Escapist Pans FMV Wing Commanders

Escapist Magazine has continued its serial review of the Wing Commander series available on GOG. Wing Commander 3 and 4 are both covered in the latest article, and boy, the author did not like them! In regards to descriptions such as "awkward 2D ship animations and anemic audio utterly fail to generate any sense of excitement," Delance comments: "I wonder if he even properly played Wing Commander III at all, considering that the game is in full 3D and has (like all Wing Commander games) a great soundtrack. Oh well." [The 2D mention has since been fixed.] The author notes that he skipped FMV games such as WC3&4 back in the '90s, so there appears to be some lack of context. General consensus at 'neutral' sites like PC Gamer is that the WC games have aged pretty well, and the WC series is one of the few out there that stands out with good performances and production values. They'll be profiling Armada next, and unless they can get some good multiplayer games going, we could be in for another bloodbath!
I'm picking on the graphics in part because, as mentioned, Wing Commander 3 tries very hard to be a movie and, being from 1994, that means live-action FMVs and lots of them. As you might expect, it's awful in every possible way: The dialog is worse than a George Lucas first draft and it manages to make a reasonably talented cast that includes Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, Jason Bernard and Malcolm McDowell look like an overly-earnest drama class. The only one who really sells it is Ginger Lynn (yes, that Ginger Lynn) who plays a sex-kitten technical chief who Blair - he finally gets a name in this one - has the option to romance.

WC Saga Source Code Available

Anyone with an interest in modding or game development in general will want to take a closer look at this. FekLeyrTarg noticed that Wing Commander Saga's source code is now available for download. The game was built on top of a heavily modified Freespace 2 engine that contains extensions and modifications contributed by the Freespace community at large. You can grab the source code from the project forums. Perhaps the OSX and Linux ports that were promised will yet materialize. Someone has already stepped up and begun translating the game to German.

Happy Thanksgiving

The CIC would like to wish our American visitors a Happy Thanksgiving and a good day to Wingnuts around the world! The CIC staff is mostly laying low Thursday, but we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about Wing Commander Pilgrim Truth. After the WC Movie novelization and Pilgrim Stars books were released in 1999, the conclusion to the trilogy was never published. Fans were held in limbo until just a couple years ago when author Peter Telep graciously helped us post the entire story online! It can be read directly on the web here at the CIC or downloaded as a mobi (Kindle) or epub (other)!
When I was first hired to adapt the Wing Commander screenplay into a novel, I was thrilled and frightened out of my mind. I knew there was a huge fan base, and I knew that some well-respected novels had already been written and published. I also realized after reading the screenplay that Chris Roberts was making changes to his own universe, and I was wary of how fans might react to those... so what did I do? I went straight to those same fans and asked for help. The guys at WCNews and others provided me lots of great research, insight, and suggestions for what I could do with the book, and between them, the screenplay, and my own imagination, I think we created something that bridged the gap between the film universe and the known and beloved WC universe of the games and previous novels. It was no easy task, trust me. Despite the film's reception, I was quite proud of how the books were received and am still getting fan mail to this day asking for that unpublished final novel, Pilgrim Truth. That it's been ten years and fans are still hungry for more WC is a testament to the quality of the work that's been produced over the years, and I can only tip my hat to every other artisan who came before me and helped pave the way. I'm very proud to be associated with Wing Commander and truly loved the experience! ...

-Peter Telep (August, 2009)

Workhorse Faldari Gets the Scooby Treatment

ScoobyDoo has put together a new fighter, and once again it comes from the ranks of Tri-System ships that are underrepresented in the universe of fan modeling. This one's based on the Faldari, and after closer inspection, it might appear to be different from the heavy fighter that many of us flew in Privateer 2. That's because - in addition to the civilian Faldari Mk II - there was also a Military CIS Faldari that sported sleeker lines and engine nacelles! There's also a new center-mounted gun added to Scooby's version that gives the ship a little bit of a Banshee vibe. He's arranged some neat side-by-side shots below to show how some of the detailed elements were built up on the new vessel compared with the original.
The Faldari is a mid-range heavy fighter available on the private market in the Tri-System. It is a civilian version of the military's ML2B Faldari-class Medium Fighter. The design was followed by the ML3A Faldari MK II, a significantly cost-reduced design.

One of the Tri-System's most well known pilots, Lerissa du Voille, flies the Faldari. Other noted Faldari pilots include Louissa Phillips, daughter of Hendri Phillips, and Melissa Banks, on again off again girlfriend of Vel Ricaud. Less reputable mercenaries frequently fly Faldari: four of the fighters defended The Buckaroo Boys, a murderous band.

The Faldari entered service before 2786. Notable Faldari include F902_466J (2786) and I552_235G (classified).

Hellcat Ready to Absorb Interstellar Hydrogen

Whiplash has completed the forward portions of the engines on his intricately modeled Hellcat. Narrow vent fins have been installed over glowing intake patterns to really up the detail factor. Each update brings the ship closer and closer to the 'real' thing!
Time for a quick update! It's been slow progress recently, but I have finally finished fitting all of the engine intake detail. Some paint and general neatening is still required, but I wanted to share this in the meantime. I think it captures the look of the original quite well, and definitely adds to the authenticity of the model. Let me know what you think!

