Cool Off With Hot Ice Bucket Vids

You've probably seen your share of ALS Ice Bucket Challenges over the last couple weeks, but just in case you haven't quite had your fill, here's a couple more from close to home. The first features Ben Lesnick and Sandi Gardiner from Roberts Space Industries going under the ice. They handle it like champs! It's also very impressive that they were able to find someone tall enough to dunk 6'3" LOAF without getting on a step ladder. The second vid features the Garriott de Cayeux family, including Origin founder Richard, getting soaked in an authentic Soyuz seat liner while all wearing their space suits.
Richard, Laetitia & Kinga Garriott de Cayeux take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge & Nominate Tim, Lucy and Stephen Hawking to take the challenge next! Kinga had watched a few of the challenges online, so she knew to fear what was about to happen. We cut the movie before she expresses her displeasure at dad dunking fer full faced with the majority of the bucket. She did get her ice cream and now loves watching the movie. BTW - We are all wearing flight suits. Mine is my actual Soyuz flight suit, and Laetitia's is from her training in Star City. She is sitting in an authentic Soyuz Seat liner, from an actual space ship.

It's Hard To Give Up Giving Out Wing Commander

Fans who didn't grab Wing Commander 3 when it first went free on the Origin service have gotten a brief extension on their procrastinating ways. The game was originally slated to remain On The House through September 2, but this has now been pushed out to September 16. Even if you already own the GOG version, it's not a bad idea to pick this copy up. A small number of people that have performance issues with other editions have reported good results with this edition, although Origin's copy is nearly identical to GOG's DOS/DOSBox setup. This is also a good way to share the series with friends as well as show EA how much interest there is in the series!
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.

Wing Commander Luminaries Light Up Both Coasts

Teams from Roberts Space Industries have traveled to conventions in both the northwest and southeast United States this weekend to promote Star Citizen. Up first in Seattle, Mark Abent, Chad Zamzow and WC creator Chris Roberts will be participating in the Intel panel at the Penny Arcade Expo on Friday at 2:00 pm followed by a get-together at the Logitech booth thereafter. Over in Atlanta, Dave Haddock, Alex Mayberry, long time WC documentation creator David Ladyman and CIC founder Ben Lesnick will be representing at DragonCon. They will be participating in a wide range of tournaments, panels and Q&As sessions throughout the weekend. Check the complete schedule here and be sure to say 'hi' if you run into them! Cloud Imperium Games has had a big week! On top of all the travel, their total crowdfunding haul has surpassed a whopping $52 million! This has unlocked an EVA jetpack for all Star Citizen backers.

Every Wingnut Needs Star*Soldier

Did the trivia at the birthday party seem pretty tough? There's one resource that helps tie everything together. The amazing game manual for 2007's Wing Commander Arena is packed full of information on the current state of the WC universe. From the perspective of the frontier in the year 2701, it tells the story of the Nephilim War, updates the universe timeline and much more. The book is a free download and absolutely everyone should have it. Grab it direct from EA right here (7.7 meg PDF)! Our Star*Soldier Gloss feature also has commentary from the writers and designers for all 60+ pages. The Art of Wing Commander Arena provides a further glimpse at the game with dozens of cool concept art images.

Manta Leads New Nephilim Incursion

Dark Sentinel is back with a new Nephilim model. He's trying to fix the lack of bug designs in the community in the hopes that more of the exotic ships get used in various fan art and cinematics. The Manta's basic spaceframe here is almost ten times more detailed than the original Prophecy model. These are also just preliminary colors in place for now, but plans are to simulate the glittery Nephilim skin eventually. Check out Dark's original Orca and bug CSM here.
EMERGENCY RESURFACE!
Now back to business:

I know you hate it.
You hate it gray, 'cause it can be lethal even you're Panther.
You hate it red, 'cause it loves you capships oh so much.
You hate it's yellow sister 'cause it's completely overpowered.
Now even more awesome for you to hate. :)

Manta. Obviously.
Awesome for me. At least, I'm satisfied with the model ATM.
A free, weird and heretical intermix of arts, ingame model and own ideas.
9.1 times more high-poly, 2608 polies vs. 286.

Textures? ASAP, these are just dymmy materials to show the model.
Devil Ray? Will require some more work, but not impossible as well.
Moray? No. Tried to model. Didn't back up the model when should have to. Don't ask anything else. :(

C&C welcome as always.

- Dark.

Shades' Secret Ops Guide and Wing Commander Script Updates

Just when you think the birthday fun is over there's more presents! Longtime Secret Ops aficionado Shades has some updates to his Wing Commander works.
Like all of you I am a huge fan of Wing Commander and have been since the first game. One of the things I loved most about it was its branching story and like many of you I played it many times just to follow the many story branches. Many year ago I decided to flowchart the script/story of the Wing Commander games, something that could be read in a "Choose your own adventure" style. My first public release was for Wing Commander II. It was rough but still felt lacking. With my current scripts I've changed the layout and added more picture to help bring more of the feel of the game to the story. It's not done yet but I wanted to release it for the Birthday party. Constructive feedback is welcome. The guides are not 100% tested and I would greatly appreciate any help in testing them.

