Channel Surfing in 2669

Here's one you may have missed. A couple of years ago, BrynS went to work on the TNC Infoburst videos that we have in our Wing 3 Holovids section. He combined the existing WC3 news videos with quite a bit of his own creative CGI, various sound effects and additional WC scenes to make an authentic looking news broadcast. The final product showed what a futuristic channel surfing night might look like from Christopher Blair's point of view. It turned out really well. You can download the 97MB 9m:52s XviD here. If you have trouble viewing the video, we recommend VLC to play the file.

Well, this started off as just an experiment to tag a couple of the TNC Infoburst segments from WC3 together, yet as things progressed it took a bit of a detour. After trying to flesh out the Infoburst with some file footage, intro titles, stock tickers, etc I thought about temping out some snippets of other 'Holovid' programming that might fit in with the typical television/holovid environment circa 2669 -- assuming it actually exists in such a form -- using a bunch of Wing Commander related stuff.

Anyway, I had a blast doing it; perhaps too much fun, so don't take any of the items or references too seriously! I definitely plan to revisit this idea at some point, but not in the 2669 time frame and have already secured one 30-second spot for the next video, luckily not from the Galactic Frungy League!

Cheers,

Bryn

P.S. A word of warning to a sneaky cat whose name begins with T: you know what they say about curiosity!

Gemini Gold 1.3 Released

A new version of the Gemini Gold Privateer remake has been released. The first major release in over two years brings new features, graphical upgrades and bug fixes. Notable improvements are Righteous Fire speech support, high res environments and better asteroid fields. Gemini Gold is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. An up-to-date version of the manual can be found here.

Privateer Gemini Gold 1.03 (2009-12-21) Come get some... Privateering! We have finished Privateer Gemini Gold 1.03!

The new release brings speech support for the additional Righteous Fire campaign, more original Privateer like features, a few new rendered fully animated interiors and a handful of bugfixes. Checkout the changelist for more details.

This december release is also our christmas present for the Privateer fans. Enjoy the holidays, kick some retro asses and don't forget to refuel your jump drive!

List of Changes:

  • A. Righteous Fire campaign voiceovers
  • B. High resolution interior/base graphics
    • Perry Concourse with animations
    • Mining Base Landing Pad animated light beam
    • Mining Base Concourse with dust nebular and walking man
    • New Detroit Landing Pad and Concourse animations
    • New Constantinople Landing Pad and Concourse animations
    • Some new damaged upgrade item graphics
  • C. High resolution MFD graphics (cockpit displays)
  • D. Privateer like communication options and radar colors for bases
  • E. Shields power down when playership runs out of energy
  • F. More detailed and better visible asteroid fields
  • G. Savegames can be named
  • H. Better readable Oxford Library computer screen
  • I. Bugfixes
    • Level of Detail (might cause performance issues during spaceflight)
    • loading of a saved mission causes infinite new waves of hostile ships
    • missile lock light always on while in gun or missile lock
    • scrolling hud down affects all other huds as well
    • landing after collision with eden moon
    • hitchhiker won't leave playership
    • mission MFD shows nothing.
    • mission bases and planets are not neutral
    • positive militia responses take longer than negative
    • cargo space calculation is wrong when using cargo expansion
    • hit autopilot while communicating in a centurion changes MFDs position

Are You Chicken?

Do you remember the command line switch for enabling the debug/cheat mode in Wing Commander 4 on the PC? Are you hoping that there's something similar in the Playstation port of the game? Well you are in luck!
  • Press Up, Down, Down, Up, R2 at the Wing Commander copyright screen to access the cheat screen.
  • Press R1 or R2 to select a mission
  • Press L1+L2+Square in flight to destroy ships

Secrets of the Playstation Website

While the exciting rerelease of Wing Commander 4 for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable has many fans and newcomers enjoying this classic as of new, many either missed or weren't around to experience the game's original release on the Playstation console. Back in 1997 Origin actually created a separate website just for the Playstation port. Many wingnuts may not be familiar with just what exactly the Wing Commander 4 Playstation website added to the series or why it was so important.

