Confed Science Officer-turned-Kindie Rock musician
Mindy Hester is having a launch event this weekend for the release of her fourth album, Juice Box Hero! The fun starts at noon, February 13, at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago. As a special bonus, one lucky Wing Commander fan in the Chicago area has an opportunity to win free tickets to the show and a copy of the new album!
To enter the contest, simply hit the
Discuss link and post the answer to this trivia question: Crius.net registration is recommended, but not required. State whether you live near Chicago, and get your entries in by midnight Saturday. Wingnuts outside the Chicago area can enter, but obviously they won't get to come to the party! Good luck! You can also purchase the album at In Lance Casey and Aurora Finley's introduction scene (the famous 'boom boom' sequence pictured below), how many shots did Aurora drink?! CDBaby or iTunes.
"You can take the girl off the Midway, but you can NEVER take the Midway out of the girl" - Lt. Finley
Mindy Hester & The Time Outs!
and Max Trax Studios
In more news related to popular Wing Commander musicians, acclaimed composer George Oldziey is selling Mark Hamill's Wing Commander Flight Suit on eBay. The outfit has been part of George's personal collection since EA cleared out a warehouse of WC3, WC4 and Prophecy-era props and relics. He's explained the story behind it below. This is quite a collectible! The auction continues until mid day (US time) Wednesday, February 16. Place your bid here! (and check out the snazzy pics of George all dressed up).
This is an original costume used in the making of the cut scenes for the epic Origin/Electronic Arts video game, "Wing Commander IV". It's MOST LIKELY the same costume worn by Mark Hamill as he portrayed the character of Captain Blair. I have no papers to authenticate it as such, but I acquired it from the storage warehouse on the set where the scenes were shot as they were about to toss all the props away. This particular costume has "Blair" inscribed on it, so at at the very least he must have been fitted for it and tried it on! Having met Mark Hamill and seen how much shorter he is than me, and having tried on the suit myself, I can attest that this suit must have fit him very well!
I, being the composer of the music for this and two other Wing Commander games, will be happy to autograph and include a picture of me wearing the costume, or some other picture if you'd like.
Mincemeat has a clever tip for reverting to subtitles in the Kilrathi Saga port of Wing Commander 2. Most of the earlier Wing Commander games that had speech automatically hid subtitles when voices were enabled. If someone was interested in reactivating subtitles, the typical method involved going into the game's installation menus and deactivating special voice effects. Kilrathi Saga's Windows installation has no such option, so turning on subtitles is a little tricker. Here's the method he's discovered.
Go to the directory where you have installed Wing Commander 2, (eg. c:\program files\kilrathi saga\wc2), go inside the gamedat directory, (backup the contents first), delete all the SPEECH.S?? files, delete all the COMMUNIC.S?? files.
Pretty sharp! Speech can be reenabled by reintstalling the game or restoring your backed up folder. A
Note: Leave the COMMUNIC.T?? files alone! These are the actual text files...
This will permanently remove the speech from the game and it will revert to the printed subtitles.
similar tweak allows German DOS WC2 owners to switch to English.
Ultima Aiera has posted a cool pitch video from January 2004. It's a pitch proposal for another iteration of Ultima Online 2. Several different iterations were attempted over the years, and this demo appears to be a dressing up of the canceled Harry Potter Online engine. Development did not go much farther, as Origin was closed in February 2004. Check out the video here.
...this video was produced as part of the very last pitch that Origin delivered to EA, proposing to resurrect UO2 and begin new development on it. Electronic Arts turned the pitch down, and Origin was closed instead. So, at least in one sense, this video is Origin’s dying breath.
It's time again for WC Saga to look for voice actors, and dozens of slots are surprisingly available. Each of the roles is detailed in a post at the Voice Acting Club. Plenty of grimacing dudes and even a few ladies' characters are up for grabs. Auditions should be sent in by Feb 15. Find out more here .
I represent the Wing Commander Saga team. We are currently in full production and making considerable progress towards our full campaign release which is scheduled for mid-spring. So, the time has come to also turn up the heat on filling our voice acting roles. We still have several major roles to fill, as well as literally dozens of minor roles. Please feel free to throw your hat in the ring and send us a sample.
Wing Commander TacOps Online has added several new features in the last couple weeks. From a gameplay perspective, the "tailing" feature has not been implemented. Selection of stacked objects has also been improved in the interface. Test Game 4 is currently in progress to test out these and newer features as they're implemented. You can peek in at the progress here.
I am pleased to announce that tailing is now fully functional! After a fully successful test case of 1 trial, I am 10% confident there will be no further problems! Unfortunately, like many of the phase5-based updates, only a signed-in account can properly witness how this will change things. As you probably should expect by now from my 'design intent' during a Movement Phase, an extra tab appears at the top, and should theoretically list all the tailing information you have available.
After 4 hours of work, and a fair bit of diving into the inner workings of the jquery-ui widget I was trying to use, I have made a vast improvement to the multi-selector! I honestly didn't think I'd be able to understand what was going on well enough to fix this, but I think I finally pulled it off. Ironically, we're now using a bug-fixed, more improved version of the selectmenu jquery UI over anyone else on the internet! Sadly, I'm simply not interested enough in jquery development to go open up a github fork of the current selectmenu-ui tree, and put in a pull request to that community.
Okay enough blathering, let's deal with this from a WCTOO point of view: the select menus should now disappear when you mouse away from them. I haven't fixed the 'you have to pick something new' bug yet, however, but I believe that this was the key annoyance with them.
Victorinox found a cool article at SimHQ about the Future of Simulation Games. It's a 'roundtable' article with input from about ten current developers of sim type games. There's a lot of good question and answer conversation about where the genre is going. The last page also includes some discussion about what inspired these developers to get into gaming, and Wing Commander definitely played a role. Check out the full article here.
20mm: What specific simulation titles have been the most inspirational to you in terms of what you strive for in the development of new titles, and why?
Flexman: Everything by Microprose. M1 Tank Platoon and Gunship 2000 offered repeat play through simple mechanics. And I'd also go with Wing Commander for its attempt at a narrative. And a huge shout out to Jane's Longbow 2 which was a fine blend of action and simulation. What's interesting in those choices is (with exception to Wing Commander) are totally dynamic. Grand Theft Auto managed to blend narrative with a free-flow structure. That's a little of what we're aiming for, a blend of dynamic missions with a few narrative threads. Both M1 Tank Platoon and Gunship 2000 had crew advancement (or death), you could get really fond of those AI guys. We unashamedly copied the idea of a crew roster you can develop over missions. They have metrics for flight time, skill level, combat fatigue, aggression. The latter being quite important for AI sorties.
Jane’s titles managed to walk a tightrope of action and simulation. The audio chatter went a long way to provide a sense of battle and excitement. F15 was super with calls of “shack” and “check your panel”. Even Falcon 3.0 has some amusing pilot chatter. All of that we scripted for our game too just because it added so much to the feeling of a Jane’s simulation and it’s not technically difficult to do. It adds value at little expense.
Michelle D is working on a new unit for her Firekkan themed scene. It's a Kilrathi shock troop based off the losing ending of The Secret Missions 2. Right now just the helmet has been modeled, but this is a great opportunity to show the screenshot that this is based off of. That's some pretty badass Kilrathi armor there.
Some might be wondering where all these Kilrathi are supposed to live. Michele D is addressing that as well by starting to model a Kilrathi city. It appears to be inspired by some of the scenes on Kilrah show in Wing Commander 3.
I can't really say if it's Kilrathi enough, especially the building with the most progress done on it. The orange cubes are scale markers 7' or 8' high.
Here's a look at the full cast of Mr. Lee's nifty Lego project. What a sharp bunch! Can you name each of the Tiger's Claw pilots and crew depicted below? The same challenge has been posted to our Facebook page. Who can do it first? Hit the Discuss link and find out!
If identifying each of the Lego characters above sounds challenging, the CIC Headshot Collection can lend a hand. All of the classic characters from WC1 & WC2 are available at the links below, and as a special bonus, we've even gathered images of everyone from Super Wing Commander and the Japanese Claw Marks. Enjoy!
It's been almost two years in the making, but Pix's Origin Adventures blog has blasted through more than a decade of classic Origin material and covered most of the Wing Commander series as a result. He's played through Wing Commander 1, Secret Ops and nearly everything in between, but he's still finding cool contemporary articles and most recently reviewed False Colors. Quite a trove of information and experiences have been amassed! What's even more impressive is that while this could be referring to just his Wing Commander exploits, Pix has actually been playing everything from Origin's catalog. His well-documented adventures include Wings of Glory, Transland, Cybermage and more (including a few dozen Ultima and Jane's games). Even Standoff and Unknown Enemy are fair game. Each of his posts are full of pictures and detail, so head over and see for yourself. Hopefully it inspires your own Wing Commander playthrough!
This blog started out as an attempt to play every Ultima game starting at Akalabeth but quickly changed into a more ambitious (or foolish) attempt to play every game ever developed or published by Origin Systems. Origin have been my favourite developer for years and I’d been collecting all their games but still hadn’t played half of them and this seemed like a good excuse to start. At the time of writing (Jan 2011), I’ve finished all the Origin games I’m aware of.
I’ve branched out into playing fan games and some of the games made by Origin’s more famous ex-employees. There are still quite a few of these left which I’ll be playing when I get around to it. I’ve also been writing posts on Origin related bits and pieces I’ve picked up over the years, including scans of magazine articles from the day.
My main focus now is trying to read every official novel and cluebook based on Origin’s games or published by them. There are a lot more of these than you might expect although it’s a considerably smaller task than playing the games was. I expect it’s going to keep me busy for the rest of the year for all that.
The WC Saga team is thinking about conducting another beta test, and they are currently taking applications for participants. Those working on the mod have been looking at some of the same material for years, so they would appreciate a new point of view on the project. If it sounds like you can help, sign up here.
We can't overestimate the value of fresh play tester eyes on the product. As developers, we look at the thing all day, everyday, and to be honest, we lose perspective. When we're able to watch a new "fresh to the game" player run through the game, we get to see the game play out in a whole new way. We get to see when things are good, but more importantly, with the aide of our new set of eyes we can't hide from something that's just not working.
It's not every day that someone discovers a new trick to a 15 year old game, but the very clever Lin Kuei Ominae has found a bug that allows players to quickly amass unlimited credits. All of the built-in cheats relate to space combat, so this is pretty neat. Of course, his comprehensive save game editor allows tons of instant tweaks, but there's a certain charm to finding something like this in the game itself. Check out his instructions below. The screenshots are in German, which are worth peeking at if you've only played the English version. It doesn't affect the basic steps being demonstrated either.
When hiring a new freighter, the game reorganizes the cargo pods by moving full pods up into empty pods. However it doesn't set the amount of cargo stored in the pod back to zero and only assigns "Null" for the stored commodity type. So basically you still have hundred tons of nothing stored. When you now buy something, the cargo type is changed from "nothing" to the new commodity and the amount of tons is adjusted by one. I've attached some pictures showing the five steps.
Take a freighter and buy one ton of something cheap such as Brikcrete (just to occupy the first cargo pod).
Then buy several hundred tons of a cheap commodity like Grain.
Now sell the one ton from the first cargo pod and empty it this way.
Now go to the Bulletin Board and hire a different Freighter.
Go back to the commodities and you see that now the first cargo pod is filled.
If you now buy one ton of something expensive, the second pod (which was previously filled with many tons of cheap Grain) is now fill with several hundred tons of the expensive commodity.
Aurora Finley doesn't spend all her time converting alien technology into new fighter weapons. In real life, Mindy Hester is a popular kids' musician! Mindy Hester & The Time Outs have a new CD, Juice Box Hero, which they have been performing lately at major venues around the US Midwest. A video of them recently at the Mall of America has been posted to Youtube. The big news today is about the two Kids' Music Awards that they've won for best song - one each for 'Monster In The Closet' & 'Welcome to the Jungle Gym'!
Copyright 1998 - 2018 The Wing Commander CIC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED