Hear Here

Hey, it's a podcast! Have you always wondered what veteran Wing Commander novelist Dr. William Forstchen really sounds like? Well, here's your chance to find out. Kicking the Anthill has posted an mp3 interview with Dr. Forstchen concerning his new book, Days of Infamy. You can find it here (It's a 15 megabyte download). No Wing Commander, but some interesting history... and you learn how to pronounce his name correctly.

Making the Game - Part 56

"This is everything from the walls of the War Room, updated as best as possible", writes designer Billy Cain on the cover sheet of this longer document. What was on the walls of the war room? One page for each of the game's missions, apparently, listing which movies, audio files, briefings and other elements are used. Who wants to go through the whole thing and see if it's the same as the finished version?

War Room
Download (13 MB)

Date: July 28, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 51

Went to the Desert On a Cat With No Name

JasonRocZ has another new ship to show off for his Collateral Damage mod for Secret Ops. This one is Kilrathi and clearly Bloodfang-inspired... but it's currently lacking a name!

You can help decide on a moniker for it here or just view more pictures here.

Making the Game - Part 55

Presenting... another Status Report! This one is for May 30, 1997. I'm just really interested in how these have progressed over the past several weeks of updates - we've gone from broad discussions about possible projects to things like specific dates when magazine covers need to be rendered. Fascinating stuff!

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (3.7 MB)

Date: May 30, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Space Sim First Look: Dark Horizon

There's a new story-based space sim in town - Dark Horizon from Paradox Interactive. The game is inspired by the likes of Wing Commander - a connection that Paradox executive vice president, Fredrik Wester, made clear to GameZine: "Dark Horizon follows along the same lines of classics like Wing Commander and Freelancer, and it will be a great addition to our portfolio this year." So, how does it look?

Making the Game - Part 54

Here's the May 9, 1997 Status Report. The script is finally finished! The coolest thing in this update is a section that quote's Origin's company-wide requirements for a game to go 'Alpha' -- it's more specific than you would expect!

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (3.6 MB)

Date: May 9, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 6

Rargh, More Forstchen, Must Have More Forstchen

Are you the sort of person who wants to devour every single precious word from Wing Commander novelist Dr. William Forstchen? Well, first, you're a strange guy... but you're also in luck, since Dr. Forstchen has written an essay included alongside a new graphic novel from IDW Publishing:
On May 21, 2008, IDW Publishing and Charlie Foxtrot Entertainment (www.charliefoxtrotfilms.com) will release their second co-published venture, the original graphic war novel Finding Peace. The book, which includes an introductory essay by New York Times best-selling author and military historian William R. Forstchen, has already received tremendous advance praise, such as the comments from BrokenFrontier.com reviewer Dave Baxter, who says of the new ogn, “If you’ve ever admired Maus or Persepolis or Pride of Baghdad, Finding Peace is the next step, a superior work that admirably finds its place next to these, and arguably surpasses them page for page.”
Check out the full press release here. A comic that claims to be the next step up from Maus and Persepolis sounds pretty sketchy... but it is from the company that brought back Star Trek!

Making the Game - Part 53

And we're back to Status Reports! This one, for May 2, 1997, begins with some good news: "A LOT of people are pumped about this game. From my copious conversations with random industry types, it sounds like we have made all the right choices." At this point the team is getting ready for an E3 demo and doing a lot of talking about graphics cards and accelerators.

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (2.1 MB)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Making the Game - Part 52

Hows about one more script? This is Wing Commander Prophecy's shooting script - the version filmed for the actual game. It's dated April 30, 1997 and you will notice that it's a lot shorter than any of the earlier outlines. Part of the 140 missing pages are the mission outlines - but others are content that was deemed too expensive or too elaborate for the project at this point.

Script, Final Draft
Download (14.5 MB)

Date: April 30, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Adam Foshko
Pages: 102

Meet The Wild Eagles

The community replay of WC2: Special Operations 2 has entered its second week. Most players will now work on keeping the Morningstar prototype safe, but anyone can join the fun at any time. Each discussion is broken down by system at the bottom of this update. It's definitely not too late to start in at Wing Commander 1 and sync back up with everyone else later this Summer. Here are DaveO's notes from Canewdon 1.
On Akko station outside the Deneb sector, I’m climbing into a Rapier for a patrol. On takeoff, the station relays a communications message that I’m to escort the prison ship Bastille to rendezvous with the Alcatraz prison ship. The Alcatraz will be taking ‘Jazz’ back to Earth for his execution. I express my pleasure in being able to assist ‘Jazz’ in getting his just rewards for his traitorous acts. Akko station asks me to return to the Concordia after the escort is complete.

