NinjaLA Improves Note Cards with Wing Commander Ships

NinjaLA has done some experimenting with "art cards," and the results have turned out pretty sharp. He's taken a stab at recreating some of his favorite subject items, which include a Dralthi and Scimitar. If you like his style, check out his Wing Commander comic prototype pages from last year.
art caaaards

ok.. so I may be more impressed with these than most people will be but it is pretty fun drawing on a 2.5x3.5 inch card and mixing medias like a crazy person.

Hellcat Model Ready for Final Hull Texture

Whiplash's Hellcat is nearing the home stretch. Panel lines have been completely chiseled into the space frame, so all that remains is the actual painting. Gray filler sections are first, and they're now visible starting on both the top and bottom aft ends and through the top center fuselage. It'll be interesting to see how far he goes with it. Compared to the original primer coat, the ship already has a realistic weathered look. Hopefully this inspires more Wingnuts out there to find a way to creatively express their Wing Commander fandom!
Hi everyone, I'm very excited about this update. This project has been fun, challenging and extremely rewarding so far, and it's now really starting to feel like the hard work is paying off.

What am I rambling on about? Well, I started painting the surface detail. Still WIP, but the results have been... well, judge for yourself. Scroll to the top of the page and compare the "vanilla" version to what you see here.

The ship is really starting to come alive. Hope you like it as much as I do!

CIC Instant Video

Did you know that the Holovids video archive was recently overhauled? The CIC's central video repository contains trailers and previews, original cinematics, behind the scenes material and deleted footage, all collected over the CIC's long history. The videos can be streamed from any modern browser, on desktop/laptop or mobile. You can also download the movies outright if you want to keep a copy in the best possible quality. Get watching!

Strike Commander Remake Targets Oculus Rift

Fabien Sanglard has always wanted to play Origin's Strike Commander with a virtual reality headset. The upcoming Oculus Rift is the first best chance at consumer grade VR, but games must be specifically designed with the equipment in mind. Without access to Strike Commander's source code, Fabien has set out to create a new, VR-ready game engine for Strike Commander using the original (extracted) game assets. He's already got a good handle on maps and fighter assets, and some progress has been made on dialogs, savegames and menus. Strike Commander uses similar file formats as some of the Wing Commander games, so HCl's tools and documentation has been helpful.

Back in the early 90s, one company was on the bleeding edge of PC gaming: Origin Systems. Their motto was "We Create Worlds" and boy did they deliver: With the Ultima series, Crusader series and Wing Commander series, they consistently took gamer's breath away.

One of them took four years and more than a million man hours to complete: Strike Commander. The famous flight simulator had its own 3D engine called RealSpace which pioneered many of what we take for granted today: Texture Mapping, Gouraud Shading, Level of Details and Dithered colors.

You can follow Fabien's progress (and learn a thing or two about reverse engineering) on the project's website. The latest version of his source code can be found on GitHub, but you need your own copy of Strike Commander for the various game assets. The game is available from Good Old Games for just $5.99. Below you can see some extracted ships and terrains with simple OpenGL rendering functions applied.

Tales of the Claw Teased Again

Klavs' latest image is a gorgeous shot of the Confed Vega fleet. It's centered on the Tiger's Claw with Exeters, Ventures, Draymen and many fighters running escort. It would make an absolutely fantastic wallpaper, and at 3840x2160, it's even rendered for ultra HD 4K displays! The most exciting element might just be the title, however. The phrase "Tales of the Claw" refers back to the animated project that Klavs first revealed last year, and the sub caption is 'Coming Soon'. "Now I'm delving into the realm of character animation and storytelling, and, as always, the best inspiration comes from the wonderful universe that Chris Roberts created. In the coming months, I'll be working on a series of short animated films retelling some events aboard the TCS Tiger's Claw from Wing Commander I." Awesome, we can't wait!
Coming Soon*

Recommendations Now Being Considered for New WC Album Tracks

George Oldziey has provided another update on the post-Kickstarter status of his live recording Wing Commander album. He's started assessing bids from different orchestras in order to firm up what's possible in terms of symphony quality, duration and location. He's also taking feedback from fans for ideas on what tracks should be included, so definitely stop by the CIC Forums or add to the KS comments for an opportunity to get your thoughts in!
Greetings all! I apologize for being absent the last few days. I had a studio commitment (recording and mixing an Indian/Jazz album) that kept me in my "man-cave" for 4 days straight!

Again, big heartfelt hugs and thanks to all for making this campaign much more successful than I could have dreamed possible. I am so humbled by the support as well as for the very kind messages that were sent to me. I have to say a very special thank you to Ben Lesnick, and Chris Reid; two amazing guys that have kept the WC fires burning after all these years! And Ben donated some very special mementos that were snatched up for rewards (which we'll try to get out as soon as possible). Thank you guys!

And as I mentioned before, EVERY dollar counted! I could tell some of you were really stretching your budgets. I so totally appreciate that!

Now for the big work ahead! I'm already in the process of garnering bids from several orchestras for the recording. I'd like to strike a good balance between overall performance quality and the amount of music the orchestra will produce. Of course, I'd love for ALL the music to be orchestral. We'd probably need more funds for that, but either way, I'll have at the very least 45 minutes of total music, and more if there is less orchestra and more sample based arrangements.

I've already received some suggestions for which pieces to include, so I invite anyone who has some thoughts about that to pass them my way! I actually don't remember everything that I've written!

I'll keep you all posted when things get clearer, and I can actually book the studio time. I can't do that anyway until the funds clear, which should be in a few weeks. That will give me a better idea of the ETA of the final product.

So, I can't tell you how excited I am to get started on this. Thank you for making this happen!

George

Clive Owen Recollects Privateer 2

Clive Owen recently conducted a Reddit AMA, and a couple of people asked about his Wing Commander experience. Clive's gone on to have quite a career over the past two decades, so it's nice that he hasn't forgotten his roots! You can read up on what else he had to say here. Thanks to CataclysmX for spotting this one.
Erasmus354> I loved you as an actor since seeing you as Ser Lev Arris in the video game Wing Commander Privateer 2. What was it like acting for a video game compared to traditional film and would you consider doing it again?

DracoVolans> How was your experience with acting in the game Privateer 2: The Darkening?

TheRealCliveOwen> It was one of the first ever video games to do that I remember - they pulled together a pretty great cast and it was a very new thing at the time. I have very fond memories of shooting it.


Comm VDU Images Show Off WC2 Pilot Roster

Spurred by some questions about helmet nameplates, Dondragmer conducted some WC2 archeology and posted some neat pictures of the communications VDU pilot heads. The basic pilots, plus a generic man and woman, lead the pack, and Bear Bondarevsky joins in Special Operations 1. The four SO2 additions are the Wild Eagles, Maniac, Minx, Crossbones and Talon, although their call signs are missing. Jazz's floating helmet from the end of the game also makes a guest appearance. The pictures are cool enough, but there's also some very interesting discussion on the file formats and how some of the game was built. HCl even joins the fray with an update on his research into the game!
As a side note, I'm getting close on my disassembling of the WC2 scripting code that we may be able to start playing with the Gameflow relatively soon. From my research so far, the WC2 scripting mechanism is pretty much a stack-based VM, with 186 opcodes. There are still more unknown opcodes than known ones, but as it is, things are making sense, and i'm able to follow simple chunks of bytecode and roughly understand what happens.

There are apparently four levels to it, with Script, Plane, Sequence and Sprite data defined in each Series / Incident chunk. Script only has one scripted function (often called "doit"), which is called to bootstrap the whole thing, and call other scripts (often from other "levels"). It's really amazing how different it is from WC1, and the more I look at this the more I agree with Quarto, in the sense that it really feels like a VM almost as advanced as the one used in WCP.

Anyway, this is proving to be an exciting adventure! :) I'll be posting more as I go along!

You can find more classic WC head shots here and a massive collage of all the targeting VDU images here.

WC4 Hack Fixes Subtitle Duration

While working on his ambitious full Russian translation patch for Wing Commander 4, ginger_tigra came across an odd bug that most likely affects every version of the game, but has so far gone unnoticed. When the comms VDU is turned off or the player switches to their VDU to shields or damage report, the subtitle speed kicks into overdrive. ginger_tigra figured out a solution that involves some old fashioned hex-editing. If you don't have a hex editor lying around, Hexplorer is free and easy to use.

The exact instructions vary slightly depending on what version of WC4DVD you have. GoG users as well as players with an original (Creative Labs Encore bundled) DVD release need to make the following changes.

AddressOldNew
0004E2364C6C
0004E237B8D3
0004E2EB7490
0004E2EC2190

The first column denotes the address. The second column and third column specify the old and new values respectively. For example, at address 0004E236 value 4C needs to be changed to 6C.

For players that have upgraded their CD edition of WC4 with the community DVD upgrade patch the required changes are as follows:

AddressOldNew
0004E2366C8C
0004E237B8D3
0004E2EB7490
0004E2EC2190

WC Album Kickstarter Rocks It With $42,113!

A huge last-minute surge, including about $2,000 in the final hour, pushed the Wing Commander music Kickstarter album project up to $42,113 from 588 backers. That's a past the minimum $35K goal, which means there's a good chance that a bit more than the original 15 minutes of live orchestra recording will be made. For fans who contributed $50 or more, George is planning 45 minutes of music, although the exact mix of live versus digital reorchestration is still in flux pending negotiations with the musicians.


We know money is tight for many folks out there, but it's been so exciting to see hundreds of Wingnuts rally around this project over the last month. Great things come from sweat and sacrifice, and the fans out there have proved that they can make great things happen. George has gotten word that some interested people were unable to pledge before the deadline and/or would have pledged if there was a non-credit card option such as Paypal available. We'll post the details here if alternative arrangements are made to continue the fund raiser in some limited ongoing capacity. We think such an option would be a great idea, since it potentially increases the length of live orchestration that all past pledgers would receive.


Last, but not least, here's what George had to say upon the Kickstarter's completion!

I've got to run to a recording session (I'll have a more detailed report later), but I just HAVE to tell everyone how absolutely THRILLED I am with the results of this campaign! It's turning out to be a project beyond my wildest dreams. While I was jogging early this morning I was thinking about all of your incredible support, and made me realize that there are times in one's life when you don't realize what an impact you are having. I'm starting to think that the work I was blessed to do for Wing Commander may indeed turn out to be my most significant artistic achievement, especially in terms of reaching people. Your enthusiasm is, and I've used this term before, humbling! I will not let you down when I say I'll deliver the most amazing sounding product you can imagine!

More later! Again, my most heartfelt thanks! Many more updates to come!

George

Exeter Evens the Odds Against the Kilrathi

Not one to let the Kats have all the fun, Klavs has bolstered the Confed fleet with his take on the Exeter class destroyer. This design comes across as very sleek for a large capship, and those big engines make it look like she can really build up some speed! The canted nose and recessed rear hangar bay are especially nice touches.
Once again, Howard Day led the way with the rear hangar concept. I just enclosed it a bit and did my own take on this old girl. I built the ship around a pair of Bengal engines, and yes, I'm aware it's missing a pair! Not the greatest fan of this design, but I think it will serve well in general fleet and battle shots.

Final Hours for Kickstarter Campaign

George Oldziey's Wing Commander Album Kickstarter is heading into its final push. With twelve hours to go, the project has exceeded the $35,000 target by $4,000! The additional funds will go a long way towards either increasing the amount of live orchestra recorded or adding digital reorchestration to approach a standard album length! We're excited to see what the final KS number will be!

Music Album Hits Kickstarter Goal!

It's a great day for Wingnuts out there! George Oldziey's campaign to create a live reorchestration of the music from WC3, WC4 & Prophecy has met its minimum funding goal. This means that George can begin working the details to get this thing made! The project crossed $35,000 with about 500 backers early this morning, but there's still a little more time to go until the official end on Saturday morning. We're now in the very fortunate position of seeing what stretch goals will be possible. One way or another, the plan is to try to get as close to a 'normal' length album as possible, and every dollar above the minimum goal helps that along. I'll leave the rest to George, who's obviously ecstatic!
Wow!! I could barely sleep last night, wondering if I'd wake up and see that "$35" in front of the other three numbers. And YES!! There it was!!! Words cannot express the incredible elation and gratitude that I'm feeling! I CAN"T WAIT to start orchestrating more of the music!

A most heartfelt thank you to EVERYONE who pledged and help spread the word. EVERY dollar counts; from the $1 pledges all the way up to the pledges in the thousands of dollars! I promise to deliver the most amazing product I can, both in terms of the amount of music and the sonic quality!

What's more astounding is that we reached the target with 2 days to go in this Kickstarter campaign! Way to go everyone! Now I'd like you to give me MORE work to do so that you can get even more than the 25 minutes of music (15 with the orchestra, 10 with digital samples) this first target amount will cover. As I updated the other day, each thousand dollars above this target will yield 5 minutes of digital sampled produced orchestrations OR more time to produce more music with an orchestra. Either way I'd LOVE to yield a full CD's worth of newly arranged and produced WC music when all is said and done!

So let's see what we can do with the next 48 hours in this campaign!!

I love you all!

George

Radio Rollins Appearing at California Convention

LeHah noticed that Courtney "Radio Rollins" Gaines will be appearing at Monsterpalooza in Burbank on March 28-30. In addition to playing the comm officer in Wing Commander 3, he's had numerous roles in films like Children of the Corn, Back to the Future and Memphis Belle. Be sure to check the convention schedule if you'd like to meet him - there can often be last minute changes and specific windows of availability. And if you happen to get an autograph or picture with him and your Wing Commander memorabilia, post or send it in!

Hellcat V Hull Plating Takes Shape

Whiplash's wooden Hellcat model has taken a big step forward in the realism department. The airframe shape was already spot on, but the texture so far has been a flat gray. Just like with a digital 3D model, adding small details like panel lines adds significantly to the polished feel of a ship. He used a printout of the game model to carefully etch in hull plates, access doors and recessed sections to produce the latest look. Up next is detailed painting!
After staring at my reference material for what felt like days, I eventually settled on a close-up of a few in-game screenshots I took as being the best guide. Having printed out a few images, I then proceeded to sketch in the lines directly on the model itself.

Next came the really tricky part: Having drawn the lines in, I very carefully and gently scored the lines into the wood using a variety of sharp metal objects. The tip of a nail seemed to give the best results. I then wiped the excess pencil marks off with a damp cloth, leaving very narrow grooves slightly darkened with pencil markings. This gives quite a good impression of fine panel lines.

Of course some minor damage is caused to the outer paint layer, but nothing that cannot be touched up later. Adding this detail also had the unexpected side effect of giving the ship a slightly used and weathered look, which is exactly want you want for that extra bit of authenticity.

Here is a final look at my progress thus far. I think it has turned out quite well! I've covered just about the whole ship; let me know what you think!

Wing Commander Album Inches Closer to Target

The live orchestra Wing Commander Kickstarter project continues to get closer and closer to the magical $35,000 threshold. What's been especially striking about the last day is that more than $1,000 has been added by existing backers upgrading their pledges today. George has refined his 'stretch goals' explanation in order to make every dollar more worthwhile.


Adding 15 more minutes of live orchestration if the campaign reaches $47,000 is still the plan, but if the total is somewhere between $35K and $47K, George will try to negotiate as much musician time as possible. If that doesn't completely pan out, additional digital reorchestration will be produced for each $1,000 above the minimum $35K. The basic digital and CD tiers exist starting at $20 and $50, and George is asking for $50 (digital) and $100 (CD) to enable this additional length. This is obviously a lot more than you can find an album for at Walmart, but every contribution is helping to make this wonderful thing happen!

Greetings everyone! We're ever closer to the $35,000 target! Thank you ALL so much, from the bottom of my heart!

Let me just clarify what that $35K will get us. As it stands the initial target will deliver 15 minutes of music with a full symphony orchestra and choir. I've already added the incentive for pledges of $50 and above of another 10 minutes of digitally orchestrated music using my sample libraries in my studio. That first 15 minutes of orchestral music will be available as digital download for pledges of $20 or more. The full 25 minutes of orchestra plus the digital orchestration will be available as digital download for $50 and up, and on the CD for $100 and up.

You may recall that the next target for an additional 15 minutes with the orchestra and choir was $47,000. I could probably work out a deal with an orchestra contractor to have an orchestra stay another hour or two instead of the typical 3 hour session (which would get that extra 15 minutes) if we get to an amount above the $35K but not quite to $47K. Unfortunately that's something I can't say for sure until I know what the total amount turns out to be. NEVERTHELESS, if we get past the target amount I WILL DO MY ABSOLUTE BEST TO BRING YOU AS MUCH WC MUSIC WITH ORCHESTRA AS CAN BE AFFORDED BY THE FINAL AMOUNT. And if for some reason it's still not enough to book more orchestral music I WILL DELIVER 5 MINUTES OF DIGITALLY ORCHESTRATED MUSIC FOR EVERY $1000 WE REACH ABOVE THE TARGET! I wish I could do that for free, but I'd have to take time off from other professional pursuits to accomplish that :) Any additional music will also be available at the $50 level and up (download) and on the CD ($100 level and up). Of course another scenario could be using the extra funds to record with someone like the London Symphony instead of Prague or Bratislava. I'll keep you posted on that! I'll update all this on the opening pledge campaign web page.

I will be soliciting suggestions from everyone who pledged after the campaign for what their favorite WC 3, 4 and Prophecy is, should we blow past the target amount!

OK, let's get back to work! Wonderful job so far everyone! You are all amazing!

Lastly, we'll also be adding awards to the CIC Forums Ribbons/Medals Trophy System to the accounts of Wingnuts who backed the campaign!

Wing Commander Kickstarter Fast Approaching Goal

It's been a very exciting few days for George Oldzieys' Wing Commander Music Album Kickstarter! Led by the claiming of LOAF's Kilrathi rifle, there's been a wave of momentum that's helped push the campaign up to more than $32,500 with 475 backers. The project will be a 'Go' at $35,000, and additional funds beyond that can still increase the length of the album.


Speaking of the album length, George has posted a clarification/extension on what the physical disc will include. A few places mention 9.5 minutes of music, but this is just what has been orchestrated on paper so far. The $35,000 goal will enable 15 minutes of live recorded music, and some of the top contributors will be able to help pick what the last few minutes will be. Additionally for people who pledge $50 or more, George says he'll add another 10 minutes of electronically reorchestrated music made in his own state-of-the-art studio, for a minimum of 25 minutes of music. The $20 tier will continue to include digital copies of the 15 minutes of live orchestra, however stretch goals above the $35,000 campaign target can still boost this as well!

ANYONE who pledges at least $50 will have at the very least access to 25 total minutes of music instead of just the 15 minutes planned for the orchestra recording. Of course, if we wildly pass the target, and have enough funds to record ALL of it with the orchestra, I'll make sure to do that! It's been my dream since I wrote the first notes for Wing Commander III!

As some of the existing high dollar rewards have started to go, George has added his own leather dev team jacket, framed WC3 & WC4 posters, and copies of WC3, WC4 & Prophecy. These are available for between $600 and $3,000. That might seem like a lot, but these are from George's personal collection and carry a lot of sentimental value. But priorities are priorities!

Bringing out the heavy hitters here. These are TRULY prized possessions of mine. But, as I said earlier, there is a higher calling at stake here! I just created two new pledge categories for each of my original Wing Commander 3 and Wing Commander 4 posters that have proudly been hanging in my studio for almost 20 years. I'll autograph them and ship them anywhere in the world!

And stay tuned for any last minute developments as the end to the campaign approaches early Saturday morning!

First Destiny's Way of 2679 Published

The latest issue of Destiny's Way has been released! DW is the in-universe magazine for the slick WC Flat Universe project, and their fifth edition does not disappoint. There's a feature article about a Free Trader, clever Orion ad and a review of the new Quine 5500C. Be on the look out for more news on their game soon!
Dear WingNuts,

The new Destiny's Way issue is published, you may visit .../dway.html in order to download it or read it right away from your browsers. Also, stay tuned with us, because during the following days we might give you some news that you most definitely like.

Enjoy,
the MaslasBros

Tiger's Claw Fighters Ready to Sit-'n-Kick

Klavs' latest renders show off some of the hot fiery bits on the Hornet and Scimitar. The main engine flares, reaction control thrusters and engine muzzle blast are all on display here. Each of the ships are designed for more than good looks - they were thought out to be functional in an animation or active project of some kind. The stills already look great as is, but we're anxious to see everything in motion some day!
Rigging the Hornet for action. Lights, camera, thrusters!

For my version (emphasis mine, this is non-cannon, of course) of the WC universe, the idea is that all ships have a limited form of non inertial drive, but it's limited to 2-5 gees based on reactor power vs ship mass. (Lighter ships built around big reactors can achieve greater maneuverability at the cost of payload armor and reaction mass) For higher accelerations (Afterburner) you have to burn propellant through your fighter's hot nuclear reactor. This gives the ships the ability for planetary VTOL as seen in WC2-4, and justifies (barely) the existence of light fighters vs just firing a bunch of AI driven missile busses. Ships with inertial-less drive can usually always recover, provided the mothership isn't too far away or moving too fast by comparison.

For larger ships it gets exponentially harder to accelerate using large masses using the (let's call it the repulsor drive) over 1.5 gees. So you typically use the drive for maneuvering and working gravity for the crew, but still have to burn reaction mass by passing it through your reactor to move the ship anywhere useful. Thus you get slower maneuvering capital ships, quick fighters with fuel limitations. RCS thrusters are used during recovery and hard manuvers because it looks cool. Otherwise you're flying on the inertial drive. (Or Repulsorlifts, if you check the WC3 checklist. They're somewhere after Batman's Atomic Batteries and Turbines.)

This is my full-of-holes working theory, anyway. Spacefighters are more the realm of science fantasy, but I like to have a LITTLE justification here and there in the space-going-aircraft-carrier-analogy-thing. :)

On the other end of the spectrum is the Scimitar. Very few RCS thrusters, but great big impulse pods to maneuver the mass of the ship around, and, presumably, a big reactor(s).

Wing Commander Music Kickstarter Enters Final Week

It's been another productive week for George Oldziey's mission to produce a Wing Commander album with a live orchestra. An impressive $20,000 has now been pledged toward the cause. However, the funding drive is now in its final seven days, and another $15,000 must be contributed or no funds will be paid out and the album won't move forward! A lot of people wait until the end of a fund raiser to donate, however, so we're all hopeful that your generous pledges are still on the way.


In order to spur some big numbers, two very exclusive $3,000 tiers have been added. The first offers up an authentic Kilrathi rifle used in the opening sequence of Wing Commander 3. It's from the personal collection of Ben Bandit (LOAF) Lesnick, who doesn't give up priceless Wing Commander memorabilia lightly! But this is a worthy cause, and the rifle will surely find a loving home. The second $3,000 item is a rare leather jacket given only to the development team at Origin who made Wing Commander 3. This one was given to George in 1994. Finally, the $5,000 option to sit in the booth during recording and choose some of the music that will be produced has been lowered to $3,000.

Hello everyone!

I'm Ben Lesnick, Community Manager and Designer on Chris Roberts' Star Citizen. Many of you know I initially became involved in Star Citizen's campaign because I ran the Wing Commander community at WCNews.com for over fifteen years. Star Citizen is full steam ahead right now, but the Wing Commander universe will always be my first love... and I'm incredibly excited to hear the Wing Commander III, IV, and Prophecy the way it was meant to be heard. George Oldziey's project is, to my mind, the most pure use of crowd funding possible: he's not funding a product to sell, he's doing this so that we can hear music that wouldn't otherwise exist. When you think about it, that's pretty cool!

To that end, I'd like to do whatever I can to make it a reality. I'm kicking in one of the star pieces from my personal Wing Commander collection as a big ticket item to try and make this recording session happen: a Kilrathi rifle prop used in Wing Commander III. Watch closely during the introduction or any of the other Kilrathi court scenes and you can see it in the background! It's a really cool prop weapon made of wood and plastic, and looks great on a shelf. It's one of the few physical items made for the Wing Commander III shoot, and it has decorated my office for years (my wife will be very happy to see it go!)

Now get out there and pledge; I want to hear this music!

Greetings all! First of all, I want to truly thank EVERYONE for their great support so far. You've all been amazing! I've noticed several people increasing their pledges over the last few days. That is truly inspiring and humbling for me!

We are approaching our final week of pledging. For those of you who may be new to Kickstarter, basically if you don't reach your goal the project does not get funded. So I'm hoping that we can meet the target number in the next 7 days so that we can have AT LEAST 15 minutes of fully orchestral Wing Commander music! It's been my dream since I wrote the first notes for Wing Commander III!

But even if we don't get there, I'll always remember the tremendous support from all of you.

Always,

George

Saga Pilot Manager Released

Forums member Luke found a few shortcomings with Wing Commander Saga's built-in profile manager, so he's put together a pilot management tool (450kB) that makes it easier to start the game over from scratch while retaining any customized settings. He's also included a flexible pilot backup feature. This tool works with both the original release and the more recent WC Saga Plus, which includes various enhancements and usability tweaks. Luke has released a number of Saga tools and bugfixes in the past. You find out more in the Saga forum.

Clone: The complete pilot profile can be copied. Optionally it's possible to copy only the pilot with his settings, but without campaign progress, statistic and medals. Ideally if the player wish to restart the campaign(s) only with his settings. The pilot name will be checked with the WCS rules.

Backup: With this it's easy to store single pilots or all pilots with only one mouseclick, after the backup folder was set. The player have the choice between separate archives for every pilot or one single archive for all pilots. Date and time of the last backup will be shown.

Delete: A complete profile can be deleted, like in WCS. But optionally the player can also delete all data except the settings.

An Artist's Ship Artfully Recreated

Dczanik has another pair of awesome reimagined Wing Commander fighters to share today. Both are classic Rapier IIs, but the first is the YF-44 test airplane as depicted in WC1 and the other is the workhorse F-44G from WC2. If nothing else, it's good pilot education to see these ships side by side and compare the differences! That's not the only reason to take a good long look at these though - they're both gorgeous craft! You can find more of his beautiful fighters here. Thanks to Whistler for spotting these.

Happy Birthday Wing Commander Movie!

The Wing Commander Movie first premiered in theaters on March 12, 1999. It's hard to believe that 15 years have gone by! It's been a good year for the film: a physical high definition version finally materialized in August on Blu-ray and the DVD got an anamorphic rerelease. Streaming options have crept up in resolution to be nearly as sharp as the BD, and broadcasts have kept the film constantly in front of audiences. Even the soundtrack is now available digitally. When we originally traveled to Austin for the premiere, we couldn't have imagined that we'd all eventually be carrying around HD players in our pockets that let you watch the film anywhere at any time, but the future is amazing. Where do we go from here? It's anybody's guess, but the movie rights revert back to Chris Roberts next year...
AD> When is the special edition of the Wing Commander movie comming out?
Chris_Roberts> One day I would like to do a full cut with digital Kilrathi, Merlin and the full Pilgrim subplot
Chris_Roberts> I get the US & UK rights back in 2015
Chris_Roberts> Yes - Fox just got distribution rights for English speakign territories for 17 years

Star Citizen Pulls In $40 Million!

There's another incredible milestone on the books over at Roberts Space Industries. The Cloud Imperium team has now collected more than $40 million from fans pledging towards Star Citizen. Over 200 people are now employed across several global studios to build the game. They've ended a run of star system unlocking and are now moving on to more exotic reward tiers. At $42 million, the built-in "Galactapedia" will see enhancements in style, scope and user interface. There will also be a new ship - the Gladius, and last, but not least, a virtual towel! If you're a backer over at RSI, you can join the WCCIC organization here.
Gladius – The Squadron 42 team will develop an additional fighter for the game, the Aegis Dynamics Gladius-class light fighter. The Gladius will be the first fighter built entirely from concept to CryEngine in the UK! Here’s the official description: The Aegis Gladius is the UEE’s reigning light short-range patrol fighter. A single-seat ship with no room for expansion, the Gladius is fast, maneuverable and capable of punching far above its weight. The main advantage to the design is simplicity: cheap to produce, easy to repair and outfit and quick to train new pilots on. The Gladius is an aging design nearing the end of its life-cycle, although iterative updates have kept it the most nimble fighter in the active fleet.

Towel – And of course, everyone who backs before we hit $42 million will also receive a towel for their hangar. Don’t explore the galaxy without it!

Remember that our stretch goals are examples, ways of showing you how we are improving the game with the additional funding and ways to thank you for your early support. The full impact of each additional dollar is actually felt across the board: the project currently employs over 200 people. As a result, every dollar allows us to support this large team and helps improve Star Citizen in both scope and scale.

88th Fighter Wing Preps for Launch

Klavs has gone inside the space ships for his latest update. These new images show off a fantastic rendition of the Tiger's Claw main hangar. Although there are many characteristic aspects of the classic WC1 timeframe, such as the red side bay doors/elevators, many of the lesser defined elements and textures borrow heavily from WC3/4 where we get a sharper look at the flight deck. We also get to see a wide variety of his Vega Sector star fighter fleet prepping for launch. There isn't quite as much activity here as, say, his Flight Ops wallpaper, but I have a feeling there's some real action on the way...

Wing Commander Album Half Funded!

It's been an exciting few days for the Wing Commander music album Kickstarter! The campaign to create a recording of WC3, WC4 and Prophecy music with a live orchestra got a matching donor last week. Wingnuts were challenged to pledge $1,000 on Thursday, which would then be matched by a generous supporter. Fans responded to the call and the goal was met! With 300 backers and about $17,500 in pledges so far, the fund raiser is now half way to becoming reality. A total of $35,000 must be raised in the next 11 days to actually green light the production. We can do it!


A couple of high profile donors have added their support as well. Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts had this to say: "Good luck George! Looking forward to hearing Wing Commander 3 & 4 themes they way they should be heard!" Additionally, WC1/2 composer George The Fat Man Sanger added: "Do this thing, George. I want this thing _done_. You will SHRED." There's even been buzz by Ginger Lynn Allen and Kotaku. George has also posted another update about how the technology in 1994 limited what he was capable of doing 20 years ago. It really drives home the point of how important it is to get this album made!

Our very technically savvy audio director, Martin Galway, patiently explained the limitations of the hardware I was using, which was actually the most ADVANCED (and of course, expensive) sound card at the time, the Roland Sound Canvas. What ensued turned out to be a veritable "baptism by fire" into the world of game music composition. I had to strategically leave certain notes out, slide certain notes by milliseconds in either direction, all in an attempt to make sure my music worked vertically as well as horizontally!
We're right about at the halfway mark for pledges needed for our Wing Commander Orchestral Music Kickstarter campaign! With 12 days to go there is definitely time to reach our goal. Thank you SO much to all who have already pledged and helped spread the word! You all are SO amazing!!!

Get The Best Possible WC Experience

Now that the entire collection of PC based WC games is available on GOG, finding and playing your favorite game is easier than ever. But what if you want to go beyond the tweaks and fixes that have been incorporated in to the downloadable packages? Forums member TCSTigersClaw has compiled a list of enhancements for all of the games along with easy to follow installation instructions. If you want Roland MT-32 quality music in your DOSBox based games, DVD quality movies in Prophecy, or if you have just run in to a glitch in your game then check out this post!

Check out a comparison of standard Sound Blaster music versus Roland MT-32 music in the video below.

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

After a bit of a hiatus, we present the final chapter in our Ships of the Victory Battle Group series. The best, of course, saved for last.

The TCS Victory is a Yorktown-class light carrier. Affectionately known as "Tin Can Sally" to her crew, the Victory is a prewar design that was scheduled for decommissioning in the 2660s. However, the heavy losses suffered by the Confederation during 2666-2668 kept the Victory in service with the Fleet and on the front lines. Captain William Eisen served as her captain during the final campaign of the Terran-Kilrathi War. He had previously served on the Victory several times including as Communications Officer on her maiden voyage.

Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn had chosen the Victory Battle Group to be the primary escort for Project Behemoth in 2669. He transferred Colonel Christopher Blair, having recovered from his injuries during the Battle of Earth, to serve as the Victory's Wing Commander. After escorting the Behemoth from Torgo, through its test-firing in Loki, to the door of Kilrah, the project's weak points were relayed to the Kilrathi by sleeper agent Ralgha nar Hhallas and a strike successfully destroyed the war-winning weapon.

The Victory escaped the loss of the Behemoth and went on to play a key role in rushing the Temblor Bomb project to completion. The Victory served as the testing platform for this war-winning weapon as well. Colonel Blair successfully tested a Temblor Bomb on Hyperion. Preparations for the final attack on Kilrah were made. On 2669.267, Lancelot Flight, launching from the Victory carried out the Temblor Bomb attack. Colonel Blair had destroyed Kilrah and with it came an end to the war.

The treaty to end the war, alternatively called the Treaty of Torgo or the Treaty of Ko-bar Yagar, was signed in the Torgo System on the flight deck of the Victory. After the war, she was turned into a museum and placed into orbit around Jupiter where she remains.

A sketch of the 1620 HMS Victory and painting of the sinking 1737 Victory in 1744.

The name Victory has an almost 500 year history in the Royal Navy. Six ships have carried the proud name starting with a 42-gun ship in 1569. Two ships carried the name in the 17th century. The first was another 42-gun ship launched in 1620 that participated in a number of battles before being rebuilt in 1666 as an 82-gun ship and finally broken up in 1691. Four years later, a 100-gun first-rate joined the Fleet. After participating in the Battle of Barfleur in May 1692, she was rebuilt in the 1690s before being heavily damaged by an accidental fire and broken up in 1721.

In 1737, the fourth ship to carry the name was built. Some of the timbers used in her construction were taken from the remains of the previous Victory. However, like the previous ship she was destined for a disaster. Returning to England in 1744, Victory and several other ships encountered a severe storm. Victory was scattered from the other ships and presumed lost near the Channel Islands. Some wreckage on the islands supported that conclusion, however it wasn't until 2008 and the discovery of the wreck itself that confirmed the theory. The wreck was 43 nautical miles from where anyone thought it went down. Two years ago, in January 2012 plans were announced to raise the wreck from the seabed. As of this post, the wreck remains on the seafloor.

The fifth ship to carry the name was an 8-gun schooner that served in Canada from 1764 to 1768 when it was burned. It was the ship that came after that entered the name Victory into the annals of naval lore. Launched in 1765, HMS Victory was a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line. Victory repeatedly served as a flagship for several commanders. At the Battle of Ushant in 1778 she was was Admiral Keppel's, during the Siege of Gibraltar in 1782 for Admiral Howe, and in 1796, during the Battle of St. Vincent, Victory served as Admiral Jervis's flagship. Her most famous turn as flagship came in 1805 when Vice-Admiral Nelson raised his flag on her. It was during the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 that she became legend. Nelson was shot on her quarterdeck and died half an hour later. The crew had sustained high losses: 57 killed and 102 wounded.

Much like America's beloved USS Constitution, HMS Victory spent a number of years neglected. Interest in restoring both ships also happened at roughly the same time. At the beginning of the 20th century, both ships were restored to their original states and converted to museum ships. Unlike Constitution, Victory no longer remains afloat. She sits in No. 2 drydock, the oldest drydock in the world still in use, at Portsmouth, England. She suffered her last close call in 1941 when a Luftwaffe bomb fell near the drydock and damaged the ship. Today, Victory is one of the many museum ships found in England.

It's Official: Wing Commander is Amazing

"Officially amazing" is the catchphrase of Guinness World Records. For a number of years now they have been publishing a version of their popular record book geared towards video games. Unsurprisingly, Wing Commander makes the grade in several categories. Of course, we don't need Guinness to tell us how amazing Wing Commander is. Regardless, the recognition is appreciated.
The book covers all consoles and gaming levels, as well as a special section on ... Space Games (Star Trek, Wing Commander, Star Wars).

Among the entries, Wing Commander 3 is recognized as the "First use of an animatronic character in a video game."

In 1994, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger became the first video game to use animatronic characters in its FMV footage. These mechanized characters were used to depict the Kilrathi aliens and cost $200,000 (£100,000).
Other entries for WC titles include first speech pack, First multiplayer space combat game, and First Hollywood star to top both film and video game charts. Some of the recipients, including Mark Hamill, were apparently even presented with framed version of their records.
Then there was Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill – the First Hollywood star to top both film and video game charts thanks to his role of Colonel Christopher Blair in the No.1-selling Wing Commander PC games.

AD's Almost Lost But Not Forgotten Chris Roberts Interview

Here's a little something I've had on the back-burner for a while now. After Outlander came out LOAF got me in touch with Chris Roberts and I sent him a number of questions about the Wing Commander movie. I had a pile of follow up questions that hopefully Chris will be kind enough to address someday, but, alas Chris got sidetracked (presumably with Star Citizen) and we never did finish the interview. Some of the details have since been released in other interviews and statements from Chris, and some details like what formats the movie has been released on are outdated, however we figured it was about time to release what we had to you all:

LOAF - As promised, I'm putting the two of you in touch to talk about the Wing Commander movie.

As I mentioned--Aaron is the guy who did the big Outlander site a few years back and he's equally fascinated by the Wing movie... so he's been compiling everything we know about its development in our wiki. We've seen a very messy VHS transfer of the rough cut which hasn't been made available to the public and have probably read four or five different revisions of the script at this point... so that's where he's coming from.

(Actually, to both of you, I found a 1991 Wing Commander movie proposal in the material at University of Texas last week. It's credited to GP Austin, who did Privateer... some of the names are the same (ie, Forbes) but it seems to be very different from and may be unrelated to the finished product. I'll try to get a digital copy of that available soon.)

CHRIS ROBERTS - Hi Aaron -

Happy to answer questions...

The GP Austin script is unrelated to the film script as Kevin Droney wrote his script from scratch - I don't know if I shared an outline with him on some things that I wanted to see (probably) - and that's where the Forbes name may have come from... But I didn't commission the WC movie script until early 1995

AD - Hi Chris! (Thanks for putting this together Ben...)

I think I last spoke briefly (by email) to you back during the UK release of Outlander... That was a great project and am glad I was able to be a part of it even in a small way. I still talk to Howard from time to time just to say hello. It always seemed like it would be a fun concept and I was impressed with the results that you were able to pull off on a shoe string.

I guess, in a way, this kind of relates to my fascination with the Wing Commander film. I have always enjoyed the look of the film and feel the CG has held up remarkably well over time, and the cinematography is top-notch. It does have a level of polish that is surprising for it's modest budget, even if there are a few rough edges. Watching it in HD is always impressive (though I've been somewhat dismayed by only being able to rent the HD on itunes/amazon/zune marketplace instead of being able to purchase it digitally or on bluray). Deep down I guess I'm a bit of a film buff though perhaps not as versed as many others. But I'm also as equally interested in the methods as much as the finished films.

I actually was going to start by asking about the origins of the ideas in the movie script but I see you've addressed that a little. I had intended to ask about whether you had given Kevin Droney an outline or writer's bible to work off of in developing his script - a laundry list as it were of points and ideas you wanted to hit.

Reading through the various script drafts and revisions certainly brought up some interesting questions as did comparisons to the theatrical cut of the film (and of course the work-print Ben mentioned).

Just as an example. The first draft by Kevin Droney has a side element regarding time-dilation and relativity regarding near light space travel. I also noticed in the recent G4 interview with you (great interview by the way!) that you mentioned The Forever War as an influence in creating the games. I don't really remember this as being a major element of the first game. Regarding the film, was this a concept you specifically wanted to explore or was it also something that that Kevin came up on his own? Some elements of this idea - minor lines of dialogue - made it through to the finished film. Was there a particular reason there seems to be an effort to remove this in later drafts?

CHRIS ROBERTS - The time relativity was one of my favorite parts of the script – it was definitely influenced by “The Forever War” and was a note I gave Kevin who ran with it. I loved the idea that to defend humanity you had to make the ultimate sacrifice as you were literally losing your loved ones to defend them. I thought it made the ship board dynamics really powerful – in essence all the pilots and crewmen had was each other – it was their new and only family. It was cut due to notes from Fox who were concerned that it wasn’t fleshed out enough and the idea was more intellectual than visceral – especially as we just had one scene that explained the concept (Deveraux getting the holo-vid from her ex-fiancé). I still think it was great but do agree that it would have to be woven into the fabric of the film more to truly resonate. I’m a much more experienced film maker now (even though I’ve been producing instead of directing but I’m always involved in script development, shooting and editing) and if making the film again I would definitely work the concept back in but place a lot more “small” moments (which would be visual rather than dialogue based) than re-enforced the feeling of loneliness and sacrifice that the crew of the Tiger’s Claw were making to defend humanity.

AD - This isn't the only case where major changes happened along the way. I really enjoyed the idea that each ship's computer seemed to have it's own personality. In the script, Merlin was intended as a sort of holographic digital assistant and sidekick. We actually recovered a handful of shots of a doll being filmed for these scenes. Was Merlin intended to be a CGI character? Or some other method of filming an actor and compositing him into the shot with various effects much like the hologram communications in Wing Commander 4? How late in production was the decision made to remove Merlin from the film, and why? I'm sure this must have presented a pretty big challenge to the editing process.

CHRIS ROBERTS - Losing Merlin was the biggest mistake in my opinion. It didn’t happen until mid-way through post production. We shot everything and the intention was to film a big star (I was wanting Robin Williams) on a green screen for a day or so and then composite in a holo –effect. We were over budget and the producer, Todd Moyer had persuaded me to try a cut without Merlin as he didn’t think we needed him and we couldn’t afford the VFX shots or the additional green screen shot (let alone a fee for a big actor). When I didn’t get a response back from Robin Williams camp I gave in to the idea. I really regret it as losing Merlin we lost a lot of the humor plus a lot of exposition that explained the whole Pilgrim backstory – not to mention the fact that the Captain turned out to be a Pilgrim. Between losing Merlin, the bigger opening (when the Pegasus was more like Hawaii of Pearl Harbor) and the Kilrathi not working I feel a lot of what made the script work for me was lost. The final film was too simple without these extra layers. I have often toyed with the idea of taking the original footage, re-doing the Kilrathi with today’s digital VFX, filming Merlin and making a new cut – I even proposed it to Fox a while back but they declined. When I get the rights back in 2015 I may do as this would all be a lot cheaper now than before. I don’t think it would make WC a great film as there are some basic flaws with it, but I do think it would make it better.

AD - This is interesting... I never really pictured Robin Williams in the role when reading the novelization or the script. I always imagined his lines being delivered in a more dry/ironic kind of way.

CHRIS ROBERTS - I wanted Robin Williams because he liked and played Wing Commander and I thought he could handle Merlin's dry humor (he doesn't always have to be whacky Mork). Funny thing is that I ended up working with him on The Big White

Kilrathi Capships Aim to Destroy All Enemies

Klavs has completed another terrifying Kilrathi capship to accompany his Fralthi and Snakeir. The Ralari class destroyer has a smaller and more nimble look to it while simultaneously appearing quite menacing. In addition to the reds and browns of the hull, the orange interior lights are a nice accent. It's definitely not something you'd want to stumble upon in a Hornet!
Thorskald's charges have neatly sliced off the top of the dome. No bodies accompany the spinning pie plate as it is blown upwards, tumbling off into the void. The bridge crew are well trained. Even with the sudden decompression, they have all managed to grab handholds, save their lungs, and shift to the task at hand: survival.

Kilrathi have a useful vacuum exposure of approximately twelve seconds: an eternity. To help things along, jagged holes begin soundlessly materializing in vital organs, limbs, and skulls. The last one begins to realize what is happening. His fangs are barred in a silent challenge, but the rest of his head goes missing.

Reavers jump down onto the deck, shoving aside corpses. We plug in to the ship's vital systems. Isolating command systems, sealing compartments, venting atmosphere, dropping radiation shields. Moving from the secondary breaching location, the assault team goes to work.

Presently, Olga's voice crackles into my ears.

'Reaver Six. Reactor room secure. Ship secure.'

It seems we might actually get away with it.

-Sven Lawson, 'The Reavers'

WC Album Kickstarter Nears Half Way Point

George Oldziey's campaign to create a Wing Commander music album with a live orchestra is nearing the two week mark. Although the funding drive is almost half way finished and more than 200 Wing Commander fans have contributed, it's currently a bit short of 50% of the goal. No money is paid out to finance the album's production unless a minimum of $35,000 is reached, so it's very important that we hit at least that milestone! Please check out the pledge tiers and contribute what you are able. And don't hesitate to share with your friends. If everyone who read this post today put in $10, we'd be twice as close to the goal!


George has also shared a new story from his time at Origin. This time he discusses the success of Wing Commander 3 and how that spun off into the development process of WC4. It really sheds some light on how big a role the director's vision plays into the final product. "I'm fast forwarding a bit to a story from WC4. After the great critical and commercial success of WC3, many on the team had what you may call, shall I say, an air of invincibility about them. I have to swallow my pride and say I was a bit touched by that phenomenon as well. To that effect, there was one cut scene late in the game in WC4 where Blair (Mark Hamill) was being chased down a long corridor on a space ship by confederation troops loyal to Tolwyn..." Read the rest here and please contribute to help make this album a reality!

Thanks to all for helping us get passed the $11,000 threshold! A very SPECIAL thanks to the lovely lady who got us over that hump; my amazing 95 year old mother-in-law Lorraine Stern! Thanks LOLO!

As for all you young whippersnappers! Please help spread the word! We have 17 days to go to meet our base level of $35,000. We can do it!

Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

George

Instructions for Engine Building

Whiplash has posted a tutorial that demonstrates how the engine nozzles on his Hellcat V model came together. From humble beginnings on a sheet of paper, they quickly take on a familiar shape. Add a bit of metallic paint and a thruster is born. The results look pretty sharp, so it's neat to see what's involved! This also shows that no special tools or equipment are required, so anyone with a heap of creativity can make their own ships.
I want to show you how I went about making the smaller thruster nozzles, as well as the complete engine assembly. I ended up using regular A4 paper instead of cardboard, which is too rigid for this particular job.

  1. Measure and draw the outline.
  2. Carefully cut out the nozzle "petals".
  3. Cut out the nozzle and bend to shape.
  4. Glue in place.
  5. Paint the nozzles and make some silver glowy bit to put inside.
  6. And here is the result!

WC Long Play Completes 'Kilvengeance' & 'KilvengeOps'

centaurianmudpig has wrapped up his detailed play-through videos of both Wing Commander 2 and Special Operations 1. The WC2 playlist clocks in at 27 different videos and the expansion is 18. Things took an interesting turn at the end of SO1. The Gothri and Fralthras that the game throws at you are just a bear to beat, so the video that CMP posted shows the losing endgame. A lot of people remember the winning sequence where Prince Thrakhath tells the emperor that the entire focus on Ghorah Khar was just a ploy to capture Deneb Sector. While the fall of Ghorah Khar on the losing track is downright depressing, it's really worth a watch, just like many of the losing paths throughout the series.

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