Holding The Line Chapter 207

Readers who've been following the HTL fiction arc have had to wait for the latest chapter, but there's been a good reason. Lead writer Raptor has been extra busy at work, supplying drugs to the sick and dying. Fear not, chapter 207 has arrived.
Hey all, Raptor here

Apologies for the lateness of this HTL chapter. Real life has been keeping me busy, as my pharmacy has just gone to 24 hour trading, and it's doing brisk business in the run up to Xmas. On a far less dreary note though, HTL continues with the fourth and final chapter of "Check And Mate" written by myself and Joe "Wraith" Guida. As you've seen in past chapters, a strike group from the TCS Yorktown, along with observers from the Valeria, has engaged a pair of Nephilim super carriers. The fighting has been fierce so far, but the crucial attack is still to come. Please send any and all comments to myself or Joe at captpowell1@earthlink.net.

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

Best, Raptor

So, now you know who to contact for all your pharmacological Christmas gift needs.

Space Sim First Look: Evochron Alliance

It's been a while since our last Space Sim First Look, so here's a glance at Evochron Alliance. Although there are many dire predictions about the simulation market, this is the twentieth new space combat game we've highlighted since last year. The Alliance is suffering from the Vonari onslaught, and merchants and mercenaries have been asked to join the fight to undermine the advancing alien forces. The sequel to Evochron puts each character in the role of privateer fighting the invading menace. Players can explore, trade, mine, transport, escort and engage in combat in order to earn funds to customize their ship. Even the HUD can be reconfigured. Achievements that are made in single and multiplayer modes are combined, and voice chat is integrated into the interface to talk to fellow pilots. Like its predecessor, Evochron offers both Newtonian and Wing Commander control schemes, and joystick control is augmented by force feedback effects. There is also a 25 megabyte demo which can be fully unlocked once the $25 registration key is purchased.
Evochron Alliance offers many unique space combat and trading elements, including a real-time dynamic changing economy, seamless environment transitions, multi-level threat system, commodity/item trading, ship-to-ship trading in all gameplay modes, planetary descents, diverse control support (Mouse, Keyboard, AND Joystick control options), unrestricted open space jump drive travel and navigation system, realistic Newtonian physics, unified single player and multiplayer architecture, fuel resource management, per ship bribing, realistic revolving inventory availability, in-cockpit inventory and trade management, gravity effects, AI based trade negotiating, and more.

The game is part of the Star Wraith 3D Games family. Other related titles include Evochron, Star Wraith IV and Riftspace.

Flight Commander 1.3 Released

A month after the announcement that Flight Commander version 1.3 would feature powerful scripting language for more complex mission structures, the full release has arrived for eager fans. FC is a popular framework for creating new Wing Commander adventures. Programmer eddieb has also included four extra demo missions designed to show off the advanced features. The new missions are as follows:
  • Timed missions with multiple waves.
  • Cargo inspection missions.
  • Custom in game comm menu for allowing players to make choices during a mission.
  • Capturing an enemy ship.
The patch also features improved AI, more ships, new music and some additional help to assist anyone who is modding the game. There doesn't seem to be a patch for people who have previously downloaded the original, so you'll need the full 42 MB package from the FC downloads page to begin.

Fill Up On Files

There's still time to eat up our remaining bandwidth for the month of November. If you've already grabbed Academy, there's a variety of other popular files to try out. Here's some of our recent highlights.

Vampire Complements Hornets In Tim Peel's Gallery

I was cruising around for a new wallpaper last night and came across a Tim Peel creation that never made it to the front page. This image features Cameron Wu's Vampire speeding away from an Earth-like planet and its moon. Earlier this year he incorporated Howard Day's Hornets into a gorgeous sunset shot. They're 1024x768 and 1280x960 respectively. Either one makes a beautiful desktop image. Tim's website features numerous other wallpapers from various science fiction franchises, including many impressive Star Trek scenes.

New Wallpapers Sectioned

We've had some great artwork in the news since we last updated the Wallpapers section. Here's what you may have missed in the last ten months or so. Atekimogus, Kilrah Moreira, Cyberion, Maj. Striker, Starman, Tim Peel, Lorddarthvik and Bob McDob all worked hard to make your desktop look better. You can find dozens of other exciting Wing Commander designs here.

Complete Your Collection With Wing Commander Academy

It's almost the end of the month, so we've got some spare bandwidth to burn. Apparently a lot of people still haven't seen Wing Commander Academy, so anyone up to a 3 gigabyte download is welcome to check it out. The episodes were originally aired out of chronological order, but we have a guide to help you decide which way to best view the series here. If you originally saw these years ago and haven't seen them since, watching them again now is a great way to spend six free hours.

Smaller 65 megabyte versions of each episode are available here.

Garriott Explains Tabula Rasa Changes

When we recently looked at the progress of Origin founder Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, the game seemed a bit different. The unicorns and fairies had been replaced by cyborgs and overcast skies. Quarto found an article that addressed the change. I'm not sure I follow their reasoning, but for better or worse, the style has changed significantly. They claim the underlying concepts remain the same, but it'd be interesting to hear from someone who had been eagerly anticipating this title from the beginning.
Originally announced some time ago, the game underwent a marked shift just before E3 2005. Richard explained how it began with a rather trivial observation: everyone on the development team exclusively played female characters.

