1 - also, K'sk'taq, Hhallas and Valgard.
1 - also, K'sk'taq, Hhallas and Valgard.
After a long hiatus due to hardware problems, and a slight diversion to the WCFL project, the Privateer: The Reckoning mod for Freelancer is back on. Most of the work has been completed, with code tightened up and new features added. All that's left now is the work of playtesting the thing till the bugs are dead, dead, dead. That's where you come in. We need beta testers to inform us exactly where the problems are in the mod, since one person with a day job programming the mod in his spare time can't possibly find them all. If you've played Reckoning before, you'll find new ships (the Bearcat, Panther and Hades) and weapons (Stormfire and Dragonfly). If you haven't, give it a try!
If you're interested, contact email@example.com. With work shifting to the Epsilon Sector. mod, this will very likely be the among the final versions of Reckoning set in Gemini. Now may be your last chance to be part of the greatest Wing Commander Privateer Total Conversion for Freelancer ever!
...and twelve other episodes too! February is a short month, so Kris tells me that we need to use up some spare bandwidth. The lack of votes for the Achilles in this week's poll makes me think some people might need a Wing Commander Academy refresher. We've picked up a few hundred new friends since the last time we mentioned the series, so this is also a great opportunity for them to dig in. Smaller versions of each episode are available for users who are still on dialup. Don't forget that the episodes originally aired out of chronological order. Check out our viewing guide to choose the best way to view them.
Friendly pilots are not heartless extras, but independent personalities, each of whom possesses their own approach to life and battle. Only by assuming the role of command and managing your wingmates will you reach your full potential.
Our new poll asks which destroyer in the Confederation fleet was your personal favorite. Is it the ancient Confed Valiant class? Or maybe it's the Paradigm, one of the Confederation's most advanced destroyers. These workhorses held the line against thousands of opposing warships during the various wars, and many proud Confed destroyers were sacrificed over the years to protect valuable carriers and colonies.
Last time we tried to find out which game fans thought were most technically impressive when they were released. Wing Commander 3 took the cake with a strong lead. Each and every Wing Commander game pioneered exciting new technologies and features, so we know it was a difficult choice. Armada came in last, but its incredible multiplayer modes were way ahead of their time.
To fix that omission, I've gone through the game in order to make Pliers talk. There's lots of interesting information, quite a bit of foul language... and plenty of great trivia as to exactly what he's done to the carrier's arsenal. The next time someone asks you why the tractor beams in Wing Commander IV are so great, you can say with certainty: they've got double the axial frequency and some added inertial retractors!
Intro: Bring me back a ship as clean as you did last time and I'll show you what old Pliers can do.
Intro: Good luck, kid. Eisen handed out a tough one today.
Intro: Don't screw this one up, kid. Looks like a cake walk.
Avenger: Avengers are good for rescues. They've got staying power. Kind of slow, though. Banshees are the quick guys.
Vindicator: The Vindicator won't get you through long battles with that light armor, but it's the only one you can use for atmospheric missions.
Banshee: Banshees are great all around fighters. You can't go wrong unless you're trying to take out a cap ship.
Lance: The Dragons are amazing. Just think about those infinite afterburners. The speed comes directly out of your powerplant, though, so just keep an eye on your energy readouts.
Tachyon: The Tachyon cannon is one of my favorites. It packs a real wallop, rarely fails and it's one sleek design.
Leech: If you wanna disable a ship, use Leech Cannons. The Confed's like the missiles, and sure we've got some of them... but they're a little rougher on the merchandise, if you know what I mean. If you get in close, go with the cannons.
Mass Driver: The mass driver is a great gun for scaring the crap out of your enemies. It has a gut-wrenching sound and leaves a lot of visual damage.
Laser: Laser cannons don't do much damage, but they sure fire fast.
Ion Cannon: The Ion Cannon was the first weapon I ever worked on, and it hasn't changed much since. They're rugged and cheap to build, so we got a lot of 'em.
Photon Cannon: No idea why so many people like the Photon Cannon. I always thought the heat to divergence ratio was lame.
Plasma Cannon: The Plasma Cannon definately wreaks major havoc on your enemy, but don't get caught leaning on the trigger. It'll drain you dry in no time. It'll suck you dry faster than a... okay, you get the point.
Fission Cannon: These Black Lance ship got some crazy type of ass kicking Fission Cannon. Just hold down the trigger to charge and release to let 'em rip. Only problem is waiting for your wings to lock so the vicious kickback doesn't tear 'em off.
