Nearly a thousand fans have downloaded at least one high resolution movie pack for Wing Commander Prophecy, and many have asked how they can integrate these videos into the actual game. HCl has created another amazing patch to make this possible. Pack one (1.6 gigs), pack two (1 gig) and pack three (550 megs) are still available for those who need them.
Getting it all set up is easy:
Install Prophecy if you haven't already (don't forget the Windows 95/98 compatibility mode Properties setting)
Unzip the WCP
enhancement pack into the game's folder (back up your Prophecy.exe if desired - the pack also enables high res gameplay modes and online multiplayer) Create a subdirectory called
movie in the Prophecy folder Move your downloaded high res movie files into this folder
VOB patch and unzip it to the Prophecy folder (it will overwrite a file you made earlier) Start the game!
The game will search the movie directory first, and if it doesn't find a high res file, it'll default to the regular videos on CD. This means you don't have to download all 3 gigabytes of movies in order to play. If you encounter problems, try installing this
mpeg decoder, switching to a different video mode or alternating subtitles on or off. This upgrade works great for most people, but a few may encounter glitches. Feedback is very helpful at this point. Enjoy the game!
GameSpot is reporting on a new wave of downloadable content for Electronic Arts' Godfather for the XBox 360. The items available for purchase mark a first for the service: in-game money is now available to buy via the XBox Live Marketplace. For example, $100,000 in Godfather cash will cost 75 points or about $0.94. Similar to Tiger Woods cheats released last week, a variety of unlockable game content is also available for purchase, although much of it can be obtained for free with some time and effort. This has caused a small uproar online, but people continue to buy up game enhancement devices and cheat code books in stores for the same purpose. GameSpot recently conducted an interview with EA's vice president of online commerce to get the company's thoughts on future downloadables. To get a look at the different items available, a new Marketplace Website has also been created to highlight Electronic Arts' Live lineup.
GameSpot: Can you explain the current mindset that EA Sports has going into downloadable content?
Chip Lange: Sure. The mindset is we love it. We're all big fans of it. We're all huge users of the Marketplace and are excited about the type of creative offerings and opportunities it brings for us to be able to get new stuff to customers to keep the game experience fresh and exciting over the life of the product. So if there's a key message here, it's EA Sports and EA are embracing this whole method of distribution of content to customers. And the pipeline's starting to open up.
The next upgraded inteface for the Gemini Gold fan project has come together more quickly than expected. John Cordell sent along this preview shot of the Software Booth for comparison. Did anybody ever buy those individual quadrant maps? The entire sector pack was pretty cheap compared to the price of outfitting a ship for interstellar travel... Here's John with the details:
Again Andy Westrate implemented another fully functional interface and this time for the Software Booth. The only missing feature so far is that the engine can't display 'pressed buttons', but we hope to see that working sometime soon. As you can see, the radar pictures are all redone in high res, but the starmaps are still missing! Help wanted!
Jetlag just got Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS. Like a good Wing Commander fan, the first thing he did was to pimp his ride with a Kilrathi emblem (right). The stylish crest of the Kiranka clan featured prominently on the back of the Kilrathi ccg cards that Jetlag completely scanned a while back. Also pictured below is room from Privateer 3 and a Homeworld 2 badge featuring the image.
<jetlag> Did you see my Mario Kart emblem? It totally makes me go faster.
Tolwyn reports that after a number of crash sessions over the last few weeks, the WC Saga mod has finished recording the voice acting that they have planned. They've released this 150 k wav sample to give people an idea of what to expect.
At this point, we're trying to iron out the last few design wrinkles that have reared their heads in the last few weeks. Yesterday we got last bits of the voice over work done, and it has turned out very well. The experience was amazing - as were the actors. This was my first time working with actors like this, and I think I got extremely lucky to work with such an incredible group.
Jetlag has mocked up a special shirt design to further promote Travis Baldree's Free Hornet. You can read all about the state of Hornets in the Wing Commander community in yesterday's news, or download the newest model here. Free Hornet!
<jetlag> I made a FREE HORNET T-shirt.