On my way to the prison ship, I receive a communications message that two Confed freighters are under attack AND the Bastille has been taken over by the Mandarin. The Mandarins are trying to activate the jump drive to escape. I head after the Kilrathi welcoming committee, which consists of four Jalkehis. I drive off and damage one enough for flak from one of the freighters to finish him off. I go after a second Jalkehi, and pummel him to particles with gun blasts. I set my sights on a third Jalkehi, and shoot off a Friend-or-Foe missile to keep him or his buddy busy. I stick on that fighter, and he tries to run after taking too much damage. I let him have it while dodging shots from his rear turrets. I head for a fourth Jalkehi, and he’s certainly doing his best to keep his rear turrets shooting at me after a frontal pass. I shoot another FF missile, and it nicely does its job of blowing the Kilrathi to bits. I make sure that the freighters look ok, but I also notice that the Bastille is long gone. I head back for the Concordia, and make a landing.

I’m notified that the Admiral wants to see me immediately. Tolwyn wants to know how ‘Jazz’ could have escaped. I tell him that I could not leave the freighters undefended, and I could not have anticipated what happened on the Bastille. The Admiral assures me that nobody is blaming me for what happened, but he is concerned due to a broadcast made by ‘Jazz’ before his escape. Tolwyn insists that I need to hear the transmission now, and I see ‘Jazz’ saying that he is ‘touched’ by my escort. ‘Jazz’ brags that I was lucky on our fighter duel, and that the next time he’ll shoot me to shards.

Making the Game - Part 51

Here's a cool change - this is the US Marketing Kickoff document for Wing Commander Prophecy, which lets us see the game from a different department's perspective. It lists all the selling points and the cross-promotions that are intended to help the game shine... too bad we never saw the Wing Commander Prophecy joystick! It also has some fascinating thoughts on Wing Commander IV's marketing campaign - like the fact that Mark Hamill appearances attract Star Wars fans rather than sell Wing Commander games.

U.S. Marketing Kickoff
Download (3.5 MB)

Date: April 22, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

The Slightest Commentary

411mania.com has posted an article that includes a history of video game-based movies. Naturally, Wing Commander is skewered:
Wing Commander. Yeah, this one bombed too. It was a good idea in theory because everyone likes intergalactic wars. But casting Freddie Prinze Jr and Matthew Lillard to star was perhaps not the brightest of moves. I vaguely remember seeing it and it looked like a cheap knock-off of an assortment of sci-fi movies. That was pretty much the problem for any video game adaptation; trying to create that alternative to the mainstream that the video games, with their imagery, had created already. But doing so on a budget was difficult and video game movies didn't make any money. Largely because everyone knew they sucked.
This is actually interesting, since it runs counter to something most fans believe - which is that the Wing Commander movie failed because it made a conscious effort not to look like the games.

Making the Game - Part 50

April 18, 1997 - the Component Leads Meeting agendas are now simply Wing Commander Prophecy (!) status reports. It looks like the big news this week is the imminent arrival of Cobalt 60, the electro/industrial group scheduled to generate the game's soundtrack.

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (2.2 MB)

Date: April 18, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Mars Needs Cats

The skies are just full of Dralthi, aren't they, Admiral? That appears to be true... on LEGO Mars, anyway. The current 'Lego Space' theme pits humans against green glowing aliens on the red planet... and the toy kits include several Dralthi look-alikes! Swooping pancake wings are the Martian's design pattern. Check them out:

For those wanting to buy they're on, they are (in order) the ETX Alien Strike, MB-01 Eagle Command Base, MT-51 Claw-Tank Ambush and MT-101 Armoured Drilling Unit. There's also another that looks like a Jalkehi.

Making the Game - Part 49

The March 14, 1997 Component Leads Meeting agenda introduces two new stars to the Wing Commander Prophecy development team -- Dave Plunkett and Trey Hermann... both of whom are extremely cool artists who are still happy to help out the Wing Commander community ten years later!

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (2.9 MB)

Date: March 14, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Mythic Archive is Go!

Two months ago we reported on plans to organize and archive a massive cache of Origin documentation and material being stored at EA Mythic. Thanks to the community we learned how to read several types of backup drive systems -- and were even loaned a SyQuest drive! Now we're happy to announce that a date has finally been set: we will hit the beach the week of July 21st. We need to be ready to do the job in just under a month... it's a daunting and exciting task.

