Small Status Update About Pioneer

Where did WC Pioneer go? The obvious lack of updates shows that there's been precious little progress this year, but it's nice to hear from a member of the team. Artistic and graphical elements are fairly well along, but overall game progress is on hold pending advancement in the game engine area. BradMick has a few more details:

Hey guys, I've unfortunately not got a whole lot to report from my end. I've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more for the 'playable' version of the game for some time now for number and design checking.

Howard's been waiting for the same thing I've been waiting for as well. All of the content we need is done, we just need the working engine to dump it into. That's really it. I'll have to get with Howard to put a bug in his ear to stop in and report himself.

Making the Game: Comms Other

Now you know the rest of the comms - today's Excel chart shows everything that doesn't quite fit in an ordinary category (the Redeemer, Calypso, etc.) The most interesting thing for me was learning that there are two SWACS for some reason - "Lookout 1" and "Lookout 7".

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!

Comms Other
Download (33 kb)

Date: April 28, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Invasion Arming New Weapons

Progress continues on the next update to the Wing Commander Invasion mod. Virtually all non-turreted weapons have been replaced with new gun and missile effects for the next release. Major Payne is working on an interesting new 'galactic conquest' campaign as well. Here's a bit more detail on that.

The basic premise is a "what if?" scenario. The Galactic Conquest is laid out in the view that's supposed to represent our own solar system. I'm adding in the 8 major planets, many of the well known moons, several dwarf planets, 12 locations to represent the inner asteroid belt (ringing the inner four planets) and 24 locations to represent the Kuiper Belt to right the outer edge. The sun is also included but due to possible limitations within the game engine it doesn't currently look right (I might try to rectify this at a later time if possible). The pain part of this isn't adding the various locations but placing them so that it's possible to capture ALL locations. I'm hoping to have each location with a slightly different view (planetary maps will have planet backgrounds, moons will have a moon in its background and so on), although I am going to include some additional items in the maps wherever possible. The only problem with all of this is it will take some time before the next release, but I do want to make sure nothing untoward goes wrong with this.

Making the Game: Comms Master

This is the master list of which comms go where in Wing Commander Prophecy; the interesting thing is that it seems to have been planned for an earlier version of the game which would have shipped on only two CD-ROMs... which would help to explain some of the long silences that take place late 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!

Comms Master
Download (21 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Flashy Renders Posted For Posterity

Venom was cleaning up some files and found some cool renders from an old fan project that was not completed. The different squadron color schemes are pretty bold, but the models and poses are pretty cool overall. Some 20 ships were made for this effort. The game would have been a top-down scroller shooter using WC ships. It's too bad we didn't see more of this!

Making the Game: Comms Kilrathi

You likely know the drill by now: this spreadsheet organizes all of Wing Commander Prophecy's Kilrathi taunts. It's interesting the sheer number of different Kilrathip pilots included (nine), given their relative background role in the game. The 'True Blood' as a proper noun stands out to me, too...

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!

Comms Kilrathi
Download (28 kb)

Date: July 9, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Kilrathi Female Gets Eyes & Medals

There's a (slightly) less creepy update to Michelle's female Kilrathi model. Textures have been improved overall, and the uniform is now complete. The body will continue to be refined so that the outfits can be changed out. This costume is based off the cover art for the Japanese version of Wing Commander for the FM Towns. You can help provide feedback at Crius.net.

Making the Game: Comms for Simulator

Today's set of comm messages are those that appear in Prophecy's simulator. We know the 'sim went through many different design concepts during its development, but a lot of these seem to be the final versions... it does seem to be missing the 'wingman' chatter (ie, when Blair joins the Sim to help you). Favorite message: "WHY WON'T ANYBODY HELP US!!! THE BRIDGE IS ON FIRE!!!!! YYAAAAAAAAA!!!"

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!

Comms for Simulator
Download (38 kb)

Date: July 28, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Ascii Sector

Last week's release of the Privateer: Ascii Sector game had a serious bug in it, so Chris Knudsen has pushed out a fresh build. This new version addresses problems with cargo transport missions and a couple of other, less important issues. Ascii Sector is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Get version 0.5.4.4 here.
  • Fixed serious bug with cargo transport missions.
  • Fixed bug with name of ejected wingman.
  • Fixed bug with scrolling names in the upper right display.

Making the Game: Comms Complete

Today's Excel chart shows, naturally, more comms. More specifically, it shows the percent of chance a particular 'type' of message should play after any event. Ie, what is the chance a random comm should play about a nav point being clear, once it is clear? Read on to find out!

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!

Comms Complete
Download (24 kb)

Date: July 25, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Standoff Episode 5 Just Two Weeks Away

There's only two weeks left until the release of Standoff Episode 5, and it's very exciting to see the remaining components come together. There's been recent progress relating to voiceovers, graphics, coding and bugfixing! Eder has the details:

Getting closer
This week has been much quieter than the last - the only major landmark to note is that Tempest's finally delivered the last two lines of voiceovers from our last external actor. Now he just needs to deliver the last remaining lines (49 of them) for the character he's playing himself, and we'll finally be done :-P.

As for the rest of our progress, I could probably copy & paste from last week's update - I'm working on graphics, Alex and Pierre are working on programming graphics improvements and bugfixes, and Quarto's squishing bugs left, right and center. His job is made easier this week by Dundradal still being out of action, and therefore no new bugs flowing in. We'll see how it goes next week.

If you haven't played through the first four episodes yet, now would be a good time to get started. You need the 112 meg Secret Ops starter pack and the 270 meg Standoff Episodes 1-4 bundle to play. Once you reach Episode 2, your training simulator scores can be tracked by our online scoreboard. Detailed instructions are available here. The installation of Standoff does not interfere with Secret Ops.

Making the Game: Comms by Mission

Here's every single "one shot" comm message in Wing Commander Prophecy in one tidy package. Scroll down to the very end -- those last losing messages from Anderson are fascinating. From the unusually lame "Wow! You really are a hero now, Casey!" to the dramatic "All pilots are ordered to get clear of this sector at once. If you are located, you are to report news of this encounter to Confed Command", they have a very different feel to them.

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!

Comms by Mission
Download (91 kb)

Date: May 20, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Hi-Res Wing Commander Academy Still Up

One of the larger items we host is the complete Wing Commander Academy television series. All thirteen episodes come in at just under three gigabytes. No matter how often we mention it, there's always tons of fans who are just learning about it for the first time. The episodes were originally aired out of chronological order, but we have a guide to help you decide which way to best view the series here. If you originally saw these years ago and haven't seen them since, watching them again now is a great way to spend six free hours. In addition to the main divx files, a variety of neat behind-the-scenes and production material is also available. The series is full of amazing stuff that every fan should see. Get started below!

Making the Game: Comms BB

Comms week continues with Wing Commander Prophecys "BB" comms list. These seem to be situational sounds -- ie, the little click when a weapon is switched to or the beep when a target is locked. Again, an interesting study in how much detail goes into making a game like 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!

Comms BB
Download (28 kb)

Date: March 26, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Ascii Sector Stomps Out More Bugs

Chris Knudsen has rolled out a new version of the amazing Privateer: Ascii Sector. This third release in the 0.5.4 branch is mainly a bugfix release that solves some gameplay related issues. Pilots now also get separate slots for their mission cargo. The next major release will allow players to board disabled ships. Ascii Sector is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.
  • Fixed bug with time left on your wingman not being decreased while sleeping.
  • Fixed bug with EMP Torpedoes not being selected when launching.
  • Fixed bug with the ads in the equipment shop.
  • Fixed bug that in some instances could have you fly into a missile you'd just fired.
  • Fixed bug with marked nav points being carried over from one quest to another.
  • Fixed bug with no message box when a quest mission is completed or failed.
  • Fixed bug with random placement of quest template ships.
  • Added separate slots for mission cargo.

Making the Game: Comms Alien

Possibly the most interesting communications list we will look at is today's roster of Nephilim taunts and comments; the game tends to bunch up the same set of taunts... but there's plenty of information that expands the bugs' backstory hidden in what was recorded for comms.

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!

Comms Alien
Download (27 kb)

Date: July 9, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

EVE Online Novel Due Out This Fall

WorthPlaying has a piece about the upcoming EVE Online novel, The Burning Life. Author Hjalti Danielsson has been involved with EVE Online since its 2003 release. EVE: The Burning Life will be published in November 2009 and is available for pre-order for around $10.

Set tens of thousands of years in the future, EVE Online is a breathtaking journey to the stars, to an immersive experience filled with adventure, riches, danger and glory. With nearly a quarter of a million subscribers worldwide inhabiting the same virtual universe, EVE features a vast player-run economy where your greatest asset is the starship, designed to accommodate your specific needs, skills and ambitions. EVE offers professions ranging from commodities trader to mercenary, industrial entrepreneur to pirate, mining engineer to battle fleet commander or any combination of these and much more. From brokering business deals to waging war, you will have access to a diverse array of sophisticated tools and interfaces to forge your own destiny in EVE.

EVE: The Burning Life will be published in November 2009 via partnerships with Tor Books and Orion Books ($14.99).

'The Burning Life' is the first effort of novelist Hjalti Danielsson who has worked in different capacities on EVE Online since its 2003 release and currently serves as CCP's main creative writer for the harsh universe of New Eden, the setting for EVE Online. He is the author of more than seventy short stories and some plays set in the EVE Online universe. A visceral writer whose aggressive prose and grand operatic scope is reminiscent of Iain M. Banks and Joe Haldeman, Danielsson's storytelling talent and familiarity with the EVE universe make him the ideal candidate for a full-length novelization for fans and newcomers alike.

Making the Game: Comm Files

Today we make the jump from text files to spreadsheets! This lovely document shows which characters' comm sets are needed on each of the game's CDs (using a greyscale color-coding system that I haven't quite figured out). Most interesting, though, is the inclusion of "Pilot_MP_Cruiser" and "Pilot_MP_Destroyer" on the list of 'new additions'. Were precious capital ships cut from the game along with the multiplayer mode?

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!

Comm Files
Download (27 kb)

Date: August 19, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: n/a

Saga Conceptualizes Kilrathi Cruiser

The WC Saga has taken another Origin concept sketch and modeled it for their game. This ship is a Kilrathi cruiser that they have dubbed the 'Fralath'. Check out the Saga site for more images.

For today's update we would like to showcase a Kilrathi warship that was cut from Wing Commander 3. The concept art of this ship was found in the "Making of WC3" CD-ROM that Origin released with its first official WC3 guide.

As mentioned in the artwork, this is a Kilrathi cruiser. But it's very different from the notorious Fralthi II-class cruiser from WC3, so it's assumed as a different ship class. The reasons we decided to classify this warship as a light cruiser is because not only does it fills in the gaps for a light cruiser (the Fralthi II is a heavy cruiser), the existence of a Kilrathi light cruiser is also confirmed through Page 49 of the Wing Commander 3 novel.

There is no official classname to this, and until one can be confirmed, ConFleet Intel has codenamed this warship the Fralath-class, as the name (like all the other Kilrathi cruiser names) is a derivative of the original term Fralthi.

Blizzard Hits Austin GDC

Want to hear a real Origin veteran speak? Former Wing Commander developer and current WarCraft superhero J. Allen Brack will be headlining the Austin Game Developer's Conference's keynote speech this September. Mr. Brack worked on Wing Commander III, IV and Prophecy... but most will likely remember his namesake, the TCS Brack corvette, from the ICIS manual. From the Press Release:

The Game Developers Conference(R) Austin (GDC Austin) will host a keynote by Frank Pearce, executive vice president of product development and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, and J. Allen Brack, the production director on Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft(R). In their joint keynote, entitled "The Universe of World of Warcraft," Pearce and Brack will talk about the ongoing challenges involved with operating one of the world's most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Presented by Think Services, GDC Austin returns with three days of main conference content focused on connected games; online games, virtual worlds, and social networking game play and four two-day summits including the Game Writers, Game Audio, iPhone Games and Independent Games Summits. The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas September 15-18, 2009.

As the production director for World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the game's development team as it creates new content to keep the experience fresh and exciting for the global audience of World of Warcraft players. Brack has previously worked at Sony Online Entertainment LLC on Star Wars Galaxies(R) and at Origin Systems, Inc., on the Wing Commander(R) franchise. At Blizzard Entertainment, he helped in the creation of new zones, dungeons and quests for World of Warcraft's first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade(R), and currently manages the production of patches and expansions from their initial conception through their release.

Ascii Sector Now 0.0.0.2 Better

There have been two recent upgrades to Privateer Ascii Sector that fix a variety of newly discovered bugs. The majority of the changes are incremental fixes, but music debugging has been improved and the groundwork for a new disabling system has been put in place. Weapons that knock out, but do not destroy, targets are now in the game, along with power readouts to match. Disabled ships will play a part in boarding actions in a future version. Get the latest game updates here.
  • Fixed bug with hand grenade killings resulting in excessive counts of murder.
  • Fixed bug with cargo space left on your ship.
  • Fixed bug with NPCs yelling for help even if you didn't attack them but just targeted them.
  • Fixed bug with Bellamy not showing up as a Pirate Base in the Quine.
  • Fixed bug with the current system name on the nav computer during autopilot.
  • Fixed bug (I hope) with characters whose path has been blocked sometimes becoming completely immobile.
  • Removed debugging info when targeting a ship when flying a capital ship.
  • Fixed decimal bug when scooping cargo.
  • Fixed bug with NPCs freezing and becoming immobile (again!).
  • Fixed inconsistency when calculating the value of your current ship and extras when buying a new ship.
  • Added music playback log file (mlog.txt) to help in finding cause of music playback crash.
  • The upper right display now automatically switches to the destination view when your target is destroyed or goes outside range of your radar.
  • Added Disabler Missiles, EMP Torpedoes and energy/power readings for targets and the player (the light blue square in the center). Disabling ships will be used for boarding in v0.6.

A Bridge To The Movie

AD stumbled across an interesting fantasy render with some familiar elements. Max4ever posted this artistic bridge scene at CGTalk a while back. If you look closely, the markings on the stone structure are the Kilrathi font from the Wing Commander movie. You can see some examples for yourself at the bottom of our Kilrathi Lexicon page. Kinda neat.

Outside Help For WC4 Homeworld Mod

It's been some time since Aaron Thomas' awesome WC4 Homeworld 2 mod was last updated. L.I.F. was so impressed with the project that he decided to add a few features himself. Here's what's new:

This file is a modification to the already awesome Wing Commander IV mod to Homeworld 2 by Aaron Thomas, a.k.a. czacen. The weaponry of both strikecrafts and capships were tweaked to modify the gameplay as follows :

  • Capships and fighters are now able to shoot at and destroy capmiss and torpedoes. In order to allow that, let the ship in offensive stance without a direct attack order (the turrets would then shoot at the targets and ignore the torps. Oh, and enemy fighters near the AAA seem to nastily busy the guns, allowing a clear path for the torpedoes.). It should give a new life to our beloved Southampton, Talahassee and Caernaven (the latter becoming more useful as a mobile AA battery).
  • Fighter and bomber guns are no longer able to shoot at capship vessels (destroyers, cruisers, carriers and so on), limiting their target range at frigates, transports and strikecrafts. So, bombers and capships are the only weapons against capships : no Excalibur harrasment on your poor little Durango strike carrier (those phase shields are here for a reason)

I hope HW2 players will enjoy these new gameplay rules.

I'd like to give my thanks to Aaron Thomas and the CIC Staff, for their fantastic work for the community.

You can download this version of the mod here (145 MB). L.I.F. also provided installation instructions:

  • Download the file from Confed #1 website (the CIC).
  • Move the .rar file to the "Data" folder of your "Homeworld 2" folder.
  • Right-click on your Homeworld 2 shortcut and add at the end of the "target" field : -mod WC4S_target_acquired.rar
  • Launch the game through this new shortcut.

Even Better Birthday Party

There's less than three weeks left until the CIC's 11th Birthday party! Since this year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Wing Commander movie, we'll be hosting a special coordinated viewing beforehand. If you don't already have a copy of the film, we recommend you order the DVD as soon as possible! Amazon's virtual delivery service also offers a one-time rental for just $2.99. The viewing will be on Monday, August 10 in #Wingnut. Main events get going at 7:00 pm Eastern US time (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT), but watch this space for start time info for the movie.

Standoff Team Working In Overdrive

There's only about three weeks left until the release of Standoff Episode 5, and it's very exciting to see the remaining components come together. There's been recent progress relating to cutscenes, graphics, coding and playtesting! Here's Eder with the details.

The countdown continues

Quite a bit of progress this week, most of it related to cutscenes. First up, I'm done rendering videos for the new Episode 1 & 2 cutscenes. All that's needed now is music for them.

Music is also still missing from several Episode 5 scenes, but we're not especially worried about that at this stage. Michael is working hard, he's just delivered the tracks for a few of those scenes. Mainly, he's working on the endgame scenes. He says, when he made the Episode 5 intro as grand as he did (and grand it is), he forgot he'd have to make the endgames even grander :-P. So yeah, we may end up waiting on some of the music until the very last minute, but it's ok. The other scenes are simple stuff, most of Michael's time will be spent on those endgames.

Other than that... I'm pushing on with the graphics stuff, Alex and Pierre are pushing on with... well, the graphics stuff as well, only on the code end ;-). And Quarto continues to go mad seeing all the new bug reports flowing in. Fortunately for him, Dundradal will be unable to test this next week. Wait... did I say 'fortunately'? Dund, we got a release to clean up, get back here! :-P

Oh, and Tempest is still doing nothing. Looks like he's planning to keep us waiting for those last remaining voiceovers until the last minute. He'll make the deadline, he always does - but he sure loves to keep us on the edge, the bastard. No wonder he plays Trigger in the game...

If you haven't already, now would be a good time to play through the first four episodes. You need the 112 meg Secret Ops starter pack and the 270 meg Standoff Episodes 1-4 bundle to play. Once you reach Episode 2, your training simulator scores can be tracked by our online scoreboard. Detailed instructions are available here. The installation of Standoff does not interfere with Secret Ops.

Making the Game: Formcock

Today's MTG update is worth it for the update header alone. Formcock is, of course, a document about formatting data for proper representation in the game's cockpit...

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!

Formcock
Download (18 kb)

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

Explosive New Poll Asks About Torpedoes

It's time for a new poll! What game featured your favorite torpedo runs? Broadly defined, virtually all Wing Commander games feature capship strikes with heavy ordnance, and almost all include weapons specifically called 'torpedoes' - both guided and unguided. For this reason you'll find WC1 in the options. If you really liked lobbing Dumbfires at the Starpost, that one's for you. Otherwise, was your favorite the first tense Broadsword run in WC2? Dropping the bomb directly on the flight deck of a carrier in WC3? Or maybe defanging the massive battlecruisers in Wing Commander Arena?

Our previous poll produced a clear winner. Righteous Fire had the most popular intro among various Wing Commander expansion packs. It's not a surprise to see that one come out on top, but Proving Grounds' 3.5% tally is quite impressive.

Making the Game: Movie List

Were you unhappy about how yesterday's movie list text file cut off the ends of some movie descriptions? Not especially? Well, you're in luck: a second version, generated roughly a month later, has slightly more text!

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!

Movie List
Download (18 kb)

Date: June 9, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 4

Wing 3 Destroyer Appears in WC Saga

The Wing Commander Saga team has started a push to wrap up its capital ships as it makes progress towards an alpha build. They've released shots of their take on the Kilrathi destroyer from Wing III. More pictures can be found on the project website.

For today's update we would like to showcase our final version of the Kilrathi Ralarrad-class light destroyer.

One of the most prevalent Kilrathi warships found on the front lines, the Ralarrad-class light destroyer is a maneuverable multi-purpose vessel that is equally competent in picket duties, fleet escort, and strike missions. Carrying a token fighter complement, the light destroyer is a mainstay workhorse of the Kilrathi war machine, wielding the energy weapons to effectively engage in anti-aircraft duties as well as the missile strike capability to pose a serious threat to larger Terran capital ships.

Making the Game: Mov List

We're now moving through a set of text files relating to Wing Commander Prophecy's development. Today we have a list of the game's movie sequences -- 152 in total. Is that what we ended up with?

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!

Mov List
Download (18 kb)

Date: May 14, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

Kilrathi Concept Sketch Found

Here's a look at one of the Kilrathi concept sketches from the Wing Commander movie. This one was drawn by Bill Zahn. The final product looks pretty close. Mr. Zahn has done a variety of artistic prework on paper, computers and physical models for both movies and video games.
Created for K.N.B. studios, the creature was a concept design for the movie Wing Commander.

Sixth Time's A Charm...

After five scrubbed launch attempts, Endeavour successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center. Here are some spectacular pictures of the stormy conditions that preceded Wednesday's launch and some great shots of the actual takeoff. Soon the shuttle will make the 29th NASA rendezvous with the International Space Station and complete the Kibo science laboratory. STS-127 is scheduled to last 16 days.

Invasion Mod Getting More Space & New Race

The next major release of Wing Commander Invasion is not due out for quite a while, but Major Payne is already hard at work. He's recreated our own Solar System for use in the Empire at War mod and planning to add the Nephilim as a faction. We can't wait! Try out the current release here.

I've gotten ALL the planets for the Sol System (although Saturn is missing its rings but don't worry. I will have a reason for this), as well as more custom projectiles and sounds. The concussion torpedos that the likes of the Wasp, Ekapshi MKII, certain capital ships and starbases use have been changed for actual torpedo based weapons. I also have setup 3 custom missiles for fighters but these won't be implemented just yet. Once I've retested and checked the current v1.2 alpha I'll go on to create a special Galactica Conquest based around only the Sol System. It'll be more of a "what if" scenario as in what if the Kilrathi were on the Confederation door step.

I think I will most likely be adding in the Nephilim as the 3rd side as I have an idea for another GC based around their invasion so that'll be added in a later build. The next version planned for released is a v2.0 so its a bit of a way off yet.

Space Wedding Goes Off Without a Hitch

Richard Garriott is in the news again -- he's moved from Lord British, General British and Astronaut British on to Minister British. Well, Minister-Astronaut, at the very least. Space.com says:

The ceremony was officiated by space tourist Richard Garriott, the son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who flew to the International Space Station last year in a $30 million deal brokered by the company Space Adventures.

"I am honored to be taking part in Erin and Noah's wedding," Garriott said. "I know firsthand the added thrill microgravity will play in their already joyous event. The excitement from these 'first ever microgravity nuptials' will not soon fade in the minds of all the members of the wedding party."

If you can find a woman willing to be married by the King of Ultima while flying parabolic-arcs in the Vomit-Comet, hang on for dear life.

Homeworld 2 Mod Looks & Plays Great

It's been some time since we've seen a progress update on the WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod, but the existing playable game is still making waves. Fwiffo has made an exciting video demonstrating an epic battle between Confed and the Border Worlds. Check it out here. If you haven't seen the game in action before, the massive fleet battle shown should really impress. HW2 owners can also download and play the mod for themselves here.
This battle was one of my first games testing the mod out, and it is a fully functional modification. I plan on making more videos as I gain experience. I'm playing as the Union of Border Worlds against Confed.

Leech Lasers Light up the Dark

|BoH_Havoc|'s multiplayer space sim has a cool new gun with an impresive blue tendril effect. Team member Germanunkol describes it as a "tactical weapon" similar to Leech Guns in the Wing Commander series. It's currently designed to disable enemy weapons for a set period of time. They would also like feedback on what types of additional weapons to add to the game. Visit Crius.net to let them know.
Now a request: Does anyone have favourite weapon effects? I'm running out of ideas of what types of weapons to create. So far, we have this tactical weapon, 2 glowing projectile weapons and one "ray gun" (WIP, a long ray from the gun to the target) which is an instant hit and does damage depending on the distance. If you have any ideas, maybe you could post them with a screenshot or a link to a video? We still need around 3 types of weapons...

Origin Luminaries on Twitter

If you're hip to the futuristic landscape of Web 2.0 then you may want to follow the 140-character adventures of the biggest ex-Originites of all using the Twitter microblogging site. You can find both Origin founder Richard Garriott and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts on the service. Mr. Roberts hasn't posted much, yet -- but Mr. Garriott has plenty of updates on his space advocacy. The best part, though, is that both are wearing $30 million space suits in their user pictures:

Four Weeks To Party Time

Where will everyone be in just four weeks? Hopefully right here celebrating the Wing Commander CIC's 11th Birthday! Mark your calendars for Monday, August 10 at 7:00 pm Eastern US time (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT). This will be early Tuesday morning in parts of Europe, Asia and Australia. #Wingnut will be buzzing with trivia contests, prize giveaways and new material for fans. The party will also be a great opportunity for Wingnuts to catch up together and launch into some online multiplayer games. See you there!

Standoff Development Entering Final Phase

Standoff is now one month away from the scheduled release of Episode 5. It should come as no surprise that the team behind the game is entering crunch mode as they try to hit the remaining development milestones. Eder's latest status report has some interesting stats. Can you believe the finished project will feature more than 3,000 lines of recorded speech? Amazing.

One month to go

Crap, one month left :-P. We're definitely gonna be cutting things close. But what the hell, I mean, it is the last episode, so it's allowed to be a race to the finish ;-).

By the way, since I mentioned last week that we finished all the additional voiceovers for the new cutscenes, this is a good opportunity to throw some pointless numbers at you :-P. So... following all the additions, Episode 1 now has a grand total of 710 lines of voiceovers. Episode 2 has gone up slightly as well, to 541 lines. While we're at it, Episode 3 had 460 lines, Episode 4 had 553, and Episode 5 will (if Tempest moves his ass... or at least his vocal chords) have a total of 747 lines.

So, that means Standoff as a whole will have 3,011 lines of voiceovers. Now, I know quantity isn't quality, but I hope this goes a little bit towards explaining why Standoff's taken so long to complete. It's a huge damn cow of a mod that has, over the years, gotten way bigger than we had originally planned.

Anyway, what's been going on this week? Pretty much the same things as last week - ship improvements, music, and a huge bug testing & fixing effort. Our automated patching system turned out to be really useful for this. Getting new versions to the testers is easier than ever.

Making the Game: UNITS

This text file sets the rules for units in Wing Commander Prophecy. In order to scale everything properly, the designers sat down and decided on constants invisible to the player -- distances are measured in meters, speeds are measured in tenths of a meter and so forth. What actually interests me the most, though, is a little notice at the top of the document: "NOTE: This document is currently a text file as some members of the team have Office 97, and others have Word for Windows 95. Once everyone has switch to the same version of Word, this document will be converted to Word format." That, more than anything, makes me feel like I'm there -- makes me understand exactly how this sort of development could be an everyday thing for people.

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!

UNITS
Download (3 kb)

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

Command & Conquer 4 Announced

Electronic Arts has formally released details on Command & Conquer 4 via an interview with GameSpot. The announcement was preceeded in the form of an EA survey and Twitter leak that referenced the title. C&C4 will be a major technological bump from the incrementally upgraded engine used in C&C Generals, C&C3 and Red Alert 3. Like RA3, the campaign will feature cooperative multiplayer, skirmishes will support up to 10 players, there will be persistent experience and classes and more live action video. Joe Kucan will return as Kane to conclude the 'Tiberium' story arc. EA has also unveiled the C&C4 website with announcement teaser and 14-day countdown to full trailer. The game is set for a 2010 launch on the PC. Check out the full GameSpot interview here.

Behold disciples of Nod, the end is soon upon us. Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that, after almost 15 years and 30 million games sold, EALA is bringing the award-winning Tiberium series to an epic conclusion with Command & Conquer™ 4. Shipping in 2010, Command & Conquer 4 will introduce a multitude of innovations to the to the classic fast and fluid Command & Conquer gameplay while retaining the core compulsions that fans have come to love over the series' history. Introducing new class-based gameplay, mobile bases and persistent player progression throughout all game modes, Command & Conquer 4 offers players new, innovative and compelling strategic depth.

"Command & Conquer is a powerful franchise with an amazing 15-year legacy. We are thrilled to bring the dramatic Tiberium saga to a conclusion in Command & Conquer 4. This game is designed to give fans all the answers they've been looking for," said Mike Glosecki, Lead Producer of Command & Conquer 4 at EA Los Angeles. "With its objective-based multiplayer mode, persistent player progression and all-in-one mobile base, players will experience Command & Conquer like never before."

Making the Game: Prophecy Art Milestones

This is (it seems) Weston Giunta's project checklist for Wing Commander Prophecy -- when each element of art is to be completed. Good news -- it looks like everything is at 100% now.

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!

Prophecy Art Milestones
Download (26 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 3

DOSBox 0.73 Released

A new version of DOSBox has been released. Like the last few releases of the program, version 0.73 plays all DOS Wing Commander games very well. Notable changes include better XMS/EMS memory support, improved CD-Rom detection and some speed and compatibility fixes across the board. The program should also run better on Windows Vista and Mac OS X. The full list of changes is available here. You can download DOSBox 0.73 here. We have detailed walkthroughs for all DOS titles in our Tech Support section.

Making the Game: Coding Guidelines

Source code is greek to me -- luckily this document introduces itself better than I could: "These are the guidelines that all Wing Commander: Prophecy programmers are expected to follow. Care has been taken to generate a set of rules that will provide a consistent feel to the project’s code without micro managing every coding detail (for example, there is no mandated tab size, and programmers are not forced to type “if(conditional)” rather than “if (conditional)”). With these guidelines, Wing Commander: Prophecy will have a consistent code base that will be easy for any programmer to go through and feel comfortable with in a short period of time."

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!

Coding Guidelines
Download (35 kb)

Date: April 24, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 5

Eve Online Hit By Embezzlement Scandal

The head of Eve Online's largest in-universe banking system has been banned for some shady monetary transactions. He was removed from the game for illicitly withdrawing Eve Online currency and reselling it for real money to pay off debts. While the entire affair may not have been illegal, and internal embezzlement is not necessarily against game rules, the combination of exchanging game money for actual cash is not allowed. You can find more on the scheme at Reuters.

EBank, EVE's largest player-run financial institution which has thousands of depositors, is at the center of the scandal.

"Basically this character was one of the people that been running EBank for a while. He took a bunch of (virtual) money out of the bank, and traded it away for real money," said Ned Coker, of the Icelandic company CCP, which developed the game.

The CEO of EBank, a 27-year-old Australian tech worker who identified himself only as Richard and used the online name Ricdic, embezzled about 200 billion interstellar kredits, the game's virtual currency.

He broke the rules of the game by exchanging the stolen virtual funds for $6,300 Australian

...

Ironically, if Ricdic had merely stolen the online money he could have stayed in the game. But exchanging the virtual cash for real dollars broke the rules and CCP banned Richard's EBank accounts.

Making the Game: Wing Commander Prophecy Technical Design Document

Here's the final Technical Design document; it's now some forty pages shorter, but reflects the game-as-developed. Wing Commander Prophecy, no Playstation port, etc.

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!

Wing Commander Prophecy Technical Design Document
Download (4,708 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 76

Garriott Receives Special Space Award

Hicky found a neat article about the latest honor bestowed upon Origin founder Richard 'Lord British' Garriott. Last week he received a commemorative pin awarded to each of the five people born in the United Kingdom to make it into space. The British Interplanetary Society acknowledged the feat by noting its difficulty, since the UK has no manned space program of its own. Ten such pins were made, and the society hopes to give the remaining five out in due time. Check out the BBC for more here.

The first recipients of the pin - Helen Sharman and Richard Garriott - had private funds backing their missions. The other three - Michael Foale, Nicholas Patrick and Piers Sellers - all became US citizens to fly with the American space agency (Nasa).

Mr Garriott and Dr Sharman were given their pins in a ceremony at the BIS headquarters in London. "The government has to understand that the costs of human spaceflight are far outweighed by the benefits - the benefits of inspiration and of exploration," said Nick Spall, a BIS fellow and co-ordinator of the UK Human Spaceflight Campaign.

Making the Game: Wing Commander 5 Technical Programming Specifications

Here's an update of yesterday's document: PSX development is still going on, the team still has until Q4 1998 to work... but a lot of details have been nailed down.

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!

Wing Commander 5 Technical Programming Specifications
Download (5,387 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 110

Ascii Sector 0.5.4 Expands Space Yet Again

The latest version of Privateer Ascii Sector fixes a variety of new bugs and even more new features. Targeting (T) now works more like the original Privateer by allowing the pilot to select items outside immediate visible range. A new repair robot has been added that can reach external hardware, and the NPCs have new more realistic behavior. A handful of new star systems and bases have even been added! Try the game for yourself here.
- Fixed bug with messages from Pirate and Retro capital ships.
- Fixed bug with the local price graph if all former prices are 0.
- Fixed bug with characters other than Police Officers not getting equipped with weapons.
- Fixed bug with placement of characters on an illegal spot on Novy Norilsk.
- Fixed bug with Turret AIs and Energy Capacitors being carried over when buying a new ship.
- Fixed the selling price of Turret Energy Capacitors on a capital ship.
- Fixed bug with dying while in Combat Mode in space.
- Fixed bug with offences sometimes carrying over from an old player character to a new one.
- Made a few code optimizations to the autopilot to increase the speed.
- Your wingman no longer appears in space if you kill him on the ground.
- Wingmen are now hired for a period of time and offer to extend the time when it expires.
- 'T' now cycles through all the ships in range of your radar, even if they are outside your current view.
- Various shield balancing.
- Added Level 1 Shield Strength information about the various ships in the manual.
- Made the cheap scanners quicker at identifying a target.
- Added a "Resume" option to the main menu to resume the last savegame.
- The launching and part of the landing animations are now skippable with ESC.
- The Quine5000 now shows information about the saved games.
- Increased the speed of the page up, page down, home and end shortcut keys in the computer terminal screens.
- Added four more angles for moving your ship and aiming.
- Redid the shooting and missile firing procedures for correct rotation of gun and missile hardpoints.
- Added Repair NanoBots that can repair external components (armor, guns and launchers).
- NPCs walk around with a bit more purpose now.
- Innocent victims will now sometimes call for help, sometimes alerting nearby NPCs.
- Added five new systems.
- Added four new bases.

Making the Game: Wing Commander 5 PC PSX Technical Design Document

Today is the first of three versions of this huge document. This is the 110 page technical plan for the first version of Wing Commander Prophecy -- it was still called Wing Commander V, developed for the PC and PSX and had an extra ten months of development time scheduled.

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!

Wing Commander 5 PC PSX Technical Design Document
Download (8,211 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 123

All Hell is About to Break Loose (on French TV)

The Wing Commander movie will be airing on TV in France this Tuesday, July 7. The CinéFX channel will be airing the film at 9:00 pm. There will also be a second showing on Wednesday, July 8, at 2:15 pm. Organize your viewing parties now!

Making the Game: Critique of WCIV, PC

To prepare for Wing Commander V, the development team naturally looked at Wing Commander IV. Here's Hugh David's amazing stream-of-consciousness critique of that game's first several missions (it seems to end at Tyr). How do you think he feels about mouse control?

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!

Critique of WCIV, PC
Download (17 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Standoff Revitalizes Earlier Chapters

The Standoff crew continues to make advances to the game's engine that were just a dream when the first episode was released. Not only will Episode 5 be an explosive and exciting conclusion to the popular Secret Ops mod, but it will also bring the earlier chapters up to standard. Here's Eder with this week's update.

More voices

This week, the last remaining voiceovers for the new Episode 1 cutscenes were delivered - so I can now get started rendering the cutscenes themselves. It really went much smoother than I thought, which is great. Now if only they don't cause any trouble in rendering, it shouldn't take too long. Our schedule is starting to look a little tight - after all, Michael will need to add some music to these, too.

Not much other progress to report this week. I mean, I'm still working on the new ships, but I'm not gonna waste my time reporting on each of those ;-). Other than that, Pierre is working on fixing up support for some of the new graphical updates, and and bughunting.

The testers, meanwhile, are busy reporting new bugs for Quarto to fix. Apparently, Dundradal wasn't too impressed when it turned out he can't reach the newly-completed final mission because something got broken in the previous one ;-).

If you haven't already, now would be a good time to play through the first four episodes. You need the 112 meg Secret Ops starter pack and the 270 meg Standoff Episodes 1-4 bundle to play. Once you reach Episode 2, your training simulator scores can be tracked by our online scoreboard. Detailed instructions are available here. The installation of Standoff does not interfere with Secret Ops.

Making the Game: PSX Hardware Timings

Here's some more Playstation research from the Wing Commander Prophecy team -- exactly how quickly does the console put a picture onto a TV screen?

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!

PSX Hardware Timings
Download (25 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 2

Making the Game: Task Template

A short boring update today -- just the simple 'task template' that a team member would have filled out to report on their current objective. The strangest thing, though, is that these updates always get the most commentary at the forums...

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!

Task Template
Download (20 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Eve Online Gets Mini-Expansion

Back in March, the MMO space sim Eve Online (now in its sixth year) got a graphical upgrade and new gameplay features through the Apocrypha expansion. While the next major expansion is still half a year away, some new features and content will be patched into Apocrypha over the Summer. Version 1.5 is due out mid-August.

Small, Medium and Large rigs

Ever wanted to build the ultimate speed kite frigate but couldn‘t afford the rigs? Tank your cruiser to the max? Mod your little hauler? Now you can! We are adding small and medium sized rigs ( existing rigs will be considered large rigs ), which will be cheaper to buy and make. With this we are hoping that more people may get introduced to the joys of rigging and the sorrow of losing your specially fitted beautifully rigged ship. CCP Chronitis will explain further in an upcoming blog.

Level 4 epic arcs in Apocrypha 1.5

Apocrypha 1.5 will be rich with content. We have several new epic mission arcs, which unlike the level 1 epic arc we introduced in Apocrypha are all level 4, meaning they will be more challenging, but also more rewarding. With each themed around a specific race, these captivating stories deal with moral ambiguity, intrigue, honor and some people's lack of it. This should come as no surprise to those who know EVE and what we are about. As before with the epic arc that was released in Apocrypha, they provide a deep, interesting story, where your choices influence the outcome.

Specialized Cargo holds - Fuel bays on black ops

We are introducing a system that allows us to author specialized cargo holds on ships. We will start by adding fuel bays on black ops and possibly other ships. This means we‘re adding more space for your fuel, without the ships becoming horribly unbalanced haulers of death. The technology behind this opens up doors to making other types of bays, just for ammo, just for livestock or whatever. Those options will be explored in future expansions.

Factional Warfare improvements - LP for kills

We have been closely monitoring reports on lag in Factional Warfare, analyzing the network behaviour, player behaviour and scrutinizing code. The reported lag does not always occur and is elusive to track down and resolve. We currently have engineers allocated to the resolution of the problem, working tightly with the quality assurance department and our bughunters. Meanwhile, in an effort to make Factional Warfare more fun, we are looking at introducing Loyalty Point rewards for kills and captures, with special LP stores for each militia, offering unique goodies for hard working militamen and women. More details to follow in an upcoming blog by CCP Ytterbium.

Making the Game: Spaceflight Audio

This is a very early internal e-mail about audio specifications for the new game. One interesting thing is that this may be the final death knell of MIDI music: "MIDI is not suitable because of the vast differences between the quality of samples on different sound cards". Too bad! I never had a problem with the digital music in Wing Commander (in fact, it was beautiful) -- but the Redbook tracks sure ruined the later Star Wars space sims.

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!

Spaceflight Audio
Download (11 kb)

Date: April 23, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 1

Paper Epee Enters the Fold

Here's a preview shot of the next great model to be featured at Paper Commander. Péricles is now putting the finishing touches on the Confederation Epee. This one is specifically based around the livery featured in Standoff. The Epee and a set of Talons is set to be released for everyone to build soon. Check out Crius.net for more pictures and to provide feedback.

Making the Game: Programming Task Overview

Here's the January through November, 1997 schedule for the Wing Commander Prophecy team. It goes from asommers' first work on the collision detection system to the whole team's final efforts at bug fixes -- and it was all planned in advance. Do you know what specific task you'll be doing at work ten months from now?

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!

Programming Task Overview
Download (23 kb)

Date: May 15, 1997
Project: Wing Commander Prophecy
Donated By: John Guentzel
Pages: 11

WC Invasion Beta Released!

An initial test release is now available for WC Invasion, a mod for Star Wars Empire at War. Both capital ships and fighters are ready to play for both Confed and Kilrathi sides. The game requires an up-to-date copy of the Forces of Corruption expansion. Lots of work is still yet to be done, but this will give eager Wingnuts a taste of what the game is like so far in skirmish modes. Grab the mod here and visit Crius.net for any questions, comments or issues. Here's Major Payne with more information.

Since this project's inception all those months ago, I've spent many hours getting these ships in game and whilst they do lack the certain bleeps and whistles of the stock game, I'm hoping that this will all be worth it.

Firstly, all the planned models are in game and whilst the Kilrathi don't have the same quantity of ships as the Confederation, the side still has a diverse selection. Both sides generally have access to at least 3 classes of fighters and a minimum of 6 capital ship classes. Also each side has access to its own starbase. However, unlike the stock starbases the mods versions do not have the capability to increase in size/mass with each tech level upgrade. They also retain the same weapon count that they do for ALL tech upgrades (this means that the only reason for upgrading your starbase is to construct heavier capital ships and fighter classes). Secondly the following is completed and ready:

- Squadrons have been changed so that while you can purchase and construct each squadron as in the stock game (each squadron has between 2 and 5 fighters depending on fighter class), the squadrons actually act as individual fighters instead of a group or pair. There is of course, good and bad points to this: The good points are that this allows single fighters to be controlled instead of a group (good for scouting missions so you don't end up losing a whole group of fighters). The dogfight effect is better in this fashion as fighters will tend to attack which ever target they decide instead of having whole groups going after a single target. Unfortunately, the down side to this is the increased amount of icons when fighters are constructed or launched.

- Kilrathi Heroes. This seemed more of an afterthought than anything, and it's quite difficult to find portraits of well known Kilrathi royalty and other characters. As it is, I've got just three coloured portraits and as such these are the primary heroes. They are assigned the following: Hobbes, The Emperor and another member of royalty (Kilrathi Prince). Two of the capital ships assigned to these are versions of the buildable capitals. The third hero is a single unique unit which will be revealed when the mod is played.

- Merchant Spacedock. This structure has been changed to a much smaller structure. Its still capturable and gives access (currently) to only a handfull of ships for each side. In a later version of the mod this will be changed for advanced ships for both sides and there will be quite a selection available.

- Planet changes. Currently there is one additional planet. As the WC universe does feature a terran side it's only logical to include Earth. Thanks to Alberto Ghezzi for publically releasing a slightly altered future earth style texture. It shows the effects of several hundred years of global warming and is of high quality. This is seen in the currently build during the cinematic "gameplay" video during the main menu.

Making the Game: Tools used for WC3 PSX

Let's face it, console development seems like magic. We all imagine special Xboxes and Playstations that grow games instead of just playing them. That isn't how it really works, as this long list of PSX development tools reminds us. Check out all the Playstation development software available to the team -- much of it written by notable Wing Commander veterans.

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!

Tools used for WC3 PSX
Download (19 kb)

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

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