Why was this? Well, they discovered that as the game’s extremely far-fetched high fantasy style evolved, it became harder for male gamers to connect with their male avatars. Thus began a period where they tried to put a little more grit into the game; a process that would eventually completely redefine its setting.

Despite the marked shift in style from fantastic high fantasy to gritty alien vs. human doomsday, the ideals that inspired Tabula Rasa largely remain unchanged.

Klavs Building Escort Ships

Klavs81 has been working to fill the flight deck off your typical Crete-type Light Escort Carrier. His first fighter was the Rapier, followed by the Ferret. He uses a lot of metallic grays on his ships and has highlighted both designs in a royal Confed blue. One of the later pictures below shows his idea of Rapiers packed into their berths with folded wings. You can check out a small fly-by movie here.

Space Sim Void Noted At GameSpot

GameSpot's ongoing "Greatest Games of All Time" feature has finally visited the space sim genre. They mention Freespace 2, Freelancer, X2, X-Wing and Wing Commander as highlights of the decade when space sims ruled supreme. Some of our readers might wonder about GameSpot's emphasis on Freespace in this article, and there's already been some backlash by Wing Commander fans at other message boards where this has been posted.
Sci-fi flight sim games are deader than a doornail, at least on the PC. Although there are still blips on the proverbial radar, such as X2: The Threat and Freelancer, it seems that the sun has set on one of the premier gaming genres of the 1990s, a decade that brought us a number of fantastic entries into the Wing Commander and X-wing series...

It's rather unfortunate that sci-fi flight sims have become so rare over the past half decade. The general- audience flight sim genre as a whole has become a relatively niche category that most major publishers avoid, save for Microsoft and its Flight Simulator and Combat Flight Simulator series. Space sims, however, have almost disappeared completely, with the titles that are being released, such as X2: The Threat and Freelancer, doing rather poorly at retail. Freelancer has a rather large asterisk by its name, anyway, due to the fact that it was based around a mouse-and-keyboard interface and didn't even include support for joysticks. While the controls actually worked out well, nothing can really compare with the feel of a good force feedback joystick kicking in your hands while you gun down enemy ships.

Head Museum Open For Visitors

The CIC has a chilling secret. Hidden deep within the server we have a collection of severed heads for our amusement. And now you can check them out too! Although characters in front of particular in-game backgrounds might be preferred in some situations, the CIC Head Museum might help out anyone experimenting with CrazyTalk. You can always paste the characters on top of different scenes as well. We have four sources for heads: the first two DOS Wing Commander games, the Japanese Claw Marks and Super Wing Commander. Hopefully these come in handy for a wide variety of fan projects. Make sure you check out the Japanese drawings if you haven't seen them before.

Ships and Bits

While strolling through the untamed wilderness of Wing Commander III's .TRE files some time ago, Wedge came across an unusual text: a set of specifications and notes about the five Confederation fighters in the game. It was apparently originally intended for display in the ship selection screen, though there's no evidence that it can be accessed in the finished game. Much of the data is contradictory to what has been officially established... including putting the Longbow and the Excalibur's service entry dates well after the end of the Kilrathi War. Still, it's a very interesting curiosity, and you can find it archived in an article here.

Animation Software Delivers Promising Results

eddieb was experimenting with movie solutions for Flight Commander and ran across a program called CrazyTalk. While projects like Standoff and WC Saga have experimented with 3D animation and green screen CGI, this new approach could be much easier for certain modders. The software takes a 2d head image and manipulates it to match a supplied voice sample. Various settings can be configured to alter expressions and sharpen up the presentation. Eddie put together a 3 megabyte sample here with Colonel Halcyon.
If someone wants to make a whole series of these things, they might consider buying Crazytalk. If you can create the avi's, then I can put them in a Flight Commander mod.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Seasons greetings from the Wing Commander Combat Information Center to Americans everywhere, who are currently celebrating the second most famous annual Pilgrim-related holiday (after the Holy Day of Acclivity, of course). We hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday and that you all enjoy the next two or three weeks of cold turkey sandwiches. I bet they don't celebrate this holiday on Firekka...

Don't Forget To Nominate

Time is running out to get your nominations in for our Fan Site and Fan Project of the Year awards. The only way to be sure that your favorites stand a chance in the final vote is to nominate. All it takes is one email to vote@wcnews.com with the name of your favorite sites and/or projects of 2005. You can suggest more than one in each category if you wish. This is a great way to show your support for fellow Wing Commander fans who work extremely hard for your enjoyment.

XBox 360 Kicks Off New Console Cycle

The XBox 360 has been released in North America and seems to be off to a great start. No special equipment is necessary to play DVDs, so fans are free to watch Wing Commander as soon as they open the box. Electronic Arts is one of the leading launch partners with six titles already available for the system and at least twenty more currently in development. It's highly likely that any Wing Commander game made in the next few years would have the new XBox as a primary platform, and in a recent CIC poll, the 360 was voted the console that people would most like to see the next Wing Commander game on.

Raiders of the Lost Capital Ship

As we reported several days ago, Quarto has reached into the guts of the Vision engine and pulled out a ship: the Copernicus-class Planetological Research Vessel. Well, the ship is now available for download for use with Wing Commander Prophecy. Head over to KillerWave's Wing Commander Site, where you'll find her in the Ships section. The Copernicus is completely unarmed and Quarto has constructed a new VDU image for her.

