Confed Forces Fly Fleet Colors In LLOD Update

Here's a handful of new screenshots for the Wing Commander Last Line of Defense mod. In these images we see the TCS Austin and Tiger's Claw escorted by a Scimitar and Raptor. There's also a teaser that includes some 'futuristic' Kilrathi designs and the game's title logo. The plan is to let players man some of the turrets seen on these well-defended battlewagons. RedBaron helped Deathsnake to repaint these ships in the more era-appropriate green and gray commonly seen in the 2650s, so they better fit the game's theme. It's surprising what a difference the color makes!

RPG Expansion Takes On Kilrathi Fight

Hot on the heels of the Vespus campaign, the next chapter of capi's Wing Commander RPG adventure is already starting to take shape. He's writing the backstory from a Kilrathi perspective this time, and "Bloodeye" N’Ryllis from the Prophecy ICIS manual will play a major role. You can see what other big ideas capi has and contribute your own feedback at the CIC Forums.
Afternoon, gentlemen.

The proofreading of Enyo is well underway at this point and I figured it was high time to begin a discussion of Elegy. I've pretty well settled on the notion that this will be a campaign wherein the characters are Kilrathi, set in Epsilon Sector from mid 2680 to very very early 2681, and that it will be centered on the character of Krahtagh "Bloodeye" N’Ryllis and the Demon Eye Pack mentioned in Waypoint! (p. 76 of the Prophecy Gold documentation).

I've had a great many thoughts about how I might go about setting the story up. WCRPG's timeline incorporates some events that were going to be used in Privateer 3, but for the most part it follows Star*Soldier's interpretation of events - that "reservation worlds" were setup for the Kilrathi at the war's end, but by 2680 the number of reservation worlds had been reduced to three (from 50 in 2670). It's also mentioned that there were charges of neglect and cruel treatment...which is what lead me to think "what if the Bloodeye character was kind of like a cross between a ronin - say, Yamada Nagamasa - and a Native American figure such as Sitting Bull?". I mean, who is a pirate? It really matters who you ask...Captain Morgan was a privateer, an Admiral in the Royal British Navy; to his victims, he was a pirate...

So the way I see it, N’Ryllis is one of several warriors whose liege lord is killed in the Temblor Raid (or perhaps shortly thereafter), and for some reason he either can't or doesn't commit zu'kara (like Kirha) and winds up on one of those reservation worlds (if his master committed zu'kara on hearing of the surrender, it's conceivable that he was ordered not to prior to that happening - I may be going too Japanese here with what I know about the comparisons between Kilrathi culture and bushido and seppuku; just a thought). Seeing everybody around him being mistreated and starving to death, he makes the fateful decision to further disgrace himself for the good of those around him, and begin terrorizing the spacelanes in Epsilon Sector. Of course, we all know how the story ends thanks to Waypoint!, but I see his execution as part of a larger plan for this character to finally rectify his loss of honor (400 stay behind so that thousands might get away...).

The campaign is not going to end happily, let's put it that way.

One For The Confederation's Archives

GOG usually does a really good job of taking their own screenshots for new games added to their site. In order to preserve the nice ones they've grabbed for Wing Commander Academy, we've saved their lineup below. We've also mirrored their descriptive text for posterity. Last, but not least, we forgot to mention that GOG's 'original release date' posted on WCA's product page is correct. The game first shipped on August 27, 1993, which makes Tuesday's re-release especially remarkable - it was the game's actual 20th birthday! What a perfect way to commemorate it! Somebody really likes the Wraith!
What's cool about it:

  • Take on the challenge of the Gauntlet, a daunting dogfight marathon with 15 progressively difficult levels of attacking ships.
  • Fly with some of the most famous wingmen of the Wing Commander universe: Hobbes, Angel, and Maniac.
  • A robust mission builder gives you the power to create your own missions that will challenge your skill as a pilot.

Overview:

We want YOU!

The Kilrathi are relentless in their assaults against the Confederation and we need more pilots. Not just any pilots, however, but the best of the best. You'll train in our top of the line CyberNet combat simulator. It's not just the art of combat that you'll be learning but also how to pilot every craft the Confederation has to offer. Join us at the TCSN Academy and reach for the stars!

Wing Commander: Academy lets you experience first-hand the rigorous training of a Confederation pilot. Create your own missions with every scenario imaginable or jump into the fray with an infinite amount of randomly generated missions. Learn how to handle a slew of Confederation fighters and take your chances in the Gauntlet, a grueling 15 level marathon that will test your mettle against increasingly challenging opponents.

What Do The People Want?

Now that Academy has made its debut, what's next in store for classic Wing Commander rereleases? We asked that question earlier this year, and the results are below. Privateer 2 seems to have the most demand, but Wing Commander Prophecy isn't far behind. Armada trails a bit in third, but it's at the top of my personal wish list right now! Whichever it ends up being, Wingnuts win!

Wing Commander's a Hit!

In its first day since release, Wing Commander Academy has shot to the top of the GOG Shooters category rankings. On top of that, it's pulled WC1/2, WC4, Privateer and WC3 into the remaining top five sales slots as well. Academy also holds the honorary spot as the 600th game in GOG's virtual library! Online buzz has been especially positive - everyone is super anxious for Armada, Privateer 2 and Prophecy now! Pick up your copy of Academy here.
Release: Wing Commander: Academy

Shaping the future of the fleet.

Wing Commander: Academy, a classic space combat sim that puts you through rigorous training of a Confederation fleet pilot, is available on GOG.com for only $5.99.

Do you have what it takes to be space pilot? Do you think you can handle the Kilrathi, a fierce race of feline space warriors, hell-bent on destroying humankind? If you think you can handle the challenge, there's a chance that you might be what the fleet is looking for. Enlist now, and you'll be promptly transferred to our nearest training facility. You think flying a simulator is beneath you? Well think again! This is no ordinary training. We made damn sure you'll fail, and fail again until you learn from your mistakes. Hell, after we're done with you, you'll welcome fighting the actual Kilrathi as a nice change of pace.

Wing Commander: Academy delivers the excitement and challenge of space combat that has always been the trademark of the Wing Commander series, but this time you will be presented with missions you would never thought possible. You will participate in training simulations that mix and match conditions to prepare future Confederation pilots for just about anything. In the insane Gauntlet mode your task will be to withstand 15 waves of enemies, each more difficult than the last one. There's also a diverse mission creator at your disposal, presenting you with unlimited scenarios that will test your skill. Oh, and yes--this is the 600th game in GOG.com catalog, and yes--you can take it as a confirmation of even more Wing Commander titles coming our way in the future.

The Kilrathi menace won't just go away. Answer your destiny's call and take your part in securing the future of mankind in Wing Commander: Academy, for only $5.99 on GOG.com!

Check Out Academy's Gauntlet Opponents

Wing Commander Academy's famous Gauntlet is quite difficult! In order to get an idea what to expect, here are all 45 waves worth of adversaries, courtesy of HCl. We can't wait for a new generation of Wingnuts to accept the challenge and see how far they get. Post your high scores (including level, wave and ship) at the CIC Forums!
Level 01, Wave 1 - 1 Sartha, skill 1
Level 01, Wave 2 - 1 Drakhri, skill 1
Level 01, Wave 3 - 1 Jrathek, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 1 - 2 Sartha, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 2 - 2 Drakhri, skill 1
Level 02, Wave 3 - 2 Jalkehi, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 1 - 2 Grikath, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 2 - 2 Strakha, skill 1
Level 03, Wave 3 - 3 Ferret, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 1 - 1 Wraith, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 2 - 2 Epee, skill 1
Level 04, Wave 3 - 3 Sabre, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 1 - 3 Epee, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 2 - 1 Sabre, skill 1
Level 05, Wave 3 - 3 Broadsword, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 1 - 1 Dorkathi, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 2 - 2 Crossbow, skill 1
Level 06, Wave 3 - 1 Morningstar, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 1 - 1 Wraith, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 2 - 2 Jrathek, skill 1
Level 07, Wave 3 - 3 Drakhri, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 1 - 3 Jalkehi, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 2 - 2 Morningstar, skill 2
Level 08, Wave 3 - 3 Sabre, skill 2
Level 09, Wave 1 - 4 Grikath, skill 3
Level 09, Wave 2 - 4 Strakha, skill 3
Level 09, Wave 3 - 3 Crossbow, skill 3
Level 10, Wave 1 - 4 Rapier, skill 2
Level 10, Wave 2 - 5 Epee, skill 2
Level 10, Wave 3 - 7 Ferret, skill 2
Level 11, Wave 1 - 5 Grikath, skill 3
Level 11, Wave 2 - 4 Wraith, skill 2
Level 11, Wave 3 - 4 Rapier, skill 3
Level 12, Wave 1 - 6 Jrathek, skill 2
Level 12, Wave 2 - 2 Dorkathi, skill 2
Level 12, Wave 3 - 9 Drakhri, skill 3
Level 13, Wave 1 - 5 Crossbow, skill 2
Level 13, Wave 2 - 4 Morningstar, skill 4
Level 13, Wave 3 - 6 Epee, skill 2
Level 14, Wave 1 - 6 Jrathek, skill 4
Level 14, Wave 2 - 7 Ferret, skill 4
Level 14, Wave 3 - 10 Sartha, skill 4
Level 15, Wave 1 - 7 Morningstar, skill 4
Level 15, Wave 2 - 8 Wraith, skill 3
Level 15, Wave 3 - 8 Jrathek, skill 4

BREAKING NEWS: Academy on GOG!

As promised, the team at GOG has begun to release the rest of the Wing Commander series! Wing Commander Academy is now available for purchase! For $5.99 you get access to an oft-ignored gem in the Wing Commander series. Academy has the honor of being the 600th game released via GOG... but it won't be the last Wing Commander!


Wing Commander Academy was originally planned as a mission-builder module for Wing Commander II. Instead of requiring the original game, Origin decided to release it as an experimental "budget" title - a new game available for the then-unheard of MSRP of $50 instead of $80! A small team created the game with a 'less is more' philosophy, building on resources created for Wing Commander II while adding just enough new ships to tease planned future installments of the series.


The only extra included at the moment is the manual (the correct version including the cover and back pages!) That's to be expected, as very little related material was ever released for Academy (the television series of the same name is actually based on Wing Commander I and III.) Don't let Academy's small file size fool you - you can create endless missions, fly two new fighters and face off against a nearly impossible Gauntlet feature that will test your worth as a Confederation pilot. You can grab your copy here!

WC Flat Universe Posts In-Game Magazine

The Maslas Brothers have produced an awesome excerpt from the in-universe magazine of Wing Commander Flat Universe! It's written in the style of Star*Soldier or the fictional manuals like Claw Marks or Victory Streak. There's only three pages, but it's absolutely wonderful to see fans being creative like this. "Destiny's Way" is the monthly magazine of Daedalus Station, which is the web site home base for the project. Because the timeframe is the year 2678, the magazine teases a preview of the upcoming prototype Panther fighter. There's also an article, sidebar, advertisements and nod to the CIC's 15th Birthday. Screenshots are below or you can grab a PDF here (1.1 meg).
Destiny's Way is the one and only official printed magazine on Daedalus Station. This months special edition of Destiny's Way has an interesting article regarding the history of WC CIC.

If any wingnut of you is interested to download the whole pdf of this months issue, you can find a download link on the news section to the following url: http://flatuniverse.solsector.net

Printed Planes Produce Fantastic Photos

Klavs has taken some new photographs of his growing 3D printed armada. This is the first time we've seen the super slick Morningstar actually out in the wild, and there are some gorgeous multi-angle views of the Excalibur and Super Wing Commander Rapier too. They look really great all lined up! It's pretty cool living in the future where things like this are possible. Fighters can be printed at Terran Fleet Supply, although certain smaller ships currently can't be made due to tightened tolerances on Shapeway's part.
Excalibur, Morningstar, Super Rapier and Concordia Rapier (Low Viz) are here! I would say I'm most proud of the Morningstar, she's so small and the model turned out very tiny yet extremely detailed.

For the family portrait, the Raptor and WC3 Arrow have moved on to guest homes, and the rest are going into Klavs Jr's new baby mobile!

Join The Fireball Squadron & Help Save The Concordia

capi3101 has finished up his latest Wing Commander RPG campaign. The story here follows the exciting episode that culminated in the loss of the majestic TCS Concordia on Vespus, off the Mistral Coast. At least, that's how it happened the first time around... Players will find themselves flying off a Confederation cruiser that becomes involved with fateful events that occurred in the weeks leading up to Wing Commander 3. The entire campaign is available here as a 4.1 megabyte PDF. He's also offered it up on Lulu in case anyone would like a printed copy. You can find more information on the Wing Commander RPG here.
Gentlemen, I'm please to announce that after nearly eight months of work, the Vespus campaign is finally complete. As with Prelude and Enyo, I have it available from Lulu.com as a free PDF and as a paperback. The paperback is going for $7.48 plus S&H and tax; my copy came to about $11.50 all told.

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

TCS Concordia. Mighty flagship of the Enigma Sector fleet. The player's home base in Wing Commander II. The ship that turned back the Kilrathi at the Battle of Earth. The story of how she wound up in the Mistral Sea has never been told...until now. As a pilot aboard the cruiser TCS Bhopal, it is your job to save the lives of over five million Confederation colonists, and if you fly well, you may have the opportunity to rewrite history and save a legendary ship.

Vespus is a miniature campaign developed for the Wing Commander Role-Playing Game. This guidebook contains all the information you need to safeguard the five million colonists living on the surface of Vespus Prime, including:

  • A simple, yet flexible character creation system.
  • A set of ready-made characters, allowing players to jump right into the game.
  • Stats on all capital ships and vehicles included in the campaign.
  • Flexible rules that allow players to play with as much detail and complexity as they wish.
capi put the finishing touches on the project on August 10, so he also included a kind mention of the CIC's 15th Birthday on the title page. Thanks!

Hunting For Hangar Handiwork

Deathsnake is wondering if anyone out there would like to take a shot at texturing the Last Line of Defense flight deck below. The models themselves were made by Starman and already look great. Prospective artists can hit the comment link below. If you'd like to see how the carriers will look on the outside, check out our previous coverage of the mod here. And just to put you in the mood, here are a couple high quality hangar renders from Origin's archive. The first is a Bhantkara flight deck from WC3, and the other is the sharp looking Intrepid backdrop used in WC4. No pressure or anything, right?

New Chapter of Audio Adventure Defiantly Released

The third episode of Wing Commander: A Defiant Few has been released! It's been a couple months since the last chapter came out, so be sure to brush up on Episode 1 and Episode 2 if you didn't catch them the first time around. Follow the continuing adventures of Admiral Goodin's defense of Gemini Sector in the face of Nephilim hordes in the audio story below!
The next installment of the 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.

Guns Blaze In New WC Comic

NinjaLA has posted the latest spread in his Wing Commander comic. The dogfight heats up in these frames as Angel and Hunter tangle with some Dralthi. We get our first peek at the Kilrathi here, just before they're taken out by the Tiger's Claw pilots. Ninja's done a lot of art over the years, but these energic combat scenes are some of his best yet! Let him know what you think at the CIC Forums!
Introducing my Wing Commander comic series! I know I have been promising this for quite some time now, but I have an outline, a story and a whole bunch of pages roughed out.. so for this CIC birthday, I thought I would launch a weekly two page comic and keep it going for the foreseeable future. Enjoy!

Party Log Reveals CIC's True Colors

Jetlag has tweaked the log from our recent CIC Birthday Party so that all the color coding renders properly. This makes it much easier to see which text lines are people talking compared with the original black and white version. LOAF moderates the party in red speech beginning at 16:00. If you missed our 15th anniversary event, you can see what happened (in color!) here.
[16:09] <LOAF> The winner will get a Wing Commander Academy DVD set!
[16:10] <LeHah> Cool prize
[16:10] <LOAF> What popular racing game did Chris Roberts contribute cars to?
[16:10] <LOAF> DMJC wins! The answer was Need for Speed.
[16:10] <LOAF> Bonus points to Goku who said Car Citizen.
[16:10] <NinjaLA> hehe
[16:10] <bob> hehehehehe
[16:10] <Triple-B> that was a tough one
[16:11] <Toast> really? wow
[16:11] <Triple-B> I am listening to all kind of wc music in the background for atmosphere :)
[16:11] <LOAF> Yes! Chris is credited as special thanks in the the first NSF. He loaned them his fancy cars for testing during the game's development.

Ultimate Arrow Model Begins To Power Up

Klavs has made further progress on his one-of-a-kind custom Arrow model. With his hand in the frame, you can see how large this 1/72 specimen is. Previous issues with paint adhesion have been overcome, and many of the fine details have been applied to smaller components. You can even see the glowing cockpit displays in action! I'm not sure what else is left, but Klavs is a perfectionist, so we're really anxious to see how the final model turns out. Check out what it looked like in the beginning here.
Base paint is finally sticking, and I've got the cockpit details complete!

Jet Setting WC Expert Takes Off For Cologne

Hot off his appearance at synDCon, Wing Commander extraordinaire Ben Lesnick is now in the middle of several weeks of touring in support of Roberts Space Industries. His next stop is in Cologne, Germany for GamesCom 2013. WC creator Chris Roberts, LOAF, several of Austin's space sim veterans and a thousand local fans will be partying hard and discussing the latest Star Citizen news later this week. Then it's off straight to DragonCon where LOAF will be presenting with Star Citizen lead writer Dave Haddock on August 31. He'll definitely be racking up some frequent flyer miles!
Ben Lesnick is Community Manager and Designer on Star Citizen, Chris Roberts' epic return to space sims! He has worked on several titles in the Wing Commander franchise.

The Darkening's Cinematics Now Streamable

As part of our 15th anniversary slate, we rolled out an updated Holovids video archive. We've now converted one set of movies that was missing on August 10: the VHS quality Privateer 2 cinematics have been converted to modern streamable formats (H.264 and WebM) so that they can be watched from any current browser on desktop or mobile. The VHS tape contained nearly all the full motion video from the game and looks a lot sharper than the highly compressed video that shipped with the game. In the clip below, you see Bill Maddox (Bob Goody) ask Ser Arris (Clive Owen) to escort some precious cargo from Bex to Anhur. Check out the rest of the scenes here. The story and screenplay for Privateer 2's outlandish movie clips were written by noted scifi and fantasy author Diane Duane.

Wing Commander Reimagined With Cutting Edge Flair

Here's some absolutely fantastic Wing Commander concept art by dczanik. For now these are just (gorgeous!) pictures, but they're also what he would like to see in a Star Citizen WC mod if such a project were made. Some of the Kilrathi models take inspiration from the images that have been released by Roberts Space Industries so far, and the Salthi even borrows a bit from Howard Day's famous model. Each ship does a wonderful job of maintaining the key characteristics of the original while adding a ton of delicious detail. dczanik is mostly busy with his Star Control remake project these days, but we'd love to see him get more involved with Wing Commander!

Wing Commander Blu-ray & DVD (2013) Review

For a very long time, the Wing Commander DVD had been the only way to experience the Wing Commander movie at home (not counting old VHS copies, but be honest, you don't have a VHS player set up anymore). New options have cropped up over the last few years, but who would have guessed that in 2013 not only do we have the DVD, we now have many options for renting and streaming digital copies of the movie in HD? And today we have a brand new anamorphic R1 DVD in addition to the HD Blu-ray release as well. Compared with the Fox 2011 rerelease, what we got this month is improved on both the DVD and in HD on Blu-ray!


Content-wise there isn't anything really new about these releases. There's no director's cut of the film nor any deleted scenes. The movie remains the same as the one you would have seen in theaters back in 1999. But we're not really here to look at how the movie itself stacks up. There's not much else on the disks: no featurettes, trailers, or interviews (lucky for us, we have lots of behind-the-scenes info/features on the movie here at the CIC). Heck, there isn't even a menu. The movie just starts playing as soon as you put it in the player. Many have asked about region coding. It seems that the Blu-ray is limited to Region A, but we'd still appreciate hearing from others who have tested this further.


What you do have here though for the first time on DVD is an anamorphic edition for Region 1 players. Since DVD resolution is fixed no matter what the aspect ratio of a movie is, that means that a film with a wide scope like Wing Commander with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 will have large black bars on a 4:3 TV. A non anamorphic release like the original 1999 DVD or even 2011 repackaging eats up some of this resolution by hardcoding the black areas... An anamorphic release however is designed to stretch the image to fit a 16:9 television, which means that while the actual resolution of the DVD is the same, more of the disk's bitrate is used up by the actual image instead of the black bars. To illustrate how this improves picture quality, check out Jetlag's comparison shots below. The increase in picture quality of this new release makes it a must buy for anyone still holding out with their DVD player.


Now on to the Blu-ray - It's awesome to finally own Wing Commander on disk in HD. The technical aspects of the Blu-ray aside, the higher resolution is very welcome and the CG spaceships hold up very well for a movie made in 1998. They now come to life in a more vibrant way. The added clarity, even in scenes comprised of simple conversations, draws you in even more. It's obvious that a lot of care and attention went in to making the sets look authentic. You can see warning labels all around and other wear and tear that make the Tiger Claw feel lived in. Sometimes a step up in resolution can make it apparent that a background set or prop is fake. But this isn't a problem here, and Peter Lamont's production design shines in the Claw's cramped utilitarian spaces as much as it does on his blockbusters such as Titanic. For that alone, the price of the Blu-ray is a bargain. Wing Commander on Blu-ray is a film that Wingnuts may find themselves frequently pausing to study all the fine details that are finally visible.


Image-wise, the HD transfer is somewhat middle of the road compared to the rest of the market. It looks great at times, but it feels like an old transfer. A random sampling of scenes throughout feel lower quality, and unfortunately the most noticeable of these is the intro where blocky pixelation around the edges of the glowing titles is evident. However the quality of the picture is still a great improvement over anything previously available. Even compared to the streaming HD versions that are online, the picture is better overall as it uses minimal compression compared to all other variants out there.


For audio enthusiasts, the Dolby TrueHD audio on the disk is decent. It's dynamic where it needs to be in the action scenes, and the music stands out great. I never had a hard time discerning the dialogue at any point in the film, though some people think it could have been a bit crisper. I'll admit my home theater setup isn't really the best environment for picking up on the nuances and the finer details of the audio track.


Overall, the Blu-ray, bare bones or not, is a huge improvement over the old R1 DVD, and until Chris Roberts revisits the film to make an even greater edition, you're not likely to get much better that this!

Wing Commander Movie Image Comparisons

We called for Blu-ray screenshot and Jetlag over-delivered! He went above and beyond by providing some fascinating comparisons of many of the various international editions of the Wing Commander movie DVD in addition to the Blu-ray. First up is a screenshot from the hangar deck scene when Blair and Marshall first arrive on the Tiger Claw. The next two shots show give you a side by side comparison of the 1999 R1 non-anamorphic DVD with the newest anamorphic release. The second shot is more or less the exact same comparison but it's been scaled so that the shots have the correct aspect ratio. I'll let Jetlag explain what you're seeing:
The maximum image size, in pixels, on a DVD is fixed. On a non-anamorphic DVD the aspect ratio of the picture is 4:3, which means on a widescreen movie like Wing Commander a lot of those pixels end up in the black border on the top and bottom. On an anamorphic DVD the aspect ratio is 16:9, which is a lot closer to Wing Commander's 2.35:1, so more pixels are available to the actual picture, and less to the border.
The next comparison nicely shows off the difference in resolution between the DVD releases and the Blu-ray. That's a lot of extra screen real estate!
<LOAF> Now that's what I'm talking about.
Finally here are the shots of many of the DVD editions all together in one place. Note that the last two images are JPGs so if you're tired of waiting for screenshots to download then try those out. Jetlag also pointed out - for the technically inclined - that the actual matting on the transfer isn't vertically centered. There's 58 black lines of pixels above the image and 54 below.
<jetlag> Ok, this took way too long but check out the crop on the US releases.
We'll have even more image comparisons in a future update!

Last Line of Defense Adds Another Flattop

Deathsnake has added another ship to the Last Line of Defense mod, the Bengal class carrier TCS Wolfhound. This particular model was originally built by Scooby. There's some gorgeous side-by-side shots that show the new design next to the Confederation and Concordia class heavies, and they've even included a shot of the elaborate interior flight deck. It sounds like we'll also be seeing these ships crop up in LLOD's sister campaign, Enigma 2666.
The hangar bay has 4 fighter bays, 4 doors to the lower storage hangar, 2 big doors to the Broadsword hangar. They're too big to launch from the tubes, so they start from the landing deck. 2 elevators (markings) to the lower hangar/launchtubes. 10 launchtubes (5 each side)

TCS Tarawa's Trio Tinted; Shapeways Suppresses Small Ships

Klavs has put together additional paint schemes for three of his most popular models. New Tarawa liveries have been created for the Rapier, Sabre and Ferret. In contrast to the brighter WC2-style colors, these have a lower profile skin similar to the palette seen in WC3. These are available now at Terran Fleet Supply.


However, before you place your order, there is some unfortunate news from Shapeways. Even though Klavs' designs have been reproduced dozens of times for fans around the world, the 3D printing company has increased its thickness requirements across the board. This means that many of the models cannot currently be printed. All fighters in the current lineup are still available online for now, but Shapeways may cancel orders for certain smaller ships. Klavs is exploring alternatives to return the fleet to duty!

Apologies to anybody who's purchased rejected models recently, Shapeways has increased their tolerances in all materials, so a once printable design is now unprintable because of what they call 'Thin Walls'. So the Morningstar, Ferret, and probably a few others may be rejected, even though the models have not had any changes made. This is especially prevalent with the smaller models, so please be aware. I'll have to scale these up to ridiculously expensive sizes to make them printable, so I'm really not sure what to do right now.

Just received the message back from Shapeways. I get it, they don't want to produce stuff that might be too small for their printers and delay their production, but it's still frustrating as there are models out there, sitting happily on people's desks and now they suddenly can't be produced any more. This shouldn't affect some of the thicker ships, like the WC3 ships, but I'm fairly certain a lot of the smaller ships will be rejected now. Sigh. I guess we'll have to wait till the tech gets a little better. I'll leave the models up for now, but in the meantime, please realize that you'll be ordering these at the risk of them being un-produceable, despite examples being out there already. Sorry guys!

Freelancer Mod Brings Belated Birthday Blessings

Here's a project that didn't quite make it into Saturday's birthday slate of updates but was submitted with the event in mind. Bob McDob and Charlie Perkins have put together P2Ever, a Freelancer mod that simulates the Tri-System environment made famous in Privateer 2. Eight familiar planets and nine P2 ships are included in the game. It's basically a fun sandbox sim. The current version doesn't have missions or a campaign, but there have been tweaks to make the combat more engaging and pay for ship upgrades. Each pirate kill nets the player 500 credits, a ten-fold increase from The Darkening's original bounty. Ships also have a small cargo hold, so some trading can be done with classic P2 commodities like pleasure borgs, Bex Beer and fluffy rodents. Installation instructions are below, and more information can be found here. Hit the comments link below to let them know what you think!
Privateer2Ever takes you back to the eight planets of the Tri-System. The CIS, gendarmes of the Interplanetary Government, and the Kindred, an enigmatic, brutal criminal syndicate, wage an unending war, while pirate clans prey on ordinary civilians looking to make a profit.

The models and sounds used in this mod are from a development archive provided by Privateer 2 designer Paul Hughes. They are taken directly from the game itself, and credit for them goes to the team who produced The Darkening. NinjaLA made the birthday cake graphic.

INSTALLATION:

  1. Create a clean install of Freelancer. Do NOT install the 1.1 patch; this is provided with the mod and installing it may lead to undesirable effects.
  2. Download and install version 1.31 of the Freelancer Mod Manager (1 meg exe). Do NOT download newer versions; they are known to be buggy and may corrupt your install.
  3. Double-clicking on the mod file (17.7 meg .flmod file) after downloading will then automatically install it. To play, launch Freelancer Mod Manager and activate the mod, then launch the game.
  4. If the game crashes on launch, go into the Tools menu and delete the autosave.

WARNING: 64-bit Windows editions have a known bug where rundll32.exe will continue to run after the game is closed. This will lead to errors during mod deactivation. At worst, this will leave mod files in your game folder. This may not have adverse effects - but then again, it might. To be safe, it is recommended to either back up your original installation or run the game from a seperate install.

Birthday IRC Log Online

The CIC Staff is still recovering from Saturday's events, but we've got some post-party items to follow up on today. The first is a full recap of the night's events. You can find the #Wingnut IRC log here. It begins with some of the afternoon prep work, so if you'd like to zip straight to the fun, you can scroll down to 16:00. The actual last minute countdown and front page reveal is at 17:00. As a bonus tip, if you save the file to your mIRC log folder (typically C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\mIRC\logs on a modern Windows 7 install), then view from within the program, all of the intended colors will be visible. This make LOAF's M.C. announcements stand out more.

Time to Claim Party Prizes

It's also time for people who won prizes on Saturday to claim their gifts. If you won an item, send us your IRC name, real name and address. If you also had a prize from a prior event that wasn't claimed, you can contact us about that now too. Congrats to the winners!
  • Academy DVDs - DMJC, Triple-B
  • CCG Starter Deck Box - Triple-B, Sherlock, Bob McDob
  • CIC Polo Shirt (submit size) - DaveO
  • CIC Glass - Toast
  • Eisen T-Shirt (submit size) - Zeether, capi3101
  • Eisen Hat - Pedro
  • Confed Replica Patch - Bob McDob, DaveO
  • GOG WC Game (submit preference) - Lt. Overload
  • iTunes Wing Commander Movie - FekLeyrTarg
  • iTunes Wing Commander Soundtrack - Pix, Music_guru
  • Star*Soldier - LeHah
  • WC Novel (submit preference) - Pedro
  • WC Movie Bluray - Toast, Pix, PopsiclePete, Bob McDob
  • Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness eBook by Fat Man - Music_guru, Sherlock
  • The Masked Man eBook by Tom Wilson - Death

Wing Commander Concert On Hold

We've got a disappointing update on the Wing Commander music that was scheduled to be performed in October by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Event management decided it was not similar enough in theme to the Superheroes selections on the program, and so the WC portion has been removed. The good news is that the arrangement may be included in a future concert. Veteran composer George Oldziey is actively pursuing an alternative showing, and we're very appreciative of how dedicated he is to this endeavor! We'll have more information as soon as it's available - stay tuned, Wingnuts!
I am of course deeply disappointed of the decision, as I finished the orchestration in plenty of time, and had the score and parts prepared specifically for the October concert. I apologize to all WC fans around the country who were planning on attending the show.

Happy 15th Birthday, CIC!

Wing Commander lives! The Wing Commander fandom is as active today as it was fifteen years ago, and that's just astounding. Against all odds, companies continue to release Wing Commander products like the Academy DVDs and the movie BluRay. GOG has released the bulk of the series digitally and is now poised to publish the rest. The IP continues to be discussed at Electronic Arts. And least we forget, much of the original development team is building a new space sim today! A lot of things we never thought would happen now are.


I can't wait to see what 2014 brings for Wing Commander. Tonight, enjoy the new material we're releasing today and the other news updates and join us in #WingNut for trivia, prizes and chat in #WingNut. Tomorrow, plan to keep being part of the greatest (and now possibly most storied!) fandom on-line.

Cake Time!

Thank you to my lovely wife for baking her first Wing Commander CIC birthday cake!

You're Invited

In just over two months, the Austin Symphony Orchestra will be performing music from Wing Commander live in concert… and you can bet the WC:CIC team will be there! The event is October 18th at 8 PM in Austin, Texas, the birthplace of Wing Commander and current home of Cloud Imperium Games. Tickets will go on sale August 12th at midnight CST, so pick up your pass to the show and let us know you're coming - we'll have a variety of other Wing Commander activities during the week leading up to the concert!

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

The Austin Symphony will open its Pops season with a night of iconic music from your favorite superhero film and television shows. Your spidey senses will be tingling and you will be at the edge of your seat when you hear music from some of your favorites, such as Batman, Superman, Captain America, The Incredibles, X-Men, and much more! In addition to the music there will be visuals on a big screen to enhance your experience. All concertgoers are invited to come dressed as their favorite superhero. There might just be a contest with a special prize for the winner!

But Wait, There's More!

We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed with Electronic Arts that they have licensed four more Wing Commander games to GOG! Academy, Armada, The Darkening and Prophecy should be available through the service later this year, completing the PC run of the series. Proof positive that it will be an amazing year for Wing Commander!

Wing Commander Prophecy OEM

When Wing Commander Prophecy came out in 1997, it was common practice for companies to create an additional SKU that was somewhere between a downloadable demo and the full game. The specialized OEM version of the game would be then offered to manufacturers for bundling with graphics accelerators, sound cards or other upgrades. For years, the OEM version of Wing Commander Prophecy was thought lost… until now!

Prophecy OEM was bundled with the appropriately-named Real3D Starfighter graphics card as the third disc of the install software (an odd choice for Real3D, as the Starfighter was not a 3dfx card which would take advantage of Prophecy's other major commercial tie-in.) The disc is identical to Prophecy's first CD, including all the FMV and missions. It differs only with a final splash screen informing gamers that they can finish the story by picking up the full copy of the game. Download it here:

Wing Commander Prophecy OEM (645 mb, .iso)

NinjaLA Introduces His Wing Commander Comic!

NinjaLA has a special treat for Wingnuts this year! He's working on a new Wing Commander comic. We'll let him explain:

Introducing my Wing Commander comic series! I know I have been promising this for quite some time now, but I have an outline, a story and a whole bunch of pages roughed out.. so for this CIC birthday, I thought I would launch a weekly two page comic and keep it going for the foreseeable future. Enjoy!

You can comment on the comic over at the Chatzone thread.

Lt. Overload Teases Cuttlefish

Lt. Overload has been hard at work on a Secret Ops mission pack. As a bonus for today's big day he has released a bonus teaser mission to give everyone a taste of what he has in store. I'll let him tell you about it:
An alien factory is constantly building drone fighters, classified as "Cuttlefish." The TCS Midway, working to eliminate the alien threat from the Tartarus system in the Border Worlds, must destroy this factory to stop production of these deadly drones. However, jamming technology is preventing the location of the factory from being found. Your wing will destroy the source of the jamming, a field of alien probes, to allow us to find the factory. Once they are destroyed, the path to the factory will be clear. You will return to the Midway to pick up a bomber wing, then attack the factory. Destroying this factory will deal a deadly blow to the alien forces in this system. Includes a new custom sector, and two new alien ships.


CIC Video Archive Modernized

For the 2006 CIC Anniversary, we launched the Holovids video archive as the central repository for trailers and previews, original cinematics, behind the scenes material and deleted footage. The section contains dozens upon dozens of downloadable movie clips, collected over the CIC's long history. For the 2007 Anniversary we added convenient streaming through a Flash video player, which was all the rage at the time. Today, Adobe Flash is on the way out as a means to deliver online video, in part due to the rise in mobile browsing. Modern browsers can now stream video and audio without the use (and overhead) of third party plugins. And so today we relaunch an updated Holovids section that will stream video on any recent browser, on desktop or mobile, on Windows, Mac, Linux or Android. You can also still download the movies outright if you want to keep a copy in the best possible quality. Get watching!

WCPedia: All The Game Documents Are Yours!

It's been a bit of a quiet year for WCPedia, however that hasn't stopped contributors from continuing to work on aspects of the project. Wingnuts can now access each game's documentation from the respective landing pages. The complete game list is available here. Wing Commander manuals are some of the greatest sources of background information for the series and excellent reads to boot! Be sure to check them all out!

WCPedia is always looking for more contributors to help us build the ultimate Wing Commander resource. If you are interested, be sure to sign up over at WCPedia, drop by #wingnut, or post a note to the Chatzone!

The CIC Mail Bag Returns!

After a four-year break, the CIC Mail Bag is back with questions and comments from you! Cpl_Hades and I take some time to share some of the feedback we've received and respond to the community. Check out the special 15th Birthday edition of the CIC Mail Bag here!

Comm Relay of the Future: The CIC on Social Media

The CIC's Facebook page audience has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year! Right now we're just about two dozen people away from 1500 followers. Can we get there with a little 15th Birthday push? Liking the page keeps you in the loop when breaking news develops, and there's some bonus Wing Commander trivia sprinkled in too. We want to be able to reach all of you when the next big thing arrives! Twitter users can also follow us here, and there's even a CIC RSS Feed.

Document Archive: Wing Commander I Documents

Presenting the most exciting document we've recovered: the collected documentation generated during the production of Wing Commander I in 1989-1990. You'll find snippets of source code, design notes, internal memos, schedules and more that went into creating the greatest PC game of all time!

Document Archive: Early Product Flyers

This collection of early product flyers should be of interest to anyone who loves Origin's promotions department. From a multi-page press pack on Wing Commander to the one-page slip on Origin FX, it's all here!

Document Archive: Press Protection

Today we have DRM... and in the day we had password protection. Instead of a special CD key, Origin had to send reviewers a 'cheat sheet' for logging in to Wing Commander I, scanned here!

Document Archive: Origin Sales Data

This is one of the most fascinating documents we've released: EA's sales data for all Origin SKUs after their first year of stewardship. Some of these numbers may surprise you! Note that this is not lifetime and does not include games sold before the 1992 buy-out.

Document Archive: Origin Profile

This internal profile created by Origin in the mid-1990s is another great look at the company, featuring executive bios and history. The best part, however, is the page with cool Wing Commander III ship rendering artwork!

Document Archive: PC Games Plus Article

This is a short but interesting PC Games Plus preview of Wing Commander III (with the added bonus of some 1990s Ultima artwork on the cover!) Check out the logo artwork, clearly derived from Wing Commander II.

Document Archive: Press Review

This is a collection of photocopied reviews which Origin distributed to show that Wing Commander I was a major success. In this instance, they were sent to "The Fatman," who was likely looking for pull quotes to promote his game audio business.

Document Archive: Egghead Guide to Origin

In 1992, Origin Systems put together a glossy booklet to pitch upcoming products to retailers. It includes information on their inbound projects as well as executive bios and a company history. This version, for Egghead Software, is a great look back at the Origin of yesteryear!

Document Archive: WC1 & 2 Sound Design Docs

This collection of "The Fatman" George Sanger's files from Wing Commander I and II is especially interesting. It includes notes on the music itself and the contract issues that came up after the scope of the project became apparent!

Document Archive: Slides Update

Earlier this year, I visited EA Mythic's Origin archive to take a second fast pass at the Wing Commander production slides they had stored. The previous archiving effort had missed several as the slide scanner failed to recognize them or created garbled results. Here, for the first time, is the full set!

Document Archive: Alien Commander Pitch Notes

What you see here is the wall chart from the original brainstorming session for "Alien Commander." Conceived as a spinoff of Wing Commander in which you play an alien, Alien Commander eventually became the first game in the lauded System Shock franchise. This is where it all started!

Document Archive: CS Policies

Did you ever call Origin for help with a game? If so, you probably spoke to a member of an elite brotherhood of CS agents. It's part of game development we don't usually think about, but it's absolutely essential to a successful product. Here are mid-1990s CS policies at Origin!

Document Archive: Minigame Concepts

As Origin FX, the Ultima and Wing Commander-themed screensaver, was in development, Warren Spector collected ideas for minigames and additional modules. Some of them are even Wing Commander-themed... check it out!

Document Archive: Warren Spector's Goodbye

Warren Spector left Origin in 1995 to found Looking Glass, the company responsible for System Shock 2, Thief and other titles. This is his company-wide goodbye letter, which is a great look back at the culture at Origin at the time.

Document Archive: Wing Commander III Storyboards

Wing Commander III, like any Hollywood production, had a massive number of storyboards created during preproduction. Thanks to David Downing, we now have photos of all of them! Download this massive find below.

Document Archive: Wing Commander III Production Book

Every aspect of Wing Commander III's production is chronicled in this binder, from the set catering information to camera positions to the shooting schedule! If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of interactive movie production, this is for you.

Document Archive: Barracks Edit Companion

This binder of information is the edit companion for Wing Commander III's barracks scenes. Every scene shot on the green screen for the barracks is tracked, measured and recorded here!

Document Archive: Mousepads

In the 1990s, everyone gave away mousepads. Origin was no exception, giving away these Wing Commander IV and Prophecy mousepads at trade shows to promote the games. The "Wasp" item is especially cool, with 3D hexagons all over the image.

Document Archive: Cyclone Alley Notes

In 1995, Paul Steed pitched a game called Cyclone Alley to Origin. Cyclone Alley was a futuristic racing game set in space that was ultimately abandoned. At one point, Warren Spector attempted to merge Privateer 2 and Cyclone Alley into one project... and these are his notes!

Document Archive: Privateer 2 Post Mortem

The Darkening is still a sore subject in some areas today, owing largely to the conflict between EA UK and Origin in Austin over the game's release. This post-mortem document was created in 1996 by the team in Origin responsible for supporting the game... and it's safe to say that no love was lost.

Document Archive: Assorted Prophecy Docs

This collection of assorted Prophecy-related documents was discovered in a folder in David Downing's archive. It has some interesting notes, including the outline for a speech he gave on the game, the decision to change the capital ship names and some execu-speak from Electronic Arts!

Document Archive: Privateer 3 Pitch

This glossy pitch for Privateer 3 was crafted in 2000 for the eyes of Electronic Arts executives. Printed in full color, this massive document was signed by the entire team. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to convince EA that the team with ten years of space combat experience was a better match for building an online space game than the team responsible for Command and Conquer.

Document Archive: Privateer Online Vision

In contrast to the Privateer 3 pitch available above, this is an internal document. Passed between the project lead and the executives at Origin, it was intended to create the broad vision for an MMO, Privateer Online: what it would do, what it would accomplish, how it would make money.

Document Archive: Wing Commander Movie Writers Draft

Here's another entry in our collection of Wing Commander movie script drafts. This version of the second draft is Kevin Droney's personal first attempt at scripting the movie. Droney was brought in to rewrite the film, owing largely to his experience with the Mortal Kombat film.

WC vs History: What's In A Name?

Wing Commander ships borrow names from ships of all ages and nations. To celebrate the CIC’s 15th Birthday, we take a look at four Wing Commander ships and where their names come from.


HMS / TCS Ark Royal

I'll order Rear Admiral Dayan with Task Force Twenty-one to deploy from Tangier. She's got two battlewagons, the carrier Ark Royal, and some damned good cruiser and frigate commanders. That'll push our assets out there. Hell, if it's a typical Cat fleet, we'll have more than double their strength in battlewagons. If they come in, we'll put a real twist in their tails.

The TCS Ark Royal is referenced in three Wing Commander products. She was part of Admiral Dayan’s Task Force 21 in Action Stations. She appears near the end of Fleet Action as one of the two carriers, the other being the TCS Lexington, brought online to fight in Sol during the Battle of Terra. She’s also one of the carriers found in the CCG where she is home to the Marine fighter squadron, Hell’s Archers. It’s unclear whether it is the same carrier in all three sources, but it is a good possibility.

The five ships to bear the legendary name Ark Royal. The last image shows the last Ark Royal berthed next to USS Nimitz. Ark Royal is on the left.


The original Ark Royal was a ship originally ordered by the famous Englishman, Sir Walter Raleigh in 1586. During construction, the ship was purchased by Queen Elizabeth I and command was given to Lord High Admiral Charles Howard. Ark Royal served as Admiral Howard’s flagship during the campaign against the Spanish Armada in 1588. Her career spanned 50 years and numerous battles before she was lost in 1636 when she hit her own anchor while being moved.

The fame of the original Ark Royal led the Royal Navy to name four other ships in her honor, all of which were aircraft carriers. The first was a merchant ship that was converted to an aircraft carrier during the First World War where it saw service in the Mediterranean during the Gallipoli campaign. The second was a purpose-built carrier commissioned in 1938 when the interwar naval treaties were still in effect. She was first carrier where the hangar and flight decks were an integral part of the hull instead of additions to it. The design limitations of the treaties had produced a number of design flaws that contributed to her loss at the hands of U-81 in November 1941. The third Ark Royal was the first carrier built and commissioned with an angled flight deck and steam catapults. These features drastically improved the pace of flight operations on carriers. The ship was commissioned in 1955 and served the Royal Navy until 1979. Interestingly, this Ark Royal actually spent more time undergoing maintenance and refit, 12 years, then she did in active service, 11 years. The final Ark Royal was light carrier that also served as the flagship of the Royal Navy. Utilizing the “ski-jump ramp” for take-offs instead of steam catapults, this Ark Royal’s air component consisted of the Harrier jump jet and several helicopter models. She saw active combat operations during the Bosnian War and the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.


USS / TCS Bainbridge

She ended up in cruisers—commanding a half-squadron on the Bainbridge as a major.

TCS Bainbridge appears in the novelization of Wing Commander IV. The reference is a passing one in a single sentence, but the name Bainbridge should be well known to anyone who has studied the early history of the United States Navy. Commodore William Bainbridge was one of the early heroes of the US Navy. One of his most famous actions was engaging and destroying the HMS Java off the coast of Brazil in December 1812 while captain of the USS Constitution. For his long and dedicated service to the US Navy five ships have been named in his honor. Admiral Wayne Banbridge, of the Wing Commander novels Action Stations, End Run, and Fleet Action is also nod to the American naval hero.

The five ships to bear the name Bainbridge.


The first was a 12-gun brig commissioned in 1842. She served in a variety of postings, including with the Home, Brazil and African Squadrons. During the American Civil War, the Bainbridge was lost off the infamous Cape Hatteras when she capsized with the loss of all but one of her crew.

The other four USS Bainbridges were all destroyers, although one was later reclassified as a “guided missile cruiser”. The second ship to bear the name was the first destroyer ever commissioned by the US Navy. Commissioned in 1903, the ship was the first in the long line of American “tin cans.” She served from 1903 until 1919, serving on patrol and convoy duties during the First World War. The third ship was a Clemson-class destroyer commissioned in 1921. She served during the Second World War in the Atlantic and received a battle star for her convoy escorting in the summer of 1943. She was decommissioned in 1945. The fourth ship was a nuclear-powered guided missile destroyer commissioned in 1962. Following an extensive refit and modernization in 1975, she was reclassified as a guide missile cruiser. During her service in Vietnam, this Bainbridge received eight battle stars. The latest American ship to be named Bainbridge is a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that still serves with the US Fleet today. Commissioned in 2005, this ship is most famous for its part in the April 2009 pirate attack on the MV Maersek Alabama. After failing to secure the vessel, the pirates who had boarded the Alabama took Captain Richard Philips hostage in one of the ship’s lifeboats. US Navy SEALs, who had parachuted onto the scene and boarded the Bainbridge, stationed on the fantail of the ship opened fire on the lifeboat, killing the three pirates, when one of them pointed an AK-47 rifle at Captain Philips.


IJS / TCS Soryu

“The carriers we do have, other than Concordia , were launched before I was even born. They're antiques, held together with spit and duct tape. Even though Soryu is listed as being on-line, the truth is she's nothing more than a floating stockpile for spare parts, which get stripped out to keep the other five like her going. The fleet spends nearly sixty percent of its time docked right upstairs to save on engine time," and as he spoke he pointed up to where the fleet was now docked at Alexandria.

TCS Soryu has a single passing mention in the novel Action Stations. One of the six carriers of the Confederation’s Seventh Fleet, she was docked at space station Alexandria during the 2634 McAuliffe Ambush that began the Terran-Kilrathi War. She was destroyed when the Skyhook and Alexandria were destroyed during the attack.

Soryu before the war, preparing to attack Pearl Harbor and circling to avoid B-17 bombers during Midway.


IJS Soryu should be a name familiar to any student of the Second World War. One of the four carriers that comprised Kido Butai (First Air Fleet) that launched the Raid on Pearl Harbor, bombed Darwin, Australia, raided British positions in the Indian Ocean and ultimately met their demise at the Battle of Midway. Soryu, which means “blue dragon”, was commissioned in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War where her air group first saw action. The first months of the Pacific War witnessed an unbroken string of victories for the Japanese, especially Kido Butai. Success at Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, and the Indian Ocean was broken by the defeat at Midway in June 1942. In was has been called “five glorious minutes” (10:20-10:25 am, 4 June 1942), three of the four carriers of Kido Butai were struck by bombs from American dive bombers. Soryu suffered direct hits from three one-thousand pound bombs that ignited fully armed and fueled aircraft in her two hangar decks. The catastrophic fires generated by the bombs led the ship to be ordered abandoned at 10:45 am. 711 men were lost with the ship, of her normal compliment of 1,103, giving the ship the highest mortality of the carriers lost during the battle. This was a direct result of the hangar fires that engulfed the ship.


TCS Sevastopol

Twenty kilometers to starboard he saw CVE-4 Sevastopol and heard the chatter of her pilots on the other carrier's channel. The ship had jumped through five minutes ahead of them and most of their fighter squadron was out.

TCS Sevastopol appears only in the novel End Run during the Invasion of Vukar Tag. Sevastopol’s fighters handle space-based threats while the TCS Tarawa’s fighters handled ground support for the marines landing on Vukar Tag. Following the successful invasion her whereabouts are not mentioned.

Three of the four ships to bear the name Sevastopol.


Four ships of the Imperial Russian Navy have been named after the city itself or famous Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55). The first ship was a 14-gun schooner commissioned in 1815 that was decommissioned in 1833. The second ship was a 32-gun ironclad frigate commissioned in 1865. Her entire career was spent with the Russian Baltic Fleet before her decommissioning in 1885. The third ship to bear the name was a pre-dreadnought Petropavlovsk-class battleship. Commissioned in 1900, the ship saw service during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. She was at Port Arthur when the Japanese launched a surprise attack and took light damage during the engagement. This ship also took part in the Battle of the Yellow Sea where she sustained several shell strikes before returning to Port Arthur. She was scuttled after the Russians surrendered the port to the Japanese where her hulk remains, to this day, just outside the entrance to the port.

Wingnuts can read the rest of the series in the WC vs History Archive.


Trivia Redux

Every year we like to give away one trivia prize to users who aren't on the live chat during the event. The first person to submit these trivia answers to news@wcnews.com will receive a digital copy of the Wing Commander movie score via iTunes!
  • Q1. What 3D card included the OEM version of Wing Commander Prophecy?
  • Q2. Name three classes of Kilrathi ships which are named in the Wing Commander movie?
  • Q3. What does Wing Commander III for the 3DO have instead of Leech missiles?
  • Q4. When was Kevin Droney's first draft of the Wing Commander movie written?
  • Q5. How many years have we been running a Wing Commander news site?

Poll: Still With Us?

As you may recall, we begin every Wing Commander year by asking how long you've been following the site. Are you a new fan, or have you been part of the community since our pre-history as the Wing Commander Home Sector? As we approach two decades in operation, it's gratifying to see how many people are still around… and that Wing Commander can still attract new blood. Hear that, Electronic Arts?

Last month we asked what your favorite room on the carrier was and an overwhelming majority chose the BAR! The Flight Deck was a distant second… and there was no love for the Combat Information Center?! Just more proof that Wing Commander fans are a bunch of drunks!

Last Word: Thanks

I hope you have enjoyed all of the material available today. It has been a busy year for lots of reasons, but as the community continues to find time for Wing Commander regardless of the impact of real life so always will I. A genuine thanks to the thousands of Wing Commander fans everywhere who continue to make this the best community in the world. You are the series' legacy, and the friendships you continue and the content you generate makes any effort at running the CIC worthwhile.


WCNews.com could not exist without the best staff in the universe: Chris Reid's fiery dedication, AD's dogged determination, KrisV's technical genius and everything added by the rest of the team. And the group of fans who regularly contribute to the news and the community grows every year. Today we should pay special thanks to Sherlock, NinjaLA, Jetlag, bob and Whistler for making today's event possible.


And a final, perennial thank you to the developers at Origin and elsewhere who made the history we now celebrate. Their passion and kindness over the years has elated all this immensely. On to 2014!

You are Cordially Invited...

To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 15th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in #WingNut!

Featuring...

  • Wing Commander fans from around the world celebrating a great year!
  • Never before seen behind-the-screens material!
  • Trivia - from Arris, Lev to Zak Skintight and the Buttock Men
  • Lots and lots of prizes!
  • CAKE!

So point your IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC check our #Wingnut section, or just use our Flash Client.

Wing Commander Movie Sountrack Available for Digital Download!

There's yet another reason for Wing Commander fans to celebrate this week! The Wing Commander Movie's Original Motion Picture Soundtrack has stealth launched on many of the major digital services. Whether it's good cross-marketing with the Blu-ray, a happy coincidence or something that's gone unnoticed for months isn't quite clear. Some of the stores denote a January 29, 2013 release date, so it's possible that these have been online almost the entire year.


Prices are approximately $10 or 10 Euros with Amazon slightly cheaper, iTunes in the middle and Google Play on the higher end. Tracks are also available for purchase separately for about a dollar/Euro/pound. In addition to this convenient new way to listen to some Wing Commander tunes, there's also new cover art, which is somewhat similar to the original DVD cover or theatrical poster. You can see the physical CD's darker album box here or buy the album at some of the stores listed below!


Wing One Also Available!

On the other end of the Wing Commander Spectrum, the Fat Man's rerelease of classic WC1 music is still available at Vibedeck. These files will sound just like game being played on the higher end Roland MT-32, so original Sound Blaster owners are especially prime customers for this. For just $9.99, you can get 27 classic tracks. Earlier this year, Fat Man noticed that two of the tracks had some corruption issues, and the version available there now is all fixed.

Flat Universe Website Launched

The Maslas Brothers have put together a very slick website for Wing Commander Flat Universe! WCFU is a top-down 2D shooter that uses some of the fancy art assets developed by Howard Day, Kyrgiannis and elend. The site has a very stylish user interface that presents the latest news, teaser trailer, universe maps and ship information for the fan game. And even more information is on the way as the game progresses. Check it out here!
Dear WingNuts,

We (MaslasBros) are pleased to announce you that Daedalus Center Information Service is online. Every wingnut with proper authorization codes (that is everyone) may use this service by visiting the following address: http://flatuniverse.solsector.net

To close up, we'd like to thank WC CIC for all their effort and support in order for this page to become a reality. AND NEVER forget to visit this site if you want to catch up with WC Flat Universe PROGRESS!

See you at CIC Birthday and Wings High!

Maslas

Cloud Imperium Collects $15 Million

Congrats to Roberts Space Industries on passing the record-breaking $15 million mark in their ongoing crowdfunding campaign. This unlocks the escort carrier for the game and will make available an upgrade handbook for customizing ships. They're already looking forward to the future. At $16 million, a Wing Commander-style Arena practice dogfighting zone will become available!
Arena mode: The next generation of Wing Commander’s TrainSim allows pilots to test out their combat skills against friends or strangers in a simulation. Gain valuable combat experience without the downside of losing your ship in the game universe! Place bets on competitions across the galaxy.

Wing Commander Blu-ray Released!

The Wing Commander Movie is now available in high definition on Blu-ray disc! Today's release was finally made possible by Anchor Bay, which republishes cult favorites that may have been overlooked by the major publishers. Many major retailers carry the package online, and specialized entertainment or electronics stores in North America should have physical stock now.

After Wing Commander came out on DVD, VHS and DIVX in July 1999, it looked at first like the film may have had its run and then was done. Although initially not available for purchase, various high definition broadcasts provided a glimmer of hope that a sharper version would someday be released though. And fortunately, strong sales and rentals throughout the early 2000s pushed Fox to kick off a series of budget price reprints. Several online vendors eventually offered the movie for streaming as that technology matured. The first purchasable high definition version appeared in 2010 on the iPad's 1024x768 screen. This was eventually expanded in 2011 to more services and in 720p resolution. The first 1080p versions only recently appeared in 2012. Also in 2011, Fox reprinted the film on DVD again with a new cover.

Anchor Bay also put out a version of the film on standard DVD today. It's very similar to Fox's 2011 copy, but note that the back now calls it out as 'anamorphic'. The text on today's iteration is a bit bolder and the Anchor Bay/Starz branding has been added. The Blu-ray is officially categorized as Region A, which means it will play in North and South America, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and a few other Southeast Asian areas. Occasionally such discs will still play in other regions, and this will need to be tested out. Today's releases don't have any new filmed content, but there is yet again hope for an enhanced edition in the future. In 2015, film's distribution rights revert back to Chris Roberts, and he has said that he would be interested in someday producing a 'director's cut' with digitized Kilrathi and the uncut story.

Today's historic launch parallels last year's improbable release of Wing Commander Academy on DVD. Once again, what was once thought impossible has happened. Diehard Wingnuts always have faith that even greater Wing Commander products are coming, and days like today reaffirm that we are on the right track. Please enjoy the fact that a brand new boxed WC product is again sitting on store shelves right now!

Wing Commander II: The Sequel Without Equal

Forums member Falcon988 spotted a review of Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi in the November '91 issue of Computer Gaming World. The overwhelmingly positive review concludes with the author's ideas and hopes for future sequels, a lot of which actually made into Wing 3 and Wing 4. Well worth a read.
Wing Commander II is a big program. Really big. Starting with requiring a minimum of 583K of free RAM (more for those using EGA-level graphics) just to get the game to run, one must add another half a meg of expanded memory to get in all the "optional" goodies like the speech buffer (64K), VCR replay buffer (64K), cockpit animations, etc. Of course, the copious "free space" on one's hard disk is the next target. Without the speech module and keeping all the files compressed, there goes 10MB of disk space. Uncompress the files to save time during game play, and there goes 15MB of disk space. The voice module? Add another 6MB of disk space! Thus, when "maxxed out," say good-bye to about 21MB of the hard drive! No wonder a special blue sheet is included in the game box from with a note from Robert Garriott [sic] beseeching players to invest in CD-ROM!
This issue of CGW is a 10th anniversary issue with a long spread on the history of computer games (mentioning Richard Garriott and Chris Roberts) and game of the year awards (praising Ultima 7: Savage Empire). Other highlights include Cardinal of the Kremlin and Leisure Suit Larry 5. Check it out here. Update made possible by the excellent CGW Museum.

Observing a Blueshift: Wing Commander Incoming!

Amazon.com has joined other retailers in pre-shipping Wing Commander for Blu-ray. Theirs are scheduled to arrived first, on Tuesday 8/6, but some lucky Wingnuts could even get theirs today. Has anyone's copy arrived yet?


In the US, prices have been competitively whittled down to about $13, but the Canadian numbers are even better. Worf pointed out that Best Buy has lowered their price to $9.99 with a limited time 10% discount. Amazon.ca has gone even further and is now just $8.99. What a deal!

Announcing a Wonderful Wingnut Wedding

We're extremely happy to announce that fellow CIC staff member Ben "Bandit (LOAF)" Lesnick and Alexis Rittle were married yesterday in Ashton, Maryland! They had a fantastic ceremony with many friends in attendance. We'd like to share a few photos from the event: We've aged a little bit since the last Wingnut wedding.

PC Guide Reviews Wing Commander Prophecy

We conclude our series of old Prophecy reviews on another high note with this one-pager from the Spring 1998 issue of PC Guide. The reviewer deems Prophecy the "best Wing Commander yet" and is endeared by the variety of flyable craft and the "stunningly beautiful" 3D-accelerated graphics. Negatives are lack of variety in the missions and too little focus on game tactics. Overall, Prophecy scores a solid 5 on PC Guide's 6-star rating scale. The game also receives a "best buy" stamp of approval! Thanks to Pix's Origin Adventures for these great scans! You can find the PC Format, PC Gamer and PC Home reviews in the archives.

One Week Until the Birthday Party!

Just 7 days to go! The CIC's 15th Birthday Party is now exactly one week away. Join us next Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT, early Sunday morning in Asia/Australia). The event takes place in our IRC chatroom, #Wingnut. Feel free to stop by any time, but be sure to be there for the big event! If it's your first time attending, the web interface requires no prior experience with IRC chat. There'll be lots of fun, competition and excitement that you don't want to miss!

Secret Ops Custom Mission Site Launched

Forums member Lt. Overload has launched a new website where he intends to host his custom missions for Secret Ops as well as some raw materials (sector maps, carrier rooms) for creating custom missions and environments. Right now you can download his Kraken mission pack and there is a preview for an upcoming campaign that will span 8 missions and feature a new kind of alien ship! Check out the new website at http://wcsocm.weebly.com.

For years now I've been toying with and playing around with Secret Ops, only releasing some of my work to the public every now and again. This is my first step towards releasing more content faster, WCSOCM! Currently the site is still a work-in-progress. I'd say when "The Evacuation" (explained below!) is released, the site will be fully operational.

My missions are very simple, and made with simple tools, in similar vein to Primarch's missions of years past. My mods, missions, etc, are very easy to install and easy to play, That was my goal, fun missions and other things that could be added and taken out easily without patches or crazy instructions or data editing.

I hope you enjoy, and check back for more soon!

Lt.Overload

PC Home Reviews Wing Commander Prophecy

The next installment in our series of old Prophecy reviews is taken from the March 1998 issue of PC Home. This very positive review from a Wing Commander veteran praises the "stunning" 3D-accelerated graphics, the size of the capital ships and the plot. The reviewer is saddened that the multiplayer feature didn't make it into the final game, but fortunately HCl fixed that for us years ago. The editor included a second opinion which only confirms the final verdict: Prophecy scores 90%. Thanks to Pix's Origin Adventures for these great scans!

Wing Commander Blu-ray Ships!

We've got good news for Wingnuts who had their hearts set on an August 6 Wing Commander viewing party! Shipping notifications have been sent out to those who ordered the Blu-ray from Target. This bodes well for chances that other retailers will begin to ship/sell stock in the next few days, and it suggests that the "August 13" street date floating around is either an error or otherwise miscommunicated. Certain retailers "pre-ship" their discs so that they arrive on a game or movie's street date. The order below was placed with standard shipping, so the actual delivery window is up in the air at the moment. However, we do expect Amazon to ship their copies within a day or two with arrivals scheduled for Tuesday (or even Monday for a few lucky fans!). There may still be time to get your order in for release date delivery! Due to the wide variety of major retailers listing the disc online, we also expect it to make in an appearance in stores. We'll be out in force on Tuesday to hopefully snap shots of a new WC product on shelves - feel free to send yours in as well!

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