Stormfire: I was able to pull a Stormfire off a junk pirate fighter we just hauled in. Boy, old technology but damn effective. Fires a shitload of small, low density projectiles at extremely high velocity. Just paint your target and let her rip. If the range wasn't so damn short they'd still be around today. Try it out and see how you like it.
Scatter Gun: I was tinkering with one of our Ion Cannons and came up with this Scatter Cannon. Okay, so the name sucks. It shoots five bolts instead of one, for just a 17% bigger hit on your energy. The prototype's going on your next ship. See what you think.
Tractor Beam: I've pushed the limits of those old Confed tractor beams you probably learned on at the Academy. I doubled the axial frequency, added inertial retractors and pretty much tweaked the hell out of 'em. You'll be impressed your next salvage op.
Dumb Fire: Dumb Fires. Pack a big punch, but only good for slow moving space pigs and cap ships.
Heat-Seeker: Euh, Heat Seekers, whatever. Best you can do on this Border Worlds budget, I guess.
Friend or Foe: The Pilum FF basically kicks ass. You fire it and let it do its job, no questions asked.
Image Recognition: Image Recs? Euh. Confed has shit loads of these. The locking gizmo takes its time, but it tracks real good.
Mine: If you've got mines on your ship, I reccomend using them. I've seen more than one bogie bite it because he didn't watch out for these creepers. They track, you know?
Starburst #1: We scored some prototype ordinanance which I'm anxious to see field tested. One of them is code-named Starburst and it appears to be some kind of charged-particle burst bomb with an engine attached. When you launch it, keep the trigger down until you want it to blow. Then hopefully the safety will keep it from going off in your face.
Starburst #2: Starbursts. Good for hitting big and something a long way off... but I think it'll need some old Pliers magic before it'll be more useful.
Coneburst: Boy does that Starburst bomb suck. Guess that's why it was still in testing. Well, I've been tinkering with it, made it more useful. Instead of bursting all over the place it all blows forward in a cone shape. Like some big shotgun. Someone's gonna shit.
Torpedo: You want to kill a cap-ship? Use torpedoes. 'Nuff said.
Mace: We got some ass kicking loot from that weapons depot. Try out the Mace missile sometime. This sucker's got a proto-nuclear warhead on it that'll take out more than its fair share. Just launch and hold the trigger till the safety clicks off. Then release to explode. Boom!
Flashpak #1: Give 'em hell, kid. Can't wait to hear about that flashpak.
Flaskpak #2: The Flashpak is guided, it's mean and we only got one. I don't know any more and I don't think I'd want to. This thing scares me.
If you click on the fighter, the game plays the Kilrathi Theme MIDI! You can download the Ultima VII version of the music here. Note that the SNES port of Ultima VII does not include the Bloodfang. Developers wanted to include the ship but were stymied by the SNES' memory limitations. When you talk to a nearby farmer, Mack, you learn the story of how he encountered the Kilrathi and the unusual series of events that followed. Here's a transcript:
You see a farmer with wild eyes widened in excitement.Thrak'hra: The Other White Meat!
"Avatar! Thou hast returned!" exclaims Mack.
Name: "I am Mack."
Job: "I am a farmer, though most folks just call me a lunatic."
Farmer: "On my farm I raise chickens and grow vegetables. If thou dost need work, talk to me!"
Lunatic: "Thou dost also think so, eh? But I tell thee what I say is true! There are creatures visiting us from another place in the stars! I have seen them!"
Creatures: "They are big mean ugly liontigers! Or is that tigerlions? They are ferocious and they want to eat us!"
Another Place: "All I can say is that there are certainly no such creatures in this world! Nor is their ship like any that has ever been seen anywhere in Britannia."
Seen Them: "With mine own eyes I have seen a star creature and the inexplicable conveyance which enabled it to travel to Britannia! I swear to thee! I am completely sane! I have proof!"
Proof (#1): "Go and look behind my farm in the middle of the field. Take a look for thyself and thou shalt see my proof."
Proof (#2): "I told thee I was not a looney! Didst thou see the proof?"
No: "Thou must go and look at what is in my field! Then come back here, for I must talk about this with someone who knows that I am not a looney!"
Yes: "Did I not tell thee that I am no loonie? Still, my story of how I did come across this thing is beyond belief."
