Italy Makes a Cine

A curious new film service is in the development phase in Europe. Cine1.it is an on-demand movie distribution website that looks to eventually serve much of the European Union. Sign-up is free, as is watching the films as long as viewers are willing to watch a short advertisement. For now, most of the films they have to offer are in Italian.

Of the modest selection of licensed feature films currently available, the Wing Commander Movie ("Attacco Alla Terra") makes a prominent showing. The ad-supported service requires visitors sign up, and then they have the option of streaming the movie in three different qualities, including DVD quality.

Right now the service is limited to Italy, the testbed for the program, so the film is dubbed in Italian. It's a decent voiceover job though as Paladin was the only voice that really stood out as odd for me. They even dubbed the background comm chatter! I also haven't confirmed that the English version is not on the service. Wingnuts outside of Europe probably won't be able to stream the movie, unless you have a direct link to the movie files which use DRM7. Therefore, you will still need to sign up for the service and watch a short advert before watching the film.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 48

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the ninth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2670" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.
  • "2669-2671" - My addition, describes "False Colors".
  • "2671-2672" - My addition, describes one of Andrew Keith's proposed sequels to False Colors. I wanted to make SURE these went 'on the books', since the novels will never be written.
  • "2672" - My addition, describes Privateer 3.
  • "2673" - My addition, describes Wing Commander IV.
  • "2675" - My addition, describes the other proposed False Colors sequel.

Arena Dralthi Coming to Secret Ops

JasonRocZ wanted to highlight the work he's done on the Dralthi IX Striker for the Collateral Damage mod. The three images below show the ship in different stages of production. The middle image looks a little sharper, but the third design is actually the more advanced model - it just had some texture issues at the time the shot was taken. A final version with a cleaner look should appear in the Secret Ops engine when WCCD is released. Up next on the drawing board should be more Nephilim models.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 47

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the eighth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2669.262" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.
  • "2669.267" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline. I did make one (somewhat major) change - the death count has been changed from the tiny 12,432,187 to the 9,500,012,432,187 to reflect the numbers given in the Wing Commander Prophecy guide.
  • "2669.322" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.

Destroyer Refit Heads Home

Here is Aaron Thomas' improved Southampton class destroyer for the WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod. In addition to a variety of upgraded ships and a stunning graphics overhaul in work with TonViper, the next new release could include a special map pack with familiar locations in the Wing Commander universe. Since both WC4 and Wing Commander Arena take place in the same region of space, some familiar Arena-themed maps would be super...

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 46

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the seventh timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2669.233" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.
  • "2669.242" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.
  • "2669.247" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.

Heatwave Rises

Congratulations to Billy Cain! The lead of Wing Commander Prophecy, Wing Commander 2 SNES and others is joining Heatwave Interactive, an impressive company run by fellow Originite Anthony Castoro. Billy Cain has always been very kind to the Wing Commander community, always willing to answer questions about Origin... and Anthony Castoro has always been interested in working on the series! It can't be bad that these Origin veterans are coming together for a new venture. You can find the full release on PRWeb.
Heatwave Approaches Critical Mass

Billy Cain, Award-winning Producer and Co-Founder of Critical Mass Interactive, joins Heatwave as Producer of the Central Studio Games division.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) September 15, 2008 -- Heatwave™ Interactive announced today that it has hired Billy Cain, Co-founder of Critical Mass Interactive, as Producer of Central Studio's Games division. Mr. Cain will become a silent partner at CMI while he gives his full professional attention to production and game operations at Heatwave.

"With significant contributions to over 125 shipped titles on almost every platform imaginable, Billy is one of the most experienced and well liked Producers in the games business," said Anthony Castoro, Heatwave's President and Chief Creative Officer. "In addition to his strong reputation as an award-winning Producer and highly connected problem solver, Billy is committed to improving the overall game industry as evidenced by his active mentorship and participation in various industry organizations both local and international."

With significant contributions to over 125 shipped titles on almost every platform imaginable, Billy is one of the most experienced and well liked Producers in the games business Mr. Cain was drawn to Heatwave Interactive because of its unique business model focused on disciplined pre-production, rapid iteration and collaborative development. "Ever since CMI worked with Anthony at EA, I've known that we share a vision for how to do it better," said Billy Cain. "Anthony and Donn 'walk the walk,' and together we're building the kind of company any game developer would be thrilled to be a part of."

"We are very pleased to support the growth of Heatwave Interactive," commented Matt Scibilia, CEO of Critical Mass Interactive. "We'd like to congratulate Billy, Anthony and Donn on this important announcement!"

Heatwave™ Interactive is currently developing several new titles for games, film and television. The addition of a proven game Producer with extensive internal and external development experience to the Central Studio is vital to the company's business model. Critical Mass Interactive will continue to operate its business with Mr. Cain as a silent partner.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 45

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the sixth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2668" - No changes.
  • "2669" - The first half is from Victory Streak. It has been rewritten slightly to change the tense - the original version was about the mission having just left. Also confirms that the Lexington was never recovered. The second half is my addition, describing Privateer.
  • "2669.221" - Alternate version addition. From the unpublished Wing Commander IV version of the timeline.

WC's Legal, Baby!

It was eighteen years ago today that the original Wing Commander game shipped to stores. On that day, Origin set a benchmark that game companies continue to aspire to. Graphics standards, technology and methods of storytelling have changed dramatically, but the wonderful experiences presented by Wing Commander are just as powerful today as they were in 1990.

When we opened this site in 1998, it felt like we were a little late to the game and were stuck playing catch-up. Now we're extremely proud to say that we've been operating for the majority of Wing Commander's life. As evidenced by our current poll, many of you have also been here with us for much of this time. But whether you first arrived on the scene in 1996 or 2006, we encourage everyone to seek out new Wing Commander experiences and build on their favorite fandom. We might not get new games at the same pace as we did in the '90s, but we are blessed with a mind-boggling amount of material to enjoy. So if you've never done so, pick up a Wing Commander novel one of these days. Download the Academy cartoon show or find the exciting alternative 3DO version of Wing Commander 3.

Then after you've expanded your collection, don't forget to come back and share your adventure with everyone else. We'll be here waiting!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 44

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fifth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2653-2655" - No changes.
  • "2656-2667" - No changes.
  • "2667" - My addition, describes Special Operations 1, Special Operations 2 and End Run.

Dralthi Get Your Gun

Remember the original Dralthi model that NNM was building? It's now nice and colorful... and armed! The original fighter's twin lasers are now on display (so we know it isn't a Dralthi Mk. II):

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 43

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fourth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2654.185" - My addition, describes "Recreation".
  • "2654.190" - My addition, describes "On Both Your Houses".
  • "2654.287" - No changes. Note that I resisted the urge to alter anything about Repleetah.
  • "2654.293" - My addition, describes "Word of Honor/The Price of VIctory".
  • "2654.326" - Alternate version addition. From the Wing Commander Academy series bible.
  • "2655" - My addition, describes 'Secret Missions 1.5".

Ascii Sector Goes Multiplatform

Hot on the heels of version 0.4 and its custom mission builder, Chris Knudsen has released version 0.41 of Privateer Ascii Sector. In addition to the usual bevy of bug fixes and cool gameplay tweaks, this marks the release of the first Lunix iteration of the game. Grab it here or check out the complete list of updates below.

- First Linux release!
- Fixed bug with captives counting against your passenger space.
- Fixed bug with '2' and '3' not toggling guns on/off.
- Fixed bug with wrong names for named ejected pilots.
- Fixed bug with contents of mission cargo containers.
- Fixed bug with ship sending docking message while fighting.
- Fixed bug with the tracking of critical wounds.
- Fixed bug with locking missiles when flying a capital ship.
- Added "+FirstName+" and "+LastName+" script functions.
- Added nav bouys to "empty" nav points.
- Added type of ship to escort in mission descriptions for escort missions.
- Added an icon to the Win32 executable.
- Added ship stats to the manual.
- Added keypad support.
- Bases you're banned from will now also show up as red on the quadrant map.
- The nav computer will now tell you where to collect payment.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 42

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the third timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2649.189" - Alternate version addition. From the Super Famicom version of Wing Commander I, translated from Japanese.
  • "2649.205" - The correct placement for the Custer's Carnival story. The date comes from the Terran Confederation Handbook.
  • "2653" - Alternate version addition. From the Wing Commander Academy series bible.
  • "2654.074" - My addition, describes the Wing Commander movie.
  • "2654.079" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Stars.
  • "2654.130" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Truth. I wanted to make the unpublished novels 'canon', even if their specifics are not.
  • "2654.131" - My addition, describes 'Last One Left'. The Wing Commander Academy dates come from the Japanese version of the Wing Commander movie DVD, which takes them from the CIC's theoretical timeline.
  • "2654.162" - My addition, describes 'Lords of the Sky'.
  • "2654.176" - My addition, describes 'Expendable' and 'Chain of Command'.
  • "2654.186" - My addition, describes 'Invisible Enemy'.

Community Replay: WC4 Week 2

This is the second week of Crius.net's community replay of Wing Commander 4. Wingnuts who stick with the Lexington get to play just three missions in the Silenos system, while early defectors will also log some flight time in Orestes. Next week the two groups will link up again in Pasqual. Here are Lorien's notes from Hellespont:
The briefing for today's mission is simple. After a quick chat from Eisen about using my brain and making my own decisions, he's no doubt bothered by some of the newbies, we get down to business. Pirates have been disrupting trade routes in and out of the Hellespont system with a mix of the usual raids and some senseless violence. I'm to escort a transport to the jump point and then take over the patrol at a comm relay. I'm disappointed to see that only Hellcats and Longbows are ready and decide on a Hellcat with Vero as my wingman.

We rendezvous with the transport to find it already under attack. I order Vero to attack one Razor as I take off after the other, using a long range missile shot to distract it. This allows me to get nice and close on his rear and finish him off with guns. I turn to engage the second as Vero takes it down with a well-placed missile shot. Another two Razors are waiting for us by the jump bouy. One of them is an ace and I order Vero to take off after the other fighter so that she doesn't get in over her head. The ace isn't too bad, but he still can't shake me off quickly enough to avoid an ImRec up the tailpipe. I turn back to help Vero take out her target and then we both sit back to wait for the transport to jump.

After the jump, we set course for the comm relay to find it also under attack. This time by a force of Thunderbolts. Again, there's an ace amongst them and I take him on to give the newbies a chance. BEfore the dogfight can get started, however, Eisen hops on the comm and tells me to tail the fighters back to their home base instead of destroying them. Ordering Vero tight on my wing, I use my afterburners to keep myself between 13k and 14k klicks behind and my efforts are rewarded with a frigate showing up on our radar.

How the pirates got their hands on a frigate is Intel's problem, my next responsibility is clear as I set course back to the Lexington so that we can ready a strike to take it out.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 49

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the tenth timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2680 and 2681" - Alternate version additions. These come from Origin's elaborate multi-generation timeline created for Privateer Online (second attempt). 2680 and 2681 were the only two years that overlapped with our pre-Nephilim history, but the rest exist online (and don't necessarily mesh with Arena, mind you). I had some issues with this at first and cut it down on multiple occasions. The 'Privateer 2' jab is somewhat petty... but I ultimately decided I couldn't edit it.

Standoff Completes Episode 5 Fiction

Standoff has reached another major milestone. Episode Fiction, the last red category on their Progress Meter, has changed to blue status (complete). There are still a handful of yellow and green items left to do, but this means that the highly-anticipated Episode 5 is well on its way. The team is now hard at work on missions, voiceovers, music and cutscenes. Here's Eder with the details.
Whoa. Who would've thought we'd ever see the day? I've finally removed the last bit of red from the status page - fiction has turned blue.

It's true, there's still a lot of yellow in Episode 5. The missions remain by far the biggest task still to be done. FMV is actually going very well, so perhaps in a few weeks "additional videos" may turn green as well, though this will only happen if the cutscene/briefing voiceovers turn blue. Which, incidentally, they may do in a matter of days, as they've just changed from yellow to green - we've recently received the very last cutscene/briefing voiceovers, and we only need to process them now.

There's lots going on in the music department, too - I've recently received a big chunk of cutscene music from Michael, to integrate into the FMV scenes. All in all, good progress, though missions are still going way too slow for my liking. And probably too slow for yours, too... so, what are you waiting for? :-P Drop by the forum and tell Pierre, Quarto and Pedro what you think about that! :-P

Meanwhile, I hope you excuse me if I take a moment to shamelessly promote a non-Wing Commander achievement from one of our team members... :-)

Andi Kravljaca, whom you all know as Commodore Reismann, has recently released his first music record! You see, when he's not busy playing bloodthirsty hardcore Confed officers, Andi sings in the Swedish metal band Silent Call. Their first record, released on August 22nd, is entitled Creations From A Chosen Path", and you can find some samples of each song on their website. On this record, apart from singing, Andi also occasionally plays the guitar - in particular, he does a solo on the song "Long Comes The Night". You can also hear (and see - which can be kinda scary :-P ) a lot of Andi playing the guitar in his YouTube videos.

So, if you like metal, be sure to check that out. Also, Andi tells me that Commodore Reismann "makes a guest appearance" on some of the songs in this album - which sounds to me like a damn good reason to buy the album! :-)

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 41

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second timeline page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "2634.235" - No changes.
  • "2634.239" - Alternate version addition. From the Super Famicom version of Wing Commander I, translated from Japanese.
  • "2639.033" through "2639.040" - This was the significant change to the original text. We had three versions to work from: the original in Claw Marks ('15 Years Ago') which has the correct system (Enyo), an updated version in the Super Famicom manual which adds more specific dates and details (ie, 2639.040 for the end, the 'pincer attack' plan) and the Victory Streak version which updates the original but gets the system wrong (McAuliffe) and ignores any additional details from the SFC timeline. So: I took the Victory Streak version but worked in the additional translated sentences and the dates from the SFC release and then slightly modified it to include both Enyo and McAuliffe rather than one or another.
  • "2642.082" - Alternate version addition. From the Super Famicom version of Wing Commander I, translated from Japanese.
  • "2644" - Restored/repaired! This entry comes from Claw Marks' separate history of the Tiger's Claw. I would have left it out except for the fact that Victory Streak incorrectly uses the 2644 date for Custer's Carnival, which was the 'five years ago' (2649) date in Claw Marks. They are separate stories!
  • "2645-2653" - Alternate version addition. From the Wing Commander Academy series bible. Unfortunately I realize now that I left out two important additions from that same source. Reprinted here: "2635-2638 - Kilrathi raids decimate the Confederation border planets. Only determined resistance by the Terran space forces keep the Kilrathi from breaking through into the heart of the Confederation." and "2640-2643 - Inconclusive fighting among the border worlds. Some planets change hands as many as five tiems. Both sides seem to be stalemated."
  • "2646.006" and "2648.305" - Alternate version addition. From the Super Famicom version of Wing Commander I, translated from Japanese.

Spore Customizability Spawns Familiar Ships

Eddieb has moved beyond simple Kilrathi in the Spore Creature Creator, and his latest results are some impressive Wing Commander ships. He's built the Tiger's Claw, a Broadsword and a Dragon fighter so far. They look fairly accurate while retaining the unique look and feel of the Spore game.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 40

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first timeline page:
CONCEPT: The timeline is my favorite part of the manual and it is the single thing I am most proud of including and working on. It's an surprising mix of self restraint and over-the-top qualities that it's hard to quantify. I set myself a huge number of ground rules for this section... and found myself begging and pleading with myself for just one more page to add more material.

In short: Wing Commander manuals have a single timeline which has been evolving over time - from the 'X Years Ago' blurbs in Claw Marks to the last iteration in Victory Streak. An update was written for Wing Commander IV but not included. Therefore, it fell to me to take the original timeline, last visited in 1995, and update it for today's Wing Commander. In my fanboy heart of hearts I wanted to simply rewrite everything... but I knew I needed that original structure, Guthrig's classic timeline to derive everything from. So the rules were:

- It had to include everything from Victory Streak.
- Unpublished or uncollected material took precedence over anything I wanted to add. This meant the material Origin created for the Encyclopedia, the version from the Academy press kit, the Super Famicom additions and so forth.
- I would write entries only for individual projects. No sneaking in an extra event to explain so-and-so discontinuity otherwise unrelated to the timeline (the exception being the Pilgrim War, which was a necessary bullet point given the section's conceit).
- I would 'edit' Origin's text only where it was absolutely, absolutely necessary (I'll point this out as we go along).

So, let's take a long look at where this version of Guthrig's masterwork comes from:

  • "Official Terran Confederation Navy History" - Cool conceit, huh? The timeline was originally 'fun facts' on the Tiger's Claw, then a short article on the Victory. Now it's excerpts from a book being reprinted, to come up with an excuse for its inclusion in this magazine (and the slight necessary screw-you at the end). I'd love to read the actual book someday.
  • "2615" - Alternate version addition. From the Super Famicom version of Wing Commander I, translated from Japanese.
  • "2629.105" - No changes.
  • "2630-2634" - No changes.
  • "2631-2635" - My addition. The aforementioned Pilgrim War; it is written to parallel the Victory Streak 'buildup to the Kilrathi War' paragraph and also to take importance away from the Pilgrims in general.
  • "2634.186" - No changes.
  • "2634.228" - No changes, but note that the McAuliffe Ambush items are taken from the longer Claw Marks version rather than the condensed Victory Streak version.

Collateral Damage Sharpens Its Blade

JasonRocZ recently spent quite a bit of time revising his Rapier Vanguard and has produced an impressive Rapier Blade. The new textures included here emphasize the stabilizers on the forward fuselage to bridge the Wing Commander I and Super Wing Commander designs slightly. This popular Wing Commander Arena ship will appear in his upcoming Collateral Damage mod for WC Secret Ops. Jason is also hard at work on a variety of Nephilim ships with updated textures.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 39

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the Crusader page:
CONCEPT: Most Origin games included this type of in-joke, if not in their manuals then in the games themselves. Voices of War advertised the Bioforge movie, Victory Streak had a review of System Shock, etc. I should note that these were in-jokes - no one meant for all Origin games to have a shared continuity.

The background is a heavily filtered version of (part of) the Crusader: No Remorse artwork. This page was originally a quarter-sized advertisement which was blown up to a full page because the concept deserved better. There's also a hilarious 'early sketch' placeholder of this where I drew the Crusader dude freehand in MS Paint somewhere...

  • "Digital Holovid" - Per the Kilrathi Saga manual, this was the name of the production company that made the movie of 'A Treacherous Hero'.
  • "true story" - Okay, despite what I just said, a bone for those single-continuity guys. This actually refers to the fact that the Secret Ops' fiction established that the WEC was a former Earth government in the Wing Commander continuity. Way-back-when, Captain Johnny (who wrote that fiction) noted that the only thing preventing the two games from taking place in the same world was Crusader's use of teleportation.
  • "Aaron Dunbar" - The Wing Commander fan who was (at the time) working on a movie edit of Wing Commander IV's FMV footage.
  • "No Mercy" - No Mercy was a cancelled Crusader sequel. Supposedly would have been more of an FPS - blah.
  • "Ultraviolence" - Clockwork Orange.
  • "Keenan Weaver" - The Crusader fan who runs 'Echo Sector', that communit's equivalent of the CIC.
  • "Morgana Carr" - The actress daughter of Saranya Carr from Claw Marks, as introduced in the Secret Ops fiction.
  • "Clint Mason" - Star of 'Hail SHODAN', the System Shock reference in Victory Streak.
  • "Allen Amikov" - Star of 'Dangerous Angels', a holovid mentioned in Voices of War.
  • "Aaron Henton" - Musician who's "techno-industrial discordance" album was reviewed in Victory Streak.
  • "Tristan Roberts" - The Chris Roberts alter-ego, a famous director from the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide.

Good Old Games Sounds Great

It's not just game players everywhere who think Wing Commander would make an excellent addition to Good Old Games' upcoming lineup. st3lt3k found an interview with GOG's VP of PR and Marketing, Tom Ohle. Wing Commander even makes his personal list as the best example of classic EA games potentially available for licensing.
GameCyte: Are there any games that you, specifically, would like to see added to the GOG lineup?

Tom Ohle: My own personal wishlist has a lot of the old LucasArts adventure games. I played a lot of LucasArts games in general when I was younger; Tie Fighter, X-Wing, things like that. EA’s got a lot of great stuff in their back catalog, like Wing Commander. I think the list is pretty huge.

Instead of a subscription-based service like Gametap, Good Old Games is shooting for downloadable game sales priced around $10 or less. Some parts of the business should come online in the next few weeks.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 38

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the fourth powerups page:
CONCEPT: I had no idea the game even had different 3D models for the recharge stations until I saw them in a pack of artwork from Gaia! The fanboy in me had to create little specification sets for each one...
  • "plates of extra Durasteel" - Again!
  • Insect Names - I clearly said 'bug' when I saw these things. Cicada comes from having 'Brood X' cicadas appear in my home every seventeey years... Aphid is just a bug with a funny name... Scarab was the transport from the original Privateer manual... and Luna Moth was because a huge beautiful Luna Moth happened to land on my door the night I was writing this.
  • "Mini Jump Point" - A bridge between the Wing Commander IV novelization (where a corvette with this ability is seen) and Privateer 2, where such gates are common! All that by the way of Secret Missions 2's 'mini jump points' that connected locations inside an individual system. Is it stretching it that a mini-jump point might take you from place to place inside a single huge space station? I will say... no.
  • "Prototype" - The functionality here (damages nearby spaeccraft) was something that didn't make it into the finished game. I believe there was some hope that these would appear all around the space station map... but that was probably abandoned by the time I wrote this. I primarily included this because I wanted to make sure I used all the 3D renderings Gaia sent along, since they'd spent so much time making them. The broad term 'prototype' comes from Privateer 2, which used it to classify otherwise unidentified heavy military warships.
  • "Pleiades Sector" - This is where Wing Commander Academy (the TV show) took place, according to the show's bible. It needs to be added to the Universe Map someday.
  • "Delta Quad" - Poor Brownhair, Taryn got the credit for discovering the area of space with the Steltek Derelict.

Life During War-Time

It sounds like our friends at Mythic Entertainment can finally rest - their years-in-the-making masterpiece, Warhammer Online, goes live today! Warhammer is a major MMO which has garnered much praise during its development. Congratulations to all involved in the project... and here's hoping the game is a smash hit! Wing Commander fans may remember that Mythic recently allowed us to archive a massive collection of Origin's relics - so we can say with some authority that they have a great team which deserves all possible success! Here's the press release, courtesy of Business Wire:
FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LET THE WORLDWIDE WAAAGH! BEGIN! Mythic Entertainment, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) studio, today launched the highly anticipated MMORPG, Warhammer® Online: Age of Reckoning™ (WAR), in North America, Europe and the Oceanic territories. With the game’s servers now officially live, all players are invited to enter WAR’s grim fantasy world, swear allegiance to the armies of Order or Destruction, and experience the glory of Realm vs. Realm™ combat.

“The Day of Reckoning is finally at hand and I am pleased to invite players to take their first steps into the Warhammer Fantasy universe,” said Mark Jacobs, co-founder and general manager of Mythic Entertainment. “The stage is set and the combatants are ready - it’s time to go to WAR!”

WAR offers a number of subscription options for eager recruits:

  • Monthly Subscription: $14.99 USD
  • 3-Month Subscription: $41.97 ($13.99 per month) USD
  • 6-Month Subscription: $77.94 ($12.99 per month) USD
  • Players entering the Age of Reckoning can look forward to invading enemy lands, assaulting imposing fortresses, and sacking sprawling capital cities for the glory of your Realm. They will wield devastating magic and deadly weapons, battle monstrous creatures, and join their brothers-in-arms in epic Public Quests™. Players can climb the Bastion Stair, carry their Guild Banner into battle, and unlock the infinite secrets of the Tome of Knowledge as they travel the world. The wait is over - the Age of Reckoning has begun and war is everywhere!
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is now in stores everywhere at an MSRP of $49.99. Available for PC, WAR is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. Prepaid Game Time™ cards are also available at most game retailers. For more information, visit http://www.warhammeronline.com/.

About Warhammer® Online: Age of Reckoning™

Experience the glory of Realm vs. Realm! Declare your allegiance and join thousands of mighty heroes on the battlefields of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the new MMORPG from Mythic Entertainment, the creators of Dark Age of Camelot™. Enter a grim world of perpetual conflict to fight for the Realms of Order (Dwarfs, High Elves, and Empire) or Destruction (Greenskins, Dark Elves, and Chaos). Invade enemy lands, besiege imposing fortresses, and sack sprawling capital cities for the glory of your Realm. Wield devastating magic and deadly weapons, battle monstrous creatures, and join your brothers-in-arms in epic Public Quests™. Climb the Bastion Stair, carry your Guild Banner into battle, and unlock the infinite secrets of the Tome of Knowledge as you travel the world. So sharpen your blade and unleash your inner mutation. The Age of Reckoning has begun and WAR IS EVERYWHERE!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 37

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the third powerups page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "armor plates" - This is a concept that the development team was very big on, but that I never quite saw as being so important - ships in Wing Commander Arena differ from classic ones in that they have plates and plates of simple Durasteel armor which can be easily replaced, rather than hulls made of increasingly prized metals. I felt the need to reference it a few times, regardless.
  • "Mace Tactical Nuclear Mine" - Originally the Mace Tactical Nuclear Missile from Special Operations 2 and Wing Commander IV. This was actually the earliest powerup to be 'explained', as the game's Producer wanted a backstory for the mine weapon found in the Meteor Storm mode.

Deck the Walls with Boughs of Movie

KilrathiKiller, known for his cool Wing Commander Academy wallpaper, has created another background - one from the Wing Commander movie! He says:
So back in February I made a wallpaper for Wing Commander Academy TV show. I said if everybody seemed to like it I would put out more going in Time-line order, well kind of. I wish I would have done this sooner but been busy with school and work, I haven't much time and I have to do Photoshop and such for school all the time. But Anyways, I really love to do this and here is my next installment in my series is here. Its the Wing Commander Movie Wallpaper. Hope you enjoy!
The montage is available for both widescreen and ordinary human monitors:

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 36

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second powerups page:
CONCEPT: See the previous post!
  • "Merc Inc" - References the 'disposable wingman' backstory from the first Privateer Online concept. Obviously, this was something of a difficult powerup to explain... the runner up was that it created a holographic duplicate of your fighter.

New Ascii Sector Adds Mission Builder

Version 0.4 of Privateer Ascii Sector has been released with a host of improvements. Several bugs have been fixed and a few minor gameplay tweaks were implemented, but the biggest thing is user-scripted quests. Players are now able to create mini stories for other users to try out. Chris Knudsen has put together a website with an example quest, how-to guide and the actual quest maker tools here. Missions that people make can also be submitted and will appear on the Ascii Sector website. Download the game and get started today!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 35

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first powerups page:
CONCEPT: This is a directly gameplay related section. We planned it from early in the project but didn't have a concise list of powerups until very late in the game... and when it arrived it came with these absolutely beautiful high resolution renderings of each one! I ended up expanding the section to give everyone a better view of them. Maybe we can post the original images somewhere, they're quite spectacular - if not the most interesting technology in the world. Speaking of which, take a look at the amount of detail that transfers from the source reenderings to the in-game models... you can even see tiny rivets and such. A lot of love went into the graphics in Arena.

The next three updates will be fairly short, as there isn't much continuity in these pages. I wanted to make it clear that the powerups 'existed' in the Wing Commander universe (hence the repair droid technobabble on page one) and then let them stand alone afterwards. One other interesting point to note - not only is Arena not the first Wing Commander game to feature powerups (Proving Grounds, Wing Commander IV demo, WC:CCG) but we now see that every cancelled Origin project (Shadow Force, Strike Team, Privateer Online, Privateer 3) would have also used them in some way.

  • "Taryn Cross, E.S." - Taryn Cross was the Exploratory Services Captain from the original Privateer; Brownhair (and every player) had a cute crush on her.
  • "repair droids" - Ties the powerup game mechanics to a concept from Privateer. Nuff said.
  • "nearly invincible" - Note the toning down of the game's extremes. The same occurs throughout - are phase shields in Wing Commander 2 'really' impenetrable, or are they just treated that way in the game? Let the background material decide...

Community Replay: WC4 Week 1

Crius.net's community replay of all the main Wing Commander games has reached an important milestone as they are heading into the first week of Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom.
Welcome back Pilots. "You're either an earthworm or an eagle." Week 1 will cover 8 missions and 3 systems: Hellespont, Tyr and Masa. I bumped it up to 8 because I really dislike splitting systems between weeks. This brings us right to the Eisen defection in week 1. I can't wait to see your after action reports! Good hunting and good luck.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 34

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the Paktahn page:
CONCEPT: Yet another late-in-the-game filler page! The basic idea here was to better explain how the rollout and private ownership of space fighters in Wing Commander Arena worked. Are they newly built or actual war surplus? Who is flying them? And so forth.

REFERENCES-

  • "Fighter and Pilot" - Obviously a parody of Car and Driver. We switched the colored bars around, for good measure.
  • "2701 Paktahn Mauler" - The idea of giving fighters model numbers similar to modern cars comes from Privateer, which (in 2669) gives you the 2670 Galaxy transport.
  • "P. Deshaies" - PopsiclePete, from the Standoff mod project.
  • "Hornet" - Light fighter from the original Wing Commander.
  • "unskilled kids who want to blast their way..." - An accurate prediction of the type of person who actually DID end up picking bombers in Arena!
  • "torpedo planes" - Love that!
  • "drove Geoff Tolwyn mad" - Refers to the destruction of the Behemoth in Wing Commander III.
  • "holographic viewscope" - An attempt to quantify the 'virtual cockpit' mode.
  • "Merlin computer" - The talking computer from the Wing Commander movie.
  • "tail holster" - First appears in Freedom Flight!
  • "noxious green nutrient gas system" - The Wing Commander movie material explains that the green gas that obscures how crummy the movie Kilrathi look is a 'nutrient gas' that helps them stay battle ready. Personally, I think someone just took the green-and-black VDUs in the earlier games too seriously.
  • "fur loss" - Hah hah hah. This is part of my original charge for movie references - explain what's going on and make fun of the whole debate.
  • "Her forward armament" - Not (necessarily) a mistake. My basic idea was that the author (before I'd named him after a fan!) was kind of an insensitive idiot - and so he was either intentionally or unconsciously using the wrong gender for Kilrathi ships.
  • "efficient tachyon cannons" - Refers to the fact that the Tachyons in Privateer were far-and-away the most effective weapons in terms of damagee-per-energy.
  • "Paw DF pods... five rockets" - Why do the ships in Arena have so many missiles? Well, gameplay... so here I'm trying to suggest that they're more akin to the rocket pods in Prophecy than they are the large missiles in earlier games.
  • "Eight Lances" - The torpedo class from Wing Commander III.
  • "Epee" - Light fighter from Wing Commander II (to parallell the Hornet reference at the start of the article).
  • "DataZig" - PDA mentioned in the Kilrathi Saga manual.
  • "Quine" - The PDA from Privateer.

Homeworld Mod Cruiser Finalized

Aaron Thomas has finished his improved Tallahassee class cruiser. These images don't quite represent the very latest LOD models, but they're still super impressive. Aaron will be cooperating with TonViper in the future to more efficiently revamp the WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod. Both talented modders are already fast workers, and this should help speed up the debut of a full version 2.0 of the project quite a bit.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 32

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the Nephilim page:
CONCEPT: I have been dreaming about this image for years - I even have a drawing of it that I did as a kid, with the Wing Commander I ships. It comes from a British plane spotting poster from the Great War which featured all the fighters at the top, the bombers in the middle and then huge blimps and Zeppelins at the bottom. I've always thought it would transition perfectly to Wing Commander, with capital ships replacing the ligher-than-air stuff. There's a copy posted at the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and I should really go take a picture the next time I'm in town because I can never find exactly the one I'm thinking about online.

Obviously, we fudged it somewhat since everything else in the manual suggests that the Nephilim War has ended... but I had to include this, I just had to. For the images we colored Wing Commander Prophecy VDU images -- and as many have pointed out we tried to add a few new ships for variation (it was tough to do, though, and still keep the poster meaningful - I assume the Nephilim have a lot of new hardware that isn't on here). Note that they are to scale in their individual groupgs. I'll identify the ships (row by row) in the comments. While we did name the new designs, consider what I tell you 'unofficial' since it doesn't appear in print. REFERENCES-

  • Fighters and Bombers, Row 1: Ray Node w/ Remoras, Devil Ray, Skate Cluster, Tarpon, Lamprey
  • Fighters and Bombers, Row 2: Manta, Skate, Moray
  • Fighters and Bombers, Row 3: Squid, Stingray, Puffer
  • Support Ships: Triton, Earwig, Barracuda
  • Ships of the Line, Row 1: Tiamat, Marlin, Orca
  • Ships of the Line, Row 2: Kraken, Hydra
  • Ships of the Line, Row 3: Leviathan
  • "Watch Officer" - Terminology straight from the Blitz!
  • The "Marlin" is a reference to the Wing Commander Prophecy Gold box, which displays a Hydra identified as a Marlin (an earlier name for the ship in-development, but in that context implying that it's a new ship for the new game).
  • The flag was done by Bob McDob based on the one seen in the Wing Commander movie introduction. I've been told since that the actual colors are slightly off (it's not colored in the intro), but this is the in-continuity representation now!

Space Sim First Look: Shattered Horizon

Attention fans of indy space titles with 'Horizon' in their names: better not spend your whole budget on Dark Horizon just yet... because Hurleybird reports that Shattered Horizon is on its way from Futuremark:
Futuremark® Games Studio today revealed Shattered Horizon™, a new game where players fight to survive in the aftermath of a catastrophic Moon mining accident that throws billions of tons of rocky debris into near-Earth space. In this multiplayer first-person shooter for PC teams of players experience realistic zero gravity combat surrounded by the broken remains of orbital infrastructure and the millions of asteroids now encircling the Earth.

With simple and intuitive controls players have complete freedom of movement, making full use of the distinctive environment to control the battle. Shattered Horizon rewards players with gameplay and tactics impossible in games constrained by gravity.

Appealing to everyone who has ever dreamed of going into space Shattered Horizon puts the player in the spacesuit of a survivor from the Moon mining operation or one of the astronauts trapped on the battered International Space Station. With Earth surrounded by debris there's little chance of rescue or return. Desperate battles are fought and control of limited supplies means the difference between survival and death in the cold of space.

Jukka Mäkinen, Head of Futuremark Games Studio, said, “We are excited to reveal the first details of Shattered Horizon. Fans of 3DMark have been asking us to make a game for many years. We’re working hard to create something new, different and very, very fun.”

“In zero gravity the player is set free to play in new ways,” said Antti Summala, Lead Game Designer. “Complete freedom of movement and unique level design create an experience that is at once familiar to anyone who loves the FPS style and yet strikingly different to any game they’ve played before.”

Mikael Bowellan, Lead Artist for Shattered Horizon said, “Players will be awed by the epic sight of countless asteroids circling the Earth. Our stunning lighting effects create the look of real space for both the natural and man-made objects. We’ve taken existing concepts in weaponry, propulsion and spacesuit design to make the world of Shattered Horizon even more convincing and believable.”

The company says their intimate knowledge of the latest PC hardware allows them to tune the game’s engine to extract impressive visuals on a wide range of systems. While the game will showcase stunning graphics on high-end PCs, gamers need not spend a fortune to enjoy the unique gameplay.

And here I thought the moon was on our side!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 31

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

REFERENCES-

  • "The Basics" - I wanted to find a better way of putting this, I really did - but it was agreed that it was important information (frankly, I'm surprised that I got away with 'describing' the different manevuers rather than printing button combos...).
  • "To Live is to Fly" - An excellent Townes van Zandt song.
  • "Valtar, Helbraus and Yoshira" - More names for modern fighters, in this case the Firekkan lineup taken from Privateer Online. Although Firekkan fighters were considered for DLC, these names were my independant choice.

Remember When?

IGN Retro is running an article on 'The Other Mario Games' which discusses Hotel Mario and the rest of Nintendo's odd lineup for the Phillips CDi console. What does this have to do with Wing Commander? Almost nothing, but it sets the scene like this:
By the early nineties, the CD drive was on its way to phasing out floppies. Single-speed CD drives were spinning hits like Myst and Wing Commander. SEGA released an add-on attachment for its popular Genesis console, the SEGA-CD to modest fanfare, thanks in no small part to lackluster titles that include the now-infamous Night Trap.
... which, in turn brings up a good point (beyond the interesting story of these CDi games): remember Wing Commander for the SegaCD! If you've never played this version, track it down and give it a whirl immediately. It features all the missions and scenarios of the original Wing Commander plus a rarely recognized full speech option! what's more, you can emulate a SegaCD or locate a compact CDX unit with relative ease today.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 30

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first maneuvers page:
CONCEPT: These pages were planned early on, as a maneuvers page was integral to Claw Marks... and Wing Commander Arena relies even more on 'special' maneuvers which are somewhat akin to those found in a fighting game. As you can see we're using original Scimitar line art positioned in different ways -- that's because several games (including Super Wing Commander!) reuse the classic 'Scim as the example fighter for these articles. Other elements (arrows and such) are taken from the SWC manual.

REFERENCES-

  • "T. Bruckner" - Thomas Bruckner, Wing Commander Prophecy (fan) editor par excellence.
  • "clan halls... mounted bones" - Another reference to the 'I shall mount your bones in my hall!' taunt from Privateer.
  • "Satellite Techniques" - Apparently focus groups had trouble with the satellites, which is why this was added.

Jumpgate Keeps Shining

IGN PC has an interesting preview trailer for Jumpgate Evolution, which it describes as "Take the gameplay of a Wing Commander: Privateer or an Elite and set it in a massive, persistent universe". That's great - and I'm very impressed with the amount of mainstream coverage this game is getting... if Jumpgate and Star Trek Online live up to expectations, Electronic Arts would be foolish not to revisit the Wing Commander/Privateer Online concept.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 29

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the achievements page:
CONCEPT: We're getting into the gameplay-related 'meat' of the document, so the comments will be light for a few days. This is a somewhat flimsy excuse to directly integrate the game's Xbox 360 achievements into the greater continuity. I love the idea that you're actually collecting/being awarded/etc. the various icons... it just doesn't entirely make sense.

REFERENCES-

  • "Commando" - The missed opportunity here is that this is actually supposed to be a tattoo. Unfortunately that backstory exists only in the actual achievement description without any context: 'Earned ULF Commando Tattoo'.
  • "Armadillo Firearms" - These advertisements are taken directly from the original Privateer. They play on the projector in the Mercenary's Guild offices.

It was an Amusing Episode... of Our Lives

Remember Secret Ops? PC World does! Another of their recent 'Casual Friday' columns mentioned it - and Standoff! - as part of a list of episodic games:
Wing Commander: Secret Ops
Network: PC
Episodiness: Cancelled
The Deal: Like every great TV series ahead of its time, WC:SO was a little too ambitious for its own good. Nowadays, 120MB downloads per installment may not sound bad, but we're talking about an age when you were lucky to have a 56KB modem. Fortunately, if you know where to look, the faithful continue to crank out free, fan-created Wing Commander episodes like WC: Standoff. Download it and savor some space opera dialogue (not to mention shooting down Kilrathi).
It's great to see WCSO mentioned, but this again refers to something of an urban legend: Secret Ops was not cancelled - all seven planned episodes were released, completing the story.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 28

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second Dralthi page:
CONCEPT: This excerpt was a late addition, an easy way to fill an extra page when it was decided that the manual would be printed. I actually sat down and wrote about 50 pages of Maniac's book at one point, as sort of an exercise in tone. If Wing Commander is ever a smash hit again I'd love to see me or someone else take a crack at doing the whole thing. I will also note that the format (down to the introductory quote) and some of the tone here are based on Chuck Yeager's fantastic and entirely enjoyable autobiography.

REFERENCES-

  • "Not a Dralthi" - I'm sure you're as tired as I am of hearing post-FMV fan going on about how every Wing Commander game has to have a Dralthi (or worse, how X Wing Commander game isn't a real title because it doesn't have one). Wing Commander II didn't have one, people, and (as you can see from the silhouette) the Drakhri wasn't even close.
  • "KF-507 Drakhri" - The designation fits with the Wing Commander movie's Kilrathi numeral system. I use it sparingly in this manual.
  • "missile rack" - The unspoken sentiment being that the Super Wing Commander Dralthi, which used the same 3D model as the Dralthi Mk. VII, *did* have the rack -- so is the Drakhri a pre-WC1 ship? Also, over-cockpit missiles (sans rack) are seen in Wing Commander Academy.
  • "Dralthi III" - First official name for the Wing Commander Armada Dralthi. As you can see it looks a bit different from the Dralthi IV seen in later games.
  • "speed record" - The ships in Wing Commander Armada were, for whatever reason, really really fast! Note that the service entry dates for all these ships were chosen to be somewhat before we first see them (2658 for the Armada ship, 2662 for the WC3 ship, etc.)
  • "Dralthi IV" - This is the Wing Commander III, IV and Prophecy Dralthi; previously it hadn't been confirmed that the WCIV and Prophecy versions were variants rather than newly numbere Dralthi. My apologies, if you were betting on the latter.
  • "most produced starfighter" - The Kilrathi equivalent to the ME-109 - a good enough Dralthi-analogue as can be found.
  • "Dralthi Mk. VII" - The Mk. VII is named in an unlikely place - the cover art to Wing Commander Academy, a game featuring NO Dralthi! The ship itself appears in Privateer and the description here is an attempt to pass it off as an independant commerce raider (which is what they seem to be doing in the Gemini Sector).
  • "Fusion Cannon" - The upgraded version of the VII, seen in Righteous Fire.
  • Screenshot - This page probably suffers the most in terms of trying to fit a moderate amount of text into more space than it needs. The giant picture and the space around the Drakhri box give it away...
  • "Hundreds of thousands" - Take that, Star Wars!
  • "underground caves and rudimentary facilities" - To show you how the Kilrathi have suffered and also to create another World War II analogue -- the Nazis and the Japanese were both ultimately forced to resort to piecing together their fighters in caves.
  • "Attack Fleet!" - Attack Fleet was an early Wing Commander fan project... an RTS game that went nowhere.
  • "F-10 Merlin: Glory over Peron" - The Merlin was the class of fighter Blair's father flew at Peron, during the Pilgrim War... so this is one of those hated movie references. I mostly included it to give an 'F' designation to an early design - those debating the meaning of the Confederation's contradictory designation systems would do well to start here.
  • "Nemesis, Predator & Crusader" - These were Border Worlds fighters created for one of the Privateer Online concepts. I wanted to make them 'canon' somehow. If I were thinking harder I would have included designations for more early ships (Gladiator, Wildcat, etc.). Also, I'll note that we came up with very cool World War 2/United States Navy style designations for the Border Worlds ships that were supposed to be printed in an EA Arcade site update... but it never went up.

Theme for a Console in X

By now you have probably heard that the Xbox 360 Dashboard is getting a high tech makeover which seems to combine Sony's style with Nintendo's Mii avatars. Surely your first question, though, was: what will this mean for those fantastic Wing Commander Arena themes I bought? Luckily, Xbox spokesman Major Nelson has confirmed that older themes will be supported in the new look... and he's also gone so far as to post what they 'could' look like. Just imagine Darkets and Arrows instead of Halo robots and Viva Pinata monsters:

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 27

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first Dralthi page:
CONCEPT: This is another filler article, designed to make the magazine printable after some other more important addition (you'll find we took full advantage of the need to add three extra pages for each new one EA dictated). The general goal is to further connect Arena's setting to the Wing Commander continuity... with the most famous fighter known to man or cat. The silhouettes - in most cases we painted over a VDU image, although the movie Dralthi is new.

REFERENCES-

  • "E. Vielto" - Eder from the Standoff project.
  • "Dakar... Kamar... Ralar... Naukar" - An attempt to classify and explain the generic 'Kilrathi Capital Ship' shape used in many episodes of Wing Commander Academy. Note that the words are all similar to other Kilrathi ships of those classes.
  • "ten complete hull redesigns... KF-100 Dralthi" - I wanted to leave as much room as possible for future retroactive Dralthi and so I've made the KF-100 (movie Dralthi) an older design that just doesn't have a numeral. Furthermore, the 'ten major redesigns' could mean that there are ten or eleven Dralthi at this point.
  • "2521" - The date comes from the Terran Confederation Handbook, which says that it was over a century old when first contact took place. I gave it a few more years because I'm tired of introduction dates all ending in '4' (which happens because various ships are said to be X number of decades older than the start of the war or than Wing Commander I).
  • "Wu, Varni and Mantu" - Former enemies of the Kilrathi as introduced in Action Stations, Action Stations and Fleet Action, respectively. These aren't in timeline order (... but I probably meant for them to be.)
  • "first twenty years of the war" - Although I'm not a huge fan of 'then it just disappeared!', it seemed the most elegant sendoff for some of the movie technology.
  • "four times the range... Epsilon Prima" - This has long been my justification for a separate movie Dralthi design. Paladin has a story in Wing Commander I about how intell didn't expect that the *new* Dralthi would have the range to strike Epsilon Prima. So presumably there were OLD Dralthi before the 'Dralthi' in Wing Commander I (which in turn was before the 'Dralthi Mk. II'... and so forth).
  • "lend-lease" - This comes from the Wing Commander Academy episode "Lords of the Sky", where the Kilrathi are providing what seems to be WCI Dralthi to a primitive species.
  • "Mk. II" - Note well this intentional oddity - the designations are not necessarily linear, to allow for future Dralthi-additions. I've included the "Mk." where it appears in continuity (II, VII) and left it out when it isn't used (III, IV, IX). Obviously, the problem with the Dralthi Mk. II is that it looks exactly like the Wing Commander I Dralthi... so it's hard to explain, on some level, why it would have an entirely new numeral when other changes don't get them (ie, weapons loadout changes between WC3, 4 and Prophecy).
  • "built without ejection systems" - The jury is still out on this one. We're told this in Secret Missions 2 (about the Dralthi Mk. II) and it's become fan legend that Kilrathi don't eject... but we see them do it all the time. ALL the time, from Thrakhath to every single ship you shoot down in Wing Commander III. Some spinoffs, like the Handbook, adopt the line that the Kilrathi don't eject at all... so this is an attempt to explain that mess which doesn't quite wash itself (doesn't Hunter eject from a Dralthi II?). What I should have done here was noted that the KF-100 Dralthi didn't have an ejection system but that later models did - although human technology prevented man-sized ejection seats from being installed in the Dralthi II...)
  • "Firekka" - References the events of Secret Missions 2.

BRB, Changing My Site to Crunchgear

Crunchgear has posted an 'ASCII-Based Games Roundup' (really) which praises our very own Privateer: Ascii Sector:
Want to stay in space but craving a little deeper action? Fans of Privateer and games like Freelancer or Escape Velocity should check out Privateer: ASCII Sector. One of those insanely deep games with no graphics to speak of. Actually, considering what they set out to do, I think they’ve done quite a good job in depicting space, battles, and planets using only the ASCII character set.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 26

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the second Maniac page:
CONCEPT: This excerpt was a late addition, an easy way to fill an extra page when it was decided that the manual would be printed. I actually sat down and wrote about 50 pages of Maniac's book at one point, as sort of an exercise in tone. If Wing Commander is ever a smash hit again I'd love to see me or someone else take a crack at doing the whole thing. I will also note that the format (down to the introductory quote) and some of the tone here are based on Chuck Yeager's fantastic and entirely enjoyable autobiography.

REFERENCES-

  • "Back in the Saddle" - For those unfamiliar with the history: in Wing Commander II we are told that Maniac saved the Deneb Sector by forcing (either by accident or by skilled piloting) two Kilrathi battleships to collide. This is the start of that story (compressed so people will recognize it - in an actual chapter book the setup would have to be a lot longer...). The chapter name comes from Gene Autrey's signature song (Back in the Saddle Again) because it's both appropriate and I can't look at Tom Wilson without thinking about cowboys. It's a personal problem. I did actually sketch out what chapters would have to go before this in the story of Maniac's life, which is how I came up with this point being nine. I hope to be held to that someday...
  • "fifty different ways" - This addresses both Maniac's penchant for telling tall tales ("fired of a heat-seeker and BAM") and the fact that there are some slight contradictions in how this story has been told in the continuity (more on this later).
  • "Rear Admiral Jason 'Bear' Bondarevsky" - Bear from Special Operations 1 and the Wing Commander novels. I specifically decided against including him in the pilot bios, as he 'belongs' to Dr. Forstchen now... but I wanted a nod somewhere. This confirms that he's still alive and considers himself a former Landreich officer. Note that the Rear Admiral rank comes from the Wing Commander IV novelization, where Blair mentions Bear's post-war role obliquely (a Rear Admiral commanding a fleet of jeep carriers).
  • "In the Summer of '58" - It's entirely a coincidence that Ironbird came out with an awesome "Summer of '54" song parody around this same time.
  • "experimental jobs" - The Wing Commander Prophecy official guide says that after Maniac's (fake) breakdown he transferred to fighter testing... and then switched between the two roles on a tour-by-tour basis.
  • "998th FW" - The general layout for a Space Force Fighter Wing designation comes from Victory Streak. I made the number so high because... if we're losing billions of people a year, we must have an awful lot of active squadrons.
  • "Arrow lighter" - A very distant attempt to both connect this story to Arena somehow and to remind everyone that (per Red and Blue) Arrows were around in 2658. Also, cool new slang for a light fighter.
  • "Ralph's Raiders" - Starship Troopers-style alliteration.
  • "TCS Camden" - I think I named this after the family on Seventh Heaven. I'm sorry.
  • "Operation Lamplight" - Just a cool World War II-style operation name. I thought Wing Commander could use more of those!
  • "carrier air group" - I have a love/hate relationship with 'air' sneaking into space carrier terminology. I was thinking of Wing Commander Academy's claims that "three carrier air wings" were attacking the Trafalgar.
  • "Army troopships" - Fleet Action confirms that there is a Terran Confederation Army.
  • "K'Tithrak Mang" - Where the Tiger's Claw was lost two years earlier (in the introduction to Wing Commander II).
  • "T'Rel Meh" - Epsilon Sector, Sa'Kahn Quadrant.
  • "General Sturdivan" - The General from Voices of War.
  • "really looked up to me" - Poor Ralph.
  • "Vega to Terra itself" - Wing Commander I and the Wing Commander movie, respectively.
  • "laser lock" - Communication method used in Fleet Action and elsewhere.
  • "Ralatha battleships" - Ah! The Wing Commander I & II book calls them Ralatha, while the Official Guide to Wing Commander Prophecy calls them battleships.
  • "cat boxes" - Wing Commander III slang for Kilrathi capital ships.
  • "a hundred thousand Terran soldiers" - A thousand soldiers per troopship!
  • "two precious fleet carriers for good measure" - Maniac is a dreadful writer.

Saga Goes Goth

The Wing Commander Saga team has decided to go back and give their fighter models a 'lived in' feel with a new set of textures! Explained:
In the Prologue, we wanted our models to stick with a clean military look. At the time, we were still learning the tech that we were using as tools, so we weren't certain of the limits of exactly what we could pull off. So, we went with something a little on the safe side: pristine models that looked like they had just come off of the assembly line. In the past months, however, we went back to the drawing board and started applying different effects to the textures and models. As you can see, Confederation fighters now look like they have seen hard combat duty, and are dirtier and battle scarred. In this visual shift, we wanted to show that the war effort is not going well for Confed, that every fighter counts, and that every effort was made to keep these warbirds flying, sometimes even long after they should have been decommissioned. We are hoping that this visual evolution will add to the overall atmosphere of the part of Wing Commander history that we are trying to capture in our main campaign.
Here's how they look:

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 26

This is the Star*Soldier gloss for the first Maniac page:
CONCEPT: This is everyone's favorite page and also the one with the most embarassing error! The concept here was that it would look like a cheap 'Book World' type advertisement; I don't know if anyone has seen these, but they always have especially fake looking pretend books with the real cover image slapped on front of them. The big issue in my head was Maniac's picture, which no one ultimately cared about. It's from a scan of the "Biggest Fan" prop from Wing Commander Prophecy, but I have no idea if Electronic Arts had any right to reproduce a picture of Tom Wilson. My alternative was to use the 'fish face' Maniac image from Wing Commander I (from after Halcyon tells you you can shoot him down) -- but the project would have lost something not nodding to the FMV somewhere (and this is just such a cool picture).

REFERENCES-

  • "Troy Carter" - Catscratch from Wing Commander IV, now a Major General. I actually ran into some flak from Wing Commander fans for NOT killing the kid. Most people just hated him, but AD explained that Wing Commander IV's narrative works better with him dead, as later scenes with Sosa lose some context without his death. Still, I thought it was too good a joke...
  • "Armstrong and LaFong" - I love this joke and I get the feeling everyone else hates it. Armstrong and LaFong were alternate names for Blair, used in Super Wing Commander and the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide respectively. This is actually addressing a real book, since the conceit of that latter guide is that now-octogenerian LaFong has written his memoirs and you're reading them. Sorta contradicts Blair's death, too, if they're the same character...
  • "Michael Gallagher" - Trelane from the CIC. I like how he has absolutely no attribution; he must be some 28th century celebrity.
  • "Dr. Silas Torg" - Doctor Torg was the anti-war college professor who nearly gets into a fight with Bear and company at a bar on the moon in Fleet Action. Gee, it sounds crazy when describe it that way.
  • "U. of Central Florida" - This is where Wing Commander novelist Peter Telep teaches writing. He tries to reference it in all of his writing...
  • "unlikeyhood" - Is this Torg's passive-aggressive way of reminding everyone that Blair is dead, or is he still alive and just unlikely to write a memoir (like Neil ARMSTRONG)?
  • "Live big or go home" - 'Go big or go home' was a slogan used for a year of EA Sports games.
  • As you can see, this paragraphs is describing the events of Wing Commander I and III as though Maniac were the hero - which is exactly what Maniac would do.
  • "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall" - The title for his book comes from the Wing Commander Prophecy official guide, which claims he is (in 2681) thinking of writing it.
  • "Wild Eagles" - Maniac's doomed squadron from Special Operations 2. Their exploits were getting killed and spied on a lot.
  • "Rosie" - Maniac's very-brief love interest from the Wing Commander movie.
  • "Enterprise Press" - This publishing company put out Colonel Hart's memoires, referenced repeatedly in the Authorized Combat Guide to Wing Commander III.
  • "50c/8,000cat" - Note that the exchange rate is constant!
  • "President James Taggart" (On the cover) - It seemed only appropriate that Paladin would go even farther in politics.
  • Excalibur Art - Maniac flew an Excalibur at Kilrah too, so I decided to use the silhoutte. Boy, I said once I saw the finished art, that looks sort of like a penis. After giving it some more thought, I realized I'd made the right choice.

3D Models for Everyone!

Klavs81, the talented 3D artist who has designed ships and textures for Wing Commander Saga, has a great gift for the Wing Commander community - the fruits of his hard work! He says:
I've decided it's been too long, and I'm releasing my models to the general public, I'd love to see them up on wcnews, they will also be availible through Scifi-meshes.com

I remodeled the Rapier somewhat to make it appear more like the Arena rapiers, a nice transition, I think between the WC2 ship and the (SWP Inspired) Arena Rapier. Also note the "Black Lion" on the tails... :D

The Concordia I would say is about 99% complete, she's just lacking the Phase Transit Cannon on the underside, check out the hangar bay! A reminder, these ships are TRIBUTES, not intended to be 100% faithful to the originals, please enjoy them for what they are, I both love and hate the nitpicker spirit of the WC Community!

Enjoy folks, and please do with them as you like, as long as I get proper credit.

F-44 Rapier II and TCS Concordia by Adam "Klavs81" Burch

Formatted for 3DS Max 9

Comments and suggestions please contact me at Burch_a@hotmail.com

Please do not repackage or redistribute these models.

Do not attempt to sell or market these models or use them in any commercial venture.

These models are for the enjoyment of the Wing Commander Fan community and sci-fi fans in general, use them in good faith or Prince Thrakath will sneak into your bedroom and gut you like a prey animal!

Cheers, and check six!

-Adam

PS: Lots more are coming, standby!

You can download the models here:

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 25

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

REFERENCES-

  • "Antares Quadrant" - Straight out of the Wing Commander Universe map! Note that I used the original version and not the one found at the CIC - sadly, the additions there come more from a fan's desire to include everything than from necessary logic. I do mention plenty of the missing systems, but I stuck with Captain Johnny's elegant sector map rather than the more confused update. Note that the red colored systems are the ones visited in the article, not ones controlled by the Kilrathi.
  • "gold rush" - Another attempt to insist that the galaxy was colonized in ways before and aside from the incidents involving the Pilgrims in the movie's history.
  • "Wu Hegemony" - The Wu, according to Action Stations, were elephant-sized sentients enslaved by the Kilrathi two conflicts prior to the Terran war. The interesting thing here is that the Confederation apparently didn't free whatever was left of the Kilrathi slave races. A topic for future discussion!
  • "Epsilon Initiative" - This campaign comes from the short history included in the Confederation Handbook.
  • "First Repleetah" - An attempt to square seemingly contradictory descriptions of the Repleetah battle, which differ between the Confederation Handbook and Victory Streak.
  • "duration of the war" - I always wondered what happened after Special Operations...
  • "Firekka formally broke..." - This happens in Fleet Action.
  • "Trafalgar Outerworlds" - Not an imaginary story! This system declares independance in one of the Wing Commander III newsbriefs.
  • "Steltek derelict" - This was a plot considered for many potential stories after Secret Ops, including Strike Team, Privateer 3 and Shadow Force. In this capacity I'm not refering to a particular story save the "Boomer fiction" which claimed the Nephilim RIF group was searching for something specific.
  • "surplus weapons now in civilian hands" - And there's the setting for Arena!
  • "Mercenaries Guild" - One of two uninterestingly named entities from Privateer.
  • "letters of marque" - Another reminder that Privateers are different from ordinary mercenaries and bounty hunters.
  • "Black Lance" - Tolwyn's black ops group from Wing Commander IV; as I've said before, the idea is that there are now Allegorical Nazi Hunters whose job it is to bring Lancers to justice.

Kilrah Run This Week

This is the last week of Crius.net's community replay of Wing Commander 3! Wingnuts are gearing up now to infiltrate the Kilrah System and strike Kirah with the temblor bomb. Players will then get next week off before everyone jumps into Wing Commander 4. Lorien had this to say about the final mission.
Kilrah 3: Paladin's briefing is again very simple. I have a Cloaking Device and a T-Bomb that I'm to take to Kilrah and use to send them all to Hell.

The Kilrathi presence close to their homeworld is getting a lot heavier. Instead of the corvette pairs on patrol in the outer system, Vagabond and I encounter nothing but Destroyers. The first one is escorted by Paktahns and Dralthi. The fighters are easily taken care of, but Vagabond wanders into the path of too much of the Destroyer's fire and I'm forced to send him home and take care of the Destroyer myself. The next Destroyer is guarded by Dralthi and a cloaked contingent of Strakha. The Dralthi are taken care of easily, but the Strakha swarm in such numbers that I'm forced to turn around and kick them in the chops as they fire upon me. I hang back a second to let my shields recharge before diving in on the Destroyer's rear, which is covered only by laser turrets and not the heavy AMGs. The weaker rear armour also helps it go down quickly. I'm unable to take full advantage of this weakness with the last Destroyer. The Darkets escorting it swarmed in much the same way as the Strakha did at the last nav point and fortunately the tactic used against them worked just as well. The Destroyer captain, however, is very aggressive and maneuvers his ship around to constantly face my Excalibur and bring the heavy guns to bear. I'm forced to fly carefully, but eventually it goes down.

Next stop, Kilrah. I engage my cloaking device so that I can slip through the gigantic Kilrathi fleet in orbit but I disengage the cloak when a very tempting target presents itself. Thrakhath and Hobbes. Thrakhath is flying his personal Bloodfang while Hobbes is in a Thunderbolt. No doubt they've taken a guess at the pilot destroying random Destroyers in their system and Hobbes' Thunderbolt is a carefully calculated insult. I'm not one to pass up a slap in the face like that, however, and decide to play the Strakha game against him. From the cloak, I lock two IR missiles onto him and match speeds to Hobbes' rear. Disengaging the cloak, I open fire with a full barrage of guns and missiles. I doubt the traitor even knew what hit him, but I'm sure he knew who. Thrakhath and his escort of two Paktahns move to engage me and I decide to take out the Paktahns first to make it properly personal. Once they can no longer interfere, it's time to dance with Thrakhath. It's a disappointingly short dance, however. Thrakhah makes one pass that barely scores any hits on me before I fall onto his tail. The Bloodfang's shields and armour do it little good from behind and I finally rid the universe of Prince Thrakhath. With his debris field behind me, I dive towards the Kilrathi homeworld.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 24

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

REFERENCES-

  • "S'thran-Pak" - An anonymous Kilrathi system from the Wing Commander Universe map. This is Arena's "duel" mode, which is a very cool map. I'm proud of not taking the easy way out here - it would have been very simple to write a story about an asteroid crater rather than working out Wing Commander's equivalent of pistol duels.
  • "Murragh's Empire" - Murragh was the Kilrathi dissident seen in False Colors; plans for the sequel to that book would have had him entering the civil war to try and reclaim the Empire for himself (we'll talk about that later).
  • "L5" - Lagrange Points are specific areas in star systems where you can build a space station without worrying that it would gravitate in any particular direction.
  • "Charon System" - Arena's multi-purpose boneyard map! The Charon System was first seen in The Secret Missions, which I reference here as the Boneyard's origin.
  • "channels and tunnels" - These are obviously present in the game, but there were actually more earlier in the development process - you can kind of see some of their entrance points at the center of the map, which you would have had to use special maneuvers to access.
  • "Gotherian Crystals" - The special ops team from Action Stations (Tolwyn, Turner, Richards and Kruger) carried a load of Gotherian Crystals as their cover while investigating a frontier trading post. It's a great connection, since the map is chock fupp of crystals.
  • "largest Kilrathi pleasure world" - Look at that population! 19 billion kils is a lot... my intent here was to show that Kilrathi planets could have a *lot* of cat meat on them, to help explain why their wartime casualties were so very high (per the Wing Commander Prophecy guide). Since the Kilrathi were the ones wiping out entire planets, it's odd that their casualties were three times those of Earth (unless we're counting post-war suicides... and we are).
  • "Kiranka Overlay" - I wanted to use these to imply what three of the five factions in the Kilrathi Civil War were: Murragh's Empire, the Qarg Governorship and the Kiranka Overlay. The other two are found elsewhere in the manual, more directly stated - the Ki'ra and the Sihkag.
  • "k'g'harg ceremony" - Sorry, you'll have to use your imagination. Nonetheless, isn't the idea of a Kilrathi pleasure planet being a significantly different cultural experience cool? The story writes itself...

What the...?

MannPower points us to the Ultima Restoration Project's development of a fan-run Ultima I remake which seems to feature... a Kilrathi space station? It is true that Ultima I did involve space stations, shuttles and TIE Fighters... and here's what they look like in 2008, apparently:

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 23

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

REFERENCES-

    "T'Kirsa" - T'kirsa is the 'other' Firekkan system introduced in the Wing Commander Universe map. This bio, which represents Arena's "Bearpit" mode, was cut down from the original demo version of the manual. My reasoning was that the Bearpit was the least 'Wing Commander' game mode, as fun as it is - so if I could come up with a reasonable backstory for it, I could do anything.
  • "Firekkan Planetary Alliance" - The name for the Firekkan political group, also from the Universe Map. Presumably this is the Firekkan government formed after they left the Confederation in Fleet Action.
  • "Roman coliseums and Kilrathi war-halls" - The whole idea is to connect this strange, strange space station to both reality and the reality of Wing Commander. That's another reason I made it Firekkan: it seems unlikely that humans in the 28th century would have built a massive bloodsport stadium -- but someone else might have.
  • "Viewing galleries" - A feature of the mode itself, where up to 14 other players fly around the outer circle while battle happens in the center.
  • "Kika'li" - The especially alcoholic drink introduced in Freedom Flight.
  • "Last of the Megacarriers" - This is a reformatting of the various Midway explanations I worked on. You will see that various possible explanations for the change in appearance are included.
  • "TCS Port Broughton" - The name comes from a list of the Midway-class ships created by Captain Johnny back in 1997-98. I did manage to include the whole list in an article added late in the process, as I knew it was one of those things Wing Commander fans had always wanted made part of the 'canon'. The name comes from a city in Australia.
  • "CVX-10" - The original Midway was CVX-1. There was much discussion over the years as to what the 'X' meant. Basically, was it a new type of designation (a la CVS, CVE, CVA, etc.) or did it mean 'prototype' as with modern aircraft (ie, XF-22). Although the Midway was the class leader it clearly wasn't a prototype, so I've kept the designation for every ship in the class.
  • "Flight IIA Midway-class" - Here's one possible (simple) explanation for the altered appearance. I don't know if 'Flight IIA' is a common name for an uprated version of a ship or not; I took it from the US Navy's Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
  • "2686" - The novels give a five year producton time for new fleet carriers and we know from the ICIS manual that the Midway and the Mistral Sea enter service within a year of eachother.
  • "McAuliffe" - Site of the McAuliffe Ambush, introduced in Claw Marks and the focus of Action Stations.
  • "B'shriss" - Where Iceman died, as mentioned in Wing Commander Prophecy's dialogue.
  • "Silenos" - The system where you choose to defect or stay with the Confederation in Wing Commander IV.
  • "Sirius" - A system nuked by the Kilrathi in Fleet Action; also the penultimate series in Secret Ops.
  • "Fiddler's Green" - A system mentioned by Angel in Wing Commander II; it was one of several human colonies attacked by the Kilrathi at one point in the game.
  • "Reid" - The Wing Commander Universe map's shout-out to Chris Reid. The interesting thing here, though, is how far Reid is into the heart of the Confederation, which tells you something about the scope of the Nephilim War.
  • "fluid space" - One concept they talked about for Strike Team was that space would be different across the wormhole. It would have helped make the game play and feel differently... so I referenced that here, hoping to put into your heads elaborate space coral colonies and schools of space fish fighters. Imagine a place where the shiny Nephilim fighters look natural.
  • "modified to fight effectively" - Second explanation, to suggest why it looks different and is covered by those 'awful' towers.
  • "Sirius wormhole" - Not a typo, this is a wormhole in Sirius rather than Proxima (the one seen at the end of Secret Ops).
  • "Charybdis" - The quasar from the Wing Commander movie, which was the central point of many, many mysterious jump lines.
  • "secondary theater" - A slight jab at the TCS Concordia.
  • "TCSN" - I know, everyone else just says TCN, I'm sorry.
  • "18th Fleet" - Highest fleet number seen yet!
  • "Yelkin II" - Ah! This is one of the Wing Commander Armada sector map systems. I was trying to connect those great eleven maps to somewhere in the 'familiar' Wing Commander universe (Firekka).
  • "burning in space" - Heh.
  • "Tiamat battlegroups" - The Tiamat was the ultimate bad guy capital ship in Wing Commander Prophecy and apparently the Port Broughton went up against several of them.
  • "intell" - Strange spelling of intel used in Victory Streak, presumably to avoid using the same name as the chip manufacturer?
  • "new cruisers" - Oooh.
  • "Krakatoa" - This has to be a Vesuvius-class ship (in fact, the name comes from an unpublished bio Captain Johnny did on that class).
  • "history will not forget" - Somebody watched Generations. Ugh.
  • "Commodore C. Strevell" - That's Blonde from the CIC team. Also, I feel that the Commodore rank is woefully underused.
  • "four years later" - Suggests that the Nephilim War (or - some war) was still going on in 2698.

Who Wants Pancakes?

NNM is working on building a 3D model of an original Wing Commander I Dralthi, based on the Joan's Fighting Spacecraft line drawings included in Claw Marks. He says: "Laser guns not complete yet, but it will be done soon." We're looking forward to it - I've always had a soft spot for the original circle design...

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 22

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

REFERENCES-

  • "Natanya" - This was one of the three additional star systems which left the Empire in Special Operations 1. Here it's representing Arena's criminally underappreciated 'satellite' map. The backstory comes from the fact that the system was named N'Tanya in Special Operations 1 but Natanya on the Wing Commander Universe map. This seemed like an interesting story, albeit it somewhat similar to Wunderland from the Man Kzin/Known Space novels.
  • "Prince Thrakhath's refusal..." - An acknowledgement of the fact that the events of the Special Operations mission disks just aren't referenced again in Wing Commander III, for whatever reason.
  • "Midgard" - Midgard was seen in The Secret Missions and then later (in Privateer) said to be the site of the Sixth Fleet's destruction (which happened in Special Operations 1). Whew! With that history, it only seemed appropriate that it represent Conflict's popular CapShip mode. As you can see, it took some leaps in logic to explain why there was a single place in the quadrant where fleet actions occur regularly...
  • "Baldr's Channel" - A name from Norse mythology, to go with the system.
  • "escort fighters, interceptors and bombers" - The three fighter roles represented in Arena.
  • "Sting" - I just thought this was a funny name for a planet.
  • "Qarg Governorship" - One of the least (or now possibly most) appreciated Kilrathi noble clans.
  • "Sandworms and powerful dust storms" - Dune, it aint!
  • "Rigel" - Rigel is a real star and a staple of all science fiction. It appears on the Wing Commander Universe map, among other places.
  • "hover-cities... Ghorx Chasm" - In general I feel this is the paragraph that best emulates those wonderful planet descriptions from Privateer 2.

Micromania Reviews a Mega-Game

Don't you love these international magazine scans? We can thank Maxi de Sokar for another set! This is an issue of Micromania (No. 76) from 1994 - it's feature article is about Wing Commander Armada, but it also has updates on Super Wing Commander and Heart of the Tiger. I can't even read Spanish, but the layout speaks for itself - people all over the world were excited about Wing Commander in the same way!

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 21

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

REFERENCES-

  • "Corsair System" - Corsair was originally seen in Secret Missions 2, although we don't learn much about it. The game mode here is, obviously, the 'Gauntlet' map with the Midway-class ship centerpiece.
  • "Vanhecke" - KrisV from WCNews, the man behind the scenes who keeps the show running.
  • "New Confederation" - Although I flesh out this one later (and note it!) a lot of these factions are just throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks. The hope here was that it would explain just how broken-down this frontier area has become... and, in this particular case, why the Confederation logo is still seen in so many places.
  • "floating city" - Everyone felt dreadful after the community reaction to the Midway wallpaper and so I was drafted to come up with some theories that could be used if the question came up in a press interview (it never did, of course). I outlined a few possible stories - floating refugee city, modified for transit through Nephilim space, part of the 'block II' Midway design, etc. I obviously focused on the favorite (floating city) here, but I worked in all of the others somewhere too.
  • "mercenary, Privateer and would-be shogun" - I like that last one! Here, again, we note a clear difference between mercenaries and Privateers (with a capital P!).
  • "Chloe" - After my cat.
  • "Battlecruisers" - This is also something that predates the manual concept - I was asked to develop an explanation for the battlecruiser mode because the team thought they were significantly different from capital ships seen in the past. I don't entirely agree with that (we even see this kind of fleet action in the novels and the movie!) but I came up with the idea that their design is specific to fighting the Nephilim.
  • "Texas-class battleships" - My attempt to name the battleships seen in Action Stations (and to connect our story to them.)
  • "Ardai" - System seen on the original Vega Sector Claw Marks map and mentioned in Wing Commander I's dialogue.
  • "Kraken" - The 'big bad' shipkiller from Wing Commander Prophecy, now operating in squadrons to suggest the size of the war.
  • "Torgo" - Confederation HQ (later conquered by the Kilrathi) seen in Wing Commander III.
  • "Kabla Meth" - Kilrathi HQ seen in Special Operations 2.
  • "Dakota" - Human system seen in Wing Commander I (and the Wing Commander movie).
  • In general, I am sorry to say that I don't have any idea what most of these things are. They're settings rather than stories - something familiar mixed with something new that you have to expand yourself. You haev to decide President Harrison was and what Zhrtx's Doublecross was. I honestly did not think out a single one of these 'new' events in my head. I made sure to double-reference things and keep internal consistency... but the stories are up to the fans (or Electronic Arts, someday).
  • "TCS Conquerer" - Another Royal Navy-derived name for the battlecruisers.
  • "TCS Lawrence" - After T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).
  • "Colonel Casey" - Lance Casey, the main character from Wing Commander Prophecy - here a little bit older and of higher rank.
  • "Farragut Naval Station" - I threw this in to explain which battlecruiser it is you see fly past the camera at the menu screen!
  • "visually similar, owing..." - Technobabble to explain why the Kiranka and Indomitable are very similar looking in the game. Surprisingly, no one complained about this.
  • "Kilrathi Midway" - I lied, this is the one story that I thought through and then didn't do a very good job of explaining. The reference here is the late 1940s when the Russians copied a captured B-29 bolt-for-bolt and then introduced it to their inventory. America was shocked to see Russian B-29s appear in a military parade one day. So, my fun concept here was that the Kilrathi had done the same thing to the Midway - built their own Kilrathi version. Imagine the megacarrier made from tan Kilrathi durasteel and covered in red clan markings...
  • "thousands" - I wanted to remind everyone that capital ships in Wing Commander exist in great numbers (ref. Confederation Handbook).

Lend Your Voice

The Wing Commander Saga needs more men! They're looking for talented voice actors to help finish off the project. It's the role of a lifetime for any Wing Commander fan: we're all here specifically because we want to pretend we're space fighter pilots... so take that fantasy one step further and help out a fan project. They say:
In order to finish off our project, we need more voices to round out our voice talent. Previous voice work for another game is preferred, but not required. Candidates should be serious and be able to sound like someone in their 20s. Openings are for miscellaneous ships and roles, with a strong emphasis on Confed fighter pilots.

Here is your chance to become part of the Wing Commander Saga team. Send your voice demo to tolwyn@wcsaga.com. We are looking forward to hear from you soon.

Star*Soldier Gloss: Page 20

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

REFERENCES-

  • "Space Station" - This is the space station map which is shared by at least two of Arena's modes. It's an all-encompassing superstructure that surrounds all of the level's action (and features neat fly through bays and so forth).
  • "Polaris Roads Naval Station" - I was so happy to add this to the canon. Polaris Roads is a wonderful name that was created in an early Wing Commander movie script for Admiral Tolwyn's base of operations. It's such a fantastic mix of pulp sci fi and classic naval imagery, just in those two words... I love it.
  • "15th Fleet" - One higher than we've seen before - Wing Commander 2 featured the 14th Fleet.
  • "Hvar'kann and Behemoth-class dreadnaughts" - I did several things here: I officially named two classes of Wing Commander III ships (and gave a class to one!)... and I also confirmed (I hope) that more Behemoths were built to fight the Nephilim (or for other reasons; the Wing Commander Prophecy guide half-suggests that more are in service in 2681).
  • "Kilrathi Durasteel" - Refers to the 'cat colored' version of Wing Commander's regular metal.
  • "biopolys from the distant Tri-System" - Listen: I love Privateer 2. A lot. I wanted to do whatever I could to connect it to the Wing Commander universe... but I also wanted to make sure I stuck with Origin's dictates, that it existed a hundred years in the future in a distant and unconnected place. So instead of going whole hog like I did with some other explanations, I just snuck some bits like this in. Biopolys were one of the game's commodities and of course the Tri-System was where it took place. The mythology I want to advance here is that it's reallllly far away and that only ultra-long-range explorer/traders have any contact with that area of the universe.
  • "continual melee" - Since this is the game's melee map (well, one of them)!
  • "engine upgrade" - Refers to the gameplay of Privateer plus the fact that Wing Commander Arena had originally hoped to include an economy system.
  • "Odell" - Odell Lake, a classic Apple ][ game.
  • "Grissom" - Astronaut Gus Grissom.
  • "Population" - That's a lot of people! Wing Commander has always been sort of odd about populations: always way over or way under. The WCP official guide says that 2.1 trillion humans (and 7.4 trillion kils) died in the Terran-Kilrathi War... but then the Wing Commander universe bible has major star systems with 200,000 people in them.
  • "New Detroit" - The 'Blade Runner' planet from the original Privateer.
  • "Arcologies" - I imagine that these are a real thing, but I and everyone else knows them from Sim City. Secret Ops' fiction also mentions an arcology.
  • "Vengeance strikes" - Doesn't that do something for you? My thought is some futuristic equivalent to the late-war Kamikaze strikes that the Japanese launched (which were never really emulated in our Pacific War allegory-games).
  • "Trafalgar System" - Trafalgar was spoken of in a Wing Commander III newsbrief but never actually visited. I put the game's "meteor storm" mode here and attempted to come up with a reason why you would be playing asteroids in Wing Commander (and, honestly, I think it works!). I've connected it to our 'just barely holding on' story for the Epsilon Sector and hopefully made your work important instead of just an arcade run.
  • "Tanhauser Nebula" - Also from the Wing Commander III newsbriefs and organized in the Wing Commander Universe map.
  • "sharpshooters, top credit" - I hope someone else appreciates this mix of folksy warfare plus futurustic plugin terminology.
  • "Kilrathi pandemic" - The Kilrathi Saga calendar confirms that Trafalgar was one of three worlds hit by the Kilrathi in 2669 (Wing Commander III - we flew at Locanda, another of them).
  • "Quarto" - One of the great Wing Commander fan project leaders!
  • "mining bases and refinery outposts" - The two types of stations seen in Privateer. From the description here, though, I'm also clearly imagining Known Space's Belt.

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