Isn't That The Guy From Wing Commander III?

Josh Lucas, the actor who played Jace "Flash" Dillon in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, recently sat down with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Canada Broadcasting Company program George. Lucas was on the program to talk about his work on the new television series, "The Firm." During their conversation, the two also spoke about Josh's role in Wing Commander III and what it was like working with Mark Hamill. The conversation is interesting in that Lucas admits to having never played Wing Commander III. The full interview will air on Monday, April 2nd on the CBC.

Thanks to Wingnut TCSTigerClaw for finding and pointing out the clip.

Dozens of High Quality WC Models Available

With all of the fan mod excitement recently in the air, this is a reminder that the CIC hosts a large archive of Origin's ship models. It includes almost all of the ships from Wing Commander 2 & Privateer, plus background objects and location renderings. Most are available in .3ds format and are much more detailed than the final versions seen in game. Fans can check out the package here (230 meg zip). If you do something fun with these, please show it off to your fellow Wingnuts!
3D models used in the production of the game--ships, weapons, environments, it's all there... and incredibly detailed. Every 3D model was created with high resolution graphics and then reduced to a small bitmap for the game itself.

Saga Download Tally

It's been about a week since Wing Commander Saga was released and so far our visitors have downloaded roughly 2.6 terabytes worth, or about 800 complete copies. The first 48 hours were particularly busy. Our 100mbit connection was maxed out almost the entire time, and some smaller download locations were knocked offline. Fortunately there was a good supply of download mirrors. File hits outnumber complete downloads 25:1, so fans were eager to play and turned their download accelerators up to eleven.

TCS Majestic Missing in Action in Gemini Sector

Iceblade writes to let everyone know that the Wing Commander Gemini Sector MUSH will soon be moving to a new location. It can currently be found via Mud Connector, but interested players should contact Iceblade to stay in the loop. New pilots (and marines!) are also welcome, and background information on the game can be found here.
The Gemini Sector MUSH will soon lose its hosting, but there is a group of us moving it to a new server and taking over management.

So fellow pilots of the TCSF, the TCS Majestic is lost behind enemy lines in Gemini Sector. Do you wish to seek her out and rescue her from destruction?

Join other pilots across different squadrons as the fight against the Kilrathi enters its final decade. Fly Rapier IIs, Sabres, and Stilettos against the ships of the line from the Empire of Kilrah. Sit down with other pilots and crew in the First and Last bar. Experience the highs and lows of fighting on the frontline during the Great Kilrathi war.

Join the groundpounding Marines as the fight is taken directly to the cats face to face. Or join the crew of the TCS Majestic. Interact with the pilots and marines aboard. Control the Majestic in climactic battles. Aide the wounded, either man or machine.

In addition to smaller combats and role-playing, there will be major story-driven combat-oriented events held weekly.

If you are interested, then email me at my yahoo account: phillipogden1. We will contact you in a week or so with the new server location.

McDowell Honored with Walk of Fame Star

Wing Commander actor Malcolm McDowell finally received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week. You can find a cool video of the award ceremony here - it's great to hear his characteristic voice! In addition to his past video game performances in Red Alert 3 and Fallout 3, Mr. McDowell will soon be appearing in the theatrical movie release of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D as well as a steady stream of other film and television roles. Congrats Admiral!

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored actor Malcolm McDowell with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Pig n’ Whistle British Pub at 6714 Hollywood Boulevard. He joins fellow British luminaries Emma Thompson and Colin Firth on the coveted Walk of Fame. In honor of this momentous occasion, The Pig n’ Whistle has named a special drink in the name of McDowell called The Clockwork Orange.

The celebration was emceed by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Leron Gubler. McDowell's 2,465th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled on Friday, March 16th, 2012 in the Category of Motion Pictures. Guest speakers included actor Gary Oldman, filmmaker/musician Rob Zombie, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, from TNT's "Franklin & Bash" and director and longtime McDowell friend Mike Kaplan. Celebrity guests included Reed Diamond and Garcelle Beauvais also from "Franklin & Bash."

ST Armada 2 Mod Adds WC Movie Warships

Janos Miklos has posted some new screenshots from his Wing Commander mod for Star Trek Armada 2. The latest images show off the ship designs he's imported from the Wing Commander Movie. His Bengal class carrier is looking really good in the game engine, and a Kilrathi Snakeir is pretty sharp too. A bonus Kilrathi warship of Janos's own design is included below as well. Try out the preliminary release, an Armada 2 port of WC Invasion for the original ST Armada, here.
I thought it would be a good idea to update the Invasion mod by adding the Kilrathi race. This mod is also a conversion from Armada 1 to Armada 2, practicing my knowledge acquired in the way to create mods for Star Trek Armada 2. I also have my own 3D models from the Wing Commander Movie, such as the TCS Tiger's Claw strike carrier and the Kilrathi Snakeir carrier.