Story (#1): "I like to stay up late. Sometimes I see bright lights flash across the sky. No one else ever pays them any mind. But one night I see this bright light come crashing down and it lands in my field."
Bright Lights: "I always watch for moving bright lights in the night sky. That is part of why people in the town say I am a loonie. But is what I do so different from what they do in the orrery?"
Lands: "After the explosion and crash I ran out to my field. There I saw the strange machine that thou hast seen, only it was glowing hot. I was terrified. But then the top of the machine started to open."
Machine: "It resembled a bird, but it was not a bird!"
Open: "I could not move from the spot as I saw the strange ship open. From out of the top came the vicious tigerlion. There was a savage hunger in its eyes."
Hunger: "In other words, it looked like it might eat me!"
Tigerlion: "It came at me like a predator comes after prey. It was so fast that I could not even move. I thought I was going to be killed for certain. It reached me in a second. It looked into mine eyes, and then it died."
Died: "What it and I had failed to notice was that I was holding mine hoe. It had once been accidentally enchanted by a passing mage, and it works wondrously in the fields. I use it for everything! The tigerlion had run itself through upon it. As it died, the thing spoke."
Spoke: "It said two words. "Kill Wrathy." I do not know who this Wrathy person is, or why the tigerlion wanted me to kill him. But I do know I sure get worried now whenever I see moving lights in the night sky."
Hoe: "I am sure thou dost know about the plague of looniness that has come to afflict all of the mages in the world. It was several years ago that I brought my broken hoe to a mage called Mumb. Fixing things was all he was good for anymore. There was also some fighter who wanted Mumb to enchant his sword, turning it into "The Sword of Death". It appears poor Mumb got confused and that fighter came back and killed him because the man wound up with a sword that was only good for cutting weeds. I could never figure out exactly what happened. It appears that old Mumb made mine hoe into the Hoe of Destruction! Unfortunately, the hoe is lost."
Lost: "Well, 'tis not really lost. It is locked up in my shed. It is the key to the shed that is lost! I think I might have accidentally used it as a fishhook when I was fishing on the banks of Lock Lake. So now I cannot get into my shed. One would think I -am- a looney!"
Kill Wrathy: "I am quite certain that was it, or something like that. Anyway the tigerlion itself proved to be quite delicious."
Story (#2): "I have been looking every night for another sign of those things but I have not seen any since that last time I told thee about it."
The fighter appeared again in Wing Commander II, again in the hands of the Prince. You encounter the ship only once, in a one on one dogfight against Thrakhath at the end of the game -- either in K'Tithrak Mang D or Gwynedd (2) D. The Wing Commander II version is identical to that which appears in Ultima VII.
The Bloodfang appears a third time in Wing Commander III, significantly redesigned with the modern 'non-symmetrical' approach to Kilrathi fighters. This time around you see them twice: when Thrakhath taunts you with Angel's execution at Torgo 3 and then again in the game's penultimate dogfight at Kilrah 3.
The fighter received its name in Wing Commander 3, as well. While Wing Commander 2 refers to the fighter as Bloodfang internally, the name was not entered into the continuity until it appeared in WC3. It was not spoken in dialogue until the release of WC3 3DO, which restored a missing 'news brief' segment about the fighter (available here). The Bloodfang also appears as a rare WC:CCG card, representing Blood Most Noble Squadron (motto: "The Emperor's Chosen"). You can see a complete set of specifications for both Bloodfang variants here.
Gametap allows legal access to hundreds of classic games for a low monthly fee. Those interested in testing the service can apply for a free trial period. Ultima VI was the last Ultima game released before the original Wing Commander... it isn't hard to see a future where Wing Commander games (or, at the very least, the magnificent Ultima VII) are made available!
While excellent news for those left hoping for a legitimate way to play some of the greatest games ever developed, this is presumably also a crushing blow to those who have long decided they're allowed to steal these titles as "abandonware" on the questionable logic that no one is profiting off of them. I hate to say we told you so...
