Adrenal Explosion Thanks to Wing Commander 3

Oggy was going through some old boxes and found a really cool promotion for Wing Commander 3. It offerred one lucky fan from the United Kingdom an opportunity to win a trip to Russia to fly in SU-27 fighter jet. The flight would have been carried out in the second half of 1995. As a "tie breaker," applicants needed to explain how "Wing Commander III offers 100% pure adenaline" in 15 words or less. Neato!

WCPedia Pushing Boundaries of Wing Commander Knowledge

Team WCPedia continues to charge ahead with great progress on the Wiki. They even have a new scholarly logo. In addition to the vast amount of categorizing and information collection that they do every day, there's a significant amount of reseach and investigation to try and sort out the unknown. One such project seeks to break down the composition of the 'grand fleet' in orbit of Kilrah during Wing Commander 3. The team is using the limited resolution pictures available and cross checking different versions of Wing Commander 3 in order to figure out how many dreadnoughts, carriers and so on were part of that last big push towards Earth. Visit Crius.net or #Wingnut if you can help!

In #Wingnut today we decided to try and figure out what we could make out of the Kilrath Grand Fleet that is visible near the end of WC3.

You can see at least 5 dreadnoughts (we have 3 names... and Thrakhath's flagship enters from frame left shortly after these images) and perhaps as many as 10 orbital stations (look directly above the 3 dreadnoughts just to the lower right of center and you can see the first few fairly clearly then the others are on the other side of the frame) around Kilrah.

Anyone want to help break down the images? What is between the dreadnoughts and the orbital stations on the right? To me it looks like the Victory model without a conning tower in Kilrathi colors. As well as the Behemoth looking objects in the lower left...

Here's the link to the vid in the holovids section.

Academy-Style Tiger's Claw Model Refined

Bob McDob has one-upped himself and released his swanky Tiger's Claw model as an .obj file (1 meg zip). There's also an alternate (220 k zip) version if your modeling program doesn't support some of the fancier features his base ship takes advantage of. The ship has a few minor tweaks and improvements over the 3DS Max 7 pack released last month based on numerous screenshots and angles snapped from the Academy television show. Head on over to Crius.net to let Bob know what you think!

Classic Origin Series Revived, Note Lack of Exclamation Point

From 1996 to 2002, Electronic Arts published a variety of military games under the Jane's Combat Simulations label licensed from renowned defense industry publisher Jane's Information Group. These games were known for their high quality and extreme attention to detail--and the best of the series were developed at Origin in Austin and Baltimore. Fans of these games may want to stop reading this update right now.

A publisher named Evolved Games has apparently licensed the no-longer-as-prestigious Jane's IP and developed a new game called 'J.A.S.F.'. Does JASF live up to the incredible legacy of realism purchased from Origin's Longbow and F-15 teams? Just read the actual product description, which I promise you we did not make up:

J.A.S.F. Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters is set in the fictional country of Azbaristan; the once-great nation has been torn apart by a decade of civil war, followed by almost a decade of uneasy peace.

The ten-year war resulted in huge territorial gains for Northern People's Republic of Azbaristan and their controlling political party, the Northern People's Party, giving them control of all of the country except for the oil-rich province that is all that is left of South Azbaristan.

The Southern Azbaristan Democratic Front of South Azbaristan has only managed to hold off the North with the aid of the West, which supplies military and logistical aid to the tiny state in return for the oil exports from their vast reserves. Players will have the chance to assume the role of squadron leader Razor and lead the fight to reunify Azbaristan and protect the West's vital interests.

J.A.S.F. the video game is an intense modern flight action sim featuring an epic 16-mission story gaming experience that will take air combat to the next level with engaging enemies, flight battles, expansive battlefields and 30 authentic licensed fighters.

Licensed fighters? This should, at the very least, put to rest the school of thought which claims that if Electronic Arts is not interested in developing a new Wing Commander then they should sell or license the IP to another company.

BREAKING NEWS: Updates from Paul Barnett's Twitter

Bioware Mythic Creative Director Paul Barnett has updated his Twitter account with more information on the possible Wing Commander re-release. We will continue to update this post if there are further mentions of the project today:
8:15 AM: My plan is wing commander one , drm free and security bypassed. For FREE ( fingers crossed)

8:00 AM: Today we get data compare sign off for wing commander, dr Ray will be hearing the pitch, from there only legal can stop us!

BREAKING NEWS: Is Wing Commander Poised To Make a Comeback?

Gaming news site Kotaku is reporting on some interesting posts made to Paul Barnett's twitter account. If you need a refresher, Paul is creative director of Bioware Mythic (formerly EA Mythic) where Ultima Online is currently housed.

In those posts, Paul acknowledges Wing Commander's 20th birthday and mentions that he's been hard at work attempting to convince EA to put out a release of Wing Commander packaged up with DOSBox. Presumably such a release would be purchasable either on EA's own download service or another third-party service like Valve's Steam marketplace.

Talking to the dosbox people, so far they have been awesome, gives me hope for releasing old old origin product to the faithful!

Wing commander Turns 20, I am hard at work seeing if we can dosbox and release it! Come on ea legal... Now is the time to shine!

Wing commander in dos box and re~released , retweet it for the win!

now have a dosbox'ed version of Wing Commander plus secret missions.

Tech guys removed the copy protection question from the Wing commander build!

Now having the Wing commander game data compared to our original source code, we need a clean bill of health at this stage!

Sounds promising! A rerelease of Wing Commander would certainly be welcome given the franchise's recent milestone! Wing Commander fans should watch these developments closely. Ultima Aiera, a fan site for Origin's other major property, is reporting that Mythic is also looking to rerelease classic Ultima titles, including the more obscure 'Worlds of' games. Can Wing Commander Armada and Cybermage be far behind?

Wake Up on the Flight Deck

Marc has been working on the dazzling interior of the Wake class TCS Tarawa sporadically for more than five years, and he's released a new progress update. The hull's lower shape has been redesigned slightly to accomodate a revised flight deck layout. Its interior also has a raised center platform and Sabre ready to launch. Several animated gifs have been spun out the show off the ship in even more detail. Check out additional pictures and help provide feedback at Crius.net.

Ultima Online's Making Waves

EA's Bioware Mythic has big things in store for Ultima Online! The recent Town Hall event was the venue for the new 'High Seas' booster pack. What's a booster pack? It's a little different than the retail expansion packs released over the last dozen years. The developers acknowledge it's unlikely we'll see another boxed UO release anytime soon, but the game universe is being enhanced with a new series of 'booster' updates. The first one significantly revamps the sea faring aspect of the game. All players will benefit from the new boats and boat movement system, and for $15, players on the 'High Seas' will engage in an expansive ship combat system and marine market. The full digital release should be available in the next few months, and players can participate in the open beta now. Details on how to play are available at the UO Herald.

At last, Beta for High Seas is now entering Open Beta - Rogues, sailors, merchants, and all adventurers who have been waiting for days of smoothly sailing Sosarian seas or brandishing scimitars against bandits or pirates will now have their appetites sated!

The answer to the question of the ages will finally be answered: Pirates v. Ninjas … brought to you by Ultima Online.

With the start of Beta we present an interesting challenge - scallywags need not apply! Your first task is to focus on the boss encounter against Scalis’ might. If you’re still up for more death and mayhem visit the island of Corgul the Soulbinder.

Internal testing shows that Scalis may be too powerful; however, I am of the mind that the extremely capable warriors of Britannia should make short work of him …

As we continue internal testing and development, and provide updates on the external test center, we’ll want your input on ship-to-ship combat, fishing, and quests at the sea markets as well.

------------------------------------------

When will we see actual tangible merchandise from UO, and will we see a box on store shelves?

It is unlikely you will ever see another box for Ultima Online on Target or Best Buy store shelves. Much of the industry is moving toward digital distribution. However, in terms of merchandise (t-shirts, cloth maps, Mesanna bobblehead dolls); we have taken that recommendation into consideration and trying to come up with a plan that will work for the business and the community. What we found out during the Town Hall is that many players take pride in their knowledge and association with the legacy of Ultima Online. You would the ability to share your dedication in more ways than downloading and paying for virtual items.

Happy Birthday, Wing Commander

Wing Commander turns twenty years old today! That is a truly astounding amount of time--one I am not well-equipped to understand. I know that everyone expects me to offer another rallying cry to fandom or introspective screed about our series. The truth is that I can't praise Wing Commander more than I already have and I can't better define our amazing community. I can't promise better answers about these things than I did years ago. I continue to believe that there will be more Wing Commander games and that this fandom is the world's finest. I believe these things as strongly today as I did fifteen years ago.

So instead, I have for you only an appropriate quote from Wing Commander Fleet Action--one which I think addresses exactly those rare dark thoughts we have all briefly entertained about what we are doing:

Maybe I'm getting too old for these sorts of games, he thought. Twenty years of fighting is pressing the edge of the envelope just a little too much. He pushed the thought aside, no sense dwelling on it. Besides, what the hell would I do with myself to kill the boredom?

Here's to the next twenty! Keep having fun with it, keep making a great community and...

BEAT ARMY

Automated TacOps Game Moving Full Speed Ahead

Avacar and the team testing the online version of Wing Commander TacOps have made considerable progress this month. Phase 4, which implements major foundational game coding, is now complete. Other milestones that were planned for later on also had to be finished to get this far, so the next steps will involve coding in a system for players and pilots into the game. A fairly solid playable 'beta' could come as soon as next month. An updated tech demo of the game in its current state can be found here (works best in Firefox or Chrome).

There are a number of cosmetic icons that would significantly improve the look/feel of the game as well. If anyone out there can make or has access to the following, it would be awesome if you sent it our way:

1. A missile schematic to use as a faded background behind the missile targetting options.
2. A schematic of a weapon system (or frankly, just a cool looking circuit) for use behind the standard weapon targetting system.
3. Small icons of missiles, crosshairs, etc. Maybe icons for simple maneuvers (something that looks like an immelman, barrel roll, etc.)

Wing Commander Movie Broadcasting in France

The Wing Commander Movie will be airing in France in a series of time slots over the next few weeks. Tune into CINÉCINÉMA this Sunday morning for the first showing. I always like to see the various translated descriptions of the film, because they each have a unique slant depending on country of origin. A French trailer for the film is available here.

In the 27th century, Earth goes to war against the Kilrathi powerful empire, which aims to annex and force them to submit, like the rest of the universe. After a surprise attack, the Kilrathi, physically close to that of humans, take control of a central navigation system. The invaders now have direct access routes to the blue planet (Earth). Nothing and no one seems able to halt their advance. Nobody, except perhaps the Lieutenant Christopher Blair and his two companions, the pilot and adventurer Maniac and Paladin. Under orders from their "Wing Commander", the superb Devereaux, they are left to defend against the Kilrathi Empire...

Le 26 Septembre @ 09h25
Le 29 Septembre @ 13h30
Le 30 Septembre @ 22h25
Le 02 Octobre @ 11h25
Le 06 Octobre @ 10h10

Garriott on Social Gaming

Origin founder Richard Garriott delivered the Fantastic Fest keynote address in Austin yesterday, and he talked a little bit about what he's doing next and where he sees opportunity in the games industry. The big push behind his new company, Portalarium, is to develop "social" games that go beyond the current casual gaming crop. Joystiq has some fun quotes below. Some of the comments jokingly referred to an Ultima/Farmville crossover, but Lord of Ultima is already here!
Displaying a slide about going "back to my roots," Garriott said his company planned to make "AAA games, meaning the games we find compelling to create and play, but distributed through social media." Why that medium? "The power is in that you don't have to make a decision to buy it, you play it by clicking on a link, nothing to pay for up front, no real installation and only if you decide you really want to play it will we decide how to eventually charge you money for it."

Later, in response to an audience question, he explained his strategy a bit further. "Since everybody else is doing Flash and Java games, I can kick their ass pretty easy."

Ralaxath Destroyer Incorporates Modern Armor

JasonRocZ has returned to the Kilrathi destroyer in Collateral Damage. The Ralaxath has gotten a texture overhaul with much nicer hull plating based on the Kilrathi capship from Arena. Colorful engine exhausted and intakes have also gotten a minor refresh. Now is it ready to fight the Nephilim?

To give some background on what the ship will be used for I will be using this ship as part of a large Kilrathi Convoy escaping Nephilim forces in the WC Collateral Damage Mod.

I would like the ship to be heavily armed/armored, and it will have some type of shield generator, turrets, etc.. Where should I put these pieces (keep in mind the dynamics of the Secret Ops flight engine)?

As you can see I've basically textured the main hull and haven't added much to the model itself except a few details for textures (engines, interior type metallic panels, etc..). The textures are loosely based on the Kiranka battlecruiser textures.

Malcolm McDowell Appearing at ZomBCon

The first ever ZomBCon is being held in Seattle next month, and Malcolm McDowell is a headline guest. His closest connection to the genre seems to be the newer Halloween films. He'll be alongside other celebrities like George Romero and Bruce Campbell. I wonder what the schedule of activities at a Zombie convention looks like. You can find more info here.
This Halloween, celebrate all things zombie at the first ZomBCon in Seattle, Washington. The event, running October 29-31, 2010, will celebrate guests such as zombie godfather George A. Romero, actors Bruce Campbell and Malcolm McDowell and zombie-loving author Max Brooks, to name a few, seeks to put Seattle on the map as the “Zombie Capital of the World.”

Beautiful Banshee Model Now Complete

Last year we covered the construction of a beautifully hand-crafted Banshee model made by elend. Those photos from each stage of the build can be found here. The individual components were carved from polystyrene, and numerous details were pulled from the high resolution Mark Vearrier image. Even the pilot's flight suit patches are authentic designs from Wing Commander 4. The last finishing touches and paint application are now complete, and the results are simply gorgeous!

I am happy how it turned out. Thank you really, really much for featuring it as well as commenting on the particular news posts on wcnews.com.

Hostile Frontier's Bigger Birds Get Remapped

Here's a preview of the Wake escort carriers and Exeter destroyers that are set to appear in the Hostile Frontiers mod. The latest texture maps help to give the ships a cool metallic shine. Previous updates show off some of the Ferrets and Rapiers that will be flying off their decks.

Inspiration & Gratitude Fuels Starcraft 2 Mod

Here's another brief update on the Starcraft 2 mod by CptnEisen. He's got big plans, but the first playable map sounds like an Arena-themed mode similar to the Battlecruiser attack/defense in the XBox Live Arcade game. We're anxious to see that beefy Broadsword in action too!

Wow everyone, thanks for the positive feedback!

With regards to the models, I think initially I want to focus my efforts on an Arena Tribute. Those guys put in a lot of work for us fans, and I want to thank them in my own way for the doing what I think was a great job for such a small game. I have a huge collection of Wing Commander models so I'll probably look at a different style of WC map after this one.

I'm currently working on the Broadsword models. From the scale of things, they're going to be huge! I've got some other pretty neat stuff lined up for this map - assuming everything works out the way I hope. :)

Once I get to destroyers, I'm hoping to implement a component system like Prophecy for kills. Shield Generator is primary target, once knocked down, bridge up next. The bridge will have a detector status to detect cloaked vessels. Once it's down, cloaked ships will have a much easier time of making direct attacks. There may be other components I'll add for capship weapons. It depends on what the engine lets me do. :)

I hope when it's finally done, people will be able to play in a team of 4. You'll have to plan if you want to all out attack or split up in pairs of 2 to defend and 2 to attack. There'll be a leaderboard for each game, though I'm not sure if that data can be saved out to have an all time killboard. So much still to do! :)

Last Chance to Grab Wing One!

Don't forget to go and download the Wing One soundtrack ASAP! The Amie Street distributor is going offline by Wednesday, September 22, but you can still grab the whole album for less than $9 right now. Cue the scramble music between the briefing room and flight deck!
This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems. I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or has taken since. If you don't believe me, do the research. Try to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time! In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year. These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.

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

Complete Your Collection With Wing Commander Academy

Wing Commander Academy is a must-have for all Wing Commander fans, and it helps us eat through our bandwidth allowance too! We're frequently asked questions about the Wing Commander series that are answered by events in the television show. The three-gigabyte series follows the Tiger's Claw through a very exciting year in Wing Commander history. Grab all thirteen episodes, plus some special features, below.

NOTE: Wing Commander Academy episodes are no longer available for download. Please support the franchise by buying the complete DVD set through the link above.

Privateer Texture Palettes Explained

Gremule has posted some useful information on how Privateer 2 texture palettes are implemented. He's also posted a sample Heretic to show how these textures can be modified. It's mostly over my head, but hopefully some talented modelers can take advantage of this. The original 3DS source models for every ship in the game can be downloaded here to get started!
Textures in Privateer 2 are stored without palette info, appropriate palette is chosen on-the-fly. My guess is those gifs in TABS.GIF are those palettes although gifs themselves use standard game palette. You can see by the names, for example CV-BL-GY.GIF means blue->gray. From that info I made (as best as I could since there are two instances where 16 colors gradient must translate into 32 color gradient, I duplicated each color) appropriate palette files for use in photoshop or any other image editing software.

I've attached palettes (remove .txt) and shot of a ship with one modified texture.

Ain't No Party Like a Wingnut Party

Don't forget to drop by the WCPedia planning party this Saturday evening! It isn't just about the WCPedia though - Dundradal will be helping to set up multiplayer Wing Commander games and moderating a discussion on everyone's favorite space combat sim series. The event takes place in #Wingnut this Saturday, September 18, at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT) time. Newcomers can visit via the web interface.
Less than a week to go. I'm hoping many of you have cleared out your evenings to come hang out with some fellow wingnuts. We've been having some great discussions lately trying to getting information compiled for WCPedia articles. Since the CIC birthday just over a month ago, WCPedia has seen more activity then in any other time in its history. LOAF has been chipping in as well check out his page on the Kilrah System.

Saturday's chat isn't going to be exclusively about WCPedia though, I'm more looking forward to playing some WCP MP (let's see if we can't break our previous record for game size...), Armada and Arena. I've got a few WC products I'd like to give a good home as well.

See you all on Saturday!

Hostile Frontier Revs Up Ferret

Here's a peek at the Ferret that will be used in Kevin Caccamo's mod for Freespace 2, Hostile Frontier. He's also considering implementing an idea from the novels and mounting a "corvette" engine on the thing. If so, it would handle very differently than the patrol fighter we're familiar with. The fourth shot shows an engine overheat warning system that could accompany this.

Fortitudo super Omnia

TonViper's Excalibur is nearly complete. Since we last saw it, the ship has taken on a darker tone. Details like guns, engines, decals, vents and armoring are all more clear as well. He's still planning to do a specular and bump map, and then the ship can be integrated into the Homeworld 2 mod.

I decided to darken the texture. I pretty much chose the original base color in part based on the color of a fighter surface image I had lying around, so I thought it was about time to start tweaking it to get closer to what it would be based on the color shots I have of it. I may tweak it further to make it less blue later on, but for now I like the color.

I've rounded the corners of the intakes on the engine blocks too. It's very hard to get the edges to line up properly when I add polygons between where two textures separate, and harder still when I have lines going across the divide, since I have to find the exact same position and scale for the texture when I remap it to account for the extra polygons.

And good job Bob & criticalmass on recognizing the CCG's Excalibur squadron mottos!

Wing One's Download Service Going Offline

Amie Street has made an unfortunate announcement about Wing One, Team Fat's official soundtrack to the original Wing Commander game. Amie Street provides digital downloads and radio-style audio for sale, but it will soon be closing. The good news is that Wing Commander fans still have a week to purchase the soundtrack! All twenty-six tracks are just $8.98! You can listen to each clip and purchase the set here. Make sure to download your tracks by September 22!
Dear Amie Street Community,

As of September 22, 2010, all AmieStreet.com pages will be forwarded to Amazon.com. You will no longer be able to use AmieStreet.com or any of its services.

Regarding your Amie Street account, please make sure you download all of your purchased music by September 22, 2010 (the music you have previously downloaded and store locally will continue to play as normal).

If you have credit in your AmieStreet.com account, please make sure you spend your remaining balance before September 22, 2010 as it will not transfer over to Amazon.com.

If you are an artist or label who is owed money, you will receive payment for all outstanding royalties, as usual.

If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts you'd like to share with us, please don't hesitate to contact us at feedback@amiestreet.com and one of us will answer you personally.

We believe we've found a great home for AmieStreet.com and are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible for you, our fantastic customers and artists.

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support, help, patience and enthusiasm over the past four years, and we sincerely hope you’ll continue with us on our journey with the new Songza.com.

- Elias, Elliott, Eric, Josh and Peter

Thanks for an incredible four years!
The AmieStreet Team

XBox Live Gold on Sale for $30

It seems like recent XBox Live price increase has been one of the best things lately for subscribers' wallets. The latest deal is a new lock in plan that lets users purchase their next year of service for $29.99. It's a cross-promotional sale to tie in with the launch of Halo Reach, so a bonus avatar helmet is also included. Users can sign up via the XBox Live Dashboard menu prompts.

Add The Secret Missions to PC Gamer Kilrathi Saga

It's been a month since we've been able to post the PC Gamer version of Kilrathi Saga WC1, and lots of Wingnuts have played through the Vega Campaign. Moving on to The Secret Missions has been slightly trickier, so Madman has posted some helpful instructions:
  • Extract the PC Gamer WC1
  • Copy all the files from the wckssm12.zip (the Kilrathi Saga Secret Missions 1 and 2 zip file) to the wc1\gamedat folder overwriting where necessary (briefing.002, camp.002, commsm2.dat, install.dat, intro1.dat, midgame.v06, midgame.v07,midgame.v08, module.002,pcship.v05, planets1.vga, series.vga, ship.v19, shiptype.v14, talking1.vga, title1.vga, wingmen1.vga) EXCEPT: sm1.exe, sm2.exe, transfer.exe, wc1.exe, wing1.exe, sm12inst.exe
  • Now copy sm1.exe, sm2.exe transfer.exe into the wc1 folder
  • Don't forget to enable Windows 95 compatibility mode on any exe you run
Any lingering compatibility issues should be fixed by Mincemeat's Superpatch or DirectDraw Hack. If you still have questions, hit up Crius.net.

WCPedia Timeline Feature Expanded

The latest upgrade to the WCPedia is the Easy Timeline Extension. It lets people easily create timeline graphics. Dundradal has set up an example here. Converting the basic timelines from one of the existing Game Manuals would make a great weekend project for a Wingnut looking for something to do. Visit Crius.net to coordinate with other contributors and see what you can do to help.
This allows for the creation of visual timelines. Would anyone be interested in converting timelines into WCPedia? Things like the Voices of War, Victory Streak, Star*Soldier etc to start with? Even doing mini-timelines for certain articles would be great.

This would be a very helpful project and might be pretty fun for someone to take on.

Starcraft 2 Mod Taking Shape

CptnEisen has continued to poke around at editing Starcraft 2, and his successful efforts have pushes his project closer and closer to full fledged mod status. He's got a couple of familiar Confed fighters from Wing Commander Arena in place, and the plan is to build the first map around that game. The bombing run with Arrow Scouts looks great. Check out that last shot with all three variants of each fighter lined up!

Sorry for the long pause between showing any progress with this, for those that remember, I have been spending time looking to import Wing Commander into Starcraft 2.

The new Starcraft 2 editor gives us a lot of options. With the release of the Arena models, I've decided to make my first map based off of the somewhat under appreciated WC Arena.

My first goal is to get all the fighters and the destroyers into a map, my aim is to initially create a 4 vs 4 map where the objective is to destroy the opposite team's destroyer whilst defending your own.

There's a long way to go yet - I'm currently busy with readying all of the models for use. I'm unable to use the team color texture in the recent release, so instead I'm adding in the team colors myself. I've also added simple ship animations (at the moment - stationary, flying and attacking) as well as figuring out how to add hardpoints correctly.

On entry to the map, players will have the option to chose their ship, just like Arena. All will have different advantages. I hope to also add randomly spawning powerups (This is possible - I just haven't figured it out yet)

To show off a little of my progress, I've attached some screenshots of my last test which includes Rapier and Arrow class fighters. I haven't created any custom weapons or images yet, all the imports are currently based on the ingame Banshee- You should notice that they fire from Hardpoint 1, as this is the hardpoint for the Banshee to launch it's air to ground missiles.

Any thoughts/comments are appreciated (As custom loading screens are possible, I recently thought of adding in info on Arena and a link to its page - though I doubt enough people will play to make a difference, who knows, right?).

Tom Wilson is Funny

Tom Wilson has posted a hilarious video about his recent voice recording efforts. What a fun guy! In between stand-up shows around the country, he's been doing considerable TV voice work and may even get a speaking role in the upcoming Back to the Future game. He'll be performing in person at the Kansas City Improve on October 7-10, at Penguins in Davenport, Iowa from November 18-20 and at the Denver Improve from December 16-19. It sounds like he puts on a great show.

Warren & Wing Commander Excite Crowds at PAX

Former Origin producer Warren Spector delivered a keynote address last weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. As part of his presentation, he covered some of his own personal history in the game industry and what got him where he is today. After touching on his Ultima beginnings, Wing Commander pops up on the large screen and receives a rousing round of applause and enthusiasm. AD has posted a video of this part of the keynote here (36 meg avi). The Wing Commander segment is from about 2:45 to 3:45, but the first half of the clip helps to set up the scene.

But one memory stands out about that time more than any other... That day when my cousin discovered I was famous was the first time I had an inkling that maybe we might just succeed. So what were we so proud of? [Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams plays] But also this... [Origin FX Logo appears and leads into Wing Commander]

"Wing Commander! Not just another flight simulator, but truly a benchmark product in challenging gameplay and cinematic presentation."

TacOps 'Combat Alpha Demo' Phase Reached

Avacar has posted another technical demonstration to show off the latest features that have been coded into the online version of Wing Commander TacOps. A sample simulation is available to test out numerous game mechanics. Check it out (preferrably in Firefox or Chrome) here or help provide feedback over at Crius.net

It certainly took me long enough, but the combat alpha demo is now ready. This hacked version will alternate between the movement alpha and the combat alpha, on a phase-for-phase basis. As before, this is all within the fake 'turn 1' that normally wouldn't have infinite phases.

I need everyone's help right now. I suspect there will be a lot of bugs; some may lock it up and need me to fix it. Some may simply be wrong behaviour. I've got the same ugly overlayed reporting working, and it should report all gun and missile fire.

The pre-engine pop-up should only allow valid targets, but doesn't yet list the difficulty of the shot, nor does it have all the tooltips working. Also note that, since missiles are resolved in the end-turn phase, if you fire one, it will record its details, and just sit there. I'm not finished with the missile class; I don't know if they'll even show up at the moment, but I will look into that in the next day or so.

I know this has taken a long time, but this was the biggest bulk of the work. We still have a ways to go, but we're now past halfway through phase 4.

Participate in the Planning Party Next Week

This is a reminder that Dundradal's WCPedia planning party is being held next weekend. Although the big event isn't until Saturday, contributors working hard on the project have been discussing historical elements and strategies all day long in #Wingnut. Come join the fun and help out a good cause!
On September 18th, 7 pm EST (currently GMT-5) in #Wingnut we'll be doing it again.

WC chat, MP games, a few prizes (yeah, I've got a few things I'd like to give to some deserving fan) and just an overall good time.

We'll also be doing quite a bit of chat about WCPedia which has really taken off since the birthday party. We've been adding content faster than we ever have before. From historical documents to mission entries to battle histories we've been making serious headway. I think my goal of doubling the project will be shattered before the year is out... So if you missed the party earlier this month or were one of the people who said we should do this more often, here's your chance. If you don't know how to join #wingnut see the instructions here on how to set up an IRC client or just use the CIC Java chat client here.

A Baker's Dozen of Frontier Movie Chapters Made

Lucky part 13 of Frontier - Prelude to Darkness has been released. Watch the episode here. There's no space combat in this one, but it's full of land based action. lew82 has also posted this destroyer feature at the Frontier website.
Upon being attacked the Innsmouth and other ships concentrated their firepower on the largest Dakota vessel at the battle – the Dakota dreadnought. This proved futile due to the massive shields and firepower of the Dakota dreadnought.

The Innsmouth attempted to launch a broadside barrage, but in the process sustained massive damage herself, her engines were destroyed and she was adrift before being caught in Toyr’diablo’s gravity and crashing down to the surface.

Many escape pods were seen leaving the Innsmouth, the number of possible survivors is not known.

Tallahassee Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

JasonRocZ has put together a pretty sharp update to the Tallahassee cruiser for the Collateral Damage. Obviously the ship's missing its guns and any specialized detail, but it's one of his prettier models up close!

Here's a lil bit of the new Tallahassee Cruiser. There's no armament shown on it, but it should have something similar to WC3 specs (with perhaps an extra turret or two). You can see from the model where the original turrets will be placed (Same general spots). Here's the original specs.

I also still have to add some antennas and perhaps a few small details of some sort but let me know what you think.

Wing Commander Universe Squared

Chuckles is taking a closer look at the Wing Commander universe map for the WCPedia project. He's converted the Akwende Projection included with Wing Commander Prophecy and realigned it to create a direct perspective. The result is that trapezoidal sectors in the "back" are more squarish now. His current project is to clean up each of these sectors in order to make individual graphics for sector wiki entries. You can see some of his work in progress over at Crius.net.

The Sol Sector seemed like the right place to begin. Also, I'd like to present what I'm doing more as a beta offering so you guys and gals can scrutinize my style and choices. After all, the attempt is to reconstruct it as faithfully as possible for the wiki, so feel free to spot obvious errors, offer corrective ideas, and chime in on what you think.

I've decided to hold off on the nebulae coloring, as I don't want there to be oddities between shades and thickness that are noticeable by quadrant squares. I'll do that job when the map is all pieced together. The same goes for jump lanes that cross sector borders, I'd like them to line up without a shift due to placement and the map's own weird warping.

Out of all the fonts I have and researched, I could not find the exact matches for the lettering on the map, so I've compromised on what looks close enough and what reads clearly. I'm using Microsoft YaHei Bold at about 108 (for this map size) for the sector name and the system names, while switching over to Trebuchet Bold 40 for the quadrant names. With the quadrant names, it does seem very obvious whoever put it together is using some of the same techniques I'm using to reconstruct it, as I gotta compress the names horizontally to get them to fit just about the size they are on the original. I've also decided that only the sector name will have a slant, about 5 degrees, as the rest of the text seems slanted only by virtue of the Akwende Projection perspective.

XBox Live Price Increasing

Microsoft announced last week that the price of XBox Live will increase from $50 to $60 in the US as of November 1, 2010. A similar price increases will take place in Mexico, and single month subscriptions are going up in Canada and the UK (although annual subscriptions remain unchanged). Since opening in 2002, the service has expanded significantly to include movie and television rentals, Netflix streaming, social media services and video chat.

The good news for fans is that Microsoft is offering the option of locking in their next year at $40, so players that act before the end of October can actually get a discount. That's not the only good option though. Amazon.com frequently discounts annual subscription cards to $10-20 below the going rate. Their best deal at the moment is a year of XBox Live, a headset, the controller-keyboard and a copy of Project Gotham 4 for just $55. Another interesting option is the XBox Live Family Pack that allows up to four Live Gold accounts on one XBox for one year for $100. Plan ahead and get your Arena-playing paid off for cheap!

DirectDraw Hack 1.0 Released

sol_hsa has completed his DirectDraw upgrade ddhack! It now works with all Kilrathi Saga games - Wing Commanders 1, 2 & 3 - plus the Windows version of Wing Commander 4. The program has come a long way since the initial release that added bilinear smoothing to the classic graphics. The latest edition adds several other filters, including a new deinterlacer for Wing Commander 3. On top of all this, the patch fixes some significant compatibility/palette problems that some people have experienced in recent versions of Windows. You can grab the program here (56 k zip). Instructions are included. The source code and debug tools are also available.

sol has posted an entertaining story about the exploration that lead him to development of the ddhack patch at his website. It includes some useful background on how each game implements the upgrade and really shows how much dedicated Wingnuts can accomplish when they set their minds to a task!

In the Beginning

It all started about a month ago, when one friend of mine had decided to follow his dreams and was moving to the states, and he had to get rid of a lot of stuff. Among his discard pile was a bunch of Wing Commander games, which I bought off him, figuring they might be interesting research material, as I'm planning on a game with similar game play structure (as in story combined with game play, not a 3d space shooter).

So, I found myself in the possession of Wing Commanders 1, 2, 3 and 4, all Windows versions - the Kilrathi Saga and WC4CD to be specific. I installed the first and tried it out. My Win7 switched to 256 colors at a 640x480 resolution, but the game ran.. with completely wrong palette.

Bugged by this I played with the compatibility options, and got the game to almost work well, with the palette going wrong at some points.. so the game was sort of playable, but I hated the fact that Windows changed to 256 colors and I couldn't see my mailbox properly in the other screen, etc.

I also tried WC2 and WC3, and they had similar - or worse - problems. I even learned the steps to get WC3 to work properly:

1.Find the WC3W.EXE executable, turn on (basically) all the compatibility options.
2.Start task manager.
3.Find and kill all instances of explorer.exe. Your desktop will disappear, along with the task bar.
4.Using task manager, launch WC3W.EXE

Naturally the screen resolution and color mode will be 640x480 and 256 colors, but if you've bent backwards that much, you probably don't care all that much.

Seeing that the games use DirectDraw, I decided to roll my own.

Paper Commander's Rapier Complete

Péricles has finished his latest paper model, the Rapier II Blade from Wing Commander Arena. The authentic Arena meshes were used to design this ship, and the general shapes from the game appear especially well suited for construction. Hopefully this means we'll see more designs soon. The model textures look sharp printed out, and the original Confed markings are still present. Grab the instructions here to get building!

Thanks my friends!!!! It's my pleasure to inform you that the Rapier Blade is avaliabe to download from the Paper Commander site. I'm very happy with the finished results.

Cheers!!! :D

Collateral Destroyer Brought into 28th Century

JasonRocZ has completed another new ship for Collateral Damage. The ship bears a striking resemblance to the classic Southampton destroyer from Wing Commander 3, but it also tastefully incorporates numerous elements seen on Wing Commander Arena's battlecruisers. His current story concepts revolve around one of these warships falling into mercenary hands.

Originally I wanted those yellow boxes to be nothing more than something aesthetic, but I thought maybe they could be some kind of small shielded power plants for each individual plasma gun. So I tried to make them look like they had some type of exhaust ports.

The model itself started out as nothing but a Southampton class destroyer, but then I added a hangar, some newer engines and a few details. I got this idea after watching a television program about different types of converted destroyers during WW2. Some were designated into fast troop transports or minesweepers.

DragonCon Starting to Wrap Up

It's been a very productive Sunday for Team CIC at DragonCon! The morning started with a chance to talk with Wing Commander Freedom Flight author Mercedes Lackey and her husband, former Origin artist Larry Dixon. Both are enthusiastic Wing Commander fans. Their only disappointment with the series is the lack of new games lately, but they're hopeful that the series will get a break in the future!

Holding the Line Back on Track

Members of the HTL team are trying to wrap up the long-running fan fiction story. Wing Commander: Holding the Line began in January 1999 as a play-by-email campaign of the Aces Club. It continued strongly for many years, but the last chapter was released in 2007. However their website has just been updated with all 219 parts fully archived and ready to read. A new chapter is now in work by NeoDevilbane. Keep an eye on htl.solsector.net or their Facebook page for more updates
If the Nephilim manage to break through, millions if not billions of Terran lives alone could be lost. While the crew and brave pilots of the Midway tries to cripple and/or destroy the Alien wormhole/gateway, the hastily assembled group of Confed and Border Worlder ships - a Combined Fleet - have to take on the massive Nephilim attack fleet largely within the confines of the Border Worlds space itself. They are outnumbered and outgunned, but they know failure is not an option.

They have to hold off the Aliens long enough for Confed and the Union to reinforce them. They are the ones who have to hold the line.

DragonCon Continues

Woohoo! Lots of stuff happening here, but no big news to report. LOAF told the president of Baen that they need to reprint more Wing Commander books. Here's a handful of pictures of our adventures over the last day.

DragonCon Begins

Team CIC has made it all the way to Atlanta for DragonCon 2010. The convention doesn't really get going until mid day Friday, so there'll be lots of crazy pictures to come. I'd post more now, but we're off to get our Freedom Flights autographed by Mercedes Lackey! The cellular system here is a bit overloaded, but we'll be posting updates to the Facebook page and Twitters (@banditloaf, @aclawson & @chrisreid) on the go.

And congrats to our 250th Facebook follower, Tim Ray!

WCPedia Planning Pow-wow Pending

Dundradal and the team working on the WCPedia have been making great progress, and now they're putting together what will come next. They will be holding a planning session in #Wingnut later this month to shore things up. There will also be multiplayer Wing Commander games going, and Dund's even got some prizes up his sleeve.
Earlier this month at the CIC's 12th birthday party many of us said that we should do events like the birthday more often. It was nice to see everybody and have some great discussions. We'd like to do it again.

On September 18th, 7 pm EST (currently GMT-5) in #Wingnut we'll be doing it again.

WC chat, MP games, a few prizes (yeah, I've got a few things I'd like to give to some deserving fan) and just an overall good time.

We'll also be doing quite a bit of chat about WCPedia which has really taken off since the birthday party. We've been adding content faster than we ever have before. From historical documents to mission entries to battle histories we've been making serious headway. I think my goal of doubling the project will be shattered before the year is out... So if you missed the party earlier this month or were one of the people who said we should do this more often, here's your chance. If you don't know how to join #wingnut see the instructions here on how to set up an IRC client or just use the CIC Java chat client here.

Rapiers in High Demand on the Frontier

Kevin Caccamo has released photos of the updated Rapier II to be featured in his Freespace mod, WC Hostile Frontiers. Two basic paint schemes have been revealed, and both revolve around the Republic of Landreich faction. Their use in this remote region mirrors their late era service in the Border Worlds (WC4 novel) and Epsilon Sector (Arena). A variety of authentic weaponry based off the classic WC1 blueprints are underslung beneath the frame.

Victoria super Omnia

TonViper has cleaned up the textures on his Excaliburs a bit more. These will eventually get added to the Homeworld 2 Mod, which will allow them to be built on command. This pushes the design more towards a fresh factory paint scheme instead of a worn scorched look.

Still adding details. Here's a progress shot of how far I've gotten now. I'm still looking for a better base texture and an effect that barely shows up on one base texture looks exaggerated on another base texture. That's the reason for why the black lines are surrounded by very obvious white borders. They won't be nearly as obvious when I'm done.

I will be adding lots more detail before I'll call it done. I'm getting closer to how I want the surface to look, though most of the ship is still without any details.

I'm not sure how dirty I want the ship to end up being, firstly because you aren't going to run into much dirt as such in space, so scorch marks are more likely, and secondly because it's going into HW2, where the ships are built on demand, so I'm probably going to go for a "fresh off the assembly line" look for it.

I'm glad I have a copy of the old WC3 playguide for reference, so I can see where they put the panel lines on the original high poly model. Unfortunately, most of the shots in there are greyscale, so there's not much in the way of color reference. At least the front cover is in color.

Bonus trivia question of the day: Who knows where this update's headline comes from?

Star Ruler Space Sim

wc3 tipped us off about Star Ruler, which was just released for Windows. It's a space sim/strategy game with dynamic "procedurally generated" galaxies. Individual technologies can be developed throughout the game, and there's a large multiplayer component. It also has built-in support for modders. The game is available for $25 via digital download. Check out some sample videos here.

Take command of a vast interstellar empire and safeguard your species from total extinction. Prove your species' ingenuity through a deep and intricate combat system where anything (from individual components on ships to the stars themselves) is a target of opportunity.

Research deadly new weapons, new engines, shields, and more with a research web whose contents are shuffled with every game. Explore vast interstellar phenomenae such as black holes and asteroid belts and exploit them for yourself or destroy them to deny your foes. Match your wits with up to 10 online or LAN-linked opponents, save the game when dawn breaks, and boot it back up at dusk. It isn't over until you say it is!

Mod the game to suit your playstyle! Your weapons, your ships, your rules. Almost the entire game can be modified entirely through an editor as simple as notepad. Easily add new models and particle effects to the game with a robust set of out-of-the-box developer tools. Features

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