WC RPG Develops Storyline & Game Boards

We're wrapping up the year with a look back at yet another productive month for capi's WC RPG. He's made steady gains on several scenario chapters that set up the backstory for the Elegy of Sivar expansion. These take quite a bit of creativity to weave together and make for some interesting fan fiction in their own right. Just in time for the holiday season, he's also crafted a Christmas Kilrathi translation based on the language rules for the project. Last, but not least, he's come up with a prototype game board tile set. He'd appreciate some feedback on this. The example below is a kat flight deck mocked up for a scenario in the game. Let him know what you think!
This morning I was building an encounter map for the first Elegy mission using an online dungeon maker tool at pyromancers.com. It's a pretty slick little deal, especially for an online tool. Made this with it (and with a little bit of work in MS Paint):

Anyway, it occurred to me that I could be making a whole bunch of maps like these for Elegy, and that a fair number of them would be for locales of Kilrathi origin. I got to wondering - has anybody ever done an RPG tile set for a Kilrathi setting before? And if not, what kinds of objects do y'all think should be in one? What would one look like, stylistically?

The image above, incidentally, is supposed to be the flight deck of the Kilrathi Star Post at T'kon H'hra - you can see a Naktarg shuttle prepped and ready for launch there (the bit I did in MS Paint). The point of the encounter is to get from the entrance (around tile b16) to the shuttle's door (around tile r7) without getting caught by husuTerran'hra in the bay. This would've been a good spot to have had a Kilrathi tile set - I was limited by what was available. I would've preferred more of a brick red flooring and wall set.

Anyways, thoughts? Anybody out there have experience with building tile sets?

Watch The Cerberus' Fighters Go On The Offense

There's both a new video and an exciting status update for the Secret Ops model upgrade pack today. The clip below shows off the recently amped up Confed and Nephilim ships in space combat action. Even though there is still quite a bit of work left to do, when combined with impressive existing patches, the game is really looking good! DefianceIndustries still continues to work with multiple talented fellow Wingnuts to bring together more updates for the future. The Wasp and Seahawks craft are in the pipeline, and even bigger engine enhancements are coming soon!
Here's a new update for the Wing Commander Secret Ops Model Update Pack. It showcases the new and improved F-108-S Panther as well as Dark Sentinel's excellent improved Manta model for the Nephilim. The updated F-103 Excalibur also makes a cameo at 5:48.

Quick update: Things are moving along with the MUP. Dark Sentinel has sent me a very snazzy Wasp model so after a coat of paint, I'll be putting it up for all to see. I've also finished a Seahawk model which is likewise waiting a coat of paint.

Other big news: gr1mre4per has given me a beta version of his engine updates for Christmas! Among the many improvements this little baby delivers are massive increases in polys-per-mesh that the engine can allow. Meaning that I no longer have to use the PART chunk to slice up the fighters. We can now make single-mesh high-poly fighter and capship models for the game (EPODS and destroyable objects not withstanding)! This will be a huge help because it ought to improve memory usage (ie. not having to re-render MATs multiple times for the same model). It also drastically increases the number of renderable objects per mission so we can kiss that 256 limit goodbye! There are a bunch of other improvements but I promised not to reveal any specifics so for now, this little teaser will have to do until he's ready to release it on his own thread. However, this is huge!

Mark Hamill Verifying Autographs Online

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Mark Hamill is spending his Christmas break helping fans out on Twitter. With all of the Force Awakens excitement out there, autographs of the original actors have surged in value, which has sadly resulted in rampant counterfeiting. Mr. Hamill is kindly authenticating whether his vintage signature is real or not in images that fans tweet at him. I don't actually have all that many autographed items in my collection, but our archives do include photos of this awesome signed paper plate. Dino from Simulation World got Mark to sign it during a promotional event for WC3 more than twenty years ago. Based on the verified examples and after accounting for the differences between sharpie/photo and ballpoint pen/paper plate, it looks like this one checks out!

