Sarthas Lead Enigma Sector Incursion

Klavs is back to work on some new models from the WC2 era. The first is a pretty slick Sartha. It's quite faithful to the original, but the high resolution textures, detail and firey engine exhaust give the ship a very menacing presence. While someone might get away with comparing a common Salthi to a house fly, this Sartha definitely comes across comparatively as a stinging bee. Although to be fair, Klavs' Salthi is based on the super aggressive looking SNES SM1 variant, so it's no pushover either!
Power requirements peculiar to the Sartha meant that acceleration compensators were powered subordinate to the neutron guns. This meant that maintaining a full charge in the guns reduced the ship's ability to maneuver without burning RCS propellant. A pretty nimble little light fighter was reduced to the maneuverability of a heavy medium at best. The best Sartha pilots operated on half charged guns, and drained RCS fuel at a prodigious rate, reducing their combat range and hitting power, but allowing for greater maneuverability.

Of course, the Kilrathi (as always) figured this out faster than we did. Over Miliput, I had a Sartha pull this insane high-G maneuver, getting on my tail and just STAYED there. I let him be, figuring he didn't have the charge to maneuver that agressively AND hit me (very hard) while I worked over his mates.

Too late, I realized this guy mounted a quartet of high velocity stormfires whose minimum power requirements made Swiss cheese of my backside while that damned Sartha hung on my six through every possible evasive maneuver like he had been painted on the canopy at the factory.

-Maniac

Music Album Orchestration Work Continues

Here's a quick update from George Oldziey on the status of the Wing Commander music album. He's currently putting the final touches on the music from Wing Commander IV's winning endgame. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is now scheduled to record the highly anticipated reorchestration towards late October / early November, so the album could be ready in time for the holiday season. If you're just getting into WC4 through the GOG release, the quoted text below contains major spoilers.

I'm just about done orchestrating the second piece that the orchestra and choir will be recording in October. It's the winning endgame from Wing Commander 4. The sequence starts where Tolwyn has his meltdown in the senate chamber, the senate vote, Tolwyn's trial and subsequently finding him hanging in his prison cell, and the scene on the flight deck where Blair chats with Paladin and Maniac before he flies off into the "sunset". Can't wait to hear it, and all the other music finally played live!

I'm having a blast!

George

Goodbye, Mythic Entertainment

There's some unfortunate news out of Fairfax, Virginia today. Mythic Entertainment was closed by Electronic Arts. GameSpot suggests that the move appears to have been a sudden decision considering that new job listings having been posted within the last few weeks. However, CIC readers may have seen the writing on the wall. Their flagship Warhammer Online MMO was shut down six months ago, and the Dungeon Keeper game they released this past spring got scathing reviews due to its tedious free-to-play model. Perhaps most telling, its relatively steady revenue drivers Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot were recently shifted to a 3rd party developer as well.


If you're a recent follower of our site, you might not be familiar with how Mythic has been the carrier of Origin's torch for some time. After OSI in Austin was shut down in February 2004, much of their old material was temporarily held in California and then found a home in Mythic's storage closets. Due to their success with DAoC, Mythic was also tasked with continued operation of Origin's longest running game, Ultima Online. They even set up a classy dedication page that commemorated all the worlds that Origin created. In 2008, the CIC Staff got the lucky privilege of visiting their studio building to carefully archive and document their stored Origin materials, some of which we've been cleared to release. You can also check out our fun photos of the archiving trip here.

In recent times, there was a glimmer of hope that attention might shift back towards the Wing Commander series. Their studio lobby was redecorated with Wing Commander memorabilia and Mythic's Paul Barnett helped push into Origin's past, which resulted in the release of Ultima Forever. Alas, the next Wing Commander game will come from a different direction. Our sympathies go out to all the displaced employees. Thank you for helping protect Origin's legacy for the past decade!

Ion Guns Complete Hellcat Model

Whiplash has whipped up a final update on the structural build of his wooden Hellcat model. The shots below show the step-by-step process he used to assemble the ventral ion cannons as well as the WC4 render that he used as a reference. From humble components, the final product is looking pretty sharp now that it's all assembled. This is the last physical item needed for his design. Only paint decals and touch up remain!
It's been a very busy few weeks, but I finally managed to get to part 2 of my Hellcat weapon outfitting. Without further ado, here are the pictures.

I took inspiration from the ion cannon pictured in the WC4 manual using a mixture of paper and balsa wood. With this, the construction is officially complete! All the bits and pieces are now in place. All that is left is painting the decals, Confed markings, and then final touch-up.

Hellcat V is now prepped, primed, loaded, locked, and ready to kick some ass!

Hope you like it. Almost there!

Happy Birthday Chris Roberts!

The CIC would like to wish another happy birthday to Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts! In honor of the day, PC Gamer has reposted a nifty interview with the man himself. In his "How I Game" Q&A, Mr. Roberts talks about his customized PC, games that he plays and his thought process behind gaming. There's also more pictures of his Cloud Imperium office, which is ringed with priceless Wing Commander posters and artifacts! I think more than a few of you will find those more tantalizing than his RAM chips... Check out the full article here.
What are you playing right now?

"I like to escape into different worlds. That drives the games I make. It’s about immersion into another world." I wish I had a bit more time to play. Since Star Citizen went full throttle, I haven’t had much time. Non-PC games, I was playing a bit of The Last Of Us, which is pretty awesome, even though it’s on the PS3 hardware. It’s pretty amazing how much they’ve pushed out of it. On the PC, Company of Heroes 2. I liked the original a lot. I haven’t had a chance to play very deep into it, though. And I just downloaded XCOM, the one that was out a little while ago. I’ve been playing and checking that out. But I haven’t had a chance to get too deep into games, because the problem is, when I get into a game, I want to finish it. [laughs] That leads to a week, two weeks of being up to four or five in the morning. That’s not too good when you’ve got deadlines.

Why do you game?

I like to escape into different worlds. That drives the games I make. It’s about immersion into another world. I’m not really playing a game to rack up a high score or even for competitive stuff, although sometimes competition—like doing StarCraft competitively—is kind of fun. But it’s the immersion for me. I like to get lost in a world. I like to go and do things that you wouldn’t do in your normal life. You can see that in Star Citizen. Flying a spaceship out in the outer frontier of the galaxy is not something you’re going to do in your real life. Fighting dragons or demons and all that kind of stuff. For me, it’s an escape and an immersion into another world.

You can find a couple more shots of his desk here or here.

Light and Medium Fighters Added to Beat Hazard Flight Roster

Shaggy's Beat Hazard mod has gotten a pair of new ships over the past week. The F-36 Hornet and CF-105 Scimitar have joined their big Raptor brother in the game. Owners of the "Shadow Operations" DLC can find all three ships on the built-in ship editing workshop pages. The Rapier should be added shortly! If you're looking for some WC tunes to complement the game, check out Fat Man's WC1/2 album or the WC Movie Soundtrack.

Happy Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the US, so we'd also like to take a brief moment to recognize the service of all of the fallen soldiers over the years, no matter where they're from. We know quite a few Wingnuts are active military today too - stay safe out there!

Kotaku Reviews Wing Commander Academy

In the same vein as the recent Academy anniversary that 1up noted, here's a pretty neat review of the series that Kotaku posted a while back. They credit the show for all of the classic references dotted throughout and really highlight the writing as the star. We can definitely agree this time! Check the full article out here. Like we stressed earlier in the month, if you don't already own the series on DVD, now's the time to add it to your collection! Inventories are getting spotty. Barnes and Noble, which received a small shipment this spring, has now sold out again. BN and Amazon marketplace resellers still have some copies - for now.

Snarky Dudes Review Wing Commander

"Reel Flix" has posted a lengthy video about the Wing Commander Movie. I don't really get their shtick... there's an old guy flanked by a pair of generic internet personalities plus a guy Skyping in from the back for some reason. The review plays out like they're reciting a handful of random IMDB comments. They don't seem particularly knowledgeable about the movie's background as they just as readily mock the name "Kilrathi" as the Kilrathi's appearance in the film (and that was from the guy who knew it was based on a video game!). If you don't make it very far into this, I don't think they'd blame you - even the reviewer on the left starts playing with his smartphone a couple minutes in. If you want to listen to an actual decent podcast about the movie, check out the recent Alcohollywood Review instead. Those guys are insightful, informative, don't pull any punches, and they designed a whole drink/drinking game for Wing Commander!
Reel Flix Reviews Episode 99 - Wing Commander (1999)
This Week Jon, James, Ryan and Rob Discuss: Wing Commander (1999) Directed by: Chris Roberts
The Rating For Wing Commander (1999) is: Jon 2/5, James 1/5, Ryan 1/5, Rob 2/5 Reel Flix Reviews Score 2/5

Italian WC DVD on Amazon

Victorinox has come across a listing for the Italian DVD release of the Wing Commander movie on Amazon.com. Produced by Cecci Gori, this is most likely the same version that surfaced on the Italian streaming site Cine1.it back in 2008. The movie is dubbed in Italian (even down to the comm chatter) but viewers can also select English audio with Italian subtitles. You need a Region 2, Multi-region or region-free DVD player if you want to import and watch this disc.

The cover art is not dissimilar to the French edition. Foreign language releases of the Wing Commander movie tend to have more exciting cover art than the original. AD has compiled a collection of international cover and poster art on the CIC Wiki. The 2012 Blu-ray and DVD re-release still puts the lead actors front and center, but has a more eye-catching design.

Have A Seat

centaurianmudpig has further refined his section of Shotglass' bar aboard the Tiger's Claw. The biggest improvement is in chair modeling, which is actually pretty important. It's bad enough to see them empty - you wouldn't want them to be ugly too! The next update will start to feature textures on some of these surfaces.
I've spent several hours working on the chair and managed to improve it. I tried to use a bezier curve but had to abandon that idea. Fortunately there is a Smooth Shading option, which I hadn't been aware of before. It has some flaws but represents 6 hours worth of blood, sweat and plenty of mistakes.

Next up, I'll try and add some textures to the chair and table.

Second Album Campaign Concluded!

The Supplemental Campaign to extend the George Oldziey's Wing Commander album has concluded! It brought in an additional $4,300, which probably isn't enough to secure a full 45 minutes of live music, but the successful project will still be filled out with a mix of high quality live and digital reorchestration. George will also be filming the behind-the-scenes production of it all, which should be pretty neat to see! Recording with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is scheduled for late October and early November, so the disc could be complete around the end of the year.
Our supplemental campaign for the historic Wing Commander orchestral recording has ended! I want to thank EVERYONE from the bottom of my heart for your amazing support! I'm very excited about continuing the arduous but very fulfilling preparatory task of creating the orchestrations and parts that the orchestra will be performing! I'll be thinking of you all while I work on them! I'll of course also create the digital orchestrations of the remaining music on the CD during this time.

Also, I'm going to hire a video crew to document the "making of" this historic recording. So look forward to that! Right now we are booked at the end of October and beginning of November for the recording. My goal is to have it all mixed and digitized and ready to send out, with the other rewards of course, by the beginning of December. So hopefully you'll all have it all in time for the holidays!

Again, thank you SO much for making this truly a dream come true!

George

Sketchy Claims Scrutinized at the CIC Forums

Daniel Walters is a journalist who's been investigating an entrepreneur / con artist named Erick Hansen. Mr. Walters researched a long history of shady dealings and loose ends that brought him to the CIC Forums (where else?). But it wasn't our discussions on Privateer that got his interest - among other things, Hansen claims credit for making Wing Commander 4 on DVD. Wingnuts were able to put the investigator in touch with WC4 producer Mark Day, who has no recollection of Mr. Hansen. It's an interesting story that you can read about in full here. And thanks to the sleuthing Wing Commander fans who helped!
There’s another claim Hansen has often repeated: “We created the first DVD-ROM video game, which was Wing Commander, for Electronic Arts and Creative Labs,” Hansen says in a video newsletter to shareholders. Wing Commander IV was among the first DVD-ROM video games, but the extent of Hansen’s involvement is questionable.

“I have racked my brain regarding Erick Hansen and really have never heard of the guy,” says Mark Day, the internal producer for Wing Commander IV for Electronic Arts. He says it’s possible that Hansen’s company was involved in manufacturing or encoding the discs, but says those were very minor aspects of the process, akin to copying a VHS tape.

Last Day of Wing Commander Album Campaign

Today is the last day of the supplemental Wing Commander Music Album Campaign! Daily visitors might think that we've already reminded everyone we could possibly reach, but we continue to find new fans with each posting. George has clarified that there are currently no plans to sell the album commercially, so today may be the last day ever to order the disc. These will be marked as special collector's copies for the Wingnuts who helped make this possible. $20 gets you the digital album and $60 secures a copy on CD here!
Final Hours! I want to truly thank all those who have donated to this amazing project! Between the initial Kickstarter and this supplemental campaign we've raised enough for at least 30 minutes of orchestral music to be recorded in Prague as well as more than an additional 15 minutes of digitally sampled new arrangements of Wing Commander music!

One point I want all of you to know is that it's likely I will not make this product commercially available after these recordings are done. These historic recordings will belong only to those that have helped to raise the funds to make it all possible in the form of the many rewards that are available. After this campaign is over it is most likely that they will not again be available. If however I do decide to make it commercially available someday any new CDs will NOT be the same product. This initial production will forever be a SPECIAL EDITION tribute to all that have helped make this all possible, and will be labeled as such!

So if you know anyone who would like to be a part of this historic event please spread the word. I'm already busy orchestrating the music, and can't wait to hear it played by world class musicians!

My most heartfelt thanks to all of you!

George

New WC Strategy Mod In Development

Ron B is working on a new strategy game et in the WC universe. It's a hex-based fan project like WC TacOps but will share more in common with the Panzer Generals series. He's repurposed Midnightrunner's GalCiv 2 mod ships so that dozens of ship designs are already ready and implemented. The initial screenshots look pretty promising. Ron welcomes any feedback to help make the project a success at the CIC Forums.
I am in the process of creating a Hex based Turn based WC Universe war game in the style of the venerable Panzer General. Imagine Panzer General in the WC world.

I am making good progress and hopefully will be able to show the first versions. Will need help testing, gameplay and WC universe know how. I am taking guidance from Panzer General's combat and movement dynamics but modifying them for space battles. But PG values such as experience, suppression, hard attack, soft attack all are part of the calculations. Panzer General is my absolute favorite game of all time and combining its idea with WC is really exciting for me. Do give it PG a shot if you get a chance, its too good.

Any other feedback suggestions welcome as I am new to this.

Together Retro Game Club Replays Wing Commander

This post is a bit out of date, but when it comes to sharing stories of Wing Commander enjoyment, 'better late than never' always applies! Together Retro Game Club chose Wing Commander for one of their group playthroughs last spring, and they even whipped up a nifty Arrow Scout graphic to kick things off. Their adventure was very much like the community replay that the CIC conducted a few years back, but in our case it took over a year to get through the main story games in the series! If you'd like to read about the fun that they had, check out the Racketboy forums here. Dundradal's CIC replay is also summarized here.
Wing Commander is the first game in the Wing Commander series of science fiction space simulation games, released on September 26, 1990 for the PC. It was designed and directed by Chris Roberts and produced by Roberts and a pre-System Shock/Deus Ex Warren Spector. Origin Systems was the developer and publisher. The company would later be bought out by Electronic Arts in 1992, and EA would go on to publish future Wing Commander titles, as well as use the Origin name for their future digital download service.

Wing Commander was conceived to bring the space combat genre to a level as high as the Star Wars films. What made this game ahead of its time was its revolutionary 3D graphics and simulation elements. The player is able to give themselves a callsign as the name they will use, the player can interact with their fellow pilots aboard the ship, fly many different types of space fighter craft, issue commands to their wingmen and assume complete control of the space fighter’s functions.

The actions in battle and the decisions made by the player will affect the course of the game’s story through special “winning” and “losing” branches, and reaching the end of one of those arcs will determine your ending. The game also uses an extensive amount of cutscenes, a feature in PC gaming that was starting to gain traction around the time this game was released. If the player performs well, they can gain promotions, and if the player dies in-game, an elaborate space funeral scene will send them off.

New Disc Option Added to Music Album Campaign

As often happens in crowd funding campaigns, George's Oldziey's Wing Commander Music Album Campaign has some late breaking changes in the last few days before the end. A new $60 physical disc option has been added. It lacks the autograph that the higher tier includes, but it does lower threshold for owning the real deal. Fans who pledged for the digital album in the Kickstarter earlier this year can also contribute the difference between their original amount and $60 if they'd like to upgrade here.
Greetings all! With 2 days left in this campaign, and by popular demand, I've added an additional perk of a CD of the music, but without an autograph and without the contributor's name listed on the product. This is available for a $60 donation (basically $50 plus a bit more to cover the added production expense and time it takes me to ship them!). This perk is also available to anyone who pledged at the lower levels of the first campaign and would like to upgrade!

Thanks again to all for your wonderful support! You guys are the best fans in the world!

George

WC Music Campaign Ends This Week

The campaign to extend the live orchestra Wing Commander music album is entering the home stretch. Fans have until Wednesday evening to contribute and claim either their digital or autographed copies for $20 or $100 respectively. If you know someone else who would be interested, please let them know! Although we're a ways short from reaching the $14,000 amount that would have locked in 45 minutes of music, the live portion recorded by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague will still be at least 30 minutes long with the balance made up of high quality digital studio reorchestration in Austin. If you haven't gotten in on the action yet, visit the Fundrazr page here. And here's George with the latest:
Greetings all. As we enter our final week of this supplemental campaign it seems like we are not likely to meet the final goal to get another 15 minutes of the music recorded with the orchestra. However, at the very least, there will be a little time for those who have not had the opportunity for contributing and receiving one of the many rewards to do so. So tell your friends there is still some time!

A deep and sincere thank you to all of your for your wonderful support!

Raptor Released For Beat Hazard

Shaggy has put together a very cool add-on for the rhythm game Beat Hazard. This creative shooter uses your own music tracks to influence the top down space sim environment. Players that own the "Shadow Operations" DLC can find Shaggy's A-14 Raptor fighter on the built-in ship editing workshop pages. See what it looks like in the first two images below. The third image is one of the developer's promo shots, and I think it looks like a big Gladius is attacking tons of tiny Salthis! In the future, Shaggy plans to add more classic WC1 ships, so stay tuned.
Experience your music collection like never before with this intense music driven arcade shooter. Each of your songs will have its own unique ebb and flow based on the music. Power up your spaceship and watch as the music boosts your firepower. Unleash hell on the enemy ships when you max out with weapon pickups! Beat Hazard seamlessly mixes the love of gaming and music. Together they become greater than the sum of their parts.

Behind The Voice

Narrated by John DiMaggio (Bender, Futuruma), I Know That Voice is a documentary about the world of voice acting. Mark Hamill is just one of dozens of well-known voice actors providing anecdotes and insight. He even pops up in one of the trailers.

Executive Producer John DiMaggio (Futurama) and Director Lawrence Shapiro along with Producer Tommy Reid grant a backstage pass into the fascinating and little known world of voice acting. Winner of the Annie Awards' prestigious Certificate of Merit and featuring actors from an array of animated favorites including The Simpsons, Batman, SpongeBob SquarePants, Adventure Time, Phineas and Ferb, Family Guy, Looney Tunes and more, this unprecedented look inside entertainment's most booming industry will no doubt have you saying ”I Know That Voice”!

The documentary is available on-demand through a number of channels, including iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Hamill has been twice nominated for a Video Game Award for his voicework as the Joker from the Batman series: best human male (2011, Arkham City) and best voice (2009, Arkham Asylum). He and Malcolm McDowell both had recurring roles on Metalocalypse. In other news, it recently emerged that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will all make an appearance in the upcoming Star Wars 7.

Academy's Announcement Annniversary Fondly Remembered

1up.com has pointed out an interesting milestone. May 14 reflects the anniversary of the date that Wing Commander Academy was announced, and this press release was the vehicle that notified the world. It's an interesting read 18 years later. The thirteen episodes are referred to as the "initial" installments, which is as tantalizing a tease as you can get! It's also nice to hear EA's CEO talk so glowingly about the series, since such official pronouncements are few and far between these days.
This Day in History: Wing Commander Gets Animated
May 14, 1996: Electronic Arts announces the animated series Wing Commander Academy.

On this day in 1996, Universal Cartoon Studios and Electronic Arts announced Wing Commander Academy, an animated series based on Origin's series of computer games.

Thirteen half-hour episodes were ordered at Universal Cartoon Studios for a Fall premiere, with several members of the Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV cast reprising their roles for the show.

"We have long believed that the best-selling Wing Commander franchise was the perfect vehicle to move our compelling interactive content to a broader entertainment medium," said EA CEO Larry Probst. "Partnering with Universal Cartoon Studios has been a superb match, combining our characters and stories with their considerable linear production experience."

The cartoon is mostly forgotten these days, though it lives on via a Wing Commander fan site, Wing Commander Combat Information Center.

If you've been thinking about picking up a copy of the series on DVD, it'd be a good idea to do so while copies are still readily available. Barnes and Noble is once again listing copies for $15 after having been out of stock for quite a while. Amazon recently sold out, although some copies are available from 3rd party merchants.
Adds Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO Larry Probst, "We have long believed the best-selling Wing Commander franchise was the perfect vehicle to move our compelling interactive content to a broader entertainment medium. Partnering with Universal Cartoon Studios has been a superb match, combining our characters and stories with their considerable linear production experience."
Thanks to Cartoon Club for spotting this one.

Wing Commander VHS Previews Posted (For Some Reason)

No longer own a VCR machine? Dying to see the filler on the casette before the start of the Wing Commander Movie VHS? The Previews Guy has come to the rescue! And it's our mission to bring dedicated Wingnuts like you "all things Wing Commander" every day. If this sounds kind of boring, consider that over a thousand people thought this was worth a watch since it was posted in March. Although slightly mind-numbing, it's also somewhat of a fascinating time capsule. Has it really been fifteen years since all this came out? Wing Commander fact of the day: the VHS was first released on July 6, 1999 with an MSRP of $103.99 - priced to rent!
Here Is The Opening To Wing Commander 2000 VHS And Here Are The Order:
1.20th Century FOX Home Entertainment Logo
2.Theactical Previews Screen
3.Anna And The King Trailer
4.Fight Club Trailer
5.Titan A.E. Trailer
6.Lake Placid Trailer
7.Now On Video Screen
8.The Thin Red Line Trailer
9.Coming To Video Screen
10.Office Space Trailer
11.20 Dates Trailer
12.Ravenous Trailer
13.Now On Television Screen
14.The X-Files Promo
15.Aliens Vs. Predator Video Game Promo
16.Aspect Ratio Screen
17.20th Century FOX Logo
That's All.

Last Week For Album Extension Campaign

The supplemental campaign to extend the WC music album has just about a week to go, and it's a long ways from its target of $14,000. At this rate, it's looking like the live orchestration will be closer to 30 minutes than 45 (thanks to the original Kickstarter). The good news is that the funds that are being collected now will help ensure that high quality digital reorchestration fills out the balance of the disc. It's also great that dozens more fans have been able to get in on the action and order their copy. If you want to be sure to secure your copy, pledge here. A $20 contribution is required for a digital copy, and $100 will get you an autographed and highly collectible physical disc.
Greetings all! I'm happily going through the old WC music and creating scores for the October recording session in Prague! I forgot how much I enjoyed composing it. It's kind of like getting that same rush all over again!

Just an update regarding the supplemental campaign that's going on. Looks so far like it's a bit of a challenge to raise what's needed to have ALL the music on the CD be played by the orchestra as opposed to the current 30 minutes (which is still nothing to sneeze at!). Just to assure you that if we don't reach this new goal I'll be sure to use whatever funds are raised towards taking time off from my other work to give you all the BEST possible digital sample arrangements of whatever music is not recorded by the orchestra! Also, this new campaign will at the very least make it possible for anyone who didn't have the opportunity to pledge the first time to do so now and get either the digital downloads, CD, or other rewards that are available. So tell all your friends that opportunity is still there!

And of course, if we DO reach our goal, we would indeed have 45 glorious minutes of orchestral splendor!

Love to all,

George

German & Spanish Novels Round Out The Set

Last week's post about the Czech Wing Commander novels generated a lot of interest in the series' books - especially the non-English translations. The two other places that got proper novels were Germany and Spain. Thanks to Tirnel, LOAF was able to get a new set! Clockwise from the top left below, pictured are Action Stations, the Movie Novelization, Freedom Flight, End Run, The Heart of the Tiger, Fleet Action and The Price of Freedom. The Spanish book is also a Movie Novelization. Not translated into German are False Colors and Pilgrim Stars. If you haven't read the books before, don't delay - they cost just pennies, plus shipping. You're in for a treat! LOAF also hit the mother lode of Cheez-Its, so it's been a pretty good week!

Screw You, Senses!

ScrewAttack has posted a new video titled The Best Studio EA Killed EVER! Several high profile developers are memorialized, and Origin Systems gets top billing in the first two minutes of commentary. At first, this clip inspires a "Hell, yeah! We miss Origin too." That very quickly turns into a "Good lord! Take a breath, dude." We'd recommend watching the video embedded below in order to avoid their website's cacophony of banner ads, streaming video ads and pop overs. Then we'd answer this rant with a plea of our own: people, don't jump on the screaming internet bandwagon. Give credit where credit is due. There were some bad decisions made at Electronic Arts that caused irreparable harm to the Wing Commander series. And this tirade doesn't begin to address them. The implication is always that EA swooped in with the axe at the end, but EA actually saved Origin when it hit financial crisis in 1992. Everything from WC2 Deluxe onward, including the big budget movie sequence of games like WC3/WC4, and all of the spinoffs like Privateer, Armada, the CCG, Academy TV show and novels were during EA's tenure. A series of unfortunate events may have ended the golden era, but this was after a decade and tens of millions of dollars of investment in Wing Commander.

Klavs Models Come To Life

At the CIC, we keep close tabs on the Wing Commander(-inspired) modelling work of our community members. Last Wednesday we posted a trailer for the Flat Universe fan game, and the developers hinted that a CIC regular was helping them out with their ship designs. It turns out that none other than Klavs has been working with team Maslas. He's had to tone down the polycount to make the models suitable for realtime animation, but they still look really sharp. Check out some reference designs in the gallery below, and see them in action here. You can follow Klavs' other work through his Facebook page.

Wing Commander Gets The AlcoHollywood Treatment

The website AlcoHollywood is continuing its 'video game movie month' with Wing Commander! If you're not familiar with the site, every week they create a podcast companion for a different film. Each movie then gets a custom drinking game and drink to go along with it. They've actually produced a pretty amusing review that's honest about the movie's shortcomings without stooping to cheap shots. One of the hosts is a long time Wingnut, and this helps provided some valuable context and behind-the-scenes info for many things. Check out the complete podcast here. Note there's an intro that goes until 4:50 if you want to cut right to the Wing Commander review.


Bonus fact: "Wings of an Angel," their specialty drink, was actually named before their staff mixologist knew that 'Angel' was one of the main characters in Wing Commander! Its color comes from the green hue that tints many of the special effects shots and Kilrathi scenes.

This week, we head into space with House-guest Nick Ostrem to talk about the 1999 space-sim adaptation Wing Commander! Based on the 90s space dogfight games of the same name, the film follows the fight to win a deadly future space war between the humans and the Kiilrathi, a race of space cats so deadly they live in dense green fog to hide the shoddiness of their rubber suits. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard play newbie space fighter jocks who must get the job done amongst an international cast who is really too good for the cliched material they are given. Still, there's a strange earnest charm to the film that helps you through it, along with its slightly creative production design and incredibly standout score. This film is infamous for people buying tickets to it just to see the Episode I trailer and walk right back out of the theater - does the film deserve it? Find out while you enjoy our custom cocktail and drinking rules!

THIS EPISODE'S DRINK: Wings of an Angel

For this interstellar Star Wars-meets-Top Gun adventure, we decided to make a rum-based drink (as per naval tradition), that you can drink in the ship's bar between missions. The green honeydew, cucumbers and lime add some light, refreshing elements to it (while also evoking the look of a green laser beam), grounded by the more robust elements of the triple sec and the cilantro.

2 parts silver Barbados rum (infuse with green honeydew melon)
1 part triple sec
cucumbers
cilantro leaf
splash, lime juice

1) Muddle cucumber and cilantro in shaker.
2) Add rum, triple sec and lime juice in shaker with ice; shake vigorously.
3) Strain into Collins glass with ice; garnish with cucumber slice, sprig of cilantro and lime slice.

RULES:

1) Drink whenever a character gives another character an order (not a suggestion)

2) Drink every time you hear the word "Pilgrim"

3) Drink any time you see a close-up of a character in the cockpit of a fighter (to stretch the lower CG budget during fight scenes)

FINISH YOUR DRINK WHEN:

The following exchange occurs-
Blair: "DON'T YOU DIE ON ME!!"
Angel: "...What did you say?"
Blair: "I said... don't you die on me."

Flat Universe Reveals New Gameplay Trailer

Kyrgiannis has posted a big new update on the development of the Wing Commander Flat Universe fan game. There's a long list of recent accomplishments that you can read up on below, and a slick new video shows off these newly implemented features. Big plans are on the drawing board to keep pushing forward. Future updates will show off the HUD / VDUs and enhanced AI. Even more exciting are longer range goals to incorporate multiplayer and a mission editor for fans to play around with.
We've got several updates on the project. Now let's see:

1. Space flight and physics. Check (even though that's old news)
2. Guns and Blasters. Check (We can very easily simulate anything from laser blasters to the steltek gun and most of those are already done)
3. Shields. Check (Both technically and visually)
4. Capacitors and generators. Check (Every system drains from the powerplant and we have already planned for matter antimatter engines. Dragon anyone?)
5. Damage modelling. Check (Subsystems damage, collision detections, shield scrubbing etc. all in working order)
6. Star system modelling. Check (We have 7 star systems ready with more coming soon. Soon you can find them on the website).
7. Spacecraft. Check (Several ready. We are adding more everyday)
8. Space Station interior design. Check (The bar for the base is ready and we are moving to the other areas)

Last but not least...

We have enlisted the help of one of the “famous” guys from this place to help us with the spaceship design. Who is it? Well check the following gameplay trailer video to find out....

Supplemental Wing Commander Album Campaign Two Weeks In

More contributors have added to the campaign to lengthen the WC music album, but there is still a ways to go before the full target is reached. $20 secures your digital copy of Prague's Czech Philharmonic Orchestra playing classic Wing Commander music, and $100 gets you a collectible autographed disc. More than simply getting you a copy of the product, these pledges help make the project possible at all. The current length is slated to be about 30 minutes, but an additional $13,000 will help max out the disc with an additional recording session. For a taste of what to expect, check out the soundtrack to Shaiya here (24 meg zip, track list). It's a Korean MMO that George previously orchestrated with a live symphony and choir! Contribute to the supplemental campaign here.
A lot of it is influenced by the Wing Commander music I've previously composed. Actually, I thought it might be fun for you all to try to guess which Wing Commander pieces influenced which Shaiya pieces. Check it out! BTW, the coolest thing is that it's all LIVE ORCHESTRA and CHOIR!!! Something I tried for years to get Origin to support. It was recorded at the Clint Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. just a few week ago. Enjoy!

Czech These Awesome WC Novels Out!

Here's an especially cool set of Wing Commander collectibles: the Czech WC novel translations! The Wing Commander games were huge hits in English and German speaking regions, so versions for those areas were no surprise, but the Czech copies have always been a little more unusual (up there with the Spanish translation of the WC Movie Novelization). The six 'Forstchen books' were all converted with the last being False Colors in 2005, six years after its original publication. Clockwise from the top left, pictured here are End Run, Heart of the Tiger, False Colors, The Price of Freedom, Action Stations and Fleet Action. This is a set LOAF added to his collection thanks to some help by Glabro.

Scimitar Enters the Jet Age

wackymidget has had some time to think about his reimagined Scimitar design since he first showed it off, and this second version has a new look. The lines are a little more sleek this time around, and there are more design cues inspired by modern jet fighters. Even without textures, the ship renders came out pretty nice. It packs quite a missile load out now too! More explanation on the ship's design tweaks is below.
It's been a while. I wasn't too happy about the design. It wasn't really how I envisioned it in my mind. So I remade almost everything from scratch! I wanted it to be much more like a modern fighter jet. Since it has three engines I envision it as an interceptor. It should be able to launch from anywhere and intercept enemy attack craft and bombers before they can fire their cap missiles or orbital bombs. So it will probably have a very long radar range and carry mostly BVR (beyond visual range) (long range) missiles. It is designed to be fuel efficient. It has a joined wing configuration, which reduces induced drag. The forward swept rear wings and the delta shaped front wings give it the benefit of the high angle of attack of the forward swept wing and stability of the delta wing. The carnards make it an agile atmospheric fighter. Since it doesn't have vertical stabilizers (Six-Gun Slim didn't like them), it should have thrust vectoring to compensate for that. So I gave it the exhausts of the Eurofighter (which will feature thrust vectoring). I gave it external fuel tanks for added range and to have enough fuel to reach orbit and reach the Tiger's Claw after take off from the ground.

I still need to model a few details on the scimitar and still need to texture it. But I'm too excited to not post some of my renders.

Ultima Online Approved by Steam Greenlight

Since being shifted from EA Mythic to a 3rd party studio, Broadsword, in February, the team behind Ultima Online has been pushing to reinvigorate the franchise. UO and Dark Age of Camelot have both been approved for Steam Greenlight, which should give the games some much needed publicity and exposure. It's been almost five years since the game's last major release, so the fact that the game still has a significant following is impressive. There will also be a new 'Return to Britannia' promotion later this month to bring past players back into the fold. The team is also hiring, which further suggests things are on a decent footing. Always amazing - Origin released Ultima Online way back on September 24, 1997!

Kilrathi RPG's Star Systems Further Defined

capi3101's Kilrathi-themed RPG expansion continues to make steady progress. Work in early April centered around the encounter tables that define the likelihood of running across various ships throughout the star systems in the game. On a related note, many of these systems also got their specific histories further fleshed out. Work still continues on this aspect, as dozens and dozens of systems will each get their own backstories. capi's elaborate Kilrathi lexicon project was also put to the test with its first real name translation. Details on how that turned out are below. You can check out the core RPG online here.
This week I also got my first taker on folks who wanted to have their name translated into the Kilrathi language. After a private discussion with CIC member cff, the two us determined his full Kilrathi name and his Kilrathi war name (husiv) - Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi. cff has since added both names to his profile and signature, so I'm pretty sure he doesn't mind me sharing that information with y'all. If anybody else would like to try to find their Kilrathi name, shoot me a PM. My own husiv, incidentally, is Yurakh'hra nar Qithska, and my long name is Yurakh'hra Ragnithorguk dai Irarg'ga ko Daik'a lan Hra'niskarhtashav lak Qithska nar Bhaki'Lani erg Tharag'nithjhak. That'll be useful in the event I ever get to play my own game as a Kilrathi character. Might also be able to slip in a character with that name into Elegy or something...

Dan Gheesling's Let's Play of WC1

It's not just centaurianmudpig that has been posting Wing Commander video walkthroughs to YouTube. AD has come across another series of WC1 long play vids, from Dan Gheesling. Gheesling won the tenth season of Big Brother back in 2008, and has since made additional appearances in seasons 11 and 14. Most recently, he has been involved in the Star Citizen community, helping out with the Next Great Starship competition. The format is a little different from the usual video walkthrough, in that the creator has superimposed video of himself over the gameplay footage. One video is embedded below, but you can also find Dan's Wing Commander playlist here. Each episode has a run length of some 10 to 25 minutes.

Starship Comparison Adds More Space Sim Ships

The massive sci fi ship size comparison collage has been tweaked a bit since it originally made the rounds late last year. Wing Commander ships have been repositioned, and space sim cousins such as Star Citizen and Space: Above and Beyond have been added to the melee. DirkLoechel, the creator of this work, visited the CIC Forums to talk about the size discrepancy of the Kilrathi Hvar'kann dreadnought. In order to scale the ship more along the lines of its in-game presence, he took the 22,000 meter figure and imagined it actually meant feet, and then he converted feet back into meters. This makes some sense within the context of Wing Commander 3 by itself, although Prophecy was the first game to actually feature a spaceflight engine with capships and fighters to scale. We also know that the Victory Streak stat was not a typgraphical error due to length confirmations in False Colors novel and Star*Soldier manual, but at least the mystery here is solved! The updated 13 megabyte image is available here.
Hello. I made this chart.

Wing Commander, specifically Wing Commander 2 and 3, are games I remember extremely fondly. Not only were they pleasantly challenging without making you insane (like seriously oldschool games - anyone here even heared of Psygnosis' Obliterator?), they also had a greatly scripted and executed story, an original, somewhat trashy feel (especially WC3!), and were just plain fun to play. Too bad that kind of game seems not to pass the producer test anymore.

The assortment was indeed to show most main ships - completist me. ^^ I'm quite happy I remembered most of them by name.

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