Copernicus-class Quick Facts: The model is named "Nautilus" internally. The ship's proper name comes from Wing Commander Prophecy's ICIS Manual. The only Copernicus-class ship ever seen in continuity is the TCS Devereaux, named for "Angel" Devereaux from Wing Commanders I through III -- though one wonders if the unclassified research ship TCS Tsiolkovsky, which played an off-screen role in Secret Missions 2 and Wing Commander 2, might be of a similar design. Introducing the Nephilim with the destruction of a research ship is an interesting mirror to the original Wing Commander, which claims that first contact with the Kilrathi occured with the destruction of the Odysseus-class explorer TCS Iason.

You'll See Why 2005 Will Be Like 1993

John Cordell reports that the Mac OSX version of Gemini Gold 1.01 is now available for download here. Gemini Gold is a modification of the recent 'Privateer Remake' fan project, aiming to fix many of the initial project's glaring flaws. There has never been an especially large Wing Commander fanbase among Macintosh users, owing to Origin's having only ported three titles to the system... but anyone should be happy to add Gemini Gold to their Mac-apacity!

Walken Away / I Owen You One / Blessed You / This Mays Hurt

These Privateer 2 cast photos were originally posted to the now defunct Privateer 2: The Darkening official website. Now, after nine long years, they're finally back in one place! The pictures, are, in order: Brian Blessed as Uncle Kashumai, John Hurt as Joe the Bartender, Mathilda May as Melissa Banks, David McCallum as the Captain of the Canera, Clive Owen as Lev Arris/Vel Ricaud, Amanda Pays as an assassin, Jürgen Prochnow as Xavier Shondi, Christopher Walken as David Hassan and David Warner as Rhinehart.

Shodan Comes to Windows XP

Forums member QuailPilot noticed that people over at Through The Looking Glass have been working on getting System Shock 2 to run on Windows XP. The thread has been around for two years, so you might want to check the most recent posts first. The 1999 sequel to Origin's System Shock mixed RPG and adventure elements with 3D action. Although the game was not a commercial success, a loyal fanbase remains active to this day.

Prop Store Showcase Soon In The UK

The Prop Store of London will be showcasing some of its collection at the Memorabilia Show at the Birmingham Nation Exhibition Center on Saturday, November 26, and Sunday, November 27. The convention itself will be host to a wide variety of fantasy and science fiction events, and a number of celebrities will also be on hand for autographs and panels. Ticket pricing information is available here.
Please stop by to see our display of props and costumes and meet the Prop Store team if you can. If you would like us to bring anything along for you to look at please just drop us a line.
They have a variety of Wing Commander merchandise in stock, so local attendees might want to ask them about taking a closer look. Unfortunately, it seems that the $400 Limited Edition Kilrathi Marquettes are sold out.

Fortunately, MovieBits still has a red flight suit in stock for Wing Commander fans without.

Richard Garriott Questioned About MMOs

Armchair Empire has a new interview with Origin founder Richard Garriott. A lot of the focus is on his upcoming title, Tabula Rasa, but the interview also backs up and asks about Origin and Garriott's involvement in the first breakthrough massively multiplayer game, Ultima Online.
Richard Garriott: With UO, we were in a fight to exist at all. No one believed in MMOs, so we had no funding. No one knew what features would be popular so we built lots of things not knowing how or if players might like it. We were writing code that had never been tried before, so it was hard to get it working well.

Interviewer: Since Tabula Rasa is taking place in outer space, there’s the implication that the game world will be quite large. Initially, just how big will this game be in terms of exploration?

Richard Garriott: The game will launch with 2 or 3 planets to explore, but we will provide new planets as fast as we can make them!

Outer space sure looks weird.

WC1 Remake Mod For FC Unveiled

Kevin Caccamo has been secretly working on a mod for eddieb's Flight Commander game. The project attempts to recreate Wing Commander 1 in the Flight Commander engine, and it's been in the works for several months. A demo is available for download for anyone eager to try the game out. The files and instructions for how to install them are available on the project site. Many of the textures have recently been reworked from scratch, so the shots might look a bit basic at first. Hopefully more projects like these take advantage of the relatively easy configuration and modularity of the Flight Commander program. This attempt utilizes the full version of FC1.2. You'll need to download and install that first. The upgraded 1.3 executable should be out soon.

Gemini Gold 1.01 Critical Fix Released

There's been a slight bump in the release of the updated Gemini Gold. The original upgrade seems to have created a recurring crash at a certain point in the Righteous Fire campaign. The patch to fix the issue has now been released and integrated into the regular 1.01 release. Players with either the 1.0 version or 1.01 update can download the corrected file here.

BradMick Creating WC3 Model Pack

BradMick's latest project is to model the primary Confed fighters of Wing Commander 3. It's still a work in progress, but the Thunderbolt, Hellcat and Arrow are modeled, unwrapped and ready for textures. The TBolt clocks in at 2,518 triangles and the Hellcat is 2,246. The Arrow is a 1,926 polygon model. Longbows are up next and should be shown off soon. A Kilrathi pack is planned, but Brad might not be able to start that for a while. You can provide feedback and see a variety of earlier shots at Crius.net here.

Ser Lev Arris Is A Sexy Man

People magazine has announced their list of the sexiest men of 2005, and Privateer 2 star Clive Owen makes the list as one of their "hottest picks." Their write-up describes him as a "6'2" green-eyed stunner" and quotes Angelina Jolie, who once called him "one of the best kissers." It has been a good year all around for Owen. He picked up two major movie awards earlier this year and already has been signed up for five movies due in 2006. Thanks go to Raptor for spotting this.
I swear to God I found that out by accident.
We believe you, Raptor.

Tour The Waterloo With Marc

Last month we reported on seperate efforts from Marc and Bob McDob to model the Waterloo class cruiser inside and out. Marc has released an animated 360 degree view of the outer hangar and elevator area. Don't stare at it for too long or you'll need a Spacesick Sack.

The first two renders give you an idea of where you are on the ship, the third thumbnail links to the 750 kB animation. Click the discuss link to let Marc know what you think.

Madden Curse Strikes Again

There's been a buzz for the last few years as people have noticed the cover athletes featured on the annual Madden NFL releases have suffered unusual bad luck. Electronic Arts' cover announcement is highly anticipated each year, and the selected athlete typically considers it quite an honor. Donovan McNabb, pictured on the front of Madden 2006, is the latest to suffer from the supposed curse. On Monday night McNabb sustained a serious "groin injury" that will likely need surgery before long. Whatever luck the real life players sustain, EA is having a great time with its football franchises and exclusive NFL & AFL licenses. This year's Madden sold more than 1.7 million copies in its first week alone. In addition to its NCAA College game, it will debut two new series in the spring of 2006: Arena Football and NFL Heach Coach, a strategic fantasy football simulation. EA now controls 75% of the North American sports game market, up from 68% last year. Sports titles account for roughly a quarter of video games sold. EA shipped five titles for the new XBox 360 this week, bringing the number of platforms supporting Madden 06 to nine.
  • Ray Lewis, Ravens, 2004 Season: The linebacker is probably the NFL's most-feared defensive player, but he breaks a wrist and plays below his own high standards.
  • Michael Vick, Falcons, 2003 Season: The elusive Atlanta quarterback suffers a broken leg in the preseason and misses the first 11 games of the regular season.
  • Marshall Faulk, Rams, 2002 Season: Regarded as the most-talented player in the NFL, the running back misses six starts and his stats drop off dramatically.
  • Daunte Culpepper, Vikings, 2001 Season: The Minnesota quarterback misses the final five games of the season after he suffers a sprained left knee and has surgery.
  • Eddie George, Titans, 2000 Season: The running back escapes injury. But Tennessee, a Super Bowl favorite, is ousted from the playoffs when he has a key fumble.

Get Them While They're Blue

A lot of people ask where they can find digital copies of the famous Wing Commander 1 fighter blueprints. They've been scanned a number of times by different people with varying results, but nobody can ever find a decent version when they need one. Fatcat decided to finally fix this problem and perform a definitive scan. We've polished them up and now have them readily available for everyone to use. The links below point to 1600x1100 prints in sharp detail. Each one comes in around 800 kilobytes. We also have an ultra high resolution blueprint pack that comes in at a whopping 42 megs. Each schematic in the pack is in full 5000x3300 resolution suitable for printing or intense scrutiny. You can find more Wing Commander documentation in our Manuals section.

Warren Spector Tired Of Killing

St3lt3k reports that, in an interview with Gamespot, Origin veteran Warren Spector clarifies his position on Grand Theft Auto and videogame violence in general. Some of the things Spector said last week about GTA: San Andreas were picked up by an anti-videogame activist, who promptly quoted them in some court documents.
"Look, as an individual and as a player, I'm tired of so-called 'violent video games'--not because I think they cause real-world violence (I don't believe that for one second), but because the 'edgy,' 'violent' routine is getting so dull...

"I'm tired of urban crime, alien invasion, war stories and orc-killing. I'm tired of most every game having to be the equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie. I'm tired of always having to solve game problems with a gun or a spear or a fireball (and not having to deal with the consequences of such a solution). I don't mind that we make games like that--I mind that the mainstream of console and PC games (apologies to Will Wright and the entire Nintendo DS lineup!) consists of almost nothing but that.

"Where's our Lost? Our CSI? Our Law & Order? Our West Wing? Our Seinfeld? Our musical Buffy episode? Okay, maybe those last two are a bit beyond our capabilities. But the others are within our grasp if we would only try, and if we could find someone to fund and truly support the not-insubstantial effort involved.

Warren Spector was a renowned producer at Origin from 1989 to the mid 1990s. His more recent credits include Deus Ex and Thief titles.

Gemini Gold Gets Overhauled

Gemini Gold has received its first upgrade since the project's initial release back in July. After a month of beta testing, the team has deemed the highly anticipated update ready for public consumption. Gemini Gold is a project that takes the fan made Privateer Remake game and makes it more like Privateer. A large part of the Gemini Gold 1.01 patch is designed to fix bugs, but there are some changes to more closely match the original game's settings and add some fun new technical improvements.
  • High Quality textures for the Tarsus
  • Planets with clouds, Space Stations have lightmaps
  • Adds high-res explosion animations
  • Uses Wing Commander style missile lock animation
  • Sets the ships' starting speed to ~150kps
  • Bases and planets now have an automatic landing zones

The complete list of changes can be found on the Gemini Gold site's news page. Currently only the 16MB Windows version of the patch is available, but the Linux and MacOS version are due soon.