New Poll Examines Extremely Versatile Warship

The new CIC poll asks what everyone's favorite Confed cruiser class ship is. While most of the action that we see in Wing Commander is carrier-based, cruisers vastly outnumber their larger fighter-carrying cousins and can hold their own in capship battles as well. Many cruisers carry their own fighter compliment, and they are often built to fill specialized needs of the fleet. We can predict which few might take an early lead: Waterloos and Tallahassees were prominent escorts throughout the series, and the Hades and Plunkett both awed players in Secret Ops. The Concordia class supercruiser from the WC Movie also has quite a few fans. Some of the lesser know ships were also important though. Freedom Flight notes that the TCS Austin from The Secret Missions 2 was a Gettysburg class cruiser, and the WC4 novel added a class of heavy cruisers that the TCS Achilles belonged to. Last, but not least, the TCS Manassas is a light cruiser that shows up in the WC Academy episode "Chain of Command." Vote for your favorite above!

The old poll asked what Wingnuts' favorite game conclusions were. Wing Commander 3 & 4 were overwhelming favorites, followed by WC2's final mission in a distant third place spot. The captured stellar accretion device from Secret Ops, which served as the series' cliff hanger for a decade until Wing Commander Arena arrived, got no love with just 1% of the vote.

Kamekh Ni'lakh, Ki'ha Rakra Terran'ra

The latest game of Wing Commander TacOps Online is under way, and the pilots of the Confederation and Empire are dogfighting in a dense asteroid field. So far they're working through line-of-site, friend-or-foe and capship flak issues. There's also some neat new features such as "stacks" of asteroids and fighters occupying the same hexagon now constantly rotating through object icons. You can follow the latest progress at the CIC Forums or see the game(s) in action here. Watch out for those rocks!

Well the asteroid collision damage was broken. I've just fixed it. I had to refactor the entire damage-dealing path in the code, splitting it into a version for weapon-based damage and straight number damage. This means that, should I have made a mistake, all damage sources could now be broken. (More likely, we see everything still working, and the asteroid fields now doing damage). I suspect this may have inadvertently also fixed the flak fields, but I'm not sure.

Bonus question: Where does this post's headline come from!?

C&C Franchise Still Going Strong

The new Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances has just entered open beta. This entry in the C&C series is a free-to-play browser-based RTS MMO that takes place in the brand's "main" universe. On the other side of the franchise, C&C Generals 2 was also recently announced, and it'll be very interesting to see if Electronic Arts continues to include live actor cutscenes as they did in Red Alert 3 and Command & Conquer 4 over the last couple years. The series has also recently aligned with the Bioware label, which is also loosely attached to Ultima Online.
Phenomic™, the Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) studio dedicated to developing best-in-class free-to-play games, today announced that Command & Conquer™ Tiberium Alliances is now in open beta. The latest entry in EA’s Play4Free portfolio of games, Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances is a massively multiplayer online (MMO), browser-based, free-to-play strategy game that delivers a whole new way for players to experience the Command & Conquer Tiberium universe. Players harvest valuable resources, foster strategic alliances and engage in relentless battles as they strive for world domination. With in-game news and status feeds, players get frequent updates, creating a completely interactive and dynamic gameplay experience that has gamers strategizing, reacting, and adapting on the spot. The Open Beta goes live today globally at www.tiberiumalliances.com.

Save Earth in Wing Commander Standoff

With yesterday's release of Wing Commander: Saga, we should also remind Wingnuts of the other great fan mods. Wing Commander Standoff, which finished its five episode release in August 2009, is a mod built on a heavily modified version of Wing Commander Secret Ops. Whereas Saga looks at the events following the Earth Defense Campaign and preceding Wing Commander III, Standoff looks at the Earth Defense Campaign itself from the end of the False Armistice to the Battles of Warsaw and Sirius, and the epic conclusions near Mars and Earth. So after you've enjoyed Saga be sure to also check out Standoff, if you haven't already!

Wingnuts can download both a Windows and Mac OS X version of Standoff from their Download page.

But Wait, There's More!

Wingnuts not only have Saga and Standoff to choose from for fan mods. Over the years, several other fan projects were also completed. Make sure to also check out Unknown Enemy. Unknown Enemy is a fan mod of Secret Ops that takes place during the Nephilim Conflict.

Resident Rocket Scientist, eddieb, continues to work on Flight Commander, a moddable Wing Commander-inspired space combat simulator. There are a number of ongoing Flight Commander projects.

Avacar continues to work on Wing Commander TacOps. Gamers should be sure to drop by their forum as new games recently started. Interested users should download the manual from the TacOps website.

There's also ASCII Sector. It started out as a Privateer-inspired game but has moved beyond those aspects. It uses ASCII as a base for gamers to travel through a world still clearly inspired by its Wing Commander roots.

Wing Commander Saga Released

The long-awaited Wing Commander Saga fan mod is finally available for download! The story takes place in the same timeframe as Wing Commander III, but you play as a rookie pilot on the TCS Hermes. Saga is a standalone game that runs on top of an updated Descent: Freespace 2 engine. If you'd like to know more about the decade-long development cycle, Shotglass recently ran a cool feature on it.

Update: wcsaga.com is currently overloaded. Read the release notes here. Scroll down for download links.

Wing Commander Saga is currently available for Windows (Mac and Linux versions are coming soon), and has rather modest system requirements. The installer weighs in at a hefty 3.4 gigabytes, so we recommend some kind of download manager that can resume paused or failed transfers. Older Windows editions may have trouble unpacking a zip file of this size. If you experience any difficulties, use 7zip to extract the package. Here is the current list of mirrors:

WC Mush Expands Its Horizons

The Wing Commander New Horizons MUSH has been recently expanded. Since its debut last year, additional star systems have been added and there's more for players to do. The game also has a helpful website for getting new players up to speed. Text-based role playing is a bit of a lost art, so it's cool to see people so excited about it. Get started here!

For those fans of roleplaying/interactive fiction in the WC universe, the team from WC: New Horizons MUSH writes to let us know they've added some significant new code to the game in the last few months. Players of the game can now haul cargo jobs around the Enigma Sector to earn some pocket change. We're also converting our website to a 'wiki' format to expand our content for players new to MUSHes. With several story arcs running simultaneously, now is a great time for new players to join the game, even if you've never tried a MUSH before. See the 'Begin Playing' page on the website for more information.

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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.

Audience Award for Matthew Lillard

TheWrap reports that Wing Commander star Matthew Lillard has won an audience award at this year's SXSW for his directorial debut. Fat Kid Rules The World won in the category "narrative spotlight". Watch the trailer here.

Matthew Lillard's "Fat Kid Rules the World" and Joe Berlinger's Paul Simon documentary "Under African Skies" are among the additional audience award winners at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, which announced the top films in seven categories on Saturday.

"Fat Kid Rules the World," the directorial debut from actor Lillard ("The Descendants"), was voted best in the Narrative Spotlight section. Based on the young adult novel by K.L. Going, it concerns an overweight teen (Jacob Wysocki, left) drawn into the world of punk rock.


WC4 CD to DVD Patch Upgrades Movies

While the world waits and wonders what GOG will do after releasing WC3, there's something current owners of WC4 can do to jazz up their game. Fans with the CD version of The Price of Freedom can take advantage of an awesome patch (700 k exe) that allows both DOS and Windows editions to play the special DVD version's high quality movies. Popsicle Pete perfected the execution of this upgrade based on technology originally developed by gulikoza. It's easy to install, and all the files you need are the patch and VOB video download packs below. Even if you're not interested in enhancing your WC4 game right now, the movie zips are super fun and can be played in programs like VLC.
To streamline installation and setup, Pete's put together this exe (700 k) upgrade pack. It's designed to work with both the Windows and DOS versions. Simply run the installer and and it will prompt you to insert your CDs to install the game. At the end of the install, you will be asked if you want to open the appropriate folder to drag the DVD video packs in to.

Mass Drivers and Neutrons are a Winning Combination

CMDBob has finished his Raptor model, so his Bengals can now carry some heavy hitters. Like his other designs, Bob's Raptor has also been rendered in Confed shades of blue and green, plus a dashing red Border Worlds livery. The guns on this bird are pretty menacing! They'd make short work of the the Kilrathi fleet.
So yeah, what did I say was next... Ahh yes, the Fralthi! Might take a while, thanks to uni work, but I'll find a bit of spare downtime here and there.

Shotglass Looks Back at Saga's Development

As the release of WC Saga approaches, Shotglass' German WC hub is running a cool countdown feature for it. Each day they are posting old development screenshots and info bits, and it's pretty interesting to see the mod's progression from year to year. Knowledge of German is not required to appreciate the pictures, but Shotglass also has some historical notes that cover events in the game's development over more than a decade. A Google Translation is available here. Keep checking the site each day for new stories!
In October 2002 we were able to look at a first alpha version of Wing Commander Saga. Then still known as Battlegroup Serpent, the game took place in the Wing Commander 4 era. The concept was later abandoned completely. Here are our first impressions from 2002:

Recently we had the first alpha of the Wing Commander Freespace 2 Mod. The Alpha included the first mission from the mod. It was easy to install and we quickly came to enjoy this masterpiece.

We wasted no time and immediately started the first mission. We were surprised, even the briefing had been perfectly implemented. The next thing we looked at was the ship selection. We were pleasantly surprised when we noticed that there were already seven ships to choose from. It was Arrow (2 different versions), Hellcat, Thunderbolt, Bearcat, and the Dralthi (2 versions). I could not stop myself and started immediately with my favorite ship, the Thunderbolt. Even the loadout was already completed. We started the mission, we found ourselves with a maniac in the middle of our edge in space. We had to fend off only a few Arrows and then escort a transport to a jump point.

Magazine Snapshot Captures Final Stage of Roberts' Freelancer Involvement

This small inset comes from the November 2000 issue of PC Gamer. In a very brief interview with Chris Roberts, they ask him who he considers an up and coming game god, what advice he'd have and what project he's working on (the answer is Freelancer). The timing on this is interesting - this would have been actually recorded a couple months before November 2000 due to publishing lead times, but by December 5 of that year, Roberts had moved on from Digital Anvil and started getting more involved with movies.

Revamped Warships Swoop In

ScoobyDoo's latest models are a large capship hybrid and a sleek fighter update. The "Nova" is a light cruiser that takes the best design aspects of a Fralthi and pairs them with a Tallahassee fuselage. The A-20 Banshee has been polished into a more sleek and solid frame. Both ships look like they mean business!
Light cruiser Nova: some Fralthi, Tallie and FS2's Hecate. I was thinking something on the lines of the Savannah.

Armada's Banshee: I had to put some personal interpretation on it. I didn't want a Demon clone and the original had some really weird mesh designs, the sails, how the wings were barely attached to the hull (probably meant to fold up) and the fish nets on the wingtips. The wings are meant to rotate like the Vampire's engines, but the freespace engine doesn't support thrust vectoring like the Vision engine can, but it's ready to go if needed.

WC Saga Breaks Down Campaign

The WC Saga team has posted some new details about how the mod's campaign will work. Just like a real "in universe" character (and similar to how things worked in WC1), the game will assign you to various squadrons that each fly a particular fighter. Although the player does not fly off the TCS Victory, the game interweaves with some of the official WC3 events that occurred. It will also have 50 missions, and the pilots should actually see all of these, since the Freespace engine does not support branching like WC titles do.

You are shifted through several squadrons throughout "The Darkest Dawn" campaign, which consists of 50 missions. Each squadron flies a different fighter (and only that fighter type). Each squadron has their own wingmen and a squad leader. During missions you fly with these wingmen, and the squad leader too if he's on rotation to fly a combat mission. There is a Wing Commander in charge of the air wing, and on occassions you'll fly among him in combat.

Just as in Wing Commander, you fly patrols in elements of two fighters. If you are sent in a mission fully knowing there is going to be a stiff enemy presence, you go in flights of four. In more than one case, you fly as an integrated part of a strike team.

You will start off flying the Hellcat, then the Arrow, then Thunderbolt, then Longbow. You'll fly the Excalibur last. Due to the set FS2 engine programming there's not much we can do in terms of branching

Expect cameos from several notorious Kilrathi Aces of that period. We can't say which for now, but I will say that we made damn sure not to contradict the timeline, events and systems the Victory participated in during the official path seen in the WC3 novel.

Your carrier is the TCS Hermes. It fights in the forefront of virtually every operation of the Vega Sector Fleet, whether it is losing or winning. Some operations were mentioned in the WC3 guide, novel, and game.

New WC Mod Converts Star Trek Armada 2

Janos Miklos is currently working on converting the classic WC mod for Star Trek Armada into the Armada 2 engine. The direct port is already available as a 35 meg download, but Janos is also working on expanding the game and adding new ships. Several of the Wing Commander Movie designs that he is working to include are pictured below! He'll also be working on adding more Kilrathi in general, and you can follow the project here. Fans who are interested in this might also want to check out the WC Invasion mod for Star Wars Empire at War.

Happy Birthday, Wing Commander!

Thirteen years ago today, the Wing Commander movie arrived in theaters in the United States. Even after all this time, it's hard to properly quantify the film. While few would argue that Wing Commander was a rousing success, over a decade of analysis from fans and detractors alike has taught us about a strange film whose parts are greater than their sum. It is a movie with astounding contrasts, where incredible art direction and an amazing cast are shattered against impossible demands on editing and the limitations of an untried director's budget. It is also unquestionably different from any other 'game to movie' adaptation. Where all others are quick cash ins for game studios hoping to raise development money with a movie license, Wing Commander was a labor of love brought to the screen by series creator Chris Roberts.

The movie, perhaps unfairly, represents a great deal. It was the last great spectacle before our fandom's prairie years. Something that's simultaneously full of blame and wonder and potential and lost hope that it's nearly impossible to even remember how we felt about it on March 11, 1999. It was the end of innocence for many of us. For Chris Reid and I, who began this site when the frenzy over the movie was coming to a boil, attending the movie's premiere was the last great adventure of our childhoods. Even if I can't objectively claim it was a good movie, I will defend forever that it was an important one.

So happy birthday, Wing Commander. For all the crossed sabres over what the Rapiers look like and the slight pangs of embarrassment when Freddie Prinze Junior acts, you did something most of us can only envy: you tried something spectacularly different and fell on your face... with genuine grace. That's why you'll always have a place on my shelf.

Party like it's 1999!

Celebrate the movie's anniversary in style! We've come a long way since the film was first released in VHS and DivX format, and many new ways to see it have emerged. Aside from ordering the film on DVD, gaming consoles and other online services allow you to stream the movie over the net, some of them in HD!

This Milk Run Just Got A Little More Interesting

My personal feeling on the Wing Commander film are closely tied to my online history with the fan community. I first started interacting with other fans and reading news of an impending Wing Commander film online in the lead-up to Prophecy. Wing Commander: Home Sector - The Predecessor of WCNews had all kinds of cool news and rumors about the film. I remember being so excited that this movie was going to be made by Chris Roberts himself.

My reactions to the film itself were tempered by the fact that I had to wait for at least a month or more before my local Theater would play the movie. By that time I had heard all the complaints, and there was so much talk about how much better the novel was and how they had cut out all the traitor subplots and whatnot. When I finally got to watch the film, the film itself surprised me. It wasn't really horrible, just very flawed and somewhat flat in the end half. There was quite a bit that I felt the film got right buried under a bunch of what felt wrong.

Somewhere in there, something tweaked in my brain. You could say I'm a bit obsessive at times, and I think I can honestly say that I was fascinated by how something that seemed so promising could have ended up receiving the kind of reception it did. What went wrong? For all the talk about the missing scenes, would it have made a difference? Was there a better film - maybe even a good one - on an editing room floor somewhere?

In the last 13 years we've recovered some amazing behind the scenes material that I think every Wing Commander fan whether you like the film or hate the film owes it to themselves to read. As part of the WCpedia project, we've compiled as much info as we could on the film and it's making into one place. Check it out HERE.

There you will find links to various places that offer the movie for rent via streaming in HD, as well as info on various international versions of the DVD as well as international posters, behind the scenes articles, production photos, interviews, concept art, the scripts themselves, and more. Most notably I'd like to point out the shooting script which I've color coded so that you can easily tell what material either didn't make it into the final cut or that was moved or changed somehow in the editing process. You can find it HERE.

Magazine Showcases Golden Year

Here's an October 1996 PC Gamer spread that really highlights how busy Origin was during the mid '90s. This series of articles forms the "cover story" for the issue, and it begins with an interview with Richard Garriott, who was deep in the development of Ultima IX at the time. Embedded within that piece is a large sidebar that showcases the Wing Commander Academy television show, which had just premiered. A few pages later is a large feature dedicated to the upcoming Privateer 2 game, and that has a small inset about the soon-to-be-released Wing Commander Kilrathi Saga package. All of this is taking place just months after WC4 was released and shortly before Prophecy was announced. What a time to be a Wing Commander fan!
Origin's Wing Commander universe is about to grow bigger yet again, with another ambitious and star-studded interactive movie set on the fringes of the galaxy.

New Wallpapers Showcase Enhancement Patches

Wedge has put together two new beautiful wallpaper images, but unlike some pictures that are created "by hand" from talented Wingnut artists, these are essentially screenshots! The source for these is none other than the fifteen year old Vision Engine running the awesome OpenGL patch. It's very impressive how various fan updates have modernized Prophecy and Secret Ops for the 21st Century. These 1920x1200 images will fit perfectly on a typical 16:10 laptop monitor. Enjoy!
Was revising my screen-shot collection recently... made a couple that might be useful for some as wallpaper material. Nothing involved except the original game, the OpenGL renderer, and a bit of cropping.

Chirichan Shuttle Goes Back to the Future

Here's another fun model for Privateer 2 fans. The 28th Century Tri-System Chirichan Shuttle has been reimagined to look more like a conventional 27th Century Terran design. I definitely prefer ScoobyDoo's blue highlights over durasteel to the yellow and green tint.

You can add the P2 SH2A Shuttle, christened as "Aries" to the list.

The primary combat platform of the Chirichan pirate clan. SH2As are used for every type of operation: from average patrol, ordinary commerce and smuggling to direct attacks on Jincilla and military targets. The CIS maintains a SH2A, which it uses for covert operations.

Starshatter Goes Open Source

rscaper1070 wanted to share with space sim fans that source code for Starshatter has been released. This opens up the game for considerable modification, and there is an active mod community is coming together around it. You can find more information and example videos at the CIC Forums here.

I just wanted to stop by the CIC and make sure that everyone here was aware that the source code to Starshatter was released. A Starshatter Source Code Project is forming so anybody with coding skills that's looking for a hobby should check it out. The game engine has a lot of potential and the game itself is extremely easy to mod.

The full game can be downloaded for free (with the creator's blessing) at http://www.starshattermods.com.

RPG Race Review Requested

capi3101 continues to make steady progress on his Wing Commander RPG. In his comprehensive plan, status has gone from about two-thirds to three-quarters complete over the last few weeks. Subjects that have been fleshed out further in the rules include trading, commodities and environmental effects. The warship "creation system" that defines how players choose a balanced ship is being tested, and faction race profiles have also been typed up. capi's looking for people to help review the content that's been built so far - you can find everything in the project's Wiki here.
This last week saw the beginning of new material specifically for WCRPG, and as I mentioned in my last update, that effort began with the creation of the first three race profiles, specifically the Terrans, Kilrathi and Firekkans (Chapters 2.2.1, 2.2.2, and 2.2.3, respectively). After building a "generic race" image (a stick figure that says, in admittedly improper English, "I be sapient"), I moved on to the Terran profile. I was able to save a fair amount from the SFRPG Human profile on that one, so the Terran profile only took a day or so. The Terran image is one from WC3 of the bridge of Victory, shortly before Thrakhath issues challenge to Blair (and triggers Hobbes personality overlay). The Kilrathi profile proved a little trickier, taking two days and finally seeing completion Wednesday morning. I had originally picked an image of Prince Thrakhath from WC3 for the Kilrathi image, but later decided to go with one from WC2 (no offense to the folks that brought us WC3, but the Kilrathi in WC2 just look more like cats, IMHO). The Firekkan profile was done as a bit of double-duty work; see, when I was building the rules for creature creation in Chapter 10.2.7, I chose the Firekkans as the example for how to build a sapient race. So by building the Firekkans, I was also able to fill in those examples. The Firekkan profile was finished on Thursday, and I'm happy to report that Chapter 10.2.7 is now 100% complete. I also made some adjustments to the remaining blank profile pages to get them more in line with the format of the three completed profile pages this week.

If you're keeping track, that's four sub-Chapters completed just this week.

I would like a peer review of the three race profiles written so far, just to see what y'all think, to answer any questions and to see if there's anything particularly important that has been left out. The Terran profile is here, the Kilrathi profile is here, and the Firekkan profile is here.

Saga Beta Almost Concluded

As WC Saga continues to work towards completion, the game's beta test is starting to wind down. The team is also in the process of remastering the 2006 Saga Prologue to match the engine used today. It will be comprised of 5 of the 55 total missions advertised for the full game. You can check out and play the old version of the demo here.

The old missions have been given a new lease on life with updated autopilot sequences, the improved visuals of the final WC: Saga product, the tweaked AI, and some slightly updated story as a bonus. The new missions are an overall smoother experience and they lead naturally into the full campaign. Even if you are an experienced pilot, I think the introductory nature of the Prologue is worth the immersion into the atmosphere of the Wing Commander 3 timeline.

The kinds of bugs we’re running into right now:
* Minor spelling mistakes and typos. They always crop up no matter how perfect you may be. Spotted and corrected!
* Balancing has been corrected with the level of defensive fire from the Wellington during the last mission.

Amiga WC Computer Does What It Does Best

LOAF's Amiga Wing Commander Computer has made it back to the States, and it has a new name! The system has been dubbed 'Lazarus' after the ship from Action Stations that sufferred immense damage and then was restored. Most importantly, the sound has been fixed, which allows anyone in the general vicinity of LOAF's desk to hear some of the best Wing Commander audio around. Up next is an attempt to transfer the Amiga demo to the machine via null modem cable.
Good morning, everyone.

I have the news you've all been waiting for: the Amiga is home from New Zealand! The trip took a hair under three weeks and she traveled about 18,000 miles.

Most amazingly, she made it home in just four days! I guess I won the customs lottery on the return trip.

I can't say enough about the guy who fixed my Amiga. If for some reason you should ever need an Amiga repaired... he's the best game in town. The only game, probably, but he's also really, really good. And the repair cost less than the estimate... when has that EVER happened?

Why didn't you fix the broken memory holders? Because my fast RAM is stored on the Warp Engine card... so the SIMMs on the motherboard are useless to me. It didn't seem worth the $100 to replace them for the potential to add 16 megs of RAM (when I'm already at 130, far above what Wing Commander would ever want.)

So my dad and I (mostly my dad, working eyes and so on) put the Amiga back together step by step. We didn't EXACTLY have instructions so there was some fuzzy-memory-guesswork but everything fit together. After a little trouble booting (the CPU card wasn't seated properly) everything started up. And we had...

SOUND! Okay, you can't technically hear that photo but... it's pretty neat. Wing Commander Amiga music through my 5.1 system was pretty darned cool. I can't wait to play through the game on the Amiga.

Watch the Amiga Demo at Pix's

What's so cool about the Amiga WC1 Demo? Like the DOS WC1 Demo, it's not actually a playable package - the program simply uses source files to show off various elements of the game. It's also based on a prerelease version of the game and sports some unique differences because of it. Check out a video of the demo in motion at Pix's Origin Adventures blog here.
There is no sound or gameplay but there is a little original spiel and some of the cutscenes. The only changes I noticed on here were that the pilots are a lot more friendly when running for their ships,the cockpit visor slides in from a jaunty angle and the landing screen showing the ship damage has a very different colour scheme.

I would imagine that this was an extremely early preview long before the game was playable. Ultimately, the decision was made to drop to 16 colours so that it would run on A500′s whereas this demo makes use of a larger palette and looks all the better for it.

Classic Review Captures Academy Excitement

Here's another retro review from Heart of the Tiger. This is a 1993 preview of Wing Commander Academy by Computer Games Strategy Plus magazine, a frequent source of tantalizing WC info in the '90s. In recent years, we've encountered a few people who were surprised that Origin sold this mission builder as a standalone boxed game. It's a relatively barebones product by today's standards, but in 1993, fans were clamoring for such an item, and the ability to easily create simple missions made a very worthwhile purchase. The author does a great job of conveying the level of fun and excitement this package brought to fans!

There were fans of the original Wing Commander who complained that all that story stuff just got in the way of a really good action game. If you're one of them, then Wing Commander Academy is right up your alley. No nifty-keeno cut scenes, no sappy love interest, no boring mission briefings to sit thru, just plenty of kitty-cats to toast. Without the excess weight of those graphics and sound goodies the game weighs in at a trim 5 megs in size. So, unlike its predecessors, it is not a struggle to find space to keep it on your hard disk for that quick dogfight fix. Drag out the good joystick, 'cause the cheap one won't last very long with this game.

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Trading missions with other players will not be difficult though, as each mission file is only 1.5k. However, there is no way to lock or encrypt a mission, so your carefully set trap isn't guaranteed to surprise anybody, since they can just hop right into the editor and see the whole setup before they fly it.

But despire by nagging for more, this is one fun game. If you want to get your blood pumping, this'll do it. I had a very hard time writing this review; not because I had writer's block, or any of a million other mundane reasons, but because I had to stop playing to do it... So if ya'll will excuse me now, I have some kitty butt to kick...

Brings back memories of getting my EMS set up in order to play!

WC Saga Announces Upcoming Release

After more than a decade in development, the WC Saga mod has announced a release date! They have posted a 'final' trailer that highlight's the game's features and targets March 22, 2012 availability. The Darkest Dawn is looking better than ever in this latest clip. Hit play below or download the movie here.

You are cleared to launch, Wing Commander.

Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn has been in development for a decade. You have all been waiting for a long time, and so have we. The wait is finally over. The Wing Commander Saga team is happy to present you with the final Wing Commander Saga trailer! The trailer gives a preview of many of Saga's features, including a few that we have kept secret, but it also finally answers our most frequently asked question of "when is Saga's release date?" Check out the trailer and start the count down to launch!

TacOps Pilots Prepare for Combat

Don't forget to sign up for the next test games of Wing Commander TacOps! Two games are about to begin - one a small dogfight in the asteroids and the other a larger scale capship battle. This is an opportunity to both assist in the development of the online version of the game as well as learn how to play in a mock engagement. Read the rules and sign up at the CIC Forums here.

Scratching Posts Deployed for the Kats

Deathsnake has prepared a couple images to show off the latest progress for the Enigma 2666 mod. These are the classic Kilrathi starpost and supply depot. The models were made by Cybot and Zohrath, and Deathsnake textured them with FekLeyrTarg. Now the game's Kilrathi fleet has a place to dock and resupply!

WC vs History - The Coming of the Carriers

A long overdue update... my apologies for the delay.

"It is this method of delivery that I find so troublesome...Now if we were launching them from our heavy ships, which could withstand the pounding that the enemy is sure to put up, then I could see it. But to launch this attack from carriers? That still strikes me as nothing short of madness." – Admiral Nargth, 2634

The classic “Gun Club vs. Fly Boys” argument of the interwar Earth navies played out in the Kilrathi Imperial Court. How could a few dozen fighters launched from a venerable “floating volcano” replace the power of the big gunned battleship? It seemed preposterous to many and at first it nearly was. Naval aircraft were inferior to their land-based cousins throughout most of the period between World Wars I & II. The potential of naval aircraft however was not lost on navies and the United States in particular experimented with the aircraft carrier. The role of the carrier within the Fleet was not immediately determined after its invention. The “Fleet Problems” set up a number of situations in the Pacific, Atlantic and the Caribbean where the units of the US Fleet trained and experimented with doctrine to fight potential future enemies. Pearl Harbor was even raided twice by US carriers during training exercises in the 1930s! One of these raids occurred on a Sunday and was called “unfair” by the US Army. Admiral John Towers reported that the Japanese noted the American actions when planning their own attack in a postwar interrogation of Imperial Navy officers.

Kilrathi Admiral Nargth did not believe in the strength of puny fighters against the mighty shields and armor of capital ships just as battleship-centric admirals of the American, British, and Japanese navies believed as well. Battleships were heavily armored and packed with guns in every possible location. How could a small fighter or bomber hurt such a mighty ship, they asked. Technological improvements were necessary to give carrier-borne fighters and bombers the power to haul large payloads over respectable distances before they became a serious threat. Naval aviators of every interwar Fleet believed in righteousness of their cause. The British Raid on Taranto in November 1940 wasn’t seen as a major confirmation of the carrier’s role by many line officers. Only a single carrier was involved as well as a small number of aircraft. The Raid on Pearl Harbor was different.

So was the Raid on McAuliffe. Technology was again the critical factor, however instead of engine power and range, the Kilrathi developed the technology to bypass capital ship shields with a fighter-mounted missile weapon. Prior to this development, the Terran Confederation and the Empire of Kilrah existed in a Jutland-centric mindset. They were waiting to fight the climatic battleship engagement with the battle lines of each side pouring blast after blast into each other until the toughest ships were left standing to declare victory. The fighter-launched torpedo changed all that. The Kilrathi used the weapon to gain a significant time advantage over their Confederation opponents because, unlike their Imperial Japanese inspiration, they could not sneak in unnoticed. Confederation forces still had a warning, but it was nowhere near enough to scramble one of the authorized base defense plans. By leading with their carriers, the Kilrathi changed space naval doctrine in a major way throughout the Terran-Kilrathi War.

What made the Raid on Pearl Harbor particularly important was the creation of Kido Butai / First Air Fleet, comprised of Japan’s six large fleet carriers. This force was able to put more than 350 planes into its offensive actions. Piloted by the best trained naval aviators in the world at the time, the planes were able to bring an unprecedented amount of ordnance onto a target and inflict serious damage. On December 7, 1941, Kido Butai launched 354 aircraft at the American military installations around Oahu with devastating results. Less than two hours were required to cause serious damage to a number of US Navy capital ships and the loss of hundreds of naval and Army aircraft around the island.

The Raid on McAuliffe was very similar to Pearl Harbor in terms of the carrier strikes, however at McAuliffe the Kilrathi brought heavy capital ships to do battle with Confederation forces in addition to invasion and occupation forces. The Kilrathi sortied towards the Confederation with an enormous amount of force. It was a three-pronged offensive with each thrust centered on a Kilrathi fleet. The main objective of the initial offensive was the Second Fleet of the Claw’s raid on McAuliffe and the Confederation’s Seventh Fleet. Two other Fleets of the Claw were to strike on the flanks of the Confederation into the Landreich and Etruria with substantial force not long after the Kilrathi engaged Confederation forces at McAuliffe. The goal was to hit the Confederation so hard with the initial strike that the Kilrathi needed only to mass their fleets and jump to Earth to finish off Humanity.

Crown Prince Gilkarg constructed an attack plan that centered on the success of the new torpedoes. Their use enabled the Kilrathi to defeat the substantial defenses of McAuliffe, Alexandria and the Skyhook. Carrier launched fighters and bombers were able to close the distance from the jump point to attack positions much faster than capital ships. The time was used smashing Confederation forces. . Five carriers, at least four battleships and more than eighty cruisers, destroyers and other ships were destroyed along with more than 250,000 personnel and an unknown number of civilians. A blow of this magnitude should have been enough to sweep the Confederation forces aside and allow the Kilrathi to charge to and then bombard Earth into oblivion.

Instead Confederation forces mounted an incredibly bold counterattack. The attack was expected to deal a severe blow to Kilrathi morale and Imperial prestige, and just possibly delay the Second Fleet of the Claw enough to mount a coherent defense of the Core Worlds. It succeeded in both goals beyond the dreams of Commander Winston Turner and Admiral Naomi Dayan. Bombers from TCS Ark Royal and three frigates from Task Force 21 mounted a diversionary attack on the nearest Kilrathi carrier, Tukgah, while fighters from Concordia would hit the Imperial landing craft. TF 21's two battlewagons, Yorkshire and North Carolina, and their cruiser squadrons provided fire support. The most desperate part of the plan was a kamikaze strike by the frigates Masada and Hermes. TCS Masada, carrying the son of Admiral Dayan, rammed KIS Tukgah, destroying the carrier completely. Confederation fighters meanwhile had broken off the strike on the Tukgah and headed for McAuliffe where Kilrathi landing craft were making their descent to the surface. The fighters inflicted horrendous losses on the Imperial legions with a massive coordinated missile strike followed by a high speed gunnery pass. The legions suffered in the nature of fifty percent losses. It was a catastrophe.

TCS Yorkshire, slowed by engine damage, was unable to keep up with the rest of the retreating Confederation forces. After reporting its status to Admiral Dayan and Commander Turner, it transmitted its famous final call, now the eternal call of all Wingnuts: “This is TCS Yorkshire. Long Live the Confederation!”

In the moments that followed, Yorkshire represented herself well against two Kilrathi battlewagons. Yorkshire was lost, but also took one of the Kilrathi with her and heavily damaged the other ship, Admiral Nargth’s flagship. A final Kilrathi carrier strike continued to close on the other Confederation ships and succeeded in putting another torpedo into the Concordia. The ship was spared by more hits only by the heroic self-sacrifice of its Wing Commander, a man named Hawkins, who rammed the last Kilrathi bomber with his Wildcat fighter. Prince Ratha, son of Gilkrag and older sibling of Thrakhath, after being shot down by Ensign Geoffrey Tolwyn, committed suicide by opening the mask of his helmet to the void of space rather than face the perceived dishonor.

Confederation forces jumped out of McAuliffe assuming that a hot pursuit by Kilrathi forces would commence immediately. They were soon surprised when no Kilrathi ships followed them. The offensive had been called off. Admiral Nargth had communicated directly with Emperor Joor’rad the losses suffered by the Imperial Legions and other forces. The Emperor was concerned at the staggering losses of so many of his own clan’s Kil. Humanity was not to be the pushover Gilkarg had anticipated.

Deep Discount Lists Academy!

DVD retailer DeepDiscount has added Wing Commander Academy to its store at a great price! They currently offer the set for presale at just $16.92 with free shipping available. While this is the best deal we've seen, we don't necessarily recommend that fans immediately cancel their Amazon reservation and replace it with one from DD. The Amazon price has fluctuated up and down (see below!), and Amazon will deliver the set on the first possible release date. The free shipping option at DeepDiscount is rated at 3-7 days within the US (international orders add approximately $6 for a 5-12 day option). We'll be ordering copies from both places just to be safe!

Amazon Drops WCA Price

Amazon.com has lowered its price for the upcoming Wing Commander Academy DVD set from $22.49 to $19.99. Fans who preordered at the higher price should be able to log into their account and verify that the "Pre-order Price Guarantee" has already adjusted their order. Amazon also offers special shipping - free for Prime members - that will deliver the product on the actual street date, May 29!

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