BREAKING NEWS: EA Replay Officially Announced!

It's the news you knew to expect: Electronic Arts has officially confirmed that EA Replay is coming for the PSP system!

GameSpot has posted the announcement here. It includes some exciting new information, including the fact that the package has been in development at EA Canada and that players will be able to "unlock retro game art". Best of all, it reveals an amazing pricepoint: $19.99.

Two screenshots are already available (below) - they confirm that the game will use the full resolution of the PSP, 480x272. The set will be released as previously suspected on November 7th. I'm glad I picked up a PSP yesterday!

In The Beginning...

... Origin was without form and void; and Ultima was upon the face of the deep. Here's something interesting we found while spending a night at The Origin Museum: what may be the earliest announcement of the original Wing Commander. It was included on the back of some - but not all - Origin catalogs included with 'Space Rogue', a Privateer-like title released in 1989. The name isn't even included... it's "classified"! (In all likelihood, the game was still called 'Squadron' or 'Wingleader' at this point.)

Interesting stuff -- and a big thanks to Joe and Paula Garrity for being such gracious hosts. We'll have some other exciting treasures we photographed posted in the near future.

CIC Webcam Back Again

Team CIC has been on the move since late last week, and now we've arrived in Atlanta for DragonCon 2006. The regular picture galleries are in still in work, but in the mean time, check out the CIC Webcam! It's currently trained on one of our hotel rooms in the Marriott Marquis. We'll be in and out of the room all week, but sharp viewers have caught quite a few funny situations over the years. The camera is set to update several times a minute, but this can turn into one update every couple minutes when the tubes that make up the internet get clogged.

WC4 Homeworld Mod Status Update

Forums member BrynS has a progress report and some new, high resolution screenshots for us. You can find out more about this Homeworld 2 mod in the news archive.
Work on the mod has been continuing, however my own testing and video compilation has slowed quite a bit over the last two weeks because of other demands.

Aaron has been busy tweaking features and amending stats significantly in a number of areas. For example, the next update to be rolled out for testing will equip fighters with a slight afterburner effect when in combat, which should add to the gameplay and together with the new balance/stats tweaks should make for an even better Wing Commander experience.

Aaron is not able to work on the mod for the next two weeks or so and was not able to distribute the latest update for testing, so when he can return to the mod, there should be quite a bit to report. We've decided to hold off on releasing the current Extended Preview videos in the pipeline, because of the large stat changes due in the next update. In the meantime I want to get the tribute video finished (yes, I know I've been saying this for weeks! ) and if all goes well, I have a few other things planned to keep the ball rolling until Aaron is back online.

For the moment, I've compiled a batch (5.56MB Zip) of over 80 high resolution (1600x1200) screenshots from some recent testing.

You can download the RAR archive here. The WinRAR utility is the easiest way to extract these.

Lost Ship of the Day: Union Outpost

This is the final update in our series of lost ships. Special thanks to HCl for teaching us how to extract them! Wing Commander IV features a lot of bases -- in fact, it has more space stations than the original game had fighters. What it doesn't have is a Border Worlds base... even when you're ordered to rescue the biochemist from the Border Worlds, you do it by landing marines on a Confederation space lab. It looks like they had originally planned to rectify that, though -- with the Union of Border Worlds Outpost seen below.

Lost Ship of the Day: Concordia 42

Now our lost ships feature moves on to Wing Commander IV. The model below may look like the TCS Lexington or the TCS Princeton... but look closely at the hull number: it's actually CV-42! The Lexington was 44 and the Princeton was 48... so who is this? Where could Wing Commander IV have called for another Concordia-class carrier?

Flight Commander Orders Off The Menu, Adds Insults to Injury

Eddieb has been hard at work, and he has a new patch for his Flight Commander project to show for it. This upgrade adds animated doors, computers and sound effects to the menu and adds text captions to the game itself. In reverse-Freelancer fashion, it also adds mouse support during flight! The mission building aspects have also been enhanced, allowing developers to save variables between missions and to add multiple comms (and insults) during flight.

You can download video of the new menus here, or go ahead and use them youselves via the new patch available here (2 mb).

Lost Ship of the Day: WC3 Caernaven

Although Victory Streak gives 'frigate' specifications, they do not appear in Wing Commander III. The frigate, first seen by fans in Union colors in the WC4 Demo, was actually designed for the previous game! Check out the screenshots below for a view of a different looking Caernaven-class frigate. Strangely enough, WC3 actually calls for a frigate at one point. Paladin arrives on the Victory aboard one -- but it's just a standard destroyer renamed!

Mo' Money, Mo' Multima

The Firing Squad has posted an interview with Mark Jacobs of Mythic Entertainment, the new man in charge Ultima. In an unusual move, Electronic Arts recently purchased Mythic and then charged the company with giving their classic MMPRPG a shot in the arm. Jacobs is very positive about EA's new level of commitment to their previously neglected Ultima property:
This decision by EA to put a lot of additional resources (and money) into the title shows, in a big way, its renewed commitment to online games. With the acquisition of Mythic and the revamp of UO, EA has shown that it is determined to regain the leadership position in a space that they helped define many years ago. It's a new day, a new EA, and this is only the beginning...
Contrary to some expectations, EA does not plan to dismantle the current UO team at their Redwood Shores location (pictured below). Mythic will manage the project from Virginia, but the current development team will remain in place.

Lost Ship of the Day: Vaktoth

This is the second in our series of 'lost ships' found inside Wing Commander III and IV. Like the special Dralthi featured yesterday, this Vaktoth is the unused 'ace' fighter from Wing Commander III. It would have been flown by Kramm "Deathfang" nar Caxki -- apparently the nar Caxki clan was rather short-changed by WC3. It's a little more subtle than Deathstroke's bright red ride... but what isn't?

Privateer 2 CCG Expands Card List

Forums member Jacob Hudson has been creating new cards for the Erwachen (Awakening) customizable card game. Jacob's latest batch is a large number of ship cards. Most ships make more than one appearance, each time with different loadouts to make a light, medium or heavy version. Erwachen is a Privateer 2 fan novel.

There are too many cards to list them all here. Click the discuss link to look at more designs.

Lost Ship of the Day: Dralthi IV

Thanks to HCl (of course), we've unearthed some exciting starships, hidden for over a decades in the bowels of Wing Commander III and IV. We'll be showing them off in a series of five updates -- so get ready to see some lost ships! The first of the five is a special Dralthi IV - one flown by Dakhath "Deathstroke" nar Caxki. Check out that stunning red paint scheme. While Deathstroke appears in the manual, he does not appear in the PC version of the game. He's in the 3DO port... but that version does not have special ace fighters.

Something Hidden In Store

Electronic Arts hasn't officially announced EA Replay, the PSP game that will include ports of Wing Commander and The Secret Missions, yet... but here's an interesting fact that may ease your mind about the reality of the thing: the EA Store has a hidden entry for the game. It doesn't show up with an ordinary search, but digging through individual product ID numbers eventually nets you... #1361 -- EA Replay!

Privateer 2 Script Writer Making Convention Appearances

Diane Duane, the famous science fiction novelist, has a noteworthy game to her credit that's been in the news quite a bit recently. Erin Roberts and company wrote the basic premise for Privateer 2, but Ms. Duane filled in the actual script. Although we haven't heard from her in a little while, she visited the alt.games.wing-commander newsgroup and interacted with P2 players when the game launched. Wing Commander fans have another chance to meet her at a variety of upcoming science fiction conventions. We just missed her at the Discworld Convention in Leicestershire, England, but she is now moving to the US. Here are her next appearances.
  • LACon IV, the 64th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), Anaheim, CA, USA: 23-27 August 2006.
  • CopperCon 26, Tempe, Arizona, USA: September 1-5, 2006: as co-Writer Guest of Honor (with Peter Morwood).
  • Fargo Fantasy Festival, Fargo, ND, USA: October 13-15, 2006: as co-Writer Guest of Honor (with Peter Morwood).
  • Nippon 2007, the 65th World Science Fiction Convention / 46th Japan Science Fiction Convention, Yokohama, Japan, August 30 - September 3, 2007.
AD dug up this article that also detail's Diane's involvement in the project. The article is also a good piece on Clive Owen's thoughts on the script.
"Emotion" is the key to reaching a wider audience, Roberts believes, and the only way to have people emotionally and interactively involved is to give them characters they care about and some kind of say in what happens to them. That means bringing in experienced writers, directors and actors.