Ships List Shaping Up

A new version of the Shipslist 2 work in progress has been uploafed to the server. Fellow Wing Commander fans have helped clarify a number of points and get the document to a more polished state. LOAF has fixed various minor issues and added class lists for the Border Worlds and Landreich factions. A captured ships subsection also appears in the latest update.

Copernicus Research Vessel Vision Engine Model Revealed

Quarto has posted some interesting pictures of one of Prophecy's hidden models. The Copernicus Class Planetological Research Vessel was left behind in the game's data files, though it isn't automatically accessible. Using regular modding tools to attempt to swap in the design normally results in errors, but Quarto and Killerwave conducted some successful experiments on forcing the ship into the game. They managed to get it cruising, but some solid parts of it can be flown through, and there are a few associated graphical glitches. The research vessel looks pretty neat, and it's also always very interesting to see the differences between a ship's FMV version and in-game model.

I suppose I can upload it to KW's page if anybody's interested... but keep in mind, it's not something that I'd consider good enough to use in a mod or anything like that.

Edit: The ship was released for download on November 22, 2005 here. LOAF has also completed a detailed historical file for the vessel here.

EA Finally Beginning Digital Content Distribution

When Secret Ops was released seven years ago, it was partly intended as a friendly gesture to Wing Commander fans and simultaneously designed to test the internet as a means for delivering new games. Even before that, the Armada Proving Grounds expansion was released only at the Origin bbs in 1994. Since then, a few massively multiplayer expansions and other limited pieces of software have been released or sold online, but Electronic Arts is now officially gearing up for large scale internet delivery. The Battlefield 2 and Sims 2 expansions will lead the new service this month via EA Downloader, a program that delivers software upgrades, trailers, demos and also serves as the mechanism for direct online sales.
EA downloader is a lightweight PC application (approximately 5MB) that downloads EA games in the background. It keeps you up-to-date with the latest patches, trailers, and new game content without requiring login every time you play. EA downloader offers easy downloading, auto-patching, pre-ordering for new games & content, no additional disks required to play, and game replacement. In short, EA downloader ensures that your game never wears out by delivering the latest content directly to your PC.
The introductory expansions are priced from US$15-30. As more people become familiar with the process, expect a greater range of titles available over the service.

Bradmick Successfully Trims Models For WC3

Halman recently challenged BradMick to create low polygon models of Wing Commander 2 ships to test their feasibility in the Wing Commander 3 engine. The attempt was successful. Both the large Broadsword and tiny Ferret were trimmed down below WC3's 500 poly limit while retaining their distinctive shapes and styles. The first two shots demonstrate this polygon mastery. The textured Ferrets are from a similar 986 triangle experiment that produced pretty results too. These are a very impressive leap over BradMick's first Ferret almost five years ago (pictured last).

Also as of last week, Brad is officially a US Army Warrant Officer Candidate. He'll soon be shipping off to basic training, then proceeding on to WOC and flight school. Congratulations!

War Is Not Simple Numbers

But 100,000 copies sold is impressive none the less! The New York Times, most accurate of all the print journals, recently ran an article on politicians turned novelists. The article, available here, cites Wing Commander veteran William Forstchen's Gettysburg as being the rare exception, a politician-authored story that was also commercially succesful. Forstchen co-authored the book with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The novel follows an alternate history of the Civil War, based on a Confederate victory at Gettysburg -- and the author of End Run and Fleet Action had ought to know a thing or two about Confederate victories. Order your copy here.

False Colors Translation Released In Europe

psen noticed that Wing Commander False Colors was finally released in the Czech Republic this week by the Poutnik Knihy Publisher. It's likely that Slovakia and other nearby countries have it too. The Czech site Fantasy Planet officially announced the release November 10. The novel's cover art was made by Jan Patrick Krasny. His website contains the original art for the other Slovakian WC novels as well. You can buy this new False Colors here for 399 Sk. A special bundle with the first five books is 1319 Sk. Shooter translated the Czech text on the back, which seems to itself be a translation of the English back cover text.
Sixth book in the Wing Commander series.

The attack on Kilrathi home world has succeeded. A whole planet has been destroyed, including the emperor and his warlords. Surviving Kilrathi, on ships or colonial worlds, were demoralized and have asked for peace. The race of cat warriors ceased to present threat for Earth and its colonies. Thirty-five years of war has ended and finally peace reigned throughout the galaxy. Or at least the humans thought…

But the reality is different. There remained independent Kilrathi warlords – rulers with large amount of warships and weapons. Some loathed for the vengeance on the apes, which destroyed their holy homeworld, and some intended to found their own empires. While the others simply became pirates and attacked human colonies on their whim. Meanwhile on the Earth, humans and their leader, tired of war, ignored the news of rising Kilrathi aggressiveness. They preferred to look into the peaceful and prosperous future.

