Tales of the Claw Announced

Klavs has done an incredible job turning his 3D models into physical craft, but now he's taking on a new platform. He will soon be using his exquisite designs in an animated web series that takes place aboard the Tiger's Claw! Few details have been released, although there is an exciting high resolution teaser wallpaper to accompany the announcement. It seems like we say this a lot, but we really can't wait to see how this turns out!
Hi guys, I've been using the Wing Commander Universe for many years as a fun sketchpad to help me hone my 3d production and animation skills, and the community has been very kind to me. Now I'm delving into the realm of character animation and storytelling, and, as always, the best inspiration comes from the wonderful universe that Chris Roberts created.

In the coming months, I'll be working on a series of short animated films retelling some events aboard the TCS Tiger's Claw from Wing Commander I. I thought I'd start with this teaser image and go on from there. I hope you guys enjoy this stuff, because I know I do!

Cheers,

-Klavs

GalCiv2 Pack Brings WC Style Designs to the Metaverse

pigsonthewing is an avid Galactic Civilizations player, and he's spotted a ship pack that's inspired by the fleets of Wing Commander. The author has taken a bit of artistic license, but the similarities are clearly there. Grab it here or here! (1.7 meg zip)
These 24 ships should work in the metaverse since no mods were installed during the design and mods were deactivated in the main menu. Please read the readme.txt for further informations and how to install. These ships will also work in regular games.

Requirements: GalCiv2 Dark Avatar 1.6 (i don't know if it will work on older versions too), Collectors Edition Structures if you don't have the latest patch.

The author of the pack above is Midnightrunner, who created a set of glorious Confed & Kilrathi vessels for GalCiv2 several years back. Unfortunately, the source files for this mod were lost at an external site, and all we currently have are pictures. If someone managed to pick this one up back in the day and still has a copy handy, please let us know so we can host it for others!

GOG Adds Mac Support for WC3 & Other Origin Titles

Good Old Games has announced that another batch of classic games is now officially compatible with the Macintosh. The latest addition adds Wing Commander 3, Crusader: No Regret & Ultima 8: Gold Edition! There are now over a hundred games in their library that run under OS X, including WC1, WC2 and Privateer. WC3 & WC4 were released natively for Mac, but this is a DOS setup working in DOSBox for Mac. Grab you copy for just $5.99 here!
Psychonauts, Torchlight, Wing Commander 3, and 19 other great games, classic and new, now for your Mac!

Our Mac gaming offer keeps on growing with the addition of a new or classic title every now and then, and our catalog of OS X compatible games has reached (and passed) 100-games milestone quite a while ago. Steady growth is not enough for us, though. We like to drop a content-bomb from time to time, adding a whole pack of Mac-compatible builds to the site. Well, boom! Today, such a pack arrives, with a collection of 22 exciting titles you can now download and play on your Mac! As usual, if you bought the Windows version in the past, you automatically gain access to the Mac version with no need of additional purchase. Let's take a look at the new arrivals, shall we?

Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, a mixture of excellent space-fighter sim and an excellent interactive movie, for only $5.99

Assemble for Arena Achievement

This is a reminder that TrueAchievements is holding a Wing Commander Arena play session on Monday. The event takes place relatively early in the US (1 pm Pacific, 4 pm Eastern), but this also allows Wingnuts in Europe to get in on the action (8 pm GMT). They're shooting for 16 players in order to get the TCS Tiger's Claw achievement.
Boosting Gaming Session for Wing Commander Arena

Session starts on Monday, 29 April 2013 at 20:00 for 1 hour

"I am going to try an organize a 16 player game for this title. No one plays now so this is impossible to get without a session. Maybe we will get lucky and 16 people will join and we can get this. I will need another person to be a party leader since live only supports 8 per person. We can go for other achievements once this is done, but my goal is the 16 player achievement."

Ultima Codex Interviews Serpent Isle Lead

Ultima Codex has conducted an interview with Bill Armintrout, a former Origin vet who worked on Ultima VII Part 2, Pacific Strike and Bioforge among other games. The conversation starts with a discussion about Bill's role in designing Serpent Isle, but it also goes into some great Origin history. There's also a couple cool Wing Commander anecdotes that sneak their way in, as is common when talking to any ex-Originite. That's a great use of the phrase 'Wing Commander emergency'! Check out the full interview here.
UC: Any good (or bad) memories to share about these times ?

BA: When I arrived, the company was in the middle of producing Ultima VII and Wing Commander II, and the place was a hive of activity. There was even a “bedroom” with bunk beds for those who had worked all night and weren’t safe to drive home! I came to work one day and found the cables of my computer were missing — recruited for a Wing Commander emergency!

UC: How did you end up directing Serpent Isle in the end?

BA: In what I like to think of as The Night the Directors Left, three of the directors (project leads) at Origin quit all at once. One of them was Jeff George, who had been instrumental in the early Wing Commanders, and then had worked on Ultima sequels. Since I was lead designer on the project, this left me as the de facto project lead.

Origin never gave me the ‘director’ title. The team thought this was rather silly, and so gave me their own title: The Cantaloupe. So we all knew there was no director on Serpent Isle, only a cantaloupe. :-)

UC: Can you believe it’s been two decades since Serpent Isle came out?

BA: When I go on Facebook and see the faces of those I worked with on Serpent Isle — boy, they’ve gotten older! :-) But no, it doesn’t feel like 20 years to me at all.

UC: Claw Isle…the big, cat-themed island in the middle of Serpent Isle’s world. We’ve gained some idea of its intended purpose(s) over the years, but can you shed any further light on its purpose? Or, for that matter, why cats were chosen as the predominant feature?

BA: It was an in-joke involving Wing Commander. (There had been something similar, but smaller in scope, in Ultima VII.) Claw was also cut in the effort to rein in the schedule.

The Blue and the Gray

There's a pair of new fighter renders from Scooby's Wing Commander hangar, and both sport the heavy metallic colors that have become characteristic of his designs. The first model is the complete version of the beefed up Arena-inspired Arrow. All the extra armor that often makes its way into his craft really fits well with the Arena style of ship design. There's also a pair of Scimitars that have just been completed. You only get a side view in this shot here, but the acceleration absorber pods are unmistakable!
There's some pieces of the Mk V (WC3/4) Arrow along side with a couple from Arena, plus some personal liberties. The intakes were the most frustrating on where exactly to put them.

A pair of Scimitars: There's two variants, the twin mass drivers and a twin mass driver & twin heavy mass driver

Ultimate Arrow Model Under Construction

Klavs has pioneered some fantastic models that can be 3D printed in sizes as large as 4-6 inches. This is already much larger than the 1-2 inch miniature designs that were the only ships possible a few years ago, and anything much bigger gets exponentially more expensive. The limits of technology, cost or imagination has never stopped a dedicated Wingnut however, and Arrow aficionado Rylex wanted to push the envelope even further! The result is this one-of-a-kind F-27. Klavs describes the details below, but it has to be seen to be believed!
Hey guys, Rylex has very graciously and bravely trusted me to produce a 1/72 Armada Style F-27 Arrow for him. The model will have lighted engines and cockpit, a full set of custom decals, as well as a complete cockpit.

Right now the model is just shy of 10 inches and there are more detailed parts coming along. I've been sanding down the already pretty smooth exterior and prepping the model for its base coat.

I've designed the cockpit insert so that it can hopefully provide both red cockpit lighting, and back lighting to the (Arena era) instrument panel. Wiring things today, and the engines light up great so far! Really happy with the little pilot, too. You should be able to see things better once I get things painted, right now it just looks like wonder woman's jet!

Arena Session Set for Monday, April 29th

The people over at TrueAchievements are organizing a Wing Commander Arena play session. This Xbox live Arcade title was released on July 25, 2007, and like most Xbox games, the number of active players has sharply dropped off in the years since its initial launch. The game also included a couple achievements that require a significant number of live opponents to accomplish, with one in particular requiring 16 players online simultaneously. The time of the event listed seems to be in GMT and as such the session starts at 4:00PM Eastern time on Monday, April 29th.
Boosting Gaming Session for Wing Commander Arena

Session starts on Monday, 29 April 2013 at 20:00 for 1 hour

"I am going to try an organize a 16 player game for this title. No one plays now so this is impossible to get without a session. Maybe we will get lucky and 16 people will join and we can get this. I will need another person to be a party leader since live only supports 8 per person. We can go for other achievements once this is done, but my goal is the 16 player achievement."

Participants who definitely plan to attend can sign up and confirm at TrueAchievements. Monday afternoon isn't necessarily the best time to get people from a diverse set of time zones, so we also encourage people to set up their own special events, although a small number is better in order to consolidate fans and get the minimum number of required players. Also check out an interesting breakdown of how many of their members have unlocked each achievement here.

Arena Achievement Recap

Wing Commander Arena includes twelve possible Xbox achievements worth 200 points. Here's a review of them all! Of particular note is "TCS Tiger's Claw" which requires 16 simultaneous players, "Paladin" that requires a thousand confirmed kills and "Gunfighter" that requires winning a duel in each of the game's 18 ships. You're going to need a wingman!

Hot Dog (20)
Complete each Ring Game difficulty level
Commando (10)
Earned ULF Commando Tattoo (15 frags in a Melee match)
Dogfight (10)
Shot down first pilot in a Xbox LIVE match
Ace (20)
Defeat 5 ships in a Ranked Xbox LIVE match without respawning
Untouchable (20)
Reach wave 10 in Gauntlet without ever taking damage to your hull
TCS Tiger's Claw (10)
Compete a 16 player Capital Ship game
Hibernation (20)
Reach a streak of 5 in a Bearpit game
Gunfighter (20)
Win a Ranked Duel with each ship type
Navigator (10)
Travel through every gold jump gate in the game
Retro (10)
Reach wave 20 in Meteor Storm
Paladin (30)
Shoot down 1000 pilots on Xbox LIVE
Deathstroke (20)
Finish in first place in any Ranked Free For All match

Hellcat Model Gets Major Fuselage Features

Whiplash has made some nice improvements to his Hellcat model this week that have transformed the center fuselage from a wooden block to something more closely resembling a Confed spaceframe. There's been great process on the 'transparent' cockpit canopy, and the underslung gun mounts are taking shape. Space for the Hellcat's iconic engine cluster have also been carved out, and the main exhaust nozzle is visible below. It's great to see so much effort being put into the project!
I started experimenting with heat forming about two days ago. It's not perfect yet, but I'm quite pleased with my early efforts. Any ideas on how to do the tinting? A dark blue/gray seems to be the colour of choice.

I've also mostly completed the ventral gun pod. It needs some tidying up, but the basic shape looks good.

As for scale, I estimate 122,5:1 (24cm model vs 27m total length according to the game fiction). At any rate, even if you just post some detailed pictures of your cockpit work, I can put something together myself.

I have managed to get around to a piece of work I was particularly looking forward to: The rear fuselage and engine area. I'm still refining and polishing but it's a vast improvement on the original (rather poor) effort.

I've also had some ideas regarding the engine nozzles. So far, a simple cardboard construction seems quite effective. I will refine the design a bit as I go along.

That's all for now. I'm currently hollowing out the various gun ports, but the next big task will be getting started on the wings. That should be fun!

A Defiant Few: The Dam Breaks

The first chapter of Wing Commander: A Defiant Few has been released! Part 1, "The Dam Breaks," takes place near Perry Naval Base in 2683 in the aftermath of the initial Nephilim incursions. It begins with Admiral Sandra Goodin as a new invasion pours into Gemini Sector. The voice actors do a surprisingly good job of drawing the listeners into the Wing Commander universe, and nice touches with the background music/sound effects further add to the immersion. You can listen to the YouTube below or download an mp3 here.
First of hopefully many episodes of a new Wing Commander themed audio drama.

The ever uneasy peace of Gemini sector is destroyed when an insectoid alien race known as the Nephilim begin a full scale invasion, with their first target being Perry Naval Base. It is left to Admiral Sandra Goodin and the piecemeal forces at her command to stop the considerably larger alien armada and safeguard the lives of the millions of civilians in Gemini.

My thanks, once again, to my team for their commitment and hard work. My thanks as well to cast and audience alike for their patience. There've been no end of gremlins to fish out of the wiring in the early days, but hopefully future episodes shouldn't take nearly as long to get finished.

P.S. A warning to headphone users, there are some loud moments.

"What you see is what you play!"

Ancient Dos Games has posted a thorough retrospective on the original Wing Commander - one of their most frequent requests! They cite GOG as making this review possible, since the author did not play the game in DOS originally. It's great to constantly hear about new Wingnuts being made thanks to modern digital distribution. For a website that's dedicated to awesome games of the '80s and '90s, however, they're surprisingly harsh on how the game's graphics have aged. However, they're very impressed with the game's sound, control, branching missions and deep sense of immersion. As a testament to how much they enjoyed it, fully half of the video review is dedicated to strategies and tactics that players can use to more effectively fight the Kilrathi! Thanks to akula65 for spotting this one.
One thing I should've elaborated on is why the game is as immersive as it is. It has to do with how it never really breaks you from the feeling that you're participating in the universe, as well as giving you different cockpits with the different ships you can fly as well as allowing you to earn medals and progress through your career in a dynamic way.

Deadly Dralthi Descends on Desks

The Empire grows stronger! Klavs' original flying pancake has been supplemented by the bat-wing Dralthi IV. New 3D renders are posted below, but the real deal 3D print is also ready to go at Terran Fleet Supply. I bet they look fantastic alongside a classic Dralthi or Gratha. Who's going to be the first person to post pics of theirs?!
Right away, I could see these were no ordinary cats. They were aggressive, they worked together, and had the sun at their backs. Even with modern sensors, the age-old tactic still works, to a degree.

Against the sun, highly sensitive optical scanners calibrated for deep space still get fuzzed by the solar output and radar sees nothing but a giant energy spike across a half degree of sky. It took talent to run an intercept using that narrow blind spot, but it could be done. The other ships were down before I could even spot them; half a dozen giant bat wings, big as death, looming right out of the sun.

Thank god I had been busted to 'tail-end charlie' the day before. They hit the element leaders first. These, the cats reasoned, would have more combat experience and would therefore make more trouble. The initial pass was more successful than they'd imagined, downing 3 of 4 fighters. Now they had the lone survivor outnumbered and outgunned, and the kitties were going to play with their food.

I played back.

-Maniac

Unknown Enemy Upgrades Still In Work

The Wing Commander Unknown Enemy team announced last year that their original Secret Ops mod would be getting one last big update. It's been more than a decade since fans were originally treated to UE, and there's a whole list of ambitious upgrades that technological expertise within the WC community has made possible since (not the least of which will be incorporating then OpenGL graphical rendering mode used in Wing Commander Standoff). Work on the final update has moved at a somewhat slow pace, but Quarto assures us that progress is still steadily being made. You can help encourage the team to keep moving at the CIC Forums or try out the original game here!

It's been very slow-going (not in the sense of it being hard or more time-consuming than expected, but in the sense of us spending less time on it than we need to be), but we haven't forgotten, and without even trying to guess at a completion date, I can at least say that we absolutely do intend to get it done. As a matter of fact, we even did some work on UE last week... no, really :).

New WC RPG Demonstrates Combat Scenario

There has been progress on several fronts in capi's Wing Commander Role Playing Game. A massive amount of proofreading has occurred over the past month, which brings that task to almost 90% complete. Work on the Vespus campaign has mainly centered around character creation. He's still looking for callsign suggestions for these folks.


