Happy New Year! (A Look Back at 2013)

Happy New Year Wingnuts! It's been another big year for Wing Commander fans, and 2014 should be even better. The biggest news stories often arrive out of nowhere, so it's exciting to think about what might happen next. But before we go charging forward, here's a brief look back at a few of the big stories from last year. If someone were to just look at a couple random days of WC news, it might not seem like a whole lot is happening - but skimming the weeks and months of news in our archives is amazing!
    Star Citizen Development Gets Under Way
  • The Austin office of Cloud Imperium Games was established around the beginning of the year, and developments poured out regularly thereafter. We're not a Star Citizen news site, but we do cover Roberts Space Industries events that are Wing Commander-related such as numerous ex-Originite hires, inclusion of a neat easter egg or the theatrical showing of the WC Movie at Citizen Con.
  • Wing Commander: A Defiant Few Launches
  • Plywood Fiend's audio adventure in the Gemini Sector kicked off with scripting, casting and previews in January. Over the course of the year, several chapters were were released and the story is still going strong.

  • Wing Commander Highlighted in 3D Printing Breakthrough
  • In early February a German company demonstrated a new form of micrometer-scale 3D printing that could be used to build incredibly tiny structures. Many major magazines and websites ran with the story, so it got a lot of press. What did they build to demonstrate the technology? A Hellcat V!
  • Hamill's WC3 Flight Suit Resurfaces
  • Pix's Origin Adventures helped reconnect with the fan who won a 1995 contest for the screen-worn Blair flight suit in Wing Commander 3. The suit has been well cared for over the course of 18 years and the winner graciously provided some cool pictures. Later in the year, we got a peek at quite a few artifacts that also decorate Chris Roberts' office today.
  • Amateur 3D Printing Explodes
  • Wingnuts have been 3D printing small miniature ships for years now, but the technology really took off in 2013! One of the biggest breakthroughs happened in March with Klavs' color 3D prints. For the first time, fans could go beyond hand-painting tiny figures and order large designs with relatively detailed color textures and decals. They have been extremely popular and dozens of sharp models were made in 2013.
  • GOG Rereleases Entire Wing Commander Series
  • 2013 was huge for digital rereleases of Wing Commander games! The entire DOS/Windows saga was completed with the addition of Academy in August, P2: The Darkening in September, Prophecy & Secret Ops and Armada & Proving Grounds in November. Don't forget that Strike Commander was also added in March and Macintosh compatibility was expanded all year. As great as it is for a whole new generation to be able to buy Wing Commander cheap and easy, this also provided HCl an opportunity to flex his considerable programming muscle and add new features such as the deinterlace patch for Privateer 2 and DVD video upgrade for Prophecy. All of these enhancements even work for both the digital GOG releases and the old school disc-based versions!
  • Wing Commander In Concert
  • In April it was revealed that famous Wing Commander composer George Oldziey's music would finally be performed live in concert by the Austin Symphony. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the WC portion was ultimately removed from the planned October concert, but all hope is not lost! Stay tuned for more on this subject in the future. Wing Commander FPS Unearthed
  • Origin veteran Binky Launius uncovered "lost footage" of a first person shooter set in the Wing Commander universe. The project didn't get very far, but in 1997 it was considered and pitched at Origin. There's even a very rudimentary concept video!
  • Flat Universe Shooter Project Kicked Off
  • Flat Universe was one of several promising fan projects that were initiated in 2013. The Maslas Brothers worked with prominent Wingnut artists to import existing assets into their 2D engine. They also supplemented their project with a flashy website and electronic magazine. EA Releases Ultima Forever
  • Origin's other vaunted franchise received a boost this year with the release of Ultima Forever for iOS devices. Although we'd much rather see a new Wing Commander game, it's great to see a new title based on one of Origin's classic series. The game continues to receive updates and has a strong social media component. Supposedly it even includes an easter egg quest with a Kilrathi ship!
  • WC RPG Completed
  • capi's well-planned and meticulous role playing game was finally completed and released this year. It's not the only RPG project that was active in 2013, but what is remarkable is that the project set out with a very specific set of goals, set specific targets and then provided status updates with progress details on a regular basis. It's a model that many people could learn from - and it works!
  • CIC Hits Ten Years of Constant News
  • We proudly tooted our own horn in mid 2013 when the CIC reached ten years of constant daily updates. Around the time that Prophecy was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, the CIC Staff decided to kick things into overdrive and hunt something down to report every day. We now sit at about 3870 consecutive days of Wing Commander news on our front page! The material isn't always earth shattering breaking news, but this very roundup proves that quite a bit of exciting stuff does happen!

  • Fatman Cleans Up WC1 Album
  • George The Fatman Sanger updated his commercial release of WC1 music mid year when discrepancies were found with two tracks. This was the kind of thing that could easily have been ignored and left to sit for eternity, but Mr. Fat graciously avoided leaving Wing Commander fans in the lurch.

  • Wing Commander on Blu-ray!
  • On August 6, Wing Commander was finally released on Blu-ray! The long-awaited high definition physical media release did not include any extra features aside from higher resolution and detail, but seeing a brand new boxed Wing Commander product on regular store shelves with simply a joy to behold. Even the regular DVD was updated with an anamorphic aspect ratio, and the sound track was released digitally on iTunes/Amazon.
  • The CIC Turns 15 Years Old
  • August 10 marked 15 years of WCNews.com! Our birthday party was a huge success and ton of fun. We released a new OEM demo of WC Prophecy, modernized our video section, reported on tons of fan projects and posted some very interesting archive material. Here's to the next 15 years!
  • Bandit (LOAF) Gets Married
  • Wing Commander and LOAF go together like Shotglass and the Tiger's Claw Bar, but he made room for a second love in his life this year! His CIC friends were there to share pictures from the happy event. It'd been nine years since the last staff member got married, and it was fun to see how much we'd changed in between (and stayed the same!).
  • Classic WC1/2 Modding Back in Style
  • It was also a great year for modification of the first couple Wing Commander games. Most modding over the last decade or so has focused on the later games in the series, but HCl and Howard's additions to Academy and delMar's WCWorkShop site have reinvigorated interest in the classic titles. We're anxious to see this trend continue!
There you have it! This is only a sample of what happened in 2013. The real news is that fans continue to work tirelessly every single day to commemorate the Wing Commander series and strengthen the community. Keep it up in 2014! We'll be here to report what happens.
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Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans. Recent updates:


Homeworld Mod Adds WC1/2 Ships
2017-10-23 -- L.I.F.

Waterloo Prepares For Battle
2017-10-22 -- Klavs has taken a well earned break from designing real space ships to further expand his Wing Commander fleet. Today's addition is the powerful Waterloo cruiser. We don't get to admire this ship as much as we'd like in WC2, so it's nice to see how fans have taken a liking to it.

WC3 Memory Glitch Got A Clever Cover Up
2017-10-21 -- There’s a well known anecdote from the development of WC1 that talks about how an error message when quitting the game was changed to “Thank you for playing Wing Commander.” That story now has a sequel thanks to a tweet by WC3 programmer Robin Todd! In this case, there was a random crash that was changed to resemble a CD-ROM error.

Academy Concept Art Shows Off WC3 Roots
2017-10-20 -- Renowned comic and storyboard artist Tim Eldred has posted a couple of neat pictures to his Instagram. They feature concept sketch work that he did for Wing Commander Academy before the show was made. These were done early in his professional life and ended up influencing the rest of his career.

Delve Deeper Into FM Towns Wing Commander
2017-10-19 -- The amazing Pix of Pix's Origin Adventures is back with a second look at Wing Commander for the Japanese FM Towns system. If you missed his first look, it's worth a read so you can get a better understanding of the hardware and software package that goes into this. Now that he's played the game a bit, he's summarized some of the pros and cons inherent in this fairly advanced port.

Origin Heroes Profiled In New Sketches
2017-10-18 -- Denis Loubet has drawn a new pair of images based on some of his early work at Origin. They depict the twin stars of Ultima and Wing Commander reflecting on the struggles they face. Wingnuts at the CIC Forums helped provide reference material and recommendations on Bluehair's look.

High Quality Orca Pods Make A Splash
2017-10-17 -- The Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack has another fearsome addition. DefianceIndustries has successfully implemented Dark Sentinel's Orca destroyer. It looks great in the Vision Engine with a blend of distinctive details and elements that shimmer into the starry blackness.

WC Solar Empire Game Now Available To Try
2017-10-16 -- The first playable test release of the Wing Commander Mod for Sins of a Solar Empire has been released! Nomada_Firefox cautions that there are likely to be issues that players encounter, but feedback at this stage is quite valuable and it looks like a pretty cool fleet battle game. Obviously the SoaSE base game is required, and fans can download the files after registering here.

Wing Commander Available Via Movies Anywhere
2017-10-15 -- Five of the biggest movie studios have surprisingly banded together to fix an annoying aspect of the digital age. As we accumulate movies across different platforms, our library gets scattered and we have to utilize a wide variety of services to see what we own. But now, movies that that were produced by 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney and Sony Pictures and are owned within iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu or Google Play can now be interlinked under an umbrella called Movies Anywhere.

Homeworld Mod Adds Confed Light Cruiser
2017-10-14 -- The Homeworld Remastered mod has been looking at how to fill a gap in the Confed fleet lineup, and L.I.F.

Games Within Games
2017-10-13 -- Mainstream gaming news site Kotaku has an article that promises a hidden, text-based adventure game hidden inside Wing Commander: Privateer. And it's true! The original Privateer shipped with a small file called TABTNE.

Scim Milk
2017-10-12 -- Here's one that goes back a bit: DefianceIndustries, master of the Vision Engine visual Upgrade Pack, happened across a Wing Commander-inspired ship design he'd worked on some years ago: a 'movie' version of the CF-105 Scimitar! It's a pretty neat concept, mixing the classic Scimitar with the look of the movie's Rapier. Scimitars were mentioned as precursors to the movie's Rapiers in the Confederation Handbook's Joan's Fighting Ships section...

Not News: Space Battleship Yamato
2017-10-11 -- Okay, we're going to level with you on this one: our site's CMS has a section called 'skeleton' where we put ideas for future Wing Commander updates. If we don't have time to write up an article or find screenshots, we'll leave notes for other CIC staff members. We update every day, so we work together to make sure there's something interesting.

Will it Blender?
2017-10-10 -- Here's a surprise treat for anyone interested in learning to make their own 3D spaceships: a two-part, 24-minute tutorial showing how to build a Union of Border Worlds Banshee using Blender! These excellent videos were created by a user named 백선모 and it's unclear where they were intended to be published.

Aren't You a Little Star Wars to Blow Up a Fralthra?
2017-10-09 -- In addition to being an extremely talented artist, Howard Day is a man who knows his explosions! Wing Commander II has two sets of 'ship killed' sprites, one for fighters and one for capital ships. As it turns out, both of them were taken straight from the Endor battle in the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi.

Grin and Behr It
2017-10-08 -- Well before Alexa and Siri, before even Merlin there was... Dani! One of the selling points of Privateer 2: The Darkening was that your ship's computer was voiced by British actress and presenter Dani Behr.

Ranks in Wing Commander IV
2017-10-07 -- Welcome to the third part of our practical Wing Commander ranks guide! The ranks in Wing Commander IV are most familiar to fans owing to the fact that the game's credits clearly identify many characters' full ranks and the DVD quality videos have allowed them to be carefully observed. But our review found some interesting notes - including a Navy rank not called out before and the fact that some of these are quite different from those seen in Wing Commander III!

Ranks in Wing Commander III
2017-10-06 -- After learning the rank system for the Wing Commander movie, we decided to take a look back at the full motion video games. We were surprised to find that what we thought we knew wasn't accurate: as it turns out, the ranks used in Wing Commander III are different from those seen in the later games! The ranks in WC3 are harder to track because of the lower quality video, but a careful review can determine them for every character.

Ranks in the Wing Commander Movie
2017-10-05 -- I was disappointed in myself recently when I realized I had never bothered to learn the rank insignias used in the Wing Commander movie. Just like the full motion video games, Chris Roberts' team developed an entire system of rank insignias that was never explained… just shown in action! AD was kind enough to grab some screenshots and as a result we have created this guide to identifying officers and enlisted men in the film.

Wing Commander Academy in Arabic
2017-10-04 -- Some time ago we reported that Wing Commander Academy had been translated and broadcast on TV in Arabic. Now streaming service Star Dima has the episodes available for viewing online! You can access the series here.

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