Rapier Prepped for Production

Klavs has finished his Super Wing Commander Rapier, and the result is gorgeous. These ships are now off to a trial at Shapeways 'rapid prototyping' lab. If the design pans out, small physical resin copies may be available to order soon. Just in time for Arena's fifth birthday!
The prototype Super Rapier got ordered today, if it works out, I'll make it available too!

Academy DVD Approaching Fast

There's just one month to go until the DVD box set of the Wing Commander Academy series is available! Amazon Prime members get first dibs with free release date delivery on May 29. Sites like Deep Discount and Barnes & Noble are a few dollars less and also offer free shipping, but delivery will take at least a few more days. We can't wait!

Pick Your Poison in New Poll

There has always been a great deal of speculation by Wing Commander fans about what the next WC game will be like. Over the years we've run polls asking when Wingnuts think the game will arrive or what setting it would take place in, but we haven't asked who the primary foe should be. There are many potential options and anything is possible! What would your preference be?!

The old poll asked about fans' favorite Confed cruiser vessels. The iconic Tallahassee from WC3/4 took first place and WC2's powerful Waterloo came in second. Concordia class supercruisers from the WC Movie just barely beat out the Hades class quick strike cruiser from Secret Ops for third place.

Superior Slices Shape Scimitar

Kevin Caccamo reports that work still continues on the WC Hostile Frontier mod. The project has a new logo and a new Scimitar. Textures have been toned down on the medium fighter so that panel lines are not quite so jarring. You can compare the old (left) and new (right) below!
Wasn't happy with the stupid amount of lines on the old Scimitar texture, so I K.I.S.S.ed it goodbye and re-did the bumpmap.

Tiger's Claw Gets Its Engines

Malcolm Reynolds has completed the engines on his Tiger's Claw model and is now entering the final stretch. These new shots show how the propulsion system has gone from one partial tube to seven large thrusters. Only minor fairings and touch-ups remain before the ship is complete!
This is my final post before the big reveal. Here's a quick and dirty picture I took of the engines. Enjoy!

Dual Use Sci-Fi Machine Gun Spotted

Red Baron has found another weapon used in both Wing Commander and another science fiction universe. This time it's an actual firearm configured in the same manner, rather than a reused prop, that shows up in both Prophecy and Star Trek First Contact. The Baron has pointed out some of the similarities and differences that make the design distinctive and snapped two shots of the gun in use. It's always intriguing to see things like this used in multiple series. You can find some older WC4 / Enterprise crossovers here.

Both Wing Commander Prophecy and Star Trek: First Contact feature a Calico M951 submachinegun with helical magazine. That gun isn't especially rare in movies, but I've only ever seen it two times with a Bushnell holosight mounted on top - that was Prophecy and Star Trek: First Contact. The sight and addons really appear similar.

However, thanks to the hi-res DVD cutscenes, I could see that the Prophecy gun has its foregrip mounted backwards (movie armourers enjoy doing stuff like that), plus it doesn't even appear to have a Calico scopemount (like you see it in First Contact). Instead, it looks like the Bushnell sight is attached directly to the magazine for whatever reason.

Also, the Wing Commander: Prophecy armourer was Terence Morgan, and I couldn't find any Star Trek references in his portfolio.

Help Decorate the Fleets of Enigma

Deathsnake has posted several new layout shots that show off the variety of ships which will be featured in his Enigma 2666 mod. There are quite a few different vessels broken out by capship/base, Kilrathi and Confed craft. A fourth shot also shows off one of ScoobyDoo's Clydesdales in escort formation with a pair of Rapiers. Most of the ships pictured below just have preliminary textures, so talented Wingnuts who would like to help tidy these up can let Deathsnake know. Help provide feedback on how the fleet will shape up at the CIC Forums.
I've made for the Enigma mod fighters for every fighter in a Gauntlet. So flying an Hornet? No problem. I've made some historical missions too (not a complete campaign, just 5-6 Missions from WC1+SM1+2). The fighters from Enigma are all playable ships in the campaign. So you can create your own missions and just put them into the missions folder of the mod and play. ;) But first, we need help: texturers and modders who can help to push the old prologue ones into Saga Darkest Dawn. These models needs some work. So please help.

New Ships Built for WC Invasion Mod

Major Payne has released a couple of shots featuring new ships that will be included in the next version of Wing Commander Invasion. The Banshee light fighter will be the primary workhorse of the new Border Worlds faction. There will also be a limited role for the Steltek in the game, and the Steltek vessel below is his interpretation of a carrier or cruiser. While the future updates continue to be built, Star Wars: Empire at War owners can check out version 2.5 of the mod here.

I had originally all but given up trying to fix the Galactic Conquest test map that had been made as the AI refused to move its butt from its home planet and start spreading out. As it turned out, I had simply forgot to alter the amount for each planet's capture from the "60" that was assigned. A quick editing and retesting and the AI now moves, so the mod is back on. It'll be a while before there's a new release, but at least I can get back to working on the damn thing now and add in the features I had originally planned.

- Special structure to provide income in additional GC content. The reason for this is simply because the GC's rely on ground based income streams provided from ground based structures.
- Additional space base skirmish maps. Now these will probably be fairly basic as map making isn't my strong point.
- Additional space props. These are being added more as a means to give some eye candy than anything.
- Additional map based support structures. I'll be looking over what the WC universe has to offer in the way of structures and seeing what I can put together to reflect these.
- Additional Galactic Conquest scenarios. Although these will be playable in any order I'll be trying to tailor them so that the player will get some sort of feeling they are playing a "story" style if played in order.
- I'll be looking at the Border Worlds for this. That means new structures, ships and planets for this groups. They won't be directly playable, and will act in place of the original stock pirate faction.

Once this is complete I'll be making a v3.0 Beta Edition. If no bugs are reported (or there's some minor editings and suggestions which are feasible to do), then a small handful of minor additional content will be done to mark the v3.0 Gold Edition (as in final version) and I'll consider the mod as finished.

Rapier 3D Print Now Available

Klavs has taken a big step forward with his gorgeous models and posted them on the Shapeways Store. Fans can now order his take on the classic Rapier II starting at $21 for the 1/600 scale model, which is about 1.4 by 1.6 inches. The larger 1/300 scale model costs about $77 to make, which may sound steep, but at 2.8 by 3.2 inches pushes the boundaries of what is available with this emerging rapid prototyping technology. The Scimitar will also be available soon. Klavs plans to post even more of his WC-inspired designs as he manages to work out the fine details of making each craft feasible in physical form. Let him know what you think at the CIC Forums!
After a lot of design analysis and a period of prototyping, I'm very pleased to be announcing 3d prints of my WC inspired fighters!

First up, the Rapier & Scimitar available in 1/600 scale (About 40 cm [1.57 in] long) and 1/300 scale (About 80 cm [3.149 in] long). These models cheap as I can make them for you guys, and thank you for your support over the years! I'll be making my version of the Raptor and a new Hornet and Rapier available soon. There may also be some more "feline" models in the future.

The Frosted Ultra Detail printing from Shapeways allows details as small as 0.003 mm to show through. You've got panel lines, thrusters, radiators. The only thing missing is the scorch marks on the sides of the ships. Keep in mind that the final product will require a bit of sanding, as the 3D printing process applies some extremely minor "terracing". Regular model paints and glues will work fine after gently washing the model with dish soap. I am also entertaining the thought of making a basic decal sheet available, based on interest. It would include insignia, squadron markings, lights, "INTAKE" & "NO STEP" markings, etc.

Please let me know what you think! I love my little Rapier, I just wish I could find a cheaper way to get these to you guys. Let me stress that the markups are kept to an absolute minimum, this is about showing off the work, not making money. I WANT you guys to have fighters on your desks!

Enjoy!

It Belongs In A Museum!

Our last installment of the WC vs History series looked at the Doolittle and Kilrah Raids. Within that update was a new piece of art by NinjaLA representing the famous moment in End Run when Lieutenant Commander Bondarevsky led a Sartha back to the Strike Force, revealing its presence to the Kilrathi. The Kilrathi were then placed between the proverbial rock and a hard place, with the need to restore honor at Vukar Tag, but also the need to protect Kilrah from attack. By disregarding the famous dictum to "never divide the Fleet", the Kilrathi stumbled right into the Confederation ambush at Vukar Tag and disaster at Kilrah.

Forum-Based RPG Recruiting Wingnuts

Silent Hunter is an experienced role player and Wing Commander fan, but the current lineup of MUD/MUSH-type games don't suit his time zone. The Wing Commander community has a long history of play-by-email and forum-based role playing, and he's looking to start something up again on the web. Interested potential players can help kick this off at the Phoenix Roleplaying forum or by hitting the Discuss link below.

I’ve been following your site for a while and am a fan of the Wing Commander series. In fact, I’m considering creating a forum-based roleplaying game based around the series. I am aware of the two MUD games, but as a user located in the UK, I can’t play in those to my full ability due to time zone differences.

However, to do this, I need players for the site – we’re not a massive site and there isn’t the fan base here to make the game viable.

At the moment, I’m looking into something set around WC1, but input would be greatly appreciated.

RPG Gears Up for Ship Creation

capi3101 has made steady and reliable progress over the last month on his pen & paper style Wing Commander RPG. Basic rules have been well defined for things like ordnance, guns, equipment, item creation and more. This has lead to the introduction of more exotic subjects such as the nature of autosliding in the game. Background work on some of the project's scenarios, such as a mission styled after the rescue of Dr. Severin on Alcor V, has also been done. Overall progress is estimated at around 80% complete. You can help capi by providing feedback at the CIC Forums or checking out the project's Wiki here.

The plan for the coming weeks is to work on the vehicle and capital ship catalogs. Wing Commander is largely about the ships in it; it's about time I started adding a few. While I don't anticipate getting much work done this week, I might be able to get a few craft in and done. This is a pretty large piece of work ahead of me and I haven't got much of an idea of when it might be finished - I'll be sure to keep y'all apprised of my progress. After all the ships, work will go on to finishing the remaining race profiles.

I'll close out this week's update with another reminder that I am accepting submissions for the non-canonical portions of the game (Chapters 6.4 and 7.4 for all homemade craft, as well as any characters people would like to add for the Who's Who in Chapter 12.2). If you have a submission you'd like to make for the game, please either PM me at the CIC forums or simply post your submission to the Wing Commander RPG thread under Fan Projects and Editing, again at the CIC forums. All submissions that are approved will appear in the final edit of the game and their creators will appear in the game's credits.

Discovery Blasts Off Into History

You've probably already seen some gorgeous shots of the Space Shuttle Discovery cruising from Florida to Washington DC, but here's another collection that follows it all the way from Kennedy Space Center to its new home at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. The NASM Udvar-Hazy Center has set up a special website packed with information about the orbiter's new home and how to visit. Lucky LOAF got to watch this one in person - did anyone else see it?

BREAKING NEWS: Ultima VIII on GOG

Good news for Ultima and Origin fans! Ultima VIII: Gold Edition has been released on GOG for $5.99! Included in the package is the game's speech pack and a variety of bonuses such as the game's manual, clue book and map. Grab a copy here, and let's keep the Origin releases coming!

Alone in the strange world of Pagan, the Avatar has to bring the battle to the Guardian.

Ultima™ 8 Gold Edition, the last 2D cRPG in the famous Ultima series, is available now for only $5.99.

Ultima 8 featured “a closer blend of fantasy and reality than ever before--real-world physics and game play” (that’s from the game box!) including platform running at several speeds, jumping unto stepping stones and transverse cliffs, walking on ledges etc. Also, Avatar is left alone, without any RPG companions, and that makes the game extremely difficult, while most of the enemies are both extremely hard to kill and extremely deadly. The graphics are flat-out gorgeous in their retro glory, and the well-detailed fluid animations hold up greatly even today after 18 years from release. The combat is a real change from the usual Ultima fare, with great fluidity, and tons of actiony goodness that make this game a great entry title into the series for fans of more action-centric RPGs.

Great graphics, sound, storyline, and special effects are what’s good about Ultima 8, and what’s best is that it’s available right now only on GOG.com for $5.99.

Vittek Redux

Back on Crusader Day we already ran an update about Origin developer Mark Vittek's penchant for appearing in multiple franchises--Crusader, Ultima and Privateer. Mark worked on all of those games and his cool name was included in each. Although Mark Vittek was an important part of the Ultima VIII project, I didn't plan to do another update on the same reference for today... unless I could come up with something new. Luckily, we discovered this awesome high-resolution image of the "TCS Vittek" with the recent cache of Privateer 3 screenshots!

Wing Commander's a Hit!

Since we last posted about GOG sales stats, Wing Commander 4 had shot to the top of the shooter charts! It's also pulled WC1/2, WC3 and I-War 2 up along with it. In addition to the shooter genre, The Price of Freedom has also cracked the "all genres" top ten. Way to go!

WC vs History - Star Raiders

For Lt. General "Jimmie" Doolittle, who did the end run first. Thank you, Godspeed, and safe journey. – William Forstchen, Dedication Page, Wing Commander: End Run

An end run is defined as an evasive trick or maneuver. The Doolittle Raid and Raid on Kilrah were both end runs, albeit in different ways. The Doolittle Raid was never meant to inflict serious damage to the Japanese. It was a purely morale operation and it succeeded expectations. What made it an end run was the use of twin engine Army Air Corps B-25 medium bombers from an aircraft carrier. The Raid on Kilrah was expected only to divert a part of the Kilrathi Home Fleet, if the raid inflicted some damage on military targets it was a bonus. It was the end run. By attacking the Kilrah system itself in order to split the Kilrathi fleet rushing to seek revenge was a masterful deceit. That Strike Force Valkyrie not only caused the splitting of the Kilrathi fleet, but also massive damage to the ship construction installations on Largkza was a victory comparable to the one it enabled at Vukar Tag.

On the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, we present the next installment in our WC vs. History series: Star Raiders.

The setbacks of early 1942 left the United States reeling. The Pacific Fleet had been attacked and knocked out at Pearl Harbor the previous December. Wake Island, Guam, and the Philippines had all been attacked and captured by Imperial Japanese forces. The people of the United States needed good news and they needed it yesterday.

The Confederation was in a similar situation following the heavy losses of 2666. Eight carriers had been destroyed that year, halving the entire Confederation carrier force. Others were heavily damaged and needed months of repair and refit. Whereas the Americans needed a moral boost, the Confederation needed a real victory to swing the pendulum of war back towards the humans’ side. Both the Americans and Confederation take extraordinarily bold moves to do just that. They launched “End Runs” at the heart of their respective enemies.

Special Aviation Project No. 1 was the result of a request by President Roosevelt, several weeks after Pearl Harbor, to attack the Japanese Home Islands to boost public morale. The idea for an attack came from the Assistant Chief of Staff of Anti-Submarine Warfare, Captain Francis Low. He thought that twin engine Army bombers could launch from an aircraft carrier after watching bombers land at a nearby Naval Air Station where a carrier outline was painted onto the runway. He brought the idea to Admiral Ernest King in early January 1942. The idea was seen as being worth exploring and an Army bombing unit, under the command of the famed aviator Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, set out to solve the problem of taking off in less than 500 feet.

The 17th Bomb Group was chosen to carry out the raid because it was the first to receive the B-25 “Mitchell” Medium Bomber in September 1941. By Spring 1942, the 17th was the most experienced B-25 unit. The B-25s required extensive modifications before training could begin. The lower gun turret and the guns were removed from the aircraft, removal of the top-secret Norden bombsight and the installation of additional fuel tanks. The aircraft were then flown to the Pensacola Naval Air Station to begin carrier take off training. After several weeks of training, sixteen crews were chosen to fly to California where they were to meet the new carrier, USS Hornet (CV-8). Sixteen B-25s were loaded onto the Hornet’s flight deck, while the carrier’s own air group was stored below in the ship’s hangar. The carrier and her task force left California on 2 April 1942.

Onboard the Hornet, the Army pilots were at first treated with mixed disregard and disdain by the crew. The Army aircraft were keeping the Hornet’s own planes in a position unable to defend the carrier from attack. On 13 April, the Hornet rendezvoused with USS Enterprise and her task force under the command of Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. Scuttlebutt immediately went to work on the ships. What was the Enterprise and Halsey doing here? What was the Hornet doing here with Army bombers on her deck? Later in the day Admiral Halsey made things perfectly clear to the entire force, including the Raiders themselves: “This force is bound for Tokyo!” Admiral Halsey later reported that he never heard a cheer so loud in his entire life before or since as he did at that moment. Treatment of the Army fliers on the Hornet immediately changed. They went from sleeping in the hallways of the carrier to sleeping in bunks as the sailors gave up their racks. The Raiders experienced the best treatment of any Army member on a naval vessel. One can doubt if even MacArthur received the same level when he served afloat.

Colonel Doolittle had been given Japanese “Friendship Medals” that the Japanese government had given to the United States. They were to be returned attached to the fins of American bombs. Captain, future Admiral, Marc Mitscher helped Doolittle attach the medals before the planes were to launch.

As the combined task force steamed the thousands of miles across the Pacific, they almost made it to the 500 mile launching point without being seen. The plan had been to launch at 500 miles so as to allow the Raiders to bomb Japan during the evening and then fly the 600 miles to China to land with the sun at their backs. However, early on the morning of 18 April, when the Americans were still 650 miles away from Japan, their radar detected a nearby contact. A Japanese picket ship lay just over the horizon. Admiral Halsey ordered his cruisers to open fire and destroy the picket. Halsey also ordered Doolittle and his planes into the air. Knowing the additional distance posed a significant risk, the B-25s were loaded with as many jerry cans of gas as they thought they could safely carry. Before takeoff, Admiral Halsey messaged:

Between 0820 and 0919, sixteen United States Army B-25 “Mitchell” medium bombers launched from the US Navy aircraft carrier, USS Hornet. This is the only time the second time in history, as well as the last, that Army aircraft launched from an aircraft carrier. The first time had in February 1942, off the USS Hornet as well, when Captain Donald Duncan became the first to fly a B-25 from a carrier in 500 feet. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle became the second at 0820. He timed his released with the heaving of the flight deck, as the weather was very rough at the time. He throttled the engines to full, held the brakes and the right moment released them to roar down the flight deck. The B-25 reached the end of the deck at the exact moment it pitched to its maximum height. The aircraft seemed to hang in the air for a moment before dipping from view. It then reemerged flying away from the carrier. The other fifteen B-25s followed. All of the aircraft took off from roughly the same position because of the limited clearance offered the larger wingspan of the bombers of the carrier deck. The wings of the B-25s passed dangerously close to the island of the Hornet and any misjudgement by the pilot would have resulted in a collision and loss of the aircraft.

Because of the launch distance, the sixteen B-25s did not wait to form up before proceeding on to Japan. Instead, each aircraft made their ways independently to the Home Islands flying at tree top level. As happened throughout the Spring of 1942, Lady Luck smiled upon the Americans. The Japanese were running an air raid drill as the Raiders made landfall. Their presence did not cause a stir at first, however once bombs began to fall on Japanese cities that garnered a response from anti-aircraft batteries and fighters. The Raiders were given specific orders not to bomb the Imperial Palace. Those orders were followed, however at a recent conference I heard one of the surviving Raiders describe how they buzzed the Imperial Palace yelling out the window so low “there’s no way he couldn’t have heard us if he was home.”

The Raiders struck a number of Japanese cities including Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka. The physical damage was minimal, the Japanese dubbing the raid in propaganda the “Doo-Little raid!” The morale damage was enormous. Admiral Yamamoto, as Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet, was in charge of protecting the Home Islands from enemy assault. Following the raid, which had so closely threatened the security of the Emperor, Yamamoto locked himself in his cabin for days without food or water his shame was so great. This is where the Doolittle Raid played a role in the Battle of Midway. Yamamoto had been proposing a plan to force the remaining US carriers to battle, but the High Command had refused to give it the go ahead. After the Raid, Yamamoto not only received the green light, he then created the Midway battle plan. A plan that belongs only in textbooks under the heading “What Never To Do With Your Fleet In War.”

Of the 16 planes, one landed outside Vladivostok in the Soviet Union, while the others headed towards China. Eight men from two crews had been captured by the Japanese. The two other members of the crew drowned when trying to escape their bomber off the coast of China. Two of the remaining captured men were later executed by the Japanese. Six other went into detention for the duration. The remaining Raiders variously made their way to extraction points in China. The Japanese killed an estimated quarter million Chinese in their search for the Doolittle Raiders.

The Doolittle Raid was the much needed morale boost President Roosevelt had sought. Doolittle assumed the worst and braced himself for a court martial. He had lost all 16 aircraft after all and caused minimal damage. Instead when he arrived back in the United States, he was awarded the Medal of Honor and was promoted directly to Brigadier General. Every Raider received the Distinguished Flying Cross, along with two Silver Stars for aiding fellow crew members.

Last December, I was able to attend the International Conference on World War II at the National World War II Museum of the United States in New Orleans. Five of the six remaining Doolittle Raiders came and gave a great presentation about the Raid and the rest of their times throughout the war. I managed to get autographs on a book about the Raid and a poster of one of the Raider B-25s that I still need to get framed.

The Raid on Kilrah was part of a larger operation. Operation Back Lash was designed to tip the balance of the war back onto a more equal footing following the heavy Confederation carrier losses of 2666. Nine carriers were destroyed during the year that forced the Confederation back in multiple sectors. Back Lash wanted to return the favor to the Kilrathi by setting an ambush for a portion of the Kilrathi Home Fleet. An attack was ordered on Vukar Tag and in particular on the ancestral home of the Emperor’s Dowager mother, Graknala nar Kiranka. This type of insult forced the only Kilrathi response: a full sortie of the ten carriers of the Home Fleet. In order to even the odds, the Confederation needed a way to split the Home Fleet on its approach to the ambush set at Vukar Tag. Strike Force Valkyrie was that way to force the split. Centered on the TCS Tarawa, one of the first batch of Wake-Class Escort Carriers, the force was to use a previously undisclosed jump line to approach the Kilrah system. To quote Admiral Banbridge himself:

"Your mission is to drive straight into the heart of the Kilrathi Empire and to launch a strike on their home system...If anything will split off the home fleet it will be this action. We've traced out a route into the Empire which will follow back trade lanes, using a recently discovered jump point that will take you across a dozen sectors in a single leap. From there, you'll be down into the bottom side of the Empire nearly five hundred parsecs from here and just four jumps from their home world of Kilrah. You'll then drive straight up, relying on speed and stealth. The key point, however, is that you will let the Kilrathi know you're coming...that's the heart of the plan. We expect that once you've completed that long jump, the Kilrathi home fleet will be over halfway out here to Vukar and then, suddenly, you push the backdoor alarm bell. They'll be between a rock and a hard place. They won't know about the trap waiting at Vukar, but they will know about you. We expect that interior defenses will be damn near stripped for their offensive. Ignore you, and the home planet gets a hell of a shaking up. Abandon the offensive and race back home and honor is lost for not immediately retaking Vukar...They'll walk into the trap with part of their fleet missing and we'll smash it to pieces. If it works, it just might trigger a political crisis that could bring down the Emperor himself and at the very least we'll have bagged half a dozen of their finest capital ships."

The Kilrathi were placed in an excruciating dilemma. They had to redeem the honor of the Dowager mother and defend the home world itself. Against the advice of Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra, Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka split three carriers from the Vukar Tag force to intercept Strike Force Valkyrie. The result was the First Battle of Kilrah. We turn to the Terran Knowledge Bank of WCPedia for a recap of the epic raid.

Penetrating the Empire

Strike Force Valkyrie spent five days running at full speed into the Empire. They had only encountered a lone transport which Tarawa pilot, Etienne Montclair, destroyed. In a system predetermined by Admiral Banbridge's staff, Wing Commander Jason Bondarevsky launched in a Ferret and deliberately sent out active radar scans in order to attract attention from Kilrathi forces. He was able to lure six Sartha back to the Tarawa. However, Commodore O'Brian had chosen to alter the plan and scrambled eight ships to intercept them before they sighted the strike force. Bondarevsky conspired with Doomsday on Commlink 2331 to allow the Kilrathi to spot the strike force despite O'Brian's intentions. Upon completing the mission, Bondarevsky and O'Brian had a heated argument on the bridge of the Tarawa. Serious charges were cast about by both parties. O'Brian was on the verge of turning the strike force back when Captain Grierson arrived and reinforced Bondarevsky's position by forcing the strike force forward through intelligent use of his position as a fellow ship captain. This ensured that the planned trap for the Kilrathi was now set.

The First Battle of Kilrah

Strike Force Valkyrie penetrated the Kilrah system and immediately launched a reconnaissance sweep composed of Ferrets. They reported twenty five plus Kilrathi fighters (Sartha, Dralthi and several Grikath) and three Kamekh-class corvettes on an intercept approach. In the ensuing dogfight, the Kilrathi force was destroyed in exchange of the loss of one fighter and one seriously damaged.

Assault on Largkza

TCS Intrepid and Kagimasha bombarded Largkza's surface for an hour before eight Sabres and four Rapiers made an anti-point defense strike using new Space-to-Ground Anti-Radar Submunition Missiles. The weapon broke into fifty submunitions and tracked individual radars, radio links, laser trackers, point defense guidance systems, and subspace transmitters. One Sabre was lost before release, however, the seven remaining Sabres each released four of the missiles for a total of 1,400 warheads. Hundreds were destroyed before reaching their targets, but hundreds more still made it through to destroy Kilrathi point defenses. Jason Bondarevsky launched a single anti-radar missile after the initial strike to catch any Kilrathi systems that had stayed off-line during the attack.

Ten landing craft carrying the 500 commandos made their assault following the strike by the Tawara's fighters. One was shot down making the landing while the other nine reached the surface to begin their mission. At the same time, another group of Dralthi had sortied from Kilrah to intercept the strike force but was stopped by Janice Parker's mixed force of Ferrets and Rapiers.

At this point in the battle, Bondarevsky took a mental tally of kills and losses. Fifty plus Kilrathi fighters destroyed as well as four corvettes. The Tarawa's flight wing had lost five Ferrets, five Rapiers and one Sabre. He also saw Kilrah in the distance noting, "It looked similar to Earth, a beautiful blue green sphere, hanging in the blackness." (This differs from the game vision of a red tinted planet seen in the image at the beginning of this update.)The battle waged for another hour with Bondarevsky attacking several ground targets, but Montclair's Sabres were inflicting the most damage on secondary targets revealed by the marines as they took out phase-shield generating systems. The attack ripped apart barracks and construction areas, the heavy single-missile matter/anti-matter warheads throwing debris twenty kilometers above the moon's surface.

Enter the Crown Prince

Crown Prince Thrakhath was delayed in entering the Kilrah system because the Kilrathi fleet's jump had gone awry. Instead of placing his force of one carrier and eight escort ships into the Kilrah system hours ahead of Strike Force Valkyrie, they had jumped into the system beyond Kilrah. As a result they were delayed in reaching Kilrah by several hours and the previous navigator committed Zu'kara in atonement for the error. Thrakhath's other carriers had moved around the flank to cut off escape routes for the Confederation forces.

When Thrakhath's carrier did jump to the Kilrah system they found Strike Force Valkyrie fully engaged in assaulting Largkza. They were screened by an asteroid field and launched Strakhas to interfere with the ongoing operations.

The TCS Tarawa suffered a hit and fires broke out in the Combat Information room disrupting communications between Bondarevsky and the carrier. Captain Grierson on the Intrepid informed Bondarevsky of the situation. They had three and a half hours before the carrier and escorts became a serious threat.

It was at this point that Commodore O'Brian initiated an immediate withdrawal to the jump point. This sparked the final confrontation between him and Bondarevsky over the communications channel. O'Brian was willing to leave the marines and any fighters that did not reach the carrier behind, and relieved Bondarevsky of command and placed him under arrest for insubordination. Bondarevsky called him a coward and threatened to kill him once he arrived on the Tarawa. The carrier had already turned away from Largkza and was moving out-system at full speed when Bondarevsky landed. Bondarevsky informed Grierson of the situation and instructed him to rescue and provide cover for as many marines as possible.

Bondarevsky landed on the Tarawa and made his way to the bridge when, while en route, a tremendous explosion shook the carrier. A Kilrathi kamikaze attack had slammed into the bridge killing everyone, including Commodore O'Brian. Bondarevsky assumed control of the carrier and had a new bridge set up in flight control overlooking the flight deck. His first order was to get the carrier back into the fight.

Valkyrie on the Run

From the bridge of the TCS Tarawa Jason Bondarevsky was now in de facto command of the strike force. Technically, Captain Grierson outranked Bondarevsky, but Grierson deferred to Bondarevsky for the duration of the fighting.

The Tarawa's radar was knocked out by the kamikaze and had to rely on Intrepid for information on Thrakhath's approaching forces. They reported, "The enemy carrier is closing in at flank speed, with a spread of two cruisers and four destroyers forward and two corvettes to the flanks. Will arrive in twenty-seven minutes. We have a second wave of inbound fighters as well, fifty plus."

The Tarawa's flight wing had been reduced to eight Ferrets, eight Rapiers and six Sabres that were still in flying condition. Damage Control on the Tarawa reported airlocks had been established around the hull breach near the bridge, however the engine room was still cut off from the rest of the ship except for a radio link. The inertial dampening system was out of phase, by less than one thousandth of a second, but it made all maneuvers noticeable. The status of the jump engine was in question as the jump control officer had been killed. The infirmary and forward crew bays were also destroyed. One fifth of the crew had been lost, over a hundred dead and forty wounded.

The marines on Largkza had accelerated their timetable and had begun their withdrawal. The Intrepid in the mean time landed on the surface and extracted two landing ship crews before lifting off. One crew was lost while trying to lift off. The two landing craft docked with the Intrepid shortly afterwards and a further three on the surface lifted off to rendezvous in orbit.

After briefly recovering fighters for rearmament, Bondarevsky delivered a short speech to the crew and prepared to take on board the landing craft which were lifting off the surface of Largkza. The landing craft carrying Svetlana Ivanova was hit by a heat-seeking missile launched from the surface. It lost power and impacted back on the planet. After an emotional exchange between Bondarevsky, Merritt and Ivanova, Ivanova detonated the anti-matter mines. The damage to the facilities on Largkza was extensive and Svetlana and the 34 marines on board were killed in the blast.

Fifty of Tarawa's crew were causalities from the kamikaze strike and the ship itself needed time to effect repairs to its shield generator and jump drive. Bondarevsky knew the jump points would be blocked and found an alternative in the gas giant Igrathi. During the three hour run to the planet the Tarawa lost three Ferrets, two Rapiers and a Sabre in exchange for a dozen enemy fighters (mostly Grikath and Jalkehi fighters) and a single torpedo hit on a Ralatha destroyer which forced it to withdraw from the chase. As they neared Igrathi, the Intrepid and Kagimasha began trading torpedo salvos with the Ralathas still chasing them. One appeared to carry an improved engine system that allowed it to afterburn a dozen klicks per second faster than the Tarawa.

Bondarevsky ordered his escorts to smash the orbital base while instructing his navigator to fly them directly through the debris field and fully extend the ram scoops to slow the escort carrier down. As the carrier slowed, Bondarevsky ordered all fighters to immediately return to base. He signaled his escorts to rendezvous in thirty hours at 17:24 CST. The plan was to confuse the Kilrathi. Using an unmanned landing craft loaded with an matter/anti-matter mine as a cover, the three Confederation ships planned to drive into Igrathi's atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Tarawa's fighter wing was landing at twenty second intervals while Janice Parker, commander of the Ferret squadron, remained on station behind the carrier to provide some cover for the landing fighters.

Multiple Kilrathi capital ships and fighters were still closing on the Confederation ships. Six Grikath bombers intercepted the carrier and launched six torpedoes. Five of the torpedoes were destroyed by the combined fire from anti-torpedo guns and missiles on all three Confederation capital ships. Janice Parker destroyed the final torpedo by flying her Ferret directly into it. The mine aboard the unmanned landing craft was detonated which provided the cover necessary for the three Confederation ships to dive five hundred kilometers into Igrathi's ammonia and sulphur atmosphere. The Kilrathi ships used high energy microwave bursts to search for the Confederation ships, but without success.

Bondarevsky addressed the crew of the Tarawa briefly:

"All hands. We've managed to elude the Kilrathi attack by diving into the upper atmosphere of a gas giant where their sensing devices can not find us due to atmospheric interference. As you can guess, any type of visual search is like looking for a feather in a blizzard. We will rendezvous with our escorts in a little less than thirty hours. In those thirty hours we are going to repair our ship and our damaged fighters and we are going to come back out kicking. Congratulations on a job well done. Merritt's marines smashed half a dozen carriers under construction and a hell of a lot of equipment. Our task force has downed over seventy enemy fighters, four corvettes, one orbital base, along with a number of probabilities and damaged. I'm proud of you, and the Confederation is proud of you. All damage control officers, weapons officers, and engineering officers report to the temporary bridge in one half hour. Thank you and keep it up, Tarawa. I'm damned proud to be part of this team."

Prince Thrakhath's force took defensive positions to intercept possible approaches to Kilrah. Destroyers were left to scan Igrathi. A picket line of cruisers and corvettes was stationed between Kilrah and Igrathi while the carrier carrying the Crown Prince was stationed in high orbit above Kilrah. In a conversation with the Emperor, Thrakhath learned of the developing situation at Vukar Tag. A Confederation task force had been detected entering the system as Kilrathi landing operations commenced. The Battle of Vukar Tag had been joined.

Making Repairs and Burying the Dead

For the next 29 hours, the crew of the Tarawa worked to repair the damage suffered during the first phase of the fighting. The ship had sustained serious structural damage. In a conversation between Bondarevsky, Montclair, the bridge staff and a twenty-five year fleet veteran named Jim who was a transfer from the Concordia the damage control situation was assessed. Jim had replaced the senior Damage Control Officer, a fresh from the Academy graduate who had died on the bridge. The bridge itself had been completely destroyed by the kamikaze hit with all hands lost. The Launch Control Room had been transformed into a backup bridge, a feature the Wake-class was not designed with. Helm Control, Combat Information, Navigation and Damage Control stations had been set up in the space and the only major station missing was Radar. The long range scanner had been completely destroyed in the kamikaze strike. Three of the six main keel beams had structural cracks running down them. These along with hundreds of other fractures in the hull allowed air to leak while also allowing Igrathi's toxic atmosphere to seep in. Some of the structural damage was repaired with durasteel salvaged from a wrecked Ferret. Fires remained in the aft crew quarters but were under control. These fires had polluted the air in the section and the air filtration system would require a couple of days to clean the section out. The shield generators had been damaged allowing no more than 75% power. The engine room was now in direct contact with the rest of the carrier through a pressurized corridor established by damage control.

The flight wing had suffered almost 50% causalities. 23 of 44 pilots remained, not including Bondarevsky who was now acting-captain. Two marine pilots were qualified to fly Ferrets but neither Bondarevsky or Montclair wanted to risk their lives against Kilrathi fleet pilots unless it was absolutely necessary. Bondarevsky promoted Montclair to Wing Commander. Bondaresvky also promoted Kevin Tolwyn to squadron leader for the Rapiers and "Round Top" Chamberlain for the Ferrets. Seven Ferrets, eight Rapiers and five Sabres were all that remained of the fighters in flying condition.

The officers made their way to the flight deck for a brief funeral ceremony for those who had been killed. Bondarevsky made a short remark and read the 23rd Psalm. Bodies were pushed through the airlock into Igrathi's atmosphere. Colonel Merritt came forward and symbolically ordered two sergeants to push a pair of jump boots with a helmet placed on top through the airlock as well. Thirty seven minutes later Strike Force Valkyrie emerged from Igrathi's atmosphere on a course directly towards Kilrah with ram scoops closed.

Changing "Maneuvering Tactics and Close-In Tactics Forever!"

Bondarevsky's plan was to distract Thrakhath's forces by launching a Ferret and Marine landing craft armed with "old-style atomic weapons" that would be easily detected by the Kilrathi. Prince Thrakhath's forces quickly detected the ships and made all effort to make sure they did not reach Kilrah. Thrakhath had been informed by the Emperor of the disaster suffered at Vukar Tag as well as ordering him to make sure no Confederation attack touched Kilrah. This worked directly into Bondarevsky's plan.

With ram scoops closed, the three Confederation ships accelerated rapidly. As they crossed eight thousand klicks per second, the Ferret and landing craft were launched towards Kilrah. Kilrathi forces responded with overwhelming strength towards the two small ships. The three Confederation capital ships then fired their maneuvering thrusters to turn perpendicular to their flight path. The landing craft was rammed by a Sartha and the Ferret was destroyed. Kagimasha was also rammed by a Sartha completely destroying the corvette and killing everyone on board.

The Tarawa and Intrepid cruised fifty kilometers over Kilrah's north pole using their tractor beams on the planet to slingshot them towards jump point F-One / Vuwarg jump point. In less than ten seconds, the two ships put Kilrah a hundred thousand kilometers astern. They would arrive at the jump point in seven hours and thirty two minutes. They had an estimated five million kilometer lead on any Kilrathi forces.

Prince Thrakhath admitted to himself that though the maneuver by Bondarevsky had been "brilliantly executed", it was also "an exercise in futility". It had bought the Humans a bit more time. He realized he had not thought the situation through a Human's perspective where a chance to hit the enemy home world took priority over living another day. Thrakhath ordered the KIS Karu to block the jump line from the Baragh to Rushtasystems. KIS Torg was ordered to block the Baragh to Xsar system jump line. Thrakhath's task force moved to block the Baragh to Lushkag system jump line. He ordered that thirty reserve fighters be delivered from the palace guard to his carrier to replenish losses suffered in the battle. Thrakhath's carrier was to move towards its blockade point two hours after the Confederation ships completed their slingshot maneuver.

Seven hours and thirty two minutes later the Confederation ships jumped from the Kilrah system to Vuwarg. The battle had become a stern chase.

The Return to Confederation Space

In the system after Vuwarg, Strike Force Valkyrie encountered a Kilrathi orbital base. It was taken out in a sharp attack led by Grierson, several Sabres, and a company of marines. It was then stripped of durasteel, emergency air canisters and a light shuttle craft. They also removed half a dozen of the base's mass driver mini guns, which were welded to the ship just forward of the landing airlock for point defense. The gun crews were volunteers and had to go EVA to reach them.

Two days later, the Kilrathi had two Frathlas and four Ralathas only six hours behind the Confederation ships. Two hours and twenty eight minutes later the Confederation ships jumped into the Baragh System.

Battle of Baragh

As soon as Strike Force Valkyrie entered Baragh, they encountered Prince Thrakhath's picket forces. One carrier was parked on the edge of an asteroid belt in system and had deployed a belt of mines forward. Another carrier was deployed on the far side of the system, several hours' travel from the Confederation's location. The third of Thrakhath's carriers was also jumping in on the far side of the system as well. A fourth carrier was detected jumping in system from the Jugara system but it was also several hours away was shrouded by heavy jamming and an asteroid belt. Bondarevsky ordered all fighters launched and to push towards the Jugara jump point. Strike Group Alpha moved to attack the closest carrier, led by Montclair. The strike consisted of six Rapiers and three Sabres. Tolwyn led the Rapiers covering Montclair. Tarawa had a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) led by "Round Top", consisting of six Ferrets, two Rapiers and two Sabres. Strike Group Alpha made an attempt on the Kilrathi carrier but scored no hits and only Montclair and Tolwyn survived.

The Intrepid moved into position to intercept an inbound cruiser while ten Gratha fighter-bombers made an attack run on the bow of the Tarawa, while the CAP was engaged astern. Seven torpedoes were launched. Six torpedoes were downed by point defenses however one slammed into the armored bow. This hit caused the forward twenty meters of the bow to shear off, taking the thirty five members of the volunteer crews on the salvaged Kilrathi turrets to their deaths. Amazingly, the Tarawa's hull held despite the massive damage. The armored bow had been an add on to the original transport design. It was simply welded on and was not integrated into the hull. Shields were knocked down to only eight percent.

A Kilrathi fighter positioned itself in front of the flight deck airlock and pumped mass driver rounds into the hangar. A Ferret's fuel tank detonated, destroying the fighter and killing the pilot inside. The flight deck became chaotic when the Kilrathi fighter was destroyed by a Rapier being chased by two Drakhai. This was a fighter from the TCS Concordia which was using a Kilrathi IFF to mask its identity. Admiral Tolwyn had intercepted a Kilrathi message stating the Tarawa had gone through the F-One / Vuwarg jump point, and rushed to aid the strike force after the battle at Vukar Tag was essentially over. As Thrakhath's carrier moved out of its minefield, the Intrepid engaged a Fralthra and both ships were destroyed by torpedo spreads fired at point-blank range. When Montclair and Kevin Tolwyn landed, they informed Bondarevsky that the fourth carrier from Jugara was the Concordia. Admiral Tolwyn had launched fighters to cover the Tarawa and a strike force to drive off the remaining Kilrathi. Thrakhath chose to curb his losses and disengaged, while the Confederation forces withdrew to Jugara and, ultimately, back to Confederation space.

Aftermath

Strike Force Valkyrie suffered significant losses during the attack on Kilrah. Only the TCS Tarawa survived the raid and was so badly damaged that she narrowly avoided decommissioning and scrapping only by the insistence of Admiral Tolwyn and Jason Bondarevsky. Tarawa also received the unique distinction of having First to Kilrah painted on her hull directly under where the bridge had been located. Bondarevsky was promoted to Captain for his leadership during the raid. Jim Merritt was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of the First Marine Regiment. He replaced a female commanding officer named Gonzales who was killed during the Kilrathi bombardment of Vukar Tag.

Despite these losses, the devastation to the Kilrathi Home Fleet was far greater. With the loss of six carriers, several construction facilities and over 4,000 naval personnel and soldiers, the First Battle of Kilrah was a clear victory for humanity. The attack deprived the Kilrathi Navy of a large amount of irreplaceable equipment and war ships, and it proved to be an enormous humiliation for the Kilrathi as a whole. The complimenting Confederation victory at Vukar Tag was a victory equal to the success of the raid on Largkza. Humanity regained hope that they would win the war against their enemy, strengthening their resolve and giving humanity an advantage on the battlefield.

The success of the First Battle of Kilrah prompted the Terran Confederation to assemble and commission another dozen Escort Carriers, all of which would participate in deep-space raids on high-profile Kilrathi targets deep within the Kilrathi Empire. Within a year, these strikes effectively rendered the Kilrathi military undermanned and deprived of equipment. A further seven carriers were destroyed by Confederation forces. By the end of 2668, the Kilrathi Empire was losing the war, forcing its leadership to enact daring plans to destroy humanity before further losses were suffered. This series of events culminated in the return of exiled Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra, who would turn defeat into victory with the proposal of the 2668 Armistice on 2668.191.

Space Sim First Look: Starlight Inception

Austin, Texas based Escape Hatch Entertainment is trying to get Starlight Inception off the ground. The player character is a young pilot on a carrier that gets sent to various hot spots in the solar system. The driving force is 3D artist Garry Gaber, formerly of LucasArts, where he worked on titles such as Star Wars: Galaxies. Closet new-age fans will also be excited that David Arkenstone will be composing the soundtrack. Inception is targeting PC and PlayStation Vita platforms via digital download. The group welcomes any feedback from space sim gamers and they might be interested in artists that can do work for hire. They're also hoping to secure enough funding through a Kickstarter to continue development.
Our goal is to create a descendant of the space combat genre - it's a game about flying space fighters, bombers and other spacecraft, but it's also about managing the ship's power usage between shields and stealth generators, engines, and weapons. Plus, as you get further in the game, you amass quite an arsenal to pick from for missions. The game's art style is photoreal and gritty - you'll feel like you're in the middle of a big battle amongst the planets, moons and asteroids, making decisions that affect your life and the life of your wingmen, whether human or autonomous drones.
  • DRM-free digital download on PC or digital download through the Playstation Store for Sony Playstation Vita
  • Dramatic and realistic storyline: Players will experience an enveloping space saga with a deep and involving story that spans the solar system.
  • Richly detailed: Rich detail will show from the capital ships, environments, space fighters, transports to explosions.
  • Space action: Action in space and over the surface of planets and moons. Fly over a planet’s atmosphere then swoop down over surface vehicles and troops for a visceral experience both at high and low altitudes.
  • Camera perspective: Switchable 1st and 3rd person cameras let the player tailor the game experience to their own liking.
  • Lots of stuff to do: Blow up stuff with the most advanced fighters known to man, salvage destroyed vessels for cool stuff, defend your ship against incoming marauders, locate and destroy ground targets, blow up more stuff...

WC Saga Mission Editor Released

Wing Commander Saga's developers have released a toolkit for creating new missions for their game engine. One of the most notable contributions is a code template for mimicking Wing Commander's fly-by autopilot sequences. The team has also put together a care package for aspiring modders: documentation and a tutorial on how to recreate the first two missions from Wing Commander III, complete with briefing, launch sequence and autonav. You can grab the editing tools here. The playable Wing 3 proof of concept is available as a separate download.

We have finally brought you Wing Commander Saga's mission editor. Along with giving players the ability to create new missions for Wing Commander Saga, the kit comes with an autopilot template for the game. That’s right, you can now create missions that offer the flyby sequences that were a central part of the Wing Commander ethos, offering a much shorter wait time between nav points and also a cinematic flair that has always been a trademark of Wing Commander.

We have decided to make something special to help you get the hang of our tools. We have created a loose remake of the first two missions in Wing Commander 3. Our demo package features the original voice-overs of Mark Hamil, Jason Bernard, and the other classic WC3 actors who were highlighted in the first two missions. Briefing and launch sequences are also included. You can grab the package here. The process of creating those missions was documented and an early tutorial draft has been included.

Basic TacOps Game Coding Almost Complete

More improvements have been made to the TacOps Online engine. Secondary weapon systems such as flak and missiles are pretty well integrated with the game now, but the biggest news is that almost all of the original Tactical Operations tabletop rules have now been coded into the software-based game. Once this milestone is complete, Avacar will move into making the game master tools so that fans can easily start up their own adventures.

Ask and you shall receive; I've tentatively coded in a UI improvement to the combat phase to reflect this. I'll let you guys tell me if this is obvious. (You'll only see a difference if you're making an opportunity shot).

While on the topic, we're getting very very close to finishing my goals for Phase 5 (which is "all rules coded, if not 100% debugged). Once we move onto phase 6, I'm going to initially work on an in-game editor for 'game-runners' to allow on-the-fly editing of ships, and eventually a set of game-building tools. While working on this, I also hope to have Phase 6 include UI improvements/bug fixes. This will be when you guys can suggest things like the above, ways to make field reports better, etc. Start generally thinking on it, although we may be a month or so out from when I really dive into it.

Well, I resolved the issue involving firing flak and missiles at the same time. This lead to the discovery of a generally broken IR missile (at least for a cap ship, I don't think we've seen issues firing them on fighters). Unfortunately I can't actually get my missile locked on beta to fire this phase without rewinding a few full turns. Not only that, while it claims that scratch just got a "new" lock on Beta this time around, I can see in the database that that lock is bogus.

Happy Birthday HCl!

We'd like to extend a big Happy Birthday to Wing Commander editing master and archaeologist, HCl! Over the years, HCl has worked tirelessly to produce some of the greatest WC enhancements and editing tools. Given it is his birthday, we thought what better way to celebrate than by showing off some of his greatest accomplishments!

One has to start with the obvious, HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site. Here Wingnuts can access all of HCl's utilities, patches, enhancements, hacks, and so forth. If you are curious about the guts of the Wing Commander products, this has to be your first stop.

Wing Commander 4 on GOG: HCl, heading the work for the Maniac Team, was able to include the higher resolution DVD movies along with a number of other things.

Wing Commander 3: From his movie extractor to player all of his must have utilities can be found here. AD and HCl also extracted the PSX WC3 videos, which because of compression differences look a bit better than the original PC videos. You can find the player and down the videos here.

Wing Commander Privateer: A bunch of cool utilities that many might have overlooked for Privateer and Righteous Fire can be found here.

Wing Commander Prophecy: HCl's Prophecy Enhancement Package allows Wingnuts to run WCP in high resolution, adds online multiplayer, allows DVD quality videos to be patched in and fixes bugs that were part of the original game.

Be sure to grab the excellent Open GL Enhancement for WCP and WCSO.

HCl's did quite a bit of research into the original Wing Commander. Be sure to check them out here. You'll find a ship viewer and explanations of exactly how WC1 ship files work.

Not only has HCl worked his magic on official Wing Commander products, he's also lent his talents to the two premier Wing Commander mods: Wing Commander: Standoff and Wing Commander Saga. HCl worked on both the Vision and FS2 engines for both teams as each sought to push their engine's envelope.

Sometimes you can even see the amazingly crazy genius that is HCl at work before your own eyes. We highlighted these threads because they are so incredible. I'm not exactly sure what's going on except to know that it is pretty awesome. It's looking at different aspects of Privateer 2. Check out for yourself here and here. The second link even involves HCl figuring out some Priv2 data longhand with pen and paper!

So, Happy Birthday HCl! From the entire Wing Commander community!

New WCA Box Art Revealed!

Amazon.com has posted new box art for the upcoming Wing Commander Academy DVD set! The updated image adds the Tiger's Claw and replaces the red background planet with a blue nebula. A (mirrored) Scimitar still tangles with a pair of classic Dralthi.

Release is just six weeks away, and preorder prices are continuing to fluctuate. Deep Discount has increased its price about a dollar to $17.84. Shipping is free at DD, but Amazon Prime members get free release date delivery included with their $19.99 purchase. Many other retailers, such as Overstock.com, DVD Empire, Books-a-Million, CD Universe and RightStuf to name a few, are now on board with a proper product listing. Barnes & Noble has an impressively low online price of $16.62, but the lowest we've seen is $14.43 at Blowitoutahere.com. Buyer beware at some of the smaller sites - most of my copies are preordered at Amazon.

A spirited and elite corps of novice fighter pilots attends the Wing Commander Academy in the year 2655. Often thrust into battle against the mighty and ruthless Kilrathi race, the crew must master daring manoeuvres and veer through constant danger to save the world. Sedate and honorable Maverick, devil-may-care and impulsive Maniac, and serious-minded, cautious and competent Archer make up a quarter of the cadet wing at the academy under their brilliant, if argumentative, captain, Commodore Tolwyn.

Emulator Adds Improved WC3 Compatibility

There's good news on the emulation front! 4DO, which is based on FreeDO, has overcome some major video rendering issues that have existed while trying to run the 3DO edition of Wing Commander 3 on a PC. Version 1.1.6.3 / 1.1.6.4 apparently allow the game to function quite well now. Don't yet have a copy of the 3DO version of WC3? Then, you're missing out! In addition to enhanced video quality, the port includes new missions, weapons and gameplay designed for the console.

There is, however, a WC3 3DO demo! The CIC first posted it in early 2006 with the caveat, "Unfortunately, no 3DO emulator is yet capable of playing Wing Commander III... but the demo will still be available here when emulation technology catches up!" Now's your chance! Grab the demo here (357 meg zipped .iso) and FourDO here.

Wing Commander 3 video rendering fixed. It took me quite a while to track down the problems, but the video rendering in Wing Commander 3 is now fixed! Additionally, Viktor has added some freeze fixes to resolve several of the freezes seen when playing videos! As a result, the game is now quite playable!...

I dug into the CEL rendering logic and documentation enough to understand the bugs causing Wing Commander 3′s video issues. It took the whole week! I finally saw the resulting clean images at about 4:30am last night.

Freezes now occur much less often, but can still sometimes occur.

'Lots of Little Details' Added to Tiger's Claw

Malcolm Reynolds has taken some new high quality shots of his delightful Tiger's Claw model. These further show off the detail of his turret guns and complete main fuselage. The last picture even reveals almost all of the structure in place on the lower "wings" and central superstructure. Malcolm says there's lots left to do, but it looks to me like this one's almost ready for her maiden voyage!

You can probably see A LOT of the imperfections in the model, which I hope to clean up before I'm finished. Although some of the roughness appeals to me, as I want the Claw to look like she's been through hell and taken some heavy torpedo hits. A ship with the history of the Claw would have undergone loads of repairs over her career.

I did some work on the conning tower/bridge area. Lots of little details, very challenging. It's nowhere near being done, but here are some progress pics.

Enigmatic Fighter Fleet Launches

Deathsnake has posted pictures of the new Ferret, Rapier, Epee, Sabre and Crossbow for use in the Enigma 2666 mod. Additional glimpses of the Morningstar and Broadsword are also coming soon. Each ship has a unified texture style similar to the one made famous by ScoobyDoo. Because of these new advancements, a similar graphical upgrade will need to also be undertaken for the games larger warships. Let Deathsnake know what you think at the CIC Forums.

The Crossbow and Epee needs another texture to match with the other ones and should be a little big shorter :) Morningstar and Broadsword are not done yet. Gilgamesh and Clydesdale follow soon. :) Kilrathi fighters need only new textures, but all capital ships needs an upgrade or a complete new model.

Wing Commander: Eagle Rising Takes Off

Sylvester is heading up a new fan project for the FreeSpace 2 engine, using software tools developed by the Saga team to kick-start the effort. Eagle Rising will explore events between Wing Commander and Wing Commander II and will cover the destruction of the Tiger's Claw. Sylvester has a small group of contributors lined up, but he could use a few more artists and people with coding experience. Head to the Forums if you have input or would like to help out!

Wing Commander: Eagle Rising will be a modification of the Freespace 2 Engine with the assistance of tools and coding developed by the Wing Commander: Saga team. The story will begin in 2656, shortly after the original Wing Commander. The primary setting for the game will be on-board the TCS Eagle's Talon (CV-09), a Bengal-class Strike Carrier and sister-ship to the TCS Tiger's Claw.

The story will follow the Eagle's Talon and her pilots as they launch strikes deep into Kilrathi territory in preparation for the Confederation's first attempt to subdue the Enigma sector. During the course of the campaign, the Tiger's Claw is destroyed attempting to attack K'Tithrak Mang, and now the Eagle's Talon is stuck behind enemy lines with her small escort group, cut off from the Confederation forces retreating in the wake of the Claw's destruction.

Following the Eagle's Talon's escape from Kilrathi territory, the campaign will conclude with the Talon fighting valiantly to defend several defecting Kilrathi planets from a counter-attack by Prince Thrakhath. The purpose of this campaign is to serve as a bridge of sorts between when the Tiger's Claw was destroyed and the beginning of Wing Commander II. The campaign will take place between early 2656 and late 2657/early 2658, roughly the same time-span as Wing Commander II.

The player will have the opportunity to fly most of the Wing Commander 1 fighters, plus others that appeared in the TV series Wing Commander: Academy. A unique aspect of the game is that it will be the first Wing Commander game to feature a female protagonist as the player character.


New Fighter Inspired by SWC Rapier

Klavs81 has started work on a new version of the workhorse Rapier fighter. This time it's based on the Super Wing Commander iteration of the ship, which was also the foundation for the Rapier that featured prominently in Wing Commander Arena. Klavs' last F-44 was featured in an awesome wallpaper in 2010, but his love affair with the ship dates back to long before that.
Not satisfied with my old Rapier for movie closeups and detailed animation, so I started building another one. (That's three, but I DON'T have a problem)

This one is a direct descendant of the Super Wing Commander Rapier, which was my very first WC game on Mac, back in 1995.

Hope you guys like it!

Quelling Problems With The Border Worlds

Wing Commander 4's release on GOG has been a resounding success. Yet while most people have been happily playing away at this great game a few have been struggling with various technical issues. While we wish there wasn't any issues at all, it's still pretty amazing that the team was able to put together a release for GOG that runs on modern machines with minimal hiccups given the finicky nature of the original DVD release needing specific hardware to run.

So with that, we wanted to help out those of you that are having issues by running through the basic dos and don'ts of getting WC4 GOG to run on your modern machines. Below you will find a list of the most common issues with the game and their solutions:

Probably the most common issue people are having is that the game and video plays but they get no sound in the cutscenes. To fix this download and install AC3filter.

If you get audio and no picture, then you likely need an mpeg 2 decoder. Please note that Windows Vista and 7 Home and Starter editions *DO NOT* come with DVD software pre-installed. To fix this you can simply download and unzip mpeg2dec into your WC4 directory. Then run register.bat (as administrator).

In some cases people with the "sound but no picture" problem were running multiple monitors. Disabling your secondary monitor may also fix this issue.

In the event you have neither picture nor audio, or the "missing movie" error, you can apply both of the above solutions, or if you want a one-step solution, codec packs such as K-lite and CCCP will work. Most of the codec packs include an AC3 decoder, so you don't need to install AC3 filter as well. The advantage of K-lite over CCCP is that it should make it easier to diagnose codec issues. The K-Lite Codec Tweak Tool shows all codecs available in the system and allows you to enable / disable individual codecs.

In some cases, players have been unable to get the game running no matter what codecs they install (the game simply will not initialize). In these instances the likely culprit is your firewall software. Either disable your firewall and antivirus while first running the game or create an exception for WC4DVD.exe to solve this issue. Some player have noted that they had to even go so far as to completely remove their firewall program before it would let them install the game correctly.

There have been a few instances of people running Windows 8 getting the 'Virtual Protect' error on start-up. In this case, this should be solved by setting the compatibility mode of WC4DVD.exe to Windows 95 or 98.

Some people have experienced frame rate issues. This may be due to CPU affinity. Basically the game wants to use a specific core. In our tests this was only an issue on a EEEPC laptop running a multi-core ATOM processor. In any case, the GOG version of the game was created prepared to read an "affinity.cfg" file. Setting affinity to CPU 1 helps achieve a higher frame rate (from 21fps to 24fps, which is WC4's hardcoded maximum). To do this, create a text file in your WC4 directory and name it 'affinity.cfg'. Simply enter into the file the number of the core that should be assigned to the game. For example, if you have a dual core processor values 0 and 1 are valid, other values are ignored.

Other generic troubleshooting suggestions: Make sure your video driver version and DirectX version are up to date.

Please note that the DVD version did not have subtitles in the cinematics. This is a product of the original encoding and isn't a "bug" per se. Someday intrepid Wing Commander fans will figure out how to implement the subs from the CD version - and maybe the audio from the Lexington transitions while their at it - but for now, there are no subtitles during the cutscenes. Subtitles should still work fine during spaceflight comm videos and on-ship gameflow screens.

And now, the don'ts: *DO NOT* overwrite mpeg2.dll or dxmci.dll in your WC4 folder with older ones from Gulikoza's esteemed patches. Some people on other message boards have been suggesting this. Do not do it. You will break your install. GOG's version is built with the original dxmci patch as a starting point, but it has been heavily modified. Overwriting these files will require you to do a fresh install of the game.

Finally, if you cannot resolve your WC4 GOG issues, please post a message in the tech support section of the CIC Forums. We'll try and help you resolve anything not addressed by these steps. Please make sure to mention any error messages you may get and any other debug logs created by the crash. Please also tell us as much as you can about your system and what steps you have tried to get the game running.

The price of gaming-bug freedom is eternal vigilance!

1UP Celebrates Celebrities of '90s Games

1UP has posted a feature story about famous Hollywood actors that starred in video games of the 1990s. The article starts out by noting the Wing Commander series' heavy potential contribution to this list, but in an interesting twist, they skip past the Mark Hamill, Tom Wilson & Malcolm McDowell trifecta and instead acknowledge the all-star cast of Privateer 2: The Darkening. Check out the full article here (they're right.. we could have written a longer piece on just the actors of various Wing Commander games).

Privateer 2: The Darkening - PC '96

In all honesty, this list could've been populated purely by installments of Wing Commander, but for the sake of our collective sanity, I've pared it down to arguably the most star-studded entry in the series. 1996's Privateer 2: The Darkening starred a fresh Clive Owen long before his fortune turned around with roles in Sin City and Children of Men. It also featured the talents of fabled thespian John Hurt, who won an Oscar for his work in The Elephant Man as well as the my personal award for Best Cinematic Death in Alien. While his role as a deranged bartender may have been slightly below his pay grade, you can't help but notice how much fun he was having the whole time. But throughout the years, Privateer 2 has become synonymous with one name in general. Christopher Walken lends his strangely hypnotic talents to the game, and in typical Walken fashion, seems very confused with his presence in the universe. Walken is one of those actors who's such an iconic figure, that his mere presence in a role pulls the audience out of the experience and causes them to focus on the strange and unnatural world that is his life.

Tiger's Claw Builder Sticks to His Guns

Malcolm Reynolds has posted a cool update to his physical Tiger's Claw update. The main upgrade in this update is the installation of weapon turrets. Thanks to some clever design, they actually rotate around their base. The ship is otherwise coming together well with the only major assemblies left unfinished are the lower nacelle structures and upper central bridge structure. Let Malcolm know what you think at the CIC Forums.

Surfing around the site the last couple of days made me want to get started on finishing this project. It's been almost a year of on-and-off work, and I've been crazy busy but I'm committed to really finishing her off soon.

Here is some of the work that I did on the turrets. I eventually settled on a combination of washers, magnets and some spokes I ripped out of an old heat sink. They can be turned 360 degrees but unfortunately they don't point up or down. I may need to add more to the underside of the ship and to the nacelles, but that can be done later.

These turrets are massive when you think about the scale, but I kind of like that. I want to feel like a carrier of this size and power could easily lay waste to entire cities from or poorly shielded fleets. They also don't match Howard's design, but I just didn't have the skill to produce that. I alternated the paint scheme so that they would stand out and look better based on what part of the ship they were mounted.

Wing Commander's a Hit!

While it hasn't dominated the site's total sales rankings yet, the new release of WC4 on GOG is shooting up the "shooter" genre rankings. In its wake, The Price of Freedom has also pulled the GOG releases of WC1/2 and WC3 up into the top ten again as well. I can't get enough of that gorgeous header gracing the service's main page!

The folks in Poland also posted the kind nod below as part of their release announcement. We'd like to especially credit the community's programming extraordinaires: HCl, gulikoza and the Maniac Team for making this special conversion of WC4 DVD possible on modern computers. A decade ago, Wingnuts had to hunt down a special Creative Labs dxr decoder board just to play this gem!

A shout-out goes to WC News for all the help they gave the GOG.com team of content-wranglers in getting the extra goodies together that you're enjoying with the release, as well as helping us source a our game master & the DVD videos! They're awesome, and if you're a fan of Wing Commander, you should definitely check them out.

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander IV on GOG

Fantastic news from GOG today: the last of the Wing Commander titles in their current allotment is now available! Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom is out now... and what's more, it's the massive DVD version! The release is just $5.99 and comes with copious extras. Check back throughout the day as we post retrospective updates related to the making of Wing Commander IV. It's going to be a great day!

Wing Commander IV Gets the Point

As with Wing Commander III, reading through the Point of Origin's surrounding Wing Commander IV's release is a great way to learn what life was like at Origin during this massive production. These issues should take you through early development in 1995 through the press reaction and end again with a graphics award for box design!

Wing Commander 4 Treatment

One of the first steps in creating Wing Commander IV was to plot out exactly how the game would work--from that, programmers would update the engine as needed, writers would create dialogue, designers would plan gameflow and so on. To that end, we have today the original Wing Commander 4 treatment document. It's VERY interesting, as it comes from an earlier design for the game which would feature even more characters and a third 'setting'--Blair would start out flying from a Confed outpost on the border! Check it out below:

Wing Commander IV Script

Even compared to Wing Commander III, Wing Commander IV's FMV script was a massive accomplishment--one that will likely stand the test of time as the biggest, most expensive and most impressive video game shoot ever put to celluloid. Origin actually posted a copy of the script for download at their official website in 1996, which you can download below. The files themselves are formatted for an earlier, more WordPerfect age... but you can still read the text!

Wing Commander IV Sketches

In the scheme of things, Wing Commander IV didn't add that many new ship designs--so it's surprising we've found as many detailed sketches as you can see below!

Wing Commander IV Storyboards

We have located a large number of Wing Commander IV storyboards. Unfortunately they were intended for web use in 1996, which makes them very low resolution... but there's a lot to see anyway! You can find them all here.

Wing Commander IV: Behind the Screens

Wing Commander IV didn't have a single awesome "making of" documentary like Heart of the Tiger... but that hasn't stopped us from collecting our own! You can find a host of on-set interviews and short featurettes about the making of the game in our Holovids section. Interviews with Tom Wilson are always a good time!

Wing Commander IV's Cut Scene(s)

Wing Commander IV lacks the wide variety of 'missing scenes'--everything filmed made it into the finished game. The shooting script does include an alternate introduction, which begins with your choice of Flint or Rachel sending Blair a Dear John hologram... but despite the scene making it into the finished script, neither actress was ever hired (it would have been terribly confusing for new players, who were really needed to justify a twenty million dollar budget.) There is one short scene which has been long passed along as "cut"--a briefing from Admiral Wilford that doesn't play in the game itself. It's actually not that exciting, though: it does appear in the game as a postage stamp green "VDU" briefing... they just also included a full color cutscene version as well. You can download it here:

Wing Commander 4 Party Pics

Here is a selection of candid photos from Origin's Wing Commander IV wrap party! It looks like a great time... for everyone but Melek.

Wing Commander IV Teaser

The first image fans saw of Wing Commander IV was the teaser below, showing Tolwyn and Blair on opposing sides with a shadowy figure between them. It's a compelling image on the surface, but it's also problematic--since there's no actual reveal in the game itself. The shadow figure is just Seether, an entirely new character who is actually Tolwyn's henchman. The biggest problem, though, was that the first run of ads had a date promising the game on December 8, 1995. That would come back to haunt Origin when the title was delayed until February, 1996...

Wing Commander IV Sell Sheet

And here is Wing Commander IV's industry sell sheet. In all honesty, ordering the sequel to the best selling PC game to date was certainly a given--but it's always interesting to see how Origin decided to promote these games!

Wing Commander IV Magazine Covers

With a short development cycle, there wasn't much time for Wing Commander IV to go through the same dog and pony show as earlier titles. One solution to this problem was to have the art team render, early on, several beautiful magazine covers in order to ensure press coverage. Four have been discovered:

Wing Commander IV Trailers

Wing Commander IV took video game trailers to a new level. For the first time ever, trailers weren't just something you found on a coverdisc or saw on a VHS tape at Egghead... EA's massive media blitz for The Price of Freedom included cable TV advertisements and theatrical trailers printed on film! Wing Commander fans would go to see movies just to catch the cinema trailer. You can download a host of different versions online here. Oh and watch carefully--you'll find a few frames of a scene not in the game: two Hellcats flying past a windmill.

Wing Commander IV Demo

Several versions of the Wing Commander IV Demo exist. The first included a cinematic trailer and was released on magazine cover discs (here - 43 megs). That was a huge file for an era when ordinary people didn't have CD burners or fast internet connections... so Origin later released a smaller internet version with the trailer removed (here - 14 megs). Even that seemed like an impossible download at the time, though! I remember sending 30-odd hastily-blanked discs to work with my dad in the hopes he could download it for me... but one was always corrupt! A Macintosh version was later released (here - 6 megs).

One secret to the Wing Commander IV demo--you can actually "pick up" a Stormfire to play with! Right after you take off, target Dekker's shuttle and follow it for about ten seconds... it will drop a new gun you can fly into (a la Arena) and then use!

The Ships of Wing Commander IV

While Wing Commander IV reused many fighters and capital ships from Wing Commander III, it still added a great many designs to the Wing Commander canon. A big focus of the game was to make the Wing Commander universe more of a 'living' place--to that end, the art team created an assortment of communications arrays, star bases, buildings and other "normal" craft overlooked in previous games.
Fighters

F-27 Arrow V

Hellcat V

HF-66 Thunderbolt VII

F/A-76 Longbow

Bearcat

F-103 Excalibur

F-107 Lance

Razor

Dralthi IV

Banshee

Vindicator

Avenger

Manned Insertion Pod
Capital Ships

Shuttle

Clarkson

Evansville

Jammer

Caernaven

Southampton

Tallahassee

Concordia

Vesuvius

Shuttle

Shuttle

Durango
Installations

Jump Buoy

Radar Buoy

Turret Mine

Radar Array

Comm Station

Depot

Dry Dock

Factory

Super Base

Axius

Space Lab

Ground Turret

Hover Tank

Missile Tank

Underground Base

Communications Array

Starbase

Hover Tank

Ground Complex

Wing Commander IV Ship Renders

These amazing 'action' poses were used in various Wing Commander IV publications--the web site, the official guide and so on. Well, half of them were; the capital ships and some of the alternate paint schemes for the fighters were never published!

Music of Wing Commander IV

The Price of Freedom was the first Wing Commander game to feature an all-digital soundtrack, replacing earlier games' MIDI music. The score, by George Oldziey, continues to be the standard for space opera games today. Music from the game appeared on only one album, Oldziey's Music from the Wing Commander Universe. Here are a selection of tracks from a variety of sources: High quality background music Various tracks

Wing Commander IV Box Art

Wing Commander IV's simple red box art was a startling departure--so much so that a slipcover using the European "movie poster" art was ultimately added to the US release, covering the original Black Lance logo concept.
Interesting note: the first printing of the game has a typo right on the box cover! It reads "biologigal" instead of biological. Trey Hermann explains: "I was the packaging design supervisor for Origin Systems when Wing Commander IV was released. And I was the sod who designed the box and didn't catch the typo on sign-off. Neither did anyone else in the marketing department for that matter, well at least until after the boxes had already hit the shelves. The typo was fixed for the second printing of the game."

Wing Commander IV Manual

There's no easy way to say this: the Wing Commander IV manual was a disappointment. Instead of a cool shipboard magazine you got a sample chapter from the upcoming novelization and a note telling you that the ship specifications are on the disc. And the promised file wasn't really there! Still, there are some interesting points--especially how different the preview chapter is from the finished version, in incredibly odd ways. An editor, for instance, chanced the Arrows seen in this version to Hellcats in the finished novel. Why? You can download a copy below.

Wing Commander IV Promo Card

Did you get a random Wing Commander CCG card in your copy of Wing Commander IV and wonder: what the hell is that? In an oddly unexplained promotion, a random card was inserted into roughly one in ten copies of the game. Unfortunately there was no explanation or promotion attached, so it seemed to most that their game just had a small picture of a torpedo or a nav point for some reason. Rarer still, was this special card--a unique promotional card of Admiral Tolwyn not included in the regular set. These appeared in about 1 in 100 copies of the game's first pressing. Luckily, the kind people at Mag Force 7 were happy to give out more copies upon request at the time. Very cool art, too!

Wing Commander IV Ports

Can a game as massive as Wing Commander IV be ported to a console? The answer... is yes! Several ports of the game were released over the years:

Macintosh: The Macintosh port, done by Lion Entertainment, is a very close copy of the PC release. No big surprises!

Windows 95: Origin sold boxed Windows 95 versions of WC4 and also made an upgrade patch available for the original release.

DVD: The DVD version of WC4 was an incredible achievement. It was one of the first DVD games and featured a flipper disc of high quality movies. Computers at the time weren't up to playing the video, requiring a special Creative Labs decoder card be installed. A lesser known DVD version also exists, consisting of all six CDs of the normal game on one disc.

Playstation: The PSX version of WC4 was developed in-house, with an eye towards doing the game in a less confusing way than the complicated WC3 port. Unfortunately, a four disc limit meant that a good number of missions were cut from the game!

GameTap: Wing Commander 4 was one of three Wing Commander titles available through the GameTap service.

PSN: Wing Commander 4, from the PlayStation version, is currently available for sale on the Playstation Network. As a result, you can play WC4 on your PS3 console or PSP handheld!

One port was cancelled early in development--a version for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. That's really a shame, as the 3DO version of Heart of the Tiger was amazing.

Wing Commander IV in Books

Wing Commander IV resulted in only one official guide, this time developed in-house at Origin. The book seems to be a mix of the two Wing Commander III guides, featuring the full color front section of the Authorized Combat Guide but the general surgical style of Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III.

The Wing Commander IV novelization was written by William Forstchen and Ben Ohlander. It was oddly delayed at the time, not showing up until almost a year after the game. It has been translated into both German and Czech, with new covers each time!

Wing Commander IV spawned two official guides in the US, both of which were of a high quality. German had three, one featuring a truly amazing cover, including one translation of a US version.

WC4 Official Guide Making Of

Once again thanks to Pix's Origin Adventures we present the 'making of' section of the Wing Commander IV official guide! This is a great resource for learning about the making of the game. The sad part is all the talk about Chris Roberts' future projects--including a game called Silverheart, which he hoped to develop at Origin after Wing Commander IV.

Wing Commander 4 Zanart

We talked about Wing Commander's first big licensee, Zanart, for Wing Commander III. Well, they produced a similar set of material for Wing Commander IV, which included a hat, two shirts and two pieces of Chromart. The artwork used was the 'poster' style Wing Commander IV art and an oddly less iconic choice--a shot of a Lance landing on Telamon against a blue backdrop. This time around, the game actually came with an advertisement!

At the risk of getting too personal on Wing Commander IV Day: I remember loving my landing scene shirt. My mother bought it for me after the game came out and explained she'd picked that one because she thought I'd like the one with the ship more. I was a Freshman in high school and I loved it. Somewhere I have a student ID picture showing young LOAF with a bandaged eye wearing a Wing Commander IV shirt--pretty much sums up my life at that point in time.

The other big result of Wing Commander IV was the Universal Studios animated series. Developed by the team that created Exosquad, Wing Commander Academy ran for 13 episodes in late 1996. The recent DVD release proves that Wing Commander IV is still spinning off merchandise today!

Wing Commander IV in Print

For Wing Commander III we showed you an array of international articles... for The Price of Freedom, here's a nice collection of English-language previews and reviews!

Wing Commander IV Post Mortem

One of my favorite Origin documents is this Wing Commander IV post mortem. You can read through the QA team's bug list, see all the complaints and complements Origin was sent about the game and more. It really gives you a more impressive picture of the whole process.

Meet the Wing Commander IV Team

You know Mark Hamill, Tom Wilson and so on--but can you identify the real stars who worked on Wing Commander IV? Pictured here are: Andy Sommers, Chris Douglas, Chris Roberts, Frank Roan, Tony Morone and the QA team!

Wall of Honor - Wing Commander IV

Wing Commander IV had the largest development team of any Wing Commander game--over 400 people between the film shoot and the game itself. It's likely this record will stand the test of time... but you never know!
GAME DEVELOPMENT
Executive Producer - Chris Roberts
Game Producers - Mark Day, Dallas Snell
Associate Producers - David Downing, Adam Foshko
Game Director - Anthony Morone
Lead Programmer - Frank Roan
Programmer, Gameflow Coordinator - Jason Hughes
Additional Programming - Peter Shelus
Movie Compression & Playback - Jason Yenawine
Programming Intern - Daniel Yee

DESIGN
Mission Design & Implementation - Ben Potter, Jeff Shelton, Scott Shelton
Original Story Concept - Chris Douglas
Additional Data Implementation - Chuck Karpiak, Steve Powers, Charles Hartigan

AUDIO
Audio Coordinator - Martin Galway
Original Score - George Oldziey
Interactive Sound Design - Stretch Williams
Additional Interactive Sound Design - Nenad Vugrinec
Interactive Music - George Oldziey
Music Recording - George Oldziey, Stretch Williams
Musicians - Paul Baker (Saxophone), Stretch Williams (Guitar)
Dialog Casting/Recording/Editing - Jay Mahavier, Stretch Williams
Additional Dialog Casting/Recording/Editing - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb

ART
Production Designer Chris Douglas
Art Director Jeffrey “JC” Combs
3-D Animators Rodney Brunet, Jeffrey “JC” Combs, Chris Douglas, Mark Leon,
Dean McCall, Sean Murphy, Chris Olivia, Beth Foster Pugh, Pauline Saab, Mark Vearrier
Additional 3-D Animators Jennifer Ayers, Paul Steed
RealSpace 3-D Modellers Dean McCall, Brennan Priest
Additional Artists Jeff Harris, Damon Waldrip
3-D Software provided byAlias Research
Graphics Hardware provided by Silicon Graphics

PRODUCT SUPPORT
QA Project Leader - Anthony L. Sommers
Assistant Project Leaders - J. Allen Brack, Todd Wachhaus
QA Team - Cinco Barnes, Nathan Batiste, John Darsnek, Christopher D. Errett, Kenny Hott, Kevin Melton, Myque Ouellette, Kent Raffray, Carlus Wesley
Hardware Lab Tech - Brett J. Bonner
Translations Liaison - Andy Bruncke
Product Support Supervisor - Marie Williams
Hardware Lab Supervisor - Brian Wachhaus
Director of Studio Services - Kay Gilmore

ADMINISTRATIVE
Finance - Mike Grajeda, Dominique Iyer
Executive Assistant - Madeleine Fox
Resource Coordinator - Weston Giunta
Network Administrators - Dave Reeves, Mark Rizzo
Senior Technician - Rick McNeeley
Unix Administrator - Christopher Alexander North-Keys
Director of Development Services - Sean Kelley
Director of Marketing - Jennie Evans
Product Manager - Galen Svanas
Assistant Product Manager - Patrick Bradshaw
Media Relations - David Swofford, Teresa Potts, Richard Steinberg
Unit Publicist - Michaels & Wolfe, Inc.
Travel Coordination - Madeleine Fox, Barrington Smith
Subtitles - Madeleine Fox, Ana Moreno, Jörg Neumman

TRANSLATION
Translations Manager - Kirsten Vaughan
German Translation - Frank Dietz, Stefan Kolo, Jörg Neumann
German Documentation - Anja Rumbarger
German Testing - Jörg Neumann, Kai Lebert, Stephan Lips, Roman Traycey
German Dubbing - Studio FFS GmbH, Munich
French Translations - Peter Bert, Dominique Poumeyrol-Jumeau
French Documentation - Isabelle Rice
French Testing - Jean-Luc Chabrier, Lemuel Haham, Didier Jumeau, Daniel Taillefer
French Dubbing Studio - Studio Lincoln, Paris

GAME MATERIALS
Writing - Tuesday Frase, Kevin Schlipper, Melissa Tyler
Additional Fiction - William R. Forstchen, Ben Ohlander
Packaging - Trey Hermann
Poster Art - Sam Yeates
Promotional Materials - Jennifer Davis
Advertising - Al Carnley
Documentation Layout - Catherine Cantieri, Al Carnley, Tim Norland
Editing - David Ladyman
The Readme.txt File - Anthony L. Sommers, J. Allen Brack, Todd Wachhaus, Christopher D. Errett

FILM PRODUCTION
Executive Producer / Director - Chris Roberts
Producer - Mark Day
Associate Producer - Adam Foshko
Co-Producer - Donna Burkons
Screenplay - Terry Borst, Frank De Palma
Line Producer - Maryann Fabian
Casting Director - Mike Fenton
Assistant Casting Director - Julie Ashton-Barson

CREDITS
Casting Assistant - Rachel Davies
1st Assistant Director - Harry Jarvis
2nd Assistant Director - Tia Ardran
2nd 2nd Assistant Director - John Bratton
Production Coordinator - James A. Capp
Assistant Production Coordinator - Ray Cobo
Set Production Assistants - Wendy Palmer, Andrea Netze
Production Assistants - Shaun O’Banion, Gary Sims, Orion Walker
Assistant to Mr. Hamill - Tracee Sabato
Assistant to Mr. Roberts - Barrington Smith
Mark Hamill’s Stand-In - Emidio Antonio
Director of Photography - Eric Goldstein
1st Camera Assistant - Tom Ryan
2nd Camera Assistant - Tony Nagy
Additional 2nd Camera Assistant - Daisy Smith
Loader - Amy Abrams
Gaffer / General Foreman - Joey Brown
Best Boy / Chief Lighting Technician - Corey Bibb
Best Boy Grip / 2nd Company Grip - Sandy Bloom
Key Grip / 1st Company Grip - Billy Bosson
Dolly Grip / Crab Dolly Grip Michael Flaningam
Grips - Liz Bolden, Marc Polanski, Robert Reid, Kevin Ball
Apprentice Grip - Erik Wolford
Electrical Lighting Technicians - Uriel Uribe, Anthony Guzman, Andrew Glover, Ngoli Nyirenda, Douglas Blagg, John Massaro, Thoma Reavis, Daisuke Miyake, Don Chong, Eric Kramer
Ultimatte Operator - Bob Kertesz
Tap Operator - Greg Noyes
Still Photographer - Joel Sussman
Sound Mixer - Walt Martin
Boom Operator - Bill Ratcliff
Script Supervisor - Kate Lewis
Storyboard Artists - Marc Baird, Alex Hill
Production Designers - Cherie Baker, Chris Douglas
Computer Graphics Art Director - Jeffrey “JC” Combs
Art Department Coordinator - Ann Giselle-Spiegler
Set Designers - Chris Gorak, James O’Donnell, Bryan Lane
Model Builder - Robin Schneider
Set Decorator - Carrie Perzan
Leadman - Richard D. Wright
Set Dresser - John Grevera, James Dean, Ara Darakjian
On-Set Dresser - Tom Waisanen
Costume Designer - Karen Mann
Costumer - Kristen Saints
Wardrobe Supervisor - Carol Quiroz
Set Costumer - Joel Berlin
Costumer - Dana Loats, Anita Brown, Tammy Surber
Costume Intern - Joya Flores, Staci Riesenbeck, Paulette Uris
Key Hair - Lana Sharpe
Assistant Hair - Gloria Ponce
Hair Stylist - Shastie Sharpe
Key Makeup - Bill Myer
Assistant Make-up - Kim Miner

KILRATHI CREATURE TEAM
Melek - Chris Bergschneider
Suit Technician #1 - Jeff Farley
Suit Technician #2 - Jo Ann Bloomfield
Puppeteer - Bud McGrew
Puppeteer Assistant - Mike Newman
Kilrathi Prosthetics - Obscure Artifacts, Inc
Property Master - Mark Anderson
Assistant Property - Lori A. Noyes
Special Effects Studio - Art & Technology

SETS & STUNTS
Stunt Coordinator - Rocky Capella
Construction Coordinator - Mike Clark
Assistant Construction - Coordinator Jenny Ayala
General Foreman - Keith Cox
Construction Foreman - Wade Robinson
Welder / Construction - Michael J. Cohen
Standby - Steve Degroodt
Prop Maker - Morgan Flaherty
Carpenters / Prop Makers - Paul T. Contreras, Martin Duncan, Gordan E. Holmes II, Tyler Dupuy, Ray Baron, Max K. Bozeman, Sean A. Duggan, David Nute, Steven Doss, Scott Miller, Robert A.Masini, David Wheeler, Timothy Walsh, Martin Duncan, Timothy Gruse, Frank Palazzo, Casey Wheeler, Karl Koeb, David Campbell, Gregory Campbell, Thomas Wages, Rex Cassano, Ronnie Montgomery
Lead Scenic / Head Painter - Dave Robinson
Scenic Artists - Chris Kelly, Paul Manchester, Luz
Head Decorator - Chris Kelly
Decorators - Steve Degroodt, Luz
Painters / Decorators - Brian Lynk, Peter George, Frank Oliveri, Gary Mark, Guillermo Tello, Mick Ritchason, Martin Ortiz, Jaime Casillas
Laborers - Cesar Ayala, Rick Fine, Juan Rave, Daniel R. Parker, Jason Greenwood, David Kitchen, Dennis Winters, Ruben Delgado, April Duncan

2ND UNIT
2nd Unit Directors - Mark Day, Adam Foshko
Consultant - Jim Rosenthal
Video Assistant - Dan Devaney
Video Intern - Chuck Hatigan
1st Utility - David Weinreb
2nd Utility - Jennifer Lear
1st Assistant Director - Louis Milito
2nd Assiatant Director - Brett Boydstun
Script Supervisor - Judith Saunders
Set Production Assistant - Curtis Myer, Carol Gronner
Gaffer - Reginald F. Lake
Best Boy Electrician - Sherman Fulton
Electrician - Van Johnson
Key Grip - Irv Katz
Best Boy Grip - Dave Boden
Grips - Mark Combs, Jim Nieuwenhuis
Sound - Wolf Seeberg
Medics - Christina Hershey, Suzanne Kunkel, Justin Birchfiel
Craft Service - Julie Iles
Sound Stages provided by - Ren Mar Studios, Hollywood, California, USA

BUSINESS OFFICE
Production Accountant - Laurie Woken
Assistant Production Accountant - Julie La Prath
Business / Legal Affairs - Carol Contes, Leslie Abel

POST-PRODUCTION
Post-Production Director - Phil Gessert
Visual Effects Supervisor - Steve Moore
Visual Effects Coordinator - Jeffery “JC” Combs
Post-Production Coordinator - David Downing

POST-PRODUCTION — PICTURE
Avid Editor - Phil Gessert
Assistant Editor - Jay Mahavier
Post-Production Assistant - Jim Capp
Video Processing Facility - EA Media Lab
Video Processing & Digitization - Jeni Day
Video Technician - Michael Marsh
Digital Compositing and On Line - Western Images, Inc
Facility Producer - Todd Lindo
Technical Director - Jerry Castro
Telecine Colorists - Jim Barrett, Gary Coates
D-1 Online Editors - Greg Gilmore, Mark Sorensen
Compositing Artist - Orin Green
Rotoscoping Artists - Danielle Ciccarelli, Ali Laventhol
Visual Effects - Post Logic, Inc
Post Logic Producer - Leslie Sorrentino
Visual Effects Compositor - Robby Vignato
Telecine Colorist - Mike Eaves
Telecine Assistant - Mario Barrera T
D-1 Online Editor - Bob Blue
D-1 Assistants - Ko Maruyama, Shane Harris
Digital Non-Linear Editing System - AVID Technology, TEXTSOUND
Film to Tape Transfers by Deluxe Video

POST-PRODUCTION — SOUND
Origin Systems
Sound Director - Martin Galway
Post Production - ProducerStretch Williams
Sound Editor - Stretch Williams
Additional Sound Editing - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb
Additional Dialogue Recording - Randy Buck, Jason Cobb

Electronic Arts San Mateo
Director of Film Audio Post-Production - Murray Allen
Dubbing Mixers - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Dialogue Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Foley Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Music Editing - Tony Berkeley, Ken Felton
Supervising Sound Effects Editor - Tony Berkeley
Sound Effects Editors - Ken Felton, Marc Farly
Sound Designers - Tony Berkeley, Marc Farly, Ken Felton
Special Kilrathi Vocal Effects - Tom Seufert
Foley & ADR Services provided by Post Sound Corp.
ADR Mixer - John Reiner C.A.S.
Foley Mixer - Richard Duarte
Foley Artists - Margie O’Malley, Marnie Moore
Foley Editor - Dave Nelson

CAST
Col. Christopher Blair - Mark Hamill
Admiral Tolwyn - Malcolm McDowell
Maj. James “Paladin” Taggart - John Rhys-Davies
Capt. William Eisen - Jason Bernard
Maj. Todd “Maniac” Marshall - Tom Wilson
Seether - Robert Rusler
2nd Lt.Troy “Catscratch” Carter - Mark Dacascos
1st Lt. Velina Sosa - Holly Gagnier
Lt. Winston “Vagabond” - Chang Francois Chau
Col. Jacob “Hawk” Manley - Chris Mulkey
Col. Tamara “Panther” - FarnsworthElizabeth Barones
Lt. Col. Gash Dekker - Jeremy Roberts
Chief Tech Robert “Pliers” Sykes - Richard Riehle
Vice-Admiral Daniel Wolford - Peter Jason
Captain Hugh Paulsen - John Spencer
2nd Lt. Drew Naismith - Williams Youmans
Dr. Brody - Jessica Tuck
Voice of Melek - Barry Dennen
News Anchor - Barbara Niven
Confed Redshirt #1 - Richard Garon
Confed Redshirt #2 - Chris Conrad
Confed Redshirt #3 - Casper Van Dien
Confed Redshirt #4 - Suzanne Ircha
Telamon Female Comm Officer - Kirsten Moore
Telamon Citizen - Joel Polis
Telamon Doctor - Michael Cavanaugh
Canteen Bartender - Dylan Bruno
Canteen Vet - Peter Marquardt
Canteen Man - Dean Tarrolly
Border Worlds Pilot #1 - Mauricio Mendoza
Border Worlds Pilot #2 - Lester Barrie
Border Worlds Pilot #3 - Walt Goggins
Vesuvius Helmsman - Aaron Kuhr
Vesuvius Comm. Officer - Wanda Acuna
Transport Pilot - Jane A. Rogers
Senator #1 - Dean Sommers
Senator #2 - Ed Bernard
Senator #3 - Roger Mercurio
Senator #4 - Shirlee Reed
Shuttle Pilot - Dylan Haggerty
Confed Marine - Derik Hixon
Border Worlds Lt. - Carl Banks
Bluepoint Traffic Control - Todd Covert
Helmsperson - Beverley Castaldo
Circle V Comm. Specialist - Saxon Trainer
B.W.S. Carrier Officer #1 - Allen Cutler
B.W.S. Carrier Officer #2 - Joe Fiske
Confed Pilot - Michael Wachtel
Vagabond Double - Peter Lai
Com Base Guard #1 - Tim Meridith
Com Base Guard #2 - Dan Bell
Com Base Guard #3 - Scott McElroy
Tolwyn Double - Randy Hall
Convoy Comm. Officer - Morgan Englund
Pirate - Todd Kimsey
Melek - Chris Bergschneider
Generic Cap #1 - Charles Esten
Generic Cap #2 - Michael Haplin
Generic Cap #3 - Cookie Carosella
Generic Cap #4 - Jeffrey Arbaugh
Slapping Woman - Kirsten Maryott

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Monitors Provided by Sony Corporation of America
Keyboards Provided by Kinesis Corporation of Bothell, Washington
Cantina Shoes Provided by DEJA SHOES, The Environmental Footwear Co.
Eyewear Provided by KATA Eyewear of Culver City, California
Arriflex 535 Cameras Provided by Otto Nemenz International, Inc.
Trager Manufacturing Company
AT&T
The USS Lexington Museum of Corpus Christi, Texas
VF-201 “Hunters” NAS Dallas, Texas
The 924th Fighter Wing “Outlaws” of Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas

DVD Patch

If you'd like to upgrade Wing Commander IV to the spectacular DVD version, start downloading! We're sure a GOG-specific patch will be released soon, but for now here's the current one!

Popsicle Pete reused elements of Gulikoza WC4 DVD patch and created an installer that allows owners of Wing Commander 4 (Windows or DOS) to take advantage of the DVD version's movies. 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. Download the installer HERE. See below for the movie packs themselves.

It's just amazing how far we've come from the days when people had to hunt down expensive hardware kits just to experience this.

I cooked up an small installer to allow owners of the CD edition of WC4 to install it as a DVD version. The installer includes Gulikoza's patches, so most people should be able to fire off the game straight after the installer ends and having copied the high-res movies to into the game's folder. You can download the installer here.

To be honest no hacks or new patches is included in there; all it does it automate a process of copying the right files and configuring a few things. It also contains a few files from the DVD version of WC4. The result is an installation of Wing Commander 4 DVD playable disc-less.

Wing Commander IV Mission Editor

Before Arena was a cool XBLA game, it was the name for a fan-made Wing Commander IV mission editor. In fact, it was one of the first fan-made Wing Commander mission editors! Building your own Secret Ops missions is a smooth task today... but back in the late 1990s, it was an unlikely dream. Arena changed that! You can read about the program and download a copy here. Can it be made to work with the GOG release? Never bet against WingNuts when it comes to jury-rigging old software!

WC 4.123106

In the long, strange history of Wing Commander fandom, few things are longer or stranger than Gary Hladik's Wing Commander 4.123106. A bizarre parody of Wing Commander IV posted serially to alt.games.wing-commander in 1996, WC 4.123106 is... impossible to define. You can download an eBook version below:

Play the Homeworld Mod

For Wing Commander II there was Standoff, for Wing Commander III there is Saga... but for Wing Commander IV, the great tribute mod may surprise you! czacen has built an extremely cool Wing Commander IV-themed total conversion for Homeworld 2, a space RTS! The mod isn't finished, but it's in a very playable state. You can learn more and download a copy here.

WC vs. History: Grin and Bearcat

The F-104 Bearcat, originally developed as the Cougar, was designed by Douglas Aerospace in the last years of the war as a true space superiority fighter unlike any other in the Confederation's arsenal. Perhaps no other fighter forged in that conflict's inferno better exemplified Michael Casey's ideal of a "true artist's ship." Although at first glance the Bearcat implies a streamlined version of its reliable cousin, the Hellcat, the Bear is a very different machine: a temperamental, high maintenance craft that required an extremely skilled fighter pilot in the cockpit. In an era where multi-role capacity trumped all other aspects, the Bearcat is a rarity--it remains the only "century series" spacecraft not built to double as an attack craft. But the Bearcat missed the war. No squadrons had entered service by the end of hostilities in 2669. The threat of Bloodfang, Jrathek and Vatari squadrons facing Earth's thin red line had never materialized. In the years that followed Kilrah, a high profile space superiority fighter seemed to be of little good to a budget-conscious Confederation concerned more with long-range shipping escort duties and anti-piracy operations. The Bearcat was a man without a country and it seemed one of the finest spaceframes ever constructed was destined for the dustbin of history. Then, came civil war. In 2673, the threat of hostilities between the Confederation and Border Worlds reached a boiling point. Fearing a prolonged guerilla war with a foe known for their ability to put experienced fighter pilots into space, the Confederation authorized mass production of Bearcats. Construction of new Bearcats began in earnest at Douglas' Speradon factory. It may come as a surprise, then, that the main operator of the type was not the Terran Confederation. As the conflict took shape, Union leadership developed a daring plan: an impossible gambit that endangered major forces to smash the Confederation plants at Speradon to slow their industrial power as war broke out. In a coordinated operation, the main body of the Outerworlds Fleet attacked Speradon. The plan was a success: the Border Worlds destroyed factories and drydocks and captured the TCS Princeton, a stock of Mace tactical nuclear missiles and a number of newly built Bearcats. What's more, one of the first Bearcat units currently stationed at Speradon opted to defect to the BWS Tango. As a result, no Bearcat would fly off of Vesuvius--but they would equip multiple squadrons on the Intrepid and other rebel ships.

In the end, the Bearcat is a minor note in the history. The Border Worlds affair concluded quickly and with limited conflict. With only a taste of intercene conflict, the Bearcat squadrons were relegated to the greatest ignominy a truly capable warbird can suffer: peacetime.

The Grumman F8F Bearcat, much like its Wing Commander relative, missed the war by arriving too late to see combat. Designed to replace the F6F Hellcat onboard US Navy carriers, the Bearcat has been called the pinnacle of piston-engine aircraft design. The performance of the Bearcat, which was actually smaller than the Hellcat, was astounding. The Bearcat was more than capable of performing right alongside early jets. How the Bearcat was able to achieve this all came down to design.

Like many fighters of the day, the Bearcat was designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine. The requirement was to design the smallest possible airframe to mount the engine. The designers wanted a low-weight aircraft that would provide superior performance. They more than got their wish with the Bearcat.

As the F6F Hellcat was making its combat debut in mid-1943 over the South Pacific, the Grumman “Iron Works” received orders to produce the prototype for the F8F. The first prototype flew on 21 August, 1944. The test pilot for the Bearcat was the famous, Corky Meyer, who had and would test many of Grumman’s famous aircraft including the F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, F9F Panther, and the early jet XF10 Jaguar and F11F Tiger.

The first Bearcat squadron, VF-19, reached operational status on 21 May, 1945. However, the Bearcat did not see combat before the war ended in September 1945. Yet the lessons of the war were not lost on the designers. The F8F had an improved armament of four 20 mm cannons which gave it greater damage inflicting power. During the interwar years, the Bearcat became known as one, if not the, best-handling piston-engine fighters ever produced. It was a favorite amongst naval aviators, including future first Man on the Moon Neil Armstrong, who said it was his favorite aircraft. The Navy’s elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team chose the Bearcat as their plane of choice in 1946 because of its impressive aerobatic capabilities. It was with the Bearcat that the Blue Angels developed the famous “Diamond formation” that can still be seen at air shows today.

Much like the Rapier II and F-104 Bearcat, the F8F Bearcat was an artist’s ship, however in the case of the F8F it never got to test its mettle in combat.

Cheating on Wing Commander IV

Like Wing Commander I through III before it, Wing Commander IV included a command line cheat option... or four! Instead of 'mitchell' you now type 'chicken' for the familiar finger-of-death option. Here are all the options:

Start the game with "wc4 -chicken" at the command line to enter debug mode. You should see the message "Chicken mode: [ON] Boc Boc!" during game start-up. Ctrl-W destroys your target. Ctrl-Alt-W destroys all enemies on the radar. Alt-F displays framerate.

Start the game with "wc4 -mitchell" at the command line to get the message "Mitchell don't work here no more. He work for Bazooka Joe now." during game start-up.

Start the game with "wc4 -mitchell2" at the command line to get the message "I told you he don't work here no more! You call Bazooka Joe! during game start-up."

Start the game with "wc4 -test" at the command line to get the message "Test okay!!!" during game start-up. The game then crashes

Queeg's Wing Commander IV Movie

Not content to put together only a Wing Commander III 'movie cut,' Queeg went on to complete a similar project for Wing Commander IV. It's perfect if you love Wing Commander but don't enjoy playing video games. Here's the download:
Barely three months after releasing his third and final version of his WC3 movie and two months after announcing the project, Queeg has released the first complete version of his WC4 movie project. The project aims to create a full movie experience by tying together high quality FMV scenes taken from WCIV DVD, along with in-game spaceflight scenes. You can download the 2.1 gigabyte, three hour long movie from our local HTTP mirror. The spaceflight scenes also feature new nebula graphics in the background.

Just the Stats, Ma'am

Wing Commander IV's scant manual promises players that they can get up-to-the-launch accurate ship specifications by reading a file called shipstats.txt from the first disc of the game. One problem: there WAS no shipstats.txt on the CD! Luckily, a later OEM DVD version actually included the file... and now you can read it.

You Know You want It

There is a school of thought that claims you don't even need to advertise a sequel to Wing Commander III--that game was such a big deal that it created a genuine captive audience. Origin seems to have taken that approach with this three-page PC Gamer advertisement. Still, it's hard to argue--you do want it.

This is My Rifle

Want a closer look at Decker's bazooka/rifle from the game? After starring in Wing Commander IV it went on to appear on Star Trek Voyager... and now resides in the private collection of our own Chris Reid!

ProTip: Seether is Bad

Old issues of GamePro have lately become fodder for an internet meme pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of their "protips." Wing Commander IV was no exception, as you can see in this short review scan which oddly advises players to "Save your torpedoes. They're the only ordnance that can take out certain rebel ships."

How to Get a Head

Where do nightmares go to sleep? eBay! Some years ago, Wing Commander IV's creepy (fuzzy?) Melek animatronic head appeared on the auction site... for a minimum bid of $9,000! There were no buyers, so it's not clear where Melek's head is today.

Put it on Your Shelf

Want to put your GOG Wing Commander IV on a DVD (or several CDs)? THE_WUQKED has you covered! He created nice DVD case artwork for WIng Commander IV some years back. You can download the print-resolution version here.

Buy War Bonds

Want to save some money on Wing Commander IV? If it were 1997, you could use this cool rebate included with copies of Privateer 2: The Darkening in the United States! Wing Commander and Privateer, two similar tastes that go great together.

Last, and Least

Some years ago, there was something of a fad among Wing Commander fans who were creating music videos from the various games' cutscenes (more). I decided to try and prove that any music would feel appropriate with any piece of footage... by playing an Ashlee Simpson song over the Wing Commander IV trailer. The amazing thing--and I'm not making this up--is that people were surprisingly positive about it. The result is available here.

Wing Commander IV on the Wire

Here's the text of Wing Commander IV's press release--as put out by Origin's media relations department on the eve of the game's release.
ORIGIN Systems Announces Wing Commander IV Lift Off; PC CD-ROM Interactive Movie to Make History at Planet Hollywood Event

Business Editors, Entertainment & Computer Writers

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 7, 1996--ORIGIN Systems, an Electronic Arts company and a developer of world famous entertainment software, today announced that it will ship Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, the latest version of its award-winning, space-combat interactive movie series, for PC CD-ROM on Feb. 9, 1996.

The new title, which breaks new barriers in the blending of Hollywood filmmaking and computer entertainment, will be unveiled on Feb. 8, 1996 at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills, California.

At the Planet Hollywood press event, Wing Commander IV stars Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell will make special costume presentations to representatives of the restaurant, denoting a historic first for the computer gaming industry. It will mark the first time the restaurant has accepted memorabilia from a CD-ROM computer game. The costumes will be on permanent display at one of the many Planet Hollywood locations around the world. Other Wing Commander IV cast members will also attend the event including John Rhys-Davies and Tom Wilson.

Wing Commander IV was shot on 35 mm film at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood and includes several moving cameras and more than 35 elaborate sets, delivering four hours of live-action video with a "feature film" feel to the cinematics. The graphics explode in super VGA color and are further enhanced with photo-realistic texturing. Player interactivity is expanded both in and out of the cockpit allowing game players to have even greater control of missions and drama. A fully-digitized interactive movie score is included along with Dolby Surround Sound.

Wing Commander IV follows on the heels of the highly successful Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, which sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and was named "Action Game of the Year" and "Game of the Year" in 1995 by several computer game publications.

All of the highly-talented Wing Commander III cast members returned to film Wing Commander IV, including Hamill (Star Wars), McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations), Wilson (Back to the Future I, II and III), Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones movies) and Jason Bernard (While You Were Sleeping, Herman's Head.) Wing Commander III Hollywood scriptwriters Terry Borst and Frank DePalma also returned to write Wing Commander IV. Eric Goldstein served as director of photography, and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts was the executive producer of the new title and directed the live-action portions of the game.

The Wing Commander IV Storyline

The Wing Commander IV storyline picks up where Wing Commander III left off -- the bloody battle between the Kilrathi and Terrans has concluded and Colonel Christopher Blair (Hamill) has been on a well-deserved sabbatical. It's not long, however, before civil war breaks out on the home front and the Terran government is forced to recall Colonel Blair to his post to face the next enemy. It won't be easy for the Colonel. Signs of decay will be impossible to ignore and the Confederation is beginning to splinter under the new enemy pressures. You, the Colonel, will have to determine how to save it -- or if it should be saved at all.

Wing Commander IV is shipping worldwide in three languages: English, French and German. Spanish and Japanese versions will follow. The title is supported by a $1 million plus marketing and promotions campaign that includes print, radio, television and cinema advertising. An exclusive promotional campaign with General Cinema theaters is a first for the computer entertainment industry.

Wing Commander IV promo trailers will be shown in approximately 580 General Cinema movie houses. In 10 of those theaters, Wing Commander IV games will be available for sale in the lobbies. The expected retail price for Wing Commander IV is $50-60.

Also shipping with Wing Commander IV is ORIGIN's Official Guide to Wing Commander IV, a 224-page hint book, with 48 pages of full color shots from the game, ship specs and game strategy tips. The book is sold separately at a suggested retail price of $19.95.

ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 50 titles, including the award-winning Ultima and Commander series of games. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts.

Electronic Arts (EA), headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., is a leading interactive entertainment software company. EA was founded in 1982 and has an annual sales rate of over $490 million. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation, as well as IBM-compatible PCs, Macintosh computers, and major dedicated video game systems.

Electronic Arts markets its products worldwide under four brand names: EA SPORTS, Electronic Arts Studios, Bullfrog Productions, Ltd. and ORIGIN Systems, Inc. EA has subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Austin, Texas. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.ea.com.

-0-

Note to Editors: ORIGIN, We create worlds, Wing Commander and Ultima are registered trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. The Price of Freedom and Heart of the Tiger are trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Electronic Arts is a registered trademark of Electronic Arts, Inc. All other products, symbols and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: ORIGIN Systems Media Relations David Swofford or Teresa Potts, 512/434-4263

Wing Commander IV First Light

Below you will find the first Wing Commander IV press release, published by Origin's media relations department in June, 1995. This was the first official word anyone had that another Wing Commander game was on the way--though we all suspected.
Contact: David Swofford or Eileen McKeon Butt
ORIGIN Media Relations

The Space Epic Continues with
Wing Commander IV

(AUSTIN, TX)_The best is about to get even better. The PC interactive movie that was called "the new benchmark against which all interactive entertainment will be compared," by PC Gamer magazine is preparing for its next ground-breaking act. Wing Commander IV, currently in production by ORIGIN Systems, is slated for release on PCCD in the coming winter. It follows on the heels of the awarding-winning Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, named Action Game of the Year and Game of the Year by several gaming publications and featured in Entertainment Weekly, Playboy, USA Today, NBC's Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, VH-1 and the Sci-Fi Channel.

Like its predecessor, Wing Commander IV will incorporate several hours of live-action video and will feature many talented actors from the cast of Wing Commander III: Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations), Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and Tom Wilson (Back to the Future I, II and III). A seven-week shooting schedule is planned for Wing Commander IV at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood starting the end of May. Executive Producer Chris Roberts, the creator of the Wing Commander line, will be back in the director's chair.

The story, once again, comes from veteran Hollywood screenwriters Terry Borst and Frank DePalma, who wrote the script for Wing Commander III. In Wing Commander IV, you again play the role of Col. Christopher Blair (Hamill). The bloody war between the humans and the cat-like Kilrathi is over. But problems are beginning to crop up on a new front and this time it's in your own back yard. Civil wars and unrest have broken out in the Border Worlds. Blair is recalled to help the Terran government stamp out the growing fires. It won't be easy. Signs of decay are becoming impossible to ignore. The Confederation is beginning to splinter under the new pressures and you must determine how to save it_or if it should be saved at all.

Wing Commander IV will sport moving camera shots and real movie sets, giving a more authentic feel to the cinematics. The graphics will explode in Super VGA color and will be much improved with photo-realistic textures on fighters. Player interactivity will be enhanced both in and out of the cockpit with even greater control of missions and drama. And Wing Commander IV will feature a fully-digitized interactive musical score.

It's an ORIGIN Interactive Movie experience. Once again, the fate of the human race hangs in the balance, but remember, in this movie, you're making the calls.

###
ORIGIN, We create worlds, Wing Commander and Ultima are registered trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Origin Interactive Movie and Heart of the Tiger are trademarks of ORIGIN Systems, Inc. Electronic Arts is a registered trademark of Electronic Arts. All other products and trademarks are property of their respective owners.
ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 45 titles, including the award-winning Ultima and Commander series of games. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS).

Sketching the Sets

Here are a set of Wing Commander IV production sketches showing several set plans and the weapons used by the Border Worlds marines! Bet you didn't know they were actually meson guns.

Wing Commander IV Advertising

Here are two high resolution Wing Commander IV magazine ads, re-rendered from their original source files thanks to our own PopsiclePete!

Wing Commander IV: Source Code

As with Wing Commander I and Wing Commander III, we are pleased to announced that an extremely kind former EA/Origin employee has provided a copy of the Wing Commander IV source code for our preservation efforts! We can't offer it for download at this time, but it is now preserved for future use.

Clash of the Titans

Another Wing Commander IV screenshot? No! This is a high resolution render of one of the game's climactic moments. Makes a great Windows background...

Wing Commander IV HEAD ON

Here are great Origin renders of Wing Commander IV's signature ships--including several never-before-seen 'head on' images!

The WC Invasion Continues

After more than a year of being stuck fighting a critical bug, Major Payne has resolved the issue and begun serious work on version 3.0 of the Wing Commander Invasion mod for Star Wars Empire at War. A list of planned improvements is available below, and Payne says that now is the time to get in any additional feedback that should be incorporated in the next update. There are some big upgrades coming! SW: EaW owners can try version 2.5 of the mod here.
The following is a small sample of what I'm hoping to add:

- A complete set of Galactic Conquest mode maps. Although these can be played in any order, they will be set up in a specific date order so that the player can play each and it should resemble some sort of basic story to the invasion. The complete GC campaign though, is told more from the point of the Confederation so will featured Sol system primarily (there will be some other connected GC's that take place in other regions which will require some research from me to get the details correct).
- Income stream generating structure. The skirmish portion of the game, as those that have played will know, uses a mining station to generate a continuous stream of additional credits. I will attempt to replicate this function for GC to make gaining credits much better and faster.
- Additional skirmish space based maps. As this mod is set in space, the space based skirmish maps will require a decent selection. Now these are likely to be fairly basic but it will be attempted to make them functional, and easy to play.
- Additional support structures. Although Pioneer station provides one structure there are bound to be other stations and structures which should provide various useful functions, such as additional ship construction, defensive and offensive structures.
- Space props. More as a functional eye candy space props will always have their place as well. I will attempt to produce as many as possible but any maps that feature them will not be to over saturated.
- Border Worlds. After recently looking over the ship lists and with some additional ship models which Scooby Doo has released I'm convinced its time to include the Border Worlds side. As I understand it this side is somewhat a miss-mash of outer system planets who use older technology. I'm unsure currently just how this side will go, but they will replace the stock pirate faction, so expect some hostilities from them.

So that's it. The planned v3.0 update outlined above will take time but at least I can get on with it now. If there's any suggestion that are viable then I invite any and all input (and by viable I mean simply that the game engine can support it. I've tried adding a lot in the past with some seriously problematic results due to the engine not working with a particular function).

Wing Commander Saga Marks Download Record

There's great news from Wing Commander Saga today: the FreeSpace 2 total conversion team announced that their game has been downloaded an astounding 157 trillion times since its launch last week. Producer Tolwyn congratulated his developers, but cautioned that the number of Saga users may never be known. It turns out that an exact download count is impossible because of the sheer number of mirrors and the vagaries of bittorrent usage... but one thing is still certain: more people have played Saga than make up the sum total of all humans living and dead across the entire gulf of mankind's shared history. Congratulations, Saga! We look forward to the next milestone: one person actually finishing the game.

New Fan Project Brings Freelancer Home

Chris Roberts' Freelancer is arguably the last star of space sims' golden age. Applying the game mechanics of Privateer to a game with 21st century scope and color balance, it's no wonder Freelancer continues to have an active fanbase to this day. The most major criticism of the game, however, is that it just doesn't quite fit in the Wing Commander universe. Although it was also designed by one of the Roberts brothers and is obviously mechanically a followup to the classic Wing Commander: Privateer, it's just a little too strange and separate to really make sense as a sequel. With that in mind, fan modder Banjo has decided to set about righting Freelancer... and today, we are proud to show off the first screenshots from his project:

GOG Service Streamlined

Big changes are afoot at Good Old Games, the Polish game downloading service that shocked the Wing Commander community by re-releasing several Wing Commander titles last year. The service has published a clean website refresh and announced an exciting set of streamlining efforts: from this point forward they will maximize profits by breaking down some of what they believed to be self-established limitations. Specifically: GOG will no longer focus on things which are good, things which are old or things which are games. Instead of buying affordable classic games available DRM-free for the first time in a generation, users may now choose to "pre-buy" things like "Trine" and "Machinarium" which at press time appear to be specific kinds of fancy soaps. The site's name will remain the same, but instead of an acronym it is now a concatenation of the expression "Gog damn, what the hell did you morons do to your site?"

[Sadly, this update is not really a joke.]

BREAKING NEWS: CIC Wins Mega Millions!

With all the excitement over Friday's Mega Millions $640 million jackpot, we were no exception to the anticipation of the announcement of the winning numbers. Word is that we may never know who all the winners are since state laws don't require disclosure of who the winners are. What we do know is that the three winners were in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. Astute WCNews readers may have remembered that a CIC staff member is in Maryland and was one of those three lucky winners!

The CIC staff, having all chipped in for the ticket, opted for the one time cash payout of $108 million dollars for the direct operating expenses of wcnews.com! The money is going to be used to construct a new CIC World Headquarters and purchase an upgraded 737 as a mobile command center.

While the final location is still being determined, the new facility will sport the latest in Wing Commander news-gathering technology. Along with top-of-the-line tech, the new building will also house the complete WCPedia archive and preservation suite and the world's only Wing Commander Multiplayer Rec Room. Employees of the CIC will be able to enjoy games of Armada, Proving Grounds, Prophecy and Arena all from the comfort of their own fighter cockpits. After a hard day of gaming, staff members will be able to make their way down to the "Almond Done Bar & Grill" and order their own leaf cup of Firekka's Finest. Staff members and guests to the headquarters will also be able to enjoy the "Wing Commander Museum" full of some of the greatest artifacts in Wing Commander lore. The artifacts themselves will be stored in the latest in archival technology and protected by an advanced flood control system to ensure their continued safety.

We hope to break ground on the new building sometime next year. Be sure to check back for the latest in floor plans!

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