With The Darkening, the basic story and setting were devised by Roberts and his team, and then a script was commissioned from Diane (Duane), a US television writer for such shows as Star Trek: The Next Generation. Roberts then approached Steve Hilliker, a young British director with experience in pop videos and television, to direct the live action sequences. Hilliker was sceptical. "I told them that I didn't know anything about computer games but they loved that because they thought I could bring them something they wouldn't get from within the games world." They sent him (Duane's) monster 500-page script (a normal film script runs to about 120 pages). "When I read it I was totally confused I had never seen a script that had choices before."

He had to read it twice more before he understood that the concept was a variation on the standard alternative endings approach that most interactive narrative projects seem to follow (see Narrative Futures, right). With The Darkening, the viewer decides what Lev Arris does, but there is only one ending to the story. The aim of the game is to reach that conclusion. It takes a long time to reach it because there are dozens of subplots like branches off the main trunk of a tree. These subplots are to do with the strategy element of the game Arris has to earn money to afford to travel and follow up the clues to his identity. Along the way, he has to fight the people out to kill him. In effect, The Darkening is a weird cross-breed between a film, a strategy game and what the games industry calls a "shoot 'em up".

And The Winner Is...

We apologize for the delay in reporting the winner to the Wing Commander IV DVD trivia contest. Without further ado, the winner is... Worf! Please e-mail us with your address and we'll send your prize. Here are the correct answers:
Q1: How do you return to the WC3 installation program after the game is installed?
A1) Use "wc3 -i" to return to the installation menu. (source)

Q2: What type of generators allow the Flux Beam gun to cause major damage?
A2) The high-capacity trifluxoid generators. (source)

Q3: During the making of Wing Commander Prophecy, what other movie's lost scenes did Mark Hamill talk about?
A3) Alien (source)

Q4: What company designed the Freij and Frej MK II?
A4) Ares Systems (source)

Q5: After his accident, Lev Arris recieved a letter from Hermes Off-Planet Control. Americans know the author as Ian Esperanto... who wrote the letter in England?
A5) Jessica Montpellier (source)

Report for Kane-ing

Don't bury the Interactive Movie yet -- Electronic Arts has confirmed that they're bringing back Full Motion Video shoots for the upcoming Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. You can find a 'NOD Transmission' which features live action video of Kane here. Please thank BrynS for posting about this to the forums. This is exciting news for Wing Commander fans, as a previously strong resistance to producing live action segments was one of EA's key reasons for stalling future Wing Commander development.

A high quality gameplay trailer is also available here (61.6 MB).

J. Allen Brack on The Darkening

You probably remember the TCS Brack from Wing Commander Prophecy... well, the man behind the reference is here! As part of our birthday (and Privateer 2) celebration, Wing Commander veteran J. Allen Brack was kind enough to write us a very nice e-mail -- you can find it below! In addition to his role in main Wing Commander titles, he was part of the American portion of the Darkening team. Thanks to LeHah for arranging this!
Greetings...

Congratulations on eight years as one of the best fan sites out there! I'm a Wing Commander super-fan and had the fortune to work on a lot of the games over the years, so it's a real pleasure to see your continued success.

Happy 10-year anniversary to Privateer 2! Privateer 2 was a difficult project for me on several levels. I had just finished Wing Commander 4 and was working on The Kilrathi Saga. At that time Privateer 2 was called "The Darkening" and was an EA game. About halfway through TKS, The Darkening was branded an Origin game, which meant Origin people taking a look at it. Over the next month, the game went from "The Darkening", to "Privateer: The Darkening", to "Privateer 2". Origin was told that the reason this decision was made is someone said "Flying and trading in space sounds like Privateer".

This was a painful decision for many people at Origin. Using that logic, all space movies must also be Star Wars. The original Privateer remains my favorite game of all time. For me, the major problem was the name, and I think most of the team shared this sentiment. Making games is a large, difficult, creatively painful process. The development team had spent a great deal of time creating an entire universe. It had it's own style, it's own technology, and a unique humor. It was designed to stand on it's own. But it was not Wing Commander. To marry the two together felt like sacrilege. It felt like we were sullying the Privateer name.

There was a lot of contention between Erin and Paul on the UK side, and the team over at Origin. I'm sure I didn't make their lives any easier. They wanted to finish, and we wanted it renamed. In the end, everyone came together to get the game out. Paul in particular was great in working with us on getting a patch done after ship that included additional features! Every project is a learning experience. Erin gave a really good commentary on the lessons of the project. For me, I learned lessons I carry with me to this day.

WCNews is a great fan site. Watching the community over the years always makes me smile. Thanks for staying strong over the years and keeping the spirit of Wing Commander alive. We literally couldn't do it without you!

J. Allen Brack
"Blair"

A Phenomical Purchase

Reuters has posted a press release announcing that Electronic Arts has purchased Phenomic, a German game development house:
LEIPZIG, Germany, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc., the world's biggest video game publisher, said on Wednesday it has bought German firm Phenomic for an undisclosed sum to gain a better foothold in real-time strategy games.

"We expect real-time strategy combined with broadband to open new, wider markets," Gerhard Florin, head of international publishing at EA, told Reuters in an interview.

The interesting thing about this announcement is the unusual focus: online RTS games. These are in no way a proven trend - combined with the money EA is spending on relaunching the Command and Conquer series, they must have a very interesting strategy mapped out. We can be happy that their future plans involve trying something unproven rather than simply waiting for other companies to develop the next big thing. Lets hope this new spirit will someday include bringing back Wing Commander!

Everything Old Is UO Again

Multima is getting a fresh coat of paint -- and then some! In a surprise announcement, Electronic Arts has revealed that significant changes are in store for their flagship MMPRPG. Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn will completely revamp the game's aging graphics... while attempting to maintain the low system requirements and gameplay style that keeps UO popular a decade after its initial launch. You can read the announcement here, or check out three exciting new screenshots below. Kingdom Reborn should appear in 2007, and is yet more proof that Electronic Arts is dedicated to maintaining its valuable Origin properties.

The Search Goes On

Having trouble finding the right news article? Kris has a solution for you -- he's testing an all new boolean search engine! Now you can pinpoint exactly what you need in our archive, which encompasses more than eight years and seven thousand Wing Commander updates. You can access the new News Search function here. If you run into any trouble, please contact us. A similar search feature is also available for the forums here.

EA Replay's Release Date Slides

GameStop has adjusted its product listing for EA Replay, the Origin compilation that includes Wing Commander ports for the Sony PSP. They now project a November 7 ship date, back from an original estimate of October 3. The new date puts the game right in the thick of the holiday shopping season. Other retailers have joined in the fun as well. Amazon is now preselling the game for $27.99 and expecting a December 4 release. Until EA officially announces the title, we're likely to see the dates continue to bounce around a bit. Here are a few other retailers' predictions.

X3 Hit By Kilrathi Rebellion

Hunter is working on a Wing Commander mod for X3 Reunion called Kilrathi Rebellion. The project will also use elements from other space sims and some fan creations. From what we could glean from Hunter's announcement, these are some of the new features that X3 players will see:
  • Confederation and Kilrathi factions
  • New space sectors from the Wing Commander universe
  • All ships from Wing Commander 3
  • Some craft from other Wing Commander titles
  • Tachyon guns, anti-matter cannons, ship killer torpedoes and beam weapons
  • New space stations
  • Fighter turrets
  • A Bomber ship class
  • Jump points replace the game's jump gates

Readers wary of the controversial StarForce copy protection can buy the game online from the Steam service.

The Little Excalibur That Could

Rylex meant to send us a fancy wallpaper for the CIC Birthday Party a week ago, but wound up in the hospital instead. Despite a torn muscle that has restricted the use of his right arm, he's managed to finish this pretty artwork and send it in. This is a revised version of his scene that's a bit less busy. One of his original draft designs is available through the alternate 1024 link below.

Best wishes to the CIC and here are the presents. I'm proud to announce the wallpaper called "Hope"...

I hope I could give a little credit to the CIC and to Wing Commander. And I even hope when I get back to IRC again that I could do some space combat against some of you with the new multiplayer patch. Once I was unbeaten in Armada when I played it with my friends. I would like to try to fight against others in the world. ;)

So Much For Blockade Points

Here's a neat animation made by Major Striker. It features his venerable Krant launching a massive strike on what appears to be the Perry Naval Base. This is actually one of his older clips that just now bubbled up to the surface. Try the 5 meg avi on for yourself here.

Blair Gets The Point In Alternate Ending

Maverick's Soul has taken bits and pieces of Wing Commander 3 footage to create an alternate ending for the game. His source material comes from the winning and losing WC3 endgames and the console ports' version of the Temblor insertion on Kilrah. There's no new footage here, but this edit provides a cute "what if" scenario. You can grab the 60 meg wmv here or provide feedback at Crius.net here.

The ending that I've made is an ending that I think Blair would've wanted and would be an appropriate end to the series if there wasn't a WC4 (and a certain scene in WC3 didn't happen...)

Don't Forget To Claim Prizes

So far we've only heard back from about half the lucky fans who won prizes at the CIC Birthday Party on August 10. If you haven't yet submitted your address, please do so soon. Everyone who has already submitted their address should get a receipt email by tonight. Because most of the CIC staff will be leaving for our annual convention in a couple of days, some of the prizes won't ship out until next month. Here are the winners once again.
  • Prophecy Flight Suit - eddieb
  • Wing Commander 4 DVD - Iceheart, Wedge
  • BlackLance.org $25 Gift Certificates - Bob McDob, Fraix
  • PeteyG's CCG Starter Combo - Powell99, Sarty
  • CIC Playing Cards - LeHah, Jacob_Ward, Sgt_thomson, Sarty
  • CIC Glass - Fatcat, Alkarion, Sarty, Ghost, MNelson
  • CIC Hat - RATM, HCl, Bob McDob
  • CIC Eisen Shirt (include size) - ZJXGoku137Z, oTT\Grim, Maverick
  • CIC Polo Shirt (include size) - Grimloc
  • Confed Replica Patch - Quarto, Shades, LeHah
  • WC Novel (submit top three preferences) - t-c-cgi, stone48420, Trashcan
  • WC Movie Poster - Gryphon
  • WC Movie Soundtrack - HCl, Wedge WC Movie DVD - Ghost
  • WC Action Figure (submit preference) - HCl, Enoch
  • WC2 OEM - Justice, Wedge
An update for our post-party trivia contest will be posted soon.

New WC4 Homeworld Vid Dishes Out The Goods

BrynS has released another gameplay video of the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod in action. This one is a bit more focused on specific elements that fans have been asking about. The clip features extensive fighter combat between paired off Confed and Border Worlds forces. Stationary turrets are seen in action for the first time, and the scene ends by demonstrating the catastrophic results of a poorly planned capital ship strike. The 40 meg divx/xvid is available here. Dialup users can also grab the 15 meg wmv here. Additional videos detailing boming runs, capship battles, coordinated fleet actions and more are in the works.

Darkstar One Now Shipping

DarkStar One finally began shipping in North America this week. We've heard from a number of Wing Commander fans who've played the demo, and the feedback is pretty positive. Reviews have also been favorable so far, and quite a few have compared this title to the Wing Commander series. Another such article is available at GameZone here.
During combat, though, the interface really shines. DarkStar One plays like a flight simulator in the same spirit as the Wing Commander series or X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. The ship steers itself to follow the mouse pointer, which also functions as the targeting crosshairs for the weapons built into your ship. Unlike other games where weapons only fired directly ahead it is possible to aim away from a direct path in a narrow cone. Since your ship will turn to face that direction it allows players to target ships that are flying past for more than a single heartbeat. The addition of afterburners, reverse thrusters, “strafing” jets that allow side-to-side movement, and an easy-to-use roll system give players outstanding maneuverability.

Expanding Our Movie Library

We've been quietly adding videos to the new Holovids section since the birthday. Many existing entries have had information added or corrected. Don't hesitate to notify us if you notice any broken links. Here's what's new in this update: In addition, Mobygames' Trixter has provided us with a cleaner version of the Wing Commander 3 Making Of sequence. It even turned out smaller than the older DivX file because a more efficient video codec was used. You will need either VLC (recommended), Quicktime or the CoreAVC codec to play this file.

Region II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi

We recently reported on a new Region 2 release of the Wing Commander movie DVD. Mark Smids was good enough to provide a nice high resolution scan of the movie's artwork. Unfortunately, he also reports that there are no new features in this release:
Last week I bought the re-release dvd of the WC movie here in Holland. You might be interested in the cover sheet of this release, so I have included a high-res scan of the sheet. The text on the back is a direct translation of this text.

Unfortunately there are no special features present on the DVD, so it is just the movie (16:9), scene selection and a static menu. Subtitles: English and Dutch.

Sounds like erstwhile importers won't find anything compelling here... but if you're that hard core, you can order a copy here.

Watch Saga Strakha Engage Its Cloak

Patient fans seem to be pretty impressed by WC Saga's new Strakha model, so the Saga team pulled it out once again. They've released a small divx video that shows the ship entering and exiting its invisible state. Lars modeled the fighter originally, and ScoobyDoo reworked it for the Freespace 2 engine. The goal was to simulate WC4's CGI cloak effect in-game, and this looks pretty close. Grab the clip for yourself here.

Now you see him . . . now you don't

Questions Raised About Wing Commander For PSP

EGM's 1UP gaming website has written a small article about the EA Replay announcement that introduces more questions than it answers, but hopefully we can clear up a few things right here. They list "Wing Commander 2" instead of "Wing Commander: Secret Missions," which appears to just be an error. The Secret Missions for Super Nintendo was mistakenly referred to as "Wing Commander 2" occasionally in the mid 1990s, and the unreleased SNES WC2 would have been a very different game. 1UP received no official word on the compilation by EA, so it seems that they're incorrectly reposting the information from GameStop's product listing. They also posted this unusual update:
Electronic Arts didn't exactly deny this collection is in-the-works to 1UP, they simply told us "EA has not officially announced any new PSP titles." Take that for what you will, but given the description (which has now been pulled dowm from GameStop), we're inclined to call this a PR blunder.
EA doesn't comment on unannounced titles, so their response is to be expected. Since the item wasn't even pulled off the GameStop site, we're not sure what they're talking about. Other sites are starting to list the EA Replay in their catalogs as well, so we're probably mere days or weeks away from an official Electronic Arts kick off for this.

News Travels Fast On This Tub

Excited about more handheld Wing Commander? So are a lot of people -- Kris has collected articles from all around the world about the news. To recap, several retailers are have begun listing "EA Replay," a PSP game that includes fourteen classic console ports... including Wing Commander and The Secret Missions. It's scheduled for an October 3rd release. Here's the word:
ComputerAndVideoGames - EA Showering PSP with Retro Love?
Yahoo!Games - EA to Release PSP Retro Comp?
PSP World - EA Retro Game Collection Surface
QJ.NET - EA Replay: Retro EA Games Coming to the PSP
PSX Extreme - PSP Getting EA Collection
Sony Joystiq - Yet Another Classics Compilation, This Time From EA
Finally, for those who've asked, the screenshots we've attached are not of this new release -- they're simply Wing Commander I still pictures displayed on a PSP. It's really a versatile little machine...

We Can Still Win!

Here's an important reminder - our delayed birthday trivia contest is still open. No one has submitted entirely correct answers yet! If you did not attend our party and would like to win a Wing Commander IV DVD (the nice kind!), answer these questions:
Q1: How do you return to the WC3 installation program after the game is installed?

Q2: What type of generators allow the Flux Beam gun to cause major damage?

Q3: During the making of Wing Commander Prophecy, what other movie's lost scenes did Mark Hamill talk about?

Q4: What company designed the Freij and Frej MK II?

Q5: After his accident, Lev Arris recieved a letter from Hermes Off-Planet Control. Americans know the author as Ian Esperanto... who wrote the letter in England?

The questions look hard, but the correct answers are all located in plain view in the newly opened sections -- check the links in our birthday update for details. E-mail your responses here.

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander for the PSP!

Think you don't need a PSP? Well, think again! GameSpot is reporting that Electronic Arts will release a new compilation of games for the Sony PSP gaming system. "EA Replay" will include fourteen Origin-developed games, including Ultima VII, Wing Commander and The Secret Missions! The pack is scheduled for an October 3rd release, priced at $29.99. In all likelyhood, these are ports of the SNES versions of these games -- so get ready to take on some Green Salthi!