Several fans will be staying in the area to join the project, including Chris, Frosty, Joe Garrity and myself. If you're interested in helping out and can be in the Washington DC metropolitan area that week, please contact us. I'll close with just two words, taken from the label of a CD I saw on my first visit to the collection: Privateer 3.

Making the Game - Part 48

March 7, 1996 - it's another Component Manager Meeting agenda (actually now Component Lead Meeting agenda). This one confirms that there aren't missing reports for January and February - "and we're doing written reports again!" The 'Bing' that has everyone worried is Bing Gordon, an EA executive.

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (1.7 MB)

Date: March 7, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Advertising Outlander

Here's a cool tangent: AD has posted the international poster for Outlander to outlander.solsector.net. Outlander is the next film from Chris Roberts' Ascendant Pictures and was produced by the man himself. It looks like a great poster, too! Of course, the international version of the Wing Commander movie poster was awesome, too... and Americans ended up with a giant picture of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s ear.

Making the Game - Part 47

Two months have passed! This is the Component Manager Meeting agenda for February 28, 1997. Part of the delay was Christmas vacations, part of it was a change in the organization of the team. Check out the spiffy new font! It sounds like the seeds for the electronic music soundtrack have been planted here, too: "Edel record deal looks ROCKIN ASS".

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (2.3 MB)

Date: February 28, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Even More Gratha

Did you think you'd seen enough Gratha in this last update? Well, you haven't seen anything yet! Michelle D has improved her Kilrathi fighter model even more, resulting in these additional screenshots:

Making the Game - Part 46

It's the last Component Manager Meeting agenda of the year - December 6, 1996 - and, in fact, the last one for quite a while. We won't see another such document until February 28. This one also introduces the big question: "Multi-player or not. I hear that the execs like multi-player and that scares me. We need to make up our minds and stick to the same story, so we don't have a leak. Last I heard, we were going to possibly put in multi-player in the simulator. Has this changed? Will we? Should we plan another SKU to handle this?"

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (3.5 MB)

Date: December 6, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 7

Space Shooter First Look: Novastrike

Novastrike, a new arcade space shooter, has been released for the PlayStation Network (that system's equivalent of Xbox Live Arcade). Wired even compares it to Wing Commander: "Turns out this rail shooter is a lot of fun, and looks great. It certainly comes off as a pretty HD-era Wing Commander -- minus the Kilrathi scum -- but with more of an arcade feel." Here's what it looks like:

Why, it's just like Wing Commander! With islands?

Making the Game - Part 45

Here's the November 22, 1996 component Manager Meeting agenda. One of the things that's fun at this point is that you can see the other documents you've been reading 'interacting' with the weekly updates -- there are notes about checking out the Second Draft Script and the Beat Outline and such.

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (3.7 MB)

Date: November 22, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 8

To Initium, And Beyond!

Raxiv has created a website for Wing Commander Initium, his Sins of a Solar Empire mod project. You can find it at wcinitium.net. Content is sparse at the moment, but the look is nice and we have a feeling there will be more to see soon! It's always a good sign when new fan projects go through the added expense of registering a domain name!

Making the Game - Part 44

This is the Component Manager Meeting agenda for November 8, 1996. It looks like everything is going well -- the team sounds a lot happier, with less implied drama and a lot more joking around (give Frank $100). This document also includes a step-by-step process for creating new objects. Neat!

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (2.8 MB)

Date: November 8, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 6

Peeling Away At SO2

The community replay has arrived at WC2: Special Operations 2. We'll meet up with Maniac's Wild Eagles Squadron and their prototype Morningstar fighters. Wingnuts will also contend with mounting pressure from the traitorous Society of the Mandarins seeking to sell out the Confederation to the Kilrathi! The first series of missions kicks off with Jazz Colson being sent back to earth to be executed. Here are Lorien's final notes from Special Operations 1.
Paladin meets Hobbes & I on the flight deck. He's decked out in a flight suit just as we are. It makes a nice change from that horribly loud shirt he normally wears. That's the only thing nice about it, though. He's heading out alone into the Sharn system to track the Kilrathi fleet. Without enough ships to cover the Bonnie H and Olympus he'll have to rely on the Kilrathi not bothering to destroy him. Hobbes warns him against betting his life on it, but we have no choice.

Just as we launch to intercept the first wave of bogeys, I get a communication from Paladin with a change to my orders. I'm to defeat the first wave and the meet up with the Bonnie Heather in the Sharn System. He's been damaged but there seem to be two different sets of Cats fighting over him. The battle over Olympus is as confusing as the circumstances. While Hobbes and I engage the Grikath's on their torpedo runs, another pilot destroys a capship. I didn't get a chance to find out what type. The journey to the Sharn system is a quiet one and it lets me gather my thoughts. On the other side of the jump point I find several Jalkehi and an ejected Kilrathi pilot. Fortunately, I have enough wits about me to ask Paladin what to do. He orders me to pick up the pilot, which I do as Hobbes and I sweep towards the Jalkehi in the area. The Jalkehi are quickly taken care of thanks to the Crossbow's heavy guns and I open a channel to the Bonnie Heather.

She's taken too much damage to jump back to Olympus, so it'll be a slow journey back with the Bonnie H under escort from Hobbes and I. I dock and Paladin unloads the pilot and takes him to the brig. After checking on the bridge to make sure that there are no bogeys on the screen, Hobbes briefs me a bit further on the situation. The pilot I had rescued was Prince Thrakhath, heir to the throne of Kilrah. It seems that I rescued him minutes away from death. This is very serious news. Not only have we captured the Prince, but other Kilrathi were attempting to kill him. The Kilrathi Imperial family is in worse trouble than we thought.

Making the Game - Part 43

Now we enter into another group of Component Manager Meeting agendas which will take us through to the new year. This one is from November 1, 1996 -- Rod Nakamoto is here and the first sketches from Syd Mead have arrived!

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (4.1 MB)

Date: November 1, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 10

Score One for Dr. Forstchen!

Congratulations to veteran Wing Commander novelist Dr. William Forstchen for reaching the New York Times Bestseller List with his new book, Days of Infamy. Co-authored with Newt Gingrich, Days of Infamy is the second part in an 'alternate history' story about the second World War. The book debuted at 11 on the Fiction Bestseller list -- an impressive start! It's too bad all these people don't know what they're missing in his other books... You can find a press release about the event here.

Making the Game - Part 42

Another October 28 document - that must have been a big deadline for the Prophecy team. Today we see the team's comments on the Second Draft Outline... and they're really interesting. For example, Captain Johnny managed to get rid of Kilrathi Reservation planets and Dallas' awkward second callsign... but his note about Casey's lame first name fell on deaf ears.

Team Comments
Download (4.5 MB)

Date: October 28, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 24

Scout In

JasonRocZ has added a new ship to Secret Ops! It's actually a ship we don't think about very often -- the Steltek Scout, seen briefly in the original Privateer. It's not just some simple conversion, either - he's gone the whole nine yards and added sounds, new weapons effects and so forth. Check it out:

You can download the package to add the ship to your game here.

Making the Game - Part 41

Was 600 pages of scripts too much for you? It's understandable - so check out this Wing Commander V Beat Outline. It's a short document which runs through every scene in the game and briefly explains what happens... perfect for quick reference or those who enjoy seeing Stiletto referred to as "foil girl".

Beat Outline
Download (10 MB)

Date: October 28, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 50

And the Paper Winner Is...

Remember the paper ship poll held last week? The results are in! Péricles has announced that the winners are... the Plunkett and the Venture!
I would like to thank the votes in this poll and announce the results. The model already on a test bench at the moment is the Plunkett. There was a tie between the Arrow and the Venture. I solved then use as a criterion for desempate the fact that there is a kit of Arrow available then the second model winner and Venture. So here a few days when the construction of the post Plunkett!
Check Paper Commander in the coming weeks for more details!

Making the Game - Part 40

Are you tired of the October 28 version of the Wing Commander Prophecy Second Draft Outline yet? Here's the final one from the archives, which belonged to Jorg Neumann (per popular request, we have removed pages which do not have any handwritten notes.)

Outline
Download (20 MB)

Date: October 28, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 88

XBLA Delisting Storm Passes

Now, some of these newbees rattle on about "what if this happens", "what if that happens". This is the brain case, I tell them: make good use of it.

Roughly two weeks ago, Microsoft mentioned in an interview that 'underperforming' Xbox Live Arcade titles might be "delisted" (story). They went on to explain that this could apply to games that fit all of three categories:

  • Lower than 65% rating on Metacritic
  • Available for at least six months
  • A conversion rating of less than 6%
Many fans wrote to us worried that this would include Wing Commander Arena, which fits the first two categories. The third category, unfortunately, is not available to the public in any form (and can be skewed in any direction by Microsoft, should the desire exist).

This announcement was met with surprising vehemence by the ordinarily cynical gaming public - Microsoft has since backtracked and promised several things: the games which are 'delisted' will remain playable and re-downloadable by their current owners (story)... and, in fact, will remain available for purchase through the online store (just not in their original categories).

So, what does this mean? Absolutely nothing - you already own Arena, you can still play Arena... and if the game is "delisted" (and there is a strong suggestion that it will not be) then you'll still be able to get it if you don't already have a copy. In short, much ado about nothing.

Making the Game - Part 39

This is the second of three updates presenting versions of the October 28, 1996 Second Draft Outline for Wing Commander Prophecy. This version belonged to John Guentzel:

Outline
Download (40 MB)

Date: October 28, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 240

WCM HD - Six Chances Left

Attention Americans! This is your last chance to see the Wing Commander movie in HD for free via the UniversalHD network. It's scheduled to run several more times through the end of June and then... who knows? Better grab a recording while you can!
Saturday, Jun. 14 - 8:00 PM EST
Sunday, Jun. 15 - 4:00 PM EST
Monday, Jun. 16 - 2:00 PM EST
Tuesday, Jun. 17 - 8:00 AM EST
Thursday, Jun. 26 - 8:00 PM EST
Friday, Jun. 27 - 2:30 AM EST
Unfortunately, the version airing on UniversalHD does not include the extra information found by Wedge009 (news). Are there two HD transfers floating around?

Making the Game - Part 38

This is the first of three updates what will fascinate nitpickers are bore everyone else. In this particular instance we're lucky enough to have the same document from three different Wing Commander Prophecy developers - Billy Cain, Jorg Neumann and John Guentzel. Why is that interesting? Because you can compare the different margin notes!

Outline
Download (115 MB)

Date: October 28, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 240

ASCII to the Moon

After a lengthy silence, Chris Knudsen returned to release v0.33 of his amazing Privateer: Ascii Sector game. Now, mere days later v0.34 is already available! The list of changes and fixes is impressive:
  • Fixed bug with critical wounds not decreasing health.
  • Fixed bug with the sound of static on your target display "sticking".
  • Fixed bug with displaying hidden/unhidden contraband.
  • Fixed bug with long movie filenames.
  • Fixed bug that wouldn't create your contact when trying to collect payment for an on-ground assassination mission.
  • Fixed bug that made typing the letter 'q' impossible.
  • Fixed seven other bugs that potentially caused crashes.
  • Increased the time it takes to land on a base or planet.
  • Killing Retros and Kilrathi will now also increase your standing with Hunters.
  • Added more detailed messages when scooping cargo.
  • If scooping cargo, but you haven't enough space for all of it, the remaining cargo won't be destroyed anymore.
  • Added targeting of cargo containers and ejected pilots (SHIFT+T).
  • Cargo containers and ejected pilots will now also show up on the radar.
  • For missions where you have to collect the payment, your Quine will now tell you whether or not you've collected it.
  • You will no longer get fined for assaults and murders on pirate bases (you'll still be banned, though).
  • You won't always be scanned for contraband anymore (there's a 50% chance).
  • You can now move the viewable area when targeting.
  • Lowered the price of hidden compartments to 2000 credits.
  • Added a window icon.
You can download it here.

Making the Game - Part 37

Presenting the Component Manager Meeting agenda for May 25, 1996. You can tell it's a big week - there are two Dilberts. It sounds like the art team is struggling to stay together - this week they've lost "Michael Halley" (who apparently wasn't at Origin long enough to be credited on a single title). Seeing so many people leave to work with Digital Anvil does give you even more respect for the team members who stuck with Wing Commander...

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (4.4 MB)

Date: October 25, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 9

The Two Fralthra Strike

This week the community replay crew will attempt to wrap up WC2: Special Operations 1. Not an easy task, since they will face at least one enemy cruiser in each mission! It's taken us five months to get here, so it's definitely not too late to start in at Wing Commander 1 and sync back up with everyone else towards the Summer. Here are DaveO's notes from the first set of Ghorah Khar missions.
Within the officer barracks, I meet up with Paladin again. I express my surprise since I was not expecting him until the next day, but my Special Ops assignment has been moved up. Paladin wants me ready in half an hour, but I tell him that all I need is ten minutes. Paladin is going to pick up Hobbes and Major Edmond for this assignment as well. Paladin wants the Major since she is the best communications specialist in the sector. Hobbes will be my gunner for the escort mission, so that could mean either the Broadsword, Crossbow, or Sabre as the ship I will fly. I head for the hangar and see Angel. She tells me that she’ll miss my presence, and it looks like this relationship is getting even deeper. I give her a goodbye kiss, and climb into the Crossbow. After takeoff, Paladin tells me over the communications channel that our course is set. Just before autopilot, I make sure everything is ok with the turrets and Hobbes says everything is ready. At the first nav point are Dralthi Drakhris. I do some damage, and they all retreat but Paladin’s ship is all shot up.

On the next enemy encounter, there are some stealth fighters trying to protect a Dorkathi transport. One of the fighters stays uncloaked long enough for me to track and shoot at it. That fighter is destroyed by my guns, so I guess he figured his piloting would help him do better than cloaking. Another fighter attempts a direct pass, but even with Drakhri enhancements that fighter is destroyed too by the mass drivers of the Crossbow. Seeing no other stealth fighters as targets, I head for and shoot at the Dorkathi. It takes a few hits from full gun barrages, but is destroyed. A stealth fighter decides to take advantage of my attack on the Dorkathi and shoot at my rear while the flak took off significant forward shields. He manages to damage my rear armor a bit, and I swing around to try to get him to attack the slightly more charged forward shields. The Kilrathi takes the bait and I hit him twice with full guns, and switch to the mass drivers. A few more shots from a direct forward pass take him down. I let my shields recharge and head for the next nav point. On the next enemy encounter, there are two Sarthas here to make things interesting. I only manage to inflict damage, and they retreat but not before my rear armor has been badly damaged. I autopilot to the next point and approach Olympus station. I recommend that they send out more patrols due to those stray cats.

Making the Game - Part 36

Here it is: the second draft of the Wing Commander V (Prophecy) outline! The first thing you'll notice is another shift in characters. Tom Dane is gone, replaced with Lance Casey. Also missing is Hawk, who is replaced by a new character named Bandit...

Outline
Download (52.8 MB)

Date: October 23, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 249

Ranger Off

There's sad news for fans of Flight Commander mods: Iceblade has announced that he's stopping work on the Ranger's Glory project. This is a shame, as it was a promising release. All isn't necessarily lost, though, as he's looking for someone to replace him:
I am asking for someone to take over as project lead. I find that I do not have the time, motivation or patience to manage this project any longer. You would be taking over managing of team members (this includes a requirement). This role would also mean taking up much of the stuff I was doing, though some of these could be delegated to team members. This would involve building some of the missions and writing much of the story (both of which I have some outlines for as far as general plot - note that I won't strongly require you to hold to it). The other part of your role would involve compiling the mod (which is no small task, but parts of this I have already done). That is most of it.
You can apply for the job here. It is rare that a mod survives a transition away from its original visionary -- but it has happened! So, good luck, Ranger's Glory.

Making the Game - Part 35

Here is the Component Manager Meeting agenda for October 18, 1996. There's a very interesting note from the Production Designer: "Working with Grills on the capship test, I've gotten rather worried about our spaceflight light sourcing. At the moment it's pretty ugly, guys... Are there plans to work on this further? I don't think it's currently good enough to make this game look better than WC4, and considering the reduction in texture quality we're facing, it's the ONLY thing that can!" What does this mean? Why would the texture quality be reduced from an earlier game? Can any art or programming experts enlighten us?

Component Manager Meeting Agenda
Download (3.9 MB)

Date: October 18, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 8

Not As Easy As It Used to Be

This past week saw the release of LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and PC (whew). Sounds like fun -- but it's about as far as you can get from Wing Commander, right? Wrong! In fact, LEGO Indy was developed by a team at Embryonic Studios which included Wing Commander and Privateer veterans like Erin Roberts and Paul Hughes! So, if you've been looking for an excuse to pick the game up...

Making the Game - Part 34

The Component Manager Meeting agenda for October is a lot happier than the last one! It's full of amusing notes: "Saw Academy cartoon. Why aren't our chaff pods cool like the ones on the cartoon? Why aren't our engine fires cool like the ones on the cartoon?" And Sean Murphy is giving a 3D class! Cool! And just what is the Shrike's joke?

Another interesting note is this: "The QA guys are coming up with a list of 'What is needed to make this an Origin game?' for Alex Carloss, who now is the only person that can approve the Origin name WORLDWIDE. This is a good thing. Now to give someone responsibility for the Wing Commander name." How did this ultimately play out? It's since been claimed that the actual Privateer 2 team never received these change requirements...

Game Design Document
Download (3.4 MB)

Date: October 11, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 8

Shades of Gratha

Michelle D loves the Gratha, and the result has been seven progressive iterations of the design that she's modeled over the years. Now Wingnuts can see all of them in one neat new video. Check it out on YouTube or download it here (2.1 meg flv). Watch a new version of the fighter appear every 10 seconds or so in the clip. Sometimes the progression from one to the next can be subtle, so keep a close eye on things like weapon details to catch the transitions.

Making the Game - Part 33

Introducing... Rod Nakamoto! After much searching, Origin has found an outside man to replace Chris Roberts. Nakamoto was a high profile veteran of SEGA Interactive and theoretically a prize catch for Electronic Arts at the time. All isn't happy, though: "Clashes with Rich are at times difficult to take...", notes one developer. Sounds like the sort of thing you'd find at the end of a diary next to a skeleton!

Game Design Document
Download (2.8 MB)

Date: October 4, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

Jump, Flash, Whooosh

Privateer Ascii Sector version 0.3.3 was quietly released last month to improve upon the neat advancements added in 0.3.2. Those who haven't tried out the game recently might be pleasantly surprised by the new Windows executable, character combat and sound effects. The latest version specifically fixes several bugs involving asteroid fields, movie recording and menus, plus it adds ALT+Enter full/windowed screen modes and a visisble health bar for the player. The classic jump sound effect from Privateer also makes its debut in 0.3.3. You can download the game here.

Making the Game - Part 32

This is a big one! Today we present the earliest collected game design document for the game. Dated September 27, 1996 this large document has everything the team wanted to do with the game -- in detail. From medals, wingmen and mission specifications to a detailed writeup of the 'Tom Dane' version of the game's story, it's all here.

Game Design Document
Download (63.9 MB)

Date: September 27, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 424

Destroyers Added to Collateral Damage Mod

JasonRocZ has released shots of his Southamption class destroyer for the WC Collateral Damage Secret Ops mod. Both first draft and updated versions of the design are presented below. One shot includes a Plunkett-style turret as a test, but it's unlikely any major structural differences will exist between the finished design and the WC3 model. One particularly cool variation is the addition of Indomitable-style engines to complement the Wing Commander Arena setting for the project.

Making the Game - Part 31

It's another Component Manager Meeting agenda. This one is from September 13, 1996... and it looks like work is being done on the biggest and the smallest parts of the game. The team is trying to sign visual futurist Syd Mead to design the alien, they're debating 'real' versus 'CGI' for the bad guys... and they're working on a way to implement True Type fonts. It can't all be glorious!

Game Design Document
Download (3.2 MB)

Date: September 13, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 6

Spring Update for Das Erwachen

There's been several updates to the Das Erwachen series recently. Deacan reports that Book 3 of his Privateer 2-based fan fiction storyline is coming along well (teaser available here). Simultaneously, progress has been made on a Das Erwachen Traveler's Guide reference book that provides backstory and general information on the series. This will be completely released as a PDF when finished. Last, but not least, the winner of his Book 2 contest has been announced. Congratulations to KnThrak2006 for his winning German entry here. To inquire about picking up a copy of Book 2 yourself, check out the instructions below. The printing cost is approximately 16 Euros.
If you like to get a printed copy of the 2nd novel from the "Erwachen" series of books, here is the way to do so:

Send an email to stb@sidiblume.de

Please include the following info:
- your (real) name
- a fully functional mailing address (!)
- ..including your town/land, state/province and country


Making the Game - Part 30

Here's an interesting update on the document from yesterday - it adds a list of characters, a basic plot synopsis, a list of sets and some 'reasoning' for the development of the game. Check out the story at this point -- the main character is rookie "Tom Dane", Blair is the Academy commandant, Maestro is tortured by the aliens and there's a bartender character named Roberts!

Product Review
Download (8.5 MB)

Date: September 11, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 19

Outnumbered a Mere Ten To One

The odds look good as the community replay of Special Operations 1 enters the final stages. Over the next two weeks, players will work on securing Ghorah Khar. It's taken us four months to get here, so it's definitely not too late to start in at Wing Commander 1 and sync back up with everyone else later this spring. Here are Lorien's notes from Rigel.
I tell Angel about my secret assigment on the Observation Deck while noone else is around. She says she won't bother to tell me to be careful but to come back alive. I don't think she has anything to worry about, I've been through plenty of tough scrapes that Paladin is going to have a hard time beating. I have a meeting pre-briefing with Admiral Tolwyn. With the delicate situation in Rigel my transfer to Special Operations has been delayed until the situation can be dealt with. Hobbes' mission to Ghorah Khar will also be delayed, which angers him greatly. I'm in favour of icing the pirates, but the Admiral wants to get a grip on the situation before committing.

Angel briefs me in her office on today's mission. I'm to patrol two Nav Points and broadcast a message for the Gettysburg pirates. I'd rather the message came from my ship's guns, but Angel repeats Tolwyn's need to get a grip on the situation. I'm then to investigate a distress signal from a Kamekh, almost certainly a trap but I can handle it. I'll be flying an Epee today with two rookie pilots, Sky & Shelton on my wing. The pirates at Nav 1 aren't in the mood for talking, and a 3 vs 3 against Ferrets will settle an old dispute. As I've always said, the Ferret's quick charging shields aren't much help against big guns like the particle cannon and the Ferrets are quickly defeated. I transmit my message at Nav 2 and proceed toward the Kamekh, arriving in time for it to explode. The Gettysburg pirates attacking it then attack my flight. It's an intense battle and my wingmen demonstrate their green-ness by repeatedly firing while I'm in the line of fire. Having to dodge both friendly and enemy fire distracts me enough that I'm not sure if all the Epees were taken out. Another 2 Epees attack us in the asteroids between the Kamekh and the Concordia but are quickly dispatched. I make a note to have Angel have a chat with my wingmen in private.

Making the Game - Part 29

Now we take a break from the meeting agendas to get a helpful update on the overall status of the project. In this Objectives List we have both a short description of where the project currently is and a lengthy list of specific dated goals. I noted two important things - the project is still on a 24 month cycle, set to ship two years after Wing Commander IV... and there is no discernable multiplayer element being planned at this time.

Objectives List
Download (1.4 MB)

Date: September 11, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jorg Neumann
Pages: 14

Goodbye, 3Dfx (For Real, This Time)

Remember 3Dfx? It was the hardware addon (and later stand-alone graphics cards) that made Wing Commander Prophecy beautiful (see below for an example). Apparently it still existed until recently - in the form of a lawsuit against a modern video card company. PC Pro recently ran an article detailing the end of a suit against nVidia by 3Dfx investors (here). More interestingly, they then published a story with reader reaction... and two out of the three comments remembered Wing Commander. Take that, Quake II!:
"I remember inviting a friend over to play the latest Wing Commander game on my new 3dfx card," sighs jgwilliams. "When he fired off a missile he almost fell off the chair laughing, he just couldn't believe the realism."

bobbdobbs was equally dreamy-eyed: "I can remember watching a friend play the first Wing Commander with bitmapped graphics and thinking 'bleeding ell'. Unless true photorealism suddenly appears there will be no OMFG factor to graphics anymore."

Making the Game - Part 28

"Who is leaving to work with Chris??" asks the September 6, 1996 Component Manager Meeting agenda -- and that question is going to occupy the team, or what's left of it, for time. Several highly qualified veteran developers are about to leave to work for Digital Anvil and that is going to change what happens to Prophecy. This update is full of other news, too: there's a working testbed of the game, the Wasp is being built and WCIVPSX will not ship in time for Christmas, for example. There's even a mention of running Prophecy on a Mac...

Story Concept Document
Download (3.7 MB)

Date: September 6, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 8

Poll Picks Paper Project Priority

Péricles wants to know which paper model to design next. He's narrowed the options down to six ships that he's willing to take a shot at. All of them are interesting choices that come from a wide range of Wing Commander sources. Head over to this Crius.net Poll to pick between the WC3/4 Arrow, the Armada Gladius, the Secret Ops Plunkett, the WCP/SO Shrike, Privateer's Stiletto and the Venture class corvette from Secret Missions 1. The top two winners will be the next designs released at Paper Commander! Right now, the Gladius, Plunkett and Venture are in the lead.

Making the Game - Part 27

Wham, we just lost nearly a month - the next Component Manager Meeting agenda is dated August 30, 1996. The artists are finally working on alien concepts, Syd Mead has been confirmed... and there's no talk of other projects. Is this when Maniac, WCA Game, etc. died? We'll have to keep reading to find out...

Story Concept Document
Download (2.5 MB)

Date: August 30, 1996
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Billy Cain
Pages: 5

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