1. You keep hitting the 'C' key to talk to people.
2. When using your dustbuster, you pretend its a Marine LC.
3. You 'autoslide' when walking.
4. Whenever you see a roach, you start looking for his wingman.
5. You make 'afterburner' noises when passing cars on the freeway.
6. When pulling into a parking garage, you wait for the 'AUTO' light to appear on your dashboard.
7. You use the power mirrors in your car like turrets.
8. You get upset when you can't get a torpedo lock on the truck in front of you.
9. You think Mark Hamill is a darn fine actor.
10. You end every conversation with "Break and attack!"
I've run through the missions with most of the ships. The lightest one was the Arrow, and that was a real bear! The 4th mission tears up the lighter ships really fast, so save, save, save! All of the gates out of New York are open after mission 2, so Privateering is easier, as is finding that favorite ship. Besides the Drayman (small transport), Hades (the Osiris) and the Panther (a new Bounty-Hunter ship), a new version of the Bearcat (the Order's ship) has been added.
Similar to Privateer: The Reckoning, the WCFL-Epsilon mod will take place in the Epsilon Sector and will be a Privateer-like mod. Epsilon was chosen because of the ratio of Confed-Border Worlds-Kilrathi systems, which I'm hoping will give a new challenge to the mod. The ships are all ready, and most of the bases are too. I've got a few DLL's to update and the "Border Worlds" to create before I dive into making the entire sector. Asteroids will be all over the place. A few mine fields and lots of remote outposts are in the plans. I've already added the Reaper and Steltek guns, and I'm looking into adding some other weapon systems as well.
BTW, I've received several requests from people who'd like to start servers for the WCFL mods. My answer is always "The More, the Merrier!"
For most of the people living in the Tri System this was just a meaningless, dirty planet which was lucky enough to be at least geographically close to the metropolises Crius and Hades. This piece of wasteland had been left years ago by industry and craftsmen; now only mercenaries, pirates, and other rather nasty subjects settled on the planet now. Dirt and waste covered nearly every street, the continuing decay of society was a smelly companion. Days here started and ended with death, either by violence or by one of the countless diseases which were present here. Altogether, this was a place that a sensible human being should avoid.
All of this probably went through the stranger’s head, too, who as exchanged the cockpit of his ship with the asphalt of the runway mere moments ago. The air under the ship was still blazing from the heat of the engines when a man from the maintenance crew walked over to him...
Hi! Sure I can go over some of the theme decks bashing each other here at Mag Force 7.
The Rachel and her Toys Deck: Rachel Coriolis (or Nickodameus on the fur side) provides one medal point to a flight with a weapon card. Every fighter that launches has a weapon. Pilots are optional. I send lots of torpedo carrying TBolts out and try to go after the carrier directly.
Four Arrows for your Carrier Deck: This one uses lots and lots of torpedo mounts, torpedos, a bizillion maneuvers and, of course, Arrows. You fly out there with a mit full of maneuvers and knock down heavier fighters (you have a far better maneuver rating than their slower stuff) and then swarm the carrier for two hits. This one's worked twice out of four games, so I may have to beef up my battle damage cards. They have the psychological effect that players seem to need to take the fighter home to fix it. While they're home, I'm doing torp runs on the carrier!
Basic Plodding Doom Deck: I use this one when I play Jeff Grubb and I'm playing Kilrathi. I play lots of Vaktoths and Strak'has, lots of attack weapon systems, and very few maneuvers. I try to use as many medal producers as possible. Out they go, and just shoot everything in sight.
Moneybags Deck: This is the deck that Jeff uses against me when he plays Terran (and I must admit, it works better than my basic plodding doom deck). He uses a few heavy fighters, lots of mediums, Transports and Admiral Tolwyn. He may spend two in a turn, but he just went up four. He uses lots of expensive luck cards to pound me into salt.
Space Control Deck: Either side can do this one (although I haven't tried it yet). Lots of little fighters and lots of Nav Point Modifiers (the ships). You go out, grab space, and hold it against big odds. You can go either for your opponent's points or his carrier with this one. Like I say, I haven't tried this (hey, something to do tonight).
I hope that this helps. Let me know any ideas you guys have come up with.
I am currently working on a flight engine based on Torque called the Kuiper Engine. It is fairly modern, it is a shader-compatible engine that uses D3D9, et cetera. The game I am writing is not a WC game itself, but I decided to look at how some WC models would look inside it.
We are currently working on the next upgrade for the game and have already included some really nice stuff. Major goals are to bring back all the original base computer interfaces, polish the base interiors and get rid of various balancing issues.
Since this is a lot of work you still have to wait quite some time before it is done. Besides, the game's graphic engine gets a major overhaul which causes a delay. While time passes by I will show you some neat stuff out of the current development version...