GameStop has a listing for the product here, and it includes a very detailed description:

Step back to the dawn of console gaming's golden age with this collection of classics. Play hits from Road Rash, Strike and other legendary series in the first EA compilation of classic handheld games. Go head-to-head with friends in multiplayer mode on select titles. You can even unlock original game art, play in widescreen or normal mode, and save any game at any point. Take fun with you - anytime, anywhere!

  • Ultima: The Black Gate: Solve the mystery that has befallen Britannia before its manifestation is complete!
  • Wing Commander: Lead your elite Tiger's Claw squadron against the forces of the Kilrathi Empire.
  • Wing Commander: Secret Missions: Come face to face with the ultimate threat to mankind, a weapon capable of destroying entire planets!
  • If you're like me, you'll be shopping for a new game system tomorrow. The core version currently retails for $199 (Amazon) and the standard bundle sells for $250 (Amazon). The fact that Electronic Arts is again interested in making these games available at retail is amazing news for fans... news which is almost more exciting than the fact that we'll be able to play these classics in a whole new way!

    New Flight Commander Mod Mixes Universes

    There's a new Flight Commander campaign in the works. Perfect Plan already has an intro chapter with about five functional missions to build from. These missions and a speech pack are available in testing form now. Parts of the game also build on elements developed for Ranger's Glory, and the RG Christmas Pack is necessary to play. There will be an option later on to play as the opposing side, effectively doubling the size of the game. The story seems to be a bit of a crossover with Sonic Underground from what I can tell. Maybe Kyran's premise below will make more sense to some of you than it did to me.

    The Perfect Plan (for Flight Commander) opens with Stephen returning to the Sonic Underground after the receiving a distress call. Upon arriving a wing of Alliance fighters lead by Spite (voiced by Ian) began their attack. After intense fighting Stephen's wing and the Sonic Underground are severely damaged and are forced to Network HQ to rearm. Once there they are informed that their beloved carrier is be handed over for special assignment.

    Cyberion Takes On The Galaxy

    The Birthday nods continue to trickle in. Cyberion submitted this wallpaper today. The background comes from NASA's Milky Way archives, and Cyberion did a bit of work on a traditional Confederation symbol on top. Thanks!

    Privateer 2 CCG In The Works

    For the last couple months, Jacob Hudson has been designing cards for a customizable card game based on Deacan's Das Erwachen fan novel set during Privateer 2. Some elements come straight from the game and others are related to Deacan's story. The general card art is from a variety of sources, and Jacob is interested in art submissions people have for other cards. So far, just ship cards are derived from game screenshots. Only a handful of designs have been shown off, but hopefully the CIC's new P2 Ship Database and Cinematic Archive will provide a helpful new resources for future development. The rules are currently in work and will be released for testing purposes when they are ready.

    You can also find out more about the official Wing Commander CCG here.

    Comic Angel Has A Special Message

    Each year we have a few news submissions that arrive too late to make it into the Birthday slate of updates. In addition to Jacob's final CCG card above, Paragon has also produced a neat piece of art for us. The pilot in his comic drawing is Angel, and it looks pretty sharp.

    Time To Claim Party Prizes

    The CIC Birthday Party is over, so now we've got a lot of cleaning up to do. All the people who won prizes during our trivia contests should claim them by submitting their mailing addresses. Be sure to include your IRC and real name, plus size/preference where appropriate. Here are the prizes and list of winners.
    • Prophecy Flight Suit - eddieb
    • Wing Commander 4 DVD - Iceheart, Wedge
    • BlackLance.org $25 Gift Certificates - Bob McDob, Fraix
    • PeteyG's CCG Starter Combo - Powell99, Sarty
    • CIC Playing Cards - LeHah, Jacob_Ward, Sgt_thomson, Sarty
    • CIC Glass - Fatcat, Alkarion, Sarty, Ghost, MNelson
    • CIC Hat - RATM, HCl, Bob McDob
    • CIC Eisen Shirt (include size) - ZJXGoku137Z, oTT\Grim, Maverick
    • CIC Polo Shirt (include size) - Grimloc
    • Confed Replica Patch - Quarto, Shades, LeHah
    • WC Novel (submit top three preferences) - t-c-cgi, stone48420, Trashcan
    • WC Movie Poster - Gryphon
    • WC Movie Soundtrack - HCl, Wedge WC Movie DVD - Ghost
    • WC Action Figure (submit preference) - HCl, Enoch
    • WC2 OEM - Justice, Wedge
    Congratulations to everyone who won!

    Party Logs Now Available

    The party logs are available for those who couldn't make the online gathering. Check out the full transcript here. The timestamps are in Pacific time, so the party begins at 16:00. Don't worry if you missed the actual event, because all of our site updates are still up for everyone to see. There is still no winner for our after-party trivia, so you may still have a chance there. Note that this game is for people who didn't attend actual the party.

    Happy 8th Birthday, CIC!

    Welcome, WingNuts to the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 8th Anniversary Party!

    This year, we're celebrating more than just our success and the amazing quality of our community: 2006 also marks the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest games of all time, Privateer 2: The Darkening. With that in mind, we've decided to focus many of this years efforts on that often overlooked title. Read below to see the many updates we have ready for you - including a giant collection of videos, some behind the screens material, an all new Darkening ships database and a tech support section that will help everyone keep playing Wing Commander forever.

    In honor of this event we have asked Erin Roberts, the man in charge of Privateer 2 and the brother of series creator Chris Roberts', to say a few words about the game and his work. Here's Erin:

    I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that WC News was having a 10th anniversary celebration for Privateer2. Unlike all the other Origin titles I had worked on before (Wing Commander, Strike Commander and Privateer) this project was the first real project that I produced and directed from start to finish. Before P2, I worked with my brother on WC and SC as a designer / Associate Producer, and although I took over the role of Producer on the original Privateer in it's last year, my job was more to polish and get it into a box then really creatively design.

    So anyway as a filler I thought I'd give you a brief history of what was going on during that time. (If it gets a little boring feel free to stop reading)

    It was only a couple of months after Privateer shipped that I transferred to work in the UK with Electronic Arts who had acquired Origin a few months before, and here, with a few of the guys who Chris and I used to develop with in the UK, the idea for Privateer 2 was hatched. To be clear, when we first started working on the game it was only known as the "Darkening", not Privateer 2, that was to come later. We wanted to create a game which expanded on the premise of Privateer, allowing players to travel where they wanted, garner wealth and build up and buy bigger and better ships. We also wanted to give the player a much larger selection of missions, as well as a Wing Commander style driven story, driving the player through the game.

    At the beginning we had no real plans to go with FMV, but that all changed with the success of Wing Commander 3, and with a studio wide re-org at EA. Development in the UK came under the same umbrella as Origin. Robert Garriott (Origin's CEO) was put in charge, and we were given the resources to film our FMV sequences ($4 Million budget). Due to the increase in our development costs, it was decided (by people outside the development team and to be fair many at Origin also) that the Darkening had to be tied into the Wing Commander Universe. Although I did not especially agree with this decision, I could see why with the increased expense, senior management / marketing wanted to alleviate some of their risk through branding the title in the WC / Privateer Universe. Although P2 was not set in WC space, we created a number of tie ins through missions and rumours to connect the two universes, to allow the new branding to take place.

    All the film sequences were shot in Pinewood Studios next to the now burnt down 007 Stage. And as we hit that magical time, when actors were interested in this new interactive digital medium, we were very lucky to solicit the help of some of my favourite actors, balancing the main cast between the US, Europe and the UK. The shoot took 7 weeks, and involved a crew of well over 100 and if I remember at least 30 actors and over 50 extras... It was probably the most stressful 7 weeks of my life, mistakes are very costly when you are going through $100,000 a day, but I must say also probably one of the best experiences also. The crew were great and the actors, especially Clive Owen and John Hurt were really nice guys.

    The game was developed 200 miles north of Pinewood Studios near the city of Manchester, in a little suburb called Poynton. The main team was made up of myself, three programmers and seven artists, who also towards the end of the project took on the responsibility of designing many of the text based missions. To be fair it was a big learning experience for all of us, and I think it would be fair to say that we had our fair share of issues / personality conflicts to deal with during this time. In fact once the project finished, there was a complete melt down at the office, which led to many people (including myself) going our different ways... I went back to Austin to join my brother in forming Digital Anvil, along with a number of the guys from Poynton, some guys stayed at EA and moved down south, and another group created a new team and formed a company called 'Warthog", which you will recognise as the developers who I worked with on 'Starlancer'.

