'Last Line of Defense' Goes on the Offense

Here's a new scene from Wing Commander Last Line of Defense. It depicts a classic WC2-style strike wing comprised of two Broadsword bombers and two Ferret escorts. ScoobyDoo's models have been incorporated with a Confed space gray here, although RedBaron is likely to make a pass that syncs them up with the fleet color scheme used on other ships in the mod. All images were generated in the game's engine, including those without a HUD. Although the general art style and Kilrathi ship come from WC3, the combination of elements here is very 'Vengeance of the Kilrathi'! You can help provide feedback at the CIC Forums!
I used the new Freespace Build. Thanks to MatttheGeek for the extended mod for Saga to use more models and better effects. ;)

Gold Wing are a pair of Broadswords launched from the TCS Wolfhound. Scratch one flaptop! Credit for the model goes (as always for Saga) to Scooby Doo. :) All scenes are ingame. Just the hud is hidden to make the screens. ;)

Mega Starship Size Comparison Adds Wing Commander Ships

An enormous science fiction collage has been making the rounds lately, and Wing Commander has just been added to the melee! This incredible graphic features hundred of different spaceships from dozens of different movies, books, games and television shows. It was made by DirkLoechel who has provided background info at his DeviantArt site.


The WC portion is pretty interesting. The gargantuan Kilrathi dreadnought and TCS Behemoth are fittingly present, although both are presented as smaller than they actually appear in Wing Commander. He nailed the correct Hvar'kann class name but pegs the ship at a seemingly arbitrary 6705 meters. Wing Commander 3 and the False Colors novel both show the ship as 22,000 meters. A laundry list of various Confed and Kilrathi vessels also pop up, and they're actually a rather good selection of famous names. The Confederation class dreadnought, Vesuvius class heavy carrier, Concordia class carrier, Midway class heavy carrier, Fralthi II cruiser, Bengal class strike carrier, Southampton destroyer, Shiraak type carrier, Gettysburg class cruiser, Sivar dreadnought, Fralthra cruiser, Durango heavy destroyer and Bhantkara carrier appear with just a few typos in spelling and class designation. With most of the 'main' game ships shown, this is obviously more than a random assortment - someone must be a Wingnut out there! It's also pretty neat to see that the Super Wing Commander variants of the Bengal and Sivar were used, as was the Arena style Midway (TCS Port Broughton). The shot below is a tiny crop of the corner. The ten-megabyte full-size 4500x4500 pixel original can be found here!

Newly featured:
Wall-E (Axiom, Zephyrus and Epiglottus city ships)
Dead Space (sizes mostly based on Dead Space Wikia and conjecture)
Star Citizen (Size based on the Star Citizen Wiki)
Galaxy Quest (Sizes taken from a Chart compiled by Dan Carlson, who inspired me for this chart)
Space: Above and Beyond (Sizes taken from a Chart compiled by Dan Carlson, who inspired me for this chart)
BattleTech (several Inner Sphere and Clan ships; based on www.sarna.net )
Wing Commander (Sizes mostly via wcnews.com )
StarCraft (Sizes and ship images taken from: i2.minus.com/idKJOHIciRf0E.jpg )
Homeworld (based on conjecture, the Homeworld wiki which has everything except sizes, and a few fanmade charts)
Close Encounter (image via Smithonian; size conjecture based on film clips)
District 9 (Image internet; size wikipedia)

Nephilim Models Get More Organic

Dark Sentinel has continued to refine his Orca model. We don't see a whole lot of Nephilim recreations out there, so it's great to see someone attacking these ships for a change. In addition to the iconic destroyer below, there's also a shot of the bugs' capship missile. The CSM mockups below show the evolution from Prophecy model to modern render. Dark has been making these for fun, but he's put out the possibility of the models being used for something more. If you have a project that might be a good fit, let him know at the CIC Forums!
Well, honestly, I hope this stuff is interesting for somebody. I'm always interested in my models being used for something besides their existence, but that hits the question of quality. And a problem is I'm usually slow at my work.

Orca: 9746 polygons + old conic spikes. Remodeled engine and nose, some cleanups. I suppose that 20k is a safe polycount limit for nearly any purpose. And yes, they're septagonal. Actually, that's the way I model it - I model one segment and then just replicate it prior to rendering.

Capship Missile: now 175 times more high-poly and 64 times more high-res. And while model is more or less good - at least I like it - texturing went somewhere wrong. So - top to bottom - original Capmiss, 12 polies; my model of Capmiss, 2104 polies; failed attempt of organic high-poly for AO and normal map baking, 27340 polies; final result with NM and self-illumination applied.

Also a question of style I should follow - game style - nearly polished metallic or art style - with a lot of spikes, horns, uneven geometry? C&C welcome.

-Dark

Heraldry Alive and Well

A small treat from Klavs today: a roundel design for his Wildcat fighter concept. Military aircraft typically carry an insignia that identifies the nation or faction to which it belongs. A classic roundel is made up of concentric colored circles, but the Confederation star adds a nice touch. The Wildcat was already quite old at the onset of the Kilrathi war and was replaced several years into the conflict. From the Action Stations novel:
"There is a one in three chance, sir, that within five years I'll be dead. The reason, sir, is that the fleet board begged your committee for the additional ten million for a Wildcat upgrade. The engines are outdated, stress flaws are becoming increasingly common. In short they're already five years past their design limits. The Wildcat is thirty years old and its replacement, thanks to cutbacks, won't be fully on-line for at least five more years. Therefore we are in a bind, sir. Since neither the upgrade facility for the Wildcat nor the main factory for its replacement went to your district, you turned on the plan and have locked it in committee for three and a half years, sir."

Happy Birthday Wing Commander!

The original Wing Commander game shipped to stores twenty-three years ago on September 26, 1990. Twenty-three isn't a round number or any particular milestone birthday, but it's still amazing to stop for a moment to think about all the years that have gone by. With so many WC games readily available on GOG, this is a great time for new Wingnuts or fans who may have missed a game years ago. It's wonderful that we still continue to see new fans join the fold each year, but we know a large percentage of you have been playing for two decades or more.


It's also a great time for space sim fans in general, and many of you are watching Chris Roberts' newest universe come together in Star Citizen. That project crossed the $20 million crowdfunding mark today, and Chris called out how fortunate it was that this event fell on WC's birthday. You can read his full remarks here.


After you've taken some time to reflect on your years of fandom, please hit the comments link and share your fondest WC memories with everyone else! Happy Birthday Wing Commander!

Daedalus Station Gets Its Second Issue

The Maslas Brothers have posted the second edition of the Destiny's Way magazine. This Claw Marks or Star*Solder-style booklet is intended to maintain interest in their highly anticipated Flat Universe mod, but it's completely awesome as a standalone publication by itself. The artsy layout is well done and it's chock full of clever references. There's a long article writen by Troy "Catscratch" Carter in this issue, plus a bunch of fun nods on the cover and advertisement pages. It's only four pages in total, but speaking as a former newsletter editor, these things are much more time consuming than they might look! In order fill out future issues, submissions from fellow Wingnuts are being accepted. You can learn how to help contribute at the CIC Forums!
The second issue of Destiny's Way has been published and it is available for download in the News Feed section of the Daedalus Station website: http://flatuniverse.solsector.net

Article Writers Requested
Destiny's Way Editorial is open for articles

The last two months we (the brothers) have been trying to publish this small magazine to keep alive the spirit of FlatUniverse and also have fun with this project. However, we are only the two of us trying to develop the game, update the webpage, print this magazine which is only 3-4 pages (pushing for monthly issues) and see our families. If any fellow WingNut is interested in publishing any article, comic (like the one that ninja is creating for example), promote this project or has any other interesting ideas, just contact us through this forum or to one of the following ways.

With your help we believe that we could print this magazine with more rich content and more pages.

the
MaslasBros

You can also grab the second issue as a PDF here (1.5 megs) or check out the first issue here.

Model Hellcat Gets Final Hull Coating

Whiplash is back with some sharp new photos of his wooden Hellcat model. The ship has gone through several test coats of paint in order to find the perfect shade of space gray befitting the medium fighter. It looks pretty close to the original to me - now just the details remain. These will be the little things that make a big difference in bringing a design to life. And although the focus is obviously on the fighter in the middle, the texture of the work mat underneath makes for a nice flight deck floor plate.
So do the clothes really make the man, or in this case, the paint make the ship? Judge for yourself... I tried several different variations of colour before settling on this one. It's very surprising how much effort this can take when you're simply painting something grey!

Next we'll get into some detailed painting and finishing. Should be fun!

Concordia's Ferrets Receive Slick Paint Job

Here's some more gorgeous shots of Howard Day's Concordia hangar. The Ferret got some nice upgrades that include proper landing gear and cockpit equipment. Even the seats look spot on! There's also two very well done paint schemes. One is supposed to signify InSystem Security while the other is a mockup of what Concordia green fleet colors may have looked like. You can explore the hangar for yourself here! Arrow keys walk, the mouse looks and the F key takes you full screen.
I updated the build with the latest in the Ferret Model! It's got a cockpit now, and functional landing gear. I also replaced all the chairs in the build with new art.

Slight update - added the InSys Paint scheme to the build, also fiddled with the Concordia scheme a bit. I think I'm done fiddling for the time being - I need to work on the hangar itself.

Enjoy!

Tabletop Armada Goes Online

capi3101 has taken the wraps off his latest project, an online edition of the Armada PNP tabletop RPG that he developed last year. The game utilizes the Vassal Engine to allow for flexible digitization of the pen and paper ruleset. As an extra bonus, capi has included some of the more famous Wing Commander sectors in addition to the ones that shipped with the original Armada. It looks like a fun way for RPG enthusiasts to play Armada! There could be future spinoffs to this mod, so potential playtesters' feedback is valuable. Interested fans can help participate at the CIC Forums. The game rules and mod files can be found here.
Thought I'd share with y'all the reason why I haven't been working on Elegy all that much lately. I have for the last week or so been working on a VASSAL mod version of Armada PNP. Probably the mod's biggest feature is the inclusion of every one of the Sector maps from not just the original Armada Campaign mode, but the main storyline sector maps as well - so if you ever wanted to play a game of Armada in Vega Sector, Gemini, Enigma...Sol......the mod will let you do that. The mod includes a battle board that automatically tracks combat strengths as you play, saving the headache of having to make that calculation yourself. It's a standard VASSAL mod, so you can connect and play with other folks all around the world through the VASSAL server.

I see the mod as a possible springboard for a larger Armada-esque strategic game, and so I would like some folks to try out the mod, tell me what they think about it, suggest changes, etc. If you do ultimately try it out, please tell me about the experience. Like I said - once it's up I'll share the link. Meantime, I've added a few pictures of a game in progress:

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

This game is based on Wing Commander: Armada by Origin Systems.

Please be sure to download and read the PDF for information on how to play the game. Pieces may be placed via standard drag and drop. Damage may be inflicted to units with the open-bracket key ("[") and removed with the close-bracket key("]"). If a player wishes to rearrange pieces in a stack, it is recommended they pull the stack to their deck area first; it will then be necessary to right click to select the to unit individually, drag it off, and repeat as needed.

This mod is intended for use for playtesting purposes only and does not represent a finished product at this time. Should the original holder of the Armada IP request it, all copies of this mod will need to be deleted; by downloading or copying this mod, you automatically agree to delete it upon request.

The rules are also available here (650 k pdf) and the vassal mod is available here (4.6 megs).

Look Inside Some Wing Commander Ships

Tyrranus tipped us off about a couple of neat YouTube animations posted by none other than dczanik. Mr. Czanik made the news last month with his set of very high quality 'reimagined' Wing Commander art. Both clips are interesting because they actually focus more on the interior of the ship. Each video is short, so you'll probably want to pause them in order to observe all the detail embedded in the Darket's cockpit and Victory's flight deck. Check them out below!
I'm sure everyone's seen it before me, but on the off chance not... Darket 3d model flyby with a pass inside the cockpit
If you think you have Wing Commander news, don't hesitate to report it to news@wcnews.com or post to the CIC Forums!

Wing Commander's a Hit!

Privateer 2's release on GOG combined with a stellar sale on Wing Commander titles to create a wonderful looking sales chart today. WC games took the top six slots on the shooters' best selling list. Hopefully you managed to snag any missing members of your collection while they were just a few dollars. I think they did a great job on The Darkening's header image as well. You can name both fighters pictured, right? (If not, grab your copy for $5.99 and get playing!)

One More For The Confederation's Archives

GOG took some more good screenshots for Priv 2, and we want to make sure they get saved and seen. It's also fun to see how exactly they summarize the key features. And this is a somewhat new method of presentation: the game page for P2 includes its intro video. If it's been a while since you've fired up the game, give it a watch! Both Privateers were sure ahead of their time when it came to personal smartphones and tablets.
What's cool about it:

  • Clive Owen, John Hurt, Christopher Walken, and David Warner are your guides through the seamy underworld of Privateer 2.
  • Explore and exploit the universe as you see fit - either as a peaceful trader or a battle-hardened mercenary.
  • Shady deals, deep space battles, and fast bucks are the standards you must live by if you're going to amass enough firepower and information to stand any chance of success.

Overview:

You regain consciousness and the unfamiliar faces surrounding you inform you that you've lost your ship in an unfortunate accident. The cutthroat world of the Tri-System privateers greets you with a clenched fist and a knife pointed at your back. Your only order of business is survival. You've got just enough credits to afford something resembling a new ship. It takes more than just a bucket of bolts to make it in this world; you'll need upgrades, and most important of all: money. The sector is brimming with "business" opportunities, but who can you trust? Legal or not, it's time to trade, travel, and battle your way through a place where high risk equals high reward and only those with the brass reap the rewards.

Privateer 2: The Darkening is the premier open universe space trading and combat sim. Blaze your own path through the Tri-System by either hook or crook. Take any mission you see fit, without rules or restrictions. Corner the market as you work out trade routes with the most reward. The universe is waiting for you, Privateer.

BREAKING NEWS: The Darkening on GOG

Amazing news: GOG has released Privateer 2: The Darkening for digital download. The release includes manuals, wallpapers and a copy of Origin's Official Guide to Privateer 2! Pick up your copy here.

Developed by Erin Roberts and a team at "Origin UK" and released in 1996 between Wing Commander IV and Wing Commander Prophecy, Privateer 2 is an oft-overlooked classic. It introduces the Tri System to Wing Commander's lore, an engrossing and dark region of space artfully constructed. In addition to its Privateer-style gameplay and extensive world building, it introduced actor Clive Owen to the world as the player character/lead, Lev Arris!

In honor of this latest release, GOG is also running a special 48-hour Wing Commander promo! You can pick up the rest of the series at a heavy discount! Learn more here. The ideal time to pick up extra copies for your best friends, spouses and pets! GOG is now just two releases away from having the entire set of DOS and Windows 9x Wing Commander games available for sale.

Wake Up To A Cool Carrier Render

Klavs has taken a little break from the fighters and bombers that he is most recently known for in order to recreate a very interesting and famous warship. The image below is his interpretation of a Wake class escort carrier such as the TCS Tarawa seen in Wing Commander End Run. These vessels began as transport ships but were upgraded into affordable fighter-carrying machines for a variety of special missions. It's really cool to actually see how a freighter may have formed the foundation of the ship in the concept art below. Although this version of the design is brand new, Klavs has actually had escort carriers on the brain since at least 2005! You can read more about the Wake class in the WCPedia.
Working out a design for the Wake Class Escort Carrier. Scaling the WC3 Transport to about 300 meters gives a pretty good baseline, I think, with plenty of room for her air wing, given specialized containers. This is just a rough job but you see what I'm getting at.

Crossbow Receives a Plastic Tribute

Howard Day recently stumbled upon an awesome Lego Wing Commander ship that we don't think has been shown off yet. It's a Crossbow bomber by DoctorMobius. Its design features the white and blue color scheme that was featured in WC2: Special Operations 1. The Crossbow is an exciting vessel that just doesn't get seen very much in the Wing Commander universe, which puts it in similar company to the Venture corvette, Bearcat heavy fighter or Wasp interceptor. All of these ships have quite a following despite their brief standout appearances, so it's not completely surprising for something like this to pop up. What is surprising is just how well done this model is! Wing Commander fans actually have quite a history of making shockingly accurate Lego ships. A few examples are below, but you can find even more here.

Concordia Gets Ferret Shipment

Howard Day has significantly updated his Concordia Hangar tech demo. The massive Broadsword is now flanked by small escort Ferrets in the bay. Images below show some of the earlier shots of the Ferret before it got proper landing gear, cockpit equipment and textures. It's also pictured in classic gray and a very preliminary fleet green color. Even though these textures are still a rough draft, the ship looks great paired with the green Broadsword. You can walk around inside and check it out for yourself here! No fancy PC required!
So tonight I did more work on the Ferret and some work on getting color grading in. I've never had a chance to work with color grading before, and I freaking love it! Still gotta add wings and landing gear to the Ferret, though. Then some paint. What should the Concordia-Specific Ferrets paint jobbie look like? The ones in game are supposed to be InSys Fighters, right?

I've updated the build at: ..../ConcordiaHangar.html
Remember, hit "F" for fullscreen!

Enjoy!

Get Your Game On

As the video game world transitions into a new console cycle, it's time to once again see which format fans would be most excited about. It's a good bet that PC would win if it were an option, but this question asks about all the other systems. EA is known for major AAA titles spanning multiple platforms, but our experience over the last generation shows that some intriguing possibilities exist for niche games. EA Replay was released for the original Sony PSP in 2006, and Wing Commander Arena graced the XBox Live Arcade in 2007. The Playstation 3 even got a downloadable version of Wing Commander 4 in 2009. Where would you like to see Wing Commander pop up next?
We last ran this poll in 2006, and it's fun to see how the choices have changed since then:
Our annual birthday poll results were also interesting this year! (to us, at least!) The 1999 (and combined 2000) option got the most votes. Apparently growing internet availability and the WC Movie brought in a lot of new faces, because that year also won in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. In the mid 2000s, "1 year or less," took the top spot. In the last few years, WCHS in 1996 and the CIC's grand opening in 1998 even each took a turn. The overall profile of the results curve hasn't change too much over time, which is a good thing - we're still bringing in new Wingnuts every year!

Ultima IV Released for iOS

Electronic Arts and Mythic Studios have released the Origin classic Ultima IV Quest of the Avatar for free on iOS. The game is an accurate replica of the original 1985 Commodore 64 version of the game. Everything about it is free and there are no in-game purchases - it just serves as a great advertisement for their modern remake, Ultima Forever. Bonus items that shipped with the original game, including the reference card, history book, map and other items are included as digital items. There are also in-game help guides and improved savegame options. You can download the game in the App Store.
ABOUT 'ULTIMA IV: C64'
Download one of Western RPG's beloved classics and experience the ground-breaking game that cemented the Ultima™ series' legend firsthand.

'Ultima IV: C64' is a near 100% replica of the original version developed by Origin Systems in 1985, available free of charge - courtesy of Mythic studios - utilizing Elite System's C64: Elite Collection technology.

SET FORTH ON GRAND ADVENTURES
The evil triad of Mondain, Minax, and the hellspawn Exodus has been vanquished but evil yet abounds, in isolated pockets and in the hearts of men. A new age awaits the coming of one who can conquer evil through mastery of both magic and the use of force. Daemons, dragons, and long-dead wizards plague the countryside and must be destroyed.

EXPERIENCE A MILESTONE IN COMPUTER GAMING

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GOOD?
Ultima IV challenges not only your physical and mental skills, but the true fabric of your moral character, breaking traditional "kill the bad guy to save the world" clichés.

BATTLE ENEMIES IN STRATEGIC COMBAT
The seeker on the path of the Avatar will face hostile groups composed of mixed enemy types and will survive such encounters only by strategic use of weapons and terrain. Earthly victories over seemingly impossible odds lead to the final conflict, where the ultimate challenge awaits.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME THE AVATAR?

CIC Forums Upgraded

The CIC Forums were upgraded today. Many of the updates were related to bug fixes and admin tools, but there are a few user upgrades as well. Posters should see slightly different options for writing posts, editing posts, signatures and watching forums. It should automatically resize to fit your browser and work better on mobile devices too. The default color scheme has also been switched to more closely match the rest of the site. Many users may not have realized that several color combinations are available, and depending on which is picked, Kilrathi (red/orange), Border Worlds (green) or Confed (blue) logos will be appear along the top. It's easy to change the layout colors by clicking your registered user name in the upper right, then selecting preferences and choosing a style. Which color do you like best? Head on over and let us know! Fans of CIC history can read more about the CIC Forums here.

RPG Campaigns Get Upgraded While Kilrathi Addon Simmers

There's a few new updates to share relating to capi's Wing Commander RPG. His Kilrathi expansion campaign has been on the backburner a little but, but all prior campaigns, including Vespus, Prelude to Goddard and Enyo have each gotten proofreading updates. These are available on Lulu. Work does continue on the "Elegy of Sivar" module, particularly surrounding the Epsilon Sector map and logistics of the Kilrathi Demon's Eye Pack, but capi has another exciting project he'll been launching soon...
I started a discussion thread for Elegy earlier this week. As I mentioned in that thread, my intent with it is to do a full-blown campaign setting, and to that end I got some very preliminary work done on system maps for Epsilon Sector. This mainly involved using the Nav Map creation procedure in Chapter 10.2.2 of the core rules for all systems in Epsilon to generate positions and dispositions of jump points, ambush points and bases. I still need to overlay the information that's known about the Sector over this machine-generated data but once that's done I'll have a clearer picture of how things stand there, which will help with logistical decisions such as figuring out what system the Demon's Eye Pack will be based out of. I think once I've got the nav data down I'll focus on prices for commodities in the Sector at various bases. I had considered doing something similar to what appears to be happening in Star Citizen, where you can land at more than one point on a planetary base and each point has a different set of characteristics. It certainly makes sense to do something of that nature. Work on the campaign's setting is continuing, albeit slowly for the time being.

I've got another WC side project going on at the moment, which I'm going to keep under wraps for right now. It's helping me to develop some newly found skills a little better. Hopefully I'll get to surprise y'all with it in the near future...

Arrow Zooms Off To New Home

Klavs has completed his custom mega sized Arrow! This work of art was a special order for Arrow aficionado Rylex, and it certainly pushed the envelope for Klavs' modeling skills. Instead of one fully 3D printed design, this ship was built in larger pieces that were assembled together. It even got LED lights in the cockpit and engines. Painting the sleek bird proved to be a challenge, but nothing can stop a dedicated Wingnut on a mission. Let Klavs know what you think at the CIC Forums!
Photography is obviously not my main skill :) But it's packed and ready to go! Maybe Rylex can post some better pics when it arrives!

Underappreciated Venture Returns Twice as Tough

ScoobyDoo has a new Wing Commander concept ship to share. This design is a souped up Venture class corvette that's split into two variants. One is meant for dogfighting against lighter ships while the other is a command cand control platform with a large reconnaissance disc on top. Differences between the two can clearly be seen in the high resolution wallpaper shot below. A heavier and more compact version of the design made its way into the Enigma 2666 project earlier this year. The Venture is a very underutilized craft in the WC universe, so hopefully this design finds its way into more of the WC mods out there that use Scooby's ships!
The Seagull and Seahawk. Both use a very old model of the Venture as a bases template. Seagull is an SWACS variant with less turrets while the Seahawk is an anti-fighter platform (3 stormfires, 2 lasers, 1 missile)

Kilrathi Keys Spell Out Cool WC Project

Jumper's been shopping around for a new keyboard, but the options on shelves didn't quite suit him. For a creative Wingnut, the answer was simple - design a custom board! He reused the Kilrathi text converter sheet created at Origin by Captain Johnny and applied it to a template at WASD Keyboards. This is a clever idea, and the results are very slick! WASD's custom pieces are a little pricey in the $100-150 range, but Wing Commander obsession doesn't always come cheap!
I'm in the market for a new keyboard; several friends suggested the "l33t" blank keys. But why have blank keys when I could do something fun instead?

I made this up using a Windows font version of the "Kilrathi" font from the WCP assets that someone posted back here a while back. From reading all the threads on the language, we just don't have enough information to make a "real" keyboard. I thought this captured the style of the WC3-WCP Kilrathi pretty well though. I carried the Base 8 numbers out into 8 and 9 (effectly 10 and 11 in the font provided), and spelled out several of the keys that didn't have symbols in the font (+ = 'PLU', - = 'MIN', * = 'MUL', / = 'DIV', etc).

WASD keyboards (http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/) makes keyboards with completely custom laser etched or engraved keycaps, so if I want to I can actually order this.

Last Line of Defense Releases First Trailer of Game

There's now a teaser trailer for the Wing Commander Last Line of Defense mod. It nicely mixes classic audio tracks (played through the Roland MT-32!) from earlier in the series with many of the large scale models from the later eras. Although it doesn't include in-game footage, there are some nice shots of the fleets that will be facing off. Some animated scenes weren't able to be kept, but various screenshot updates have included the items that would have been depicted. Hit the quoted links below to read up on the project further.
Teaser Trailer
It's done, but I cut a lot because of upload-space problems. Some scenes were deleted including: Bengal firing on frigates, a Raptor and Scim flyby of the Bengal, and the ground scene with the Sabre above the town.

Hangar Prototype Available Online

Have you been anxiously awaiting a flight deck hangar of your very own? How about one where you can walk around the coolest ships fully rendered in 3D? The wait is over! Howard Day has put together a prototype Concordia Hangar in the Unity engine. The implementation is very preliminary, but it currently allows players to walk around his gorgeous Broadsword bomber model. There's a ramp on the right side that even allows the crew chief to walk up on top of the fuselage. If you can make it up, don't forget to check out the cockpit! Visit the hangar here and let Howard know what you think at the CIC Forums.
Hey, guys. I have been inspired by the Star Citizen hangar release, and thought I'd give replicating their scene a shot. And since I have high res versions of the Broadsword and Scimitar, I thought I'd let you guys see what they look like. It's pretty crazy how well they hold up. I still need to add some detail around the cockpit area, and around the landing gear... but it's pretty impressive what unity can do when worked on in an evening. I added fancy glass shaders, and tweaked the paint on the Broadsword.

I know the mouse movement is twitchy. This is still very, very alpha. Very. Here's a link! Let me know what you think!

LOAF Massively Interviewed

Joystiq recently sat down to interview space sim extraordinaire Ben Lesnick and CIG writer David Haddock during a recent stop on their international PR tour. They met up at DragonCon in Atlanta to talk about the video game industry, development of Star Citizen and what the future holds. You can find the full article here. LOAF hosted the Star Citizen panel while at DC, but he also made time for Wing Commander. Two actors who portrayed Admiral Tolwyns were on hand, and he was able to get both their autographs on a copy of Action Stations. After Malcolm McDowell and David Warner, only Marten Davies remains to get signatures from the complete Tolwyn triumvirate!
Massively: A rabid community like SC's practically cries out for a dedicated convention of some sort. Any plans to make that official or officially support one at some point?

Lesnick: Yes, we had actually hoped to do a CitizenCon in October of this year for the anniversary of the game announcement, but it didn't quite work out. We had our livestream and we saw how rabid our fans were and how many of them there were, so we needed a little more time to plan. But certainly next year there will be an official CitizenCon.

Massively: It sounds like this whole thing has been overwhelming for the team.

Lesnick: It's amazing. I was in Germany last week; 30 percent of our audience is German, and they treated us like rock stars. We walked down the street in Cologne and random people would come up and go, "Oh my God, you're Ben Lesnick! You're the community manager for Star Citizen!" So yeah, this is something. And the rest of the team is back home crunching, so I wish I could bottle that and bring it to them. But they definitely understand how amazing our fans are.

Massively: Any advice for fans looking to break into the game industry as you've done?

Lesnick: Well, just spend 15 years not trying to do it, and then eventually Chris Roberts will ask you. My experience was to get to know the devs and learn the inside of the industry rather than just being a fanboy. I got here by learning behind-the-scenes stuff and being fascinated by that. I had no intention of ever making games, but I ended up learning how and now here I am.

Maniac Meets Mystery Member of Tarawa's Crew

Klavs has posted the accompanying fiction for his TCS Tarawa line of 'stealthy' Confed fighters. Maniac's chilling recollections were intended to be paired with his recent Ferret, Rapier and Sabre rereleases. Once again, they make us wish he'd take a serious crack at penning ME: The Life and Battles of "Maniac" Marshall. And if you missed the news last week, Shapeways has apparently lifted some of their modeling restrictions, so most of Klavs' ships should once again be available for printing. You can order hard copies of your own at Terran Fleet Supply.
'First to Kilrah'

Even a dinky Escort Carrier can be a big place when you don't know your way around. One minute I was with the tour group, bored out of my skull, the next I was turning down corridor after deserted corridor, hopelessly lost. I was worrying about the serious possibility of missing lunch when I turned a corner and nearly plowed straight into her.

Freckles.

I remember freckles upon freckles and green eyes and... tall! Curves and oh my goodness- She looked down her exquisite nose at me.

"GUH!" I managed.

I was assessed and found wanting.

"Lost?"

She seemed annoyed. Heartbreakingly gorgeous and annoyed.

"Yeah..." I managed.

She pointed with her perfect chin.

I turned around. Sure enough, there was a corridor map right there, I could have found my way easily if only I had seen it. Embarassed, I felt my ears getting hot. I took a deep breath, gathered up my testicles and turned around wearing my best 'Charming Maniac' smile.

"Hey, thanks..."

She wasn't there.

And I don't mean that she had given me the slip, I looked around for her, but there wasn't anywhere to look. All the local doors were sealed against hard vacuum. The only way out of that corridor without wearing a pressure suit (she wasn't) was back aft, around the corner I had just come from.

She was just GONE.

Every hair on the back of my neck stood up. I finally realized where I was.

The ruined bow of the ship.

I smelled burned wiring. Felt the deckplates heaving, the hurricane of atmosphere vented into space.

I tasted vacuum.

I got off TCS Tarawa as fast as I could.

Organic Modelling: Orca Destroyer

Forums member Dark Sentinel noticed a surprising lack of Nephilim 3D modelling work and decided to do something about it. The render below shows the beginnings of an Orca class Destroyer made up of some 6,700 triangles. For a sense of scale, the small blip in front is a Moray medium fighter. It still lacks a bridge and hangar, and finer detail like missile launchers. Dark Sentinel appreciates any feedback or pointers you may have. Hit discuss!

PC Gamer Reinstalls Privateer

PC Gamer has posted another Wing Commander article in their "Reinstall" series of classic game retrospectives. Richard Cobbett visits the frontier this time in Privateer. He does a good job emphasizing one of the most striking aspects of the game - it just feels like a real, living slice of the Wing Commander universe that the player has absolute freedom in. There's been a lot of excitement on the internet lately about Star Citizen's Hangar Module. Even Kotaku posted a thoughtful blurb on how magical it feels to own and walk around your ship, whether or not you're actually flying it. Privateer is the game that first brought that feeling to the Wing Commander series. Reading Richard's article at PC gamer brings all those old feelings back.


Priv turns twenty years old on the 23rd of this month, so there are certainly elements of the game that have aged, but its charm is timeless. The cramped cockpit of the Tarsus is a common gripe, but its tiny viewscreen was an intentional limitation that makes the future ships all the more rewarding. In today's world of fully 3D rendered environments with ultra high res textures, it can be hard to put yourself in 1993. Being able to hit F4 and look at the back door of your cockpit area provided a sense of immersion that few games could match. If you haven't picked up the GOG copy yet, note that they added Righteous Fire to the $5.99 package a little while back!

Unlike Elite, or many other space trading games, Privateer understands the importance of creating a world that feels like more than a few menu screens, even if that’s all it boils down to. Each planet type has a unique look. Every nav point you visit could be home to anything from another trader who simply signals hello, to a battle already in progress you can either take part in or afterburner straight through. The addition of a speech pack (included in the GOG release, along with the expansion pack, Righteous Fire) helps a lot here, making space feel like a much less lonely place.

Having character portraits and proper conversations does a similar job while planetside, with just enough differences that the universe doesn’t quite seem full of clones. Out in deep space, every faction has its claws into different systems, from the safe Confed-controlled trading hubs to pirate systems like Pentonville, and even a few where you’ll bump into the Kilrathi—Wing Commander’s feline baddies—whose genocidal war with humanity doesn’t particularly concern you as a freelance trader. The different factions all keep track of your kills, dramatically affecting the reception you’ll get when you jump into their sectors to carry out business.

This sense of character is something the Wing Commander series did better than any other game, from X-Wing’s very sterile aesthetics to Freespace’s stripped down “Alpha 1” callsigns and to-the-point mission briefings. Technically the trading is no more intricate than Elite’s, and the space combat little more than jousting with plasma guns.

The added details make it so much easier to pretend though, to imagine a busy universe of snarling pirates and smelly deep-space truckers. If you’d played the Wing Commander games, it also didn’t hurt that after several campaigns of taking orders and flying missions, you were now off the leash in that big wide universe, with the liberty to ignore even the scripted plot missions in favor of running a shipment of drugs past the good guys. Freedom doesn’t have to be subtle to be enjoyed.

Wing Commander Tastes Delicious on Raspberry Pi

CrazySpence reports successful results attempting to run Wing Commander on a Raspberry Pi. What the heck is a Raspberry Pi? It's a tiny circuit board that functions as a complete Linux computer system after adding an SD card for storage. Specs include a 700 MHz ARM processor, which is apparently potent enough to run the older Wing Commander games via the rpix86 emulator. WC1 actually ran too fast, but a speed limiter program should fix that. WC2 seemed to perform just right. Privateer had some problems which will require additional troubleshooting. As a special treat, the Pi includes an HDMI out, so the little machine makes it relatively easy to hook up to a large television screen. Check out some pics of the games in action below or head over to Philtopia for the full write-up. Hit the Comments link if you have any questions about setting this up for yourself.
I followed a simple guide for setting rpix86 up and downloaded the software onto my MAME Pi along with the 4DOS.com it recommends for a command interpreter. I also uploaded Wing Commander 1,2 and Privateer to a “dos” folder I had created to see what this emulator was capable of.

Getting the emulator started was exceptionally easy and it found the 4DOS.com file I had placed in the dos folder with no issue. Using my ancient DOS skills buried deep within my mind I CD WC’d then I CD WC1′d and then I wc.exe’d and voila, I was presented with the Origin FX screen! Unfortunatley WC 1 did not self regulate its speed and it actually ran far too quickly, an issue I had not run into in many years. rpix86 does not seem to have a built in cycle regulator like DosBox so I will probably need to use some kind of cpu limiting program just like the olden days…

Regardless of WC1′s built in fault the emulator clearly worked, I had sound, video and keyboard control so I tried my luck with WC2. The first time through it hung as soon as speech happened so I had to rerun the install.exe and after that all audio and speech worked. This game behaved just as I expected it to, the talking heads were silly fast but game flight was normal speed. The keyboard seems to have an issue with multiple keys being held at once, not sure if this is an emulator or Pi problem.

How About A Black & Tan?

Whiplash has whipped up some new shots of his slick Hellcat model. The wooden frame is pretty much complete, so now it's on to texturing the surface. These images show off the black highlighting to engine ports and intakes. Even though he hasn't started the real paint job, just these touches add a lot. It shouldn't be long until he's finished now!
As a quick update, I thought I would show you a brief look at the first steps of painting. Based on the pictures in the source material, I've decided to go for black as background colour for both the intake vents and exhaust ports.

It's amazing how much of a difference just this simple thing makes to the overall appearance of the ship. Next I will have to settle on a colour for the base coat; I suspect this will take a bit of trial and error. More updates soon, hopefully. :)

Microsoft Partially Acquires Nokia; Timeline Still Intact

Nokia's Devices and Services division will be purchased by Microsoft in a bold acquisition plan announced yesterday. What's this have to do with Wing Commander? During our future war with the Kilrathi, the Nokia Corporation is still alive and kicking. They manufacture the console that monitors Pegasus Station's radar in March 2654. Despite the huge shift for the company, Nokia will still exist after the deal with Microsoft is finalized in 2014. The Finnish firm will focus on "maps, network infrastructure and advanced technologies." Sounds like a great springboard to making NavCom AIs someday!

Game Dev Tycoon Includes Wing Commander Easter Eggs

Hurleybird spotted some neat bonuses in the software sim Game Dev Tycoon. When a player moves from the garage to an office, they'll find a familiar looking wall poster for a game titled "Space Commander." There's even a "Hero Citizen" tucked away. If you go and actually label your creation "Wing Commander," it'll unlock an achievement called "Bluehair reporting for space duty - Little known fact: Cats go all agro in space." Game Dev Tycoon got some notable publicity earlier this year due to a clever copy protection scheme. It went up for sale on Steam last week for about $8.

Dream Foundry & Terran Fleet Supply Still Supporting War Effort

sndwv is quite a 3D printing connoisseur, and he's recently tried some of the older flavors of Wing Commander models in existence. He's got two new ships to show for it: the BWS Intrepid and a Dralthi model by Astro Commander via the Dream Foundry. These models are smaller than some of the more recent ones we've seen, and they're also monochrome, but they have a striking amount of detail. They're also perfect for tabletop gaming.
For your entertainment, a pic of Dream Foundry's 'Spork', a nice rendition of a Durango-class carrier that just arrived, done up in 'regular' stainless steel. Quite nice, if I say so myself!

Also, I gave Shapeways' new material, gold plated brass, a go with one of Dream Foundry's Dralthi's. Do check out the picture! Detail is great (this is a really small model!) and it is reasonably affordable. Anyone looking for some Bling Commander:

sndwv also has great news in regards to Shapeways' recent issues with Klavs' color 3D prints! I'll let him fill you in:
I [sent] Shapeways an e-mail politely asking them to reconsider. I have become quite a frequent customer there, almost exclusively via Klavs' models and all (except one) have printed perfectly and shipped ahead of time.

First of all, Shapeways decided to print Klavs' models after all, and fortunately they turned out fine- which means they'll remain available for everyone to order!

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