WC Secret Ops has always had a special in my heart. Years ago I released an ICIS and Strategy guide for Secret Ops. I have redone both. The Cerberus ICIS is now very close to the Midway ICIS with a few tweaks. The Strategy guide had been updated to more closely match Prima's WC Prophecy guide. I've tried to upgrade the graphics throughout the guide. I've updated the maps to 3DFx version of the maps. I've made corrections throughout the guide including the release dates. Often going through the SO backup disk I found a document with all the pilots biography, many are different from what was in Prima's Prophecy guide. I have added those biographies and in some cases merged them with known ones from Prima's Prophecy guide. Also keen eyes will note the ISBN barcode on the back is the one that Prima's WC Prophecy Gold guide would have used.

I hope you enjoy these books. Constructive feedback is always welcome.

Blair Reacts to Wing Commander 3 Giveaway

Echo Sector's Cyberion was so excited to find out Origin.com is giving away Wing Commander 3 for a limited time, that he put together a tongue-in-cheek "reaction video" to celebrate the news. You have until September 2 to grab the game for the unbeatable price of zero dollars, an offer that's also valid outside the States. Other titles on the Origin download service include WC1, WC2, WC4, Privateer and the Crusader games.

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.

Party Logs Now Online

Here's the transcript of last weekend's CIC Birthday Party. If you've never been to one of our events before, check out the log to get a sense of what they're like! The excitement as we count down to zero hour is palpable! We also had a lot of fun in the trivia game - many people were playing to test their knowledge rather than win prizes. Although this event only comes once a year, dozens of fans regularly hang out in #Wingnut. You're welcome to join in any time!
[17:04] ChrisReid> 3
[17:04] ChrisReid> 2
[17:04] ChrisReid> ONE!
[17:04] Sylvester> Uno!
[17:04] Vinman> 1!
[17:04] Frosty> JUAN
[17:04] FekLeyrTarg> zwei
[17:04] DaveO> Uno
[17:04] Pileo> 1
[17:04] FekLeyrTarg> eins
[17:04] TCSTigersClaw> ENAAAAAAAAA !
[17:04] Frosty> XENO
[17:04] TrelaneV> yay, happy birthday
[17:04] PopsiclePete> ZERO
[17:04] ace> Yay!!!!!
[17:04] FekLeyrTarg> null
[17:04] Vinman> HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
[17:04] capi3101> Uni!!
[17:04] Sylvester> Wooo!
[17:04] TCSTigersClaw> XRONIA POLLA ( HAPPY BIRTDAY)
[17:04] PopsiclePete> Happy birthday CIC !
[17:04] capi3101> Ni'rashrai aiy'hravujaq'ahki deok, Ma'haraga'Tu'Ik!!
[17:04] ace> Happy Birthday
[17:04] ^Death_> HBD CIC
[17:04] Pedro> Happy delayed Birthday
[17:05] FekLeyrTarg> Herzlichen Glückwunsc zum Geburtstag, CIC (Happy birthday) :)
[17:05] TCSTigersClaw> Χρόνια Πολλά !!
[17:05] ChrisReid> well, we broke the CIC
[17:05] TCSTigersClaw> :D
[17:05] ChrisReid> okay, fixed!
[17:05] ChrisReid> Kris is fast
[17:05] ChrisReid> reload now!
[17:06] DaveO> Don't break CIC again!!!
[17:06] capi3101> YESSS!!!!!
[17:06] Whistler> We boss
[17:06] TrelaneV> Way to go, Kris
[17:06] capi3101> FIRST THING ON THE PAGE!!!! YES!!!!!! MY JULY 4TH IS VINDICATED!!!!!!!!!!!
[17:08] Whistler> That's a lot of news :D
[17:09] capi3101> Listening to it now.
[17:09] Frosty> EVERYBODY READ IT DUTIFULLY.
[17:09] Frosty> You will be tested.
[17:09] capi3101> Starts out with WC3 opener...
[17:10] ChrisReid> Yeah, if you're not listening to the WC concert, go back and start downloading! It really does sound fantastic
[17:10] Vinman> yay this is great!
[17:10] TCSTigersClaw> :D :D thank you
[17:12] Vinman> OMG WC4 INTRO
[17:13] Vinman> I LOVE THIS

Wing Commander Games 60% Off at GOG

GOG's Electrifying EA Classics sale has discounted the Wing Commander series by 60%. This brings the regular $5.99 price for each game down to just $2.39. This is a great opportunity to complete your collection or gift the games to friends. There are also many other games such as the Ultima series, Strike Commander and Bioforge on sale through Monday. Get the deal here.

The Fat Man Dishes on the Latest Game Audio News

George The Fat Man Sanger has participated in a new episode of the Bleeps 'n' Bloops game audio podcast. Rather than merely an interview about the Fat Man's music, it's a free flowing conversation on a variety of musical topics. For example, during a discussion on the recent Twitch audio muting controversy, George weighs in with his thoughts on Wing Commander tunes being used around the web - including the recent orchestral performance at a Swedish graduation ceremony. As always, he comes across as a very likable and fun guy with some great perspectives on the industry. Don't forget that you can buy Fat's WC album Wing One for just $10 at Vibedeck. His highly rated game audio book has also been rereleased on Kindle for $10 here.

