WC Saga Prologue Released!

The long-awaited introductory chapter of WC Saga was finally released this morning. At 282 megs, the Prologue includes extensive voice-overs for a handful of missions and a long cutscene to kick things off. The story begins with 2nd Lt. David "Sandman" Markham arriving aboard the TCS Wellington around the time of Wing Commander 3. As the tutorial missions explain how to play the game, events occur that set the stage for the main WC Saga game. Between the plot missions, players can access additional text fiction, training simulations and technical information about the included ships. A 700 MHz processor, 256 megs of RAM and T&L graphics card are the minimum requirements, but better systems will deliver improved performance and enhanced special effects. Check out the readme notes here and download the game itself here. The mod is standalone and runs with everything included in the download link.

Our team has poured countless hours of sweat into creating Wing Commander Saga, and we are all extremely pleased to share the first fruits of our labor with you. After all, without the support you have provided us, none of this would have been possible. For that, you have our deepest thanks.

Following in the footsteps of a game like Wing Commander 3 is an amazing challenge. We hope you will find a familar sense of space combat as you experience our vision of the Wing Commander universe and play your part in the incredible story that will unfold in the months and years to come.

Ring In The New Year With Wing Commander Fans

If you plan to spend the night at home, feel free to drop by #Wingnut to count down to midnight with Wing Commander fans. Even if you're going out tonight, stop by any time to talk about all the neat things that have happened this year. You can find fellow fans to set up multiplayer games of Armada or Prophecy online, which is something we never would have expected to be doing just a couple short years ago. We also didn't expect to get a new EA set with a brand new Wing Commander port, and we're excited about what 2007 will bring. From Standoff Episode 3 to the Homeworld Mod Preview to the WC Saga Prologue, 2006 was also a tremendous year for WC mods. Many other fan projects made significant progress this year, and even more will achieve great things in 2007. If you've never visited #Wingnut before, check out our simplified interface to get acquainted.

Uncle Kashumai Says Download Some Files

This year, Wingnuts will have downloaded some 20 terabytes in files from the CIC, so here's one last push to hit that milestone. CIC Holovids, our newest section, contains most of the Privateer 2 main plot videos (two notable exceptions are the intro and first Joe scene) and side plot cinematics in higher quality encodings. You can find them all here. A large zip file with all 24 movies is also available here. It weighs in at 730 megs, so you will want to use a download manager.

Last Reminder For BBC Viewers

At the time of writing, we are now only hours away from the Wing Commander movie airing on BBC 1. The channel is available throughout the United Kingdom, and also in some European countries via cable/satellite services. The movie will air at 12:15am GMT, shortly after midnight this Sunday 31st December, and runs until 1:50am.
Wing Commander
Sun 31 Dec, 12:15 am - 1:50 am 95mins

Blair, a fighter pilot, joins an interstellar war to fight the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the universe. [Chris Roberts, 1999][S]

Classic Carrier Distinctions Emphasized

To make sure people were giving proper respect to the Concordia class Fleet Carrier, Marc has created an enhanced design based on his original Light Carrier model. The changes might be subtle on the outside, but the fleet carrier cruises with more than twice as many fighters into combat. Both are painted in fancy WC2-era colors, and the heavier ship is pictured second. An animated image shows a close up of certain details visible in WC4 DVD screenshots. The unique vessels are set to assume their proper roles in Ironduke's recently covered strategy game.

Annual Awards Vote Ends Soon

Time is running out to vote in CIC's annual Web Site & Fan Project of the Year awards contest. If you have not done so already, email your votes as soon as possible. The competition is still very close. Here are the nominees one more time!

Fan Project of the Year Nominees

  • Das Erwachen (The Awakening) Fan Novel/CCG: This is Privateer II's tenth anniversary, and Deacon is celebrating in style -- with an entire fan novel and customizable card game available online!
  • Flight Commander: Flight Commander is a Prophecy-style game engine created by EddieB that allows fans to build their own missions and scenarios!
  • HCl's Prophecy Multiplayer/High Res/DVD video patch: As always, HCl has done the impossible -- added an entire multiplayer mode to Wing Commander Prophecy. It's something that even Origin believed impossible, and that has changed the way Wing Commander fans play their favorite game.
  • Holding The Line: Holding the Line is a massive fan fiction serial which has been ongoing for several years -- well eclipsing the Wing Commander Aces fan club which spawned it.
  • WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod: The Homemworld 2 mod took everyone by surprise -- Aaron Thomas has created entire Confederate, Border World and Black Lance factions that can already be played using the game's multiplayer!
  • Wing Commander: Against All Odds RPG: AAO is a message board/IRC-based role playing game that has really taken off this year! AAO players frequent irc.wcnews.com for their various adventures.
  • Wing Commander Pioneer: Pioneer is a ground-up Privateer-style game being developed by veteran artist Howard Day. No gameplay yet, but it certainly looks impressive!

Web Site of the Year Nominees

  • Das Erwachen (The Awakening): Thanks to the graphic expertise of Hudson, The Awakening sorts an impressive Privateer II-themed website to go with its neat book and CCG.
  • HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site: HCl's site may not be the prettiest in the universe... but it can't be beat in terms of true content. If you're interested in editing any Wing Commander game, it's a good bet you'll find what you're looking for here.
  • Holding The Line: HTL isn't just a big story -- it has an excellent and tasteful reference site, too.
  • Standoff: Standoff was project of the year last year... and this year their website is up for an award instead. Everyone is anxiously awaiting Episode 4... and this is the place to find out the latest!
  • Wedge's Wing Commander: Wedge has put together an amazing collection of Wing Commander odds and ends, including complete scripts for every game!
  • Wing Commander Saga: The Wing Commander Saga mod for Freespace 2 features a big, flashy website styled after Wing Commander IV's computer interfaces!
  • Wing Commander: The Wasteland Incident: Wasteland is a mod for Wing Commander Secret Ops.

Back With a Flash!

There's more from Ironduke -- he has two Flash-based toys for Wing Commander fans to play around with... and they prove that he has the skills necessary to put together a neat fan project! The first is a size comparison tool, which lets you drag around various Wing Commander II ships to see how they look next to eachother. The second is more complex: he says "Two Ferrets engage three Sartha in open space in this simple test mission. Okay, so you can't really fight it out, but you can move the ships, rotate them, and even blow them up." Download the Size Comparison executable here (1.5 megs) and the Tactical Operations test here (1.5 megs).

Open the Pod Bay Doors

Electronic Arts is on the march, discovering yet another market for video games -- online sales to iPod users! They're entering the field with a few universally popular concepts -- Soduku, Solitaire and the like... but, who knows, if the plan is a success we could see some kind of portable Wing Commander spinoff someday. Here's the official line:
Just in time for last-minute holiday gift giving, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced the availability of two new games for the fifth generation iPod(R) -- EA(TM) Sudoku and Royal Solitaire -- two perfect stocking stuffers for anyone on your list. Beginning today, gamers on-the-go can download these two popular mobile games for play on fifth-generation iPods. All of EA's games for iPod are available for purchase through the iTunes(R) store and can be sent as a gift using the iTunes gifting feature (www.itunes.com).

EA Sudoku and Royal Solitaire join EA's three other popular games which are already available for the fifth generation iPod -- Tetris(R), EA Mini Golf, and EA Mahjong -- which were made available on iTunes last September. With the launch of these two new brain-busting games, EA is the most prolific publisher of games for the fifth generation iPod.

You can read the full press release here. Here's our crack artist's impression of the possible future:

Wing Commander On BBC1 This Saturday Night

Starman noticed that this weekend's BBC ONE schedule has a special treat for Wing Commander fans in Europe. The WC Movie will be showing on Sunday morning at 12:15 am, shortly after midnight. It runs about 95 minutes in length until 1:50 am. The movie didn't get a proper theatrical release in Britain, and only got a DVD ins stores recently, so major broadcasts like this are neat.
Wing Commander
Sun 31 Dec, 12:15 am - 1:50 am 95mins

Blair, a fighter pilot, joins an interstellar war to fight the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the universe. [Chris Roberts, 1999][S]

The Way Things Will Be

The Wing Commander Saga mod team has posted a 'behind the scenes' Christmas update for fans eager to see the game in action. Here's what they say:
One of our goals in creating Wing Commander Saga is to help players feel like a tiny part of a much larger fleet. Combat will take place on both a small- and large-scale basis. Capital ship battles and torpedo strikes will make prominent appearances throughout the game. We've included two small video clips to give a feeling of what they will be like.
The movies are a bit dark, but they do look like fun. The first cicles a WC3-style cruiser during a battle and the second shows an in-cockpit torpedo run on a Kilrathi light destroyer. Follow these links to download the first (15 meg) and second (14 meg) videos. You can download the necessary codec here.

Prophecy Movie Upgrade Reminder

If you haven't yet upgraded your copy of Wing Commander Prophecy to use the astonishing DVD quality movies, then now is a good time to start downloading. The month is almost out and we have a lot of excess bandwidth. The files are available in three packs:
  • Pack 1: Relive Dallas' funeral, the destruction of Eloy, Casey's promotion to the Black Widow Squadron and... the 'hundred percent speech'! 43 cinematics in .VOB format. (1.6 GB)
  • Pack 2: Hawk's story arc, the landing on Dula VII and firing the plasma weapon. In all, 46 movies in .VOB format. (1 GB)
  • Pack 3: This final pack includes the game's stunning conclusion, all the losing endgames... and a heck of a lot of briefings! 45 cinematics in .VOB format. (550 MB)

Look here if you want to integrate these files into the actual game. The intro movie (included in pack 1) is also available as a separate download from the Holovids section if you want to check out the quality. We compared the high resolution files to the standard CD versions in September. Mark Smids made us a stand-alone movie player with scene descriptions for easy viewing. You can find out more here. Be sure to check out the Holovids section for more cool stuff to download. Fan-made music videos, Academy TV episodes and Privateer 2 cinematics are a big hit with our visitors.

American Knight Clip Discovered

While searching around various film credits for his Outlander site, AD has uncovered a basic dogfighting trailer for Chris Roberts' now-defunct American Knight movie. He's captured the low res aerial combat video from Jeremy Braben's Helicopter Film Services promo reel. You can check it out here (9 meg divx). The clip isn't too long, but it's interesting how far the project got before disappearing.

It seems the director of aerial photography for Outlander also did some work as DoP for a project you may have heard of ages ago. It was a World War I air combat/romance that was to be directed by Chris Roberts...

Merry Christmas 2006!

A very exciting year is coming to a close, and we all at the CIC would like to wish our visitors a happy holidays. It's amazing how many Wingnuts have been stopping by IRC, posting to the forums and visiting the site - even on Christmas day. Marc put together this awesome Christmas tree to share with everyone. The Confed star on top is a great touch!

Also check out a few of the neat holiday things that fans have put together in the past.

2003 2004 2005

Shuttle Discovery Returns Home

The Space Shuttle Discovery ended its 13-day mission earlier this weekend with a beautiful twilight descent in Florida. Here are some shots of the landing. With three successful flights completed this year, NASA plans five more missions in 2007.

Discovery touches down at sunset at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility concluding mission STS-116. Discovery traveled 5,330,000 miles, landing on orbit 204. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 20 hours, 44 minutes and 16 seconds. This is the 64th landing at Kennedy.

Hudson Sharpens His Blade

Hudson has kicked out another neat redesign of a classic Privateer 2 ship. The Kindred PL4B Blade has been remodeled with more detail and characteristic red paint job. He's also created a ship, the "Dream," which is featured in Deacon's recent stories. A small Duress appears next to it for scale.

Just 10 min ago Hudson surprise me with... THE BLADE! Yes, the finest fighter from the Kindred...

All Claimed Prizes Shipped

The last batch of CIC Birthday Prizes that we've received addresses for went out last week. It should be arriving early this week for US residents and slightly later for WC fans that live elsewhere. A few remaining winners still haven't claimed their prizes, so please email us if you won an item below.
  • 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

Gemini Gold Profiled At STN

The Station Network has conducted an interview with Gemini Gold lead John Cordell. The article is in German, but criticalmass has translated it here. Most of the questions are pretty standard, but it's good exposure for the project to a wider audience. John also sent along a higher res picture of the Demon shown off in the piece. It's hanging blissfully in space near New Detroit.
STN: Which kind of improvements, apart from the obvious graphics, can we look forward to? Will there be, for example, additional player ships or software, so that you could have your turrets fire automatically?

JC: We will not fulfill those wishes of many Privateer fans yet. It's our opinion that those game enhancements should be introduced into the Privateer universe in an additional campaign together with fitting content, in order not to lose its credibility... Also, we want to give the opportunity to Wing Commander Fans to tell their own stories, using an easily modifiable universe.

Roberts Spotted At Work Again

AD has managed to find another picture of Chris Roberts on the set of Outlander, the medieval sci-fi epic he is currently producing. Aside from an interview posted recently, Roberts hasn't shown up in many of the numerous photos that AD has collected at outlander.solsector.net. The site continues to be regularly updated with all kinds of information about the film, so be sure to check it out to see what's new.

Quickest Paint Jobs in the Quadrant

Some months ago, Marc showed us his WC2 style Victory-type Carrier, Ajax-type Cruiser and Sheffield-type Destroyer. Now he's created some animations for us to help compare the two paint schemes. Click the thumbnails below to check them out!

More of Marc's work can be found in the news archive.

Remember to Vote

This is a reminder that voting for our annual Site/Fan Project of the Year awards is in progress now. Your favorite website needs your support and there are only a few votes between the leaders, so every vote counts. Send yours in via e-mail. You can find a complete list of the nominees here.

Holding The Line Chapter 213

With only a month between this and the previous chapter, it seems like the Holding The Line story is now getting back on track. As always, Raptor has the details about this latest chapter:
Hey all, Raptor here.

HTL continues with Part 5 of the "Welcome To Hell" series, written by James Andrew "JAG" Greenhow. This series has traditionally followed the Confed reserve forces as they prepared to back up the main fleet. Recently though, the Confed and Border Worlds reserves have pooled their forces and then divided into two task forces, in order get a better balance of fighters, bombers and escort warships as they take on the Nephilim. The reserves have had some nasty skirmishes with the enemy so far, but now they're going to be thrown straight into the thick of the battle. Please send any and all comments to JAG at rambo_123uk@hotmail.com, not to me.

http://www.holdingtheline.net/800/8ch213.htm

Best, Raptor

Jumpgate Upgrade Coming Soon

The long running massively multiplayer space sim Jumpgate turned five years old this fall, and it's about to get a major upgrade to celebrate. The game's original publisher ran out of money a few years back, but the developers stuck it out, streamlined their operations and manage to successfully operate the game to this day. SirSkippy noticed a blurb at Kotaku about the MMO's upcoming overhaul. Few details are forthcoming on the specific improvements to expect, but improved graphics and new options seem to be a given. Jumpgate could probably use a bit of a marketing push to supplement its user base as well.
The game, sort of Elite or Wing Commander Privateer online, managed to survive both the ebbs and flows of the MMO market and the death of its initial publisher 3DO.

Although the game doesn't get much publicity these days, it still has a pretty strong user base of about 1,000 people, NetDevil's Scott Brown told me. And it's profitable.

EA To Bring Back Old Franchises

Darklightr came across an interesting quote in the October issue of the U.S. PlayStation Magazine. In "The People vs. EA," the company responds to some of the criticisms gamers have. Look what Nick Earl, general manager of EA Redwood Shores, says in response to complaints that the company has 'killed off' old franchises! Could there be a new Wing Commander title in development already?

"EA...killed all my favorite franchises, only to replace them with their own. Ultima, dead. Wing Commander, dead. Dungeon Keeper, dead. Populous, dead. System Shock, dead. Lands of Lore, dead . . .And Command & Conquer only lives on as a shell of its former self." -- OPM message boards

EARL [. . .] "To answer the charge about not revitalizing certain franchises, that's actually not true. There are several unannounced franchises we are working on right now from that list that we are bringing back out. There are several that we are starting up again that we want to bring back to the fans. Sometimes it comes down to how loudly the market is screaming for something."

And who else screams as loudly as Wing Commander fans? It's worth pointing out that EA continues to promote Ultima Online after nearly a decade, and the vast majority of Wing Commander titles were created and paid for by Electronic Arts too.

POL Lead Heads To California

GameSpot has caught up with former Privateer Online director Raph Koster. The former Origin designer left SOE-Austin back in March, and now he's opened a new studio in San Diego. The Areae website hints that his new team could working on a software engine or new technology to facilitate game creation, rather than an actual new title.
Origin, Sony Online veteran touts new dev studio in SoCal; no games but lots of names pepper announcement...

Areae, Inc. is a company dedicated to taking the tired old virtual world and making it into something fresh and new. Something anyone can jump into. Something where anyone can find something fun to do or a game to play. Something where anyone can build their own place on the virtual frontier.

In Their Courses

The Wing Commander Saga mod for FreeSpace 2 has published five new screenshots showing off their stars... literally! Tolwyn says: "In keeping with the tradition of Wing Commander, we have tried to make space look like more than an empty void with background stars merely for reference. Rather, we portray it as being filled with beautiful starscapes, planets, and astronomical phenomena with unique features for each star system."

DVD Owners, Sound On!

A user with the appropriate nickname of Friendly Help has posted a useful tool to the forums: an updated Wing Commander IV DVD fix. If you're having trouble with gulikoza's fantastic patch, then give this new release a try. It includes a similar workaround and an AC3 filter for those still dealing with sound issues. Grab your copy here (444 kb).

Awww, Hexagon

Ironduke is working on a neat-looking top-down, hex-based Wing Commander wargame! This looks very promising, if the gameplay is anywhere near as cool as the screenshots -- Wing Commander 2's unique graphic 'feel' is the perfect way to showcase the series in this kind of setting. He's looking for help fleshing out the artwork... and you can contribute or just read more about the project in the forums here. Check out these impressive early images:

It's All Great To Me

TCSTigersClaw has taken some pictures of an early Greek magazine preview of Wing Commander III. The interesting thing about these images is that the screenshots used are the very first ones Origin released of Wing Commander III. Look closely for some interesting differences with the finished game -- that triangular Kilrathi starship, for instance, doesn't appear in the game... and the TCS Victory's flight deck textures are completely different. We're working on tracking down the original digital versions of these pictures, and will post them as soon as possible.

Polish'd Till It Shines

Translating Wing Commander materials is a two way street -- so Lukasz159 was nice enough to create a set of Polish subtitles for the first episode of Wing Commander Academy. I know there are quite a few Polish Wing Commander fans -- hopefully they will enjoy this enough to prompt future translations! You can download the subtitles here, and you can download the episode it applies to, Red and Blue, here.

Project & Site of the Year Voting!

Your nominations are in, and it's time to vote! Every year we award a single fan project and web site a pretigious 'Best of the Year' award... and the winners are selected by the Wing Commander community. A list of projects and sites nominated can be found below. Please choose one from each category and submit it to us here! You have until the end of the year to vote... the winners will be announced in January!

Fan Project of the Year Nominees

  • Das Erwachen (The Awakening) Fan Novel/CCG: This is Privateer II's tenth anniversary, and Deacon is celebrating in style -- with an entire fan novel and customizable card game available online!
  • Flight Commander: Flight Commander is a Prophecy-style game engine created by EddieB that allows fans to build their own missions and scenarios!
  • HCl's Prophecy Multiplayer/High Res/DVD video patch: As always, HCl has done the impossible -- added an entire multiplayer mode to Wing Commander Prophecy. It's something that even Origin believed impossible, and that has changed the way Wing Commander fans play their favorite game.
  • Holding The Line: Holding the Line is a massive fan fiction serial which has been ongoing for several years -- well eclipsing the Wing Commander Aces fan club which spawned it.
  • WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod: The Homemworld 2 mod took everyone by surprise -- Aaron Thomas has created entire Confederate, Border World and Black Lance factions that can already be played using the game's multiplayer!
  • Wing Commander: Against All Odds RPG: AAO is a message board/IRC-based role playing game that has really taken off this year! AAO players frequent irc.wcnews.com for their various adventures.
  • Wing Commander Pioneer: Pioneer is a ground-up Privateer-style game being developed by veteran artist Howard Day. No gameplay yet, but it certainly looks impressive!

Web Site of the Year Nominees

  • Das Erwachen (The Awakening): Thanks to the graphic expertise of Hudson, The Awakening sorts an impressive Privateer II-themed website to go with its neat book and CCG.
  • HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site: HCl's site may not be the prettiest in the universe... but it can't be beat in terms of true content. If you're interested in editing any Wing Commander game, it's a good bet you'll find what you're looking for here.
  • Holding The Line: HTL isn't just a big story -- it has an excellent and tasteful reference site, too.
  • Standoff: Standoff was project of the year last year... and this year their website is up for an award instead. Everyone is anxiously awaiting Episode 4... and this is the place to find out the latest!
  • Wedge's Wing Commander: Wedge has put together an amazing collection of Wing Commander odds and ends, including complete scripts for every game!
  • Wing Commander Saga: The Wing Commander Saga mod for Freespace 2 features a big, flashy website styled after Wing Commander IV's computer interfaces!
  • Wing Commander: The Wasteland Incident: Wasteland is a mod for Wing Commander Secret Ops.

We've Got A Viking!

Wing Commander fans are always curious about what series creator Chris Roberts is up to in Hollywood. To help answer that question, we're proud to host Outlander.solsector.net, a new site reporting on the development of the movie Outlander.

The film is produced by Roberts, and stars to Wing Commander veterans: John Hurt (Joe Kane, Privateer 2) and Ron Perlman (Daimon Karnes, Academy). It tells the story of a battle between Vikings and an alien monster in ancient Norway -- and it looks pretty neat! The site is run by AD, whose name should be familiar to frequent Wing Commander news readers. He's very dedicated, and has been tracking down all kinds of news and multimedia about the movie!

WingNuts should pay special attention to this clip (33mb, .wmv), in which Roberts explains the concept behind the movie!

Les Commandes De Vol

Laurent Pelliser spotted our recent German Guides update and was kind enough to send in some pictures of a book we'd never seen before -- a French translation of Blaine Pardoe's Wing Commander III Authorized Combat Guide! We've added it to our International Books section, and you can see a number of pictures from it below. Awesome stuff! We're always excited to see international versions of Wing Commander items -- if you have anything cool, snap a picture and send it to us!

Rise of the Wingcats

Following his recent Kilrathi head image, NinjaLA has moved on to a full-sized Wing Commander wallpaper! This cool, stylistic image shows a pair of original Dralthi fighters engaged in combat just off of an Earth-like planet. Check it out:

Tip of the Lance

Aaron has added some heavy hitters to his WC4 Homeworld 2 mod project -- a set of non-canonical designs to fill out the "Black Lance" faction. These ships, seen in screenshots below, include the Black Lance Carrier, a modified Sheffield-type Destroyer and an entirely new ship called the Exeter II. The carrier is a relic of Wing Commander IV itself -- although it doesn't ever appear in combat, its fully textured 3D mesh appears hidden within the game's files.

Come Halo or High Water

There's a new game developer in Wing Commander's town! Certain Affinity announced itself today, an Austin-based studio with ties to Microsoft and their Halo franchise. Their creative team includes several Origin and Digital Anvil veterans with Wing Commander experience! The press release says:
Founded by Max Hoberman, an industry veteran and former Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer team lead, Certain Affinity is focused on creating top-tier games and content in an efficient, no-nonsense manner. The company's staff and leadership averages 12 years in the industry and draws on a wealth of experience from such companies as Origin, Digital Anvil, and Bungie. The team includes major contributors from dozens of hit titles including games in the Ultima, Wing Commander, Myth, Asheron's Call, Freelancer, and Ghost Recon series, as well as all of the titles in the Halo series.
An article in the Austin Business Journal reveals that some of that Wing Commander experience comes from engineering lead Paul Isaac, whose credits include Wing Commander, Wing Commander III, Prophecy and Privateer! Additionally, Operations Manager Martin Galway's record includes Wing Commander II, IV, Prophecy and The Kilrathi Saga!

Gladius vs. Galileo

We've updated our German Book page with some newly gathered artwork! In the grand tradition of German unofficial guides, one features very impressive artwork... and the other uses completely unrelated stock art. In this case, the Privateer guide shows off a neat new scene of a Gladius fighter in combat, while the Privateer 2 book features... a modern-day space probe? At the very least, that's a hair closer to Wing Commander than the Harriers, F-15s and abstract shapes usually presented on the covers of this particular cluebook series.

If you're interested in Wing Commander books from around the world, be sure to check out our guides to publications in the United States, Germany, the Czech Republic and elsewhere! There's cool art and books you never knew existed!

The Fatman Makes History

Business Week is running an article about George "The Fatman" Sanger, the man behind Wing Commander's original score and a continued force in game development. The writeup talks about his role in starting Project Barbeque, a semi-annual think tank for video game sound developers.

More interestingly, it reports that the University of Texas at Austin's Center for American History is working with Sanger to build an archive of historically important game development materials. It seems entirely appropriate that my alma mater would be taking over the kind of work started by non-academic resources like the former Origin Museum and our own Development Archives!

"I couldn't believe the timing," recalls Sanger. "Since many of the group's action items lined up perfectly with what the archivists hoped to achieve, I put them in touch with each other."

And, in fact, the Game Development Archive was informally announced earlier this month at a developer event held by Austin Business Computer. It is now accepting financial donations as well as lists of historical items which people intend to donate, including documents, digital files and art relating to game design as well as physical game platforms that are no longer generally available for play.

Pioneer's Pirate Ship Gets New Look

Howard Day is still tweaking textures and perfecting art for the WC Pioneer flight demo. Here's a look at some of the diverse color schemes and camo patterns that fans have suggested for the new pirate fighter to be featured in the game. It's a great example of all the creative ideas that Wing Commander fans have. The blue burst was mocked up by Magnum, and Cam designed the blood stained fighter. LOAF and Fatcat suggested the space lozenge and orange stripe paint schemes as well. Three of the designs will be included when the demo is released.

Okay - and now here's where I got with the Pirate fighter. The only major changes mesh-wise, are the slightly longer engine, and I've moved the guns inward from the pods on the wings to be nestled just under and behind the cockpit. I figure this looks much less awkward and unbalanced, and will make dodging the fire much more difficult.

NinjaLA Gets Ahead

NinjaLA was inspired by Powell's art from yesterday, so he got out his USB tablet and sketched another Kilrathi. He managed to put this together in just an hour or so, which is pretty impressive to me. You can check out NinjaLA's previous Kilrathi here and here, or check out his website for more general images.

Gemini Gold Goes Back To School

Here's another comparison between scenes in Gemini Gold and the original Privateer. Unlike John Cordell's last renders from Oxford, these are screenshots from the latest testing build of the game. When the next release finally makes it out, players will see fully animated trains dropping people off on campus here. Today's GG images are the same resolution as the environments from P1, so comparisons should be pretty easy. The moons still look a little bit conspicuous, but John's done a neat job of retaining a lot of authentic style while sharpening up the overall look.


WC Fan Art Goes Back To School

Powell99 was reading Action Stations recently, and this inspired him to sketch the TCS Ark Royal. He based the design on other carriers of the era such as the Victory or Concordia. High tech 3D renders and computer generated fan art are cool, but sometimes it's nice to see a paper & pencil sketch like this.

It's my try at a Claw Marks Style Drawing. I drew it in Algebra II. We were graphing that day.

Homeworld Mod Gets Big Ships

Aaron Thomas has added one of the biggest models yet to his WC4 Homeworld 2 project. The Vesuvius class carrier compensates for the Black Lance faction's lack of cruisers in the mod. It delivers heavy weaponry and a ton of fighters to any engagement. Pictures below show a couple of different supercarriers, but Aaron isn't currently planning to include the St. Helens or any of its sister ships on the Confederation side yet. Today's new ship isn't included in the Homeworld preview pack, but fairly complete Confed and Border Worlds navies are available to play around with.

Poll Picks Portable Preferences

Our new poll asks which Wing Commander release you'd most like to see in another volume of EA Replay. Each game in the last pack was a Super Nintendo or Genesis port, but we've opened up the voting to a wider range of choices here. They include a smattering of cool ports and rereleases that have come out over the years: WC1 on the SegaCD includes full speech. The unreleased SNES WC2 port had certain graphical upgrades and a more intense combat engine. Wing Commander 3 on the 3DO had new ships, improved graphical touches and alternate missions compared to the PC and PSX versions. A couple of PC games made our list as well. Sized down a bit like UMD movies, the DVD version of WC4 just might fit on a single PSP disc, and the CD version of Privateer with full speech would be an awesome handheld companion. We're not sure if any of these options are very likely to make it out, but they'd all be fun to play. There are many more WC ports out there as well. Vote 'Other', hit the 'Discuss' link and tell us what games you'd like to see if your pick isn't on the list.

Our last poll asked what new platform you'd prefer for a new Wing Commander game. The XBox 360 ended in the lead. The Playstation 3 was in second, but it was very closely followed by the Nintendo Wii. This is somewhat different from our last generation poll, which had the XBox and PS2 fairly close and the GameCube a ways behind.

Privateer 2 CCG Recreates Planets

Forums member Deacan has posted some new artwork for the work-in-progress Privateer 2 based Erwachen (Awakening) customizable card game. While previous work has focused on turning fighters in to cards, this new work aims to recreate Privateer 2's planets with a view to eventually recreating the entire Tri-system. It's not immediately clear what role these cards will play in the game, but it's quite likely that they'll perform a role quite similar to nav points from the official Wing Commander CCG.

Wing Commander Jumps To #1

Shortly after yesterday's update, Wing Commander fans helped push the WC Movie to the most popular film download slot in IGN's Direct2Drive service. It's beating out movies such as Aliens, Office Space, Stargate, X-Men and others that are typically popular on the internet. Wing Commander also quickly jumped into the top ten at Amazon.com shortly after it premiered for Unboxed in September. Good job!

Wing Commander Available Via Direct2Drive

Sinclair_K and Pedro noticed that the Wing Commander Movie has been added to IGN's Direct2Drive digital content delivery service. Not only that, but Wing Commander is currently the second most popular download in the service's movie section! D2D is a new site that offers a wide range of games, tv shows, movies and more. Even brand new games like Star Trek Legacy and Splinter Cell DA are available. The version of WC available there seems to be the same one released for Amazon Unboxed a couple months ago. It'll be interesting to see where and how the franchise pops up next. Companies are definitely taking notice and learning there's still a big market for Wing Commander.

Wing Commander The Movie download

File Type: Microsoft Windows Media(WMV) VC-1 Compression
Video Quality: High Quality 2.5 MBPS
Sound Quality: 192 Kbps Stereo

Blair, a fighter pilot, joins an interstellar war to fight against the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the Universe. © 1999 Wing Commander Productions, Inc.

BREAKING NEWS: Second Replay?

Could a sequel to EA Replay already be in the wings? That's the going rumor: several online retailers, including GameStop and Barnes and Noble, now list "EA Replay 2" as forthcoming. The placeholder entries list a February 19th release date and an MSRP of $29.99. It may seem vague at this point, but keep in mind that this is exactly how the first Replay was discovered back in late August!

What could a second retro package include? The Electronic Arts vaults have plenty of other Genesis and Super Nintendo ports that could be easily converted for such a collection... including a number of titles developed at Origin, like Metal Morph and Ultima: The Savage Empire. There is also a SegaCD port of Wing Commander I, which features full speech and better graphics than the current PSP/SNES release.

Late in the development of the original Replay, we contacted the team to let them know that EA had a never-released Wing Commander 2 SNES port lost somewhere in its archives (details). It's a faint hope, at best, but the amount of promotion the first Replay gave to Wing Commander indicates that there's a clear interest!

WC3 Director Talks Past, Present & Future

Howard and Starman ran across a really neat interview with an old Origin vet. Frank Savage, the director of game mechanics for Wing Commander 3, talked with Channel 9 for a whopping 45 minutes about himself and cool job at Microsoft. The video begins with five minutes on Frank's exploits at Origin. Both he and the interviewer fondly reminisce about different games in the series and new ground that each title broke. His office is even decorated with Wing Commander memorabilia. Does that license plate look familiar? It also appeared in a 1994 interview with Savage on the WC3 Behind the Screens CD. That interview is available in CIC Holovids. The meat of today's piece is intended to be a discussion about the XNA suite that he is helping to develop today. The software should help provide a powerful platform for people to make their own games for the XBox 360 and more. I'm sure we'll hear more on that subject in the future. You can stream or download the entire 340 meg infoburst here. AD has also sliced out the Wing Commander bits in a shorter clip available here (43 meg wmv).

GS UK Interviews Elite Creator

As the most notable open-ended space sim of its time, Wing Commander Privateer was always stuck with connections to an older classic, Elite. Despite differences in the core gameplay, comparisons are still made today. One thing they have in common now is their struggle to produce a modern sequel. Elite II was released the same year as Privateer, but looks worse in any technical or storytelling comparison now. GameSpot's UK branch has recently conducted an interview with David Braben, one of the Elite creators, and he claims that another game in the series will still be produced (after The Outsider, his next project). I was never a fan of Elite, but the eventual return of a space sim franchise of its fame should generate some good buzz. You can check out the full GS article to see the rest of Braben's take on gaming today.
GSUK: So, first things first. Are we ever going to see Elite 4?

DB: Well, we started it in 2000--and we stopped it in 2000. The reason was, we started it as a MMORPG, and the technology at the time for connectivity was rubbish. It had been oversold by the providers. We realised very quickly that what we wanted to do would overload the system and that we would end up taking the blame for the failings of the telecommunications industry. It was put on hold after that... In Elite, you were a spaceship, to move on to be a person, so many other things have to happen. Apologies for it taking so long, and I really mean that, but it's a game dear to my heart, and I don't want to do it badly.

Return Of The EA Replay Reviews

Several more reviews for EA Replay have appeared online. The ratings range considerably, but at least a few of the articles had the decency to highlight the individual games in the compilation. GameZone was one of them with a 7.0 overall score. Each blurb is short and to the point, but they give readers a basic idea of what to expect from each title. The reviewer likes Wing Commander, but has much more harsh remarks for Ultima.
Wing Commander
An original space shooter, Wing Commander thrusts you into space from a first-person perspective. The game also had an element of point-and-click storytelling. It's fun but jerky. Remember the technology that's at work here, and what few options developers had back in the day.

Wing Commander: Secret Missions
More of the same, and if you loved Wing Commander then or now, what could be better?

eToychest gives the overall compilation a 60%, and they also do decent job of justifying their score with comments about all 14 classics. At least you get the impression that the reviewer played each game in the pack when they do this.

Gaming Age also had a positive article. They assigned a B- score, but the comments they make seem to rate a bit higher to me.

This isn’t your typical retro slop either, EA has pulled from their fans wish list to bring us not only a great nostalgic collection, but one that brings back old favorites that gamers have wanted to see for many years now. If this collection does well, who knows, a next generation version of one of these classics could be a serious cash cow for the company.

Each emulation is perfect and playing them with the PSP analog or direction pad is flawless. It is true that younger gamers may not “get” these titles, but those of us who were around when they first hit store shelves will appreciate what nostalgic beauty they delivered. Top it all off for a price tag of under 20 bucks and just for the kick of re-living the past, you can’t pass this one up. A must buy for nostalgia buffs.

GameSpy is the runt of the litter. Right out of the gate, the reviewer has sarcastic comments to make about Ultima, Syndicate and Wing Commander. He takes issue with the fact that each game is a port of a Genesis or Super Nintendo version, without giving any explanation for how he'd expect their PC counterparts to work on the PSP.
But special scorn should be reserved for Wing Commander and the expansion Wing Commander: Secret Missions. These all-time PC classics were reduced to near-unplayable messes on the SNES, yet those are the versions EA chose to preserve on Replay. Fantastic.
As someone who played the SNES version of WC1 more than almost anything in 1992-3, I'd have to disagree. The rest of the set gets back-handed compliments to earn a 30% score. You can't win 'em all I suppose. Metacritic also says the print reviews (previews?) of Game Master and PSM3 Magazine in the UK were 48 and 57 respectively.

DC2007 Guest List Started

The very first guest list update for the 2007 DragonCon has appeared at their website. Two familiar names are confirmed so far. Bill Fawcett was important in making the original Wing Commander novels happen, and Margaret Weis was involved with the Wing Commander card game. Both have appeared at the convention in the past and have been very friendly. The next DragonCon is only nine months away!

Big Battles Await In Homeworld Mod

Fans have been playing the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod preview release quite a bit over the last week, and a whole bunch of new exciting screenshots have surfaced as a result. LeHah and Wildweasel snapped this set of images during a multiplayer game. They show off some of the most intense battles we've seen yet. The pictures are also in very high resolution, so all the beautiful detail is very clear. You don't just have to look at photos or read others' impressions however. The 114 meg preview pack can be downloaded here. Homeworld 2 is required, and it happens to be on sale at Amazon.com this week for $14.99.

Enterprise-D(rama)

Attention Trekkers: Pocket Books has recently published a detailed reference guide to Star Trek books. It's called Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion (by Jeff Ayers) and features descriptions and commentary on every Star Trek novel ever published. Aside from being an interesting and well researched project, how does this interest Wing Commander fans? The book includes an interview with WC novelist Dr. William Forstchen about his experience writing a Star Trek book. Forstchen authored (or, apparently, co-authored) Star Trek The Next Generation #57: The Forgotten War. Here's what he says -- including a reference to his previous contract writing experiences (which includes Wing Commander and Magic: The Gathering):
Bill remembered, "I'm old enough now that I actually remember the running of the first episode of the original series and was totally hooked."

He continued, "I was contacted by [Pocket] in 1995 to do a Next Generation novel. Actually, I first turned it down, since I was no longer current with the series but on the day I took that call I had a remarkable student in my office. I'm a professor of history at Montreat College near Asheville, North Carolina and this student was doing an independent study with me on writing for the commercial marketplace. She heard me turn the offer down and sat there wide-eyed. Then announced that she was a major Star Trek buff and couldn't believe I had passed on the offer. I had done some contract writing for a couple of other series and the experiences went from OK to miserable. Well, one thing led to another -- this student was, without a doubt, the finest I had ever worked with in years, so I finally called back and said I'd give it a shot if she could be my coauthor.

"I confess: That issue does still bother me today. Her name is Elizabeth Kitsteiner Salzer, a really remarkable talent, and she was a major force behind the story. There was a lot of debate about her name being on the title. I kept insisting it should be, but [Pocket] kept saying they preferred not. There were some other major problems as well in terms of author-publisher relationship, but I'll skip most of those. Originally I was given a lot more carte blanche in terms of doing the story 'my way' rather than fit a standard format. That was why I was approached by one of the editors to bring in some new blood to the series and a different perspective. Unfortunately, in the end Elizabeth's name did not appear on the title page where it should have been nor did she even get the acknowledgement she deserved. So I do hope you set the record straight and list The Forgotten War with her as my coauthor.

"The idea? It came to me when reading an account of Japanese soldiers who were still being found in the jungles of remote islands as late as the 1980s, never surrendering or giving up, still loyal to the Emperor. The thought hit that with the early days of exploration, the time of Christopher Pike, ships would be frequently lost and just 'disappear'. Suppose there had been a battle, with survivors on both sides getting down to a planet's surface and they're continuing their war across hundreds of years. They are cut off, have no idea of the progress made, and in survival, retrofit to a primitive level, our early twentieth century.... What would both sides say to discover that we have been at peace for [so long]? The questions it presented were fascinating to me and in discussion with Elizabeth we worked out the story line for The Forgotten War and the female character of the historian who gets caught up in this conflict."

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Replay

AD won a copy of EA Replay for composing a few lines... and now it's in the news! Much to our surprise, the copy we sent him ended up being Canada-specific -- it had a separate French-language manual shrinkwrapped to the UMD-case! AD was kind enough to take some pictures so everyone can see that Replay really is "une collection géniale". You can find scans of the English equivalents of this material here.

Everybody Booze Up and Garriott!

In celebration of "gaming culture", MTV dispatched a VJ to Austin to survey the city's extensive series of development houses for an online series called Overdrive. Among those interviewed was Origin founder Richard Garriott, who now runs NC Soft. He talks about dropping out of school to design video games and then, I'm not making this up, sings a "rap tune". You can the video online here. The Garriott interview is in the first section -- the second includes a segment shot at the unusually large GameStop where I bought my copy of EA Replay!

Jeremy Roberts Takes On Veronica Mars

Sinclair_K was watching TV and saw a familiar face that we haven't heard about in little a while. Jeremy Roberts, who played 'Gash' Dekker in Wing Commander 4 & Prophecy, starred in last week's episode of Veronica Mars. He's aged a bit and gained some weight, but it's been almost ten years since he filmed scenes for WCP. The actor has been performing mostly guest television roles, but he also had a part in Herbie Fully Loaded last year. Recent photos of Roberts can be hard to come by, so Sinclair grabbed a nice high quality segment from the show for everyone. You can check out the 11 meg wmv here.

P2 CCG Builds Equipment Cards

Here's a look at a couple of equipment cards that Deacon and Hudson have been working on. The Warp Shield is their latest addition, and the Coolant Units have been recently revised. In addition to the temporarily invulnerability that the shield provides in Privateer 2, it will give a slight all-around shield boost in the fan card game. I assume Nuke'ems are somewhere in the pipeline.

Warp shields provide invulnerability to all known types of weaponry for 10 seconds. They are extremely expensive, and they only work once. They are not currently available through the CCN, but prototypes are in the last stages of testing and they are expected to hit the market very soon.

Vengeance Of The Fan Fiction

It's been a busy year at the CIC Fan Fiction Forum for Dahan, and he's posted two new pieces of writing just this week. The first is the beginning of a new story titled Confed Vengeance (comments). It follows a former Concordia pilot's reassignment shortly after the ship goes down on Vespus. The second story is Fall of the Flag (comments), which is cowritten by Plywood Fiend. This one starts a bit earlier on the actual Concordia during the Battle of Earth. Despite the similar timeframe for these two, Dahan's stories range over quite a length of time. An Officer's Beginning takes place in 2628 and deals with organized piracy and other threats causing trouble prior to the Kilrathi War. Sins of the Father is another one of Dahan's ongoing pieces. It's on the back burner for now, but will be resumed so fans can learn more about the conspiracy going on in the Gemini Sector. To stay on top of these stories and more, check out the Fan Fiction Forum here.
Confed Vengeance

They say those who served onboard the Flagship for a while often turn out to be some of the best non-coms and officers of the Confed Forces. I know because I was one of them. The Concordia was where I made many friends. Some I still keep in contact and others, well let's just say that I wish they were still here with me to share my fond memories.

My name is Kerrigan, Major Michael Kerrigan and I’m a pilot off the TCS Kinney. I have recently been assigned to the Kinney after spending six month in rehab after serving a stint onboard the Concordia.

Saga Conducting Beta Test

Here's the latest status update on the prologue preview of WC Saga. A team of testers is going over the first chapter now to identify and clean up bugs.
It've been two hectic weeks: we've shifted entirely to bug fixing and preparing to launch this thing. We had a team-wide play through of the entire game. Everyone was looking for problems and places we could add that last little bit of polish. I was ecstatic at the amount of feedback I received and have been spending the past two days sorting through it all, prioritizing issues, and slamming stuff into our Bugtracker. As I've said before (ad nauseum by this point) the game we have right now is already good. All the feedback was just minor little things that we can do to really make it great.

EA Replay Delayed In Europe

Electronic Arts' European Press Site reports that EA Replay has been pushed back a bit to December 23 in the UK. Although the actual game that Wing Commander fans in the US and UK end up with should be quite similar, the version that England sees will likely also carry localization options for several other European languages. Translating and certifying these variations often holds up games at the last minute. Now that it's been out in the US for a while, I wouldn't expect a significant push back beyond this. Amazon.co.uk has been updated with a March 30, 2007 date. A release between December and March in Europe looks like a good bet at this time.

It's not all bad news over at the UK site however. They've created a nice clean EA Replay logo that scales quite well. We've generated wallpapers for it in 1920x, 1600x, 1280x and 1024x resolutions.

EA Salt Lake Commissioned

Electronic Arts has announced that another developer is formally joining their ranks. Headgate Studios, which is known for contributing to the Tiger Woods and Madden series, will now be known as EA Salt Lake. All of this is business as usual, except for the new focus area for the company. The newly renamed studio will be dedicated solely to development for the Nintendo Wii. GameSpot reports that EA has a number of games in development that will be exclusive to the Wii, but it's not yet clear if entirely original games will be forthcoming. Custom Wii versions of upcoming multiplatform titles will probably have to be produced somewhere, and this may end up being the place.

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