As John Paul Jones said, I have not yet begun to dogfight!
In the first episode of
Wing Commander Academy, "Red and Blue", Maniac misquotes the first hero of the American Navy, but carries on the spirit of John Paul Jones' famous moment.
On 23 September 1779, the converted merchant Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, engaged HMS Serapis, commanded by Captain Richard Pearson off Flamborough Head, England. Bonhomme Richard was a 42-gun rebuilt merchant ship. Serapis was a 50-gun frigate on convoy escort duty.
Just after 7 p.m. the two ships exchanged fire and opened the Battle of Flamborough Head. During the first half an hour of combat the Bonhomme Richard ran into the stern of the Serapis. Captain Pearson is reported to have yelled the query, "Has your ship struck?". John Paul Jones' reply was simple and direct, "I have not yet begun to fight!"
For several hours the two ships exchanged fire. Jones' goal was to ram his ship into the Serapis and commence a close action. When Jones finally accomplished his goal around 9:30 p.m. The Bonhomme Richard had been holed repeatedly below the waterline. After an hour of combat, Captain Pearson personally struck his ship's colors and called for quarter. John Paul Jones had won the engagement and captured the Serapis, but the Bonhomme Richard could not be salvaged and sank the next day at 11 a.m.
Here's a very pretty update: renderings of the game's player ships, Nemesis and Aurora-class, in different colors and with different upgrade options. This would have been a beautiful game...
False alarm--there was no news about future EA classics at today's GOG conference. It looks like they planned to announce a new publisher and launch a surprise game today, but both events fell through. The remaining news was that they are approaching their 6,000,000th unique game download and will be giving away a free game, Broken Sword: Shadow of The Templars Director’s Cut, when they do! The lucky person who downloads the sixth millionth game will also win a copy of the entire GOG catalog. We'll keep watching for news about more Wing Commander and other Origin titles on GOG...
These images were in a directory labeled 'misc,' but they may be the most interesting of the lot! Here you have a still of a landing video (very similar to Privateer 2), renders of all the game's gun options, a promotional "jumping" render and two shots of the game itself in action!
We can expect news from GOG tomorrow afternoon. The CD Projekt Fall 2011 Conference will be streamed at 12:00 EDT and it wlll include updates on GOG's performance and the first hint at their plans for 2011-12. More information is available here. We'll report here if any further information about their EA Classics program is revealed!
GOG has posted a nice extra for Crusader fans--a Q&A session with series creator Tony Zurovec. It's a great window into what game development at Origin was like in the mid-1990s... and he does touch on Crusader's (lack of) connection to Wing Commander connection at one point. You can read the complete interview here.
It's also worth noting that many of the screenshots included are from Crusader: No Regret, which is not available through GOG--yet!
What's the actual relationship to the Wing Commander series (or maybe even other Origin games)? Crusader is using the same dating system as the WC games (and placing it before those, as far as I remember) and the WEC is being mentioned in the WC series as part of terran history. Did you just add some WC references as easter eggs to the Crusader games or did you actually think of them as part of the same universe?
There is no relationship between Crusader’s universe and that of any other game. The designers liked putting in the occasional cross-reference to other Origin titles – like the crashed Kilrathi spaceship from Wing Commander that can be found on a farm in Ultima VII – but those were basically just Easter eggs and no serious thought was ever given as to how the disparate game worlds might be one and the same.
The last 'planet' picture in our series is the port screen for Maxor. Maxor doesn't appear in the promotional literature, but it's clearly a commodity-heavy world. Privateer 3 would have featured over fifty unique ports!
Zohrath has completed another fantastic fighter from the original Wing Commander game. He's chosen the Jalthi as the first Kilrathi design of his latest batch. Check out the series of pictures below to see how the ship went from base frame to textured beast!
Going with a Jalthi next, it was always my favorite Kilrathi design in wc1. Both reference sources, the manual and the in-game sprites have the guns exactly at that position, so I gotta keep them there. Besides, the ship wasn't really meant to look fast, but a slow giant with massive firepower, the characters in the game say as much too.
I've started messing around with the textures in the main hull parts, although it's looking a little plain without additional plates and stuff on the body, maybe I need to go back and do those. I've tweaked the textures a bit, added more detail to the mesh. Opinions?
Today's Privateer 3 screenshots show an AI Vaktoth class light fighter in various stages of development--from the initial mesh through texturing to an action scene! It's not known if this is supposed to be the same Vaktoth seen in Wing Commander III and Prophecy... it certainly looks different!
As previously mentioned, the CIC is going to hold a Wing Commander conference on September 24th, the anniversary of the destruction of Kilrah.
Join us on the 24th at 7 pm EST in
#wingnut on IRC to discuss future plans for the Wing Commander CIC, the WCPedia project and the Wing Commander franchise itself! Be the first to hear information about upcoming Wing Commander projects, and learn how you can help make this the best year yet.
The CIC staff and #wingnut regulars will be around throughout the day, so even if you can't make it to the meeting, stop by and say hello! It's always good to see friendly ships!
See you there!
This pair of gameflow screenshots show the hangar and port for Theseus. There's no description for this world, but it certainly looks interesting... full of technology and a lizard suspended in yellow liquid!
Sylvester reminded us that Wing Commander is tearing up the charts over at Good Old Games. Rather than simply take the Shooter category by storm, WC is now dominating the overall sales rankings. Wing Commander 1 & 2 are ranked 2nd among all GOG titles and Wing Commander 3 is ranked 6th, which means there's still room to go up! Back in the Shooters category, these games take the 1st and 3rd spot, and good old Privateer is 6th. Just $5.99. Go Wing Commander!
These two screenshots show the vista and hangar of New Paris. New Paris is evidence of Privateer 3's unusual direction for human culture--it is an older, technologically advanced planet ruled by a monarchy!
Surprising news today: despite previous claims that they would never revisit the film on home video, FOX now plans to re-release the 1999 Wing Commander film DVD. The release is set for November 1st, just one week after VEI's Wing Commander Academy set. We do not have details of the contents yet, but are already excited by the fact that the new release does have completely new cover art (pictured below). We will update you as information becomes available; it seems unlikely that a modern DVD would still include the 2000 version's non-anamorphic transfer. Pre-orders are currently available through Amazon Canada and FOX Connect.
On 24 September 2669, Colonel Christopher "Maverick" Blair dropped the Temblor Bomb resulting in the destruction of Kilrah.
To celebrate the anniversary we're calling all Wingnuts to drop by
#Wingnut on IRC to talk Wing Commander, play some multiplayer games (Arena, Armada, WCP MP), and especially talk about the WCPedia project. Recent events have kept everyone pretty busy lately, but we do have goals to reach in the next year.
The 24th is a Saturday, so wingnuts should feel free to drop by all day. The CIC staff and #wingnut regulars will be around to talk shop and play some multiplayer games. The WCPedia meeting will take place at 7 pm EST. We'll be talking about all aspects of the project, so if you're curious about it, or want to volunteer, drop in!
We look forward to seeing you there!
Welcome to G'Tok IV, a Kilrathi manufacturing port. These screens show the city's landing pad and space port. The official description reads: "G'tok IV is a floating industrial city. Built forty years ago, it is still expanding to this day. Antigravity engines keep the platform afloat above the toxic surface of the planet which is heavily laced in highly concentrated sulfuric acid. The atmosphere is poisonous but a rebreather is all that is required, though a trip to the surface without a full body suit would result in death. G'Tok IV is a prime example of Kilrathi ingenuity and determination to dominate everything they can use. G'Tok IV is known sector- wide for its refined tritanium."
A recently posted concept art sketch of the Privateer "Speeder" ship has spurred interest in the cool Standoff upgrade that made this craft flyable in the Vision Engine. The patch disappeared somewhere along the line, but it has now been restored. Grab the small file (300 k exe) to replace the Raptor in Standoff's simulator and try it out!
You can head on to the downloads section to check out this new ship, which we've dubbed Artemis-class, and which will be present in Standoff's next episode among the many civilian ships that fell to the Kilrathi offensive in orbit around Mars. This patch will replace the Raptor in Standoff's simulator with the Artemis, and will temporarily disable sending your scores to the online scoreboards (for all ships), but it can be uninstalled through the Windows Add/Remove program control panel.
These are the first of several updates showing off high resolutions of Privateer 3's different planets. This is Yena, one of the game's agricultural worlds. The two screens were the planet's port and hangar. The official description reads: "Yena produces some of the finest in synthetic meats found in the quad. Its close proximity to New Damascus and Vigilance assures it of a steady supply of credits for its goods. However, much of the wealth is squandered by the government which constantly is finding new environmental concerns on which to spend money. Yenans are a hard, proud people, though many off-worlders think of them as loud and obnoxious."
Did Binky's photographs of a 44-page Wing Commander Prophecy pitch book ( story) leave you drooling? If so, then you're in luck: we were able to locate Origin's source Quark files for the booklet and PopsiclePete has applied his magic to restore a digital version from them! Now you can study the whole thing in the highest possible quality in a giant PDF file! The book includes the general vision for the game and details about all sorts of features which didn't make the cut, including the multiplayer modes! Download your copy here (PDF, 323 MB).
These screenshots show unfinished versions of the game's planetary menus, which are very similar to the booth system used in Privateer 2! The first is the game's commodity system, while the other two are planetary info kiosks. The "most wanted" tab is an especially cool addition!
PopsiclePete has released the final version of his Kilrathi Saga manual. This PDF was digitally reconstructed using Origin's publishing files--so it's as nice as this incredible manual can ever look. Now, we just have to deal with the odd fact that Colonel Blair was secretly scrapbooking the Kilrathi War. Download your copy here (102 MB).
We recently discovered an Origin CD of screenshots and renderings from the canceled Wing Commander game Privateer 3: Retribution. There are some fifty high resolution images in total. It appears this was the CD that Origin provided Computer Games Strategy Plus with for their tragic cover story on the game. We'll be showcasing all of the images in a thirteen part series! First up is this trio of renders, created as possible covers for the magazine. They are each variations on a theme, but with different ship types in different positions. One of them even includes an armada of Wing Commander Prophecy fighters in the background--Piranhas and Devastators!
More amazing news out of GOG this morning, as the service has just announced that Wing Commander III is now available! WC3 is the last game in this 'set' of EA titles. The usual $5.99 will buy you a game that's easily worth ten times that--pick up your copy now! The download comes with the usual array of manuals and is DRM-free... and it also has more bonus features than we've seen in a GOG EA release before! As always, we'll be celebrating the release with retrospective updates about the making of the game and some of the fandom it has spawned over the years throughout the day--check back soon! In the meantime, get your copy here.
One great way to learn about the development of Wing Commander III is through Origin's internal 'Point of Origin' newsletter, which chronicled the process from the point of view of the developers themselves. Here are the issues relevant to WC3's development and release:
Vol. III, No. 46
Vol. IV, No. 52
Vol. IV, No. 53
Vol. IV, No. 54
Vol. IV, No. 55
Vol. IV, No. 56
Vol. IV, No. 57
Vol. IV, No. 58
Vol. IV, No. 59
Vol. IV, No. 60
Vol. IV, No. 61
Vol. V, No. 1
Vol. V, No. 2
Vol. V, No. 3
Vol. V, No. 4
Vol. V, No. 5
Vol. V, No. 9
An unprecedented interactive film shoot required an impressive script! You can click on the image below to download a PDF scan of Wing Commander III's shooting script. You can also download a doc version of the script, here, although it is missing some cool parts (like the background loudspeaker lines for the Victory.)
Here are a collection of sketches developed early in the design process of Wing Commander III, from which both 3D models of ships were built and actors were cast. Note the even sexier take on mechanic Rachel Coriolis.
Below is a PDF download of one of my favorite 'behind the screens' documents--Wing Commander III's prop book. It contains sketches, correspondence and notes about the prop selection for the game. Everything from the contract with the helmet manufacturer to the discussion about what chairs to use on the Victory bridge!
Unfortunately, very few Wing Commander III storyboards have been archived--but we do have a small selection! Check out these sketches and their accompanying script pages:
How much work did it take to 'build' one of Wing Commander III's virtual sets? Check out the evolution of Gunnery Control, from the initial concepts to the finished render!
Here are some fascinating Wing Commander III "set" sketches by Origin artist Mark Vearrier. Check out how much detail went into the asteroid!
Here's a rare treat--"bigger" renders of two of Wing Commander III cockpits, courtesy of Origin artist Craig Halverson. In this shot from his portfolio you get to see areas of the screen cut off in the actual game!
We recently scanned big set of candids taken on the set of Wing Commander III--you can really get a feel for what the atmosphere of the first serious full motion video shoot was like. Check out the full collection here. You can also find a gallery of photos showing the building of the game's Kilrathi puppets here.
You've seen the candids--now here are the fancy, black and white posed photos from the Wing Commander III set. Things look more spacious and less chaotic!
One of Wing Commander III's most famous "extras" was a 'Behind the Screens' VHS tape, a full length program that interviewed both actors and developers to talk about how the game was made. You can download a high quality version here.
Here's an interesting comparison--a shot from Wing Commander III's early test rendering (left) compared with the finished game (right); note how much the set was changed as time went on... even the fighter class in the air above was switched!
Want to watch every video from Wing Commander III right here in the safety of your browser? Head over to our oft-forgotten Holovids Section ("CIC Yellow",) where you'll find an index of every Wing Commander III flick, complete with the accompanying script segment! It's like playing the game without all that nasty space combat getting in the way...
There's a lot of video in Wing Commander III... but there could have been more! Several scenes were cut from the finished game to enable it to fit on smaller CD-ROMs--the first generation of CD 1x CD drives was unable to read the now-standard 72-minute CDs, forcing Origin to cut down WC3. Removed from the game were the famous "Hobbes explanation" and a variety of 'infobursts,' short news segments where a reporter talked about the state of the war. Thanks to their inclusion on later console ports, you can access and download all the scenes here.
Want to see what Prince Thrakhath looks like today? Here he is, as stored at Bioware Mythic in Fairfax, Virginia! Maybe he'll be needed again someday. And if you're interested in seeing many, many photos of the Emperor's claw, go here.
Here are a host of screenshots from beta versions of Wing Commander III--can you spot the differences?
Every Wing Commander team earned a t-shirt for their hard work... and this is what the Wing Commander III shirt looked like!