More Movie Models Made for Pilgrim Legacy

Wojo is back with more models from his Pilgrim Legacy mod. He's modeled an impressive number of Wing Commander Movie ships including the Rapier, Broadsword, Diligent, Pegasus-style base, Venture and Bengal class carrier. This is an area of Wing Commander art that's been largely underappreciated over the years, so it's great to see fans taking a shot at these ships. None of these designs is quite complete, but there are already some nice touches such as the functionally spinning rotary neutron gun on the Rapier. Other items like the Broadsword's torpedoes will be simulated in the game engine. Future updates should include scenes aboard the ship and cockpit elements such as the HUD.
These are shots taken from the ship editor. They all work in-game in most respects. Obviously there is polish needed on pretty much all of them. The Rapier is about the closest to finished. They also look much less 'beaten up' in game - something about the way the editor lights the ships makes them look weird. Also the cockpit glass is reflective in-game. Looks much prettier.

You can't see it now, but I placed a screen cap from the movie of Blair sitting in the Rapier cockpit. Giggles.

The Bengal took a long time. And is still going... Headache after headache. I actually ordered the Confederation Handbook from Amazon to get some of the details right! Also some long forum posts regarding weaponry. It currently has a couple of AMG's in the nose, 8 large laser turrets and a bunch of anti-fighter/warhead flak cannons (the freespace engine does this well). Plus torps. Have not tried to recreate a broadside capability as in the film - it sounds like a bit of a game-breaker to me. I'm excusing the differences by stating that it is NOT the Tiger Claw, but another ship of the same class.

Time to Claim Party Prizes

It's time for people who won prizes at the Birthday Party on Saturday to claim their gifts. If you won an item below, send us your IRC name, real name and address. If the item has a choice involved (which game, book, size of shirt, etc), be sure to let us know that as well. This is also the time to tell us if you won something in a prior year and didn't claim it originally. Lastly, most prizes for last year were sent early, so a couple items that we got addresses for late didn't make the cut. We'll include those with the packages below. Congrats again to the winners! If you couldn't make the party this year, we'll have the log up soon.
  • GOG Wing Commander game - Doppler, capi3101, TCSTigersClaw (x2), Sylvester
  • Academy on DVD - Music_guru, DaveO
  • TCS Eisen shirt - Sylvester, Death
  • TCS Eisen hat - powell99
  • Wing Commander on BluRay - Vinman
  • Wing Commander on iTunes - PopsiclePete
  • Wing Commander novel - FekLeyrTarg, Shere
  • WCCCG Starter Deck box - capi3101
  • Confed replica patch - FekLeyrTarg, capi3101

HP Software Shows Terran Allegiance

Klavs was setting up a new computer recently and was surprised to see a familiar logo in the center of the screen! Hewlett Packard didn't just read his mind and select an appropriate Wing Commanderific avatar - the "compass" logo is the icon HP associates with new computer installations and their "Getting Started with Windows 8" app. Klavs superimposed a traditional Confederation star over the symbol and they're a very close match!
Setting up a new machine today and- What the heck?! What's worse is that a TOBI interface is nowhere to be found! :)

New Wing Commander Proposal Drives IMDB Listing

Last Tuesday a new IMDB page appeared for a Wing Commander film reboot slated for 2015. Fans have been understandably surprised and curious about this new development!


The project description sounds similar to that of the original movie with the added addition of the 'reboot' aspect that's popular today. "The film follows the TCS Tiger's Claw and the crew as fight a war for survival against a vicious alien race known as the Kilrathi. Reboot of the Wing Commander franchise." Several cast members have also been listed: Robert Rusler (Seether from WC4) as Colonel Halcyon, Asim Ahmad as Grunt from the Academy TV show, Scarlett Laurent as Angel and Jay Montalvo as the voice of Prince Thrakhath. The actors above also happen to be listed as producers of the project, and this would be Ahmad's first writing credit. Its budget is listed as a $32 million estimate. Chris Roberts and Electronic Arts are also named, but formal agreements haven't been established yet.


As the project is in pre-production, the details above would still need to be refined for the venture to move forward. And just to clarify, this is not the same director's cut of the 1999 film that Chris Roberts occasionally mentions as a potential future possibility. Many of the details remain fluid, so we look forward to clarifying more in the near future!

Happy 16th Belated Birthday, CIC!

Happy 16th Birthday everyone! We've had another exciting year. On top of the full DOS game lineup finally being added to GOG, Electronic Arts got back into the game with several Wing Commander additions to their Origin service - they're even heavily promoting WC3 as their August 'On the House' freebie! Everyone also pulled together to Kickstart a live recording of orchestra Wing Commander music that should come to fruition in the months ahead. What we've heard so far is absolutely fantastic, and this should wow Wingnuts everywhere when it's finally ready. Due to illness, weddings and other events out of our control, not all of the items we had planned for today are quite ready to show off. Despite being slightly short staffed, the team has pulled together to put together some neat stuff for you today, and the net effect is just that we'll have even more cool features to share in the near future! We hope you enjoy what we've got here - Happy Birthday all!

Listen to Wing Commander in Concert!

Since the conclusion of George Oldziey's successful Kickstarter earlier this year, he's been working to prepare Wing Commander tracks for live recording with a full orchestra. Austinites got a special preview of this album last month when a medley was performed live by the Austin Symphony in front of a huge Fourth of July audience. Shocked (and lucky!) Wing Commander fans lit up twitter with positive reviews, and some were even able to record it. And now we're excited to share this wonderful compilation with you! Download it here (25 meg m4a AAC format).

Wing Commander 3 Video Index Revamped

Last year the Holovids section was revamped so that the inline videos would work without third-party plugins in any up to date browser, on desktop or mobile. This involved re-encoding the bulk of our videos to formats that can be played by HTML5-capable browsers. Notably, the massive Wing Commander 3 movie index was still using the old Flash technology.

We're happy to report that all the Wing Commander 3 videos (including many "lost" scenes that were dropped from the PC version!) have been converted fresh from the highest quality source currently available: the Playstation port. While the videos are still relatively low resolution, the improved compression techniques and higher color depth of the Playstation version means a very noticeable improvement in quality. The comprehensive movie index includes every video you might encounter during a complete playthrough of Wing Commander 3 on PC. The lost scenes section has additional videos that only appear in the Playstation or 3DO versions.

HCl's Online Ship Viewer

HCl has created a viewer that allows you to see various Wing Commander ships in 3D right in your browser. Check it out here. The viewer is still a work in progress but supports a variety of 3D formats including the ship files used by the games themselves. currently the viewable objects included are from the Wing Commander games that use the realspace engine (WC3,4, Armada). These are the Wing Commander ships ripped straight from the game and viewable right in your browser! HCl is still busy tweaking the code so don't panic if some of the objects don't display properly. Please allow a few seconds for the object to appear when you've made a selection.

Known issues:
  • Realspace supports one-sided and double-sided textures. If an object is facing away from the user it will sometimes look like there's nothing in the viewer. Some of the simpler objects default facing away from the camera. Try rotating the object to view the image.
  • Some realspace geometry doesn't display yet, which includes all the Proving Grounds pick-up items.
  • Some objects display distorted textures and missing geometry.
  • The viewer supports displaying sub-meshes. This is needed for showing the Lance (Dragon) from WC4 properly with it's wings. Carrier hangar bays are also separate meshes. With the way Level-of-Detail works in the Realspace engine that means on most capital ships you can zoom into the hangar but you will not see it until you are inside the ship.
  • Not all ships are currently configured to display the sub-meshes properly
  • Some ships are listed more than once in the list but don't look significantly different because the different LOD models are separate meshes.
  • There were many left over and unused WC3 ship meshes and objects in the WC4 object file. They are included with the WC4 ships but don't currently point to the WC3 palette file and will display incorrect coloring.
  • Wing Commander 3 has a Super Wing Commander raptor (Armada Gladius) hidden in it's object file, though the texture displays psychedelically.

You can look forward to this feature being updated and upgraded in the future. Other 3D formats are supported as well, so HCl plans to add the Prophecy, Secret Ops, Privateer 2, and Arena ships. There's also plans to include the source models for the WC2 and Privateer ships.

Ultima Forever's Kilrathi Island is Real!

When Ultima Forever launched last year, there were rumors of a quest that involved a downed Kilrathi ship. The game's untimely cancellation was announced without the easter egg ever having been found, but thanks to a little birdie, the mysterious relic has been revealed! Here's the screenshots! So cool!

Cake Time!

LOAF's amazing wife, Alexis Lesnick, baked us an amazing cake this year! The frosting looks great and I love the bright candles. Really wish I was down in Santa Monica to try it!

Product Primers For New Players

Through the CIC's Mediawiki, staff and fans have been collecting a massive amount of background information on all the Wing Commander products in existence. If you're a new player who's just (re-)discovered the series through Good Old Games or Origin, those wiki pages can be a little overwhelming. Our series background section aims to provide more of a primer for people who need the basic history of a core product, or some quick links to a piece of documentation or walkthrough. Parts of the section will be extended with better imagery and additional information in the near future, but for now, the background section will hopefully help many new players on their way.

Taped Radio Interview With Mark Hamill Resurfaces

LeHah went through some extra effort to bring us a lost gem from 1996. While going through some of his stuff he recently came across a relic of his youth. I'll let him pick up the tale from there:
I happened to wake up around midnight the night before this interview in 1996. The DJ said how excited he was that MARK HAMILL ... Luke Skywalker! ... was going to be in the studio for the morning show. Expecting some Star Wars news, I dug out an old cassette and recorded this.

Mastered in brilliant mono from a 25 year old cassette tape from a boom box with bad reception circa 1996 and transferred with IPhone's Voice Recorder, you too can enjoy this only sort-of interesting interview with Mark Hamill the day before his WC4 signing event at the New York Virgin Megastore.

You can download the interview here (mp3) or here (ogg) format. The interview runs about 9 minutes and the Wing Commander bits begin about 1 minute and 40 seconds in.

Happy Birthday from the Flat Universe Team

The guys at the excellent looking Flat Universe project have put together a special video for today's anniversary celebrations! Check it out below.
Hi guys, This is a small present for the coming WC CIC party! (and a chance to show off the hangar we prepare for the game along with some in-game models by Klavs ;))

Enjoy and Happy Birthday WC CIC...