    On the whole, I think Privateer 2 was a sort of coming of age for me. It was the first real time I was solely responsible from ground up for such a large project and budget, and not only was I trying to direct and design and help push the game to where it needed to be, but I had to manage people and attempt to get the best out of them. (A task which I failed at on more then one occasion). Some times it felt like a fight to get us to where we needed to be, (and sometimes it was) but in the end I think everyone who worked on the project looks back with a lot of pride in what we achieved, especially given the challenges we faced, not least in our own naivety, as many of us learned on the job.

    On behalf of everyone who's worked on the WC universe, thanks for your support, it's great that there is still a community out there supporting WC which we've spent many a happy hour helping to build, and forms personally the best memories of my working life.

    Take care,
    Erin

    Preview A Special Prophecy Pack

    As August 10 got nearer and nearer, rumors have swirled about the status of HCl's Prophecy Multiplayer Patch. Does it really exist? Will it be released on the Birthday? Did HCl die? In fact, he did not, and here he is with a special birthday gift for you!
    Finally, an update! What have I been up to lately? Well, unfortunately Real-Life responsibilities have succeeded in keeping me very busy, so I haven't been able to divert much time to my usual WC activities. This means that the Multiplayer Patch hasn't seen that much progress for the past few months, and it still doesn't have the functionality I intended for a first release. However, in celebration of the 8th CIC Birthday, I decided to put together a package that will allow everyone to take the MP patch for a spin and try it out by hosting your own games and battlng it out in the WCP engine.

    It must be stressed, however, that this is experimental code, probably around beta quality. There is still much improvement to be made, such as making the code lag-tolerant and making a decent communication protocol, since most of the work done so far was determining what does what on the game EXE and studying how to best modify existing code to implement multiplayer functionality. This being said, have fun and try to be tolerant of any problems you encounter. ;-)

    Download the test release of the Wing Commander Prophecy Enhancement Pack here! Unzip it to your Prophecy directory, but note that it will overwrite your Prophecy.exe unless you back it up first. The pack is actually more than just a multiplayer patch. It incorporates the video skip fix, new high resolution upgrade and multiplayer patch all together. Install.exe configures the high res patch, and Multiplayer.exe launches the online component. One person runs the game as the server, and everyone else connects to his IP address in client mode. Be sure port 5555 is forwarding through your router/firewall, and stop by #Wingnut to meet up with other players. Have fun!

    What Shall We Watch Tonight?

    In what is almost an annual tradition, we have added a new CIC color! CIC Red (main site), CIC Blue (encyclopedia), CIC Teal (game guides), CIC Green (ships) and CIC Gray (document archive) are joined by CIC Yellow: the Holovids movie archive (VISIT HERE). Trailers and previews, original cinematics and long lost scenes have been collected and organized. Go behind the scenes of your favorite Wing Commander productions. Check out interviews with cast and crew on the actual sets. Fan-made music videos offer a fresh take on familiar characters and stories. Dozens upon dozens of videos from eight years of CIC history as well as new, never before seen footage awaits! At the center of it all are two exciting new items that come courtesy of the Origin Museum for this double anniversary. Read on to find out what they are.

    Play Classic Wing Commander Games With Ease

    One of the important things we do here at the CIC is help fellow fans gets their older Wing Commander games up and running. It was hard enough back in the early 1990s, but a whole new generation of challenges confronts eager players in 2006. Fortunately, we now have much better tools to get classic titles running smoothly, and we're lucky to have an army of knowledgable fans to teach newcomers how to use them. That job gets slightly easier today with the new Wing Commander CIC Tech Support section. It's designed to walk fans through the basic steps from installation to play time. Although this new area is not yet complete, it already features detailed instructons on how to get every retail DOS Wing Commander game playing on a modern system running Windows XP, Mac OS or Linux. WC games made natively for Windows will be added next. So get out your old discs and diskettes and enjoy! If you have any questions about getting Wing Commander games to run that the new Tech Support section doesn't answer, visit the Crius.net Tech Support Forum!

    Privateer 2 Cinematics Now Online

    The Origin Museum has kindly sent us a copy of a DVD containing many of the cinematics from Privateer 2 : The Darkening, and we are happy to be able to make them available to you! The original source for the DVD is a VHS tape which was donated to the museum so while the quality isn't DVD quality, it is still higher quality than the video used in the game. Sadly there were a few scenes missing from the tape, most notably the intro and the first Joe the Bartender scene but the rest is well worth a look. You can find the videos in the Privateer 2 part of the Holovids Cinematics section.

    Update: a large zip file with all 24 movies is also available here. (730 MB)

    A Flag Full Of Starships

    It's time to face the music: our old Privateer 2 Ships Database was kind of plain. It was missing a vast array of ships, it lacked many screenshots and the specifications themselves had more holes in them than a Jincilla Skull. Worst of all, some of the pirate cruisers were just pictures of cats! With that in mind, we are proud to present Ships 2 - Privateer 2, a complete overhaul of our Privateer 2 ships section!

    This update adds full specifications, text descriptions, more than twenty five megabytes of pictures (check the link below every graphic for a higher resolution image of each ship) and, shockingly, more than 30 missing ships! While spending many hours in the Tri-System for this project, I came across ships I'd never even heard of before -- ever seen a Kiowan Cruiser? A Previa shuttlecraft? How about a SpaceLab - Type 2? Now you can!

    You can access the new material by faction: pirates, CIS/military and civilian (and also weapons).

    What Are You Standoffing Around For?

    And, of course, the crown prince of Wing Commander fan projects, Standoff, has something for us! Check out this amazing wallpaper:

    But wait, there's more! Their news site has been updated with some exciting information:
    the losing path missions for episode 4 are approximately halfway done. It's just that by now, we should be nearing the end of the episode, and that doesn't seem to be the case . Rest assured, however, that we are still here, and we still very much hope to have Episode 4 completed this year.

    Finally, I've added one new screenshot. Every once in a while, people ask us whether there will be more missions with ship choices in Episodes 4 and 5. This screenshot, we hope, answers that question once and for all - yes, there will be more such missions, and it won't be just your standard fighter vs. bomber choices, either. In a few missions, you will get to choose from no less than three ships - the Rapier, Sabre, and the Crossbow.

    Now You Know The Rest of the Storyboard

    Joe Garrity, of the Origin Museum, has provided more than just those amazing videos: he was also kind enough to provide our archive with scans of Privateer 2 storyboards -- roughly fifty pages of them! These are the drawings upon which every FMV sequence in the game was based... watch the movies and read along! You can find them in a zipped PDF here (50 mb).

    Attached: A Real Press Kitten

    ... and Joe wasn't done yet. Last, but not least is a Privateer 2 press kit! This is the document which introduced audiences at the 1996 Electronic Entertainment Expo to Privateer 2: The Darkening... and check out the Clive Owen headshot they attached! Heck, just the Origin letterhead makes me nostalgic. Download your copy here (4 mb).

    You're My Wingman, Bruiser McDoozer

    Erin Roberts was also nice enough to put us into contact with veteran Privateer 2 programmer Paul Hughes (in fact, they're working together at the newly formed Embryonic Studios alongside another Darkening veteran, Nick Elms -- expect big things!). Paul turned out to be a great guy who was happy to help with our birthday bash! First up from him was a set of images of Privateer 2's wingmen... who, it turns out, were mostly developers! I've formatted the pictures together with the in-game Booth descriptions of the pilots... and have attached Paul's notation as to who's who in 'real life'. As a bonus, there's actually two mystery wingmen, who don't appear in the finished game -- they're at the bottom. Read the article here.

    He's a Real Caricature

    Paul also happened to have another neat set of images handy -- full sized scans of the development team caricatures which appear at the end of the game! Hit escape after you found out Kronos' identity? Then you missed one of the strangest Wing Commander credit sequences ever made... and now you can relive it! You can find them here. Can you name all the team members? If so, let us know and we'll ship you out a CIC Pen! If not, we'll add the names in a few days -- good luck!

    The Burning Questions

    After all that, Paul Hughes was still kind enough to answer some of my most nagging questions. We've collected them all in an interview article. It's obscure stuff about how Privateer 2 works and who built it that way -- but it's certainly required and fascinating reading for anyone who's paying attention a decade later! Find out exactly how registration numbers work and why the Windows 95 port was too fast here.

