Holding The Line Chapter 205

Raptor has sent us the latest HTL installment. They're up to 205 chapters and well over a million words.

Hey all, Raptor here

HTL continues with the second part of "Check And Mate", a four parter written by myself and Joe Guida. As you saw in the last chapter, Battlegroups Valkyrie and Rapier had joined forces to fight two Nephilim carrier battlegroups that had broken through the defensive line established by the Combined Fleet. This story picks up from there. Please send any and all comments either to me or to Joe at captpowell1@earthlink.net.

The story is at: ../archives/ch205.htm

Best, Raptor

Remembering Tony Knox

Some of our older visitors may still remember a recurring feature that we had on the CIC in 1999 and 2000. On most days we would post a news bulletin from Privateer 2, a good many of which were attributed to star reporter Tony Knox. He's not listed in the Tri-System's database, so all we know about Knox is that he'd report on just about anything:
  • Antiques and valuables
  • Gardening tips
  • War correspondence
  • Politics
  • Crime reports
The full list of articles is available here. And here's a special bonus news brief from the Privateer 2 website that wasn't included in the game.

Try The Original Secret Ops Mod: Unknown Enemy

Although there's been a ton of attention on Standoff for the last couple years, it wasn't the first complete fan made addon for Secret Ops. Some of the same people released Unknown Enemy in 2002. UE doesn't have all the video cutscenes and impressive graphical improvements that Standoff features, but the game did pioneer much of the underlying modding techniques. The game takes place during the Prophecy timeframe in the Border Worlds. Many familiar ships play central roles as the crew of the BWS Dauntless finds itself in the midst of the Nephilim invasion. Cockpit voiceovers augment over one hundred pages of in-game fiction to detail the story. Their FAQ details a bit more of the foundation and potential issues some players may face. Once you grab the Secret Ops starter pack, you can download the 74 megabyte Unknown Enemy pack here. Check out their download area for an additional patch and a number of neat bonuses for the game. And finally for all the programmers out there, the UE source code is also available.

The Border Worlds Defense Ministry has long believed that there's no need for strike carriers - like the Bengal-class BWS Dauntless - in the Militia. Instead of joining the rest of the fleet, the Dauntless is heading for the scrapyard. Most of its fighter squadrons have already been transferred off to other ships. Even now, the Dauntless awaits a rendezvous in Kurasawa System with the BWS Intrepid to transfer the Dauntless' last squadron of Scimitars. Lt. Colonel Johann Daniels, in command of that squadron, knows that his pilots will soon see action against the Nephilim invaders. He only wishes that when the time comes, his squadron could still be operating off the Dauntless, not off some decrepit escort carrier.

But sometimes, it's better if wishes don't come true...

Unknown Enemy Easter Egg Explained

A number of people have recently asked about an easter egg hidden in Unknown Enemy. Wulf describes it like this.
If you click on the right window pane in the lounge/observation area of the Dauntless, the screen will change to the Tiger's Claw's rec room! The thing is, if I talk to Shotglass, a voice on the loudspeaker will say things in German each time I click him. Can someone translate for me? Thanks!
Quarto and Mekt-Hakkikt provided the answer.
Secret Ops for some reason contained three voiceover files for the German-language version of Prophecy, and that's what Shotglass says. The three phrases are (literally translated. The original english sentences may be a bit different):
  • "Lt. Casey, please report to the ready room. Lt. Casey to the ready room."
  • "All pilots to the mission briefing."
  • "All pilots to their ships, this is not a drill. All pilots to their ships."
You can talk about Unknown Enemy in their forum here.

Get Your Hi-Res Wing Commander Academy

Our high quality DivX 5 WCA episodes are still our most popular download. The show is excellent, and the end of the month is a good time to burn some excess bandwidth, so here are the download links if you haven't seen it yet.

There are three different orders that you can watch these episodes in. We have an episode guide online to help you choose. For those on slow internet connections, medium quality DivX files (65 MB each) are still available from our Academy TV section.

CIC Wants Your Money

We've previously mentioned some other CIC locations, but CIC Paris seems to be in the best financial shape. They've got some pretty nice offices and ATMs. If you ever encounter a cash deposit box with our name on it, feel free to insert large amounts of money. If there isn't one near you, you can always visit the Merchandise Store.

The picture was sent by THP.

Nice Touches Going Into Gemini Gold

A few more improvements that will be appearing in the Gemini Gold 1.01 patch have been revealed. More planets will get swirling cloud patterns and mining bases will have improved textures and lighting. Some container objects will be better modeled, a few small bugs will be fixed and the landing procedures will be much improved. You can comment on the game or ask the development team questions here. A list of things you can contribute to future versions is also available.

While the development of our first patch is still in progress, I can reveal a few more details about it. The mining base now has blue windows and a lightmap. The agricultural and pleasure planets have clouds like New Detroit, and the old luxury/natural goods cargo container was replaced with a new version created by Zeog. We have also changed the docking process (which was press "d" or crash into an object) to the well known "now entering an automatic landing zone" from the original Privateer.

Ultima Online Reactivation & Eighth Age Beginning

Beginning today, former players of Origin's Ultima Online are being allowed back into the game for a limited time. The Homecoming Reactivation allows users with an expired account in good standing to play from September 27 to October 10 for free. The game client can be downloaded and old passwords and account information should be valid. Check out the directions here. The retail release of Mondain's Legacy has been replaced with an Eighth Age anniversary set. This new retail box will come with a rare blue soulstone, a free advanced character, atlas, six of the previous expansion packs and more. The set is expected to ship on October 18 and includes 45 days of Ultima Online service. You can order it at Amazon for only $16.99. It's a great deal for people who get hooked again during the current account reactivation.

In the Distant Future, Mankind is Locked in a Deadly War...

Exactly fifteen years ago today, Origin Systems, Inc. made history when they shipped the original Wing Commander. On September 26, 1990, after ten months of development, the world's first interactive movie shipped to software stores and changed the world. At 5:00 PM CST on that day, during the release party outside Origin's old Wild Basin office, Richard Garriott announced that the game's creator, Chris Roberts, had been hired as Director of New Technologies.

In the fifteen years since that day, the Wing Commander saga set the high bar for quality in computer and video gaming. If your favorite video game today goes out of its way to make you feel like a participant instead of an observer, it is because of what Wing Commander did to gaming. If your computer plays sounds on a Soundblaster, reads games from a CD-ROM drive or makes use of 3d accelerated graphics, it is because Wing Commander pushed the envelope and made these things the standard.

Wing Commander is as alive today as it was in 1990 because of the fandom it inspired. It has been over two years since the last Wing Commander game, Wing Commander Prophecy for the GameBoy Advance, was released. It has been just over seven years since the last completely original title was released. Despite these daunting numbers, this website receives more and more visitors every single month. Despite this, people play new Wing Commander fan games and read new Wing Commander fiction and argue tooth and nail about new Wing Commander ideas every single day - all because of our community. There are Wingnuts today who weren't even born when the original game first reached store shelves. Take a moment to reflect on this - even if you are nothing else, every one of you should be incredibly proud of this accomplishment.

The importance of the original Wing Commander can not ever be understated. For the industry it was a new way to make computer games, one that continues fully unabated today. For the fans - us fans - it was the most exciting adventure we ever experienced. Never before did a computer game offer such emotion and such interaction.

We have a lifetime of war stories from that simple computer game: we struggled to save the Ralari, we were thrilled to fly the new Rapiers and any wingnut worth his salt will chew your ear off about the time he lost both his guns and both his VDUs and still made it home in that Hornet, given the opportunity.

We loved the characters -- we followed Colonel Halcyon to hell, laughed at Maniac Marshall, had a not-so-subtle crush on Angel Devereaux and we hated the furballs for what they did to Iceman's family.

We pored over the blueprints and Joan's. We memorized Claw Marks. Show a Wing Commander fan a Scimitar or a Dralthi today, and he'll have true feelings about what flying them and fighting them were like.

Wing Commander was the greatest game ever made; it is entirely appropriate that to this day it has the greatest group of fans ever assembled. I'll see you all for the thirtieth anniversary.

Destroying the remains of the Kilrathi naval power in the sector, the Tiger’s Claw closes in for the kill, and the last Kilrathi planet in the sector falls!

Zohrath Modeling Sharp Vaktoth

Zohrath is working on another detailed Wing Commander model. His next project is a high quality Vaktoth. He's now looking for suggestions on how to finalize the design. Front and back shots are below. The third image is a 3dfx Test shot for reference. You can give him a hand at Crius.net here.

Zearching Through Zohrath's Past

Zohrath has been recreating Wing Commander ships for quite a while. He completed the Fralthi II last year, but some of his designs date back to 2001. We have extra pictures and a fly-by movie of the Kilrathi Dreadnought, and you can find more in our archive

Trailer Offers Glance At Early Prophecy

Back in 1997 Origin released the official trailer for Prophecy. Featuring a mixture of in-flight footage and pre-rendered movies, the trailer got the whole WC community excited. Even now it is great to watch and offers and interesting look at the slightly unpolished look of the game's engine from the time the trailer was created. Through the fast paced action you can pick out things like weapons and visual effects that didn't make it in to the final game. There is even an early version of the Prophecy logo and a mention of the "intense multiplayer scenarios" that were cut. You can download the 3MB DivX of the trailer here.

Tetris Tournament Kicks Off

Well we had some delays getting this kicked off, but our Tetris tournament is now on. Each of our entrants gets three attempts to get the highest score against another entrant, and the highest scorer in each pair moves on to the next round. Round 1 looks like this:

KrisV vs Worf
ChrisReid vs Dyret
PeteyG vs blondehyphenone
TheFraix vs hakatsuru

Best of luck to all contestants. You can check up on the tournament by viewing the current scoreboard here. If you're taking part, use the tournament link in the Arcade index to play.

Give The 3dfx Test A Shot

Last month we reported about Zeckensack's Glide Wrapper and its ability to allow modern video cards to run Prophecy and Secret Ops in 3dfx mode. At the time some people had difficulty running the 3dfx Test. Theo discovered a tip that has helped some people get the test running. After downloading and installing the wrapper, run its Configurator and try the 3dfx Test. Make sure you right click on WCP3DFX.EXE, go to the Compatibility tab and enable Windows 98 compatibility mode, or else the game will definitely crash in Windows XP. If you still encounter an error, rerun Zeckensack's Configurator and try lowering the texture memory amount.
Texture memory: You can select 2MB, 4MB, 8MB or 16MB. Generally more is better, but there are two possible reasons to go with less. First, some games use, um, interesting texture management schemes that do not work well with the wrapper and the OpenGL driver behind it. These tend to run smoother with less texture memory. Second, games that were not designed to handle large amounts of texture memory may simply crash. There have never been real Voodoo I boards with more than 4MB of texture memory, so this kind of "bug" was impossible to detect in that era.
Many of us have vivid memories of lucky Wing Commander fans splurging on the $150 Pure 3D Voodoo 1 card with 6 megabytes of memory. Nobody ever needed the card for any other game (besides Secret Ops), but everyone was happy to spend the money to get the best Wing Commander experience possible. The 3dfx Test was everyone's first taste of the exciting Vision Engine that was in the works. Although it's almost eight years old, the game is tons of fun and still looks amazing today.

Score as many kills as possible before the clock reads 5:00. Click "Discuss" below and post your high score!

Don't Forget The Actual Prophecy Demo

Sure, you've played Prophecy... but did you ever play the demo? If not, you're missing out on a special little chunk of the game. Unlike most game previews, the Prophecy demo contains regular plot missions not available in the retail game. There are four missions that fit nicely in to the game's storyline, but if you'll only see three on your first try due to the branching story. You can still download the 38 meg demo from Electronic Arts' FTP server here. You can also download the demo movies pack, which adds a few basic scenes such as your ship launching and briefing introductions. There's even a German version linked from our Files section if that's your preferred language.

A New Perspective On The Concordia Flight Deck

Marc has created another sharp flight deck mock-up. This one is based upon the Confederation Class Dreadnought's primary hangar bay as seen aboard the TCS Concordia. He's analyzed the design with a number of reference shots and provided photos of it from different angles. The deck even comes complete with a busy batch of fighters.

I'm constantly doing research and trying new stuff on the Tarawa's flight deck, improving details, adding new things, and adjusting colors. I sometimes model existing game flight decks to get the feel of it. One thing about this FD, there's a serious lack of doors. Another thing is the numbered squares on the deck. For a long time, I thought there where four of them. But I reviewed some reference material provided by a kind spirit, and to the best of my knowlege, square number one just isn't there.

Crusade Enters Tenth Year

Cyberion and ZFGokuSSJ1 are working hard on a website about Origin's Crusader series. The isometric shooting game turns ten today, so they've gone ahead and released what they have so far. I'll let Goku take it from here:
On September 22, 1995, Origin Systems, Inc. released a game, published by Electronic Arts, with “non-stop action from a different perspective.” That game was Crusader: No Remorse. Crusader broke all the boundaries of what action games were up to that point. It featured fully destructible environments, clear, crisp, and beautiful graphics, a great soundtrack, an interesting story with full-motion video, and huge replayability. Crusader is set in the distant future, where a group called the World Economic Consortium, or WEC, has taken over the entire world. You are a Silencer, an elite member of the WEC special forces, the best of the best. The WEC's enemy, The Resistance, has been causing pain for the WEC since they began their reign in 2150. The Silencer is a member of an elite WEC military team that decides to let some Resistance troops go free. In response to their actions, the WEC sends a Vetron mech to ambush the squad. The Silencer is the only survivor. He joins the Resistance to avenge the deaths of his comrades. Throughout 15 missions, the plot thickens and unfolds, and the action just keeps getting better and more intense. At the very end, you're craving for more.

Crusader: No Regret was released the following year. Although plans were created to continue the series, a third chapter was never made. But instead of focusing on that, we should celebrate the series for what it is. We have opened Echo Sector, the only active Crusader website on the internet, to provide information for fans and educate others about the series.

The site is still in beta form, so everything isn't complete and organized yet. I hope everyone who even has the slightest interest visits. Thanks.

www.cyberionsystems.com/echosector

DragonCon From The Hotel Room

The CIC Webcam has quickly become a popular tradition during our annual fan gathering at DragonCon. Along with a few submissions from sharp viewers, we've collected a brief look at the convention from the camera's point of view. Just one corner of one of our hotel rooms is visible, but it's kind of neat to see what goes on at just one location during a busy event like this. You can find the Webcam Gallery here. Regular DragonCon 2005 pictures are available here.

The Last Crusader (Or: Silencer of the Lambs)

Origin and Wing Commander veteran Mark Vittek (namesake of the TCS Vittek) is selling something on eBay that may be of interest to Wing Commander fans: a 60" standup advertising Crusader: No Remorse. Origin produced a similar standup of Col. Blair to promote Wing Commander IV, which was advertised around the same time. Blair shows up for auction every once in a while... but I've never seen a Silencer before! You can find the auction, which ends in two days, here. Good luck!

Lord of War Numbers Are In

New movie Lord of War has just survived it's first weekend in the US, and it seems that it hasn't done too badly at all. The movie is just one of eight this year to list Chris Roberts as a producer. It managed to take $9,390,144 over the course of the weekend earning the movie the number 3 spot in this week's top ten. Reviews have been mixed with 56% giving the movie a good review. A good summary of reviews and other details can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.

Play Armada Online!

We have some extremely exciting news today. HCl has helped us reach a goal we've been looking forward to for more than ten years. He managed to get Armada Proving Grounds running over the internet earlier this year, but the actual Armada game was a much more difficult process. HCl managed to add joystick support to Armada a few months back, and we've been eagerly anticipating today's announcement ever since. With his modified DOSBox exe, Armada can now be played over the internet against a fellow Wing Commander fan. One-on-one battles, two player cooperative missions and sector-wide strategic campaigns are now available. Here's how to do it.
  1. Download DOSBox and configure it with our walkthrough. To play Armada, expanded memory must be set to ems=false in the dosbox.conf file. ipx=false must also be changed to ipx=true before playing online. Installation varies depending on the version of Armada and specific configuration. Visit our Tech Support Forum if you need further assistance.
  2. Download the joystick/ipx patch and unzip it into your Armada directory. This will change the execution command from Armada to Armadadb. You should test the game to see if it loads and you can play. DOSBox will probably need to be increased to around 6000 cycles (Control+F12) in order for the game to run smoothly. Calibrate the joystick by pressing ALT+O.
  3. Download the DOSBox netbios patch and unzip it to the DOSBox directory. Back up the old dosbox.exe file, and rename HCL's executable to dosbox.exe. You will use this new file when running DOSBox.
  4. If you have a router, you will probably need to forward port 213 to the computer you'll be playing on. Check the instruction manual or manufacturer's website if you've never done something like this before. The process varies depending on the router's brand. Make sure UDP data is being forwarded.
  5. Find someone else to play from the Forums or #Wingnut. One player will have to type "ipxnet startserver" in DOSBox. The player types "ipxnet connect IP" with the IP address of the other player in place of IP. Both players start Armadadb, go to Multiplayer and select Net Play. After inputting callsigns, the players should see each other in the username pane. Use the in-game buttons and commands to select your game type and play!

Way Before Its Time

More than eight years ago, people were eagerly setting up squadrons and tournaments in anticipation of playing Prophecy or Armada online. You can read about one such league in July 1997 here. Unfortunately, Prophecy's multiplayer component was removed and Armada was ahead of its time. Armada was developed before the modern world wide web existed and more than a year before the launch of Windows 95. LOAF and I had to confront ambitious fans with the bad news about playing Armada in Windows or on the internet many times. Fortunately the circumstances have changed, so now it's time for some long overdue fun!

Gemini Gold Upgrading Soon

The Privateer Gemini Gold team has released a few screenshots that highlight graphical improvements the fan project should receive soon. Whirling clouds have been added to planets such as New Detroit, and improved lightmaps are apparent on based like Perry. The 1.01 patch has been in development for a little while, and they hope to release the upgrade and bugfix patch within a couple weeks. You can try the game out in its current form here.

Remake Goes Gold

Macworld UK have put the Apple port of Gemini Gold on their cover CD. UK Mac enthusiasts are saved a hefty download.
Our second CD...
...has the full version of Privateer Gemini Gold 1.0. Back in 1993, Privateer was released as part of the Wing Commander series and became a great success in the gaming industry. Over 10 years later a small group of privateer enthusiasts has reintroduced the game with a new graphic engine and real 3D spaceflight. Take your chance and become a pirate, merchant or hunter - then upgrade your ship and keep coming back for that Wing Commander experience.
PC users wanting to play Privateer again on their Windows XP computer can do so through DOSBox. We have step-by-step instructions online here. More help is available on the Forums.

Run Standoff & Secret Ops In Linux

HellcatV has come up with a way to play Secret Ops and the Standoff mod in Lunix. You'll need the WINE emulator, a modified file he's created and his walkthrough.
I have hacked together a working solution to run 3d accelerated Standoff and Secret Ops using only free and redistributable software, specifically under Linux through a hacked version of WINE and no Microsoft system in reach. This guarantees that no matter what changes behind Microsoft's back, there will always be a means to run the Vision engine using new operating systems. This also means that a 3d accelerated Macintosh version of Wing Commander Prophecy will be forthcoming as soon as Apple releases their x86 systems next year.

Linux users may receive step-by-step instructions to run Standoff here.

I've played through the first mission of Standoff Ep2 and all the Standoff Ep1 missions under linux and have had 0 crashes. The only glitches I've encountered are as follows:
Ingame 3d cutscenes (not inflight) are sometimes drawn backwards.
If you have not locked a target, only ships in front of you appear on radar. This is remedied by 'L', but I rather like it.

Check Out Classic Gaming Expo Pictures

The Digital Press put together a big gallery of pictures from the Classic Gaming Expo held a couple weeks back. This annual event is always a pretty neat look at our gaming history and often features famous speakers or performers who were involved in the Wing Commander franchise.

See The Alternative Privateer Online Site

The site created to sell the Privateer Online concept went through more than one incarnation.. there was also one which borrowed the ICIS style from the official Wing Commander Prophecy site. This new ICIS version of the site is a fair bit larger than the one we showed you two days ago, but it does lack that fun spinning Origin cube. You can see version 2 of the site here.

New Fan Fiction Begins

Forums member Dahan has posted the first chapters of 2628 - An officer's beginning to the Fan Fiction board.
There was the Pilgrim conflict, the first Kilrathi War, then the Border Worlds and Black Lance Crisis, then the Second Kilrathi War and the war with the Nephilim. I take you back before it all began, before it all happen just before the first war occurred. Five years before the Battle of McAuliffe there was an internal threat which threatens to destabilise the Confederation from within. A criminal syndicate known as the Mari-ad which has been causing much strife within Confed space for the last 20 years has force the government to take drastic action against the criminal organisation. This is the story of a young officer who is dragged into the conflict just prior to the first Kilrathi war.

Parade Of The Privateer Concept Shots

A lot of people seemed pretty interested in the information surrounding yesterday's Privateer Online site, so here are some shots of the also cancelled Privateer 3. This one predated both of yesterday's featured games and was on the table during Prophecy and Secret Ops' development. It would have been a primarily single player adventure that continued in the original Privateer style, and some of the ships and scenes overlap between this and the POL environment highlighted yesterday. Note the Kilrathi writing above the door in the second shot and the familiar weaponry in the third. These shots came from the only significant source of information on the game, a Computer Games Strategy Plus cover story in May 1998. These were scanned seven years ago, so we're also on the lookout for anyone who still has the magazine and could provide full higher quality scans. You can find a few more shots here.

WC Saga Supporting Widescreen Resolutions

As some people make the choice to switch to widescreen monitors with their computers, relatively unusual resolutions such as 1440x900 and 1280x800 have been seeing wider use. There has been a push in recent software to build in greater flexibility to dynamically scale flight sim HUDs and layouts to the wide range of resolutions now available. A full list of supported and semi-compatible resolutions for the WC Saga project has been released. Although 640x480 and 1024x768 are what the game is being designed for, the Saga team expects to give players the option to resize their playing fields when the fan project is eventually released.
Here is the complete list of resolutions that are supported: 640x480, 800x600, 960x600, 1024x768, 1088x612, 1152x864, 1280x720, 1280x768, 1280x800, 1280x960 & 1280x1024.

Only 640x480 and 1024x768 are official. The others are new settings from the SCP team and still have minor bugs.

Behind the Scenes: Selling Privateer Online

Before Origin could develop Privateer Online in the late 1990s, they had to sell it to Electronic Arts. Alert readers are already familiar with the Privateer Online Design Layout (available in our Document Archive) submitted to the corporate office to explain how the game would work. To go alongside this document, the team also created a multimedia website to help sell the game. Thanks to an anonymous donor, you can now find that site here. The best part? The site features several never-seen-before preliminary ship renderings from the lost game!

The first couple shots appear to be a modular Vaktoth. The Crusader and Aurora, heavy fighters in the Border Worlds and Confed arsenal, are pictured next, and if you look closely, the last shot even has a swarm of Piranhas and Devastators.

Origin has an extreme edge over the competition with its strong properties like Wing Commander and Ultima. While most companies are struggling to create these properties AND communities from the ground up, Origin has several properties that fit perfectly in a persistent world environment. Each of these properties has an established loyal fan base and history that has been adored by fans for years. The next Origin property to go online? Wing Commander: Privateer.

With all that said Privateer with the strong universe backing and proven Wing Commander history proves to be the most extensive, entertaining and encompassing space based Online community in gaming history. PERIOD.

There's a ton of detailed information buried in the Privateer Online site, so make sure you check out all the various sections and links. Don't miss the areas describing how the game might control in flight, how players could interact and how ship components would combine to create over half a million different combinations. Potential sectors and systems are also diagrammed in detail. You can find a brief article describing the circumstances around Privateer Online's cancellation here.

Wing Commander Online Was Another Attempt

Privateer Online wasn't the only online Wing Commander game that met an unfortunate end. We've previously reported on concept art from Wing Commander Online. These images were on the drawing board in 1998, a year or so before the game was cancelled and the Privateer Online project was begun. There are some similarities between the POL and WCO concept shots, but they were made by different artists. You can find more here. Although it's sad that these games were never produced, it's really exciting to get an inside look at what would have been.

In The Picture: Wing Commander III Lost Scenes

Between our Files and Music sections we've collected nearly ten gigabytes of Wing Commander downloads here at the CIC. The really interesting things can get lost in the crowd, so from time to time we're going to put something in the spotlight.

A number of movie clips were cut from the PC edition of Wing Commander III for a variety of reasons. The in-game interface for the TCN Newsbriefs was not finished and there were disc space constraints. Wing Commander 3 was produced on the first generation "60 minute" CD-ROMs. It was not until Wing Commander 4 or the console ports of WC3 that the more standard 650 megabyte/74 minute discs were used. Fortunately people have been able to recover the "lost" scenes that were later added back to the PlayStation and 3DO ports.

Last year Tolwyn made high quality DivX files of a dozen movie clips. Many more are available as older, medium quality DivX files. You can mix and match from these two sets, available from our WC3 section under Extra Scenes.

Don't Forget The Tournament

Our Tetris tournament will be kicking off soon, but there's still time to throw your name in the hat. The person with the highest score at the end of the tournament will win. Win what? Who knows! To join in the fun email us with your forums username, or you can now post in this thread to enter. Come on, everyone loves Tetris.

Gemini Gold Polishes Its Case

Cover art for a CD jewel case has been released for the Privateer Gemini Gold project. The front is based off the original Privateer box cover, and the back briefly mentions the setting and nature of the remake. You can try out the actual game here.

Covert art fans might also want to check out the Priv Remake DVD case art or the Secret Ops CD covers posted almost seven years ago today.

Pictures From The Last Day In Atlanta

The final day's picture gallery from DragonCon 2005 is now available. There was lots of packing and cleaning as we all prepared to travel home. The elevators ground to a halt with thousands of people simultaneously leaving, so we had to take the stairs down to the lobby. After we registered our convention passes for next year, our last group headed to the airport. Most of us even caught our flights. Frosty got roughed up in the security tank, but eventually we all made it home. I can't wait for next year! You can check out our Day Four gallery here.

We're All Going To Die

In the Wing Commander universe, a number of events took place that set back the war effort considerably or brought the Confederation to the brink of destruction. Other events caused devastation on a much more local scale. Our new poll asks which disaster you think is the worst.

According to our previous poll, many of our visitors have been around for five years or more. A good few have been keeping up with Wing Commander news for nearly a decade. We still pick up new people all the time and 2004 was our busiest year yet. Thanks for visiting!

Previous polls can be found in the archive.

More Flying Bricks For You

Here's a follow-up to Thursday's Lego Vampire update. The Brickshelf website also has a Movie Rapier built by DoctorDevice. Thanks to Aplha 1-1.

There's a large assortment of pictures at Brickshelf. Years ago Tarantula sent in instructions for the Movie Rapier that he built. If you'd like to try your hand at building Wing Commander things out of Lego, that's a good place to start.

Announcing The First Forums Arcade Tournament

Now that our arcade has been open for business for a month, it's time we kicked off a tournament. Since Tetris is the most popular game right now, that's what we're going to start off with. Entry is by a sign-up process and we can accept eight players per tournament so if there are more than eight entrants we'll be running a ladder system. If you wish to enter our Tetris tournament, email us with your forums username and we'll kick things off properly in a few days.

Play Armada's Campaign Online Soon

Four months after his last development which brought Proving Grounds to the internet, HCl has pulled off yet another miracle. He has managed to get Armada's NetBIOS multiplayer support working through DosBox. The result is that for the first time, Armada's strategic campaign mode is playable online! There are still a few bugs to squash, but hopefully there will be a fully playable release soon.
Regarding the gameplay improvements, to make the game more tolerant to lag... well, there may not be much that can be done, as the game insists on synchronizing everything. However, IPX code was slightly changed in DosBox CVS, which may or may not help things slightly in the end. I am still looking into those synchronization errors we encountered during testing a while back, these i might be able to solve.

Slightly off-topic news regarding NetBIOS coding: although my priority is Armada first and foremost, i think i am close to running Syndicate: American Revolt (a few more NetBIOS functions need coding). These may be good news to other retro gamers out there who look forward to challenge each other in this classic Bullfrog game :-)

SAaB Comes To DVD

Space: Above and Beyond is a sci-fi show from the mid-90s that is pretty popular with our Forum members. It finally came out on DVD this week -- selling for $39.99 at Best Buy. After a period of exclusivity it should show up at other retailers. TVShowsOnDVD.com is good for keeping track of what shows are coming out on DVD. MacGyver is up to Season 3!

FROM "THE X-FILES" PRODUCERS GLEN MORGAN AND JAMES WONG.

It's the year 2063. After 150 years of deep space exploration, people on Earth feel certain they are alone in the universe. Everything changes when news comes that two outposts light-years away from Earth have been attacked by an alien civilization. Now the new young recruits of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary are headed for the front lines in the toughest battle the world has ever had to face. Thrust into an intergalactic war, these untested fighter pilots suddenly find themselves waging a life-and-death struggle to protect Earth and to save mankind from total annihilation.

5-Disc Set Includes All 23 Episodes-Including The Double-Length Pilot Episode!

Another Lego Model Surfaces

Mainman spotted a partially finished Vampire made out of Legos:
Hey there, I noticed the LEGO longbow on your page and remembered that I had seen a Prophecy Vampire, built by one ApophisV, posted in a LEGO forum that I frequent. If you're interested in more LEGO space creations, check out the "MOC announcements" section of http://classic-space.com/forum

There are more pictures of the model on the Brickshelf page. Just two days ago we reported on TurboTim's Lego Longbow. The Rapier and tiny Tiger's Claw are older but still neat.

Lord Of War Opens September 16

Forums member AD reports that Lord of War will be in US theatres next week. Lord of War is one of many movies this year that Chris Roberts is working on as a producer.

An arms dealer (Nicolas Cage) confronts the morality of his work as he is being chased by an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke).

Who Wants More Ships?

If you've been keeping up with Standoff then you'll probably know that episode 2 comes with a Prophecy-style simulator for practicing your skills. And just like in Prophecy, a cheat code lets you fly hidden ships. Click the simulator, type alswantsmoreships and press Z to switch between ship sets. The extra ships include the Tarsus, Morningstar, Wraith and many more.

Sunday Pictures Posted

Sunday's DragonCon pictures are up now, and you can see more cool costumes and exciting events. On our third day at the convention, Halman and Hades got an ice cream cake, and LOAF and Shades had a long discussion about the Wing Commander timeline. Now that it's Tuesday, we've all arrived home, but there'll be a few final pictures and some smaller quirky galleries up soon. We were busy all week, and it went by super fast. During the parade and while walking around in uniform, we met a surprising number of people who recognized us and shouted out how excited they were to see Wing Commander fans represented.

The Team America officers in the top picture belted out the "America!" theme song until security tackled them and made them stop. The last three costumes are Super Butters from South Park, Barf from Space Balls and random people in the Hyatt.

Tim Makes Fighter Models

TurboTim has created a couple artsy Wing Commander ships with Legos and clay. The Lego fighter is an impressive Longbow bomber. His clay ship appears to be an Arrow after it passed too close to a star.

Tactics Adds Fralthi

Another set of WC Tactics screenshots has been released. Be sure to let Chevieblazer know what you think!

Well, there will be more confed races named in my story than just humans and firekkans, but you won't play the vanilla nexus campaign anyway. For now I'm integrating all ships in a single sample mission, just to look how they behave and sort out the one other balancing issue, since afaik there are no charts defining how much power a heavy neutron cannon or laser turret has.

Wing Commander Series Background

Our Background section is an introduction to the most important bits of Wing Commander merchandise out there -- from games to soundtracks. Chris updated the section for the CIC's 7th Birthday last month. We now have high quality scans of most box art and the section cross-links to other areas of the CIC, like Manuals and Game Guides.

Parades And Costumes On Day Two

Saturday's DragonCon Parade was a huge success. Thousands of people lined the streets as we marched in our flight suits. Hearing random people scream "Go Wing Commander Combat Information Center!" or "Hey Hobbes!" is a pretty great experience. Hundreds of people were snapping pictures, so a few neat shots should appear online soon. There are always some neat costumes to see as well. Besides the other 800 people in the parade, below we have shots of a great looking Predator, Teo as Mega Man and the creepy Twilight Zone surgeons. You can check out Saturday's full Day Two highlight gallery here.

Although the internet access in the hotel is spotty, you can still check out the Webcam.

Party Prizes Still Coming

CIC Birthday prize winners who've had their items mailed should have received them by now. About half the packages made it out before the CIC staff left for DragonCon. I'll still be traveling through the end of next week, so the next batch won't be arriving until mid September. The winners are listed here. There are a couple people who haven't claimed their prize yet, so email me your address if you're one of them.

DragonCon In Full Swing

Friday was the first official day of DragonCon 2005. People were arriving all day long, and the dealer rooms and galleries opened in the afternoon. Some people visited various panels or spotted toys they might want to buy later. A few of us went to a Dune party complete with a Dune novel cake. There were some neat costumes roaming the lobbies, but the really cool ones should appear Saturday evening. We capped off Friday night with a big Pictochat session in the Marriott. Visit the Day One roundup here.

The Silverheart of the Matter

Alert readers of Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III may remember that series creator Chris Roberts worked on another interactive movie called Silverheart before leaving Origin. While the project never materialized, a tie-in book based on the concept did. It's been available in England for several years... and now, for the first time, it's being released in the United States. Roberts believed in the project so much that he continued to advocate it after leaving Electronic Arts -- it may yet materialize someday. Interested parties can learn more at Amazon.

DragonCon Has Begun!

We've all made our way to Atlanta, and today is the first day of the 2005 DragonCon. Everyone has their registration badges and is trying to decide what events to attend. There's over 1500 hours of scheduled programming going on over the next four days. The Thursday before the convention starts is a day to relax from traveling and explore the hotels. Blonde, ace and I found a pool while most of the group went searching for early room parties. Teonnyn bought a fancy hovercraft to play with, and some of us kicked back with the Nintendo DS. You can check out the highlights from DragonCon 2005 Day Zero here.

Don't forget to check out the Webcam too.

Improve Your Mace Aim In Standoff

The tactical nuclear Mace Missile is one of the new Vision Engine additions for Standoff Episode 2. In every game it responds slightly differently, so the Standoff team has provided a few hints for maximizing its output. The Morningstar makes its appearance in the mission simulator.

Shooting down the missile is not a good idea. Secret Ops doesn't allow us to do a proper Mace Missile, so the way it works is a bit of a trick... which basically means that if you shoot it down or it hits something directly, there won't be a big explosion. In the case of small capships that consist of two components and no hull mesh, a shot in the right place might destroy the ship in one shot. If you attack from the flank, a Mace will kill a Ralatha in one shot if it explodes amidship, where the engine and bridge components meet.

Fun Facts Appear In The Academy Web Press Release

In the Wing Commander Academy section we have the contents of the press kit initially created for the animated Wing Commander television show. There are interesting production notes, historical files, character biographies and more. We've just added the text of a previously unlisted press release that was posted to the Origin website in May 1996. You can find the full article here. It's unfortunate that the USA Network revamped their take on cartoons after Academy's first season, but the shows we did get were very ambitious and well done. You can download all thirteen episodes of Wing Commander Academy here.
"There is a very broad audience for the vision being realized through the marriage of the Wing Commander PC game and the new animated series," said Fisher. "Jeff Segal, former Universal Cartoon Studios president, had the creative foresight to originally develop Wing Commander Academy with Electronic Arts, and we're very proud the project continues Universal Cartoon Studios' overall commitment to produce high-quality, story-driven animation for the marketplace."

Adds Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO Larry Probst, "We have long believed the best-selling Wing Commander franchise was the perfect vehicle to move our compelling interactive content to a broader entertainment medium."

Watch The Webcam

The official Wing Commander CIC DragonCon 2005 Webcam is now in operation. It's been upgraded this year with a higher resolution video feed. We spend a lot of time out of the hotel room going on various convention adventures, but lucky watchers will catch a few hilarious moments live as they occur. If you see a funny image, feel free to save it, click Discuss below and attach it to the Crius thread for this news update. Periodically the hotel internet will cut out and the camera image will stop updating, but you can check out the latest Webcam image here.

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