But that was only a small pause before the coming of new storm…

False Colors was released in the US in December 1998. A prologue chapter and general information on the book can be found here. Anyone still missing the novel can find it for as low as a few dollars at Half.com. The book originally shipped with an embarassing mistake. The author's brother's name was incorrectly printed on the cover. It was co-written by William Forstchen and Andrew Keith. Unfortunately, Keith died in 1999.

Catch Wing Commander Encores In Brazil

If you're in Brazil and missed Thursday's night's showing of the Wing Commander movie, your Batalha Final is coming Sunday night. It will show on Sunday, November 13, at 6:00 pm and Monday, November 4, at 3:00 am on FOX.

As one of the many Portuguese speakers who visits the site, Shooter let everyone know that the movie had a different subtitle in Portugal. It received the name "Wing Commander - Comandante de Esquadrilha" there. That translates to "Wing Commander - Commander of Squadron."

Check Out Dragon*Con Fan Galleries

Every year we miss out on thousands of hours of the other events going on at Dragon*Con. Fortunately many of the other 20,000+ attendees capture the action and post their galleries for all to enjoy. Many of you have already seen our galleries from this year, and now you can look at the other fan photos. Everyone is sure to find something interesting or appealing within. You may also stumble across photos of us. If you do, click the discuss button below and let us know! Don't forget you can register for 2006 for only $45 up until November 15. The price gradually goes up to $85, so it really pays to register early.

Richard Garriott Inducted Into AIAS Hall Of Fame

The Academy of the Interactive Arts & Sciences has announced that Origin founder Richard Garriott is this year's addition to their prestigious Hall of Fame. The AIAS is an association that consists of Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and other major game companies. Though typically not involved in the Wing Commander productions, Garriott was a member of the team that designed the Wing Commander card game. His current projects include the City of Heroes expansion and Tabula Rasa. You can find more details at GameSpot.
Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of the famed Ultima series of role-playing games and founder of gone-but-not-forgotten developer Origin Systems, is being inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame.

Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was the original AIAS Hall of Fame inductee in 1998, and has since been joined by Civilization developer Sid Meier, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Doom designer John Carmack, Sim-everything creator Will Wright, Sega luminary Yu Suzuki, ambitious Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux, and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins.

Check Out The Snazzy Academy Jacket

The CIC's latest acquisition is a stylish crew jacket given to each member of the Wing Commander Academy production team. This one apparently belonged to someone with the callsign "Cleavage." Carhartt is the original manufacturer of the base coat, and the embroidered logo on the back is very sharp and detailed. It's beautiful enough to frame and display on its own. If the design doesn't look familiar, you can get acquainted with the Academy series here.


Announcing The TCS Saratoga RPG

There's a new online Wing Commander RPG on the scene with forum members MajorCamKollent and powell99 at the helm. All of the action will take place at their own forum with "special operations" taking place on IRC. The RPG is just starting out, so it's in need of some members. New features are being rolled out and implemented right now. If you'd like to take part, you can join by signing up for their forum and posting a bio for your character.
The TCS Saratoga starts off with the Battle of Earth (that's where we are now). The campaign will go on until the war ends and into peace time. The Saratoga is the only Fleet Carrier other than the Concordia that survives the battle. The goal of the project is to provide a large fighter RPG that stays as true to Wing Commander as humanly possible. As of now we only have a Sabre squadron. When the player base grows, we will expand the RPG to fit these needs. While we certainly don't expect 90+ members to start, we chose a Concordia Class ship so we have the ability to accommodate plenty of people. For certain special operations, the Saratoga will use an IRC channel. We hope toalso have the ship's marines play a role in the overall story.

Abandon Ship, It's Listing!

The CIC's vintage Ships List is finally getting an update! Version 2.0 is properly cited, annotated and includes a number of ships and classes never before listed -- how do the KIS Caxkolee or the Tern-class shuttle strike you? The list documents the specific origins for each craft, and it's guaranteed to have some exciting ships you never knew about. You can find the new version, which has been updated through Kilrathi Ship classes, in .doc format here while we continue to update it. The previous version is still online for posterity here. Readers are encouraged to submit additions, corrections and errata to us.

Not Some Churned Out Fiction

Forums member Plywood Fiend has posted the first of a series of offbeat Wing Commander stories to our Fan Fiction board. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but we think that's the point.
The Kilrathi Emperor’s reasons for fearing ‘contamination’ from humanity were not solely born out of blind prejudice as many have come to believe. They instead stemmed from one shattered window, a broken leg and eight eights worth of coins in property damage and medical bills.

This all started when an underground movement of Terran slaves on Kilrah sought to resist Kilrathi oppression by setting up a bowling club. They were basically too unenthused to attempt any sort of escape, however they believed that by partaking in this game they could retain some of their humanity.

So for two months, a handful of slaves would meet in the dead of night and try and knock over crude pins, constructed out of dried mud, with the closest thing to a ball which was available, a human skull.

You can see where Disruptive Influence, Chapter 1 of the Churnah Tales, continues here.