Travis Baldree, inspired by Howard Day's impressive design, has been working hard on a Hornet model of his own. The final result looks very nice. Although there are some similarities with Howie's ship, elements such as textures were actually made from scratch for this version. If you're involved with something that could use a solid old light fighter, Travis has made his craft available here (2.1 megs).
Anyway, it's about 2800 polys and includes diffuse, specular, illumination, and bump maps. This should be game suitable and easily integrated into an existing mod project, and you are free to do so if you like, no strings. I've packed up a version with the textures, as well as a MAX7 mesh and a 3DS for anybody without MAX. Apologies for any shoddiness - I'm not the finest modeler/texturer, more of a code-monkey. Feel free to use this in whatever you want - hope you have fun with it!
There's something about the Hornet that keeps drawing people back. Maybe it has to do with it being the first craft that many of us flew in the original Wing Commander. Previously we posted high res scans of the WC1 Blueprints for those that could use another detailed look at them. Howie's classic model is also available here. Using that same model, Tim Peel created a fantastic wallpaper a while back, and SabreAce made one too. Alpha 1-1 even built a Hornet out of balsa wood. A super stylized version appeared in this ad for the SNES Secret Missions. The trusty little fighter also made appearances in screenshots for a number of fan projects over the years.
After watching Wing Commander Academy, Aaron Thomas was inspired to add the Scimitar to his WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. The fighter will fill an important gap in the Border Worlds fleet, much as it did in the Wing Commander IV novelization. Although some shots show an engine glow behind the acceleration absorbers, this has been removed in the game itself. Don't mind the prices and minor details that you see in the menus either. They are currently placeholder values since build and research tables for the UBW faction are not yet complete.
I dunno what got into me today, but I got so pumped watching WC Academy (which I downloaded from CIC with my new net connection) that I went out and did this.
GameDaily has posted an interview with Derek Chester, one of the writers for the upcoming Star Trek: Legacy game. When asked about his influences, he talks about our favorite series:
Games like Tie Fighter, Doom 2, Dune 2 and of course who could ever forget Wing Commander III. I played the entire Wing Commander series from the beginning, eventually with all the speech packs in tow, but WCIII really took my breath away. What a mix of storytelling and gameplay that really just clicked and made you crave to play more.
Oddly enough, Derek Chester is the same person who once tried to
Crusader: No Remorse and No Regret, great games. Bioforge, Full Throttle, Dark Forces, Command & Conquer, Starfleet Command, Star Trek 25th Anniversary, Might and Magic, Ultima, and finally Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. What a great era for the legacy of gaming.
take credit for the 'lost' Wing Commander Prophecy script. You can find the actual "original" Prophecy script in our Archive. Nevertheless, Legacy will certainly be one of the multiplayer games the CIC staff will be playing on the XBox 360 this winter!
Bad news for the impatient -- it looks like EA Replay will be delayed by two weeks. No official change has been announced, but both Amazon and Gamestop have changed their listings to reflect a November 14th release. Both of these e-tailers correctly preluded the original change to October 31st, so our guess is that Electronic Arts will follow suite at their official press site soon -- we will let you know (and change our counter) when or if this occurs. Still, it's been a full three years since Prophecy GBA was released... another two weeks for Replay can't hurt us!
Electronic Arts has some exciting news -- Full Motion Video is back, in a big way! Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars won't just feature the return of Kane... it will feature the return of the big-budget Hollywood cutscene! From their press release:
Electronic Arts today announced that the highly-anticipated Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars™ (C&C 3) game will feature an all-star celebrity line-up for its high-definition, live action video sequences from critically-acclaimed television series such as "LOST" and "Battlestar Galactica," blockbuster films such as Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi (1980, 1983), Top Gun (1986), Starship Troopers (1997), and The Wedding Crashers (2005), and a former Miss USA pageant winner. The unparalleled, diverse cast includes Tricia Helfer, Josh Holloway, Michael Ironside, Billy Dee Williams, Grace Park, Ivana Bozilovic, Shauntay Hinton, and more!
Several news sites' takes on the announcent, naturally mentioned Wing Commander: GameSpot and PALGN mention the series as an example of that great bygone FMV era... and GameDaily says that "[C&C3] is one of the largest, most well known casts to act live-action in the history of games, rivaling that of the Wing Commander series." We're not sure about that... but it's great to see anyone investing in live action again -- and even greater to have it be Electronic Arts! A new Wing Commander doesn't seem so impossible now.
Howard Day has been working on the details of the modular civilian station to be featured in WC Pioneer. Starting with the core design, he's begun detailing docking mechanisms and design elements that will give components a visual purpose. The little red sticks represent people for scale. Fans can look forward to actual textures and new kinds of modules in the near future. Everyone's input has been helpful in shaping the station so far, and you can provide more feedback at Crius.net
Okay, I've started detailling the basic modules that Brad sent over for the
medium station. It's pretty rough detailing right now, but it will become more refined. Right now, you've got your hexagon-shaped main connector - this is where the hangars, commodity exchanges and shipyards are attached (placeholder hangar there now) and the four fuel ports (show how much fuel the station has - a good indicator of how pricey it will be).
We still have plenty of bandwidth to spare this month. You can help us by downloading the extended edition of Queeg's popular Heart Of The Tiger Movie Project. This is the new and improved cut that we posted last month. If you missed it the first time, this is a good way to recap the events of WC3 in the span of a few hours.
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
You can download the extended version (2 hours 13 minutes, 850 megs)
here. A shorter, smaller version is available here. You need either the XviD codec or the VLC movie player to watch this. We recommend a download manager like GetRight to reliably download something this size, even if you have broadband internet.
Although we upgraded to a new and powerful server last month, we've been running the old one in tandem while we post some big downloads. There's still plenty of bandwidth left over though, and you've still got a few days to use it up. Wing Commander Academy is a big batch of files that everyone should have in their collection. The series celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, and this week is the decennial of Episode 05 - Lords of the Sky. Download away and don't let the Piscean Arthrosquids bite!
It's been a busy week for EA. Today they begin shipping Battlefield 2142, The Sims 2: Pets and Tiger Woods PGA Tour '07. The three games were broken down into twelve versions across half a dozen platforms. Medal of Honor Heroes is up for release on the 23rd, and EA Replay is due the following week, along with Need for Speed Carbon and Ultima Online: 9th Anniversary Collection. The new UO package will contain all previously released expansion packs in one $19.99 set. Electronic Arts also just recently closed down their Warrington North UK and DICE Canada studios.
Mark Smids has come up with an easy movie viewer for the DVD quality Prophecy FMV files. Extract all three packs and point Mark's application to this directory. Double-click an entry to play. This helper application makes viewing the clips easier by adding scene descriptions to each file. We've edited the text down into a regular article which can be found here. Owners of Wing Commander 4 on DVD can find a similar movie index here.
I've recently downloaded the great-quality FMV of WCP from wcnews.com. To
have a nice overview of the movies I made a short description for each
moviefile and created a navigation menu application (see screenshot in the
mail attachment) for quick access to the movies. My navigation menu uses
Media Player Classic as the engine (since it can play .VOB files
directly). I would like to share this piece of software that I made to the
Wing Commander community. I hope a lot of you will enjoy using this
navigation menu. The installer (included Media Player Classic) can be
You can download part one here (1.6 GB), part two here (1 GB) and part three here (550 MB). Stay tuned for a way to replace the game's CD-ROM videos with these higher quality files.
Goku wanted to share this brief editorial about the difficulties in keeping up with PC games. The author compares trying to run modern graphical marvels with demanding Origin titles in the past.
I remember the early 1990s all too well, when... the first Pentium processors rolled out. Developers like Origin Systems were falling over themselves to make games that could only be properly run if you had these bleeding-edge chips, while the majority of gamers still laboring with standard 486 processors had to endure Strike Commander experiences akin to a 3D slideshow.
A 486 was still pretty darn fast in 1993 when Strike Commander and the first Pentium came out. Quite a few of our readers can talk about waiting 10 minutes or more for missions to load in Wing Commander 3 the following year. The wait was always worth it though, and all that cutting edge tech has helped the series age extremely well.
Quite a bit of work has been done on the new turret cockpit for WC Pioneer over the last week. Tons of blinking lights have been added, VDUs are displaying data and space is visible outside the windows. All the polish has made the structure look really pretty. Fans have provided a number of additional suggestions for future improvements, and Howard is testing those out now. You can check out a Quicktime virtual reality version of the cockpit here or provide feedback at Crius.net. It's also interesting to see how the original turret concepts developed into this.
Got pretty much everything sorted out - the majority of the textures are done, and the main displays have been completed. I've tightened up the pipes a bit and added some extra ones. There are a few little details left. If all goes as planned, you will be able to see your legs when flying. Lemme know any thoughts you guys might have.
To celebrate their first birthday, GameTap is offering 50% off their subscription rate when you prepay for an entire year. That works out to about $5 a month or $60 a year. The sale lasts until October 22. Although we're still waiting to hear what the latest word is on Privateer's addition to their roster, a ton of classic Origin, Electronic Arts and space sims/adventures are now available, and new games get added each week. Accounts can still only be created by US residents, but each paying subscriber is encouraged to make several sub-accounts for family and friends. Only two of these users can play games simultaneously, but this makes the program an even better deal. Players in other countries don't seem to have a problem accessing the service if their primary account holder is in the US.
GameTap gives you unlimited access to hundreds of the world’s greatest videogames, all through your broadband PC. Console games, arcade classics, modern PC hits and even brand new exclusive titles—GameTap has them, and all for one low monthly fee. It’s easy to use, and no special hardware is required—just the broadband PC you already own.
Gemini Gold's latest improvement takes place in the Commodity Exchange. They've taken out the ungainly purchase menu and put in an interface that closely resembles the original. Some of the back stock appears to have sold out and a light bulb must've popped up front, but the new store looks pretty good. John Cordell and team have spent most of the year removing rushed elements that didn't mesh well and painstakingly replacing them with new art. You can read about some of their other improvements here.
Many people have complained about the unprivateerish GUI in Gemini Gold, so we set as one goal for the next release a complete GUI redesign in the spirit of good old Privateer. A few month ago Claudio Freire started to create a basic framework for all necessary interfaces and rolled out the
Mission Computer. Unfortunately he needed to take a break and everything was on hold for weeks. Then Andy Westrate found us and stepped into the team. He took Claudio's code developed it further to upgrade the commodity exchange system. While we are still working to finish the new commodity items, Andy already started to implement the software booth which the next news update will probably be about...
Origin's record of innovation didn't stop with Wing Commander: this trio of CGW advertisements promotes Ultima Underworlds I & II. These classics created "the first continuous-movement, 3D-dungeon, action fantasy" - which is to say that they're early RPG-derived ancestors of the first person shooter genre which dominates gaming to this day. Wolfenstein 3D, which was released soon after The Stygian Abyss, ultimately became more popular, but the Los Angeles Times preferred Underworld, saying "the 3D perspective lends an element of virtual reality not seen in other first-person adventures. A rich texture of character and story detail combine to keep a determined adventure involved for hours." An improved sequel, Labyrinth of Worlds, was immediately developed with upgraded gameplay and graphics. The team behind the games went on to develop System Shock, a similar RPG/shooter mix. Wing Commander fans should look out for a special CD-ROM release which includes both Wing Commander II and the second Underworld.
Some games can't be showcased with a few screen shots and some descriptive text. Ultima Undeworld: The Stygian Abyss - a game of action, motion and movement - is one of them. We hope this attempt to capture the excitement of the Underworld sends you running to a software store for a look at our demo. Because only there can you truly experiene this incredible journey. If your favorite retailer doesn't have an Ultima Underworld demo yet, ask them to call ORIGIN. We'll send one out right away."
Here's another look at the Wing Commander style user interface that Aaron Thomas has added to the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. It's the same layout as shown previously, but all of the ships, satellites and stations below belong to the Union of Borlder Worlds. Aaron is now looking at finalizing the Border Worlds fleet so he can move on to the Black Lance faction. Although the game wasn't built with widescreen displays in mind, players can manually enter their resolutions into a configuration file. This will stretch the display across any size screen.
Seth Brice sent in a few photos to show off his new flotilla. He's built a Kilrathi Dreadnought, TCS Tiger's Claw, TCS Victory, Broadsword and Scimitar out of Legos. Each has its own stand. Color can be difficult to match for many Lego creators, but he's managed to incorporate a number of nice touches with the pieces he did have available. You can check out a whole bunch of other Wing Commander designs here.
IGN has posted an interesting editorial: it's a wishlist of classic games that should be ported to X-Box Live Arcade, following the highly successful release of DooM. Sure enough, Wing Commander made the list. Origin games also took three other slots: Crusader: No Remorse (#6), Abuse (#8) and Autoduel (#9). So... where's Ultima?
5. Wing Commander
Microsoft has also recently licensed Mad Catz to produce a full-featured
Origin Studios' ultimate space shooter franchise featured some phenomenal dog-fighting. This game would work both as a multiplayer and a single player game.
X-Box Live Arcade Stick. Even if they don't end up porting Wing Commander to Live Arcade, the X-Box 360 is still an excellent platform for Wing Commander fans to use for getting together. The CIC staff frequently runs games of Ghost Recon: Advance Warfighter, and we welcome any other WingNuts to join the fun. There are some other promising games on the horizon, including Rainbow Six Vegas and Star Trek : Legacy. We highly recommend any Wing Commander fan invest in an X-Box 360.
George " Fat Man" Sanger's personal story about video game audio was released a few years ago, but it's still making the rounds and getting great reviews. We only mentioned it once in passing, but Goku reminded us about it after reading this article on important books about the gaming industry. The Fat Man is well known for his music in Wing Commander, Ultima, 7th Guest, Maniac Mansion, Sim City, LOOM and more. He's widely credited as being one of a handful of people responsible for taking video game audio from old beeps and boops to something meaningful that enhanced the overall entertainment experience. Team Fat helped pioneer things such as Wing Commander 1's dynamic audio that changed depending on the intensity of the situation. More recently, Gamasutra mentions that he's experimenting with the sound that casino slot machines produce, and both they and the Austin Chronicle highly recommend The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness (they both mention Wing Commander to boot!).
"The inside secret is that it's a bizarre movie treatment in the form of literature, disguised as a philosophy book, which is hidden in an autobiography which is intimately tied to the history of gaming. Sanger passes this whole thing off as a how-to book, which, seemingly through sheer random luck, is the most effective and to-the-point manual for creating game audio that has ever been made. I'm buying a copy for everybody I've ever met who can read." -- Joe Purchak
It's finally here -- part three of the Wing Commander Prophecy movie upgrade! If you've been following the releases, you should now have every video in the game in DVD-quality format! Download the set here (550 MB). The archive includes 45 cinematics in .VOB format. This final pack includes the game's stunning conclusion, all the losing endgames... and a heck of a lot of briefings! You can still download part one here (1.6 GB) and part two here (1 GB). What do you have to look forward to, now? Well, keep watching the news for a way to integrate these files into your CD-ROM version of the game...
Pioneer is back! Howard Day has posted another work in progress, the cockpit art for the game's gun turret. Howard says: " The two screen to the front will have a radar display on the left and gun power/tractor beam status on the right.
Take a look and let me know what you think. Any suggestions for improvement or thoughts on the coclors or layout are welcome." You can download a Quicktime walkthrough of the turret here.
Kyran has added a few things to the Perfect Plan mod for Flight Commander and combined everything into one supplemental download package. The game takes place during a war between two factions known as the Network and the Alliance, and it utilizes parts of the Ranger's Glory mod to round out its fleet. Future versions should include resource trading and ship construction as well. Additional features are described below. To give this test release a try, install Flight Commander 1.4 and set up the Perfect Plan download on top of it. You can also help provide feedback at Crius.net.
The current release sets the scene and gives a small taste of the planned campaign. It has five missions, five new voice overs and three edited ships. The release has been tested to work with Flight Commander 1.4.5 and should work with 1.4.6 without any trouble.
Another feature is the option of playing on either side of the conflict. Early on in the campaign, while the main character is lone wolfing, two enemy pilots give the option of defecting to their side. You could either pretend to defect and lead them into a trap or truly defect and annoy your ex-wing mates.
Mods like Perfect Plan wouldn't be possible without eddieb's Flight Commander program. Reprogramming Prophecy or Secret Ops is very difficult, but Eddie has made it easy for new modders to get their feet wet with something a bit more user friendly. New this week is the version 1.4 patch 6. It corrects an issue with the game recognizing joysticks. You can get help on running various FC mods or learn about making your own project at the Flight Commander Forum.
Flight Commander is a space combat game in the style of Wing Commander. The Flight Commander engine was programmed from the ground up, and comes with a graphical mission editor. It is designed to accomodate easy modding, using standard formats for images, sounds, and 3d graphics. All game stats can be changed easily with a text editor.
For the more advanced missions, scripting is done with the user-friendly but powerful lua scripting language. All scripting commands are well documented, and many examples are included for a variety of missions.
Jacob Hudson has posted a variety of new mock ups for his customizable card game inspired by Privateer 2 and Das Erwachen. This batch highlights several military ships and large transport craft and finally reveals equipment cards. Additional types, such as events and maneuvers, are in the works. The game is being made with both German and English audiences in mind, so card texts with both languages are floating around. You can help provide feedback and read developers' notes at Crius.net here.
As you can see, the Salvia destroyer has a really huge amount of armor and shields. The only way to kill such vessels are with torpedoes. Light and a heavy versions exists. Both will be used as "equipment cards," reducing ships' speed and the amount of missiles available during a fight with other fighters. Sounds a bit confusing, but we will explain it soon...
Every week the Detroit Free Press profiles a video gamer -- what kinds of games they like, what they're playing now and what they'd like to see in the future. This week's choice, Rob Debelak, has the perfect answer to that last question:
I'd love to see an online multiplayer game set in the "Wing Commander" universe, where players could fly ships as Confed military, Kilrathi, pirates or privateers, and battle each other in deep space.
Perfect! Now, lets hope the President of Electronic Arts reads local Detroit 's newspapers as closely as we do...
Aaron Thomas is still chugging along at full steam on the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. He's successfully upgraded the interface and HUD from the default to a Wing Commander inspired design. Since the game doesn't support different layouts for different factions, he's combined elements from the Confederation and Border World schemes into his design. Here are a variety of Confed ships (and one Black Lance shot) with the new user interface. The changes help improve the overall look and feel quite a bit. In terms of general progress, Aaron's about 70% done integrating Wing Commander sound effects, and the Border Worlds faction is about 90% complete. You can help provide feedback over at Crius.net.
The WC Saga team has posted several shots that detail the tweaks they've made to the HUD. Although it is very similar to the original Freespace interface (pictured third), you can see variations in almost every element that make them more closely resemble their Wing Commander counterparts. There are different color schemes available, and individual components can be customized on their own to the player's preference.
GameSpot has posted a hands-on preview of an early build of EA Replay. It seems generally positive, but there's very little mention of Wing Commander:
Some SNES emulation is also present with Ultima VII, Syndicate, and two Wing Commander games. These are pretty faithful versions, but unlike many of the Genesis games on the disc, most of these SNES games were originally PC games that were better on the PC. So you'll be getting the sort-of-crippled console versions of these games instead of the classics you might remember.
They've also posted four "Official Movies," which add up to roughly half an hour of someone playing Road Rage and Syndicate. You can find those
...The options and menus are in, however, and you'll be able to save your progress in any game at any time--which should get around some of the password entry hassles found in the original games--and select from either the original 4:3 aspect ratio or a stretched 16:9 view.
Look for some unlockable supplementary goodies to accompany the 14 classics found in Replay.
In addition to the games themselves, it appears that the package will include unlockable artwork for many, if not all, of the games in the collection...