Company... Atten-SHUN!

Victorinox spotted a fun coincidence in promotional materials for the TNT drama The Last Ship. The crew of a surviving destroyer is responsible for finding a cure in the aftermath of a global outbreak. An officer in protective gear is is pictured in mid salute, which bears a striking resemblance to Colonel Halcyon during the funeral sequences of Wing Commander 1. Nice catch!

Ultima Forever Closing Forever

Electronic Arts has announced that Ultima Forever will be shutting down effective August 29, 2014. Some fans may have seen the end coming when Mythic Entertainment began closing earlier this year and ongoing development was not offloaded like it was for Ultima Online. Existence of the game was first leaked in May of 2011 and it finally released in May of 2013. Closures and shutdowns are always disappointing - it seemed like they did try to do the franchise justice within their purview. It's also a testament to the sustainability of UO that the original Ultima MMO is still going after nearly seventeen years!

Strangers, Seekers and Avatars all,

While the past year has certainly been quite the adventure – in Britannia and beyond! – that adventure is now drawing to a close, as the time has come for us to say goodbye. As of Aug 29th 2014 (11:00 AM EDT), Ultima Forever will be shutting down its online services, and will no longer be available to play.

This was a very difficult decision for us to make. We’ve seen the game through ups and downs, and hope that you’ve enjoyed playing it every bit as much as we had making it! Through it all, it’s been players like you who’ve made it all worthwhile.

To thank everyone for their loyalty and support, for our last month of live operations, the following changes will be made to the game:

  • Significantly boosted Virtue and Reputation rewards
  • Equipment degradation to be disabled (no damage to worn/equipped items)
  • Increased drop rate of Gold keys
  • The in-game store will no longer sell premium currency (Silver and Gold keys)

We invite you to visit our Facebook page to share your favorite game memories with us. We’d love to hear from you: facebook.com/UltimaForever

From Lady British, the Gypsy, and all the other citizens of Ultima Forever’s Britannia: Thank you for your time spent in our world; we’re going to miss you very much!

Remember and uphold the Virtues, always!
- The Ultima Forever Team

There were originally rumors of a questing involving a downed Kilrathi ship. Did anyone ever find it? With the final month's boosted rewards, there's still time!

Hakaga Fleet Slices Straight Through to Earth

Klavs has followed up his Hakaga model with a render of the full-on assault. It's a great tribute to the Fleet Action cover, and it would make a fantastic wallpaper image. This version pulls back a bit farther that the book's art, so the frame includes six of these monsters in one shot. Wouldn't it be great to see these in motion (or battle) someday?

EA Announces New Game Service

Electronic Arts has announced EA Access, which is a new way for gamers to play a variety of the publisher's titles. For $5 per month or $30 per year, selected games will be available for free. Even better for fans of their series, all digital purchases will be discounted 10% and members will have five-day early access prior to official launch days. Some have asked, "What's the catch?" but this actually seems like a pretty decent deal. The selection of free games may be limited, but the service would entirely pay for itself for anyone who might buy five new EA games in a year. Someone could also subscribe for just one month and take advantage of multiple discounts - perhaps even tied to early preview of a particular game.


EA Access is currently only available on XBox One, and Sony has come out saying that the deal is a poor value. What may be more of a factor is tomorrow's launch of Playstation Now, which could be a competitor in the streaming/digital game space. Both Sony and Microsoft also offer Playstation Plus and XBox Live Gold subscriptions which include free games on top of online multiplayer. The new program is already in beta testing for people in the XBox Dashboard Preview program. Is anyone out there planning to sign up?

Pilgrim Legacy Full of Untapped Potential

Wojo has dabbled in various WC fan mods over the years, but he's had one pet project going for quite a while. The game would take place in the WC Saga engine and borrow elements from the Wing Commander Movie. It came up again recently in a thread on various add-on campaigns, so Wojo released this single teaser image. As happens with all such undertakings, real life is relentless and always interferes, but if you're interested in ever flying the CF-117 Rapier in another mod, hit the Discuss link below and let him know! The motivation will help let him and other talented fans out there that there are lots of eager players waiting in the wings!
I'm still doing this. My reasons escape me. Why I continue to punish myself after 6 years is beyond me. But here I am, flogging that dead horse...

Wing Commander Saga : Pilgrim Legacy

There. Now it has a name. It's up to the rest of you to shame me into completing it.

Congrats Again Lord British!

Congratulations to Origin founder, second generation astronaut and Wing Commander fan Richard Garriott and wife Laetitia de Cayeux, who welcomed their second child into the world yesterday. Ronin Phi Garriott de Cayeux was born yesterday on the 41st anniversary of his grandfather, Owen Garriott's, launch to the Skylab station. What an out-of-this-world family!

Jalthi Packs a Punch in Beat Hazard

Shaggy's planned WC1 Beat Hazard lineup is complete with the addition of the Jalthi. Predictably, this one is a beast with its heavy gun load out. There's now nine Vega Sector favorites available to fly while enemies are generated to the sound of your own music. Check them out in the game's workshop pages if you have the Shadow Operations DLC. Pictures of the other Wing Commander fighters are available here.
The Jalthi is now up, in the Beat Hazard Workshop, which means that the WC1 fighters are done. I also put them together in a collection that should let you pick and choose which fighters you want to subscribe to. I've thought about doing another pass on the Raptor, because it was the first one I did and I learned a lot of little tricks as things went by. Anyway, bask in the glory of the Jalthi.

Twitch Stream Explorers Original Wing Commander

Whistler reports that BadNewsBaron is in the process of broadcasting a play-through of Wing Commander 1. The Baron is known for live streaming Star Citizen footage on Twitch, and he's turning back the clock a bit to see where Chris Roberts got started in space sims. If you're not familiar with Twitch, it take a concept like YouTube a step further by integrating live video, real time viewer interaction and a heavy emphasis on video game content. It's become very popular on the Playstation 4 and XBox One, but PC users also have many options, including built-in support for broadcasting games from EA's Origin platform. Wing Commander fans have embraced this concept before on multiple YouTube channels, but the primary difference here is the interactive element. When the pilot can't figure out how to land on the Tiger's Claw, viewers in the chat room direct him to request clearance and fly to the front landing deck. The introduction is embedded below (mobile browsers may have to follow the hyperlink if the vid doesn't render), and past clips are available here. He typically streams on weekday mornings and afternoons, US central time, but the content schedule can vary.



Sounding Off About Obscure Sound Cards

LOAF was catching up on some early '90s issues of CGW this morning and came across several sound card advertisements that exemplify the times. It's been many years since people have had to spend much thought on the particular sound card for their new PC, but back in 1992, the market was on fire. Over just a couple short years, the industry converted from simple beeps & boops to dynamic music and digitized speech. Wing Commander 1&2 were at the forefront of this revolution and so were often highlighted in various ads such as these. To underscore the fact that this was largely a new thing for people, all of the hardware mentioned here came with free speakers. And when we got a pair of cheap 3-inch speakers, we actually used them!


Everyone's familiar with the Sound Blasters and AdLibs of the day, but the boards pictured below were not quite as popular. Despite branding itself as the "new affordable P.C. sound standard," the Sound Commander failed to make a lasting mark on the industry. The Sound Runner was out there "conquering the final frontier of truly realistic ear-blasting sound" and claimed to be the most compatible PC sound card with support for over 100 games! Finally, the Sound Galaxy NX was billed as "the only PC sound card you will ever need." It was the only sound card that supported four different competing standards: the Sound Blaster, AdLib, Disney Sound Source and Covox Speech Thing! Apparently it did not support the Sound Commander standard.

Thrakhath Sets Off For Earth

The Confed homeworld has more to fear than a Shiraak! The Hakagas that were under construction in the far flung reaches of the Empire have been completed and are on the move. Everything about the vessel in Klavs' latest render feels heavy and well armored. It also matches well with the Hakagas as they were pictured on the Fleet Action cover, plus there's good style commonality with other Kilrathi warships like the Ralari. You would never want a fleet of these things knocking on your door!
Thanks guys! Here's the Hakaga. She's a little light on red coloring, but I wanted to stay somewhat true to the End Run cover. I figure red accents get added with additional kills and victories, and the Hakagas weren't really 'blooded' until Sirius. She's a beast, 'nuff said! :)

Mark Hamill on Star Wars

The BBC caught up with Mark Hamill at the Guardians of the Galaxy red carpet event in London. They spoke briefly about the new Star Wars trilogy, which has recently started filming. Luke Skywalker is one of several characters from the original trilogy to have a supporting role. Watch the interview here.

Mark Hamill, who has returned to the role of Luke Skywalker after more than 30 years, has said it feels like an "unexpected gift" to be back on a Star Wars set.

He said he was there to lend his support and grow a "contractually-obligated beard".

He praised the new generation of actors, including Daisy Ridley, taking part in Star Wars: Episode VII, in his first TV interview about the new film.

WCMovie Rapier at Paintball Field

Here's a cool find by Klavs. One of the movie Rapier props is now part of the Bricket Wood paintball arena in Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London. It plays a central role in the Launch Pad game mode, in which the defending team must try and launch their space ship while the attacking team bears down on them. This could well be the Rapier that was being auctioned off by a prop seller from Scotland back in 2005. The eBay listing is long gone, but the initial bidding price was £500. In this promotional video from 2012, the ship has a nice black and red paint job, while in this older video from 2009 it has a much more weathered look.

WC Saga Plus Enhanced Fiction Viewer

Luke is still plodding along on Saga Plus, incorporating many bugfixes and enhancements based on player feedback. The complete list of (intended) changes is too long to include here, but many enhancements are meant to improve the usability of the various interfaces throughout the game. Below you can see the original fiction viewer (left) alongside the WCS+ version. Readability has been improved, and users can more easily scroll through the text with the page up/page down keys on the keyboard. More information on this project can be found here.

Escapist's Not Feeling Privateer

To coincide with the completion of the Wing Commander series on GOG, Escapist ran a series of reviews last year that covered almost the whole franchise. At the time they skipped over Academy and the Privateers, but they've circled back around with a Good Old Review for Gemini Sector pilots. It's the same reviewer that thought Prophecy was pretty good and loved WC1&2, but in this case, he just can't get into Privateer. The author finds himself noticing where it fails to keep up with Wing Commander 2, but that's kind of an awkward comparison since they're intentionally pretty different Wing Commander games. Maybe the writer who hated WC3&4 but wasn't nearly as harsh on Armada would've been the prime candidate for the Priv article. I appreciate that the author tried to grasp for some positive aspects towards the end, but "the game's faction system, in turn, was also a high point"? I like finally figuring out how to befriend the Kilrathi as much as the next guy, but that's a funny part of the game to single out. You can read the complete review for yourself here. Thanks to Matthew Khouzam for letting us know about this one.
For all their flaws, the mainline Wing Commander games hooked me by dropping me into the shoes of a hero that I found innately interesting. In Wing Commander 1 you're the rookie trying to prove themselves. In Wing Commander 2 you're a disgraced pilot trying to prove their innocence in the midst of a war that is going poorly. Playing as that person and in those roles motivated me. It made me want to kick more ass and see what came next. Playing as some guy trying to make a buck while searching for a random space object, just didn't do it for me. ...

For all my complaints, I will say that Privateer does do a good job of providing varied ways to play the game. You're given complete freedom from the word go to play as a law abiding citizen, a murdering pirate, or some shade in-between. You can make your money running cargo, taking on mercenary jobs, or blasting other trade ships out of the sky and stealing their goods. Doing that last bit will naturally make you enemies with the lawful authorities, but you can always just find a friendly pirate base to land at if the local militias become too much of a pest.

Krant Hardly Wait To Play

Shaggy's completed the Krant fighter for Beat Hazard that he mentioned earlier this month, but the Kilrathi fleet isn't quite complete. The fearsome Jalthi is now in the works to supplement the kats on the very high end, and then that should finish off the planned lineup. You can see all of the cool ships that have been designed for this scroller shooter game here.
The Krant is now up and running in the Workshop. I kind of forgot about the Jalthi so THAT one will be the last one before I put together the fighters in a single collection. I was also toying with the idea of splitting the collection into two, one for Confed and one for the Kats, If anyone's interested in getting them that way. Anyway, here's the Krant, for now.

Armada/SWC Crossover Adds Self Sufficient Invasion Capability

The parade of massive Kilrathi warships continues. Up next in the armada is the Shiraak carrier. It's a fairly rare ship to see in fan projects, and Klavs' take on it is certainly the most detailed Wingnut attempt. The ship's slight bow curvature is modeled well, and this design philosophy was carried to the engine nacelles to good effect to produce a slick overall package. You'd hate to run into one of these out in the wild without a fleet to back you up!
I get asked an awful lot of good questions at aerospace shows, and an awful lot of silly ones: What's your real hair color? Where's your eyepatch? etcetera, ad nauseum.

The folks who have seen 'Super Wing Commander' are the most confused, I think. There wasn't a lot of period accurate hardware available to them, so they had to use what they had on hand. Good on 'em for filming actual ships instead of using computer models, but can you imagine? A Lexington-class playing the Tiger's Claw! Banshees for Scimitars, Gladii for Raptors! At least they got some Super Rapiers to play the YF-44As, but Lordy! -If we'd had that kind of hardware in the 2650's, we'd have gone straight to Kilrah with it and won the war outright!

The most impressive thing was that they got some Kilrathi warlord to loan them a converted Shiraak class carrier to act as a 'Fralthi'. It was even more impressive when they blew it up!

Don't even get me started on the one- oh, what was it again? I knew the director, he was a good lad, and his heart was in the right place, but can you imagine? ME?! With a FRENCH accent?

Perish the thought.

-James Taggart 'Flyboy Magazine Interview August 2689.2'

New Documentary Explores Video Game Industry

Crowdfunded documentary Video Games: The Movie examines the transition of video games from niche product to billion-dollar industry. It features several big names in game design, like Cliff Bleszinsky (Unreal, Gears of War) and Kobayashi Hiroyuki (Resident Evil). The only familiar name in the credits is Wing Commander veteran Warren Spector, but LOAF managed to snap (tweet) a half second of Wing Commander 4 footage with Mark Hamill, Chris Roberts and Malcolm McDowell in it. The feature-length documentary is currently being shown in select theaters, and can also be streamed (purchase or rent) from Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. Check out the trailer here.
Video Games: The Movie, a feature length documentary, aims to educate & entertain audiences about how video games are made, marketed, and consumed by looking back at gaming history and culture through the eyes of game developers, publishers, and consumers. The film is not just another film about the games industry, but attempts something much more ambitious; the question of what it means to be a 'gamer', a game maker, and where games are headed. Storytelling and the art of the video game medium are also explored in this first of its kind film about the video game industry & the global culture it has created.

16th Birthday Party Moves to a New Night!

It's almost that time again! We're just about a month away from the CIC's 16th Birthday at wcnews.com. All Wing Commander fans are welcome to attend our virtual party in the IRC channel #Wingnut. It'll be one of the most fun nights of the year with updated CIC features, trivia and prizes - all in the company of your fellow fans.


There is one major change this year! The CIC was founded on August 10, 1998, and our first fifteen birthday parties all took place on the actual anniversary. A specific date in mid August worked for us when everyone was in school, but we recognize that the vast majority of our visitors now have jobs, kids and other responsibilities that make certain nights of the week impractical. So this year we'll be observing the birthday on Saturday, August 16, 2014.


The event still takes place at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT). We know this is still late for European time zones, but we hope that holding the party on a Saturday night makes attendance far more doable than asking people to join in at 1 AM during the work week. It also keeps the party at a decent time for Pacific Wingnut regulars in Alaska, Hawaii and Australia. Newcomers can easily get started here. Our web client even works on mobile phones for fans who won't be near a computer. We hope to see you there!

Phoenix Crew Disembarks For New Experiences

Silent Hunter asked us to remind everyone that the crew of his ship, the TCS Phoenix, is currently enjoying shore leave on pleasure planet Jolson. If that sounds like a place you'd like to be, join the Wing Commander From the Ashes RPG to start in. They are a forum based RPG that role plays its adventures here. They spent much of last year battling pirates in Pentonville, so the leisure time is much deserved! Check them out or hit the Discuss link if you have any questions about how things work.
XXN-1927 System, 2662.034

The shuttle undocked from TCS Phoenix and started its descent towards base camp as Linus Rand looked over his map for the sixth time. The six mountaineers on board were all carrying large packs filled with the equipment necessary for their climb. This did not include oxygen; they didn't need that, but did include a good deal of cold weather gear.

"Right, people", Rand began, "We need to get 2,000 metres to the top and down again in four days... there is a major snow storm due and I do not want to be stuck on this thing when it hits".

The Real Defiant Few Episode 5 Released

The latest episode of Wing Commander: Defiant Few has been released! This time it's the real deal - a spoof was released on April Fool's Day. Episode 5 is actually a prequel chapter that takes place ten years before the prior four. It was several months in the making and clocks in at nearly an hour! The story follows a brave Confed defense of the Gemini Sector against the Nephilim. Check out the audio adventure on YouTube below or download the mp3 on Soundcloud. Links to the earlier missions are listed below.

Starlancers' 45th Volunteers Remain Vigilant

Here's a story fifteen years in the making: way back on August 26, 1999 (coincidentally the one year anniversary of Secret Ops' release), we reported on the "Star in Starlancer" contest. Lucky fans could win the opportunity to be featured in a digital promo poster for Erin Roberts' space sim game. Jaev73040 was one of the winners, and he recently came back to share the results - a pretty nifty squadron render! He's pictured in the bottom right. This happens to be a scan, so if anyone out there still has a digital copy, please let us know.
Sorry I'm a bit late to the party :) I was one of the people that won that contest. I am attaching a picture of the winners. I was in the Army deployed in Bosnia when this contest happened. I emailed in my pictures and was estatic when I got back word that I was picked. Not that long after they emailed all the winners this group photo of our virtual characters. I'm in the front row all the way to the right. "Timothy A. Roy" Sorry for the quality. I printed the digital image at one point from my old school AOL account and then lost the email and saved image on a failed hard drive. At least I have the print out to scan :) If any of the other winners has the original digital version I'd love to get a copy of it.

Saga Plus Development Remains On Track

As direct support of the original WC Saga mod appears to have come to an end, Luke has picked up the ball and is making good progress with his enhancement pack dubbed WC Saga Plus. In addition to support for multiple languages, improvements are being made to the ship viewer, fiction viewer, heads up display, mission editor and mission briefings. There is also helpful popup text and a menu interface for enabling various upgrades. The pictures below largely show German text, but English will also be available when the package is released. Plus remains in closed testing at the moment, but Luke will continue to share status on the project until it's ready. You can find more details here.
What exactly is Wing Commander Saga Plus?

The first (and at the beginning the only) priority of WCS+ was to create a platform (engine) for our WCS German-Mod Project. For this I learned the basics of C++ after the WCS source code was published in November 2013. Then after I made all texts translatable, I became bolder and tried also to realize some of the ideas the pilots from WingCenter had after the WCS release. And this was also successful. A dream becomes reality: give WCS some changes and improvements. WCS+ is a slightly improved engine with some new features for players and modders and also a few bug fixes.

Hakaga Work In Progress Shown Off

Wing Commander fans have seen quite a few of Klavs' ship renderings over the years, but they don't often get to see behind the scenes before the images are complete. Here's a peek at the Hakaga while it's still being assembled in MODO. It's overlaid with the Fleet Action cover in order to get the proportions right. "Blocking some things out, beefing up some areas. Trying to stay semi-faithful to the Fleet Action cover while going my own way with things. Hope you guys like it!" The second picture below still has a ways to go, but it also shows how much intermediate detail goes into the design before the models start to get textured. And if you didn't see them coming before... these rough images confirm the Hakagas are on their way!
A: It's not easy doing a 3d reconstruction and threat analysis on these damn grainy images Taggart sent us. Couldn't he get in closer, or another angle for gods sake?

B: I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing them up close in a few weeks.

A: ... right. I'll do the best I can, then.

Privateer Tune Mixed

Music writer and producer JD Harding has created an awesome remix of the Agricultural Base musical theme. The track is embedded below, but can also be found here. Go to his Bandcamp, Tumblr or SoundCloud profile for remixes from other big franchises (including Ultima and Zelda), as well as a large collection of original work.

Ultima Underworld Series Revived By Creator

The Ultima franchise's ground breaking first-person 3D spinoff series, Underworld, is back. Original designer Paul Neurath has a new studio that will be developing Underworld Ascension for a new generation of gamers. What makes this stand out is that the new game appears to be more closely associated to the original IP than your typical 'spiritual successor' common today. "For our first title we’re bringing back the classic Ultima™ Underworld franchise, which we’re calling Underworld Ascension™. Our team include some of the folks who created the original franchise. When we made the original we looked to redefine the fantasy RPG genre. With the reboot we’re going right back to innovating, and our goal is to make the franchise more vital than ever," remarked Neurath. With EA's Mythic studio shuttered, this could hint at a new Electronic Arts approach towards its classic catalog. Could a Wing Commander game made by an independent studio be next?
Welcome to OtherSide Entertainment! We’re a brand new game studio focused on rebooting classic game franchises. For our first title we’re bringing back the classic Ultima™ Underworld franchise, which we’re calling Underworld Ascension™. Our team include some of the folks who created the original franchise. When we made the original we looked to redefine the fantasy RPG genre. With the reboot we’re going right back to innovating, and our goal is to make the franchise more vital than ever.

Chris Roberts, Chairman, Roberts Space Industries: “Ultima Underworld was truly revolutionary for its time – it was the first fully 3D textured first person game. As such it influenced pretty much all first person 3D games that came afterwards and could be truly called the granddaddy of first person Role Playing Games.“

Richard Garriott, Creative Director, Portalarium: “For those of us lifelong gamers that go back to the early days the Underworld franchise, created by Paul Neurath, represents a watershed event on what an immersive 3D true role-playing game can be like. In these days, where we are seeing many of these greats return, I personally am as excited about Underworld as any game I can imagine.“

Wing Commander Music Marches Along At Graduation

It seems to be the season for Wing Commander at the orchestra! This past May, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden held their traditional Masters graduation at Stockholm City Hall. Among the graduation's musical selections was a medley of Wing Commander tracks during "Fanborgens Exit March." We're not exactly sure what that pertains to as part of the graduation, but we've reached out to the Master of Ceremonies to see why they chose Wing Commander as part of the ceremony. They also played the Super Mario theme song at the event!

Beat Hazard Adds Kilrathi Heavies

The latest Wing Commander addition to Beat Hazard is the heavy Gratha, which adds some serious firepower on the Kilrathi side. Shaggy's WC ships are proving to be quite popular! Note that if you want to pick the game up on Steam, the Shadow Operations DLC is also required. The Krant is up next and should be the final ship in the Kat pack.
The Gratha is now up in the Workshop. This one came out pretty powerful without a high rank and very little finagling with the points system. Next, and final, will be the Krant. Once it's done I'll put them together into a fighter pack to help people find them and grab them all at once, although the Rapier has over 300 subscribers which is pretty cool. Anyway, obligatory screenshots here :)

Curvaceous Cruiser Stalks Enigma's Expanses

Klavs has another monster Kilrathi warship to help your Wing Commander week along. In this case, it's the fearsome Rigakh class cruiser (be sure check out the link if you're not familiar with the ship!). It would be tough to mistake this ship for just a Ralatha! Klavs' accompanying fiction also poses an eerie fate for the most famous Rigakh, Prince Thrakhath's WW2 flagship Hha'ifra.
After the fiasco above Terra, Prince Thrakath transferred the majority of the Hha'ifra's crew to the Hvar'kann as the new dreadnought came online. Curiously, those that remained aboard the Hha'Ifra included some one hundred ninety-six selected crew members, engineering and flight wing personnel, and the entire central bridge crew. These were all experienced and blooded combat veterans who, by all rights, also should have also been transferred to the new flagship. The skeleton crew were left to their own devices aboard the empty ship, parked in a polar orbit above the gas giant Igrathi.

No requests for supplies, repairs, shore leave or landing clearance ever came from the Hha'ifra, nor were any such orders issued by the Imperial offices. No regular fleet command was ever authorized to resupply or issue movement orders to Hha'ifa, under the auspices of Prince Thrakath, the ship remained far outside normal fleet channels. So it was that nearly two hundred veteran spacers and a thoroughly modern heavy cruiser became a mystery hidden in plain sight, easily visible from the surface of Kilrah by low-powered telescope.

-Clarice Freiboten, Marooned By Loyalty: The Mystery of the KIS Hha'ifa.

Gemini's Going Great Guns

There's a new poll up today that asks about your favorite blaster as a privateer in Gemini. Conventional wisdom points most people towards the high damage per second rating of the Tachyon Cannon, but cases can be made for other strategies as well. There's always a place in heavy loadouts for the superior punch of the Plasma Gun, even in the face of the cutting edge Fusion Cannon in Righteous Fire. For players on a budget, it's also really hard to beat the early stage economics of the Laser, Meson Blaster or even Neutron Gun.
The old poll asked about favorite flight suits. Wing Commander 3 and 4 (and their similar suits) were neck and neck for a while, but WC3 pulled ahead. WC1 and Prophecy were also popular, and Privateer's stylish low-key outfit also deserves an honorable mention.

WC4 Reloaded in the Netherlands

Here's one for Wing Commander fans from The Netherlands. Dutch gaming magazine Gamer.NL posted a review of the Good Old Games re-release of Wing Commander IV a while back. While the author is clearly nostalgic, having played the game when it first came out in 1996, the generally positive review also has some trouble overcoming dated aspects of the game such as 4:3 aspect ratio or the ground mission (not to mention older games in the series). WC games traditionally exit with the ALT+X key combination, not ALT+F4, by the way. Check out the full review here (translation).
The highlight of the series, however, Wing Commander IV, a game that at the time just as much of a PC Crysis early as today. And even with an uber powerful Pentium 100 with 8 Megabytes of RAM (yes you read that right: Megabytes), the loading of each mission lasted a few minutes.

Happy Fourth of July!

Today is the 238th anniversary of the founding of the American Republic. Many of our visitors and staff are out enjoying a long weekend filled with family gatherings, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays. To our international visitors, have a great weekend wherever you are!

BREAKING NEWS: Wing Commander in Concert Tomorrow!

There's some exciting news concerning George Oldziey's reorchestration of Wing Commander music. Although last year's Wing Commander Concert was cancelled, the Austin Symphony has asked to perform George's original suite at Friday's big Fourth of July celebration. It will be held at Austin's Circuit of the Americas at 8:30 PM Central Time. The event is free to the public, and it'll even be broadcast online at the Majic 95.5 website! If you plan to listen in, be sure to sync up your time zone so you don't miss it. Wing Commander is tentatively planned for the third slot in the program after "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Into the Light." You can find more information here!

If the Wedding Party had Access to the Flight Deck...

Lacey and I appreciate all the well wishes this past week! There's one in particular we had to pass along: Klavs put together this fantastic congratulatory Excalibur. The ship looks beautiful, and the swirling purple background is very cool. And the Excal just happens to be my favorite Wing Commander ship!

Switching to Actual Flybys

Lacey and I also recently got a chance to check out what Klavs does when he's not drawing gorgeous Wing Commander ships. During the day, he helps design and promote real aircraft for Van's. Since it's a small company, everyone there wears many hats. As a fellow aerospace worker, I can very much appreciate the difficulty of having to transition from artist to designer to salesman in an instant. If you're in the market for a light high tech personal airplane, they offer both great factory built models and kit airplanes. Check them out at Van's Aircraft.

Who Ordered the Confed Naval Uniform?

SMPDesigns has added an interesting specimen to their elaborate costume portfolio. They make suits for movies, but they seem to specialize in one-off and cosplay reproductions. Their new creation is a naval outfit in the style of the Wing Commander Movie, and it's even pictured with a Freddie Prinze-esque Blair model. It's an interesting take on the design. Tiger Claw shoulder patches are seen on uniform undershirts throughout the actual film, but a traditional Confed star is accurately portrayed on the jacket here. The insignia on the hat are also quite faithfully reproduced. However, everything is in black and gray here in contrast to the blues that we see on screen and in most games. It appears that whomever made this got their hands on some of the authentic surplus costumes (or closely studied images) in order to create a very close replica.

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