Any Night's Right to Fight!

JasonRocZ has completed one last tweak to the Collateral Damage Longbows. These bring the paint schemes more in line with their Wing Commander 3 counterparts, although the "wings" and engine have been streamlined. Note how the engine wraps tighter towards a central exhaust in the rear where a gun turret would otherwise be.

Here's an updated texture scheme. I kinda dig the yellow, and it looks something that is a closer to the original. Also I had the wings at the wrong angle, which I fixed to the best I could. Sometimes the smallest changes make a big difference. Also I optimized the model so the proper shading is implemented. Check it out... Questions? Comments?

Props to Clever Copy Protection Props

There's more gaming site notalgia today. GamesRadar named Wing Commander as the game with the best trivia-based copy protection. Remember when GameTap released Wing Commander with Claw Marks, but without the blueprints? Elite, Monkey Island and Leisure Suit Larry also get a nod. Check out the full article here.
Remember when games asked you to enter the fifth letter on the third paragraph on page eight of the manual to make sure you weren’t playing a pirated copy? Yeah, we hated that too. But there were a few memorable games that managed to get creative with the way they used the manual to ensure you owned a legitimate copy.

Our favorite: Origin System’s Wing Commander. Instead of sending you on a soulless word hunt through the game’s manual, Wing Commander peppered you with fun trivia about the game’s lore and specifications of its various ships. Thanks to Wing Commander’s manual questions, we’ll always remember that the Fralthi has 28 cm of front armor and that the Ralari weighs 18,000 tons.

Props to The Heart of the Tiger

Thanks to the numerous fans who've reported the recent Kotaku article on the contents included with Wing Commander 3. It was actually inspired by an earlier posting about the game's manual. It's always nice to see people acknowledge the series, and they're only looking at the regular version of WC3. If only the author had the Premiere Edition with the strategy guide, t-shirt, Fleet Action, poster, calendar, behind the screens tape, sound track and color Warbirds!

Woah there, internet--some of us open the box to Wing Commander III every single day.

All Fighters Up!

Ironduke is about to kick off a small TacOps skirmish. The upcoming battle should whet a few players' appetites while Ironduke and friends take another crack at automating the fan made WC strategy game. Don't forget the stat cards and rule book. Hit up Crius.net quick or the fighters launch without you!
Jalkehi vs. Sabre so far... Anyone else up for the challenge? Volunteers for a Sartha wing? :)

Prelude Part 9 Now Playing

Part 9 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness is out! This chapter is lighter on the combat, but does more to advance the story. Fans who are eager for more space battles won't have long to wait though. The next release is already written and about a quarter complete.

There is a little scene I was going to add onto it, but as the part had reached 8 minutes I figured I’d leave this next scene for Part 10.

A few folks were surprised by what happened when the EEV got opened. I promise everyone that this will fit into the main storyline very well and also will be fully explained as the story progresses – so fear not! This is not some random ‘it was cool at the time’ thing I’m doing, it’s an element that has been built into the Frontier storyline for ages – we’re talking about when I first wrote the first draft in 1997.

Another thing which was slightly unfortunate was the lack of space combat which is a main part of the Frontier storyline as well, however as I’ve said on almost every forum, Part 9 may not have space combat BUT what we see in this part is CRUCIAL to the storyline.

So overall I hope you enjoy it.

UO Team Pushes Good Versus Evil

EA Mythic Logo The Mythic dev team that maintains Ultima Online posted a small update to shed some light on how they continue to push where the background story goes after more than a dozen years. Check it out in "Lost & Found" Part 1 and Part 2.
The development team wanted to offer some background into the creative process for making the next chapter in UO Lore, enjoy!

In February of this year we had a Saturday meeting. From this meeting we discussed all of the plans surrounding the re-building of Magincia … what we wanted to do with growing the community … but first and foremost we wanted something simple, elegant, and that would inspire roleplay.

We’ve looked at all the stories from Greek Mythology, Norse, Grimm Fairy Tales, and the Bible. There are some basic themes. There is good … there is Evil and all things in-between.

Before the thread occurred about “Good and Bad in UO” we had already devised the path for the rest of the year. There is a quote we learn at the Air Force Academy …”A man has integrity if his interest in the good of the Service is at all times greater than [himself], and when he holds himself to the same line of duty when unobserved as he would follow if his superiors were present ..” (Yes I know that by heart it was drilled into me …)

The paraphrased version is …”How good are you when no one is around?”

Even more … if you have the opportunity to be bad … how bad would you be?

Extreme Excalibur Takes Off

Gunther sent in a new Excalibur render with some crazy textures. It might look like every other fighter at first, but there are some cool features on closer inspection. The model is well done and some of the original purple highlights are retained. Some kind of mystery material makes up the ship's skin, and it's topped off with some reflective fins and a wacky cockpit dome. It's certainly different!

Here's a render I made from my Excalibur version. Hope you like it!

Garriott Rocks Some Out-of-this-World Threads

Paul Smith posted some cool shots of the mission patches from Richard Garriott's trip to space, and here's a snazzy shot of Richard in his flight suit to match.

Richard Garriott, famed video game developer, is following in his father’s footsteps and has launched aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. Richard’s father Owen Garriott is a former NASA astronaut who completed two space missions during his career. Richard is the the first second generation American in space, and also the sixth private astronaut client of Space Adventures.

Wing Commander Music Coming to Live Orchestra!

Here's some news that certainly rates a solid 11 out of 10 on the Awesome Meter! Veteran composer George Oldziey is working his tail off to bring the music of Wing Commander to the live orchestra. Although there are many details yet to work out, the target is to perform an arrangement of classic Wing Commander 3 & 4 sometime next year in Austin. We can't wait! Check out CIC Music or our Infoburst Interview with Mr. Oldziey to tide you over in the mean time.
Greetings all. Just wanted to let you know that, after some discussions with the maestro of our beloved Austin Symphony Orchestra, music from Wing Commander 3 and 4 will be performed live by the orchestra in a concert, date to be determined, but probably late next year. I know that's a long way off, but it will give me time to actually orchestrate the music, which has never been done before.

Needless to say I'm really excited about this opportunity, which I feel has been a long time coming. Right now my plan is to make a "medley" of sorts of the Intro to Wing 4 segueing into the "Last Mission to Kilrah", which is basically the main theme for Wing 3.

I'll update you as things progress. Also, if you know of other professional orchestras out there that also might want perform the music let me know. The more the merrier!

Cheers to all!

George Oldziey

Between stuff like this and George Sanger getting Wing One out the door after many years, the dedication of the Wing Commander musicians is so very impressive. This franchise is just one of numerous successful projects that they've been involved in, but both keep coming back with surprising treats for Wingnuts.

XBox Engages Afterburners

There's a new flight sim on XBox Live Arcade, and it really shows off what's possible today. The 50 megabyte maximum file size limit that was around when Wing Commander Arena was release has long since been lifted, and new games like Afterburner Climax clock in at a whopping 500 megs. The price tag hasn't budged however, and this game is only $10. The new game from Sega only has three fighters (compared to Arena's 18) and no multiplayer, which should help you appreciate what EA and Gaia managed to do with Wing Commander.
The classic arcade game After Burner returns for a new generation of gamers. After Burner Climax™ is fast and frantic action, putting you in the cockpit of the world’s fastest fighter plane. Dodge planes, rockets, and bullets while trying to target multiple on-screen enemy aircraft. Built for all skill levels, everyone can take to the air and blaze through a branching storyline and over 20 stages. Unlock achievements along the way to win an exclusive Avatar award using your experience and expertise.

New Ascii Sector Released

The first update of Privateer Ascii Sector in a couple of months is out now. Version 6.4.1 prevents jump drives from being completely destroyed, so pilots don't need to worry about getting stranded in the sticks. A few other neat little tweaks were also incorporated.

- Fixed bug that caused a rescue ejected pilot mission to be failed if you landed in the same system as the ejected pilot before rescuing him.
- When jumping, the jump sequence is no longer synced to the music, so if you have a high speed setting, there'll be no more waiting for the music to finish.
- NPCs now belong to a faction, so killing a merchant on board his ship will decrease your standing with that faction, just like destroying his ship will.
- The game now keeps track of how many NPCs you've killed in person and this is shown in your Quine under Stats.
- Added a backpack for carrying more stuff.
- Added a locker on board your ship for storing your stuff.
- Stuff now has weight and the more you carry, the more time it'll take to move around (the first 20 kilos don't slow you down, though).
- The NanoComp Vest now offers the least protection of the three vests in exchange for being the lightest.
- Fixed a serious bug when buying and selling stuff from the equipment shop

Director of Photography Talks Movie Lighting

Roger Simonsz, camera operator and second unit DP on the Wing Commander Movie, presented at the Showlight conference in 2005. His experienced have been summarized in a brochure (PDF, page 6) posted at the Showlight website. He specifically commented on the use of color lighting and how it worked with the Kilrathi.
One key point that Roger made in his talk was that - cinematic and tv lighting directors have the power to decide on the colour palette of the piece and to share that with the audience. He recounted his experience of working on the film 'Wing Commander' where the LD decided that the good guys would be lit in blue, battle scenes would be lit in red, and the aliens would be lit in ... you guessed it green.

Roger spent two days filming in the green light and explained that contrary to what he'd been taught that green is a calming colour, he had found that he'd become more agitated the longer he'd spent immersed in green light only. LD's spend a lot of time looking at light and its effects but seldom spend time immersed in it.

X-37B Successfully Launched

There's more fun space news this week. The US Air Force launched the X-37B space plane yesterday on its first flight. Described by some as a "mystery" ship, the new shuttle is officially tasked with researching a new platform for experiments and reusable spacecraft. The current design can be remotely controlled in orbit for up to nine months and then return to Earth.

"If these technologies on the vehicle prove to be as good as we estimate, it will make our access to space more responsive, perhaps cheaper, and push us in the vector toward being able to react to warfighter needs more quickly," said Gary Payton, the Air Force deputy undersecretary for space Programs.

"This launch helps ensure that our warfighters will be provided the capabilities they need in the future," said Col. André Lovett, the 45th Space Wing vice commander and launch decision authority for the mission. "The 45th Space Wing (members are) proud to launch this historic mission and continue our commitment to assuring access to the high frontier."

Black Box on the Frontier

The ninth chapter of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness is now about 90% complete and should drop by the end of the month. Hit the links below to catch up on the story so far. Part 9 will follow a ground unit after it's crash landed and a destroyer after it's jumped through a wormhole. The teaser image below provides a glimpse of the ominous object waiting on the other side. Also check out the latest character and ship profiles over at Ardament.

Longest Discovery Mission Concluded

After 15 days in orbit, the Space Shuttle Discovery is back on the ground in Florida. Here's some cool shots of the landing.

Retro Review Recalls Wing Commander on Sega CD

Sega-16 has posted a review of the Sega CD edition of Wing Commander. They note a couple of the issues that crop up in the console conversion, but the game's big highlight is the addition of complete audio speech throughout. For a 16-bit game, the graphics stay pretty close to the original, and there are even some slight differences for sharp-eyed fans. Note the word "blaster" replaces "weapon" in the cockpit, missile brand names don't exist, lock-on text is yellow instead of red and so on. Everyone should try out the alternate editions and ports! Check out the complete review here.
The PC classic Wing Commander made its way to the Sega CD in 1994, and there was some compromises that had to be made in order for Origin Systems to squeeze the game onto Sega's add-on. It mostly made the transition intact, and it picked up some great audio along the way as well. Read our full review for all the details of this complex space simulation.

For easy comparison purposes, the Sega CD images are on the left and PC screenshots are on the right.

UGO Sheds Light of Clive's Darkening Past

UGO recently reported on Clive Owen's addition to the cast of the upcoming movie Intruders. While listing the actor's previous credits, the author faithfully notes Owen's role as Ser Lev Arris. Good job!
Clive Owen is, of course, no slouch to "genre" filmmaking with credits that include Children of Men and Sin City. One of his very first lead roles was even as a space pilot freelancer in the film cutscenes of the videogame Wing Commander Privateer 2: The Darkening

Lord of Ultima Released!

Electronic Arts announced today that the strategy game Lord of Ultima has been officially released. The game is completely free to play and is contained entirely within a web browser. Both English and German language is supported. There is no download or installation, and players don't even need to register to play as a guest. Anyone can start playing immediately here.

Free-To-Play Web-Based Game Transports Players to Legendary Ultima Universe

Lord of Ultima immerses players in a brand-new, deeply-rich strategy game set within the Ultima universe. The game introduces innovative social features, such as advanced trading, alliance creation, online chat and community forums, which make for an endlessly entertaining experience.

“Phenomic is committed to building dynamic communities that delight players as they interact with the game, each other and the legendary world of Ultima.” “Lord of Ultima was designed to ensure that everyone, from strategy newcomers to diehard fans, can make it to the top of the leader board,” said Volker Wertich, Creative Director at Phenomic. “Phenomic is committed to building dynamic communities that delight players as they interact with the game, each other and the legendary world of Ultima.”

To become the Lord of Ultima, players will master the arts of diplomacy and trade, as well as the military activities of spying, plundering, and the takeover of enemy cities. Set in the new world of Caledonia, players start the game as eager conquerors in the early stages of raising an empire, and then move from developing a humble village and evolving it into a prosperous, highly customized capital. Players can flourish as peaceful merchants by trading resources over land or sea and using diplomacy. They can also become feared conquerors, by creating mighty armies of knights and mages to crush enemies.

Longbow Born in the Purple

Here's an update to the Collateral Damage Longbow. JasonRocZ has given it some distinctive purple markings in these shots. The wings and upper neutron guns have also been remodeled a bit, and these images show them off pretty well.

I redid the wings and some of the textures. Let me know what you think about the color. I changed it to purple as something different. Maybe pink or turquoise? I do dig the yellow, but I'm just looking for somethin a little different and not seen in WC all that often.

EA Releases Apple iPad Games

To coincide with the launch of the Apple iPad, Electronic Arts has announced the release of five new games for the device. The list includes casual games such as Tetris and Need for Speed, but Mirror's Edge and Command & Conquer Red Alert also made the cut. Although without video cutscenes, Red Alert has impressed players with its classic graphics and sharp interface. Local wifi multiplayer is also possible between iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch. EA's fifth game, Scrabble, even allows players to use an iPad as the central board and iPhones or iPods as detached private tile racks. Red Alert is listed on iTunes for $12.99.

Wing Commander Rereleased in France

A new version of the Wing Commander Movie has been released on DVD in France. This one appears to be the first edition to include complete French dubbing, and various sites with product reviews show that fans are super excited. The box has a new cover with a very hot Wing Commander logo. The last Region 2 release in 2006 was still in English and included localized subtitles. Its artwork was also more closely related to the Region 1 disc. To appeal to European audiences, the names across the top now read Tchéky KARYO, David WARNER and David SUCHET. Alternate printings also show Warner replaced by Freddie PRINZE Jr. Pick it up at Amazon.fr for EUR 4,83.

OGREs Everywhere! Can You Help?

AD is currently working on a very interesting project, but he needs help investigating some OGRE 3D mesh files. If this is your kind of thing, please head over to Crius.net and lend a hand. Technical details are available here.
Hey everyone! I certainly am no computer programer. Heck, I'm not really a 3D artist, but I like to pretend every now and again. Here's my current dilema for which I could use some help. I have some *.mesh files that appear to use the open source OGRE 3D engine. I can get them to display their basic shape in some of the free ogre viewers online.

I have all the textures for these meshes (in JPG and PNG format)... but I'm missing the *.material files. Well, they aren't exactly missing. But the source that the models are from uses a separate XML file to keep track of this sort of thing and the ogre viewers don't seem to recognize it.

Richard Riehle, Working Actor

A few years ago, movie and TV site Industry Central ran a short piece on Richard Riehle's life and career. Riehle, who played Pliers in Wing Commander 4, has been extremely active lately, with some 15 movies already completed or in post-production for this year. In the article, he gives advice to aspiring actors:
Be Prepared
It's so much about being in the right place at the right time, but when your break comes, you better be ready and able to produce.

Be Grateful
It's such a matter of luck - There's so many people as skilled as you, so many unknowns in every choice - that you shouldn't take rejection personally, but be thankful for every opportunity.

Be Happy
This is such a small community - if you're fortunate, you will be working with the same people again - Help to make it a pleasant experience and everyone will look forward to working with you again.

Be Patient
Do whatever it takes to "hang in there" and outlast your competition!

WC Composer Awakens Astronauts

LeHah noticed that David Arnold's "Theme from Stargate" was used to wake up the crew of the shuttle Discovery this morning. NASA has put together this feature to describe how wakeup calls are chosen, along with an 85-page list of calls used to date. Mr. Arnold composed the theme to the Wing Commander Movie soundtrack. You can learn more about and download several compositions from the album here.
@NASA: The shuttle crew was awakened at 1:21aET to the song "Theme from Statgate." http://bit.ly/ZX1IH

Arnold replied via Twitter: i hope it was Stargate and not Theme from 'Statgate" , always wanted to wake up spacemen with it .

Syndicate Title Registered by EA

Various news sites are reporting that Starbreeze Studios and Electronic Arts have registered the name "Syndicate" with the US Copyright Office. Though still not officially announced, all indications at this point continue to suggest that Project Redlime is still in production and will be a modern release of Bullfrog's classic, Syndicate.

Deadly First Contact Reported in Vega Sector

Today in the year 2629, the Iason suffered its famous and fateful encounter with the Kilrathi destroyer K'rath'kan. First Contact results in the complete destruction of the Iason and loss of her crew. Though this event brought the new alien menance into the Confederation's collective consciousness, interaction between the species had been occuring for some time on the fringes of known space. Of particular note is the work of anthropologist Dr. C.L. Kohl, who was captured and executed by Kilrathi priestesses in 2621 while secretly observing the Sivar-Eshrad ceremony on Ghorah Khar.
2629.105
The Terran Confederation expands exploration and colonization efforts and penetrates Vega Sector. On 2629.105 the exploration ship Iason encounters a spacecraft of unknown origin. Commander Jedora Andropolos transmits an international wideband, non-verbal greeting designed by the Committee for Interaction with Alien Intelligences. Andropolos keeps Iason’s guns off-line for the TCN-recommended 20 minutes and awaits a response from the alien vessel. Finally, without warning, the unidentified ship opens fire with full lasers, utterly destroying Iason and all hands.

Orbit 151, Sun Year 5105
While establishing footholds in the recently explored Krat’na Sector, the destroyer K’rath’kan detects an intruder. Leader Brath’kar nar Caxki reports that the unidentified ship is attempting to neutralize his shields with wide-band radiation. When the enemy fails to leave the area of trespass after three-eighths of an hour, the destroyer opens its guns to eliminate the threatening vessel.

Anker?! I Just Met Her...

Obee reports that his latest album, Anker, is now available and can be downloaded here. Note that this is a German album that doesn't have anything to do with Wing Commander, much like the official soundtrack to Wing Commander Prophecy!
So here is the album now: "Anker" (which is German for anchor) is now downloadable as a digital release. Like the single, the 10-track album is up for "pay what you want" on http://evanfreyer.bandcamp.com .

Cheerio,
Obee (or whatever ;))

Invasion 2.5 Released!

Version 2.5 of Wing Commander Invasion is now available. It adds the highly anticipated third playable faction, Nephilim, to the mix. A handful of other graphical improvements and game fixes are also implemented with this update. While there's plenty of new stuff to try out now, more items, skirmish maps and a conquest mode are planned for future editions. There is no upgrade patch, but the full version of the mod is just 45 megs and can be copied over an existing Star Wars: Empire at War (Forces of Corruption) installation. Complete instructions are included with the zip. Download it here.
Well after several weeks v2.5 is up on moddb. As usual there's still a shed load to still do, but the Nephilim are working as expected. This time around the mods been released as a full version so theres currently no patch version. It can be freely installed to directly overwrite the previous version or installed directly as with other mods. I've done extensive bug checking and I've not found anything untoward. Other than that theres not much else to really say about the current release but there shouldn't be any serious issues.

Light My Firehawk

Frontier - Prelude to Darkness Part 9 is now nearly three quarters complete. April has turned out to be a very productive month for lew82, but there is still work to go. The equipment that holds and renders this fan movie is now set to frequently backup everything in order to prevent problems and minimize distractions. A new page has also been set up to profile the animation's workhorse fighter.

Space Sim First Look: Black Space

Long-time CIC visitor Jeffrey House has been privately working on a space sim game for years, and it's finally been released! Black Space is available via iTunes for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for just $1.99 for a limited time. It's pretty amazing what's possible with mobile devices and touchscreens these days. Version 1.1 is what's currently available, but an update with new missions and an improved iPad interface is already in work.

I played Wing Commander when I was a teenager, and ever since then I have wanted to make my own space combat game. After a couple years of work I have finished my iPhone/iPad game.

"Black Space" takes you on an epic journey to save the Alliance from the evil Terran Hegemony. Pilot different ships with different capabilities throughout the known galaxy in your quest. Dodge asteroids and enemy fire while flying through awesome 3D rendered locations. Be ready for the best experience of space combat yet!

Not Much Changes in 700 Years

Ice Cream Man found a cool picture of an ejection pod that looks mighty familiar. The escape capsule developed for the B-58 Hustler, the USAF's first supersonic bomber, was needed to protect ejected pilots during a high altitude/speed emergency. A very similar unit protects Confed pilots in Wing Commander Prophecy and Secret Ops.

McDowell Cameo in Slipknot Video

Mark Smids spotted a famous admiral in the new music video/short film Snuff by Slipknot. Malcolm McDowell plays a doorman/watchman in the beginning and end. He's been popping up everywhere lately! Check out the full vid here.

Hi Wingnuts,

As I was watching some new music videos last week, I was surprised that I saw Malcolm McDowell starring in it. The setting of the music video is a snuff movie. It is a song performed by the heavy-metal band Slipknot (although the song itself is not really that hard, more like a ballad). It might be interesting to post the link in your news section.

Wallpapers Aplenty for Collateral Damage Fans

There's another batch of high resolution Wing Commander Collateral Damage wallpapers mocked up like Arena renders. Each of these has been produced in 1600x1200. JasonRocZ also took this opportunity to show off a new ship for his mod. The last picture shows the actual Terran Battlecruiser for easy comparison with the new WCCD variant.

I wanted to give you guys a bunch of really good wallpapers. You'll notice a few familiar ships to the WCCD mod... and a new one. :) I took off a few weeks from touching anything with the mod in order to get organized with all my files on my comp. But I've been back at it the past few days. Enjoy!

Tri-System Tribulations

Video blogger Spoony has posted a long review of Privateer 2. After several minutes reminiscencing about the first Privateer, he goes into a rather exhaustive (and scathing) overview of The Darkening. His comments are consistently negative, but it's actually cool to see so much of the game presented in one package like this. It's unfortunate that the trendy thing today is to find things to criticize. I'd rather go to a website that was excited about uncoving long lost gems that I overlooked in the '90s, but the review has actually brought lots of curious players into the fold and created some new fans. If you liked P2 when it was new and haven't played in a while, turning down the sound and watching this thirty-minute video should make you go looking for your discs! Check it out here. And for a full dose of Privateer 2 goodness, check out the game's tenth anniversary roundup.

Sleek Ships Seen on Six Sides

This set is a mixed bag of high res ship renders from Origin's 3d model archive. The Gilgamesh below is pretty sharp, but the Paradigm is just gorgeous. The Snakeir/Shiraak and others aren't too shabby either. Check out more of Red Baron's renders here.

Hamill Talks Wing Commander Acting

GamesRadar has conducted an interview with Mark Hamill on the subject of his extensive voice work. These days he's a famous actor in numerous animated series and video games, and the article also goes into his Wing Commander history. He's had enormous success playing The Joker in various projects, and he's still keeping busy today. Check out the full interview here. Thanks to HotT.
By the time of gaming’s full motion video (FMV) craze in the mid-’90s actors were eating their words. The titles may have been campier than a row of tents, but they were not short on talent, as Hamill discovered when he played Colonel Christopher Blair in three Wing Commander games.

“There were great actors in that: Malcolm McDowell [A Clockwork Orange], John Rhys-Davies [Lord of the Rings], and John Spencer [The West Wing]. Malcolm is one of the most hysterically funny actors I've ever worked with. He’s just brutal in his humor and merciless in terms of torturing you on camera. He would be making smoochy faces and I’d tell him, ‘You know, I never look you in the eyes, I’m looking you in the chin, you S.O.B.’”

... “We had cheat sheets of every kind. If you look at the game, when we’re looking down at the game's interface with light on our faces, that's from a teleprompter because of the massive amount of dialogue. One of the greatest things about doing animation or videogames is you don’t have to memorize your lines. You get as old as I am, it’s hard.”

EA Talks Franchise Branding

A comic book here or a tie-in there GameSpot recently brought marketing leaders from EA, Ubisoft and Microsoft together at the MI6 event to discuss franchise outreach and tie-ins. The companies all have strategic plans to develop their major series, and it's interesting to see how they compare with EA & Origin's successful cross-promotional ventures in the '90s. Find the full discussion here.
Morris took over to explain a change in EA's approach to brands in recent years. He said the publisher basically spent two decades creating original intellectual properties but never gave a second thought to extending those brands beyond the world of games. While there was a comic book here or a tie-in there, Morris said there was no coordinated effort and no opportunity for the company to learn from its past mistakes.

At least Dead Space's character design leaves casting decisions wide open. To remedy that, EA centralized its brand-extension efforts. One small team now works with all of the developers to coordinate their project's leaps beyond the gaming screen. The publisher's slogan, as articulated by John Riccitiello, is IP Cubed: Create, Sequel, Extend. Morris is focused on the "extend" part of that equation and started going over the publisher's attempts to break onto the big screen.

To get into movies, EA allied itself with people that knew how to make movies better than EA did. The publisher has an exclusive deal with United Talent Agency to set up motion picture deals for a variety of its key properties. Morris said the good news is that with UTA and the original IP EA owns, the publisher has been able to land a few deals, specifically Dante's Inferno, Dead Space, Spore, and Army of Two. Morris said EA is hands-on with all of those projects because the worst thing for the company would be for these films to get made--but get made poorly.

New Blue Midway Hue

Here are the latest images of Challenger's beautiful Midway model. With the latest tweaks, the ship is virtually complete. Accent areas have been highlighted in a new navy blue, which is a great finishing touch.

Sorry, I was totally busy last month. So here are a few pics of the Midway with the new blue parts ^^

American Outlander Blu-ray Due Next Month

Difficulties with the publishing rights in the United States have been worked out, and Outlander is now set for a May 18 Blu-ray release. The high definition version of Chris Roberts' latest sci-fi film has been available on Canadian BRD, European BRD and through various digital distribution systems since last year. The disc is on presale at Amazon for $12.49.
The Weinstein Company used to release all of its hoeme video films through Genius Products, which is partly owned by TWC. As part of TWC's financial woes and restructuring, they have been either selling off or partnering their distibution with other companies. Outlander seems to have gone to Vivendi which bought Genius.

Prelude Recovers From Darkness

Chapter 9 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness is humming along, despite some seriously hardware failures last week. Fortunately lew82 backs up his data, and work can now resume. The episode is about a third complete, and a release is possible before the end of the month. The latest ship/station to be profile is Terra Prime, a huge base in orbit of Earth.

The station boasts some of the most thick defences in the entire Union territory, Terra Prime has been deemed impregnable and completely competent at defending Earth from any known threat in the galaxy.

Terra Prime has two main docking/dry-dock bays – these at full capacity can house between them six Montgomery-Class Destroyers, which allows Terra Prime to also function as a repair depot if the Jupiter Naval Yards were ever full – which has never occurred.

XBox Update Adds USB Memory Option

The Spring 2010 System Update for XBox 360s was released today. Most notably, it adds USB storage device support. USB flash drives can now be used like memory units or hard drives to store game content, arcade titles and more. There is a limit of 16 gigabytes that can be seen by the XBox, and there are partition options to make larger or smaller drives dual-useful for both gaming and PC storage. The XBox partitions are created with a proprietary format, but it would be pretty darn interesting if someone found a way to creatively examine the contents of Wing Commander Arena.

New CD Release: 2-Pack Sha'kar

The Sha'kar class transport in Wing Commander Collateral Damage has received another upgrade. Overall texture quality was improved, but the most notable change revolves around the mesh struts that connect major sections. They've been fortified with a solid durasteel beam, and the new combined piece blends in better.

On the Sha'Kar you can see I changed up the metal between the parts of the ship. To me it looks more uniform. Hind sight is always 20/20. Looking back it's still a bit fuzzy. Enjoy.

Discovery Blasts Off

It was another beautiful nighttime launch for the Space Shuttle Discovery this morning. After this launch, only three shuttle missions remain. Discovery is carrying a collection of space parts and experiments to the International Space Station. With the shuttle now in orbit, there are also more women in space than ever before - one on the ISS and three crewing Discovery.

Track Your Standoff Scores Online

Did you know that you can track your Standoff simulator performance right here at the CIC? Episode 5 even added a cool new achievement system. You earn bronze, silver or gold ribbons for successfully completing a mission. Star medals are awarded for exceptional performance, and there are even a few mission-specific awards thrown in. To see how you stack up against other Wingnuts, you need a Crius.net forums account and you need to advance to episode 2 to have access to the Standoff mission simulator. Check out the Scoreboards play guide for more information on this feature.

Happy CIC Easter!

And the eggs are even on time! How many of you attempted the Privateer Craft Corner tip this year?

Privateer Craft Corner: this Easter, dye a Steltek Drone egg black with green spots. Then trade someone a gun to turn it into a deviled egg.

Find Your Favorite Furry Foe

Today's new poll asks about your favorite Kilrathi. There's a wide variety to choose from, and each has quite a distinct history and personality. After you've voted, hit the Discuss link below and let everyone know how you made your choice!

The last poll asked about everyone's favorite bombers. The net was cast wide with a large array of torpedo-carrying craft, but the clear preference was for the big beefy fortresses - Broadsword, Longbow and Devastator. The TBolt narrowly edged out the Morningstar among more nimble craft.

TacOps Squadron Regrouping

It's been a year or so since the last TacOps scenarios took place, and the gang is getting restless. Ironduke and several players are looking into possibly setting up a new play-by-mail or IRC chat-based session. Pilots from previous games, as well as new recruits, should let them know if there's more interest! Wing Commander Tactical Operations is a fan made strategy game with an advanced set of rules and fun accessory cards. Check out the game's website or rule book for more info.

IRC would be perfect - if only you guys were anywhere near my time zone. :) However, you could host your own games any time if you want to! The rules are all there, so it would just be a matter of displaying ships' positions and stuff. (Using MapView or something similar might help.)

The Wing Commander CIC

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    wccic Bye, bye, blue sky...
    6:00 PM Apr 2nd

    wccic Good morning, WingNuts!
    7:00 AM Apr 2nd

    wccic JEMM Unloaded
    11:00 PM Apr 1st

    wccic While you sleep, they'll be waiting...
    10:30 PM Apr 1st

    wccic Stop that! You scare my chickens!
    10:00 PM Apr 1st

    wccic At the hair salon. What color should I get?!? I'm thinking blue!!!
    7:00 PM Apr 1st

    PopsPete Check this tweet for an exclusive preview of Unknown Enemy 2 later tonight ! It's gonna rock ! Dragons upgraded with PTC ! Kickass action !
    3:03 PM Apr 1st

    wccic What's your favorite alien race mentioned in passing in a Wing Commander novel? For me it's a tossup between Sorn and Gorth.
    2:41 PM Apr 1st

    wccic ARGH! My Divx player won't dial in to Circuit City, I can't watch the fullscreen version of Wing Commander!
    1:58 PM Apr 1st

    wccic @cgmaxx Haven't played No Gravity, but will check it out--I keep that PSP charged for Wing Commander IV, though!
    12:57 PM Apr 1st

    wccic Ever wonder what the ejector mechanism on a Strakha looks like? Yeah, me neither.
    12:35 PM Apr 1st

    wccic Burger King won't cut a wedge out of my burger so it looks like a Dralthi. Have it your way my ass.
    11:26 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Privateer Craft Corner: this Easter, dye a Steltek Drone egg black with green spots. Then trade someone a gun to turn it into a deviled egg.
    10:56 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Why are there fake drugs in Wing Commander, anyway? Does cocaine just stop working at some point in the next 600 years?
    10:45 AM Apr 1st

    wccic There are bugs all up in H'hrass!
    10:42 AM Apr 1st

    wccic The trick to naming Wing Commander 2 Kilrathi ships is to say the original names while coughing. Jalthi->JALKEHI. Dralthi->DRAKRHI.
    10:41 AM Apr 1st

    wccic A lot of people ask us how Privateer 2 fits into the Wing Commander universe--but then they don't like the elaborate four hour presentation.
    10:36 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Wow, nine followers! Ashton Kutcher must be spinning in his grave. Can we make it to TEN? Everyone gets a Darket!
    10:34 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Here's a helpful tip for remembering whether it's a hyphen or an apostrophe in "Kor-Larh": it's a hyphen, moron.
    10:33 AM Apr 1st

    wccic What's the most Wing Commander thing you can do with your new iPad? Read the Secret Ops fiction in bed.
    10:27 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Need tech support for a Wing Commander game? The best solution is to visit #WingNut and ask anyone idle about your problem over and over.
    9:31 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Does a spaceship from a TV show look kind like a second-tier ship no one remembers from Wing Commander? The CIC will be there.
    9:27 AM Apr 1st

    wccic HEY @EA -- the Wing Commander community says with one voice: we want you to bring back 'CyberMage: Darklight Awakening'.
    8:52 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Are you enjoying the stunning visuals of the Origin FX screensaver? Then you have a medical condition and should seek treatment immediately.
    8:45 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Another WCNews shout-out to our peeps Miley, Selena and Dr. William Forstchen!
    8:43 AM Apr 1st

    wccic The new Hhriss fighters offer much improved Lumbari support.
    8:40 AM Apr 1st

    wccic I feel that most art produced in the last 15 years just doesn't have enough tiny pieces of chrome foil laid over it for no reason.
    8:07 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Hey @OfficialLoU, those whiney Ultima fans don't deserve a cool weird spinoff. Wing Commander! Wing Commander! Wing Commander!
    8:05 AM Apr 1st

    wccic #FollowFriday @LancedDotNet @FLVault @ATalentForWar @TheLancersReactor
    8:04 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Anybody ever notice that the mountains on Ghorah Khar look an awful lot like the ones on Niven?
    7:57 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Why didn't they release a Privateer 3? Because after The Darkening everything goes black!
    7:45 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Celebrate Easter with Super Wing Commander, which replaces Kilrathi transports with colorful eggs: http://tinyurl.com/ya3xxru
    7:44 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Possible names for future Wing Commander spinoffs: Armageddon, Alliance, Attack, Aftermath, Aardvark.
    7:10 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Ever notice how the Longbow looks just like the X-Wing? Oh, it doesn't? Somebody tell that to the Usenet in 1994, please.
    7:04 AM Apr 1st

    wccic How are Akkbar and the Epee light attack fighter alike? They both suck! HAH! Also, deceptively useless particle cannons.
    6:59 AM Apr 1st

    wccic RT this comment to win a copy of the Wing Commander Prophecy soundtrack on casette!
    6:58 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Like a pair of busted wing flaps? Why do space fighters have flaps?
    6:56 AM Apr 1st

    wccic The Acronym Police are coming for you, WarCraft 3.
    6:52 AM Apr 1st

    wccic What do Raptor heavy fighters and Bruce Boxleitner both need? New TRON guns!
    6:33 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Check out this great URL shortening utility: http://tinyurl.com/3hurh2fd
    6:32 AM Apr 1st

    wccic How does one carrier constitute a Wing Commander Armada?
    6:17 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Awww. :(
    6:12 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Oh no, Dralthi on my tail! I'll dive to escape.
    6:12 AM Apr 1st

    wccic #NowPlaying Wing Commander Arena
    6:11 AM Apr 1st

    wccic

    wccic #dontyouhateitwhen No one believes you saw stealth fighters!
    5:57 AM Apr 1st

    wccic FS: Orion gunship. 2 gun slots. 75k credits. Im tlling u, u want 2 buy 1 Orion.
    5:14 AM Apr 1st

    wccic I just became the mayor of The Sinner's Inn on @foursquare!
    5:10 AM Apr 1st

    wccic http://twitpic.com/1cdt13 - CHECK OUT MY LOLKILRATHI!!!
    4:58 AM Apr 1st

    wccic PLEASE RT @banditloaf FreeSpace 2 sucks.
    4:50 AM Apr 1st

    wccic #followfriday @shithalcyonsays
    4:46 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Justin Bieber will always be @LeHah to me.
    4:35 AM Apr 1st

    wccic ARGH! SHUTTLE! #ragequit
    4:25 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Another one!
    4:25 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Dammit, another one.
    4:25 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Dammit, another one jumped in.
    4:22 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Just one more pirate and I can jump to the next nav point...
    4:21 AM Apr 1st

    wccic #nowplaying Privateer 2: The Darkening
    4:19 AM Apr 1st

    wccic Good morning! Thanks to Twitter, WCNews is now streamlined and ready for the 21st century.
    4:11 AM Apr 1st

    chrisreid I went to a huge book store and found a Wing Commander book!!!

    April 1, 2010, 07:30 EST

    banditloaf A submarine movie Sonar scene in space?! Way to ruin Star Wars' previously unassailable credibility, Clone Wars.
    April 1, 2010, 02:00 EST

    chrisreid is this thing on???
    April 1, 2010, 01:30 EST

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