Prophecy Movie Upgrade (1/3)

We hope you enjoyed the high resolution Wing Commander Prophecy intro posted several days ago... because there's more where that came from! Today we are pleased to announce that the first of three downloadable movie packs, which will collectively include all of the game's cutscenes in full resolution quality video, is available! You can enjoy the Prophecy cinematics like never before. Download the set here (1.6 GB). The archive includes 43 cinematics in .VOB format. Relive Dallas' funeral, the destruction of Eloy, Casey's promotion to the Black Widow Squadron and... the 'hundred percent speech'!

Shrike Three, You're Out!

Veteran Wing Commander artist Sean Murphy has something exciting for us. He's had some technical problems with the 3D models he's been using to create Wing Commander wallpapers, so he's converting them to a modern format... and he's giving the fans copies! You can now download a 3D model of the TB-81 Shrike class Torpedo Bomber from Wing Commander Prophecy! This is the detailed, high quality version that appeared in the Prophecy's pre-rendered cutscenes and publicity artwork rather than the lower quality in-game model that can be extracted from the game itself. The bomber is in MAX8 format -- three sample renderings can be seen below. Download your copy here (4.22 MB). But wait, there's more -- Sean says that the Devastator is coming soon!

Replay Art Bubbles Up

Electronic Arts was kind enough to furnish us with a higher resolution picture of the EA Replay cover art. At the very least, this confirms the tagline, '14 Hot Games, One Cool Collection'!

Fans have written wondering where the 'Wing Commander' on the box comes from. This is the lettering used for several releases circa 1993-4, including the SegaCD port, the Wing Commander I & II compilation and Super Wing Commander. Oddly, it is not the logo used for the SNES ports of Wing Commander and The Secret Missions, which brought back the 'classic' centered artwork. The background art 'bubble' is from the original PC game's front cover.

There also may be good news regarding the release date: several reliable e-tailers, including Amazon and Gamestop, now list the date as October 31st. Electronic Arts' fact sheet for the game has not changed, but we will update immediately if this is confirmed -- it would be the first time in history that a Wing Commander game makes it out early.

Take WCP Higher

Here's a special treat: a full resolution version of the Wing Commander Prophecy intro, including the Kilrathi Prophecy, the destruction of the TCS Devereaux and Casey's arrival on the Midway. This new version is a high quality MPEG, much as you might find on a modern DVD -- as you can see in the comparison below, the difference between it (left) and the game (right) is astounding! Not only that, but the aspect ratio is slightly different, revealing a little bit more picture. You can grab the movie here (211 MB .VOB file) -- and watch out, expect more high resolution Prophecy scenes in the near future.



Prize Winners Can Still Claim Birthday Presents

In case you didn't see the message last month, all Birthday Party prize winners should have received a confirmation email after submitting their info. If you got this note (most likely prior to DragonCon), then I have your address down and your item is pending. If you sent your address and did not hear back, drop us a line so we can add you to the list. And if you never sent your address at all, it's not too late. There are still some things that have not been claimed. Here's the list of 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

Après MIDIs

Some time ago, AD managed to extract all the MIDI music from the PSX port of Wing Commander III (here). Now he's back with an updated version, properly organized with duplicates removed and the actual track names restored. Here's his word:
I have recently been exploring new extraction methods to some success. Thus I am happy to say that I am now able to provide a new package (a ZIP file containing all 28 wc3 PSX midis without duplicates) to *replace* the old package. The files should be of similar quality, but here I also have extracted the names of the file used by the game internally. It should also be easier to find the specific piece you want to play.

I came in contact with the guys over at xentax.com and, when I detailed what I wanted to do, it was only a short while before they were able to provide a solution. I'm attaching a custom script for their MultiEx Commander program (a utility for exploring various game resource archive files). People who pay to register the program can use the script to extract any file from the *.LIB files - including all the movies and comm audio files - from the PSX versions of WC3 and WC4. So far, though, I have only had success in playing the MIDIs and have not yet come up with a solution for the movies and dialogue. I'm in the process of looking into the movie and audio file formats next.

You can download the updated MIDI pack here (151 kb) and the MultiEx Commander script here.

DooM Goes Live

Microsoft surprised many today by announcing (and then releasing) the original DooM for X-Box Live Arcade, complete with online multiplayer functionality. You can find GameSpot's article on the release here. They've not only ported the most expansive version of the game (Ultimate DooM), but have added a host of Live-specific elements.

At the risk of editorializing, this could be the start of an excellent trend -- the sheer scope of functionality added to newer Live Arcade games is stunning. I think we can all think of another popular 1990s franchise that should be available for modern consoles, and the increasing popularity of X-Box Live Arcade makes it just the place for Electronic Arts to consider putting a Wing Commander port. This seems within the realm of possibility, given the imminent release of EA Replay for the Sony PSP. Here's to hoping!

DooM is available now for 800 MS Points.

Wing 3 Movie Recut And Extended

Queeg's popular Heart Of The Tiger Movie Project used selected video scenes and actual gameplay footage to deliver the complete experience in one neat package. Encouraged by the viewer response, Queeg has come up with a new and improved cut. The standard and extended editions follow the same script, but one runs an extra thirty minutes.
  • Far better video quality (99% of FMV is captured from the PSX game)
  • Better video quality with ingame missions also
  • All missions reshot and made to be far more interesting and shorter
  • Storyline closer to the book, different scenes used in places

Extended edition (2 hours 13 minutes, 850 megs)
- Direct Download

Standard edition (1 hour 39 minutes, 680 megs)
- BitTorrent
- Direct download

Queeg's friend is providing the bandwidth for the standard version. Visitors that are technically inclined can use the BitTorrent system instead of the direct download. You need either the XviD codec or the VLC movie player to watch these. We recommend a download manager like GetRight to reliably download something this size, even if you are on broadband.

