Extensive New Model Archive Now Available To Fans

Prolific Wing Commander modeler Klavs81 is taking a much deserved break from new projects for the time being, but he's wrapped up a huge giveaway to tide fans over until he picks up the digital pen again. Over a gigabyte of his slick models are now available to download in both Terran (676 meg zip) and Kilrathi (353 meg zip) flavors. Check out Hangar B or Hangar C for a visual taste of what to expect in each pack. Fans can also follow his Facebook Page to see what sort of non-Wing Commander projects are going on. He does a lot of very cool aviation-themed art on the side!

Dear Wingnuts,

I've got to put Wing Commander plans on hold for the time being as I work three jobs and try and see my family every once in a while. Please follow our continuing work on Facebook at Hangar B Productions, and stay tuned for some aviation related awesomeness. I'll try to drop by the forums from time to time.

I get a lot of requests to share my models, and I usually decline. Mostly, I wanted to get a big enough pack of them together so that any mods or games that wound up using them would have a chance at a consistent art style. Not so much 'realistic' but semi-cartoony in a way that I feel does the early Wing Commander games justice. Given that I have to take a break from these for a while, I felt now was a good time to release them.

Enjoy, and please respect the models and the hideous amount of time I've put into them! You'll find a number of blank textures so you can build your own liveries.

Many thanks to Howard Day for the basis models for the Scimitar and Jalthi, and many many many thanks to the staff and members at wcnews.com for the amazing support and generosity shown over the years.

Cheers,

-Klavs

A similarly extensive pack full of Origin's authentic .3ds models is also available in the CIC archives here.

Cat Versus Kat: Who Wins?

What happens when an actual feline comes face to face with Sivar, the Kilrathi God of War? See the outcome below. The Empire suffers today, but things would have turned out differently if the pricey marquette were replaced by Mr. Kat instead. At least the statue appears to be rather unscathed and ready to do battle another day!

Saga Pilot Manager Is Now Multilingual

Luke has released a new version of his pilot/profile management tool for Wing Commander Saga and WC Saga Plus. Besides the usual tweaks and fixes, this release adds support for language selection. For now, English and German are supported. You can download version 1.1.1.0 here. Luke also maintains a Forums thread with various tools and howtos for Saga.

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

Rename: A simple and safe way to rename all profile files with one single step.

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to the Wingnuts stopping in today from the US! To all others, this is a perfect opportunity to remind everyone about the awesome Pilgrim-themed treat hiding in our archives. The first and second books in the Wing Commander Movie's novel trilogy were released in 1999, but the third was never officially published. However, author Peter Telep recently helped us bring the missing novel to eager fans right here at the CIC. It's available here with some fancy cover and chapter art by NinjaLA. Tablet owners can also grab it as a mobi (Kindle) or epub (other)!

Wing Commander On Sale For Black Friday

Electronic Arts has kicked off its Black Friday promotions via the Origin digital storefront. The Wing Commander franchise is listed at 50% off, which makes each title $2.49. WC1 through WC4 and Privateer are available in five different packs. Other Origin (Systems, Inc) games including Crusader and Ultima are also on sale. Prices are good through Monday night. The savings aren't quite as high as the recent GOG discounts, but these are great additions for anyone building a library in the Origin system. Note that each title can be played "DRM free" by dropping an original DOSBox.exe file into the appropriate game file folder. WC1's first Secret Missions expansion runs without any tweaking, but players need to manually create shortcuts to run some of the other executables to get WC1&2's remaining addons to launch. Privateer doesn't currently include the Righteous Fire expansion, but WC4 is the DVD edition with enhanced video.

Recap History of Game Graphics in New Documentary

Ahoy has posted a series of videos that chronicles the Brief History of Graphics. It's a five part playlist that starts with the very earliest computer games and ends with a look into the future. There are also segments on sprite-based art and hardware 3D acceleration. Despite the role these technologies played in the Wing Commander series, it's the middle episode on the transition to 3D and the rise of polygons where WC shows up. Although space sims are somewhat lightly covered here overall, it's still a more comprehensive package than most and a worthwhile trip down memory lane. Check out chapter 3 below or see all episodes here.

Frightful Kilrathi Concept Art Surfaces

Concept artist Mariano Diaz has posted some startling Kilrathi additions to his portfolio. Much like Rob McKinnon's work, this dates back a couple years to Chris Roberts' early Wing Commander pitch for what would eventually become Star Citizen. The Kilrathi included here are some of the most terrifying depictions anywhere. There's also a clear visual lineage from these designs to the aliens that are now known as the Vanduul (Update: However, the Vanduul were independently developed by Chris Olivia). Check out the slick looking Salthi as well. If there's any chance that these monsters are what Chris has in mind for a future director's cut of the Wing Commander Movie, that would be something to see! Thanks to Klavs for the tip!

WC Strategy Mod Back On Track

Arraen began work on a tribute to Wing Commander at the beginning of the year. His project is a WC-themed strategy game made in the Unity engine. Things were coming together nicely until March, when he posted this message: "Sorry, guys, due to Russian invasion at my country I put on hold this project. And there is too many other concerns associated with this. But as soon as the situation becomes clearer, I will continue the work. Hope it will be very soon." Arraen is a Wingnut from Ukraine, and his suddenly departure was understandable. Eight months later, we're happy to report that he and his WC mod are doing well! A small update on the game is available below. Wing Commander fans always persevere!
Well, guys, the project is not dead yet :) Thank you for all of yours good wishes. While our war situation goes worse I'm trying to do my best with the game.

For now I'm working on interface and battle rooms. Hope to show you my progress soon. For now just want to show you one screen with new design.

Star Wars Trailer Rumors Stir WC Memories

There have been conflicting stories this week about the Star Wars Episode VII trailer being paired with the new Hobbit film set to release in December. It's possible that the rumor was unfounded, and there are many ways they could choose to unveil the preview these days - from attachment to a hot movie to a large scale television event to many many internet-based options. Mass digital media was much more limited fifteen years ago, and in March 1999 The Phantom Menace's trailer was revealed to the world before Wing Commander. This led to many theaters posting signs warning that refunds would not be given after the WC Movie's previews were shown. Wingnuts never quite got the same opportunity to see the Wing Commander trailer on the big screen since the film's release date was announced just five weeks before the premiere. A variety of different preview clips were made for different venues, however, and we've collected a number of them here. Keep exploring the CIC Holovids section for a wide assortment of other WC trailers, deleted scenes, making-of docs, music videos and much more!

Academy DVD Marked Down for the Holidays

A number of people have written in to report that Amazon is now selling the Wing Commander Academy DVD collection for just $7.99. It's not clear if this price reduction is in any way permanent, but with the holiday season fast approaching, this is a great opportunity to pick up some additional copies for gifts. Just this Summer, Amazon increased the price to full MSRP ($35) after their initial batch had sold out. It's been confirmed that the set is region locked to North America for licensing reasons, but overseas fans can pick up a Region 1 player for cheap, or explore more creative solutions.

Long-time visitors will know that you can watch Academy in three ways: storyline order, production order or by original air date. LOAF recently shared where he currently stands on the issue:

Yes, the episodes on the disk are in production order; that is, the order they were finished by Universal. With a live action show, production and continuity orders tend to be fairly similar... since shows are shot in a fairly linear fashion. With cartoons it's more complicated, since a swath of episodes are written and animated at once.

Order doesn't matter a GREAT deal on Wing Commander Academy. As AD notes, there is a proper 'timeline' order that you can watch them in, but much of that just won't matter.

Red and Blue comes first and the two-parted (Price of Victory/Glory of Sivar) comes last. The Last One Left should be second (since it's introducing the Tiger's Claw setting and several secondary characters) and then The Most Delicate Instrument third (since it introduces Archer's oft-referenced story arc.) Other aspects of watching in timeline order are more trivial... Blair mentions the events of Expendable in Chain of Command, Word of Honor in Recreation and so on.

I actually kind of like the production order regardless, though, as it gives you Chain of Command, the show's strongest episode, early in the run. When the show originally airead the early episodes were swapped around and you ended up having both the "they eject and are stuck on a planet" shows one after the other. Which sort of made manifest everyone's fears about fighter pilot shows, that they could only ever be coming up with excuses to get the characters out of the cockpit.

Another thing to note is that Red and Blue is by far the series' weakest episode... and it's very different in style and tone than the rest of the show. It's clearly FIRST, but you need to watch it with the understanding that that's not what the rest of the series is going to be like.

Wing Commander on German TV Saturday

The Wing Commander Movie will be broadcasting on the German station RTL2 this Saturday, November 22, at 2 PM. We frequently mention all of the streaming sources such as HBO Go, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, XBox Video and iTunes, but occasionally people in certain countries have trouble accessing these. Even if fans don't have a problem going digital, the copies online may not be in their native language, so we especially like to point out opportunities to catch the movie on normal television in non-English speaking countries. And it's always fun to see how the plot synopsis's Google translation comes across.

The people are at war with a hostile alien race that is preparing an attack on Earth. A group of young fighter pilots receives the order to stop the invaders.

In a distant future, humanity is, which is now penetrated into the depths of space, at war with the evil Kilrathi. When the aliens invaded a space station while NavCom capture the navigation device, they gain a significant strategic advantage: With the help of the device they are able to get by Hyper jump directly to Earth.

The crew of the star cruiser Tigerclaw receives important order, the Kilrathi stop until the fleet of the earth has formed to defend. There is also the young fighter pilot Chris Blair and his hot-headed friend Todd Marshall on board. Together with their team mates they are the last hope of humanity ...

Germany is a special case when it comes to Wing Commander fandom. The franchise is popular around the world, but it has always been an extraordinary hit there. Even today, German Wingnuts make up one out of even eight visitors to the CIC - more than any other country outside the United States. If you were curious, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Netherlands, Russia, Poland and then Greece (in that order) round out the rest of the top ten. People have logged in from 137 countries recently, including single visits from more than two dozen rather exotic places like Afghanistan, Namibia and the island of Tonga - Wing Commander is a truly global phenomenon!

Early Concept Art Hints at SC's WC Origins

Concept artist Rob McKinnon has mocked up images for both major Hollywood studios and video game developers like Cloud Imperium Games. His relationship with Chris Roberts actually goes back several years to some of the earliest fighter pilot and Hornet pictures for what would become Star Citizen. There are also some very interesting mockups in his portfolio for when the game was being pitched as a potential Wing Commander game. The soldier below is labeled as a "Confederation Marine" for an untitled Wing Commander project. Mr. Roberts is well entrenched in his new IP these days, but numerous references have made it clear that he originally wanted to make a WC game. That ship has sailed for the time being, but it's always possible for Chris to return to the franchise after WC Movie distribution rights revert back next year!

WC Invasion Sees Renewed Interest on YouTube

Timpedia has produced a multipart series of video reviews for the Wing Commander Invasion game. It's a Star Wars Empire at War (Forces of Corruption) mod that hasn't really been in the news for a couple years since the project reached a final stable release, but it's still available online and looking really slick. If you ever wanted to know what a fleet of Bengal class carriers, Confederation dreadnoughts and a Behemoth could unleash on the Kilrathi, this is your opportunity. Version 2.5 of the mod even adds the Nephilim as a third faction. Or if you'd just like to watch, Part 2 and Part 3 are also online.
Not sure what's up with the Bengal cutaway poster being used as the video thumbnail... the author must have just thought it looked cool.

GOG Sale Cuts Wing Commander Prices In Half (80% Off Tuesday!)

Good Old Games has a sale for every season these days, and that's a good thing for Wing Commander fans! Our favorite franchise has gone 50% off, which means each package is marked down to $3. All of the DOS and Windows WC games and expansions are included across eight different packages, so the series is available for $24. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you already own these games digitally by now, but you can still gift the set to a friend. It's also possible to buy the games for one of your own alternate email addresses now and save the download code to give away as a holiday present. Once in a while GOG squeezes prices even a little bit lower than this, but you can't go wrong getting so much Wing Commander for less than half the price of one of the games' original prices! As an extra bonus, Strike Commander, Ultima and other Origin classics are also half off. If free is even more your style, don't forget that Origin's Crusader No Remorse is still being given away free by EA.


Update: The series is a whopping 80% off for 24 hours starting Tuesday morning. Individual games not purchased in the series bundle are 60% off, but for less than $10 for all DOS & Windows WC games, it's time to complete your collection! Note that most games come with bonuses like the strategy guides, blueprints, a novel or similar. Wing Commander 4 even includes the DVD quality videos, and Prophecy can be patched to include them.

Kick Kilrathi Butt Like a Superhero

Lord Savage has posted a neat scan that shows the famous SNES Wing Commander advertisement as it appeared on the back of a comic book. This appears to be the February 1993 issue of Avengers West Coast (the "91" above "Feb" means "Issue 91"). Many Wingnuts have seen this ad in magazines like GamePro, but it's neat to see how they cross marketed WC back in the day. The image itself was painted by Michael Winterbauer in 1992, and there's some neat backstory on it here.

Aussie Site Takes Gamers Back

AusGamers just threw a Throwback Thursday shout out to Wing Commnder 3, but rather than splash a one-liner across social media, they've put together a nice review of the game as well. The author does a good job trying to set the stage for an audience whose members may have grown up in the 21st Century. It's important to grasp how revolutionary full motion video was for the time and how the Wing Commander series was pulling off green screen special effects better than some movie studios. It's common for reviewers these days to say the space combat is hard to get in to, but I think that's more a commentary on space sims at large. Genres can be an acquired taste, and with few outstanding examples in the market in recent years, picking up any sim can take some getting used to again. Still, the article is helpful for recruiting new pilots for the war effort! Find the full writeup here
Wing Commander III starts with an intro cut-scene that is no less than 10-minutes in length. Let’s get that bit out there right away. And in this 10-minute sequence you’ve got credits, people dressed up in elaborate giant cat suits, the dwarf from The Lord of the Rings consoling Luke Skywalker amongst the ruins of a gigantic spaceship, a ritual sacrifice in a stadium filled with more cat people, more spaceships, a futuristic iPad, and finally another giant cat but this time in a weirdly tight flight suit. Basically, the stuff that would have been impossible to pull off on floppy disk.

Klavs Getting Ahead

He doesn't just model ships. This Halloween, Klavs had a cool new addition for the CIC's head museum: a pretty lifelike 3D render of everyone's favorite wingman.
It being Halloween and all, there sure are a lot of disembodied human heads lying around my desktop...

See Wing Commander Orchestra Up Close

Here's another look behind the scenes of George Oldziey's live orchestra Wing Commander album. Recording was successfully completed at the end of October, and Mr. Oldziey is now working on the first track mix. It's really great that the "making of" was documented for history - things like this don't happen every day!
Here's another perspective from the recording process in Bratislava; down with the orchestra and conductor. This is a little bit of combat music from Wing Commander 4. Bear in mind this audio is being recorded by the video camera, which of course isn't the best fidelity! One of the cellists you see, a long time WC fan named Bronislaw Madziar, traveled all the way from Germany to play with the orchestra!

Take Another Look at Wings of Saint Nazaire

Indie space sim Wings of St. Nazaire has been in development for a couple years, and while big name games like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen have been capturing most of the attention during that time, Wing Commander fans would do well to take a closer look at WoSN. The game has a remarkably old-school feel while still being amped up by modern graphics. It's one of the best crosses between Wing Commander and X-Wing art styles. Both cockpit and ship are beautiful, but you have to see the dogfighting action and explosions in motion to really appreciate them. Check out this page for a bunch of slick animated gifs. Or even better, the game is available as a playable alpha now! If you needed any final convincing, long time WC community contributor Howard Day is a major part of the game's development team. Find out more here.
Wings is designed to be an easy-to-play but hard-to-master game - that means you can jump in, fly around, kick ass and have a ton of fun as a newbie but the game also offers core players enough gameplay depth to keep even the veterans of the genre interested. Good players, for example, will use the afterburner in very short bursts for super quick acceleration, they will use the correct weapons against the enemies they are facing and they will always be on top of their ship energy flow, making sure that the systems that need the most power in any given situation, get that power.

ESA Lands Probe on Comet

It's been a historic year for space exploration, and another milestone was reached today. You've undoubtedly heard the news about the successful comet landing of the Philae craft launched by Rosetta, but here's another chance to see the pictures in case you missed them. After seeing thousands of science fiction landscapes over the years, it's incredible to see photos like these of the real thing. The first three shots are passes by the orbiter, and then we see an image taken by the lander looking back shortly after detachment from the mothership. Finally, the main vessel snapped the last image as the smaller craft descended away. This tiny spacecraft duo is out there pushing the frontier more than 300 million miles away - nearly a thirty minute signal delay and half again as far away as planet Mars is from Earth. It sounds like there are some issues with physically anchoring to comet 67P. Hopefully this doesn't result in any undesirable effects, but the mission is already a huge success!
The landing site, named Agilkia and located on the head of the bizarre double-lobed object, was chosen just six weeks after arrival based on images and data collected at distances of 30–100 km from the comet. Those first images soon revealed the comet as a world littered with boulders, towering cliffs and daunting precipices and pits, with jets of gas and dust streaming from the surface.

Over the next 2.5 days, the lander will conduct its primary science mission, assuming that its main battery remains in good health. An extended science phase using the rechargeable secondary battery may be possible, assuming Sun illumination conditions allow and dust settling on the solar panels does not prevent it. This extended phase could last until March 2015, after which conditions inside the lander are expected to be too hot for it to continue operating.

Science highlights from the primary phase will include a full panoramic view of the landing site, including a section in 3D, high-resolution images of the surface immediately underneath the lander, on-the-spot analysis of the composition of the comet’s surface materials, and a drill that will take samples from a depth of 23 cm and feed them to an onboard laboratory for analysis.

The lander will also measure the electrical and mechanical characteristics of the surface. In addition, low-frequency radio signals will be beamed between Philae and the orbiter through the nucleus to probe the internal structure.

Next year, as the comet grows more active, Rosetta will need to step further back and fly unbound ‘orbits’, but dipping in briefly with daring flybys, some of which will bring it within just 8 km of the comet centre.

The comet will reach its closest distance to the Sun on 13 August 2015 at about 185 million km, roughly between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Rosetta will follow it throughout the remainder of 2015, as they head away from the Sun and activity begins to subside.

Flat Universe Team Responds to Player Feedback

If you jumped right into the playable alpha of Wing Commander Flat Universe, don't forget that there's more in store at the game's elaborate website. In addition to a detailed reference card, there is a slick blueprint file with several of the game's craft included. There are also numerous back issues of the Destiny's Way in-universe magazine and gorgeous renders of the ships that are or will be in the game.

The Maslas brothers are incorporating fans' feedback, so be sure to let them know what you think. A number of Wingnuts have commented on how hard the game is, and the message has been heard. The good news is that the difficulty balancing is still in progress and will definitely be tweaked in subsequent updates. You can find more Q&A with the development team here.

The main concept of our game is to create a WC that will eventually put the pilots into the cockpit of ships from all the WC eras. We are under continual discussions and debates on how to normalize ship stats from every and each WC and this job requires a lot of field test. It is still premature to really say if the shields are too weak or the guns are too strong. We are hoping that when the multiplayer part will be available, the community's opinion will help us greatly to balance the game on this matter.

Transverse Concept Art Reveals Wing Commander Links

September's announcement of Piranha Games' Transverse was an interesting spectacle, to say the least. It had been rumored that PGI was on the verge of announcing a new Wing Commander title licensed by Electronic Arts. That didn't end up happening, but to what extent the company had the ability to make WC games only added to the controversy. The game that actually appeared was a very different crowdfunded MMO with a quirky backstory - but some of the Wing Commander elements remained! One concept art image in particular included a variety of familiar Confederation missile names. Steve Chinhsuan Wang was the artist involved and has added some additional pictures to his portfolio, and they have a few more interesting aspects. The shots below reveal a Rapier/Raptor style fighter as well as a distinctly Dralthi-esque craft. There are also markings such as "TCS" conspicuously labeled on miscellaneous items. Taken as a whole, it suggests that the developers' goal at one point was to make the game a Wing Commander title, although it's still not clear why they opted not to or if they were ultimately even allowed. You can find more of the game's concept art here.
The following designs were done for Transverse announcement trailer by Piranha Games. As the sole concept artist, I worked closely with the creative director, art director, as well as the whole production team.

I had the opportunity to play multiple roles during the development process. While I mainly design the vehicles, props, and environments of the brand, I often provide lighting/color keys for the 3D artists. I also worked on visualizing gameplay UI as well as marketing contents.

Talented Wingnuts Patch Things Up

Both Klavs and SabreAce have been having fun lately with squadron patches. They've put together this awesome assortment of fancy emblems. Some are more Wing Commander-centric than others, but they all show off their artistic skill - right down the the threading textures! The first four are Klavs' work, and the last two come from Sabre. Which one's your favorite?
The [last one] is for the Thunderbolt VII. I'm not 100% sure on having the silhouette on the bottom, or just letting the main picture be "symbolic" on its own - thoughts?

Wing Commander Broadcasting Sunday On Syfy UK

Despite the shift to digital purchases and streaming options, broadcast and cable television still exists and Wing Commander's still airing! Syfy UK will be showing the Wing Commander Movie at 6 pm on Sunday on both its regular and HD feeds. "Syfy +1" will have the film at 7 pm. If you don't get the channel, it's also available on Netflix in the UK. We hate for anyone to be left out though: HBO Go, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, XBox Video and iTunes are also good internet streaming options that are available in many regions. Thanks to Phoenix Roleplaying for the tip.

Download the Prophecy Fan Movie

Beckmen's cinematic cut of Wing Commander: Prophecy was first released on YouTube as a two-parter. It was the quickest way to reach the target audience, but the YouTube conversion process degraded the quality a little bit. If you want to keep a copy of the film in the best possible quality, you can now download Beckmen's source file here. It's a hefty 3.9 gigabytes!
Years after Colonel Christopher Blair (Mark Hamill; Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series) single-handedly ended the deadly war with the Kilrathi, a new enemy emerges from far cross the stars. Now, it is the duty of the TCS Midway and her crew to stop these deadly aliens before it's too late. This space combat adventure focuses on 2nd Lieutenant Lance Casey; the son of a legendary ace pilot and new recruit into the Confederation Space Force. Alongside veteran pilots Maniac (Thomas F. Wilson; Back to the Future) and Hawk (Chris Mulkey, Rambo: First Blood, The Purge) and his fellow new recruits, Casey will face a terrifying new enemy with ancient origins. Co-starring Peter Jason (They Live, HBO's Deadwood), Jeremy Roberts (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and adult actress Ginger Lynn Allen.

Star Citizen Reaches $60 Million!

Chris Roberts and the Cloud Imperium team have hit another incredible milestone. Their total crowdfunding total has now reached $60 million! October's $4 million haul, combined with an average of $2.5 million in each of the preceeding four months, helped push the game to today's mark. They're now 50% of the way past the point that earn them the Guinness Book achievement this year!

It's been a very busy couple of months for Roberts Space Industries. Both planetside MMO-style gameplay and intense first person shooting action have been recently revealed, plus the existing Arena Commander space combat simulator continues to see upgrades. A deep space long range fighter became available today, and they've committed to a stealthy boarding craft and passenger liner as future goals.

Wingnuts who've backed the game can form up in the game's CIC Organization or join the conversation at the CIC Forums.

The team is ecstatic that their efforts are being appreciated, and I think I speak for everyone on the team when we say it really feels like Star Citizen is starting to go from a series of modules to a single, coherent vision.

As always, thank you for your support. You are what’s making Star Citizen happen. I know it seems like we’ve shown a lot in the past few weeks, but I can promise you right here that there’s more to come! We won’t end 2014 without a few more surprises.

— Chris Roberts

Retro Gamer Tells The Story Of OSI

The UK magazine Retro Gamer has printed a large spread on the history of Origin Systems in the current Issue 134. The article begins with the company's founding by the Garriott family. It includes some good memories such as Robert Garriott coining the "We Create Worlds" motto and the team crossing paths with Chris Roberts by way of artist Dennis Loubet. There's also a fair treatment on the EA acquisition that didn't just make Privateer and Wing Commanders 3/4 possible, but it also green lit new IPs like Bioforge and Crusader. Overall this is a decent primer on start-to-finish Origin history, and it sure makes you feel nostalgic for the golden age. There actually isn't a heavy focus on Wing Commander, although there are quite a few (pretty familiar) WC images that dominate the pages. Thanks to Oggy for the scan!

New Modding Tool Helps Display Texture Files

Kevin Caccamo has released a new MAT viewer web app to help aspiring modders of Prophecy and Secret Ops. It can work in conjunction with his Blender Commander program, which exports MAT textures from Vision Engine Wing Commander games. Although they're generally low res compared to modern titles, there's still quite a bit to work with in the games' data files! You can find additional information here.
I just created a small web app that loads MAT files made for WCP/SO and displays them on HTML5 Canvas elements. This is a JavaScript/HTML5 app that reads VISION engine (Wing Commander: Prophecy/Secret Ops) MAT texture files, and displays them on HTML5 canvases.

How to use: Just select some MAT files using the file selector, and they will be loaded automatically, and displayed to you as they are being loaded. Once the load is complete, you can hover over each image rendered from the MAT file, and you can see which MAT corresponds to the image you are hovering over.

Known issues: External palettes are not supported yet.

RPG Expands Fan Fiction Links; All Modules Online Again

capi's Wing Commander RPG has had some ups and downs over the past month, but Elegy of Sivar continues to push towards completion. The project has continued to bulk up its character cast and fleet of ships with select additions from Wing Commander Aces fiction and Saga backstory. Repurposing designs created by other authors over the years speeds up the creative process, and it helps breathe a bit of new life into fan fiction that otherwise would have continued to sit in obscurity. The RPG is also no longer hosting with the Lulu service, but you can grab all of the previously released episodes at the CIC links below.
IN THE DISTANT FUTURE, MANKIND IS LOCKED IN A DEADLY WAR... The Wing Commander Role-Playing Game brings the wonder and grandeur of the ground-breaking video game series to the gaming table. Compiled using information gathered over two decades by fans of the original series, WCRPG has everything you need to create your own adventures in the Wing Commander Universe including.

-A simple, yet flexible character creation system allowing unlimited numbers of possible characters based on eighty unique archetypes and full details on sixteen unique sapient races.

-Full creation rules for characters, vehicles, ships, communities, planets and more.

-Flexible combat rules allowing players to fight with as much detail and complexity as they wish.

-Guidelines on creating adventures, including a list of adventure ideas and procedures for developing plots.

-A compendium and primer to the Wing Commander Universe, including a timeline of events, details on over 200 characters, and a list of lifeforms.

Live Wing Commander Recording Session A Resounding Success!

George Oldziey has posted this tantalizing preview from his live orchestra recording sessions in Europe! Although this peek is brief, it sounds fantastic. On Friday, Mr. Oldziey conducted a massive twelve-hour extravaganza with two orchestra sittings and a choir piece. In addition to the actual album he successfully crowdfunded this year, he's also producing a "behind the scenes" doc with a professional videographer. We're giddy at the thought of both!
Thought I'd post a little teaser video from our Wing Commander Recording session that went amazingly well in Bratislava. Here is one where I'm checking out the recording process in real time, obviously digging the first read through. Sounded much better after a few more takes. The orchestra is on the other side of the glass.

Another Wicked Cool Wingnut!

Ultra die hard Wing Commander fan Zibbi has expressed his dedication to the series with a giant Wing Commander tattoo. He now has "kaga" - Kilrathi for "warrior spirit" - written in large letters down his side torso. Don't worry if your first thought was that the characters might be backwards, the photo is just in a mirror! Kilrathi writing takes many forms from the lines that first appear in the Dralthi II cockpit in The Secret Missions 2 to the text captions in the Wing Commander Movie. This particular alphabet was developed at Origin for use in things like Prophecy's Tome of Sivar introduction. It was later rediscovered and popularized in a Wing Commander Standoff easter egg. Congrats Zibbi!
Hey guys, I did it :) It needs some overwork but I'm really really happy about this tattoo :)
The first "A" letter got kinda "long" maybe because I twitched like hell :D It was super painful. But yeah, I did it and I love it :)
Zibbi joins No Regret as part of an elite squadron of inked Wingnuts. You can find pictures of the earlier tattoo here.

Saluting Space Pioneers

Our condolences go out to the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composite SpaceShipTwo teams this weekend. It's been a rough week for commercial spaceflight, but two incidents in a week are just unlucky coincidence. There are many groups pushing the boundaries of civilian space travel around the world, and they continue to do amazing things. Other accidents will happen, but that's what it takes to reach new frontiers.

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