Included on that website was a Java-based ship and weapons database, as seen in the screenshots below. Another, perhaps more important item from that site is the secret letter from Dr. Brody to Captain Eisen which you can read right here. Before this letter appeared on the website, Wing Commander fans didn't actually have a concrete idea of when the game took place, so the website was essential in establishing exactly where in the timeline Wing Commander 4 occurred. In its own way, this letter also served as a precursor to the amazing Secret Ops fiction which would be released online during that game's original online episodic release.

Star Soldier Still Out There

Lots of people ask us where they can get background information or fighter stats for Wing Commander Arena. The answer is right here (7.7 meg PDF)! Star*Soldier introduces you to the world of Arena and fills you in on decades of new backstory for the end of the 27th century. It's a free download and absolutely everyone should have it. Our Star*Soldier Gloss feature has commentary from the writers and designers for all 60+ pages.

The ENEMY can appear ANY TIME and ANYWHERE!

Learn these planes and watch the skies!

Bringing Back the Battle Book

The Playstation version of Wing Commander 4 introduced just a tiny bit of new fiction. The 'New Officer's Handbook' mentions CONFED READYNET. Later, Wing Commander Arena picked up on this reference and spun it as an alternative to the future world wide web. This handbook and the 'Battle Book' made up the game's documentation. You can download both booklets from the CIC Game Manuals section here.
You have entered CONFED READYNET. Unauthorized access strictly prohibited. Password:XXXXXXXX. Welcome ENSIGN. This is your first visit to READYNET.

...

Have a question, comment or tip for your fellow warriors? Contact us at editor@ starsoldier.tnc.media or visit us on ReadyNet, keyword StarSoldier.

UO Wins Big Award

Ultima Online has been honored again. This time it was named one of the "Most Revolutionary Videogames of All Time" by Forbes Magazine. EA's The Sims is also included. Check out the full feature here.
Ultima Online, Publisher: Electronic Arts (1997)

Fans of role-playing games remember fondly the Ultima series, which dates back to the original "Ultima I" from 1980. But when Electronic Arts took Lord British's empire online in 1997, it changed gaming forever. Gamers could now dial into (and back then they did indeed dial into) a game server and cross swords with thousands of other players in what became popularly known as massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). "Ultima Online" was not the first MMO--"Meridian 59" and others predate it--but it was the MMO that launched a million fantasy careers on the "World of Warcraft" (2004) and "Everquest" (1999).

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays to Wingnuts everywhere! The CIC staff is all still giddy about the surprise rerelease of Wing Commander 4, but there's other WC news to report. We'll have more on the PS1 version of WC4 in the coming days, but here is an absolutely fantastic piece of Christmas art by Marc. It features an amazingly creative house-and-chimney carrier escorted by Ferret reindeer and a Broadsword sleigh. There's even candy cane striping where the caution paint would be and snow flakes instead of Confed stars. Check out Marc's other Christmas presents from 2006 and 2007.

Obee's Album Free

Long time Wingnut Obee has a Christmas gift for his supporting Wing Commander fans. His remixed German pop-rock album "A Perfect Point Of View" is available for free until December 31. The newer Mistakes Included album is available via Amazon or iTunes. Grab all 13 free tracks here (large blue text link for non-German speakers).
I got my '07 album "A Perfect Point Of View" online for a free download till December 31st as a Christmas gift for my fans.

Cheerio,
Evan/Obee/Patrik (Call me what you want, the guy from the original WingCenter.de ;)).

PS: Oh, the link: http://weihnachten.evanfreyer.de - don't mind the german text :D.

So What's New?!

The exciting rerelease of Wing Commander 4 for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable has raised a few important questions. Wingnuts have been asking us for specifics about the game and details compared to the PC version. As this is a 'PSOne Classic' game, what is now available is the original Playstation version released in April 1997, and it's up for purchase now through the PS3 and PSP (and not for the PC) for $5.99.

The Playstation version of the game shipped on four CDs instead of six, so there were certain tradeoffs made. 16-bit stereo Dolby Surround sound was added, but the videos are slightly more compressed and some nonessential scenes and video choices were removed. In order to eliminate ground missions, the entire Circe System was cut. The three atmospheric missions in the Tyr System were replaced by three brand new missions with alternate wireframe briefings. These have the player search and insert marines into space labs to search for the bioconvergence chemist.

The comm videos also are in color on the Playstation! And there are some different names in the pilot database. WC4 also got a control scheme revamp with support for dual analog joysticks, customized controls and "force feedback" rumble. Bonus features for playing this game on the PS3/PSP include the ability to pull the manual up at any time and reassign controls outside of the game. Stop by Crius.net for any other questions. Sound good? Now go get it!

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander IV on PSN!

Holiday surprise: Electronic Arts and Sony have made Wing Commander IV available as a digital download from the PlayStation Store. The game is a 'PSOne Classic' which can be played on both the PlayStation 3 console and the PlayStation Portable handheld! The cost is $5.99 and it is currently only available through the US store--we'll let you know when other regions add the game. It's a 2.25 GB download--so it may be time to pick up a new PSP memory card...

The official announcement is here and the game's PSN page is here. Download a copy and send EA a message about interest in Wing Commander!

Colonel Blair is back out of retirement and it's your job to protect the universe! Play as Colonel Blair in this action-packed shooter while making all the decisions, but think carefully because every decision takes its own course. Choose what ships to fly, what missiles to carry, and what wingmen to bring along, but choose wisely…the universe's fate is in your hands! Download this PSOne Classic today!

New X3 Mod Blasts Off

Lc4Hunter is working on a new Wing Commander mod for X3: Terran Conflict. He has already converted a number of Confederation and Kilrathi ships and put them into an action-packed promotion trailer. The mod will eventually include every ship from Wing Commander 3 and 4. Each of the ships pictured so far look great, and the background "environmental" effects are amazing. More information is available from the (German-language) project website.

'Origin Museum' Opens to the Public

A resident of Britannia named Diablo has opened a new museum on the Origin shard of Ultima Online. The structure has two wings and is full of "unique and rare" artificts. Public tours are available now! Below are some Stratics shots of the museum's sneak preview.
Diablo has been busy working on an Origin Museum -- Two houses side-by-side, inside the Luna walls, just east of the North Gate. Following EM Faine Morgan's High Seas Gauntlet and Maze Diablo took us on a sneak preview tour of the museums.

The museum opened to the public today, Thursday, December 3. When you drop by, plan to spend some time as both buildings display an amazing number of rares and artifacts. I have asked Diablo for a list of items displayed and some of the history behind the items.

The unique and rare items are an amazing collection, and to be able to view them all in one convenient place is a real treat.

Steer Clear of Scylla

Major Payne is working on building a detailed Movie-based Snakier model that may be used in WC Invasion. The structure so far took about 20 hours of modeling, and it looks like a great start.

With various images from the net and those provided by AD, I've tried my best to come up with a reasonable 3d model for my mod. I did go way over budget on the poly count with this and it's quite innaccurate, but I figured I may as well post and get some feedback of some kind. Poly count is 4596 (aprox 1800 higher than I wanted, but the detailing was necessary).

One question though: Where is the hangar supposed to be on this thing??

Three Dimensions are Better

Hot on the heels of Part 6, lew82 is busily plugging away on Part 7 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness. He's released a cool comparison that shows how far he's come since last year. The shots below picture the same scene in his early 2D style compared with the 3D rendering techniques he's using today. What an improvement!

Some of you may remember me posting an early test scene of Frontier on youtube in early 2008. It was all in 2D before I learned 3D modelling. Part 7 contains that very same scene so now I've been able to redo it completely. The difference is pretty major.

Vote Wing Commander

Good Old Games (gog.com) is a relatively new service that sells older PC titles via online distribution. The games are patched to run on modern operating systems or just bundled with a pre-configured copy of DOSBox or ScummVM. Instead of a subscription-based service like the ill-fated Gametap, Good Old Games is shooting for downloadable game sales priced around $10 or less. You do not need a special client to download or play the games after you buy them. Last year, their VP of Marketing expressed an interest in licensing Wing Commander for distribution. They have a Wishlist where users can vote for games that they would like to be made available.

Voting Starts This Week

This is a last chance call for nominees for Wing Commander Fan Project & Web Site of the Year. Voting will begin this week. Let us know which sites and projects got you the most excited this year!

Outpost Group Shot

We've been following Cybot078's sketching out of various Kilrathi ship designs. Meanwhile, he has also been working on modeling Confederation starbases from both the main series and the spinoff titles. How many can you name?

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, Etc.

JasonRocZ has posed his Firekkan Valtar concept in a variety of ways for another possible paper project by RapierDragon (like I said yesterday, it's a great week for paper). All of these perspectives also give Wingnuts a look at his new ornamental paint job based on Firekkan clothing.

I changed the rear dorsal fins as suggested, without it looking totally outlandishly silly from being too big. After doing the textures over a bit more, here's also a number more of screenshots of the ships and also an ortho view...

The Paper Commander Returns

It's been a great week for Wing Commander paper models. Péricles has released pictures of his Dorkathi design, and it looks fabulous! The 1/300 scale model is nice and large, and it's even supposed to be a relatively easy ship to build. Look forward to instruction and material releases for this beauty, plus the Epee and Talon, soon!

Hello to all!!!

My friends. This year has been very very dificult to me, which has caused a lack of releases, but in few days I'll update Paper Commander with the Epee, Talon and Dorkathi.

This version is a Standoff model of course, excellent work of Eder.

Zero Connection Between Mass Effect 2 and Wing Commander

Adam Lazarre-White, who played Lt. Terrence 'Zero' O'Hearn in Wing Commander Prophecy and Secret Ops, will be starring in one of the most anticipated games of 2010. He will be voicing the roles of Jacob Taylor in the upcoming Windows/XBox 360 game Mass Effect 2.

Paper Gratha Moving Full Speed Ahead

The engines are now on RapierDragon's paper Gratha. He pointed a flashlight at the tail to snap a picture, and the resulting effect is a very cool engine glow! There will be some additional work on the upper surface, and then the ship will be nearly done.

Top side needs a bit of work to fill in a few gaps.

Reverse-angle: used a small flash-light (camera's flash made too much glare) to show the 3d-ness of the awesome engine ports. They're almost big enough to stick your pinky-finger in up to the full length of your pinky finger-nail.

Underside: I got the red/grey bit backwards on the slanted bit running back from the intake, but it's just a place-holder while I work out the rest of the cowl/armor back there.

Before cutting I place a layer of this 2-inch wide tape over the parts (helps strengthen the paper, makes it easier to clean since it provides a tiny bit of water-proofing, and gives the completed model a nice "plastic-like" sheen too)...

Since that part folds inward it was hidden in total shadow, so I had made the inside a pinkish-yellowish-off-white (just like you see in the rear-view of Michelle D's pic) and held up a small flashlight to shine light in (the camera's built-in flash made so much glare you couldn't see any shape/detail), but as a nice side-effect the light reflects off the tape and ta-da, instant "engine glow" without any kind of internal LEDS/batteries...

UO May Not WoW, But It's Not Out

Kotaku is running a feature to celebrate the fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft. While the point of the article is about how many MMOs have collapsed during its time (such as Origin founder Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa), they give props to the first popular, modern and still-running MMO: Ultima Online. UO was launched way way back on September 25, 1997 and still maintains between 50 and 75,000 subscribers, most of which are in Japan. While its user base is slowly dwindling, this is an amazing number when compared to all the flashy brand new MMOs that have come and gone. Check out the full article here.

Mod to Mod Strums Standoff's Strings

-danr- has an update on his mod of the popular Standoff mod. Based on Crius.net feedback, he's made some adjustments to his WC3 ship integration. As cohesive a package as Standoff is with its "WC2 era" designs, seeing contemporary fighters that were not revealed to the player until WC3 is pretty neat. The cockpit shots are fun and dan has been tweaking the HUD a bit, but my favorite image below might be of the Thunderbolt toasting a Gratha.

Thanks for all your feedback regarding some of the changes I made to Standoff by throwing in some WC3 generation ships, I've made a couple more touches now:

Used a string editor to change the VDU data of the ship you are targeting, i.e. the Vaktoth now shows as a 'Vaktoth' rather than 'Gothri' (which it replaced) also, note the ship VDU icon now corresponds to the Vaktoth (this was simply a matter of extracting the correct icon from Prophecy and throwing it in.)

787 Completes First Flight

The Boeing 787 took to the skies for the first time this morning over Western Washington. Its three hour test flight started in Everett, headed out briefly towards the Pacific Ocean and ended in Seattle. The 787 is the first commercial jetliner to be made out of mostly lightweight composite material, which allows the plane to consume less fuel while providing a more comfortable cabin interior. Some 850 have already been ordered by more than 50 airlines. The sticker price is approximately $175 million US each. Passenger flights should begin by the end of 2010.

Invasion Fleet Assembles in FPtD Part 6

Part 6 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness has been released! lew82 has been able to use much of the great voicework contributed by CIC visitors, and the story continues. Check out the new chapter here.

The Patton and Hornblower rendezvous with the rest of the invasion group, where Caine confronts Krauer regarding the Captain's past. Meanwhile Sarah awakens in to find herself and Captain Esteban trapped by an unknown party. And back the aboard the Patton and Hornblower the order is given to gear up for the invasion ahead.

Help Create the WC Encyclopedia

Did you know that we have a WC Encyclopedia that every Wing Commander fan can contribute to? While the effort has so far been focused on a few specific areas, everyone is welcome to sign up and work on whatever they feel like. Article templates have been set up for common entry types like character biographies, ship classes and star systems. Example articles (linked from the front page) demonstrate how you can use the templates for adding information in the standardized WCPedia style. General rules and guidelines can be found here.

To prevent automated spam abuse, new CIC Wiki accounts need to be individually approved. When registering, be sure to put a line or two into the 'biography' box to prove you're not a robot. If you're in a hurry to have your account approved, you can contact us or Dundradal on IRC, via e-mail or on the Forums.

Another Killer Wallpaper

Kilrathikiller has created a sequel to his popular high resolution WC1 and WC2 wallpaper images. He's used the same methodology as the others to create a WC3-themed background complete with characters and scenes from the game. Like before, a standalone logo has also been released. More desktop backgrounds are available from our Wallpapers section.

More Wing 3 Concept Sketches

Here are some more of those concept sketches that Cybot078 has been working on. The Kilrathi ship designs from Wing Commander 3 were the inspiration for these, although some appear to have both WC2 and WC3 themes in mind. More can be found in our news archives and on the Forums.

Firekkan 'Valtar' Ready for WCCD

JasonRocZ has completed a Firekkan fighter for the Collateral Damage mod of Secret Ops. The final version is pictured first below. Its hull is loosely based on some unused Wing Commander concept art from 1998. The ship looks really sleek, and the hull painting has been very creatively lifted from the unused Firekkan character robes from Wing Commander arena.

Originally when I was designing the Valtar I had waaaay too many not just similarties but (exacts) to the Raven's Claw model, sometimes it's just the creative process. But as I went on I started to steer away from that model and I started trying to get it more similar to one of the proposed "Wing Commander Online - Border World" ships that I thought would be more appropriate to mimic. The shot on the left is then "FINAL" model of the Valtar and on the right is one that I used in the creative process.

Searching for a Shipyard

With as many models as Jason has pumped out for WCCD, there's one he's not planning to touch. However, if anyone would like to take a stab at accurately recreating the Indomitable or Kiranka class battlecruisers, there's a chance it would have a home in the Collateral Damage mod. Either way, it'd be great to see more people's take on this massive ship!

Unfortunately no Indomitable or Kiranka BattleCruisers. :( Unless someone would like to model one....

Ascii Casino Coming Soon

Chris Knudsen has released a new version of Privateer: Ascii Sector, fixing a number of bugs and glitches. You can download 0.6.2.4 from the Ascii Sector website. Chris also hopes to have a casino feature ready soon.
  • Fixed bug that wouldn't allow you to take off because of a non-existent passenger.
  • Fixed bug that sometimes made corpses on your ship not show up on the cargo terminal.
  • Fixed bug with tile walkability when buying a capital ship.

Saga's Dreadnought Jumps In

Here are some new shots of the nightmare-inducing H'varkann class Kilrathi dreadnought to be featured in WC Saga. The extremely large warship is a sight to behold, and this one is in great shape. Check out more at the Saga website.

The massive and intimidating H’varkann-class dreadnought is the largest and deadliest warship in the Kilrathi fleet. Its array of heavy beam cannons and missile batteries can lay waste to entire enemy fleets, and its fighter complement is equal to that of several heavy carriers. In addition, its super heavy shielding and armor makes this battlewagon virtually invulnerable to any attack.

Several of these vessels were seen in various Wing Commander 3 cutscenes. One of them, KIS H’varkann, served as Prince Thrakhath’s flagship. Another ship of the class, the KIS Vorgath, made an appearance in the False Colors novel.

Nominees Needed

We want to hear your suggestions for Wing Commander Fan Project & Web Site of the Year. Voting will occur at the end of the month and be based off the items that you submit! Our prior winners are below. There has been a ton of fan activity lately, so there's plenty of recognition to go around! Check back later this month for information on how to vote for the top sites and projects of 2009.

  Fan Projects of the Year Runners Up
2008 Ascii Sector Flight Commander
2007 Standoff & WC Saga Ascii Sector
2006 WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod Das Erwachen
2005 Standoff Privateer Gemini Gold
2004 Standoff WC Saga
2003 Standoff & WC Saga Holding the Line & Vega Strike
2002 Unknown Enemy Kilrathi Empire & WC Saga BS
2001 Unknown Enemy Holding the Line & Vega Strike
  Web Sites of the Year Runners Up
2008 Paper Commander Standoff & WC Saga
2007 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Pericles' Paper Inside
2006 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Wedge's Wing Commander
2005 WC Saga Fleet Tactics
2004 Fleet Tactics Wedge's Wing Commander
2003 Wing Commander in Russia WC3D & Wedge's Wing Commander
2002 Wing Commander in Russia BlackLance HQ & WingCenter
2001 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central
2000 Acenet Central Wing Commander in Russia
1999 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central & HCl's WC Editing Site

From Drawing Board to Drawing Board

NinjaLA's latest work is a pencil sketch of a Kilrathi fighter based off the Privateer 3 concept art. It's a very menacing asymmetrical design! The basic image is available on white, and a reverse shot with a computer generated black background is also available.
This is a piece I started a while back and promptly forgot to finish... I started it back when the CIC ran an article on Privateer 3 concept art. I discovered it yesterday sitting in a stack of papers, so I finished it today. It was another attempt at creating concept art which looks to me like it would belong in a Kilrathi privateer's hands, err paws.

To make drawings like this, I do a series of silouette sketches to find a shape I find to be dynamic and pleasing and then I draw a basic wireframe version on paper. If the the initial framework looks good, I fill in the details first with a light pencil and then I ink out the details The shading is created with either a pencil (in this case) or grayscale copic markers.

Journey to Largkza

Depending on where they might be located, Wingnuts today are remembering either the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor or the Kilrathi Ritual of Pukcal. To celebrate the former, pick up a copy of Action Stations and read all about how the kats awoke 'the sleeping giant' with a daring sneak attack. The latter is celebrated by visting the nearest Temple of Sivar for atonement.

Gratha Gets Its Tail Feathers

RapierDragon has beefed up the nose of his paper Gratha and begun work on the tail. The ship will get additional engine and fin work next. We're looking forward to building this one for ourselves soon!

Did a cover-up layer for the top of the body and the cockpit area so that I could get that dark-red feathering-effect on. Also got that hawkish-beak (tooth like) bit on.

As you can see, the central part of hte tail is built... I just need to work out the sides of it. I've got it sketched out. The round engine exhaust-funnel things are done and waiting building.

Bottom-wise, I need to do the intake and its area. Rough plans already in the works. Just needing to finalize and print and cut-fold.

And in the forth pic you can see that curved gray area under the cockpit. Not exactly sure what its supposed to be... thinned armor for the radar? Perhaps the cockpit lowers down and out (rather than other ships where one needs to climb up a ladder and then have a canopy lowered over you).

After Action Report

We all know the feeling of coming back from a grueling mission, but what comes next? After you've landed and had your debriefing, what is the first thing that you do?

Our last poll determined that the most popular ship to strike was the classic Fralthi, followed closely by the Fralthra. Wingnuts seem to like both hammering on a capship with guns and missiles and swooping in for a torpedo run.

Blair, Tolwyn Rock Out

Forums member Mace points out that Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell are both voicing multiple characters on the Metalocalypse animated TV show. Metalocalypse, a dark comedy show about American/Scandinavian death metal band Dethklok, is currently in its third season and can be seen on Adult Swim. The two actors also did voice work together on the Wing Commander Academy animated series. Hamill, a prolific voice actor, was recently nominated for a Video Game Award.
Dethklok is the biggest, baddest, and most famous heavy metal band in the world. The quintet, consisting of Americans Nathan Explosion (vocals), William Murderface (bass), and Pickles the Drummer, along with Scandinavian guitarists Toki Wartooth and Skwisgaar Skwigelf, have to deal with their fame and other situations in their lives, all the while being monitored by a government organization out to destroy them.

Wing One More Time

Two years ago, The Fatman published his Wing Commander soundtrack, "Wing One", through the Amie Street music service. Twenty-six tracks were released throughout the Summer of 2007. Thirty second samples of each track are available to everyone, and once you've bought a song, you can listen to the full version online or download it outright. These are plain old MP3s, free of DRM. The Amie service is a little unusual in that songs start cheap and rise in price up to $0.98 as they become popular. At the time of writing, most Wing One tracks cost upwards of ninety cents when purchased individually, but the full album can be had for just $8.98. Wing Commander fans who missed out on the original premiere of this album are in for a treat. The Fatman has six more albums in his Amie Street catalog, including the soundtrack to The 7th Guest. Check them out here. Office fans can also find some of Creed Bratton's music on there.
This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems. I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or has taken since. If you don't believe me, do the research. Try to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time! In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year. These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.

You will hear the authentic, original MIDI files, playing back on a Roland MT-32 sound module, as you would have heard if you were playing a Brand New Wing Commander game on The Best Game Sound-Equipped Computer Available At The Time. A touch of Roland Sound Canvass (in MT-32 emulation mode) was added just because it was easy to do and made the tones just a tad-bit richer. Other than that...Welcome To The State of the Art in PC Audio, circa 1990!!!!

Ascii Sector Maintenance Release

Chris Knudsen has released a new version of Privateer: Ascii Sector. This latest build fixes a number of bugs and glitches, mostly related to combat situations. You can download 0.6.2.3 from the Ascii Sector website. Here is the full list of changes:
  • Fixed bug with theft added to criminal record when taking stuff on board a ship.
  • Fixed bug with being able to melee attack in a smoke cloud.
  • Fixed bug with stunned, captured or blinded characters knocking guns away and blocking attacks.
  • Fixed bug with combat mode kicking in on board a ship even if you've captured all hostiles.
  • Fixed bug with weapons not using ammo if knocked out of your hand.
  • Fixed bug with captured ejected pilots being removed from the manifest when landing.
  • The game now ships with SDL_mixer 1.2.11 which will hopefully fix the music crashes.

Prelude to Big Things

lew82 is gearing up for the next release in Frontier - Prelude to Darkness, and he needs your help! The animated movie requires a variety of voices for both large and small parts. Part 6 is currently about three quarters complete. If you haven't seen the earlier chapters, check them out here.
Thanks heaps for the continued interest and support with Frontier.

As we're approaching some pretty large scale scenes which will have a great deal of different main and bit part characters, I've sort of discovered I'm gonna need more voices.

So if anyone is interested in volunteering their voice talent for Frontier - Prelude to Darkness, please drop me an email at lewis@ardament.com All you'll need is your own mic (semi-good quality preferably) and ability to record audio files, zip email them.

Any at all help will be greatly appreciated (by me of course)

Two Dimensions is Plenty

Flanker has a set of new Wing Commander art projects, and they're gorgeous! He's got several views of sharp looking blueprints and diagrams in the works that may be used in WC Saga. There is also some great side-view lineart of the Hellcat and Thunderbolt. You can see some of his other work over at Scifi Meshes.

D-A-C Compared to Arena

IGN has posted a new review of the awkwardly named Star Trek D-A-C (Deathmatch, Assault, Conquest). It's a top-down shooter for XBox Live Arcade/PC/Playstation 3 Network game that follows in the footsteps of Wing Commander Arena. Like BattleStar Galactica, the game doesn't allow quite as many people in multiplayer (8 in BSG, 12 in STDAC and 16 in Arena), but the addition of a second single player mode helped bump the review scores a bit. Note that this new single player mode is only in the just-released PS3 edition. The game is fairly pretty though, and probably isn't a bad addition to the game library for anyone who loves Arena and wants more in the same style. Thanks to Delance for noticing this one.

Call For Nominees

The annual CIC year-end contests are approaching fast, so now is the time for everyone to submit their nominations. Voting will begin soon for Wing Commander Fan Project & Web Site of the Year. Choices should be based primarily on how much each contender has contributed to the Wing Commander community in 2009. Previous winners are listed below. This year has been full of fan activity, so there's plenty to recognize this time around. Check back later this month for information on how to vote for the top sites and projects of 2009!

  Fan Projects of the Year Runners Up
2008 Ascii Sector Flight Commander
2007 Standoff & WC Saga Ascii Sector
2006 WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod Das Erwachen
2005 Standoff Privateer Gemini Gold
2004 Standoff WC Saga
2003 Standoff & WC Saga Holding the Line & Vega Strike
2002 Unknown Enemy Kilrathi Empire & WC Saga BS
2001 Unknown Enemy Holding the Line & Vega Strike
  Web Sites of the Year Runners Up
2008 Paper Commander Standoff & WC Saga
2007 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Pericles' Paper Inside
2006 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Wedge's Wing Commander
2005 WC Saga Fleet Tactics
2004 Fleet Tactics Wedge's Wing Commander
2003 Wing Commander in Russia WC3D & Wedge's Wing Commander
2002 Wing Commander in Russia BlackLance HQ & WingCenter
2001 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central
2000 Acenet Central Wing Commander in Russia
1999 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central & HCl's WC Editing Site

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