If you have any suggestion, question or just want to help then head over and establish a Link to New Detroid's Communication Network.
Pictured left to right: a title screen, a Perry Naval base hangar and a Quine, a digital assistant used by many privateers.
Hail SHODAN radiates with cyberpunk action and the good looks of Clint Mason. After streetwise hacker James Finn (Mason) accepts the challenge to punch deck into Citadel research station, he unkowingly removes the logic systems behind the station's artificial intelligence. Finn finds himself trapped in a steel jungle with nothing but his hands and a few electro-magnetic grenades. The furious pace of this epic game-based HoloVid will send you reeling through the aisles ... the ending will astonish you (2.24 hours) ***Wing Commander 3 for the 3DO went one step further and actually included a screenshot from System Shock alongside the 'review'!:
Wing 0 features a 13-mission campaign complete with traditional Wing Commander plot elements: wingmen, speech, traitors, nav points, talking heads, familiar fighters, autopilot flybys, lasers, dogfights and so on... all done in a 148x139 corner screen!
Thanks to a saved game kindly provided by Shadowcat of the Through The Looking Glass forums, I was able to jump right into Wing 0 to break it down into its component parts. The result is a brand new article, available here, that treats it like we would any new game -- it provides mision layouts, endgames, wingman comms, controls and ships!
I've also put the saved game I used to access Wing 0 directly online here (500k) -- if you have the PC-CD version of System Shock, give it a try (and if you don't have the game, go buy it!).
Wing 0 was developed for System Shock CD by Sean Barrett. His biography says the following about the game:
"...for the CD game I outdid myself with a relatively complete Wing Commander minigame, Wing 0--written just before Wing 3 was released, it's both an homage and a parody, featuring, for example, one pacifistic wingman who refuses to fight (and strangely never gets attacked either, because he's actually a traitor!!!), a mission where you get something like 8 wingmen, and a final 'aww, what the heck, let's send you out by yourself to defeat their entire armada' mission."
I found my old Strakha model and just put some paint on it. Nothing special and not very high on poly, but it looks good enough for now.
There were 90 commons, 100 uncommons, 100 rares and 22 nav points in the main set of 312 cards. An additional 2 promo cards also exist. In each booster pack you'd get 8 commons, 4 uncommons, 2 rares and a nav point. We have card lists and more resources in the CCG Section.
I wrote a book some times ago. The story is still in German only, but I hope (!) that a few people here still speak this language and have fun with it. Enjoy!
Hermes. Für die meisten Bewohner des Tri-Systems war dies nur ein unbedeutender, dreckiger Planet, der das Glück hatte, zumindest von der Lage her nahe an den Metropolen Crius und Hades zu liegen. Dieses öde Stück Land war schon vor Jahren von Industrie und Handwerk verlassen worden, jetzt waren es Söldner, Piraten und andere eher unschöne Subjekte, die den Planeten besiedelten. Schmutz und Unrat bedeckten fast jede Strasse, man roch überall den ständigen Verfall der Gesellschaft. Der Tag begann und endete hier mit Tod, entweder durch Gewalt oder durch eine der zahlreichen Seuchen, die hier präsent waren. Alles in allem war dies ein Ort, den der vernünftige Mensch meiden sollte. Und all dies ging vermutlich auch jenem Fremden durch den Kopf, der erst vor wenigen Augenblicken das Cockpit seiner Maschine mit dem festen Asphalt der Landebahn getauscht hatte. Die Luft unter der Maschine flimmerte noch von der Hitze der Triebwerke, als ein Mann von der Wartungscrew auf ihn zu ging. „Sie haben da ja einen netten Vogel. Irgendwas dran zu machen?” Er deutete mit dem Kopf in Richtung Hangar. „Nein, danke.” Der Fremde deutete auf das kleine Anzeigegerät in den Händen des Mechanikers, offenbar war seine Zeit knapp bemessen und er wollte kein längeres Gespräch anfangen.. „Oh, ja doch.” Per Fingerabdruck bestätigte der Unbekannte seine Landung, dann ging er wortlos in Richtung der Dockschleusen, begleitet von den Blicken des Mechanikers. „Typen gibt's.” Mit diesen Worten wandte sich dieser wieder dem Alltagsgeschäft zu, er steuerte den nächsten Piloten an.
GS: The king category for MMOs right now is role-playing games. What's going to have to happen for a real-time strategy/first-person shooter MMO to come along?That's something we can all confirm right here. You can find the complete interview here.
