WC2 Mod Adds Kilrathi Ships

Deathsnake has posted new shots of the Kilrathi models featured in his WC2-themed mod for Freespace. The first flotilla features a Fralthra, Dorkathi, Kamekh and Ralari. Additional images show off the work he is doing to convert and rescale a classic Snakeir.

I found on the 3D Solsector site an old model for a Snakeir. As I said before I want to add more ships in the cutscenes to show "life" in the universe.

You can see it with a Yorktown. I tried to get fighters launch from the 2 bays. In the left bay is a Thunderbolt as placeholder and right a Gothri. I want the fighters to launch from the carrier. The problem was now that the model was too little to launch a Gothri. You can launch a chair but not a big fighter. So I needed to change the size.

The newest Version has the Ground Texture of the Fralthi 2 from the prologue. Now I worked on the Hangar bays, Runway, lights on side, bridge (front) and tower textures. A few red details will be added to the wings and overworking on the textures of the turrets. Then it should be done.

Immortal 4 Now Taking Orders

The classic Amiga video game music album Immortal 4 went on presale today. The price is $24.95 Euro or US $32.19, and orders start shipping April 11. The last song of the 35-track arrangement is a recording of a live Wing Commander performance by Team FAT!

Amiga videogame music 20 years later: Songs newly interpreted by original authors

The Double-CD Immortal 4 is the 4th strike of the popular Immortal series. Once again producer Jan Zottmann managed to gather the celebrities of the golden homecomputer age of the Commodore Amiga and to let them re-arrange the unforgettable music of legendary computer games using all the latest studio technology. The catchy melodies once played by a handful of 8 bit samples now experience their rebirth in a colorful mixture ranging from a complete rock band to the fully-fletched synthesizer-setup.

The two filled-to-the-brim CDs of Immortal 4 feature no less than 35 newly arranged songs (about 158 minutes) of Amiga videogame music. Most of them have been created by their original authors - trademark of the Immortal series. We couldn't even stop them to play live-instruments, you'll become earwitness when Al Lowe himself (Leisure Suit Larry) is playing the saxophone, Jon Hare (Cannon Fodder) being back at the microphone and Dave Govett (Wing Commander) hitting the drums.

Numerous classics have been rearranged, such as Lemmings (Tim Wright), Turrican 2 (Chris Hülsbeck), Flashback (Jean Baudlot), Gauntlet 3 (Tim Follin), F17 Challenge (Nicola Tomljanovich) and many more. Exklusive new versions were contributed by well-known demoscene musicians, such as Romeo Knight (at the guitar too) and Jogeir Liljedahl.

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

17. Wing Commander (2:52)
Composed by Dave Govett - Performed by The Fat Man & Team Fat at the CES
Guitars by George Sanger & Joe McDermott - Bass by Kevin Phelan - Drums by Dave Govett

Diane Duane Discusses the Darkening

AD found an io9 interview from November 2010 that talks at length with Privateer 2 story writer Diane Duane. Ms. Duane is a very accomplished science fiction and fantasy author, and she took a moment to mention her Wing Commander credentials as well. It's a thoughtful article for people who are interested in some perspective on professional writing. Check out the full piece here.

You said you're an early adopter—are you an active gamer?

I don't play so much as build games. About 10 years ago I wrote Privateer 2: The Darkening for Electronic Arts. It was their first foray into interactive entertainment. They were almost trying to do choose-your-own-movie, with game modules to help you determine your path. And that left me with a very clear sense of how to structure a game. The EA people taught me an incredible amount about the structure of building computer games in general and this kind of interactive, flow-dictated game in particular.

And I certainly keep a close eye on what the field is doing. I have lots of friends who do game, and where necessary I pick their brains.

Inside Gaming Takes a Keen Look at id Software

AD found another article from Inside Gaming that explores the early days of id Software - particularly Wing Commander's influence on the company's growth (and Wolfenstein 3-D!). Many sources credit Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss as the 3D first person inspiration for the game, but it's easy to see where Wing Commander could have played a role as well. Wingnuts are mostly well aware of what Origin was up to in the early nineties, and this piece is a good review of what a contemporary was up to. Find the full article (and video) here.
But they wanted to be making their own games as well, and the dudes of id had a new inspiration. Wing Commander had released the previous year, taking the 3D mechanics popularized by Flight Simulator and adding a combat element into it. The result was a revelation to the guys, a three-dimensional vehicle shooter from the first-person persepective. Technically, this was nothing new: Battlezone had released all the way back in 1980 with the same basic mechanics. But Wing Commander had updated and modernized the idea, and made it look good. The problem was that it was slow. High-resolution graphics in three dimensions in real time was a huge burden on the processors of the time. But id’s resident programming genius, John Carmack, thought he could do better.

In April 1991, id made Hovertank 3D for Softdisk to distribute. It was a 3D vehicle shooter, in which a pilot had to navigate his tank through a maze to rescue citizens while fighting off mutant monsters. Gameplay-wise, it wasn’t a revolution over anything Wing Commander had done. Technically however, it was lightyears ahead. Carmack’s engine avoided the slow jerkiness of earlier 3D games, and presented the player with a smooth, fast world. While an important milestone for the company, proving that the guys could handle 3D game design, it didn’t leave a big impact on the industry. As a Softdisk product, it was only available to their subscriber base, and thus couldn’t spread by word of mouth the way id’s Internet-distributed Keen games could

Raptor Rounds Out Retro Reimagining

One fighter has been missing from Klavs' fleet of WC1 attack craft, and that role is now being filled! Based on his own sketches and some concept art from NinjaLA, Klavs is has begun to interpret how a sleek aerodynamic Raptor might look. It certainly looks like a heavy fighter compared to its more nimble siblings. I'd hate to be the Krant standing in its way!
I really appreciate the support guys, this is a tough one!

I just went whole hog with the Heavy Gunboat/Gunstar thing. My thinking is that the Raptor was conceived as a system patrol craft and was converted and upgraded to a heavy fighter, at least, that's how my design philosophy has evolved.

Somewhere along the line, it mated with a B-1, and I just kind of went with it.

Space Sim First Look: Star Battalion

New space sim releases for the PC have been declining in recent years, but the genre is starting to really heat up for mobile platforms. The newest cellular launch is Star Battalion, a hot new iOS shooter with a huge universe to explore, high tech spacecraft, an epic story and online cooperative multiplayer. It's optimized to take advantage of the iPhone/iPod's 960x640 pixel Retina display, and controls employ intuitive gyroscope-based input. It's normally priced at $7 but is on sale for just $1 for a limited time. The low barrier-to-entry, attractice prices and new capability of modern phones is spurring a mobile space sim comeback, and there are already some impressive titles to choose from. Based on the recent iOS version of Dead Space, EA also seems interested in bringing some blockbuster franchises to the platform as well.

  • Discover a universe full of breathtaking planets & ominous spaceships all rendered in detailed HD.
  • Compatible with the Apple Game Center & the iPhone 4 gyroscope for 360° of immersion.
  • Challenge a variety of missions that will test your reflexes, instance and even your cunning.
  • Choose from a wide selection of ships, from the versatile Wyvern to the strong & elegant Valkyrie.
  • Uncover a deep storyline full of memorable characters, epic conflicts and unexpected twists.
  • For the first time in a 3D iPhone game, play online or local co-op multiplayer via Wi-Fi & Bluetooth.

WCPedia Size Doubles in Just Seven Months

Dundradal reports that the WCPedia has hit a great milestone! At the last CIC Birthday party, the team working on the encyclopedia set a goal to double the number of entries by August 2011. They've just nailed that target, well ahead of schedule. Nobody is sitting back and taking a break however - there's lots more work to do and the team continues to strategize about what to work next. Head on over and lend a hand here!

At 4:28 pm EST on March 27, the goal of doubling WCPedia's size by August 10, 2011 was achieved when the Atomic Chisel article was uploaded and saved.

This is a great achievement for the project. In the last 7 months we've added 1,100 articles as well as hundreds of images. A big thanks goes to LOAF who turned himself into a Privateer 2 machine and uploaded a huge amount of information.

There are still 5 months until the CIC's birthday in August. Our current goal should be to complete all Priv2 articles in that remaining time. I'm confident we can complete it with time to spare.

If you haven't checked out the latest uploads to WCPedia be sure to take a look!

New Flowchart Makes Standoff Even More Fun

Farbourne is working on a useful chart that plots out the different mission branching in Wing Commander Standoff. Many of the coolest missions in the game are only available on the losing track, so this reference tool should help lead many fans to more fun and excitement. The graphic as pictured only shows relationships right now, but Farbourne is also documenting the specific requirements that determine how players win and lose particular missions. There's still room for this to be refined, so head on over to Crius.net to help provide feedback.
It's my attempt at making a high quality, full game mission tree for Standoff. It's not quite done yet. It should prove useful for anyone trying to play through the game and who wants to try to see every mission.

After playing through the game to make this tree, I HIGHLY recommend playing through the losing path missions. Several of the best and funnest missions in the games are on the losing paths. The losing path version of "Skinning Cats" is great, and "Backlash", "Rescue Run", "Flight of the Arrow", and "Armageddon" are probably four of my five favorite missions in the game ("First Encounters", on the winning path, is my other favorite).

Consider this still a draft, and feel free to leave feedback...

Angry Video Game Nerd Calmed by Wing Commander

koruptor found a brief nod to Wing Commander in an episode of the Angry Video Game Nerd. The video talks about gimmicky things on the 3DO, and an awful game called Plumbers Don't Wear Ties in particular, but it has nice things to say about WC3. The 3DO port of the game is a pretty awesome version that includes higher quality video, alternate missions, new ships/weapons and even extra cutscenes. The mention appears at 3:30.

Edit: TopGun noticed another mention in the clip at 16:10!

Wing Commander Also Appreciated in Germany

AVGN isn't the only one recognizing Wing Commander's brilliance today! Aginor found that German magazine PC Games Hardware conducted a poll, and Wing Commander placed among the top ten MS-DOS games of all time! Privateer placed a nice 35th as well. Check out what they had to say here and here.

Take a Break at Shotglass' Bar

We've very happy to share www.shotglass.de with everyone. It's a hip new Wing Commander hub put together by Evan, one of the original WingCenter founders. Shotglass.de serves the very large German-speaking Wingnut base with news, articles and forums. Evan was able to resurrect old backup material, so some news updates and message board posts even date back to the 2001-2005 timeframe! Check the site out here.
Hey there!

It's a little hard to describe the web-site. First and foremost it is a German Wing Commander-Fansite. I found an old backup of my old site with all the forums-postings still intact. So I just set up a new forum and a new website, imported all the postings from 2003 - 2005 and even all the news-postings (and almost all pictures) from 2001 - 2005. So basically it's a German Wing Commander hub.

I didn't think about it, I just launched the website, because it was so much fun to work on. But I want to do that site on a more personal note. I hope to do some "Let's play!"s soon and I will cover some other Spacesims as well.

Cheers and thanks for all your help,
Evan

New Mini Models Produced & Painted

Mark N found some more awesome Wing Commander miniatures originating from the Starship Combat Forum. These are finished versions of the Studio Bergstrom prototypes that Astro Commander was also checking out earlier this year. As you can clearly see, the designs are all super detailed and expertly painted by andstrauss. The photography is high quality, and the stands that display each fighter show off the models in a variety of sharp attack angles. You can order unpainted versions of the craft for yourself here.

Focus Increases on WC2 Mod

Deathsnake has posted new screenshots and information on his Wing Commander 2 mod of Freespace 2. He's consolidated his recent efforts into this project, and there are also plans to organize it on a website soon. There are almost 80 models now imported into the engine (for both the WC2 project and a WC3-themed game for later), and the first shot shows off an impressive size comparison of them all.

In addition to the size comparison, here's what's featured in each pic above.

  • Fighters are now the size noted in the WC2 manual. The Sabre, Broadsword, Crossbow and Morningstar need new textures.
  • Also the Waterloo is now 503m long and has some lighting on the tower and sides...
  • and has a weapon refit
  • Concordia (Klavs Model) fires the Phase Transit Weapon

Bengal Leaps into Action

Klavs has put some finishing touches on his hybrid Bengal model, and the results are gorgeous. In contrast to the base renders, these are more action-oriented shots with a nice black background. The darkness of space is lit up by the carrier firing its engines and being escorted by some of Klavs' creative retro fighter designs. These make great widescreen wallpapers!
Okay, this is the last I'll bother you guys with Claw for a while, until I get it lit up with floodlights and running lights and get it some working hangar decks. Enjoy!

DarkStar One Carries Tempting Price

Jacob reports that one of the biggest space sims on the Xbox 360 is now on sale for just $5 at discount retailer Five Below. Even though Darkstar One Broken Alliance has only been on the market for eight months and reviews are descent, prices for the game have dropped rapidly at stores everywhere. If there isn't a Five Below near you, Amazon is currently listing the game for about $15 (and GameStop retail stores carry it for $20), which is a pretty good deal for a pretty good space sim that might not stick around on shelves much longer.

In Darkstar One - Broken Alliance, command the mysterious spacecraft, the Darkstar One, allowing near infinite customization capabilities using the latest and even mysterious alien weapons and technologies. Blast into space for in-your-face 3D combat in full 1080p High Definition, explore over 300 alien worlds, buy and sell cargo or services, all while exploring a vast and beautiful universe in a quest to uncover the mystery behind the main character's father.

Caesar's Ralari found in Turkey

It's always great to come across odd localizations of the Wing Commander film that we missed in the past. On display today we present 'Cesaret Kanatları', as the film is known in Turkey. Roughly this title translates to "Wings of Courage," which I think has a nice ring to it! This site here appears to have the 2 disk VCD for sale which appears to also be dubbed into Turkish.

The Turkish distributor of the Wing Commander movie is Ozen Film, which also distributed the Chris Roberts produced Outlander in that country. You can find the entry for the Wing Commander movie on their site here.

Academy Actress Ascending

Many of us are familiar with the talent that voiced Blair, Maniac, and Tolwyn in the animated TV series Wing Commander Academy since they were the same actors that portrayed the Characters in the live-action footage from Wing Commanders 3, 4, and Prophecy. Not as many of us are as familiar with the voices behind the other main characters in the series.

If you head on over to www.danadelany.com you can get familiar with the voice talent behind Gwen 'Archer' Bowman. Dana also happens to have a new show 'Body of Proof' premiering at the end of the month on ABC network, so chances are you're going to be seeing a lot more of Dana in the months to come. In the show Dana plays a former neurosurgeon who takes a job as a Medical Examiner. In the meantime, don't forget to download Academy here and watch Dana's most important role to date.

Privateer 2 Savegame Editor Updated

Lin Kuei Ominae has released a new version of his Privateer 2 savegame editor. The latest version adds a number of new features as you can see below. Download the latest version of the savegame editor here.

Lin Kuei also outlined what he sees in store for future versions of the editor mentioning that he's also working on a Privateer 2 File browser/manager that will be included in the savegame editor. This will allow you to edit and extract files and resources from the various Privateer 2 formats. You can discuss Lin Kuei's editor and offer feedback here.

Changes:

Savegame editor:

  • long paths to the savegame file are better visible on the "Filename:" label
  • small graphical layout improvement on the cargo tab to look more like the layout ingame
  • new tab "CCN Booth" which has sections for the
    • available Ships and Equipment that you can buy on the current planet/station (click on an entry, change the indexnumber and press enter to accept the changes)
    • Bulletin Board, allowing to edit the cards which represent Wingman, Cargo Ships and Missions
    • Commodities, which are available on the current planet, allowing to edit the amount of tons available and the price per ton (these are only local and temporarily active as long as you stay on the current planet; once you take off and land on a different planet these are set back to the planets default values)
    • News, that allows to view and edit the current visible/active news
  • new "Unknown" tab that allows to edit savegame parameter/values for which i haven't found out their purpose yet (if you find out the purpose of one of them let me know and i'll move it into the correct tab or create a new tab in the next version)
  • when changing the cargo on the cargo ship, the cargo now uses the price that the current planet uses for this commodity (was previously always set to 1)
  • in priv2editor.ini the editor saves the last window position to get rid of the stupid random window positioning of Windows (now the editor opens where it was last closed)
  • boothinfo.ini which contains the data/description for the News, News Reporter names, News affected Planet names and the BBS Missions
  • a custom mouse cursor for the savegame editor (if you want you can use the cursor in windows too; you can find it in images/cursor)

dark.exe editor

  • new tab "Equipment" which allows to change the price of each module,missile and gun as well as the amount of the equipment that is added to the ship when bought (e.g. Hi-Ex mines 10, Decoys 15, Nuke'em 1)
    • Note: you can change the amount on missiles/guns to be higher than 1 and even if the savegame has the correct amount stored, the game will see them as a group and not as single items. Thus you unfortunately can't stack 10 missiles on one slot and fire ingame one after the other like you do with mines

Bhantkara Cruises the Hostile Frontier

Kevin Caccamo has refined the Kilrathi carrier in Wing Commander Hostile Frontier. It comes complete with rows of fearsome fighters lining the flight deck that can be destroyed during fly-through. There's also a nice new nebula background behind the ship in space. Read more about these latest additions here.

After so much hard work in Blender and GIMP, the new WCHF Bhantkara-class Supercarrier is now ingame! This ship represents the supercarrier KIS Karga which attacked the Landreich after the (formal) end of the Terran-Kilrathi war, and was then driven off by Landreich and Confederation forces.

Tipsheet Tours the TriSystem

There've been a lot of people playing and rediscovering Privateer 2 lately, so Storm posted his simple checklist of things to accomplish in the game. The checklist categorizes the videos present on each game disk so that whether you are playing the main plot missions or various side-plots you won't miss any of the cinematics. The list also runs down the various SOS calls you can receive and has slots for each planet and space station in the game! You will want to visit them all! You can view more notes and commentary on the checklist at Crius.net here.
PRIVATEER 2 MISSION / CINEMATICS CHECKLISTS

Numbers in brackets indicate which savegame SET in archive

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

CD 1
----
MAIN MISSION CINEMATICS    ADDITIONAL MISSION CINEMATICS
[ ] KANE                   [ ] GABRIEL A   [ ] GABRIEL B
[ ] CRIUS                  [ ] SHONDI 1A   [ ] SHONDI 1B
[ ] LOOMIS                 [ ] RAMIREZ A   [ ] RAMIREZ B
[ ] TAFFIN
[ ] INTER AID

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

CD 2
----
MAIN MISSION CINEMATICS    ADDITIONAL MISSION CINEMATICS
[ ] SHERNIKOV              [ ] AMES
[ ] MITORR                 [ ] BANKS A
[ ] KAPPA                  [ ] BARLOW
[ ] HASSAN                 [ ] GOULD ANGUS SHERN
[ ] HUGO                   [ ] UNCLE KASH
[ ] GOURMET                [ ] MADDOX A   [ ] MADDOX B
                           [ ] MCCLOUD

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

CD 3
-----
MAIN MISSION CINEMATICS    ADDITIONAL MISSION CINEMATICS
[ ] DIMITRI                [ ] BANKS B
[ ] PRISON SHIP            [ ] PHILLIPS
[ ] KRONOS                 [ ] Phillips survives 3 missions, 10k Cr)
                           [ ] SHONDI 2A   [ ] SHONDI 2B
                           [ ] VONX

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

SOS MISSIONS
1 [ ] CIS CODE 3                 10 [ ] KIOWAN
2 [ ] MEREDITH                   11 [ ] NATION CARGO
3 [ ] CIS TRIAL WITNESS          12 [ ] PILOT BRAD
4 [ ] CIS CARGO POD              13 [ ] VON SPRECHEN
5 [ ] GOOD OL' BOYS              14 [ ] DANA KAY
6 [ ] JULIA DEREK                15 [ ] ORREAM
7 [ ] CIS CARGO RESCUE           16 [ ] CIS SHUTTLE
8 [ ] CARNEL'S BRIDE             17 [ ] FORGEN
9 [ ] AGGRESSOR/LILLIANA

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

LOCATIONS
[ ] KARATIKUS   [ ] HEPHAESTUS  [ ] BEX        [ ] JANUS
[ ] CRIUS       [ ] HERMES      [ ] HADES      [ ] ANHUR
[ ] CORINTHIA   [ ] SERCA       [ ] PETRA      [ ] DESTINAS  [ ] DESOLIA
[ ] OSTINIA     [ ] MASSANAS    [ ] LEVIATHA   [ ] ATHOS     [ ] TERREL
[ ] ES SARAMA   [ ] RS FELOS    [ ] CS REVA    [ ] SS CURIUM

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

RATING
[ ] PRIVATEER

===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

Metallic Carrier Pulls Into Orbit

ScoobyDoo has put together another neat concept ship. The "Jutland Mk 2" bears some very strong similarities to the Confederation class dreadnought. A second bonus image features a convoy of Clydesdale transports. Check out more of these heavy metal designs here.

Space Sim First Look: Galaxy on Fire 2

George Doss reminded us that we haven't yet mentioned Galaxy on Fire 2 for iOS. It's a recent follow-up to the extremely popular original and is the current go-to space sim for mobile devices. Comparisons to Elite and Privateer abound. The game is full of ship customization options, a rich commodity trading economy and a huge universe to explore. Textures snap up in high resolution on the iPhone 4 or iPad, and a single $9.99 purchase enables the game for both. A "lite" version is also available to try for free. Galaxy on Fire is available in the App Store.

GAMEPLAY

Featuring a living galaxy with over 20 inhabited solar systems and 100 space stations, Galaxy on Fire 2 allows you to travel using hyperspace and wormholes to visit the far reaches of this fully 3D, war-torn galaxy.

Follow the rich and engrossing storyline for over 10-hours of action-packed gameplay, or head off at any time on an interplanetary journey of your own design; mining asteroids, trading ore and supplies, taking on mercenary missions, working as a pirate and manufacturing new weapons and equipment.

Buy and customize more than 30 different types of space ship to aid you in a variety of heart-pounding missions, including escorting convoys under pirate attack, capturing intergalactic criminals, rescuing alien VIPs, transporting valuable goods between systems, commanding mercenaries on dangerous tactical assignment, and recovering alien technology from distant parts of the galaxy.

Retro Fighter Force Gets Sleek Home

Klavs has made tons of progress on his Bengal model. The shots below reveal new sharp textures of the detailed design. There is also a comparison to the Super Wing Commander version of the Tiger's Claw, which was the inspiration here. Another amazing throwback to the original can be found on the flight deck runway. The lines bordering the deck plates are patterned after the DOS game's landing strip, which is pretty darn cool. Check out more of Klavs' designs here.
Adding some more detail, Weapons are all placed. The rec room, hangar deck and barracks are all coming, just have to model up a bucket to catch the condensation from the overhead pipes. For those of you that keep track of these kinds of things, the panel lines in the "runway" are a direct match to the original Claw.

Amazon Adds HD Wing Commander

It looks like iTunes isn't the only way to stream high definition Wing Commander anymore. The Amazon Instant Video page for Wing Commander now advertises, "also available in HD with Amazon Instant Video on Your TV." There is a new page dedicated to a variety of set-top boxes, TVs and Blu-ray players that support the service, and there are even ways to play via your XBox or PC. Try it out and let us know how it works for you!

Blair, a fighter pilot, joins an interstellar war to fight the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the universe.

SimHQ Revists Origin

Klavs tipped us off about a new SimHQ article about the canceled Jane's A-10 Warthog sim. In addition to talking about the game, the author also talks about the Origin culture and their Austin campus in the late '90s, which makes this piece a pretty good read. Check it out here.
Perched on a hill after crossing the Pennybacker Bridge over Lake Austin, the glass-encased, modern office building added to the charisma of 1990s Austin. While the purveyors of doom were warning the flight simulations heyday was coming to a end, that it had crested and was on the slope downward, the offices still conveyed a feeling of excitement — at least for me. Perhaps I was so awe struck and overwhelmed that I was *there* at the location where Longbow was created that I, like a lot of flight sim fans, was in denial about the indicators that flight sims had peaked and were starting to wind back down in activity.

Hostile Frontier Establishes Web Presence

Kevin Caccamo has upgraded the textures that the ships in Wing Commander Hostile Frontier wear. They're looking quite sharp now, and the examples below demonstrate a couple different color schemes that will be used. The project also has a new website, which will help organize information about the mod and distribute the latest status. I'd strongly encourage other new projects to take a look and build something of their own.

A new milestone has been reached in the development of Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier. After much writing of HTML/CSS code and content, the project finally has a website. It was an interesting challenge to set it up, and there may still be some little glitches, but for the most part, the website is stable.

This website is the official home for Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier. On this page, you'll find official announcements, progress updates, Developer Diary entries, and hiring calls. We are currently looking for people to help with mission scripting, translation from English to German, and maybe even testing the missions for gameplay balance.

iPad Features High Definition Wing Commander

This is a reminder to anyone who picked up an iPad 2 yesterday, or plans to get one soon, that iTunes has a special iPad HD version of the Wing Commander Movie available to rent for just $3.99! The film can also be easily streamed to your HDTV via the new HDMI adapter or Apple TV. SD versions are available for $2.99 to rent and $9.99 to buy.

Space Shuttle Discovery Ends a Great Run

The Space Shuttle Discovery completed her final mission this week. Discovery capped its fourteen-day orbit by completing construction of the International Space Station (docking a permanent supply module) and reaching its own milestone, 365 total days spent in space across 39 missions. After the shuttle is decontaminated and prepped for storage, it should replace the Enterprise in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

Garriott on 'Creating Worlds' in the Late '90s

Bob McDob found and typed up a really cool interview conducted by PC Gamer in early 1997. It was a discussion with Richard Garriott about his thoughts on the direction Origin was headed. There's some very interesting product plans mentioned - some of which came to fruition and some that didn't.
The cover story was titled "ORIGIN'S CUTTING EDGE", showing Garriott brandishing a sword, the right of his face hidden in shadow, and spanned twenty pages (ads included), covering Ultima Online, Wing Commander Academy, the then-imminent Kilrathi Saga release, Ultima IX, Privateer 2, and a brief seque into Chris Roberts and Digital Anvil ("but don't hold your breath — the first Digital Anvil game probably won't appear until at least the end of 1997.") But the real gem was a four-page interview with Richard Garriott.
Here's a couple tantalizing quotes. You can check out the entire interview here.
Ultima IX and Ultima Online obviously represent the future of that series, but what's next for Wing Commander?

Well, we've had Wing Commander I, II, and III, which had their heavily intertwined stories that we call the Kilrathi Saga; and Wing IV was a solo product. But Wing Commander V, which we're doing now, starts a whole new series. It's the opening chapter in a series of two to four new games which will form the new series. The Wing Commander games so far have been about flying missions and then coming back to see movie sequences which you fairly indirectly affect. What the team really wants to do now is much more carefully intertwine those two elements, so you'll start out on the fringes of the battle, but by the end, you'll be in the front lines and at the critical junctions of the battle; and your wins and losses are directly tied into the story, in the sense that the foe you shoot down in space is the character you would otherwise have run into in the cinematics. We're also working on another new Wing Commander project with a working title of Maniac Missions, centered around that character played by Tom Wilson. That whole project only came about because Tom is such an interesting character.

Do you see Wing Commander and Ultima as ageless properties, or do you envisage a time when they will have run their course?

A little bit of both. I think what we'll do is give them breaks periodically, and or re-invent them. For example, with Ultima IX, I'm purposely closing the Britannia history which has evolved throughout the series, specifically so that after IX I can sit back and evaluate the series and decide where to take it from there. It's time to ask, is the online environment where the next round of Ultimas should be created, or now that we've moved into this 3D virtual environment in which we can create great stories, is that more important? It's kind of a fresh start for the whole series.

There was speculation a while ago about a Wing Commander movie...

That's still a reasonably likely event. We're already doing an animated tv series with Wing Commander Academy, and we have a movie deal waiting to be signed. But there's an interesting difficulty right now, with George Lucas planning the next Star Wars series, there are lots of studios who want to work with George and don't want to piss him off.

Privateer 2 No-CD Procedure Developed

Privateer 2 editing master Lin Kuei Ominae has developed a little trick to avoid CD-swapping in The Darkening. The most common way this is likely to be used is via DOSBox (see the Tech Support Section for setup tips), but this should apply to other configurations as well. The basics involve copying the discs that you own to your hard drive and telling the game where to find them. To completely avoid disc swapping, movies.iff can also be hex edited, which Lin Kuei has done for everyone here (2 kb iff). These are the detailed steps:
  1. You can copy all cds into a subfolder on your HDD (e.g. C:\PRIV as the main install directory and C:\PRIV\P2Dcds as the subfolder for the CDs)
  2. Copy one cd after another in the P2Dcds folder and overwrite existing files (only the movies folder should expand)
  3. Then set the CD-path in dark.cfg to this subfolder and you don't need a CD-drive anymore.
  4. You can then open in P2Dcds the file cd.dat in a text editor and set "1" for CD1, "2" for CD2 and "3" for CD3.
  5. As an alternative for constant cd.dat editing, you can also open the movies.iff file in a hex editor and change there in front of each movie the 0x01, 0x02 or 0x03 into a 0x00. This way it's unimportant which CD is set in cd.dat and P2D never asks again for a certain cd as all movies are together present in the subfolder (also good if you want to create a privateer 2 dvd)
  6. I've attached a screenshot how it should look like in the hex editor (the marked 00 was previously a 01).

There's also possibility that this procedure could alter or (unfortunately) prevent the random cinematic plot missions from occurring when using the modified .iff file, so be forewarned that this might not be a perfect arrangement. Here's what Storm observed. If you give this a try, hit the Discuss link and let everyone know what you've found out.

If you use an altered MOVIES.IFF, this DOES change the order of the occurance of the additional cinematic missions. Confirmed; I've done this several times.

Actually, a long time ago, I figured out how to do this on my own; except that the CD references in MOVIES.IFF were all changed to "1", and CD.DAT was "1". Additional cinematic missions occured, but they were "severely delayed"; most of them were not activated until AFTER the Main Plot had finished.

Just recently I tried using the above MOVIES.IFF whereby all CD references are "0", and NOT BOTHERING to change CD.DAT (was a default "1" at the time). Additional cinematics were NOT activated... ever. So I changed CD.DAT to "0" to match. Again, no additional cinematic situations.

It might have been installation-specific; but it SEEMS that the game is "did-the-CD-change?" sensitive, in regards to the ADDITIONAL cinematic missions (not Main Plot missions).

But it SEEMS that the best way to is go ahead and use the FIRST procedure that Lin describes... change CD.DAT to "1", "2" or "3", depending (you will need to know in advance before a movie is invoked). I experimented, and the additional cinematic situations SEEM to behave NORMALLY this way... occuring about when they should.

On a pure DOS machine (DOS 6.22), if you invoke a movie with CD.DAT set to the wrong CD, the computer freezes up ("Please Insert CD")... can't even reboot it. You have to turn it off/on.

Of course, if you have a savegame archive with all cinematic situations saved, THEN it's ok to use an altered MOVIES.IFF just to see all the movies again. Trying to PLAY this archive will cause strange behavior in cinematic mission occurances. Keep 2 copies of MOVIES.IFF; one UNaltered, and an altered one... and copy over to fit whatever situation you are in.

Sleek Scimitar and Rugged Rapier Take Flight

Hot on the tail of his updated Hornet, Klavs has posted updates to both his Rapier and Scimitar! The CF-105 has had its external weapons stripped away for some highly aerodynamic flight. Meanwhile, the F-44 sports retractable guns and even has the Hornet's new laser gun pods.
There's just something about Starfighters and long barrels that go together!

Spacetime Survives & Thrives

Engadget has posted an article on the differences in revenue between the Android Marketplace and Apple App Store. The topic is interesting enough, but the particular subject being discussed is income that Spacetime Studios is generating on the mobile MMO (MMMO) Pocket Legends. Spacetime was founded by Origin veterans such as Cinco Barnes, Jake Rodgers and Anthony Sommers. A couple years ago, news was bleak and the company had to lay off a number of people when Blackstar was cancelled. It's great to see that they've bounced back with a popular new game!

The world of Alterra has been over-run and the Elf Queen needs your help to save the kingdom!

Pocket Legends is the world’s largest mobile MMO, delivering action and strategy gameplay to millions of players all over the world. The game’s pick-up-and-play format and rich role playing game features have catapulted it to the #1 RPG spot on multiple i-devices.

  • Explore with millions of other players!
  • Play anywhere on WIFI, Edge, 3G, or 4G networks
  • Plays across all iPhone/iPod/iPad and Android devices
  • Choice of three character classes and unlimited skill combinations
  • Chat during gameplay

WC Saga Beta Begins

Lars reports that WC Saga has reached a major beta milestone. Some 300 fans have applied to test the game, and those who were selected have been notified. Good luck on the bug hunt!

Thank your all for your interest and support, it has been nice to see your enthusiasm. We look forward to this beta test and hope that it will allow us to provide you with a very polished game experience when the game is released. Whether or not you were chosen as a beta tester, you will be able to get your chance to try Saga soon enough.

Russian Article Translated Better

akula65 noticed that the Google translation of the Russian Wing Commander overview posted last week was somewhat lacking. He took it upon himself to send over a new translation in English. You can check it out here!

Film Adaptations of Games: Wing Commander - Space Enough for All

The history of the vast universe of the space simulator Wing Commander has its origins in 1988 when a young game designer Christopher (Chris) Roberts wrote a design document in which he set forth the essence of a game codenamed "Squadron." The plot was based on the opposition of the human Empire and the Military Council of the aliens, known as the Kilrathi in the 27th Century. The principal hero was a graduate of the Imperial Flight Academy who had been assigned to the aircraft carrier "Tiger's Claw."

The Origins of a Space Saga

Little time passed between the idea and the implementation, and in 1990 Roberts' "firstborn" appeared: Wing Commander: Vega Campaign 1. Of course, the game does not completely correspond to the primordial version of the design document (for example, the human Empire became the Confederation etc.), but on the whole, it was still the renamed "Squadron." The protagonist remained a cadet, receiving the name Christopher Blair.

Amiga Longplay Follows Entire Wing Commander Port

st3lt3k has found an awesome video that documents an entire play-through of Wing Commander. A straight DOS WC1 montage (it's not really a montage if the video includes *everything*) would be cool enough, but this is specifically the Amiga CD32 release. At almost five hours and forty minutes, it's quite the marathon session. Are you Wingnut enough to sit through the whole thing to catch all the differences? A few of the intro graphics and jazzed-up sound should be immediately apparent. The Amiga version of Wing Commander also had rotating ship graphics in the TrainSim. Hit the Discuss link and let everyone know if you spot that in the film. The DOS version of the Secret Misions is also online.

Origin's Prima Guides Pointed Out

LOAF has taken Prima's strategy guide cover Christmas card and circled each of the Origin entries in yellow highlight. All of the Wing Commander ones are listed below. There's also many Ultima titles, a bunch of Janes guides and even Crusader and Strike Commander in there.

  • Row 1, #12 - Wing Commander I & II: Ultimate Strategy Guide
  • Row 4, #19 - Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander Prophecy
  • Row 8, #12 - Wing Commander III: The Ultimate Strategy Guide
  • Row 13, #15 - Wing Commander IV: Unauthorized Secrets & Solutions
  • Row 16, #17 - Origin's Official Guide to Privateer 2: The Darkening
It includes a fold-out poster showing the covers of the hundreds of game guides they've published over the last twenty years... which, of course, includes several Wing Commander books! The poster is an awesome walk down memory lane... and it's great to see that someone at Prima remembers all these books. Wouldn't it be great if they sold classic gaming guides as ebooks?

Space Sim First Look: Eterium

Regular CIC visitor Andrew Luby is hard at work on the XNA space sim Eterium, an independent game being developed for the XBox and Windows. The game is about eighteen months along and seems to be shaping up pretty well. In addition to the screenshots below, several videos have been posted that show off different gameplay aspects. Wingnuts should be able to see several design elements inspired by Wing Commander right away. Now that the basic framework for the game is together, Andrew is moving on to creating missions. You can find out more on Eterium here.
A space action game in the spirit of Wing Commander.

A young Lyota Militia pilot named Erik realizes his dream of serving for the United Earth Alliance after an incident finds him being treated aboard the UEA Canopus. Now he must join the crew of the Canopus as they plunge into the depths of a galactic civil war sparked by the discovery of Eterium, a weapon with the potential to puncture the very fabric of space and time and change the galaxy forever.

Russians Review Wing Commander History

Cyberion tipped us off about a huge Russian retrospective on the Wing Commander series. The franchise has a very strong following in Russia, and 3DNews.ru is a pretty popular site, so this should reach quite a few fans. It chronicles the history behind each chapter and outlines what made each game so groundbreaking. There is also quite a bit of discussion on the movie and then the state of space sim games today. Google Translate can make the article accessible for everyone here.
Wing Commander: Vega Campaign, largely due to its interactivity, immediately became a hit. Blair is not just flying the ship and shooting down the enemy. He is present at the briefing before the mission, and talking at the bar with the pilots, receiving well-deserved medals in front of flight crews.

For example, arriving after the battle ship was accompanied by a display of Blair, and depending on the damage to the fuselage machine was covered with dents, signs of fire, and even shell-holes. After a successful battle happened the fighter arrives safe and sound. Excitement was added by the Kill Board - a sort of "chart" of pilots, shot down the greatest number of aliens. To experience severe everyday life of the pilot helped vivid images of colleagues - "Maniac" Marshall, Mariko Spirit, Angel ... additional zest »Wing Commander: Vega Campaign was a campaign of non-linear, 256-color VGA-traced graphics and excellent facilities - in 1990 it was really cool.

Liftoff For OTV-2!

The second X-37B unmanned mini-shuttle launched into orbit today aboard an Atlas V rocket. The X-37 is the first unmanned space vehicle that's designed to land through the atmosphere and be reusable. There are no details on how long this test flight will last, but the first flight operated remotely for almost nine months.

The X-37B design combines the best of aircraft and spacecraft design into an affordable, unmanned space-based test platform. Program objectives include space experimentation, risk reduction, and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.

Hornet Gets Its Stingers Back

Klavs81 has updated his hybrid Hornet with a fearsome new look! His design theme focuses heavily on building for atmospheric flight and incorporating modern 21st Century elements. The Hornets' long laser cannons had been a difficult part to smooth into the design, but today's update adds them as cool detachable gun pods. Someday Klavs hopes to make some sort of animation with these beautiful fighters.
I found a way to reconcile the traditional giant wing lasers of the Hornet with the design of a lifting body. The answer? Gun pods! Now we can have that sleek profile for atmospheric flight, with the traditional look of the classic Hornet!

The smaller guns in the fuselage have now become RCS thrusters. So I guess in keeping with the "light fighter" design, they'll only be carrying missiles for atmospheric runs. Better to leave the heavy atmospheric attack to the Scimitars anyway. And the tanks are still available as an option for long range recon work.

Space Sim First Look: Star Raiders

st3lt3k pointed out that the remake to Star Raiders is coming soon. Since the original was an Atari game from the late '70s, the visual similarities are pretty nonexistent, but it's nice to see them paying homage to a classic space sim. GameSpot has posted an interview with the game's producer to explain more about where this came from.

GameSpot: What interested you in updating Star Raiders? What do you remember most fondly about the original Atari game?

Joel Goodman: It isn't often that a developer gets to work with a genre-defining intellectual property, and Star Raiders is just that. Great games such as X-Wing and Wing Commander were influenced by this Atari classic. The original game had great tension when you warped into a sector not knowing what you would be facing, and at times you were immediately thrown into combat. Having to manage the flow of the game from the Galactic Map was a very unique and exciting experience.

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

• Epic Space Battles – Defend humanity against the onslaught of the Zylon fleet, as you pilot your ship amongst huge capital ships and take part in treacherous dogfights.
• Battle Transformations – Players can transform their ship in the heat of battle into different specialized configurations that have their own flight and combat characteristics.
• Robot Co-pilots – You are never alone in combat! Known as K0-Pi these tactical robot co-pilots will enhance and monitor ship systems performing repairs and provide real time tactical information to the player.
• Explore the Galaxy – Galactic warps and sector tactical maps let you choose your missions and set your own path to liberation.

WC2 Campaign for FS2 Posts New Demo

There's a new test release of the WC2-inspired total conversion being developed for Freespace 2. The first five missions and some basic custscenes are now available, and new sounds and explosion effects have been added. Deathsnake is working on adding the Niven System missions next. There are several steps required to install and play the game (listed below).

You need: Follow these steps:
  1. Install WC Saga Prologue
  2. Place the WC3/Autopilot Techdemo, Inferno Build 3.6.12 & Launcher 5.5g in the WC Saga Folder
  3. Make a Directory in the FS2 root folder called wc2demo and copy the music und core files into this folder
  4. Start the Launcher (not the WC Saga Prologue EXE)
  5. Go into the command line, browse and select the fs2_open_3_6_12r_INF.exe file then goto mod, select mod, wc2demo - ok
  6. If you hardware is very good, goto Video - select 1980x1080, AA and AF to the max (or less if you PC is not that good)
  7. Then features and in the custom flag you enter this: fov 0.65 -spec_exp 7.0 -spec_tube 5.0 -spec_point 8.6 -spec_static 3.0 -ambient_factor 75
  8. Then apply and run the Game, select Campaign, WC 2 Remake and play

Raptor's Aerodynamic Characteristics Highlighted

NinjaLA sketched out this quickie picture of a Raptor that looks surprisingly sharp. Don't let the paper & pencil roughness fool you... this is a pretty clean bird!

Fighter Blueprints are Freakin Fabulous

Just how accurate is NinjaLA's sketch? You can find out for yourself by comparing it to the super detailed fighter blueprints that were included with Wing Commander 1. The images below clock in at 1600x1100 pixels, but all four of the original prints were scanned in high resolution by Fatcat. The blueprint pack is a 42 meg zip that includes all four images in a whopping 5000x3300 res. Bonus trivia: did you know that there are both single-sided (four separate sheets) and double-sided (Scimitar/Rapier on one sheet and Raptor/Hornet on a second) versions that were included in different editions of the original Wing Commander?

Lego Scenes Move Outside

Mr. Lee has two new Lego Wing Commander pictures to show off. The first reveals a Kilrathi and Terran marine side-by-side. It's followed by a solemn funeral scene set against dark space. The comparisons with WC1 screenshots really emphasize the accuracy and detail here!

I have created a Kilrathi marine and a soldier based on the scene from Rostov. This is also the first version of my lego funeral scene. It's important to me to only work with real existing lego bricks. I do not change or customize any bricks. I have bought a lot of lego pieces from the USA, the prices are lower compared to Germany. I hope to soon create more and bigger scenes.

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