WingNut Wedding: Chris & Lacey Take Off!

Congratulations Chris and Lacey! WCNews editor Chris Reid married the former Ms. Lacey Kumanchik on Saturday, June 21st, 2014. Chris and Lacey threw one heck of a wedding at the Seattle Museum of Flight, complete with dinner and dancing under an SR-71 variant! Here's to a lifetime of happy marriage for one of the men responsible for keeping Wing Commander alive.

GOG Sale Knocks $38.40 Off Wing Commander Series

Today's the last day of GOG's hot summer sale, so there's another brief shot at getting the Wing Commander series for a whopping 80% off. That's $9.52 for WC1 through Prophecy, Armada, Academy, the Privateers, all expansions and bonus material. You, diehard Wingnut reader, probably own all of these many times over, but hit the little "Gift entire pack" button and send Wing Commander joy to your friends! The Ultima series is also 80% off for Origin completionists. Thanks to Whistler for spotting this one early!

Beat Hazard Mod Gets Salthi Light Fighter

Shaggy has added a second Kilrathi fighter to the Beat Hazard fray. The Salthi joins the Dralthi and WC1 Confed fighters in scroller shooter battles set to your own soundtrack. Players with the Shadow Operations DLC can search the game's workshop pages to find all six craft. When the Kat ships are all complete, Shaggy plans to incorporate them into one easy-to-find bundle. Check out the CIC music section for some appropriate background music and get blastin'!
Like the Hornet it's fast and agile but the guns are weak.

Once I finish off the Kilrathi ships I'll put together a fighters pack to simplify subscribing. But if you do a search for Dralthi Mk II, or even just Dralthi, it should be the only one to pop up in the results, then you can look directly at my workshop files.

Dreaded Convoy Raider Jumps In

Heavily armed and packing a jump drive, the Jalkehi is ideally suited for bombing runs against convoys and fleets, while warding off any enemy pursuers with its rear turret. Klavs' interpretation of the WC2-era heavy fighter more closely resembles the ship design of Wing Commander 3 or WC Arena. The highly detailed model and textures give it an even bigger and tougher appearance.

A bright flash, the ejection alarm rings, and my little world tears off from the greater part of the ship into the deep blackness. I struggle against the acceleration, trying to breathe, trying to think. The inside of the turret fades to grey, then black. When I awake, I do not know how many days have passed. The oxygen alarm is ringing loudly and flashing its annoying little flash. This tells me that I will be dead in an hour, perhaps two. Against the spinning void, a single bright star grows brighter. Presently, the void spins slower as a tractor beam takes hold of us. The picket corvette has come to claim me as a prize. I check my guns. One is disabled, the other has retained half charge. I bide my time, feign death, and wait.

-Third Claw Mh'ruush, Imperial Raiding Force 10, Harrison System. After Action Report.

Wing Commander Movie On Google Play

But only for Canadians? AD noticed that the standard definition (non-HD resolution) version of the Wing Commander movie can now be rented or bought from Google Play. After purchasing, the movie can be streamed to any device that is tied to your Google account. At this time, users from the US and other countries can only add the movie to their wishlist. We'll have more technical details as soon as AD or another Canadian has a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, other channels for digital delivery (in selected regions) include HBO, Amazon, Vudu, Netflix and iTunes. Some of these sources offer a 1080p Full HD option as well. The movie soundtrack by David Arnold and Kevin Kiner is also available for download from most countries.

Retro Treasures: Privateer

Download services like GOG and Origin provide by far the easiest way to enjoy classic games on a modern computer, but the boxed original is still nice to have. The Retro-Treasures blog scours various auction and e-commerce sites for obscure or cool pieces of gaming nostalgia. Their articles are concise, often consisting of just one or two paragraphs centered around a particular auction, but the blog is updated daily and will often jog your memory if you are over 25. Last month, they ran a short piece on Privateer:
Though not as vast as any of the Elite games, Wing Commander: Privateer is a brilliant open-world space exploration/trading/fighting game, that -unlike Elite- sports a deep storyline and impressive for the time VGA graphics. Having played it again less than a month ago I can also attest to the fact that Privateer hasn't aged just yet, and still comes in a big, impressive box.

Space Sim First Look: Star Nomad

Long time Privateer fan Silverforce has put together a top-down RPG/RTS space shooter, available on multiple platforms. Star Nomad features a selection of modular ships, random missions, commodity trading/smuggling and a dynamic main story line. The game is available for Android devices from the Google Play store. Windows and Mac users can get it through IndieGameStand.
Showcase here is a Centurion Heavy Fighter (quite cheap and versatile!), agile enough to dodge a lot of incoming fire, and packs twin turrets and launchers (all modules fully up-gradable) to dish out the pain. Sadly, it has next to no cargo space for trading, but there's trade ships for those who love that side of gameplay!

Freddie Prinze Jr. In Dragon Age: Inquisition

Freddie Prinze Jr. continues his voice acting career in the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third installment in BioWare's action/role-playing franchise. Prinze Jr. plays the role of companion character Iron Bull, a Qunari mercenary persona. Inquisition is coming to Windows, next-gen and previous generation consoles in Q4. The actor previously lent his voice to a supporting character in Mass Effect 3 and the animated tie-in, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost.

Texturing Work Bears Fruit

Fan modeler ScoobyDoo is back with an upgraded version of his Bearcat-inspired fighter design. The improved model and better textures add a lot more detail compared to the earlier versions, which appeared back in May and July of 2012. Intakes, landing gear, wheelwells and numerous hardpoints are all present. Hopefully some of his other designs will receive the same treatment!

Quick Brown Fox

Forums member Aginor wanted an easy way to put Kilrathi symbols on things, so he got to work in Type Light and created a standard TrueType font. Grab the small zip file here. Windows users can open the TTF file and click the install button, Mac users need to drag the file to Library/Fonts. You might also be interested in this Kilrathi keyboard layout that Jumper put together for WASD Keyboards.

I finally got sick of cutting and pasting letters from various pictures like the one above and fitting them together in order to write Kilrathi script, so I....

...downloaded an opensource font designer tool and created a *.TTF font file based on the WCP script, adding a few number characters (only 0-7 because of the Kilrathi number system) and some special characters.

I think that was also done by the Standoff team for their easter egg, but since I couldn't find that font file anywhere (not sure if they released it) and since it seems to lack punctuation marks (like the exclamation mark) and I assume it also lacks numbers (dunno, we don't see them) I did those myself.

Here it is, download it, install it and have fun writing in Kilrathi! :) This is still WIP of course so tell me what you think about it and what I could improve!

Origin Veteran Tony Zurovec Joins Star Citizen

Joystiq reports that Origin veteran Tony Zurovec has joined the Austin branch of CIG, where he will take charge of the persistent universe (press release). He recently sat down for a video interview with Chris Roberts (embedded below). A few years ago, Good Old Games published the transcript of an extensive Q&A session with Zurovec. While that interview focused on Crusader, it also provided some great insights into what it was like working on game development at Origin in the mid '90s. Check it out here.
Star Citizen’s prodigious scope has led to a modular development strategy whereupon groups of skilled developers across the world have been assembled to concentrate on different sections of the game. In his new job Zurovec will be directing design, engineering, and art in the Austin studio that will be focusing a lot of its efforts on Star Citizen’s persistent universe. He’ll also have responsibilities involving management of some of CIG’s contract studios. He’ll join a growing list of studio heads reporting directly to Roberts, who will continue to lead and oversee all aspects of Star Citizen’s creation, a complex endeavor that’s expanded to include more than 250 employees and contractors.

A Razor Sharp Grikath Design

The Grikath (Wing 2/Academy TV) may have poor acceleration specs, but pilots that go chasing after one will have to face the dreaded tail gunner. Klavs' take on this heavy fighter has more jagged edges than the original and the razor-like wings look sharp enough to slice an enemy ship in half!

'Ship Killers Exhausted. Enemy remains. Continuing Attack.'

-Intercepted transmission from Grikath Vog Seven-Two, destroyed at the Battle of Vukar Tag.

This thing turned into almost a proto-Vaktoth. With a good bit of movie Broadsword thrown in for the torpedo carry system, and even some cues from Wing Commander Academy.

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander I on Origin

The hits just keep coming! Electronic Arts has now released the original Wing Commander (here redubbed Wing Commander 1) via their Origin service. Like the previous releases, Wing Commander is $4.99 and installs smoothly via the Origin launcher. You can purchase your copy here. Here's to hoping we see Prophecy, Academy, Armada and Privateer 2 soon! Meanwhile, GOG is offering the entire series (including extras, addons and in some cases OSX compatibility) for 80% off today only. You can find that deal here.

You may be the hottest pilot in the fleet, but this will cool your jets!

In Wing Commander™ you blast your way through the Vega Campaign. You’d better be as good as your reputation because the stakes are too high to play it safe.

BREAKING NEWS: More Wing Commander on Origin

Last week, EA added Wing Commander III to their 'Origin' service... and today they've added three more of the classic games! Wing Commander II, Wing Commander IV and Wing Commander: Privateer are now available for digital purchase for $4.99 each. Both Crusader games and Ultima VII, which features a hidden Kilrathi Bloodfang fighter, is also now available.

Wing Commander IV is the DVD version previously available on GOG. Wing Commander II and Privateer do not seem to include their respective mission disks. (Wing Commander II seems to have the executables and data, but is not configured to run them. Privateer does not have the Righteous Fire data.) Remember, though, that they launched on GOG without the addons; we'll let you know when they are added!

Wing Commander II Vengance of the Kilrathi

Just when you think that the action can’t get any more intense, or the opposition any stiffer, you’ll plunge into Wing Commander II.

Disgraced and unjustly court-martialed, you have to prove yourself once again and earn the respect of the Confederation High Command. Of course, there is also the little matter of preventing the destruction of the Terran home-worlds.

Wing Commander: Privateer

At the end of the day, it’s all about money and survival.

2669, Gemini Sector, Troy System. The Terran frontier between the Kilrathi Empire and the unknown. Privateer takes you to the seamy side of the Wing Commander universe. In the far reaches of space, you live by no man’s rules but your own. The fringes are populated by a volatile mix of pirates, miners, mercs, cutthroats, and Kilrathi, all struggling to make a life for themselves.

In this open-ended game you can choose from many paths. You start with a rusted scout ship and a handful of credits in your pocket. It isn't much, but the universe is there for you to explore in search for profitable opportunities. Become a patient, law-abiding merchant, a smuggler far away from the normal space lanes, a pirate preying on the weak, or a professional mercenary hunting down criminal scum. Or just do whatever suits you at the time. At the end of the day, it’s all about money and survival. Mostly money.

Are you determined enough to forge your own destiny?

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom

Wing Commander™ IV is one of the greatest space sims of all time, and some even consider it the greatest one of all.

The year is 2673, four years after the Treaty of Torgo and the end of the Kilrathi War. As hostilities died out, more trivial concerns like rebuilding what was lost or dealing with space piracy, became the biggest concerns of the Terran Confederation. Even Christopher "Maverick" Blair, the famous Confed pilot responsible for ending the war, settled down and became a farmer. In these times of peace, humans grew fat and complacent. All good things must end, though. Soon enough, heinous incidents erupted on the outskirts of the Confederation, and humanity was forced to the brink of civil war. Confed HQ needed the best and decided to recall Colonel Blair to active duty. This is where you come in.

Wing Commander™ IV is one of the greatest space sims of all time, and some even consider it the greatest one of all. It is one of those games that did everything right. This is one of the few games that actually successfully manages to integrate a lot of FMV into the action, mostly because it uses trained film actors and directors. The combat is straightforward, fluid, and entertaining. The characters are as believable and memorable as they come. The orchestrated music -- just perfect. Finally, its enthralling story is both deep and plausible -- a combination that is often lost in modern games. There is simply no reason not to play this game and, once you do start playing, you will find it hard to think of a reason why you should stop.

Space Movie First Look: Vultures in the Void

Long time visitor and Wing Commander fan Arvin Bautista has tried his hand at directing a short sci-fi film. Vultures in the Void, a flick about pirates trying to hijack a space freighter, cites Wing Commander, Mass Effect and Macross among its influences. You may recognize the actors from supporting roles in the Fifth Element, The Crow or the Matrix Reloaded. Vultures in the Void runs some 15 minutes and is free to watch here or on Vimeo.

A convoy escorting a Consortium freighter carrying precious cargo is ambushed in deep space.

Turns out Consortium pilot SUNSET BISMARCK (Brooke Nevin) and space pirate LUCKY MIKE (David Franklin) are in on it together.

It would’ve been so simple, if not for the arrival of two more cutthroats, DEADSPEED (Bai Ling) and her sidekick SPACE CLOWN (Tiny Lister). Now everyone wants a piece.

With Consortium backup en route, who’s going to make off with the booty?

Billy Joe Cain's Resignation Letter

Wing Commander Prophecy lead designer Billy Cain recently opened a window into video gaming history that will be of interest to long time Wing Commander and Origin fans. While going through his old files, Billy found some of his old emails dating back to his Origin Systems days. He posted his resignation Letter on his blog.

While it's perhaps a somber reminder of the downfall of the once great developer, there's a lot of interesting tidbits in there and references to games that were never released (see Cyclone Alley, and Prowler). Of note, the Origin team that was tasked with working on console ports, including the long lost WC2 for the SNES was dubbed (perhaps unofficially) 'Origin Siberia'. You can read the entire letter here or on Billy's blog

I was one of the first employees when EA bought us, and since I had been trying to get a job here for over a year, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew that Strike Commander was going to take a lot longer than EA expected, and I knew that crunch mode was going to be a mantra for years to come. I didn't care. I wanted to be part of a fantastic organization that allowed people to follow their dreams. I wanted to be surrounded by the smartest people I had ever met, creating games and universes that lived and breathed on their own. I got the job thanks to Mike Sims and a need on the Super Nintendo team run by Alan Gardner. We were known as Origin Siberia, since the 'real' teams were in another building, working on PC products.

...I had to return to Austin.

Upon coming back, I got a position working with Eric Hyman as an Associate Producer. I worked with Paul Steed on Cyclone Alley and then with Paul Isaac on Prowler. Neither projects managed to ship, but I learned a lot about helping people and how much I needed to learn about calming down.

WC Strategy Mod Making Good Progress

There's a status update on Ron B's hex-based WC strategy project. He's completed the game's ships and star systems as well as major structural elements relating to the turn system and combat. Other tasks largely related to streamlining the user interface and managing items are still in work. There are plans to open the game up to some limited testing soon, so visit the CIC Forums and help provide feedback if you'd like to get involved!
Game Update:
- Have finished the time based turn system which is customizable by game owner. Cron system keeps the turns moving irrespective of player involvement
- All ships loaded and ready, both Confed and Kilrathi
- All 65 system maps of the Gemini system loaded including planets, jump points, refineries, mining stations and asteroid fields
- Combat system completed although experience and suppression are still to be calculated
- Multiplayer login and multi game system in place
- Strategic map in place

Items in progress:
- Initial setup when new player joins a game
- Ship management system to be improved
- Capture and ownership of mining stations, planets and refineries etc has to be completed
- Regeneration of credits based on assets after each turn has be to created
- Asset management and credit management

To be developed:
- Battle logs and reports
- Intra game chat
- Diplomacy screen
- Game music and storylines

Future plans:
- Automated bots for neutral parties like merchants, mercenaries, bounty hunters etc

Already in alpha mode. Will share limited logins soon.

Old & New Hellcats Showcase Major Improvement

Whiplash has posted a new before-and-after look at his detailed wooden Hellcat model. Many fans have been following the remodeling of the famous fighter, but now it's easy to see just how much it was refined over the past year. The original was no slouch, but the new version is sharper in almost every way. Hopefully this inspires others to exercise their creativity in the future! Any bets on which ship will be next?
Hi everyone! So, as promised, a look back at how it went with the goals I set out to achieve when the project started.

1) Overall dimensions. I love how beefy it looks now! The broader fuselage and longer wings certainly give the ship a more purposeful appearance. Most importantly though, it now looks like a proper Hellcat from all angles. First one is in the bag!

2) Engine nozzles. Ugh, those were ugly! I am mega pleased with how the new ones look; it turned out even better than I could have hoped for. Incorporating paper and cardboard into the construction has allowed me to create much finer detail than with my previous attempt.

3) Panelling detail. A tough one, but overall I'm quite satisfied. I've learnt a few lessons from this, and if I get around to another ship, I would certainly do things a bit differently (add in the lines before painting the final coat, for instance). But not much to complain about; the panel lines and detail painting have brought the ship to life in a way I could not have imagined.

4) Clean up and detail the weapons. My, this bit was fun! Once again, taking the paper craft approach is something I've never tried before, but it's hard to argue with the result. I would never have been able to get such tiny details if I'd tried to craft the guns purely from wood.

5) Improve intake detail. Hard work but completely worth it. These look like actual intakes now, much more realistic than the flat painted surfaces they were previously. My camera focus has improved as well... :)

6) And finally, the cockpit area. This is one aspect I feel might have gone better. The new canopy is a big improvement, but painting it has spoiled the look somewhat. I can still replace it though, so perhaps If I can find a piece of clear plastic in the right colour, I can attempt this again. I am rather proud of how the heat-forming went though, since this is something else I've never tried.

So all in all, I'm pretty pleased! I'd say this refit has been mostly successful.

Empire Strives to Swarm Enigma Sector

The Kilrathi onslaught continues! Klavs has moved up a bit from his recent flurry of Kilrathi fighters to one of the big boys. This Fralthra looks like a mean son-of-a-gun. Its six fins and prominent fore section give the ship quite a bit of menacing bulk, but there's also a pair of large and eye-catching hangars in the rear. Nothing that a Confed attack wing couldn't handle though!
The bogey appeared behind us at an impossibly low angle, tearing through the upper stratosphere, accelerating as they came. In seconds, they were clear of the ionosphere, shedding the corona of excess plasma from their insane acceleration up to orbital velocity. One contact became many and it soon became apparent our little tin can was hellishly outmatched. A living nightmare of snarling durasteel, torpedo launchers, plasma cannons, and a full wing of fighters was bearing up at us, and there was no way we could get away in time.

Captain Dominguez took a sip of his tea and turned to me. 'Battle Stations please Kate, we might be in for some rough handling.'

-LT Katheryne Niswonger, TCS Lanei

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander III on Origin

GOG is no longer the only place you can purchase classic Wing Commander titles for the PC! Electronic Arts has added the original PC version of Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger to their unfortunately-named "Origin" digital distribution service. WC3 runs $4.99 and can be purchased online here. Eight of the nine numerical Ultima titles are also available (VII is missing.)

The release comes as a surprise, as EA had previously opted to license the Wing Commander series to GOG instead of continuing development of a system for classic titles on Origin. Note that the release date is incorrect; Wing Commander III shipped in November, 1994 and not March. WC3 is also not eligible for Origin's "Great Game Guarantee"... but trust us, this one is worthwhile!

Thanks to Joe for the report! Here's to hoping this is only the beginning for a wider release of Wing Commander digital titles.

Adrenaline, romance, humor, danger - Wing Commander III has all this and more

Professionally scripted and filmed in Hollywood, ORIGIN's multi-million dollar production combines the entertainment of film-making with the interactivity of computer gaming. The result is far more than an action packed and spectacular spaceflight experience.

Become immersed in a futuristic adventure that combines Hollywood's movie making expertise with the adrenaline-pumping game play of a space combat simulation. You are the star, your actions will determine the eventual outcome of the Terran Confederation. Adrenaline, romance, humor, danger - Wing Commander III has all this and more.

This sequel completes the turbulent chronicles of the Terran-Kilrathi war. The final showdown is near and only you can write the ending.

Dralthi Leads Kats' Beat Hazard Attack

Shaggy has jumped right into the Empire's arsenal with the first Kilrathi ship for Beat Hazard. The iconic Dralthi tears space up to the rhythm of your own music library in the game. It all looks like frantic fun! Check out all his other Wing Commander ships here.
The Flying Pancake is now up for Beat Hazard!

The Dralthi is the first fighter I did without relying on preexisting panel lines. With the Confed fighters I used the Blueprint images as a basic road map and relied on their lines, less and less as time went by, to help illustrate many of the panels the fighters have. With this one I used the Dralthi image, from the Joan's Fighting Spacecraft Claw Marks supplement, for the shapes and size but all of the lines from that were wiped away by the end of the project and started taking a little more artistic liberties with these.

Tallahassees Take On Planetary Patrol

ScoobyDoo is back with a new wallpaper image. This high resolution shot shows a pair of Tallahassee cruisers sailing through a very pretty space scene. It's a gorgeous setup that shows off his new model well. Scooby took a stab at a stylized variant a few years back that gave the ship some WC2 era curves, but this more WC3-centric version has a really classic charm to it. I've always thought the prominent bow bulkhead was one of the ship's best features, and this interpretation of the design really emphasizes that.
No, I'm not dead, just had some personal issues to deal with... I've only gotten one ship done, the Tallie and have been looking at retexturing and updetailing the fighters. :)

Do Call It A Dralthi...

Kyrgiannis has posted a gorgeous preview of Klavs' Dralthi as it will appear in the upcoming Wing Commander Flat Universe mod. The image below is posed, but it's using the in-game assets as they will appear during close up shots. And at 1920x1080, it makes a fantastic desktop wallpaper! To get a good idea of how the game will play, check out the most WCFU recent trailer. You can also find more pictures of the awesome fighter lineup here.
For reference this is how we adapted the Dralthi for in game use for the Flat Universe project.

The screenshot is directly from the game engine (this is how you see the dralthi fly by in cut-scenes and close-ups! - no post editing or effects added) and the conversion needed was minimal. The fact that the model looks that good in a game engine is a proof of how good a modeler Klavs is!

Excellent work with the models as always Klavs!

Den of Geek Looks Back at Wing Commander Again

Den of Geek has posted a new article that reviews the Wing Commander Movie to see if "time has been kind to it." I still remember the premiere like it was yesterday, so it's strange to think that there are film critics out there now who were just in elementary school (or younger!) back in 1999. The author in this case is a fair bit older than that, but it's always interesting to see people's perspectives on the movie today in a brand new context. They appear to be fascinated by the mix of relatively modern CG juxtaposed less stellar physical effects. There's also an acknowledgement of the fine international cast, but it's layered in some disappointment at the lack of the game series' fun actor lineup. Check out the full article here. Den of Geek has also posted a retrospective on the Wing Commander games last year as well.
Even in 1999, the sight of iffy scale model effects and rubbery aliens rubbing shoulders with relatively fresh CGI must have looked curiously archaic to cinemagoers of the time, and it feels as though the filmmakers themselves knew this. In the midst of all the likeably kitsch space operatics, there’s one brief, isolated sequence where the film turns into The Matrix: as a space ship goes into hyper drive, we see a couple of bullet-time shots of characters frozen in awkward positions. It’s a moment of quintessentially late-90s style that probably looked quite trendy at the time, but now looks just as quaint as the rest of this deliriously camp would-be blockbuster.

She’s Prepped, Primed, Loaded, Locked and Ready to Kick Some Ass

After more than a year of hard work, Whiplash has completed his exquisite Hellcat model! The finishing touches were a handful of authentic warning decals, yellow stripes and the Confed emblem on the wing tips. You can catch up on the step-by-step process it took to build the fighter here. We'll probably see a few more beauty shots of the ship in different poses soon, and then it'll be time to work on more models!
I've never been fond of endings, but this year-long project is rapidly nearing its conclusion. Without getting sentimental, let me just say I have had a fantastic time exercising my creative juices, and it's been a very rewarding experience sharing my progress with the Wing Commander community. Hopefully there will be more ships to follow!

On to the results of the decal painting! Much of the ship is covered in small red warning signs. These generally read "NO STEP" on a full-size aircraft, but I couldn't paint letters quite that small. I did however give the big warning signs a go. You can't really read what they say in the in-game screenshots, but "FUEL" and "INTAKE" seemed sensible choices.

The famous Confed star was great fun to paint. I made a cardboard template to help with the outline, and I think it came out pretty well. The yellow squadron markings complete the overall picture. I've been looking forward to painting them for months, and the result was very satisfying.

That's it for now. This won't be my last update: I want to do a short retrospective on the goals I set out to achieve, and maybe do a few comparison shots (then vs now). I would also like to pose my model to recreate some well-known Hellcat shots from the game to see how it compares to the source material.

Have a great week everyone!

Don't Call It A Dralthi...

Klavs has been working on WC2-inspired fighters as of late, and this Drakhri adaptation is next in line. While the Drakhri's wing shape may remind you of a certain flying pancake, this multi-role medium fighter is in fact an entirely distinct design. Note the missile rack above the cockpit!

We had been reporting faster, more heavily armed Dralthis for almost a year before a very prim and proper intelligence briefer sat us down and showed us the error of our ways. These, he intoned gravely, were of from a completely different sect of clan manufacturers and thus intrinsically and deeply distinct from the Dralthi line. We were henceforth to make careful distinction in our combat reports, and duly note the myriad and subtle (yet distinct) differences between the two craft, despite the fact that both Dralthi's and Drakhri were frequently operating in the same systems, even from the same ships!

Subsequently, claims of Dralthi's and/or Drakhri dropped to near zero. Claims of 'pancakes, batwings and medium sized cats' went on per usual.

-Rear Admiral Nona Sigurdsson, TCSN (Retired)

Arena Commander Released!

Chris Robert's Cloud Imperium Games has released the highly anticipated dogfighting module for Star Citizen. Dubbed "Arena Commander," the first playable space sim portion of the game is an in-universe simulation within a simulation - like the TrainSim in Shotglass' bar. Backers of the Star Citizen crowd funding campaign can now head over to the Roberts Space Industries website, download and play a handful of single player modes including a free-flight mode and a gauntlet called "Vanduul Swarm." Multiplayer modes are available to a handful of lucky members. As the game servers stabilize and are stress tested the multiplayer modes will be available to more and more pilots. It's a hefty download though (12GB), so give yourself some time!

Arena Commander is published in the Star Citizen universe by Original Systems. You can read more about Original Systems here. It's a fun read that echoes the real life history of Chris Robert's time at Origin. This week's release has also shipped with a Wing Commander-esque in-fiction manual available here. For further info on how to use the mouse controls don't forget to check out the how-two vids below that feature the voice of our very own LOAF!

Famous Fighter Foursome Available in Beat Hazard

Shaggy has finished the final WC1 Confed fighter for his neato Beat Hazard project. The Rapier and its three siblings can be found on the game's editing workshop pages for fans with the Shadow Operations DLC. Because the Rapier is such a killer ship, players will need rank up a bit before it's unlockable. The game looks really fun with all the WC fighters!
The Rapier is up and ready to fight. I built up with the most powerful guns, the most speed, and the most agility I could cram into it. Because of the edit point system this means that there is a repellant force toward the powerups but it's not too bad and the fighter is fast enough to catch them. This also means that it's a top rank fighter so you'll have to rank up all the way to access it. I wish there was a better way to do it but it is what it is.

That does it for the WC 1 Confed fighters. I'm going to start looking at options for the Kilrathi fighters but I've got some busy days ahead of me and I'm not sure when I'll get to them.

The Gamal Gan, Ayers Rock and All That Jazz

centaurianmudpig has completed his video walkthrough of another game, Special Operations 2. He's rolled everything together into one glorious 2+ hour feature. As we mentioned previously, SO2 is an exciting tale about Mandarins, Morningstars and the Wild Eagles Squadron. Due to EA's global carpet bombing (OEM pack-ins) of Wing Commander 2 Deluxe on CD, there's quite a few copies of this game in circulation today. However, for many people in the mid '90s without CD drives, finding a copy of the WC2 expansions was quite an ordeal! Many retailers didn't carry expansion packs long after their initial release, which left quite a few people to rely on catalog mail orders to Origin for copies at $40 a piece. If you were one of the fans who spent over $300 paying MSRP prices for the original two WC games, plus expansions, the $3-6 going rate at GOG today is still completely mind blowing! Check out the SO2 video below.

CMP has also started his playthrough of Wing Commander 3. He's got a new navigation bar that helps jump to key points in the action. The tone has also shifted from commentary to a walkthrough guide format. Let him know what you think over at the CIC Forums! Subscribe to his video game channel on YouTube for more nifty videos.

Geeky Retrospective Recaps Wing Commander Highlights

Vermin and g33k-e.com have published a new fan retrospective on the Wing Commander series. It starts off by setting the early '90s stage with respect to Origin Systems and other space sims like X-Wing or Elite. Then it thoroughly reviews the main series games with an acknowledgment of each chapter's revolutionary features. Spinoffs like Privateer and Armada then get their turn, and there's even an honorable mention for WC Arena, the Movie, television show and more. Modern fan projects, the GOG rereleases and Chris Roberts' latest exploits finally cap off the piece well. There might not be much new to see here for the hardcore Wingnut, but this is a great article to pass off to friends and family who are wondering why you're such a big fan! Check out the full read here.
Space games seem to have been sucked into a black hole of gaming in recent years. The genre has suffered as gamers have focused their appetites to more action oriented games, but there was a time when space combat simulators were at the cutting edge, pushing the boundaries of technology and story telling in gaming. Among the Elite‘s and the X-wing/Tie-Fighter games, was the Wing Commander series.

As a Wing Commander fan (or Wing Nut) myself, I can tell you many a tale of battling in furious dog fights in space, losing myself in the story, and scaring myself to the point of being unable to sleep; the latter case was because I played it on my own, in the dark, facing off against alien creatures and dying many times. All of this only took place after about 20 hours of trying to get the damn games to run or having to wait to upgrade the family computer to even install it.

Widely regarded as one of the premium space combat games, it was responsible for introducing many new ideas, forcing many people to upgrade their computers to get the best out of the Wing Commander experience. Even to this day, the series is often cited as the measuring stick that many new space simulators are compared to.

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