BREAKING NEWS: Arena Video Walkthrough

Advanced Media Network has won a lot of friends here by posting a six and a half minute 'walkthrough interview' with Wing Commander Arena Producer Sean Penney. The video shows the game in action while explaining all sorts of gameplay elements... everything from cloaked mines to Vampire Missiles! Here's a kicker: it flashes through seven of the nine unidentified ships! We've only yet to see two Darkets now (the ships not pictured below are the Broadsword Warpig and the Paktahn Tusk). You can find the video online here.

Two more general previews are also now available, at Yahoo and Game Almighty. Neither is especially in-depth.

Update: Interview Transcript

Here's a text transcript for those who don't want to download the entire 135 megabyte AMNTV Interview (if you missed skipped update, check it out; the video alone is worth the download time). There's a lot of exciting information here -- in the thrill of finding out new ship types, we missed the best news of all... Sean talks about a late June release date! Here's the text:
AMNTV: Hey guys {someone} here for AMNTV. I'm here with Sean Penney. We're playing Wing Commander ARena at the EA Summer Preview in San Francisco. So tell us a little bit more about, maybe a synopsis for the game for those who don't know what Wing Commander Arena is all about.

Sean: Well, this is a 16-player online multiplayer dogfighting game that also has single player modes. That's what I'm playing right now is a little single player mode. And it's all about getting together with your friends and doing a little team battle, doing a little single player, getting on the leaderboards and, you know, playing a beloved and favorite franchise from years past. It's a brand new, it's a brand new way to play it, it's a brand new look. I'm playing a Kilrathi ship right here, we've got nine of those you can play, that's a first.

AMNTV: What type of main features stand out from a graphical and gameplay standpoint?

Sean: What, you mean compared to other arcade games? Well, I think right off the bat a lot of people don't even realize it's an arcade game. When they look at it they don't, they, you know, they're surprised when they find out it's a fifty meg download. I personally, I think the graphics, the gameplay itself, the depth of play, the, all the different ways that you can play. So online you can go play a eight versus eight capital ship versus capital ship battle. This is amazing, you've got sixteen guys together, you got two massive capital ships doing, throwing broadsides at each other, blowing. It's, it's just amazing to look at, it's absolutely gorgeous.

AMNTV: So just looking at this, I mean level wise, how do you get, the scope of the game. How big is each level?

Sean: Well, so this is a pretty typical environment. Lets see if I can give you a look of it here. So this is a pretty typical sized environment. This one's maybe a little smaller than most just it's enclosed. It's, it really depends on, you know, what we need to do on the envornmnent. One of the things we've done is you'll notice that we're in a two dimensional, we're in, you're on a 2D plane, you can't actually go up or down other than to do things like loops or barrel roles or to get, pardon me, you know, and you can do Immelman turns and 180s. But really, we keep you on a 2D plane, and one of the reasons we do that is in an arcade title you are somewhat limited, you know in memory limitations and things like that. And in a sixteen player game you don't need guys coming at you from top and from bottom and left and right and all over the place. It would just be nothing but death, death, death, death, death. So the envornments, really what we do is we, we keep the envornments to a size that's most useful to the actual mode that you're playing. So capital ship versus capital ship you've got these two huge spaceships circling around eachother, going around, this is a really large environment. So you've got sixteen people with a lot of place, with a lot of space to play in. We have another environment, it's a one on one environment, it's called Duel. This is a much smaller environment. That's lots of stuff you can hide around and do, but arguably you don't need a whole bunch of space if it's just one on one. So the environments tend to be as big as they need to be. Some of them are quite large, others are small. We have everything in between.

AMNTV: Seems like you got a lot of cool weapons over there. Can you showcase some of your main missiles or main weapon arsenal?

Sean: Sure! If you look on the lower left hand screen you can see there's an iconic display. I've got, when I fire my weapons you can see the bar going down there on the left. So I've got energy weapons. Two types of energy weapons, this particular ship has two types of energy weapons. It also has four Dumb Fire missiles, I can drop mines, and if I turn around here you'll notice that the mines fade away, they're cloaked. But I can use my sonar ping to make, to bring them up again. So, use the sonar ping to show up cloaked ships and cloaked mines and things like that. So I've got missiles and, this guy has missiles and mines and two types of energy energy weapons, and he can also cloak himself if I have enough energy. There we go, and I can cloak myself now other people can't see me. If I fire my weapons I, I, I uncloak. Every ship has different weapon combinations. There are some similarities, the the Confederation ships have the same types of heat seeking missiles, the image recognition missiles, Vampire missiles. But some of the races have unique... there's a Vampire missile there, it's draining all my energy. You see it coming down there. Soon as I'm out of energy, it drops off. So the, the different weapon combinations are what makes the game a lot of fun and makes it really unique. If you're playing a heavy bomber, here let me die here... so that somebody will kill me. If you're playing a heavy bomber, there we go, I'll show you some of the different ships. So odd the way, I'm down to the Terran here. We start with the light Arrow, the Arrow Scout, right. We move on to the Arrow Eclipse, right. This is a slightly larger ship, it's still an Arrow but its got more armor and it's got, it's got a gun battery, cloak and flares as opposed to this one has an engine power core, flares and sonar. So they all have different abilities and devices. This is the Arrow Guardian, this is the largest Arrow that we have, but you can see it's got a whole bunch of different stuff it can do. And we can go all the way up to the heaviest bomber, the Broadsword Behemoth. And that's all, that's, you know, that what, that baby's packing, so...

AMNTV: About how many ships and how many total levels are we talking about?

Sean: So, in total, all the ships, there are eighteen total. You start, there's four ships that you start with. Two Terran ships, two Kilrathi ships and what you do is, depending on what mode, actually it doesn't matter what mode you play, you'll unlock ships. Right, any mode you play you start unlocking ships. We got four single player modes, we have eight online modes. A combination of free for all modes, team modes, one on one modes and a really special mode that we call the Bearpit. And in the Bearpit what happens is it's a large environment with an arena within it and two people go into the arena and only one comes out. And then somebody else from the environment goes into the arena. It's all about winning streaks. What's cool is the guys outside of the arena can dogfight, play mini-games and sometimes even shoot inside at the arena. It's very fun.

AMNTV: So you said there's also some online leaderboards for those hardcore enough to really get into the nice competitive mode for Wing Commander Arena?

Sean: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. The the online leader, the online leaderboards track both single player and multiplayer. So if you're playing, if you're playing, you know, if you're, if you're the best at the Proving Grounds or the best at melee your score is going to get online and people are going to see that. And these are true online style single player modes, there's no end to them, they just keep on going, right. Online multiplayer we use Microsoft Arcade's trueskill, so, it's, you know, there's ranked games and player games and there's ways of, of calculating your skill level based on how, your kills and how well you do. But we also track things like frags and points and how many times you die and stuff like that.

AMNTV: So when are we expecting the game to be on Xbox Live?

Sean: Well, we should see it real soon. Some time in June, late June. We're, you know, we're driving for beta right now. You see the game looks pretty good, it plays pretty well. You know, it's a lot of fun, it looks great. What we, we're hoping to get it out near the end, the end of June. And I expect then we'll see a billion people playing it.

AMNTV: Thanks a lot, it all looks very promising.

Sean: My pleasure. Thank you.

Catch Up On Your Ship Identification

When it comes to Wing Commander Arena's ships, we're only half way there! Recent movies have upped the total number of 'hangar views' to nine -- out of eighteen total. We've yet to see two Arrows, two Darkets, two Paktahns and three Broadswords. The name "Broadsword Executioner" has also been revealed - but we haven't seen its hangar 'shot yet. Here's what we have so far, from left to right: F-27 Arrow Guardian, F-44 Rapier II Blade, F-44 Rapier II Vanguard, F-44 Rapier II Cavalier, Darket Stalker, Dralthi Striker, Dralthi Shank, Dralthi Rhino and Paktahn Phantom.

DragonCon Ticket Prices Increasing Tuesday

Advance passes to this year's DragonCon are set to go up in price this week. After Tuesday they will rise from $60 to $70 for four-day memberships. DragonCon is a large science fiction convention held in Atlanta, Georgia over Labor Day weekend (August 31-September 3, 2007). Each year the CIC staff heads down to meet various Wing Commander celebrities and spread Wingnut cheer. This year we plan to also man a table in the lobby to discuss the series with everyone who passes by. You can see what we did last year in our 2006 Gallery.


Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans. Recent updates:


Hats Off To New FMV Record Holder
2017-12-11 -- Games that feature full motion video have undergone a bit of a renaissance over the past two years with a handful of innovative adventures hitting the market since 2015's Her Story. Two decades of dormancy, however, let Wing Commander reign as king of the genre in a number of ways. Now, one game has passed Wing Commander 4 for quantity of FMV, and The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker has the Guiness World Record to prove it!

WC1 Live Viewer Now Displays Medal Points
2017-12-10 -- UnnammedCharacter has released an update to his WC1 Live Viewer program. The previous iteration of the app displayed game state statistics on flying objects throughout the battle space in your Wing Commander 1 game. It's not an editor, but rather, it can be paired with things like the WC Toolbox to help understand what's going on behind the scenes.

Check Out Rebel Galaxy's Delightful Blueprint
2017-12-09 -- The creators of Rebel Galaxy, already well known for their incredible Privateer April Fools commercial earlier this year, have made another awesome Wing Commander tribute. They've created a fighter diagram for the game's Coyote fighter that's a perfect match to the style of WC1's blueprints. Sure looks like Howie is having fun!

Backers' Wing Commander Album Scores Released
2017-12-08 -- Wing Commander fans who pledged for the second Wing Commander album at the $80 level and above now have a treat waiting for them. The PDF digital scores for the seventeen expected orchestral tracks have been released. Contributors can now log in to their Kickstarter Message Inbox for a special note from George Oldziey with a download link and access password.

Homeworld Mod Now Spoofs Missiles
2017-12-07 -- Yet another new feature has been added to the Homeworld Remastered Mod. Electronic Countermeasures are now available to the fighter fleet so that they have a much more robust defense against large missile salvos. Check out this post for exact effectiveness percentages by model.

Hornet Zooms Towards The Action
2017-12-06 -- NinjaLA is back with a nifty sketch that shows off his "gradient mask coloring" technique. There are two images this time so you can see how things begin as a simple pencil sketch... and progress into a very sleek Hornet!

Nephilim Added To Star Trek Armada 2 Mod
2017-12-05 -- The Wing Commander mod for Star Trek Armada 2 has added a major new faction to the game. A full lineup of Nephilim capships and fighters have filled out the ranks and is set to invade the spacelanes. Each individual starship is beautiful, but check out the battle scenes.

Recording Session Set For WC Bar Music!
2017-12-04 -- There's a pretty sizable update on the progress of George Oldziey's second Wing Commander album today. A date has been set now for early February to do the live recording of the WC bar music. It'll be performed in George's personal studio in Austin.

The Voices Of War Speak Many Languages
2017-12-03 -- Christian Klein, the Pixel Engineer, has dug up a really cool version of Wing Commander Armada. This one's made for the Japanese PC-98 computer. There's so much to love on every inch of the box here, but my favorite might be the dark red disks with Japanese text.

We're Number 239!
2017-12-02 -- Polygon has put together a massive a feature on the 500 best games of all time. Wing Commander has made many, many such lists in its time, but this might be the longest - and furthest down - that we've seen it ever rank on. I can imagine it's really hard to qualitatively score a hundred games across many disparate genres, let alone five times that number, so it's kind of interesting to scroll through and see what they ended up with.

Wing Commander Teaches 3D
2017-12-01 -- AD found a nifty Wing Commander feature in Isaac Kerlow's The Art of 3D: Computer Animation and Effects which includes snippets from the Wing Commander Movie. The shots are interesting because they break down certain scenes into the various elements that get composited together to produce the finished frame for the film. The book was published just a couple years after WC was released, so computer animation was still a groundbreaking field.

Homeworld Mod Improves Skipper Missile Execution
2017-11-30 -- The latest updates to the Homeworld Remastered Mod are all about the Skipper Missile. Several iterations have been released that update the Skipper's code to properly cloak and decloak as it cruises through space. There have also been AI tweaks to better guide when the computer deploys the missile as well as bug fixes that address an issue with deploying it against large bases.

New WC Toolbox Release Adds WC2 & Academy Support
2017-11-29 -- UnnamedCharacter is back with an awesome upgrade to his WC Toolbox application. The program allows aspiring modders unprecedented ease of access to play around with and tweak some of the core elements of the original Wing Commander games. Previous versions have allowed for ship editing, revision of the in-game text, new copy protection questions and more!

Avoid The Node
2017-11-28 -- Dark Sentinel still has some of the fearsome capships like the Hydra under construction in his shipyards, but he's let loose a smaller pair of ships this week. This time we get to see the Ray node and its smaller Remora counterparts. When Prophecy was released twenty years ago, this ship was a real oddball.

Cyber Monday Discounts Abound For WC Fans
2017-11-27 -- If you're still searching for the perfect present after Black Friday, Cyber Monday gives you a great opportunity to give the gift of Wing Commander. GOG currently has the Wing Commander series for 75% off, which brings it down to just $11.92 for all DOS/Windows games (you may need to add them to your cart individually).

Fralthi Fights For Furball Frontier
2017-11-26 -- The Kilrathi kick continues for the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack with another brown durasteel capship. This time the Fralthi II joins the fray, which actually stars in the beginning of Prophecy. Our pilots encounter it partially destroyed, which is why we're lucky enough to get the artsy damaged version here.

Extreme Fun Pak Pushed Gamers To The Edge
2017-11-25 -- If you're tied into the Apple ecosystem, then there's a good chance you've encountered a billion ads for discounted iPads and similar products as you navigated the Black Friday holiday salescape this weekend. But if you were to roll back the clock by twenty-one years and put yourselves in the shoes of a Mac customer in 1996, you'd have seen some significantly different products. One of them would have been this official "Apple Quality Bundle" "For Serious Gamers.

Tom Wilson Bouncing Around The Vlogosphere
2017-11-24 -- As we first reported last year, actor Tom Wilson is doing a pretty good job of maintaining his YouTube Vlog channel. He doesn't post nearly as often as some of the big stars out there, but his video posts are pretty funny and provide interesting insight into what he's got going on in life. The first video below provides a glimpse into his art show, then he's got a new song, and finally he takes his fans with him on a trip to Australia.

Happy Thanksgiving!
2017-11-23 -- The holiday season is now in full swing, and Wingnuts in the US are celebrating Thanksgiving today! As the story goes, we give thanks for the assistance given the European Pilgrims and the Native Americans who cooperated with them. Although 100% unrelated, this is a fantastic opportunity to remind everyone about the super cool Wing Commander Pilgrim-related item hiding in the CIC archives.

Annual Call For Award Nominations
2017-11-22 -- Another busy year is flying by, and before we know it, 2017 will be coming to a close. To start to get things in order, we're now thinking about nominees for our traditional Web Site & Fan Project of the Year Awards. There are so many fans doing great things out there, so this is our chance to acknowledge some of their fantastic efforts.

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