Requesting Clearance to Land

The new front page poll asks about your favorite type of landing. A lot of people have fond memories of the first time they figured out how to land in the front of the Tiger's Claw. Everyone also had fun the first time they zoomed through the first fly-through bay on the Victory. And with Gothri pounding their rear armor and electronics popping across your cockpit, who can forget the relief of getting pulled into an automatic landing zone?

Our annual New Years poll shows that more Wingnuts feel 'great' about 2010 and fewer predict the year will be 'poor', but there is also greater uncertainty compared to 2009. I think people who voted for the first option will be proven right as the year unfolds!

Command & Conquer 4 Open Beta Begins

Electronic Arts has opened up the beta for Command & Conquer 4 to the public. This multiplayer test allows gamers to participate in full 5 versus 5 online battles. The game itself is due for release on March 16, 2010 for Windows PCs. It will conclude the 'Tiberium' story arc surrounding the GDI versus Nod and include the series' signature live actor full motion video with Joe Kucan returning as Kane.

Command & Conquer 4 allows C&C fans to finally experience the epic conclusion to one of gaming's most beloved and longest-running series, the 15-year Tiberium saga. Kane. GDI. Nod. Tiberium. How will it end? Find out in Command & Conquer 4, told through persistent player progression, trademark live-action cinematics, and a multitude of innovations to the classic fast and fluid Command & Conquer gameplay.

To get in the Command & Conquer 4 Public Beta, all you have to do is visit our Gamespot Beta Page here right now, and follow these simple steps:

If you are not logged in, you are prompted to log in to your free GameSpot account, or register for one. Once you are logged in, you will see registration fields already populated for you, based on your GS profile. Just hit Submit.

The page now includes new information, including your key (the URL), and instructions on what to do.

If Gamespot is temporarily out of keys, DO NOT WORRY, you will be placed on a short waitlist if necessary. You do not need to re-register. Once Gamespot releases more keys, you will be assigned a key in the order you joined the waitlist. Your own key is displayed on the page, as well as sent to you by email.

We will be monitoring our server load as we are still in Beta phase, however, Gamespot will be issuing thousands of keys periodically. In the event you are placed on the waitlist, do not fear, we will be activating users daily and quickly.

So get in the public beta action Commander and join in on the 5v5 multiplayer mayhem. Provide the development team feedback, let your voice be heard, and help the team make C&C4 the game you want it to be.

If you're ready for Command & Conquer 4, then be sure to PRE-ORDER and gain access to our exclusive prequel bonus mission "Night Moves", the official C&C 4 soundtrack, and a personal autographed headshot of the Messiah, Kane!

Download Recap

Despite chewing through well over a terabyte of traffic so far, we have a lot of upload allowance to spare for the month of January. We have plenty of entertaining files that you may have missed in the past. We recommend a download manager to help the large files along. Below are just a few of our favorites. More can be found in our Files and Music sections.

Gamerlimit Reunites With an Old Friend

Although a few weeks late for the game's 15th birthday, GamerLimit has honored a special title in its 'retro reunion' feature. Wing Commander 3 gets the nod for its incredibly immersive and as-advertised interactive movie claims. The branching plot, top notch graphics and all-star cast are cited as contributing factors as well. Like most Wing Commanders, the author notes that WC3 holds its own against modern action games and blows away the competition's interactive storytelling features. Check out the full article here.
When it was released in 1994, Heart of the Tiger was dubbed “the world’s first interactive movie”. While most gamers would scoff at such a claim today, by all accounts it was very much what the media hyped it to be. With a 10-minute intro clip, and no main menu, players knew straight away what they were in for. ...

One of the reasons that the Wing Commander series was so successful was for exactly that reason: the storyline. Every game played out like a movie, even more so in the third and fourth instalments, and gamers were able to feel a true sense of connection to the protagonist, Blair.

That's One Mean Freighter

Starman has taken another one of Feng Zhu's impressive concept art sketches and turned it into an awesome 3D model. He actually made the design last year and is finally getting around to releasing it. The ship is very imposing! Textures are not Starman's forte, so he's left that part up to other artists. Hopefully an aspiring Wing Commander mod can make use of it. Both Truspace 5.1 and 3DS versions are available to download here.

Though the sketch names this ship a "freighter" and the concept also talks about a cargo pod, I think that according to the cockpit size this is more a heavy fighter/bomber. More like a raider as the Sorthak with its own jump drive (could fit into the massive hull) and enough weapons to make big damage. Below the cockpit are the torpedo tubes, while the wings store the antifighter missiles.

I'm still not happy with some detail and some proportions, I had especially big problems with the wings, since currently left and right are the same (also I think the hand drawn perspective in the concept art is not fully correct), so theoretically the wing should be OK. It looks good this way, but maybe more asymetric wings would also be neat. Here are the images.

I found this baby here I made a few months back in a final attempt to going back to modeling. But I think it would be a shame to waste the model file and the time I put into it, so I decided to upload it here, maybe someone can use it in a mod or something. Sorry it's not textured, but creating texture files is not really my strength. Hope you like it.

Keep Looking Up!

César Marcarini has his Star*Soldier handy, and he's certainly watching the skies! When a photo of weird space phenomenon over the skies of Norway recently surfaced, he knew what he was looking at. While the experts believe it's the first example of the aurora borealis reflecting off a satellite, a more likely cause is a stray Nephilim Manta.

The ENEMY can appear ANY TIME and ANYWHERE!

Learn these planes and watch the skies!

Fighter Models Measured Twice & Cut Once

Herr Koos has scratch-built several impressive Wing Commander models. The high quality ships show off the time and effort he put into the designs prior to starting construction. The Banshee, Hellcat and Excalibur are hollow, and the more curvy Vampire is made out of solid balsa wood.

Let me start with a bit of background: I'm a long time model builder. I started off with plastic kits and I've since progressed to scratch-building my own designs from balsa wood. My collection includes five WC ships (which I'm quite proud of, I might add :) ). Building something from scratch as opposed to using a model kit obviously means you have to draw your own plans to work from. This involved hours of taking measurements from the game manuals, and even from in-game screenshots to get the look right.

New Wilson Movie Coming Soon

Tom Wilson is still busy on the comedy circuit. The Maniac will be visiting a couple hot spots in the southern US this spring from February 4-7 in Alabama and March 4-6 in Kentucky. He's also just finished shooting a film called Yohan - The Child Wanderer. Here's why...
I just finished acting in a Norwegian movie called "Yohan - The Child Wanderer." It's being produced, directed, and acted by Norwegian actors, in Norwegian, with the beginning and ending set in the U.S., with a few American actors, including myself and Kris Kristofferson, who is Swedish, but got over his Norway-Sweden resentments to act as "Old Yohan." Why did I do this? Hey, who wouldn't want to be in "Yohan - The Child Wanderer" with Norwegian people? Besides, I'm big in Norway. Well, physically large, I mean, and they seem to like great big white people there, because they have lots of them. And easy to assemble furniture. I had better photos, but I liked this one that went wrong. Lit in the right way, Kris looks like a painting from the 17th century.

Love from Wilson World,
Tom

New Kat Ship's an Asymmetrical Beauty

Here's a new Kilrathi design that JasonRocZ has created for Wing Commander Collateral Damage. The first two images below show off this ship, which he's named the "Darthek." Jason's done a very good job of creating a classically styled Kilrathi design without just mishmashing existing designs. The later three shots feature his take on the heavier Vaktoth.

Here's the one Kilrathi ship that I had planned to be used as a flyable ship at one point. It's a medium/heavy fighter that I dubbed the "Darthek" - 4 Lasers, 2 Neutron. Packs a punch, but it's rather hard to fly. In the right hands it's a hard hitting ship...

The Vaktoth that I had done will be used, but not flyable (by the player).

Genre-ation Ex

Wired UK is pondering the question, "Where do game genres go to die?" As alive and well as the Wing Commander community is, it's still hard not to notice the lack of new space sims on the market today. Their article also addresses adventure games and 3D real time strategy titles, which are conspicuously absent these days too. The author then looks to fan mods for some relief, and hasn't found it yet. As Gavinfoxx points out, he needs to check out some awesome WC mods!
Remember Wing Commander? X-Wing and Tie Fighter? Day of the Tentacle? Homeworld? All huge games, and all part of genres that now barely exist.

Standoff's Ending Easter Egg Exposed

It took just a few busy days of detective work for Wingnuts to solve the Standoff Easter Egg Challenge posed by Quarto last week. Plywood Fiend was the first to capture the screenshot below, and Blaster and Ilanin translated the Kilrathi text based on some key clues. The hidden message screen was found (spoiler) "on the flight deck, just after the final mission when all are gathered around your sabre. The easter egg can be found by clicking one of the nearby barrels." (/spoiler) The uncovered egg is a coded message from Prince Thrakhath to the game's main character! Now how about that song clip that plays along with it?

Whoa! I'm impressed, that was fast. :)

When creating this message, we made sure to provide a few "Rosetta stones" - the first sentence repeating the subject line, the "hahahahaha" bit, the "on my blood and name" phrase repeated from the letter in the KSaga manual, and finally, the Prince's name. There was plenty to go on - but even so, I didn't expect anyone to decrypt it that quickly. Well done!

Incidentally, since the fiction is stored as text files, this little easter egg required quite a bit of effort on our part - apart from creating the Kilrathi font, we also got Pete to create a basic encryption mechanism, to prevent people from taking the easy route and extrating the original text from the TRE file.

But now... you may ask - did we make up all those Kilrathi letters? No, we didn't - all we did was rescale them a bit from the source material. These are genuine Kilrathi letters as created by Origin. And, as always, you have Captain Johnny to thank - because an image of the Kilrathi alphabet was tucked away in the font-related materials on the WCP and SO backup disks. We're pretty fortunate that nobody ever looks at such dull things as fonts, because it meant we could use it for this easter egg . Now that our message has been decoded, though, I'm attaching the image with the original Kilrathi alphabet.

So... who's gonna drop by the Kilrathi language thread and work out what the Tomes of Sivar on the WCP intro screenshot really say? :)

Prelude to Darkness Keeps Fans in the Loop

In between major chapter releases in the Frontier - Prelude to Darkness series, lew82 creates several other updates on an almost weekly basis. In between the ship of the week (USS Hornblower!) and character of the week (Arnold Wexler!), there's a roundup of progress on the actual movie. Chapter 8 is about a fifth of the way complete.

Well this week was really busy! First off last week Part 7 got put up and I took a few days off animating to put my feet up. So as soon as Monday struck this week I was back into it. And so far it’s going pretty well, currently scene 19 is being animated and I’m about a minute in to the entire part. Scene 19 concerns the dropships launching and how dangerous the launch process can be.

One exciting (if you can call it that) thing that happened was in fact just this morning when I had put together a shot and upon saving was told by my animating program that the file was corrupted – oh my god I said! This two hours of work putting this shot together is now down the tube – so after visiting a few forums to see if there was any light at the end of this tunnel I was soon to discover that in fact this program has a secret autosave folder, for this very problem, and praise the lord I found my shot still very up to date and ready to go. God bless backup files.

Some of you may have noticed that Frontier now has a Facebook page with modest number of fans. I’m really amazed it had any at all – and I thank all of you who are fans for you support, because without I’d probably not bother doing this, so thank you again all who are onboard there. It means a lot to see you took the time to become a fan.

Adventurous Wing Commander Review

Adventure4Life has a Youtube channel where he posts video game reviews, focusing mostly on classic titles from the adventuring genre. For his latest creation, he instead examines the original Wing Commander and also touches on Wing 2, 3 and 4. You can watch it online here. Downloadable versions are also available in standard and HD quality. Join the discussion on the Forums.
Also you may note this particular game is NOT an adventure game... heh heh.. hey it is my channel so there!! Seriously though, WC, WC2 and WC3 are all land mark games in computer gaming history that have left their footprints on all games that have ever come after them. While I still intend to focus in adventure games (my fav type of game) it would be criminal of me to talk about the FMV adventure games with out mentioning WC franchise. Then after i tracked it down and started playing it.. I just feel in love with it again and simple couldn't stop. I have always thought that adventure games stand the test of time as they are purly story driven and stories never die, but WC1 and 2 have shown me that action orientated games can have a retro appeal long after there game engines have been immeasurably improved. I suppose it dose help that wc1-3 has such an epic and awesome story.

Well I hope you like it and I will be back soon with my next review (I tend to do them in 2's) and this one will be a classic adventure game again...

Collateral Damage Developer Interviewed

There have been a lot of updates here about Wing Commander Collateral Damage, but most of them feature new ships. JasonRocZ has recently answered a number of questions about progress in other areas of the mod.
Q: Right now it still seems like the project has mainly produced a collection of models, but you've mentioned getting all the basic ships done before New Years. Are you pretty much there?

A: I am pretty much there. There are a few that still need to be implemented into the Vision Engine - mainly just the capital ships. All the fighters are in the Vision Engine and are complete at the moment. The ship audio is all set. Also, gun sounds, afterburn, etc. The capital ships that need to be implemented are the Coral Sea, the Revenge, the Warrax (inserted as corvette), Ralaxath, Nephilim Palmeri warship (I haven't shown this one), and Earwig (has to be finished and implemented). Each and every fighter has been imported into the Vision Engine that you have seen me post up in the forums.

Q: Is there a story or a script far along (rather than just a premise)?

A: As I've been working on the models, I've also been working on the story. For roughly the past month, the story and character development for ALL the characters as mentioned earlier are about 90% finished. I'd really like for a few people to see it once I really have a good feeling about them, so as not to conflict with any facts, etc.

Q: Are there missions or mission plans? You've demonstrated that you can make ships, but what is the plan to do all the rest?

A: I'm currently on Mission 10 (10 good path, 10 bad path) of a 20+ mission campaign as far as the design concept is concerned. I've been designing the missions so far as fail and success, but have not touched any "Vision Engine mission scripting" as of yet. But I have read up on them and have been researching actually how Standoff scripts the missions that they have designed.

Thank you for your help and there are definitely plans to do all the rest! It's just been a very slooooooow process! bwahaha...

Win Big in Ascii Sector 0.6.3

The first new version of Privateer Ascii Sector for 2010 is jam packed with bug releases, and it includes the highly anticipated casino ship! The 'Lucky Lady' can be found at Nav Point 2 in the Adavene System. Check out the full list of improvements below, and download the latest version here.
- Fixed bug with passenger list carrying over if you exit a game and immediately start a new game.
- Fixed bug that allowed you to switch positions with hostile characters when on board a ship.
- Fixed bug that allowed NPCs to shoot at an adjacent enemy in a smoke cloud.
- Fixed bug with selling hidden compartments on Bellamy.
- Fixed bug with guild missions to Bellamy.
- Fixed bug with NPCs running away from you on a base if you have a hostile character on board your ship.
- Fixed bug that caused stuff on your ship to be moved around if you scooped up an ejected pilot while walking about your ship.
- Fixed bug that allowed shooting through the outer walls of a space station.
- Fixed bug that allowed you to aim through two diagonal impassable tiles.
- Fixed bug with cargo boxes not being removed from your cargo hold if you complete a "deliver to ship" mission while walking around on your ship.
- Fixed bug with tiles that had a cargo box in them not being walkable after you transfer or jetisson the cargo.
- Fixed bug with secondary objective not marked as completed after completing a "convoy" mission.
- Fixed bug with entering your ship from below by holding down the left and up arrow keys.
- Fixed bugs with missile lock status.
- Fixed various bugs with items on the ground that occured when there were more than 255 items in play.
- Fixed bug that made it impossible to send orders to your wingman.
- Fixed bug when buying large amounts of cargo for deliver cargo missions.
- Fixed bug with being unable to transfer a captive to a Dralthi.
- Fixed bug that caused the Turret AI to be a bit too "shy" when there are multiple hostiles in its line of fire.
- Fixed bug with smoke and explosion from grenades passing through walls of docking tube.
- Added the Lucky Lady casino ship at Nav 2 in the Adavene system.
- You can now switch positions with NPCs in Combate Mode just like you can when not in Combat Mode (also, NPCs can now switch positions with each other as well).

Watch Fatman's Geeky Show

LeHah tipped us off about George "Fatman" Sanger's cool video show and webcam. He's been teaming up with Jeri "Circuit Girl" Ellsworth to share their technological adventures with the internet. Check out archived episodes here!
I've got a great Nerd Treat for y'all! If you are too smart to be cool and too cool to be a nerd, you are a Scientiste. That's what Circuit Girl and I call you. That, and our friend. And we've been working on creating a community that's worthy of your attention and participation.

Famous Ubergeek Chick Jeri Ellsworth and I have been playing, having fun, making prototypes, discussing creativity, making music, and webcasting the whole thing as The Fat Man and Circuit Girl. So check it out... get on the forums and geek out with us, and enjoy!!!!

WCPedia Reaches 1,000 Articles!

The Wing Commander-themed wiki encyclopedia hosted by the CIC has reached a major milestone! Thank you to all the dedicated contributors who've helped so far. Dundradal helped achieve the feat today:
Today I spent several hours working on WC1 mission entries (7 more fully completed with only 5.75 left to go but the articles are already laid out). In the process of doing that the 1,000th WCPedia article was created being the Kappa Wing mission in Hubble's Star.

There's probably another 3 hours of WC1 mission entries left. After I finish those I've created a a project list for myself that I plan to follow in the coming months. Despite my lack of free time, this project is something I've really wanted to see move forward and I will continue to work in the coming months to make sure it does. I'm especially looking for a USG text helper. Even if you don't own the USG but want to help PM me and we can discuss it.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to so far to the project.

For those who are interested here are some stats about the project:

Wing Commander Encyclopedia statistics

There are 2,126 total pages in the database. This includes "talk" pages, pages about Wing Commander Encyclopedia, minimal "stub" pages, redirects, and others that probably do not qualify as content pages. Excluding those, there are 1,004 pages that are probably legitimate content pages.

603 files have been uploaded.

There have been a total of 997,554 page views, and 6,557 page edits since Wing Commander Encyclopedia was setup. That comes to 3.08 average edits per page, and 152.14 views per edit.

Keep up the good work!

WC Invasion 2.0 Released!

Version 2.0 of Wing Commander Invasion is now available! Seven new fighters and nine new capships have been added. Space stations have been beefed up and each side has received a specialized unit - a Confed Pelican repair tug and a Kilrathi command and control ship. Overall numbers of carrier-launched fighters have been reduced to minimize onscreen clutter, and mining facilities can be further upgraded. Work doesn't stop here though! New maps and a third race are in work for the next major release of the game. Star Wars: Empire at War (Forces of Corruption) owners can grab the mod here. A sprightly 9 meg upgrade is also available for version 1.5 players.
...and so it came to pass that v2.0 was released, and with it came a plethora of additional units for the player to construct to destoy his enemy with. But was that the end of the Invasion or could there be more??

Well in short. Maps, props, a third side........

Anyway. With the mod seeming to rely on the stock maps, I delved into map making itself and after some initial hiccups and quite a bit of help, I managed to get my first test map done (this was released with v2.0). While this current version was being constructed, I felt it necessary to find something which I could use as a props. With thanks to a member of WCNews forum I have around 16 models which will be converted and used on various skirmish maps. Almost all these will need some sort of poly reduction or rebuilding done to them as they are a bit high poly for my mods needs. I'll be posting some pics of these at a later time. There's also a definite need to get the third side up and running but I'm still undecided as to which it will be (the Nephillim are still prime candidate, with the Border Worlds a close second), and I'll also be looking at the various other sides which appear in the WC games. If I'm able to get a working GC for this version then I will be attempting to include several of these sides as well, albeit as unplayable factions (this is solely due to limited fighter and/or capital ship classes).

Anyway, thats about it for the time being. I'll bring another update as soon as possible.

Massive Network Announced for Mass Effect 2

Electronic Arts has announced details on The Cerberus Network, an in-game feature of Mass Effect 2. Time to coincide with the game's launch next week, the network will be a dynamic interface for new updates, missions, vehicles, characters and other items. These bonus features will be seamlessly integrated with the game to allow downloadable content without the need to drop out to a separate XBox Live Arcade or similar front end. It's unlocked by a single-use activation code included with the game or purchased separately, thus making used copies of the game somewhat less appealing. Prophecy actor Adam Lazarre-White voices Jacob Taylor in the new game. Although there's clearly no direct link, the headline made me think about catching my ISDN reports and emails while aboard the TCS Cerberus!

Preview WC Saga Introduction

WC Saga is kicking off the new year with an update about the game's intro cinematics. The screenshots that have been released show a flurry of popular WC3 fighters on the move and some familiar-looking ship interiors. Although some of the models and textures are still placeholders, there's already quite a bit of sharp detail to see.

Welcome to the latest Saga news update! We are excited to ring in 2010 and are looking forward to a great year. This week we would like to share six pictures of our rendition of the intro sequence. Please bear in mind that the CGI scenes are not final yet, so they don't represent the quality of the final product. You'll be seeing more of our cutscenes as we continue pushing out media. These pictures are just an appetizer.

Star Trek Online Warps In Next Month

The Star Trek Online is due for release in just two weeks, and the open beta is in full swing. AD took some time off from patrolling the Eta Eridani Sector to show off his super cool USS Tiger's Claw. The ship sports a ferocious green and white custom paint job and a pair of underslung engine nacelles. Spaceflight is pictured below, but the game also includes a third person character mode. As an alternative to the $15/month fee, $120/year and $240/lifetime subscriptions are available. It looks like a lot of fun for people with time for an MMO and even a slight interest in the franchise.

I finally got on last night, though I'm still having issues with it this morning... Played for a bit. It's nice and smooth in space combat, but it's glithy as hell on a base with other players running around. I think it's just lag though since turning the graphic effects down doesn't seem to smooth it out significantly. As a result, areas loaded with Human controled characters are painful. There's some neat options at HQ but it was almost impossible to move.

That said, space combat was actually pretty good and some of the missions were nice. Though I did run into at least one where I need some extra Human players since I was outgunned and outnumbered. And the "Away missions" are a suitable diversion. Not sure how they will play out over the long run. Third Person shooter play (of sorts) is not as fluid as I would like. But the various customizing options of your bridge crew and away team are nice.

Standoff Secrets Waiting to be Discovered

The Standoff team put a lot of time and effort into Episode 5, but they also hid an easter egg or two. In the months since the most recent release, there have been a few tantalizing hints to their existence, and now it's time to find them! Quarto has provided bits of information about one in particular below. Even after the location of this one's been discovered, he's calling on all Wingnuts to help decipher its meaning and share in solving the mystery. The hunt is on!
Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Fan Project of the Year contest! ... By the way, 2009 was the last year that we were eligible - for sure, we'll be releasing a patch or two during 2010, but hopefully the CIC will not allow us to be nominated again - or if they do, hopefully you guys will have the good sense to vote for a project that's actually active. ... But, here's an interesting bit of info for all those of you that sit on the sidelines and cheer us fan project folks on - by far the most motivating award we ever got was the one we received in the 2006 competition... where we won nothing at all, and indeed, weren't even nominated for anything. Ouch - that really pushes you to make better progress the next year.

Now, moving on to the actual subject of this thread. Sometimes, as we approach a release, we actually have time to add one or two easter eggs into the game. Usually, these are just silly things - click on something, and get a weird sound or voiceover. Episode 5, however, featured an easter egg that, I believe, might actually be more interesting to some people than the rest of the game. Amazingly enough, while Iceblade hinted at finding this easter egg just two days after the initial release... nobody else ever found it (or, at least, nobody ever posted about it). ... I was reminded about it recently by that Kilrathi language thread - but decided not to post about it while the voting was still going on (...and nearly forgot about it again, in the process).

So, here's the challenge - there's a few easter eggs in the final Standoff release, can you find the one I'm talking about, near the end of the game? It's not, let me assure you, gibberish - so the second challege is, can you decrypt it? Plus, a bonus question - can you identify the song clip in the background and who's playing it?

Just one detail - when you find the easter egg, please post about how to find it (and show a screenshot) in this thread before you get to work on decrypting it. Looking for easter eggs is enjoyable, but in this particular case, it's the decryption that's gonna be the real fun, so don't forget to share! (besides, there's no reward for being the first - and you may need help decrypting :) )

Space Shuttles for Sale

The United States' Space Shuttle fleet has received a price cut. The orbiters were recently offered for $42 million to museums and other institutions for display after the fleet is retired around the end of this year. The Shuttle Discovery will be going to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but the Atlantis and Endeavour still need a home. With relatively few prospective buyers showing interest, the price has been discounted to $28.8 million. Engines were running $400k to $800k each, but are now available for the cost of shipping and handling.
The lower price is based on NASA’s estimate of the cost for transporting a shuttle from Kennedy Space Center to a major airport, and for displaying it indoors in a climate-controlled building. The travel cost may vary based on location. NASA has moved up the delivery date to the latter half of 2011, instead of 2012.

Potential customers have until Feb. 19 to put in a request.

Congratulations Contest Winners!

Wingnuts around the world have spoken, and they've chosen their winners for the 2009 Fan Project and Web Site of the Year! Each one of the nominees has contributed significantly to the WC community, and we'd like to thank everyone who helped share their enjoyment of the series over the last twelve months. Without further delay, here are the what the fans chose...

The 2009 Fan Project of the Year is Wing Commander Standoff! After nearly a decade of steady development and releases, the final chapter of this excellent Secret Ops mod was released. The team behind the game has continued to push technical boundaries with the addition of cutscenes, new graphical effects and online scoreboards. After Episode 5's launch, the developers have continued to provide support and clean up bugs as they're found.

The runner up for Fan Project of the Year is Privateer Gemini Gold. This multiplatform Privateer remake released a major upgrade in 2009 that added voiceovers to Righteous Fire, high resolution base graphics, new cockpit displays, impressive asteroid fields, bug fixes and more. Even the instruction manual was overhauled.

The 2009 Web Site of the Year is WC Saga! The team behind Saga keeps their fans in the loop with regular status updates, contribution requests, picture releases and special features. And they've already started on their 2010 updates as they push towards a full release.

The first of two co-runners up for Web Site of the Year is Wing Commander Standoff. The project site was completely redone to coincide with the launch of their final chapter. Everything was reorganized for easier reading and quick access.

The other runner up is Paper Commander. After some brief downtime, the site came back with a booming triple pack in December. Although not the only source of Wing Commander paper models, Paper Commander has produced the most and some of the most beautiful paper reproductions to date.

Congratulations to the winners! And thanks to all Wing Commander fans who do their part every day to keep everyone excited and engaged!

Buy 3, Get 1 Free from EA on XBLA

Electronic Arts has a winter sale in effect right now. Buy three pieces of select downloadable content for XBox Live Arcade by January 31, 2010, and receive 800 microsoft points for free! Wing Commander Arena isn't on the list of titles that get you free points, but many other games are. On the rare chance you have an XBox and don't have Arena, this is your opportunity to get a free Wing Commander game! Check out the full lineup here.
Purchase any three (3) or more eligible pieces of content via the Xbox Live Marketplace between December 25, 2009 and January 31st, 2010 and receive 800 Microsoft Points.

*Limit one (1) rebate per person. To qualify for your gift, you must buy three (3) eligible games or game add-ons from Xbox LIVE Arcade using your Xbox LIVE account, by January 31, 2010 11:59 EST. The free Points will be automatically deposited into your Xbox LIVE account after the end of the promotion period. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Offer available only to legal residents, age 13+, of the 50 United States (includes D.C.), while supplies last, is non-transferable, not redeemable for cash, and cannot be combined with any other rebate or offer. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient.

Game Culture Interviews Mark Hamill

Game Culture recently interviewed Mark Hamill regarding his recent work in the game Darksiders. Invariably, Wing Commander worked its way into the conversation:
Can you talk about your involvement in videogames over the years?

The first one that I really worked on that made an impression on me was Wing Commander because we did live action and I was so fascinated. (Game designer) Chris Roberts sat me down and talked to me about the idea of this game. It was almost like an interactive movie. It’s very schizophrenic to me because there were different outcomes for every situation depending on the player. It’s such a leap of faith in terms of putting your performance in the hands of the director and the writers in a way you never would in live action.

What was it like working with Malcolm McDowell in the Wing Commander games?

Malcolm McDowell is so funny. He just makes me laugh all the time and he’s just wicked mean the way he tries to make you break during takes and so forth. You’ll be doing your close-up and he’s off camera mouthing anything just to get you to laugh. I’d look him straight in the chin because I knew if I looked him in his eyes it would make me laugh.

Read the whole interview here.

Conceptual Firekkan Ship Becomes Paper Model

RapierDragon's latest paper spacecraft is a design inspired by Firekkan Valtar built for Wing Commander Collateral Damage. He's put quite a few hours into the model so far, and it's quickly taken shape. The pictures below show the progression from engine pods to major subassemblies with vertical fins and finally a completed body. A canopy and finishing touches are all that's missing below.

Haven't done the canopy or the detailing, and the underside and tail-bit aren't there, but you can actually start to picture the Firekkan Fighter in its upcoming glory.

It's overhanging the keyboard tray because the nose does curve downward... putting the nose-tip on the surface would mean having to find something to tilt/angle the wings back a bit (would have made for an odd pic).

Frontier Prelude to Darkness Chapter 7 Released

Part 7 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness has been released! The story proceeds with continued support from volunteer Wingnut voice actors. The new chapter is full of fighter launches and dropship operations as the forces in orbit prepare for landing. lew82 has also set up a nifty Facebook fan page for the project. Check out the new chapter here.

Hey Everyone, Part 7 is here - the story continues at a bit faster pace as the invasion group has arrived at Toyr'Diablo, thus there's finally a bit more action in this one! I hope you all like it.

Paradigm Set to Destroy Bugs

The Paradigm has been added to the long roster of ships in Wing Commander Collateral Damage. The ship will be integrated into the Vision Engine as a "corvette style" capship without the subcomponents, and the armor is being upgraded for these rough and tough Nephilim fights. The bottom shots also show a few more guns than the destroyer carried in its Privateer days, to the tune of ten turrets and four launchers.

Check it out :) It's hard to decipher where the bridge is... what a strange design.

Last Call for Votes!

Voting wraps up this weekend, and the winners will soon be announced for the 2009 Fan Project and Web Site of the Year Awards. This year's roster of nominees is as good as ever, and it's great to see them get the attention they deserve. Although there will only be a couple winners, you can help support your fellow Wingnuts by checking out each of the undertakings below. Read more about all of them and cast your vote here.

More X3 Mod Shots

Lc4Hunter has released new renders and screenshots from his 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. More information is available from the (German-language) project website.

Win By Losing

Game Central has posted a review titled Wing Commander and the Awesomeness of the Epic Fail on the branching mission trees of classic WC games. There's a lot to be said for modern sandbox and open-ended games that were kicked off by Elite and Privateer, but mission-based games do seem to be quite a bit more linear these days. Either way, the author nails it at the end - Wing Commander is definitely a game everyone loves to come back to! Thanks to Jonathan Strawn.
Since the game isn’t dependent on victory, the goal of winning out the war is subverted to the goal of simply surviving long enough to see it through. This difference is the axis upon which the emotionality and depth of the game can turn in unexpected directions. As long as I come back alive, I have to face the consequences of my performance. Those consequences build up over time. Fail a few times and the missions turn more defensive. A few more, and I’m scrabbling to turn the tide of the war. String enough failures together, and now I’m covering a hasty retreat from the sector– alone, if my would-have-been wingman already bought it in a furball a few missions back.

...

If failure adds to the quantity of gameplay, it also adds new qualities to the characters. In the ship’s lounge, my crew mates reflect on their experiences of the war. I see different aspects of the same characters emerge as victory nears or defeat looms. The lounge becomes a profoundly affecting place upon discovering an vacant seat where a wingman would have sat, had he or she not died in a prior mission. Since wingmen can usually die only when they fly with me, the emptiness becomes personally significant: I know the cost of my failure, but I am rewarded with a richer emotional experience.

...

Origin got these lifelike qualities right with Wing Commander. It is a game I love to come back to, and I play as much to lose as to win.

Economic Slump Hits EA

Electronic Arts had a rougher holiday season than expected. The company announced this morning that it is updating its fiscal year outlook, and they've pared back their numbers for the business year ending in March by about 5%. EA has been in the process of cutting about 25% of its workforce over the last year, including one third of the staff at EA Mythic.
Revised fiscal year 2010 expectations are primarily the result of weakness for EA and the overall packaged goods sector in Europe in December, and a product mix shift to lower margin distribution products in the December quarter, primarily in North America.

Paper Gratha Ready to Fly (on Blocks)

RapierDragon has finished his paper Gratha! The finished structure didn't sit very well on the ground, so the last shot below adds some landing struts to give the fighter a better angle. Printable files for your own construction should be available shortly. RapierD is moving on to a Firekkan-inspired design next.

Heresey War Developers Interviewed

Space Sim Central has posted a new Q&A session with the developers of Heresy War, a space sim by Dream Builder Studios. The game features impressive visuals, a branching plot, customizable ships and will center around a human civil war beginning in space. A multiplayer demo is in work, and the game is expected for release in 2010.

SSC: Heresy War's gameplay is centered around a branching story line of missions. Can you explain how this works and can a player actually go down a path that results in a negative outcome?

DBS: We have three types of actions that will impact the single player campaigns (including the ones created by the community): show stoppers , major and minor events.

Show stoppers are the kind of action that prevents you from advancing the story, such as the player dying, losing your base or things like that.

Major events are what branch the campaign into different mission paths. For example let's say you HAVE to destroy an enemy ship, but somehow it escapes into hyperspace. Instead of proceeding to the next mission of the campaign, another mission (or missions) will be launched which will take you on a chase to catch that ship.

Minor events are actually one of the things that we're especially proud of, because they can change the gameplay of from inside the campaign missions. An example would be you rescuing a transport ship in a mission, which was not mission critical. However, after some missions, when you are in a really bad situation, a squadron of friendly ships appears and saves you from your doom. That squadron was made out of the pilots transported by the ship that you previously rescued. If you wouldn't have rescued the ship, the mission would've gotten really difficult.

Invasion Rolling Out New Ships

Major Payne has been working on detailed Kilrathi models that may be used in WC Invasion. One of these capital ship designs is based on the Snakier model from the movie.

Well heres the Kilrathi line up. All but one will be available only from the space bouy when captured. There is also a small carrier from the level 1 starbase to compliment the Ralarrad Destroyer. The starbases have also been upgraded with a heavy selection of weapons so they aren't quite so easy to take out. The only unit not pictured here is the Kilrathi specialised unit. I am thinking about the COMCON from the movie but only have a single image, so a creative spark might be required. Anyway, the snakier that I pictured earlier has also had a name change so without further to do. Heres the latest batch of images:

Pictured: Dreadnought MK II, Kamekha Class Light Carrier, Rakshaalar Class Light Carrier, Shaalkhar Class Heavy Cruiser, Shivier Class Heavy Fleet Carrier and Ratooth Class Light Fighter.

WCCD Gets Revenge With Tri-System Ship

JasonRocZ has dolled up Privateer 2's Kindred Vendetta for a neat cameo in Wing Commander Collateral Damage. The ship still needs a texture overhaul, but it's sporting some spiffy Gemini Sector guns in the last shot below.

I mean remember when all those pirates in Priv 1 were flying around those Talons... Who knows how old those things were, right? So it's definitely plausible to see some Tri-System fighters zoomin' around. Anyways here's some prelim screenshots..

...

The Vendetta is the primary light fighter of the Kindred. They are often used to escort the heavier, more valuable Blade-class fighters during Kindred operations. Because the Kindred does not field a medium fighter of any sort, Vendetta are often used in roles that traditionally require a higher classification of ship. Because of the threat now faced by the Kindred, the military offers a double bounty for destroying Vendettas.

Meet Admiral Tolwyn

LeHah reports that Malcolm McDowell will be signing autographs at Dark Delicacies, a horror-themed books, gifts & collectibles store in Burbank, California. The event will be held at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 12. Signed DVDs and photos can also be ordered from their website for $15 to $30 here. If you're going, get pictures there with your Wing Commander gear!
On January 12th at 6 p.m., Malcolm McDowell will be signing Halloween II (unrated DVD/Blu Ray). For this special event, Malcolm will be charging $10 to get the first DVD purchased here signed; he will be charging $25 to sign other items (if you order multiple DVDs online, we will adjust the charge accordingly). If you are planning on attending this special signing, you must come to the store prior to the event and pick up a number for your place in line.

Dark Delicacies
4213 W. Burbank
Burbank, CA 91505

New Freddie '24' Shots

Freddie Prinze Jr. will be appearing as Cole Ortiz alongside Kiefer Sutherland in Fox's 24 television show. New stills from the season premiere have recently surfaced. Several Wing Commander actors have appeared in various cameos, but this new position will be a high profile role. Day 8 has a four hour premiere spread out over two nights beginning Sunday, January 17, 2010.
Sources said Prinze is joining the cast of the Fox series "24" as a regular, playing Cole Ortiz, a recently returned Marine who runs CTU Field Ops and wants to follow in the footsteps of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).

Discuss Kilrathi Language

WCX is conducting a study on different aspects of the Kilrathi language. As extensive grammatical rules and word variations aren't all available, he's attempted to bridge the gap with the items that are known. There is also some study of written Kilrathi texts and how these tie in. Check it out so that you're not lost on your next stop to Gar's Emporium. Also be sure to read LOAF's Lexicon for a good primer on terminology.

Known Phrases

"Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Rag'nith."
For the glory of Kilrah, the Emperor and the Empire.

"Kir'kha n'ikh rakh k'har, Sharhi nar Hhallas."
I, Sharhi of Hhallas, swear to avenge my honor.

"H'as aiy'hra n'hakh ri'kahri krikajj, nai korekh sha'yi."
Beyond the eyes of my enemy, I shall prepare for the day of his destruction.

"Ja'lra rash'nakh h'rai?"
Why are you consorting with a human?



Don't Forget to Vote

Voting continues in the CIC's annual Fan Project & Web Site of the Year contest categories. If you haven't yet submitted your selecting, head to the voting page to read about each nominee and place your ballot. Pick your choice and hit the vote button once on each side.

WC Saga German Audio Book Released

The WC Saga team has released an audio story. It's available as a 23 minute mp3 file voiced completely in German. The events are based on the fiction associated with the mod's prologue chapter. Check it out here (40.8 meg zip).

This MCS production is read by Marco Ansing, Alessandro Alioto, Sara Kelly-Husain, Jan Boysen, Ralf "Searge" Pappers, Tabitha Hammer and Sven Matthias. These actors will also be the voice acting power behind the upcoming German version of the Wing Commander Saga Prologue. A musical score by Edward Bradshaw, Tim Janssenss and Dennis Schuster adds atmosphere to this lavish production. A great deal of care and time has been spent creating an audio book which elaborates upon the story of Wing Commander Saga. Get the MP3 file and enjoy the story.... if you can understand German, that is.

Happy Birthday Spirit!

Not Mariko Tanaka - the other Spirit! NASA's famous Mars rover Spirit has survived to see its sixth birthday. It first touched down on January 4, 2004 with an expected life of just ninety days. Its twin, Opportunity, landed on January 25, 2004. Although the first robot has been largely stuck since May, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team responsible for it is hopeful that they will be able to dislodge the unit before Mars' winter sets in. JPL programmer Eddie Benowitz wanted to share this video where the team talks about the mission's impressive accomplishments to date.

Paper Commander Triple Pack Released

Péricles has released a well-rounded trio of new paper models at Paper Commander. The Epee, Dorkathi and Talon are all available to build now! Each zip package contains Adobe Reader PDF files and Pepakura models. The Epee includes an attracting mounting stand, the large Dorkathi is one of the easiest oversize models to build and the Talons come in three flavors: Church of Man, Pirate and Gemini Sector Militia. Have fun!

After you construct these three, try out some of these other fantastic paper designs!

Arrow SWACS Dralthi I Dralthi IV Phantom
Hellcat Jalthi Sabre Clydesdale Venture
Thunderbolt Rapier II Vampire Assault Shuttle
Piranha Jrathek Broadswords Panther

Curious about Chronicles of the Claw?

Sylvester is looking at possibly restarting his fan fiction story Chronicles of the Claw. He's posted the first 60-odd pages to solicit feedback and get a feel for the direction he should go. Check out Crius.net for the story so far.
I had started writing this a couple years ago, but I had to stop when I went to college and ROTC. I'm thinking about starting it up again and I was interested in your feedback on the part I've already written. The story is attached as two Word files to this post. The pages are set up like you were reading a paperback. Comments welcome and Merry Christmas!

...

“One second Maverick, I’ll be right there.” The other Dralthi was on Knight’s tail, but that was by Khumalo’s own design. He pulled up into a half loop, flipped over and quickly dropped his Porcupine Mine. The Dralthi followed him into the maneuver, right into the waiting surprise. It promptly exploded upon contact, leaving Knight free to assist Blair.

Maverick continued to do snap rolls, pulling hard away from incoming Kilrathi fire. Whenever he had attempted to come around and fire on one of the Dralthi, the other started following him from the opposite direction. “Can’t shake em…”

“I got you covered buddy.” Knight replied, loosing a Spiculum IV Image Recognition missile from the undercarriage of his Raptor. The Spiculum was tuned to the image of one of the hostile Dralthi, and it bore in on the Kilrathi craft. The Dralthi attempted an evasive, which gave Maverick the room to pull out of the laser fire. The missile sailed wide of the Dralthi, which had a much sharper turning radius.

Glad You Made it Back in One Piece

NinjaLA has returned to base with another great art piece. He originally intended for it to land on New Year's, but it was propelled to today by various circumstances. Regardless, we're sure you all will appreciate the sentiment. The ship in this piece is grounded in fighters from a variety of the Wing Commander games and even the movie.

This fighter pilot came a little close during his last run. His mechanic will have a few choice words with him. It is not a specifically existing fighter in the Wing Commander universe.. just something that looks a bit pieced together. It was done with Pigma Micron art pens and 'ultra bright' copy paper. This was the last drawing of the year for 2009. I felt like it should be something fitting for 'another successful run.' Happy 2010 everybody.

Lighting a Candle

Here's a somber message from Mark Dacascos, who played Troy Carter in Wing Commander 4. His former manager, who was likely involved in signing him as Catscratch in WC4, is very sick. Mark has gathered a tremendous following in recent years as The Chairman on Food Network's Iron Chef. He was also a contestant on last season's Dancing with the Stars and maintains an active Twitter feed where he connects with fans.
Thank you for your concern. My former manager, Cathryn Jaymes (who handled me for 18 years) has been struggling with multiple tumors. The doctors did brain surgery on Cathryn a couple of months ago. But she has other tumors in her body that they can't get to. She has suffered through a lot of pain. We thought she was "passing on" yesterday. Could be anytime now. At least she's in a deep sleep. Cathryn took me on when I only had a few credits. She always believed in me. Sometimes more than I believed in myself. I owe her a lot. I just wanted to let you know about her, because if I don't, well, if we don't talk about people, remember people, it's like they were never there. Cathryn was always there for me. I love her very much. Just want to put that out there. Aloha to you all.

Vote Here!

Voting is starting a little late for the 2009 awards, but here is your chance to pick the Wing Commander Fan Projects and Web Sites that were your favorite. This is by no means an exhaustive list of WC undertakings from the past twelve months, but it sure is an impressive lineup! The nominees have been narrowed down to make voting easier. Without further delay, here are the nominees! Cast your vote here.
    Fan Projects of the Year
  • Ascii Sector continues to receive constant incremental upgrades, bug fixes and new features. The game got new systems, achievements, player ship interiors and ship-to-ship boarding in 2009. Fans are eagerly awaiting the new casino ship in 2010.
  • Collateral Damage has rounded out its assortment of ships. This mod to Secret Ops gets its inspiration from both Prophecy's Nephilim and Arena's rugged designs. JasonRocZ is currently seeking fan input to refine the mod and give the game good direction.
  • The Community Replay concluded its run this year. In addition to motivating people to play the entire series, DaveO's replay produced a very thorough picture and video archive.
  • Flight Commander's mission editor was improved and the game's AI got better formation flying down. Exciting new features are in the works for next year.
  • Gemini Gold's latest version is full of new features. Righteous Fire's campaign got voiceovers, the base graphics were upgraded to high resolution, certain spaceflight textures are sharper and many bugs were fixed.
  • Howard Day's Models continue to impress. The Broadsword and Scimitar were some of the most fantastic ships made this year, and his dashing paint schemes were based on community requests.
  • Invasion released two stable and playable betas this year. New ships are still being added to its existing armada as the next release nears.
  • Standoff released its final chapter after more than eight years in production! Not content to just finish the story, older chapters were tweaked and the entire game got a graphical boost. The game's simulator scoreboards were also expanded with achievements and new online missions.
  • WC Saga got a handful of scary Kilrathi ships with improved graphics and a bunch of beautiful backgrounds. The mod is working to wrap its voice acting as it goes into the new year.
    Web Sites of the Year
  • Invasion's site regularly receives status updates and new screenshot postings. Its moddb cross-pollination also helps bring new fans into the fold.
  • Paper Commander started 2009 with updates and instructions on how to build the Venture corvette and closed out the year with a triple release of the Epee, Talon and Dorkathi.
  • Standoff got an all-new website built from the ground up to coincide with the release of Episode 5. The new design is fast, slick and provides tons of information on the ships, characters and tie-in material for the game.
  • WC Saga's site keeps its fans informed with frequent news posts, updated screenshots and downloads. The project also got a twitter feed this year.
  • Wedge's Wing Commander site stands as a great resource for Wingnuts looking for information on the various games. Its straightforward organization pulls together relevant resources in neat sections.
  • Wing Center is a major hub for German Wing Commander fans. Their news collection and reporting efforts help spread the fandom to a major segment of Europe. The site has been regularly updated throughout the year on a wide variety of topics.
We know it's tough to pick just one (from each category), but place your vote here!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to Wingnuts everywhere! By now most time zones have reached 2010, and what an exciting milestone that is. By some counts, this puts the CIC into its third operating decade (the 1990s, the 2000s and now the 2010s). When the CIC staff started reporting Wing Commander news in the mid '90s, the 21st Century was far away and well out of mind. In 2001, we paid off the wcnews.com domain through 2010, which seemed unimaginably far off then, and now it's here!

Each year we continue to be impressed by the continued dedication of Wing Commander fans around the world. Every day some two thousand fans still visit the site, and hundreds of Wingnuts still actively participate in fan projects, forum discussions and more. You all provide the material that goes into our daily front page updates, and we are fast-approaching our 10,000th news post. Each one represents an hour or two of our time, but they often share dozens or hundreds of hours of yours.

It's this constant dedication that proves there is support for more Wing Commander products, and recent releases like Wing Commander 4 on the Playstation Network wouldn't happen if you weren't here. Thanks for all the creativity and time so many of you have donated in 2009, and we're looking forward to an even bigger and better 2010 and beyond!

Gauge the Future

The first of the year is also time when we take a reading of Wing Commander fans' confidence in the year ahead. What surprises are in store for 2010? Quite a few fan projects will continue to evolve and be released, and we are just nine months away from the Wing Commander series' 20th birthday!


Our last poll asked what the first thing was that happens after a mission. Checking the killboard and saving the game were neck and neck, followed closely by talking to other characters.

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