Hopefully this attractive cast of characters is familiar to you - they're the faces of Tiger's Claw heroes in Super Wing Commander! We've mentioned this Mac/3DO port many times over the years, so even if most Wingnuts haven't played it, they recognize the general look and feel. Some have questioned why the Asian characters look so white, why Shotglass is suddenly black and even why Paladin is sporting an eye patch... but the real question is, what's up with with their hair? It's not just that Iceman has transformed into a striking blonde. Half of our pilots are sporting some funky shaved lines on the sides of their head. The answer to this is revealed on the last page of SWC's Claw Marks (8 MB PDF). For the most part, Aaron Allston's original text is faithfully reproduced, but a final chapter was added that explains this fashion trend as a way to memorialize lost loved ones. That sure beats "they never existed!" But I still prefer Tchéky Karyo's Taggart.
9: A Shaving Off the Old Block
No matter what profession, everyone’s involved in the war ... doctors heal the injured, hydroponic farmers feed the masses, laborers construct new ships and people everywhere lend a hand. Still, the sobering facts remain. Families are wrenched apart as they cross the line from life to death. Wingmen are lost during battle. Friends never come home.
This war isn’t easy on anyone, especially for those who lose loved ones. Still, we’re all finding ways to remember what we’re fighting for.
For example, you may notice a change in some of your comrades’ hairstyles as the war progresses. In memory of family members who have died for our cause, many Confederation pilots are carving ‘memorial shaves’ into their temples. Vowing to keep the bald streaks bare until the war ends, they’re choosing to remember their loved ones by continuing the fight against the Empire.
So next time you see a newly shaven comrade, offer your condolences. And, be sure to count your blessings.
AAN's latest miniature model mockup features one of Klavs' fantastic Rapier 3D prints anchoring a Confed base under attack from the Kilrathi. The poor Terran soldiers are caught off guard by a kat onslaught. AAN's unpainted models start life at the Dream Foundry and the colored Rapier is made at Terran Fleet Supply. Some of Klavs' ships are still being caught up by Shapeways' 3D printing restrictions, but certain fighters are still making it through.
Fans who still need a copy of Wing Commander Prophecy & Secret Ops have a short window of opportunity to grab them for 66% off. Both games are a part of the Space Sim Succession pack for just $1.99 total! There are also similar discounts on the recent space sim Strike Suit Zero and expansions. This discount applies today only, and tomorrow Prophecy Gold's price reverts to the standing holiday sale price of $2.99.
delMar has continued to make excellent progress over at WCWorkShop.net. Some of the recent additions relate to programming methodology and savegame generation for the original Wing Commander. One really cool breakthrough involves the game's cutscenes. delMar has managed to find a relatively straightforward method of customizing speech, character and position in the game's talking head segments. Have you ever wondered what it'd be like for Shotglass and Halcyon to have a seated conversation at the table while Blair mans the bar? Now you can! Check out this awesome video tech demo of what's already possible.
After about a month of coding, I finally have some code in place which is able to fully dynamically generate cutscenes.
I don't have the according user interface yet for you to try, but the following video should show that it's actually working.
I have not messed with phonetics and facial expressions, I just wantet to show some small "technology demo".
Also, you may
download the according file here to try on your local installation.
Just replace the BRIEFING.000 file. The new cutscenes are right on the first mission.
If the code generator did everything right, no crashes should occur due to wrong offsets and stuff. The whole game should be perfectly playable.
Hope you like it!
Feedback welcome :)
The first new lander and rover vehicle since 1976 successfully set down on the moon and began exploring this weekend. China now joins the USA, Russia and Origin founder Richard Garriott as the owners of such equipment on our natural satellite. While the outspoken space exploration promoter is no doubt excited at the news, Mr. Garriott is also tied up in the first public release of his new game Shroud of the Avatar. Release 1 of the game is just a brief peek inside the new world being created, but it's getting very favorable reviews for such an early demo product. So what else is new with you this weekend?
centaurianmudpig has kicked off a series of video walkthroughs for Wing Commander: The Secret Missions. Each mission in the game has been recorded in 'long play' format with complete commentary. Keeping the audio track in a documentary such as this from being overly repetitive is no easy task, but Mr. mud pig has made the voiceover consistently engaging. It's a fun complement to a great game! Five chapters are already up, and more will be released soon. Check out the complete playlist here, and let CMP know what you think at the CIC Forums. If you missed it earlier, he's already made a complete video review of the original Wing Commander here.
It's been a while since I did an LP with Wing Commander, but now I'm back! With audio commentary!! Now you get to listen to my marvellous voice as I hash my way through the Thor's Hammer campaign. I have 4 video's up at time of writing, with the 5th uploading as I type. The LP will be finished by the end of next week (N.B. All videos for the series are complete, I'm just pacing it out). Please give feedback, other than on my accent, of course! If there is enough interest I will go forth in to Secret Missions 2 Crusade, nah, J/K, will probably do it any way! Seriously though, I would like feedback to know what the WC community likes/want's! Oh and no annoying ads for these, yippee!
Good Old Games has kicked off their annual holiday mega sale, and there are some great savings out there! For starters, almost their entire catalog is 50% off, including all eight Wing Commander releases. Each is just $3 now - less than $25 for the entire DOS/Windows series! By now, a lot of Wingnuts already own the franchise on GOG, but there are some other gems out there. The Ultima series, Strike Commander and Crusader No Remorse / No Regret are online, plus 600 others. There are also numerous free game giveaways throughout the month, so we'd recommend checking their front page daily for that as well. Finally, although most people can get all the WC games running smoothly, GOG has initiated a new money back guarantee for people who encounter technical problems that can't be overcome.
Scooby's latest ship is the Hornet from Super Wing Commander. He's spiced up the design with some aerodynamic improvements and more weaponry, not to mention his characteristic hull textures. The cockpit proportions help convey the size well and combine with the rest of the styling to get across a strong light fighter feel. SWC's original is also pictured below. You can find more fighter images from the Mac/3DO remake here.
Add a modified super hornet to the list (extra tail fins and third laser gun on the underside) to give it a little bit more detail. The original [SWC] model was quite flat and a bit boring.
sgupta managed to record a video of a quirky WC1 bug that alters the game's funeral sequence. He expected to see Spirit's funeral after a particularly tough mission, but the game instead played Halcyon's eulogy and Blair's remembrance for every single pilot! Fortunately, only Spirit was KIA on the killboard back in the bar. sgupta's managed to reproduce the bug under very specific circumstances on a given Secret Missions sortie when Spirit dies and the player eject. He theorizes that it may be related to the overflow bug that occasionally sets WC1 pilots to KIA between missions. Check out the morbidly funny video below.
So I'm playing Wing Commander 1; finished the main campaign, and I'm on Secret Missions 1, Mission 9. It's a bear of a mission. My wingman (Spirit) died, so I decided to eject to get to a replay quicker. It started the funeral cutscene (attending), so I decided to watch since I hadn't seen Spirit's before...and hilariously, it went through I think every single wingman. Only Spirit was dead on the board afterwards, so I think this is just a bug, but it was pretty funny.
*SPOILER* This is the Exeter escort mission that turns into the Gwenhyver ambush. It's repeatable when A) Spirit dies [even if you kill her yourself] and B) You eject. I don't know if the particular savegame used matters...ie., I don't know if ANYONE's SM1 #9 savegame would do this, or if it just happens to be some combination of how things have been saved through my personal campaign. I've since determined no matter what happens, Spirit is killed in the mission (even if I land with her by my side), so I think this is related to the well-known KIA overflow bug, though I haven't seen any other mention of this specific part of the bug (though I'd be very surprised if I'm the first to discover it; if so, cool tho').
Video here: youtube.com/watch?v=32c2fNgx7as (I'm keyboarding through so it doesn't take quite as long as it would if I just hadn't). Pretty frakkin' funny - certainly a bad day for Mr. Blair. ^.^
Last week, we reported on Wing Commander Saga's source code getting released and we now have more details on the work being done to enhance the game. Forums member Luke is part of a group of people working to improve the game on both the technical level and on the user experience side. Players will get a better fiction viewer, mission briefings will be made available in text format for easy reference, video from the WC Saga Prologue will make an appearance in the movie room and there will be easier access to the mission simulator. Information on the ongoing effort to translate the game into German is available here. Luke has also posted some technical details to our Forums that may be of interest to aspiring Saga modders.
Wingman's Hangar interviews are conducted by none other than Origin & Digital Anvil veteran Eric Peterson. Check out the Sean Murphy interview below! There's actually a cool Erin Roberts update towards the beginning, Sean's piece about 8 minutes in, a ton of material involving Ben "Bandit (LOAF)" Lesnick in the middle a discussion with Chris Roberts (in his Wing Commander-themed office) at the end. It's a good episode!
Roberts Space Industries has published a new employee interview in the latest episode of Wingman's Hangar. Cloud Imperium Games Austin has recently hired Sean Murphy, who has a long and extensive history building Wing Commander games and supporting the WC community. He'll be involved with coordinating their international teams of artists. Most Wingnuts remember Mr. Murphy as Origin's designer of the TCS Midway. He was also responsible for the Shrike, Devastator and Murphy-class destroyer, among others. What a lot of fans may not know is that Sean is also Roger Wilco! While working as an artist for Sierra in the early '90s, Sean was tapped to star as the hero of Space Quest 5 in the game's quirky documentation. If that wasn't enough of a claim to fame, his likeness was used as the face model for Zach "Jazz" Colson in Super Wing Commander!
Last, but not least, yesterday was Sean's birthday! Happy Birthday!
Escapist has finally concluded its monthlong series of Wing Commander reviews by covering the GOG release of Armada. After ripping WC3&4, the author took a conciliatory tone with his latest piece. For the most part, the lack of storyline cutscenes is overlooked and there's just a brief overview of the spaceflight and strategic portions of the game. Incredibly, the cockpit portions are called "almost indistinguishable from the first two Wing Commanders." Wow! Seasoned space sim players will recall that Armada was the first Wing Commander game to feature a 3D spaceflight engine as opposed to the 2D bitmapped sprites used in all games prior. There's also a significant difference in "speed" as Armada is often called out for its fast ships that can sometimes turn traditional Wing Commander dogfights into head-first jousts. It is a valid point that the GOG version of the game lacks the gameplay manual/reference card, which can make for a steep learning curve (ALT+O launches the menu with joystick recalibration option - see below for more!). Finally, the author completely skipped out on multiplayer, which is arguably the whole point of the game. Some people consider the strategic mode an afterthought that provided more meat for player-vs-player. Check out the whole article for yourself here.
It might seem unfair that after dinging Wing Commander 3 and 4 so badly for their painful FMV sequences, Armada loses points for having no overarching narrative at all, but the truth of the matter is that the original Wing Commander succeeded because it struck upon a perfect balance of cinematic experience, narrative gravitas and intense cockpit action. But without the first two elements to give it purpose, the third suddenly seems far less compelling. Wing Commander was a great game but it was never a great space sim, and its weaknesses are rather starkly exposed in Wing Commander: Armada. Serious nostalgia buffs might get a kick out of it, but there are better space combat sims out there, and better Wing Commander experiences too. Even so, if you want to give it a try Wing Commander: Armada is available at GOG for $5.99.
Here's the reference card that originally came with Wing Commander Armada. GOG included the Voices of War manual for background story and went above and beyond to digitize the game's Playtesters' Guide as a bonus feature, but people who never played the game before were missing a few bits of information. This sheet includes the games' basic commands, orients pilots to the cockpit and explains how the strategic sector display works. If you weren't aware, Armada also featured split screen controls for two players to dogfight from the same computer on the same keyboard! Instructions on how to manage this are also on the card. Good luck out there!
After six weeks of powering through base creation, capi3101 has finished creation of the specific places that populate the sixty-some star systems of the Elegy of Sivar RPG module. Each location got a name and set of commodities available, but they also got even more detailed info such as amenities on site, corporate affiliations, Kilrathi clan representation and plenty of fictional back story. The next task capi's going to tackle will probably revolve around data tables that document the chance of encountering various enemies at each place. It doesn't sound too complicated at first, but there's discussion now on how the chance of running into certain enemies might change at different points in the timeline.
Bases are done!
Next on the agenda for the Epsilon Sector campaign setting is encounter tables. First step there is to finalize the capabilities of the various factions in the Sector in terms of ships and fighters. For the tables themselves, I'm thinking that each one needs to include a set of possibilities on either a d10 or d% roll, with a different set of outcomes at each nav point in a given system. This will make things work like they did in Privateer; each nav point had a fixed set of possible outcomes (a set of ships and the skill levels of their pilots) and a percent-chance of a particular outcome (and therefore a particular encounter) occurring. Leaning towards using the d10; though the d% would give me a much larger set of possible outcomes, it'd mean more work for me. That's not set in stone yet.
I had the thought last night to add a series of tables for various time frames in Epsilon, specifically a time frame from 2680-2700. Given that I'd have to adjust the communities over that time for the massive influx of refugees they'd receive (and lose) and the new dilemmas they'd face (a little thing called the Nephilim War), that'd add a hell of a lot more work. I think what I'll do instead is add an "adjustment factor" rule for those who want to play the campaign setting during the Nephilim War years (which basically would override the encounter tables with an initial chance to have an encounter with the Nephilim) and come up with a set of adjustments for the bases (they'd all receive the "Plagued" complication for a time - I'm looking forward to coming up with a set of effects for the Green Plague - and I'm sure some of them would be quarantined for periods of time; some of them might get wiped off the map by the Nephilim - Decatur Station and Marcinko Station, the other two Halseys I've put in Epsilon, immediately come to mind).
I've come to realize that there's going to have to be a lot more to the Elegy campaign than just the Epsilon Sector data; I'm going to be re-organizing that part of the wiki site some time in the coming weeks. I imagine the Epsilon Sector data will move to a new page when that happens. It'll all still be accessible for y'all's perusing, but I wanted to give y'all a heads-up on that before I did it.
Forums member Silverhawk was affected by a rare glitch in the Good Old Games version of Wing Commander IV where the movies would play without picture and the standard workarounds were ineffective. HCl put together a DirectShow filter hack for him that seems to solve the issue on both Windows Vista and Windows 7. You can grab the patch here and follow these instructions:
If you are experiencing any audio, video or framerate issues with the Wing 4 release, you should first check out
Ok here's a new DLL with two couple of options configurable via videoRenderer.cfg:
- vmr7offscreen (currently set) configures the DLL to use the VMR video renderer, but instructs it to avoid using an overlay (which i think is what your system is having trouble with).
- evr, which configures DirectShow to use the new Vista / Win7 EVR Renderer (Windows Media Framework). This one still needs some tweaking, but no point in polishing it too much until i know if it helps.
Unzip this into the WC4 install folder and give it a try. If it doesn't work, open videoRenderer.cfs in notepad and change "vmr7offscreen" to "evr".
this update with solutions for the most common glitches. If your movies still have sound but no picture, you can give the DirectShow hack a shot.
Update: a new version of this patch is now available.
ScoobyDoo's latest wallpaper is a majestic spacescape featuring Privateer 2's starter ship, the Straith. The high resolution image below features three of the little flyers rolling past a planet. Each ship includes his characteristic WC3/4-style engine intakes and steely hull plates, plus there are some other nice touches such as refuel port markings. Scooby has a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak, and he's been working on this ship for well over a year. He's also got lots of other cool P2 ships in his library such as the Krell and Duress. Let him know what you think at the CIC Forums.
Q: I always wonder, how long it takes to model a spacecraft like this. Is it days or more like months?
A: Some take a week or two, some take forever. Some I get just so far into it and then hit a brick wall and get stuck on the hard drive until I finally figure out what to do with it (a few date back to pre-2008 ugh). Quite a few of these are just back-logged that need to be either updated or just finished. I think I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for Confed ships, about 20 or so left. Then about another 20 or so cat ships, those are harder to find inspirational ideas for.
AAN has revealed more pictures of his miniature painted Dralthi model, and this time the ship has a cool planetside dock to land on. It sounds like there was actually quite a lot of attention to detail put towards construction of this Kilrathi platform. The whole scene also gives off a very Lords of the Sky vibe - where's the Dolosians? You can let AAN know what you think at the CIC Forums or see about 3D printing your own miniatures at the Dream Foundry.
Kilrathi landing pad (resin building from Critical Mass games with printed roof) with Dralthi MkIV (upscaled version by Dreamfoundry). The printed roof is from Dave Graffam Paper terrain, I simply added the Kilrathi symbol with Photoshop and faded it in. It was then printed, laminated and glued to a sheet of plasticard. After that some weathering here and there and a matt varnish.
In honor of the rerelease of Wing Commander Armada, we're asking about your favorite fighter from the game. There are ten to choose from from both the Confed and Kilrathi sides! Unlike previous polls, this one isn't just asking about which is the best to fly. As sector commander, players in Armada are charged with the responsibility of mining raw materials and strategically allocating resources to shipyards in order to assemble their fleet. Seasoned veterans make the best use of each type, but when all things are considered, which do you deem the best: the cheap and nimble light fighters? Well-balanced medium attack craft? Or expensive heavy bombers? Just like in Armada, the choice is yours!
Also take a moment and appreciate the game's cockpits as well! Armada was the first game to feature the invisible dashboard HUDs. Many players hit 'F1' as soon as they launched into space to turn the cockpit off, but there's so much rich detail to see in these shots.
The last poll aspected about everyone's favorite hangout from Privateer. New Detroit was credited with having the best atmosphere, but Oxford wasn't far behind. Predictably, special places like New Constantinople, Perry Naval Base and the Steltek Carrier also fared well. Among the more common locales, the Agricultural worlds were neck and neck with Pleasure Planets! See the full results below.
delMar has recently gotten into the exciting WC modification discussions at the CIC Forums where Wingnuts from all over are digging into what makes the first couple Wing Commanders tick. He's decided to help contribute by building a set of web apps to allow modification to Wing Commander 1&2. WCWorkShop.net has been set up as the future home of these tools, but there's already quite a bit of data that's been collected and posted to see. Check it out for yourself here, or visit the CIC Forums to join the conversation!
I finally was able to publish the current state of my editor, which is called WC-Workshop. I'm looking forward to your feedback, both about the application itself and about some newly discovered resource data. Please note, that neither the application nor the data are complete. There's still lots of information on the forum which I have not yet been able to display.
System and Wing names are now displayed as they are contained in the MODULE.000 file which I started to integrate today.
Also, Nav-Points are already displayed in the tree, but do not yet display detailed information. I just did not find the time today...
The UI will improve over time, right now the data is displayed more or less according to where it belongs technically.
I definitely will re-arrange it and not only that, some data won't be even editable in the editor (eg the number of missions per series is stored somewhere, iirc), it will just be calculated upon resource file generation.
Next update will deal with detailed information about nav points. As already mentioned earlier, I have lots more of information already decoded than I can display at the moment.
Here's a peek at the absolutely badass Dralthi IV cockpit that Howard Day recently put together. The plan is to integrate this with the Academy mods that HCl has been experimenting with for Wing Commander Academy. It bears a very strong resemblance to the Dralthi II layouts that we see in Secret Missions 2 (pictured first after the quote below), but it also packs in some really great asymmetrical features. On the programming front, HCl has managed to make some good progress recently on the Dralthi importation, but he's also encountered some complex glitches. If anyone can overcome them though, he can!
I finally managed to do some more work on the WCA Dralthi. Basically, I managed to implement the stats and do the necessary tweaks to account for the "higher-resolution" mode being used (which, as a side effect, ends up making the ship look larger than it should). Reducing the bitmap size parameter on the ship file (and adjusting the hit radius somewhat) seemed to do the trick, and the ship seems now to have the correct size in-game. Oddly enough however, the ship on-destruction explosion is still smaller than the ship sprite, even though the ship was scaled down. Not only that, but the explosion size seems to *decrease* as the ship radius *increases*. Strange...
I'll look into the ship stats chunk again and double check things, maybe there's one parameter in there that I should be editing and i'm not (although there are not many unknown values in there at this point). Still, I wonder if i didn't hit a WC2 bug, it certainly feels like one... I would expect the explosion radius to increase as the ship radius increases, not the opposite. Well, I guess it should be possible to work around this, either via EXE hacking or simply by importing higher-resolution explosion sprites to match.
In the meantime, I'll see if I can start coding the various regions for Howie's cockpit :D
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