Saga Dropship Enters Service

The Wing Commander Saga team has started a push to wrap up its capital ships as it makes progress towards an 'alpha' build. They recently finished modeling and texturing their Dukara-class troop transport:
For this week's update, the Wing Commander Saga team would like to share three pictures of our final rendition of the Kilrathi Dukara-class troop transport. While it is lightly armed and vulnerable to fighter attack, each ship can carry a legion of Kilrathi Marines and their equipment. It is also atmospheric capable, deploying assault shuttles and other dropships from a small landing bay. HQ has deemed trooper transports a high priority target; each one destroyed is one thousand less Kilrathi Marines for our own Marines to face in combat.

Making the Game: Mission Briefings

We leave specific mission updates behind with a nice meaty document -- the 47-page mission briefing script. These seem to be very close to the finished version, although some cuts are noted. The most interesting thing to me is the 'stylesheet' at the beginning. Why can't ICIS refer to the player as 'you'? Clearly, thought went into this...

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission Briefings
Download (122 kb)

Date: April 28, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 47

Kilrathi Invasion Fleet Packing Major Punch

Major Payne is making great progress on the Kilrathi capital ships featured in the Wing Commander Invasion mod. The Bhantkara carrier, Ralarrad light destroyer and Ralaxath heavy destroyer have all come together in recent weeks. Check them out below! Work continues now on getting the ships working in the Star Wars: Empire at War RTS engine.

A strange shape this one, but an important class of ship. The Bhantkara will play the part of a heavy fleet carrier. It'll be quite large, slow moving and have relatively low armament, but this will be offset by the heavy armour and high fighter compliment each ship carries.

Making the Game: Mission BMP1

Today we end the 'mission' updates... with a colorful treat! Last, but not least, we have the plans for a single multiplayer mission. As follows: "At the beginning of the mission fighters from each side are set against the interceptors defending the others base ship. Once the fighters have taken out the interceptors that teams bombers will start to take out the others carrier. The first side to achieve this goal is the winner. When a ship, other than the two Carriers, dies it will be re-spawned inside its own base ship." I know there has been a lot of discussion lately as to whether or not the Prophecy team ever intended to include multiplayer... this should add something to that debate!

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission BMP1
Download (37 kb)

Date: May 25, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

French Movie Trailer Surfaces

The Wing Commander feature film was recently broadcast on television in France and other French speaking European territories, and a dubbed version of the two minute "international trailer" has surfaced to go along with it. Not only has it been dubbed, but all of the title cards are in French as well. The trailer is otherwise very similar to the English verion, though it's always a lot of fun to hear what voices they chose to represent Blair and company in other countries.

You can download the French version of the trailer in DivX flavor here (15.6 megs) or in Flash video flavor here (11.2 megs).

You can also download a flash version of the trailer in English but with French subtitles here Check out the trailer and other promotional material for the movie in the Holovids section.

Making the Game: Mission SS4

Mission SS4 is the certification mission for the Shrike, which begs the question: what about the Piranha, Vampire and Dev? Check out the in-flight dialogue: "Due to its limited torpedo load, the Shrike is most effective against naval targets of light cruiser-size and downward, but in larger groups can be employed effectively against larger targets." As cool as that is, can you really imagine it spoken?

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SS4
Download (26 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 4

Concordia Down Further

Klavs' recent Concordia wallpaper was a big hit last year, but that wasn't his only scene featuring this famous Confederation class dreadnought over Vespus. The image below shows the ship tumbling further down into the atmosphere from a different camera perspective. It's smaller than some of his other images, but just as cool!
Somehow, I just can't resist beating up on the old girl just a little bit more. Here she is, falling into Vespus' gravity well, crew fighting valiantly to save her all the way down...
Here's another look at the original wallpaper in three different aspection ratios.

Making the Game: Mission SS3

Mission SS4 teaches the player to fly the Panther. There are a few interesting references in the dialogue - especially to the Panther's particular role (on escort carriers) and the fact that she carries (or carried at this point in development) a nose-mounted mini-turret. Also interesting, the appearance of a Paktahn bomber from Wing Commander III.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SS3
Download (17 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Standoff On Losing Path

Eder has updated the Standoff website with this week's progress report. The most important bit of news is that a release date will be announced soon.
On a mission

Another week, and another little bit of progress. Little bit? Well, yeah... but how significant! Quarto has now finished the second-last mission, and moved onto the very final mission of the game. In an odd bit of coincidence, that second-last mission was literally the second-last mission in the winning path series, and this final mission happens to be the final mission on the losing path series :-).

Anyway, just try to imagine the significance of this. The absolute final mission of the project. Yes, it's really going to end...

However, there is a bit of bad news for you guys, as well. We will soon be announcing a release date - but the date will not be as imminent as we hoped. Michael checked in the other day, reporting that with his current workload, he won't be able to even start working on the remaining music pieces until the summer holidays. Disappointing? Yes - but for some reason, Quarto's happy about it. Actually, I am too. This is the final episode, and we've said many times in the past that we'll be trying to fix as many known bugs in the previous episodes in time for this release. Those graphical upgrades that are now possible thanks to Pedro, they take time too. And maybe we'll find one or two other things to improve along the way.

