Sticks and Stones

Award-winning artist NinjaLA has put together two nice, even concept sketches. They're different takes on Kilrathi fighters - the first is based on the early Privateer Online artwork while the second is a stylized version of the Wing Commander movie's KF-100 Dralthi.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 19

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first systems page:
CONCEPT: This is a thickly veiled guide to Wing Commander Arena's different maps. Nine systems, nine maps -- coincidence? I think not! This was actually one of the sections that helped sell the project. The original version was a FODORS-style travel guide to distant planets, more focused on things like what the hotels were like at the Bearpit. When we transitioned to a magazine for mercenaries instead of a pilot's bookcase, we were left with what you see today. I will note that I had an awful lot of leeway here - the team chose the sector, but I got to pick which map went where and (in most cases) just what was going on.

REFERENCES-

  • "D. Bortman" - Ghost from the Wing Commander community.
  • "Firekkan Planetary Alliance" - The 'official' name for the no-longer-Confederate Firekkans, from the Wing Commander Universe map.
  • "Circe" - The Circe System was where a mercenary war was going on in Wing Commander IV, so it seemed natural to include it here. This is the 'practice' map in the finished game, which is an asteroid field where players can try out different ships, weapons, etc. That's why the bio makes a point of it being an easy place for beginners.
  • "Circe V, Circe VII" - Taken from Wing Commander IV.
  • "Argent Sector" - The 'all Confed' part of space, from the Wing Commander Universe map.
  • "2525" - If man is still alive...! I will note that most of the numbers here are made up to a useless extent. The settled dates are interesting, though, and they attempt to 'unwrench' some of the oddities the Wing Commander movie material added to the founding of the Confederation. In short: yes, the Pilgrims had a stranglehold on Sol and Vega... but humans were settling the rest of the galaxy anyway.
  • "Ace Rating" - This is left over from the travel booklet, which was an "ACE GUIDE".
  • "Analysis" - Most of this refers to the events of Wing Commander IV (conventional tanks are the tank mission, chemical bombs are the evacuation mission, etc.)
  • "Kilrathi civil war quagmire" - Okay, listen up: this is the single Wing Commander story I have always wanted to tell... which is a pre-Wing Commander Prophecy Vietnam allegory, with the Confederation backing some particular faction in the Kilrathi civil war. You would start off as a Confederation observer flying missions against (some clan) and ultimately have to make a choice as to who you're fighting for.
  • "Farragut Naval Base" - You may (must) have noticed that Wing Commander Arena features the famouar ball-and-stick Perry Naval Station in its menu (... and nowhere else). I wanted to acknowledge that here and, lucky me, I got to come up with some backstory for the impressive stations in the first place. The names (Farragut, Halsey) are US Naval officers (like Perry).
  • "Terran Confederation" - This entry is also where we start getting into some interesting questions. Farragut is the last stronghold of the actual Terran Confederation. Why? Because one of the dictates I kept getting from the team was that the events of Arena were to be separate from galactic politics - the Confederation was back in Sol Sector mending fences, Epsilon would be revisited in the future. That's where the 'general withdraw order' comes from.
  • "TCN" - Acronym for Terran Confederation Navy, used frequently since at least Wing Commander III.
  • "built in the 2650s" - When the Gemini Sector was settled, according to the Privateer manual!
  • "Only example of its type to survive the Nephilim War" - I don't know if anyone picked up on this line, but it's supposed to imply more bad news for the Gemini Sector.

Birthday Trivia Answers

Wait, we forgot about the trivia! Here are the answers and winner for the CIC 10th Anniversary latecomers trivia. Congratulations to all who entered and we apologize for the delay:
Q1: What three models of Dralthi appear in Wing Commander Arena?
A1: Striker, Shank and Rhino.

Q2: What percent of people thin Redlime will be a Cybermage game?
A2: .72% (all of them LOAF)

Q3: What Wing Commander game has never appeared on an official soundtrack CD (multiple options)?
A3: Answers included Wing Commander Academy and Wing Commander Armada.

Q4: Name one type of Kilrathi fighter which had been planned for inclusion in Privateer 3.
A4: Answers included Dralthi V, Demon and Vaktoth.

Q5: What was the first fan project mentioned in the CIC's news?
A5: Answers included Unknown Enemy and Byydo's Wing Commander Prophecy balancing mod.

... and the winner of the CIC Polo and the Eisen Hat was: music_guru! Good work!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 18

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the sixth pilots page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "Robert 'Twilight' Irving" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Ryan 'Zombie' Coolidge" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Flash" - Originally Jace Dillon from Wing Commander III.
  • "Merrell" - Friend from high school.
  • "Caleb 'Wyvern' Frost" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Tara 'Swan' Tomiko" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Calder" - TCS Victory pilot from the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Levine" - Old girlfriend.
  • "H'rissth" - System visited in Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "K'n'Khur" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Sihkag" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Fabian" - Original Daoud People, from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "McClellan" - Civil War general.
  • "Dana 'Sunflower' Blankenship" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Billy 'Snake' Cane" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Poghath" - Clan introduced in the Wing Commander III novelization (Tarros nar Poghath).
  • "Sparrow" - Originally a backgr
  • "Fish" - Originally Bing Gordon, Wing Commander Prophecy pilot mentioned on Dallas' funeral plaque.
  • "Keen" - Commander Keen!
  • "Bhuk 'Bloodmist' nar Hhallas" - Paktahn ace from Wing Commander III.
  • "Kilroy" - Originall Hermione Alexander from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Darren 'Mutant' Conrad" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Damon 'Nomad' Lane" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Blood Rain" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'ssak" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Porq" - The other white meat.
  • "Catastrophe" - I'm pretty sure I used this joke already...
  • "Evian" - System from Wing Commander Armada's 'gauntlet' mode story.
  • "Caracal" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Vuwarg" - System mentioned in End Run.
  • "David 'Royal' Edinburgh" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Righteous Vengeance" - Pakhtan squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Trak'mar" - The "inhabited moon of Trak'mar" was mentioned in Voices of War.
  • "Jotunheim" - System from Secret Missions 2.
  • "Litespeed" - Wingman from Wing Commander Armada.
  • "Johnston" - Civil War general.
  • "Proailurus" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Gorath" - System mentioned in the Wing Commander Academy manual.
  • "Sabak Liegemen" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Trk'Pahn" - Kilrathi star system from the original Privateer.
  • "Lion" - Terran wild cat.
  • "K'za-Ha'duhm" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Kiranka" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Lusterfur" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Kher-za" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Tas Mahran" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Kahn Quadrant
  • "Rosty" - Originally a nickname for Dmitri Rostov , the TCS Victory's bartender from the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Knight" - Originally Joseph Khumalo from Wing Commander I.
  • "Charles 'Bishop' Karpiak" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Jay 'Lawyer' Fitzgerald" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Josh 'Jumpstart' Barnett" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Machairodus" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Kulrag" - Clan from Wing Commander Academy (Drak nar Kulrag)
  • "K'Mh'han" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Knave" - Originally Tom Vale from the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • Whew, I hope I never have to do that again. Now I remember how the added pilots worked - we created these extra 'Up & Coming' bios because it was too much of a pain to resort the original list to add more to the start of the article. Thus, all of these characters also appear on the 'big' list above.
  • "Bhuk 'Bloodmist' nar Hhallas" - This is an interesting bio. It confirms (or at least suggests) that Blair lost the defend-Blackmane mission from Wing Commander III (which is where Bloodmist first appears in that game). There's also a CCG card of Bloodmist... and in the Kilrathi Saga manual his clan is changed to 'Som'mers'. I chose to ignore that here, since it's kind of weird. Someone must have remembered Ralgha's hrai being dead from Freedom Flight and decided that meant the entire Hhallas clan... but we see plenty of other Hhallas characters in the meantime. His picture is the Wing Commander I Kilrathi VDU (note the change in colors compared to the two below it).
  • "Blackmane Station" - The space station that you either defend or evacuate in Wing Commander III (canonically, it was being evacuated in the novel -- which just makes placing what missions happened when in terms of its destruction all the more interesting).
  • "Canth 'Apeshredder' nar Kur'u'utak" - Apeshredder is my absolute favorite piece of WC:CCG artwork. He's just a big potato-shaped mound of striped cat. He's great. His picture is Hobbes' Wing Commander II VDU - I imagine he shredded some ape and took the helmet.
  • "Najji 'Fireclaw' Ragitagha" - Fireclaw was the Darket ace from Wing Commander III, spoken of at several times in this commentary. Note the 'cheat'explanation - the story makes no sense. The image is a Wing Commander II pilot VDU (which is actually the same art as a WC1 pilot, in a slightly different palette).
  • "War-hall... trophies" - A reference to a classic taunt from Privateer ("I shall mount your bones in my hall!"); additionally, 'trophies' were something that was originally going to be included in Arena (there would be a bar with your various in-game achievements mounted in it - the bar set is still in the game).
  • "Kevin 'Lone WOlf' Tolwyn" - As most already know, Kevin is a main character from several Wing Commander novels, starting with End Run. His bio reflects that - we left him in 2673 as a Free Republic of the Landreich officer. Picture is a background character from Wing Commander II, with no editing - we were just lucky that there was one with Tolwyn's pencil moustache and Kevin's (sort of) red hair. Technically, this isn't the first time we've seen him... since the Wing Commander III novelization retcons that one of the people who arrives on the Victory with Tolwyn later in that game is his nephew.
  • "Etienne 'Doomsday' Montclair - Doomsday was introduced way back in Secret Missions 2 (that's his actual picture from Wing Commander II). The bio refers to his main character point (which he lost in False Colors - no one noticed that) and touches on a bit of a problem. Because of his already-awkward Super Wing Commander/SegaCD bio, Doomsday would be 81 in 2701. I basically had to choose between having some familiar second-tier faces who were really really old for some reason or making up entirely new characters, and I went with the former. I'll point out how I try to explain this later.
  • "Bombadier" - I love anything that ties Broadswords/Longbows/etc. to their World War II analogues.
  • "Marcus 'Fish' Keen" - Marcus here isn't referring to anything at all. I needed someone who was completely new, in the end. His picture is another unused Wing Commander II background head.
  • "Barracuda Corvettes" - The cool fish (FISH!) shaped alien warships from Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Tyra Hunter..." - This bio is all elements taken from the first Privateer 3 design document - her military history, her specific medals, her Marine unit and the two planets. I will note that the Medal of Valor originally appeared in Wing Commander I, the Distinguished Service Cross came from Action Stations and the idea that there are Marine squadrons was originally from a WC:CCG promotional shirt. I also like that there's a planet called Felicity, even if I didn't name it myself.

Early Excalibur

In addition to his work re-colorizing Homeworld's lighting, TonViper is also building a more efficient Excalibur 3D model -- it's simple and untextured at the moment, but it reminds me of years ago when the first fan-made 3D models were built as objects for particular aircraft simulator packages. The first view also reminds you how much the Excalibur and the Hellcat have in common in terms of design...

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 17

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fifth pilots page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "Dakhath" - Kilrathi word meaning 'Deathstroke', from ace pilots Dakhath nar Sihkag (WC1) and Dakhath nar Caxki (WC3).
  • "Kiranka" - The Emperor's clan, as introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Regina 'Snapshot' Ortwin" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Rory" - A Gilmore Girl.
  • "Motown" - Originally Roosevelt Sullivan from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Sandoval" - Originally a fixer from Privateer.
  • "Ocelot" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Warhammer" - Star system from the Secret Missions SNES intro.
  • "Ja'targk" - Clan introduced in the 3DO Claw Marks (Khajja nar Ja'targk).
  • "Grist'ar'cogh" - Variation on Grist'ar'roc, the Kilrathi flagship from the Wing Commander movie novelization.
  • "Fang of Death" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Shariha" - One of several Kilrathi systems which rebelled from the Empire in Special Operations 1.
  • "Khajja 'The Machine' nar Ja'targk" - Kilrathi ace introduced in Wing Commander I.
  • "John 'Wizard' Hefter" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Pseudaelurus" - Terran wil dcat.
  • "H'hri Som" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Caxki" - Noble clan, as introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Marker" - Originally Ted Markham from Special Operations 2.
  • "Sivar's Glory" - The name of the Kilrathi carrier from the WC:CCG.
  • "ko Lannis" - Alternate honorific and clan from False Colors (Naghrah ko Lannis).
  • "Talker" - Originally Svetlana Ivanova from End Run.
  • "B'shriss" - The system where Iceman was captured, from Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Vorshaki" - A type of Kilrathi sword, from Pilgrim Stars.
  • "Leatherhide" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Nova" - Originally a Tarawa pilot from End Run.
  • "Shushu" - Originally Xiou Wilson from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Rockville" - Don't go back to Rockville!
  • "Merdha" - A Kilrathi word for a particular tiny animal, from Freedom Flight.
  • "Ta'hal" - Kilrathi clan introduced in False Colors (Julgar nar Ta'hal).
  • "Textopher" - An old IRC joke: why do they call you 'Tex'? It's short for Textopher.
  • "Dallas" - Originally characters' in Wing Commander II and Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "St. John" - From Ian St. JOhn, "Hunter" in the original Wing Commander.
  • "Shiva" - Originally Chakra Yanklip in the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Blazing Draptil" - Paktahn squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'njKuru" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Troubadour" - Originally a Thunderbolt pilot from the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "Haise" - Astronaut Fred Haise.
  • "Stephen 'Stardust' Nash" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Harghah 'Baron Qarg' nar Qarg" - New leader of the Qarg clan.
  • "Hidden Dagger" - Strakha squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "ko" - Alternate honorific from False Colors.
  • "Cephid 17" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Khan Quadrant (in general, I like it when we see Kilrathi characters with 'conquered' names).
  • "Bradley 'Dragon' Patrick" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Homotherium" - Terran wild cat.
  • "K'hotan" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Khan Quadrant
  • "N'Tanya" - One of several Kilrathi systems which rebelled from the Empire in Special Operations 1.
  • "K'n'Rek" - Vega Sector, Downing Quadrant
  • "Capulet" - Originall Prem Krishu from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Rucker" - Friend from college.
  • "George 'Giant' Booker - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Khar Takh" - Epsilon Sector, Antares Quadrant
  • "Earl Jefferson" - Not a typo! This was one of those 'write your own story' bits (if you aren't following along in the manual, his name is Kilrathi red rather than Terran blue).
  • "Puma" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Marjakh 'Stalker' nar Kur'u'tak" - Kilrathi Strakha ace from Wing Commander III.
  • "Theodore 'Caveman' Barber" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Kukubno 'Wise Hunter' nar Hhallas" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Ragitagha" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Nimravidae" - Terran wild cat.
  • "N'Dele" - Vega Sector, Downing Quadrant
  • "Smilodon" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Scarman" - Originally one of the pilots who is killed at the start of the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "Dinofelis" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Kabla Meth" - Kilrathi system used as a headquarters in Special Operations 2.
  • "T'lon Meth" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Marc 'Pinpoint' Wright" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Enoch 'Clippy' Murkins" - The captain of the TCS Cerberus, from Secret Ops.
  • "Megantereon" - Terran wil dcat.
  • "N’Ryllis" - From Krahtagh nar NRyllis in the ICIS manual.
  • "dai" - Alternate honorific from False Colors.
  • "Ka" - One of the races conquered by the Kilrathi, listed in Fleet Action.
  • "Sihkag" - Noble clan as introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Witch Hazel" - Originally Serene Sandalabra from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Lawson" - Frosty from WCNews.
  • "Kur'u Som'Mers" - M'shrak Sector, Kur'u Som'Mers Quadrant
  • "Dinictis" - Terran wild cat.
  • "K'nag Rahl" - Epsilon Sector, Tr'L Rass Quadrant
  • "Mark 'Mustang' Varrier" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt (/artist).
  • "Fatima 'Cymbals' Haroud" - Pilot listed in the original Claw Marks' monthly awards section.
  • "Timothy 'Bullet' Bell" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Neil 'Round Top' Chamberlain" - Confederation pilot from End Run and Fleet Action.
  • "Danielle 'Sprite' McCumber" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "T'Agg A'Bren" - Kilrathi clan from the 'help/attack' Kilrathi missions in Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Littlehawk" - Originally aTiger's Claw pilot killed in action, mentioned in Freedom Flight.
  • "Toshira 'Ninja' Majumi" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Jakarta" - System which appears in Super Wing Commander's extra set of missions.
  • "Asher" - Frosty from WCNews.
  • "Cantrell" - Originally a Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt, mentioned in one of the losing endgames.
  • "Trik'Tsek" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Squadron" - I'm pretty sure this was a mistake when we were compiling the original list.
  • "Trik'Kha" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Dog" - Originally a Midway redshirt, mentioned on Dallas' funeral plaque.
  • "Princess" - Originally CAG Patricia Drake from Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Christopher 'Cowboy' Graf" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Tooner" - Originally Larry Dibbles from Claw Marks.
  • "Roberts" - Series creator Chris Roberts / Privateer mastermind Erin Roberts.
  • "Winterblast" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Sutaghi" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Wurp" - Wurp is a great name for a giant killer space cat.
  • "Liege Lord" - Kilrathi class system introduced in Freedom Flight.
  • "K'n T'qal" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Topdog" - Originally Melanie Maxwell from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Gavin" - Family member.
  • "Beast" - Originally Helmut Jaeger from the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Unchained Thunder" - Paktahn squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Ki'ra" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Puma" - Terran wild cat.
  • "K'cha Tsek" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Kiranka" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Kemo 'Kona' Maluaani" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Mandibles of DooM" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "M'hriss" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Baron Ki'ra" - New leader of the Ki'ra clan.
  • "Vengeful Pursuit" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Kevin 'Lone Wolf' Tolwyn" - Main character from the Wing Commander novels, introduced in End Run.
  • "Canth 'Apeshredder' nar Kur'u'tak" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Smiting Pride" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Michael 'Zydeco' Williamson" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Giles" - College friend.
  • " Midgard" - System first seen in The Secret Missions.
  • "Fire-Eater" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "T'kon Meth" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Kahn Quadrant
  • "Y'rick" - Alas, poor Y'rick, I knew him well.
  • "Saber-Tooth" - Terran wild cat.
  • "T'set mehr" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Haggin" - The 'decoy warrior' trick from Action Stations.
  • "Bukrag" - System mentioned in End Run (target of Confederation raiders).
  • "Unrelenting Warrior" - Strakha squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Caxki" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Blazing Death" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'n'Kir" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Otocolobus" - Terran wild cat.
  • "B'osc'Au" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Van Zandt" - Alt country musician Townes Van Zandt.
  • "Kramm 'Deathfang' nar Caxki" - Vaktoth ace from Wing Commander III.
  • "Morgan 'T-Bone' Crow" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Kabaka" - Kilrathi word for heroic death, from Fleet Action.
  • "dai" - Alternate honorific from False Colors.
  • "Eyoka" - Previously conquered race mentioned in Action Stations.
  • "G'mar" - Star system seen in Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Ghostwalker" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Pasqual" - Star system seen in Wing Commander IV.
  • "William 'Howdy' Van Horn" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Space Terror" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Qarg" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Tr'L Rass" - Epsilon Sector, Tr'L Rass Quadrant
  • "Redclaw" - Originally Baktosh nar Kiranka from Wing Commander I.
  • "Margay" - Terran wild cat.
  • "M'shren" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "John 'Majestic' Guentzel" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt/designer.
  • "Najji 'Fireclaw' Ragitagha" - Darket ace from Wing Commander III.
  • "Ralagha" - Derived from Ralgha (Hobbes).
  • "Hoplophoneus" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Hhallas" - Kilrathi clan introduced in Freedom Flight.
  • "Kilra'hra" - Kilrathi word for the lower class, from Freedom Flight.
  • "Jubara" - System near Kilrah mentioned in End Run.
  • "K'rissth" - Vega Sector, Roberts Quadrant
  • "Alton 'Steel' Litich" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Brian 'Sultan' Sutton" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Honor Bearer" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Gorth" - Previously conquered race mentioned in Fleet Action.
  • "Thrak'hra" - Kilrathi word for the noble class, from Freedom Flight.
  • "Raghra 'Pride of the Hhallas' nar Hhallas - Another good 'make your own adventure' character. Is he related to Hobbes or Gharal? How?
  • "Grant 'Rogue' McDaniel" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Koractu" - Kilrathi sword first mentioned in Pilgrim Stars.
  • "Tr'p-Khar" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'U'Tak Quadrant
  • "Serval" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Jugara" - System near Kilrah mentioned in End Run.

Good Old Game's Afoot!

Move over GameTap (what, they already did?) - there's a new challenger: Good Old Games is preparing to launch this month with a plan to sell classic PC games via online distribution. No word on anything great, yet -- the splash image at their site suggests the usual assortment of almost-public-domain bargains (FreeSpace, FreeSpace 2, etc.) Still, there's always hope. Videogamer says it best: "One series which I think would be a particularly great addition to the collection is the Wing Commander series (just me then?) - so please get to it chaps!" Hear, hear!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 16

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fourth pilots page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "Bobcat" - A type of Earth wild cat.
  • "laq" - Alternate honorific from False Colors.
  • "Pak Ma'hran" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant.
  • "Moof" - Originally Ernest Gibson from the Secret Ops fiction.
  • "Gallagher" - Trelane, from the Wing Commander community.
  • "Christopher 'Warlord' Dybbuk" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Randall 'Rattler' Russell" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Johnathan 'Ogre' Crane" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Cataclysm" - See, because he's a cat.
  • "Etienne 'Doomsday' Montclaire" - Main character introduced in Secret Missions 2
  • "Sutaghi" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action
  • "Thrak’hmar" - Modification of Trak'hmar, a moon from Voices of War and a destroyer from the WC:CCG.
  • "Thundering Anger" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Storm Bringer" - Paktahn squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Kilra'k Demon" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Khodran 'The Fang' nar Jatargk" - Derived from Khajja "The Fang" nar Jatargk, Wing Commander I ace
  • "Milford 'Bookworm' Wattley - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "Brad" - This actuall was an in-joke: the IRC group has a running gag about how you tell everyone that 'Brad broke up with you' when you want to eat an entire unit of ice cream.
  • "Fat Lady" - Originally Harlan Elliot from the Terran Confederation Handbook KIA list
  • "Singer" - When the fat lady *sings*? Eh? Eh? Aw.
  • "Kabaka Warrior" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Gmarktu" - System near Kilrah mentioned in End Run
  • "Wendy 'Redline' Akers" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "Ranger" - Originally Mike "Ranger" Unknown from the Super Wing Commander introduction
  • "Monkey Boy" - That's what they call us!
  • "Tsahl" - A Kilrathi clan name from the Wing Commander III novelization (Vurrig nar Tsahl)
  • "Baron Ragitagha" - A new head for one of the noble clans introduced in Fleet Action
  • "M'nress" - Similar to M'ress, Star Trek: TAS' resident Kilrathzinticaitian. Also, similar in modification to those Babylon 5 Kilrathi words on the WCU map.
  • "Steel Death" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Caxki" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action
  • "Bhurak 'Starkiller' nar Caxki" - Kilrathi ace from Wing Commander I
  • "Lyndon" - Hey, hey, LBJ...
  • "Kramm" - First name which originally belonged to Deathfang, an unused Wing Commander III ace.
  • "Battle Brother" - Paktahn squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Ralph" - Originally Farrell Malph from the Confederation Handbook KIA list. I also like that it no longer makes any sense with the name.
  • "Clarkson" - Kelly again, maybe.
  • "Fang" - Originally Khajja "The Fang" from Wing Commander I.
  • "S'thran-Pak" - Epsilon Sector, Antares Quadrant
  • "K'M'tlee" - Trk'Pahn Sector, H'hriss Quadrant
  • "Lightning Strike" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "K'za T'qal" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Vengeance" - Originally Krulan nar Ragitagha from Wing Commander Academy.
  • "Qarg" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Wade 'Kingpin' Swanson" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "Lane 'Viking' Boyd" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "S.E. 'Broadway' Sarasin" - Pilot mentioned in the 'awards' blurb in Claw Marks.
  • "David" - My father's name.
  • "Cueball" - Originally Kendal Kendrick from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "K'ta Mek" - Epsilon Sector, Antares Quadrant
  • "Ice Wind" - Originally a (KIA) pilot onboard the Tarawa in End Run.
  • "Vruskt 'Rogue' nar Sihkag" - WC:CCG pilot card
  • "Dor-Chak" - Kilrathi word meaning striking bird and also a type of rifle. From the Confederation Handbook.
  • "K'k-Tahn" - Epsilon Sector, Antares Quadrant
  • "Oargth" - System mentioned in End Run.
  • "Angela 'Veil' Hendrick" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "Vanguard" - Originally a KIA pilot mentioned in a Wing Commander Prophecy losing endgame.
  • "Ki'ra" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Janguar" - Terran wild cat.
  • "dai" - Alternate honorific introduced in False Colors.
  • "Shata" - Race conquered by the Kilrathi early on, mentioned in Action Stations.
  • "Nargrast" - Kilrathi word for one of their hells, also the name of a moon in False Colors.
  • "Volles" - Kilrathi clan introduced in False Colors (Ghradhark nar Volles)
  • "Nancy" - My mother's name.
  • "Crossbones" - Originally Markham Colt from Special Operations 2.
  • "Brands" - A college history teacher.
  • "Yuri 'Warlock' Ivanchenkov" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt
  • "Tiger" - Terran wild cat
  • "Ragitagha" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action. Note the lack of 'nar'.
  • "Star Pouncer" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Savage Fury" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "Strike King" - TCS Lexington pilot from the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "Furfighter" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG
  • "vigrid" - System first introduced in The Secret Missions.
  • "Laser Fang" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "H'rekkah" - System first introduced in Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Metailurini" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Tal'q" - System first introduced in the ICIS Manual.
  • "Khitz 'Skitz' nar Ki'ra" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Xenosmilu" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Waxman" - One of the background pilots from the original Wing Commander.
  • "Lawrence" - D.H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers, Women in Love, etc.)
  • "Slaveholder" - We were asked to remove some of the nastier Kilrathi bot names since the game was 'E for Everyone'... but not this one.
  • "T'Rel Meh" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Kahn Quadrant
  • "Flame" - Originally a TCS Tarawa pilot from End Run (KIA)
  • "Hillman" - Bob Hillman, rockin' folk musician.
  • "Tiger" - Originally Tom Vale's wingman from the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "Garriott" - After Richard and Robert Garriott, founders of Origin Systems.
  • "Baron Kur'u'tak" - A new leader for one of the noble clans introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "Khulragh" - Alternate spelling of Kulrag, a clan from Wing Commander Academy (used here as a first name!)
  • "Sharm" - Kilrathi system where Paladin hid in Special Operations 1.
  • "Bokoth" - Derived from Bokoth nar Kiranka, from the Wing Commander movie novelization.
  • "Sivar's Honored Warrior" - Derived from a Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG (Sivar's Honored Hrai).
  • "Baragh" - One of the systems near Kilrah in End Run.
  • "Griffin" - Originally Hunter's rio at the start of Fleet Action.
  • "Qhargha 'Baron Sihkag' nar Sihkag" - Uh oh, he shouldn't be there. That's an error.
  • "Crimson Birha" - Darket squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Terragon" - One of the star systems from Wing Commander Armada's "gauntlet" mode.
  • "Kodkod" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Som'mers" - Clan introduced in the Kilrathi Saga manual (Bhuk nar Som'mers) which clearly refers to the great Anthony Sommers, Wing Commander programmer.
  • "Ski" - Originally "Ski" Glazowski, a technician from the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Carter" - Doctor Carter, from ER!
  • "Blood Most Noble" - Bloodfang squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'sK'taq" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Blooded Claw" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'sthak" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Chris 'Falcon' Cummings" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Ingraya" - Kilrathi system mentioned in Action Stations.
  • "Jack 'BoomBoom' Kabeli" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Gilkarg" - Derived from Gilkarg nar Kiranka, Thrakhath's father (named for the first time in the Kilrathi Saga manual).
  • "Darkpride" - Vaktoth squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Asgard" - System from the original Claw Marks Vega Sector map.
  • "Morghan" - Kilrathi-ization of 'Morgan'.
  • "Qarg" - I used Qarg a lot... probably because it was the least familiar noble clan before this game.
  • "Downtown" - Originally 'Downtown' Ross from Wing Commander II.
  • "Karl Frank" - A shout out to another alt.games.wing-commander poster.
  • "Goblin" - Originally Kris "Goblin" Pelley, a Wing Commander Prophecy redshirts. One of the rare cases where I used the Prophecy callsign for a different character.
  • "Todd 'Twitch' Gaffney" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Amanda 'Deadbolt' Carruthers" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Renata 'Comet' Drake" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Takhar" - Kilrathi word meaning brother of equal rank, introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "B'shras 'Baron Caxki' nar Caxki" - A new leader for the Caxki clan.
  • "Thylacosmilus" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Spider" - Originally Spyder from Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Cheryl" - Old girlfriend.
  • "Big Duke" - Originally Big Duke Grecko from End Run (and other novels).
  • "Turtle" - A redshirt from the original Wing Commander's dialogue.
  • "Luke Gilmore" - Double Gilmore Girls reference.
  • "Ivan 'Posse' Krotchevsky" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Striking-Bird" - Translation of 'Dor-Chak,' from the Confederation Handbook.
  • "Andy 'Wiley' Brunk" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Kuklext 'Motley' Ragitagha" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Unrepentant Rage" - Sorthak squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Kenny 'Hottman' Hott" - Instructor from the Secret Ops fiction.
  • "Bhorgh" - Kilrathi-ization of 'Borg'.
  • "Val" - Clan introduced in False Colors (Akhjer nar Val).
  • "Capp" - Originally a Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt, mentioned in the 'bar scene'.
  • "Barbe" - College professor.
  • "Cheetah" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Paghk" - The system deep in Kilrathi territory visited by the Tarawa in Fleet Action.
  • "Lynx" - Terran wild cat.
  • "Silent Doom" - Strakha squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "K'vt Tag" - Vukar Tag Sector, K'vt Tag Quadrant
  • "Lisa" - Originally a Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt, mentioned in the 'bar scene'.
  • "Deleon" - Alex Deleon, from 'Exo Squad'.
  • "Grinder" - Originally Camilla Saint James, from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Chloe Catson" - After a *cat* named *Chloe*.
  • "Lair Master" - Paktahn squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Ghoran" - This was a clan created by the Privateer Online, 2nd Attempt world plans. A nar Ghoran character was supposed to be running the Kirankas for some reason.
  • "Chris 'PRofessor' Rankin" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Monique 'Roulette' LeCroix" - Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt.
  • "Schlitterbahn" - Originally Sinjean Brun from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Rostov" - Star system in Wing Commander I, one-armed bartender in the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Jennifer 'Phoenix' Blair" - Make your own story, ladies and gentlemen... Jennifer Blair was Chris' aunt and Phoenix was his original 'concept' callsign for WC2.
  • "Scarab" - Originally a Border Worlds pilot who dies in the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "Goran-Pak" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "K'Tkhur M'etrh'Kuru" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Furball" - Terran slang for Kilrathi.
  • "Valgard" - Star system first seen in The Secret Missions.
  • "David 'Pops' Williford" - TCS Midway redshirt.
  • "Russ 'Rusty' Wilbury" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Zrank 'Longshot' nar Sihkag" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Marbak 'Baron Kiranka' nar Kiranka" - A new leader for the Kiranka clan! Or... well, make your own story.
  • "Charlotte" - A family member.
  • "Axxialla" - Originally Gabriella Carpentinu from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Randy 'Mule-Skinner' Skinner Jr." - Original R.A. "Mule-Skinner" Skinner from the original Claw Marks. Is this his son?
  • "Silas" - A family member.
  • "Barney" - Originally Morlock Barnes from Milk Run.
  • "Dragster" - Originally Amhar Bagheer from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Harrison" - Astronaut Harrison Schmidt.
  • "Lieutenant" - Originally Roosevelt Sullivan from the Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Radio" - Originally Lieutenant Rollins from Wing Commander III.
  • "Nalga" - From Fleet Action, a terrifying animal from Draga.
  • "Vharr" - Clan introduced in False Colors (Nrallos lan Vharr).

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 15

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the third pilots page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "Kur 'Human-Killer' nar Tr'k H'hra" - I chose to do a bio on Kur because I always wanted to know more about the Kilrathi aces in Wing Commander II. Three of them play a major role in the plot (Thrakhath, Khasra and Jazz)... but the other two are only mentioned after they show up (because WC2 had no Claw Marks-style manual) and then only briefly. His clan is new, my parallel to the Super Wing Commander manual - it's taken from one of the otherwise unmentioned systems on the Wing Commander Universe map. His picture is the Wing Commander II 'Drakhai/ace' VDU.
  • "Right of Vengeance" - This might be from Star Trek.
  • "Paktahn Tusk" - Kur flew Grikaths in Wing Commander II, so it makes sense that he'd still be a bomber pilot.
  • "Grikath squadron was ambushed..." - His take on his encounter with Bluehair in Wing Commander II.
  • "Heart of the Tiger" - Blair's Kilrathi nickname from Wing Commander III.
  • "Nephilim invasion" - Wing Commander Prophecy forward.
  • "human battlecruisers" - Ties the bio in to the Capital Ship mode in Arena.
  • "Najjath 'Fireclaw's Avenger' Ragitagha" - When coming up with the 'callsign list' I included Fireclaw's Avenger, taken from a WC:CCG Darket squadron. I decided to give that a little backstory and make the character Fireclaw's son (Fireclaw is apparently still alive, so it's not clear what exactly he's avenging here or in the CCG). Note the lack of 'nar,' which sometimes (but not always) seems to be intentionally assosciated with Fireclaw's name. The VDU image is Kahl from Righteous Fire (sorry, Kahl fans).
  • "aide-de-camp" - A new bit of pseudohistorical terminology to assosciate with the Kilrathi; to me, it conveys 19th century nobility going to war.
  • "still flies occasionally" - Since I also had 'Fireclaw' on that list... I guess he ejected.
  • "Darket Stalker" - Obviously, Fireclaw's son would also fly a Darket!
  • "noble example... Sivarist terrorists" - We see Sivarist terrorists who have essentially become ordinary pirate raiders in Wing Commander Prophecy. Here we have these highly famed Kilrathi warriors who decided not to become guerilla fighters and go down that path after Kilrah fell, analagous to the various Southern military leaders who made that same choice after the American Civil War.
  • "Skigha 'Atomic Claw' nar K'Cris" - Skigha is a new character. I had the callsign and thought it might develop into a good 'hook' story. K'Cris is a system whose name appears only in a version of the Wing Commander Universe map in the Confederation Handbook. Why? Who knows! The picture is the ordinary Wing Commander II Kilrathi pilot VDU.
  • "Border Worlds weapons transport" - Something about the fact that the Border Worlds would be manufacturing Maces appeals to me... part of that 'they're not so innocent' crusade I have against them, I suppose.
  • "Mace Tactical Nuclear Missiles" - A neat weapon introduced in Special Operations 2 and seen again (briefly) in Wing Commander IV. We'll revisit it somewhat in Wing Commander Arena...
  • "Sivarist cells" - A combination of the Sivarist pirates seen in Wing Commander Prophecy and the terminology used in our present-day 'War on Terror'. I think it makes for a nice backstory, that crazed and desparate Kilrathi are blowing things up with Maces.
  • "Circe System" - The 'help civilians' optional system from Wing Commander IV -- the joke being that in the game you have to choose Speradon to get Maces.
  • "Paktahn Mauler" - Skigha's callsign, Atomic Claw, comes from a WC:CCG Paktahn squadron. Of course, that name was around before there was a Border Worlds or a Sivarist opposition... so they must not be related.
  • "Highest bidder" - Isn't it good to see a Kilrathi privateer, for once? I always wondered if the Gothri and Dralthi and Paktahns in Privateer were part of a fleet or 'Vikings'.
  • "Slorth 'Dark Inquisitor' laq Anchorage" - Slorth is a new character. Dark Inquisitor was another squadron from the WC:CCG (Strakhas) and it seemed like another interesting hook for building a new Kilrathi character. 'Thrakhath's personal torturer' seems like a good way of personally tying him into the previous mythology without interrupting too much. Think of Slorth as analagous to an unrepentant SS doctor. laq is one of the 'alternate' (and undefined) Kilrathi honorifics from False Colors and and Anchorage was a Kilrathi-held system seen in Super Wing Commander. The picture is one of the Imperial Guards from the Wing Commander II demo.
  • "without honor is..." - A play on a speech from the first episode of Wing Commander Academy ("a man without honor... has no reason to live.")
  • "kil" - The equivalent word to 'man' for a Kilrathi, introduced in False Colors.
  • "Treaty of Torgo" - Treaty signed at the end of Wing Commander III, so-named in False Colors.
  • "Anchorage System fief... return it" - My attempt to explain why the top secret Kilrathi system from Super Wing Commander was named after a human city. I also like the use of the term fief in relation to Kilrathi system ownership (I know it's a real concept, but I stole it from Dune).
  • "Joor'rad" - Did I name the Emperor? Well: yes and no. I will admit that that is what I set out to do. It always bothered me when I would go to write a history or make a character list or somesuch that we didn't have that piece of information. On thinking about it, though, I realized that that may be the point: the lack of a name is consistent throughout so many pieces of media. Was it just a ball that got bigger as it went, or was there a conscious decision that he always be 'The Emperor'? If it's the latter than I genuinely feel bad about this. So, if you're as angry with me as I might be about this - maybe that's 2567 to 2569 and it refers to an earlier Emperor. In any event, the name derives from Joor'ath, an earlier Emperor mentioned in the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Best of the Best" - I can't believe I have to do this. Well, let me explain: I had the list of all the callsigns that the game can generate, I had an unlimited-page manual I could fill out... why not provide that information to the fans? This was my solution: a huge, awkward chart. As with the other kill scores, the idea is that you can place yourself on this chart - it's something of a small game enhancer. The kill numbers were all randomly generated in Excel and many of the first and last names were random combos of otherwise unrelated decisions (ie, the first name may refer to something and the last name doesn't). The majority of the Kilrathi first names are made up (and let me tell you, that was tough) so needn't be explained. Finally, quite a few of the characters are from various Wing Commander games - as are even more of the callsigns (but few of the Kilrathi). Confused yet? Lets get to it...
  • "Heartbreaker" - Pakhtan squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Qual'lat" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Kahn Quadrant.
  • "Enslaver of Races" - Strakha squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Misty" - Misty from Pokemon.
  • "K'n'Bren" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u-Pak Quadrant
  • "Ardai" - Vega Sector, Roberts Quadrant. Appears on Claw Marks map. Mentioned in Wing Commander I dialogue.
  • "Braxna 'Minx' nar Caxki" - WC:CCG crew card.
  • "Ki'ra" - Noble clan introduced in Fleet Action.
  • "K'n'Meth" - Vega Sector, Downing Quadrant
  • "Night Prowler" - Dralthi IV squadron from the WC:CCG.
  • "Helene" - The name of a former French teacher. She is also an exceptionally beautiful and mysterious woman, but that is another matter.... (name the reference!)
  • "Cassipeia" - Originally "Helen Condon" from the Terran Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Jaguarundi" - A type of Earth wild cat.
  • "dai" - Alternate honorific from False Colors.
  • "Sorn" - A race conquered by the Kilrathi as listed in Fleet Action.
  • "Simon 'McGoo' LeDuke" - WC:CCG pilot card.
  • "Stuart" - Name of a childhood friend.
  • "Jaeger" - Originally Helmut "Beast" Jaeger from the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "Maria 'La Dona' Alvarez" - Pilot mentioned in Claw Marks.
  • "Max 'Max Max' Labeau" - Not a reference, but a fantastic callsign none the less. I'm pretty sure it was originally meant to be *Mad Max".
  • "K'n'Hhra" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant
  • "Carnival" - Originally "William Jefferson" from the Terran Confederation Handbook KIA list.
  • "Couts" - Name of a friend.
  • "Leopard" - A type of Earth wild cat.
  • "H'hrass" - Kilrah Sector, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant. Appears in Wing Commander Prophecy.

One More Won't Hurt

This week, the Victory moves into Alcor and Hyperion. The WC3 replay group will face a difficult choice as Hobbes makes a run for it. Also, don't miss the opportunity to fly drunk! It's a unique experience. Here are Lorien's notes from Loki and Alcor:
Most of the Victory is celebrating the test firing but there's one noticable exception. I find Hobbes stargazing in the Gunnery Deck. I imagine he's in two minds about the Behemoth and try to reassure him that he won't be alone after the war is done, but Hobbes disagrees with me. He seems torn up inside but I'm glad to know that my friendship has helped him get through.

Hobbes and I launch in Arrows to defend the Behemoth as we jump to the Kilrah system. We arrive to find the Behemoth intact but under attack by Paktahns. Hobbes and I afterburn to its assistance and keep the first wave from causing any damage. As we're finishing off the last bomber, however, any wing of Paktahns must have snuck in close and delivered their torpedoes to the weak spots on the Behemoth, destroying the Confederation's last hope. As the Behemoth detonates a new blip appears on my radar. It's Prince Thrakhath and he has a message for me. He relates Angel's last moments to me. Her capture and presentation before the Imperial Court and his eventual execution of her with his own claws. He then taunts me by challenging me to a duel, but Rollins informs me that the Victory will be jumping out of the system in 90 seconds. Torn between revenge and survival, I opt for both, launching the Arrow's entire formidable complement of missiles at Thrakhath before turning for the Victory. I'm gratified to hear the Prince's speech cut-off mid sentence as my missiles impact on his fighter and force him to eject. I just wish I could turn around and put some laser bolts into his ejection pod but I manage to make it to the Victory before the jump. At least I got some manner of revenge for Angel.

It's a very glum Admiral Tolwyn who leaves the Victory in Alcor. He transfers command back to Eisen but tells him that he thinks the Victory is a leaky ship. I turn away, worried that I know who the leak is but not wanting to let anything slip out to betray a shipmate. Eisen is at least covered in this disaster by not being command of the Victory at the time. Tolwyn departs from the flight deck with a warning that the fight is only going to get harder from here.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 14

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second pilots page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "Kyle 'Sandman' Travers" - Travers was the male replacement for Kyra Hunter(discussed on the previous page), The story discussed here (General Drakas, Steltek weapon, Nephilim relics) are all elements of his cancelled game.
  • "Merc, Inc." - A 'Privateer Online' concept proposal. Merc, Inc. was the 'lesser' mercenary group which would provide cheap AI wingmen for the player.
  • "Anthony 'Hard-Luck' Yee" - Here's a case where I pre-emptively pussed out with regards to artwork. Hard-Luck is one of the Wing Commander CCG redshirts and instead of using his card artwork (which I have to assume belongs to Mag Force 7 or the artist) I used a Wing Commander II background shot. Wouldn't it have been cool to see a CCG image in here, though? Oh well; at least it got a nice reference. The back story refers to the somewhat problematic theory that the 'extra' pilots in the CCG all flew off the Victory (confidential to fans who want a 'new' fighter design to play with - check out the background of 'Wizard's card...).
  • "Jenna 'Havoc' Hathaway" - Hah! The Privateer pleasure planet bartender clone! I was originally just going to use her image and then... well, time makes fools of us all. The name comes from the absolutely horrible direct-to-video movie Havoc, starring Anne Hathaway.
  • "Qhargha 'Baron Sihkag' nar nar Sihkag" - The Kilrathi pilots were more of a pain given the lack of surviving characters and third-tier players to borrow from. Furthermore, there aren't many 'unnamed' pieces of Kilrathi artwork... so I had to go with VDUs instead of talking heads. Still, I am pleased that they let me provide some background regarding the current state of the (former) Empire. When I did the list of AI names I included 'Baron {Clan}' for each of the noble clans, as it was a reference Wing fans could recognize (again, not so many familiar Kilrathi callsigns to borrow from). This let me explain what that meant (in all honesty I had no idea at the tmie). Qhargha is the clan leader of the Sihkag clan, lowest of the eight most noble from Fleet Action. He's a new character, apparently replacing Buktag'ka who held the position in that book. His image is the Kilrathi capital ship VDU from Wing Commander II.
  • "Dakhath 'Deathstroke' nar Caxki" - Deathstroke was a Kilrathi ace from Wing Commander III (you can only encounter him in the 3DO version, though he's listed in all the manuals). This is my attempt to explain why he had a very similar name and biography as Dakhath "Deathstroke" nar Sihkag from the original Wing Commander (ie, shooting down ejected pilots).
  • "Sihkag Warrior" - Dakhath nar Sihkag, from the original Wing Commander.
  • "Vega Campaign" - That's Wing Commander I.

Forstchen Destroys Earth... Again

Way back in June, 2006, former Wing Commander author Dr. William Forstchen announced that he was preparing to publish a modern apocalyptic novel called One Second After. It looks like that book is finally making its way out -- it now has an Amazon listing, a release date (March, 2009) and a description:
Overnight, the world's trains, planes, cars, trucks, phones, computers, power plants and electrical equipment come to a sudden screeching stop. Nor will they ever start up again. The world is in chaos, and everyone wants to know why. Some evangelicals believe the Rapture is at hand. Other fundamentalists see the Cloven Hoof of Satan in the catastrophe. UFO cultists preach the coming of intergalactic aliens. Secularists envisage a host of earthly enemies - Chinese communists, Islamic fanatics, eco-terrorists, and energy industry magnates. New Agers prophesize the dreaded Mayan apocalypse. Is it aliens from space or is it the apocalypse? Human violence or the wrath of an angry god?

Whatever the cause, the modern age has come to an end. Looting, food riots, and global insurrection are the order of the day, and the New Dark Ages are suddenly upon us.

Can this global anarchy be stopped? Can the End Time be reversed?

A small mountain village in the American South is humankind’s last best hope.

It's an interesting departure from Dr. Forstchen's usual military history and military history-derived fiction; it should be worth a look!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 13

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first pilots page:
CONCEPT: One thing Wing Commander games have always (well, often) had is a roster of particular 'ace' pilots. Even when it isn't printed in the manual, it's in the game (Rakti, Kur, etc.) It was a no-brainer when I was expanding the manual... except there wasn't anything like that in the game. There was a big list of names that it would randomly assign to an AI and nothing more. I picked a few pilots from the database and write six or eight bios... and was then contacted by the development team, who liked the idea and decided to 'lock' a handful of character names to particular ships. I had to double the number of bios I'd written, which was easy for Terran but no so comfortable for Kilrathi. My rare impact on how the game is actually played (this is also why these particular names show up so often - their spawn rate is a lot higher for whatever reason)!

Beyond that - I'm a Wing Commander fan and not a graphic artist, so one sort of tribute I wanted to include was to seamlessly (which is to say while ignoring the elephant in the room) include multiple Wing Commander styles in the manual. I wanted live actors and drawings and talking heads coexisting and for the booklet to act like there was absolutely no problem with them all appearing together. I think this section was especially well accepted by casual fans, since it's neat to see the talking heads again... (ahh! I'm hitting myself for not including a Super Wing Commander shot right now.)

Note that there is a surprising amount of gameplay in these pages - the callsigns all appear in the game, the kills all match up with the real in-game leaderboards... with some effort you can actually get to the top of this list (six or so people already have).

REFERENCES-

  • "Kyra 'Raven' Hunter" - As you shall see, one of my secondary objectives with these pages was to 'make real' some of the great characters invented for cancelled projects. Kyra was the player character in the first Privateer 3 script, which was written when Tomb Raider was all the rage. She became 'Kyle Travers' (who we'll also meet) in later revisions. Also, let me note that I think 'retired mercenary' is a silly title. I just wanted to introduce some level of background in a very few words.
  • "Amber 'Amazon' Elbereth" - Amazon was a Wing Commander Prophecy redshirt who, for some reason, was among the group transferred to the Cerberus for Secret Ops. She's the quintessential 'me too' character (... and also Amazon was there, and she outranked everyone, and was never mentioned again). I just wanted to give her a moment in the sun, which is also why she now appears some slots after Maniac and Blair on the all time pilot rankings (#18). The head artwork comes from Wing Commander II's set of "background" heads, which range from horrific to... this one (I am not the first person guilty of borrowing from this source - Special Operations did the same thing. Why do you think Bear is so weird looking?) The story here (Miwday, CIS, etc.) is taken directly from her games.
  • "Navy Cross" - Remember when Wing Commander games had medals you could win? This is a reference to that - although this is the first time the real-life Navy Cross has been mentioned in Wing Commander (I had to look that up).
  • "disproportionate number" - Here's a story! Earlier on in development I was asked for a list of callsigns used in Wing Commander. The idea was that they would be mixed with ordinary ones generated by the development team and used in the game as names for randomly spawned AI pilots. That way you would occasionally see a somewhat familiar Wing Commander name when playing through the gauntlet. I dug through the sources and especially the big sources of callsigns - the list of dead pilots in the Confederation Handbook, the Midway redshirt roster and so forth. Little did I know, at the time, that I would later have to name all the bots and provide all sorts of background for this world! Whoops. I gave most of the 'familiar' callsigns to new characters (especially the dead ones!) but kept the various Midway redshirts the same. This reference is a quick explanation of why you find so many familiar names (and I guess it makes sense, as the Midway pilots were fighting the bugs for the longest time...)
  • "Don't let her looks fool you" - The joke is that a) this is exactly the kind of crap that every biography of a female character ever includes and b) the Wing Commander II heads are all hideous.
  • "Joe 'Hollywood' Turner" - Joe was the 'hero' character in the short-lived Privateer television series concept. Most of the things in this biography also come from that concept: Marc Lassiter was the 'Privateer 2/3' hero who would have tamed up with Turner if that elaborate fusing of game and show had come about, Legion Inc. was their big opponent and the Black Lance crisis refers to the shows setting and hopes that it would cross over with WC4. The picture, again, is a leftover from Wing Commander II.
  • "VK Day" - A favorite World War IIism of mine appears again. I believe this actually first appeared in False Colors.
  • Bearpit" - Another attempt to tie the character to the game! Hollywood was my callsign, referencing something Aaron Allston once said about how the concept had 'gone Hollywood' after it left his hands, with scripts planned for things like a visit to a planet of barbarian women.
  • "Dirk 'Stingray' Wright - Second (of two) references to a favorite also-ran from Wing Commander II. This is actually the first statement that Stingray survived the loss of the Concordia, so... there's that.
  • "mentored by Blair himself" - Blair would probably disagree, although Stingray was certainly the young fool to his experienced veteran in Wing Commander II. Moreover, the story I wanted to imply here was that in 2701 *everyone* with any sort of connection to Blair is going to set themselves up as his best friend.
  • "Third Warsaw" - This is taken from an American Civil War method of referring to multiple battles in the same place (ie, "Second Manassas"). Warsaw was the first planet Strontium-bombed by the Kilrathi in Fleet Action.
  • "too old to keep fighting" - I know what you're thinking: shouldn't these characters be really old. Well... we'll talk about that later.
  • "nose of his Rapier" - Two things: one, Stingray flew a Rapier in Wing Commander II... and two, I sincerely love the idea that kill/bomb/mission marks are painted on fighters as in World War II. They did this for the Wing Commander movie and it should have been expanded greatly.
  • "Stingray is a cautious pilot" - What a difference a few decades of experience make!

Vampires That Don't Suck!

Today we have an interesting tidbit for you. Since we know you've always wanted high-res versions of official Wing Commander artwork to use as your computer's desktop background, we have a downloadable pack of Vampire wallpapers. Just download the set here and pick your resolution from the provided images. This is the same splash image used in-game while missions are loading in Wing Commander: Secret Ops.
Just because, I threw something together from one of the original PSD source artwork files from Prophecy, so here's a Vampire wallpaper pack in as many standard resolutions that I could think of. Only the widescreen versions are slightly squashed so that I wouldn't have to cut off any of the ships. I also included a full resolution uncropped jpg of the image too for the curious.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 12

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the eighth Joan's page:
CONCEPT: These were the ships I really got to build, since they were actually 'maps' in the game without most specifications. I just had to stick to the right number of turrets on the cruisers and the established history on the Midway. Note that the screenshots seen here were taken by the game's Producer in-game, since the team didn't have time to render new ones before we went to print.

REFERENCES-

  • "Midway" - A Midway-class ship makes up the single player gauntlet map in Arena. I was so jazzed when I saw this for the first time. "The front, that looks like a Midway..." "It is!" One of those great happy moments, in my mind.
  • "differ only visually" - The Producer was very concerned with explaining why this Midway looked 'different' from the one in Wing Commander Prophecy. I honestly believe the whole thing is my fault and that they put out that cool 'wallpaper' image of the ship early on because of how genuinely excited they saw I was to find it in the game. I felt, I still feel, terrible that some fans were so obnoxious about it. It's a cool treat for you guys, not the end of the world (I know the artist felt awful too). Anyway, I did go through great lenghts (as requested) to explain the appearance - this reference was only the start, and was more geared towards explaining why the specifications could be the same.
  • "Confederation flagship" - I thought our previous home deserved some glory!
  • "Length," "Mass," "YPR," "Velocity," "Acceleration," "Shields," "Fighter Complement" - These numbers all come straight from Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Armor" - 2,000 cms was the most common 'component' armor strength in Prophecy.
  • "Weapons" - The laser turrets and the IR missile launchers are from the official specifications (and they're what you find in the game). The heavy ion cannons are mentioned in Rachael's article in Waypoint! and the CapShip Missiles are seen in-game when the Midway is fighting the first Tiamat.
  • "TSY Arcology" - TSY Arcology was the site which repaired the Midway in Secret Ops, location of some sort of intrigue involving a bombing that... didn't go anywhere?
  • "Indomitable" - I'm so lucky in that I got to name and write the backstory for the coolest part of the game! I wanted a strong age-of-sail style name for the human ship. It was actually "Indefatigable" for quite a while until it was decided no one would know how to pronounce that.
  • "battlecruiser" - Sean Penney was very concerned that the large ships be given a unique backstory in the Wing Commander universe, to separate them (and their lack of shields) from the sleaker capital ships we had seen before. I came up with the 'battlecruiser' background, most of which is actually presented later in the manual (which is why these descriptions might seem sparse - although they appear early, they were written later with knowledge of what a battlecruiser was already in my head).
  • "The only ship capable of... with coordinated fighter support." -A direct explanation of how the CapShip mode is played.
  • Specifications - These numbers were all mine. As you can see, they're designed to be similar but 'varied' between the two ships (just like their appearances). I will admit here and never again that I included, very late in the game, the large fighter complements for anyone who wanted to imagine them fighting a Star Wars Star Destroyer and winning...
  • "Shields: None" - This was a requirement from the development team, who didn't want to confuse anyone given that the point of the ships was to blow up their components with your guns. It's a little weird, I'll admit...
  • "Mk. V Plasma Cannon" - You see massive batteries firing from cruiser to cruiser in the game, I made them the apparent successor to the plasma cannon found on the Cerberus in Secret Ops.
  • "Trojan IV Naval Yard" - The yard where, according to Claw Marks, the famed TCS Tiger's Claw was built.
  • "Kiranka" - I wanted something similarly regal for the Kilrathi name... and what's more regal than the former Imperial clan?
  • "Hari Fleet" - The appearance of similarly giant "battleships" in Fleet Action has always bothered me. Hunter identifies them when he's scanning the hidden Kilrathi fleet... and then they never appear again. Were they not finished in time for the invasion? What happened to them? Now you know!
  • "basically a pound for pound..." - A nice way of saying that they're exactly the same.
  • "Nokhtak Clan" - The clan of Murragh from False Colors. I liked the suggestion that they were tying themselves to the Imperial legacy in this manner (and that they still existed at all).

The Darkening of FFmpeg

The latest update to the FFmpeg multimedia project adds TGV file playback support. FFmpeg is a video converter, decoding and stream capturing program that also forms the basis of a number of other freeware video utilites. TGV files are the format used in Privateer 2: The Darkening. Privateer 2 has some of the most stylish cutscenes of the Wing Commander series and included a remarkable lineup of actors. The Darkening starred, among others, Clive Owen, Jurgen Prochnow, Christopher Walken, David Warner and John Hurt.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 11

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the seventh Joan's page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "General Wright" - Stingray from Wing Commander II. This is expanded in the pilot bios section. I always liked the fact that the Special Ops team realized that Stingrays real name wasn't ever said in WC2 and so developed reasons for both his first and last names to be stated in the addons. Very much the same geek culture that's behind Star*Soldier.
  • ... and there's a lot to this story, too! It's patterned after the "Enyo Engagement" plan from the original Claw Marks and is, again, designed to expand the Nephilim War backstory through a small seed.
  • "Ardai" - One of the original Wing Commander star systems, from the Vega Sector map included in Wing Commander I. It's referenced at least once in that game's dialogue, too.
  • "Alliance" - This is an important point that people didn't pick up way back in 1994. There's a difference, in Voices of War and the WC3 material, between the Terran Confederation and the Terran Alliance. The former is the United States and the latter is the United Nations (in the World War II sense - the allies). The Alliance includes all sorts of unspecified smaller nations (Firekkans, Varni, etc.) who are also in the fight against the Kilrathi but who haven't signed on to Confed. I resurrected that group here to face off against the Nephilim and, obviously, added the Kilrathi to its ranks.
  • "Ja'targk clan" - This clan was introduced in the Super Wing Commander version of Claw Marks, where Khajja the Fang's full name was listed for the first time.
  • "tie up" - I used 'tie up' twice in one ship description. I know this isn't Shakespeare, but ick. Thanks for making me revisit this, jerks.
  • "missile frigate" - References the oft-suggested idea that frigates in the Wing Commander universe have more specific roles than other ships of the line... and are so large because they carry things like munitions rather than energy weapons.
  • "space superiority fighters" - Term comes from Wing Commander Prophecy's ICIS manual, which so-defines the Panther and the Vampire.
  • "Paw DF," "Claw HS" - One last note before I forget: the 'Kilrathi' versions of the missiles come from Wing Commander Armada. The human names (Dart, Javelin, Spiculum) come from the original Claw Marks.

Visita el Cuadrante Clarke

Maxi de Sokar has another neat classic Wing Commander review from the Spanish magazine MicroMania. Privateer got the center spot on Issue 67's cover. The four-page review inside is rich with screenshots and renders from the game. There are also a handful of neat sidebars that detail information about ships, locations and ship upgrades. It makes me want to fire up Privateer right now!

Es el corazon del atrincheramiento militar del Sector. En el se encuentra la base naval Perry custodiada y atacada por cientos de naves confederadas y Kilrathis. Los pirates, por lo tanto, son bastantes escasos.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 10

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the sixth Joan's page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • The magnitude of the whole thing hits me when I think about this page - I got to grow up and help tell the shared history of the Dralthi. It's unbelievable.
  • "Two hundred years" - to jive with a reference to the KF-100 Dralthi's age in the Confederation Handbook.
  • "ten major revisions" - In my opinion, this can mean either that there have been ten different Dralthi (KF-100 and I through IX) or eleven (KF-100, I through IX and something else). We'll see what future projects add to the history...
  • The true story of how the Dralthi IX got its numeral:
    Me: The Dralthi should get a number. It was Dralthi IV in Wing Commander III and so forth.
    Them: Well, what's the highest one we've seen?
    Me: Dralthi VII.
    Them: Then this can be the Dralthi VIII.
    Me: Let's call it the Dralthi IX, to leave room just in case...
    Them: Eh.
    Me: The 'X' would look cool.
    Them: Sold.
  • "spit-and-glue Dralthi IV models" - The previously unspecified Dralthi models seen in Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Bloodhunters" - The Kilrathi pirate group from one of the Privateer Online concept pitches. I like that it ties that unused mythology to the Kilrathi pirates seen in Prophecy.
  • "Hurricane II," "Predator" - Two of the fighter names from that same Privateer Online document. Note that I added the 'II' so that the Hurricane would jive with the old fighter seen in Action Stations.
  • "Caxki Clan" - Another of the 'eight noble clans' (concept introduced in Fleet Action). Caxki is probably the most frequently referenced one... presumably because - and I'm serious - the X makes it look cool.
  • Are you wondering why the Kilrathi would name their elite Dralthi model after a human animal? Keep wondering, Heart of the TIGER.
  • "Puffer-class Ships" - Puffers! I wanted to suggest that there were all sorts of other Nephilim ships... but I also wanted to do a cool ship identification poster using Prophecy's graphic resources. You'll see how that pans out...

Red Alert 3 Dials 867-5309

Electronic Arts has some interesting news -- Red Alert 3 will feature a large cast of 'name' actors rivaling that of Wing Commander III... which even includes one Wing Commander star (Tim Curry, Original Melek)! GameZine reports:
The most famous people in the cast include game veteran Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Congo), Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King, Sammo Hung's Martial Law), Jenny McCarthy (Scream 3, Playboy magazine) and George Takei (Star Trek, Prisoners of the Sun).

Other notable appearances will be made by Gemma Atkinson (Hollyoaks), Andrew Divoff (Lost), Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale), Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean), JK Simmons (Law and Order, Juno), Autumn Reeser (The OC) and Peter Stormare (Prison Break, Armageddon).

Quite a slap in the face to everyone who ever declared the big budget interactive movie dead -- including us! Sounds great - but where's Kari Wuhrer?

Separated at birth?!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 9

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fifth Joan's page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • Note the shift from blue to red headers for the ship names, the color most assosciated with each faction.
  • "Deuces" - This story comes from the rarely discussed second official guide to Wing Commander III, the "Authorized Combat Guide".
  • "Blackfish-Type cloaking device" - The Confederation's visual cloak is named Blackfish in the Wing Commander Customizable Card Game (its counterpart is the Shroud sensor cloak).
  • "Ki'ra Clan" - The idea that a particular clan builds a particular fighter design is new; Ki'ra was Baron Jukaga's clan from Fleet Action. They were the key competitor for the throne during the Terran/Kilrathi War (and before). This is to let everyone know that they're still out there, in some form (although Action Stations' introduction stated this nicely already, albeit with an odd misunderstanding of how Kilrathi names work.)
  • "2668" - A new hard service entry date for the Darket! I chose 2668 because it was the earliest we had ever seen them - the Wing Commander IV novelization claims that Darket fought at the Battle of Earth.
  • "Reduced Kilrathi Fleet" - Does this refer to the state of the Kilrathi fleet after their surrender to the Confederation... or the Kilrathi fleet after losses suffered against the Nephilim? It's left to your imagination on purpose.
  • "Najji 'Fireclaw' nar Ragitagha" - Fireclaw was one of the Kilrathi aces in Wing Commander III... and in Arena! The idea that an ace can design his own 'improved' fighter actually comes from WC3, where the aces had fighters with superior guns/weapons and different textures.
  • "Commerce Raiders" - Again, not something you can do in Arena... rather, something to fill out the universe.
  • Note that the Stalker is three meters longer than the other Darket!

Flight Commander 1.6 Progress Report

Eddieb is making good progress on the next iteration of Flight Commander. This impressive project strives to recreate a Wing Commander type experience in a package that is also easy to edit and create new fan projects with. While he is busy researching how to properly implement enemy AI, there have been plenty of other advancements made.
Yeah, 1.6 is coming along great, I've finished up some missile work, and ... I've implemented damage reports, and the damage model.

If you get shot up, your ship's performance starts to degrade. You lose missiles, you slow down, you can't afterburn. Your trusty repair system helps get you back on your feet.

While I was at it, I cleaned up the hud a little bit too.

You can visit the FC issue tracker to see what kind of progress has been made or report bugs so that Eddie can make Flight Commander even better.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 8

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fourth Joan's page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • I love how some of the Broadswords cover up the text. The ships are all to scale and we had a heck of a time fitting them in correctly.
  • "pre-war role as a heavy missile platform" - I forgot myself here. This refers to its pre-KILRATHI-war role as a heavy missile platform, an attempt to explain why Broadswords were around in 2632 well before anyone had any torpedoes.
  • "military grade tractor beam" - An attempt to suggest that the weapons used by the military and the ones used by civilians are different, which is why the latter are so cheap in Privateer.
  • "Camelot Industries" - Flash was a test pilot for Camelot Industries in the Wing Commander III novelization.
  • "relegated to the surplus yards" - False Colors claims that the Confederation has retired the Broadsword design, so I needed a brief tie-it-to-the-Nephilim War explanation to
  • Moreover, this is another 'what should have been' battle description. I want to attack a construction reef! It's also wish fulfillment - I know 'organic' can mean anything, but I really wanted to see Syd Mead's original concept of Nephlim warships that grow their own fighters.
  • "militia Warpig squadron" - We see that the Confederation has an organized militia system starting in Privateer. My thought here is that they have been called up much like the modern National Guard.
  • Note that the Broadsword Behemoth is five meters longer than the other two (and the classic design). This was, again, the Producer's suggestion.
  • "Platolum" - The new type of armor discovered on Ghorah Khar in Victory Streak.

Are there Nephilim in Privateer?

Chris Knudsen is always on the bug hunt in his impressive Ascii Sector game. The project tries to emulate the Privateer experience with (very) old-school graphics. He's constantly adding new features and refining various gameplay elements. Version 0.3.8.1 has been released, so head over and download the latest version to try out the latest changes.
- Fixed bug with the alphabetical sorting of movie files.
- Fixed bug with improving your Rifle Shooting skill from the shooting range on Manurhin in the Vichy system.
- Fixed bug that froze the game when landing on Novy Norilsk with an assassination mission there.
- Added new Quine for purchase in the equipment shop.
- You can now access your Quine while viewing a computer terminal.
- Did a whole bunch of stuff related to the upcoming quest scripting.

Next up is v0.4, which will allow for user written quest scripts, making it possible for players to create stories in the Ascii Sector universe for other players to play.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 7

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the third Joan's page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!

REFERENCES-

  • "CF-117" - This is the confusingly named Rapier fighter from the Wing Commander movie. Apparently the Confederation put a 'Rapier II' into service mere months after we saw aging Rapier (I)s in combat. Go figure. Someday we'll be able to retcon the Pilgrim Stars retcon, too...
  • "top twenty aces" - A theoretical list made famous in the Wing Commander Prophecy supporting materials by its claim that Blair and Maniac were only #11 and #14, respectively. The others were all pilots who flew earlier in the war when Kilrathi ships were less shielded. I took this as an opportunity to fill out that list a little.
  • "Dragon" - A heroic Rapier II pilot who flew in the Vega Campaign, according to the Wing Commander Academy manual.
  • "Bandit" - One thing I saw early on was people wondering where the reference to LOAF of the Wing Commander CIC was. Well, this is it. It's alternatively kind and obscure... because, let's face it, we've all seen "Lesnick" appear a bit too often in our Wing Commander errata. He's no Sommers!
  • "Maverick" - Blair's wartime callsign. I referenced the reference with an ICIS manual reference. That's one for the Star*Soldier Gloss gloss.
  • "Maniac" - Todd Marshall, who is referenced or appears in every 'main' Wing Commander game.
  • "Prankster" - This isn't the last time you'll see this: as awful as it is, I find the idea that Carl "Prankster" LaFong (the character from the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide) and Chris Blair are two different people hilarous.
  • "Origin Aerospace" - One of the original in-jokes (no pun intended). 'Origin Aerospace,' complete with logo, was listed as the designed on the Wing Commander I blueprints... thus, seventeen years later, we recognize it as the company which designed the Hornet, Scimitar, Rapier II and Raptor.
  • "updated by fire through its service against the Nephilim" - Let's just admit it: it feels strange that the Rapier is still around fighting the Nephilim a half-century on (and that they're still being built). I wanted, in these descriptions, to ease that awkward feeling somewhat.
  • "Rapier II Vanguard" - See the previous entry. There is a lot going on in this short paragraph. Here goes...
  • "Named for their exceptional service against the Nephilim" - Not the least of intentions is another attempt to ease the Rapier into the Nephilim War with an interesting battle story.
  • "First strike through the gate" - Second, it is an attempt to describe a 'Strike Team'-like scenario, in honor of that cancelled game.
  • "All sixteen Rapiers were shot down..." - Third, a slight reference to the Sorthak and Strakha flavor text from Victory Streak/Warbirds.
  • "G#38KMSX-RED" - Fourth, it tries to make the Nephilim War feel 'big' and as though it was real to the setting now being presented. We should feel immediately that the reader of this magazine would know what that crazy system means in relation to however Nephilim space is formatted (for the record, I have no clue.)
  • "129 to 1 kill ratio" - Fifth, an acknowledgement that the high kill scores and crazy odds faced routinely in Prophecy are the norm for fighting space insects.
  • "often used as minelayers" - Finally, an attempt to give the fighter a normal role outside that which it has in Arena itself. Yes, this is a fun fighter to play with... and in the larger fiction the military uses them for creating minefields. It addes a little bit of life to the background world, I hope.
  • "Rapier Cavalier" - After all that, I think I sort of wussed out on this description. This is simply the final point in building up the Cavalier as the single ship the player should most what to fly (ie, I was making it the reward ship - similar to how the original Rapier II and the Excalibur were presented in their respective fictions.)
  • "true artist's ship" - References how Iceman described the Rapier II in the original Wing Commander.

Loki VI is Peaceful!

This week the Wing Commander 3 community replay crew takes on the Loki and Alcor mission series. Last week Tolwyn revealed his plan for ending the war, and now players will have to protect the ill-fated Behemoth during its test run in the Loki system. Here are DaveO's notes from Caliban and Torgo:
I find Flint in gunnery control, and she says it must feel like an old time reunion with both the Admiral and Prince Thrakhath. Flint apologizes after seeing my reaction and realizes that she knows who I’m really thinking about after checking about my history. She correctly identifies Angel as my concern, and I ask her when she decided to look at pilot histories. She admits that this was her weapon when growing up, and that her research gave her an edge. She also knows about my frequent crossing of paths with the Admiral. I admit that it’s more of a confrontation where Tolwyn is concerned, and the Admiral makes it his goal to know the history of pilots he meets. Tolwyn has no quibbles about using rules and regulations, and Flint and I agree that he does not know the human heart as well as he could. I head down to the flight level, and see the Admiral in the briefing room along with Captain Eisen.

The Admiral explains that we’re here to rendezvous with ‘destiny’, and I find that this destiny is with a massive ship called the Behemoth. It’s a super ship with one function: destruction of planets with Kilrah as the obvious target. The Behemoth has not had the time to get fully operational, so it has been pressed into service earlier than expected. This is due to the successful war effort the Kilrathi have been making, so there is little choice in the matter. Either deploy the weapon now or risk the cats conquering Earth in six months or less. The defenses of the Behemoth are thin in certain areas due to the accelerated deployment so it will need extra protection against attack. Tolwyn receives a communication message during the briefing, and he tells us that the Kilrathi are attempting to spoil any attempt to use the Behemoth. I’m given orders to scramble all fighters, so it’s a magnum launch in an Arrow. Flint is along as my wingman, and I do get enough time to make my standard launch adjustments.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 6

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second Joan's page:
CONCEPT: I didn't have much (if any) control over the specifications - most of them come directly from the game. I had some leeway with the length and mass, but since they're classic Wing Commander fighters... not much. Note the increasing mass as the ships become 'fatter' (more armored) - that's something the game's Producer remembered to include. I will admit that even though this was a 'virtual' manual, it suffers from the same problem as the Origin booklets did: since I couldn't play the game regularly during its final balancing and since the development team was so busy with more important things the specifications aren't always exactly right. The ship images are all from Arena screenshots -- with all sorts of bits of text and background photoshopped out!

Coming up with material here was actually something of a challenge. I wrote 'flavor' blurbs for these ships about four times - once for the game, once for the manual, once for a gaming site article and once for the EA Arcade site (most weren't used). I insisted on trying to include a different 'fact' each time, which is harder than it sounds. (I will also refer everyone who insists that Joan's doesn't have text descriptions to the Terran Confederation Handbook.)

REFERENCES-

  • "F-27" - This is probably the first piece of Wing Commander history I ever created. I helped develop some of the in-game flavor text and was asked for a designation for the Arrow to make it look like the other two Confederation ships (which already had F-44 and A-17). I came up with F-27 on the spot, leaving it early enough to predate most of the '2660s' Confederationf ighters. I will note that I also vetoed using movie-based 'KF-XXX' designations for the Kilrathi ships. The especially anal details should be reserved for manuals, not the part of the game everyone has to play.
  • Joan's Logo (Upper Left) - Looks like we didn't make them all orange. It does seem pretty close to the 'real thing'.
  • "Arrow V," "Douglas Aerospace" - See my notes on the inside cover for this history.
  • "last half century" - Refers to the Arrow's appearance in the pilot episode of Wing Commander Academy.
  • "Orbital Racing Competitions" - This was an 'expand the game' reference. My distant hope was that someone would pick it up and start racing fighters in Arena maps. As far as I know, no one has done this.
  • "CAG" - A slight reference to CAG Drake from Prophecy. Generally an acknowledgement of the term, which is less popular than 'Wing Commander'.
  • "Captured Kilrathi Technology," "Black Ops ship" - I happened to hear someone at Gaia explain how they wanted to suggest that the Arrow Eclipse was built with stolen Kilrathi technology by giving it a cloaking device and Kilrathi missiles (which is absolutely an awesome level of thought to put into the game on their part). I personally wanted to tie it to the cloaking Arrows in Wing Commander IV, but I had to make sure I respected that backstory as well.
  • "deployment of early model guardians" - This is another explanation for an 'annoying movie complaint'; obviously, the appearance of a "skipper missile" at the film's climax. For the record, I do realize that this makes absolutely no sense. "Arrow Guardian did it" can be Wing Commander's equivalent of "Wizard did it".
  • Homeworld Mod Cleans Up Its Cruiser

    Aaron Thomas continues to fix up his original models for the WC4 Homeworld 2 mod. These are the initial shots of his improved Tallahassee class cruiser. His upgraded Concordia can be seen in the background. Main hull textures and engines look pretty sharp already, but the upper and lower tower structures are still untextured. Check out the last shot for a great look at the new hangar bay.

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 5

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first Joan's page:
    CONCEPT: You can't have a real Wing Commander manual without ship specifications! Why, that would be crazy! I'm looking at you, Wing Commander IV. This first page should be nice and short since it's just the field definitions used in every manual... almost.

    REFERENCES-

  • "Joan's" - As mentioned in another post, this comes from the original two Wing Commander games (and the Confed Handbook) which had it as their play on Jane's. I believe what made Electronic Arts uncomfortable was how close our graphic was to the real Jane's logo -- so we turned it burnt orange instead of blue and everyone was happy.
  • "Epsilon Sector Supplement" - refers to the fact that the WC1 and WC2 Jane's updates were both location and time-specific supplements. Someone needs to do an entire Joan's book someday... and that someone would be me if Electronic Arts was ever willing to put out another Star*Soldier style online booklet.
  • "Gunnery Sergeant Poore, TCMC" - This is Dan "Death" Poore of the Wing Commander fan group. I believe, but will not swear, that this is the first time TCMC has been used 'canonically' to refer to the Confederation Marines.
  • "spaceframe" - This is a wonderful word that I may have made up. Like an airframe, but in space.
  • "Rapier Cavalier" - Another reference to this fighter being the cream of the crop on the frontier.
  • "Vampire" - the top Confederation fighter from Wing Commander Prophecy. It's hardly six months old in Wing Commander Arena, though...
  • The rest is straight from Wing Commander III's Victory Streak! I had actually removed Pitch as a joke at one point but then decided it would be a little too cruel.
  • Why Privateer is Like a Chicken

    References to Wing Commander appear in the strangest of places. Here's a review of Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (?!) at PopMatters which compares the game to... Privateer?
    The new tweaks induce such massive amounts of grinding that the game feels more like work than the epic battles of previous games. It’s a similar problem that the classic game Wing Commander: Privateer suffered. In that game, you didn’t stand a chance on the actual “story mode” until you’d spent hours building the ultimate space ship. Both games featured very clever and addictive game design, but with Final Fantasy Tactics A2 there isn’t really a point at which you can stop grinding and say, “I’m ready to hear the plot now”. It may be a personal qualm of this reviewer, but there comes a point where I’m ready to hear some story instead of doing more grinding. Yet the plot isn’t inhibited from starting because your characters need to be super-strong as in Privateer. Instead, the problem is that the plot missions are completely jumbled with the grinding ones, so that the two actions become confused.
    Bonus points for actually remembering the 'Wing Commander' in the name.

    Separated at birth?!

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 4

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the news page:
    CONCEPT: This is the 'comm relay' page from Claw Marks. It was actually developed as a filler page (... what wasn't?). When Electronic Arts decided to do a print run of the magazine we had to make sure the page number was divisible by four (I think). Every time I was asked to add something relating to Arena I got to/had to add three unrelated pages (most of which ended up being extra material for the timeline... but that's a story for another day)!

    REFERENCES-

  • Jump Gate Pictures - these were part of that last minute image pack from Gaia. At least I knew what they were... (by the way, they work like the larger 'jump gates' in Privateer 2... except with short range mini-jumps like those introduced in Secret Missions 2.)
  • First Story - Here's the thing: I have never understood the fascination with the Border Worlds. I understand the importance of stopping Tolwyn's plot in Wing Commander IV... but I don't get the high that a lot of fans seem to by being presented with a slightly different version of the Confederation to fly for. You never get the spit-and-glue ships that the concept implies, you never get any sort of moral discussion about rebelling from the Confederation you fought for for three previous games... and their entire existence is a huge retcon in the first place (remember all those Confederation systems you defended in Wing Commander I? That was actually the super elite Border Worlds! And they're angry that nobody was... defending them... in Wing Commander I?). What's worse, so many fan projects turn the Border Worlds into an amazing superpower overnight - that's not good storytelling and it isn't interesting.
  • (Continued) So, yes, I did sit down here to knock the Border Worlds down a peg. A full peg! In this little story, which is the start of the American Civil War with that thin veneer of allegory that Wing Commander adds to anything, I tried to make them a little more realistic and a little less like superheroes. The Union is fighting over its own borders in exactly the same way the Confederation was thirty years earlier! Things aren't just magically great, and there's real issues like taxes that are causing the problems instead of Space Nazis with crazy plots. So, if you love the Border Worlds-as-Supermen then I'm sorry... if not, I hope you can build something interesting from this tiny base.
  • (Continued) ... but let me also note that I did this to dispell the opposite consideration of the Border Worlds, which came from a WCSO fiction reference. That interpretation claimed that they had no military at all and were simply still controlled by the Confederation. Not so!
  • "Hellespont System" - the first (okay, technically second) series of Wing Commander IV. I've always wondered why it was called "the Hellespont" in Eisen's introduction.
  • "Orestes" and "Peleus" - other Union star systems seen in Wing Commander IV.
  • "Governor Hodge" - Okay, less vitriol, more obscurity: 'Governor Halas Hodge' was the head of the Border Worlds in the ill-fated Privateer TV show's pilot script.
  • "Outerworlds Fleet" - this is the name for the Border Worlds' Navy given in the Wing Commander IV novelization.
  • "star nation" - I stole this term from the Honor Harrington books. Sorry.
  • "Second Fleet" - and look at this, I even gave some room for the people who want to write stories about a massive Border Worlds supernavy.
  • Second Story - I think that, fundamentally, the point to make here is that Tungsten is really, really funny. You've got futuristic plasteel armor, futuristic durasteel armor, futuristic isometal armor... and ordinary tungsten! And tungsten isn't even the worst one! No, although that is true, the point to this story is to help explain why ships in Wing Commander Arena are slower and have more armor. The cream of the crop material is no longer available. The game's Producer learned about the different armor in Privateer early on and was very concerned about getting this message across.
  • "Fiddler's Green System" - this was a Confederation colony referenced in Wing Commander 2. Angel lists a series of systems attacked by the Kilrathi and this is one... but it somehow didn't make it to the Wing Commander Universe map.
  • "Scorpion" - not a reference!
  • "InSys Outpost" - the 'Space Police' from Wing Commander 2 and Privateer. Tolwyn transfers Blair to InSys after the destruction of the Tiger's Claw.
  • "Durasteel" - the standard armor against which all better armors are measured.
  • Third Story - this was another setting piece. One thing we wanted to get across in Arena was that you were now in the 'wild west' of space... so here's a story with banditos, sheriffs and space train robberies. In looking back it's a lot more fun than I remembered. A platinum transport? Cool!
  • "Jack 'Deadeye' McClellan" - comes from the fact that there's a TCS McClellan in the Wing Commander movie... which, in turn, was named after General George McClellan.
  • "Vega System" - the 'Sector Star' from the original Claw Marks map.
  • "Grey Town," "Rostov III," "Mopok survey group" - these are all from the Rostov series of Wing Commander I. Grey Towns were unofficial settlements and then Rostov III was the home of the Mopoks. I included this not to flex my trivia muscle but to sort of confirm that the Mopoks were still being studied and hadn't all been enslaved and eaten by the Kilrathi.
  • Isn't this how Brisco County Junior caught his nemesis in that show? That was probably unintentional. Probably.
  • Chris Roberts Heads to the Hills

    Chris Roberts is amidst the Swiss Alps in the lakeside city of Locarno for the world premiere of Outlander this week. A press conference for the film was held around noon today. The event coincides with the 61st Film Festival Locarno. Chris sat on the panel along with director and co-writer Howard McCain, co-writer Dirk Blackman, and stars Jack Huston and Sophia Myles.

    If you need your memory refreshed, Chris acted as producer for the film. The premiere itself was held later in the evening in the Piazza Grande which is an amazing outdoor venue with seating for eight-thousand people! They (including Chris) also did a lot of interviews, so keep your eyes open for those in the future.

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 3

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second letters page:
    CONCEPT: See the previous post!

    REFERENCES-

  • "Letter of the Month" - Now, obviously what this letter is about is the fact that the Wing Commander III capital ships never get names. I understand that it was done for gameplay reasons, but wasn't it frustrating as all heck? The fan community only made it worse, giving each ship a whole host of increasingly improbable names that no one really accepted. So solving that old problem (which admittably had nothing to do with Wing Commander Arena or its gameplay) was the first thing I realized could be done as flavor text with a 'letter to the editor'.
  • "'69 Thunderbolt" - this would be the T-bolt variant we flew in Wing Commander 3. This is one of several attempts to suggest that space fighters are treated as similar to cars (Privateer does this, too)... and also to remind readers that we consider the original Wing Commander ships to be classics!
  • "Cpl. Almond, Hades' Hellcats" - this is the first nod to a Wing Commander fan. Barrie "Cpl Hades" Almond was a member of the WC:CIC staff. "Hades' Hellcats" is also an attempt to suggest how the mercenary community organizes itself... in a manner similar to Strike Commander (and the alliterative squadron name is straight out of Starship Troopers). Finally, I thought it was funny that there was a Thunderbolt pilot from a group called the Hellcats.
  • "torpedo-boat" and "gunship" - I used these (new) alternate classifications mostly just to play with the minds of everyone who insists on using this kind of text as the be-all end-all for classifying ships. Expect to see "Kamekh-class Corvette/Torpedo Boat" on the community ships list someday soon. I also like the idea that there might be a functional difference between the Kamekh and the Kamrani rather than just that they're different vintages of corvettes.
  • Note that we left off the big ships that a mercenary wouldn't see in 2701 (fleet carriers and above) and included one or two that already had names (since they wouldn't have been identified under the fictional circumstances here). I made sure I gave the WC3 dreadnought a class later in the text. In all honesty, I felt some reservation about this in the end - since they weren't really my ships to name. The Armada/III/IV teams designed, built and used them... and they were happy with just the classes. But practicality won out.
  • "Evansville" - I have a brother who lives in Evansville, Indiana. The citizens abbreviate the name as "E'vil"... it seemed appropriate for the sinister Black Lance transport. We processed the WCIV VDU to make it look more like a WC3 screenshot.
  • "Clarkson" - I don't want to tell you what this is named after. It was originally going to be 'Clarksville', after my hometown, but then I realized that would be two 'villes in a row... and 'e-vil' was a better joke.
  • "Belleau Wood" - some people didn't catch this... it's the rarely seen Confederation transport from Wing Commander Armada (the Kilrathi ship is on the opposite side). We converted the line art VDU image into something that looks like it was from Wing Commander III. It's named after a World War I battle and a Wing Commander Aces Club destroyer from years and years ago.
  • "Southampton" - WC3 destroyer. The other examples we see are the Victory's escorts in Wing Commander III, the Coventry and the Sheffield. Since those two ships were named after British Type-42 destroyers lost in the Falklands War, I resolved to simply pick another ship of the same class for the name. I believe I picked Southampton because one of the CIC staff members lives there (now that I look back on the list of options I regret not picking Nottingham. Robin Hood lives there!)
  • "Tallahassee" - WC3 cruiser. Everyone had assumed it was Tallahasse-class, after a reference in False Colors... so here's the confirmation.
  • "Yorktown" - WC3 light carrier. Okay, this was probably the most discussed ship name in Star*Soldier (which is something, since I had a transport named after Kelly Clarkson... whoops). Here's the deal: compared to all this trivia, the one 'empty' WC3 ship name which has most frustrated fans over the years has been this one. Sure, it's annoying not knowing the escorts... but not knowing what the ship you're on? Madness, cats and dogs living together, Russians and Americans on the same space station. This will give you an idea of how long I've been around: when Wing Commander III came out, we called it Victory-class because of a reference to 'Victory class transports' in Fleet Action. The assumption being - for whatever reason - that the Victory must be a converted transport. Years later we adopted 'Ranger-class' after a reference in Action Stations. I was all set to go with that here... but then I checked it. The novel doesn't mention a Ranger light carrier, it mentions a Ranger carrier. The intention of the passage was different than I had thought - the ship was supposed to be old, not small. So I named it after the aircraft carrier that came one after the original USS Ranger, the USS Yorktown.
  • "Caernaven" - WC4 frigate. This one was already (somewhat confusingly) stated in the Wing Commander IV novelization. The book claims the pirate/Black Lance base frigate from the Hellespont series is a Caernaven (so far, so good) but also that the Confederation has retired them... and since we see them in Confederation colors later in the game, something isn't right.
  • "Jakhari / Dukara / Sha'kar" - The Kilrathi transports from Armada, Wing Commander 3 3DO and Wing Commander 3, in order. My original plan was to have all the Kilrathi ships be given WC1/2-based names... and there's an earlier version where all three transports start with 'Dork'. Late in the project I decided I'd rather "canonize" the various ship names created for cancelled games.. so these are the light, medium and heavy freighters mentioned in the (first) Privateer Online proposal. (Actually, I had named the Armada ship Targu II at one point, following Standoff's designation for their frigate... but that bowed to Privateer Online in the end. I do explain the difference in class names here later in the manual, though.)
  • "Kamrani" - This was the name used by the Unknown Enemy fan project, the first major Wing Commander 'fan game' ever released. I wanted to credit them for that reason alone, of course... but also because they deserve recognition for bothering to give the ship an original name (with some thought behind it!) instead of an existing one (the old 'we know one of these is named Lexington, therefor it must be Lexington class!' fallacy).
  • "Ralarrad / Ralaxath" - The 'scout' and 'heavy' destroyers from Wing Commander III. These are completely made up, derived from "Ralari" and "Ralatha" destroyers seen in Wing Commander I and II, respectively.
  • "Fralthi II" - The Wing Commander III cruiser. This name is given in Wing Commander Prophecy. It hasn't ever sat right with me for some reason. I guess it just seems like an odd name for a ship (we have one cruiser named that, why not two!). Also, it brings up a debate I never want to have: whether the Kilrathi ships are named by the Kilrathi or by the Confederation military (like the Sivar dreadnaught).
  • "Wake and Harrier CVEs" - same concept, giving names to the Confederation's two classes of escort carriers... but we didn't have a WC3 VDU image for them.
  • "Landreich" - here's an early example of one of Star*Soldier's alternative purposes. It's a short few sentences that suggests (but doesn't state!) the current status of the Free Republic of the Landreich from the Wing Commander novels.
  • "taking down a former Lancer" - sorry, StarLancer fans, I turned your name into a slur! I'm just kidding around; aren't we all StarLancer fans?
  • "Fish in the Water" - References real torpedoes. I just wanted to point out that I think we did a great job coming up with pointless little header titles for all the letters, just like a real lifestyle magazine. This particlar question is probably the most blatant explain-continuity-for-me instance in the manual.
  • "Octavio Gourami" - Named after an alt.games.wing-commander poster (Octavio Motta) and a kind of fish (which I suppose goes with the header, though it was subconscious).
  • "ogourami@sol.texas.university" - A futuristic email for University of Texas students, a school whose alumni include many Origin veterans. Hook 'em!
  • "nations" - I really like normal-sounding names for futuristic space hegemonies. So sue me.
  • "... McAuliffe Ambush..." - The events of Action Stations. This article is explaining the seemingly contradictory story of torpedoes (which were originally supposedly new in Wing Commander II, but then were used as a plot point in the prequel novel).
  • "Advanced Phase Shielding" - Weasel words to cover up for the fact that on several occasions now (including in Action Stations) capital ship shielding was called Phase Shielding before the appearance of the new technology in Wing Commander II.
  • "m/am shipkillers" - Matter/Anti-Matter torpedoes (the topedoes used in WC2, WC3 and various novels).
  • "Proton bombs" - The "dumb fire" torpedo technology which appears as an oddity in the original Privateer. Since Arena includes torpedoes that cause damage and look similar to the main-series weapons but which do not require a lock (and which damage shields), I included this cross-over by means of a slight explanation.
  • "VN Day" - This is the strongest indication yet that the war with the Nephilim has ended in some way (presumably VN is Victory over Nephilim day). Apologies to the letter writer, but nobody celebrates VE or VJ Day today... it's likely no one in 2701 is celebrating VK Day, either.
  • "Confederation Day" - The 4th of July-style day which celebrates the founding of the Confederation. It was a major plot point in Action Stations.
  • ".222 and .236" - the latter is Confederation Day, while the former (supposedly VN Day) is... August 10, the WCNews birthday event!
  • "TCS William Eisen (CV-74)" - Another kindness, to canonize the information presented on the WCNews TCS Eisen hats.
  • "Cheryl Johnson" - ... is not named after anyone.
  • "Correction" - How do I explain this one... it is, essentially, a favor for a friend. Back in 1997 when the original Wing Commander Universe map was created they wanted to include all the members of the Wing Commander Home Sector website staff. If you've ever talked to Chris Reid or Ben Lesnick I'm sure they've bragged about this honor. However, there was another staff member on the roster - "Nigel Miller". This was in actuality a pseudonym for for Brandon Strevell, aka "ace-1". No one at Origin knew this and so his honor was somewhat odd. Given the opportunity I simply blew up another star (the one belonging to WCHS' unpopular founder, Dan "Akkbar" Hardwicke) and restructured the map a little. The idea for jump lines being affected after a supernova comes from the WC3 Bible/Confederation Handbook treatise on jump theory... plus a reference in Action Stations to the Yarin System being a humanitarian disaster because of a similar event.
  • Watch Out for Flying Rocks

    We're one month in to the Wing Commander 3 portion of the community replay! This time around players will be visiting the Caliban Nebula (well, technically you were already in the Caliban Nebula when you were in the Ariel System...) and the Torgo System (take care of the place while the master is away). Here are DaveO's notes from Delius:
    There’s a big Kilrathi asteroid base here that we’ve been given the orders to take out. I’ve picked Flash as my wingman and selected a Thunderbolt for its firepower and torpedo. There are four Vaktoths defending the base, so I give Flash the go-ahead to break and attack the heavy fighters. I gun one down after multiple hits and a foolish frontal pass by the fighter. Flash fries a fighter, and the mighty guns of the Thunderbolt split another Vaktoth in two. I get a third one with little effort, and I see Flash taking some hits from a second wing of Vaktoths launched by the base. I go after them, and Flash frantically says this is a no win situation. I get a Vaktoth off Flash’s rear, so there’s just one fighter left. Flash decides to retreat before he’s hosed down by that last Vaktoth fighter. Frankly, I think he bugged out too early since I hear an explosion and notice that last fighter off the scope. It’s just me versus Ayer’s Rock version 2.

    I do notice quite a bit of defending turret fire coming from the base, so I pull out of my attack and take another approach. I let the torpedo launch and it does severe damage to the base. I make a strafing run on the asteroid, but have to pull up quickly as I get too close for comfort. I make another attack run, and I can hear the base taking multiple hard hits. I start going after the defenses, and hear more hits on the base but miss the targeted turret I was looking to eliminate. The next pass is completely ineffective, and my next pass is not much better since I pull out once I hear some hits to my Thunderbolt’s armor. I get a turret on my next run, so I go after another one. The base takes still more damage but my attack failed to tag the turret. I do gun down a turret on my next pass, but again miss on another turret. I try spraying another portion of the base, but I don’t hear any hits. I manage to get two turrets on my next attack, so I’m definitely making good progress here. I eliminate enough turrets to get into a stationary position. I change power settings to more for the guns, and open up on the base. A lot of the base is in the red for damage, so I keep shooting.

    I let the base have a few missiles but this is not getting me much further. Even with full guns and constant shooting, I’m just not making enough of a dent to finish off the base. Time to find a likely soft spot. I turn a little to the left and notice what looks to be a communication tower. Let’s see how the guns do there. KABOOM! The base goes up and I get to see it’s charred shell float around for a bit before it’s gone. Since I have no backup, I decide that the safer course is to head right back to the Victory. Rollins is there to say that the only good cat is a dead one, and with my successful scuttling of the asteroid base I get the group congratulations again upon landing. Our battle group jumps into the Torgo sector where a certain Admiral is waiting for us.

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 2

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first letters page:
    CONCEPT: These pages are great - the 'letter to the editor' format lets you answer old questions and also gently poke fun at the series and the fans with impunity. As I went into the project I had a list in my head... how do I answer X and Y question, how to I address this continuity error, how do I comment on this. This format allowed me to do a lot of that in one place. We really could have done an entire magazine of letters to the editor - I had to force myself to stop expanding it. (Coming soon - Star*Soldier Letters Magazine. "Dear Star*Soldier, I never thought this would happen to me, but I sighted these two Gothri heavy fighters and...")

    REFERENCES-

  • "Gash Dekker" - It's Dekker the Space Marine from Wing Commander IV and Prophecy (see what I meant by small universe?). Note that the photograph is tiny and fuzzy, which is for two reasons. One I wanted to make sure we had a picture of Dekker in his helmet and armor... which proved hard to find. Two is that I was worried EA legal (or someone) would slap me for using the actors' photographs. Since there was one that I really, really wanted to do (we'll see it later) we fuzzied Dekker up to the point where you can't really recognize him. In the end, no complaints, though.
  • "Joan's update" - Joan's Fighting Ships, from Wing Commander I and II. I always wondered why they didn't bring JFS back again for 3/4/Prophecy (Chris McCubbin did use it years later in The Confederation Handbook). This was actually the only 'legal' thing ever brought up about this manual. I had to dig up a copy of Claw Marks to prove that the name had been used in WC before (and not related to EA years holding the Jane's license).
  • "Glory to Sivar" - Sivar is the Kilrathi war/warrior God introduced in Secret Missions 2. You can see here another attempt at expanding the universe without telling a direct story - we learn about a Kilrathi clan war going on right now through this aside rather than by being specifically told about it. I'll admit this: in most cases I didn't plan these out in advance. I just stuck as many as possible in so that fans or future projects could continue these stories if so interested. Star*Soldier is a stew, not a cake.
  • "hrai" - Kilrathi word for family (with some variation) first introduced in Freedom Flight.
  • "Sum'n"/"Sihkag" - The Sihkag are one of the eight noble clans as defined by Fleet Action while the Sum'n are not... they're just a system taken from the Wing Commander Universe map. The idea was to show how far the former Empire had been shaken up... with kilra'hra challenging the lower rungs of the nobility.
  • "Blood Will Tell, 2700/5" - Please note the dedication throughout to establishing that there are other even-more-pretend issues of the pretend magazine out there. Claw Marks fails to do this in a way that has always bugged me - it's the first year (Volume I) of the magazine but also Tooner's comic strip had been running for two years...
  • "honor-bound to repay you" - shades of Freedom Flight's somewhat silly plot with Kirha swearing allegiance to Hunter and serving him throughout. The fact that a Kil is so happy about a magazine article he read is similarly silly.
  • "kysh49@sum'n.clan" - Here's my attempt at integrating Kilrathi into the Confederation's email system. Also, I thought it was funny that a Kilrathi might have a number in his email address like a teenager.
  • "takhar" - Kilrathi word meaning brother of equal rank, from Fleet Action. Remember from Wing Commander IV that Dekker does not hold a grudge against the Kilrathi!
  • "Privateering licenses" - I mention this at several points. Here's the deal: one thing that bugged me about the original Privateer was that 'privateer' doesn't mean freelancer. A Privateer is/was someone issued a Letter of Marque by a government and told to go interrupt enemy shipping. More often than not they ended up being pirates, but they had some official status. We never see that in WC - so what's the difference between the hero and a mercenary or a merchant? So my retcon here is that the same thing happens in Wing Commander and that's also why you're allowed to buy (cheap!) munitions in that game... we just never see Burrows get his license. Also, I touch on something else here, which is that the former Empire is the equivalent of modern day Russia. If you really want something then a little money can get it for you in Kilrathi space...
  • "Tiger's Claws" - Ah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah. Hah. Seriously, though, I would like to think I did this in a way that was properly respectful to absolutely no one.
  • Okay, okay. For those not in the know, this is an adorable (!) way of explaining the one element of the Wing Commander movie that made me genuinely angry (getting the name of the carrier wrong)... while still making fun of myself and others for being angered about it in the first place. I do touch on a few others later in the manual (furless cats, for instance).
  • "Dolos" - refering to the planet (and the events) seen in the last episode of Wing Commander Academy. I'd love to see that article!
  • "Tiger Claw" / "Tiger's Claw" - The famed home base in Wing Commander, Secret Missions, Secret Missions 2, Freedom Flight, Wing Commander Academy and the Wing Commander movie.
  • "Asher C. Lawson" - He's 'Frosty' from the Wing Commander fan community (since made a member of the CIC staff).
  • "rocketjock@nnconstantinople.gemini.government" - I don't know if anyone picked this up. The double Ns in the email address were intentional, to suggest that the New Constantinople space station in Privateer had been destroyed in the Nephilim War (we talk about damage to Gemini later) and replaced with... NEW New Constantinople.
  • "Gemini and Hope" - These sectors reference Origin's second attempt at developing Privateer Online. The game would have been set in Gemini and then introduce the newly discovered 'Hope' sector (positioned above it on the current map) for exploration.
  • "CCSP goons" - The "Confederation Citizen Subsidy Program" from that same Privateer Online attempt. This group was part of an elaborate explanation as to why your ship and character would return if you were shot down. I like the idea that all the cancelled projects are happening somewhere in this timeline (and that we can still comment on how ridiculous some of the ideas were).
  • "Daniel Sumner" - References a longtime Wing Commander fan, around since Origin's site had its own message board.
  • "dans@exploratoryservices.avalon" - Exploratory Services was the group charged with exploring new star systems in the original Privateer. Avalon is the sector to the 'left' of Gemini (sort of a commentary on how odd I thought it was that the 'new frontier' Gemini Sector was in the middle of known space on the Wing Commander Universe map). Additionally, DanS was Sumner's online handle.
  • "Border Worlds conflict" - The events of Wing Commander IV.
  • "arrival of the Nephilim" - The events of Wing Commander Prophecy.
  • "Confederate," "country," "unreconstructed," "Colonel," etc. - This is American Civil War-style verbiage which is meant to equate the former Black Lancers with the (post-war) more radical secessionists... Wing Commander's equivalent of the men who started the original KKK.
  • "Tolwynist" - A... follower of Admiral Tolwyn, I suppose. The entire letter brings up a good point that fans have had many 'moral' discussions about over the years - in the end, exactly what Admiral Tolwyn threatened would happen occured. A powerful race did show up to fight the weakened Confederation... and presumably people in the Wing Commander universe would be having exactly this discussion.
  • "J. Bielawa" - This is Justin Bielawa, "LeHah" from the Wing Commander music scene. I hope he doesn't mind being a space Nazi.
  • "Arrow Eclipse" - Finally, something that actually ties Arena to the rest of Wing Commander. Those mysterious cloaking Arrows in WCIV? Eclipses!
  • "Black Lance" - Admiral Tolwyn's conspiracy group from Wing Commander IV.
  • "credits" - The unit of money (sometimes) used in Wing Commander. I'm looking at you, "dols". The editor responding to a letter with a death threat is another nod to Sudden Death.
  • Claim Party Prizes

    We gave out a bunch of cool prizes at the CIC Birthday Party on Sunday, and now it's time for the winners to claim them. Be sure to send in your mailing address, and don't forget to include your real name and IRC nick used at the party. The prize list is below. There are a couple items from past events that either haven't gone out yet or weren't claimed, so now is a good time to let us know about those as well.

    If you missed the party or didn't win an item, you may still have an opportunity to win a CIC polo shirt and TCS Eisen hat. Answer these questions correctly to enter that contest. And here are the 10th Birthday winners:

    • CIC Polo Shirt - Fraix
    • CIC Glass - Vinman
    • CIC Playing Cards - Wedge
    • Eisen T-Shirt - HCl
    • Eisen Hat - HCl
    • Confed Replica Patch - AD, Powell99
    • WC2 Game (OEM, no box)- Natreg, Wedge
    • WC4 DVD - Shades
    • WC CCG Starter Deck Box - LeHah, Captain Obvious
    • WC Novel (submit preference) - Quarto, Wedge
    • WC Movie DVD - Captain Obvious, DaveO
    • WC Movie Action Figures - DMJC
    • WC Movie Poster - Overmortal
    • Star*Soldier Official Print - LeHah
    • Thrakhath's Remains - Wedge, Overmortal, Powell99
    • XBox Live 1600 Point Cards - Death
    • EddieB Nasa Sticker/Mission Patch Set - HCl
    • Starship Troopers Trilogy - LeHah

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 1

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the table of contents:
    CONCEPT: Magazines... have... tables of contents? There's nothing much to explain here, other than that the format for the listings (formal name/short description) is modeled after Claw Marks.

    I would like to take a minute here to address a design decision that I thought would lead to a lot more criticism than it did, which is the choice to go with a 'small universe' set of references. Most Wing Commander background material does exactly the opposite, creating entirely new and sometimes seemingly contradictory background material. Since the object here was to tie Arena to the earlier games, we made a conscious choice to fill it with as many references as possible... which, as you know, turned out to be a lot of references. My thought was: if this is the last part of the Wing Commander canon ever published, what do I want to include? and it grew from there. We needed excuses to explain some questions about the old games and to show the fates of some characters... and I honestly believe it goes over the top in places, even in the context of Wing Commander's "pulp realism".

    So far no one else has said so, though, so maybe I shouldn't mention it! If it bugs you, I apologize. If it doesn't, don't read what I just wrote.

    REFERENCES-

  • Letterhead Ships - the ships which appear here are the Midway-class heavy carrier (from Wing Commander Prophecy) and the Murphy-class destroyer (from Wing Commander Secret Ops.) The connection is that they famously have the same bridge design... and were both designed by former Origin artist Sean Murphy, who has always been extremely cool to the fan community! I had actually asked for just a Murphy-style bridge as the masthead, but the artist came up with this and it was too cool not to use.
  • "From the Publishers of Sudden Death!" - since I stole the concept from Strike Commander, it only seemed reasonable to pay tribute to that wonderful manual. Even if you aren't an 'airplane' fan, check it out. It's Wing Commander-style fiction at its finest.
  • "Volume XLVII" is 47, which - if my math is correct - means that the first issue of Star*Soldier would have been printed in 2654, the year the original Wing commander (and the TV show and the Secret Missions and the movie and the movie novels) take place.
  • "Epsilon Sector" - I didn't choose the location, it was decided by the Wing Commander Arena team. They wanted a location on the Terran-Kilrathi border that would offer both an option to expand the fiction and that would host some familiar locales. Since Epsilon is an amalgamation of locations seen in The Secret Missions, Secret Missions 2, Special Operations 1, Wing Commander 3 and Wing Commander 4, it fit the bill! Also, the fact that it was home of the Firekkans offered the possibility of adding a third 'race'.
  • "Antares Quadrant" - see above! The Antares Quadrant is all that remained of Secret Missions 2's Antares Sector after the Wing Commander Prophecy Universe Map got through with it. It was decided early on that Arena would take place here.
  • The ship in the picture is the F-44 Rapier II Cavalier. I tried to suggest at a few points in the game that the Cavalier was the Rolls Royce of border-fighting mercenary ships.
  • We'll touch on the various article titles on their respective pages.
  • "The Antares quadrant has always been hotly contested" - from a line of dialogue in Wing Commander III's Locanda series: "Locanda's always been hotly contested."
  • "editor@starsoldier.tnc.media" - the style of email address is patterned after the ones seen in Victory Streak (I think it was based on Barbara Miles' address, but I don't have a copy on me to check. Her little note to Blair isn't in the Kilrathi Saga version! My guess without digging into the archive is that she's bmiles@tnc.media.)
  • "ReadyNet" - ReadyNet was yet another name for a Confederation computer system. It appears on one of the WCIV PSX booklet covers, with an image of Blair logging in to ReadyNet. I remember being very disappointed that that was the only piece of new continuity offered by the WC4 PSX materials after the Origin website had offered such a cool letter from Captain Eisen (I bought the game years before I actually had a PlayStation).
  • "keyword" - remember when commercials used to include the 'AOL keyword' for finding something? "origin.ea.com or AOL keyword ORIGIN". This is a play on that.
  • "hard copy, e-text and Kilrathi language" - the same formats as Claw Marks was offered in, plus Kilrathi for the more enlightened 28th century.
  • "Terran News Channel" and "TNC" - this was 'CNN'-style news network seen in Wing Commander III. My thought here was that they represented a media conglomerate that includes space magazines and space TV channels and the like. And that conglomerate is...
  • "The Rondell Corporation" - Rondell was the corporation whose agricultural planet was being blockaded by the Bronte Corporation in Privateer's Lynn Murphy series. Brownhair comes in, ruins his rep by shooting down a bunch of Demons and saves the day. I can't quite say how or why they went from being a farming concern to the News Corp of the future.
  • Copyrights are still around in 2701? Sorry, Slashdot.
  • Shocking Political Scandal!

    Sometimes a news story crosses my desk that's almost impossible to believe. Case in point: a Daily Breeze article about a local politician protesting a recall petition organized against him... because - and I'm not making this up - people might confuse him with Captain Eisen:
    In any event, Eisen has fired off a letter to the county registrar-recorder objecting to the petition-gathering process.

    Among his complaints:

    Recall proponents used the name William Eisen on the petition in a move to deliberately confuse voters who have long known him as Bill Eisen.

    Using the name William E. Eisen on the ballot may cause voters to confuse him with "other non-elected people such as William Eisen recently interviewed by Crazydog 7 on YouTube."

    The YouTube video features a black actor - dead for 12 years - portraying a character known as William Eisen in a video game called Wing Commander, said Gerry O'Connor, one of the leaders in the recall effort.

    "I don't know whether people would confuse me with that gentlemen or not, but we have the same name so it's possible," Eisen said, conceding that he is registered to vote under the name William.

    The YouTube video is here - it's a compilation of the short interview questions from the 1994 Wing Commander III Behind the Screens CD. Captain Eisen was played by Jason Bernard, who died in 1996.
    Separated at birth?!

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Inside Cover

    This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the Arrow Eclipse advertisement:
    CONCEPT: Here's the car advertisement! All of the 'features' listed at the top are the in-game systems for the Arrow Eclipse. I wish I could say it was original: it was stolen outright from my favorite magazine advertisement of all time, which was a pretend car advertisement for Wing Commander IV PSX's Dragon fighter. The placement comes from a youth spent reading Air & Space Magazine - which always had the especially glossy car or watch advertisements on the first page.

    REFERENCES-

  • I believe the background is public domain Hubble imagery. Is there anything it can't do? I later read that Chris Roberts and company went out of their way to avoid Hubble backgrounds in the Wing Commander movie - d'oh!
  • "8GJ Meson Blaster" - the Meson Blaster was a gun which was introduced in Privateer and then went on to show up in several other games. 8 gigajoules was the power requirement from Privateer and also a slight dig at the fact that later games list the (presumably) outrageously incorrect 'nJ' (nanojoules) for their power usage statistics.
  • "Vampire HS Missiles" - the Vampire Missile was a weapon which, prior to Arena, appeared exclusively in the 3DO port of Wing Commander III (where it replaced the Leech.) Vampires sucked holes in your target's shields rather than disabling him outright.
  • "Arrow V Eclipse" - hoo, boy! For some reason the writers of the Kilrathi Saga manual decided to replace references to the Hellcat V with the Arrow when they put together an updated version of Victory Streak... but they forgot to replace the 'V.' Thus the Arrow's full name officially became the 'Arrow V' among especially anal fans. To his credit, Producer Sean Penney even asked if the ship should be called the Arrow V in the game itself. I thought about it for a moment and said no, it was too obscure a reference.
  • "first of its kind" - note the careful wording here! The 2701 model is the first one to offer a *Kilrathi* cloaking device *and* Vampire missiles. This is because we see the first 'Arrow Eclipse' in Wing Commander IV, complete with some sort of cloaking device.
  • "Douglas Aerospace" - the fact that Douglas Aerospace was the company responsible for the Arrow comes from the Wing Commander III Warbirds poster. It was then (and is now) a reference to former Origin artist Chris Douglas, who was responsible for much of the look and feel of several Wing Commander titles (it doesn't hurt that it sounds like McDonnell Douglas, either!)
  • Douglas Aerospace Logo - the concept here was that the logo comes from an image of an airplane propeller, like various automotive companies have today. It's a unique take on that idea, I think!
  • "leather optional" - this is a reference to the Wing Commander IV PSX advertisement mentioned above, which claims that the Lance features 'genuine Kilrathi leather interiors.' Does that mean...?
  • Cockpit and Seat Screenshots - I needed to sneak a real Wing Commander cockpit into this material somewhere and this seemed like a reasonably inoffensive place. Like most things in this booklet it's just a kind nod to longtime fans who were angry about a lack of first-person perspective in Arena. These two are screenshots grabbed from Wing Commander Armada (there's no seat picture in WC3!)
  • "2654" - the year the original Wing Commander takes place and also the first year we see an Arrow, in the "Red and Blue" episode of Wing Commander Academy (which caused no small amount of controversy, at the time.)
  • "Mario Brito" - referenced as being 'Terra's greatest designer.' This is a tribute to one of the most impressive figures in the Wing Commander fan community today. Mr. Brito (aka "HCl") has dissected just about every Wing Commander game ever and built some long dreamt of applications around them (multiplayer in Wing Commander Prophecy, a movie player, etc.)
  • "Parsecs Beyond" - this corporate slogan is a new addition, but it's also a slight reference to the Vega Sector map included in the original Claw Marks. It's one of the few instances where Wing Commander uses parsec instead of light year as a measure of distance.
  • Happy 10th Birthday, CIC!

    We're the old men, ace.

    I think the question on all of our minds is: can it really have been ten years? It seems impossible to me that we first did this a full decade ago. Wing Commander fans have grown up, created amazing things and stuck to the series throughout everything we've gone through since Secret Ops launched ten years ago today. I find it impossible to wrap my mind around it - I'm not ten years older than I used to be, and it sure doesn't feel like the site and the community is. Still: happy birthday, everyone!

    As always, you get the presents. Unfortunately, the offerings are somewhat subdued this year - but we have a good excuse... our chance to archive the Origin material held at EA Mythic interrupted the time we ordinarily gear up to produce new birthday features and sections. We think it was worthwhile, though, and we went all out to get the job done. You'll learn more about that story today -- and you'll see more of the amazing collection in the weeks and months ahead. And hey, it's not like we won't be doing this for our eleventh birthday.

    Now, let me repeat what I say every year: you're the best damn community in the world and worth all the blood, sweat, money and sacrifice that our team has put into this project. You deserve more than we can offer, really -- but we'll keep fighting for Wing Commander and Wing Commander fans everywhere... and we'll see you at the twenty year reunion.

    If you aren't already in #WingNut, come on by! We're giving out prizes, arranging multiplayer games and having a big trivia contest!

    We've Got a Secret

    I'm putting you back in the cockpit, Colonel, where you will be reunited with an old friend: the thrill of battle.

    Nine years and ten months ago Origin withdrew the limited-time episodic release of Secret Ops to promote Wing Commander Prophecy Gold -- and we've spent that time staying true to Mike "Boomer" McCoy's request that the files not be passed around the Wing Commander community. That all stops today, because we've finally been given official permission to distribute the entire Secret Ops package again! The free-to-download episodic Wing Commander game is free to download again!

    Main starter package (112MB)
    Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4
    Episode 5 - Episode 6 - Episode 7
    Serial Key - Fiction Files

    Mythic Briefing

    Readers already know the story of how we came to be given access to Electronic Arts' archive of Wing Commander and Origin data at EA Mythic -- now we're proud to show you some of what we saw. This is just a tiny sample - our team took over 4,000 pictures, 8,000 scans, transferred three-dozen tapes and 25 SyQuests, digitized 100 VHS tapes and imaged 700 CD-ROMs.

    Thanks to Paul Barnett and the rest of the team at Mythic we were able to spend five days working with this material in a dedicated conference room. From 7 AM to 7 PM we worked on site and then spent our evenings searching for missing equipment and backing up data. We truly lived like software developers for a week... it was exhausting and incredibly rewarding.

    Please read on to see learn more.

    The Ships of Privateer 3

    This is the first of our 'Mythic Sample' updates - this one shows off press images of ships rendered to promote Privateer 3. The first set shows the Demon-class fighter with various engine upgrades. Then comes the Dralthi V (finally!), the Drayman (another design?!), the Fury, the 'main boss' Kilrathi station, the Manowar-class Cruiser, the Traket and the Vaktoth.

    The Bases of Privateer 3

    And here's where you would have kept those ships! These gameflow screens would have been where pilots upgraded their ships, traded, fought in arena battles and interacted with bartenders and fixers. In order: Augustus, Furnace, G-tok, New Damascus, New Parris and Yena.

    Privateer 3 HD

    Here are three 'high resolution' images from Privateer 3. These promotional renderings were created for publishing in magazines or to be used in advertising material. From left to right: a Fury-class fighter, the commodity center on Augustus and an intense combat scene.

    Privateer 3 Errata

    ... and here's one more piece of unused Privateer 3 artwork (for now!). It doesn't fit with the other categories, but it was too cool not to pass along - this Kilrathi skull was the logo created for the new Kilrathi military which would have been central to the game's plot:

    Privateer 3 Manual

    Can you believe that Privateer 3 made it far enough in development to have its own manual? While this certainly wasn't the finished version, it's pretty cool -- check out the ship specifications for several of the classes seen in the screenshots above! Unfortunately we're missing several of the fonts, so the layout hasn't quite rendered correctly... but we'll fix that as we learn more about regenerating Origin's old Quark files. Special thanks to Standoff's PopsiclePete for growing this file! Download it here:

    Star*Soldier Gloss: Cover

    ... and here's our new daily feature which will carry us through the next two months! We'll be offering commentary from the writers and designer of the Wing Commander Arena Star*Soldier manual for each page. Have a question you'd like answered about this or a future page? Post it to the forums and we will pass it along! Just think, this is a fairly short entry -- this is just the notes about what's going on on the cover...
    INTRODUCTION: Hello, and thank you for reading this text commentary! Star*Soldier was a gift for the Wing Commander online community and it was honestly just a joy to put together. This is, without a doubt, the single project that I am most proud of working on. The real credit should go to Producer Sean Penney for seeing the book through to release (and into print, which was no one's plan) and to the guys at Gaia who designed a very fun game (and provided the noticably superior pieces of art in the manual.) We wanted to archive some perspectives on the 'making of' the manual and also provide a catalog of the various references and in-jokes. If that's the sort of thing you prefer to find for yourself then... you are a very cool person and I would like to buy you an ice cream sundae... and you shouldn't read on.

    CONCEPT: I spent several sleepless nights trying to come up with how to do a new take on the classic Wing Commander manual concept - Claw Marks was the shipboard magazine, Voices of War was the scrapbook, Victory Streak was a strange ostensibly-computer... I wanted something in exactly that vein, but different. The first concept was that it would be a 'shelf' of books that you could select from: a FODORS-style travel guide for the planet, a JOAN'S guidebook for ships, a newspaper and so forth. We even did a mockup of this concept... but ultimately ended up just ripping off Strike Commander and doing a magazine for mercenaries instead.

    NAME: The name was basically a placeholder, too - I expected to come up with something else but never did ("So, Poochie okay with everybody?") It grows on you! I later found out that there was an original Nintendo game called Star Soldier - I hope that isn't a lawsuit in the making. For my money, the correct way to write the name is with an asterix: "Star*Soldier." Special kudos to Electronic Arts for not insisting that the manual had to say 'Wing Commander Arena' on the cover. Even Claw Marks said 'Wing Commander Special Edition' on it! (And I distinctly remember someone at Origin taking issue with Crusader's promotional newsletter for suggesting that Origin was releasing a mech game called TopLine...) It would have been a reasonable request here, since it's technically a piece of advertising material rather than something you see after you open the game's box...

    IMAGES: The background image for the cover is cropped from one of the earliest released screenshots of the two battlecruisers fighting. I had hoped to replace it with a special rendering or some 2D artwork or something, but it seemed to fit the feel I had for the game by the end of the project. The inset image is more interesting. It was originally a perspective 3D rendering of the Mass Driver Cannon from Wing Commander: Privateer (salvaged from Origin's 3DS file archive.) Somewhat late in development, Gaia Industries provided us with a big fat ZIP folder of concept art and I made it my mission to include all of it somewhere. Out went the mass driver and in went... this thing.

    REFERENCES-

  • "Antares issue" - the Antares Quadrant, formerly the Antares Sector, was the location of Secret Missions 2: Crusade. We didn't choose the location. Arena's Producer insisted on picking a known time and place for the game very early in development. Antares was chosen because it was on the frontier between the Confederation and the Kilrathi, because it had several familiar star systems and because it was home to the oft-ignored Firekkan species
  • "Spacedock" - In retrospect, I'm not sure that this word exists outside the context of Star Trek. That should tell you my background!
  • "January 2701" - the year was established by the Wing Commander Arena team (the requirement was that it be long enough after the last released game for the Nephilim War to be over - and yes, Privateer 2 was discussed) but the month was my choice. I went with January because I liked the idea that this was the very start of a new century (it also gave me something to reference once or twice in the text.)
  • "10c/1600k" - As many Wing Commander fans know, humans use credits. We came up with a stylized 'c' to represent that. The Kilrathi character is from the Terran Confederation Handbook, which provided a chart of Kilrathi characters used in the Wing Commander movie's subtitle scenes (which probably means it was originally designed by an artist at Digital Anvil.) This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time we've seen Kilrathi money... they use Confederation credits in Action Stations. Maybe it's kind of a cheat, giving an alien species an economic system that seems to work just like ours, but it seemed like too cute a reference to exclude. Note that the exchange rate between human credits and Kilrathi {somethings} is fixed throughout the booket at 1c/160k. My basic concept here was that the post-war Kilrathi fulfilled the same role as the Japanese or the Italians in the 1950s, with both a wrecked economy and a reputation as a source for especially cheap goods.

  • The bar code doesn't mean anything, in so far as I know. Has anyone tried to scan it?
  • Then What Didn't Happen?

    After the Maverick Team finished with Secret Ops, several projects were considered and even worked on - Strike Team, Privateer Online... Privateer Online again. Thanks to the Mythic project, we've learned about another one: Shadow Force, a followup to Secret Ops which would have put the player in charge of a team of mercenaries charged with impossible missions. Sound interesting? Then you'll want to read the entire original design document, available for download here (58 mb PDF)!

    Background in Black

    Our minor theme today is focusing on new beginnings - focusing on what we're going to do instead of what we've done. With that in mind, Kris has updated the Secret Ops page of our Background section as an example of that site's planned overhaul. The goal is to add more information, background, trivia, links and other resources to create a comprehensive reference for each game - somewhere new users can start and old veterans can learn something new. Please let us know what else you'd like to see, because we'll be updating the entire section over the next few months... and giving it a new color. We've also updated our award-winning books section with spiffy new cover scans so detailed you could print your own copies! Check that out here.

    high res

    high res

    high res

    high res

    Look Behind the Screens

    Here are two CDs that don't come from Mythic - as a grand finale to the 'Making the Game' series, Captain Johnny has provided ISOs of his Wing Commander Prophecy and Wing Commander Secret Ops development CDs! They're full of useful information and tools - everything from ship specifications to a copy of the MED internal mission editor. Can you get it to work?

    Making the Game - Part 97

    And here's an ending! Making the Game Part 97 features Wing Commander Prophecy's "losing" mission series. This is (for now!) the last update in the Making the Game series - we hope you've enjoyed this chance to study the development of Wing Commander Prophecy. Special thanks to Billy Cain, Jorg Neumann, Adam Foshko and John Guentzel for donating materials. We'll do it again real soon!
    Bible 27 - Series L
    Download (5.6 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 11

    Still Don't Call It That

    This update isn't a new feature: it's a mea culpa, and a necessary one. Last year we started the WCPedia and asked that everyone help us develop a world-class Wing Commander Encyclopedia... but then life got in the way. In short, we screwed up -- so let's try it one more time! I'll start work on the project tomorrow at 9 AM and this time I promise it will be my #1 priority. All the same rules apply... and I hope we have some of the same good people working as we did last time around.

    Standoff, Speed Up

    The Standoff team has a very cool birthday present for everyone -- a small mod for the game that changes the Raptor into the unreleased 'speeder' ship planned for Privateer! They say:
    You can head on to the downloads section to check out this new ship, which we've dubbed Artemis-class, and which will be present in Standoff's next episode among the many civilian ships that fell to the Kilrathi offensive in orbit around Mars. This patch will replace the Raptor in Standoff's simulator with the Artemis, and will temporarily disable sending your scores to the online scoreboards (for all ships), but it can be uninstalled through the Windows Add/Remove program control panel.
    Grab it here (300kb).

    Post Your Desktop

    Our Wallpapers section has been updated to include all the great desktop images that were featured in the news over the past year. This includes around twenty art works from talented artists in our community and a great deal of official Wing Commander Arena imagery.

    Poll - Who's a Lifer?

    We have an annual tradition 'round these parts - polling the audience about how long they've been part of our community. Did you board the ship for Arena or have you been privateering since WCHS days? Cast your vote and let us know!

    ... and as for our last poll, it looks like the TCS Tiger's Claw had the most popular briefing room. Good to know, in case... well, I'm not sure when that will ever be important. Nevertheless, good job Colonel Halcyon - you run a tight ship.

    Trivia Redux

    This is another annual tradition: the latecomers trivia. If you weren't able to make it to the birthday but would still like the chance to win a trivia prize then just be the first to email the answers to these five questions to us! You'll win yourself a CIC polo and Eisen hat. As always, all the answers are hidden somewhere at the site!
    Q1: What three models of Dralthi appear in Wing Commander Arena?

    Q2: What percent of people thin Redlime will be a Cybermage game?

    Q3: What Wing Commander game has never appeared on an official soundtrack CD (multiple options)?

    Q4: Name one type of Kilrathi fighter which had been planned for inclusion in Privateer 3.

    Q5: What was the first fan project mentioned in the CIC's news?

    Welcome Aboard, Newbee!

    The Wing Commander Combat Information Center is proud to announce a rare occurance -- the addition of a new staff member! Aaron "AD" Dunbar joins the team as a staff writer as of this update. He cut his teeth running Outlander.solsector.net - by himself - to great success (and we define success by posting news stories that manage to eat all of our bandwidth for a month in a matter of hours). We're lucky to have him!

    Preserving Origin's Legacy

    And least but not last, Joe Garrity of The Origin Museum has a video that... has to be seen to be believed. Fair warning, it's called "catsexy1.wmv". Fairer warning: the number leaves room for a sequel! (In all seriousness - it's hilarious):
    cat

    Last Word: Thanks!

    As always, we would like to thank everyone who attended or contributed to our birthday party this year. A special thanks to PopsiclePete who helped square away many of our last minute posts - Standoff is lucky to have him.

    Thanks to everyone involved in creating Wing Commander over the years, especially the many talented developers who are still willing to spend their time helping our community. We couldn't do it without you guys, for any number of reasons!

    Thanks to the fan project teams - Standoff, Saga and all the rest - for keeping the series alive between official releases. I always say this and it's only true half the time, but I expect big official things in the near future... and I know we can expect big unofficial things!

    And a great big thanks to the other "Technosaurs": Charlotte Lesnick, Dan Chisarick and Joe Garrity were all there to help when we needed them. In addition, everyone at Mythic who took the time to make sure we were able to do this - Paul Barnett, Chris Weakley and everyone else who treated us like professionals. Thank you so much!

    You are Cordially Invited...

    To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's tenth birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT) in #Wingnut!

    Featuring...

    • New CIC Material!
    • The first artifacts from the EA Mythic expedition!
    • Wing Commander Armada and Arena pick-up games!
    • Trivia, trivia, trivia - from 'rookie' to 'nightmare'!
    • Prizes of all shapes and sizes!
    • Delicious cake!
    • Charming Conversation from ace, AD, Chris, Frosty, Hades, Kris and LOAF!
    • ... the sad realization that it's been ten years since Secret Ops came out!
    So point your IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC just check our #Wingnut section, or just use our Java Client.

    Dark Horizon on the Horizon

    Dark Horizon, the latest in a sporadic line of quality space shooters from unfamiliar developers, now has a release date: September 26th. CVG says it best, with a story that doesn't even mention the game's name in the headline: "Wing Commander-like space sim dated" (link): "Dark Horizon looks like it follows in the footsteps of X-wing, TIE Fighter and Wing Commander." Let's hope this is the title that re-ignites an interest in space combat games!

    Making the Game - Part 96

    Part 26 of the Wing Commander Bible is the final Kilrah series -- study up for clues as to whether or not Blair is still alive.

    Bible 26 - Series I
    Download (23 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 57

    GameTap to Discard Pile

    From the not-so-tragic-when-it-happens-to-them department: Gamasutra is reporting that Turner Broadcasting is preparing to sell off the poorly run GameTap service:
    Time Warner says that GameTap parent Turner has decided to sell the subscription and ad-based PC gaming service.

    The parent media company's second quarter financial results released this morning showed an $18 million writeoff credited to the decision.

    "There is considerable marketplace interest in the GameTap business and brand," said a Turner spokesperson of the pending sale. "We are considering various strategic options, but have reached no final agreement as yet. When there is a resolution, we will announce it."

    At the risk of editorializing: when Ted Turner's business model can't support your crazy project, it's time to close up shop. They should have stuck with Wing Commander! Better days:

    Making the Game - Part 95

    Series H of the Wing Commander Prophecy bible is the Hrissith System (as it is now known) - and for a portion of the game criticized for not having very many video sequences, it actually clocks in at the longest of the bible mission notes sections (61 pages).

    Bible 25 - Series H
    Download (23 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 61

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Joins Wrestling Creative Team

    World Wrestling Entertainment, whose offering includes Friday Night SmackDown! and WWE RAW, has recruited Freddie Prinze Jr. into their creative team. The 32-year-old former teen heartthrob starred in Hollywood blockbusters like Scooby-Doo and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but is perhaps best known for his portrayal of a young Christopher Blair in the 1999 feature film Wing Commander. While it doesn't sound like Prinze will be doing any (simulated) fighting, his experience wrestling giant cats probably looked good on his resume in this particular case.
    NEW YORK, July 31, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
    Freddie Prinze, Jr., a long-time fan of World Wrestling Entertainment(R), has joined WWE(R)'s creative team. Prinze, Jr. will now have a behind-the-scenes role contributing to USA Network's ratings powerhouse, WWE Monday Night RAW, as well as WWE's weekly television and pay-per-view programs.

    "Bringing on board an experienced Hollywood writer, actor and producer like Freddie Prinze, Jr. will only increase the level of entertainment to millions of viewers and passionate WWE fans every Monday on USA," said Chris McCumber, Executive Vice President Marketing Digital & Brand Strategy, USA Network."

    "Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s passion, energy and creativity make him an excellent fit for WWE," said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.

    Making the Game - Part 94

    The G'Mar (here: G'Marr) series of Wing Commander Prophecy is Series G in the game's designer bible. One interesting note here is that in this plan for the game the Nephilim comms are only now translated - instead of almost immediately as in the finished version. It would have been interesting to have the aliens completely, well, alien, for almost the entire story. You can also find at least one 'Dane' that wasn't changed into a Casey months earlier!

    Bible 24 - Series G
    Download (15 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 34

    Black Day for Blackstar

    There's more bad news for SpaceTime Studios. The Austin-based developer has been unable to find financing for their Blackstar space combat game and are being forced to cut their development team in half:
    Our company has been entirely self-funded the for the last six months while we tried to find a publishing deal for 'Blackstar.' Throughout this period we have held onto our pre-production development team because, honestly, we think they are the best of the best. We have been shopping Blackstar around but - right now, at least – the concept of a SciFi space/ground IP has proven to be a challenge. Our studio cannot survive at its current burn rate without a publishing deal, so we face a necessary (though very difficult and painful) decision. We are scaling down from thirty-two down to sixteen folks in the hopes of developing a pitch, a prototype and another publishing deal.

    We will be letting some very good folks go. They will receive extended benefits and we will be doing everything we can to help them land on their feet again. We consider these people to be the cream of the crop, so if you are looking to staff up your team please drop us a line at jobs@spacetimestudios.com.

    This is a huge shame - the SpaceTime team included a group of former Wing Commander developers more impressive than any other in the last decade. The Blackstar team included people like Chris Douglas and Anthony Sommers who have always represented the creative soul of Wing Commander's development. We hope for the best for all involved.

    Making the Game - Part 93

    Today's Wing Commander Prophecy bible update, Series F, represents the second half of the T'lan Meth missions. One cut mission here is fascinating - the Midway would be surrounded by tiny alien probes which the player must destroy in order to stop infinite waves of attacking fighters from honing in on her.

    Bible 23 - Series F
    Download (28 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 62

    Kilrathi Character Model In Work

    NinjaLA is working on a posable Kilrathi model. He's still working on the textures and skeleton to manipulate, but the basic model shape is together. It seems like a pretty accurate representation, though I have to admit looking at it definitely creeps me out.

    I think the legs are pretty broken at the moment, and I'll detail up the head a bit more. Right now I think it's around 200k polys so it's not exactly a game model. It would be nice in video format though.

    Making the Game - Part 92

    Series E is what will eventually be known as the T'lan Meth series -- but it's clearly in a much earlier form here. Check out both the cut mission (E5 - unwinnable!) and the many, many references to a 'Kilrathi Reservation Planet'. That's a concept that didn't make it into the finished game...

    Bible 22 - Series E
    Download (22 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 50

    Defend Blackmane Base

    This is the third week of the Wing Commander III replay effort. Depending on what happens in Blackmane, Wingnuts will get sent to either Delius or Ariel next. Here are DaveO's notes from Tamayo:
    Eisen is here at the simulator along with Flash and some other pilots who want to see the action. Eisen explains that as a general rule he does not condone these displays of dominance. He says that I'm taking a big risk in terms of ship morale, especially if I lose. He gives me the advice to kick Flash's butt in the simulator.

    I have enough time to do the standard power configuration in my Arrow before Flash gets in range. He does shoot and hit me with two missiles at close range, so I need to evade and use decoys quickly if I want to win this duel. I have to use decoys multiple times, and then finally get a chance to use a full salvo missile launch. Flash decoys all the missiles away, so I'm going to have to keep trying. I'm able to launch two more missiles at the same time, and one does hit and damage Flash's Arrow. Flash taunts me and says that I'll soon be flying a wheelchair and that he's surprised at my reputation. No more missile launches of mine hit Flash, so now I playing the waiting game in letting him exhaust his afterburners. After a final desperate full afterburner frontal attack, Flash has made his mistake. With no afterburner fuel left, I pursue him aggressively from behind. After many successful hits to his rear shields, I take a chunk off his Arrow. His rear is definitely damaged, so it's time to finish him off. I again systematically blast those rear shields, and after several more successful hits I finally hit him enough to deal the final blow. Flash says that he'll honor our bet, and Vaquero says fighting the Kilrathi is definitely a different experience from test piloting. Maniac turns away in disappointment since he thought that I was overrated and expected me to lose the duel.

    Making the Game - Part 91

    The series D section in the Wing Commander Prophecy designer's bible plots out the H'hrass System, where Blair is captured by the aliens. One thing I really like about these documents is the 'designer notes' sections, which can now serve as a sort of explanation and defense of the design decisions assosciated with each group of missions.

    Bible 21 - Series D
    Download (15 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 33

    Birthday One Week Away!

    The CIC 10th Birthday is now just a week away! If you haven't already done so, mark your calendars for this Sunday evening (August 10, 2008) at 7:00 pm Eastern US time (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT). At that time we'll be kicking off our annual birthday party online in #Wingnut.

    The CIC Staff has been pretty busy this year preparing for and executing the Mythic Mission, but we still have a couple nifty-cool anniversary surprises in store. As usual, we'll also have trivia, prizes and more as we count down to midnight GMT. Even though it's a Sunday night (or Monday morning), I also expect quite a few games of Prophecy multiplayer, Armada online or Wing Commander Arena to spin off after the main event. First time visitors can drop by #Wingnut easily via our web interface. See you there!

    Making the Game - Part 90

    Part 20 of the Wing Commander Prophecy designer's bible is the G'wriss System. Check out the margin note on the first page - "C3a or B DALLAS DIES!"

    Bible 20 - Series C
    Download (21 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 47

    Standoff Team Completes Final Cutscenes

    For all those eagerly awaiting the final chapter in the Standoff series, there's a new update from Eder. Work continues at a slow pace, but the team is still committed to finishing this amazing game.
    Episode 5 continues to be something of a struggle as far as finding the energy and motivation is concerned. We've been working on Standoff for a long, long time, and... well, we are tired. So, about all we can promise in terms of schedules is that we won't give up altogether. That said, there isn't any real external obstacle that could prevent us from finishing this episode this year. Just ourselves...

    Enough whining. What progress is there to report? First up, the game engine cutscenes are all complete now - check the progress page, see how that bit of red turned blue all of a sudden. Fiction remains red, though, so Quarto is still being a lazy jerk. :-P

    Missions have also been making progress. Of the ten missions on the losing path, six are now complete - four of them in the past two weeks! Of the remaining four, Pierre has two of them in the finishing stages at the moment. So, that leaves two missions on the losing path that haven't been started. The winning path is much worse off - one mission is well under way, but it also happens to be the only winning path mission to have been started at all. The important thing, though, is that we are making any progress at all.

    Starkey also recently found a problem with the Standoff website, so if you visited in the last few weeks and don't run any kind of anti-virus scanner, you should probably run a check. AVG Free is free and works great.

    Making the Game - Part 89

    Wing Commander Prophecy Bible: H'rekkah Series (here called Nephele - that would have confused people). There are 35 pages alone to describe the game's few introductory missions...

    Bible 19 - Series B
    Download (16 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 35

    Richard Garriott MMO Immortality Space DNA Contest

    No, it's not a random collection of words for the search spiders -- believe it or not, Origin founder Richard Garriott wants to preserve the species by taking your DNA into space. He's going to decide who will go through Operation Immortality, a contest connected to NCSoft's Tabula Rasa MMO game. Eight lucky winners will have their DNA sequences stored on an 'Immortality Drive' aboard the International Space Station... and every active Tabula Rasa user in August will have their character data likewise stored. The future of human civilization never looked brighter!

    Making the Game - Part 88

    Today is the first part of the last group of Wing Commander Prophecy bible updates. These last few days will focus on the bible's massive series-by-series breakdown of the game. Each one has dialogue, mission design, notes, comm and ship requirements and other material for each mission in the game -- a full 30 to 60 pages of material per series. We start off with the training missions...

    Bible 18 - Series A
    Download (21 MB)

    Date: Unknown
    Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
    Donated By: Billy Cain
    Pages: 29

    Follow or Contact Us

    Forums: Recent Posts

    Current Poll

    Where to Buy

    WCPedia: Recent Contributions

    Site Staff