Homeworld Mod Amps Up Dogfight Action

L.I.F. has posted another update to the Homeworld Remastered mod. A new code tweak makes for some more exciting space fighter combat, which is what Wing Commander is all about! Artificial intelligence has been a work in progress since the early days of the mod, so it's good to see things well refined and running smoothly. Grab the latest version of the mod here.
I modified the dogfight script in a way that should do away with the slow furballs and make fighter battles more dynamic and dramatic.

Excalibur Front End Comes Together

Admiral Maverick has a new update for his physical Excalibur model. These new shots show off an entirely brand new and higher fidelity revision of the model that leverages what he's learned so far. The images also reveal how a couple of major subcomponents come together, including the lower gun enclosure and forward engine inlets. There's a lot of effort involved here to make sure the shape comes out just right!
And guess who's back with a new update just in time for the holiday!

As I said last time, I'd had an accident while working on the Excalibur card board mock up which resulted in a destroyed model. It was a bit of a bitter-sweet kind of screw up since on the one hand, I had to start over on the mock up. But on the other hand I specifically chose to work in cardboard for this part of the project specifically so that if I had a screw up, it wasn't going to cost me $20 in materials.

Anyway I have been working on rebuilding the mock up and been making good progress. Having built it once already I can zip through a lot of it while also correcting some mistakes I made the first time around. Here you can see I'm built the mark 2 model up to the level of the previous version at the time it was destroyed. The main body is actually stronger then the first version and has cleaner joins between the various parts.

I have started working on the next sections. Firstly there's the cannon mounting under-carriage, the part that holds the reaper cannons in Wing Commander 3. You ever start to work on something and think it'll be super-easy and you can just zip right through it, but once you start working on it, you find out it's actually way more difficult then you thought it'd be? Well, that was this part in a nutshell. Cut 2 side parts so they line up with the under side of the body and the forward boom, what's so hard about that? Simple, I have no formal 3D design experience or training. So because of that I had to re-cut the sides a couple times after I found I had not measured properly.

The initial shape was easy enough to accomplish, measure and cut the upper and lower sections as they appears in the line art. I had to do some interpretation to make the side and inner-section. There's little enough I can say about the sides that would really help any aspiring crafters. I had to estimate my measurements, cut a piece and test it. Find out I was wrong, and try to correct it with a new version.

No the real challenge was the scoop intake covers. See, it's an angle that extends in 2 dimensions, backwards relative to the body, and outward relative of the body. It's something that isn't immediately apparent from the 2D line art. So I had to cut and fit the ram scoop cover about 6 times before I got a sizing that fits.

Secret Ops MUP Gets New Heavy Panther

DefianceIndustries has added another beautiful ship to his Secret Ops model upgrade pack. This time the new fighter is the Confed Panther, which plays a major part in the WCSO campaign. A lot of people keep asking whether this project will eventually also apply to Prophecy, and while there are still minor technical issues that would need to be overcome, it's looking more and more likely that WCP will be integrated at some later point. From an outsider's perspective it might seem like the process is pretty straightforward once the art assets are complete, but the quote below gives a little insight into some of the weird and unexpected issues that always crop up. Talented Wingnuts are always up to the challenge of sorting these things out though!
Merry Xmas Wingnuts! Panther ahoy! (it has some weird scaling issues in the game, not sure why and I'll have to do some debugging, the mesh is exactly 15m in blender but somehow comes out close to 30 in the engine.) Gigantism aside, the fighter works well - the EPOD chunk works as expected (which is nice, I thought it was going to give me some heartburn). I'll post another update later in the week when I can tackle the scaling.

Update: Curiouser and curiouser. So the model is actually the right size in the game (as evidenced by the shots). It seems to be something to do with the viewer and the scaling (or positioning) of the model in the viewer render. Which still causes problems in the game because the ship appears out of place in the HUD targeting window, and the ITTS leader appears in the wrong location causing you to miss (I know there are a few of you who want to gun down Maestro, admit it!!!). It might have something to do with the collision spheres as well, since the EPOD has its own collision sphere, I wonder if that is somehow overriding the base model's collision sphere. Anyone else run into this? I'll keep playing around with it though.

On the plus side I flew a few missions with it and haven't run into any performance issues thus far. And, they do look nice :). Also - Extra bonus for me: The briefing models aren't screwed! YAY!

Merry Christmas!

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays from everyone at the Wing Commander CIC! Hopefully all of you get a chance to rest, relax and catch up on some Wing Commander action during the holiday season. Thank you for taking the time to share your holidays with us!

Annual Call For Award Nominations

Another year is drawing to a close, so that means there's a few annual holiday traditions that are upon us. The seventeenth annual Wing Commander Web Site & Fan Project of the Year awards will kick off soon, and it's time to start thinking about the undertakings that impressed you this year. The CIC doesn't rely on original content to fill our news page - it's the continued activity of thousands of fellow Wing Commander fans that keeps everything going. In order to bring attention to and help recognize some of these working fans, we vote on the people and places who've done a lot for Wing Commander over the past year. Send your nominations to news@wcnews.com. They'll be collected and voting will begin shortly. To help give you some ideas, here's a summary of all the prior winners.
  Fan Projects of the Year Runners Up
2014 Flat Universe Klavs' Models / Prophecy Fan Movie
2013 Collected Works of HCl / Klavs' Models Defiant Few
2012 WC Saga Klavs' Models
2011 OpenGL Patch for WCP & Secret Ops TacOps Online & Standoff
2010 Astro Commander's Mini Models DirectDrawHack
2009 Standoff Gemini Gold
2008 Ascii Sector Flight Commander
2007 Standoff & WC Saga Ascii Sector
2006 WC4 Homeworld 2 Mod Das Erwachen
2005 Standoff Privateer Gemini Gold
2004 Standoff WC Saga
2003 Standoff & WC Saga Holding the Line & Vega Strike
2002 Unknown Enemy Kilrathi Empire & WC Saga BS
2001 Unknown Enemy Holding the Line & Vega Strike

  Web Sites of the Year Runners Up
2014 Daedalus Station Wing Commander RPG Wiki
2013 Concordia Hangar Daedalus Station
2012 Pix's Origin Adventures Wing Commander RPG Wiki
2011 Shotglass' WC Saga
2010 Paper Commander Prelude to Darkness
2009 WC Saga Standoff & Paper Commander
2008 Paper Commander Standoff & WC Saga
2007 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Pericles' Paper Inside
2006 HCl's Wing Commander Editing Site Wedge's Wing Commander
2005 WC Saga Fleet Tactics
2004 Fleet Tactics Wedge's Wing Commander
2003 Wing Commander in Russia WC3D & Wedge's Wing Commander
2002 Wing Commander in Russia BlackLance HQ & WingCenter
2001 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central
2000 Acenet Central Wing Commander in Russia
1999 Wing Commander in Russia Acenet Central & HCl's WC Editing Site

Have A Pink Dralthi

But what could fly the pink Dralthi? Why, a pink Kilrathi, of course!

SpaceX Lands Orbital Booster Rocker For The First Time

We once again interrupt our regularly scheduled Wing Commander programming to share some phenomenal news. Last night SpaceX managed to successfully land a rocket vertically after it delivered a commercial payload in orbit. Such a feat is so common in science fiction that it wouldn't be surprising if the average person just assumed we could already do this, but in fact this type of landing has never been done before. It was only last month that Blue Origin managed to land a rocket after briefly touching the boundary of space. This week's achievement is significantly more complex due to the nature of the spacecraft in play. The Falcon rocket had to reach orbital velocity/altitude, and then it flawlessly performed its primary mission of deploying 11 communications satellites before coming back down. The hovering booster looks cool enough, but my favorite shot might be the time lapse photo showing the orange double-streak from both ascent and decent. One of the things that draws in and captivates sci-fi fans is the excitement of scenes like these. It's even better when we get to see the real thing become possible!

Magazine Highlights Mark Hamill's WC Deal

Between The Force Awakens, Squadron 42 and all of his voice acting endeavors, Mark Hamill's probably pretty well off these days, but did the original Star Wars make him rich? That's the question posed by the November 2001 issue of Empire magazine. His answer is that Star Wars paid well, but that he really struck gold with Wing Commander! The full article is actually a great read today, since it asks Mr. Hamill's thoughts about Star Wars not long after The Phantom Menace premiered. It's quite a contrast to today's Episode VII world!
Did Star Wars make you rich?

I said to my wife, Marilou, a while ago, "We should either think about adopting or providing money for needy children." Because we're so okay financially, and there's so much need in the world, especially for children. Star Wars provided the basis for that, but I also had a really good deal on Wing Commander. I said, "You know what, I'll take way less up front if I can have real points." So on Wing Commander I took a 50 per cent salary cut from what they offered me, but they gave me real points. And even they were surprised because we had a $12 million opening day. I thought, "Gee whizz, if I could have movies open like this, I'd actually have a career."

Wing Commander Models Ready For Home Printing

There have been lots of great sources of made-to-order 3D Wing Commander prints online over the last couple years, but fans are increasingly gaining direct access to these fantastic additive manufacturing machines themselves. For those lucky folks, tmetal has designed a line of ships and posted them at the Thingiverse community. Builders will then have to paint the finished models, but that can be half the fun. It's great to see that most of these designs has been downloaded (and presumably printed) by more than a hundred fans each! The Hellcat, Thunderbolt, Longbow, Dralthi IV, Paktahn, Banshee, Piranha and Wasp are available. Be sure to post pictures if you make any of these!
The Hellcat fighter from the Wing Commander game series. This one is very simple with very little of the detailing that I normally do with models from games. 100% scale should give a 6 inch wing span. Print one out and start turning some Kilrathi scum into kitty litter! ;)

The Dralthi IV light fighter from the Wing Commander game series. To me the Dralthi always seemed to be the best example of Kilrathi space fighter designing style. Plus, the Hellcat and Piranha I made needed a target to dogfight so I went with it. Again; a low detail model with a 6 inch wingspan. I hope the WC fans get a kick out of it.

Thanks to STL Finder for the tip.

Wing Commander on SyFy UK This Wednesday

While there is now a myriad of digital delivery options available worldwide, it's always nice to see the Wing Commander movie show up on linear broadcast, especially in places where it did not get a proper theatrical release. SyFy UK will be airing it on Wednesday 23rd at 5 pm, just six weeks after the last broadcast.

Secret Ops Upgrade Sets Sights On Bigger Targets

DefianceIndustries is back with another status update on his big Secret Ops upgrade. He's made progress getting the ships to display properly in the viewer with descriptive text. These types of tweaks may not be as glamorous, but they're critical for full immersion. Meanwhile, there are some bigger things (literally) in the works that should come together soon!
Hi all, quick update: I've been battling a some kind of bug (pun intended) so I've not been able to make as much progress as normal. I'm currently texturing a Panther and Dark Sentinel is working on a couple of models for the pack. He's working on his Plunkett, the Wasp, and a Moray.

Whereas before I was simply hacking models into the viewer to test them, the Tigershark being my most common victim, I've started adding the extra fighters into the viewer in a more permanent basis. I'll also be updating the flavor text for the updated versions in SO; so for example the Piranha is actually a C variant and the Tigershark is a B. So here's the more or less "official" entry for the Excalibur. When I finish the Tbolt, it will also get an entry. I'll probably also add Confed capships into the viewer at some point as well.

In other news: gr1mre4per has teased a project he's working on that will give us a lot more flexibility in how we do Capships and some fighters by allowing the engine to accept substantially more polys than it does today per mesh. I won't spoil it for you and let him do the big reveal, but suffice to say what I've seen so far is pretty impressive and if it works as expected, it will really push the needle for the Vision engine.

So exciting stuff in the hopper! Watch this space.

The Shipyard's Spaceship Starts To Take Shape

Chris Chapman is continuing down the road towards becoming a 3D modeler with the Wing Commander series as his guide. He's published the second and third episodes in a series to chronicle his journey. For being a beginner, he's got a pretty good Drayman going! These chapters start out talking about the overall structure of the ship before moving on to the cargo module. It's an interesting process for people who might be curious aspiring artists themselves. You can also check out episode one if you missed it earlier.
Continuing my journey into learning 3D modelling in Blender. A primitive 3D model of the Drayman gives insight into its role and function, and I talk a bit about how faithfully I'll approach the original references.

Slice Through The Competion With New Wallpaper

DefianceIndustries has such a gorgeous Excalibur model that it'd be a shame not to get the most out of it! Now you can look at it all day long with this fun wallpaper image. There's also a clever in-joke in the corner too. The Excalibur was manufactured by Douglas Aerospace, named after Origin artist Chris Douglas, whose name bears more than a passing similarity to Douglas Aircraft Company. Their logo is as fitting as any here!
I figured I'd share my current desktop background; thought you Wingnuts might appreciate it. :)

***Credits - the background was used from Deviant Art by a user named Funarium.

Homeworld Mod Single Player Demo Released

L.I.F. has released a long anticipated update to the Homeworld mod! Version 3.25 includes a very cool - and difficult - single player mission. Some aspects are still being tweaked, but this gives fans a taste of what to expect. Some ship models have also been improved, which increases the file size of the project a bit. After you've given it a try, let him know what you think as feedback is still very helpful at this stage. Grab it here!
OK, ladies and gents, it's going to be an early Christmas: I'm pretty confident in the mission now, which is fully-playable and involves a lot of the challenges you can expect to see from the Captain's seat in the Wing Commander universe. You might have the TCS Victory, but victory itself won't come easily, trust me on that.

In any case, to start the mission, you'll simply have to select it under "Extra Missions" in the main menu. It's definitely winnable, but here, it's real war, which means that you have a limited number of assets and you will have to use them properly to win... particularly those very, very fragile Thunderbolt VII, heh heh. The mission should be relatively simple while covering a lot of the stuff you can see in the Wing Commander games, except for the poker games and the inevitable betrayals. :p

Keep in mind that this release is more a tech demo than anything else, though. Anyway, to give you an idea of the creative process for a mission, here is the structure:

  • Write down a rough idea of what the mission will be.
  • Write down precisely the assets of each side and what actions will need to be scripted for the mission (objectives, reactions to your presence, etc., until the victory or defeat).
  • Write the scripts.
  • Create the critical assets for the mission (campaign-only named ships with specific properties like the ability to jump on their own for the convoy transports) without which the game will CTD.
  • Test-play the mission and debug the **** out of it to make sure all the scripts work as intended.
  • Create the flavour assets for the mission that will make it releasable (icons for the new ships, possible soundbytes extracted from the other games, music, pictures, etc.), as far as I can, at least: no soundbytes, for example.
If you have ideas for a specific mission to create, what I will need will be the first two steps as detailed as possible and some time. :)

Flat Universe Teases Future Updates

The Maslas Brothers continue to actively support the current playable test release of Wing Commander Flat Universe as they push through to another major update. Some new guidance clarifying supported operating systems and graphics hardware has been noted below. There's also an interesting mention of a potential new feature. Until the next update hits, the current 0.8.5 revision is very stable and an engaging peek at what's in store. Grab it for Windows, Mac or Linux here!
As a general rule our engine has the following OS minimum requirements: Windows XP+, Mac OS X 10.7+, Ubuntu 12.04+

But beware! From our experience this kind of behaviour happens when something is going wrong with the graphics card specifications or an outdated driver. Again the general rule of the game engine in graphics cards is: DirectX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work.

Taking this opportunity I would like to inform you that our project is in active progress and that we are in the process of doing undercarriage work for the Multipl... Ooppppsss, I am not allowed to reveal anything yet. Thanks again for your interest and have fun.

Get Into The Spirit Of The Season With Wing Commander Ships

Here's a little holiday cheer from Klavs. He's got a lot of prototype fighters laying around thanks to all of the 3D printing he's been involved over the years. This led to a bright idea. All that was missing was a little hook - and instant Christmas tree ornaments! Some of the make-to-order printers have backed off on smaller models to conservatively prevent breakage, but there are still quite a few designs available at Klavs' Sculpteo and Shapeways pages. At this point they may not arrive by Christmas, but you can't have too many Wing Commander ships around!
I decided to do something with all these 3d printed models cluttering up my office! Happy holidays, wingnuts!

Secret Ops MUP Gets New Medium Fighter

With the Secret Missions livestream in the news multiple times over the past week week, it's easy for minds to focus on that game's 25th anniversary. But it's December, and SM1 isn't the only Wing Commander celebrating a birthday! Wing Commander 3 turned 21 on Tuesday, and Special Operations 1 turns 24 this coming Monday. But today we're focusing on the Vision Engine which debuted with Wing Commander Prophecy 18 years ago yesterday. Time and Wingnuts have been kind to the franchise, however, and fans keep doing amazing things to keep the series fresh. DefianceIndustries' latest addition to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack is the Tigershark. Check it out in all its multirole glory below!
Okay - finally got a quick break to finish the F/A-105-C Tigershark. I'm pretty happy with it. I didn't add the missiles in the launch tubes because the cost in triangles really wasn't there for the visual effect. If I want to get crazy at some point, I'll model the pods with and without missiles. Then the mission programmer can set flags to determine if the fighter has missiles left and render the appropriate model accordingly... don't know if that's possible actually and it seems like a bunch of effort for a non-critical effect. Enjoy!

Roberts Space Industries Amasses $100 Million!

Just in time for the release of the big Star Citizen 2.0 Alpha, Chris Roberts and the team at Cloud Imperium Games have officially crossed the unbelievable $100 million crowdfunding threshold. Just three years ago, we all considered the original campaign's unheard of $6.2 million haul eye-popping, so even if this post is short, the magnitude of this accomplishment can't be overstated. Here's to their continued success! If you'd like to give the game a whirl with fellow WC fans, stop by #Wingnut and see who's flying.

Secret Missions Livestream Available On YouTube

CIG has posted the full video of last weekend's Secret Missions 25th anniversary livestream to YouTube. Even if you're the Thor's Hammer expert and aren't into Twitch game watching, there's a pretty neat Chris Roberts interview in the middle. It starts at 2:35 and he answers Wing Commander questions for over an hour! Outside of the constant commentary and trivia, LOAF was an ace in the cockpit, which came as no surprise, and I was very impressed seeing Toast's piloting ability for the first time. He didn't just win hard missions - he barely took a scratch while doing it!

Homeworld Mod Blowing Up Ships Again

L.I.F. has some good news regarding the Homeworld mod. The dam that has been holding up development has finally burst, and work is now back on track. There is good news regarding questionable file compatibility which should allow ships that have already been designed for the project to remain in the game. A method has also been discovered to implement some scripted content that should pave the way for an enhanced single player component. More details are described below. Wingnuts with Homeworld Remastered can give the current version of the game a go here!
Ok, people, we've got some good news all around.

First of all, I am happy to say that I was mistaken. After discussing with a programmer at Phoenix Interactive (the modding team behind the Stargate, Mass Effect and Halo mods), it appears that I misunderstood Gearbox plans for future updates, and the current 3D files ingame will not be made obsolete in a game-crashing way. That means the cool capital ships from Wing Commander Saga are here to stay, and most likely future-proofed!

The other good news is that since Phoenix Interactive released a demo with campaign missions and their main programmer was cool enough to give me some advice over Skype, I've been able to use their template to start programming single-player content. I want you people to understand that the status of this work is unreleaseable due to a major lack of support assets like soundbyte integration, music, etc., BUT, and this is a really big but, what is currently working, and I tested it five minutes ago, is a completely scripted mission, here the first mission of Wing Commander IV:

You have a pair of individual named fighters. As soon as they get close enough from Orlando Depot, they get attacked by a flight of Razor. Then, after dispatching the pirates and getting in close proximity to the depot, Seether arrives, nukes the Depot and jumps out. The player can then go to Bluepoint, where the fighters will automatically land as soon as they get close enough. Once the fighters landed, a shuttle takes off, and the player can send it to a jump buoy, where it will automatically jump out, ending the mission. It's a lot of scripts and macgyvering, but it works, which means that more complicated mission structures can be set up from now on. Also, what would be nice and immersive would be to play the relevant soundbytes from the game when each scene happens.

