New Master Of Orion Takes Shape

There's a new Master of Orion coming out soon, and it's great to see how a classic '90s space game series is coming back to life. The developers have been posting dev diary interviews as development progresses, and they feature a number of perspectives from Wing Commander vets who worked at Origin. Artist Jeff Dee talks about how alien races with similarities to animals need to still feel like aliens that evolved in their own way. Dave Govett composed the original MOO music and is returning for the new game. He discusses how the visual art can influence the music to ensure the final product is as tight as can be. Also producer Jeff Johannigman has some fun stories about assembling some of the talented people he worked with at Origin, like Jeff, Dave and George Sanger, both back in 1993 and again today. Check out more of what they have to say below!

System Shock Enhanced Edition Released; Look Back At Wing 0 Minigame

With all of the excitement over Wing Commander 1 this past weekend, it's been easy to overlook another classic Origin (via Looking Glass) game in the news. An enhanced version of System Shock was released last week. While this famous RPG/shooter deserves a major spot in gaming history on just its own merits, the CD version of the game also added a fantastic Wing Commander minigame! You can find a full writeup of the game's thirteen missions, read what the various wingmen said and download a savegame with the minigame unlocked here.
The original disk version of System Shock included a number of mini-games you could collect during the game's cyberspace mode and then play whenever you had a quiet moment. These were small, simple games that loaded in the player's left VDU - versions of things like Pong and Tic-Tac-Toe. For the subsequent CD version of System Shock the designers went all out and included a major homage to Wing Commander: Wing 0, a tiny Wing Commander shooter.

Wing 0 features a 13-mission campaign complete with traditional Wing Commander plot elements: wingmen, speech, traitors, nav points, talking heads, familiar fighters, autopilot flybys, lasers, dogfights and so on... all done in a 148x139 corner screen!

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"...for the CD game I outdid myself with a relatively complete Wing Commander minigame, Wing 0--written just before Wing 3 was released, it's both an homage and a parody, featuring, for example, one pacifistic wingman who refuses to fight (and strangely never gets attacked either, because he's actually a traitor!!!), a mission where you get something like 8 wingmen, and a final 'aww, what the heck, let's send you out by yourself to defeat their entire armada' mission."

The easter eggs didn't just go one way. WC3's Victory Streak also included a review of the Hail SHODAN holovid movie, which references the main antagonist of the earlier game.

Anniversary Livestream Posted; Jump To Special Features

The Cloud Imperium Games team has posted this weekend's amazing 25th Anniversary Livestream to Youtube in its full 9-hour glory. The recording was previously available on Twitch, but many find the Youtube interface more user friendly. There's also a helpful index below that shows where to jump to in order to see certain key segments of the show. One unlisted - but incredible - milestone occurs at 6:44:00 when LOAF takes on Kurasawa 2... and nails it on his first try! It's a textbook perfect execution of the mission to save the Ralari.
Hosts Ben Lesnick & Jared Huckaby (with Special Guests including creator CHRIS ROBERTS) as they play Wing Commander from beginning to end for it's 25th Anniversary, and learn about the history of the game in the process!
----------------------------------------­--------------
00:00:00 - Pre-Show
00:17:10 - Livestream Begins, Introduction and History
00:59:00 - Gameplay
01:13:00 - Interview with Denis Loubet, Artist for Wing Commander
01:38:30 - Gameplay
02:10:35 - Interview with Joe Garrity, Creator of the Origin Museum
02:31:25 - Gameplay
03:10:23 - Book, Manual, and Strategy Guide Retrospective
03:20:00 - Interview with Chris Reid of WCNews.com
03:40:00 - Chris Roberts, Creator of Wing Commander Arrives
04:00:15 - Chris Roberts Plays the Game for the First Time in 25 Years
04:13:00 - Gameplay
04:31:00 - Lunch Break
04:47:30 - Gameplay
06:21:30 - History of Ports to Other Systems
06:47:20 - Gameplay Through to the Finish

Wingnut Donates Collection To Celebrate 25th

While many fans spent the weekend playing, watching or buying even more Wing Commander games, Oggy took it one step further by donating his collection to the National Video Game Arcade in the UK to help preserve and share his love of the series. While that might sound like kind of a downer at first, how often do Wingnuts get a chance to start collecting the entire series over again from scratch? Sounds like fun to me!
I celebrated....by giving it all away! I feel a strange sense of Melancholy, I am pleased others get the chance to play it and see it, but the gap in the shelf reminds me of what I've done.

Hornet Mod Amps Up Sky Rogue Action

CMDBob has taken his colorful Hornet and repurposed it for the flight sim Sky Rogue. The developers of the game describe it as a "simple, accessible-yet-difficult, fwooshy, 'feel good' arcade flight simulator," which makes it a great fit for Bob's models! The art style is light and it looks like some really fun way to kill some time. Sky Rogue players can grab the Hornet skin at the Steam Workshop here. Click the second through fifth images below for fast-paced animated gifs of the ship blowing stuff up!
The classic F-36 Hornet light fighter from Wing Commander appears in Sky Rogue. For best results, put any gun type weapons in the right weapon slot, and use the WC1 Skin.

"Blow things up over land, sea, and air, on an infinite number of procedurally-generated islands. Choose one of a diverse set of aeros and kit it out with a dizzying array of weaponry."

Happy 25th Birthday Wing Commander!

Today Wing Commander fans are celebrating the series' 25th birthday! The original game shipped to stores September 26, 1990 after eighteen months of development, and the rest is history... It's hard to find words to convey the magnitude of this event as a milestone to the fans. New WC products have only been released in about half of the years that have passed over the last quarter century, but their significance to the players can be seen in the daily devotion of Wingnuts everywhere. We continue to be amazed by the drive to both preserve artifacts related to the franchise and blaze new trails in innovative fan projects. So take a moment to reflect on this anniversary, and then we'll be right back at it with you tomorrow!

Hopefully you've gotten a chance to catch the 25th Anniversary Lifestream on twitch. Ben Lesnick is sharing colorful commentary while playing through the game. They've got a real cool setup where the game is being played within the windshield frame of a Rapier cockpit, and webcams of the participants appear on the VDUs - complete with scanlines and green tint! So far guests Denis Loubet, Joe Garrity and Chris Roberts have cut in for special Q&A sessions. Mr. Roberts even got a chance to play WC1 for the first time in nearly 25 years! Wulf Knight and I also got a chance to chime in with thoughts about how the modern fandom came to be. It continues into the night here (and should also be auto archived by Twitch for later viewing).

AtV Interviews Roberts For WC's 25th Birthday; Big Livestream Saturday!

Wing Commander turns 25 years old tomorrow (!!!), and Episode 62 of Around the Verse is celebrating in style! Sandi Gardiner and Ben Lesnick's news desk is decorated with WC1 memorabilia, and they conduct an extensive interview with Chris Roberts about his thoughts on how the series came to be: what the early days at Origin were like, how the first missions were drafted and what his tips to save the Ralari are! Jump straight to 22:00 for the Q&A.
LOAF will also be driving a huge live stream event all day tomorrow. He'll be playing the original Wing Commander, sharing trivia and interacting with a variety of special guests. The fun starts at noon on the US West Coast (3 pm Eastern, 11 pm BST UK) on Twitch here. Drop by #Wingnut to chat with fellow Wingnuts along the way.

The Real Lance Casey Returns Home

Actor Steven Petrarca who played Lance Casey in Wing Commander: Prophecy did not reprise his role for the Secret Ops follow-up the next year, and a different voice actor was brought in to perform his gameplay speech bits. If this has been bothering you for the past 17 years, then fret no more! Lt. Overload has put together a small patch that swaps out the new voice for Prophecy's audio files. You can use this patch (715 k zip) in combination with Lt. Overload's Secret Ops pilot pack, or you can use it separately if you like the Cerberus' complement fine the way it is. Simply extract the audio and language folders into your Secret Ops directory.

Goodbye, Pete Shelus

There’s a star system named after me in the Wing Commander universe. It’s the result of an overworked designer at Origin needing to fill a giant map with hundreds of names quickly, but it may still be the single thing in my life that I’m most proud of. But where there were hundreds of systems to fill in, there were only a handful of encompassing quadrants. They reserved the names for real legends: there’s a Roberts Quadrant, of course, and then each of the executive producers got one… Mark Day, Rod Nakamoto, David Downing, Adam Foshko.


And then a select few Maverick team members had the honor. Ghorah Khar, the treasonous Kilrathi planet from Wing Commander II, is located in the Isaac Quadrant, named after the genius behind the RealSpace engine. The Ladyman Quadrant, named after Origin’s master of manuals, encompasses the Terran Confederation’s leeward expansion. Half the battles of the original Vega Campaign took place in the Douglas Quadrant, after the man who redefined the look of the series’ ships in Wing Commander III. And my star, the Lesnick System? I’m proud to say it’s located squarely in the middle of the Shelus Quadrant.


Pete Shelus started his career at Origin working on Tactical Operations, the Strike Commander mission disk and quickly proved his mettle. His credits on Wing Commander III are confirmation of the whizbang engineer he’d quickly proved himself to be: “Polygonal Collisions,” and “Math & Algorithms Consultant.” He went on to help out with Wing Commander IV and to serve as lead programmer on the 3DO port of Wing Commander III, still to my mind the single greatest after-the-fact PC-to-console conversion ever developed. He worked on the plan for Chris Roberts’ aborted version of Privateer 2 and when Chris to form Digital Anvil he became the Maverick Team’s lead programmer on the so-technically-ambitious Wing Commander Prophecy. After all that, he went on to keep creating worlds with Warren Spector’s teams at Ion Storm and Junction Point.


But that’s all on MobyGames. I’ll tell you right here that Pete was someone special. One of my happiest memories was visiting Origin back in 1998, shortly after the Secret Ops release. Pete was one of a handful of Maverick Team members present that day, and he treated a scraggly teenage fanboy who was almost too nervous to speak like he was just as important as any journalist or executive producer. That meant so much to me at the time, and I try and carry it with me to everything I do today. By all accounts, that was the universal reaction to him. Check out his February, 1996 ‘Employee of the Month’ submission from Origin’s internal newsletter:

Three months!


We stayed in touch, over the years, and he was always kind enough to answer some esoteric Wing Commander technical question or clear up some other bit of trivia from the old days. Long after anyone’s involvement with the franchise was a distant memory, he was still so gracious as to make it seem like you were making his day by writing to him to ask about this-or-that.


Several years back, after another one of these all-too-common tragedies, I put out a call for memories of the great 3D artist Paul Steed. Pete was among the first to reply with memories of his friend, and I sent him a note with my condolences and catching up. He wrote me back the following, which today brings me to tears:

Thank you and thanks to your team for keeping Wing Commander alive. I still remember the day I met Chris Roberts at some promotional event at some computer game store where he told me I should apply for a job at Origin. I did, and he hired me. How lucky can a guy be? Who gets to work on their favorite computer game franchise? Almost nobody. But I did.

I'm forever grateful for my good fortune, the friends I made on the way (like Paul Steed), and people like you who support the game that started my career. Thank you.

Pete, you were a great engineer and a better man. I’m glad to know that you appreciated those days at Origin, that you valued the experience that made so many of us happy and that you had pride in the incredible things you did and made. It’s always cold comfort, but the games and the stories your expertise made possible will live on past any of us. And you will be missed.


If you have a memory to share or would like to include your condolences on WCNews, please e-mail news@wcnews.com.

WCDX Focuses Its Lenses

The first test build of WCDX for Kilrathi Saga WC2 rolled out earlier this month, and fans quickly jumped in to start running the patch through its paces. A few players encountered some graphical blurriness, and Stinger has managed to redo how the program resizes the gameplay window to resolve this issue. Overall it's still in the phase where basic functionality like this is being tested, but longer term plans include fixing things like cockpit damage, smoothing out performance speed and eliminating input lag. Follow continued development at the CIC Forums and try out the latest version of WCDX here.
Here's another test build. This one implements the stretch and extra buffer copy. There are some known issues:
  • The window resizing experience (dragging the window border in windowed mode) looks wonky, but doesn't break anything.
  • Multi-monitor support may be broken under certain specific scenarios. I'm not at home right now, so I don't have a second display to test with.
Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming! I may not be able to quickly jump on these issues, but I definitely want them documented here so that I can refer to them later.

Littlest Nephilim Ship Gets Its Day

The Remora is a serious contender for most insignificant enemy ever faced by Confed pilots. These remote turret craft were the original WC drone ship before drones were cool, but they were just too weak to take as a real threat. The Ray/Remora Node Cluster is a clever idea though. Conceptually the Skate cluster was probably implemented better, but it's nice to see Dark Sentinel adding this underappreciated pip squeak to his growing collection of Nephilim models.
Remora, the argueably most useless fighter. Sliiiightly over 1k triangles. The mesh may require additional tweaks, but in very general I'm happy with the overall shape.