Finally, a demonstration of the RPG's combat style has been put together. Some of the math and setup sounds complicated, but the action-oriented sequences seem quite compelling. You can read up for yourself at the CIC Forums here.

Alright. The strike group flew out to Nav 1 to keep the Cats from tracking Concordia's location. Having hit the turn point, they vectored in on the Fralthra. Upon reaching the Fralthra's nav point, they found her guarded by a group of 5 Sartha, one of which was flown by a Drakhai.

So the combatants are Maverick and Shadow in Ferrets, Primetime and Kilroy in Broadswords, Blackeyes 1-4 in Sarthas, Ape-Ripper in a Sartha, and the Fralthra. First thing that happens is the roll for Initiative to establish the order of battle (this is a 2d10 roll for each combatant plus the Initiative value of their craft. Ape-Ripper came up as 24, so he's up first. Blackeye3 and Primetime both rolled 21, so there's a tie-breaking roll made (1d10 each); Blackeye3 is next (5) followed by Primetime (1). Kilroy and Shadow both rolled 20; Kilroy's next (9) followed by Shadow (6). Blackeey2 and Maverick both rolled 16; Blackeye2 is next (5) followed by Maverick (3). Blackeye1 (14), the Fralthra (12) and Blackeye4 (10) round things out.

Ape-Ripper's turn is first. He targets Primetime (using the auto-targeting schema, all combatants target the opponent with the next highest Initiative Check value) and rolls range (2d10 for everybody this round since everybody's selecting new targets), which comes up as nine. Ape-Ripper afterburns to close the range to 2 (he's down to 4 more afterburns) and fires his Neutron Guns. Ape-Ripper's Marksmanship score is 20; his Tactical score is 120, so there's a +12 DC bonus to all Tactical Skills in effect - his Marksmanship DC is effectively 32. Adjusting the EHD by -2 for range against Primetime (look at the chart I posted already) gives an EHD of 70. So, Ape-Ripper will hit Primetime on an attack result of 70 or less, and rolling less than 32 will give him the opportunity for multiple Neutron Gun hits. The rolls come up as 88 and 82 (he's got two Neutron Guns and he's firing them both, hence two attack rolls), so the result is a clean miss. Even skilled pilots sometimes have problems hitting the broadside of a barn.

Hellcat Still Has Eight Lives Left

Here's another look at Whiplash's handcrafted Hellcat. The first shot shows a heart breaking image of the model split into its component pieces, but the deconstruction is for a good cause! Whiplash has already stripped and started to reshape the fuselage in order to conform to his recreated blueprints, so the retrofit ship will be more accurate than ever. All the effort being put into this would make Douglas Aerospace proud!
I should be able to build around the current fuselage, but the wings are so out of shape compared to where they should be, I might as well make new ones. I'll think that one over for a bit longer though.

It's been a fairly productive week. The rebuilt fuselage is coming along very nicely. I've been cutting, shaping, sanding and polishing a lot! Here are a few shots of my progress.

The shape looks much, much better when compared to the cinematic shots now. I'm very confident that I'm on the right track. The fit and finish is also of a higher standard than I was able to achieve when I first built this ship. Lots of work to do yet, but so far, so good.

Until next time!

GOG Fixes Strike Commander Art

With the help of a persistent LOAF, GOG has updated its cover art for Strike Commander. It now uses authentic art rather than an F-16 mockup. Strike Commander takes place in the futuristic world of 2011, far from the front lines with the Kilrathi, but that beautiful 'Commander' logo always looks great. The GOG edition of the game comes with some great extras, including the strategy guide and Tactical Operations expansion pack. It also includes the Sudden Death manual, which was a major inspiration for Wing Commander Arena's Star*Soldier.
Twenty-two years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the world has become embroiled in a series of conflicts centered around an ever-dwindling resource: oil. Mankind’s hopes for world peace lie battered and broken. Take command of Stern’s Wildcats, an elite squadron of mercs trying to fly straight in a world of deceit and violence. Engage rival merc squadrons, third world dictators, and the armies of the dreaded IRS. In a world gone mad, there’s plenty of room to fly, all that’s required is the cash.

Strike Commander puts you in the best place to witness fast-paced dogfighting action: the pilot’s seat. Fly high as you take on over 60 missions, each more challenging than the last in your top-of the-line F16 squadron piloted by the best crew in the business (operational success rate of 86%). Strike Commander is a classic flight combat sim where a pilot is only as good as his, or her, last flight. Fly to survive and survive to fly, in this modern-day action-oriented jet fighter combat simulation!

Warbirds Infiltrate Civilian Population

The Terran Fleet Supply has been hard at work fueling the war machine of the Confederation and Empire. Now that Wingnuts like you and me have gotten a chance to get their hands on these gorgeous creations, a whole bunch of amazing photos have started to trickle out. The shots below show off the Hornet, Rapier, Raptor, Arrow (both Armada and WC3 variants!), Hellcat, Scimitar and Dralthi, but there are even more designs available. These are sold at cost with no markup by Klavs, and he continues to work towards more efficient designs to bring prices down. We can't wait to see what's next!
You CAN sand down the material using progressively smaller grain sandpaper, the subsurface material varies in color, there may be grey just below the black on the canopy, for instance, but it leaves you with a fairly smooth plastic finish. I do this on surfaces with a little too much terracing for my tastes. You can paint over the sanded material to additionally smooth out the finish. I've mostly calibrated the blue-grey color to US Navy F-18 type colors, you can see the equivalent paint colors here.

I will typically at least repaint the canopy in flat black to bring out a darker color, but having the colors already there makes a great guide. It's important to use thick acrylic paint as watered down stuff will 'run' throughout the pores in the model.

WARNING: Do not let it rain on these things before you get them sealed. Water will severely discolor the raw material. It is therefore recommended that you seal them with Testor's dull coat followed by a coat of semi-gloss. Or just never let them get wet. Stupid Pacific Northwest weather!

Note that all of the photos above, except for the Scimitar and wide image with five fighters, are "straight out of the box" and haven't been touched up, painted, sanded or modified in any way!

Gemini Sector Population Grows with Latest Casting Call

As the first chapter of Wing Commander A Defiant Few continues to wrap up, casting has begun on the third episode. The characters being sought here are all Confed officers this time around. They'll play a relatively minor role in chapter three but some will go on to bigger parts in the future. If you'd like to learn more or are eager to get involved, talk with Plywood Fiend at the CIC Forums!
Captain Metcalfe: Male, older voice. Commanding officer of the TCS Gallant. Invariably formal, stern and outspoken.

Audition Lines:

‘Flight deck, this is the Captain. We’re going to have a lot of fighters touching down soon, including surviving fighters from the Artemis. Be ready to perform emergency repairs and rearming.’

‘Admiral, with all due respect, it’s not a good idea for you leave the ship, not when the airspace around the base could become a battleground.’


TCS Gallant Bridge Officers 1 and 2: Male or female,20-40. All business. These characters may get names in later episodes, for now they’re minor roles.

Audition Lines:

‘No indication of fighter launches yet ma’am.’

‘Captain Metcalfe, flight deck reports we have all our fighters on the deck. Rearming and emergency repairs are commencing.’


Audition Line:

‘Understood Captain. Me and my crew are ready.’

Lieutenant Ryder: Male or female, 20-30. Communications officer onboard the TCS Arthur Clouston. All business for the most part.

Audition Line:

‘Ok pilots, we’ve managed to establish contact with the cruiser Harpy Eagle and have gotten an update on the situation in Perry.’

Bolt from the Blue

Scooby's latest fighter design is a personal take on the Arrow light fighter. Besides the usual personal touches, the "Bolt" borrows from the Arrow V from Wing Commander III/IV as well as WC Arena's various incarnations. The model was given the usual blue/grey texturing treatment and fits nicely with Scooby's other designs. You can find more of his work in previous updates.

Detailed Tutorial Helps Transfer GOG WC1 Saves Under Mac OS

GOG began supporting OS X last fall, and their launch celebrations even named Wing Commander among "the best games in history." While this makes is super convenient for Macintosh owners to launch into the Vega Campaign, it's slightly trickier to transfer your pilot to The Secret Missions. The expansion packs originally included a transfer utility to carry your killboard scores and medals over into the addons. It's a relatively painless process in DOS or plain DOSBox, but it can be trickier when using a graphical front end or if your files are buried a bit deeper on the Mac.


Dondragmer has put together a new tutorial that explains this process. It's exquisitely detailed with pictures and step-by-step instructions along the way. And check out his amazing kill score below! If you've got the GOG version of WC1 for the Mac, be sure to check this out and get credit for all your accomplishments!

For most classic games I have a DOSBox installation with a C: drive full of games, and I adjust cycles as needed. However, GoG provides a nice graphical front end, so I thought I'd try playing through WC1 using that.

I got to the end of the Vega Sector campaign, but at first had trouble finding my saves. If you can't find them either, read on. If you aren't using Mac OS, or aren't using the GoG-installed version of WC1, this entire post will be irrelevant.

What we're delving into here is actually the Boxer front end for DOSBox, which GoG uses for their Mac OS versions. If you need to look inside some other DOS game, the same principles probably apply.

Here Be Dragons
We're about to poke around inside your "Wing Commander 1.app" application resources. Mac OS does not make this easy, because you can corrupt the application this way. Look around, but don't modify files without understanding what they're for.

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

Results
DOSBox used to default to 3,000 cycles. The GoG version of Wing Commander 1 is pre-configured for 4,000 cycles. I found this unplayable, and slowed it back to 3,000 in "DOSBox Preferences.conf". Considering what this does to the game, you would be justified in saying that these scores were "tool-assisted" in the way that a tool-assisted speedrun is.

I see there's some discussion of maximum medals achievable. I did intentionally fail missions in order to do Brimstone and Rostov, but I didn't leave aces alive in order to game that system. However, a cursory search hasn't shown maximum kills - apologies if I missed it. While I scored 695 (not including final missions where you can't save or see the chalkboard), you definitely face over 700 ships by the end of SM2. Apart from the odd ship that got by or was destroyed by allies, I bypassed the final 5 Jalthi in Corsair System Beta Wing because I simply could not keep enough afterburner fuel after the earlier encounters in that mission.

Flash Dillon, Space Warrior

Josh Lucas, the actor who played Jace "Flash" Dillon in Wing Commander III is returning to space. In Space Warriors, a group of kids make it into NASA space camp under the wing of Lucas' character, when something goes wrong aboard the International Space Station. The movie was filmed at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center and is due out this month. Other notable cast include Dermot Mulroney (Zodiac), Mira Sorvino (Mimic) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon).
Jimmy Hawkins (Thomas Horn), a young teenage boy, gets the opportunity to fulfill his dream of going to Space Camp when he wins a scholarship to join a team of the best & brightest young minds in the world. Individually, the kids are brilliant, however, together the Warriors cannot work as a team. Captain Roy Manley (Josh Lucas), a former astronaut, is father to these hopefuls and a tough taskmaster as he guides the kids through the world of Space Camp and the challenges given them. During competition, the Warriors begin to realize they can be stronger when they work together. In the end, the teens become heroes when danger erupts on the International Space Station and they are in the right place at the right time with the right plan to save the day.

This Gratha's Grrreat!

Here's a closer look at Klavs' heavy Gratha fighter. It looks great on the computer screen, and it would look even better sitting on your desk! I've always thought the Gratha looked like an tough alien menace, but there's been some recent discussion at the CIC Forums about how human the design looks compared to the rest of the Kilrathi fleet? What do you think?
The Gratha gave Confed procurement a heart attack when they first arrived on the scene. They thought the Cats had developed a counter to the Rapier before it even entered service. And, if you squinted, they did kind of have the same silhouette, but the similarities stopped there.

We learned quickly that the Grath was actually more of a big fighter-bomber, more on par with the Raptor. But whether it was inter-clan rivalry among the spacecraft developers, prejudice against a quasi-human looking design, or just plain bureaucracy, the experienced pilots didn't seem to fly them much. They would be a decent enough fighter in the right paws, I guess, but the systems management was way more complex than the average Kilrathi fighter and the training and maintenance never really caught up with them. A wet-behind-the-ears fourth fang was typically in way over his head, with only a few exceptions. Later variants added a second pilot to handle the workload, and they found a niche as a halfway decent strike craft. That big nose could carry a lot of hurt, and they could run in fast and hit hard.

I called them 'Schnozzles' at first, but nobody else seemed to get it, so I quit.

-Maniac

Privateer Board Game Project Looking for Testers

jlav reports that he's making progress on a Privateer-themed board game that's been in development for about a year. It's using the Vassal engine to enable play on a computer over the internet. The game actually seems pretty well along, and it's already looking for playtesters to try things out! A successful beta test could be followed by printable and downloadable versions. Find out more, including info on participating in trial games, at the CIC Forums here.
Privateer embodied what I feel was the best of what was emerging as a genre in video games - self-guided experiences with the freedom to adventure through your own story. The boardgame we are developing is inspired by that sense of adventure and open-ended story.

If you are familiar with the Vassal Engine, that would be a benefit, though it is not required. Our playtest group is setup on Facebook. As a need, I am looking for more artwork of pilots from the Privateer/Wing Commander world to be used as characters in the game.

Even More Hellcat in the Spotlight

Whiplash's custom built Wing Commander models recently resurfaced in the news. Now that he's got his hands on them again, the real fun begins! The Hellcat will be the first ship that gets retrofit with a more accurate and advanced design. A new set of images below show off the current state of the ship and show off some of the extensive planning that goes into the design before anything is cut.
So, it's time to get cracking on my renovation project. Hellcat V gets the first nod, partly because it's a personal favourite of mine, and partly because there is quite a bit of source material available. I'm always on the lookout for more though, so if you have any decent pics lying around, feel free to share them.

With age comes wisdom, or so they say, and in my case that means a more critical eye when it comes to detail. :) I've identified the following main areas I'd like to focus on, and will post some updates as I go along. Comments, suggestions and helpful criticism are more than welcome.

So, for my first update, I thought I'd show you some of the semi-organized chaos that makes up my design process. Here's a quick peek at my work bench: Measuring instruments, reference pictures, tools, and various other bits and pieces all over the place. :) There is some method in the madness however; the desired end result is something that looks like this.

This is not the finished version by any means. I've discovered that having access to lots of source material does not make the job any easier! What it does mean is that I have lots of shots from funny angles that make it hard to get good measurements. This being a look weekend, I'd really hoped to have made more progress by now. Anyhow, the end goal is to make the model look right, so I may end up taking some artistic licence here and there.

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander in Concert!

Wing Commander 3, 4 and Prophecy composer George Oldziey announced today that the Austin Symphony will be performing music from Wing Commander 3 and 4 in an upcoming concert! Details are scarce, but mark your calendars for Friday, October 18th at the Long Center in Austin, Texas (birthplace of Wing Commander!) You can bet we'll be planning to attend and will be organizing some Wing Commander-related events for fans interested in making the trip. More details as they become available!

Update 8/13: Wing Commander will not be part of this program afterall. Details here.

Hellcat in the Spotlight

Here's a more detailed look at one of Klavs' models, the Hellcat V. The shots below show off the design in WC3 and WC4 liveries, both of which are available to make at Terran Fleet Supply. There's also not one - but two! - amusing excerpts from Maniac's autobiography to go along with each of the variants depicted here.
"The Hellcat line was not particularly flashy (or sexy), but they had absolutely no vices and were extremely forgiving in combat. They were also very easy on their maintainers; damage could be patched in a few hours that would have put a Rapier in the repair bay for days. They could not only dish out, but also absorb an incredible amount of punishment and still bring their driver home safely. The 'Ironworks' built some wonderful ships that brought a lot of new kids home safe from some of the nastiest combat in the war.

I was just completing the final flight workups for service entry on the F-86 when 'Mona' McDaniels sauntered into my office. She gave me her smirkiest smirk and dropped a design proposal into my lap that was at least 40 cm thick. Scowling at her over the giant pile of paper, I glanced at the cover. "What the hell is Project Morningstar?'"

-Maniac


"I knew old Maverick would never agree to come with me if all I had to offer was forced reactivation papers and a shuttle ride, so I ditched that heap at the Orlando depot and pulled rank to borrow a pair of Hellcats. A really cute little JG jumped at the chance to fly with me down to Nephele. 'Hey," I thought, "This isn't going to be so bad after all!'

I needn't have bothered. She only jumped at the chance since it meant she could visit her partner planetside. Once we landed, she had pulled chocks before I even had the cockpit unsealed. As it turned out, I saved her life."

-Maniac

Congrats Lord British!

Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter concluded this morning. The project managed to cross the impressive $2 million mark just before the deadline! If you missed the Kickstarter, pledges can still be made at the game's website. Congrats RG!
A Heartfelt Thanks from the entire SotA Team!

A sincere thank you goes out to all our backers for pledging your support to “Shroud of the Avatar” and helping us raise almost double our Kickstarter goal! This game would not be possible without your dedication and feedback – what a fantastic experience it’s been to interact with all of you, learning what is most important and desired in our new world.

Richard Garriott Nears Crowd Funding Finish Line, Star Citizen Cross Promotion Announced

Lord British's Shroud of the Avatar crowd funding campaign is down to its final twelve hours. The current tally between its dedicated website and Kickstarter page stands at $1.7 million. Over the past month, an interesting assortment of stretch goals have been steadily achieved, and even cooler bonus rewards have been added to each pledge tier.

Along the way, Roberts Space Industries produced a very exciting episode of Game Changers that dual-interviews Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott. It's a fascinating trip down memory lane! Anyone with even a passing interest in Origin, Ultima or Wing Commander history should watch this. It's pretty amusing how Richard Garriott, who's the son of an astronaut and fascinated by space, ended up building fantasy games while the WC series was led by Chris Roberts, who grew up in England. Learn more about how the two met and got started in the game industry below - and check out those fabulous posters on the walls of Portalarium HQ!

Richard Garriott has been a friend of the Wing Commander community for years and it's worth helping him out on his own merits, but there's also a new cross-promotion with Chris Roberts' Star Citizen! Fans who back Shroud of the Avatar at the $40 level or higher will get a special crossbow weapon to use during boarding actions in space. Very cool! If you miss the last few hours on Kickstarter, you can pledge at the Shroud website.
Breaking news! You heard earlier today that Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar will feature an item designed by Chris Roberts useable in-game... and we've decided to return the favor! If you back both Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar at the $40 Adventurer level or higher, we'll give your pilot in Star Citizen a powerful crossbow straight out of Richard's new world... perfect for providing an extra-lethal punch during boarding actions. The Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign ends in just twelve hours, so make your pledge NOW!

Weapon Description:

Iolo Industries Armor-Piercing Crossbow

Some things never go out of style, and the Iolo Crossbow is proof: an elegant weapon that has proved itself capable of repelling boarders effectively time and again over the centuries. It stands well above laser sidearms in terms of armor penetration, the ideal weapon for anyone needing to blast through two inches of plasteel space armor. Designed and hanf-crafted by David Watson, these rare crossbows are prized by pilots for their reliability and their low level of required maintenance. This weapon is an exact replica of the one created for Richard “Lord British” Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar so you can arm your character with it in both universes!

Damage: 2 cm / bolt (+3 against armor)

Reload: .5 seconds

Effective Range: 500 meters

Last, but not least, no great crowd funding event would be complete without a 24-hour telethon to commemorate the last day of the campaign. Watch Richard live here!

Ship Design Above and Beyond

Needing a place to stash his awesome fighter designs, ship modeler Scooby has come up with a "Saratoga-class" carrier. This typical fleet carrier was inspired by the Concordia class TCS Lexington from Wing Commander IV. The final render shows the finished design launching a flight of Armada Phantoms. You can find more of Scooby's work in previous updates.

RIP Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Pulitzer prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert passed away today. He reviewed the Wing Commander Movie in March 1999 and gave it one star. Out of respect for the dead, I'll hold my comments there! Whether you feel that he's spot on or passionately disagree, now's a fitting time to watch the review again here:
Jurgen Prochnow, who played the submarine captain in ``Das Boot,'' is one of the stars of ``Wing Commander,'' and no wonder: This is a sub movie exported to deep space, complete with the obligatory warning about the onboard oxygen running low. ``Torpedoes incoming!'' a watch officer shouts. ``Brace yourself!'' It's 500 years in the future. If the weapons developed by the race of evil Kilrathi only inspire you to ``brace yourself,'' we might reasonably ask what the Kilrathi have been doing with their time.

Other marine notes: ``Hard to port!'' is a command at one point. Reasonable at sea, but in space, where a ship is not sailing on a horizontal surface, not so useful. ``Quiet! There's a destroyer!'' someone shouts, and then everyone on board holds their breath, as there are subtle sonar pings on the soundtrack, and we hear the rumble of a giant vessel overhead. Or underhead. Wherever. ``In space,'' as ``Alien'' reminded us, ``no one can hear you scream.'' There is an excellent reason for that: Vacuums do not conduct sound waves, not even those caused by giant destroyers.

Such logic is of course irrelevant to ``Wing Commander,'' a movie based on a video game and looking like one a lot of the time, as dashing pilots fly around blowing up enemy targets. Our side kills about a zillion Kilrathi for every one of our guys who buys it, but when heroes die, of course they die in the order laid down by ancient movie cliches. The moment I saw that one of the pilots was an attractive black woman (Ginny Holder), I knew she'd go down, or up, in flames.

The plot involves war between the humans and the Kilrathi, who have refused all offers of peace and wish only to be targets in the cross hairs of video computer screens. Indeed, according to a Web page, they hope to ``destroy the universe,'' which seems self-defeating. The Kilrathi are ugly turtleoid creatures with goatees, who talk like voice synthesizers cranked way down, heavy on the bass.

Against them stand the noble earthlings, although the film's hero, Blair (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is suspect in some circles because he is a half-breed. Yes, his mother was a Pilgrim. Who were the Pilgrims? Humans who were the original space voyagers and developed a gene useful for instinctively navigating in ``space-time itself.'' (Just about all navigation is done in space-time itself, but never mind.) Pilgrims went too far and dared too much, so timid later men resented them--but if you need someone to skip across a Gravity Hole, a Pilgrim is your man.

There are actors on board capable of splendid performances. The commander of the fleet is played by David Warner, who brings utter believability to, alas, banal dialogue. Two of the other officers, played by Tcheky Karyo and Prochnow, are also fine; I'd like to see them in a real Navy movie. Prinze shows again an easy grace and instant likeability. Matthew Lillard, as a hotshot pilot named Maniac, gets into a daredevil competition with the Holder character, and I enjoyed their energy. And the perfectly named Saffron Burrows has a pleasing presence as the head of the pilot squadron, although having recently seen her in a real movie (Mike Figgis' ``The Loss of Sexual Innocence,'' at Sundance), I assume she took this role to pay the utility bills.

These actors, alas, are at the service of a submoronic script and special effects that look like a video game writ large. ``Wing Commander'' arrives at the end of a week that began with the death of the creator of ``2001: A Space Odyssey.'' Close the pod bay door, Hal. And turn off the lights.

Project Sounds a Defiant Note

Plywood Fiend has posted the first teaser trailer for his upcoming audio adventure, A Defiant Few. The first two chapters have been cast and are currently in development. Although there have been some delays, the project is steadily moving forward. The first chapter could even be out this month! Check out the new preview below.
Episode one is coming along nicely, so is episode two for that matter. There've been no end of delays in the form of script revisions, sound effect hunting and grim diseases striking down the voice actors, but I dare say that most of that is now sorted out.

Can't Get Enough 3D Prints!

Klavs is a model making machine! In the weeks since his first color 3D prints have gone live, a swarm of new fighters has been added. The Kilrathi have joined the fray with Gratha, Salthi and Dralthi all available with detailed skin textures. Arrows, Rapiers and Hellcats have also been added, and each has multiple variants to reflect unique squadron markings or slight variations seen in different Wing Commander games. Klavs also continues to constantly tweak the models in order to help make them more affordable for fellow Wingnuts. Find out more at Terran Fleet Supply. Photos of the actual models can be found here and here.
You can definitely clearly see the Confed logo and some placards and details. They're a bit blurry at extremely close range, but they are there! I can't wait for this tech to mature a bit more so you can see every pixel I put into them!

I'm so glad to be able to offer these to the community. It's so cool to have my Hornet on my desk!

Introducing WingStarter: Crowd Funding for the 27th Century Today

Crowd funding has exploded over the last year! Everyone is doing it, so it's time that CIC jumped in too. There's a lot of pledge campaigns out there asking for money to help make a new game or some techno gizmo, but wcnews.com always aims high. We are undaunted by the unsuccessful bid to create a Death Star, and we've put together a plan to instead make the TCS Behemoth a reality.


Project Behemoth can totally work. So long as we have the time it takes to complete keel mounts and laser turrets, the mission to Kilrah will succeed. That's why we need to start now. If we can get the ball rolling today, there'll be plenty of time to complete the ship by the time we need it. There's no time to delay - head on over to WingStarter and do your part. Backers are eligible for some fabulous rewards!

The TCS Behemoth was the end result of the Behemoth Project, a top-secret Confederation military project that was initiated in the late 2650s. The project was led by Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn during the ongoing Terran-Kilrathi War, with the sole purpose of destroying the Kilrathi homeworld of Kilrah. It was hoped that by destroying their homeworld, the Kilrathi would lose all will and means with which to wage war on humanity, effectively securing victory for the Confederation.

Unfortunately, the Behemoth was pressed into service before it was complete. Both offensive and defensive systems were not ready, and the Kilrathi exploited these weaknesses to destroy the superweapon. Were it not for the lucky Temblor raid, humanity would have been wiped out by the Kilrathi! This cannot be allowed to happen, so as responsible 21st Century humans, it's our duty to start work on the Behemoth now!

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff