In COMMAND & CONQUER: TIBERIUM WARS(TM), the novel by Keith R. A. DeCandido, the year is 2047 and the stakes could not be higher. Tiberium--a self-replicating alien substance that has infected the Earth--is spreading like a radioactive ice age. The Global Defense Initiative, a high-tech alliance of the world's most advanced nations, is fighting to contain Tiberium, but Kane, the megalomaniacal leader of the Brotherhood of Nod has other plans for Earth. Kane's secret society turned superpower is bent on using Tiberium to take control and transform humanity into his twisted vision of the future. In the midst of battles throughout the world, a third alien race emerges, and all-out war rages over Tiberium. The fate of the planet rests in the balance.
Eurogamer: Hello Sean. Tell us first more about you and your involvement with the development of Wing Commander Arena.
Sean Penney: My name is Sean Penney and I'm a producer with Electronic Arts Canada. I've worked with the company for eight years. On Wing Commander Arena I am both the producer and designer.
Eurogamer: After the announcement numerous complaints circulated regarding the (very high) camera perspective in the first screenshots online. Why was this chosen instead of a cockpit? That would be more familiar from the predecessors.
Sean Penney: If you look at Wing Commander, you will see a story which focuses itself on the role of the player in an enormous universe. Arena is only a part of this experience. Like a strong liquor, it distills the series' most exciting point: close dogfights.
Wing Commander Arena is an arcade game. It involves a rapid and frantic multiplayer environment in which you must pursue targets and engage other opponents with your crosshairs. A cockpit perspective was not always suitable for such situations. The player needs to be able to see more. Additionally, constantly looking at the radar was one of the things which disturbed me personally in similar titles. It was only interrupted by short moments in which you looked at the actual battle, in order to fire a few shots.
In Arena's point of view one instead looks at the entire screen and only occasionally to the radar. There are alltogether four different perspectives: two show your own ship from some distance at an upper point of view. Another one is the rear lookout and then there is a camera position wich comes closest to the classic design. This one sees what is happening directly over the fighter's shoulder. This is a lot of fun, but a change to the higher camera is necessary to get a good overview of the battleground.
Eurogamer: Arena offers not only multiplayer battles, but also a single player portion. Can you tell us more about it? Are you challenged there or does it simply serve to prepare for the fight against other players?
Sean Penney: The single player aspect of Wing Commander Arena contains four play modes. As in a classic arcade game, it offers infinite levels. The high scores are conveyed via Xbox Live to a rank list. The four different variants are Melee, Meteor Storm, Gauntlet and Proving Grounds.
"Melee" is a free-for-all against a large number of AI ships. They fight each other and the player. The level is a very cool space station map. The engagements have a time limit and at the end the rank list is transferred. Although you play against the AI you are nevertheless in competition with other players.
"Meteor Storm" is a fun small game in which one must defend up to three satellites against emerging, burning meteors and plundering pirates again and again. The play ends as soon as the satellites are destroyed. An online rank list is likewise included.
In "Gauntlet" your own space fighter is stationed on a Midway-class carrier, which has had some interesting change over time. The task is to defend the carrier against attacking enemies who want to destroy it. With each new wave of enemies you can expect a larger number of attackers, better ships or more intelligent pilots. Some really spectacular firefights emerge later in the level. Gauntlet also offers a rank list at the end for comparison with other players.
In "Proving Grounds" the player is taken to an extensive area with a lot of open space with pickups, obstacles and numerous targets to shoot at. In addition, some of them fire back. As the name suggests, this is a training mode. Regard it as a playground in which you can try all the ships, weapons or maneuvers however you want. Proving Grounds contains no time limit, does not count your firing and does not have a rank list.
Eurogamer: That might keep the players busy for quite a while. How does it look online? What variants can we expect?
Sean Penney: The multiplayer mode offers free-for-all for 16 players, team engagements with two crews with eight members each and duels between two individual pilots. The team portions take place between the Kilrathi and the Confederation.
"Capital Ship" is the meeting of the Titans. The goal is to destroy the opposing battlecruiser and to protect your own at the same time. The capital ships consist in each case of three sections. One must destroy them successively, particularly their cannons, radar systems, generators, rockets and the bridge. If the player blows up all the goals on a level, the battlecruiser sinks one level deeper and offers new objects for pulverizing. The bridge comes at the end. Without a control center the ship breaks apart and you win.
With "Satellites" it plays as a variant of Capture the Flag on an interlocked map. You must dock with a satellite in order to conquer it for your team. If you leave it unguarded, it can be taken by the opposite side. You must mix ships, tactics as well as team play in order to be successful here.
"Boneyard" offers a beautiful environment with shipwrecks, astonishing crystal formations, dangerous terrain and a single planetoid where you can find hidden treasures. It can be played in both free-for-all and in team modes.
"Space Station" again puts the player - as the name implies - into an enormous space station. There you can lure enemies into dead ends, attack them from the corners or fly to open space. All the ships in an area can be damaged by destroying fuel tanks. The space station can also be played in either variant, free for all or team.
In "Bearpit" 16 players participate in duels. It involves a special map with an arena in the center. All participants first enter a queue. This concerns a duel pit, which supplies the necessary points for the rank list. If you win a fight, you remain in the arena. The loser must re-enter the queue, while the next pilot may start his challenge. The beauty to it is that the queue covers the entire area outside the stage. There you can fly fun duels, complete mini-games and resupply yourself. If you want, there is even the possibility to dock with the arena and take a few shots at the two fighters.
"Duel" is a head to head fight between two players for the best three out of five possible battles. Whoever wins the first three victories also wins the match - like in tennis. Combat takes place in a smoking crater in which one finds hiding places and other surprises like pickups too.
Eurogamer: There is something for everyone. How do the ships look? Did you use old designs or create new ones? How many different variants are there and do they differ in individual abilities like speed or maneuverability?
Sean Penney: Wing Commander Arena has 18 playable ships to offer - nine for each of the two sides. The Kilrathi ship classes are Darket, Dralthi and Paktahn, while the Confederation uses the Arrow, Rapier and Broadsword. For every space fighter there are three variants, which results in the total number 18. One must unlock the ships, however, but the ability to do that can be achieved in practically every game mode. Each variant shows large differences in things like speed, weapons, armoring and maneuverability.
Eurogamer: Can the rules be adjusted individually for the different modes? For example "no pickups", "only light fighters" or "friendly fire on/off"?
Sean Penney: The player sets the type of play (Ranked or Player), the number of participants (up to 16) and private slots for inviting friends.
Eurogamer: A popular feature of the Xbox 360 are achievements. What kind of achievements have been created for Wing Commander Arena?
Sean Penney: Most achievements involve fighting, since that is the main point of the game. However there are also points for exploring certain play sections. A majority of achievements involve the history of Wing Commander.
Eurogamer: Is there anything in conclusion that you would like to say to the fans outside? Particularly those who have mixed feelings regarding Wing Commander Arena?
Sean Penney: I would like to tell them that I am also a fan and played all the Wing Commander games when they were published. I loved it both due to its great presentation of history and because of the engagement. Arena exclusively focuses itself on the combat experience. I would like to remind them again of the fact that it is an arcade game and plays in that way.
The 18 ships, based on favorites from the series, look and feel like the originals. Naturally things have changed over the course of 20 years and ships have received some special upgrades. Other old favorites make an appearance and will introduce a few new friends. Wing Commander fans have demanded a multiplayer experience for a long time. Arena offers classic Wing Commander dogfights with up to 16 participants. For those which remember Armada: a fight in Arena resembles those in Armada.
Beyond that, we maintain continuity with the old games and fans even took part in the development process. We bring back classical ships and weapons from the first game up to the film. Arena was always meant as a homage to Wing Commander and we want things to be right.
Wing Commander always pushed the envelope. Each game set new standards concerning technology and design as well as changed how the games were played. Arena does the same to Xbox Live Arcade - from 16 participants online to the number and depth of our modes to the beauty of our scenes. Arena is by far more impressive than anything else available on Xbox Live Arcade so far.
Eurogamer: Thank you for the discussion.
Eurogamer is also running an article on the history of Wing Commander spinoffs, which is available here.
Wing Commander Arena will initially be offered in English, French (Francais), Italian (Italiano), German (Deutsch), and Spanish (Espanol).Sounds like the game will be released in Europe and the US at the same time! If you haven't started posting to the official message board boards, give them a look -- it's a great way to interact directly with Electronic Arts!
My next project is carving the Victory out of a wooden block. Should be able to make it a bit more accurate than with the clay I think. I'm pretty happy with the results so far.
For a couple of months now, We’ve been working on a new Wing Commander related project: Wing Commander Arcade. Even before the Wing Commander Arena announcements we had the idea to create a 2D Tyrian alike sidescroller situated in the Wing Commander universe. We decided to start from scratch in C using just the OpenGL and FMOD (for sound/music) libraries. Most textures used in the game are derived from resources found in the CIC archives. We are thrilled to announce that a playable demo is already available for download. From the Wing Commander Arcade section of our homepage, screenshots can be viewed, two recorded in-game videos can be downloaded and, of course, the playable demo for the Windows platform can be grabbed. The first stage of the game can be played where the player can start flying the Arrow, Hellcat V or Longbow and navigate through an asteroid field. In the second part of the stage you will encounter some Kilrathi resistance. Any comments, questions or bugreports are welcome. We hope the Wing Commander community will enjoy this playable demo. We keep you informed about the progress of the development of this game.You can download the playable demo here (1.8 mb), and the sample movies are available here (5.7 mb) and here (8 mb). It looks like a lot of fun!
Anyhow - Each ship is using a combination of 5 different maps, all at a resolution of 1024x1024. These are palletized and compressed as much as possible, to keep the memory required low. For example, the Phalanx only uses 3MB of texture space. if these textures we not compressed and palletized, it would take closer to 12MB on the video card. This might not seem like much of a savings, but when we take into account that some players might only have a 64MB video card we see that we need to be as frugal as possible. This is especially important when the texture of the Camel come into play - they're 2048x2048. Uncompressed that's 64MB by itself! Compressed, they're only 6MB, so you can see why we're doing it.
I was bored... Let me know what you think.
We are definitely aware that much of what makes the Wing Commander franchise great and memorable are the supplementary materials, subtle winks to past iterations of the game, and unique presentation of a "manual" in the style of claw marks, etc.This is more fantastic news for WC fans. From Claw Marks to the Secret Ops website, the additional fiction available for previous games has been an important bonus component to the overall experience, and it's great to hear that this effort is being made here. XBLA games traditionally have just a few pages of basic instructions in-game, so it seems that Arena continues to raise the bar in terms of what Live Arcade games have to offer.
I can assure you that there is something in the works, that will be available here and it's really faithful to the spirit and presentation of those materials you remember and love!
Today's new poll asks which upcoming Arena fighter you're anticipating the most. There will be three variants for each of the six main frames for a total of eighteen flyable craft. Each ship is a classic design from earlier in the series, so they should all have their fans. It'll be interesting to see how these results compare to the numbers after pilots have gotten a chance to play with each fighter. Check out our Arena Ships Preview to learn more about these famous designs.
Our last poll asked which Arena feature was most exciting. Nostalgic Wingnuts swept the votes with "attention to WC history" in strong first place. The "return of classic ships" came in second. Exciting new features like sixteen person multiplayer and complex capship battles followed next. Either way, there's a whole lot to look forward to!
Hey all, Raptor here
HTL continues with Part Four of Check And Mate II. As you saw in previous chapters, the Valeria and Yorktown pilots have been working together to destroy a crippled Nephilim carrier. While the Yorktown pilots are launching fighter sweeps to destroy Nephilim fighter patrols, the Border Worlders are planning to launch a simultaneous attack on the Nephilim to split the enemy fighters. This chapter picks up from there. Please send any and all comments to me or to Joe at email@example.com
Wing Commander Arena
Free Freddie Prinze Jr. not included!
Sixteen-player games on Live Arcade? We're listening!
At the height of classic PC space-combat series Wing Commander's popularity in the late '90s, a feature film was made with Freddie Prinze Jr. in the lead role. This proved to be the worst idea in the history of videogame movies until Uwe Boll was allowed to step behind a camera, but sadly, this is where the franchise left off.
So in what is perhaps an attempt to wipe the slate clean -- but more likely an opportunity to do something new on Xbox Live Arcade -- EA is reintroducing Wing Commander on a small scale: as an XBLA space-dogfighting shooter. Fortunately, we're not just talking about Asteroids with the Wing Commander name slapped on it. Famous ships (18 in total) from both the Terran and Kilrathi sides are available in different classes -- bombers, fighters, and so on -- and in fact, series veterans will note that this is the first time the Kilrathi have been playable.
Gameplay is straightforward: the thumbsticks control your ship (with the right stick also able to initiate barrel rolls and other special moves), while the triggers and shoulders unleash your weapons arsenal. Four single-player modes are included, but it's the 16-player online play that distinguishes Arena from the pack. And while we weren't able to get a confirmed price, we suspect it will run you 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Our suggestion: grab some Battlestar Galactica DVDs and prime yourself for some space-blastin' action -- just do yourself a solid and try to pretend the movie never happened.
- Ryan McCaffrey
Platform: XBOX LIVE ARCADE
Release Date: SUMMER 2007
For Fans Of: Asteroids, Gradius, Wing Commander
Composer Sanger, also known as "The Fat Man," will donate almost 30 boxes with items including his first demo cassette tape from 1983, in which he pleads with game companies to hire him. Sanger has composed songs for games such as the "Wing Commander" series and "NASCAR Racing."It's great to see this getting some professional attention. I've done research using UT's archives before and can say with confidence that this is the best possible way to both preserve and present this material. It's amazing to think that the original Wing Commander pitch document will now be kept alongside the likes of LBJ's White House papers and D.H. Lawrence's original manuscripts.
Sanger said he threw away several items the day he met with history center officials.
"They told me, 'You put what in what? Take it out!' " Sanger said. He dug it out of the trash.
Garriott, the developer of the "Ultima" series, has been particularly meticulous in saving documents and memorabilia from his development career, dating back to 1979.
For every game he developed, he saved and labeled the first 10 copies. He will also donate several now-defunct Apple II computers and framed posters from every game he helped develop.
I'm using mingw32 C++ compiler (one that comes together with DevC++ IDE) and SDL library (Simple Directmedia Layer) for graphics/mouse/keyboard support. SDL might not be top-performance but it's rather simple to use and it does it's job well. After all, running a 2D strategy game is not very demanding for the system. What is more it's a cross-system library so I'll be able to compile versions for Linux and MacOS as well.
All GUI elements were made in a hurry and there are to be replaced. That box in right upper corner is a minimap. More info coming soon.
In retrospect, the writing was on the wall: despite a contract which promised to publish both books within a year of the movie's release, HarperCollins delayed Stars' publication by months. When the book finally did reach stores in 2000, it did so without even new cover art. Instead Wing Commander's theatrical poster was re-used, advertised alongside largely nonsensical advertising copy. The HarperPrism imprint, responsible for the series, was quetly disbanded. Although Telep completed Pilgrim Truth the book was never scheduled for release. Worst of all, Stars ended in a cliffhanger: Paladin was missing and thought a traitor, the Confederation still threatened by Captain Aristee and her doomsday weapon.
Mr. Keith died in August 1999, these books unwritten - but his kindness to the Wing Commander community will never be forgotten. Luckily, we were able to locate the original IRC log of the event and then put it back together from there! Please be kind when reviewing the questions... I was only fifteen (and completely star-struck) when I held this interview. You can read it, preserved forever online, here.
LOAF: Two new novels? Can you give away any information on those?
Keith: The book ideas are still vague. One I'd like to do would involve a Kilrathi prince -- a friendly one -- from False Colors. Sort of Bonnie Prince Charle in Scotland, with Cats and carrier support by the Karga. The other would put the Landreich at war with the Confederation. I'm thinking of following something like the Alamo/Goliad/San Jacinto model.
The Straith is the cheapest fighter available on the private market in the Tri-System. Because of its low cost, Straiths are flown only by the most desperate of men - those generally willing to do anything for a quick credit.
I've completed a basic structure for the non-plot missions and their descriptions in the nav computer. In the below examples all the ship names have been made up by me (as you can probably guess by the mention of the Millennium Falcon!), whereas all the names of characters have been randomly generated by the game engine. Also, in the below examples, Guamao is mentioned as a prison base -- it won't be a prison base, as there won't be any in the game demo. I've just designated it as such for testing the non-plot mission structure.
As new titles continue to join GameTap’s catalog of more than 850 console, arcade and computer video games, this week’s GameTap Thursday alert touts the latest additions, including the critically acclaimed Wing Commander and Warlords Battlecry III, as well as the network’s first SEGA Saturn title.
Wing Commander: Electronic Arts’ sci-fi strategy game enlists players in an outer space aerial war to defend Earth from the marauding Kilrathi race. Wing Commander was a revolutionary game when it was released, blazing trails in the realms of 3D gaming, cinematic storytelling and the popularization of sound cards and game soundtracks, so check out the game that started it all!
Warlords Battlecry III: This real time strategy game from Enlight Interactive Inc. further expands the Battlecry tradition of featuring persistent RPG-like fantasy heroes with its retinue of loyal followers fighting massive battles in the Warlords' world of Etheria. As a true sequel to Warlords Battlecry I & II - both of which are also available on GameTap - it features many familiar races and troop-types, while also adding new ones into the mix.
Bug!: Originally appearing on GameTap last week in the form of an “Easter Egg,” this SEGA action title ushers in GameTap’s latest console – the SEGA Saturn. Bug is a big movie star whose film set friends are kidnapped, so he’s off to save the day in a hopping-and-bopping platform-jumping adventure. With some of the greatest Saturn titles on the horizon, this is big news for fans of classic console gaming.
Doki Doki Penguin Land: GameTap unveils SEGA’s Doki Doki Penguin Land, its latest addition to its library of games for the rare SG-1000 Japanese-only 8-bit console. As a penguin in the harsh arctic wasteland, it's your job to outsmart the burly polar bears and roll your egg to the safety of your underground home.
ThinkTanks: GarageGames’ ThinkTanks is a fast-paced tank combat game where only the smartest tanks survive in a deadly arena. The backstory is that the Terranians have been harvesting human brains and popping them into armored vehicles, all to create a game show where these captive Think Tanks do battle for the amusement of wicked alien overlords. You're one of the Think Tanks, but you've escaped! Now it's up to you to free your fellow brains and destroy the enemy.
In addition to 850+ games, GameTap provides subscribers with unlimited access to more than 600 original TV shows and videos that cater to fans of the video game lifestyle.
To register for GameTap, visit www.gametap.com where your first month of service is only 99¢.
The Confederation has been locked in mortal combat with the marauding Kilrathi race for over two decades. As a hotshot rookie fresh from the academy, it's time to do your part in defending the people of Earth. Wing Commander was a revolutionary game when it was released, blazing trails in the realms of 3D gaming, cinematic storytelling and the popularization of sound cards and game soundtracks.
Be sure and head over to their Wing Commander Arena forum -- posting there will help EA see how much interest there is in Wing Commander... as well as show them that WingNuts are the best fans in the world!
In Boom Boom Rocket, players trigger rockets to the beat of the music while traveling through a 3D cityscape. The better the player times the explosions, the more spectacular the fireworks effects. The fireworks are choreographed to 10 original tracks created by Ian Livingstone. Players can play in single player mode or go head-to-head against a friend on the same console.Screenshots and gameplay videos are available from the Boom Boom Rocket website.
“As one of the worldwide leaders in game publishing, EA has long recognized the power of on-demand, online entertainment,” said Chris Early, Product Unit Manager for Xbox Live Arcade and Microsoft Casual Games. ”We’re honored that EA has chosen Xbox Live Arcade as the platform for their first-ever downloadable game for console game players and are excited to make Boom Boom Rocket available to the millions of Xbox Live Arcade players around the world.”
“Boom Boom Rocket is an addictive and original challenge for all types of gamer, and we're enjoying working with EA to create this unique Xbox Live Arcade experience”, said Martyn Chudley, Managing Director of Bizarre Creations. “Our teams love both working and playing on Xbox Live Arcade, and we're looking forward to releasing another innovative title on this platform with Boom Boom Rocket.”
This week in GameTap: A few oddball PC sim titles (Marine Park Empire, Restaurant Empire, and Zoo Empire), but the real treat are the hidden games: Bug! for Sega Saturn, Warlords Battlecry 3 and PC classic Wing Commander. The sims are probably something you could pass by without a tear, but Wing Commander is fantastic, and Bug! is lousy but cool just because it means you're playing a Saturn game.
The Dorkir was the standard Kilrathi transport in the original Wing Commander, but they've continued to make cameo appearances since then... they're mentioned in Wing Commander 2, seen on Wing Commander Academy and even have a brief appearance in the Wing Commander movie!
Welcome to the war. The Confederation needs you. We've held off the bloodthirsty Kilrathi for some twenty years, but they are relentless. One pilot, one savior, could turn the tide of this entire conflict. Is it you? Play the space combat game that launched a thousand immitations: Wing Commander, coming to GameTap.Fans of Origin's other big series will be interested to learn that each of the five available Ultima titles feature a brief video introduction by Richard Garriott himself. You can download the Wing Commander trailer here (1.1 mb, .WMV format).
Claw Marks:If you run into another question please let us know and we'll post the response!
- The weight of the Ralari is 18000 tonnes.
- The Tiger's Claw was launched in 2644.
- Maniac is 23 years old.
- The Fralthi has 28 cm of front armor.
- The safe speed in asteroid fields is 250 kps.
- The ESK rating for the Dart DF is 11000.
- The ESK rating for the Pilum FF is 9500.
- The velocity of the Dart DF is 900 kps.
- The range of the mass driver cannon is 3000.
- The range of the laser cannon is 4800 meters.
RICHARD GARRIOTT, better known as the game developer Lord British has invited world's top theoretical physicist, no other than Stephen William Hawking - on a Zero-G flight on April 16th.Bioforge? This is just the first step for Garriott -- his goal is to shoot down 20 TIE Fighters, becoming a Space Ace so that a princess will allow him to travel through time.
Garroitt is a gaming guru, having created Ultima, Bioforge, Lineage, City of Heroes and upcoming Tabula Rasa. He is also a space nut, investor in Zero-G company and one of trustee of the X-Prize Foundation.
Our favorite developer of Wing Commander titles for the Gameboy, Raylight Studios is turning up the heat with a GBA port of the gritty street racing / girlfriend collection simulator Street Racing Syndicate, so all you import tuners better take notice.
Prepare to push your nitrous-injected passion to the limit! but be careful, your opponents could have more under the hood than it seems. This is your initiation into the underground world of street racing...
SRS's JDM-sweet action is set to powerslide from the GBA screen like a Corolla with a tofu cargo that must get through thanks to Raylight's impressive Blueroses graphics technology. With more than 40 modifiable rides and two-player mode, it's sure to be a wild drive.
But wait - that's not all! New for PSP is Hot Wheels Ultimate Racing, with over 20 licensed cars of its own, and an amazing stunt ramp made from a live anglerfish, I think.
Keep in practice, fellas, one never knows when you may be called upon to portablize another WC.
The F-44 Rapier II Blade, developed by human company Origin Aerospace, has scored more space-to-space kills than any other Confederation fighter. Even though this ship is an Earth leftover don’t underestimate it’s capacity for destructive skirmishes.
Perhaps the coolest thing to come out of April 1st this year was a pretend article by German gaming magazine PC Games Online... which claimed in a serious tone that "Wing Commander Online" was in the works. That's interesting to me because it's close enough to the truth in 2007 that people can believe it... and in another year's time, it might not even be a joke.
# With up to 17 players, Freespace Coliseum offers the largest multi-player melee experience to date on Xbox Live Arcade.The first screenshot is already available!:
# 5 types of gameplay: single player, extra single player, multi-team, multi-player free for all and both one on one and multi-player duel
# 9 maps, including team maps, free for all maps and dueling maps
# 19 ships in ten environments
I'm really excited about being able to work on a Crusader movie. I had originally wanted to make a movie based around the exploits of the Boba Fett character, but George Lucas gave me hell. Then I remembered this game I used to play with an identical character and decided to make a movie on that. We're going to try and get someone heroic like Matthew Lillard to play the Bounty Hunter and he'll be fighting some very cool monsters. In the games you were always fighting robots, robots, robots, and so I said enough! The fans want to see beautiful women, so we are hiring many beautiful prostitutes to play the aliens. You will see, this will be the biggest thing yet.The movie, provisionally titled Crusader: No Shame, is slated for release in early 2009.