Unknown Enemy Revamp Picks Up Steam

The Wing Commander Unknown Enemy mod for SecretOps turns 15 next year. For some time now, the team has been wanting to release one last major update, to incorporate all the advances the modding community has made over the years. The initiative seems to be gaining traction once again, according to Quarto's recent status update. The OpenGL rendering system from Standoff has been integrated, and there is an in-game fiction viewer. Besides fixing mission bugs and general source code maintenance, Quarto will also be truncating and condensing the game's 100+ pages of fiction to make for lighter reading. By now there's actually quite a few people who haven't tried 2001's hottest Wing Commander fan mod - it'll be great when this gets reintroduced to a whole new generation of Wingnuts!
What else needs to be done? Really, mission bugfixing and the fiction are the main thing. After all, this isn't a new project, it's just fixing up an existing one. The other small task I have is to throw some additional ships into the object viewer - in the couple of years after UE, we developed two more fighters that were supposed to appear in UE2, to show how the Border Worlds are gradually transitioning from a messy collection of mainly ex-Confed junk to their own new ships, technologically modern but seriously underperforming compared to Confed stuff (think Sweden's SAAB jets versus the US Air Force). Obviously, I have no intention of messing with the game deeply enough to actually have these ships even in the simulator, but the object viewer is a nice place for them, and if anybody else wants to do more with them afterwards - hey, they're there. This is not a big job, or even a small job, it's a no-job... just as soon as I find the relevant files! But that last bit... not so easy.

Updated Pilot Pack Fixes German Subs

The Secret Ops pilot pack we reported on earlier had one minor oversight: it didn't account for Prophecy's German subtitle files. Lt. Overload has put together an updated version of the pack that can be downloaded here (56 megs). Simply unzip it into your Secret Ops installation folder and you're good to go. If you play Secret Ops in English and you've already installed the original patch, there is no need to download this new release.

Being on a covert mission, the Cerberus is a small carrier with a limited complement of fighter pilots. This patch adds back in all the pilots from the Midway, and even a few Kilrathi.

Many pilots were cut from Secret Ops, and I created something that re-adds them alongside the characters in the game. This new pack adds back every single pilot from Prophecy such as many Midway redshirts, some aliens, and the Kilrathi. One thing I also added was WCP versions of Cerberus' pilots, without overwriting their original files. That means you can have old Maestro and new Maestro side by side at the same time, for example.

This is a great modders' resource, because Secret Ops had a very limited range of voices you could use, and this pack blows that wide open. Want to bring back Dallas? Now you can. Want to put Hawk side by side with some cats? Now you can. Want to pretend Blair is still around? Now you can.

Japan Fires Most Powerful Laser In The World

Scientists in Japan have test fired a new laser capable of a 2 petawatt blast. This is equivalent to 2 million gigawatts (2,000,000,000,000,000). As Wing Commander fans are well aware, the TCS Behemoth was capable of directing 500 million gigawatts to one lancing point. Though it sounds like we're already surprisingly close to 2669's premier levels of destruction, our current technology could only maintain the burst for a trillionth of a second, so there is still quite a bit of room to mature the gun before we're vaporizing planets. The version in Japan also lacks keel mounts and laser turrets, and we all know how that goes...

Scientists in Japan have set the record for the most powerful laser ever fired, producing a 2 petawatt pulse - that’s 2 quadrillion watts - using a device known as the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiment (LFEX). While they could only sustain it for a mere one-trillionth of a second, the team claims it had a concentrated energy equivalent of 1,000 times the world's electricity consumption.

Located at Osaka University, the LFEX laser projector is about 100 metres long, and combines four carefully positioned glass 'lamps' to amplify a laser beam over and over as it travels along the length of the device. This set-up allowed the team to produce an incredibly concentrated amount of power while consuming only a couple hundred joules of energy, which is about as much power your microwave uses in 2 seconds.

Excitement Builds For Wing Commander's 25th Birthday

The 25th anniversary of WC1's release is fast approaching, and we'll be celebrating with fan par excellence Bandit (LOAF) in a special livestream event next Saturday, September 26, on Twitch! You'll get to see Mr. Ben Lesnick take on all of the Vega Sector's most classic missions and hear about interesting behind-the-scenes trivia along the way. LOAF's proved his piloting skills in tournament play before, and now everyone will get to see him in action again! Fans without Twitch accounts can also join us in #Wingnut during the show. To get a taste of what to expect, check out the Wing Commander Movie viewing party here. More details will be confirmed next week. For now, here's a sneak peek of the awesome digital viewing rig that's under construction for the event!

Pixel Probe Leads To Greater Understanding Of WC1's Dev Techniques

UnnamedCharacter has been intensely studying the early Wing Commander games lately, and he's discovered some tiny yet fascinating aspects of how WC1 was created. For instance, he's discovered that more than just the windscreen is transparent on the Hornet. A tiny row of six pixels that features in the iconic cockpit actually light up as if they can see through to the space background. It doesn't look like an error - just a very clever way of lighting up stuff on the dashboard. He's found similar pixel discrepancies in the briefing room and when looking at the Tiger's Claw as well. Shades pointed out that even some of the characters exhibit this phenomenon. I bet the artists never thought Wing Commander fans would still be scrutinizing every pixel nearly twenty-five years later! Follow the discussion and learn about more obscure Wing Commander findings at the CIC Forums.
The cockpit of the Hornet is not airtight; there are holes in the side walls. Bare with me, I will try to explain using a series of images.

The first row of images are the familiar cockpit views. The second row are the masks, which indicate the "transparent" areas of the cockpit views; I highlighted a series of stray pixels. These pixels line-up with what could be considered controls in the side wall of the cockpit.

You can fairly easily see the effect of this in game play. Just line-up the Tiger’s Claw or the stellar background, move the ship slightly and you will see these little dots change colors to reflect the background. You can also see these pixels change when taking enemy fire.

Saga Editing Tools Upgraded For Today's Windows

Luke has updated his expansive suite of WC Saga (Plus) enhancement tools to work with Windows 10. Over the years he's created quite a few different programs that do things such as enable joystick throttle and rudder, detect installation file issues, fix the Excalibur weapons, support debugging efforts, manage pilot rosters, extract core assets, improve mouse control and support secondary monitors. That's a lot of stuff! Additionally, the Debug-Build Support Tool has been upgraded with adjustments for AI, better status display and improved language support. You can read up on the specifics and download each application here.

Retrospective Video Shows Off Original Trilogy's Rapid Advancement

General Taggart playroom has put together a fun comparison video that shows the evolution of Wing Commander from WC1 to WC3. Every Wingnut knows what the mission briefing looks aboard the Tiger's Claw versus the Concordia or Victory, but it's a nice trip down memory lane to see them one right after another. There's plenty of other mini clips that show off characters as they age, the exciting takeoff and landing processes, auto piloting, intro sequence and much more. It really drives home how much the technology leapt forward in the early to mid '90s. Games still continue to get more and more advanced to this day, but the pace of technology growth in gaming really took off exponentially for a while there!

The Vega Sector's Usual Suspects

Klavs has put together a nice lineup that compares the various Kilrathi capships that he's modeled over the last couple years. It helps illustrate why destroyers and light cruisers are so common in the fleet compared to formal carriers. Scroll down to the Hakaga to really get a sense of how that armada of massive supercarriers took its toll on the empire's resources and drove the bid for the false armistice. You can also find a cool wallpaper of these guys going on the offense here.

Space Sims Central to Virtual Reality Launch Line-Ups

Virtual reality may finally take off in 2016, and the Oculus Rift, Sony's Morpheus and Samsung's Gear VR will all have one or more space combat sims available when they become available to consumers. Eve: Valkyrie, Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen have all been confirmed as "VR-ready", and CCP Games has recently announced Gunjack, a game in which players operate a gun turret on a mining ship to keep pirates at bay. While Gunjack is more of an arcade shooter than an actual combat simulation, it's encouraging to see space sims being included in the launch line-up of all virtual reality platforms. Ars has the details on Gunjack.

Wing Blender 1.5 Released

It's been a good season for fan patches! Kevin Caccamo has released version 1.5 of his Wing Blender app, previously known as Blender Commander. It allows aspiring modders to make ships in Blender and then more easily export them to Prophecy or Secret Ops. This new version adds a reverse feature where you can import a Vision Engine file to Blender to work with. You can also use this in conjunction with his MAT Viewer to more easily see your outputs as well. Grab the program and find further instructions here.
Wing Blender is an import/export script for Blender 2.65+ that allows you to export a VISION engine (Wing Commander: Prophecy, Wing Commander: Secret Ops) IFF 3D model, or import a VISION engine IFF 3D model into Blender.

This means you'll be able to do most of your work in Blender, and then simply export it to the game without having to pass the model through multiple conversion programs (3D Exploration, peoview, ModelC, etc.).

This project is the successor to OBJ2WCP, a crappy old OBJ converter written noobishly in Java.

Video Review Shows Off Impressive Flat Universe Gameplay

Wing Commander Flat Universe has been all over the news lately, but you might've glossed over it if you're someone who just doesn't play fan mods. MemoryLeakDeath has created a new video that might convince a few more pilots to jump into the cockpit though. His latest 'Side Quests' review is a very in-depth 45 minute playthrough of the Maslas Brothers' game. It explores Daedalus Station, takes advantage of the new navigation interface and shares a healthy dose of the action! Screenshots can only show off so much - check out the clip below and then download a copy of the game for yourself here!
On today's Side Quests I nerd out hardcore and gush over Wing Commander: Flat Universe, an awesome fan-made creation coming along nicely.

Pilot Patch Adds Prophecy Characters To Secret Ops!

Lt. Overload is back with a cool new patch for Wing Commander Secret Ops. It takes the limited squadron from the TCS Cerberus and boosts it by adding back in every pilot from Prophecy. While the small covert ops team makes sense within the context of the WCSO story, this new option is a lot more fun! It even includes unique variants of the same pilot where they have different dialogue in the two games, and you can select both to fly on your wing simultaneously. Download the patch here (56 meg zip) and unzip it in your Secret Ops folder. Further instructions are included in the readme. It's fantastic to see fans still creating clever mods and patches like this after more than seventeen years!
Hi all! Been a little more than two years since I had an update. The CIC has been kind enough to host my files so I went about updating all the links and adding a few extra things to the site. I also released a new big project I had been working on:

Many pilots were cut from Secret Ops, and I created something that re-adds them alongside the characters in the game. This new pack adds back every single pilot from Prophecy such as many Midway redshirts, some aliens, and the Kilrathi. One thing I also added was WCP versions of Cerberus' pilots, without overwriting their original files. That means you can have old Maestro and new Maestro side by side at the same time, for example.

This is a great modders' resource, because Secret Ops had a very limited range of voices you could use, and this pack blows that wide open. Want to bring back Dallas? Now you can. Want to put Hawk side by side with some cats? Now you can. Want to pretend Blair is still around? Now you can.

Most of the alien comms will have alternate "death cries" when they die. It is now randomized between 2-3 death comms instead of just one. Same goes for several generic Kilrathi pilots (not the aces). Thanks to Quarto for helping me figure that one out. Also included is a list of the redshirts, which ones are duplicates, and which are completely unique. So you don't accidentally make a wing of the same voice actor. Obviously, do not use the people labelled "DoNotUse". They do not work. They were not working in Prophecy, so they also do not work here.

If you guys have any issues with the patch, let me know. Currently they don't really do anything to a vanilla version of the game, but I might release some missions to show the new possibilities. :)

WCDX Upgraded For Preliminary WC2 Testing

Stinger has announced the release of the first playable version of WCDX for Kilrathi Saga WC2. The initial iterations of the patch streamlined and fixed many elements of the DOS to Windows WC1 conversion done KS. It upgraded graphical calls to DirectDraw with more modern Direct3D, added increased compatibility with modern Windows, squashed some annoying audio bugs, added in some graphical elements that didn't function correctly and much more. His previous efforts reached as far as The Secret Missions 2, but now he's working on the Enigma Campaign. Note that this is still an alpha test as far as WC2 is concerned, but it's at a point where pilots can try things out and provide useful feedback. You can grab the latest version of the patch here (complete with installation instructions) and follow the development at the CIC Forums.
It's playable! But that's about all I can guarantee for this release. So far, I haven't done anything beyond making the game playable (already a minor miracle; I have no idea how these games ever worked before); this is a very early alpha. I still have a ton of work to do to get this up to my usual standards. In fact, I haven't even played all the way through the first mission yet! So far, I've observed some issues with input and sound, where some lines of dialogue in the intro are being skipped as if you'd hit a key. The cutscene frame rate also seems higher than it should be, but maybe I'm just remembering it wrong.

Things I've completed: The game starts and doesn't crash when you look at it funny! Hooray!

Things I haven't completed: Anything else. Really.

I'll try to take some time to fix major issues that prevent people from playing the game (provided they're reasonably simple to tackle), but I can't handle feature requests just yet. That said, feel free to post any requests or issues you come across so that I can refer back to them later.

Happy flying!

Creative Process Kicks Off At The Shipyard

Chris Chapman recently set out to create a video retrospective on the Wing Commander series, but the exciting franchise quickly sent him down a different path. He's now chronicling a new adventure to learn how to do modern 3D modeling, and Wing Commander will be his muse. There's lots of creative Wingnuts out there who can relate to figuring out how to do things as they go along. It's kind of a clever idea to document this process, and we couldn't imagine a better series to do it with! The Drayman will be his first focus ship, which brings lots of fun potential. Check out the first episode and intro below.
The first episode of a new diary series where I try to learn 3D modelling and build a spaceship. This introduction outlines the background and intentions behind the project and talks a little about the ship I'm going to attempt to build. Watch me try to learn to do 3D in Blender and build a Wing Commander freighter.

Careful Design Work Going Into Papercraft Excalibur Fighter

Adm_Maverick has made good progress scoping out and scaling the Excalibur for his next paper model. He's aiming to go beyond the detail included with the in-game models and produce something comparable to the F-103s depicted in cinematics or printed materials. Although it might looks like he's already got the shape down pretty well, he's continuing to scrutinize how everything lines up so that he doesn't encounter any tolerance issues when he goes to physically construct the planned 12 inch design. Fans have made tons of paper WC ships over the years, but - surprisingly - this might be the first Excalibur. You can follow each step of the development at the CIC Forums.
I mentioned that these are first passes, why is that? Well... it's because they don't match up exactly with each other. It's too late for me to go into all details but as an example. The widest part of the front boom where the cockpit is, it is widest on the front view, narrowest on the top view, and just slightly narrower in the bottom view.

So what does this mean? Well, it means I have to go back, pair up the line art pieces with each other and decide which part of which version I want to take as the 'correct' version. While the web version of the image above sizes out to be about 4" wide, I want to build a 12" model from these designs. So if I scale everything up by a factor of 3, and I have one part from the bottom that is 1mm wider, then the same part from the top view, but the rear version is 1mm to the left, I'll wind up with a part that started out as a rectangular cube but when built comes out as a lop-sided rhombus. So guess what I get to do over the next few days....

I'll warn everyone now, this is going to take a while to complete. It will also be my first totally scratch built and self-designed model. The real challenge... I have no actual 3D design experience or systems. So I'm doing this all as I figure it out. Who wants to go on an adventure?

New Hospital Ship Ready To Lend A Hand... Or Launch Some Marine Assault Craft

Klavs has taken another stab at a Wing Commandery but original design. This time it's a special transport that could be configured as either a marine assault craft carrier or hospital ship. Whether it's Hercules LCs or special ambulance shuttles, the job for both variants would be very similar with the need to carry lots of people and rapidly transport them to and from a planetary surface. The most well known medical ship is perhaps the Clarkson class transport covered in big red crosses from the WC4 intro, but we also have Drayman class transports that act in the same capacity in WC1. I actually think this design has a lot in common with the multipurpose Kilrathi transport featured in Wing Commander Academy with the forward prongs replaced by a somewhat Drayman-looking nose. Either way, it's quite a bit snazzier than the boxy hospital ships like the TCS Pleiku!
This kind of started off as a hospital ship, (but it's) taken on a life of its own as a large Marine Transport. Lots of big hinged cargo doors and space for about 12 Marine Assault Craft or about twice that many shuttles. Scales out to about 297 meters.
Actually, I'm kind of liking the hospital ship look, just took a little red, is all.

Game Scripts Added to Document Archive

We post a lot of interesting development documents and behind the scenes material in our daily news updates, but it can be difficult to keep track of them all. The goal of the Document Archive is to make it easier to research various aspects of Wing Commander's history by sorting those documents into specific categories. Over the years, the section has gotten a little bit dated, but for this year's birthday we kicked things off again by rounding up all the printed and digital advertisements we could find. Today's update continues the effort with a large number of scripts and story outlines. This includes various early drafts that sometimes differ wildly from the final product, and more finalized documents that have developer commentary written on them. There's even an outline for the ill-fated Privateer 3! You can find a quick overview of the additions below, or you can head straight for the archives and check under the various Scripts sections.

More Shots Of Transverse 'Epee' & Bar Revealed

One year ago, Piranha Games launched Transverse, a space sim MMO title being bankrolled by a crowdfunding campaign. The game was controversial due to issues with the company's other major MMO, MechWarrior Online, and eventually the project was shut down before completion. The entire affair was interesting to Wing Commander fans since the game was at one time pitched as a new Wing Commander title. Apparently there were some discussions with EA to license a new chapter in the series, but ultimately this didn't pan out. Some of the game's concept art was based on WC history, including equipment named after Confederation favorites and enemy fighters that resembled the Dralthi. New images recently posted by concept artist Viona Halim reveal that one of the main fighters was intended to be the "Epee" at one point. Addition screenshots of the ship and of the game's central bar area are posted below. You can read more about the project's art background at Viona's gallery page here.
The launch video for Transverse was done using Unreal 4, which is the first time that I had to work with PBR lighting. The short amount of time that we had to finish the video didn't allow for an in-depth R&D with the engine and the new lighting method. Nonetheless, we were able to work as a team to produce and ship a pretty good looking end-product, in my opinion. Not to mention the opportunity to work on something different than what I normally do as an environment artist, which in this case, making cool-looking spaceships.

Recent Flat Universe Update Profiled In Detail

Now that the dust has settled from last month's CIC's birthday, the Maslas Brothers have caught a breath and returned to explain all of the upgrades in version 0.8.5 in more depth. Variants are available for Windows, Mac and Linux, so everyone can give the game a try. It's already a blast, but the team would like to make it even better with your feedback!
Dear Wingnuts, it's been long time since we last gave you an update of our progress. The CIC birthday came just in time to give you a good taste of our development so far. But let me tell you in further detail what this version is all about.

1. Graphics: As you might already know the whole graphics part of our game engine has been upgraded, plus the game performance is more balanced than ever.

2. Barracks - Load/Save: In the previous release the player could access only the hangar deck, the control room and the officers lounge. In this release the barracks is also ONLINE. The game starts from there (just like in WC1) and you can register and select your pilot from there.

3. Additional Cutscenes - Animated Characters: The hangar deck and control room of Daedalus is no more an empty space. There are animated characters around. New takeoff and landing cutscenes have also been added.

4. Features: Now I am getting to the more interesting part! 14 new unique systems have been created and added to the gameplay. The Nav Map, Nav System and Autopilot are fully functional. The player is no longer lost in space with the best addition of all: Jump Drive. Now you can take the transport for a free flight and explore the world of Flat Universe, jumping from system to system just like in Privateer. Of course there is no friendly traffic in the systems nor pirates to fight with but still the player can enjoy the graphics and have an extended taste of the gameplay. Additionally, 8 new training missions have been added with a performance report in the end of every mission. Last but not least there is an in-flight screenshot function. Now, you can grab the moment of your flight experience by hitting F12 and the screenshot will be saved into your Flat Universe home folder.

5. Bugs: We could say with confidence that in this release there has been an extensive effort in debugging and it is confidently one of our most stable distributions so far. However, there was one drawback to one of the features that we included on our previous release. That is, the automatic patching system. From now and on we will continue our distribution with the old favorite: download the whole package. We are very sorry for the inconvenience but it seems that this feature will have to wait for the time being.

Feel free to tell us what is on your mind and remember that we are counting on your feedback. It is for you, the community, that this project is created for and you will have to enjoy it along with us. Have fun!

the MaslasBros

Wing Commander Viewing Party Now Available Online

If you missed LOAF's Livestream of the Wing Commander Movie last month, you can now find a full recording at the INN Youtube page. It's full of fun, trivia and insightful commentary! Note that they had to restart the film a ways in, so it doesn't officially get started until 23:30. There's also a helpful clock timer in the bottom middle so it's easy to sync your playthrough and watch along.
Hey guys! Here's the long awaited recording of our WC movie livestream! Watch along with us as Ben comments and trivias us through Chris Roberts' first feature film!

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