    Retro-Active Interviews

    Enjoy reading current comments from Erin Roberts and Paul Hughes? Then maybe you'd like to see some from ten years ago. We've collected a pair of Privateer 2 interviews that happened way back in 1996. The first is an interview with Erin Roberts that was conducted by this site's predecessor, WCHS, before the game was released. You can find that here -- one of my first Wing Commander news jobs was writing questions for the interviewer!

    The second is a chat log of Origin's official Privateer 2 release chat. This session was held in 1997 shortly after the release of the game, and featured Paul Hughes answering questions. Because of problems with Ultima Online fans coupled with a freak ice storm in Austin, the chat was very short... but there's enough of my fifteen year old self asking questions to make me think twice about linking it! Read it here.

    Highway to the PC Zone

    Back in 1996, PC Zone magazine produced a special 20-page Privateer 2 preview booklet. It interviewed all aspects of the team, including programmers, the guys behind the full motion video... even the sound engineer! It was a beautiful magazine which featured many early screenshots -- look very closely and you'll see some unusual things... including an Ilia Mk. III and a set of Booth entries that didn't make it into the finished game! This is all thanks to Skyfox, who sent me a copy many years ago. You can get a copy as a very high resolution PDF here. I wonder who won that leather jacket?

    Manual Override

    Here's something a lot of people don't know: different versions of Privateer 2 featured readically different manuals! It's strange but true - the original UK release came with a "Crius Hospital Rehabilitation Guide" and an in-universe "Guide to Space Travel"... while the American version came with a single booklet, "Your Guide to the Universe". Well, it's time for the walls to come back: thanks to the scanning efforts of Kris Vanhecke and myself, now everyone can have both manuals! Get the American version here (13 mb, PDF) and the British set here (15 mb, PDF).

    Think Outside the Box

    ... and that's not the only thing that changed between the versions. The American release of Privateer 2 has radically different cover art than its European counterart. Here's the proof -- a giant space eye versus a space battle... and then a cool hospital dossier versus an ordinary description. Which do you like best?

    Did Anyone Catch the Number of that Straith?

    Here's a little one -- but useful none the less. We've finally gone through and updated our Booth Transcripts with all of the ship registration data. Wondering why Galactic Freight E247_135D isn't around? Now you have a quick reference to find out (it's serving a six month ban for traffic by-law infractions). You can download the article here.

    Grin and Blair It

    Too much Privateer 2 for you? Well, you made it this far -- here's a present courtesy of the Origin Museum! It's a six minute making of segment from Wing Commander Prophecy -- watch Commodore Blair get slimed for his Nephilim torture sequence! You can find it in the new video archive here.

    He Has a Point -- Eight of Them

    Keenan Weaver, aka, ZFGokuSSJ1, has some fan art for us. He says: "I thought the CIC needed a very generic Confed wallpaper... so here ya go!" Well... there we go! Goku would also like you to visit his Crusader website, Echo Sector, a community hub for Origin's third most famous series.

    Trivia Redux

    Every year we hear from people who had to miss the party due to professional obligations but still would love to participate... well, here's your chance. If you missed the birthday, answer these five trivia questions correctly -- one lucky winner will receive a coveted Wing Commander IV DVD! Good luck:
    Q1: How do you return to the WC3 installation program after the game is installed?

    Q2: What type of generators allow the Flux Beam gun to cause major damage?

    Q3: During the making of Wing Commander Prophecy, what other movie's lost scenes did Mark Hamill talk about?

    Q4: What company designed the Freij and Frej MK II?

    Q5: After his accident, Lev Arris received a letter from Hermes Off-Planet Control. Americans know the author as Ian Esperanto... who wrote the letter in England?

    Tough as nails? Well, yes -- but the answers are all in our new sections, so get exploring! The first person to e-mail us the answers after noon EST tomorrow wins the prize. E-mail your responses here.

    Wing Commander Online Popularity Bigger Than Ever

    On our second birthday, six years ago to the day, we posted some interesting CIC statistics. It's been a long time since our daily transfer averaged a mere 220 megabytes, so here are some more up-to-date figures for you. The main site comprises over a gigabyte in HTML pages and various graphics. Our 7,200 updates have accumulated some 700 megs of news pictures. Since 1998 our front page has received well over four million visits and it should approach a million hits for this year alone, making 2006 our best year yet. On average, eager Wingnuts request 25,000 webpages and generate 40 gigabytes in traffic every single day. File and music downloads (which take up some 14 gigabytes of space) account for the bulk of our traffic. This graph shows the evolution in front page hits in the six years since our last statistics update. Thanks for coming!

    Freedom for Chat Zone Mutants

    Managed to get yourself banned from the Chat Zone in the past year? Well, don't feel bad, it happens to a lot of people... and now you're in the clear, because this message is a blanket amnesty for all but the three worst offenders in celebration of the site's birthday! Welcome back, pilots, and play nice.

    Birthday Poll - Count Your Rings

    We have a tradition at these events, when it comes to polls -- we'd like to know how long you've been visiting the CIC. Were you a loyal WCHS reader in the mid-90s? Were you around for our grand opening bash? Just how many of these birthdays have you seen?

    As for our last poll, it looks like the majority of you would have joined the Mercenaries' Guild, given the option... and Admiral Tolwyn's Strategic Readiness Agency was a close second. Those are the two roles that were most closely tied with the games themselves -- with those options, it's no surprise that only a precious few selected the Church of Man. Hey, what were you Retros using to vote with, anyway?

    Jacket and Jill Went Up The Hill

    Here's a last minute submission from the Origin Museum -- a picture of an official Privateer 2 crew jacket! Check it out:

    This Takes The... You Know

    ... and what party would be complete without an honest to goodness cake? Here's one kindly set up by my mom! 'W' for Wing Commander, 'P' for Privateer 2 and then 8 and 10 for the 8th and 10th anniversaries we're celebrating. Delicious.

    Goodnight and Thank You!

    We sincerely hope you have all enjoyed the evening, the features, the prizes and the company. The birthday is our favorite time of year, and we're looking forward to number nine.

    As always, this event may have been marking the website's birthday, but it really exists to celebrate you. Wing Commander fans have come together to build an amazing community. Fan projects like Standoff, Saga and Fleet Commander amaze not only WingNuts but the rest of the world as well. You are a dedicated, intelligent and interesting group of people who deserve more than the small honor this site can bestow upon you in an evening. Pat yourselves on the back one more time, you've done the series proud again.

    A special thanks to Erin Roberts and Paul Hughes for helping out with the Privateer 2 aspect of our celebration. Their game really was a spectacular achievement, and if you haven't played it yet then start hunting for a copy! That same thanks goes out to Joe Garrity and Mario "HCl" Brito, who both went through extraordinary efforts to make sure this really was a happy birthday!

    You are Cordially Invited...

    To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's eighth birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT) in #Wingnut!

    Featuring...

  • New CIC Features!
  • Special Archival Materials!
  • A Monolith-load of Prizes!
  • More than Enough Trivia!
  • An ASCII Picture of a Cake!
  • Your Best Pals, the CIC Staff!

    Check out the fabulous prizes here!

    So point your IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC just check our #Wingnut section, or just use our Java Client.

  • Searching For A Part of Gold?

    LeHah has found something neat - a UK game compilation that includes PDF versions of the Wing Commander Prophecy Gold manual and European reference card... and now they're available for download. Now you can access the second set of Cerberus specifications and Paladin's letter to Casey any time you want! Grab a copy of the manual here (949k) and a copy of the card here (234k). You can find a host of other Wing Commander manuals in our documentation section.

    Bioforge + System Shock = ?

    When we told you the 'flight' advertisements (here) were the last Origin scans from Alkarion, we lied. He was dedicated enough to provide scans for three Origin games that aren't directly related to Wing Commander's development: Shadow Caster, System Shock and Bioforge.

    Shadow Caster was another one of Richard Garriott's attempts to support developing games in unique directions distinct from Origin's 'standard' Wing Commander and Ultima releases. Unfortunately, it wasn't the breakout hit that some believe it deserved to be. The game featured an at-the-time unheared of first person interface and the still fairly unique feature of being able to morph into different types of animals.

    System Shock was a very early (and very complex) first person shooter/RPG. It was eventually followed by Looking Glass' System Shock 2, and rumors of a third game in the series being in development persist to this day. The CD version of System Shock included an amazing Wing Commander mini-game, "Wing 0". You can read all about it here.

    Bioforge was the second title released under Origin's 1994 "interactive movie" brand. Unlike Ultima VIII, the title was more than just an attempt to cash in on Wing Commander III's success: Bioforge was a uniquely cinematic adventure game with a healthy mix of action thrown in. Does it have anything to do with Wing Commander? Well, it shares a 3D space shuttle with the introduction to Super Wing Commander!

    High Res High Res High Res

    Remember To Buy A Book About The Day After Pearl Harbor

    What's Wing Commander novelist Dr. William Forstchen up to these days? What more likely place to answer that question than US News and World Report. Owing to his partnership with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Dr. Forstchen's next book has been brought to light in the regular Washington Whispers political column. And that plan is... more historical fiction, eighty years later:
    With his trilogy of Civil War novels behind him, Newt Gingrich is on to his next writing project: a novel about the Pacific theater in World War II. Writing with longtime collaborator William Forstchen, the former House speaker is titling the book December 8. That's Pearl Harbor Day, Tokyo time. "We're trying to capture the essence of how Roosevelt was maneuvering in the Pacific," Gingrich says. "His real focus was on Europe, but he was trying to contain the Japanese." Heavy stuff, but Gingrich writes historical fiction to escape. "I lose myself in history as though it were a novel," says the onetime college history professor, who's considering a 2008 run for president. "I get lost in, 'What would FDR do?'"

    Stargamer.Net My Destination

    Despite Electronic Arts' apparent position on Wing Commander, space games are making a comeback -- games like X, Eve, Darkstar One and the like are showing up with more and more frequency from smaller development houses. Now Richard Shoemaker and Martin Ellis are taking advantage of that fact to do something someone should have done a long time: build a space game portal site. Stargamer.net is now available! They say: "the site... will provide industry and community news, reviews of games, mods and remakes and interviews with developers of classic and contemporary titles. We will start with a review of Empire At War, previews of Darkstar One and Sword Of The Stars and an interview with the leader of the Battlestar Galactic: Fleet Command mod for Homeworld 2. ...Not a great deal of content to begin with, admittedly, but from tiny bolts giant battlecruisers are built, or so they say." Sounds like just what we need -- better move over, A Talent For War!

    Wing Commander Fan Strikes With Daring

    Forums member A.Non has been quietly working on his WC1-era story over in the Fan Fiction Zone. The prologue and five chapters of the first episode, Incursions, are up for your enjoyment. The story began a year ago this month, and Mr. Non has kept up with it regularly ever since.
    He sat by the small square table, grateful for a moment's privacy. The transport seemed to have stopped briefly every other system in order to deliver or pick up other people proceeding to their respective assignments. The transport had left Earth roughly two weeks ago, and so far he had shared his two man cabin with a marine seargeant, a pale faced youth joining his first ship, a corvette, a doctor proceeding to a military hospital and a loud mouthed technician heading for the McAuliffe dockyard itself.

    The story is titled "Strike With Daring." You can read the completed portions and provide feedback at Crius.net here.

    DragonCon Only Weeks Away

    Although the CIC staff is busy preparing for the Birthday Party, we're also making final arrangements for our trip to DragonCon in just a few weeks. The event takes place in Atlanta, Georgia from September 1-4, and some of us will be getting together earlier in the week (if we can make it through airport security). If you'll be in town on Saturday, September 2, be sure to check us out in the annual science fiction parade. Elsewhere at the con, nearly 400 celebrities of one sort or another will also be making appearances. The latest additions are Peter Jurasik (Babylon 5) and Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Studios). And since not everyone can make it, the CIC Webcam will be returning soon!

    Shipyard Structure Complete For Homeworld Mod

    The scaffolding for large ship construction has been completed for the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. Originally envisioned as an addon to a medium size construction base, this structure now separately builds the larger ships in the game. Pictures below reveal a cruiser emerging after completion. The original shipyard bases will now be used to build fighters, bombers and other small scale craft. Both will need to be built in the vicinity of strategic jump buoys. Speaking of fighters, new processes have been implemented that allow individual craft to fly more independently. The result is a more realistic look to large scale battles.

    Space Sim First Look: Star Wolves 2

    Building on the success of Star Wolves, XBow Software and the 1C Company are well on their way towards completing a sequel. Star Wolves 2 is in the later stages of development now and should be finished by the end of the year. What makes this series somewhat special is the integration of RPG elements. Wingmen join the player's "party" and skills are leveled up through combat. All the typical elements such as a large universe, non-linear story and upgradable ships are present as well. SW2 picks up six years after the conflict in the original was resolved. Although it appears to be using the same engine as the original, the graphics still look good and the game seems like fun. The demo was just released this weekend. GameSpot is currently hosting it here. A Russian and European release is expected first. There is currently no information on a North American launch.

    The balance in the galaxy has been restored as transgalactic corporations have been deported to the outskirts of the galaxy and deprived of their power. The Empire, just as before, continues to fight against the Aliens. As a rule armadas of battleships aren't used in such conflicts. Small maneuverable squadrons that can attack and retreat quickly are better suited for this type of war. This means that the famous Star Wolves team is back in action!

    Star Wolves is a 3D space RPG with deep strategy and tactical elements. The game thrusts players into a world of freelance space hunters during a time of war for the all-powerful Empire. Human space pirates, rogue AI computers that rebelled against humanity and Aliens roam space in search of easy prey and planets to conquer.

    German Magazine Recognizes Wing Commander Fans

    The German gaming mag GameStar has written a neat piece about the WC Saga fan project. Page 153 of the August 2006 issue carried the feature below. German press has always been very friendly towards the Wing Commander series, but it's still not very often that fans are appreciated in print, so this is nice to see. Saga's team has provided a translation of the text as well.
    Some pilots get cool callsigns like "Maverick," Ace," or "Duke," but "Sandman?" "Sandman?!" While it may not be the greatest callsign, it really doesn't matter, because some people would gladly call themselves "Buttercup" just to be able to pilot a starfighter and fight the Kilrathi! Very soon they will get their wish, because Wing Commander will be back as a mod for Freespace 2. You will be David "Sandman" Markham, a young fighter pilot who has to prove himself against the Kilrathi. The story of Wing Commander Saga takes place during the Wing Commander 3 era. Through 35 missions you will encounter old friends and new enemies, all with updated graphics. In addition, a multiplayer mode for Wing Commander Saga is also in progress. Best of all, Wing Commander Saga will run without having to own a retail copy of Freespace 2. To that we say, "Enter Sandman!"

    Minor Flight Commander 1.4 Patches Released

    Wing Commander fans that are spending quite a bit of time working with eddieb's new Flight Commander might want to check out the latest patch. The file for 1.4 Patch 3 fixes several glitches involving disabled cutscenes, enemy ejection and joystick function. Most players won't need the update, but eddie has made it available since people continue to experiment with new things and find new issues. Check out the Flight Commander Forum to stay on top of additional updates and learn from other fans who are creating new campaigns and features for the FC engine.

    Holding The Line Chapter 211 Released

    The latest chapter in the massive Holding the Line story has been released. This adventure began as an Aces Club PBM campaign at the beginning of 1999 and has turned into an ongoing chronicle that many fans look forward to. Raptor has a few more details about the latest adventure.

    Hey all, Raptor here.

    Here is the fourth and final chapter of The Way Out Is Through, the final chapter of Battlegroup Auriga's campaign in HTL. As you saw in previous chapters, the Confed crews had disabled the Shipkiller, but one of the pilots had chosen to turn on the Kilrathi, and another had been brainwashed by the Nephilim. As before, this story is jointly written by the Valley Forge team. Please send any and all comments to them, not to me.

    The story is at: http://www.holdingtheline.net/ch211.htm

    Best, Raptor

    See HTL In Action - UBW To The Rescue

    In order to spice things up, Holding the Line has commissioned Cyberion to do a series of graphics that depict famous events in the story. These are a couple that haven't been featured in the news before. This exciting scene is the Battle of Loki from the Tyr Arc. Border Worlds fighters and capships are escorting a convoy of civilians away from a Nephilim attack. It'd sure be fantastic to see all that in motion.

    Birthday Bash Less Than One Week Away!

    There's less than one week to go before the CIC Eighth Birthday. We won't reveal what we have planned for the actual event just yet, but we're working hard and hope everyone is excited. Check out our door prize roundup for a list of some of the items that will be available during our trivia contest and random giveaways. To attend our online party, stop by the CIC's chatroom, #Wingnut, on the evening of Thursday, August 10 (early morning of Friday, August 11, in Asia/Australia), at 7:00 pm Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT) time. Visit early, email us or hit the Discuss link below if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!


    More Wing Commander On TV

    HBO Cinemax has posted its updated broadcast schedule detailing a number of Wing Commander showings throughout August. Its OuterMax and More Max channels will be alternating show times for the rest of the month. Last month Action Max and regular Cinemax had WC duty, and it looks like HBO (Zone) and HBO Latino are up in September. You can find more details here.

    • Fri 8/4 12:05 PM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Tue 8/8 07:40 AM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Fri 8/11 02:00 PM MORE MAX - EAST
    • Fri 8/11 05:00 PM MORE MAX - WEST
    • Sun 8/13 10:15 PM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Thu 8/17 12:00 AM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Sat 8/19 06:30 AM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Tue 8/22 04:15 PM MORE MAX - EAST
    • Tue 8/22 07:15 PM MORE MAX - WEST
    • Thu 8/24 01:15 PM OUTERMAX - EAST
    • Mon 8/28 01:00 PM MORE MAX - EAST
    • Mon 8/28 04:00 PM MORE MAX - WEST
    • Wed 8/30 07:20 AM OUTERMAX - EAST

    Wing Commander Fans Defy The Odds

    BrynS noticed that Firing Squad has published an article highlighting game series that desperately need sequels. Wing Commander makes the list as one of their most desired titles. They highlight the need for new games in a handful of contemporary series such as Ultima, C&C Red Alert and Mech Warrior. Even Freespace gets a mention, although they note that the rights for that franchise are in a particularly awkward state. Despite the back-handed compliments littered throughout the piece, we have to mostly agree with their list of games.
    Wing Commander: Origin’s space combat-sim series is one that even non-gamers may know of, thanks unfortunately to the awful movie adaptation that was ironically directed by the game’s creator Chris Roberts. That shouldn’t take away from the game series, however, which mixed in a deep (for games, anyway) storyline with some fast paced space action gameplay. There were several games in the series released by Origin in the 1990’s and were some of the first games to use live actors for cut scenes (yep, Mark Hamill as Christopher Blair was an acting powerhouse)

    It’s been a long time since the last game in the series, Wing Commander: Prophecy, was released in 1997 but we still think that Electronic Arts (the owners of all the former Origin properties) would get a lot of mileage out of a new game, especially if they get a top notch development team to handle it. The name recognition alone would help sales.

    Odds For Revival: Unlikely. We hate to say it but space sims, once a huge gaming draw, are now down to something of a niche market for the indie developer set. We still think a new Wing Commander series would work well but for now it doesn’t look like Electronic Arts would be interested in reviving this franchise anytime soon

    Quarterly Electronic Arts Results Announced

    The results for the first quarter of EA's 2007 Fiscal Year have just been announced. Net revenue rose 13% to $413 million, but there was an overall loss of $81 million, which is worse than the same quarter last year. This is a result of the considerable support Electronic Arts has pledged for the upcoming Playstation 3 and Wii systems versus limited revenue from the XBox 360 and Playstation 2 platforms. While PS2 may soon be on the decline, XBox 360 sales will be ramping up. EA is already the top publisher for the XBox 360 in North America and Europe. Revenue for games released on cell phones also exploded from $1 million a year ago to $33 million in the quarter just ended. Overall Fiscal Year estimates still project $2.8 to $3.0 billion in sales with some $2.4 billion in cash or equivalents on hand for various activities.
    "We're pleased to be the leading publisher on the Xbox 360," said Larry Probst, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We are on schedule with strong support for the launch of PlayStation 3 and we have increased our development efforts for the Nintendo DS and Wii."

    "We look forward to our slate of fall launches and the excitement surrounding next-generation software," said Warren Jenson, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. "While the risks of this technology transition remain very real -- our franchises are well-positioned for the opportunities ahead."

    Invisible We Stand

    The Wing Commander Saga mod for Freespace 2 has achieved an important success: the Freespace 2 engine has been modified to allow cloaking ships - a feature Freespace did not originally have. They write: "Thanks to modifications done in the SCP-Engine (some older and some newer ones) we are now finally able to make a full-blown cloacking effect like in the original WC games. The technical side requires the usage of a few simple scripts for each cloaking ship, but those are easy to create and the effect for the player will be just like what we are used to in WC gameplay. Even better than that, the final animation will be very close to what we saw in the original CGI movie sequences of Wing Commander 4. To celebrate this achievement, screenshots of the Strakha-class stealth fighter in the Freespace engine have been posted.

    The Best Just Keep Getting Fatter

    Alkarion reports that The Fatman is continuing to answer people's Wing Commander questions over at the Quest Studios message board. Here's a sample:

    Q: There is a tune in the WC1 Demo that is neither played nor included in the full game's MUSIC.MID archive (uploaded here). When was that music originally supposed to play?
    A: I'll listen later, but if it's the one I think, it was just a sketch, and they rejected it. Bad tracking of assets caused it to be included on the disk.

    Q: Some WC1 MIDI files, even though the music changes tempo, are constantly playing at MIDI tempo 120 and thus don't fit into the beat/measure grid at all. Was Origin's MIDI file player unable to handle the original tempos?
    A: Ha! Nice catch! I bet it's this: Govett composed on, I think, an Atari or an Amiga, and I was on a Mac. The way we transferred files when all else failed was to run a "play" cable out of his rig and multichannel record into mine. No Sync.

    Q: There are some strange meta events in the files --- normal meta events start with FF, but these start with FE --- I assume they have something to do with the interactive music player. Did you insert them, or the programmers at Origin? What sequencing program were you using?
    A: I think there were two things we futzed with: setting percussion to "orchestral," and possibly setting up reverb. See if those fit. I used MOTU Performer on a mac, and Govett used... ? Too obscure. You have Govett's email address-ask him.

    Q: Some files don't initialize all channels properly, i.e. there is no volume or panpot for some channels, only a program change. Are they supposed to be played with the MT-32's default power-on settings, or should they just use whatever settings the last song set the channel to, for variation? The game itself seems to use the latter method, but I'm not sure that sounds right in all cases.
    A: I bet you ten bucks it was a Dave ****-up. Smile You can only tell a genius to do so much...

    Q: Do you happen to remember which LA device you composed your MT-32 scores on (MT-32 with ROM version below 2.00, MT-32 with ROM version 2.00 or above, LAPC-I/CM-32L, CM-500/CM-32LN/LAPC-N)? Just curious, because they all have very subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences with regards to how the music sounds.
    A: It's right here. An early MT-32 SN 853800 with the Beaverton modification. Geeky enough for you? Smile

    Q: The Origin Audio CD Vol. 1 has an extended version of "Tolwyn's Office" with bars not included in the game's version (here is the shorter version as heard in the game). Do you still have that MIDI file? Smile
    A: Likely yes, but likely not readily available. And I don't know what "Tolwyn's office" would be. I think it's one we would have called "Debriefing," perhaps.

    Q: Do you still have design documents or early development versions of Wing Commander tunes?
    A: Yes. My favorite is a copy of the original treatment for "Squadron," which I picked up from Chris the first day we met. I ceremonially burned the original [joke intended] at the "We Created Worlds" goodbye-to-Origin party.

    Q: Who came up with the idea to make a continuous dynamic soundtrack?
    A: From where I stood, it was Chris Roberts, who came up with it I _think_, after he heard Dave's original piece, and after the project was under way.

    Q: How was the number and length of the tunes coordinated?
    A: It was all born of inexperience. First they wanted a combat piece and a briefing piece, etc. The direction was "kind of like Star Wars meets Star Trek the Movie." After the idea for interactivity was brought up, they wanted a bunch of short tunes for combat, such as "the missile is chasing you," "you are chasing the missile," "your wingman has been hit," etc. The music team was not involved in decisions--we just delivered what was requested.

    Q: Also I'd like to know which sound card/module got the most attention in the composition process. Did you first compose on the MT-32 and then convert to the Adlib? Btw, the sound effects in WC1 are marvellous, both on the MT-32 and on the Adlib (my favourite is the missile-lock sound effect on the Adlib).
    A: I was only told that I was being hired to do an MT-32 score, and I knew nothing about Adlib until the game shipped. Marc Schaefgen was the badass who made the Adlib sounds, and he remains a badass to this day, now at Midway in Austin. Here we are on a trip to Dallas to attend a Grammy-related event, cough cough. There was beer and a VFW post involved.

    You can join the conversation here.

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