Tales of the Claw Teased

Klavs has been slowly teasing his video animation project 'Tales of the Claw' since it was announced a year ago. Today, he's gifted us the first look at his gorgeous ships in motion. Klavs describes 'Tales of the Claw' as a "series of short animated films retelling some events aboard the TCS Tiger's Claw."

Poll: Still With Us?

As many of you know, at the start of each Wing Commander year we ask our visitors how long they've been following the website. Are you a new fan, perhaps drawn in by the GOG/Origin re-releases, or have you been with us since the Wing Commander Home Sector days? As you can see from previous polls, the majority of our visitors are dedicated, long-time fans, but we continue to draw in fresh blood each year!
Our previous poll asked about your favorite gun loadout in Privateer. Wing Commander fans proved to be a predictable bunch, with an absolute majority (55%) preferring the Tachyon over all other types. The slow but hard-hitting Plasma Gun ranked second with just 9% of the vote. The trusty Laser received the fewest votes, just behind the mediocre (but fairly expensive) Particle Cannon.

Thank YOU!

And that's a wrap! Or is it? Like we mentioned up top, a few items didn't quite make it in time for today's celebrations, so look forward to some more nifty Wing Commander goodness in the days ahead. We can't say enough how much we appreciate everyone's devotion to the Wing Commander community. It's not just the hundreds of people modding games, creating art, leading RPGs and so forth - all of those people are motivated to do so by the thousands of fans that stay in the loop and encourage this activity. Meanwhile, all this excitement is showing everyone that there are still Wingnuts out there craving more. The powers that be are taking notice, and the best is yet to come!

You are Cordially Invited...

To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 16th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in #WingNut!

Featuring...

  • The thoroughly engaging company of your fellow Wing Commander fans!
  • A multimedia extravaganza!
  • Long lost relics from another time and place!
  • Trivia - from A-17 Broadswords to Zartoth Electronic Warfare Craft!
  • Exciting Wing Commander prizes!
  • CAKE!
So point your IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC check our #Wingnut section, or just use the web interface (even works on mobile devices!).

'90s Hits Fill Escapist Sim List

Escapist has followed up its recent Wing Commander reviews with a profile of history's top space sims. Wing Commander and Star Wars games dominate the list with Privateer in 13th and WC 1&2 in the 6th & 4th slots. Tie Fighter just barely edges out WC3 in the battle for 1st place. There's nothing new to see here really, but it's interesting that their "best of all time" angle seems to have actually meant it. A lot of review sites disproportionately skew these kinds of lists towards newer releases.
Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi

Liz Harper says: Why mess with a winning strategy? Wing Commander II took the original Wing Commander and improved the graphics, the sound -- featuring full voices for characters in certain sequences -- and the story in an all-new chapter of the Wing Commander saga. As WCII opens you learn that the Tiger's Claw has been destroyed by new Kilrathi stealth technology... and without any other survivors, you've taken the blame and demoted to serve on an out of the way space station for the rest of your days.

Fortunately, the game skips over the ten (no doubt tedious) years your character served and you jump back into the story when there are new Kilrathi attacks in the system. Though the combat is much the same, the story has a lot more depth as it follows your rise from disgrace... and, of course, uncovering the traitor who really doomed the Tiger's Claw and clearing your own name. While in hindsight, story seems to string together a heck of a lot of tropes, it did so better than anyone had before it.

Throwback Thursday#

This week we're taking you all the way back to August 7, 2014. Last Thursday, Electronic Arts Instagramtweeted this screenshot of Wing Commander 3 to promote their latest On The House giveaway. WC3 is available free for a limited time through the Origin digital service. Be sure to grab it by September 2!
#TBT with this classic from the early 90s! Wing Commander III is free right now with Origin On the House! Which old school game would you want On the House next?

Behind the Screens of WC3 with Origin

Origin has also posted a second, more in-depth, Heart of the Tiger tie-in. The video below is referred to as "found footage" from the making of WC3, but videos such as this one have been archived at the CIC since the late '90s - not to mention your collections - so the footage wasn't ever lost, but we appreciate their effort to bring some classic Wing Commander history to the masses.
Go Behind the Scenes with Wing Commander III and Relive the '90s

In honor of Wing Commander III On the House – currently free to own, download and play on Origin – we give you found footage of the game in production from the official “The Making of Wing Commander III” video.

The games industry was in a very different place 20 years ago. On the PC, games were still shipping on floppy discs. The more intense the game experience, the more discs were required to install. The adoption of CD-ROM technology meant that game makers could access hundreds of megabytes of data for their projects.

In the early 1990s, that space usually was allocated to video introductions, cutscenes and endings, giving developers an opportunity to flex their storytelling muscles in brand new ways. Chris Roberts, the creator of the Wing Commander series, eventually took this experience to Hollywood to direct the theatrical Wing Commander movie starring Freddy Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard in 1999. From game programmer to film director in just a few short years.

In this “making of” video you’ll see what it took to bring the deck of the Tiger Claw and the Kilrathi race to life using the finest technology the 1990s had to offer.

This was pioneering stuff two decades ago. Prior to CD technology you’d be lucky to get cutscenes with still frame talking heads and text-based dialogue. The developers of Wing Commander III were leading the charge towards something that, admittedly, would mostly be abandoned thanks to more powerful and better integrated in-game storytelling tools developed over the years.

But Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davis, Thomas Wilson and other recognizable actors all on the same set for a video game is still pretty cool, more than a dozen years later.

Wing Commander III is still available On the House on Origin. Grab your copy now and experience the space epic for yourself.

Wing Commander Ships Engineered for Steam Sim Game

The Rocketeer dropped in to share the Wing Commander ships he's currently building for Space Engineers, a game available on Steam Early Access. He's already got the classic Wing Commander basics down: a Tiger's Claw and a Venture square off against a Fralthi in the pics below. The carrier has a wing of Hornets, Scimitars, Raptors and Rapiers ready to go, plus a handful of Kilrathi ships have also been built. See how they move up and down on the hangar bay service elevator below. This can all be found in the Steam Workshop under the name "Wing Commander 1:1'. You can also let The Rocketeer know what you think over at the CIC Forums.
I used the sketches from Joan's Fighting Spacecraft in Claw Marks from WC1 and basically measured everything out (large blocks are 2.5m^2, small blocks are 0.5m^2, so they're actually full size in-game. I did hit a slight problem with the relative size of the fighters though, as I think has been discussed in the past. To fit a Raptor out of the launch tubes, I had to make some modifications to the mid-ship wings compared with the original drawing, and with the best will in the world this 'Claw with these fighters is only ever going to have 2 launch tubes. I think I could just about squeeze in 104 fighters, but at these scales the ship would be basically unworkable and all other ship functions would be relegated to the aft wings, super- and sub-structures.

The same problem also applies to the Kilrathi ships, as the canon Fralthi is supposed to house 20 fighters - I managed to squeeze them in (just - 6 Krant, 6 Gratha and 8 Salthi) but only by using some creative thinking. I am considering rescaling the fighters but they'll lose a lot of detail in the process :-(

If anyone has alternative / better scaled statistics for the size of the WC1 fighters (Kilrathi and Terran) I'd be very interested in those. I've already applied the 19:24 resize of the Rapier from WC2 to all the fighter craft and the size is still pretty bonkers.

Goodbye, Robin Williams

There's been an outpouring of grief for actor Robin Williams since his untimely passing yesterday. Many others have written more wonderful tributes than I could craft, but we would like to take a moment to briefly pay respect to our fellow gamer and Wing Commander fan. Mr. Williams and his wife were engrossed in the 8-bit Legend of Zelda in the late '80s, so they named their daughter after the title character. His son was also named after Cody from Final Fight. Articles have even popped up listing out what franchises he was most into, and one of them was Wing Commander.

He was so into the series in the mid '90s that he popped up on the set of Wing Commander 4 during its filming. In fact, Chris Roberts even wanted Williams to play Merlin in the Wing Commander Movie. A couple years back, Chris mentioned that he regretted how Williams' absence zapped some critical humor and narrative sequences in the film. Ultimately the Merlin AI character was largely cut from the movie, although Mark Hamill did voice the uncredited part during computer dialogue sequences between Blair and his Rapier. We can only imagine how memorable it would have been as originally intended! Alas, if an enhanced director's cut is ever made, this particular casting will never be. Goodbye, Mr. Williams.

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

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

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

Sierra Returns for Classic Franchises

Activision has confirmed that it will be resurrecting the Sierra brand so that it can make new games in certain distinguished franchises again. The first games produced under the new label will be a King's Quest remake and Geometry Wars 3. Sierra will apparently function as a type of quasi-publisher that will be primarily partnering with independent developers to bring classic franchises back to life. Sounds like a great business model to us! Come on EA, you're already half way there!
August 12, 2014 – With a renowned history that's served as the origin for many nostalgic video game characters, worlds and experiences, Sierra™ continues on today in a return to form that fans of great games will love. A part of Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), Sierra's focus is on indie studios developing innovative, edgy and graphically unique games, including new IPs and contemporary reimaginings of beloved Sierra classics. Headlining Sierra's slate of indie games is an all-new King's Quest™ experience in 2015, and a new Geometry Wars™ game planned to launch this holiday season. Additionally, the Sierra team is well underway exploring other indie projects to potentially launch later this year, and in 2015 and beyond.

Today's news about the future of Sierra was met with excitement from its original founder, Ken Williams. "We're very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today's news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging," said Williams. "We look forward to seeing Sierra's independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King's Quest."

Southampton Rounds Out Destroyer Display

With much of the Kilrathi fleet now established, Klavs has turned his attention back to polishing several aspects of the Wing Commander universe that will eventually be needed in his Tales of the Claw adventure. On deck today is the Southampton class destroyer. It looks tough and rugged without appearing overly bulky. The green hull highlights also make it visually similar to the Tiger's Claw and its contemporary escorts. For comparison, the image below also shows the warship side-by-side with fellow Ralari and Exeter destroyers, plus a compact original design based off the WC3 destroyer and cruiser.

Wing Commander 2 Dark Gunsight Fixed

Did you know that Wing Commander 2 has a much darker crosshair than Wing Commander 1? Some users find it a little hard to make out against the darkness of space, especially when the screen contrast or brightness is not optimal. Fortunately, HCl has a good handle on WC1/WC2's graphics format, and forums user Dondragmer was able to use that information to create a simple patch. It's really great that fans are still making tweaks to this game. If you want your Wing 2 reticle to be a much brighter green (as it was in the first Wing Commander), download this patch (36 kb zip) and follow the instructions in the README file. If you're not daunted by a little hex editing, the README also explains how you can change the gunsight to a color of your choosing!