Wing Commander Showing On Fox In Brazil

Guilherme Mesquita, long the source for WC Movie news in Brazil, reports that Wing Commander will be showing on the FOX Channel on Thursday night. It premieres at 10:00 pm, between an episode of Stargate SG-1 and Sex and the City. In addition to November 10, encore performances will be held on Sunday, November 13, at 6:00 pm and Monday, November 4, at 3:00 am. In Portuguese speaking countries, the movie got an official subtitle: A Batalha Final.
Wing Commander - A Batalha Final
Planeta Terra, 2564. A Confederação enfrenta a raça alienígena Kilrathia em uma violenta batalha. Os inimigos se apoderam de um instrumento de navegação que fará com que eles consigam se aproximar perigosamente da Terra, sendo que apenas três jovens pilotos são capazes de impedir o avanço das tropas alienígenas.

Wing Commander - The Final Battle
Planet Earth, 2654. The Confederation faces the alien Kilrathi in a violent battle. These enemies have taken possession of a navigational instrument that will make it possible for them to come dangerously close to Earth. Only three young pilots are capable of hindering the advance of these dangerous foes.

Boost Your CCG Collection

Now that our postal backlog has been cleared out, now's not a bad time to contact us about doing some Customizable Card Game trading. There isn't a whole lot we can do for people just beginning, but we can help people who are missing a handful of cards or have spares to trade. Send us an email or hit the Discuss link below to post what you have and what you need.

Shocking WC Saga Images Revealed

A new update to the WC Saga site has added pictures of the latest visual effect in the mod: advanced shock waves. The newest member of the game's development team, DaBrain, has been able to implement realistic three dimensional shock waves in the Freespace 2 engine. It looks like they brighten things up quite well. One of the old style waves is pictured in orange. You can find more of their screenshots in the Saga site's media section here.

The main Freespace community forums at HLP are down for maintenance right now, but WC Saga has a secondary forum at Crius.net here.

Everything's On Its Way

The last of the the CIC Birthday Party Prizes made it into the mail at the very end of October. Packages were sent out steadily over the last couple months, and everything we received addresses for should have arrived by now. There are a few addresses I'm still missing, and it's possible that certain countries are still holding a few items in customs inspections for a little while longer. The list of winners is available here if you're not sure if you've won something.

More Light Carrier Details Emerge

AD's Half Life 2 Light Carrier level is coming together very well. It already looks like it'd make a fantastic place to walk around and hang out in. The detail and shape of many of the wall structures has been enhanced, and the side passages are now distinctly modeled. In the future it may be possible for the gravity generators to become damaged and alter the level's physics.

EA Announces C&C First Decade

Electronic Arts has announced a special Command & Conquer series anthology. C&C: The First Decade is scheduled to be released in February 2006. There have been other packs of C&C games, but this one is a grand compilation spanning almost everything from 1995's Command & Conquer to 2003's Zero Hour. Each primary chapter's expansion pack is included, bringing the total to twelve titles. The series' first person shooter, Renegade, is also present, but the multiplayer-only Sole Survivor Online is not. GameSpot has more details in an interview with EALA's creative vice president.

The C&C series paralleled Wing Commander as one of the few successful video-heavy franchises to thrive in the mid 1990s. The franchise now ranks as the fourth best selling PC series of all time. The games' creators, Westwood Studios, were acquired by EA and consolidated in Los Angeles with the Origin properties several years ago. It's good news that EA is willing to dig back into its archives to rerelease software that it acquired in this way. The company is also launching a search for the world's most enthusiastic C&C fans for a special feature in the pack's bonus DVD.

I Miss The Old Internet

It was only a matter of time before someone made a Wing Commander ytmnd. The next you thing you know, people will be asking us to update about their horrible MySpaces and podcasts. I suppose if you know anyone who thinks these are clever, this could serve as a good introduction to the Wing Commander series. The first one is based on the Wing Command III box art. Its sequel pictures Major Edmunds on the comm in WC2. They're not too bad if you ignore the text. Thanks to Dynamix for destroying our innocence.

'EA Recordings' Music Label Launched

Lehah noticed that Electronic Arts has teamed up with the Nettwerk Music Group to begin marketing its original music online. The new EA Recordings label will make tracks from popular EA games available for purchase online at places such as iTunes or Napster. You can find a list of songs that will be immediately available here. Most tracks are taken from current active titles in EA's library, but a few date back almost ten years. Since so much great Wing Commander music exists, hopefully some of it will be used for future expansions in the service.
Over the past twenty years, EA has amassed over 3,000 minutes of wholly-owned musical compositions which have been featured in blockbuster game franchises such as Medal of Honor(TM) and The Sims(TM) as well as sports games such as NBA LIVE basketball and NASCAR(R) racing. Unforgettable orchestral works have been produced by such award-winning composers as Sean Callery, Michael Giacchino, Chris Lennertz, Trevor Jones and Mark Mothersbaugh.

Nominate Your Favorite Wing Commander Undertakings

The year has gone by very quickly, so it's nearly time for us to begin our annual recognition for outstanding Wing Commander Fan Project & Web Site of the Year. Before the event begins, you can nominate the contenders that you felt contributed the most to the community during the past eleven months. Feel free to check the News Archive to refresh your memory. Last year, Fleet Tactics and Wedge's Wing Commander Site took the top honors in the Web Site category. Standoff and WC Saga won in the Fan Project field. Shortly after we close nominations, we'll begin the actual voting process. Email vote@wcnews.com now to suggest the web sites, game mods or original projects that you believe helped make 2005 an exciting year for Wing Commander fans.

Video Game Movies Analyzed In Asia

Wing Commander was mentioned among a small handful of movies inspired by video games at the Electric New Paper. About the only thing that makes this article stand out is its origins in Singapore. Somehow despite being an Asian publication, they continue to cite all the movies' total budgets and then only include revenues from one country. Unfortunately the article's perspective doesn't match its unique home, and it might as well have come from a random college paper. In its second week in theaters, Doom dropped to seventh place. So far it's pacing just over twice Wing Commander's take, which is more or less in line with its double-sized budget. As Doom begins to fall off the radar, hopefully we'll get a break from articles such as these. At least until BloodRayne.

WC Pioneer Interior Concept Shots Released

Since people have been anxiously awaiting news on WC Pioneer, Bradmick has released a few concept images with potential design work for civilian outposts. The familiar style should seem similar to original Privateer mining bases such as the one pictured in the fourth shot. These types of elements might make up modules in a random base system the team is working on for Pioneer.

This is by no means a finished and sealed set of work, just a kind of 3D sketch. What we have here is a possible Mining Base landing bay in its two halves. The idea is that there are different modules which the engine will be able to pick from to allow for some base randomization. I think we may actually elect to go a different route, something more overly modular... not too sure, but it's a glimpse at what might be.

Never Too Busy For Greatest Game Polls

Frosty noticed that Greatest50Games.com is running, oddly enough, an annual vote to determine internet users' favorite games of all time. Among the small list of potential nominees is the original Wing Commander. I'm not sure what authority this site actually has to run this popularity contest, but various legitimate news sites have picked up on the story, so Wing Commander's high ranking should get some attention. That always encourages stray fans to search for Wing Commander resources on the internet and ultimately join us, so I try to make time to vote for things like this. You can see the nominees and pick your favorite game here.

Follow the Wingleader

Yesterday we showed you a pair of Wing Commander II Demo paintings, now preserved for all time thanks to the archival efforts of the Origin Museum... well, that's not all! Joe and Paula Garrity received another Wing Commander rarity from former Origin artist Dan Bourbonnais.

This second piece of artwork is a very early Wing Commander logo. Wing Commander was famously originally developed as 'Squadron'. When rights issues prevented the use of Squadron as the name, Origin retitled the game Wingleader - and presented the game as such during its first public demonstration, at CES in June, 1990. The Wing Commander I&II Ultimate Strategy Guide goes on:

"A surprise awaited everyone at the end of the show. While the initial trademark search had cleared Wingleader, there were enough similar names of early software titles, MicroProse's Wingman among them, that the company yelded to its second choice, which had come through unscathed. Wingleader became Wing Commander..."

Joe explains: "That one is *NOT* a 'cel', but a heavy print on black construction paper--probably a 'proof' logo, or it was intended to be scanned in for the game (note the black magic marker, used for 'clean-up'."

Electronic Arts Prepares For New Consoles

Electronic Arts has announced the fiscal quarter results for July through September. Revenue for the period topped out at $675 million with profit just over $50 million. Both figures were down about almost $50 million from the previous year because of repositioning and ramping up for next generation XBox 360 and Playstation 3. Madden 06, NCAA Football 06, FIFA 06, NBA Live 06, Burnout Revenge and the Sims 2 expansion all sold at least a million copies, with several other games passing the half million mark. Madden 06 is the best selling console game of the year so far, and EA now owns 75% of the sports game market. During the quarter, NBA Live also passed the $1 billion mark in lifetime revenue for the franchise. EA plans to make $1.5 billion in the next three months, for year-end sales of around $3.33 billion. They're still actively looking for properties to acquire too. This morning they obtained an exclusive license for games featuring The Simpsons.
'Simpsons' Executive Producer James L. Brooks, speaking on behalf of Gracie Films, stated, "I think this is a great opportunity for us, primarily because it brings with it the possibility of free EA games."

Origin Museum Cel's Out

Joe and Paula Garrity, curators of the Origin Museum, have some fascinating new pieces in their collection... courtesy of Dan Bourbonnais! Bourbonnais is an Origin veteran best known to Wing Commander fans for his work as an artist on the first two titles in the series.

Among Joe's acquisitions is this pair of Wing Commander II-era background cels. These traditional paintings were scanned in and then digitized for use as backdrops for the game's cutscenes. Can't quite place them? That's because they're actually from the Wing Commander II Demo, which featured an alternate look for the 'Kilrathi throne room' introduction sequence. You can read more about the unique artwork of the Wing Commander 2 Demo here, or download your own copy from our files section.

David Suchet In Casino Royale?

It could happen. Suchet, perhaps best known as Captain Sansky in the Wing Commander movie, is rumored to be a contender for a part in the upcoming James Bond movie.
IGN inquired with Suchet's reps at Endeavor about their client's possible involvement with Casino Royale. "That's not confirmed," a rep told us, adding that they were "not at liberty to discuss it" in any way. Endeavor did confirm that Suchet is currently "in negotiations" for a few projects and mulling "a couple of offers."

Suchet's management firm, Seven Summits Pictures & Management, was similarly evasive when asked about Casino Royale. "We cannot confirm that," they advised us.

None of Suchet's reps offered a denial.

Contrary to earlier rumors, Privateer 2 and Sin City star Clive Owen was not selected for the part of secret agent 007.

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