Last Chance to Buy GOG Games Cheap

The huge holiday sale at Good Old Games is winding down, so now is your last chance to grab a bunch of Wing Commander games for super cheap! WC1/2, WC3 and Privateer are just $3 each. Prices return to $6 on January 2. These releases are packed with bonus material and run easily in Windows with an automatic custom DOSBox installer. See you in the cockpit!



And the other Origin titles:

Cartoon Kilrathi's Turn in the Shipyards

Cybot has modeled another fleet of ships, and this time the theme is Kilrathi vessels from Wing Commander Academy. These are the counterparts to the Confed task force he rendered earlier this year. There's quite a variety here from the Agon Ra Sivar dreadnought and gunboat corvette to a tugboat and armed drone buoy. Don't miss the last shot, which is an awesome assembly of all Kilrathi ships that he's ever made. Additional designs and model files for these ships are available at the CIC Forums.

"If half of what they say about those new Rapiers is true..."

Here's another impressive installment of LOAF's adventure to build the ultimate Wing Commander Computer, Karga the Hero. With networking down pat, the focus has turned to some of the amazing input devices out there. We saw one QuickShot MasterPilot functioning last time, but now three synchonized units are working together! These complement a full range of Thrustmaster pedals, throttles and flight sticks that have special Wing Commander features. There's even a SideWinder GameVoice in there. All told, there's some $2000 worth of WC-specific input hardware arranged together (based on the original MSRPs), but some dogged eBaying and junk shop-exploring has outfitted this setup for a tenth of that. Special bonus: check out LOAF's real life Mr. Kat Christmas present!

This should be an interesting update! (... if you like reading about joystick software from the early 1990s.)

In the 1990s, Thrustmaster had three generations of 'serious' joysticks, with a variety of models and rebadged versions of each: the FCS, the FLCS and the F-22. They were based on the real 'sticks used in (respectively) the F-4 Phantom, F-16 Falcon and F-22 Raptor. At the same time there were three generations of throttles: the WCS, the WCS Mark II and the TQS. The first two were based on the F-4 and the TQS was based on the F-16.

What made these special was that when you had the whole system you could program all the buttons to work with your particular game instead of just having it assume the trigger was the space bar and another button was enter and so on. You would do this by using software to load "stick set" files into the throttle (which was the brain of the operation.) Now there's some interchangability -- you could have an FCLS with a WCS Mark II or with a TQS, for instance, but in general there were three different types of stickset files.

Back in the day people would create them, trade them, talk about them and so on. It must have been fun (I never had a fancy stick when I was a kid.) You can still find bits and pieces of this online, but it's mostly been washed away by the years and the general move to the internet being a place for spying on girls you didn't talk to in high school instead of for talking about Star Trek.

Now when I set out to build Karga I went with the system that was 'new' when the first Wing Commander games came out: the FCS joystick and the WCS Mark II throttle (the original WCS throttle wasn't programmable, I only mention it here because Bertha has one.

Was that a mistake? To make a long story short, yes it was.

After a little searching, I found this great little site that has an archive of the old factory-fresh Thrustmaster software: http://www.cvscorp.com/thrustmaster.html

I also enjoyed this site's disclaimer, in that it made me fairly sad and is relevant to what we're doing here (and how we all are starting to feel): "After searching around the internet, there appears to be only my site left offering scripts and profiles for TM Sticks. I want to thank all those who downloaded these files over the years. I'm getting older now, and these sticks have become relics, like myself. Enjoy them while you can. I no longer have the energy, money or interest in providing support for ThrustMaster."

Anyway, I installed all of the different Thrustmaster packages (on my work computer, no less) and learned...

The FLCS comes with the same two WCS sets... and then two more for the TQS: Wing Commander Armada and Wing Commander III.

... and then the F-22 comes with a treasure trove: conversions of the earlier four sets plus two more advanced sets for Wing Commander III and Armada!

Long story long, it's time to upgrade my joystick. Out with the WCS Mk. II and Pro FCS (which hasn't even shown up in the mail yet!) and in with a TQS throttle and an F-22 Pro stick.

(And yes I checked to see if the next generation setup, the HOTAS Cougar, came with Wing Commander sets; it does not! I-War, though, for some reason.)

Here for you, dear readers, are all the "official" Thrustmaster Wing Commander sticksets in one convenient archive: http://download.wcnews.com/files/other/wcpc/STICKSETS.zip

Oh, I had a question via PM: what's the OTHER box on top of Karga? That's a Roland MCB-1 breakout box, which is needed to chain other MIDI devices to the LAPC-I (in this case, the SC-55.) Having to dig one up does make the process a little complicated, but when I initially bought it back in 2003 or so they were actually pretty common. It looks little, too, but it's made of heavy metal.

Give These New Saga Shots A Wide Berth

The WC Saga team has put together some screenshots that show the mod's latest feature. They have fixed the original Freespace aspect ratio issues and are now able to render the game in an actual widescreen resolution without stretching. Another recent advancement allows for more cutscenes in and around the mission briefings, but videos for these have not been created yet.
From now on HUD elements will be rearranged on the right and the left if you have a widescreen monitor, and look like the image below.

WCPedia Reaches 3 Million Views!

The WCPedia Project just reached 3 million views earlier today! The fan-driven project has continued to grow steadily since its inception in 2007. With more than 2,400 articles, the future ultimate Wing Commander resource is already fairly complete in some areas. The Ships category has a large of the ships entered and viewable. Some of the articles are in need of some layout changes, but the WCPedia team continues to work hard on achieving that ultimate goal.

WCPedia's own Chief for the Committee of Public Information, NinjaLA, has created another recruitment poster to help get wingnuts involved. It's easy to learn how to help out. Drop by #Wingnut and we can provide a crash course in wiki and where we need help.

WC vs History: Action Stations! Pearl Harbor! McAuliffe! This Is No Drill!

This was an update I looked forward to researching and writing. Some real life events delayed it but what an event it was! The International Conference on World War 2 was an amazing time. The highlight was meeting four of the Doolittle Raiders themselves and hearing them talk about the raid in their own words. That was an experience! This is the first in a several article update looking at the parallels found in the early days of the Terran-Kilrathi War, focusing in particular on the story told in Action Stations of the Raid on McAuliffe on 2634.235 (23 August) and the Raid on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

Since the release of Wing Commander, the connection between the War against the Kilrathi and the War in the Pacific has been clear. Carriers and their fighters doing battle over vast distances of empty ocean, or in Wing Commander’s case, space. Island, and Planet, hopping across the void, each side fighting hard to reach their final objective, the enemy’s home and ultimate victory. Each war ended with the use of a new weapon of untold magnitude. Each war also started with a surprise carrier raid on a main fleet base in order to disable the opponent’s fleet. In both cases, the use of carriers in this type of striking action was without true precedent in terms of scale and organization. However, the idea of an early morning surprise carrier raid was not new.

Prior to the Second World War, the United States Navy did conduct a number of Fleet Problems and Joint Army-Navy exercises in regards to aircraft carriers. Several of these prewar exercises directly involved surprise air raids on Pearl Harbor.The Joint Army-Navy Maneuvers in early 1933 saw Vice Admiral Cole, a non-aviator, raid Pearl Harbor using the USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) at dawn on January 31. The two carriers put 90 planes in the air for an early morning strike on the harbor installations, coming in for the attack from the north. The strike was ruled to have “inflicted serious damage” on the ships and installations throughout the harbor. Fleet Problem XIX saw the raid on Pearl Harbor repeated on 29 March 1938. Rear Admiral Ernest King took a task force centered around USS Saratoga to the northwest of Oahu. 100 miles from the coast, the force launched a strike on Wheeler and Hickam air fields and the Pearl Harbor Naval Air Station with similarly devastating results as the 1933 raid. Both these simulated air raids showed the deficiencies in the Pearl Harbor air defense network that were not fully rectified by the time of the Japanese raid in 1941.

USS Saratoga (CV-2) on Navy Day 1932. Note the 8-inch gun turrets fore and aft of the island. These were removed prior to World War 2

The first combat carrier raid of ships in port took place on the night of 11 November 1940. The Royal Navy carrier HMS Illustrious launched 21 antiquated Fairey Swordfish bi-planes against the main body of the Italian Navy. For the loss of two aircraft, the British naval aviators took three battleships out of the war for a number of months. The Japanese Navy did study this action intensely in the year prior to the Pearl Harbor operation and certainly took note of the method the British used to prevent their torpedoes from running too deep in the shallow waters of a protected harbor.

The Fairey Swordfish scored extremely well against both German and Italians battleships early in the war.

The Kilrathi had a smaller, but no less important, pool of knowledge to glean from prior to their own unproven carrier raid doctrine. The fleets of the 27th century shared a similar naval doctrinal mindset with the pre-carrier battleship dominated eras of maritime history. The battleship was king. The fleets that brought the heaviest guns with the longest range under the heaviest armor were the ships that admirals believed would decide the fate of nations. The first time this doctrine was truly challenged was during Fleet Problem IX conducted by the US Navy in 1929. The carrier Saratoga raided the Panama Canal and demonstrated the feasibility and potential versatility of a fast carrier-centered attack force. The Confederation Navy conducted war games of its own. In 2622, the so-called “Panama War Games” took place. Confederation forces were divided into Blue and Red forces. Blue was granted use of a hypothetical carrier bomber-launched weapon capable of defeating phase shields and heavily damaging capital ships. During the simulated engagement, the three carriers of the Blue fleet were able to use the new weapon to destroy all ten of Red’s battlewagons. However, as can sometimes happen with simulated engagements, game umpires later declared the shield-penetrating torpedo strikes null and void. It was ruled that Red won the engagement because Blue wasted their scouting abilities by “wasting his carriers.” Winston Turner observed the games in the role of fleet historian. He wasn’t totally convinced by the actions because of the lack of a real working shield-penetrating torpedo, but did say he “sat up and took notice.”

The goal of both Japanese and Kilrathi raids was the same in terms of the immediate goal of eliminating the enemy fleet as a threat to ongoing and future operations. The Japanese plan following the raid was to hold their new possessions, fortify them with a web of mutually supporting air bases and other installations, and wait for the Americans to come. The Kilrathi were not going to stop at McAuliffe. The final destination of the Second Fleet of the Claw was Sol. After destroying the Seventh Fleet based at McAuliffe and the planetary base, the Kilrathi fleets were to wreck havoc amongst the outer colonies before uniting into a combined force in front of the remaining Confederation forces defending the inner worlds. They were to “forge straight into the heart of their space, meet what is left of their reserves and annihilate it. At that point the war will be over."

There was one Kilrathi, Vakka nar Jukaga, father of the famous Baron Jukaga, who exhibited hesitation over attacking the Confederation. Many of his arguments are similar to those of Admiral Yamamato. Jukaga and Yamamato had both spent time with their respective enemies before the outbreak of hostilities. They knew their compatriots did not fully understand the differences and capabilities of their enemies and instead based their view of them on blind arrogance. The Kilrathi saw the Confederation as just another test of warrior prowess that needed to be met and then destroyed, brushed aside like so many other enemies before. Much like the Japanese Empire of 1942, the Kilrathi empire extended over a wide area, however instead of densely populated worlds of hundreds of millions or billions, many were populated by far less. The Japanese Empire was massive in terms of square miles controlled. When you actually look at worthwhile and useful territory within that massive expanse, it is minuscule. Both empires were like balloons. Large and expansive bodies without anything solid inside once the outer layer was penetrated. The Confederation was different. Instead of destroying everything within their path, the Confederation created alliances that strengthened its whole. From the mouths of the Vakka nar Jukaga and Crown Prince Gilkrag themselves:

"We have learned this, at least," Vakka finally replied. "If they have an advantage it is in their depth, their web of alliances with half a dozen races, the sheer number of worlds they have colonized. Such a depth of organization could be of infinite help if the challenge from within the core is to one day be met. We lack that depth. We annihilate or enslave everyone on the worlds we take."

"So?" the Crown Prince replied, his tone obviously conveying total confusion over the intent of Vakka's statement.

"Yes, we have a fleet, the best in the galaxy, but we don't have the infrastructure, the web of commerce. We conquer, destroy, populate a new world like a fiefdom, placing a few tens of thousands of our own blood where billions once existed. Those whom we suffer to live, labor in our factories as slaves, not allies. Then we expand yet again. We are like a hollow shell, the Confederation is a solid mass."

The Japanese Empire in Spring 1942 and the Wing Commander universe circa 2681.

That Confederation however was in a period of military unreadiness. The Fleet looked powerful on paper, but in reality was being held together by a lot of whatever the 27th version of duct tape is (I’d assume it’s still regular duct tape), luck, and lots and lots of hope. The Wildcat spaceframes are decades old, upgrades and replacements sent to die in committee by Senator More. The fighters of the Seventh Fleet were spare parts queens for each other. Unlike the US Navy which knew it was going to benefit from the Two Ocean Navy Act soon into the war, the Confederation Fleet had this type of legislation blocked in the Confederation Congress. It would have to make due. Confederation forces, and by that one means a single task force of two battlewagons and a smaller carrier with escorts, were waging a police type action war against the Kilrathi. The Kilrathi themselves were preparing for an all out assault and only sending their oldest equipment against the small Confederation incursion, they were luring the Confederation into a sense of false security by showing a warrior feigning injury. In Kilrathi the maneuver was known as the Haggin. The superior strike in this case was to take place across the frontier but aimed most squarely at the fleet base at McAuliffe, Alexandria and the surrounding Skyhook and base complex.

Merry Christmas!

The Wing Commander Combat Information Center wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The holiday season would not be complete without one of Marc's famous Christmas-themed wallpapers. He's really outdone himself this year. We'll let him take it from here:

As always, the very best to to you and yours in this joyful time of year! Merry Xmas, Wingnuts!! Santa loves his cookies, with milk missiles!

Also don't miss Marc's previous Christmas Wing Commander images:

I'm Dreaming of a Space Christmas

Christmas doesn't show up very often in Wing Commander. While it's easy to imagine the holiday will still be celebrated in the 27th century, mention of it usually doesn't fit in to stories about an epic galactic war. That changed in Wing Commander: False Colors, the seventh Wing Commander novel by William Forstchen and Andrew Keith. During the story, Jason "Bear" Bondarevsky and his crew take a break from rebuilding a salvaged Kilrathi carrier to celebrate Christmas with friends... including a group of Kilrathi renegades! Here's their party, reproduced for your holiday reading:
"Break left! Break left!" The voice in Bondarevsky's helmet receivers was urgent. "Come on, Captain, you can nail this guy!"

Bondarevsky pulled the joystick hard over, rolling to the left and trying to spot his query. The Strakha bucked and kicked as if it resented the very idea of a human pilot flying it, but he fought the controls and forced the fighter into the turn. He reached for the sensor controls to narrow the focus and try to get an accurate position estimate on the cloaked enemy fighter he knew was closing in for the kill, but a split second too late he realized he'd instinctively reached for the spot where they would have been located on one of the Ferrets he'd flown back in his days as Tarawa's Wing Commander. The sudden realization made him try to shift in mid-reach, but that sent his bionic arm into a feedback spasm.

The delay was fatal. The enemy Strakha decloaked bare meters off his starboard side, and the red flash of incoming fire washed through Jason Bondarevsky's cockpit.

The buzzer going off in his ear made him wince and grind his teeth. The cockpit opened up, revealing a crowd of men and women surrounding the simulator unit. Money was changing hands as they paid off their bets. Bondarevsky blinked in the glare of the lights.

"Bang, you're dead," Doomsday Montclair announced from the other simulator cockpit, climbing out with the aid of a pair of his squadron's younger pilots.

"I noticed," Bondarevsky replied dryly. "I've got to hand it to you, Doomsday. You haven't lost your edge." Montclair grinned. "Didn't let them promote me out of the cockpit, skipper," he said. "But don't sweat it. You'll get the moves back. And if you don't, I'll be around to bail out your sorry ass!"

That sparked laughter from the audience. Bondarevsky started to clamber out of the cockpit, and Harper and Sparks were quick to help him. The simulator modules were cobble together from a combination of Confederation and Kilrathi technology, mostly the former. The Kilrathi had less use for detailed simulations of flight missions than human pilots did. According to Jorkad lan Mraal, the senior pilot from the Nargrast survivors who had been working with Sparks on building the modules, the Empire preferred live-training exercises with real ships, real maneuvers, and live ammo.

Jorkad was there now, looking out of place amidst the revelry of the Flight Wing's Christmas party. The Christmas holiday was something the Kilrathi couldn't quite grasp. The message of "peace on Earth, good will toward men" was so alien to their way of life that they simply had nothing to compare it to. But a kil enjoyed a good party as much as any human, and Jorkad seemed to be developing a special fondness for eggnog.

"I was studying your performance, Captain Bondarevsky," he said gravely. Jorkad was always studiously correct and formal. At first some of the members of the wing had assumed it was a mask for some underlying hostility to the humans, but on closer acquaintance the general consensus was that Jorkad was just naturally serious and punctilious all the time. "Your instincts are good. But I fear your reactions have been somewhat slowed by your injuries. The artificial arm..."

"Is a problem sometimes, yes," Bondarevsky said, feeling impatient. He still didn't like discussing the plastilimb, especially not with a Cat. "I'm getting the hang of it."

He wasn't good at reading Kilrathi expressions, but he thought Jorkad's look might have been the Cat equivalent of a frown. "I believe that Hrothark and I could design an interface that would connect your arm directly into the controls of the fighter,- he said. "It is possible that you could substantially improve your performance by having many of the onboard systems essentially controlled by thought-or at least by the muscular impulses associated with specific actions, such as operating sensors or firing weapons."

"Thanks, but no thanks," Bondarevsky said.

Jorkad studied him curiously. "I do not understand. Why would you reject something which could give you an advantage in combat? Particularly when it turns a current handicap around and makes it an asset instead?"

Bondarevsky shrugged. "I don't know if I can explain it, my friend." He held up his arm. "Look here. You can see that the limb is designed to look as much like a biological arm as possible. It would be a lot more efficient, and cost-effective too, for that matter, if it wasn't built this way, but you'll find most people prefer artificial limbs that don't look artificial."

The Kilrathi pilot gave a very human head nod, at the same time making the Cat grasping gesture that stood for understanding.

"The thing is," Bondarevsky went on, "a lot of us don't like to be forced to admit to something like this. I've got a machine doing the work of a limb, and I'm damned glad to have it, but I'd far rather have the original. And the last thing I want is to lose my humanity more than I already have by plugging myself into my cockpit like one more onboard system. I learned to fly by my gut, and I'd rather keep on doing it that way even if I have to work a little bit harder at it. Do you understand?"

"I believe I do, Captain," Jorkad said slowly. "Your sentiments are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Seventh Codex. You've given me much to think about."

"Glad I could help out," Bondarevsky muttered as the Cat pilot stalked away in search of a refill for his empty cup of eggnog.

"Well, well, Jason Bondarevsky trading philosophy with a Cat. I never thought I'd live to see the day." The crowd parted as Kevin Tolwyn approached, trailed by a junior lieutenant carrying a large, bulky box.

"I've swapped that kind of stuff with stranger types than him," Bondarevsky said with a smile. "In fact, I'm looking at one now."

Tolwyn's expression was one of mock horror. "I'm wounded! To be insulted so, and by my own dear mentor! Maybe I'll just call off this whole Christmas thing right here and now."

"Christmas thing?" Bondarevsky frowned. "Please tell me you didn't..."

"Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to give you anything." Tolwyn grinned at him. Bondarevsky had never been much for celebrating Christmas, beyond putting in the expected appearances at the festivities held by the people in his command. Born and raised on Razin, a distant frontier world settled by Russians of mostly Eastern Orthodox religion, Bondarevsky had been brought up to celebrate Epiphany, the baptism rather than the Nativity of Christ, and even yet he still was apt to keep the Twelfth-Night holiday rather than the more traditional Christmas Day. He and Kevin had a long-standing tradition of not exchanging presents until Epiphany. "No, I brought over a gift from all of the Liberators to all of you ... whatever it is you're going to call yourselves. Lieutenant, if you please..."

His assistant stepped forward and set the box down on the table. "Open it up, Jason," Tolwyn said.

He looked at the box for a long moment, half-expecting some kind of prank. Then he noticed that the lid of the box was pierced by half a dozen small holes, and that piqued his curiosity. Just what was Tolwyn up to, anyway?

Bondarevsky lifted the lid and looked inside. There, almost invisible in the shadows, a pair of green eyes regarded him curiously.

"Thrakhath!" he said. He reached in and lifted out the black cat, who responded by rubbing on his chin and purring loudly. That set off laughter from the officers clustered nearby. "Kevin, are you sure about this? I had the idea Thrakhath was kind of a favorite of yours. This one, at least."

Tolwyn grinned. "Yeah, I like him a lot better than I ever liked the one from Kilrah, but there's a dozen cats on Independence to keep our rodent population under control. And we thought you guys could use a mascot over here. Given your new home and all, it just seemed like a good idea."

Bondarevsky put the cat down on the table, but kept petting him. "Just as long as he doesn't cause as much trouble as his namesake..."

"Oh, he'll cause a lot more than that." Tolwyn grinned again. "And he'll bring bad luck to anybody who crosses his path. Like Ragark and his Kilrathi..."

"Or the confees!" one of the pilots called from the back of the watching crowd. "Or anybody else who gets in our way!"

Tolwyn looked embarrassed. "Anyway, Merry Christmas from the Liberators to..." He trailed off. Bondarevsky's command had been officially designated as FW-137, but it didn't have a name as yet. The carrier hadn't even received a formal Landreich Navy name yet.

"The Black Cats!" a voice from the crowd declared loudly. Commander Alexandra Travis came forward and stretched out a hand to scratch Thrakhath behind the ears. The animal looked satisfied with himself and redoubled his contented purring. "What do you say, Captain? What better name for a Flight Wing operating off a Cat carrier, with Cat fighters, and probably in Cat space, sooner or later?"

There were plenty of comments from the others, and they all sounded favorable. Bondarevsky nodded. "All right, the Black Cats it is." He paused. "Mr. Harper, I am hereby appointing you as Chief Cat-tender, with all the duties and responsibilities that traditionally go with that post. And somebody else is going to have to explain all this to Murragh. I sure as hell don't want to tell him we've got a house pet named after his cousin."

"To hear him talk," Travis said, "house pet would be a step up from what Murragh's people think of their ex-Prince." She grinned. "But you know well be bad luck to anybody who crosses our path!"

Tolwyn and his aid stayed on for a drink, then left to catch the tail end of the Christmas party aboard their own ship. Soon after they had taken their leave Bondarevsky stopped at a side table to refill his drink, and encountered Travis once again.

"So ... you lost your simulator duel, huh?" she said "The legend has feet of clay after all. I lost ten credits on you, Captain."

"Sorry, Commander," he said with a faint smile. "If Id've known you were betting on me I would have worked harder."

She returned the smile. "Or bet against me and thrown the fight deliberately," she said, arching one eyebrow. "Seriously, though, how did it feel? Do you think it's an accurate simulation of a Strakha?"

Her interest was understandable. Alexandra Travis had been designated as squadron commander for VF-401, one of the new fighter squadrons being organized aboard the supercarrier. Once she and her pilots finished training they'd be flying the squadron of Strakha fighters salvaged from the Kilrathi planes on board. Her previous experience had been confined to the Raptor heavy fighter, and they had little in common in terms of handling with the Cat Strakhas.

Bondarevsky was impressed by her record and by the skill she'd displayed getting her squadron in shape these last few days. Of all his new squadron commanders she was the one who seemed most in tune with him, her mind often following the same leaps of imagination that his own did as they discussed the ways and means of making the Flight Wing work.

"I don't know how accurate it is," he said, "but Sparks and Jorkad seem to think it isn't too far from the real thing. If it's anything like the simulator, the Strakha's going to be heavy going. Big and mean, but not exactly subtle ... except for the stealth technology. I guess the Cats figured they had a cloak, so why bother making the thing nimble too? Takes some getting used to when you've come out of the high-maneuverability school."

"Sort of like trying to fly a shuttle after a stretch of duty with Hornets," she said, nodding.

"Well, not quite that bad, maybe," he said, remembering his landing on Independence and how clumsy the shuttle controls had seemed. "I figure with enough sim time it won't be too much of a problem getting these Cat planes down cold. I have to admit, though, that it's pretty strange thinking of how to use them in combat, and not just how to beat them."

She laughed. "You could say the same thing about this whole operation," she said. "A year ago a Cat was just something to shoot at. Now I'm starting to understand how they think ... and it's starting to scare me. Sometimes I wonder how we managed to hold them off so long. They sure as hell know how to build a carrier."

Bondarevsky nodded. "I know what you mean. And working with the Cats from Murragh's bunch ... they're not exactly what we always thought they were, are they?"

Before she could reply they were interrupted by a chord from Aengus Harper's guitar. The young lieutenant had found himself a perch on one of the tables and taken the battered-looking instrument out of its case. For a moment he contented himself with strumming chords, apparently at random.

"Well, the Bard of the Spaceways is at it again," Bondarevsky commented with a smile. "What's it going to be tonight, Lieutenant? More of your old Irish rabble rousing songs?"

"Ah, now, sir, should I be playin' such things and ignoring the spirit of the season?" Harper replied with his easy, charming grin. "No, tonight I'll not be speaking of the Gaels and their long struggle for freedom, more's the pity. Instead I thought I'd give you a Christmas song me auld mother taught me when I was just a lad."

He started picking the strings with practiced skill, closing his eyes and starting to sing in a soft, pleasant voice. It was a song Bondarevsky hadn't heard for years. The crowd was rapt as the young Taran sang the story of the child Jesus and his scornful playmates in Egypt, and the miracles that alarmed their mothers.

Thinking of the work they'd done on Karga, Bondarevsky couldn't help but think the lieutenant's choice was deliberate ... and apt. They'd all worked their share of miracles out here on the edge of the frontier, and after this holiday was past they'd be right back in the miracle-working business once more.

Nomination Period Winding Down

This is a reminder that the annual CIC Fan Project & Web Site of the Year contests kick off in just a week. Everyone still has a chance to send their nominations in here, and be sure to check out some of the past winners below.
Fan Projects of the Year Runners Up
2010 Astro Commander's Mini Models DirectDrawHack
2009 Standoff Gemini Gold
2008 Ascii Sector Flight Commander
2007 Standoff & WC Saga Ascii Sector
2006 WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod Das Erwachen
2005 Standoff Privateer Gemini Gold
2004 Standoff WC Saga
2003 Standoff & WC Saga Holding the Line & Vega Strike
2002 Unknown Enemy Kilrathi Empire & WC Saga BS
2001 Unknown Enemy Holding the Line & Vega Strike
Web Sites of the Year Runners Up
2010 Paper Commander Prelude to Darkness
2009 WC Saga Standoff & Paper Commander
2008 Paper Commander Standoff & WC Saga
2007 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Pericles' Paper Inside
2006 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Wedge's Wing Commander
2005 WC Saga Fleet Tactics
2004 Fleet Tactics Wedge's Wing Commander
2003 Wing Commander in Russia WC3D & Wedge's Wing Commander
2002 Wing Commander in Russia BlackLance HQ & WingCenter
2001 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central
2000 Acenet Central Wing Commander in Russia
1999 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central & HCl's WC Editing Site

Fat Man's Highly Rated Book E-Released

The CIC is here to help with another awesome e-gift. Wing Commander musician George Sanger's book, The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness, has been out of print for a while and is still highly sought after. Used copies in good condition can fetch $100 or more. However, The Fat Man himself tweeted today about the new Kindle edition that's recently been made available. You can now purchase an electronic copy for just $9.99, and Amazon Prime members can even borrow the book for FREE. But even for $9.99, this makes a great last minute Christmas present for yourself or anyone else. Not a Kindle owner? Yes, you are! The Kindle Reader is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, PC and Mac. Still not sold? There's even a lengthy 40 page preview online (of approximately 400 pages total).
TheMightyFatMan (@TheMightyFatMan): 12/23/11 8:53 AM: Big news for Xmas!! My book is available again-- Go get it, folks!! Hint: it is NOT just about game audio.

Wing One is Available Too

Also don't forget that Fat Man's official rerelease of the original Wing Commander soundtrack was recently made available again. Purchase and download Wing One from Vibedeck for just $9.98.
I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or maybe since.

I hope I will be forgiven for saying that, at least for American PC games, it's hard to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time!

Clock Ticking Down on GOG Sale

Still out searching for a last minute Christmas gift? What could be better than the gift of Wing Commander? And right now, the classic WC trilogy and Privateer are just a few dollars! GOG's big holiday sale is half way over, so don't miss your chance to pick up Wing Commander hits for just $3. Download codes can be easily gifted to all your friends and family. It's not a bad idea to stock up for birthdays all year long either!

Bonus tip: use Paypal balance in order to avoid numerous $3 hits to your credit card. Some card companies will suspect it's fraudulent activity (we know from experience after buying too many copies of WC when it first came out on GOG!).



And the other Origin titles:

New WC Mush Open for Adventure

There's an early Christmas present for fans of text-based RPGs: the new Wing Commander New Horizon MUSH is now open! The project has unveiled a slick website with background information, in-universe headline news and more. Instructions on how to quickly connect and play are available here. Special community events will be held over the next week to help welcome new players. Head on over and join the fun!
Welcome to New Horizon

Wing Commander: New Horizon is a text-based interactive storytelling game & community, set in the Wing Commander universe created by Chris Roberts and Origin Systems. Essentially, we're an interactive story or novel where every character plays a part and has the chance to reshape history - sort of like a text-based MMORPG, except with a lot more freedom! In a world of graphical-based games and MMOs, we engage the highest resolution display system ever made: the player's imagination. Forget levels and classes, our game opens an entire universe's worth of character possibilities to every player, from the classic Wing Commander fighter jock, to a space marine, a business owner, engineer, trader and more.

th over 50 years of combined role playing game experience, the staff of WC:NH endeavor to place fun and roleplay above everything else. Our systems are designed to facilitate player interaction, and provide only as much structure as necessary to keep things moving along. Our game owes much of its history to an older Wing Commander MUSH that closed its doors in 2002 called Red Horizon, and most of our staff were either players or staff there at one time or another. Our spiritual predecessor's history deviated slightly from the canon Wing Commander story line, and we continue that unique history with our own take on how things turned out 40 years after the end of the official Wing Commander universe. Check out our Story section to find a timeline of events and learn more.

Interactive Storytelling

Have you ever wanted to be a character in your favorite novel or movie? In the universe of Wing Commander: New Horizon that's exactly what you get to do, become the hero (or maybe the villain!) in a larger story where your actions can change the course of events. This is the essence of interactive storytelling, where the players and their characters join with the storytellers to chronicle the events of our little corner of the Universe. We're driving the bus and you get to help decide where we're going!

For Conspicuous Gallantry And Intrepidity..

On 21 December 1861, the Congress of the United States authorized the Medal of Honor, sometimes referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, for United States Navy enlisted personnel. The Medal of Honor for other services would be created by President Lincoln in July 1862. Between December 1861 and March 1915 459 enlisted naval personnel received the Medal of Honor. Legislation in 1915 made officers of all services eligible for the award. In June 1916, a Board of Generals, comprised of five retired Army general officers, were ordered convened to review past awarding of the Medal of Honor. The Board produced its results in February 1917. A list of 911 names was proposed stricken from the Honor Roll. Those stricken included the 27th Maine, President Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Guard, and six civilians who were removed not for failure to conduct themselves above and beyond the call of duty, they were deemed to have no call to duty as civilians. However, in the late 1970s and late 1980s many of the civilian awarded were instated including those for Buffalo Bill Cody and the only female recipient, Mary Walker.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force Medals of Honor respectively.

The results of the 1917 report cleared the Honor Roll of awards that were not for valorous action, however it was in 1918 that the Medal of Honor became the highly sacred and revered award it is today. On 9 July 1918, Congress passed Title 10 of the United States Code, Subtitle C, Part II, Chapter 567, § 6241 – Medal of Honor which states:

The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medal of honor of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while a member of the naval service, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty—

(1) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;

(2) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or

(3) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The reason the medal is sometimes referred to as the “Congressional Medal of Honor” is because the award is presented “in the name of Congress.” Additional parts of this legislation created the Pyramid of Honor of lesser awards including the Distinguished Service, Navy and Air Force Crosses, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, and so on. This legislation also prevented the furthering award of a second Medal of Honor to any recipient.

Further legislation in 1919 created a special exception for the Navy. Since the Medal’s inception the Navy had also awarded it for non-combat actions. The legislation created the Tiffany Cross, an award equal to the Medal of Honor but only awarded for non-combat actions, while the original medal was for combat-related actions.

The Tiffany Cross was used from 1919 to 1942 exclusively by the US Navy for non-combat actions.

United States Naval personnel have been awarded 746 Medals of Honor. Since the Medal’s creation 3,475 awards have been received by 3,458 Americans. That includes 19 double recipients prior to the 1918 legislation.

The only recipient who shares the same distinction of Space Marshall Tolwyn of having received their award prior to achieving flag rank was Admiral William Moffett. Moffett received his Medal of Honor for actions in the Vera Cruz Incident in 1914. While in command of USS Chester he brought his ship, without the aid of navigational charts, into a close bombardment position. His citation reads:

"For distinguished conduct in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, 21-22 April 1914. Commander Moffett brought his ship into the inner harbor during the nights of the 21st and 22nd without the assistance of a pilot or navigational lights, and was in a position on the morning of the 22nd to use his guns at a critical time with telling effect. His skill in mooring his ship at night was especially noticeable. He placed her nearest to the enemy and did most of the firing and received most of the hits."

Moffett achieved flag rank in July 1921 when he was promoted to Rear Admiral and became the first Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer). He retained this title for the rest of his naval career. He was killed on 4 April 1933, when the airship USS Akron went down off the east coast during bad weather.

Jimmy Doolittle was famous even before the Doolittle Raid in April 1942 and serves as the inspiration in some part for Jason Bondarevsky’s part in End Run. On 18 April 1942, Colonel Doolittle and 79 other men, flying in 16 Mitchell B-25 medium bombers launched from the new Yorktown-class carrier, USS Hornet (CV-8), on a mission to bomb mainland Japan. One of the greatest raids, and military feats, of all time, the 16 bombers did little physical damage, but created a massive, and much needed, morale boost in the United States. On a related note, Dundradal recently met four of the five surviving Doolittle Raiders at the International Conference on World War 2. We'll save that story for next April 18...

Doolittle received the Medal of Honor for leading the raid and went on to command multiple air forces in the European Theater, and continued to fly combat missions, once as copilot for another Tokyo Raider, despite the risk of capture he faced. From the beginning of 1944 until the end of the war with Japan in September 1945, General Doolittle commanded the mighty Eighth Air Force.

The Medal of Honor in Wing Commander has some similarities with the American Medal of Honor, however it also shares more similarities with the German Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross award system with subsequent awards becoming more intricate and ornate.

The Terran Confederation Inter-Congressional Medal of Honor, also known as the Medal of Valor, the Senatorial Medal of Honor and the "Pewt Planet," is the highest medal awarded military personnel. The Medal of Honor is given "in consideration of valorous service to humanity." A related award, the Medal of Valor with Diamonds, also exists although its purpose is not clear; the addition may designate that multiple medals have been awarded the same individual. An equivalent award, the Terran Confederation Medal of Freedom, is given to civilians. The Tri-System's Central Intelligence Service also awards a Distinguished Medal of Honour for "conduct above and beyond the call of duty." The closest equivalent Kilrathi medal is the Icon of Sivar.


The Medal of Honor as it appeared in Claw Marks, Wing Commander, Wing Commander Super Famicom, Wing Commander Mega CD, Super Wing Commander, the CCG and Wing Commander Prophecy.

Space Marshal Geoffrey Tolwyn was reccomended for the Medal of Honor at least three times: for flying multiple sorties during the 2634 McAuliffe Ambush in spite of grave injuries, for bringing the TCS Concordia behind enemy lines to rescue TCS Tarawa following Operation Back Lash in 2667 (with Diamonds) and for leading the 2668 Earth Defense campaign. When Tolwyn's body was discovered in his cell, he was clutching the Medal of Honor awarded for his service at Earth.

Major Kevin Tolwyn was awarded the Medal of Honor for as-of-yet unspecified actions off the TCS Tarawa following the attack on Kilrah. Kevin was wearing his Medal of Honor when he visited the TCS Victory in 2669.

Commodore Jason Bondarevsky was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in command of the TCS Tarawa during Operation Back Lash.

Brigadier General James Merritt was reccomended for the Medal of Honor for his actions in command of the First Marine Battalion at Kilrah. Both Bondarevsky and Merritt's reccomendations were signed by Admiral Wayne Banbridge.

Admiral Wayne Banbridge was reccomended for the Medal of Honor with Diamonds for his overall command during Operation Back Lash.

Admiral Vance Richards was awarded the Medal of Honor for as-of-yet unspecified actions. It is likely he recieved the medal for his service during the McAuliffe Ambush.

Tyra Hunter was a Terran Confederation Marine Corps pilot who recieved the award while serving with the 82nd Spacecraft Wing. (Hunter was once intended to be the lead character in Privateer 3, which included this backstory; it was added to the canon i Star*Soldier.)

Lieutenant Commander Ramona Chekova was awarded the Medal of Honor for giving her life during the reconnaisance mission which discovered the importance of the Kilrathi base at Vukar Tag.

Lieutenant Colonel Etienne Montclair was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions flying off the TCS Tarawa during Operation Back Lash.

Commodore Christopher Blair was awarded the Medal of Honor at least twice. The first followed his destruction of the Kilrathi Star Post at Venice, for "leading the forces of the Confederation against the Empire of Kilrah, taking a decisive role in the Vega Sector Campaign, and commanding the squadron which accomplished the pivotal victory, in the Venice system, on or about 2654.287." The second was awarded a year later during the Firekka campaign, for "leading the forces of the Confederation against the Empire of Kilrah, taking a decisive role in defending our Firekka allies, and leading our forces to victory over the Kilrathi in the Antares sector on or about 2655.295."

Colonel Lance Casey was awarded the Medal of Honor for commanding the 2681 mission off the TCS Midway which shuttered the Nephilim wormhole gate at Kilrah.

Colonel Slade "Tex" Carver was awarded the CIS's Distinguished Medal of Honor. Privateer Grayson Burrows received the Medal of Freedom for his destruction of the Steltek drone.

As with most of the WC vs History series, this was a collaborative effort between LOAF and Dundradal. And don't think we forgot about Pearl Harbor and Action Stations as well. Dundradal was actually attending the aforementioned conference that week. Look for that in the near future!

Saga Beta Pushes On

IceFire has posted an update on the progress of the WC Saga beta. He discusses some of the methods that the ongoing test has used and some of the issues that have been found so far. There's also a few colorful new pictures.

The kinds of problems you tend to have more on this project are gameplay related. Here are a couple of examples:
  • On one of the missions a Terran carrier arrives at a jump point along with its battle group. The carrier is last to arrive and unfortunately was following the same waypoints as an escorting destroyer. Due to game engine considerations the carrier arrives "through" the destroyer and proceeds to fly its waypoints unharmed. Fixed!
  • In another mission a group of AI piloted Thunderbolts is supposed to attack a couple of Kilrathi destroyers. The AI instead attacked any enemy craft. Order priorities needed to be altered to make the Thunderbolts do what they were supposed to do. Fixed!
Other problems include issues with the 3D model data resulting in problems with the arcs of turrets such as laser turrets firing through the ship they are mounted on. Identifying the problems is a huge part of the battle. Corrections are made, tested and introduced in the next build of the project.

Wing Commander Computer Gets Even More Upgrades

If you thought the Story of Karga the Hero was over when LOAF got all the classic PC Wing Commander games running on an old machine, you're in for a lengthy surprise! The adventure was just getting started, and numerous follow-up missions have been posted. Pictures below show off the highlights of attempting to get a network card, modem and QuickShot MasterPilot working, but the full story has much more. Read the rest at the CIC Forums.

I ordered a new battery (actually, 25 new batteries--so everyone can expect a specific type of lithium battery from LOAF for Christmas this year) and a DB25-to-DB9 modem cable from Amazon which should arrive on Friday.

Now the modem is for Armada matches, so... if anyone else wants to build a Wing Commander Computer we can get our Wraith-quickly-leeches-you-and-wins on soon! (Does long distance still exist? It seems like it shouldn't.)

(Okay, my secret dream is to someday build six identical Armada computers for my own Proving Grounds room. But I'd need a place to put it first, so if anyone has an extra house... or several million dollars and we'll turn Britannia Manor II into a Wing Commander hangout.)

(I would also need five friends.)

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

Unfortunately, you can't buy just ONE battery. But $5 will get you 25 of them. Apparently for $6 I could have had 125... but really, one lasted a decade, so I should be set for the next two and a half centuries (seriously, though, free CR2032s at LOAF's place!)

I was a little nervous when I had to do this on the Mac and found that it was as easy as pie; pull the case open (no screws!) and it's just like replacing the battery on a TV remote.

Unfortunately, Karga's innards were not as intelligently designed and the whole thing was awkward. First of all, the battery was located EXACTLY BEHIND the LAPC-I (world's longest ISA card) so I had to remove it first. And then there was no obvious way to get the old battery out, so I just had to kind of press it into it scooted out of its clip (there's probably a right way to do that, but I don't know what it is.)

Of course, I should stress that general idiocy doesn't just apply to the ABit corporation's motherboard design group: despite telling my brain that I should absolutely remember the orientation of the old battery I still managed to get it wrong and have to take the giant ISA card out a SECOND TIME to flip it around.

So, next up was plugging in the external the modem and no one is dumb enough to screw that up. I know this is normally where I point out that wait, it turns out I *am* that dumb... but no, no problems.

The next question was: how do I test the modem and NIC in Armada without a network or phone line? Luckily, Armada is actually pretty good about telling you it can't find your network setup. Of course, the process of checking reminded me of one more thing: in addition to the original game's modem battles and IPX play in Proving Grounds, straight Armada also has a "Netbios" mode.

Origin Games on the Auction Block

It's your last chance to get part of former Origin employee Rhea Shelley's collection of classic games and artifacts! He is auctioning the unsold games and items through eBay and the lineup includes everything from Ring Quest to Ultima IX! Highlights for WingNuts include a mint first edition Wing Commander I and a nice copy of Kilrathi Saga. I'll be bidding, and so should you! You can find the full list here. It all ends in just four days!

Nice To See The Name In Print

The rumor mill has been quiet since news first broke about a possible new Wing Commander project in development by Chris Roberts, but st3lt3k has uncovered one more interesting tidbit. He's located an entry at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website for Wing Commander Productions, Inc. It links to a filing endorsement submitted on January 10, 2011 that certifies the company with the state. That's about as much as can be gleaned from this piece of the puzzle, as most fields on the document are blank and it was submitted by a third party filing company.

Garriott Ultima Rumors Quashed

It's a different story when it comes to Origin founder Richard Garriott, who was recently interviewed by Eurogamer. In the article, he's quoted as saying that he would be interested in rejoining the Ultima franchise and that high level discussions on the subject have taken place. However, several days of back and forth have cleared things up quite a bit. Garriott's spokesman has confirmed that any talks between the two have been in the past and general in nature, and Portalarium projects such as Ultimate Collector and Ultimate RPG are the current focus.
"Sure," answered Garriott, when asked whether Ultimate RPG could become UO2. "Yeah - theoretically that would be possible.

"We've actually talked to Electronic Arts about [Garriott leading Ultima Online again]. I would love to have access to the Ultima property. We've had discussions at very high levels with Electronic Arts about access to the property.

"So far we've not put a deal together, but of course, yeah, I would be very open to it." Regardless of whether an EA deal is struck, Garriott said Ultimate RPG will "clearly" be a spiritual successor to Ultima Online.

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

Update: We've now gotten clarification from Garriott's spokesperson, who stated, "Richard is not CURRENTLY having conversations at high levels with Electronic Arts regarding the Ultima franchise. He never said that he is. I can assure you, however, that those conversations have taken place in the past."

Avoid the 'Roids!

Avacar continues to make advancements to the online version of Wing Commander Tactical Operations. The latest coding improvements revolve around asteroid collisions and missile tracking. As the current scenario is based around quite a few rocks, this ups the peril facing the competing fleets. You can check out the browser-based game yourself here and follow along via the TacOps Forums.

Asteroid collision is now coded. There may be some changes, based on response from Ironduke over in the core coding thread. Additionally, this in no way reflects any line-of-sight code.... i.e. you can definitely still shoot through/past asteroids without any problems.

That said, if you try to fly through one, as per the rules, some dice will be rolled and you'll potentially smash into an asteroid. Also: it really hurts. This work also laid down some of the initial groundwork for flak processing (although not for flak firing).

All of you: pay close attention to ship movement and any anomalies. Teaching it to smash into asteroids involved putting in all the hooks for collisions. The following algorithms were indirectly affected by these changes, and may no longer work (to whatever extent they once did) so look out carefully for bugs in these areas:

  1. All ship movement, especially when they're on the same square as anything
  2. All missile movement
  3. The missile 'chase' algorithm
  4. Movement listings in the 'field reports'
  5. The ship damage algorithm was extended to do 'raw' damage type; this may have impacted how ships receive damage, but I don't think it will. Watch for shots getting through shields unfairly.

So, who will be the guinea pig to smash into an asteroid? (I have a few other features finally on the books; when they're all in place, I'll probably spawn more ships for this purpose, or start a smaller, new game).

Equipment Encountered from the Antares Quadrant to the Tri-System

capi3103 has completed another batch of cool tabletop RPG tokens, and these come from an impressive variety of Wing Commander sources. The first image below is an ordnance sheet, and it doesn't just pack missiles! Also included in the lineup are a vast assortment of powerups from Wing Commander Arena, plus satellites and miscellaneous asteroids. The other two sheets include the combined fleets of Privateer 2, which was so many ships that it had to be split over two pages. In addition to the eighteen playable fighters, there are tokens for all the military fighters, pirate craft, capital ships and bases. There's lots to see here! Can you recognize them all by silhouettes? Check out previous sheets here.

Alright, guys. I was able to get the last of the silhouettes I needed this morning for the ordnance sheet and the ones I had problems with have been fixed. Could not find a mesh for the prototype station mentioned on p.38 of Star*Soldier; I figured it either wasn't in there with the rest of the Arena meshes, or it was a composite object of some sort. Either way, I made the executive decision to say WTH and just go with something other than a top-down view. Silhouetted the prototype on Star*Soldier's front cover. Also finished making missile silhouettes. I took a few liberties with the silhouettes for missiles, simply because the same picture was associated with several different types of missiles in Prophecy (for example, the ImRec also represented the LRImRec and the EnLRImRec). Some of y'all might catch the difference, but I figure the average Joe wouldn't really care that much. I also took a slight liberty by changing the yellow Arena powerups to a light orange; I figured it would be easier to look at on a white background. Orange powerups from Arena are a darker orange color. The Stealth powerup (the only white powerup in Arena) is black instead, for what I hope is an obvious reason.

So I can at long last proudly present the ordnance sheet to y'all. This sheet is specifically meant to go with the traditional basic Prophecy and Arena sheets, but there is no real reason why it couldn't be used to augment any of the other existing sheets. It includes four copies of each missile type from Prophecy, four copies of each of the satellite types from Arena, four copies of each Arena powerup as listed in Star*Soldier, 21 asteroids (using 14 different models), and 21 mines (using three different models).

The Privateer 2 set comes on two different sheets (which was necessary owing to the large overall number of unique craft that appear in P2). The set contains four copies of each player-useable craft in two different colors (one for friendlies and one for hostiles), three copies of the Gea transport series in two different colors, two copies of all other transports in two different colors, one copy of the spacedude and one copy of the Talon in two different colors, eight copies of each military fighter, four copies of each military capship, four copies of each pirate fighter, four copies of each pirate shuttle, three copies of each pirate cruiser, six copies of both Kindred fighter classes, one copy of the Krono, one copy of Kastagan, Draenor and Kappa Labs, two copies of all five types of cargo pods, two copies of each of the various station types, two planet tokens, a nav buoy token, a jump gate token, three satellite tokens, three laser satellite tokens, and four copies of each missile type in the game. There should be enough there to conduct a pnp version of Privateer 2 or to perform homebrew missions in the same era. I think I've got everything in, but y'all be sure to let me know if something's missing.

World War 2 Film Follows Suit

AD found a neat Wing Commander connection in the new movie Project Arbiter. The short film features an OSS soldier during World War 2 engaging the Nazis in an elaborate stealth suit. Prior to production, the film's producers attempted to buy a costume from the Wing Commander Movie to be the stealth suit but were outbid. They instead used Wing Commander's design as a basis for an original mockup. I think the Arbiter design looks most like the marine combat uniform, but there are also similarities to the standard flight suit and Pilgrim traitor outfit. They all share common design elements. What do you think?
Project Arbiter is a 20-minute sci-fi espionage short film that demonstrates how a small quiet victory tips the balance of power and foretells the outcome of World War II.

Set in 1943, the height of WWII, this is a story about an experimental O.S.S. unit code named Project Arbiter. Thousands of feet above Northern Europe a small plane carries a skeleton crew of the Allies best, including Special Fields Op. Captain Joseph Colburn. His handler, Major Thomas Hardy does a final review of the mission's grim intel: infiltrate a mysterious villa on the Polish border and uncover its secrets. Colburn emerges donning a prototype suit, which can temporarily render its occupant invisible. As the plane's bay doors howl open Colburn begins to put on the skull-faced helmet when the plane is rocked by an anti-aircraft shell. Rapidly losing air pressure and altitude, now there's no question... this is a one-way mission.

Here's an interview with the filmmaker and a trailer.

Mike had spoken to a couple of Hollywood costume makers to build a custom suit for the Arbiter to wear. I suggested that it might be cheaper to find a costume from another movie to modify. There was an auction of props and costumes coming up that had a space suit from the movie ‘Wing Commander’. We lost the auction, but Robert used a picture of the costume as a base for Photoshopping what the final suit could potentially look like. After losing the auction, Mike started to look at the Hollywood costume places again. Every bid that we got at that time was cost prohibitive, and it seemed as if it might just be too expensive. Then, I suggested we contact a Cosplay fan to construct the suit. Mike looked around and finally ended up contacting Blue Realm Studios, who had built some great Master Chief suits from Halo. They were excited to step up to the challenge of making Mike’s idea, and Robert’s visual concept into a reality.

More Wing Commander Appears on the 'Tube

Here's another funny reference to Wing Commander in a television show from the '90s. This one comes from the Viper episode "Ghosts," which aired on January 14, 1994. It features an evil character giving a little girl a copy of Privateer. This show aired less than three months after the original game was first released, so the quote, "Look, Mom! It's the latest edition of Privateer!" is somewhat awkward. Later in the show, another character is seen "playing" the game, which is actually a snippet from the introduction. It's pretty amazing how much Wing Commander popped up back in its classic years. You can watch the scenes/show for yourself on YouTube here and here.

Ek'rah Skabak erg Thrak'Chip munks Rag'nith

LOAF dug up an interesting media tie-in here. In a July 1992 episode of Nickelodeon's Doug, Doug wins a "Super Pretendo" and becomes addicted to a video game "Spacemunks." Rather than the Kilrathi, the main foe is a race of ferocious chipmunks. The timing and imagery pictured below show how it's one of a number of Wing Commander inspirations in mid '90s pop culture. You can even download Doug's Lost Weekend and see it for yourself here. That's a very appropriate episode title!

Wing Commander Sale Kicks Off at GOG

The big holiday sale at Good Old Games is here, and the deals are simply irresistable! Almost their entire catalog is on sale at 50% off, which means most games are just $3. An often overlooked feature is all of the bonus materials included along with the software. Each title comes with bonus art, behind-the-scenes material, scanned documentation and more. This means that Wing Commander 1, 2, 3, Privateer, the Fleet Action novel and multiple Official Guides can be purchased for under $10 in total - amazing! Hit the graphics below to get your copies.



Don't forget the other Origin games either. The Crusaders are in the top ten of the Action genre and Ultima VII is currently rated as the best selling game across all genres combined! Of course, the Wing Commanders are still holding their own in the top ten of the Shooters category too.

Ship Viewer Released for Secret Ops

Quarto has put together an awesome little program for Wing Commander Secret Ops. The patch is based on the ship viewer in Wing Commander Prophecy, but this version adds all of the new Secret Ops ships, Terran capships, Kilrathi designs and even Nephilim vessels. It also shows alternate versions of some craft, such as the Midway with plasma gun and the destroyed model of certain ships. It's really impressive how many models are in the game.

Just unzip this small file (60 k zip) into the Secret Ops folder, and then click on the small sphere above the holographic Cerberus in the game's ready room (normally the "Prophecy" easter egg). It may be worthwhile to set this up on a separate game installation, since it could temporarily impact normal function. Quarto has additional notes below. Let him know what you think at the CIC Forums.

I've cooked up a rough-and-dirty ship viewer for Secret Ops. This mod (if I may even call it that) does the following:
  • Replaces the easter egg with the object viewer.
  • Breaks SO completely - with this thing installed, you will not be able to play through the campaign (which also means that you may have trouble using this mod with a savegame in place... but it just possibly *might* work, unless you try actually flying a mission).
  • Adds every single ship from WCP and SO to the object viewer. I've also modified the text files, adding names for all those other ships - but only names. Stats are only available for those ships that already had them in WCP. Apart from ships, there are also various other objects - the cargo container, the ejection pod, buoys, capship missiles, etc..
  • Adds a few other curiosities. There's a couple of objects included in SO that were never used in the game: ◦The Copernicus-class research vessel from the WCP intro (note: the mesh files included in SO are actually broken, so I'm including fixed mesh files with this viewer - the credit for these files goes to KillerWave).
    • The mining probe (or whatever it is) from the WCP intro (also seen in the first mission of UE).
    • An unknown hull that I have no idea about. The file is called callisto.iff, but it is clearly not Callisto Station (which is under a different name). It appears to be a capship, not a station of any kind. I'm not sure whether this is a complete ship, or whether there should be components attached to it - it actually looks pretty complete.
    • An unused version of the Fralthi II cruiser wreckage from WCP, with debris included as part of the model. Presumably, this didn't work too well, because in the end they chose to use the wreckage alone, with the debris added separately as a kind of asteroid field.
    • An alien drone - and the only reason I can even identify it as a drone is because that's the filename, adrone.iff.
    • A weirdo alien buoy... with Kilrathi parts sticking out of it! I'm pretty sure this one wasn't used in WCP.
    • Some unused meshes probably meant for the Stellar Accretion Device. As you might recall from SO, the Stellar Accretion Device actually wasn't a single object - they placed a drydock and a relay station together with the wormhole cone. The wormhole cone is a separate ship... but it seems that they did consider creating a single capship that would include all three of these things as one object.

    While I'm at it, there's a few things that I found that are worth mentioning, but which are not visible in this viewer:
  • Power-ups. Yep, all the meshes are there for WCP's multiplayer powerups. I didn't include them in the viewer, because they have no textures - so it's impossible to make out any details anyway.
  • 3d planets (rather low-poly). Did they want to have 3d planets as part of the background? I don't know.
  • 3d terrain. That's right - there is a mesh in WCP called terrain.iff. I can only presume this was a test for planetside missions. This mesh, unfortunately, makes the game crash when I try to display it - so, we'll never actually get to see it. Keep in mind, the existence of this mesh does not actually mean that planetside missions were planned for WCP and cut out - as far as we know, no design doc for WCP has ever included planetside missions. This was probably a test conducted purely for technology's sake.
  • Missiles and gun bullets. I know these could probably be useful for you guys, but I haven't added them at the moment. It's just a chore, because there's quite a few of them - so, if anybody actually wants them, I'll update this package at a later date, but for the time being, they're not in there.

One final note. WCP's object viewer has some limitations - it was never really designed to display capships. What this means is that while it is possible to show an object that consists of a base mesh with child objects (after all, this mechanism is used in some fighters, e.g., the Wasp and its detachable booster, the Vampire and its rotating engine nacelles), it is not possible to show the child objects that would normally be attached to a child object. Or, in less technical terms - I can attach turrets to capships, but I cannot attach gun barrels to turrets. This is not a problem for most capships, but there are two whose silhouettes will be significantly different because of the missing barrels - the Cerberus and the Plunkett. Nothing I can do about that, unfortunately.

Secret Ops All Over Again

In order to use the ship viewer, you'll at least need the starter pack for the game. After WCSO's free distribution ended in 1998, the first starter episode served as a demo until the CIC was given permission to rehost all of the game's episode files in 2008. If you missed this one back in the day, get to downloading! Older Wingnuts waited all night for the 112 meg starter pack to finish on 1990s dialup connections, but most readers are now just a few minutes away from the Wing Commander fun! Don't forget the serial key generator and the fiction files that go along with each episode. The fiction link also includes the awesome Secret Ops teaser and trailers.

Main starter package (112MB)
Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4
Episode 5 - Episode 6 - Episode 7
Serial Key - Fiction Files

Wingnuts would also do well to check out Shades' extensive Secret Ops Guide. It includes detailed mission walkthroughs, complete stats, game history and more!

Lord British Lays Out Future Vision

Origin founder Richard Garriot de Cayeux has conducted a new interview with IndustryGamers. As usual, he has a lot of strong opinions about the evolution of the game industry, and he's got some high praise for Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts too. The article also explains Garriott's thoughts behind the emerging market for social/smartphone games and where the industry will go from here. In particular, his current philosophy is that the latest generation of mobile games represent a "third era" (with classic PC games filling the first era and MMO/online games being the second) of games, and smartphones will soon replace consoles as the dominant platform. You can check out the full article here. Thanks to Theo and Guilherme Mesquita.

Garriott's career spans the game industry from the Apple II days in 1979 to the present, where he is working at his newest company Portalarium on the next generation of gaming. Garriott created his first company, Origin Systems, along with his brother Robert, their father Owen and programmer Chuck Bueche. Origin Systems produced many notable games, industry luminaries (such as Warren Spector), and several important companies were created by Origin Systems alumni (including id Software and Digital Anvil). Origin Systems was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1992, and Garriott left to found Destination Games in 2000. Destination Games was acquired by Korean gaming company NCSoft less than a year later. Garriott left in 2008 and founded Portalarium, where today he's busy creating a new game to once again advance the state of the art.

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RGC: That's right. As we've grown, we constantly try to find people to promote into leadership positions and form new teams - however, it rarely works. Much more commonly someone arrives on the scene or emerges as a super-talented individual. To make a top movie, you have to be super talented, to make a top game you have to be super talented, to write the best book ever written you have to be super talented. You can pick up skills on the job and you can refine your skills, clearly, but the very special talent that is required to truly be a top developer of any creative property type is not something that you can start life as B talent and a few years later emerge as an A talent. At least not commonly, it's sort of a lifestyle attitude that begins with people at a very young age. You can see they've got a top talent even before they have all the skills all they need. Those are very rare. For example, in the history of Origin, we really had 2, in 20 years, Richard Garriott, myself, who could develop Ultimas, we had Chris Roberts who could develop Wing Commanders, and those were the two triple-A hitmakers in our company. We had a couple of B+ guys, Warren Spector and Tony Zurovec [designer of Crusader: No Remorse] were sort of our B+ guys, and Warren went on to become an A player, but I don't even know what Tony's doing any more. But the same thing is true for almost any company, you go back over time with, people who are triple A talent, who have pretty good odds of making a hit, and then there's everybody else.

Cover Your Ears and Look

JasonRocZ has finally rendered the Nephilim Earwig support ship from Star*Soldier. Along the Puffer and Tarpon, these are an attempt to bring previously silhouette-only ships into a game. This design captures the essence of the creepy craft pretty well.

I'm still working on gameflow images, etc... Here's another ship, the "Earwig," based on the Star Soldier shape. The size of the ship is a little more than half of the Nephilim transport. It's meant to be some type of specialized fast transport/jammer ship.

New Counters Demonstrate Massive Depth of Wing Commander Fleets

capi has made several more sets of cool Wing Commander counters to use in tabletop Wing Commander games or RPGs. Even if you don't have an opportunity to try them out in battle, it's really fun to look through all the silhouettes. It's also great how they cover so many different Wing Commander games. From left to right, the depictions below represent the fleets of Wing Commander 4, Prophecy, Arena, Privateer, an alternate Armada set and a general Confed/Kilrathi logo sheet. Even more are coming soon!

The WC4 includes six copies of each Confederation fighter (including the Bearcat) as well as four copies of each Confederation capship (including the Vesuvius-class). I did include the Evansville-class in with the Confed craft and there are two copies. A single copy of the Ella Superbase is also included. UBW forces have eight copies of each of their fighters and 4 copies of each of their capital ships. Keeping with the convention I set earlier with the silhouette, the Lance fighters are designated "Dg" on the sheet (for Dragon); the UBW has eight copies of this craft. The Black Lance also have a half dozen Dragons of their own done as a reverse silhouette (not as hard as it may sound; just needed a different coat of paint in GIMP). The Kilrathi have six Dralthi-IVs, the only craft they are identified with in the game. Pirate craft include nine copies of Razors and Arrows and eight Thunderbolts. Miscellaneous counters are light in the set; they include two copies of the basic missile types, including Leech Missiles, Maces, and MIPs. One copy each was included for Starburst and Coneburst missiles; kinduva cop-out, I know, but those missiles really kinda suck anyway. Rounded out the ordinance with two Flash-Paks. The set has only two mines, two nav points, and two asteroids, so this may be a set that may benefit from the use of the forthcoming ordnance sheet. There should otherwise be plenty to cover a pnp campaign version of Wing Commander 4 and to make homebrew missions from the same era.

The Prophecy sheet includes Confederation, Kilrathi and Nephilim craft. Confed has seven copies of each fighter type, plus three copies of each of the "black ops" craft you find in Special Ops. Three copies of the Midway-class and Hades-class are included as well as four copies of the Pelican-class transport. Four copies are also included of the two shuttle classes as well as five copies of the Seahawk SWACS. The Kilrathi have four copies of Dralthi-IV, Vaktoth and Kamrani, and one copy of a Fralthi-II class cruiser. For the bugs, it's six copies of each fighter (twelve for the "composite" craft, namely the Skate and Remora) and four copies of each capital ship class (except for the Tiamat, which only has two copies). As previously mentioned, this set will be dependent upon the ordnance sheet, but otherwise should have plenty to cover a pnp campaign version of Prophecy or Special Ops, and to make homebrew missions from the same era. When combined with the Arena sheet, there is likely enough there to cover a pnp homebrew version of the Nephilim War.

Not much to say about the Arena sheet. There are eleven copies of each craft. And I do mean each: all eighteen playable fighters, and both classes of battlecruiser. I may ultimately craft versions of the various playing fields, though I'd need to know more about Arena before I could even begin designing those. Meantime, the sheet is there for homebrew missions in the Arena era.

I am particularly proud [of the Privateer sheet] (never would've thought going into that one that I'd be able to fit everything onto one sheet). This sheet spots five copies of all Confederation craft (counting militia Talons as Confed craft), four copies of all Kilrathi craft, ten pirate Talons, five Retro Talons and five Retro Salthis (using the Shok'lar silhouette, naturally), and five copies of all civil craft in two different colors (one to denote friendlies and the other to denote hostiles, like unfriendly Demons). The set also includes a dozen asteroids, four copies of every missile in Privateer (including torpedos), two copies of mining bases, planets and refineries, a copy of New Constantinople and Perry Station, and two copies of most of the in-game commodity tokens (slaves and ejected pilots only got one copy, unfortunately). Finally, I rounded out the set with one copy of each of the Steltek craft in the game: the Drone, the Scout, and the Derelict. This set should be sufficient to play any pnp campaign versions of Privateer and Righteous Fire, and to make homebrew missions from the same period.

A revised Armada sheet. It has the same selection of ships as the first sheet I produced in the traditional colors; the difference is that this set includes twenty-six mining base tokens, thirteen shipyard tokens, and thirteen fortress tokens of various strengths. In short, the new set could be used to play a pnp version of Armada's strategic aspect (while the original would be good for use with dogfights).

A "logo sheet". Basically, this sheet includes 110 counters with the Confederation logo on them, and another 110 with the Kilrathi logo on them. My original intent with this sheet was, again, a pnp version of Armada's strategic aspect; these tokens would be used to denote territorial holdings (like the markers you find in the original versions of Axis and Allies; that kind of usage). I suppose they could be used for any number of things.

Let's Get a Few Things Straight...

A couple people sent in notes about the new Escapist article on the space sim genre. The piece hop-scotches around the history of space shooters and touches on Wing Commander here and there. Without going into great detail, there's quite a few inaccuracies. A companion timeline was also created to go along with the story. Its info graphics get some dates wrong and take time to rag on the WC Movie and Arena, but forget to mention significant games like Wing Commander IV or the Star/Freelancers.
Wing Commander Prophecy [mistakenly uses a picture from Star Giants and cites an incorrect release date]: The new Vision Engine empowered what was intended to be the first of a trilogy. Despite critical acclaim, poor sales and the financial situation of Origin Systems allowed only an expansion (Secret Ops) to be distributed online in 1998.
The trilogy is an oft-repeated, but debunked, story that still commonly makes the rounds. The game sold better than Wing Commander 4 on a fraction of the budget, and Origin's success with Ultima Online put the company in great financial shape. So good, in fact, that Wing Commander fans got an entirely free 50-mission follow-up game released during an exciting online event the following year...

Ultimate Collector Announced

Richard Garriott's company, Portalarium, has announced its next game: Ultimate Collector Garage Sale. It's a social networking app that revolves around hunting down various collectibles and decorating your house with them. There are thousands of items to search for, and the game integrates with actual merchants to provide opportunities to buy certain items in real life. The game's executive producer is former Wing Commander vet Dallas Snell, and Richard has big ideas about the mass-market appeal of this game and the groundwork it lays for Portalarium's future.

AUSTIN, Texas--Portalarium™, an Austin-based publisher and developer of premium quality games for social networks and mobile platforms today announces the creation of the company’s first original social network game, Ultimate Collector™: Garage Sale. The game is being developed under the guidance of hall-of-fame designer Richard Garriott and will introduce a new category within the social media space, shopping and collecting. The game is nearing initial launch completion and will be moving into closed beta service just after the holidays.

“The collectible craze is growing by leaps and bounds in this country and it’s becoming popular in other parts of the world,” said Garriott, co-founder and creative director at Portalarium and an avid collector in his own right. “It’s been fueled by cable television programs such as American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. By the broadest definition, this is an unregulated multi-billion dollar industry in the real world. Ultimate Collector spans the gamut of that entire activity and is a way for treasure and bargain searching people to transfer that enthusiasm - that passion for the ultimate hunt - into the social network space.”

A collecting game goes hand in hand with how Richard Garriott has lived his life. His home in Austin is full of unique and unusual items he’s collected over the years: shrunken heads, vampire killing kits, quack medical devices, centuries-old armor, automata mechanical toys, space artifacts, swords and scientific instruments, many of which you’ll find in the game plus a whole lot more.

System Update Adds XBox Features

A major XBox 360 dashboard update was released today, and there's a few neat improvements. On top of greater Kinect voice recognition and cloud-based gamertag and savegame storage, a couple additions can directly enhance your Wing Commander Arena experience. The new "beacons" feature lets XBox and Facebook friends know that you're interested in playing a particular game. Wing Commander Themes that you've purchased are a bit more visible in the new screen layout as well. It's also a couple of years old now, but the XBox Live Party Chat feature makes keeping a group together between games of Arena way easier than the game's default postgame chat!

Update: New mobile apps for Windows Phone and iOS have been released that extend the new XBox Live features to your phone!

Big GOG Sale Starts Next Week

Good Old Games has announced a big holiday sale coming next week! Beginning Monday and continuing through January 2, almost all of the GOG catalog will be 50%, including titles from Electronic Arts. There are also a handful of non-Wing Commander freebies over the next few days. Check out the details here and start saving your pennies - Wing Commander download codes for just $3 make amazing stocking stuffers!
Then, on Saturday, we will start a season of holiday celebrations by awarding a number of game codes to you guys! We’ll have copies of Master of Orion I + II, courtesy of GOG and Atari, copies of Realms of Arkania I + II, and lots of codes for $5.99 and $9.99 games. We’ll be giving them away through social media (that’s Facebook and Twitter) as well as through our forums right here on GOG.com! Be sure to check in with us this weekend and you just might win an awesome game or two from us.

Finally, we’re starting our winter sale with a huge bang--we’re giving anyone a free copy of Empire Earth Gold Edition for 48 hours. Starting on Monday 12 December at 11.00 GMT and running until Wednesday 14 December at 10.59 GMT, anyone can add Empire Earth: Gold Edition to his or her shopping cart for free as a holiday gift from us to you!

Also, starting on Monday at 11.00 GMT, GOG.com is adding virtually every single game in our catalog for 50% off from now until 2 January 2012. Pick up games from fantastic publishers and developers like EA, Interplay, Atari, Activision, Sierra, and many more for half off this holiday season!

Have Some Wine With Your Wing Commander

Here's some additional information on the Wineskin technique of making Windows games playable in the MacOS. If you missed the original news post during the Birthday celebrations in August, this is the process that was used to make the Macintosh version of Wing Commander Standoff. While the Mac version of DOSBox is ideal for the older games, this method is good for newer games like Prophecy (that weren't ported to Mac).

wcnut has provided some helpful more background information:

I had personally discovered this technique of running Windows .exe's in MacOSX called a Wineskin

It is a technique of running Windows applications by wrapping an entire Windows application with all files in a bundle with an unmodified Wine in a neat single application.

Wine is a very common tool for running Windows applications under a Unix operating System. It seemed a perfect tool for running Standoff in MacOSX without having to modify SecretOps in any way. I asked an expert in doing this over at the portingteam.com forums and also asked him to get in contact with you about the project which he very kindly agreed.

As I'm sure you know we already released Standoff for the Mac through it. To install all one need do is download the dmg file, open it and copy the Standoff.app and the Secret Ops link to wherever they want (two must be together) and double click to launch.

The process is used only for Windows applications, but to get playing around with the Wineskin winery is rather simple. The GUI for doing so is very straight forward, and their documentation is pretty good if one isn't sure some of the functions. It is setup to be just like installing a program in Windows. (So you need to own the game although standoff, being free, is an exception and can be distributed)

But actually getting a program running can be very tricky and is rather hit and miss. Fist you have to check the Wine HQ to see if the program can possibly be run in Wine in the first place. Many can't. Mostly it is a lot of reading of crash logs to try to figure out what libraries a game needs, and even then it is very likely you will run into little quirks, such as sound cutting out or joystick support not working. (Standoff/SO were very lucky in this regard and work perfectly.) Many applications like Xwing vs. Tie Fighter run just fine but without the joystick are unplayable. And I'm told OSX wine is a little behind in the regard when compared to linux.

One quirk in Prophecy for instance is that DVD movies can not play. The game will CTD as soon as a cutscene is loaded. I have not been able to find a workaround.

Kilrathi Concept Designs Fill Fearsome Fleet

Here's another batch of Cybot's "K-rathi fictions." Some of the ships in his fleet are directly modeled after known designs, and others are new inspirations that simply borrow classic Kilrathi styling. When they're all pictured side-by-side, it can even be hard to tell which is which. A few of the models are pretty innovative without losing their common design theme. Lightwave files for each ship are available at the CIC Forums here, and texture artists are needed to take the ships even further.

Nomination Time Comes Again

It's already December, so that means it's almost time to hold our annual Fan Project & Web Site of the Year contests! Before actual voting begins, Wingnuts have a chance to nominate their picks in each category. Email your nominations here, and check out some of the past winners below.
Fan Projects of the Year Runners Up
2010 Astro Commander's Mini Models DirectDrawHack
2009 Standoff Gemini Gold
2008 Ascii Sector Flight Commander
2007 Standoff & WC Saga Ascii Sector
2006 WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod Das Erwachen
2005 Standoff Privateer Gemini Gold
2004 Standoff WC Saga
2003 Standoff & WC Saga Holding the Line & Vega Strike
2002 Unknown Enemy Kilrathi Empire & WC Saga BS
2001 Unknown Enemy Holding the Line & Vega Strike
Web Sites of the Year Runners Up
2010 Paper Commander Prelude to Darkness
2009 WC Saga Standoff & Paper Commander
2008 Paper Commander Standoff & WC Saga
2007 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Pericles' Paper Inside
2006 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Wedge's Wing Commander
2005 WC Saga Fleet Tactics
2004 Fleet Tactics Wedge's Wing Commander
2003 Wing Commander in Russia WC3D & Wedge's Wing Commander
2002 Wing Commander in Russia BlackLance HQ & WingCenter
2001 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central
2000 Acenet Central Wing Commander in Russia
1999 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central & HCl's WC Editing Site

Saga Teases New Video

WC Saga has released a new teaser for their Freespace mod. The clip is brief, but highlights some of the common scenes and themes of the game. You can check it out on YouTube or download an mp4 here.

While it does not depict an explicit moment in the Wing Commander Saga's story, we believe that it captures its tone. The teaser lasts for about thirty seconds and gives you a glimpse of our CGI animations. Click here, watch, and enjoy!

CORRECTION: Wing Commander Academy Art

Good news for those fearing that Mark Hamill's name would be spelled wrong on the Wing Commander Academy DVD box: it turns out the 'nebula' version seen last week on Visual Entertainment Inc.'s Facebook page is actually an older version. A new high-resolution image of the finished cover art, with a red planet, is now available. The set is just three months away, so get your preorder in now!

Watch the Adventure Again

centaurianmudpig has recorded a fantastic play through of the entire Wing Commander 1 winning track. All sixteen parts have been posted to YouTube to make one fun 3.5 hour adventure. Prometheus had a similar idea, and has started posting key missions that capture notable wins and losses for discussion. Visit the CIC Forums to join the conversation!
centaurianmudpig: I did a play through of Wing Commander on the winning path, which I upload to YouTube. I added annotations, which provided some tactics, which got less the further into the missions I got. You can find my play list for that here. I am considering doing a play through of WC2, which has already been done, or do something extra with WC (like visiting the different braches of the missions).

Prometheus: A while ago, I started recording myself when flying in DOSbox (Ctrl+Alt+F5). I want to make a habit out of doing this every time I fly a mission, and then afterwards, especially in the case of a failed mission, watch the replay and analyze what went wrong.

Maybe some people can learn from these videos. And maybe I can learn from people commenting on these videos. If you play WC1 and WC2 these days, maybe you could record your flying too, upload it and then share them here in this thread.

Another point in this is that I also hope to catch some glitches on video, so we can have a little "glitch collection" here. I remember some strange occurences, for example a Kilrathi Ace turning invisible (not cloaked!), or these spontaneously exploding Salthi I talked about in another thread. In the "Port Hedland 3" video above you can already see a little glitch during the briefing (the map isn't displayed quite right)...

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