In conclusion - we will have to ask you to be patient for a few more months. The final episode will be released this year, but you may be a bit disappointed when we announce the release date (unless you expect it to be Christmas - in that case, you'll be very pleasantly surprised :-P ). All I can say to sweeten the news is this - we most definitely will put the extra time to good use, and the final release will be all the better for it.

Making the Game: Mission SS2

Mission SS2 teaches the player to fly the Wasp; again, I can't help but notice that these are a lot like the certification missions in the X-Wing series of games (on the other hand, the original Wing Commander did quietly award in-game ribbons for becoming 'certified' on a particular fighter class...)

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SS2
Download (17 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Space Sim First Look: Galaxy on Fire

The Galaxy on Fire space trading sim has been available on a wide range of mobile phones for a couple of years now. Just recently, a version with upgraded graphics and motion sensor controls was released for the iPhone and iTouch. PC World ran a piece on it:
I forget how many space sorties I've flown over the years. Elite, Privateer, Wing Commander, X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter, Freelancer....but those days are long gone. Then I saw Galaxy on Fire 3D for the iPhone, and all those memories came racing back.

Here's a title with a pretty impressive 3D engine-for a cell phone game. I hate to have to even throw in that qualifier, but hey, I want to point out that I'm playing a game that looks on par with the last Wing Commander games - in the palm of my hand.

Making the Game: Mission SS1

But wait, there's more! The original plan for Wing Commander Prophecy's TrainSim included four 'ship specific' simulator missions! Mission SS1 teaches the player to fly the mighty Tigershark. The interesting thing here is the unused dialogue, which suggests that the 'shark is somewhat old.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SS1
Download (17 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Space Sim First Look: Havoc's Game

|BoH_Havoc| is working on a new multiplayer space sim. It will be focused on typical game types such as death match, defense, offense and more. So far six ships have been implemented and it's been designed for 16 players. The game's engine is coming along well and implements numerous impressive graphical effects. There is no website for the project yet, but Havoc's team is currently soliciting feedback. Head on over to Crius.net and help him out!

We are currently working on a new space sim which will be multiplayer only (for now). It will most likely be free to play and we are currently thinking about storing all game relevant data (levels, equipment, playerspeed, etc) in databases, so it will be easily moddable (might get interisting for Wing Commander related projects then) and also easier for us to add content.

And I need you guys to comment on it, so I can be sure I'm on the right track

Making the Game: Mission SG4

Mission SG4 is the final simulator gauntlet mission - one that actually made it into the finished game! Here we have an extra gauntlet mission added after Series E to allow the player to face off against the Nephilim instead of the Kilrathi.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SG4
Download (19 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Chris Roberts Interviewed by IGN

MartySheen found a cool interview with Chris Roberts. Most of the focus is on his most recent sci-fi film production, Outlander. The interview was conducted in the UK where the movie begins showing this Friday.
IGN: What was the appeal of the script?

Roberts: Vikings vs. an Alien monster! What's there not to like? Seriously as you probably guessed from the video games I used to make before I moved into films full time I love sci-fi and fantasy worlds. I wanted Ascendant to be making films that allowed you to escape to fantastical settings and worlds. When I first read the script I was completely taken by the genre blend of a sci-fi horror/action movie set in a historical setting. I thought the combination was intriguing and completely cool and combined with a classic story inspired by Beowulf and some great characters, I thought it would make a incredibly fun movie, much in the mold of films like Alien and Predator, both of which are complete classics for me.

I've made some films at Ascendant that I'm proud of like Lord of War and Lucky Number Slevin but it's hard to find scripts that do what Outlander does. Genre movie scripts tend to be pretty bad most of the time, usually a great high concept but not much else. Outlander had both the concept and a great story. So there was no choice. It had to be made!

IGN: What's up next for you?

Roberts: It's currently secret, but when I can talk IGN will be one of the first to know!

Making the Game: Mission SG3

SG3 is the third of the original Wing Commander Prophecy concept's increasingly elaborate gauntlet missions. This one is a capture the flag scenario, which most will remember was very popular in multiplayer gaming in the mid-to-late 1990s.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SG3
Download (40 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Scroll Through New Ascii Sector

Another new update to Ascii Sector has been posted online. In addition to numerous bug fixes, new sound effects were added and the manual has been updated. The mouse wheel also now works for numerous interface functions. As a little teaser, the next major release will even let players "disable other ships, board them, kill everybody on board and run off with the loot!"
- Fixed bug with captives reappearing on your ship if you save the game after delivering the captive to the prison base and then reload the game.
- Fixed bug with placement of characters inside the shooting range on Manurhin.
- Fixed bug with missing jump point from Cheops to Cassandra.
- Fixed bug when loading a game from the Quine while using a computer terminal.
- Fixed bug when loading a game from the Quine while in Combat Mode.
- Fixed bug with mission description lines appearing in dialogue if checking missions in your Quine during a dialogue.
- When entering your ship, the game now checks that there aren't any items lying at odd places as a leftover from a previous bug. Any odd items will be moved to the "closet" on the ship.
- Disabled the use of the MIDI music files, as they may have been responsible for a lot of random crashes (only the OGG music files work now).

Making the Game: Mission SG2

SG2 is an interesting take on the typical gauntlet - it's a gauntlet which must be fought in a particular sphere of space, limiting the players' overall maneuverability. It's a confusing concept for Wing Commander Prophecy, however interesting... but it would have worked great in Arena!

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SG2
Download (19 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Radio Broadcasting Resumed

It's been more than ten years since we launched our very first InfoBurst -- an interview with CIC founders Christopher Reid and Ben Lesnick. Originally a RealAudio show, the CIC InfoBurst later returned as a free internet radio station. Tune in 24/7 to listen to random tracks from our music archive. Special shows that include the 1998/1999 telephone interviews with Chris Roberts, George Oldziey and Chris McCubbin have been archived in MP3 format.

Supported players include Winamp and VideoLan. Click here to tune in. Playlist and listener information is available from the InfoBurst section.

Making the Game: Mission SG1

We're done with the rookie missions, we're done with the rookie-advanced missions and we're done with the advanced missions. So what's left? Gauntlets! Specifically, more gauntlets, since the advanced series already had one. This is the first (of four) - it's a simple battle against increasingly tough Kilrathi fighters. One interesting note: "As the game progresses, other high scores (which will be the player’s score +15% or so) will appear after other callsigns (Hawk, Maniac, Maverick, etc.) This should motivate the player to keep going back and trying the gauntlet." This aspect actually made it into the game, but in an even more elaborate fashion... if you do well enough at the gauntlets, other wingmen will join you as the fight progresses.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SG1
Download (19 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Standoff Team Hears Voices

The Standoff team has made more progress in Episode 5's sound. Voiceovers are nearly complete, and then music will be the only major audio part yet to go. Design of the second-to-last mission is almost complete as well. Eder has more details:
This week, once again, biggest progress is in voiceovers. Although we're still waiting for those last 70 voiceovers to be recorded, Tempest has finished processing all the remaining voiceovers we already had. We're now down to just two characters still absent. Hopefully they'll be recorded in another week or two. In all five episodes of Standoff we've had a grand total of 2883 voiceover lines recorded and implemented. From that perspective, the remaining 70 lines of really aren't much.

The bad news is that there's still no progress in music. Or at least, no reports of progress. Our musician, Michael, doesn't really have much time these days to keep in touch with the team on a daily basis. Sometimes we don't hear from him for months, and then, just when we start worrying if he's still alive, we receive a huge chunk of music :-). I hope that's how it's gonna be this time too. In the meantime, though, I'm afraid that even though the rest of the project is so close to being finished, we're still not going to announce any kind of release dates. Not until we have some idea of where Michael's at with the remaining cutscenes.

Meanwhile, missions haven't moved much this week either - we take breaks for Easter too, you know :-). Quarto is still working on the Marine mission. And whining. I'm not sure what he's complaining about - he planned all the missions, so if there's anything difficult to implement in there, he's only got himself to blame ;-).

Making the Game: Mission SA3

Mission SA3, the final Advanced Simulator mission, seems to be another that hasn't been entirely planned out yet. There is one interesting part, though - plans for including an easter egg: "We should put in an easter egg that will allow the player to have weapons, and when he shoots YessMan, he’ll get some sort of prize or cool visual effect… maybe the “secret credits”."

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SA3
Download (29 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

Great Day For Privateer 3 Concept Art

Wing Commander Prophecy artist Charles Workman has posted a batch of concept designs that he made for the unreleased Privateer 3. A few of these should look familar, but these are all worth examining closely. Take the first image for example - the Kilrathi Drakas Command Center/Tavern on G-tok. Both prior versions that the CIC has posted in the past have a blank computer terminal. Charles' version below has an illuminated display console. These are all very cool. Check out last year's birthday roundup for a huge dump of Priv 3 information. Don't forget the 240 page Priv 3 script either.

Privateer 3 was a project I worked on that never made it to the shelves. It was a PC space adventure title and used pre-rendered background screens throughout. I had fun designing ships, creating and lighting backgrounds for levels and making some fly-in cinematics. The primary software I used was Alias Power Animator and Photoshop.
The demo reel at Charles' site also includes a wireframe display of the merchant station above.

Making the Game: Mission SA2

Wing Commander Prophecy's first "gauntlet"! By means of another flight test, Casey and YessMan take on wave after wave of Kilrathi planes. The most interesting thing is the very elegant solution to the need for simulated Nephilim after the aliens are discovered; the Kilrathi simply become Aliens after Series E.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SA2
Download (16 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Take the New Poll for a Spin

The popular 'introductions' poll has a sequel today. The question has moved beyond the main games and now asks which spin-off had your favorite beginning. Each choice has a pretty unique and interesting offering, and the variety ranges considerably here. The brief Academy start is punctuated with a tantalizing glimpse at the Wraith, while Arena's intro reveals the Halsey class Farragut Naval Base. The Privateers have both animated and live action drama, and the audio and graphical effects between Armada's intro fighters are very sharp. Academy on TV is also included for good measure.

Voters in our last poll found the expensive cinematic productions of WC3/4 most to their liking, with The Heart of the Tiger coming out slightly ahead.

Making the Game: Mission SA1

Not content with only seven 'rookie' training missions, the proposal also adds three 'advanced' missions (which is even more confusing, since three of the rookie missions were called 'advanced', too...). This mission teaches us all about wingman communication (thanks to "Yessman") and how to use the nav map. That last bit would have been good to include, since there is a point in Prophecy where many players get stuck because they can't figure out how to change nav points...

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission SA1
Download (16 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Ultima Online Rocking 11th Year, Looks Towards 12th

To celebrate yet another milestone in Ultima Online's history, Electronic Arts has released the UO Eleventh Year Collection. The $29.99 package is available as a digital unlock that gives the player 11 value items. There is no major retail release for this event, although EA Mythic is hard at work on the game's upcoming 8th expansion. UO Stygian Abyss should be released later this year to coincide with the game's 12th anniversary. Although it was initially announced for a 2007 launch, the Stygian Abyss has been revamped to include an improved client and new playable race, the Gargoyles.

An entrance to the Stygian Abyss has been discovered upon the world of Sosaria, hidden in the seething caldera of a newly-risen volcano. At first glance nothing more than a colossal web of dank caverns and oppressive dungeons, it houses an ancient temple that acts as a barrier between the worlds of Sosaria and Ter Mur, home to the Gargoyles. Masters of Imbuing and Mysticism, these clawed and winged creatures find themselves forced to delve into the ancient secrets of the Abyss, and venture forth into the strange lands beyond. This is their last hope, for the very existence of their world is at stake...

Making the Game: Mission S7

Mission S7 is the final rookie training mission off of the TCS Placebo; the best part here is that you apparently win medals for passing through these very-very-very-basic sim missions...

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S7
Download (32 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

Press D For Decoy

The Wing Commander Saga website has been updated with another batch of screenshots. This time they show off their Kilrathi missile designs. The first two images are of a heavy ship-to-ship missile and a torpedo. The remaining shots depict missiles that are found in many fighter loadouts. Can you name them all? Answer: Dumbfire, Heat Seeker, Friend or Foe, Image-Recognition
This week, we would like to highlight the work of our team member limdaepl. He has been responsible for the design of our Kilrathi missiles. In Wing Commander Saga, missiles are a major threat. A single missile hit is enough to bring a light fighter to its knees. We wanted our Kilrathi missiles to reflect the aggresive and psychologically intimidating design philosophy displayed in the Wing Commander 3 games. The following pictures illustrate how we have tried to capture that feel in the way we portray Kilrathi missiles.

Making the Game: Mission S6

Mission S6 is very similar to S5; or at least neither has been entirely planned out yet. It would cover whichever advanced topics weren't addressed in the previous mission.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S6
Download (21 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Paper Talon Almost Complete

Péricles has posted pictures of his latest paper model, the F-38 Talon. The design is based off the Standoff model and will be available in three different color schemes - Church of Man, Pirate and Gemini Sector Militia. It's made to 1/200 scale, and the detail at such a tiny size is very impressive. The downloadable paper construction materials should be available as part of a large Paper Commander update in May. Other potential ships on the horizon include the Dorkathi, Free Trader, Arrow and a big surprise...

Making the Game: Mission S5

S5 is the fifth 'rookie' TrainSim mission. The goal here is to learn all the things that you don't necessarily need to play Wing Commander Prophecy: power management, autosliding and the like. My favorite part is the "SimCarrier Placebo" serving as home base for this one.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S5
Download (19 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

Ascii Sector 0.5 Released!

Straight out of Awesome Land, Chris Knudsen is back with a new edition of Privateer Ascii Sector. Version 0.5 is now available to download for Windows, Mac and Lunix. In addition to tons of tweaks and fixes, players can now walk around the insides of their ship! This has been on Chris' wish list for a long time, and it's a feature he was happy to finally be able to implement. A new star system has also been added with another base to explore. Here are some of the other improvements.
- Fixed bug with the gems commodity event.
- Fixed bug with SHIFT+'N' that would mess up the destination MFD or even crash the game.
- Fixed a couple of graphical bugs with the Quine.
- Fixed bug that caused new missions to not always be added to the end of your mission list.
- Fixed bug that had mission status messages always tell you that the mission was completed even if it was expired or failed.
- Fixed but that made it possible to send messages to cargo containers and ejected pilots.
- Fixed bug that may have been responsible for many of the crashes related to playing the music.
- Fixed various other potential game crashing bugs.
- Time no longer passes when using the Quine or computers.
- You can now access your Quine while in Combat Mode and while walking around on a ship in space, but you won't be able to save the game.
- When you save an ejected pilot and take him/her to a base, you'll now also receive a random amount of credits (beyond having your standing with the pilot's faction increased).
- The Drayman can now carry 1350 units of cargo (2025 with cargo expansion). It can no longer use an afterburner, though.
- When you jettison cargo, you can now specify precisely how much cargo to dump.
- The various ships now carry different amounts of jump fuel.

Making the Game: Mission S4

Mission S4 is actually a 'flight test' to examine how the player has done thus far with maneuvering, flying and weapons-play. Unlike the obstacle course, I think this is a really cool idea (but, alas, it was not in Wing Commander Prophecy).

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S4
Download (17 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Making the Game: Mission S3

Mission S3 is weapons training; so, in this plan, the idea was for the player to go two whole missions without hitting the trigger -- where's the justice?

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S3
Download (21 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Standoff Voice Recordings Almost Done

Standoff's programming team (Quarto and PopsiclePete) are still plugging away at the last set of missions. Meanwhile, Tempest has made significant progress on the voiceovers for the fifth and final episode. Here is Eder with the latest news:
Hearing voices

The main progress this week, for a change, is not missions, but voiceovers. Tempest put in a lot of work this last weekend, processing most of our backlog of voiceovers. There's still another 47 voiceovers waiting to be processed, and another 70 still to be recorded (though all the remaining roles have been assigned), but we're very close to being done with voices. Only three characters are still voiceless in this episode :-).

Missions were a bit less progressful this week. Pierre's still cleaning up sim missions, and Quarto's still working on the Marine mission - and both are fixing various bugs in other missions as well. Definitely moving forward, though...

Meanwhile, remember how I wrote that I personally no longer have anything to do on Standoff? I was wrong :-). Thanks to Pedro's further improvements to the game's renderer, all of a sudden I've got to go over the textures for every single ship in the game :-). I've put in a bit of research myself as well, coming up with a new, far better model converter for WCP. Before, converting models was a multi-stage process, with lots of potential bugs at every step of the way - now, it's essentially just one click (well, except for capships, they're as troublesome as ever). So, I'm taking this opportunity to tweak some of the fighter meshes - stuff I normally wouldn't have bothered with because of the annoying conversion process.

We're not going to show any screenshots of these improvements just yet. Until I'm 100% finished, we'll only be posting screenshots without any of these new changes. I think you'll be impressed, though :-). Looking at those earliest screenshots from our website, I find it hard to believe how much we've been able to improve the graphics since 2001. The game still doesn't look anything like modern titles (or even the fan-improved version of FS2, for that matter)... but it's way beyond what we started with as well :-).

Making the Game: Mission S2

TrainSim mission 2 (S2) is an 'obstacle course' -- clearly, someone up there was playing X-Wing (or TIE Fighter). The Rebel Alliance doesn't accept anyone who can't fly their X-Wing through thousands of floating space gats increasingly quickly...

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S2
Download (18 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

XBLA Titles For Sale At Amazon

Amazon.com has reached a partnership with Microsoft to sell XBox Live Arcade games directly through its website (for play on the XBox 360). Wing Commander Arena is not yet available, but Electronic Arts' Boom Boom Rocket and Hasbro game night titles are. After purchasing a product, Amazon.com gives the user a code that they input to the XBox 360 to download their item. Points and subscriptions are also available at Amazon in addition to the XBox.com website. When Arena was released, many fans asked for a way to buy the game before they purchased the system. That's not currently an option, but this is a big step in that direction.

Making the Game: Mission S1

Did I say 'final' mission layout yesterday? I meant final plot mission layout -- there are still plenty of Simulator updates to go (interestingly, more than were in the finished TrainSim)! The simulator missions we will be looking at seem to be from an earlier game plan -- there are 18 of them and they go into a lot more detail than those in the finished project. Today: rookie flight maneuvers...

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission S1
Download (34 kb)

Date: May 2, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

New Syndicate in Development?

In February of last year, Electronic Arts announced that the company would be returning to one of its "most acclaimed classic franchises." In combination with certain rumors and comments made by EA's CEO, Wingnuts were hoping that Project RedLime would be the code name for a new Wing Commander title. While EA has yet to comment, a number of sources have been pointing towards the mystery game as a new title in the Syndicate franchise. Both series were recently co-stars in EA Replay for the PSP. In Syndicate, the player directs a team of four agents as they move through the world, shooting at anything that moves. The isometric perspective and the Research & Development aspect are reminiscent of X-Com, but the gameplay is real-time rather than turn-based. RedLime is being developed for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.
Starbreeze working on new Syndicate title for EA

Starbreeze Studios is working with Electronic Arts on a new title in the Syndicate series, sources have confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz.

The studio, already responsible for critical hits The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Darkness, has been working with EA since August 2007 on the title, before confirming a collaboration in February last year.

The game has had a working title of Project Redlime, and is due for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

However, the game isn't likely to see release until work is completed on Starbreeze's other collaboration with EA, for a new game based on Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character.

Syndicate's cyberpunk future first appeared in 1993 and was developed by Bullfrog Productions, a company co-founded by Peter Molyneux. Bullfrog was later acquired by Electronic Arts.

EA has not responded to requests for comment.

Making the Game: Mission I6

Don't get too excited about all that yellow 'cut' highlighting; the surprises in this final mission layout are much more subtle. The most interesting thing for me is this: "Please insert the sixth and seventh alien aces in this mission." The alien aces in Prophecy were so faceless and uncelebrated, so it's interesting the amount of work that went into putting them in particular places in the game.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I6
Download (24 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 7

Check Out Academy Gauntlet Opponents

A ton of people have fond memories of the Wing Commander Academy gauntlet, but very few ever made it all the way through Level 15 (Wave 3). Everyone else has been left to wonder just how many fighters the simulator throws at its best pilots. Thanks to HCl, this question has been answered! It was actually answered a dozen years ago when HCl built a small patch (22 k zip) that lets Wingnuts modify the enemies in each gauntlet wave. By looking at the default values, you can see just how tough it gets. We've now mirrored the patch here at the CIC, and the different wave values are listed below. In addition to HCl's patch, the game's built in cheat mode is triggered by starting the game with the command line "wca ESRT" or "wca ESRT -k" (with invincibility). Alt + Delete destroys your target.
Level 01, Wave 1 - 1 Sartha, skill 1
Level 01, Wave 2 - 1 Drakhri, skill 1
Level 01, Wave 3 - 1 Jrathek, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 1 - 2 Sartha, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 2 - 2 Drakhri, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 3 - 2 Jalkehi, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 1 - 2 Grikath, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 2 - 2 Strakha, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 3 - 3 Ferret, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 1 - 1 Wraith, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 2 - 2 Epee, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 3 - 3 Sabre, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 1 - 3 Epee, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 2 - 1 Sabre, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 3 - 3 Broadsword, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 1 - 1 Dorkathi, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 2 - 2 Crossbow, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 3 - 1 Morningstar, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 1 - 1 Wraith, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 2 - 2 Jrathek, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 3 - 3 Drakhri, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 1 - 3 Jalkehi, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 2 - 2 Morningstar, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 3 - 3 Sabre, skill 2
Level 09, Wave 1 - 4 Grikath, skill 3
Level 09, Wave 2 - 4 Strakha, skill 3
Level 09, Wave 3 - 3 Crossbow, skill 3
Level 10, Wave 1 - 4 Rapier, skill 2
Level 10, Wave 2 - 5 Epee, skill 2
Level 10, Wave 3 - 7 Ferret, skill 2
Level 11, Wave 1 - 5 Grikath, skill 3
Level 11, Wave 2 - 4 Wraith, skill 2
Level 11, Wave 3 - 4 Rapier, skill 3
Level 12, Wave 1 - 6 Jrathek, skill 2
Level 12, Wave 2 - 2 Dorkathi, skill 2
Level 12, Wave 3 - 9 Drakhri, skill 3
Level 13, Wave 1 - 5 Crossbow, skill 2
Level 13, Wave 2 - 4 Morningstar, skill 4
Level 13, Wave 3 - 6 Epee, skill 2
Level 14, Wave 1 - 6 Jrathek, skill 4
Level 14, Wave 2 - 7 Ferret, skill 4
Level 14, Wave 3 - 10 Sartha, skill 4
Level 15, Wave 1 - 7 Morningstar, skill 4
Level 15, Wave 2 - 8 Wraith, skill 3
Level 15, Wave 3 - 8 Jrathek, skill 4

Making the Game: Mission I5

Mission I5 is Wing Commander Prophecy's penultimate mission - the final attack on the Tiamat. I like the planned mission-specific dialogue included here -- that didn't make it into the game, did it? "Ahhhhrrr! I’m going down. I’ll ram her engines!" would have been great - especially if there were some way to choreograph it with what was going on outside your window.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I5
Download (14 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 4

Super Sized Ship Showcased

Klavs has created an interesting image that shows the massive size and scale of the 22,000 meter Hvar'kann class dreadnought. It's pictured below next to the 983 meter Confederation class dreadnought. While the Kilrathi ship is more than 22 times as long, it is only several times as massive as its Confed counterpart due to differences in shape and composition. What could all that internal volume be used for? The full scale difference wasn't shown in the Wing Commander 3 engine, but the incredible size does play a major part of the novel False Colors. Klavs' Hvar'kann model is available to download here.

Making the Game: Mission I4

Kilrah I4 is the first attack on the Nephilim Tiamat, with the objective being to skin her turrets. The one thing that continues to bother me about this mission is that there isn't some unlimited-spawning force of enemy fighters defending the dreadnaught; once you've destroyed the fighters and skinned the ship, it seems like a huge waste to fly home and wait for the aliens to recharge.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I4
Download (15 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 6

WC Names In Shaiya

Wedge has spotted a few familiar names (if not faces) in the Korean MMO Shaiya. The game features a few direct Wing Commander influences, not the least of which is a soundtrack composed by veteran WC orchestrator George Oldziey. If you haven't heard the game's music before, be sure to grab the official soundtrack (free download). Many of the tracks are creative spins on music from Wing Commander 3, 4 or Prophecy.

Yeah, I know they're not exactly unique names, but it was still mildly amusing to see these familiar names in Shaiya, in addition to already having George Oldziey compose the soundtrack.

Making the Game: Mission I3B

I3B is an excellent example of a nuanced alternate mission - if you fail to destroy all of the enemy ships in 3, you're assigned to take out the rest in 3B (which are now threatening the Midway directly). While it's unlikely a future design could ever have as much variation as the original Wing Commander (with many more 'losing' missions than winning ones), missions like I3B are a great way to include that concept in a more modern/expensive game.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I3B
Download (11 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

WC Lego Minis Tentatively Up For Order

saf0775's mini lego fleet has finally been bundled and posted in the Lego Factory Shop. Custom creations such as these are available for purchase in the shop with instructions and all the necessary bricks. A Confed pack with the Hornet, Scimitar, Rapier and Raptor is up alongside a Kilrathi pack that includes the Salthi, Krant and Dralthi. The products are currently showing out of stock as the component parts come and go, but keep checking back for availability. Instructions for building each ship are also online.

Edit: New links now have bricks in stock.

Making the Game: Mission I3

Mission I3 is another part of the game's long attack on the Tiamat dreadnaught. This is one of Wing Commander Prophecy's typically great cap-ship attack missions (if only they'd explode!) - and it looks like the initial plan is fairly similar to what we played.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I3
Download (14 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 4

Prepare to be Boarded

Standoff's Pierre and Quarto are still plugging away at coding the final set of missions for Episode 5. The winning story arc is somewhat predictable for fans who've read Fleet Action, but the losing arc is a little more dynamic. The online scoreboard is also being upgraded with new missions and features. Eder has posted more details below.
More mission progress

Having received this week another new version of the two missions Pierre was working on, it's safe to say these are finished, apart maybe from a bug or two :-). That leaves two campaign missions still left to complete - one of which Quarto is currently working on. It's a pretty complex mission - I can say without revealing too much that it involves a bunch of Marine shuttles - so for once, the extra time taken is actually understandable. Anyway, hopefully he'll have that done before Easter, and then get onto the last mission. Pierre, in the meantime, has gone back into the simulator, making final adjustments in preparation for the scoreboard-enabling of the last remaining sim missions.

We've also made some small progress with voiceovers this week. There's still just under two hundred lines to be added (most of which are already recorded, and merely need to be cleaned up and filtered), but there's well over five hundred lines already accounted for. Tempest doesn't have much spare time lately, so we can expect the remaining voices to take a while yet. Still, I'm sure they'll be ready by the time the missions have all been debugged ;-).

Making the Game: Mission I2

Mission I2 is the second of the 'working up to the dreadnaught' missions in the Kilrah series. This is the one that involves intercepting long range capship missiles before they destroy the Midway. On one hand, it always bugged me when Wing Commander would use a gimmick only once (like these missiles)... but then gimmicks that were re-used (like the Wasp booster) quickly lost their charm.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I2
Download (13 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 5

Select Some Sharp Starts

Our new poll asks which Wing Commander game introduction is your favorite. There's a lot to choose from, so we're just looking at the main series titles here. Even narrowed down this much, it's a hard decision. Hopefully these images jog your memory to help you pick just one.
  • WC1 - In the distant future...
  • WC2 - Assault on K'Tithrak Mang / Abandoning Ghorah Khar
  • WC3 - Angel meets Thrakhath / Assignment to the Victory
  • WC4 - Blair recalled to duty
  • Prophecy - Nephilim enter Kilrathi Space
  • Secret Ops - Launch of the Cerberus
  • The Kilrathi Saga - Trilogy highlights

The old poll asked which missile lock tone is the best. When the question was asked recently at Crius.net, the results were almost flipped opposite. Wing Commander 3 & 4 won on the front page, but the piercing shriek of Armada's tone won at the forums. If you've never heard Armada's tone, hurry up and go grab a copy of the game!

Making the Game: Mission I1

Mission I1 is the first in Wing Commander Prophecy's final Kilrah series. The document describes this series like so: "This mission is the first in a series designed to take on the enemy Tsunami Dreadnought. This mission in particular will do a little mopping up. " (Tsunami was the original name for the Tiamat).

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission I1
Download (19 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 6

April Alternatives, Part 2

And here's another idea that got tossed around...
EA Partners With Nikelodeon For More Media Saturation

Starting in September, the network will begin airing animated series based on some of EA's most popular franchises. This next season will include Business Degree: Syndicate about youngsters learning the ins and outs of corporate greed while vying for prominance in a prestigious University.

Also on the slate is "Wing Commander Babies" which explores the lives of the characters fans have grown to love as infants coping as their parents go off to war - or in the case of Blair - the ostracism faced from his foster parent's objections to War, despite his own biological father's history as a war hero.

EA is planning more collaborations in the future. Concepts involving the famed Sim City franchise as well as its NHL sports games are in various stages of development.

EA hopes that getting younger audiences brand conscious about their titles will improve the marketability of their products towards what will soon be a key demographic for their gaming division. With many new iterations of their classic franchises in the works, EA feels it will be a key to hitting their target sales numbers in a market that may be looking to scale back spending amidst the economic downturn.

Making the Game: Mission G4

As promised, G4 is a cut 'second half' to G'mar 3, the attack on the Nephilim ship-killer. Check out some of the weird specifics, including mission objectives for taking out alien cargo containers and repair drones!

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission G4
Download (21 kb)

Date: March 25, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 5

April Alternatives, Part 1

Want to know what didn't make it into the news on April 1st? Here's a peek at our first idea.
EA Announces New Viral Campaign For Unannounced Game

After consulting with the CDC, EA executives have given the OK to lace copies of their game with biological elements that, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, will exhibit localized gene mutations.

The promotion is part of a campaign designed to get people talking about upcoming titles without EA having to officially announce anything. Imagine waking up one morning with the C&C logo on your butt or a hairy Kilrathi on your chest!

While the promotion ties in with the launch of a new title in one of EA's most storied franchises, they are remaining silent on just what that franchise might be. When asked to comment, EA's head of product development said "You'll just have to wait and see what happens when you get "tagged" [ED=Their new buzz word for this process]. But he warns that speculation should still be kept to a minimum since they've also been working on a few red herrings.

We asked to see any info on possible side effects of this promotion and were briefly shown some indecipherable notes out of a clinical study, but were assured that it meant that nobody could expect to die from this. EA's community relations officer said "You can expect no ill effects whatsoever, and any changes brought on by the viral agents will dissipate over time and you'll never be able to tell there had ever been anything there."

She continued, "In fact, the worst thing to come from this was that, as part of the clinical study, we offered to promote an indy game put out by a Christian group for free, if they would opt to be a part of the case study. Everything went great, except that one of the artists included a rendition of Christ into the pile of suggested assets to use. We were pretty embarassed to have to tell the hundreds who had gathered to see the Face that had grown on a subjects belly that the face on the puppy was really a man-made miracle. You see, the dog tore up the package and had ruined the disk. No one thought anything of it until it started getting media attention."

Making the Game: Mission G3

Mission G3 is the third in the G'mar series, the attack on the first Kraken ship-killer. You'll notice there are all sorts of references to this being the 'first half' of the mission -- and we'll find out what that means... tomorrow.

These updates are thanks to John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel, who provided several CD image archives of material used by the Wing Commander Prophecy development team!

Mission G3
Download (27 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 8

EddieB Looking For Adventure

EddieB of Flight Commander fame has announced that he's begun work on a new project that looks like it will be a lot of fun. Many of us are big fans of the old Sierra adventure games and this looks like it could be right up our alley! I'll let eddie explain:
"I'm making a new Sierra style Wing Commander adventure game. Check out the screenshot of Blair meeting Paladin for the first time. Development is coming along well, I found a nice editor for the SCI (Sierra Creative Interpreter) game engine. A little more scripting, and we have a new adventure game."

Making the Game: Mission X10

Many players consider Wing Commander Prophecy's Mission X10 to be the finest in the game; one thing is clear from these planning notes: X10 is a rare example of a mission that ended up exactly the same as the game's designers had originally intended.

Mission X10
Download (412,009 kb)

Date: April 1, 2009
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: Jon Gruntled
Pages: 4,109

FreeLancer 2 Fea... I'm Sorry, I Can't Do This Again

I wrote a FreeLancer 2 April Fools Day update way back in 2004. Here it is.

Get it? No control whatsoever, because of all the fighting about the lack of joystick control! And the screenshot is Steve from the original 90210 crudely pasted onto some Microsoft Word clip art. Let me say that again, for emphasis: the screenshot is Steve from 90210 crudely pasted on to some Microsoft Word clip art."

In spite of this, I still get one or two e-mails a month from sad-sounding FreeLancer fans who have searched our archives for the game's name and who now want to know what else I might have heard about it. When will it come out? Will you play as Trent again? Will you be able to buy a battleship?!

So I'm sorry, I can't do another FreeLancer 2 joke. I'm sorry, everyone. If you've ever felt that our stupid joke updates should come back to haunt us in terrible ways, rest assured that they have. Please, please, please FreeLancer fans, stop. There's no game. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

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