Happy Birthday CIC!

As long time fans are aware, today is the actual 16th Birthday of the Wing Commander CIC. We first launched at wcnews.com on August 10, 1998. As most of the staff was only around 16 years old at the time, we could never imagine things going for so long into the future or that so many of you would still be with us now. We wouldn't be here without everyone being so devoted - it's continually amazing that Wingnuts generate and find enough interesting stuff to keep the news page going every single day. Thanks to you all - we'll see you at the party next weekend!

One Week to Party Time!

The CIC's 16th Birthday Party is just seven days away! Hopefully you've got the big event marked down on your calendar for Saturday, August 16. Everything will get rolling at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT) in our IRC channel #Wingnut. Great things always happen when we accumulate such a large critical mass of fans together at one time. The team is also hard at work on some useful site enhancements that we're excited to reveal. Stop by and join in the fun!

Kilrathi RPG Campaign Coming Along; Creator Interviewed at SGJ

It's been a few months since we checked in on capi's Wing Commander RPG, but he's been hard at work the entire time. Over sixty star systems were profiled, tons of ships were tweaked and Epsilon Sector commodities have now been detailed for the upcoming Elegy of Sivar expansion. Work continues now on character development for the campaign.

capi has also been working on integrating some old Wing Commander Aces club material. If he can get together enough info, there's the potential for an Aces themed RPG module in the future. Old club members should get in touch with him with if they can donate any archived fiction. Last, but not least, capi was also recently interviewed over at Space Game Junkie. You can listen to the podcast here!

I also participated in a live podcast with the guys from spacegamejunkie.com, who were interviewing me about Starflight RPG and Wing Commander RPG. They've since posted the podcast to the site and it's located here. It's a little over an hour long and the stream did cut out a few times while we were recording it, but it's a good listen; I didn't sound too much like a redneck except right there at the beginning, and over all it was an enjoyable experience. It was due to the podcast that I made the decision to go ahead and add the Tarsus to Elegy; it came up in the podcast and I kinda felt bad having to tell Brian (the host) that the Tarsus wasn't going to be in there - so I added it. It'll just be a background ship, but it'll be there.

When Fun Arena Development Took An Excruciating Turn...

Wing Commander Arena music and sound designer Michael Vafeas has written this gut-wrenching blog post about one of his experiences working on the XBox 360 WC game. The story is reminiscent of the time Strike Commander's source code was zapped during its development. We've all been there before - it doesn't take much to lose a digital file, so the moral is to always maintain a robust backup system! Despite the loss described here, Arena's music and sound ended up right on point with a nice Wing Commander vibe. Listen to the sample below. Also, can you believe Arena came out more than seven years ago?!
This was a fun project for me - until the last week of music production - when the hard drives on my audio machine went. I spent 2 days checking my options to resurrect the dead PC as the deadline for the music quickly approached. In the end, I had to take a 5-year old PC, load up an old version of Sonar on it, and hope for the best.

Luckily, the PC ran - or rather crawled along. I had to re-compose the entire soundtrack using only a few samples of the songs I had as demos and only two midi devices (my Roland 2080's) hooked up to an old midi interface. Within 3 days I finally had barely enough material to submit, and that's what made it into the final version of the game.

Suffice it to say, that audio PC has since been retired and replaced, and I haven't had issues with the new machine yet. It definitely was an experience in dealing with last minute disasters and reminded about the necessity to back up often. Words to live by!

Wing Commander 4 Cracks the Sadistic Endings List

Wing Commander 4 has popped up on Cracked's list of "Most Sadistic 'Game Over' Scenes." The Price of Freedom is a really rich field to harvest for this subject. Panther's ending with the newbie pilots is all warm and fuzzy, but the second endgame with Hawk and the Black Lance could be considered quite a downer for pilots trying to fight the good fight - and that was a winning ending! On the losing side, Blair's dishonorable execution is also a punch in the gut, but Cracked chose the less common conclusion to profile here. They've highlighted the sequence back in the Nephele bar where Blair winds up if he gets too far off the losing track early in the game. Ouch, I'd forgotten just how mean Tolwyn was there! Click the thumbnail for the animated gifs they made or check out the full article here.
Mark Hamill has had a long and varied career, but he'll always be remembered for playing a single iconic role: an ordinary farm boy who grows up to be one of the greatest space fighter pilots the galaxy has ever seen. We are of course referring to Christopher Blair from the Wing Commander series.

One of the selling points of Wing Commander IV was a storyline that branched based on your decisions, actions, and accomplishments. By this point in the franchise, Blair is already a bona fide hero to humanity, but continued failure to meet your objectives leads to the worst fate a fighter pilot can suffer: a poor performance review from Malcolm McDowell.

That should be it. That's waaay more than enough humiliation for a simple "game over" screen. You've taken your lumps, and you're ready to jump right back into the game to- no? It's still going? Jesus, is this a tactical space fighter or a disappointed mother-in-law simulator?

The humiliation continues on, as the scene jumps to a desert bar on Blair's home planet. The bartender pours him a generous splash of space booze, and the utterly defeated Blair slumps into a drunken depression that surely ends with him placing the business end of a blaster in his mouth.

Wing Commander 3 Briefly Goes Free!

Origin's On The House promotion is currently giving away Wing Commander 3 entirely free! WC3 was the first game in the series added to EA's digital storefront back in June. It's since been joined by WC1, WC2, WC4 and Privateer. Each game normally goes for $5, except for The Heart of the Tiger's current mark down to $0.00. Sometimes these sorts of deals can vary from region to region, so let us know where else it works for you outside the US. Be sure to grab it before the promotion expires September 2!
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.

-------------------------

Free?! What's the catch?
There's no catch. Grab full games, expansions and more at absolutely no cost. Just make sure to act fast because On the House specials can appear and disappear at any time.

How long will I own the game?
Once you’ve claimed your game, it’s yours to keep!

Galactic Fleets Prepare to Face Off

Hakagas aren't the only Kilrathi battlewagons to fear. Klavs has composed another scene that features nearly his full modern lineup: the Rigakh, Fralthra, Dorkir, Ralari, Fralthi and Snakeir all make an appearance massing in a greenish corner of the Empire. Even some Drakhri and Jalkehi run escort. But Confed has its own fleet to stop the assault! This image also includes the tantalizing Tales of the Claw water mark, which is Klavs' animation project. We can't wait to see these ships in action!

Amazon Restocks Academy DVD, Bumps Up The Price

Places like CD Universe, Target and Best Buy have all run out of copies of the Wing Commander Academy DVD set, but Amazon recently got a new batch in. While they were all selling the collection for just $12 before, Amazon has now bumped it up to the full suggested retail price of $35! Good thing we all stocked up early. You can still order the set for about $11 from Deep Discount, but they list a 5-10 day delivery time, so it's not clear if they really have it in stock. You can also buy it at slightly below MSRP from third party sellers on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, often in new or nearly-new condition. One brave soul on B&N is even hoping to bag $2,386 for their set. And you thought Kilrathi Saga was overpriced!

Come Celebrate Our 16th on the 16th!

In case you missed the announcement last month, we'd like to make sure you're aware of the big party on Saturday, August 16! The Wing Commander CIC technically turns sixteen years old this August 10, but we're choosing to celebrate it this year on the following Saturday in order to accommodate the schedules of the largest number of people. The gathering still begins at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT) in the IRC channel #Wingnut. And as always, feel free to drop by any time to hang out - our web interface even works on mobile phones if you don't have a dedicated IRC client.


The team is working every day now to get ready for the big event. In addition to our biggest virtual party of the year, there'll be a number of site updates revealed on the 16th. Fans should come ready to answer trivia questions, win prizes and have a ton of fun! I can't wait to see you all in two weeks!

Strike Suit Zero Goes Free on XBox Live

Microsoft began giving away Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut for free to XBox Live Gold members today. It and launch title Crimson Dragon are the free "Games with Gold" titles for August. Originally a PC game with a Kickstarter push, SSZ debuted as the first space sim on next gen consoles this past spring. The developers frequently cite Wing Commander, X-Wing and other classic '90s shooters as inspirations for the title. Reviews are somewhat mixed, but space sim fans seem to like it. The game looks sharp on an HDTV, and you can't beat the price!
Game description: In the year 2299, an interstellar war rages. Take control of the Strike Suit – a craft with the ability to transform into a hulking suit of space armor - in a bid to save Earth from destruction. Immerse yourself in massive fleet battles where your dogfighting skills will directly affect the fate of the cosmos. Discover a colorful and vibrant universe, with an epic story spanning 13 unique missions. Engage intelligent enemy fighters and take on colossal capital ships, exploiting weak points in their super-structure to blow them apart piece by piece. Upgrade your Strike Suit and customize your weapon load-outs to tailor combat to your tastes. Take advantage of six craft, including three Strike Suits, to experience dogfighting action as you’ve never seen it before.

The Director's Cut version of the game features a next-gen graphical overhaul, restructured campaign and additional content – including the Heroes of the Fleet campaign - making it the definitive Strike Suit Zero experience. This is space combat reborn.

Key Features:

Fast, frantic space combat: freely engage multiple enemies, dogfight other pilots, fight massive fleet battles and defend vast structures. The Strike Suit: strategically switch from Pursuit Mode (speed and power) to Strike Mode (a powerful, highly maneuverable combat mode)

Capital Ship Destruction: take capital ships apart piece by piece – take out their turrets or target weak points to blow out entire sections of their superstructure.

Vibrant and vivid universe: space is far from the dark, featureless void you'd expect. Discover the color and vibrancy of the Strike Suit universe across 13 unique locations. Ship Designs from renowned Mechanical Design engineer Junji Okubo (Appleseed: Ex Machina, Steel Battalion.) Music from award-winning sound designer Paul Ruskay (Homeworld) including a collaboration with Japanese singer/songwriter Kokia (Tales of Innocence, Gunslinger Girl: II Teatrino)

Director's Cut features new ship models, improved textures and lighting, a restructured campaign, the Heroes of the Fleet mission pack and the Marauder and Raptor Strike Suits.

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff