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:
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)
Copy one cd after another in the P2Dcds folder and overwrite existing files (only the movies folder should expand)
Then set the CD-path in dark.cfg to this subfolder and you don't need a CD-drive anymore.
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.
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)
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.