Hurleybird found an article over at Next-Gen that discusses the "40 greatest game design innovations." After a while it kind of reads like a list of normal gameplay mechanics, but they do go back and try to identify when each was first used. Wing Commander gets the nod for adaptive music that dynamically responds to changing situations. Each franchise seems to have gotten a single credit, or else other games in the series could be all over the article. You can find the full piece here. The Wing Commander bit is on page four.
Everyone recognizes the power of music to create a mood. In videogames, the trick is to change the music in response to game events, and of course the composer can’t know in advance when they might occur. One approach is simply to play a new track on demand, but the transition can be jarring if not done well. Another approach is layering—mixing harmonizing pieces of music together and changing their volumes in response to the needs of the game. Best-known early example: Wing Commander, 1990. Possible first use: Way Out for the Atari 800, 1982.
The end of the year is approaching, but there's no major news about Origin's major projects scheduled for Christmas - Privateer, Ultima VII Part 2 and Strike Commander. This issue of Point of Origin mentions some interesting possibilities that didn't work out... including talks held about a Wing Commander comic book and the abandoned Genesis port of the original game.
A very special thanks to Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum for making this resource available and to Electronic Arts for sending them to him in the first place!
- All the News That Fits proves that you can't even review Ultima Underworld without praising Wing Commander: "Keep an eye peeled for the next issue of Dragon magazine. Word from the editors is that Underworld has garnered a six-star review (above and beyond the five-star limited of 'excellent'). That will make it only the fifth game ever to pick up that honor. Six-star reviews didn't even exist until the magazine came across a game it couldn't resist creating the new category for: Wing Commander."
- License to Travel talks about plans to license Wing Commander comics and shows what gaming conventions were like back then:
A different kind of road show this week: David Ladyman is in sunny San Diego at the Comic Book Expo. His mission is to try and find companies interested in licensing the Wing and Ultima lines for comic books. Early reports claim that Harris and Marvel have shown some interest.
Next week, David's off again, this time to the combination GEN CON/Origins show. Don't let the name fool you. We don't have anything to do with organizing the show, but we are sponsoring four seminars: ORIGIN's Wing Commander II + More, ORIGIN's Ultima VII and Beyond, An Audience With Lord British, and Careers in Computer Gaming.
- All Aboard welcomes a new employee who's experience includes... playing Wing Commander? It could have been me! "Jerrold Harrington starts next Monday. Jerrold also has three years of CS experience and reports having 'messed around' with Wing and having played Ultima III. All we need now is a Windwalker expert."
- Super Mario Bros. (and Sisters) says Wing Commander Genesis should be out before the end of time - we're still waiting! "Software Toolworks also wants to get a yuletime Wing Commander out on SNES (probably not). Look for Wing on Genesis sometime between Christmas and the end of time, converted by Sega."
Point of Origin
Vol. II, No. 23 - August 14, 1992
All the News That Fits
License to Travel
PC Research Top-Selling Software (May, 1992)
Super Mario Bros. (and Sisters)
Dear Point Man
Mark Hamill Premiering New Documentary at SXSW
It's a good week for Mark Hamill fans! In addition to getting his Hollywood star, Mr. Hamill will be returning to the birthplace of Wing Commander next month to help debut a new documentary, The Director and the Jedi, about his work with Rian Johnson on the new Star Wars film. (2018-02-23)
Mark Hamill To Receive Hollywood Star
Thanks in part to his recent success resuming the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, actor Mark Hamill will soon be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremony is set for March 8, 2018 at 11:30 am. I'd encourage Wing Commander fans nearby to go check it out, but the crowd will likely be substantial. (2018-02-22)
Banshee Kicks Off Flat Universe's Border Worlds Faction
The first Border Worlds ship for Wing Commander Flat Universe has been announced! The Banshee now joins the battle alongside four Confed and four Kilrathi craft. It's designed to be particularly effective against slower bombers such as the Broadsword or Grikath. (2018-02-21)
New 3D Prints Highlight Gemini Sector Hotness
Sonnich Johannesen has shown off some large scale and beautifully detailed 3D prints from Wing Commander Privateer. The Centurion and (not pictured) Galaxy are from Astrofossil and the Tarsus model was designed by DJFX, who posted some gorgeous pics of his own a while back. The size of each of these is impressive, and Sonnich has posted some neat pictures of these ships coming together on the printer. (2018-02-20)
Paper Cruiser Returns Stronger & Better Armed
Adm_Maverick's Tallahassee papercraft cruiser is back again in a whole new way. This second major iteration improves on the first in a number of ways, including how the main hull fits together. It also has interior components that form the bow-mounted capship missile launcher. (2018-02-19)