The less than good news is that we are having some weird issue with some of the new 3D files, which sadly cannot be easily solved, so we are trying to find out what mess them up in order to add the next Border Worlds and Black Lance units to the game. In any case, though, I'll try and see if I can start working on some single-player missions based in the Wing Commander III timeline, for which we have all the required assets.

GOG Wing Commander Discounted 80%!

It seems like we were just in the middle of the Fall Sale, but Winter is coming and Wing Commander is 80% off for a limited time! For the next 19 hours, all of the DOS and Windows WC games, plus expansions and bonuses, are just $9.52. We've mentioned these sales in the past, but we just can't get over how crazy good this deal is. As a dedicated Wingnut, you almost certainly own all these already, but the series makes a fantastic gift for a friend. Or if you are missing anything, individual titles in the collection are just $1.19! The overall sale continues through the holiday season, so if you're reading this after the deal expires, keep a close eye on GOG over the next week or two - they often repeat offers as the event concludes.

Nephilim Attack Craft Sight Their First Target

Here's a better look at some of the gorgeous Nephilim ships featured in yesterday's Secret Ops MUP update. Dark Sentinel snapped these shots of the Devil Ray, Manta and red Manta bomber to show off the super slick textures and lighting. So far he's focused on the bug craft because of how they're underrepresented in fan modeling projects, but he's also in the process of branching out to some of the other cool contemporary designs found later in the WC series. His big bore Plunkett is first up below!
Why remodel the bug ships, if you don't have a proper victim for them? Tadah! Plunkett, a deadly opponent for your bug cruisers, 10005 polies right now. Though they say Plunkett has 22 laser turrets, I managed to find 21 and some of them are sure tachyons. Where's 22nd, I wonder. Big heavy plasma turret and smaller particle turrets are slightly different. Textures will be here later.

Upgraded Nephilim Ships Added To WCSO MUP

DefianceIndustries has made short work of the challenge to integrate Dark Sentinel's Nephilim ships into his Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. Both the Devil Ray and Manta are now successfully flying in the Vision Engine. A new batch of screenshots below shows off how the new hotness below. It's really fantastic to see the active players from several different mod projects collaborate where their talents are complementary. This isn't the only example - at least half a dozen other significant undertakings this year leverage each other and share resources to make the community's output even better.
So I got all of DS's bug ships into the game. So far no issues. I played through Ella 4 (or is it 5) - the mission where you have to escort the Plunkett and two Murphys back to the Cerberus. Anyway there's a huge furball when the capships jump in. Bunch of Mantas, 2 Devilrays, felt it would make a good test. No issues at all, the game performed like it would with the low poly models. Now there aren't any high poly Tigersharks, Panthers, or capships yet (but there are a few Excaliburs), but so far the engine is handling what I can throw at it nicely. I failed to get a decent shot of the Manta B, but it's in there.

As a happy bit of serendipity, the spec maps add a really nice touch to the Manta. There are times when the fighter is out of direct light and it looks like a hole against the stars, you can't see it except for the targeting reticule. Then it'll roll or jink and the spec catches the back lighting and you can catch some of the iridescence. It's a neat effect anyhow. I'll try and get a video of it.

Great work @Dark Sentinel!

Tiger's Claw Comes To The Rescue

NinjaLA's Hornet isn't in the fight alone! He's sketched out this beautiful take on the Tiger's Claw to make sure our forces have support overhead. It's heavy on the iconic green paint, and many key features like side hangar ports have been illustrated for accuracy. This makes us wish there was another animated WC series!
The most detailed version of the Claw I’ve ever painted, if not the most accurate :P

Secret Missions Livestream Broadcasting Now!

You knew the battle wasn't over after the Venice Starpost was destroyed! The Goddard Colony is under attack, and the Tiger's Claw is racing to investigate. Wing Commander: The Secret Missions shipped to stores 25 years ago yesterday, and we're playing through the adventure again to celebrate. Watch live on Twitch and join in the conversation #Wingnut!

Twelve Days of Bengal Turrets

The Bengal in Academy has quite a variety of ship defenses. LOAF has made a list of every turret or weapon emplacement, along with screencaps and the episode in which it first appeared.
4x Dual Mount Forward Turrets
Two mounted forward of each of the carrier's 'wing tips.' Sometimes appear to be single mount turrets. (First Appearance: Series Intro)
2x Dual Mount Upper Squircle Turrets (Red)
Directly rear of the conning tower, rear facing. (First appearance: Series Intro)
2x Dual Mount Forward Batteries
One each on either side of the 'bow.' (First appearance: The Last One Left)
2x Dual Mount Forward Turrets
One each mounted forward of the two 'rails' beneath the carrier. (First appearance: The Last One Left)
1x Dual Mount Lower Turret
Mounted centerline beneath the 'bow.' Note: often appears to have only one gun. (First appearance: The Last One Left)
2x Dual Mount Waist Turrets
Outward facing at the end of each 'wingtip.' (First appearance: The a Last One Left)
6x Dual Mount Waist Turrets
Banks of three each along the base of either side of the conning tower. Note that these do not appear often and seem to be part of a close range defense system, shooting down missiles and a kamikaze Grikath. Per dialogue, the starboard battery covers the "number six shield." (First appearance: The Most Delicate Instrument)
1x Dual Mount Lower Turret
Mounted beneath the hull, just ahead of the rear thrusters. (First appearance: The Last One Left)
6x Single Mount Waist Turrets
Two batteries of three each on either side of the upper hull. Note that the turret pictures to the right is most likely half of the three dual mount point defense guns located at the base of the conning tower. (First appearance: The Most Delicate Instrument)
2x Dual Mount Forward Batteries
One set forward facing on either side of the conning tower. The port battery is used for the twenty-one gun salute at funerals. (First appearance: The Most Delicate Instrument)
2x Tractor Beams
Located below the main hull, centerline. (First appearance: Invisible Enemy)
7x Dual Mount Waist Turrets
Exact location unknown, likely forward-facing. Four turrets on the top row, three below. (First appearance: Glory of Sivar)

WCSO Model Update Pack Gets Fancier Special Effects

Progress continues at a rapid pace on DefianceIndustries' Secret Ops Module Upgrade Pack. Thanks to some tips from PopsiclePete and Pedro, some of the enhancements from the OpenGL patch have made their way to this project. The new Piranha shots below show off these effects. There's also some snazzy pictures of the updated Excalibur now in the Vision Engine. In related news, it sounds like the Devil Ray featured in yesterday's news may be incorporated into this mod too!
I've updated the Piranha with the following:
  1. Rebalanced the saturation in the MAT so the ship is the appropriate shade of blue
  2. Repositioned the engine flames cone so it now appears in the proper position
  3. Put a base spec map on the model! Hooray!!! Now the paint and greebles don't get washed out in bright direct lighting!

Organic Hull Texture Featured On New Devil Ray Models

Dark Sentinel is back with some more fantastic looking Nephilim renders. He's made a variety of slick looking bug ships this year, but these might be his best output yet. The shimmery detail that emerges with the lighting effects is what puts them over the top. He's got them running in the Homeworld Remastered engine now as a test. You'd hate to see a swarm of these coming at you!
Long story short: yellow sis' exported for use in Homeworld: Remastered. Still requires tweaks, I'm not 100% happy, neither I'm sure about how much wet does it look. Though HWRM lighting produces weird results sometimes.

These are 1024x1024 maps. 2k would be a sort of overkill and the difference won't be that visible anyway.

Secret Missions Livestream This Saturday!

Since the recent 25th Anniversary livestream for Wing Commander was so much fun, there'll be a sequel this Saturday, December 5! Fans don't have to wait until next year, because The Secret Missions also turns 25 this week! SM1, also known as Operation Thor's Hammer, is an unforgiving campaign with a linear mission tree. But if you saw expert pilot Bandit (LOAF)'s performance in September (Kurasawa 2 on the first try!), you'd know it's the Kilrathi who should be breaking a sweat. Watch the show throughout the day on Twitch here and follow along with fellow fans in #Wingnut. It'll be tons of fun - see you there!

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