RK: I think one of the key things that we definitely learned is once you start thinking of the MMO as a platform or a place, you can put in a lot of different kinds of games in them, rather than thinking of them as having to be an RPG. At the same time, I would say that we also learned that one of the big things about having a virtual place was having a sense of your virtual self and the way in which they advance and progress. With PlanetSide, you have Battle Rank. Even though we were careful to make sure it didn't take over the game, it's also very important as a marker of how well you're doing and how you relate to other people.
GS: What do you think the life span of an MMO is? Can EverQuest go on forever? Can the communities stay the same? Can I be playing with someone when I was 20 and still be playing with them when I'm 80?
RK: Well, 20 to 80… I think the historical evidence is that the games will last, right? The question is, "But with how many players?" So, there are games still running from 20 years ago that still manage to maintain this loyal core of users. Now, whether or not they can then afford to upgrade it to the latest shaders is a whole other question, right? But the persistence and the attachment of a community to the game--that doesn't seem to end.
This divx is an example of one of the later mission sequences. I've attempted to make more creative and liberal use of the different cameras. With the addition of a new hard drive, work on the project has picked up considerable pace. Let me know what you think... even if it is just a little nagging detail.
I have been a big fan of the Wing Commander series since it began, although I usually play them well after they were released as that's when I have a machine powerful enough. After playing Wing Commander III and IV again, I decided to create the ships in those games in Silent Death. Here then is the result.I'm not familiar with the original board game, but the Wing Commander touches sound pretty cool.
Happy V-Day, WingNuts -- not to be confused with VK Day, when you're more likely to get lucky in the first place. Hey, look, the Love Arrow beats now!
... and what better way to fill up the lonely void in your trip than making plans to hang out with Wing Commander fans at Dragon*Con 2006 this Labor Day weekend?
You have just one more day to lock in tickets at the cheaper price -- they go from $50 to $60 on Thursday (2/16). This year the convention is expanding to a third hotel, making more space for the gaming room, the art gallery and the dealers room.
The CIC gang will also be using this year as an opportunity to Wing Commander it up at the all new Georgia Aquarium -- just like that 'squadron trip' Hunter wanted to take in Freedom Flight. It's the largest aquarium in the world and it features two whale sharks! Amazing. Be there for all the Nephilim warship jokes we're sure to make.
So, make your travel plans, get those tickets fast and let us know you'll be there!
LOAF: All you biatches who be all up on my Wing Commander II timeline picked tha wrong day ta mess wit da L-man, yo. Word to yo proper placement of End Run at least one year previous to Fleet Action to allow for various references to Melek's exile and Bondarevsky's time spent at the Academy.
LOAF: Since we loved it so much, we decided to Marriott.
ChrisReid: Some panels we tried to attend after dinner were filled to capacity, so we played video games in the lobby instead. Don't we look cool? Some dork came up and made fun of us for Pictochatting, but he didn't even have a DS.
LOAF: I'm coming for you, Red!
Starmada is a simple (but not simplistic) board game of starship combat, in which players square off in a general attempt to blast each other's fleets into just so much space junk.
While the universe of the Imperial Starmada and its major adversaries is fully detailed in the rulebook, Starmada is much more than just another game, tied down to its own background. Instead, Starmada can be played in just about any science fiction setting you can imagine. There are dozens of optional rules, exotic special equipment items, and menacing weapons that can be used or discarded at your discretion, to create the type of game you want to play!
I came across some WC material for the second war era. Players have been using it in the VBAM game system, and I thought I would pass it along to the community. Tyrel Lohr is the author of the material. I don't know if it is perfect, but it is fun.
Wing Commander IV will go down in history for its famous film shoot. With an estimated budget of $12 million, Wing Commander IV was at the time the most expensive video game ever made. Like its predecessor, Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander 4 featured a cast of professional actors -- including Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, Tom Wilson and John Rhys Davies. For the first time, though, the movies were shot on actual sets in Los Angeles using 35mm film. Series creator and director Chris Roberts' had finally brought to life the project he had dreamt of for years: a blockbuster Hollywood movie where you were the star.