Concordia Ships Get In Line

Howard Day's latest update to the Concordia Hangar really makes the place feel like home! Floor markings that denote elevators and staging areas have been added, and they significantly enhance the Wing Commander 2 atmosphere. It's like you're looking out from Flight Control with Angel & Hobbes, and Howard's planning to make it even more familiar in future updates. Check it out first hand in your web browser here.
Okay, I've added floor markings to the Hangar! It really helps make it feel like the Connie. The shader was fun to come up with, too! I've also adjusted the number of lights in the scene, and played with other minor things that should increase performance! Let me know if there are any troubles looking at the update.

One More For The Confederation's Archives

In order to preserve the highlights of what's likely to be the last Wing Commander product added to GOG's library (we'll be the first ones in line for Origin FX!), here's a look at the screenshots and flavor text that they put together for Armada. We're also still running into Wingnuts who haven't heard about the latest release and want to make sure the word gets out! Armada screenshots are super fun, because the game has a variety of several aspects. Features like the numerous playable Kilrathi ships, strategic system map interface and cooperative multiplayer gauntlet campaign make a peek inside an especially exotic adventure for people who haven't played it before.
Release: Wing Commander: Armada

Conquer the Universe!

Wing Commander: Armada, a unique entry in the all-time favorite space combat sim series, mixing in many strategic elements and adding multi-player, is available on GOG.com, for only $5.99.

The life of a seasoned starfighter pilot isn't all glory and adventure. After years of following orders and losing ships and friends, you are now the sole commander, responsible for heading up a momentous strike against your enemy's homeland - either the Empire of Kilrath or the heart of the Confederation. This war requires real strategy, not just hotshot piloting, and you have to determine where to fight, how to fight, and what ships will get the job done. In Wing Commander Armada, you have the freedom to build your own universe, your own missions, and your own campaign.

Wing Commander: Armada is one of the first games in the classic series, known for taking many innovative steps which made it unpopular with some of the old fans, but moved the whole Wing Commander universe whole parsecs ahead. With a new 3D rendering engine, multiplayer modes, and some crafts that were going to become iconic for the whole series, this oldie is a must have for every single Wing Commander fan and classic games collector.

Explore and conquer one procedurally-generated universe after another, participate in dogfights, mine and fortify planets, and do all those thing no other game in this series allows in Wing Commander: Armada, for only $5.99 on GOG.com.

What's cool about it:
  • Includes the Proving Grounds add-on.
  • Never play the same game twice as you explore, fortify and mine hundreds of planets in randomly generated universes.
  • Choose from 3 levels at play - intense dogfight scenarios, strategic search and destroy battles, or extended campaigns to destroy an opposing homeworld.
  • Pit yourself against a friend, computer, or with a friend against the computer via Internet.
  • Live life on the edge as a topnotch Terran or Kilrathi pilot and fly up to 10 different ships!
Overview:

The life of a seasoned starfighter pilot isn't all glory and adventure. After years of following orders and losing ships and friends, you are now the sole commander, responsible for heading up a momentous strike against your enemy's homeland - either the Empire of Kilrath or the heart of the Confederation.

This war requires real strategy, not just hotshot piloting, and you have to determine where to fight, how to fight, and what ships will get the job done. In Wing Commander Armada, you have the freedom to build your own universe, your own missions, and your own campaign.

Cloud Imperium Games Hits $30 Million

The team behind Roberts Space Industries has hit another ridiculous milestone with $30 million in crowd funded funds. This caps off an explosive week that netted nearly $3 million due to special spacecraft sales. With another week still yet to go, November has produced more than $5 million for Cloud Imperium Games so far. The pace has only accelerated this year: October brought in $5.1 million, September $3.1 million and the prior three months to that each averaging $2 million. They've set their sights on $32 million next with a specialized salvage ship to be unlocked. Here's what $30 million got contributors:
Origin 890 JUMP – The rumors are true: Origin Jumpworks has a larger ship in the works! The Origin 890 JUMP is an interstellar super-yacht with exquisite styling and an array of high quality upgrade options. Travel the stars in style with multiple decks, high visibility windows and a small boat bay. Whether you’re outfitting it to explore new worlds or to take a pleasure cruise through Terra, the 890 JUMP is the epitome of luxury, class and refinement!

Wing Commander's a Hit!

With the completion of the core DOS/Windows Wing Commander lineup on GOG Thursday, this may be the last time we see the series own the sales charts like they did by Friday. The release of Wing Commander Armada combined with a 50% off sale pushed WC to claim 7 of the top 9 spots. As there are 8 different WC packages on GOG, which one didn't make the cut? Wing Commander 3. But we don't think it's for lack of popularity - just the opposite - so many of you bought the game during previous sales already that it wasn't available for purchase again. At one point in the 1990s, WC3 was even EA's best selling PC game of all time! And to commemorate the 'entire' series being available now, GOG put together this nifty video. Note that the 50% off sale is now over, but there is a "buy together and save" deal that reduces the price of the entire series by about 25% if you still have titles missing from your library. The milestone was also mentioned in their weekly YouTube show.

PS4 & XBox One Launch New Generation

A brand new console cycle has officially kicked off with today's release of the XBox One and last Friday's Playstation 4 release. While the most popular aspects of the Wing Commander universe originated on PC, there have been a great many console ports and exclusives over the years. Noteworthy additions from the last round of hardware include Prophecy on the Game Boy Advance, WC1 & SM1 on the Playstation Portable, Arena on the XBox 360 and a digital WC4 rerelease on the PS3/PSP. What will the next generation bring?


For starters, both Playstation and XBox include digital copies of the Wing Commander Movie in their respective streaming services, Video Unlimited and XBox Video. Microsoft has consistently highlighted the entertainment features of its platform, and there are some slick ways to get to your WC Movie there. Fans can pin a specific film right to the XBox dashboard, and the system supports multitasking a movie to a side pane even while playing video games. It's also possible to search for and launch Wing Commander from the Smart Glass phone and tablet apps for iOS and Android. Both new systems also play DVDs & Blu-rays and support third party apps like Vudu for a slightly less proprietary and more portable experience.

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander Armada on GOG

The last PC Wing Commander game has finally been released via GOG! Wing Commander Armada, the multiplayer installment of the saga that was years ahead of its time, is now available for purchase for just $5.99. As always, the game comes with extras (Voices of War and the Armada Playtester's Guide)... and hopefully this will generate a new group of players willing to go head to head in the Wing Commander universe! You can pick up your copy here.

To celebrate this event, GOG is having a 50% off sale for anyone completing the Wing Commander series... which means that Armada is just $2.99 if you've purchased everything else released so far! The sale lasts just 48 hours, so get in now!

Armada Trivia Contest!

To celebrate the release of Wing Commander Armada, five copies of the game are available to CIC readers who can answer these questions! The first Wingnuts to answer correctly today win! Send entries to news@wcnews.com as soon as you figure them out. Go!
  • What was the name of the furry mascot first introduced in Voices of War?
  • How many players does the Proving Grounds multiplayer expansion to Armada support?
  • What five new guns did Armada introduce to the Wing Commander universe? (name all five)

Dralthis Swoop In To Cover Shock Troops

AAN is back with new pictures of his Dralthi IV-inspired miniature model. It's sized well for 15mm tabletop gaming, and there's even a nice shot below of the fighter providing close air support for a handful of Kilrathi troops. The Dralthi was one of the very first mini ships that AAN posted, but the images here reveal how his painting techniques have continued to get even more gorgeous over the years. You can check out more pictures of his work here or order 3D prints at the Dream Foundry.

Best Buy Discounts Wing Commander This Week

Jacob tipped us off about a Wing Commander sale at Best Buy. The new Anamorphic DVD is just $5 and the Blu-ray should be $13 in store or online. Amazon lists the same BRD price, but $5 is a great deal for fans who haven't yet stepped up to high definition discs. Best Buy has also marked down the Wing Commander Academy series online to just $13. If you don't have WCA yet, don't pass this up! While we're on the subject, Wingnuts in Canada also have an opportunity to grab either the Bluray or WCA for only about $10 right now from Amazon.ca.

Escapist Reviews Classic Wing Commanders

Escapist Mag has followed up on their recent Prophecy Review with a profile of Wing Commander 1&2. They're currently in the midst of a re-review of the series thanks to the nearly-complete library of WC games now available on GOG. The author starts with a thought that I think will resonate with the vast majority of Wingnuts: "There are the games that you play and then there the games that you fall in love with. Most dedicated gamers have at least a few; titles that hit just the right personal note or landed at just the right moment in their lives to linger ever after in their memories." More than just nostalgia, there's also a lot of appreciation in the article for how well the games have held up and retained their charm more than twenty years later. The author does lament the lack of 'checkpoints' mid-mission due to the difficulty factor, but such a concept was virtually unheard of in the early 1990s where just the ability to save after landing was a relatively novel feature. Check out the full piece here. Reviews of Wing Commander 3 and 4 will be forthcoming next week!
Even with these flaws however, there's no overstating how enjoyable both Wing Commander 1 and 2 are. Granted, this could all be nostalgia talking on my part. I'll admit to experiencing some warm and fuzzies when I first booted up Wing Commander 2 for this review. That being the case, I can still acknowledge that these games aren't perfect. I might adore Wing Commander 2, but there are some very legitimate reasons that others might not. That said, if you've never tried a Wing Commander game, the first two in the series will only run you $5.99 at GOG and, as is generally the site's standard, come packaged with a wealth of goodies as well as all of the available expansions. In my opinion, it'd be money well spent.

Chris Roberts Definitely Focusing on PC, Open to Next Gen Consoles

As a new generation of gaming consoles kicks off, a recent post by Chris Roberts has clarified his position on the various systems. Some fans of Star Citizen were dismayed to see Playstation 4 dev kits pop up in photographs around the Cloud Imperium Games offices. There was concern that development could shift away from cutting edge personal computers. Mr. Roberts has allayed these concerns by emphatically reiterating that PCs are and will continue to be the primary platform that he is developing for and there was zero chance of his new game showing up on the PS3 or Xbox 360. On the other hand, he did credit either the new PS4 or Xbox One as "essentially a mid-level gaming PC of today (which) punches above its performance weight," and therefore he would consider porting to them under the right circumstances.
Star Citizen IS a PC game. It will NEVER be dumbed down for a lesser platform. We will NOT limit the input options or supported peripherals to the lowest common denominator. We will NOT pass on features and technology just because they will only run on some hardware configurations.

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

IF the platform holders (Sony & Microsoft) allow us to update the code and data without restrictions and odious time consuming QC procedures, IF they allow our community to openly interact with each other across platforms then I would CONSIDER supporting them. Why?

Well because then they are essentially inexpensive small form factor PCs with a custom operating system focused on gaming and who wouldn't want a bigger community of Star Citizens? If Sony or Microsoft are willing to let their platform be open, then I see no real difference between them or Valve’s Steambox, a Mac or a PC running Linux, all of which are platforms that I don’t think this community would mind supporting as they are all viewed as “PCs”. In fact most Macs are probably much worse gaming machines than a next gen console (as Apple is the antithesis of what I love about PCs)

Incredibly, Roberts Space Industries has now passed $28 million in crowd funding totals to date, so they're going to have to find something to do with all that money! (the next few stretch goals will relate to exotic ships) You can read Chris' complete post here.
Yikes!!! - Over the weekend Chris upgraded to 2 Titans and a 4K monitor on his desk

Walls Go Up Onboard The Concordia

Howard Day has a new update for the Concordia Hangar, and this should help the app run more smoothly on a wider variety of machines. The program is already relatively lightweight as it runs on a web browser, but it has been optimized behind the scenes for even smoother function. From a visual perspective, walls have been added to the sides of the bay. Although you might think this confines an already cramped flight deck, it actually has something of the opposite effect as it serves to make the space feel more cavernous. Ship effects have also been improved, and the Crossbow just got more detail. Check it out and walk around the ship for yourself here!
Weird! Well, try the new version. I've trimmed out a bunch of stuff from the PostProcess Queue, and overall made improvements and optimizations.

I've added walls, a more complete Crossbow (with landing gear, just needs internals and a paintjob!) and a more interesting camera. The camera no longer collides with the environment, so you can look inside everything. I also added a mouse-wheel-driven zoom control, so you can get up close or get waaay back.

Also changed are how the shaders on the ships handle specularity, they're much more interesting and shiny now. The walls don't have color or variations yet, so they're very boring (and not quite Game-Accurate yet) so that's something else I'll be working on.

Hopefully more to come, and I hope you enjoy!

MAVEN Blasts Off!

Congrats to NASA and team on the successful launch of the MAVEN spacecraft today! Its mission is to travel to Mars and intensely study the planet's atmosphere to understand how it's changed over time. The results should help provide answers regarding past and future habitability. Travel time is ten months.

Although recent advancements haven't always played out large in the headlines, there have been a steady stream of cool achievements lately. Mars Curiosity celebrated its first anniversary on the red planet a couple months back, and India launched its first mission to Mars this month. There are also now two companies successfully delivering supplies to the International Space Station, and commercial crew transports are expected to be in service in the next several years.

Call The Time Police

HCl is up to his usual tricks again. This time he's managed to extract ship models from Wing Commander Prophecy and convert them to Wing Commander 2/Academy format! See what the Prophecy Dralthi and the Nephilim Manta both look like in the Academy game engine in the exciting screenshots below. You can also test fly a Hellcat V in WCA with a small patch here.
I was finally able to finish my WCP mesh reader and plug it into the main WC2 ship converter, so I pulled the WCP Dralthi, ran a few tests and converted it to WCA. Sure enough, the ship does look better. The additional detail is noticeable even at the low resolutions used by WC2 / WCA, so that definitely paid off. I'm going to start working on the Dralthi stats based on the discussion on this thread, but in the meantime, here's a few screenshots of the new Dralthi. Note that the ship was converted with the "higher-resolution" mode I discussed some posts back, which means the scale still needs to be tweaked (the ship looks a bit larger than it should at a given distance)
As a bonus... well, since I had a WCP mesh reader in place, i couldn't resist converting one of the Nephilim ships over to WCA just to see how well it would look in the WC2 palette. :p The Nephilim ships are just so different from Confed and Kilrathi ships, color-wise that I wasn't really expecting the WC2 palette to handle the Nephilim textures all that well... However, I was surprised, the result really wasn't all that bad! In fact, i think the result turned out to be rather nice!

WC vs History: Ships of the Victory Battle Group - Part III

This week we look at the last ship to comprise the Victory's battle group. TCS Sheffield cruised alongside the other two ships of Destroyer Squadron 67 and TCS Victory. Like the other ships, the name Sheffield comes from the Royal Navy and in this case named after the city of Sheffield, England.

The TCS Sheffield doesn't have any major mentions in the novel or real standout moments in the game, but takes part in the same actions as the other ships of DesRon 67. The fighter wing of the Victory at one point protects the Sheffield in the Alcor system, along with the other capships, before it moved to join the rest of the Confederation fleet massing in Freya before the Temblor Bomb attack.

The first real world ship named Sheffield was a Town-class light cruiser mounting 12 6 inch guns and 8 4 inch guns. Commissioned in 1937, the ship saw extensive action during the Second World War. She took part in the Norwegian Campaign in 1940 before transferring to Force H in the Mediterranean. HMS Sheffield took part in Operation White, one of the many runs to deliver fighters to the island outpost of Malta, and the Battle of Cape Spartivento. After continued operations in the Mediterranean, the Sheffield took part in the final demise of the Bismarck in May 1941. She returned to England and operated with Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union until she hit a mine in March 1943. She then took part in Operation TORCH against French North Africa in November 1942 and convoy duty later in the year. During the Battle of the Barents Sea, Sheffield sank the German destroyer Friedrich Eckholdt and damaged the cruiser Admiral Hipper. In 1943, Sheffield supported Operation AVALANCHE at Salerno before being sent again to the Arctic where she remained for the rest of the war. Sheffield was part of the force when the German battleship Scharnhost was sunk in December 1943 off Norway. She continued to serve in the Arctic till 1944 when refits in Boston, Massachusetts and in England kept her out of the remainder of the war.

The first Sheffield during the Second World War and serving as flagship of the Reserve Fleet in the 1960s.

Sheffield's refit was completed in 1946 and served in the West Indies, Mediterranean, and the Home waters. The rest of her career was without major naval action save in regards to serving as flagship on a number of occasions. She was scrapped in 1967.

The second Sheffield was a Type 42 Guided Missile Destroyer commissioned in 1975. This Sheffield is well known because she was sunk during the 1982 Falkland War between England and Argentina. A single Exocet anti-ship missile launched from a Argentine Super Etendard aircraft struck the Sheffield amidships and tore a large gash in the hull. The missile did not actually detonate but instead caused severe damage through the force of the impact. Fires started as a result burned in the impact area, where the missile had also struck the fire main greatly hindering the ship's ability to fight the fires. The crew abandoned ship where the famous incident of them singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python’s Life of Brian occurred as they waited to be rescued.

A Super Etendard launching an Exocet missile and the damage to HMS Sheffield after the Exocet impact.

The most recent ship to bear the name Sheffield was a Type 22 Frigate commissioned in 1988. Named in honor of the previous ship, this Sheffield never saw major combat but served in various humanitarian roles and in anti-drug and anti-terrorism missions before being decommissioned in 2002. She was sold to the Chilean Navy in 2003 where she continues to serve.

This Stiletto's Still Sharp

ScoobyDoo's latest concept ship is a ruggedized but still sleek Stiletto. The fast light fighter now has more prominent fuel intakes and an additional set of underslung guns. It accurately maintains the Privateer ship's slightly downward swept wings and numerous stabilizing fins. For comparison purposes, the final shot below is a high quality Red Baron render made from the original 3D models. Scooby's got his hands into a few different mods... so this ship could pop up again anywhere!
The Stiletto upgraded.

A Peek Behind the Wing Commander Curtain

Chris Roberts is hard at work building Star Citizen, yet still finds time to discuss things like the game's physics with fans on the RSI forums. Chris was actually studying physics at Manchester University when he decided to switch paths and make games full time. In a series of recent posts, he also had some interesting revelations regarding the Wing Commander engine and its physics implementation. It's a fascinating (and detailed) look at an aspect of the game many haven't thought about:
...The idea is that the basic / beginner / simple IFCS will be set up to make flying around pretty simple and intuitive. It will take the pilot's inputs and map them to behavior similar to Wing Commander / Privateer - you control the orientation of your ship and set a desired velocity, the IFCS tries to achieve a velocity vector matching your forward vector multiplied by desired speed - which was actually how Wing Commander / Privateer actually worked - it was a basic Newtonian under it all despite popular belief - its why you would "slide" when you hit afterburners and tried to turn - normally there was enough excess thrust for maneuvering to adjust the velocity fairly instantaneously but as the speed got higher it would take a little while to correct to the desired velocity vector...

...as WC is concerned the ships had two thrust ratings - a "Maneuvering" thrust rating and a "Main" thrust rating. The maneuvering thrust rating was used to adjust the velocity vector outside the main thrusts direction (which was always forward). IT was assumed the maneuvering thrust could be applied in any direction (Other than forwards which the main thrust took care of) WC did use a basic Newtonian model (I should know as I programmed it!) but it was simplified in terms of simulating the ships ability to apply force to change its velocity vector, with the simulation of the thrusters abstracted to a maneuvering and main thrust ability per ship.

Image by Bearcat.

Flat Universe Newsletter #3 Released

The third issue of Destiny's Way has been released! This month's cover features Howard's slick Hornet and tons of great in-jokes. There is also an interview with WC4's Pliers on his fascinating new role in the post-war era. You can grab the short magazine in PDF form at the Flat Universe website. They're still taking submissions and ideas for future issues!
Dear WingNuts,

Our editorial is still open for article submissions. For those of you who are interested, you may reach us through the options of the following link: ...comms.html For your interest, I am happy to inform you that from the start of this month, another member has joined our team. Now, we are three!

We hope that things will speed up a little from now and on. However, we promise that until the end of this year we will have prepared our gifts for you. Never forget that our basic goal is to have FUN!

the
MaslasBros

Wing Commander's a Hit!

This time Prophecy had to compete with the Far Cry and the Tom Clancy series for the top spot on the Good Old Games shooter best sellers' list. Despite the stiff opposition, WCP shot to first place. Privateer 2 also significantly increased its position in the rankings, and WC1/2, WC4 and Privateer helped the Wing Commander series make a good showing in the top ten.

Prophecy Profiled Sixteen Years Later

Delance spotted a timely review of Wing Commander Prophecy over at the Escapist Mag. WCP is the latest in a line of Good Old Reviews that follow up on GOG releases. It's not uncommon for series retrospectives to still pop up here and there, but classic reviews are a less frequent event. Even though there's nothing to really learn here, it's nice to see "new" WC products in the spotlight. The author points out a handful of flaws, but ultimately likes the game a lot. Check out the full article here.
The Nephilim aren't even remotely as intriguing, leaving you with little to chew on besides the been-there-done-that drama of a straight-laced rookie coming into his own during a largely generic war. There's just never anything to really care about and, in the absence of that, its effort at the grandiose fall frequently flat.

None of this is to say that Prophecy is a poor experience. The story, even if it wilts in the shadow of its predecessors, has some good moments and possesses branching paths based on your gameplay performance as well as occasional moments of player choice. Likewise, the combat, even if it doesn't break any new ground, is still tight and frequently addictive. If Prophecy suffers, it's mostly because the games that came before it were just so much better. Setting past iterations however aside, Wing Commander: Prophecy is easily worth a play, and at only $5.99 at GOG, there's not much reason to not to give it one.

To All Those Who Have Served

The Wing Commander Combat Information Center extends a huge heartfelt thanks to all those who serve in uniform around the globe. We hope you are safe this Veterans' Day and that you enjoy the freedom you have helped secure. Also, make sure to take a moment today to remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion in the line of duty. They may not be with us this day, but they are not forgotten.

This summer, I had the honor and privilege to be part of a staff ride of the Sicilian Campaign during the Second World War. On the last day of the trip, we stopped at the Canadian War Cemetery just outside Agira for a 70th Anniversary memorial event. The picture accompanying this post is of me near the grave of the soldier I accounted for in roll call during the memorial ceremony. In the background you can see the famous Mount Etna which watches over the fallen.


At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, in 1918, the First World War came to an end when the Armistice between the Allied Powers and Germany went into effect. After four years of the most devastating war in human history to that time, the people of all nations involved tried to comprehend the level of loss that had been inflicted on an entire generation. The British Commonwealth and the United States declared November 11, in 1919, a public holiday to recognize the sacrifices made during the First World War. “Armistice Day” became a yearly remembrance by both nations and eventually other powers. In 1954, following the Korean War, the United States changed the name of the holiday to “Veterans Day” and made it a remembrance of all America’s veterans. The British Commonwealth now recognizes November 11 as “Remembrance Day.” Many people wear a red poppy, a symbol of the day inspired by the red poppies that appeared across battlefields in Flanders.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Upgrade Your GOG WC Prophecy With DVD Video!

As soon as Wing Commander Prophecy was released on GOG last week, fans immediately got to work testing out the various upgrades and improvements that Wingnuts have developed over the years. WC4 on GOG is especially noteworthy for including the high quality cutscenes from the DVD version, but this was not the case for the new WCP that just went on sale. This has to do with the fact that WC4 DVD was commercially available via a late '90s Creative Labs DVD-ROM bundle, but WCP DVD movies were only distributed via the CIC. Fortunately, the same patches that update your CD version of Prophecy still work with the GOG edition! Here's a quick summary from Popsicle Pete on how to get the best looking game:
  • Install GOG Prophecy
  • Download HCl's WCP Enhancement Package, and unzip the files straight into the WCP folder. Make sure you DON'T overwrite Prophecy.exe or WCPHR.DLL
  • Install Pedro's OpenGL Package
  • Right-click on Prophecy.exe, select "Properties", "Compatibility" tab, and remove the "Win98" compatibility flag. Make sure you also click on the "All users settings" button at the bottom and remove it there too.
  • Download the DVD movies, and unzip them into a folder called "Movie" in the WCP folder.
Current limitation: The DVD movies only work in OpenGL mode.

Note that this has been primarily tested with Windows 7, so there could be slight differences with other operating systems. Visit the CIC Forums if you have something else to add or if you find an issue that needs to be addressed.

And if you missed it a few weeks back, be sure to check out HCl's Privateer 2 Patch! It adds deinterlaced movies and many other fixes to either the disc-based or GOG versions of P2.

Give It To Me Straight...

dczanik has been experimenting with his Christopher Blair modeling project and has a neat mockup to show off. The perspective shot below shows what WC2 Bluehair might have looked like head-on. Due to space constraints of the early '90s, we don't ever see much variety in head tilt or positioning, so even a very slight twist such as this is somewhat striking. Do you think this is an accurate representation? Let Damon know at the CIC Forums!
And sort of update, going back and using the original textures. One step back, two steps forward. I actually thought it was neat to show what Blair's face looked like facing forward. Didn't add the hair or body just yet, so it's just photoshopped.

A Pretty Sketchy Character

Terrans don't get all of the love at the CIC! Emil has penned this smokin' kat. The 'Kilrathi Commander' looks like he'd fit right in with the pilots of the Wing Commander CCG.

One More For The Confederation's Archives

GOG has once again put together a sharp product page for their latest Wing Commander. There's no indication that the WC series will ever be removed from the service, but just in case, we're here to preserve what was released. The screenshots might not be quite as exotic as the ones snapped for Privateer 2, but they do show off how the game's native 3dfx features have been enabled with some sort of automatically bundled glide wrapper. I really like the Vampire image that they've chosen to highlight Prophecy with. It's also interesting to see which aspects of the game they choose to highlight (and that they really, really want to call it Wing Commander 5!).
Release: Wing Commander 5: Prophecy

Some bugs need squishing!

Wing Commander 5: Prophecy, a legendary space combat sim presenting the chronicle of a whole new interdimensional conflict in the Wing Commander universe, is available for only $5.99 on GOG.com.

You thought the feline Kilrathi were a fearsome foe? You've seen nothing yet, of the horrors the Universe is ready to unleash upon humanity! In Wing Commander 5: Prophecy, the interdimensional gateways open and the galaxy is invaded by a insectoid menace more deadly and terrifying than anything the indigenous sentient races have ever seen. Luckily enough, the humans have the cat warriors on their side this time. With a set of new characters, many new ships, and a terrible new conflict, this entry in the Wing Commander saga delivers a whole new level of challenge and excitement, that made it an unforgettable classic. Battle stations!

If you are a fan of space-sims your collection won't be complete without this classic, explosive title. Get Wing Commander 5: Prophecy, on GOG.com, for only $5.99

What's cool about it:
  • Includes Wing Commander 5: Prophecy and the expansion Wing Commander: Secret Ops.
  • Take part in a story conceptualized by renowned visual futurist Syd Mead (Blade Runner).
  • Over 50 challenging missions with an epic storyline that will keep you glued to your seat!
  • Witness the return of Blair, Maniac, and Rachel!
Overview:

It's time for a new generation of pilots to take the helm!

After the Border Worlds conflict of Wing Commander 4, the galaxy breathes a sigh of relief for peace has come at last. The hero of the Confederation, Colonel Chris Blair, decides to transfer to the Naval Forces. The Confederation decides its time to retire some of the old guard to make room for new hotshot pilots. Lance Casey and his best friend Max Garrett are fresh-from-the-Academy rookies looking to make their mark on the TCS Midway. Just as they are getting comfortable, a distress call from their former enemy, the Kilrathi, makes what would seem a routine mission into something else entirely...

Wing Commander 5: Prophecy is the last in a long line of classic space combat simulators. You'll take on the role of Lance Casey as he performs dangerous missions for the Confederacy while on assignment on the TCS Midway. Engage in conversation via glorious late 90s FMV with your fellow crew mates. Match your wits and skill in space combat against an all-new alien threat whose coming was foretold by an ancient Kilrathi prophecy of the end of the universe. Arm yourself with a vast variety of death-dealing weaponry and fight back the enemy!

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander Prophecy on GOG!

At long last, GOG has released Wing Commander Prophecy! For $5.99 you can download the gold edition of Prophecy plus an array of cool extras. The package includes both Wing Commander Prophecy and Wing Commander Secret Ops, the last two WC titles developed by Origin Systems. This means that only one Wing Commander PC game remains unreleased: here’s hoping Wing Commander Armada is coming soon! Grab your copy of Prophecy Gold here.

It Holds Up To The Claws Of A Warrior

Jumper's Kilrathi keyboard is complete! Here's a photo of the final custom mod. He had the keys made separately and mounted them below. The primary buttons are a pale bone-white while the specialty inputs are a blood-red/orange. Who isn't super envious of this gorgeous creation?!
And, the keyboard has arrived (a Ducky 9008G2 Pro) and the keys are mounted. I present...the only Kilrathi keyboard this side of the Vega Sector.

I missed the fact that this particular keyboard has 4 extra keys where the "lights" are on a normal keyboard. I can get 4 individual keys from WASD with more "Kilrathi" symbols on them, or just leave it as-is.

All in all this turned out really nicely.

The "white" keys are actually a beige off-white, which fits really nicely with the color schemes we saw for the Kilrathi with stone tablets, etc.

Centaurian Mud Pig Earns a Spot on the Concordia

The Concordia Hangar continues to look better and better - just as much as it keeps looking more and more full! There's two notable additions in the latest update. The Sabre heavy fighter has been refreshed with a proper paint job, and a prototype version of the Scimitar has been added. There are are other miscellaneous tweaks, and fans who are looking at the environment will notice an elevated flight control area placeholder starting to take shape. I wonder how they keep from crashing wingtips into each other! You can visit the hangar for yourself via the Unity web plugin/interface here.
I know it doesn't seem like much but this is a massive amount of work. I'm chipping away at it, but it's going to take me a long time to finish! I did throw a Scimitar in there, tho. It's unfinished, but pretty cool!

Enjoy, and lemme know what you think!

In the Distant Future, Mankind is Locked in a Deadly War...

Here's some nifty Wing Commander art from Zohrath that we missed when it was originally created. The first image is a wallpaper image that mimics the introduction from WC1. Seeing this scene makes me want to hop in the TrainSim or listen to Shotglass' bar music. The picture is a great use of both his preexisting Dralthi and Hornet models. Although the motion blur is intentional, sometimes it's also nice to see the fighters in all their crisp glory. You can find the original sharp screenshots here.
Wing Commander 1 intro shot: trying to capture the feel of the original.
There's also some WIP images of both a Tiger's Claw and Vaktoth. Most of Z's recent ships come from the first Wing Commander game, but he's also done a great job on the later era models too!

Chris Roberts' Office Decorated with Priceless Wing Commander Artifacts

Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner have posted pictures of their first batch of the large scale Star Citizen mouse pads that we recently mentioned. They're impressive, to say the least. But even more tantalizing is all of the memorabilia hanging Chris Roberts' office! On one wall, he's got the WC3 and WC4 promo posters hanging side by side. On the back wall is the authentic solar system painting that graces the introduction of the Wing Commander Movie. And encased on the cabinet is the original Snakeir model used for the film. We also know he's got one of the Kilrathi statuetes still hanging around somewhere. Can you imagine any better décor than that?
Woot - mousepad samples showed up!!! Chris snagged the first one off the press

Zombie Lord British Goes Exploring... And Solves a Mystery

Origin founder Richard Garriott de Cayeux also took some time off from Shroud of the Avatar this weekend to celebrate Noche de los Muertos at The Explorers' Club in New York. He and wife Laetitia were on theme as Sir Ernest Shackleton and Amelia Earhart in a live game of 'Clue'. Public tickets to the full event ran a pricey $250, but it looks like they had a lot of fun!
Famed video game developer, entrepreneur and astronaut Richard Garriott de Cayeux MN'98, along with The Explorers Club, invite you to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. On the evening of November 2nd, The Explorers Club historic Headquarters will transform for the most haunting party of the season, where we invite both Members and Guests to join us in real-life game of Clue, meeting famed explorers both living and dead. We need your help to solve a grisly murder, and everyone is a suspect.

Den of Geek Looks Back at Wing Commander

Pedro tipped us off about a comprehensive retrospective featured at Den of Geek. There have been quite a few similar articles written over the years, but that repetition reflects Wing Commander's position as the gold standard of space sims. Every time a new website produces their take on the franchise, another potential audience gets to learn about our exciting history. This particular take on the series does a pretty good job of covering all the bases. Anyone can put together a few words about Wing Commander 1-4 and Prophecy, but superior articles go the extra mile and cover games like Secret Ops, Arena and Super Wing Commander. They also make sure to direct interested folks towards GOG so that they can become new fans. As everyone knows, you should avoid internet comments, but it's practically heart-warming to read about the fond memories that people are replying with in this case. Check out the full article here.
In its day, though, Wing Commander was one of the biggest names in gaming, and the series' fans would certainly like to see it return on current hardware.

Wing Commander is a true example of a classic gaming series. When it arrived it delivered a unique and challenging, yet easy to play flight simulator-style title, which was an exception in a genre known for being overly complex and daunting. Anyone could play the title, and you didn't even need an expensive flight stick to get the most out of it.

Importantly, the series never sat still. Instead of simply releasing rehashed sequels, which would have no doubt sold very well regardless, Origin constantly refined and improved the game's formula. New game engines, impressive FMV storytelling and all sorts of other technical tricks made each entry in the series feel fresh. The core gameplay remained true, yet evolved as time went on, and with Privateer, the series even embraced open-world conventions, and paid homage to all-time classic, Elite.

Simply put, Wing Commander is one of those series that any self-respecting gamer should look up and try if they haven't already. It's part of gaming history and is a very important series, taking many brave first steps and big risks, and making them pay off.

New Models Shed Light on The Darkening's Ships

ScoobyDoo is one of the few prolific builders of the under-appreciated Tri-System ships, and he's back with two more designs from Privateer 2. The first one is the baseline CIS Salvia class destroyer. It's followed by the affordable medium Karnenan fighter. Both of Scooby's renders are followed by multi-angle views extracted directly from The Darkening. Because the game shipped with 18 playable fighters, there are quite a few Wing Commander fans who haven't flown them all. The capital ships in P2 have also always been interesting and unusual examples of asymmetrical Terran ship design. Who's going to tackle the MCPH Military Prototype someday? Don't forget that you can pick up Privateer 2 at GOG for just $5.99!

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