WC Saga Reporting In

Wing Commander Saga has had a few delays in its development, so their team has produced a general progress update. The current focus is on completing their preview chapter.
The Prologue is meant for introducing some of the main characters, showing new (and old) players the game-engine, and opening the paths for the main release which will come later. It will be a small and stand-alone chapter of the storyline.

To be honest, it is still very hard to tell a correct release date, since there are factors involved which we can't control directly. We can't control when we will be attacked by real life next. Currently I have some time, so there has been some progress from my side. Other guys work hard when their time allows it.

Let me make a short summary of what's done and what still needs to be done:

- Three models (that are otherwise finished) need to be polished a little more (UV-Mapping and stuff)
- The Main Campaign Missions are 99% finished
- Many more missions are on standby, though they need some finishing touches
- The voice lines are almost finished (over 500 it all, except 10 that must be redone)
- The game is now well-balanced, and the beta test revealed a few bugs which we have now eliminated for a better game experience
- We are currently reworking the interface completly, which is certainly a massive amount of work
- Our last problem is that we have to wait for at least one very important code change from our friends at HLP. They are working hard, and we hope to have it soon.

So, while I could say we are more than 95% done, it is still hard to tell when everyone involved will be able to finish their part of the work. We will publish the final date shortly before the release. We are working as fast as we can and want you to have this game as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience

Entering The Final Stretch

In just one month, most of our staff will be packing up for the annual trek to Atlanta's DragonCon. The celebrity guest list now includes 284 names. The most recent notable addition is Connor Trinneer/Trip from Enterprise. Below we have a funny shot of some of the gang hanging out with the Coca Cola Polar Bear last year.

If you've been thinking about attending DC or a similar science fiction convention, Death has borrowed a list of things to bring.

Illness can spread quickly through a con, because people come from all over, bringing regional diseases and sharing them. This is why you should bring your own medicines. Remember the last time you were sick, away from home?
There are some good tips in that list. Last year ace infected the entire convention with some stubborn cold.

Meet A Wing Commander Producer

AD recently came across the homepage of Larry Latham. He was one of the producers of the Wing Commander Academy television series on USA. It's interesting to get a personal look into how entertainment industry people fashion their own sites, and there are a variety of samples from his illustrating and writing career online as well.

Hellcat Searching For Old Remakes

HellcatV is trying to set up a comparison gallery between the various versions of the Privateer Remake. He needs help collecting certain older builds.
Heya Wing Commanders- I'm trying to put together an exhibit of old versions of Privateer Remake, and I realized that I only kept PrivateerRemake 0.9b(maybe) and of course 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2.

I'm wondering if any of the kind folks who participated in the Beta also saved an old pre-1.0 version of the game. Hot versions I'm looking for are 0.8, 0.5, 0.2, and of course 0.1, but any version before 1.0 will do just dandy.

And if you do run across one of these old versions, try running it for a bit---it's almost laughable how bad it was back then. ;-) If I get enough of these I'll try to put together a website with some particularly gruesome screenshots, installers and bug reports. ;-)

Large Object Found Orbiting Further Than Pluto

Various news sources are reporting the discovery of a potential new planet orbiting beyond the range of Pluto. Several similar announcements have been made about other objects over the last few years, but this one is the largest. It appears the body is at least as big as Pluto, and it orbits three times as far and at an odd 45 degree offset from the standard orbital plane. Debate over its status as a planet or Kuiper Belt object will probably go on for years, but whatever the outcome, this appears to be a noteworthy discovery.

Happy Birthday ace!

Today is the last staff birthday of 2005. ace turns another year older, and he's doing it in style. MobyGames just began to recognize his contributions to the Wing Commander Community back in 1996 and 1997. His system on the Prophecy Map was named for a pseudonym, and now he's getting wider recognition of that.

Wing Commander 2 Cracks IGN Top 50

Jesus noticed that IGN's Classic Games feature credits a Wing Commander title for influencing gaming history. Wing Commander 2 placed in the Top 50 during the 2005 edition of this ranking. Wing Commander 1, 2, 3 and Privateer placed highly in many similar features around 1999 and 2000, but the gaming industry has changed significantly over the years. It's nice to see Wing Commander is still consistently recognized for its impact today.

Wing Commander II refined the formula set by its predecessor and offered a space opera experience second to none. Full of genuine characters, intense action, and dazzling graphics, Wing Commander practically redefined space shooters when it shipped in the early 90s. Before Wing Commander III set the benchmark for "interactive movies" with its FMV sequences and use of real actors, Wing Commander II told an awesome story of sacrifice, bravery and camaraderie through great writing, in-game speech, and some of the best dog fighting you'll ever find in a PC space shooter. A classic in every sense of the word.

Feeling nostalgic? You can download the Wing Commander 2 intro here.

Standoff Episode 2 Release Date Announced

The launch date for the second episode of Wing Commander Standoff has been announced! The adventure continues on August 10. Now's the time to wrap up Episode 1 if you haven't finished it yet. Everyone could probably use a bit of practice as well. It only gets harder from here. You need the 112 meg Secret Ops starter pack and the 67 meg Standoff Episode 1 to play. The installation of Standoff doesn't interfere with Secret Ops, though Episode 2 will improve a number of things in Episode 1.

Take A Closer Look At Gemini's Centurion

The Privateer Gemini Gold team has produced a profile of the popular Centurion. BradMick created the model featured in the game, and PeteyG's original textures were updated for Gemini Gold's release. The familiar Centurion cockpit is pictured in the middle, and the background of the third image was a new touch that was revealed last week.

If you have a question/comment about Gemini Gold or related projects, head on over to their Crius.net forum.

Party Count Down: Two Weeks To Go

Only two short weeks remain before the CIC's Seventh Birthday Party. The event always sneaks up on us quickly, and people are now scrambling to get things ready. It's been a beautiful summer for most of us, which doesn't make the work get done any faster. We expect that some people will be attending their first irc party this year. Directions on how to visit are in our #Wingnut section. 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.

You can check out last year's profile of birthday features here. We added a document archive, new music, new database resources, new previews of a variety of fan projects, a new mail bag and more!

Electronic Arts Announced Quarterly Results

EA has announced their quarterly performance results for the period that ended on June 30, 2005. They earned $365 million, which was a 16% decline over last year at this time. This resulted in a $58 million loss compared to a $24 million profit. The loss was attributed to a repurchase of 6.3 million shares of outstanding EA stock and development of titles for next-generation platforms that don't yet generate any income. Research & development costs were more than $50 million higher this quarter than in the same period last year. The company still maintains more than $2.5 billion in cash, liquid assets and short term investments to fuel future ventures.

There were several other recent highlights. Battlefield 2 for the PC reached its first million sales in just two weeks, which helped PC games account for 20% of the company's total quarterly income. More than a quarter of all PSP games sold in North America have been developed by Electronic Arts. Handheld game revenues make up 14% of EA's mix. The Fiscal 2006 outlook predicts between $3.3 and $3.4 billion in total revenue for the year.

The company also announced the acquisition of Hypnotix this morning. The development studio, known for the Outlaw Golf/Tennis/Volleyball series of extreme sports games, will be moved to Florida near Madden-developer Tiburon. Hypnotix's first EA game will be the new Arena Football League title. Their annual stockholders meeting will also be webcast tomorrow:

Thursday, July 28, 2005
2:00 pm PDT / 5:00 pm EDT
http://investor.ea.com

WC 2634 Mod Simulates A Strike

RAT put together a mock strike in the Nexus mod Wing Commander 2634. Rapiers launch from a Concordia Supercruiser and Bengal Carrier in the first four shots, then the combined strike force assaults a Snakeir. The shots might be a little bit dark, but you can see a new environment here.

Space Shuttle Discovery Lifts Off

The Discovery properly launched this morning after a successful preflight sequence. The trip to orbit took nine minutes. This twelve day mission should involve testing new safety procedures and supplying the international space station.

Get Away To Wing Commander

AD has spent quite a bit of time slicing and dicing apart the Wing Commander Movie to create an elaborate music video about the relationship between Maniac Marshall and Rosie Forbes. I suggested "Get Away" by Ja Rule and Christina Milian for the background music. The song fit the tone of the story pretty well, and hip-hop style tracks are a refreshing change. The download links are below. A decent looking wmv is available for dialup users. The 30 meg divx is even better, and there is a super high quality 124 meg version for people with a little more time to download.
Get Away in the key of Wing Commander. This video is an exploration of Maniac's motivations, desires and the events that help transform him into the disjointed, self-centered person you see in the games.

Lost a Manual?

This is a reminder that the CIC has scanned versions of most Wing Commander game documentation online. If the game you bought on eBay didn't come with a manual or if your Victory Streak is missing in action, then the manuals section is for you. If you just need to know what button to press to activate the cloak, the controls section should have you covered.

PiArmada 0.8 Released

It has been a little while since the last release, but PiArmada has just had a big update. The biggest change is integration with the Vega Strike engine which will allow players to fight battles like in the original Armada. ZOmegaZ has more details.
PiArmada .08 is up! The major change in this release is the incorporation of the Vega Strike engine, due almost entirely to HellcatV. It seems to work well, but I've only been able to run so many tests. The feel may also not be quite right, so feedback is essential. Anything that needs tweaking can be tweaked, but I have to know! The interface between strategic and flight engines isn't completely clean, but it works for the most part. A total rewrite of the strategic combat structure is on the board for the next release, which should make things much more pleasant to work with. Enjoy!

You can download the new release from SourceForge. If you have trouble running the game from the shortcut, try navigating to the game's directory and running armada.exe.

Put Kilrathi On Your Desktop

Kilrah Moreira has created another tribute to the Kilrathi Empire. This one takes the form of a spartan wallpaper with famous Kilrathi accents. The wallpaper was created in 3DSMax and is available in 1024x768 by clicking the thumbnail below.

Privateer Gemini Gold Released

The full release version of Privateer Gemini Gold has been released! This project takes some of the basic core of the Privateer Remake and reshapes it to more resemble the original Privateer. You can even transfer your savegame from the Remake. We also have directions to get the original Privateer running if you'd like to compare versions. The 190 meg Gemini Gold 1.0 package can be downloaded here.

After a successful Beta Test we are proud to announce the completion of Privateer Gemini Gold Version 1.0. Freely available for all operating Systems (Windows, OSX, Linux) and based on the Open Source Vegastike Engine you can experience the fun of the beloved classic Privateer once again with new graphics and real 3D spaceflight.

Privateer Gemini Gold is a purist remake of the original Privateer. The player starts with a small old scout class ship and low financial resources in a sparsely populated star system of the Gemini Sector. To stay alive you must try to get money through various mission assignments from which you can purchase better ships and upgrades.

It's your choice how to align with the various factions. Earn your money as a merchant, bounty hunter, traitor or pirate. Meet Sandoval in a bar on New Detroit and talk to him. Explore the Gemini Sector and learn more about the never ending conflict between catlike creatures called Kilrathi and the human Confederation. And then you may travel further into frontier for the Unknown...

With the Gemini Gold Release we are introducing major improvements for the Privateer Remake like:
- an authentic Wing Commander Universe
- new models, graphics and features
- overhauled game balance and better interaction on bases
- malfunction of ship systems when damaged
- printer-friendly handbook

If you have played the Privateer Remake before, you can use your savegames with Gemini Gold as well. We wish you a lot of fun and happy privateering...

Cyberion Systems Presents: Crusader: No Hope

ZFGokuSSJ1 and Cyberion have revealed a new fan game in the style of Origin's No Regret and No Remorse. No Hope is an adventure game set in the Crusader universe. There is a big emphasis on the story and general atmosphere. The storyline, music and puzzles are mostly complete, but there is still lots to do with graphics and level development.

A website for the project should appear at Cyberion Systems soon. You can find more information here for now.

Saga Breaks Its Silence

The WC Saga has released a couple shots of its newest Light Carrier. Ships like the TCS Victory are expected to play an important role in the WC3 era Freespace 2 mod.
Sorry for the recent lack of updates folks, but real-life has us all in his grasp, and besides that, bugfixing missions or waiting for important code-changes is not really a good layout for new screenshots.

EA Defends The Sims' T Rating

GameSpot is reporting that anti-game activists have seized their momentum and are now attacking the best selling PC game of all time, The Sims. Having forced the ESRB to upgrade its ratings of GTA San Andreas to Adults Only, various forces are now working to mark up The Sims' Teen rating. No normally accessible content in either game is in question. The root of the problem stems from what is viewable after the game has been modded.
"The nudity placed there by the publisher/maker, Electronic Arts, is accessed by the use of a simple code that removes what is called 'the blur' which obscures the genital areas. In other words, the game was released to the public by the manufacturer knowing that the full frontal nudity was resident on the game and would be accessed by use of a simple code widely provided on the Internet."
The "simple code" is a software hack that reveals the featureless Barbie doll bodies underneath the blur filter. EA has called the mess "nonsense" and says there is "no content inappropriate for a teen audience" in the game.

Next Thursday EA will be broadcasting its quarterly stockholders' meeting online. It'll take place at 2:00 pm Pacific time if anyone wants to listen in. Fiscal first quarter results should be announced Tuesday.

New In Privateer Gemini Gold

On Monday we reported that a Privateer Remake spinoff was looking for (intensive) beta testers. Here's a first look at what's different in this version:
The Kamekh is now equiped with visible player-pointing turrets, four for the nose and one for the tail. The turrets may be seen as a form of flak to take down enemy fighters and asteroids while the heavy wing cannons do more damage and are used on bigger targets. The four nose laser turrets are equiped with laser weapons which have a short refire rate and a long fire distance, so you'd better make sure not to fly directly into a blast. The tail turret is equiped with two plasma guns which can do massive damage to your ship while the shots are fairly slow and easy to avoid, so better attack from the back, right?

The third screenshot shows our new built in nav computer which looks very similar to the one of the original Privateer. It may be updated later with a high resolution model, so if somebody wants to contribute one, feel free to do so...

HCl's Site Back Online

Following the technical difficulties at WC Revival, HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site is now back online. The problem apparently resulted in everything on the server being wiped, but everything should have been reuploaded now. HCl's site is a great source of patches, one of the most recent and impressive of which being a patch to allow Armada to be played online through DosBox. HCl is also responsible for some major contributions to numerous Secret Ops based mods. WC Revival itself has yet to be reuploaded.

Party Count Down: Three Weeks To Go

The CIC's Seventh Birthday is getting closer! With three weeks left to go, it's time to announce some of the door prizes that will be given away to party attendees. Some of the items include Game Boys with a copy of Prophecy Advance, CIC polo and Eisen shirts, CIC hats, CIC glasses, CIC playing cards, copies of the WC Movie on DVD, the DVD version of Wing Commander 4, press kits, Wing Commander action figures, and various Wing Commander audio soundtracks, posters, books, and shirts. One of our grand prizes will be a replica Prophecy-style flight suit custom fit to the winner. The party will be held online in #Wingnut in just three weeks. It should be a major blast and fun for everyone who comes!

Rest In Peace James Doohan (1920-2005)

This morning James Doohan passed away from complications due to pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. A lot of our visitors will mourn him as Scotty from Star Trek. He was getting old and had been sick for a little while, but losing familiar faces is always a bit sad. StarTrek.com will have a tribute up soon. Feel free to visit Crius.net if you'd like to say something.

Remembering Thirty-six Years Of Interplanetary Travel

Today is the 36th anniversary of the first moon landing. To celebrate, Google added a bit of NASA footage to its maps database. Check out the feature here, and don't forget to zoom in. If you're looking for something a bit more terrestrial, check out a satellite Google shot of where Dragon*Con is held.

More Ships Cruising In Wing Commander 2634

Rat has released some in-game shots of the Bengal and Concordia running in Wing Commander 2634 for Nexus. A few designs from Wing Commander Academy are also in the works and should be appearing in full previews shortly. The corvettes and destroyers from the series will be the first to be integrated.

These designs don't get used in many mods, so it's nice to see them here.

Fix Your Priv Remake Saves

The Priv Remake Team has created a program to fix game saves that were affected in the 1.1 to 1.2 upgrade. This utility should not be used if you have not experienced any problems continuing the story campaign or are just upgrading from version 1.0. You can grab the small program here. Unzip the downloaded file into the main Priv Remake directory, and it should replace campaign_lib.py in the modules subfolder. Always back up your files before replacing them.
We suspect damaged savegames only comprise about 1/3 of all savegames, and we would discourage the use of the tool with savegames that have not experienced campaign problems to avoid backwards compatability issues with newly created savegames. Any users upgrading directly from 1.0 have no need for concerns about their savegames.

Privateer Gemini Gold Accepting Beta Applications

Wing Commander Privateer Gemini Gold, a spinoff of the Privateer Remake, has just been announced. Extra fan-made content has been stripped out to deliver an experience more like the original Privateer. Windows, Mac and Lunix versions will be available. A solid preview version has been completed, and they're now looking for a small dedicated team of testers. People looking for a sneak peek should wait for the final version. Wing Commander fans with the time and energy to hunt down any lingering bugs should contact the Gemini Gold team here.
Gemini Gold is a Remake of the original Privateer. It was in development since the late beta of the Privateer Remake and internally known as the "Purist Version." The goal was to bring the original spirit of Privateer to modern computers without additional fan made content.

You can contact us via email (priv@solsector.net). If you're selected, we will tell you how you can download the Beta. Please send us an email only if you really have the time to test the game and deliver a little report about your bug findings.

Privateer Remake 1.2 Released

The original Privateer Remake has now been patched to version 1.2. There are some issues taking your savegame between one version and another, so here's Mamiya to clear some things up.
Any ship you may have will remain through the (upgrade), it is only the campaign that is affected. Which is a rather major part of the game. :(

1.1 unfortunately broke compatibility with 1.0 savegames. 1.2 restores compatibility to 1.0 and loses some with 1.1 in the process. It's painful, but 1.0 is still far more widely distributed, so it was important to rectify the mistake.

1.1 savegames should survive the transition to 1.2 if you never had a reminder from a fixer about your mission ("Why are you still here?"). Otherwise problems can occur. You can try rolling back the campaign a bit: in the savegame file, reduce the number after privateer_campaign to roll things back. Make a backup first. :)

Failing that, one can always go back to 1.1 and things should work fine again. All future versions of the Remake and Gemini Gold will have compatibility with 1.0/1.2, so it's best to make the jump sooner or later.

Striker Flexes His Pen Muscles

Since the Comic Project recently fell through, Major Striker has been practicing his own art. Hunter, Angel and two Kilrathi are the first test faces he has posted for review. Since Striker was the author of the story behind the comic, he would like to see the project continue. There is a lot of work to be done before anything substantial could come together, but click the Discuss link below if you'd like to provide some helpful feedback.

Wing Commander: The Price of Boxes

The price of the original Wing Commander game has increased over the past year as DOSBox has decreased the need for Kilrathi Saga. The prices fluctuate quite a bit though. Last week I was able to grab an entire WC1 Deluxe for $15 after shipping. I've also seen them bid up to $90 over the last month.

This week someone listed the box and instructions on eBay. No game disks were included, but the wonderful Claw Marks book and fighter blueprints came with it. The final bid was $15. That's definitely not as good a deal as I got, but everyone should be stocking up on WC1 manuals if they plan to assault Claw Marks author Aaron Allston for autographs at DragonCon this year.

Edit: LarkInFlight was the lucky winner. His Polish Wing Commander 1 lacked the original blueprints, and he was in need of a replacement Claw Marks. It's good to see new people coming online in 2005 to complete their collection.

Wing Commander Movie On Sci-Fi Tomorrow Night

The Wing Commander Movie will be brightening up another summer night tomorrow on the Sci-Fi Channel. It will air at midnight Eastern/Pacific and 11:00 pm Central time in the US. If our handy Wing Commander almanac is any indication, the next showing should be in later September. If you miss tomorrow night's show and can't wait that long, you have a chance of winning a copy of the movie on DVD at our Birthday Party next month.

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Saffron Burrows star as elite fighter pilots on the front line of a 27th-century war for interstellar domination.

Progressive Darkness Chapter Two Ready Soon

lazarusryu should be posting the second chapter to Progressive Darkness as early as tonight. Readers of the Wing Commander Fan Fiction Forum have been helping to shape the story since the prologue was released last month. AD has produced a full adaptation of the beginnings of this story, and we're about to see what comes next. You can find more on this and other short Wing Commander adventures here. Don't hesitate to submit your own or talk with others to build your ideas.
The door slid open to reveal the cafeteria. Various vending machines and dispensing unites surrounded a number of tables, three quarters of which were occupied. The smell of French fries and some kind of meat concoction was wafting over from the galley. Wolf didn’t find it the least bit appetizing.

One of the tables in a far corner near the food line-up had that air that Wolf so dreaded. Six pilots sat at the table eyeing Wolf and Wild Thing as they entered the room. They set their bags against the wall right next to the entrance. No one else seemed to even notice their entrance as they walked to one of the few free tables, which just happened to be the one next to the

One of the pilots, a musician who went by the call sign Beatnik, was playing his rendition of “Take 5” on his clarinet. He had joined the war for the experience. He felt that it would help him put more soul into his music. The Pilot next to him – Jackknife - tapped his arm and motioned to him to look up. As he let the clarinet drop from his mouth the room fell unnervingly quiet. Now all eyes were on Wolf and Wild Thing.

Interactive Wing Commander Map Updated

Zalmodegikos has updated his interactive flash Wing Commander universe map. It's quite a neat program. You can turn certain jump lines on or off, zoom in, search for specific systems and more. There are still many systems that need to be added, but a few test sectors are available to test it out. Give it a try here and help Zal with your feedback here.

Many hours have been invested in improving the overall performance and preparing the map for the hundrets of systems thare are going to be soon added. You will need to activate and deactivate the following functions, 'scroll', 'zoom', 'select' and 'adv.' (advanced). Don't forget to check out the 'adv.' (advanced) menu.

Give it a spin and please leave a comment here so I can further improve this project for you. Thank you.

Sci Fi Universe Sets Up Wing Commander 4

These two articles are the follow-up to Vance's features last week. The left column investigates the nature of Wing Commander 4's live action shoot. They're pretty excited that the production quality is similar to what you would expect from a regular theatrical movie.

Though videogame footage is usually shot on videotape, the powers that be at Origin decided instead to pull out all the stops and lay their images down on more expensive 35mm film. The result is a space opera epic with a cinematic feel that would be equally at home on the big screen, but comes across even better as an interactive game.
Most of the spread is taken up by a big interview with Mark Hamill. Hearing the actors talk about the games is always fun.
Do you feel your fans have been a little overzealous in their desire to see you in space hero-type roles?
They say that people who are really into science fiction are strange, but to me, I think how wonderful it is for them to be so in touch with the fantasy portion of their lives... The stereotype of the computer nerd must be based on some kind of reality, but having done Wing III, I see that it doesn't fit the airline pilots and secretaries and people who work in banks. The broad spectrum of people who have responded to Wing Commander proves to me that it's just like when I was on a sop opera - it's not just housewives in curlers and pink slippers that watch them. We're underestimating the autdience.
There's also a neat question where they ask him about the possibility of a cameo in the Wing Commander Movie. Hamill went on to play the uncredited role of Merlin in the film.

WC Tactics Rumbling In-Game

Chevieblazer has released some in-game shots of the WC Tactics Nexus mod. The Snakeir and Bengal go at it in an explosive battle in the first two shots. A Dralthi makes a fly-by in the third picture, and a special weapon effect fires from a Confed capship in the fourth. The Nexus engine is pretty decent looking, and I'm certainly looking forward to the next Wing Commander game having modern shield flares and lighting like this.

You can help provide your feedback at Crius.net here.

EA Hires Former Origin Expert To Develop New Games

GameSpot is reporting that Doug Church will soon begin working at Electronic Arts' Los Angeles compound. He will be an executive producer, under former OSI General Manager Neil Young, in charge of promoting new games and franchises. Church began his career at Origin working on Ultima Underworld and System Shock games. He later moved with Warren Spector to the Looking Glass and Ion Storm studios where he helped Deus Ex, Thief and other titles. EALA produces some of Electronic Arts' best games, so it'll be interesting to see what comes out of this.

Party Count Down: Four Weeks To Go

With less than one month left, we're starting to get a clearer picture of what new material will be revealed on our Seventh Birthday. In addition to a few refreshes of popular sections, we hope to unveil some helpful reference sources for modern Wing Commander fans. Some other groups in our community will also be making contributions to coincide as well. Still need time off work? Electronic Arts has arranged for August 10 to be a sick day for everyone. We hope to see you for the party in #Wingnut in four weeks.

AceNet Posting Board Has New Location

The Wing Commander Aces have a new location for their message board. They are currently sharing forums with their most active project, Holding The Line. Dedicated members of the club are now working together to plan out the next stage in the group's evolution. There are plans to revitalize the central hub of Aces activity and consolidate its web presence. The Aces Club was an active part of the Wing Commander community when I first came online ten years ago. Anyone interested in getting involved should check out their new forums home here.

Oops, Try Again Next Week

There was a flaw in the fuel sensor of the Space Shuttle today, so the launch is being moved back until at least Monday. Good news for me. I overslept and would've missed it anyway.

DragonCon Ticket Rates Going Up Friday

The year has gone by fast and it's almost time for our annual meet-up again. The final opportunity to get discounted Dragon*Con passes expires on July 15. They're $70 now and $85 at the door. If you live near Atlanta and might just be dropping by for a day or two, discounted single day passes will be available at the show. There are now 219 guests confirmed for the event. LeVar Burton (Geordi) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) were the most recent additions. Several familiar Wing Commander writers will be present as well.

Shuttle Discovery Launching Wednesday

The Space Shuttle Discovery is expected to launch Wednesday afternoon around 4:00 pm from the US East Coast. Some of us in #Wingnut will be watching the live webcast if you'd like to join in. Hopefully everything goes smoothly.

Holding The Line Chapter 203

The HTL team have been battling forum problems lately, but they've released a new chapter to cheer everyone up. Here's Raptor with the update:
Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with Part Four of James Andrew "JAG" Greenhow's Welcome To Hell series, which follows the Confed reserve force sent to help hold the line. As you've seen in the past few chapters, their Border Worlds counterparts have already engaged the Nephilim, but the two groups are operating seperately from each other. Please send any and all comments to JAG at Rambo.123uk@btinternet.com , not to me.

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

On another note, the temporary message board the Aces were using has crashed. We were planning to set up a permanent board that would be part of HTL Dot Net when it went live. We've opened that forum up early to make sure the Aces have a place to meet and chat. The graphics will be updated soon, and we'll subdivide the board into the proper forums as we go along, but the board is functional at the moment. Feel free to stop by and get registered. The CIC's own Death will be moderating the site though, so behave. ;-)

The board is at: http://www.holdingtheline.net/forum

Best, Raptor

Finish Your Wing Commander Book Collection

We were skimming the Wing Commander section at Fantastic Fiction, and it came to our attention that quite a few Wing Commander fans out there are missing some of the Wing Commander books. Most novels and guides were never too expensive to begin with, but now is a great time to pick them up for cheap. Several years ago there was a rush on novels such as End Run that pushed prices as high as $85.00, and fans were happy to pay it! Fortunately, prices have now dropped to just below original retail levels.

We've got our own listing of Wing Commander reading material that's a bit more complete than the FF page here. In addition to the Half.com links below, some books have sellers linked from the Where To Buy area. The Half links are about the best place to find books if you don't have a used book store locally, but be aware of the very slow media rate shipping.

Wing Commander Reviews Separated At Birth

There was quite a bit of discussion the last time we posted a sibling pair of Wing Commander Movie reviews, so we'll try it again. These are two articles that both take a similar tone. Both reviewers went in after having read other negative articles but were pleasantly surprised. The DVD Corner writer first saw the movie once it was released for home viewing and acknowledges his low expectations made the film surprisingly good. He credited the special effects, sound and picture quality with providing an entertaiing ride but faulted Lillard and Prinze's performances.
Fans of the Wing Commander video game series will find a great deal to enjoy here. I was pleased with the technical merits of the film, but the plot is thin, and the acting started to wear on me. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Mathew Lillard give stiff and ridiculous performances respectively. After seeing them in Wing Commander, I am surprised their teen-slasher careers are still going. Overall, I would say this is an average movie that has been transferred nicely to DVD.
Mutant Reviews From Hell wrote today's second review. They pointed out one of the major mistakes that the film's distributor made. With uncertainly looming in regards to Star Wars Episode I, a release date was never planned much in advance. So the film's marketing was entirely crammed into a week or two prior to the release. The US launch didn't get regular theatrical previews and other support that would be expected. This review also quite liked the special effects and was disappointed we might not see a sequel.
Don't get me wrong, I doubt it'll ever take home any awards, but Wing Commander is a very enjoyable film. It brought feelings of WWII movies to mind, and I really enjoy that. Particularly the fighters; they look like snub-winged war planes, and even fire guns that sound a lot like machine guns, not your typical sci-fi zaps and squawks. What's great is that it doesn't seem out of place. The characters rarely seem to like each other, but are brought together by the common knowledge that there is no place to fall back to if Earth falls. The multi-accented crews of the various ships suggest a real melting pot of cultures, not unlike the Allied Forces of earlier this century. Very cool.
There are actually three primarily contributors in the second article. Two agree with the summary above and a third ended up not liking the film overall.

Space Sim First Look: Sword Of The Stars

Sword of the Stars is an upcoming 4X strategy game. While strategy games have declined in popularity along with space sims, the 4X category has fallen on particularly rough times. The space combat in Sword of the Stars unfolds in real time between four races with unique traits. There is a full technology tree that contributes to full customization of ships. The game will support up to eight players online with options for cooperative and competitive scenarios.

Sword of the Stars is a breakthrough Space Strategy game that seeks to reinvigorate the sub-genre. Players will explore planets, manage their empire and research new technology. Sword of the Stars provides quick, intuitive play, state-of-the-art graphics and tactical combat that make the game instantly involving and rewardingly fun.
There are game trailers and additional information at their website. I first saw this one over at ATFW.

Second Nexus Mod Updates

RAT has given his Wing Commander mod for Nexus a name to differentiate it from similar projects in the works. This one is tentatively called Wing Commander 2634 to contrast with WC Tactics. The mod now has a website that is currently in Russian. A few more designs have been released. These are lower poly versions that are similar to what would appear in the game. The Bengal and Snakeir are already lightly textured. The Concordia Supercruiser will be a new addition contributed by Bob.

We're Listening To Your Mail

It shouldn't be a big surprise that we're working on a new edition of the CIC Mail Bag for publication next month. This one is shaping up to be the best yet, but there's still time for your message to be included. If you have a profound insight or question that could use a thorough response, send it in.

Hades Starting New Business

Staff member Cpl Hades will be taking on a reduced set of duties at the CIC this year as he pursues an exciting new venture. For years he's had a dream to produce a healthy and satisfying cereal that was rich in fiber, rich in folic acid and contained no trans fats (with only 3g net carbs!). Crunchy Almond Crisp is the result. Good luck and happy birthday Hades!

Wing Commander Appreciated In Sci Fi Universe

Vance caught our recent Sci Fi Universe's "Making of Wing Commander 3" article post and was able to dig up the sequel. He was a subscriber ten years ago and scanned the July 1995 issue with Wing Commander 3's full review. The game received a 91% overall score. It actually lost a few points on the story, but I guess they had to balance it somehow. He also found an article from a later issue that had some insight into Wing Commander 4's production and the series' role in general science fiction.

The downside to Wing Commander III is that you will need a minimum of a 486-66 with 8 megabytes of RAM and a double-speed CD-ROM, but a Pentium with 16 megabytes of RAM is strongly recommended to be able to play in SVGA mode, which is a terrific enhancement over standard VGA... But Wing Commander III, with its bold mix of great acting and superior game play, is definitely worth the trouble. Cat-nipping was never so much fun.
If you want to recapture the magic of playing WC3 on a 486, just try firing it up in DOSBox with a modern computer running at less than 2 GHz. Long load times and jumpy controls are possible once again.
The Wing Commander series from Origin has one of the most well-established interplanetary struggles in the world of electronic gaming. It concerns the ongoing war between the human Confederation fleet and the aggressive, feline Kilrathi (imagine the cowardly lion with his newfound courage and an arsenal of space-age weaponry). The Wing Commander series, which has been around for five years, provides a perfect example of the evolution in sci-fi gaming.

Starting out as a typical space shoot-'em-up, the series has become one of the most sophisticated examples of interactive entertainment and has inspired a flourishing genre of its own.

Against All Odds RPG Expanding

The Wing Commander Against All Odds group has been enjoying considerable success lately, and they're now ready to extend the scope of their role playing game. They've smoothed out their methods of play and are ready to take on some new members. AAO is a forum-based WC capital ship adventure, and members of the game post actions and updates about a ship's crew to the board.
If you've looked at this RPG before and thought it might be interesting, take another look. Or if you are new to this site or just haven't taken a look, check us out. It may seem confusing at first, but our players are willing to help people get started. If you want to give the RPG a try, register a handle and send a PM to either myself (ck9791) or (Akula). Akula is the Administrator of the RP and the site, though I have been taking care of a lot of the day to day activities of the RP and trying to keep things moving. The forums are located at: Wing Commander Against All Odds forum Thanks.

Reckoning Recommissions Beautiful Art

Bob has settled into his summer estate and managed to recommission The Reckoning mod for Freelancer. Cargo hauling has been reworked and a number of ships have been tweaked since the last major release. Soon bases will be upgraded, and more diverse Wing Commander capital ships will begin to populate the Gemini Sector. Bob has also released a preview of the game's splash screen. Hopefully there should be some significant progress in the coming weeks.

You can find some in-game videos of the mod in action here.

Analyzing The Fate Of Interactive Movies

AD found an interesting transcript from this year's Game Developers Conference. In this article Analyst Ernest Adams discusses how the interactive narrative genre evolved over the last ten years. In 1995 he began researching the budding entertainment form that linked (sometimes) innovative gameplay with branching video plotlines. Wing Commander 3 is his striking example of how seriously the industry was willing to take this idea. He talks about some of the problems that developers faced trying to make good interactive games and how there has been a "Resurgence of Linearity" in recent years.
I said earlier that I think we're gone back, somewhat, to telling linear stores. There are multiple ways of approaching the issue of branching stories -- you can create fully branching storylines, with (possibly) multiple endings; you can create stories that branch less often, and tends to remain within a few distinct plot lines; or you can have what Charles Cecil calls "multilinear" stories, in which the main plot has particular nodes that the player must pass through, but there is a certain amount of freedom between these nodes...

We've improved the quality of our storytelling by, in large part, abdandoning our efforts to be interactive about it. We have gone, unapologetically, back to the basically linear stories. Interactivity earns you progress through the story, but it doesn't have much effect on the outcome.

One has only to look at the mission trees for Righteous Fire versus Freelancer or Wing Commander 1 against Prophecy to see that changes in the overall structure were made to increase production efficiency. You can find the complete article here. It's an interesting read.

Party Count Down: Five Weeks To Go

Over the next month you'll be hearing more about our Seventh Birthday Party. In exactly five weeks we'll be meeting online in #Wingnut for our annual super celebration. It'll take place Wednesday evening in the US, so people in other time zones might want to make arrangements now. Getting together with dozens and dozens of fellow fans at the same time is a lot of fun. We also plan to show off a few neat CIC features and give away various prizes. Feel free to check out the venue in advance. First time visitors can visit #Wingut via the java interface. We have logs of past events online if you'd like to see how things went at our other parties.

News From the Front

My dad and I had occasion to visit the annual Battle of Gettysburg Re-Enactment this past weekend. Much to my surprise, Wing Commander author William R. Forstchen (and co-author Newt Gingrich) were signing copies of their latest alternate-history Civil War novel, Never Call Retreat. Dr. Forstchen was kind enough to pose for a photo... and we also saw he and Mr. Gingrich participate in a mortar firing demontration. A very cool experience! Pictures below:

Check Out The Midway's Bluescreen Flight Deck Origins

In his continuing research into the video editing aspects of Wing Commander, AD reminded us about BlueScreen LLC. These guys have come up in passing once or twice, but I don't think we've ever shared them with the full audience here. Bluescreen provided the Ultimatte® facilities for Wing Commander 3, 4 and Prophecy. The same company helped with the video sequences for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. I always really wanted to peek further into the Midway's giant cavernous bay. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem much more exists than what's pictured below. The third shot is a neat composite image I made as Maestro and Casey bend over (deinterlaced over the originals).

Using a specially modified Ultimatte® 6 and a DPS Hollywood D1 Disk Recorder, Bob Kertesz was able to give director Adam Foshko a full composite image to work with, recording that image as well as a processed foreground and an alpha (hi-con) channel for additional post work.
I'll always dream about those sets being real with pilots scrambling out the doors to mock Vampires on the deck. You can find some of the other projects Bluescreen has worked on at their primary website.

Deep Impact Makes A Splash

Now that the dust has settled, it looks like NASA's attempt to study the inside of a comet has been successful. Deep Impact smashed a probe into comet Tempel 1 as its mothership observed with a variety of sensory tools.

The Deep Impact mission was implemented to provide a glimpse beneath the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation remains relatively unchanged. Mission scientists hoped the project would answer basic questions about how the solar system formed, by providing an in-depth picture of the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers known as comets.

Death From Above

The Reckoning veteran Bob McDob got us some screenshots of a fun little mod for another classic game. Now fans of cult-classic Total Annihilation can enjoy Wing Commander IV's Vindicator-class medium fighter. Those who recall the Vindicator's awesome anti-tank performance in the Circe System will realize that they're the perfect addition to a real time strategy game! Here they are in action:

You can download the file here or here. Bob cautions that it may require the Core Contingency addon.

Happy Fourth!

A sky full of fireworks is a good way to celebrate the end of the original Wing Commander... and it's also a great way for Americans to celebrate their country's birthday. Happy Fourth of July to all of our American readers -- have a great night!

Tactics Mod Adds A Dralthi

The Wing Commander Tactics mod for Nexus has just added another ship to its arsenal: the humble Dralthi MkII. It's loosely based on the nonstandard Dralthi on the right. Work to get the model in to the game's engine is still ongoing, and the fighter will probably end up more powerful than expected since Nexus doesn't support giving fighters missiles. The guns will be boosted instead. You can post your comments on the new ship in this thread.

Space Sim First Look: Eve Online: Exodus

The team behind Eve Online has announced an expansion to the space based massively multiplayer game. The Exodus package will be a free online addition to subscribers of the main game that sets the scene for an upcoming retail expansion. Routes into some ares of space will become disabled as newer links open up. Freighters, dreadnoughts and outposts will make an appearance. There will be many upgrades available for new forms of combat. Eve is known for having the largest interconnected space sim multiplayer universe. Rather than numerous separate servers or shards, all Eve Online players cooperate in one massive environment. Fans will also be able to meet eachother in person this October. The Eve Online Fan Fest will be held from October 19 to 23 this fall. Details will be forthcoming.

More Progress For Flight Commander and Ranger's Glory

There have been a lot of developments lately for eddieb's Flight Commander engine, the latest development being explosions. The enhancements as shown in the screenshot below are 3D shockwaves, fireballs, and ship debris. This will probably be tweaked a bit in future, but already looks good. The other developments relate to Iceblade's mod for FC, Ranger's Glory. First of all, Cyberion's Rapier II has been fully converted to FC's engine and the files for that can be downloaded here. Secondly, the Ranger's Glory website is now up and running complete with lots of details about the project. You can find the website here.

Wing Commander Actors Stuck In The Dungeons

The word over at GameSpot is that Wing Commander actors Matthew Lillard (Maniac, WC movie) and John Rhys-Davies (Paladin, WC3 & WC4) have been cast in the Dungeon Siege movie. Dungeon Siege will be directed by Uwe Boll, a man with a long history of making terrible video game movie adaptations with the flops that were House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark already under his belt, Bloodrayne coming soon, and Far Cry coming next year. With such a history we wonder if Maniac and Paladin are making good career moves, but at least Wing Commander won't be the worst video game based movie he's starred in. For more Dungeon Siege news, don't forget to check Lancers Reactor. Dial-up users should disable browser images before visiting.

LOAF Heads Off To Meet Forstchen

CIC reporter LOAF is heading to a civil war battle reenactment at Gettysburg today. WC author William Forstchen will be in attendance promoting the third book in the Gettysburg Trilogy. Hopefully LOAF will get to meet him and chat a bit about Forstchen's WC novels. Wish him luck!

Old Tech Support Tips Still Valuable

While we've been helping people use exciting new emulators and tools to get the original Wing Commander games running, we've sometimes forget about a few of the original resources that were useful back in the day. Once the appropriate parameters have been set in DOSBox, DOSep or another utility, many of the original workarounds and fixes become valid again. If you get a specific error message or problem at the DOS prompt, the first place you might want to check is our recreation of Origin's original Tech Support Site. It covers everything from Abuse to Wings of Glory with explanations of the various error codes and hardware incompatibilities.

Origin Customer Service
"D002-FFFF" when starting the game (Privateer floppy version).
This error message indicates that there is a problem with your sound card configuration. Run the INSTALL program again and select NO sound and NO music. Run the game again and see if you can get past the error message. If you can get past the error message with Sound and Music turned OFF, then you will need to run the install program again to set your sound up a second time. Be sure to know the proper address, IRQ and DMA values for your sound card before you install the game again. Incorrect IRQ values can cause this error message as well.
There are also separate help files and patches for the games in our Files section. These provide solutions to even more problems. If you're installing a game for the first time, it's also a good idea to see if there are any joystick, video card or general patches that might be able to prevent problems before they start. Getting Wing Commander games to run on modern computers is an important part of what we do here. If the tips above don't address your issue, feel free to ask your question at the CIC Crius.net Tech Support Forum.

EA VP Discusses Franchise Funk

The Next Generation gaming site is back, and they've got an interview with Electronic Arts' Marketing VP Frank Gibeau. He addresses some of the general criticisms the company has faced recently and explains how many people like to unfairly single EA out. The article also touches on how Electronic Arts decides what established franchises to purpose when funding a game for development.
“Do we have enough new IP? No. I’d love to have more. I’d love to take more risks and be able to enter new and bigger properties into the market,” he says. “Sometimes franchises get tired and go away and we recognize that. It’s vital to our success going forward to bring in new and fresh ideas, and there are new ideas that our teams are working on that are not yet announced.”

But even a deep-pocketed company like EA has to admit that risks are harder to take, as they become, well, riskier. “We are leading 150-person teams,” Gibeau says. “These [games] are highly complex endeavours. The number of people who can come up with great ideas that will be popular and can be brought to market on time is pretty rare.” EA’s position as behemoth market leader; its throbbing internal studio complex; and its mega-bucket ability to buy in licenses, sports leagues, and much-loved indie developers, has made it the first stop on any big game hunt for the ills of the industry.

For Gibeau, an employee of 10 years standing (straight from college), this is a corruption of the truth. “I can go work for a movie company and make more money,” he says. “But I don’t want to. I’m here to make great games. And that is what we do. [The criticism] is kinda irritating, so we want to get the truth out there.”

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff