Pop Artist Draws Digital Nod to WC

Andrew Jones is a talented artist, and his passion is digitally painting items from sci-fi, movies, comics and video games. His "Gamerhead" piece is an a amazing collage of gaming memories, and there's a very nicely drawn Dralthi in the lower right corner! Kotaku even mentioned it in their feature on his works.
British artist Andrew “Bones” Jones is a man after my own heart. In his works paying tribute to the video games of yesteryear, you won’t find much Mario or Mega Man. You’ll find Wing Commander, Zombies Ate My Neighbours and old Amiga games.

In the gallery above you’ll see some amazing digital paintings by Jones, which in addition to the above influences include stuff like Morrigan from Darkstalkers, some Lemmings and Star Wars.

Jones’ site, linked below, has loads more pics in the same style, in case you’re short on desktop/phone wallpaper and need something fresh.

BREAKING NEWS: Ultima VII Complete on GOG

It's a great day for Ultima fans: GOG has released Ultima VII Complete! The package includes Ultima VII: The Black Gate and Ultima VII, Part Two: Serpent Isle, as well as both addons... hopefully a sign that the Wing Commander addons will soon be available! That's an incredible bargain at $5.99; Ultima VII truly is one of the greatest non-Wing Commander games ever released... and Black Gate even includes an extended Wing Commander cameo (read more below)! Buy your copy here.

Be sure and check Ultima Aiera today and every day for all the Ultima news and information you could ever need!

Bloodfang Blasts Black (Gate)

The most famous Wing Commander "in joke" of all time is located in Ultima VII. It's actually built into a minor quest--if you search a wheat field due east of Britain you will find... a Kilrathi Bloodfang-class fighter! Clicking on the fighter even plays the Kilrathi theme (Ultima version available here)!

When you talk to the farm's owner, Mack, you learn that not only did he see the ship land but he also stabbed and ate the Kilrathi who emerged from it. A unique solution to the furball threat if ever there was one. Here's the complete conversation:

You see a farmer with wild eyes widened in excitement.
"Avatar! Thou hast returned!" exclaims Mack.
Name: "I am Mack."
Job: "I am a farmer, though most folks just call me a lunatic."
Farmer: "On my farm I raise chickens and grow vegetables. If thou dost need work, talk to me!"
Lunatic: "Thou dost also think so, eh? But I tell thee what I say is true! There are creatures visiting us from another place in the stars! I have seen them!"
Creatures: "They are big mean ugly liontigers! Or is that tigerlions? They are ferocious and they want to eat us!"
Another Place: "All I can say is that there are certainly no such creatures in this world! Nor is their ship like any that has ever been seen anywhere in Britannia."
Seen Them: "With mine own eyes I have seen a star creature and the inexplicable conveyance which enabled it to travel to Britannia! I swear to thee! I am completely sane! I have proof!"
Proof (#1): "Go and look behind my farm in the middle of the field. Take a look for thyself and thou shalt see my proof."
Proof (#2): "I told thee I was not a looney! Didst thou see the proof?"
No: "Thou must go and look at what is in my field! Then come back here, for I must talk about this with someone who knows that I am not a looney!"
Yes: "Did I not tell thee that I am no loonie? Still, my story of how I did come across this thing is beyond belief."
Story (#1): "I like to stay up late. Sometimes I see bright lights flash across the sky. No one else ever pays them any mind. But one night I see this bright light come crashing down and it lands in my field."
Bright Lights: "I always watch for moving bright lights in the night sky. That is part of why people in the town say I am a loonie. But is what I do so different from what they do in the orrery?"
Lands: "After the explosion and crash I ran out to my field. There I saw the strange machine that thou hast seen, only it was glowing hot. I was terrified. But then the top of the machine started to open."
Machine: "It resembled a bird, but it was not a bird!"
Open: "I could not move from the spot as I saw the strange ship open. From out of the top came the vicious tigerlion. There was a savage hunger in its eyes."
Hunger: "In other words, it looked like it might eat me!"
Tigerlion: "It came at me like a predator comes after prey. It was so fast that I could not even move. I thought I was going to be killed for certain. It reached me in a second. It looked into mine eyes, and then it died."
Died: "What it and I had failed to notice was that I was holding mine hoe. It had once been accidentally enchanted by a passing mage, and it works wondrously in the fields. I use it for everything! The tigerlion had run itself through upon it. As it died, the thing spoke."
Spoke: "It said two words. "Kill Wrathy." I do not know who this Wrathy person is, or why the tigerlion wanted me to kill him. But I do know I sure get worried now whenever I see moving lights in the night sky."
Hoe: "I am sure thou dost know about the plague of looniness that has come to afflict all of the mages in the world. It was several years ago that I brought my broken hoe to a mage called Mumb. Fixing things was all he was good for anymore. There was also some fighter who wanted Mumb to enchant his sword, turning it into "The Sword of Death". It appears poor Mumb got confused and that fighter came back and killed him because the man wound up with a sword that was only good for cutting weeds. I could never figure out exactly what happened. It appears that old Mumb made mine hoe into the Hoe of Destruction! Unfortunately, the hoe is lost."
Lost: "Well, 'tis not really lost. It is locked up in my shed. It is the key to the shed that is lost! I think I might have accidentally used it as a fishhook when I was fishing on the banks of Lock Lake. So now I cannot get into my shed. One would think I -am- a looney!"
Kill Wrathy: "I am quite certain that was it, or something like that. Anyway the tigerlion itself proved to be quite delicious."
Story (#2): "I have been looking every night for another sign of those things but I have not seen any since that last time I told thee about it."
It's too bad the Avatar didn't try and fly the fighter; he is, after all, a qualified space ace... and one imagines it would have made short work of The Guardian.

The Avatar Visits the Tiger's Claw

You may have heard of the Bloodfang in the wheat field... but did you know that the Avatar also visited Wing Commander? It's true! If you let Super Wing Commander idle for a few moments you'll see him fly by the window in the Tiger's Claw's rec room! This is a reference to Ultima VII, Part 2 endgame where the Avatar floats in the void as balance is restored. Guess he passed through the Vega Sector on the way!

Return of the Wing Commander Computer

After successfully bringing an old Macintosh back to life to play Wing Commander games, LOAF has done the same with a classic PC. It's not as simple as firing up an old clunker though - the resulting machine has five different sound cards to play the custom MIDI music designed for each game, plus a 3DFX Voodoo card, a DOS NIC and more. Also, different requirements forced the installation of DOS 6.22, Windows 3.11 (Origin FX ya'll!) and Windows 98. Just imagine the IRQ conflicts that had to be worked out! You can read the entire exciting adventure at the CIC Forums here.

Reinvigorated by my success with Bertha, I decided to restore the Wing Commander Computer. I immediately ordered a simple VGA switch box from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BSN1NE) and I had high hopes that I could get it booting again easily. I already had the RAM, even: my experiment in adding memory to Bertha had been an abject failure (it just didn't fit!) and so I had a good dozen 128-meg SIMMs perfect for it sitting right there in little pink baggies. The VGA switch arrived the next day and it was GO TIME!

... or was it? I had months earlier recovered WCC's fancy cards and now I stacked them on the desk: a Voodoo 5500 3dfx card, a simple Trident PCI video card, a Hollywood+ DVD Decoder, a SoundBlaster 32 AWE, a SoundBlaster Live and Roland RAP-10 and LAPC-Is. Then I went out to the workshop to find Wing Commander Computer. And I found... nothing. The computer skeletons were gone! The PS/2s were still there, boxes of MCA cards and miles and miles of obscure cables... leftover SCSI drives I'd dumped there after Mythic... but the various PC cases were gone. Had my dad turned Wing Commander Computer into something? No one was around, so I looked through the array of computers in his office. There were several apparent monsterpieces, file servers cobbled together from drives that COULD have belong to WCC... but no sign of the motherboard or case.

I tracked down my mother and asked her: what had happened to all the broken computers? Oh, she said, I think your father took those a while ago... pause for dramatic effect... and put them in the basement. THE BASEMENT! The word chilled me to my very bone. If there's a hell to go to, I know it can't be worse than that basement. A terrifying, unfinished basement that floods in the winter and then floods with live snakes in the summer. It's packed to the gills with a creepy collection of old children's toys, live ammunition and Navy equipment stolen by my grandfather. And Wing Commander Computer was THERE? Hope was dead.

Academy Armada Anticipating Action

Cybot has put together a whole bunch of models based off the ships of Wing Commander Academy. He's used quite a few source images from the show to make some rather interesting designs. The dashing fleet includes the cartoon Tiger's Claw as well as her escorts and a sleek shuttle. You can download some of these models in Lightwave format here, and if you can assist with their texturing, the ships could appear in an upcoming mod.

Deathsnake needs help texturing ships. If you can help out, contact him. Here are some of my Confed fictions models in Lightwave v5.5.

Select a Side in Speculative Survey

Today's new poll asks which faction you have the most fun flying for, including different styles of being a civilian. To avoid casting the net too widely and opening up the voting to groups that haven't been options in games (we'll save that for another poll!), the list of choices includes the three major playable nations from the main games and the three primary occupations from Privateer/Arena.

Our last poll asked which Kilrathi fighters were the scariest to face in space combat. The Jalthi won with almost a quarter of the vote, but the Gothri wasn't far behind. The Vaktoth also got a surprisingly number of votes as it beat out the notorious Bloodfang.

"I'm Poppin' the Pod! Make Sure I Get Picked Up..."

Tom Wilson has launched his own series of comedy podcasts via the Nerdist website. There have been two episodes recorded so far, and they clock in at a fairly lengthy 30 and 48 minutes each. Topics range far and wide, and Tom gets a guest to converse with in the second show. There's not much more I can do to describe them - you just have to listen for yourself! Parts one and two are mirrored by Nerdist, and you can also catch them via iTunes.
In episode one, Tom talks about parades, monkeys, and Michael J. Fox. And he sings a song! Episode One. Fun!

Episode Two: Marc McClure played Jimmy Olsen in the Superman movies, Dave McFly in the Back To The Future movies, and has been a fixture on Hollywood sets for decades. Tom and Marc talk about Christopher Reeve, jockeys, and carpeting.

Liftoff Successful

The Mars Science Laboratory mission is away! Here's some great shots of the Atlas V rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral (and one concept image of how it will function on Mars). The ship carrying the Curiosity rover has successfully separated from its booster rocket and is now beginning its 8.5 month mission to Mars. Have a good trip!

BREAKING NEWS: First Footage from the WCA DVDs

One big question has been on Wing Commander fans' minds these past few months: how are the Wing Commander Academy episodes going to look on the upcoming DVD set? Visual Entertainment Inc. has now answered that question by posting the first footage from the release on YouTube, a high quality version of the show's intro sequence. And the verdict is... great! The footage looks cleaner than it has ever been before. There's also new box art (below)--it's sharper and the planet has been replaced with a nebula. Be sure an put in your pre-order at Amazon Canada.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to our American Pilgrims! Today we're thankful for our visitors from all around the world. Have a great day!

Mars Mission Blasts Off Saturday

eddieb invites everyone to watch the exciting launch of the Mars Science Laboratory this Saturday, November 26. The event will be live streamed beginning at 4:30 am Eastern US time with the first launch window opening up around 7 am. The MSL craft will also be carrying the Curiosity rover, which eddie programmed the software for. Curiosity will be, by far, the largest, most advanced and most capable expeditionary vehicle on the surface of Mars when it lands next August!

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is preparing to set down a large, mobile laboratory — the rover Curiosity — using precision landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.

Curiosity will carry the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers. Its assignment: Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.

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The Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera, mounted at about human-eye height, will image the rover’s surroundings in high-resolution stereo and color, with the capability to take and store high-definition video sequences. It will also be used for viewing materials collected or treated by the arm. The principal investigator is Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems.

An instrument named ChemCam will use laser pulses to vaporize thin layers of material from Martian rocks or soil targets up to 7 meters (23 feet) away. It will include both a spectrometer to identify the types of atoms excited by the beam, and a telescope to capture detailed images of the area illuminated by the beam. The laser and telescope sit on the rover’s mast and share with the Mast Camera the role of informing researchers’ choices about which objects in the area make the best targets for approaching to examine with other instruments. Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M., is the principal investigator.

The rover’s Radiation Assessment Detector will characterize the radiation environment at the surface of Mars. This information is necessary for planning human exploration of Mars and is relevant to assessing the planet’s ability to harbor life. The principal investigator is Donald Hassler of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Saga Shares Some Screenshots

The WC Saga team has posted some new screenshots and YouTubes of their upcoming mod. These images reveal the game's "upgraded lighting" and "shielding systems." The videos aren't final, but do show off a variety of different settings.

With the game getting ready to launch soon, we are working hard on ironing out remaining issues, so... while you wait for the next chapter in the unique Wing Commander franchise, we've got some brand new screenshots to share with you.

BREAKING NEWS: Crusader: No Regret on GOG

GOG today released the second and final Crusader game, No Regret! For $5.99 you can again take control of the Silencer as he... blows up lots and lots of things. For more information on the series, be sure and check out Echo Sector and our own coverage on Crusader Day. Pick up your copy of No Regret here.

WC vs. Crusader: We Like the Moon

We ran all of the notable Wing Commander/Crusader references back on Crusader Day just two months ago. Instead of repeating those updates, we've opted to put together a spinoff of the "WC vs. History" series. Since one of the most notable aspects of No Regret is that it takes place on the moon, we decided to 'mash up' Wing Commander and Crusader's fictional histories for that locale. The Crusader material provided is provided by the real expert: Keenan Weaver of Echo Sector!

Lunar activity played a vital role in the prosperity of the World Economic Consortium (WEC) from the late twenty-first century to the late twenty-second century. Though space resources were discovered prior to the establishment of the WEC in 2150, it was not until the WEC that such assets were utilized in a beneficial way. The discovery of the most important energy source, Di-Correalium, occurred in the 20th century during the United States’ Apollo moon landings. Despite its discovery, any further investigation into the substance was ceased and left to the Soviets. The Soviet scientist Dr. Brindel Krycheiv was the first to examine Di-Cor and realize its potentiality as an energy source. The fall of the Soviet Empire, however, left Krycheiv’s work unknown to the world. One hundred years later, following the re-discovery of Krycheiv’s work and space colonization becoming more achievable, the dwelling of the moon resulted in a surge of outer-planet activity.

The moon as a source of super conductor material became realized in the late twenty-first century. Though Di-Cor had been found in other off-world locations such as large asteroids, the moon was the most viable location from which to mine the element. Darkside, the first moonbase, was established in Mare Nubium by several multi-national corporations. The base allowed for a steady extraction of raw materials for orbital space platforms—an ever-increasing asset for the production of super conductor material. Deposits of Di-Cor were eventually found on the moon, and immediately entered the interests of the people. However, a combination of technological hurdles with social backlash prevented Di-Cor to be mined. Exposure to pure Di-Cor was fatal; those exposed to the material were expected to be dead within three days. Mining unions on the moon were readily aware of the dangers of Di-Cor and lobbied for exorbitant wages and benefits for their workers.

By the founding of the WEC, however, the mining bases which housed the unions—along with the entire Earth—came under the authority of the world government. As per the WEC’s foundation of representation of super corporate cartels rather than people, the mining bases united under the Lunar Mining Cartel (LMC). The LMC proceeded to mine Di-Cor with federal inmates of the WEC. Di-Cor had finally entered the economic and political sphere as a profitable entity in both arenas.

The placement of Di-Cor in the importance of WEC society cannot be overestimated; it was the single most important commodity in the running of the world. For what was Di-Cor used? Electricity, heat, manufacturing, sanitation, recreation, among many others. The moon’s colonization played a critical role in the politics and society of the mid twenty-second century. It is reflected in that government’s history that such a place could be used as a commodity.

But as the WEC's reliance on Di-Cor grew, bases on the moon became a more valuable target for the resistance...

By the middle of the 22nd century, mankind had established Luna Station, a space station on the moon. Though it was one of only a few space stations in the Sol System not built for expansion, Luna nevertheless contributed to scientific progress. In 2167, the facility supported the development of Olympia Station on Mars, the United Nations' first permanent off-world settlement. In 2189, Luna researcher Dr. Synatschk published the first paper indicating Space Syndrome Mutation, Mutations: Occurrences and Causes. Synatschk's research, which claimed that lower gravity stress and a lack of trace minerals heightened pre-birth defects, would still be referenced in 27th century studies of Space Syndrome. In 2219, tragedy struck: the first Great Pandemic hit Earth and resulted in the destruction of Luna Station. For the next two hundred years, the outer colonies enforced a strict quarantine: humans living on Earth could not travel past the moon's orbit. In 2462, a heavily armed Pilgrim Alliance sloship arrived at the moon to force a summit. The resulting Treaty of Luna barred humans from settling worlds within fifty years sloship travel of Earth, effectively ending Terran expansion until the development of the Akwende Propulsion System ("Jump Drive".)

In the ensuing centuries, the moon became a highly developed center of industry. When Earth first went to war with the Kilrathi, the moon was orbited by six Concordia-class carriers in varying stages of construction, shut down for lack of funding during peacetime. At Lunar Orbital Base Five, naval aviators went through Wildcat fighter orientation--a group that would have included newly minted Ensign Geoffrey Tolwyn had he not been reassigned to a covert operation at the last minute. As the war intensified, moon-based industry militarized at a steady pace, with the satellite becoming home to major naval facilities and their supporting communities. By 2668, it was one of the largest administrative centers in the Confederation, with one of the heaviest concentrations of computing power in the known universe.

A Concordia-class carrier, in construction in lunar orbit.

Shipyards on the moon's surface included full drydock facilities capable of servicing five fleet carriers at once, along with dozens of smaller ships. Workers on the moon rushed to make these ships available during the Battle of Earth, successfully launching the TCS Ark Royal and TCS Lexington despite their jump engines having been pulled for realignments and their core reactors dumped. Fleet Yard Five, in lunar orbit, was one of the key mothball yards during the false peace. Five CVEs and four fleet carriers were retired to moon orbit during those months, with fighters and spare parts being stored on the moon itself. The CVEs stored at the moon, Iwo, Wake, Crete, Tarawa and Normandy, were sold to the Landreich as part of a convert operations; three transports of fighters and supplies also attempted to leave lunar orbit but were blocked by the government. One iconic off-base locale was the Vacuum Breather bar, near the central military base. Owned by Gallagher, a thirty year Naval veteran with a famous love for the service, the Vacuum Breather famously catered to military personnel. The bar was famous for awarding those who had survived the hulling of their ships an honorary silver mug from which to serve a free beer when they visited. Honorees killed in action would have their mugs' handles gilded and left on display.

In addition to drydocks for the carrier fleet, shipyards on the moon built many Confederation capital ships. Assembly plants on the moon produced matter-antimatter, necessary for both capital ship engines and a range of heavy weaponry. In the final days of the false peace, the Confederation published a false communiqué claiming that the largest of these plants had been destroyed in an accident. Intercepted Kilrathi messages referenced the destruction of "target 2778A on the moon of Nak'tara," confirming that their target was Earth itself. The 2668 Kilrathi attack on Earth took a heavy toll on the moon. During the engagement, Kilrathi warships slipped past the battle and bombarded the moon with antimatter weapons. Military bases and factories alike were completely destroyed, including three fleet carriers still in their drydocks.

Tycho Crater, future home of a major Terran Confederation moonbase.

In spite of the damage suffered in the attack, life on the moon continued. In a matter of months, before the end of the war, Tycho Moonbase was an active Confederation port. Captain Jason Bondarevsky, the "First to Kilrah," first learned of the destruction of Kilrah while at the base. Peace impacted Tycho hard, with its staff reduced to a quarter the wartime levels within ten months, but reclamation of the moon soon began in earnest. Mining operations on Luna were active by the early 2670s producing specialty ores. Railguns on Luna shot raw materials to L5 where it was used to produce alloys for the first Vesuvius-class supercarriers. Other materials for the project were reclaimed from the wreckage left by the Kilrathi attack. Air defense on the moon was also reestablished during the reclamation. By 2673, the moon boasted a traffic control base. During the BWS Intrepid's final run to Earth, Captain Eisen warned Colonel Blair that he would face significant lunar-based defenses during his attempt to reach the senate; he ultimately encountered only a limited number of Arrows.

WCPedia: That's a Moray!

Dedicated Wingnuts continue to work hard on the WCPedia project. In addition to simply writing new articles and filling out old ones, the team has also made a lot of progress in improving the layout and style of the Wing Commander encyclopedia. The Moray page is an example of the new ship infobox that's been developed. Future improvements will also enchance the database's citations and references. If you're not sure where to help out, hit up the CIC Forums and share your ideas!
For references, we are going to start adding those reference sections to every article. We can source when a certain thing appears, what is said about it, what is done with it, etc. Basically everything in WCPedia will have such an area that needs to be researched and built.

LOAF has been picking away at Nephilim fighters this week. Looking pretty good so far...

We are working on an improved (and hopefully final!) layout for Ship articles. It should be a vast improvement over what we've had in there.

Expect to see a lot of activity in the coming weeks. We are planning a big end of year push so be sure to watch the recent changes on the front page.

Ship Building Has Never Been So Easy

capi3101 has started making some really slick "counters" for use in tabletop or pen & paper style Wing Commander games. Each token has been in the silhouette art style similar to the Wing Commander 2 instruction manual. These are perfect for Wing Commander Tactical Operations, and capi is also developing his own role playing game that will take advantage of them. He's composed sheets for WC1, WC2, WC3 and Armada that are easily printable and produce well-rounded battle fleets. Let capi know what you think at the CIC Forums!

Over the past few weeks I've been busy creating a set of silhouettes of the various craft in the WC universe, ala the ships in the WC2 guide. My intent in doing so was to use these silhouettes to create sets of "generic" wargame counters that could be used in any p-n-p Wing Commander project (such as TacOps or the Wing Commander Role-Playing Game I'm currently developing). I'm just about finished with the creation of the silhouettes at this point (I'm missing the fighters from WC Arena; to my knowledge that's all) and would like to go ahead and share the silhouettes with the community.

New Ships Hold the Line

There's some new ship designs out there now for the Last Line of Defense mod. This assortment of polygons represent a variety of carriers, cruisers, transports and even a tug/tow ship. While the models look fairly sound, the team could use some assistance with the textures. Stop by the CIC Forums if you'd like to help!

Again we need help for the textures. MSG me, FekLeyrTarg or Cybot078 Thx for help

Hamill Contending for a VGA

Mark Hamill has been nominated by Spike TV for the 2011 Video Game Awards for his portrayal of The Joker in Batman: Arkham City. Mark's too humble to make the request himself, so we'll go ahead and ask everyone to head over and vote for him here! Good luck, Mark.
I am nominated for my work as The Joker #VGAhumanmale category at @SPIKE_TV- nice to be nominated!

The Party's Still Rocking at the Frontier

Iceblade reminded us that the Wing Commander Gemini Sector MUSH is still in operation, and it's welcoming new players! The game is a text-based RPG that follows the adventures of a Bengal class carrier in the late 2650s. Check out the project's website for information on how to connect or try out MudConnector. Logs of prior RPG sessions have been archived here, and they make for a super fun read! Visit the CIC Forums if you have any questions.
In the distant future, mankind is locked in a deadly war…

The year is 2659. War between the Terran Confederation and the felinoid aliens known as the Kilrathi has raged for twenty years, with no end in sight. Seeking to break the stalemate, the Kilrathi have launched a surprise offensive through the edge of Terran-controlled space in Gemini Sector. A tenacious counteroffensive has pushed back the first wave of the Kilrathi assault, but with a massive Kilrathi force in front and a morass of corruption behind, it may only be a matter of time until the Terran lines break…

Based on the 'Wing Commander' series of games, Wing Commander: Gemini Sector offers space opera fun in a bureaucracy-light atmosphere. The game is set aboard a single Terran Confederation carrier, the TCS Majestic, so roleplay is never far away. Chargen is quick, rules are light, and the guiding principle is 'We are all here to have fun'.

Wing Commander Movie Rereleased on DVD

Fox's rerelease of the Wing Commander movie is here! Unfortunately, the disc is virtually identical to the original release with the same cut of the film and included features present. It has a very slick new box cover though, and the retail price in the US is just $5.99 (about $11.98 in Canada). The new 2011 packaging is displayed on the left and the 1999 version is positioned on the right of the first shot below.

"Starship Troopers" meets "Top Gun" in this no-holds-battle for the future of mankind. A vicious alien race, the Kilrathi, has discover the coordinates to Earth and is heading our way with plans of the total destruction. Now it's up to two young hotshot fighter pilots to blast their way through the Kilrathi's defenses and save their planet from this new breed of enemy.

Dralitar? Scimthi?

What happens when a Dralthi is combined with a Scimitar? CMDBob answered the question that nobody asked with this pair of images. As crazy as it looks, it's kind of not that crazy looking...

Heh, I've been slowly converting the ships I've made into FS2, and while I was doing that, I had a crazy idea. This is the result of that.

Battle-pod Goes Boom

The next ship probably serves as the home base for fancy fighters like the Dralitar. Cybot078 has dubbed this one the "Battle-pod-nought," and he wanted to make it clear that this design is definitely a joke! I think he probably could've squeezed some more guns onto the main body...

You Cannot Defeat the Drakhri!

The latest Enigma 2666 shots show off the Kilrathi fleet. Some of the designs pictured below were provided by the Standoff mod, and they've turned out well with new textures. The Snakeir and Fralthi look suitably scary, and the fighters have a cool metallic quality to them. It's nice to see a Drakhri once in a while!

The Drakhri MK 2. The design is a little bit different with the Dralthi VII we see in the Cover from WC Academy or Privateer. So we can use this as a prototype for the later "cheaper" version Dralthi VII. The Armament of the Drakhri MK2 are 5 Laser and 3 Fang Missiles. Armor and Shields are the same of the Jalkehi Class

XBox Console Turns Ten

Happy birthday to the original XBox, which turns ten years old today! Many Wingnuts consider the system their video game platform of choice, but the brand's biggest contribution to Wing Commander was the addition of WC Arena in 2007. The game was one of the earlier releases for the revamped Live Arcade service on the XBox 360, and it was limited by some of the early restrictions on downloadable titles. Nevertheless, Arena pushed forward in the WC tradition by its superlative features: most simultaneous players on XBLA at the time, most game modes/ships among its shooter genre and most amazing manual for any game ever. Even fans without XBoxes can celebrate today by picking up the game at the XBLA Marketplace on the web here.

EA Replay Turns Five

Happy Birthday, EA Replay! Exactly five years ago today, the Playstation Portable port of Wing Commander and The Secret Missions began shipping to stores. Every Wing Commander release is exciting for us Wingnuts, but the 2006 launch of EA Replay was an especially welcome treat. After just one new retail release so far during the decade, fans were eager for confirmation that the series wasn't forgotten. Wing Commander's promiment placement on the box cover and in ad copy helped boost morale until Wing Commander Arena arrived the following year. Europe didn't see the game until months after North America, but they were also lucky enough to get Replay on the Playstation Network Store, where it was also playable on the big screen via the PS3.

EA Replay drove many fans to rush out and buy a PSP (and for others, validated their prior purchase), and I have fond memories of driving around Vancouver with LOAF in search of the elusive Canadian version. Happy Birthday EA Replay!

BREAKING NEWS: EA on GOG Releases Resume Tomorrow

GOG today announced that the third set of EA games released through the service will begin tomorrow! It's not known which games will be next; at this point, games from every series GOG is known to have licensed have been released... so it could be anything! Our fingers are crossed for more Wing Commander or Privateer... or, failing that, more Ultima, Crusader, Cybermage or other Origin classics. They've posted a poll on Facebook asking customers which EA games customers want to see next. Be sure and tell them: Wing Commander! Check back tomorrow morning to see what the first release is.

Saga Completes Voice Recording Task

Tolwyn has just announced that the voice recording portion of WC Saga's development is now complete. Stats about the voice acting and several new screenshots have also been posted, along with photos of people involved with the audio. The game's beta test is still in progress.

At the heart of fancy space combat action is always a good conversation - last week we got the voice over work done, and it came out fantastic. Wing Commander Saga will feature an incredible number of lines of dialogue recorded: between 10.000 and 11.000, versus Prologue's 700 lines. 11.000 lines of dialog sounds like a lot for a fan project. Voice recording ran for over seven months, amounting to nearly 100.000 words recorded – that’s almost 10 hours of dialogue.

The overall experience was amazing - as were the actors. These guys and gals just nailed it. I'm not going to pretend that my direction helped them - they really didn't need it.

One way in which Saga stands apart from any other Freespace SCP engine based game is the way we handle player's orders: any command issued by Sandman is fully voiced, making the overall gaming experience more immersive.

Insert 'All Your Base' Joke Here

Cybot has created another creative assortment of Wing Commander space stations. Some of them, like Blackmane and Jupiter Station, are detailed representations of familiar designs, while others are new models inspired by known bases. A couple cool shipyard designs are even accompanied by mockups of Vesuvius and Behemoth class ships for scale. There's quite a bit of variety here!

S:AAB Soundtrack CD Coming Soon

LeHah spotted a treat for fans of Space: Above and Beyond. La-La Land Records is making a limited edition set of soundtrack CDs for the show. Just 3000 are being made, and they start shipping November 15 for $29.98. More info and the order form is available here.
Presenting the world premiere official release of renowned composer Shirley Walker's (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, THE FLASH, FINAL DESTINATION) original score to the 20th Century Fox television series SPACE ABOVE AND BEYOND. Having rightfully earned a devoted cult following since its one and only 1995-1996 season, this landmark sci-fi action/drama's influence can be seen on such properties as the feature film STARSHIP TROOPERS and the acclaimed BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot. Much of this series' emotional and visceral impact is due to the full-blooded orchestral score Walker expertly fashioned to propel both the plot's wartime action and all of its intense psychological drama. If you appreciate Walker's work on BATMAN, THE FLASH, MYSTERY MEN and the like, this knockout 3-CD SET is for you! Produced by Mike Joffe and Nick Redman and mastered by Daniel Hersch at D2 Mastering this special release is limited to 3000 Units and features a 30 Page Booklet with in-depth, exclusive liner notes by film music writer Jeff Bond.

The CIC Recognizes The Wingnut Veterans Of All Nations

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, in 1918, the First World War came to an end when the Armistice between the Allied Powers and Germany went into effect. After four years of the most devastating war in human history to that time, the people of all nations involved tried to comprehend the level of loss that had been inflicted on an entire generation. The British Commonwealth and the United States declared November 11, in 1919, a public holiday to recognize the sacrifices made during the First World War. “Armistice Day” became a yearly remembrance by both nations and eventually other powers. In 1954, following the Korean War, the United States changed the name of the holiday to “Veterans Day” and made it a remembrance of all America’s veterans. The British Commonwealth recognizes November 11 today as “Remembrance Day.” Many people wear a red poppy, a symbol of the day inspired by the red poppies that appeared across battlefields in Flanders. The poppies also inspired the poem at the start of this update, “In Flanders Fields.”

On this November 11, 2011 (11/11/11!), the Wing Commander Combat Information Center would like to extend our thanks to all the Wingnuts veterans. We are all grateful for your sacrifices and wish all of you the best in your tours of duty and hope for your safe return.

Geoff sighed and nervously clicked his mike again. He suddenly realized that, though he had been tested before, here indeed might be the final and ultimate test. Part of him wanted to scream out that he deserved a rest, that he had played the hero, had done his bit, and now it was time for someone else, that it had to be time for someone else.

"Hey, leader, why us?" someone called sarcastically.

Hawkins chuckled sadly. "Because we're here, lads, because we're here."

New Destroyer Begins Mission

CMDBob has moved given his cruiser a companion in the form of the Gilgamesh class destroyer. Although the ship retains its characteristic animated style from WC2, some nice detailing makes it look a bit more real. The ship's small hangar bay is also a nice touch.

Phew, finally got another ship out of the way. The Gilgamesh destroyer. I added a hangar to this one, but I didn't do it like the Standoff Gilgamesh's hangar, I did in the style of the Tallahassee or Southampton (the little bay at the back).

Morningstar Test Flights Continue

The Wild Eagles Squadron would be proud! Chris Carpenter has completed upgrades to his remote control Morningstar, and the results are fantastic. The ship is pictured below with its new paint scheme alongside a nice image of the Dralthi in the appropriate colors too. New larger flight controls on the Confed craft have helped stabilize the fighter, and it performs beautifully in the air. Check out the new video here. We can't wait to see the Dralthi versus Morningstar dogfight!

The Morningstar rebuild was a success! Here is the video

Next up will be Dralthi vs Morningstar video.

TacOps Battles Light Up Rocky Space

The new test game for Wing Commander Tactical Operations is going great. Players are currently dogfighting it out in the middle of Turn 7. Avacar is testing the new skill level feature, missile evasion, tailing enemy fighters and side turrets in this latest version. The TacOps Forum is also buzzing with discussion on the project's interface and gameplay mechanics. You can learn more about Ironduke's turn-based WC strategy game here.
If you look carefully, you'll also noticed one unannounced surprise: Asteroids. For now, they are just for show. If I find time, and if the game is running particularly smoothly, I may start experimenting with Line-of-Sight or Collision, so check back here for such an announcement. For now though, you should be able to just fly over them without any impact on gameplay at all. (Consequently, this is the first time I use the indicator icon for them; I find it is a bit dark, so I may have to lighten it up).

Origin Joins Google+

Electronic Arts' Origin store/service has joined Google+. Yay? If you can't get enough of them on Facebook or Twitter, now you have a third option! Origin has hinted at expanding its games library to more older releases and third party content, but options are currently limited. We're still pushing for Wing Commander, but in the mean time, to get your classic WC fix check out Good Old Games.

High Resolution Intel Reveals Greater Detail

Malcolm Reynold's Tiger's Claw has made great progress over the last week, and he's got a better camera to photograph it now too! In addition to showing off the rest of the ship in higher quality, the images below also reveal a few new additions. Some additional structure under the tail and the supports that will form the foundation for the carrier's "wings" have all come together recently. Additional wing work and engine installation will come next, and the finishing touches should be the attachment of the conning tower and turrets. It's taken some creative craftsmanship to get the vessel in the right configuration here, and we're looking forward to seeing the finished design soon.

I've also done a test engine, I'm not really satisfied with how that looks so I'll be going back and figuring something out. I'll probably arrange the engines like they are seen at the end of WC1. I've also done a lot of minor detail work and repairs. As you can probably tell, there needs to be a lot more of that. But the Claw is an old warship, so I don't want it to look brand new. I'm assuming it's had lots of repairs throughout the years and it should look somewhat patched together.

More Games Added to Wing Commander Icon Pack

Nomad Terror has updated his comprehensive Wing Commander Icon Pack with more games, sizes and updated graphics. Seventeen different Wing Commander games are now represented! Each image is available as a PNG (7 meg zip), ico (Windows) and icns (Mac OS) (7.5 meg zip) in addition to the source Gimp .xcf file (21 meg zip). Shapes range from small 32x32 pixel squares to beautiful 384x512 high res icons. They make great additions to a folder of custom DOSBox launchers or even as slick updates to native Mac/Windows WC games.
    INCLUDED GAMES
  • arm: Wing Commander Armada
  • pg: Wing COmmander Armada Proving Grounds
  • priv: Wing Commander Privateer
  • priv2: Privateer 2: The Darkening
  • rf: Privateer Righteous Fire
  • sm1: Wing Commander: The Secret Missions
  • sm2: Wing Commander: The Secret Missions 2
  • so: Wing Commander Secret Ops
  • so1: Wing Commander 2: Special Operations 1
  • so2: Wing Commander 2: Special Operations 2
  • swc: Super Wing Commander
  • wc1: Wing Commander
  • wc2: Wing Commander 2: Vengeance of the Kilrathi
  • wc3: Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger
  • wc4: Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom
  • wca: Wing Commander Academy
  • wcp: Wing Commander Prophecy

Rousing Roland Sound Recorded

Mau1wurf1977 recently recorded a series of videos that show off the beautiful Roland MT-32 audio of the original Wing Commander. The authentic MT-32 hardware that played the WC1 music in its highest quality has always been a little hard to come by, and only recently have attempts to emulate it started to pan out. If you're one of the majority of players that only used a SoundBlaster, give these YouTubes a listen!
I have several Roland MIDI modules and recorded all the tunes from Wing Commander in the highest quality possible.

Standoff Guide Hitting Episode 5

The Wing Commander Standoff Guide now available on WCPedia continues to grow. The project was originally started by Standoff team member Dundradal as a playtester's tool. After far too long on Dundradal's hard drive, the Standoff team made the resource available through the WCPedia project for the CIC's last birthday. Since then Wingnut and Standoff videomaker Ilanin has been a major contributor to the project. He's started work on the Episode 5 missions as well as updating and correcting the original text. The guide is well on its way to becoming the authoritative source for the Wing Commander Secret Ops mod. Be sure to check it out and visit the Chatzone thread to lend a hand!

Midway Mockup Seems Solid

Scooby Doo has produced another pretty concept image. This one has been dubbed the "Coral Sea," and it shows off what a major upgrade to the Midway class carriers might look like. Much of the texturing and design has familiar connections back to the original designs, which are also pictured below. The central gap has also been filled in with additional structure, which makes the ship look super sturdy.

Imposing Confed Warship Commissioned

CMDBob has completed a model of the majestic Tallahassee cruiser. Although widely recognized as the premiere escort of Wing Commander 3, the textures and style of the green model make it fit right in along WC2 designs. For comparison purposes, a WC3 Confed blue and WC4 Border Worlds paint scheme have also been rendered. The detail on the small hangar bay is also a nice touch!

Fresh out of 3ds Max, the Tallahassee!

New MUSH on the Horizon

A new text-based Wing Commander role playing game is in development, and the team working on it would like to share their latest progress. They're made up of experienced MUSHers, and the plan is to make the new adventure more widely playable within just a few more months. There is an active Facebook Page dedicated to posting development updates, and they've just posted a big background story summary here.
I'm excited to let everyone at the CIC know about a new text-based storytelling/roleplaying community that's in the works! Set in the WC universe and using the MUSH platform, our game is a spiritual successor to the WC: Red Horizon MUSH that closed in 2002 and is set in the same universe/continuity, so it's a little bit divergent from the "strict" WC canon at this point, but if you enjoy text-based roleplaying games (or are willing to give it a shot!) we're aiming to be able to get you up to speed very quickly, whether you're new to MUSHing or a seasoned pro.

The game is currently in active development with a build team of about 10 people and we're definitely on track for opening to new players sometime before the end of the year. You can follow along with our build team on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wcmush - we're posting updates every few days and are happy to answer any questions you might have - just post 'em there! In particular, we just posted up a brief summary of our game's setting and theme here.

Thanks!

RC Dralthi Takes to the Sky

Chris Carpenter has accomplished an amazing feat! He's built a remote control Dralthi that actually flies! This was no easy task - the fighter had to be designed and redesigned to both retain its characteristic shape and successfully maneuver in the air. Here's a few construction photos, but you have to see (and hear) this yourself to believe it! Check the video out on YouTube!

Notice the carbon fiber reinforcement along both wings. Also, the vertical stabilizers have angled cuts in the rear to allow for flight control movement. I think the flight controls are too small currently. That, plus the reduced area of the vertical stabilizers is causing the uncommanded roll.

So, in the redesign I’m going enlarge the flight controls. I’m also going to split the controls around the vertical stabilizers and leave a small slot for a thin connector to pivot. It’ll make sense when I cut it. Still shooting to get the changes done and test it this weekend.

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

Here’s a video of the Dralthi in flight. I was almost scared that overnight it wouldn’t fly. I still need to work on the center-line balance. It doesn’t want to turn right because the battery is on the left part of the disc. I need to add a little more counterweight on the right. Surprisingly, it will do a loop.

...With a Morningstar in Hot Pursuit!

But wait, there's more! Chris also has a radio controlled Morningstar fighter built and flying too! It's not as smooth cruising as the Dralthi yet, but upgrades are already in work to improve the aerodynamics. Check out its awesome first flight video here.

The Morningstar needs a little more pitch authority. I have redesigned it to make the flight controls larger. The next build should fly great. I hope to have it in the air this weekend.

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Once I get the kinks worked out of the Morningstar, I'm going to get it and the Dralthi up in the air at the same time for an RC Wing Commander video. I'm going to try and shoot it from the ground and with a camera onboard the Morningstar.

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