a complete success since so far they've only murdered each other in Halo. Although there's no sign of a mini Hyphen One yet. We'd also like to remind people that it's still ace's Happy Month. You can see more pictures from the big day last year here.

It's also LOAF's parents' 25th Anniversary. What a coincidence. Congratulations all around.

Revisit Our First Ever Dragon*Con

This year will be our fifth visit to the Dragon*Con convention in Atlanta, and we managed to dig up a never-before-seen raw video from our first meeting in 2001. We do things a bit differently these days. Four years ago we didn't have our own flightsuits, and we spent a lot of time manning a table full of neat WC things next to Joe and Paula's Origin Museum display. We also didn't really know about the best things to see and do. There were still tons of really fun things going on though. While at the convention Origin producer Mark Day sent a box full of goodies for the museum. In the video you can see us investigating things such as Seether's helmet, a WC3 Kilrathi gun and a WC4 pistol. The clip also includes a confrontation with Aaron Allston and copies of Claw Marks in what has become an almost annual autographing tradition.

Everyone is welcome to join us for this year's gathering September 2-5 in Atlanta. For details about the convention itself, see the Dragon*Con site. You can download the 144MB video from 2001 here or view a limited set of photos here. Unfortunately most of the photos got lost in an accident involving Joe's cat and urine.

CCG History Unearthed

In April of 1995, a few months before the Wing Commander CCG came out, a press release was posted to the rec.games.trading-cards.announce newsgroup by Margaret Weis. At the time she was president of Mag Force 7 and involved in the development of the game along with Don Perrin, various designers and Origin personnel.
The computer game WING COMMANDER III cost over four and one-half million dollars to produce, making it the most expensive and the most exciting computer game ever created. Its cast of Hollywood stars include Mark Hamil, John Rhys-Davies, and Malcolm McDowell. The card game will feature these stars with their own cards--not as stills, but as photo-realistic paintings by some of the most talented science fiction artists working in the field today! The card game will be sold in a single-deck format, featuring Red Decks for the Kilrathi--the giant cat-like aliens of the WING COMMANDER universe--and Blue Decks for humanity's defenders, the Terran Confederacy. Booster packs will contain a mix of both Kilrathi Red and Terran Blue cards.
A full copy of the press release has been mirrored in our CCG section along with a credit list. RPG resource site Pen & Paper also has a record for the Wing Commander CCG in their game database.

Real Wing Commander Props Are A Click Away

Out of all our Merchandise, we get the most questions about flight suits. We're now working on coming up with a new batch of Prophecy-style suits for people to order, but some people might be interested in getting the real thing. A very small number of screen-worn suits are in circulation for Wing Commander fanatics to add to their collections. Because of the limited nature of these items, most of the units left around are from the Wing Commander Movie and exist in various prop houses around Europe.

The Propstore of London has several types of flight deck jumpsuits and vests. They sell blue duty uniforms and crew jackets for a reasonable price as well. Movie Bits has a variety of technicians' tops, jumpsuits and a full red flightsuit. They stock a marine backpack as well. Rare Props also has a couple technicians' gear. Costume Junkie is where you can find a Movie naval officers' uniform, though not for cheap. And if you need a Rapier, Weird and Wonderful is the place. They have two F-117Bs in stock with rentals beginning at £2000.00. Word is that they'd probably be willing to sell one for £8000.00.

Everyone Needs A Kilrathi Statue

I always felt like the Limited Edition Kilrathi Marquettes got short-changed. We excitedly reported on them years ago when Prophecy Advance was in the news every day. But since we didn't exactly know when the game would launch, the release announcement came hours later, and the Marquette update got pushed down. The wonderful statues were buried under tons of Prophecy news and somewhat forgotten. They still exist however, although just five were produced. The price has gone up. They're now $389.00/£250.00 (maybe the exchange rates just shifted), but they'd certainly be an exotic piece for your Wing Commander collection. You can order your own at the Propstore of London here.

A Marquette of a Kilrathi warrior as seen in the sci-fi movie Wing Commander. The model was pulled from the original mould for the original Marquette. It has been professionally painted with great detail paid to the metal effect armour. It comes with a custom made wooden stand. The figure stands 70 cm (28") tall. This stunning display piece is strictly limited to just 5.

Cyberion's Rapier II Model Released

Cyberion has released a package so fans can play with the Rapier II included in his latest wallpaper. The model is very accurate to the original design, so it looks great. You can grab the 600 k pack and try it out for yourself here. You'll need something like Lightwave to process the file. The shuttle design used in the wallpaper can be found here.