Amazon Updating Unboxed Program

The Wing Commander movie up for download at Amazon.com Unboxed has been a big hit, and the company is now rolling out several updates for the service. These fixes mostly resolve intermittent glitches, but fans will also have more options for starting the Unboxed program too. Shoppers who bought the movie just after it debuted on the service received a $1.99 discount on the purchase, and Amazon has announced that these early adopters have now gotten a second $1.99 rebate credited to their account for their next Unboxed buy. Start downloading now! The full version of Wing Commander is 1.9 gigabytes. An edition for portable players comes in at 500 megs.

AD Demonstrates Creative Editing Process

AD is still hammering away at his attempt to create a full length Wing Commander 4 movie, and he's come up with an interesting clip that demonstrates his editing process. If Blair defects earlier in the game, the player misses a chilling scene involving Captain Paulsen. It includes references to the defection, so simply allowing the viewer to watch the scene earlier is not an option. But by strategically cutting bits and pieces of the segment, he's managed to make it possible to fit earlier and still make sense. Operations like this will hopefully allow the final product to flow better and provide a more well rounded picture of what's going on. You can compare the two videos for yourself to see how it's done. Players who've only defected at the first opportunity should at least watch the original version.

Space Sim First Look: Project Sylpheed

Fragland.Net has posted an article about Project Sylpheed, a new space combat game that follows up on a popular franchise from the 80s and 90s -- a good role model for future Wing Commanders! In fact, that's how they describe it: "Especially think of the Wing Commander, with missions that can have changing objectives while you're accomplishing them, shields to take care of, different weapons and in-game movies on your communication screen." An HD Trailer is available here. Although the original Silpheeds were arcade-style scroller shooters, this XBox 360-exclusive sequel is a full featured space combat sim with an integral cinematic storyline. Here's what it looks like:

Ten Years of Academy

Happy ten year anniversary, Wing Commander Academy! It was ten years ago last Thursday that the first episode, Red and Blue, premiered as part of the USA Network's Saturday morning lineup. For the next several months, Wing Commander fans enjoyed thirteen new adventures of the Tiger's Claw and her fighter wing. Academy was always the topic of discussion on IRC, at the Chat Zone and on the UseNet... and it's easy to see why -- far from being an ordinary cash-in spinoff, the Academy team took the time to use the same ships, history and even actors as the Wing Commander games did. It's since become an essential part of the WC continuity!

Back in those days, the only information about the series available was a short press release and episode names which occasionally appeared at USA's rarely updated website. Fans today are much luckier -- just look at the material we have available now:

Most importantly, though, we have the episodes themselves. Download them and enjoy!

P2 Fan Novel Printing Soon

Deacan reports that he's ready to print another batch of his German fan novel das Erwachen - Sturm. The story is inspired by Privateer 2 and was envisioned as the first part of a trilogy. New cover art has been created for this edition. Deacan has to order and pay for a certain number of copies soon, so he's interested in finding out exactly how many people are serious about picking up a copy. The price looks like it will be about 17 Euros plus shipping. There isn't a firm arrival date yet, but the order will be processed within the next couple weeks. Check out this post at Crius.net for confirmation info if you'd like Deacan to make a copy for you.
Book One "The Awakening - Storm" mainly tells the story of Ser Deacan Tron, his fight against a mercenaries guild and the strange behaivior of a pirate clan...

Classic Articles Reveals 1995's Anticipation

Wedge has provided another set of magazine scans that feature classic previews of Wing Commander titles. The two pages come from 1995 editions of Hyper, Australia's longest running video game mag. Up first is an exciting preview of Wing Commander 4. It's from the "December" issue, but due to typical publication schedule, it was printed before the game's excruciating delay to February was announced. Although there's a few oddities within, the writers are very anxious to get ahold of the final game. The second piece is an announcement that Wing Commander 3 would be a launch title for the original Playstation (it actually arrived about six months later).

Wing Commander 4 features quite a few evolutionary enhancements to the game engine that's remained basically unchanged since the beginning. The most obvious is the shedding of the cockpit graphics, in favour of a full screen view with cool looking and highly functional HUD graphics. The full screen option has always been there in the Wing games, with its selection being the first thing most serious pilot do at the start of a mission.
Bzzzt! Serious pilots know that invisible cockpits didn't debut until Wing Commander Armada, which had barely been out a year when the article was written.

WC4 Mod Goes On Audio Grabbing Binge

Here's a brief update on the latest work done on WC4 Homeworld 2 mod straight from Aaron Thomas.
Playing each mission and ripping the audio is easy, but when you are looking for a specific dialog by a specific ship then it's quite difficult. I've had to practically play all missions 5 or more times to get every piece of audio out of every ship present and under all circumstances.

Example: escort BW troop transports to frigates. Played first all the way through to get all audio for escort formations, then played again for damage reports. Then played again for damage reports of all shuttles at 50% damage, then played again at 90% damage and then same over for frigate 50% damage and 90% damage. After being made traitor and asked to replay almost six or seven times, that can be a bit tiring. It was fun too I suppose, or else I wouldnt have done it all yesterday. Managed to extract about 300 lines of dialog.

Integrating them is going a bit slow since I have to choose and edit dialog to suit hw2 combat chatter, but it's definitely adding to the feel. Only a few icons and BW ship tweaks along with research and cost remains. Will keep everyone posted.

I bet there's an easier way to extract the audio from the tre files directly, but it never hurts to get more play time in. Check out a video on the project's music integration here.

Homeworld Engine Used For Hybrid Tribute Video

BrynS was playing with the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod engine and thought it'd make a good backdrop for mixed gameplay/live actor videos. He's edited together a few scenes from the WC4 DVD and combined them with scripted shots in the Homeworld engine to create a neat example. The game's external camera work turned out pretty decent. Check out the 22 meg avi here. The original idea was to make something like this for the CIC Birthday last month, but things didn't come together in time. Better late than never (at least he beat out most of the Birthday Prizes!).

Still it was a labour of love and like the rest of the mod testing, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I hope this basic template gives a glimpse of the cinematic potential that the mod will present when released, especially to those interested in recreating lost scenes and events only previously described, expanding on exisiting Wing Commander FMV or creating original movie compilations complete with voice-overs.

Classic Sierra Collections Finally Released

Several long-awaited Sierra Compilations appear to have made it out of limbo. Four classic combo packs quietly appeared at Amazon.com in 2005 without any sort of announcement of official confirmation from Vivendi, now the owner of Sierra franchises. For months they looked like they might be vaporware, but then Amazon suddenly posted box arts. GameStop, Walmart and the Vivendi Store have since added listing as well. Although the exact ship dates have shifted around and we haven't yet seen any copies in stores, it does look like the games have been released to retail with units showing in stock at several websites. Each of these series were popular contempories of Wing Commander back in the day, but Space Quest is a particular favorite of many of our visitors. The Space Quest Collection released in 1997 has become a high priced item along the lines of Kilrathi Saga, so these new sets are a welcome sight. It's been eleven years since Space Quest 6 parodied the Kilrathi, and here's looking forward to future parodies of future Wing Commander games.

Kilrathi Prophecy MP3 Up For Grabs

Today we have the Wing Commander Prophecy 'Tome of Sivar' intro encoded as an mp3 by TomGaines. A lot of people ask for these sorts of things, so hopefully the file will be useful to some people. This could be an extra long system startup sound, or maybe it'll just psych you up for some bug-hunting. You can download the 720 kilobyte mp3 here. Another common request, the Wing Commander 2 intro movie, is also available here.

EA Games On A Plane

The Sims and a variety of casual games will soon be available in the air thanks to a new deal inked between Electronic Arts and DTI Software. No details have been released about specific airlines and flights that might take advantage of the partnership, but DTI serves dozens of different carriers such as British Airways, American Airlines, Delta, Japan Airlines and more. In-flight entertainment is a fast growing industry that has taken off with the proliferation of personal LCD screens on airplanes. The image to the right shows the first 737 that was delivered with IFE displays in every seat. It's a good bet that this arrangement will expand to include a wider range of games as the market expands.
Sept. 21, 2006--Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) the world's leading interactive entertainment software company and DTI Software, the market leader in In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), today announced a global partnership that will bring The Sims(TM) 2 and Poppit!(TM), Word Whomp(TM), Phlinx, Tri-Peaks Solitaire, Harvest Mania, Tumble Bees, Great Escapes Solitaire and Turbo 21(TM) from Pogo.com(TM) to airlines worldwide, putting a strong focus on next-generation in-flight entertainment content.

DTI is focusing on delivering next-generation content which will raise the bar for quality and provide an even greater level of entertainment to its 62 airline partners. DTI is committed to signing license agreements with world class companies, such as EA; in an effort to make available the hottest next-generation content for In-Flight Entertainment.

Meet The Saga Comm Officer

WC Saga's Sphynx wants to show us this screenshot of their custom communications VDU. This guy will give you clearance to land and will presumably scream at you when your carrier is destroyed.

One of the areas in which Wing Commander excels is in its ability to personalize its epic stuggle, which it accomplished in part by giving a face, a believable personality, and in many cases a name to the many pilots and crews of the ships that the player encounters throughout the series. One way in which this feeling was generated was through the usage of communication visuals which showed the man, or the Kat, behind the machine. In our effort to recreate the feeling of Wing Commander, Saga has created customised comm animations. We've included one screenshot to give a preview of what communication visuals will be like in Saga.

Modular Pioneer Station Under Construction

BradMick has created the basic design for another base in WC Pioneer. The structure is compartmentalized and allows for different components to be stuck to the central core. This should make creation of different starbases easier and simultaneously work out various interior design issues. Exterior and wireframe images are available below. Little red boxes once again represent people, and a Venture corvette is provided for scale. The main concourse is shadowed in red in the second picture and shows the area that will connect to the bar, mission computer, ship dealer and various unique locations.

We've got a more modular Landreich-esque base here. The pictures show the hangar and commodity modules. I'm working on the rough form for an offices compartment as well. There will also be ship dealer and capital ship docking extensions. Everything plugs into the central part of the station.

Atlantis Finishes ISS Construction Mission

NASA has published a great photo gallery that shows the International Space Station with several new additions. Atlantis shot these pictures after attaching a pair of solar panels and a giant truss/joint. The shuttle is currently scheduled to return on Thursday. We've all seen concept renders that show what the completed station should look like in a few years, but seeing actual photographs of this thing in orbit is pretty amazing.

Wing 4 Gets The Royal Treatment

Last month our own Cpl_Hades had the privilege of staying at Joe Garrity's Origin Museum for several days, doing some exciting Wing Commander research. Now, we can reveal one of the exciting things he found in the archives: the original script treatment for Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom!

This 88 page document walks through the entire story of the game, as it was originally conceived... and fans will immediately notice some significant difference! Instead of two halves (on the Lexington and then the Intrepid), this early version was divided into three parts: it opens with an extended segment where Blair serves as part of a planet-based squadron on Nephele! That's not all -- each section has new characters, too... Nephele, for instance, includes Cmdr. Tyla Braverman and Chief Tech "Mutt" Malone.

Finally, one part may prove very controversial: this document seems to be the source of the Wing Commander movie's "Pilgrim" storyline: Border Worlders are distinguished by the fact that having spent generations in space has altered their genetics (brief references to this survive to the finished movie, such as Paulsen's speech about Border Worlders being from 'inferior stock'). Astute Wing Commander historians may remember that the Phoenix Pictures Memo, based on the original movie proposal, referred to Border Worlders rather than Pilgrims.

You can get the new document here (25 meg zipped .PDF).

Space Sim First Look: Space Force 2

Provox Games has recently announced a space sim called Space Force 2. Never heard of part 1? Don't worry, it wasn't a space sim at all, but the sequel is your typical Privateer game. Recruit wingmen, explore a large universe, follow the plot or take side missions to get cash to beef up your ships. Special goods are also dispersed throughout the galaxy for those willing to search for them. NPC characters are supposed to have a wide range of personalities and skills to make them seem more lifelike. The game uses the latest DirectX 9 techniques, and sample graphics are available below. Some preview sites have described this as more of a strategy game, but it seems to be a straightforward space sim with RPG elements like Star Wolves. Trailers, image galleries and more information is available at the SF2 website.

What is SpaceForce2?

Open-ended, beautiful and innovative dynamic three-dimensional space game dressed with stars, planets, moons, asteriods, comets, black holes, starbases, flying cities... is open for exploration, trade, diplomacy, crafting and fight. An in-depth storyline and plenty of opportunities which will inspire the action orientated player but also the real adventurer and trader . SF2 delivers small and huge space battles, a vast range of quests, and a story filled game.

Border Worlds Faction Introduced In New Homeworld Video

BrynS has completed another high quality preview of the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. This video focuses on an introduction to the Border Worlds faction. Parts of that side are in development, but a good portion of the major elements are seen here. Most of the fighters and capships have been revealed in previous screenshots, but this clip shows off the massive UBW headquarters facility for the first time. Various in-engine flight deck ops are also featured. Check out the 96 meg clip for yourself here. A 10 meg version is also available.

The Union of Border Worlds Navy prides itself on rugged and proven capabilities and the strong frontier spirit that bonds us and on which the worlds we defend were founded. You have my admiration and the support of all Union citizens in your decision to join the UBW Defence Fleet, where I have every confidence in your performance and abilities.

As I'm sure you know, our proximity to Kilrathi space and the activities of criminal organsations operating in and out of our territory is a constant concern to the Union government and policing our large borders is increasingly being transferred from overburdened local militia and in-system security to the Navy. The Great War may be over, but hostilities remain and the UBW Defence Fleet stands firm as the thin blue line protecting the sovereignty of the Union.

Let The Thing Be Press-Released

We've said it before, and we've said it again... you can squeeze a lot of juice from one press release. Here's four more takes on the EA Replay announcement, preserved for future reference.
Classic Compilations for PSP Confirmed - Kotaku
Mega Drive classics arrive on PSP - Stuff Magazine
EA Brings 90s Classics To PSP - EFYTimes
PSP goes retro with EA Replay - AVinfo
EA Replay Announced for Europe - Club Skill
EA Replay Preview - GamesDaily
EA Replay Announced - GameShark
EA Announced EA Replay for PSP - Gaming Age
EA Replay PSP Collection Announced - FiringSquad
EA Replay Brand for Nostalgic PSP Gamers - PSP Rumors

Behind The Scenes of Wing Commander III

The Premiere Edition of Wing Commander III and Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III came with a bonus CD-ROM that featured a blooper reel and interviews with actors and Origin crew members. One of the oldest files in our downloads section is an awful RealMovie version of the blooper reel. Now all of these can be downloaded in their original AVI format from CIC Holovids. This is 1994 AVI so the picture quality is not great, but it's really interesting to hear people talk about the filming and design process. Each of these zip files contain five brief interviews:

Cast

Crew

I wonder if Frank Savage still has that license plate. You can find the blooper reel in the Holovids section.

Special Civ Set Coming Soon For Game Collectors

Here's a fun little item. Take2 Interactive has announced a super set of Civilization titles. Similar to C&C First Decade, nearly the entire series is being repackaged in an eight-disc special box. The compilation will also contain a customizable card game and a 96 page history book based on the franchise. It's great to see the market grow for fancy gaming anthologies like this. As more Wing Commander contemporaries get rereleases like this, there will be increased pressure to make games like Kilrathi Saga or EA Replay.
Today, Take-Two subsidiary 2K announced that it will rerelease almost every Civilization--in a single package. In October, nostalgic PC gamers will be able to pick up Sid Meier's Civilization Chronicles, a boxed set of all the aforementioned titles, for $69.99. In fact, the only non-Game-of-the-Year-Edition Civilizations not in the collection are the new expansion Civilization IV: Warlords and the much-maligned, Activision-developed 1999 title Civilization: Call to Power.

One Has No Box...

There's a new way to watch the Wing Commander movie... sort of! Amazon.com recently premiered their "Unbox" service, which allows users to purchase or rent digital copies of select movies through their online superstore... and Timothy J. Chan reports that Wing Commander is part of their initial offering! Users can buy the movie outright for $9.98, or purchase a 30-day rental for $3.99 -- and then there's a $1.99 rebate for early adopters... that's practically giving it away! Owners may keep copies of the movie on two computers and two portable devices at once. You can buy the movie here or rent it here. Note that this is the full screen version of the movie rather than a direct rip of the widescreen Region 1 DVD.

Wing Commander has proved a popular seller -- when I purchased it last night, it was ranked #90... and it's already made its way to the #8 slot.

... the Other Has Fourteen!

Electronic Arts has posted new details on EA Replay to their press site as part of their 2006 Fall Showcase. These include a new official description, a fact sheet and 14 'package shots' -- images from the original releases of the included games, which confirm their consoles of origin. These may also be the unlockable 'trading cards' mentioned in the original press release!
As if! EA™ Replay is a throw back to what you loved about videogames in the first place! Let EA bring you back to a simpler time when movies were still on VHS, Boy Bands were all the rage, people adorned themselves in layers of plaid and called themselves 'grunge', everyone wanted to live in 90210, and the dawn of gaming's golden age took hold.

Embrace the 90's nostalgia with a compilation of 14 classic console games from EA exclusively for the PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system! EA Replay promises to deliver the same great console experience on-the-go for all 14 games including hit franchises such as the Strike series, Road Rash™, and Wing Commander™.

Go head-to-head with friends in multiplayer on select titles, unlock original game art, and save your game at any point. Let the memories come rushing back and take the fun of the 90's wherever you go with EA Replay.

EA Replay Key Features

  • The 90's Lives On-14 classic console games from EA from the 90's exclusively for the PSP system.
  • Multiplayer Features-Ad Hoc, head-to-head support for Budokan, Road Rash™ II, and Mutant League Football.
  • Mid-Game Save-Save your game at any point giving you freedom to play on your terms.
  • Collectable Cards-Unlock game art from back in the day!
  • You can see the rest of the artwork in our EA Replay section.

    BREAKING NEWS: EA Replay Box Art Revealed

    The Amazon product page for EA Replay has been updated with box art. Out of 14 titles, just five are shown on the front cover... and Wing Commander is given top billing! The small print seems to read "14 HOT CLASSICS  ONE COOL COLLECTION." Check it out!

    Arrows Complete Test Flight

    Kilrah Moreira has a small animation test to share with us. The clip runs for about twenty seconds and shows a pair of Arrow fighters in atmospheric flight.

    You can download the 6.5 megabyte WMV file here. You can find more of Kilrah's work in our news archive.

    New Privateer 2 CCG Designs Released

    Jacob Hudson has released another batch of tentative ship designs for his Privateer 2 themed CCG. These come straight from the P2 engine, but other elements of the card game come from Deacan's fan novel. The neat looking promo card that stands out below is a warp shield-equipped Duress flown by Hudson himself. All the fun ship images make me want to fire up my old Freij II and hunt down some pirates right now.

    criticalmass has translated some basic details about the game. More information can be found at Crius.net.

    Every player designs his deck in order to play the game according to the mission cards he selected in the beginning. Every player needs to select a deck from the privateers and one additional faction, such as a pirate clan or the CIS. The aim of that is to have two factions in the deck.

    You take a mission card from the mission deck at random, and try to solve the mission. If you have succeeded, the mission is added to your point area. The player who has reached an amount of 1,000,000 credits first has won. If you'd like a faster game, the target amount can be lowered, but standard is a million credits.

    Meet The Das Erwachen Crew

    So who are these wacky Germans that keep pumping out Privateer 2 projects? The team recently hit the town in their new Wing Commander shirts, and you can see them here. Artist Jacob Hudson is on the left and birthday girl Venice Drake is second. She's followed by author Deacan Tron, and translator Dana Manley is on the right. In addition to the Das Erwachen book, this crew is also working on the P2 CCG depicted above, and I don't expect them to stop there. Although distance usually makes it impractical, it'd be great if more fan project teams got together and did stuff like this.

    Pioneer Refueling Base Under Construction

    The WC Pioneer team has been very quiet lately, but they have released preliminary shots of a refueling and repair base for their fan project. The red ship in the second image is a Venture corvette for scale, and the smaller red dots represent six foot tall humans. You can see that the scale has been changed to better fit as a practical frontier station. Other team members are currently working on particle systems, backwards compatibility and turret graphics.

    New PSP Bundle Announced

    Sony has announced a new bundle for the Playstation Portable that might tempt a few fans waiting for EA Replay. The new set goes on sale in North America on Wednesday for $249.99. It includes the system, a one gigabyte pro duo memory card, the Lords of Dogtown UMD movie and ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails game. Wing Commander fans who aren't interested in the packed in game or movie are still better off getting the core set for $199.99 and picking up a memory card separately. Only 56 days to go!

    High Def Wing Commander Airing Again

    The high definition version of the Wing Commander movie is back after a four month hiatus. HBO HD will be broadcasting it several times next week. This is in addition to the host of regular showings on a variety of standard cable channels. Although the normal Wing Commander schedule is typically planned out for months in advance, these high definition air dates seem to pop in shortly before the movie premieres. It's still a little funny that Wing Commander is shown regularly on HBO Latino.
    • Tue 9/12 12:50 PM HBO ZONE - EAST
    • Tue 9/12 03:50 PM HBO ZONE - WEST
    • Sun 9/17 06:15 AM HBO - EAST
    • Sun 9/17 06:15 AM HBO High Definition - EAST
    • Sun 9/17 06:15 AM HBO LATINO - EAST
    • Sun 9/17 09:15 AM HBO - WEST
    • Sun 9/17 09:15 AM HBO High Definition - WEST
    • Sun 9/17 09:15 AM HBO LATINO - WEST
    • Mon 9/18 01:00 PM HBO - EAST
    • Mon 9/18 01:00 PM HBO LATINO - EAST
    • Mon 9/18 01:00 PM HBO High Definition - EAST
    • Mon 9/18 04:00 PM HBO - WEST
    • Mon 9/18 04:00 PM HBO High Definition - WEST
    • Mon 9/18 04:00 PM HBO LATINO - WEST
    • Sun 9/24 04:00 PM HBO ZONE - EAST
    • Sun 9/24 07:00 PM HBO ZONE - WEST

