Overanalyzing Wing Commander II

Alexander Freed, a freelance writer who used to work on video games and other products, has written a blog looking back at Wing Commander II and why it worked so well. Many Wingnuts consider Wing Commander II to be the best in terms of story and gameplay delivery and Alexander is no different.

In 1991, Origin Systems (shortly before the company’s acquisition by Electronic Arts) published Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, which would prove to be one of the franchise’s high points. With the exception of adding then-rare voiceover content in a limited number of places and the sheer quantity of cinematic sequences, it is not an especially innovative game from a standpoint of storytelling mechanics. The dialogue, while more than acceptable for its time, reads as less-than-stellar today. But it is a game that excelled at the execution of its story, particularly in how its narrative elements supported and bolstered the game’s mechanics–and how the mechanics and mission design, in turn, supported its story.

Wingnuts can read the whole blog post here. An interesting note, while it seems Alexander didn't play Wing Commander II before writing, he did turn to a well known local source. The videos embedded in the blog post are from DaveO's Wing Commander collection.

Star Citizen Rewards: Final Check

If you have any Star Citizen physical rewards coming your way, they should be shipping out soon. The maximum character count of the citizen card has been reduced slightly at the last minute to accommodate every possible letter combination. Users are urged to check their information one last time and modify their name by tomorrow (thursday) if it exceeds 21 characters. If the name you picked is a fun reference to Wing Commander like Jason Bonevsky or Eddie Rickenharp, we'd love to see a photo.
As we are finalizing the list for your Citizen Card, we have had to reduce the character limit. We did say 26 characters, however, some characters are wider than others which is causing a problem. We are unable to adjust the font size for each card so to be safe we have adjusted the character limit to 21. Please re-enter your name on the form here. Shorter names and all caps actually look best. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your extra diligence. We want all the cards to look great!

Hero of the Vega Sector Takes on Collector Threat

What has Freddie Prinze Jr. been up to lately? In Mass Effect 3, he did the voicework for James Vega, an alliance marine. The character is also the center of Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, an animated film that takes place before ME3. The Bluray/DVD combo is available from Amazon and you can also watch it through Xbox Live.
Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, prequel to the best-selling Mass Effect 3, follows the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega (Freddie Prinze Jr.) as he leads an elite Special Forces squad into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as the Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his troops must protect the colonists from the alien invaders bent on abducting humans for unknown purposes. Outmanned and outgunned, Vega must rally his squad to defend the colony at all costs... even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Catch Up on Big Downloads

On average, the CIC pushes out one and a half terabyte of data each month. Much of this traffic goes towards big downloads, and we have plenty of entertaining files that you may have missed in the past. We recommend a download manager to help the large files along. Below are just a few of our favorites. More can be found in our Files and Music sections.

Suit Up!

Klavs is well known for all the ship models that he makes, but this time he's gone inside the cockpit for his next 3D design. The Confed pilot pictured here looks like they belong in WC1, but there are also several aspects imported from WC2, WC3 and the Academy cartoon. I particularly like how well the pants of the blue "undersuit" look like they're actually useful, rather than just a pair of jeans. This makes the brown bomber jackets more fun, and the sidearm is a wonderful touch too.

Don't miss the "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall" excerpt below!

The suit, helmet, ejection seat and umbilicals had everything a prospective vacuum breather needed if you needed to punch out or put down. Air, water, sidearm, survival equipment in a drop bag, you name it. We wore our thermies (Thermal Protection Garment) underneath the suit. Those kept us cool or warm depending on the situation, and you could even drink your own recycled pee if you had to, though I preferred to keep my piddle pack on "store" mode.

Did we NEED the jacket? Hell no. But you felt ten feet tall when you wore it. It was a badge of honor, and gave you confidence, like a good luck charm. The more beat up, the better. Guys would jump up and down on them, soak them in water, hit them with sandpaper, beat them with pipes to make them look even more ratty and used. In the pilot's lounge, we all looked like a bunch of kids wearing dad's coat- they looked at least one size too big when you wore them over a normal uniform or baggie. But over the flight suits, they were like a suit of bulletproof armor. Not even a laser beam could pierce your ego when you wore it. Mine literally saved my hide in the Battle of Earth, but that's another story.

-Excerpt from "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall."

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

Progress on the flight suit! I'm trying to incorporate elements of a lot of things, the WC-1 leather jacket look, the Academy helmet style, a hint of the WC2 style "backpack", "flip up" faceplate as described in the books, WC3 style "g suit" on the legs. Along with some other things. This is pure modeling right now, with a placeholder head. Texturing should hopefully make it look a lot better. Now starting work on the requisite patches, wrinkles, and wear and tear.

Heavy Raptor Bristles with Weapons

With some WC2-texture tweaking by Red Baron, Scooby's Raptor model has been integrated into the Enigma 2666 mod. This is supposed to be a beefed up two-seater variant, and it comes fully loaded with a turret and even torpedoes. The model is nice and detailed so all of the guns are especially visible. It really looks like it could do some damage!
There's no angle Scooby's model doesn't look good from. Wait, let's check that again...

No, not one.

Pirate Hunters Return Victorious

The forum-based RPG Wing Commander: From the Ashes has moved into a new stage of adventure. The crew of the infamous TCS Phoenix has been battling pirates in Gemini for the last year, and they've finally completed their mission. Now it's time for the prisoners they've captured to go on trial! You can join in and see what happens here!
The Phoenix group have captured several hundred pirates and now are in the process of putting them on trial, with characters taking on the role of jurors. This is an emotional, non-combat RP scene, as our crew will have to make a decision that could well send someone to the gallows.

Explore the Wild Purple Yonder in WC1's Ships

CMDBob has been building artsy Wing Commander models for years, but they've mostly just been eye candy. With quite a fleet under his belt, Bob recently set out to do more with his ships. The result is a proto-mod that features a wide range of classic WC1 craft flying around in the FS2 engine. There are only a couple test missions at the moment, but a brief campaign will likely be built soon. Wingnuts who want to try it out now can find instructions and download links here!

What You'll Need
  • A decent enough computer. If it runs Saga well enough, then this should run well enough too.
  • A copy of Freespace 2 (sorry guys, but I've been developing it off the base game, as it's got more useful features than the branch Saga use. Features that will be used in the future (like real time cockpit displays, for that true WC experience) It's cheap enough off GoG anyway, I suppose.
  • Freespace Open. I use this set of executables. It's got nice shadows and lighting effects. But you can use stock 3.16.6 if you want. A good launcher program for FS2 is handy too.
What do I do?

Unzip the compressed folder into your FS2 folder. It should leave a WCMod folder. Once you've got that, start the launcher up, set this as the mod, and you should be good to go.

What's Included

  • The four classic WC1 Terran Fighters
    • Hornet
    • Rapier II
    • Raptor
    • Scimitar
  • The Drayman Transport (and container)
  • The Exeter class destroyer
  • The WC2 Rapier II
  • Four classic Kilrathi fighters
    • Salthi
    • Dralthi
    • Dralthi Mk2
    • Krant
  • A ship of my own, a light strike bomber variant of the Raptor, the Raptor "Harrier".
    • Missile models for all the Confederation ◦Dart, Javelin, Spiculum, Pilum, Lance and Porcupine
    • A new, homespun missile: the Flechette rocket pod (a massed pod of superlight dumbfire rockets, good against subsystems)
  • Two small test missions. (I'll probably make a small 3 mission campaign that shows off everything in the very near future)
It's not quite the best balanced (but the majority of the raw numbers are from the WCPedia, and tweaked to fit).

Come For The Pictures, Stay For The Story

Klavs81 has rendered two of his hot fighter models with full torpedo loadouts. What's the context? In adition to providing wonderful art, Klavs has started to pair short fictional pieces with his images that relate to what is shown. The text below is mocked up to appear as an excerpt of "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall," the autobiography revealed in Star*Soldier. Very well done!
It was scary how quick the cats incorporated the new shields onto their cap ships. Suddenly, our missiles weren't enough to cut through their shields any more. Without the shield piercing torpedoes, you had to use wave after wave of missile barrages and strafing runs to try and break down the shielding. That was never fun. So it was pretty lucky we got the torpedoes as fast as we did. The 'Long Lances' came in right before we started jumping like crazy for Goddard.

The 'fish' had a godawful long lock time though, sometimes up to ninety seconds. Those early models required a copilot to facilitate the lock on process, there was less automation. During a run in, a single pilot just couldn't fly the ship, dodge the flak, watch for fighters, and monitor all those black boxes for the torp to 'decode' the shields for a launch.

Some of the replacement [A-14D] Raptors we got after Venice had the stretched canopy with the dummy seat in back, but we didn't have any qualified weapons system officers. So, once Tolywyn took us behind the lines after the dreadnought, we had to make do with what we had. What we had were too many pilots and not enough ships. So we drew straws and the unlucky ones broke out the tech manuals and figured it out. Thank god I didn't draw that detail! Electronic gizwitchery was never my forte. I'm more of a metric crescent wrench type of guy.

Gwen was a natural. She had the right personality to sit there calmly under fire, patiently unraveling a dozen types of quantum jamming and shield entanglement protocols. She always seemed to get us a lock about thirty seconds earlier than the gizmos predicted, and usually, the big kitties went 'boom' as advertised. Then you were free to mix it up with the remaining fighters while your backseater tried to hold onto their lunch. I swear, even later, that there were automated systems that couldn't get a lock as fast as Archer could. And she never lost her lunch, either (believe me, I tried).

Late in the battle, attrition caused us to run low on the torpedo planes. So again, we had to make do. Dedicated fighters like the Rapiers and Hornets didn't have the right structure to carry such a gi-mongous missile, so during Thor's Hammer we kludged them onto the Scimitars. The extra torpedos they carried made all the difference against the Sivar, but the Blue Devils paid an awful price. The techs had to remove the ejection seat to make room for *Gib, so nobody was getting out of those things if they got hit.

Bowman didn't.

-Todd Marshall
From "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall."

*Gib: The "Guy in Back"

Star Citizen Deadline Extended; Wing Commander Themes Encouraged!

Shipping information for Star Citizen rewards was due last Friday, but the deadline has been extended slightly. Due to the large backlog of support tickets, actual items will not be shipped immediately. So while the backlog is worked through, fans can continue to submit or change their information, as long as it can be done through the automated Account interface.

In addition to a delivery address, there is an option to customize a name or callsign on your plastic / metal commemorative card. It'd also be great if all Wingnuts added a bit of Wing Commander flair to their row of text. Up to 26 characters are allowed. So whether you choose something like "Ralgha nar Hhallas" or "Orions Rule, Retros Drool!", please send in photos of your WC-themed cards after they ship! We'd love to share your clever WC references with everyone!

Thank you all for your tremendous response to our Citizen Card & T-shirt deadline. Please be patient as we are currently working hard to process the backlog of customer support requests. We can't accept any further requests for account changes, but you can still go into your Account to upgrade your package and fill in the shipping form in order to receive your personalized card. This grace period will be the last opportunity to lock-in your personalized card.

Catch Up on Privateer 3 Lore

Ready Up has posted an article about how much they'd like to see Privateer 3. We can certainly appreciate the sentiment, and the nostalgic trip back to the "Wild West" of DOS games is a good road to go down. It's also a good opportunity to clear up a couple things and share some little-known info. While praising the story sequences of Privateer 2 (and ragging on the gameplay), the article's author asks the reader to only imagine what Electronic Arts could do with the property. Here's where we'd point out that the all-star cast of P2 - along with that of Wing Commanders 3, 4 and Prophecy - were all made possible by EA's deep pockets. Origin was acquired in the early '90s and even published the original Privateer. They also had Privateer 3 and Privateer Online in work at different points in time. You can read more about the cancelled P3 game here, here or here and all throughout our news archives.
Privateer was a mind-blowing game (for 1993). It wasn’t about highscores, or completing it quickly, it was about exploration. The game was truly an open-ended masterpiece – arguably more so than many today – as technically you could play the entire game without doing a single main story mission, and the adventure did not lack from it.

You were a lone pilot, with a small spacecraft, trying to make his way in the Universe. Want to master intergalactic human-trafficking? Supply water to distant thirsty worlds? Escort freighters across dangerous asteroid fields? All options are as equal as the last. It was your game to play, as you saw fit.

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

I think that a Privateer game, especially on consoles, which gives the player nothing but a spaceship, a protagonist, and a whole lot of space and planets to explore/destroy/help/pillage/shoot giant death lasers at/introduce to Skrillex would be pretty fantastic. I’ve been left in wanting for many years, and there’s just no excuse for it any more.

Hellespont Thugs Would Have a Field Day

ScoobyDoo has created another pair of exotic Confed fighters ready to join the fight... or pirate craft eager to pillage the Border Worlds. The first appears like a boxy missile boat that shares characteristics with both the Thunderbolt and Wasp. It also has the engine pods that resemble those on the Condor class multi purpose shuttle. Also up for review is a beefed up variant of the Razor that Scooby calls the Raven. Its six fins/wings certainly make it look more aggressive though!
The nose was taken and modified from the Thuds. I was drawing so many blanks with this model. I made it back in '09 but wanted to go through the list alphabetically. Someone just mentioned it and realized ehhh, it's close enough to done, one less to worry about later.

Artist Joins Wingnuts to Remember The Darkening

Three-dimensional environment artist Michael Paul Cottam recently stopped by the CIC to share some of his wonderful history in the games industry. Mr. Cottam started his career in the mid '90s with EA Manchester working on Darklight Conflict and Erin Roberts' Privateer 2: The Darkening. The team eventually became Warthog Games, where he added Starlancer and Star Trek Invasion to his resume, among others, before moving to the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore to create art for other titles. A lively discussion is currently in progress over at the CIC Forums as Wingnuts recollect their experiences with some of these games. In addition to some of the fabulous Privateer 2 art shared below, quite a few cool & unused Starlancer art assets have been uncovered that Mr. Cottam created in tandem with Paul Jones. You can check out more at the Forums here!
Hi to all on Wing Commander CIC!

It's great to see a strong interest in the work we did so long ago. Reading your forum has resulted in a wave of modelling memories. I did a little modelling on Wing Commander when I was introduced to game modelling by Paul Steed during a visit to Origin in Austin Texas in 1993.

I worked on Privateer II the Darkening, Dark-Light Conflict and Starlancer later. I'm still making games at 50 and feel exited when I see Chris Roberts new game 'Star Citizen'! (Best wishes with that Chris)

We worked very hard on Privateer back then. Also, the equipment was not as good as today. Using an old ball mouse was painful after hours of use.

Can't believe you guys still play these games, it's great!

Stunning Snakier Dominates the Dark

Klavs81 has virtually completed his incredible Snakeir carrier. The hull is littered with fine details, and its engines are especially nice - check out that glow! Most ominous of all is probably the forward maw. The red lining of its front side hangar bay is just downright scary.
Kilrathi Greebles are lots of fun. No rhyme or reason, just fun shapes!

Trying to add little bits of foreshadowing of WC3 designs here and there. The "Handle" between the engines is specifically supposed to foreshadow the Fralthi II and Hvar'Kann engine section.

WC2 ships are a different story, Kilrathi in their "round phase" will be a bit tougher to incorporate into the design timeline!

Tiger's Claw Starts to Power Up

Lars has added quite a few dashing details to his Tiger's Claw model. Fuel intakes have been added in a glowing white texture, although these will be jazzed up with blue highlights later on. Very cool side missile launchers are also a feature now. There's a ventral shuttle bay pictured in one shot, but it's likely to be removed in favor of a dorsal bay that's a little more similar to the WC Movie dock for larger ships. Last, but not least, she's also got her engines installed!
So whats "new"? Well the engines have finaly been delivered and installed. I have taken over the layout from a cutscene here instead of the Clawmarks as these engines where realy big and not so fitting to the ship.

Other changes are the addition of bussard intakes. Since I couldn't decide what to do with the sidepods one of the bussards went there. The other is on top and one at the bottom of the ship around the engine section.

It's the Love Arrow!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day Wingnuts!

Good. Now, some of these newbees rattle on about 'what if this happens', 'what if that happens'. This is the Love Arrow, I tell them: make good use of it.

RPG Traces Concordia's Last Steps

capi3101's Wing Commander RPG was essentially completed last month, but now it's going through a thorough proofreading phase. capi is still delivering weekly progress reports, and the latest word is that editing is about a third complete.


Meanwhile, work has also started on a nifty side-campaign that takes advantage of the RPG rules. Its setting surrounds the loss of the TCS Concordia in the Vespus System, and the layout of space and opposing forces is being designed now. If you'd like to help shape this adventure, head over to the CIC Forums.

My initial thought was to have the players serve as pilots aboard Concordia herself, but as I think more about it, I'm thinking perhaps having the players serving aboard a different carrier coming to reinforce Concordia's group (or perhaps resupplying Concordia, with both ships getting caught in the ambush). I'd have a tough time picking one, of course...certainly the fleet carriers would be out, so maybe an escort carrier, or a Yorktown.

I'm also pondering the last image we see of Concordia, of her broken hull half submerged off the Mistral Coast. There must be one hell of a continental slope there. Or Concordia's forward sections were all crumple zone. Or only half the ship is there...I mean, she was close to a kilometer in length...

Anyway, I'll open this idea for discussion. Thoughts?

Confed Forces Bolster Kilrathi Defense

Here's a couple more shots from the Last Line of Defense mod. These show the game's Rapier firing lasers and the new Olympus Station from the Ghorah Khar System. The starbase shot also includes one of the Gladius fighters that we've recently seen. It's interesting to watch the art assets and styles being shared between this and the Enigma 2666 mod. Now project manager Deathsnake is looking at incorporating Scooby's Raptor into the game next.
Rapier fires the Laser..

Gladius at Olympus, Enigma Sector 2669. You see already the other version in Vega.

'A Defiant Few' Submissions Due This Week

Casting for the second episode of "A Defiant Few" ends this Friday, February 15. Aspiring voice actors have until then to audition for Kilrathi, Firekkan and Terran roles. Production of episode one is well under way, but there is still a critical gap there that needs to be filled - female Wingnuts are especially needed to help round out the cast. If you can help, head over to the CIC Forums for the list of sample lines to record and submit. The Gemini Sector is counting on you!
Sergeant McLaren: Can be male of female. Head of Perry Naval Base’s marine detachment, experienced, professional and calm in the face of adversity.

Audition Line 1: Get suited up and into the shuttles, move it!

Audition Line 2: Don’t worry ma’am. Me and my marines have done this plenty of times.

RSI Pledge Deadline Nears

Wingnuts who are also Star Citizen backers have a few days left to lock in a pledge level before a pending deadline. After February 15, items like physical Citizen Cards and t-shirts will be shipped. It's still possible to adjust your pledge until this milestone, however. It's also critical that people who've pledged confirm a shipping address and the name that they would like on their card. This can be done through the big red "shipping info" box in the My Account area of Roberts Space Industries. Any further questions can be answered in this new FAQ. RSI's crowdfunding campaign has brought in a combined $7.8 million to date!
What are the card levels?

  • White – Scout – $30-$59
  • Green – Bounty Hunter- $60-$124
  • Bronze – Freelancer or Colonel – $125-$249
  • Silver – Rear Admiral $250-$499
  • Gold – Vice Admiral $500-$999
  • Platinum – High Admiral, Grand Admiral $1000-2499, $2500-$4999
  • Black – Space Marshal or Lt Commander $5000-$9999
  • Titanium – WING COMMANDER $10K+

What are the cards made of?

Gold, Platinum, Black and Titanium Cards will all be made from solid brushed metal and samples look awesome! Silver Cards and below are made from credit card plastic.

Kiranka Clan's Heavy Carrier Encountered Near Ardai

Klavs81 has a created a big brother for his slick Fralthi. The two designs look like they belong together, although the Snakeir is clearly the heavier hitter. From the hangar bay to the engine ducts, every inch looks fearsome, as it should be. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near this thing without dozens of Raptors backing me up!
Snakier! (900m)

Galaxy on Fire 2 HD Temporarily Free

One of the most popular space sims on the iOS platform, Galaxy on Fire 2, is currently the Apple App Store's App of the Week. It's available for free until February 14, which is a savings of $6.99. The game is a Privateer-style adventure with the ability to wirelessly sync save games between the iPhone, iPad or Mac. It can also be played on HDTVs via the AppleTV box. While console space sims have been relatively few and far between, the genre has become increasingly prominent on mobile and tablet devices. The latest hardware also allows them to graphically beat what was possible on PC just a few years ago. If you've got an iOS unit or Mac, you can't beat this free look!
Galaxy on Fire 2™ HD is a premium-quality 3D space combat and trading simulation with adventure and RPG elements. Take over the role of the hot-headed space war veteran Keith T. Maxwell and save the galaxy from its impeding destruction by the hands of devious alien raiders, ruthless space pirates and power-crazy madmen!

  • A vast galaxy with over 20 star systems and more than 100 individual planets and space stations
  • More than 30 customizable spaceships and hundreds of different weapons systems, power-ups and commodities
  • A unique mixture of story-driven, mission-based and sandbox gameplay
  • High-quality visuals including detailed 3D models, hi-res textures and breath-taking Special FX
  • 3D sound, orchestral soundtrack and full voice-acting
  • Action Freeze™: Take screenshots from any perspective and share them on Facebook
  • Native support for the Retina display of the iPhone 5, new iPad and iPhone 4S
  • Synchronisation of save games via iCloud between SD, HD and Full HD (Mac) version

Raptors Carefully Nested Aboard the 'Claw

gevatter Lars has completed some more internal modeling on his new Tiger's Claw design. He's carefully calculated room for storage (green) and fighters (blue), and there's even room for the various items to be transported throughout the ship (red). With fighters squared away, he's looking at larger storage space where shuttle or small ships like the Diligent could fit next.
So little update on the interrior. Made the final layout for the storage parts. Thanks to the width the ship, I have enough room in the storage under the flight deck to even have some spare fighters parked there. Also the basic shapes of the lifts have been added. Here some images.

Congratulations LOAF!

As noted on the February 1 episode of Wingman's Hangar with Eric Peterson, the CIC's very own Bandit LOAF has recently become engaged! Please join us in wishing him well during these exciting times! Also check out the January 4 episode of Wingman's Hangar to see LOAF's debut as a Cloud Imperium Games developer.

Hellcat V Models New 3D Printer Tech

A German company showed off a new technology last week that allows for ultra fast and ultra tiny 3D printing. Small micrometer structures can be built in seconds with Nanoscribe's Photonic Professional GT laser lithography machine. And a Hellcat V is the star of their demo animation! Wing Commander is famous, again! This story also appeared on Wired and io9 - thanks to Howard Day, Sam Dickinson, Gegin Schein, Craig Bidstrup, Michael Mullins, Gavinfoxx, NinjaLA and other fans that sent this in! If you see a potential WC news story, please submit it to news@wcnews.com!

VUDU Brings Disc-to-Digital Home

VUDU has announced a new beta program that allows Disc to Digital from your personal computer. The company currently has a partnership with Walmart that allows DVD owners to bring a disc into a store and have it converted to a digital copy. Obviously, this requires several potentially annoying steps, such as reminding the person at the Walmart Customer Service counter that they offer this service, so being able to do this in the convenience of your on home is a huge bonus. Wing Commander fans also have the option of simply purchasing the VUDU copy of Wing Commander for $14, but for current DVD owners, the benefit here is that an HD conversion costs just $5. In addition to being able to play the new digital copy on VUDU-compatible devices (such as newer TVs, iPads, the XBox 360, Playstation 3, etc), they are also now UltraViolet-compatible, which opens up even more options. Pictured last: LOAF braves the Walmart photo lab/restroom/VUDU conversion studio.

Epee Gets Bold Introduction to Enigma

Enigma 2666's Concordia battle group is getting even more fighters. The multirole Epee is the latest addition, and it's available in two variants shown below. Option 1 features a streamlined paint scheme while Option 2 has a more elaborate livery. Let Deathsnake and RedBaron know what you think at the CIC Forums.
I posted some fighters in WC2 outfits into the LLoD thread. Here is another shot. RedBaron changed the Epee again and used now the real WC2 Style. Thanks again :)

Watch High Quality Tiger's Claw in High Definition

Klavs has taken his recent Tiger's Claw creation and put it into a stunning new animation. The awesome camera angles are paired with the Wing Commander Movie's title theme, which is a perfect complement. It's embedded below, but don't settle for the tiny window - jump on over to YouTube for a glorious 1080p version!
If anybody's interested, here is some video of the new 'Claw. Make sure you watch it in HD! I didn't spend a week rendering at 1920 x 1080 so you could watch it in a tiny window!

Capships Lined Up; New Raptor Takes Flight

Here's a correction to something we mentioned last week. The collage of ships made by ScoobyDoo don't represent all the vessels that he's made - those were just the fighters! He's produced a new image that shows his capital fleet, except for the mighty Behemoth. There's a really awesome sense of scale when comparing these larger warships.

Additionally, Scooby's already prepped a new take on the heavy Raptor fighter. His version is especially heavy! It's supposed to suggest a relationship to the Thunderbolt. The later shots even show what a two-seat variant would look like, and he's depicted this design cruising past a slick planetary ring.

Also a variant on the Raptor, a second altered version will be coming as soon as this one is done. Deathsnake had some ideas to return it to wc2-3 era. Right now armament includes 2 heavy mass drivers, 4 heavy? lasers and a stormfire, plus a rear turret. About the same size as the thud.

The texture has a single large bay for a single launch torpedo. Generally I keep the heavy fighters with just one torp. Oh ya, there's quite a bit of Thunderbolt in this model. The whole nose section, the intake section, engine section and even the turret section.

Famous Flight Suit Resurfaces in England

Remember that UK contest to win Christopher Blair's screenworn flightsuit? recurring dropped by to let us know that he indeed was the winner of that contest and has the pictures to prove it! A handful of shots are included below, but head over to Pix's website for more images in higher resolution. You can also thank recurring for stopping in to share his awesome collectible at the CIC Forums.
Hi guys, I stumbled across this thread via googledust and thought I could help. I won that competition however many years ago it was and wanted to offer whatever photos you are after for references. :) I took a load and sent them to that chap who runs Pix's Origin Adventures, who has posted them all at their original resolution. The specific post is here.

Glad to See the A-15 Painted

The Last Line of Defense project is back with another new fighter. New shots below show off the Gladius in fun WC2 colors. This is a ship that we almost always see in predominantly metallic gray, so the extra highlights are nice. Note that the outer gun mounts are missing from the first shot, but they've been added in to the frontal view. It's surprising what a difference they make - it almost looks like a different ship without them!
A-15 Gladius on patrol. RedBaron again with the WC2 style textures. Model by Scooby Doo.

BTW, the scheme is inspired by Standoff's Gladius, kudos to whoever did the green one there.

Fralthi Let Loose on Vega Sector

Klavs has finished up the textures on his new Fralthi, which makes the warship essentially complete. Its Kilrathi durasteel hull looks super sharp, and there's plenty of fine details to gorge your eyes on. All angles look imposing. The snappy escort provided by several Dralthi and Salthi craft are a nice finishing touch.
Textures done!

It's a Great Time to be a Wingnut

The results are in from our annual New Year Poll, and Wingnuts have spoken! Final numbers represent the highest level of optimism among fans in the thirteen-year history of this particular survey. The number of Wingnuts with a "poor" or "unsure" outlook on the year ahead has been trending down for several years, and it's currently at the lowest measured level ever. "Great" has reached its highest percentage yet, and it's followed closely by people with a "good" feeling about 2013.

There are multiple factors that contribute to the positive results. The space sim genre is doing fairly well with the launch of Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous, among others. Here at the CIC, we've also been very impressed with the recent resurgence in fan projects. There have been more than a dozen different fan projects highlighted here in just the past month alone. This all sets a great tone for the year as the CIC zooms towards its 15th Birthday in August!

The new poll asks which game manual was your favorite. The WC series has a long history of amazing documentation, so this could be a tough one to decide! You can download these game guides and many other WC booklets here. Be sure to check them out - there's quite a few manuals that were translated into different languages or had significantly different versions in different countries or with console ports.

Colossal Clash Erupts in Eve Online

A few news outlets have picked up on an impressive story out of Eve Online. Last weekend, a mind boggling 2,800-ship battle broke out. Words can't properly describe such an incredible melee, so check out some crazy pictures of it all.
For one, it was beautiful – the screenshots, compiled in an album here, are gorgeous renders of spiderweb lasers and stardust surrounding powerful feats of man. For another, the pictures show an absolute warzone beyond any chaos we know. But seriously, it was pretty.

The fight was in Asakai and involved a Caldari Factional Warfare alliance, the Drunk 'n' Disorderly alliance, and a few gravity wells that pulled in more ships throughout the night.

Carrier Design Ensures Fighter Capacity

Most Wing Commander artists are driven by the external look of the series' iconic warships, but Lars is trying to figure out how the internal layout works. He's started by making room for the Tiger's Claw's 104 fighter craft, and the result is a pretty tight fit! In these early mockups, he's made fighter stalls light gray, transportation areas red and supply storage green. The result takes up quite a bit of the carrier's internal volume. Lars is now working on detailed renders of these areas.
So after finaly finding a little bit of time I went from doing the outside to take a closer look on the inside. Mainly the hangar/fighter storage. Getting all 104 fighters to fit into the hull was quite tricky. I have changed the internal layout a lot in the process and this is now the version that I think would be the best.

Let me explain the images and thoughts behind what I did.

First the color code. Light grey areas are where fighters will be standing. Some of these spots are not so visible because the lift-placeholders are in front of it. There are also fighters parked in the catapult tubes so they are also not visible. So when counting you might not get all the 104 fighters. Still they are there.

Red colored is where I plan to put in the lifts that will connect the different decks.

Green colored areas are for supplies of fighters. I find its not enough space but its also going into the width of the ship... I will see if I am happy with it when I hollow out the thing and have a look from the inside. Still I doubt that I can make them any bigger as the back part is reserved for the engineroom, reactor and the engines themself.

So lets go through the decks themself.

Starting from the top we have the landing area. There is space to store fighters for either emergency takeoffs or to get damaged fighters out of the way. For that purpose there will also be a crane at the ceiling as seen in WC1.

In the back there will be 4 lifts that can take fighters to the lower decks. Also there will be a small storage part.

Second deck is the repair deck. Not much to say about it.

Third deck will be the storage deck for fighters. Here the repaired and flight ready fighters are stored. There are also 8 lifts to the catapult tubes.

Fourth deck isn't realy a deck its just the catapult tubes. Each holding two fighters.

The logistics to get all the fighters allways fitting inside and moving them around might be a horror as long as all fighters are present but during normal flight a good number of these fighters will be on patrol or other missions so it should be less cramped.

PS: There is one other version where I made the first lift go through all decks and I moved one of the lifts from the back to the middle part. Maybe I will stay with that version, cause it offers more flexebility.

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