The Austin-based Maverick Team deserves equal praise for Wing Commander IV's success. In terms of gameplay it was Heart of the Tiger writ large. Wing Commander III's visually stunning but technologically cumbersome flight engine was streamlined beyond all expectations: for the first time in the series' history a new Wing Commander didn't necessitate a major hardware upgrade. At the same time, the team introduced a host of new features that have now become standard in such games: dual wings, projectile and charging guns, in-flight interactive choices, a FMV map, infiltration and capture missions and more.
Equally important were the moments of quiet brilliance. Wing Commander 4's artists visited the USS Lexington museum and applied what they learned about the look and feel of real life naval aviation to the game. For the first time individual capital ships had their own specific artwork - the TCS Lexington was distinct from the Princeton, the BWS Intrepid from the Tango. The game introduced a working background to the Wing Commander universe, featuring missions set against a complex panorama of communications arrays, weapons factories, shipyards, spacelabs starbases, turret mines and the like. Ground missions featured a detailed surface, eschewing the lumpy yellow blobs of the previous game. These little touches made gameplay more immersive than ever before - and have continued to reward a fandom interested in Wing Commander continuity to this day.
Those who waited for Wing Commander IV will forever remember January, 1996 as the longest month of their lives. The game was originally scheduled for release December 8th, 1995... fans awoke that day to find the disappointing news at Origin's early website: Wing Commander IV was delayed until February. Then, it hit. Wing Commander IV inaugurated one of the greatest years of Wing Commander fandom. Bookended by the release of two major titles, WC4 and Privateer 2, 1996 was an amazing year that helped create the community we know today. The WC:CCG was in full swing, the Academy series was on television, Baen kept novels in print and in development. In the news reports of a theatrical movie began to trickle in -- at the message board fans debated Tolwyn's ideology while lusting over the new Bearcat and Lance fighters. It was truly the best of times.
Ten years later Wing Commander fans continue to fervently hope and honestly believe that there will be another 1996 and another Wing Commander IV.
In our new poll, we ask which Wing Commander games were the most technologically impressive at the time they were released. The original game featured incredible detail, dynamic music and branching campaigns. The second title expanded on all this and introduced amazing speech, which caused sound card sales to surge. Everyone remembers Wing Commander 3 for boosting CD-ROM sales with its liberal use of live actor FMV, and WC4 expanded on this with incredible production values, live sets and recording on real film. Prophecy pioneered 3D acceleration technology, and Privateer is well known for its open ended nature and tremendous freedom of choice. Armada pushed the multiplayer envelope many years before the market was ready, and dazzled dial-up modem users with the ability to play friends in different locations and across local networks.
Wing Commander has always made use of the very latest technology at the time of release, but vote now to support the game which you think produced the most impressive results at the time.
Our previous poll asked which WC role you would prefer to have. It should come as no surprise that nearly half of you would like to be a Wing Commander. Second and third places went to Captain and Admiral, so it seems more people would prefer to command a single ship rather than an entire fleet. Spy was the least popular option, even though they get to play with gadgets such a the D 3S 5.
Are you familiar with another fun CCG reference? Let us know!
I've done some little things to the bridge part again. Added windows and armor to the side and added some details to these little wings. Still I am not very happy about the antennas. I will have to remove or replace them.
You can look at more Wing Commander images while background music plays here and here.<ZFGokuSSJ1> Is anything supposed to happen? <bob> Music plays and you look at Thrakkath
The prior system has been thoroughly improved so that it now features free choice of clans with distinct abilities and characteristics. The cultural information, especially in the forums, has been broadened repeatedly to create a more sophisticated background for the Kilrathi. The missions - fighter-based combat as well as spectacular ground missions - are being carried out via IRC - also following a new and more plausible set of rules. Our role-playing forums have been remodeled extensively, giving each character a much better chance to develop their own background stories as well as to present their personal experiences. This is also the new main focus: not just fighting, but living your character. The main enemy is still the Terrans, who have recently developed greatly. But the Kilrathi have not been idle either. It might also be possible that the face of our enemy will change sometime soon.
The game is still exclusively played in German language. The aforementioned refers to the game following the original Kilrathi Empire's storyline only. There is another game currently in the (re)works, to be resumed in the future. It is the one reported in the news in 2004 and also features many well inspired changes to the set of rules from the original, with new sub-clans, their own forums and a completely new and different story.
GS: Of your achievements to date, which are you the most proud of?
RG: Hmm. I have three games that I'm really the most proud of. They're Ultima IV, Ultima VII, and Ultima Online. I think what you'll see--especially in the first two examples-- that I'm most proud of, is trying to imbue in the computer games not just game mechanics, but also a sense of literary storytelling. To try to create settings and characters and reasons to be there and things to do while you're there that go beyond "fight the next monster, collect the next level of treasure, cash it in and then level up.
For $39.99, buyers also get a bonus DVD with concept art, developer interviews and contributions from the world's biggest C&C fans. EA has also set up a Screenshot Hall of Fame to record players' biggest moments. For fans of both Wing Commander and Command & Conquer, picking up this special set might tell EA how interested gamers are in their classic game catalog from the 1990s.
I'm slightly more confident that people will like the music this time.
The bug is actually on the sound streamer routines, the video just tries to keep up with the audio when the bug is triggered. This happens far more often during FMV play though, which is why I never ported this fix to WCSO.
However, I have the code handy, so I included the fix and recompiled the main DLL for the WCSO highres patch. Unzip it into the WCSO directory after installing the highres patch and the problem should be gone.
- Fixed a bug that made certain missions crash when too few wingmen were available
- Fixed a bug that prevented the player from returning to the flight deck after going back to the recroom
- Fixed a bug that prevented the player from using autopilot to land, even when the AUTO light was on
- Fixed a bug that occasionally made valid simulator scores be discarded
- Added a permanent score display in the scoreboard-enabled simulator missions
- Made military transports act as corvettes (corvettes use different radar colors and collision detection)
- Made the mines trigger on proximity instead of on collision
- Fixed the mine 3D model so that it no longer has engine flares
- Added a new cockpit mesh for the Ferret
- Replaced the Tarsus with the Arrow in the simulator (this Arrow is based on the Armada version).
We've also taken a few measures to try to eliminate a crash that might happen at the start of a new wave in the gauntlets, as well as the infamous "mis-matched VDU" bug. However, we can't be sure we've managed to completely fix either of those bugs since they both were much more frequent on some systems than on others. We *hope* they've been fixed, but if you have any indication to the contrary, please contact us.
When I look back at all the games of the Wing Commander series, I always smile inside. I think that gamers coming up today should be able to have this same experience as I had: That they can play a game that inspires them.
The financial numbers reflect a few major declines compared to the previous year. A lot of this is related to extensive resarch and development for the current console cycle transition. Net revenue for this time frame came in at almost $1.3 billion, down $150 million from last year. Net income dropped from $375 million to $259 million. The cost of future technology development exceeded $200 million for this period as well. In related news, EA laid off several hundred employees yesterday. This amounted to a 5% reduction in its workforce to streamline global operations.
Final fiscal year totals are expected by May. The next year should be big for the company with quite a few major projects coming to fruition. Some of its major next-generation titles delayed beyond Christmas, such as Burnout Revenge and The Godfather, will finally be released in March, and the company is expected to have a full lineup of titles for the Playstation 3 launch later in the year. EA currently has one third of the XBox 360 market in the US and one quarter of the European market. You can find the full financial report here.
This version also corects a long-standing error which listed the TCS Altair as the TCS Apache. TCS Chinook and TCS Altair were the names of the two asteroid depots that Col. Blair and company refuel at in the Kilrah System at the end of Wing Commander III -- their names are revealed in the 3DO port of the game.
You can download the list in DOC format here.
Well, this patch has taken a little longer than we anticipated (mainly because we're trying to also kill the gauntlet-crashing bug once and for all - and it takes a lot of testing to kill a bug that only appears rarely at random times), but we think we may be almost there now, hopefully we'll release it during the next few days, and before the end of the coming weekend at the latest.The Tarsus was the mainstay of the Terran Confederation Exploratory Services during the initial exploration of the Gemini Sector in 2639. Manufacture of Tarii ceased in 2658 and by the mid-2660s they had left official service entirely. By 2668, the time of Standoff, the ugly little ships remained popular, however hopelessly outclassed, on the second hand market. The Tarsus was introduced in 1993's Wing Commander: Privateer, where the player character begins the game by inheriting a a Tarsus that his grandfather, Mac, had purchased from an ES officer. So: this is your last chance to get behind the wheel... er, IBM PS/2 Keyboard of the Tarsus -- and it's your last chance to get your name on Standoff's Tarsus scoreboard. Go get those bastards... very slowly!
So... you know, if there's any last takers for the Tarsus (though it doesn't seem to be an especially popular ship... can't imagine why), this is really the last call.