    Online Game Delivery Discussed In Austin

    Two popular items around here - GameTap & Warren Spector - have come together in one new article at GameSpot. A GameTap VP and the former Wing Commander veteran recently discussed digital game distribution at the Austin Game Conference. They disagree on certain issues and raise a few interesting points. Although there's still no date for Wing Commander Privateer to appear on the GameTap service, the company has just announced that it will be resurrecting the classic adventure series Sam & Max on October 17.
    "The thing he discovered was that the casual game space seems to have limited itself in virtual shelf space in the same way that retail has, which is appalling to me," Spector said, noting that a site with 50,000 games might only have 10 listed on its front page. "He was saying if you're not in the top 10 of user-rated games, no one ever sees your game... There's got to be a better way to filter and yet still give people access to content they might like."

    WC4 Homeworld Mod Improves Sound Sequencing

    Testing and development continues on the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. The latest improvements come in the form of music integration. BrynS describes his experiences with these sound enhancements below. He's also made an 11 meg video that demonstrates this. It's encoded at a higher resolution (960x720) like future clips will be. The second set of shots in this update also show off Aaron Thomas' preliminary miner transports for resource gathering.
    The WC4 intro/main title composition is piped through when the game starts and loops (if necessary) through the menu and map selection screens -- as I said to Aaron, I got goosebumps the first time I heard it play when launching the mod! Once the map starts, it appears to randomly cycle through the currently available WC tracks, adding another immersive layer to the Wing Commander experience. There's no dynamic element to the music at the moment, i.e. changing tracks/tone, etc according to the action (loss of a ship, victory, melee, ambience, etc), but perhaps if it is possible to implement a similar system, it could always come further down the road.

    No More Wait For Longer Lines In Flight Commander

    Eddieb has released another incremental upgrade for Flight Commander 1.4. Patch 5 increases the number of characters that HUD text can use on a single line and adds a get-iff function. Most users don't need the file, but active modders should check it out. They can grab the small zip here.

    Missions Impossible

    Paul Hughes has come through again! He helped us out immensly with our Privateer 2 anniversary material last month... and now he's dusted off his archive and found even more material for Wing Commander fans! The following links include all the mission text from Privateer 2 -- the BBS postings, diary entries, winning and losing e-mails and more... and another set below contains all the 'unique' in-flight ship names! There's a stunning amount of material here -- I've already learned two new Wing Commander diseases... check it out!
    DIARY - Diary Entries
    GTEXT - In-Game Text
    MISSION0-9 - BBS Missions: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    MISSIONM - Plot Missions
    MISSIONR - SOS Missions
    MISSIONT - Test Missions
    MISSIONB - French Missions
    MTEXT0-R - Mission Specific Ship Names: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Plot, SOS.
    Pay special attention to the 'test' file, too... it has several missions not in the finished game. I've also made a 'sorted' text file here, with all the missions organized in the same fashion as Origin's Official Guide to Privateer 2 -- it's available here.

    That Would Be Talon!

    ... and here's something very cool that we found in the SOS Mission file: a continuation of infamous 'CIS CODE 3' mission which was 'commented out'. A second e-mail from the CIS that would have further cemented the idea that the unknown ship might have flown in from the original Privateer:
    //FROM: CIS HEADQUARTERS, SPECIAL OPS. DIV. {CR}
    //TO: Ser Lev Arris {CR}
    //{CR}
    //The pilot you picked up some time ago, has come around after a brief period
    //of shock. Since then he has made surprising improvements, and hopes to
    //return home very soon. He claims to come from another part of the galaxy
    //somewhat similar to our own.{CR}
    //{CR}
    //All in all this is a very interesting individual, though we can't tell if he's
    //completely insane or just suffering some temporary nerve damage due to some
    //head injury. In any case we will keep you updated, Ser Arris. Once again,
    //thank you for your speedy attention to his distress call.{CR}

    Atlantis Successfully Launches

    The Space Shuttle Atlantis successfully took off from the Kennedy Space Center this morning on its way to the International Space Station. NASA has a nice gallery here to check out photographs from the beautiful launch. We'll have to try to organize some event to watch a shuttle lift off in person while they're still in service.

    Everybody Loves Ray Nodes

    Veteran Origin artist Trey Hermann has a treat for everyone: three sketches from his days working on Wing Commander! The first two are from Prophecy: a pair of missiles and a Ray Node cluster! The third is from "an aborted Privateer spin-off" -- awesome stuff! Seeing concept artwork like this is always a great experience... the amount of detail artists put into things like this is stunning! Just look at all the little rivets and vents on those missiles... weapons that speed out of view in under a second in the actual game!

    It's, Like, You Know (Privateer)

    DarkStar One is still making the online review rounds... and everyone is still comparing it to Privateer! Here's two more articles that mention our favorite trading game. The first review is from 1Up.com:
    While it owes much of the inspiration for its concept and gameplay to Freelancer (and, by extension, Wing Commander: Privateer), DarkStar One changes up enough details to keep a pained "not again!" from escaping your lips.
    ... and then here's another from PC Authority:
    Since the days of Elite, and later Privateer, we’ve longed to pilot our own version of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon (or Mal Reynolds’ Serenity, for the new generation), trading goods, fighting for or against pirates, and building up our own intergalactic empire... Ascaron’s DarkStar One tries to bridge the gap, and is more like the original Elite and Privateer games that we grew up on.

    All The News That's Fit to Re-Print

    Want to catch up on all the EA Replay news without reading through the archive every day? Well, now you can! In the grand tradition of our popular Prophecy GBA mini-site comes a new page to collect all the news, screenshots and information released on the upcoming EA Replay product... it's online here! It currently features 14 screenshots and a collection of mockups we made of what the game may look like in action. We're looking forward to improving it as more information becomes available in the next two months. Just 61 days to go!

    What's This Shirt?

    Here's a weird one: Eclypsed caught a few pictures of a fan with a homemade Wing Commander IV shirt while attending the 2006 Penny Arcade eXpo. This must be some kind of internet forum joke that we haven't seen before -- but it's a neat shirt, regardless. The Acronym Finder says FTGF means "Fight the Good Fight" -- appropriate! PAX is a major gaming convention set up by the creatores of the Penny Arcade internet comic. Some of our staff attended back in 2004!

    Missing Movie Cuts Collected

    AD was checking out all the Wing Commander movie trailers in our Holovids section and noticed a few discrepancies. Upon closer inspection, he managed to isolate several short clips that didn't make it to the final version of the movie. There's about thirty seconds of new material in all. AD has added subtitles to describe what is unique about each scene. These can go by quick, so get ready to pause. Although we still hope to get ahold of entire missing segments someday, this is pretty neat. The effort required to put this together reminds me of panning for gold in Gold Rush. You can grab the 5 meg video here.

    And Also Polterguy Was There!

    Still not sold on EA Replay? Remember that you don't just get Wing Commander and The Secret Missions for your $19.99... you get twelve other games! Electronic Arts has released screenshots showing six of these in action -- B.O.B, Budokan, Desert Strike, Haunting, Road Rash and Virtual Pinball. Screenshots showing the two games most related to Wing Commander, Syndicate and Ultima VII, are presumably forthcoming.

    The Grass Is Always Greenscreener...

    Despite not being an avid magazine buyer, Wedge was searching through his archives and came up with a cool looking review of Wing Commander 3 from the old PSX Pro magazine. 1996 is well known as the year we got Wing Commander 4 and Privateer 2, but the Playstation port of WC3 also made it out that spring. Although it wasn't quite as awesome as the 3DO version, Heart of the Tiger for the PSX had less compressed FMV, color communication videos and deleted scenes that the PC version did not. Check out the screenshot in the middle of the second page that highlights the TCN News Terminal only available on consoles. The game got a neat three-page spread that highlights the incredible visuals not available elsewhere. Despite Wing Commander 3's good score, the author admits that the tone of the article may come off negatively because he prefers playing on the computer.

    Homeworld Bound

    czacen has posted a status update regarding his Wing Commander IV for Homeworld 2 project. He's been temporarily knocked offline... but progress continues unabated! It sounds like there have been some amazing changes to the game, including very obscure ships referenced only in the novelization. He needs our help with some audio files, so please read on and contact him if you can be of assistance.
    I have been in touch with Bryn and have updated him with the latest set of ships and add-ons. ive been working on the mod at a friends place. so far these are the latest ships in. Expect pics as soon.

    Confed - Arrow made into correct version.
    UBW - HQ (a converted form of an Ella superbase with a capship bay at the rear)
    Destroyer
    Caernaven
    Mining Transport
    Jump Buoy
    Outpost (a replica of the one that LOAF managed to get pics of recently that was hidden within the game)

    FX - All capship weapon FX and capmissiles are incorporated.

    Sound - WC4 Music downloaded and cleaned up by me in audacity and recomposed for the mod.

    Gameplay - Both sides have proper build times and cost and balancing

    AI - Slightly improved AI for the computer when playing as ubw side.

    I will be tackling the audio this week. I tried to extract the WC4 tre files with treman but have had no luck what-so-ever. Can someone mail me a zip or rar with all the extracted battle chatter from the game? I think Wedge has this archive. All battle chatter in whatever quality will be greatly appreciated. Don't worry, I have figured out a way to clean the poor WC4 audio up in Audacity that works fantastically, or else can someone guide me on how to extract the Xtre files.

    EA Replay Spans The Universe

    How many ways can a press release be rephrased? Let us count the ways: one, two... twenty-four! EA Replay has made headlines around the world... and absolutely none of these articles are worth reading if you've already checked out the exciting press release here. For posterity:
    This Week in Games - Spymac
    EA Replays 14 Classics for PSP - Techtree
    'EA Replay' taps '90s nostalgia for PSP - CNet
    EA Classics Head for PSP - Ferrago
    EA Turns Back Time With Replay - Blogcritics
    PSP Goes Old School With EA Replay - PS3 News
    EA Create EA Replay Brand For Nostalgic PSP Gamers - Pocket-lint
    1990s EA Compilation for PSP - Gameplanet
    EA Officially Announces "EA Replay" Retro Gaming for Sony PSP - Gaming Bits
    Desert Strike, Road Rash & Syndicate Are Back! - Entertainmentwise
    EA Replay for PSP Offers 14 Classic Console Games - IT News Online
    Replay - The Game Compilation from EA - Playfuls
    EA Turns the PSP into a Time Machine - IGN
    EA Replay Brings Back the 90's to the PSP - GameSHOUT
    EA Replay Announced for PSP - Modojo
    EA Confirms Classic Game Collection for PSP - Gamasutra
    EA Gets On The Nostalgia Band-Wagon - XGP Gaming
    EA Announces EA Replay for PSP - Gaming Age
    Classic EA Titles Coming to PSP - Starpulse
    EA To Release Retro PSP Comp - Eurogamer
    EA Confirms PSP Retro Compilation - Boomtown
    EA Replay Oficially Announced - Pro-G
    Desert Strike, Road Rash, Syndicate to Appear on PSP - Rewiredmind
    EA Replay Announced for PSP - PSX Extreme

    WC Saga Shares Some Intel

    The WC Saga team has released new screenshots that show the updated look of the projects's tech browser. Information on missiles, guns and ships will be provided as they become relevant in the game. The gun models are polished up versions of the weapons seen in Privateer. You can find more images at the Saga website.
    Wing Commander Saga features a tech room with information about all of the ships and weapons that the player will encounter, both friend and foe. In addition, the tech room will also serve as a location where new intelligence is shared with the player. Keeping current on the hardware and intelligence in the combat theater will give players an edge in their desperate fight against the Kilrathi.

    Some Real Lion Art

    The last time we posted hand drawn Wing Commander art, we mentioned we wished we saw it more often. Well, apparently it exists and people just don't tell us. KrisV found a neat image at DeviantArt. You can rate the work here. And this is the artist's explanation:
    Hail followers of the cosmic cats!

    I'm no artist and I lack in ambition to be one, but here I present one of my Noctis Interpretation. More precisely said, a theme crossover at Deviant Art. Two Felysians discovered on their landing place an alien - Kilrathi!

    Kilrathi are a vile feline species of an old space shooter game namely Wing Commander (including novels) which were slightly design-inspired by the Kzinti concept (Niven's Ringworld).

    Wing Commander Fans Pound Pavement At DC2006

    The annual DragonCon Parade was held again this morning in Atlanta, and Team CIC made their fourth appearance on the street. Thousands of convention attendees and local residents lined Peachtree Avenue to cheer all the marchers on. Thanks to everyone who encouraged us in the crowd. This year wasn't as sunny as usual, but the cooler weather was a nice change. Right after the parade, we met with the new head of Baen Books to express our interest in future Wing Commander novels. No new material is currently being written, but that could change if things like EA Replay are successful. We've been taking lots of pictures all week and will have the full photo galleries available soon. See you on the webcam.

    Out With The Old, In With The New

    Our new poll commemorates the official announcement of EA Replay by asking how willing fans are to shell out for the next new Wing Commander experience. We don't expect that everyone can afford to buy new systems like we did, but with the game's retail price of only $19.99, even penny-pinching fans can help show Electronic Arts how popular Wing Commander is today!

    Our old poll tried to unscientifically gauge how long our faithful visitors have been coming to the site. The results were very impressive. With nine options to choose from, the difference between the most and least voted choices was less than 5%. Almost a quarter of our fans have been around since before the CIC's founding, and more than two thirds of our viewers started reading without a new announced Wing Commander product on the horizon. All of these figures are pretty neat. Thanks for coming!

    EA Embraces 90's Nostalgia With EA Replay

    To follow up on last night's confirmation, here is the full text of Electronic Arts' official press release for EA Replay. In line with the newly revealed MSRP, Amazon.com has also just reduced its price to $19.95.

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 1, 2006--Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that it will release a compilation of EA games from the 90's exclusively for the PSP(R) (PlayStation(R) Portable) system under the EA(TM) brand. The game is under production in Vancouver, B.C. by EA Canada, EA's main hub for PSP development, and will ship to retailers November 7, 2006. Let EA bring you back to a simpler time when the dawn of gaming's golden age took hold. EA(TM) Replay is a throw back to what you loved about videogames in the first place.

    "We're very excited to be offering PSP consumers an unprecedented glimpse into EA's past," said David McCarthy, executive producer on the project. "EA Replay is a rich compilation of classic EA IP that stays true to the original experiences, while offering modern gamers additional features geared towards on-the-go game play."

    EA Replay promises to deliver a great console experience on-the-go for all 14 games including hit franchises such as the Strike series, Road Rash(TM), and Wing Commander(TM). Go head-to-head with friends in multiplayer on select titles, unlock original game art, and save your game at any point. Let the memories come rushing back and take the fun of the 90's wherever you go with EA Replay. The complete title list is as follows:

    B.O.B. Road Rash(TM) II
    Budokan Road Rash(TM) III
    Desert StrikeSyndicate
    Jungle StrikeUltima(TM): The Black Gate
    Haunting Starring PolterguyVirtual Pinball
    Mutant League FootballWing Commander(TM)
    Road Rash(TM)Wing Commander(TM): Secret Missions
    EA Replay will be available exclusively for the PSP system with an MSRP of $19.99. This game has not yet been rated by the ESRB. Media can find screen shots and a fact sheet at http://info.ea.com.

    In Space, No One Should Hear You Fullscreen

    Think you've seen the whole picture when it comes to the Wing Commander movie? Well, you probably have -- so now it's time for you to see even less! Thanks to the recent Brazilian release of the movie, you can see the movie's awkward fullscreen transfer... previously available only on the VHS and now-unwatchable Divx releases of the film. You haven't truly lived until you've experienced awkward pans over characters and strangely squashed CGI scenes. You can find a copy available for purchase here. As a matter of fact, the staff is watching this version of the movie right now!

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