Never Enough Pictures Of Robot Flightsuits

We're going to roll back a bit further than yesterday to an EGM preview of Super Wing Commander done in the beginning of 1994. The game was only about 70% complete at that time, so it's interesting how much polish came together during the final stages. This one was dug up by the GamesArena. I did some reading up on old mid 1990s reviews the other night and I was surprised by how short they were in general. It's good to see the commercial game sites/magazines tend to put a lot more content into their articles today.

While the access time is minimal, it sometimes breaks up a really good dog fight... The Cinemas and game play in this one are top-notch! Definitely one to watch for.
That wraps it up for today, see you tomorrow.

GameFan Gives SWC A Glowing Review

Jonathan Stone has a Super Wing Commander review for us today from June 1994's GameFan. Their typical review was a one-page deal, so the space they devoted to SWC is impressive. The article specificially covers the 3DO version of the game, and they give it a very positive spin. There are lots of screenshots that cover a diverse set of areas within the game, and it's pretty refreshing to see the Wing Commander designs splashed all over the pages in such a way. I'd sure want to go play after checking out the review.

This game takes the basic idea of Wing Commander and adds more animation, more speech and communication, fluid movement and an AI systems for the Kilrathi that has to be played and played to be truly appreciated. Super Wing Commander is a rare game that will have you completely engrossed in its story telling and its ability to keep you involved in its combat scenarios... The story is rich and deep and, because of the complex control system and the importance placed on communication between Confederate pilots, there are many pieces of information that you are going to need before you hit deep space... The beauty of this game is in the details. If you get to a point where you can begin to appreciate the tremendous depth in this game, then you are playing SWC like Chris Roberts and his team intended.

Dr. Forstchen Ends The Civil War

The third novel in the alternate Civil War trilogy of books written by Newt Gingrich and Wing Commander veteran William R. Forstchen is now available in bookstores everywhere. Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory continues the series' retelling of the Civil War based on a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. This final volume pits Grant's western army against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in a climactic battle in central Maryland.

Stealth Attack In New Wallpaper

Cyberion returns in style this week with the release of this new wallpaper. The wallpaper depicts a Confed shuttle trying to flee as its escort gets picked off by a wing of Strakha fighters. Some scarring can even be seen on the top of the shuttle. If you like this work, don't forget to check out Cyberion's earlier wallpapers.

Privateer Remake Update Released

Version 1.1 of the popular Privateer Remake project has now been released by the team. The release incorporates various bug fixes and modifications to make the game play more like Privateer. The complete list of changes is too big to include here, so here are the items nearest the top of the list.
- "t" no longer targets everything. "t" only targets ships, and you must use "n" or the nav map to select destinations for navigation.
- Radar targetting cone limitations are implemented when playing on medium and hard difficulty. This means that you must turn your ship to place the target near your front before you can use any of the targetting keys to select it.
- The faction of your target is no longer displayed on the targeting MFD. Use the communication choices to determine what faction you have targetted.
- The universe state is mostly reset when you land and launch again. This should avoid massive groupings of ships.
- Asteroids are destroyable, impart more collision damage, and in general behave a lot better than asteroids in 1.0. They also require more computer resources, and in some systems contaning a lot of asteroids, the 1.0-style asteroids will be used for performance reasons
- Cargo and mission pricing has been tweaked.
- Enemy flight AI has been made more Privateer-like.
- Milspec ships are no longer available for purchase.
- Torpedo mounting capability per mount has been reduced from 20 to 10.
- 2D wireframe images have been added for all targetable objects.
The complete list can be found in this thread and any comments or problems should be reported in the Remake forum. Full downloads and patches for version 1.0 for Windows, Linux, and MacOS X can be found on the downloads page.

High Quality Drayman Completed

Howard Day has wrapped up the finishing touches on his high quality Drayman model. The final gun tips have been fashioned, and the engines now pulse a reassuring glow. I'd love to see what it would be like to escort one of these things. His models require F-edge and at least Max6 to manipulate. You can grab the 2.5 meg zip here. Some earlier images of the transport are available here.

Wing Commander Credited With id's Leisure

What sort of games did classic game developers play back in the day? akula65 was reading David Kushner's Masters of Doom and came across a fun quote regarding John Carmack and John Romero. On page 82 of the hardback edition, Wing Commander got the following mention.
"(Carmack) had been experimenting with 3-D graphics since making his wire-frame MTV logos on his Apple II. Since then several games had experimented with first-person 3-D points of view. In 1980, Richard Garriott employed this perspective in his very first role-playing game, Akalabeth. Two years later an Apple II game from Sirius Software called Wayout wowed gamers and critics with a first-person maze game. But it was flight simulations, putting the player in the cockpits of a variety of airplanes, that exploited this kind of immersion. In 1990, Richard Garriott's company, Origin, released a space-themed combat flight simulator called Wing Commander, which became a favorite around the id lake house."

Enjoy Our Biggest Year Yet

Over the last weekend we surpassed the traffic tallies from both 2001 and 2002. Earlier this year we beat out 1998 and 2000, and we should pass the 1999 total before the year is half over. We're happy that you're visiting to share our busiest year yet. The dedicated Wing Commander fan community is growing, and we're lucky to have so many people to share our appreciation of the series with. Hopefully you can join us in celebration for our seventh birthday in eight weeks.

Wing Commander Tactics Modding Nexus

Chevieblazer has been working on a mod for Nexus: The Jupiter Incident for the last few months. The game is a warship strategy game, and blazer's additions have come in the form of WC1/2 era capital ships. The original game looked great, so there's a lot of potential for stellar graphics and gameplay here. Parts of the mod are still in the early stages, so there's room to help if you'd like to assist Chevieblazer. Below are sample shots of the Exeter, Snakeir, Bengal and Hornet.

New Flight Commander Mission Editor Released

eddieb has released several various Flight Commander upgrades this weekend. The mission editor has a friendlier interface and allows additional flexibility with in-flight comms and neutral ships. There are some informal upgrades to the 1.1 version of the game/engine as well. Some special tweaks will allow better video playback and multimedia adjustments. You can grab the upgrades at the Flight Commander site or read about them here.

Lev Arris Loves You

Major Striker has a Privateer 2 video for everyone today. P2 seems to be a game that a lot of Wing Commander fans might not have played in a while, so hopefully these scenes jog some memories. Can you remember each of the locations pictured in the video? Occasionally I run across people who don't even know the main character was played by Clive Owen. You can download the 12 meg clip here. It should be an Indeo 5.10 movie.

I know some people don't like the game, but to me it was a personal favorite... I loved the eerie weird vibe to it.

Report From UO Town Hall In DC

Ultima Online Community Representative Wilki has put together a report on the UO Town Hall conducted last week in Washington DC. The turnout was pretty high, and the neat display of Origin Museum merchandise put on by Joe and LOAF was especially popular. Here's some pictures from the event.

Joe Garrity, Curator of the Origin Museum, was done setting up his fantastic display of Origin related artifacts. No, not the kind you can steal from Doom, but the real kind. Included were a GM Robe complete with "I cannot help thee with that..." sign, Iolo's crossbow - crafted by David "Iolo" Watson himself, a reagent display, some original Ultima boxes still in mint condition, and many, many other wonderful displays. As a long time Ultima and Origin fan, I was very excited to meet Joe a bit later in the evening and have the chance to check out what he had brought with him.
You can find a full report on the event here.

Mark Your Calendars For August 10

It's already that time of the year again. Can you believe it? In just two months the CIC will be celebrating its Seventh Birthday Party. We'd like to invite you to our annual online gathering on Wednesday, August 10, 2005. The party is conducted in #Wingnut on irc.wcnews.com. Our community is growing and there are a lot of new faces this year. People who've never been to the #Wingnut room can easily join through the Java web interface here. Wing Commander fans are welcome any time, but on August 10 we will begin formally counting down at 7:00 pm Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific US and 11:00 pm GMT). There will be plenty of prizes awarded and other fun events conducted throughout the evening. We hope a couple hundred of you will join us on that special day. The party is a bit early/late for people in some time zones, so plan time off work or school now if you can.

Get CIC Gear Early

A number of the prizes that will be given away at the Birthday party are items available to purchase from our Merchandise Store. We don't sell the items to make a profit, but we thought it'd be fun to make our own CIC gear available to everyone. I've haven't mentioned it on the front page in a while because there were still a few Birthday presents from last year's party that had not made it out. In some cases I had conflicting addresses, returned-to-sender items and things like that. The last batch of stuff I could resolve myself went out this week, but I believe there are probably a few items remaining. Feel free to email us if there was something you did not receive. All paid merchandise has always shipped out within 48 hours however. Below are some of the neat things we've come up with.

And our newest item is the TCS Eisen memorial hat.

Prices and sizing options are in the Merchandise area. The posted prices include shipping within the US. A lot of people ask about flight suits, and we've been working hard for months to come up with a way to supply them to more people. Hopefully we'll have an announcement on that soon.

Memories From DragonCon: 84 Days To Go

We're now less than three months away from our annual meet-up at DragonCon. The scene below has our pilots taking a break after a long day to play the Wing Commander Card Game. Frosty and Lisa just returned with a box of different drinks. Now if we could just find a bigger table. Feel free to ask us any questions at Crius.net if you're considering attending the convention in Atlanta this summer.

The guest list was just updated if you'd like to see the latest celebrity attendees.

Ranger's Glory Beginning Summer Jam

Iceblade has announced that he'll be focusing on his Flight Commander spin-off this summer. Ranger's Glory will use the modular FC engine to revisit the Border Worlds in the Prophecy timeframe. Confed will play a secondary role and the Kilrathi will be present. You can find updates on the story, progress and technical details of the mod at the project's website here.

GamePro Reviews The Secret Missions

We've got another classic review from GamePro and Jonathan Stone. This one analyzes The Secret Missions for the Super Nintendo. It makes the common mistake of loosely refering to this as Wing Commander 2, although that was a separate game for the SNES. The most notable change might be the difficulty level. A new "rookie" difficulty was added, but even the "ace" level doesn't seem to be much harder than the original Wing Commander. The game has a special new introduction movie that goes into greater detail about the testing and operation behind the Sivar weapon. Take off and other minor scenes were expanded as well. The review also used the really pretty stylized art pictured on the box cover.

In Wing Commander by Mindscape you literally kicked tail as you blasted the evil cat people of the Kilrathi Empire out of the galaxy. Well, the cats are back and this time they possess the purr-fect planet-busting weapon! They'll stop at nothing to turn the Terran Federation into cosmic kitty litter.
I hate it when people say literally when they actually mean figuratively.
Usage Problem:
1) Really; actually: “There are people in the world who literally do not know how to boil water” (Craig Claiborne).
2) Used as an intensive before a figurative expression.
For more than a hundred years, critics have remarked on the incoherency of using literally in a way that suggests the exact opposite of its primary sense of “in a manner that accords with the literal sense of the words.”

Space Sim First Look: Enosta Discovery Beyond

Russia is definitely a major force in space sim development these days. Enosta Discovery Beyond is beind developed by Akella. It's a third person space combat sim merged with role playing elements. There is complex advancement both for the ships and your primary character. Three galaxies are rich in NPC characters that players meet while trading, researching and improving their status in the universe. The game has a solid foundation, but sometimes I wonder if a new epic linear-tree military space combat sim wouldn't be a bit refreshing these days. Everyone wants to get in on the free roaming nonlinear gameplay, but sometimes structure is equally compelling if the game has good replay value. Enosta should be released by the end of the year.

A young courageous space pilot is an eye-witness of last days of his Galaxy. Trying to save his world, he starts to research the upcoming cataclysm of cosmic waste that swallows up the universe part by part like a giant black hole. The hero goes to an extreme fantastic and very dangerous world flying between dead planets finding cemeteries of spaceships, anomalies, artifacts and fighting against human enemies who have chosen the Dark Way many milleniums ago.

He has to find legendary Enosta world, the one which is free of Darkness.

There is a video available at their site, but it's 150 megs and the server seems a bit taxed already. Might be a good idea to wait a bit before grabbing it.

Holding The Line Chapter 202

Raptor has been hard at work on the new HTL site. It's apparently coming along nicely, and he has taken the time to send a new chapter. Here's Raptor:
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with the third and final chapter of Scraps Of Honour 15, Death Of A Thousand Cuts. As you saw in the last chapter, the Border Worlds reserves had launched a strike against the Nephilim strike group coming in from Loki. The initial attack is a feint, intended to draw the Nephilim fighters into an ambush. This chapter picks up from there, and is written by Nick "Chaeronea" Deane. Please send any and all comments to Nick at Chaerone@bigpond.net.au, not to me.

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

On another note, most of the grunt work of programming Holding The Line Dot Net has been done, so now it's simply a matter of adding the stories, artwork and other content. I've unveiled the beta to the writers, and we hope to have the final site ready to go live in July. This site has been in development a long time, but I think it'll be worth the wait.

Best, Raptor

Funny XvT Mod Uses WC Ships

Ghost recently found an X-Wing vs Tie Fighter mod that incorporates all Wing Commander designs for its alternate reality "Rebel" fleet. The mod itself is called Path Not Taken and takes place in an alternate future where the Battle of Endor was won by the Empire. It seems to have been complete for years, and the shipset is downloadable for owners of XvT. The Wing Commander designs were originally made by Michael "Steele" Boewes. You can find the rest of the Wing Commander models used in the mod here. It's kind of interesting to see how they described each ship.

The Coalition was also at work developing a totally original starfighter design, meant to serve as the backbone of its infant fleet. This fighter, a symbol of the Coalition's resolve much as the X-Wing embodied the Rebel Alliance, is the F-106 Piranha.
They didn't even change the fighter designations.

Choose Your Favorite Station

They're something that's taken for granted, but you'll be glad they're there if your carrier ever gets blown away. Space stations in WC may not have giant lasers, but we still get attached to them and have our favorites. Now it's your chance to pick the best in our latest poll. There's a nice range of options from various games and factions so you're spoiled for choice. Don't forget to click the discuss link below and let us know why you chose what you did.

Our last poll asked how much money you have spent on Wing Commander in your lifetime. The $100-$250 and $251-$500 choices together accounted for over 60% of the vote. That means that even if the 700 or so people who voted in just those two groups spent the lowest amount within their band, they will have spent well over $100,000 in total.

Get Your Wing Commander Role Play On

Over the last couple months we've reported on a variety of Wing Commander role playing games that are currently in operation. Most of the active ones have now been covered, so here's a round-up up to save time searching the archives. A few have changed since the original updates and some failed to take off, so the results have been narrowed down a bit.


Battle for Enigma was one of the first groups to help kickstart our recruiting drive earlier this year.
Wing Commander: Battle for Enigma is a free-form RPG based on character development and telling stories. We don’t roll dice or use any other kind of system aside from the honor system. Our game has been active since December of 2001, and we meet every Sunday at 9pm EST. In between meetings, role-playing continues on our message boards (which have logged a little over 6,000 In-Character posts since ’01). We are one of the most active, if not the most active, Wing Commander RPG around and we take a lot of pride in that. People can join either by posting in the open chat section of the message board, using the form on our website, or PMing me directly.


Wing Commander: The Edge of Chaos is one of the oldest Wing Commander RPGs in continuous operation.
Going strong since 1997, Wing Commander: The Edge of Chaos is an interactive role-playing game focusing on the character and story development of pilot life post-Wing Commander IV. Beginning during the final bloody days of the Terran-Kilrathi War, The Edge of Chaos has continued into the year 2676. The Edge of Chaos deals with life after the Terran-Kilrathi War and new threats in the frontier regions of space. Based on our own IRC server, the WCRPG is one of the oldest and most active role-playing games in the Wing Commander community. With weekly sessions, high quality story posts on our forums, and dozens of members, both new and old, The Edge of Chaos is here to stay. Those interested can easily join by going to the forums at http://www.wcrpg.com


Wing Commander Against All Odds is a spin-off project from the original Wing Commander Galactic Conflict, which is no longer in operation. Main events take place at their primary message board, where capital ship movements and large scale events are created. Subforums handle individual characterization and interaction.
Unlike many RPG's, Wing Commander included, AAO focuses on Fleet and Capital Ship based combat, rather then the more often preferred role of a signal character. While some may believe this detracts from the chance for a person to get in character, we at AAO disagree. There are many chances for our players to get into character with Forums such as the Logbooks and Communications Forums on our boards. If you'd like to join WCAAO it's as simple as following the link to our Forums and registering there, where our members will happily assist you in getting started with the RP.


Holding the Line is the most active ongoing fan fiction project on behalf of the ten year old Wing Commander Aces Club. They have accumulated over two hundred stories in their massive archive. Although they're wrapping up now, many of the writers involved in this project will surely begin something new when the story concludes.


Scorpion's German Wing Commander RPG Club has close to one hundred members, and they're looking for a few more. They've been in operation for about six years. German speakers can find out more on our Forums or at wingcommander.de.


Another fan role playing game that has been around for a while is the Black Lance HQ. They use both message board and occasional chat style sessions to carry out their stories. In the past the club has also written various bits of fan fiction. Some parts of their web site are out of date, but they have been consistently trying to hold weekend story sessions for some time. They occur on Saturday evenings in #black-lance on irc2.beyondirc.net beginning around 9:30 Eastern US time. Information on their backstory and how to join can be found at their website. They've added more detail about their recent activities here.


The Gemini Starfarers' Group conducts its story driven campaigns over LiveJournal. The blog catalogs the adventures of a few adventurous merchants and privateers in the Gemini Sector. They have a website with more information that we left out in the original update.


Wing Commander Wars is an italian virtual Wing Commander community that engages in various role plays. The Wing Wars game takes elements from Star Wars, Wing Commander, Dune and others to create a fantasy setting. There are links at their site for additional backstory.

Compile Your Own Flight Commander

Now that the full version 1.1 of Flight Commander for Windows and the beta release for Linux has been released, programmer eddieb has released the game's source code. This is mainly for Linux users who want to compile their own version but could also be used by people who think they can contribute something to the project. A list of required libraries as well as the 211k source archive can be found on the Linux download page.

Space Sim First Look: Parkan 2

Cyberion let us know about another promising space sim coming soon from Russia's 1c Company. Parkan 2 takes elements from a traditional Privateer style game (don't they all these days?) and combines it with an interesting first person engine. The game has a large universe with open ended gameplay where you control space ships, ground vehicles or your own character. Both the ground and space are fairly vibrant and colorful. The Russian version has gone gold and the game should be available in English later this quarter. There is quite a bit of backstory and database information at the Parkan official site here.

Parkan II is a 3D space simulator combined with first-person action. In the game players will get an opportunity to explore a vast universe, visit different planets, their satellites, huge space stations and immense space destroyers. Players can do this in the cockpit of a spaceship, inside a tank or just with a laser rifle in hand. Gamers will have to fight against multiple enemies in outer space, on planets' surface, inside military bases or even in the debris of some ancient civilizations.

Read The Fiction Behind The Comic

There's some sad news regarding Kenshi's WC Comic Project that we last heard from at the end of last year. It seems now that the project is probably defunct as nobody has been able to contact Kenshi for several months. But there is some good news as Maj.Striker has posted the fiction that he wrote which would have been the backstory behind the comic.
2654.288 A.D.
Proxima System, Douglas Quadrant (Vega Sector).
TCS Falcon

Captain Hermann “Baron” Vorchstein eyed the cards in his hand coolly, they hadn’t been favorable to him lately and it was certainly looking like his luck wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Tearing his eyes away from his dismal hand of cards he eyed his opponent seated directly across from him. Poker peer, Lt. Jonathan Craft was still intensely focused on whatever hand he held. Hermann had no doubt that whatever the young lieutenant was holding it had to be better than his own cards. Hermann had almost bowed out last round and now that he had seen what he had been dealt he regretted his decision to stick it out for another hand. Well, here was yet another week’s salary gone down the drain with nothing but a rotten spirit to show for it. What a disgrace…Hermann shifted his gaze to his immediate left to see longtime flying partner, Sarah Molynieux, looking entirely too pleased with her cards. Perhaps that wasn’t such a bad thing, if he was going to lose his money it might as well to Sarah, better her than the silent Jonathan Craft. Hermann could swear the man didn’t have a tongue, he rarely spoke a word even when it was important. There was no way Hermann could tell what Jonathan was holding in his hands but it was clear that Sarah was packing a winner, she typically didn’t let her emotions show during the game. Then again, she could be bluffing, it wasn’t entirely unlike her, she was a habitual risk taker.

You can read the full story in this thread.

Jumpgate EU Server To Shut Down, US Server Now Worldwide

Nohbody reports that the European Jumpgate server will shut down at the end of the month. Jumpgate is the Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game that almost became Privateer Online.

The loss of the EU server means that the US server will now become the worldwide server by default. Provisions are being made to transfer active EU server accounts to the remaining Jumpgate server. Current EU players who wish to keep flying may do so. NetDevil expects a somewhat bumpy transition period as the billing and support teams, as well as the community, all adapt to the new situation. NetDevil will alter the Terms of Service for Jumpgate to remove the article prohibiting European players on the former US server, which had been required by contract with Mightygames.
You can read more about this at JOSSH and at Mightygames.

Bonuses Hidden In Wing Commander 4

A lot of people are aware of the Easter Eggs hidden in various Wing Commander games, but it's been our experience that not everyone has actually tried them. There are several command line additions you can add when executing the game that give different messages. You can also bring up two neat things at the computer terminal before you first enter your callsign. Typing "chicken" brings up an alternate set of wacky credits, and "animal" starts the AnimalGump minigame. We've copied most of the credits and a sample AnimalGump screenshot below.
Command Line Arguments and Game Responses
wc4 -mitchell : Mitchell don't work here no more. He work for Bazooka Joe now.
wc4 -mitchell2 : I told you he don't work here no more! You call Bazooka Joe!
wc4 -chicken : Chicken mode: [ON] Boc Boc! (then use Control-W to kill your current target in game, or Control-Alt-W to kill all enemies)
wc4 -test : Test okay!!! (then crashes)

Terminal Easter Eggs
Type the following at the game's terminal the first time you start the game while the gray text is scrolling *before* it asks for your callsign:
chicken - Different version of the game credit with strange comments. See screenshots 1-9 below.
animal - Animal Gump mini-game. See screenshot 10 below.

Wing Commander Movie On Sci-Fi Tomorrow

The Wing Commander Movie will be showing on the Sci-Fi Channel tomorrow morning at 9:00 am US Eastern/Pacific. It's a rare Saturday morning showing for the film. Star Trek Generations and First Contact will be on directly afterwards for anybody interested. The next showing will be on July 18 at midnight.

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Saffron Burrows star as elite fighter pilots on the front line of a 27th-century war for interstellar domination.
Speaking of Easter Eggs, there's a tiny one on the Wing Commander Movie DVD. Hitting the right arrow and highlighting the radar circle will bring up a credits scene for the company that designed the DVD menus.

Joans Supplement Blueprint Art

Trent Haskins has created three blueprint files based on the Joans Supplement additional specifications. The design is done in original WC1 style with information taken from CGW and the Secret Missions. You can download a zipped pack of the three files in printable vector PDF format here.
I recreated these three blueprints of the Snakeir, Sivar and Star Post over the weekend when I caught a cold. It took about 2-3 hrs each with the exception of the Snakeir - probably closer to 4-5 hrs. I also fixed some errors in the original drawings as the fins on the Snakier were way off in the drawing, and some details were completely missing in other areas... Anyways, let me know what you all think... I know there are some other Blue prints out there that can be completed!

Mark Hamill Appearing In Hungary Next Week

Gabor let us know that Mark Hamill will be making an appearance at the Alba Regia International Film Festival in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. The event should be quite large with dozens of international movie stars in attendance. Hamill has been making the rounds lately to promote his own work and get some secondary exposure from Episode 3, but fans outside the US don't always have a good opportunity to see actors from Wing Commander. He'll be specifically highlighting his Comic Book: The Movie project. There's some information on the event in English here.

Standoff Increasing The Difficulty

Standoff Episode 2 is coming, and apparently a few people thought that the first chapter in the series was a bit too easy. So the Standoff team is making some final improvements to the game to make it even more fun. Two changes should be visible in the screenshots below.

Scary Jalthi! If you can spot the changes, post them to Crius here.

Happy ace's Happy Month

Can you believe it's already the happiest month of the year? Season Nine was one of the fastest ever. To get into the spirit, you can grab last year's AHM 2004 avi here. It poses some throught provoking questions that are still relevant to this day. You can begin enjoying your five weeks of happiness now.

Ultima Town Hall To Feature Origin Museum

The Ultima Online team will be holding a special unveiling of their next expansion this Thursday in Washington DC. This special Ultima Online Town Hall will have a familiar guest, Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum! A variety of very rare and exotic Ultima merchandise will be on display at the event. If you're a UO player, you have a very short window left to request a ticket. That's why the first half of today's updates went live a bit early. Requests for tickets must be sent by 3:00 pm US Eastern time today. Details on what to submit are available here. They've booked a lot of space, so all DC area UO players should hurry and sign up before the deadline!
DC Town Hall Meeting Details
When: Thursday June 2nd 7:30PM – 10:30PM
Where: Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center (7801 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043)
Who: Lead Designer Maria “Cerdith" Hamilton, Live Team Lead Peter "Fertbert" Phillips, Producer Jessica “Lady Lu" Lewis, Product Manager Aaron “Darkscribe" Cohen, the Community team of John “Wilki" Wilkinson and Chris “Binky" Launius and most importantly YOU!

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