Annual Community Vote Begins!

We've left 2015 in the past, but there's one more thing to do as we move further into 2016. You've sent nominations in over the past month, and now we're kicking off our annual awards to recognize the fan projects and websites that had some of the most impact over the past year. We had an even larger number of worthy projects this year than normal, and we definitely wanted to get this out before the end of January, so excuse the brief listings of each choice. Although we'll end up with just a few winners, we appreciate what everyone here - plus all of the others keeping things going daily basis - have done for the community. On to the voting!

Medium Size Capships Get Visual Upgrades & New Orders

Back on the Homeworld front, L.I.F. has taken to texturing capships to continue the graphical overhaul of his mod. He recently completed variants of both the Confed Southampton and Tallahassee class escort ships. As you can see from the shots here, one iteration of each is a muddier worn texture while the other is a bunch cleaner. He's requesting feedback on which looks better. What do you think? In related news, improvements are also being made to the operating procedures for ships like these so they behave a bit more focused on offense than some of the smaller capships.
So, to take some work off from DefianceIndustries in the texturing department, I've done the textures for the Border Worlds destroyer, with two variants, rusty and non-rusty. Which one do you people prefer?

New tests done, new gameplay fix: I will remove the "Aegis" script that made all capital ships from the Confederation and Kilrathi faction abandon what they do to target enemy missiles. This script will remain on escort ships such as corvettes and frigates, but will no longer be present on larger ones. OTOH, I added a better priority for all other units of these two factions so that they still target missiles, but without going their own way and disobeying orders.

By the way, that test, while it ended early with a connexion issue, had a pretty epic moment when the TCS Victory, having located a Kilrathi light carrier and escorts, remembered Captain Kirk's words and used the third dimension effectively. Eight Longbow, fifteen Hellcat and fifteen Excalibur took off from above the enemy Dubav as it was chasing the Arrow recon flight. The Excalibur flights, under cloak, took position near the Kilrathi carrier group, which had all its fighters from Darket to Vaktoth launched. Meanwhile, the Longbow attack force was closing in, escorted by Hellcat.

The Kilrathi player saw the incoming bombers and sent his fighters to intercept as they were closing torpedo range. The Excalibur chose that moment to attack, as they were behind the Kilrathi fighters. A massive furball ensued, with the Kilrathi distracted at the critical moment and sixteen torpedoes were fired. A quarter of them got shot down by the Kilrathi gunners.

The rest hit home. That's what I dreamed of being able to do in a game for a decade. This was exactly as glorious as I hoped. :)

The $6 Million Dollar Game Arrives on 3DO

Flashback Nation, a Twitter account dedicated to all things retro, recently put up this scanned cover page of the Winter '94 issue of 3DO Magazine UK. Wing Commander 3 is featured prominently on the cover, and the issue included a review of the "$6 Million Dollar Game." The coverdisk (which appears to be free sampler disk #1) would not have included the playable 3DO demo of Wing 3. That was included on the third interactive sampler disk, published the following year.
I remember this issue of 3DO Magazine, Bought Wing Commander with the console because of this. No regrets.

Border Worlds Pilot Defies His Opponent

When DefianceIndustries isn't modding Secret Ops or lending support to other fan projects, what does he like to do for fun? Make a gorgeous wallpaper! This one sticks his excellent Banshee model front and center as he recreates one of the most famous advertisement renders for Wing Commander 4. It features the UBW fighter evading a flurry of laser fire from a persuing Hellcat. Who else has a new desktop image now?
While I turret away... I wanted to try and recreate one of the WC4 magazine covers...

MetalJesusRocks The Price Of Freedom

Today we have Metal Jesus Rocks' review of Wing Commander 4. This was actually created a while ago, and despite MJR's popularity, managed to stay under our radar until now. The quirky reviewer covers retro gaming with a dash of his own heavy metal soundtrack tossed in. Despite the odd theme, he's actually very good at what he does! We have the Playstation version of WC4 under the microscope this time, so if you're mainly familiar with the PC versions of the game, it's a good reminder of what you were up against if you played on consoles. There are some gaming system ports that are fantastic, but WC4's spaceflight engine took a hit in the translation, although its movies still hold up very well. Check out the full review below.
Wing Commander IV was groundbreaking when originally released in 1995 and is the best example of Full Motion Video in a game. Now is a great time to look back at this retro classic space sim shooter!

"Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Cheesy Balls"

LOAF recently uncovered a neat "alphabet" sheet for the Wing Commander Movie. It shows sixteen symbols of the type used in the alien scene translations. There are several very distinct Kilrathi writing styles observed from the dots and dashes in the SM2 Dralthi cockpit to the iconic Kiranka claw that debuted in Wing Commander 3. The Movie's text is a very interesting cursive alternative. And before you go out and get a tattoo with these characters, be sure to read the clarifying note to avoid massive embarrassment!

Universe Explored In A Flat Way

Space Game Junkie recently conducted a live stream playthrough of the Wing Commander Flat Universe fan game. We've posted lots of screenshots of both the top-down action as well as the flow sequences aboard Daedalus Station, but these images don't do the game justice. Videos like the one below are much better at showing off how cool it can be to just walk around in a familiar WC setting. Note that this walkthrough just explores the free flight mode in space. There are actual combat missions to fly from the terminal in flight control that the author didn't find. Also stay tuned for a future SGJ podcast interview with the Maslas Brothers where they will discuss where the project is headed. In the mean time, grab the current 0.8.5 version here.
Wing Commander: Flat Universe is an homage to the original Wing Commander series, but played using a top-down perspective.

Classic Opponents Engage In Aerial Dogfight

NinjaLA has combined two of the most iconic Wing Commander ships into one pretty nifty sketch. He's gotten some practice making both Dralthi and Hornets look really good lately, so it's no surprise that they're finally pictured together here. The Confed fighter needs to lean even heavier on its afterburner if it's going to avoid a pancake/wing collision though!
An artist friend of mine made a half-tone brush that also does duo-tone coloring for use in manga studio. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Used for inking and also color :D

Homeworld Mod Experiments With Turret Upgrades

Here are some neat screenshots of another cool concept L.I.F. is working on for his Homeworld Remastered mod, Flag Commander. He's getting the mechanics in place for the Border Worlds capships to have upgradeable turrets. This would allow players to selectively customize guns, missiles and torpedo launchers to suit their play style and surprise their opponents. I think the idea has a lot of fun potential as a contrast to the Confed and Kilrathi fleets that will be more aligned with a standard load out. He's also working on a jump buoy bonus. When these random markers get captured, they'll spawn transports that jump in to provide bonus resources. There's lots of creativity happening here!
Question for you, people: I've just had a chat with another dev and that made me realized there could be a pretty nifty speciality we could give to the Border Worlds. Right now, we have the Confed and Cats who are two different kind of steamrollers, the Black Lance will need some more units but are planned to be cloak and dagger masters, with some very, very nasty tricks being planned. But for our favourite underdogs, I was just thinking of capture tricks and stuff until something that might be more interesting, so tell me if you think that could fit the canon: Border Worlds starships being able to entirely customize their weapon load.

All turrets have to be built as each ship starts with a standard turret load but you could sell them and build (for a price, of course) almost anything you want. You want your cruiser to be loaded with torpedo launchers for massive broadsides? Doable. You want to replace all base lasers with flak turrets? Or maybe missile launchers for massive area defence capabilities? A BW player in multi would be nigh-unpredictable. I don't think I would be able to make an AI that could use this to the full range of capabilities, but that problem would be partially solved by a decent standard load.

IMO, it would fit pretty well the theme of the UBW and could make everyone else wary of them in MP.

Still Time to Back the Wing Commander Album

Physical copies of George Oldziey's reorchestrated Wing Commander album have been landing in mailboxes the world over. If you missed out on the crowdfunding campaign, there are still a few copies available. Fans that donate $20 to offset the remaining production and shipping costs will receive a digital copy of the album, the collectible physical CD (including a digital copy) is available for those who contribute $40 and an autographed album is $60. Head over to his website to find out more! You can also check out some samples below.
In 2014 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to document the music I created for the Wing Commander games in the way I had originally imagined it: for full orchestra and chorus. 588 generous supporters helped me reach my goal! In late 2014 I traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia, where the 95-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and the 40-voice Lucina Chorus recorded this music under my supervision.

After months of editing, mixing, and mastering the resulting recordings the audio is now ready in both CD and digital-download formats. Please enjoy the samples below!

WCP Hardpoint Editor Helps Modders Mount Weapons

gr1mre4per has created another useful tool for all of the folks working on Secret Ops mods and enhancements these days. As the ships become more detailed, it can actually become harder to find suitable flat surfaces to place weapons turrets. grim has streamlined that process with app designed to streamline this whole process. Instructions are included and you can ask for help here. Check it out here (1 MB zip) and let him know what you think!
Been a bit quiet in here for a while, time to liven it up again :)

Here is my WCP Hardpoint Editor I hinted at earlier, its for anyone to have a go. Hope I got all the bugs worked out... Let me know via pm if the Nephilim have infiltrated!

Known anomalies (not bugs):
* If you set one of the rotation values to 180, it may sometimes appear as -180 and vice versa.
* Settings rotation values greater than 180 or less than -180 will work, but will normalise within that range
* Gimbal Lock: Setting Pitch 180 will come back as Yaw 180 and Roll 180 instead, which is the same thing. This is just one possible example.

*** Once downloaded, you may need to Unblock the ZIP file before extracting or unblock the EXE once it is extracted. Just another Microsoft annoyance :)

You're Either An Earthworm Or An Eagle

And not every model out there can be a majestic eagle. Dark Sentinel is a super talented artist and one of the best Nephilim creators in the world. But sometimes you're limited by the subject matter, and that's made the bugs' capship missile a challenging project. The blurry original design was passable in 1997, but the new iteration requires a variety of outgrowths and detailed color patterns to hold its own in today's upgraded engines. I do agree version 2 is an improvement on his first design.
Capship Missile 2.0.
I guess this goes into range of splotchy psychodelic. Hell, the original texture was just 64x64 and somehow it looked just awesome enough. Now trying to make it look at least not worse using 64 times more pixels. At least I like this version of texture more than the previous attempt.

Shot Like a Movie -- On Film, Not Video

The Documents Archive is where we try to keep track of the various development and promotional materials that we cover in our daily news updates. We've already rounded up a good selection of classic advertisement materials, but from time to time something new shows up. Late last year, gaming hub VGBounceHouse shared these two printed advertisements for Wing 3 and 4. The WC3 ad is for the PlayStation port of the game and is pretty concise, having just the box art and a selection of in-game screenshots and movie stills. The ad for WC4 also showcases some game imagery, but it also highlights various appealing technical properties and production facts. If you still have your old gaming magazines lying around, and they contain Wing Commander advertisements that we don't have yet, please send them in! We're especially interested in international (non-US/UK) ads.

PC Gamer On The Most Important Games

PC Gamer is well known for their Top 100 lists where they annually rank the best computer games in the world. While this ranking does stretch back through gaming history, it can be quite subjective with frequent changes year-to-year and a skew towards the newest games. Their latest article attempts to create a slightly more meaningful list by selecting the Top 50 "Most Important" PC games of history. This ignores whether the individual titles themselves can compete with today's standards and instead focuses on how they changed the industry when they arrived on the scene. Wing Commander 3 makes the list thanks to its blend of well done FMV, branching storyline and space combat action. We could argue that practically every WC title was ground breaking in its own way, but the author here does a good job of not spending an excessive amount of time on particular series and mostly spreading the love around. You can find a couple Ultima games and the space sim Eve Online elsewhere in the rankings too. Check out the full article here.
...it doesn't matter if these games are still fun (or even possible) to play today. What matters is how they changed the PC gaming landscape. How they established the blueprint of the run-and-gun shooter. Propelled adoption of the compact disc. Changed how millions of people grew and socialized across years and thousands of miles of cables.

The most important PC games of all time changed how we make games. How we play games. And they changed us. To celebrate them, we did something a bit different on the following pages of this feature. We reached out to game designers—look out for Richard Garriott, John Carmack, Sid Meier, Chris Avellone, Jane Jensen, Tim Schafer, Cliff Bleszinski, Warren Spector and more—plus many former PC Gamer editors and a few other writers you may recognize to help celebrate the legacy of the PC. Enjoy!

Thanks to Goku for the tip!

Homeworld Mod Refreshes Vesuvius & Improves Small Arms Fire

It might seem like we just saw this Vesuvius class carrier in the news, and we did! But last week it was being featured in the Secret Ops MUP, and now DefianceIndustries' design has been imported to the Homeworld Remastered mod as Wingnuts continue to cross-collaborate in order to maximize each other's potential. The gun turrets are still not quite complete, and you can see in the images below that L.I.F. is still tweaking the hull texture to fit the game's atmosphere, but the ship looks fantastic. There's also been an update to the mod's game balancing that improves the interaction between fighters as well as with capships' weapon targeting. Grab the game here.
A balance update to fix some stuff making the Kilrathi unnecessarily overpowered: Confed fighters will be slightly buffed and Darket/Dralthi nerfed because they were spammed waaaaaay too easily. Fixed an issue with Paktahn balancing in the new bomber system and I'm live-testing a code that should make missiles priority targets for capships. All Confed/Kilrathi warships will disregard all targets to fire at enemy missiles and torpedoes with their laser, missile and tachyon turrets while AMG batteries will keep firing on other targets. To compensate, the accuracy of anti-missile fire has been reduced to 20%.

Forums Fun Just A Click Away

Here at the CIC we post a lot about various fan projects, complex RPG, gorgeous art and even fan fiction, but one thing we haven't much highlighted are the everyday interactions among Wingnuts at the CIC Forums. You might think after 17 and a half years that we've discussed every topic out there, but posters continue to come up with new perspectives on our classic franchise. LeHah recently challenged fellow posters to cast the Wing Commander novels with live actors. This is a really clever topic since there are so many memorable characters that are not depicted in any of the games with FMV cutscenes. On a slightly related note, Jdawg also asked which characters people wished they could have seen more of. That's another subject that brings up many fond memories. The forums also continue to sign up new members, so if you have advice for how Ramp83 (new to the CIC, but not to WC) should go about reliving the WC series, there's a thread for that too. Or you could just let everyone know what you think about the new Star Wars! Find even more threads here.

Top 10 Countdown Laments Wing Commander's Absence

Forum members Afrim and Delance wrote in to report that a WatchMojo video features a nice Wing Commander mention. WatchMojo is a YouTube entertainment channel that produces "top ten" videos on a daily basis. Their video on the Top 10 Discontinued Video Game Series has a concise segment on Wing Commander, ranking it at number three, after Command & Conquer and Crash Bandicoot. For a 40-second segment, it gives a pretty good overview of the series, from the successes of the 90s to the 1999 feature film, and ending with Arena for Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. They even picked the WC3 cover art for the video's title image. The WatchMojo YouTube channel has over ten million subscribers and videos get hundreds of thousands of views from unproductive employees the world over. The Wing Commander segment starts at around the 5:50 mark.

Vesuvius Class Ready To Rock In WCSO MUP

DefianceIndustries has a very large new model ready to go in the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. The Vesuvius class Mount St. Helens is nearly set for its cameo fight against the Nephilim. It's got tons of locations marked off for weapon emplacements and a really cool fly-through flight deck. There's still work to get to get the turrets looking right, but DI's already overcome a major sizing issue with some help from gr1mre4per. The later pictures have it functioning in its full 1600 meter glory!
Sometimes when life hands you lemons (in the form of critically bugged meshes) you can use the opportunity to redo your work...because...yay! Here's the St. Helens v.2.0. This one is much more faithful to the original WC4/WCSo mesh; not as chunky and has more rounded edges. I also changed up the stern to make it more faithful. I was able to salvage the hangar off the original as well as some of the parts (mostly the small stuff like the turret sponsons) The best part: it imports without a bunch of missing faces! I'll post up some in-game shots in a bit - but to sate your thirst for all things Vesuvius...here are some new blender renders. I also updated the SO model with the darker texture I made for HW:RM. I think it looks snazzy. And finally, the turrets are the originals and are just slapped onto hardpoints on the mesh to get it "working". This is very much a work in progress...

Homeworld Mod Upgrades UBW Carrier

L.I.F. has a couple of new photos to show off the slick new BWS Intrepid in the Homeworld Remastered mod. We first got a peek at this iteration in October when DefianceIndustries finished texturing the ship. Another cool variant in more traditional Confed colors also surfaced at that time. It's great to see the sturdy old ship ready for action!
***** TOP SECRET *****

Terran Confederation Office of Naval Intelligence

Colonel, we have acquired additional information about the a light carrier deployed by the Union of Border Worlds, which will be forwarded to your attention.

This ship seems to be a heavily modified Durango-class destroyer, refurbished as a light carrier. Our data indicates it is fully able to support all kinds of fighters as well as several flights of bombers. The ship itself might be somewhat obsolete, but its airwing is likely to pack a surprisingly heavy punch. Deal with such ship with all adequate caution.

Filament Factory Forms Fighters For Fun

Hunter_13 posted some nifty pics of two 3D printed Wing Commander fighters that he just acquired. The Excalibur model comes from Klavs' Shapeways page while the Rapier is an example of what Sculpteo can do. The latter was scaled up to 60 by 21.8 by 78.6 mm to pass the more rigorous size requirements and avoid breakage. These things are awesome, and it's great to see people collecting their favorite ships. Don't forget that the Dream Foundry has even more WC designs if you're looking to acquire a mini fleet of your own!
Gotta say Klavs, your work looks just as awesome as a 3D print as it does in your renders.

Flat Universe Confirms New Features Coming

The Maslas Brothers have several updates to share about the Flat Universe project as we enter 2016. Things have been quiet as the duo is in the process of moving, but expect both original new music and multiplayer in releases later this year. These are significant undertakings for the project to take on, but new aspects like this should add to the experience quite a bit. The team has also reiterated that the game will support 32 bit Windows XP - on top of modern Windows, Mac and Linux builds - to make sure the largest number of fans can play! Play the current 0.8.5 version here.
We'd like to wish the best of luck and prosperity for 2016. Furthermore, from the FlatUniverse perspective this year is going to be unique. For the past five months we've been a little quite and we are sorry for that. The reasons are interesting and always for the benefit of the project. Let us get into details:
  • MaslasBros Studio. By the end of January 2016, all the FlatUniverse production will move to the brand new MaslasBros studio. The studio was under construction for the past three months and soon you gonna have some sneakpics into the home of FlatUniverse.
  • Original Soundtrack. A long time Wing Commander fan has officially joined the FlatUniverse team to create an original score for our project. We are proud to welcome Mr. Cory Fujimori.
  • Multiplayer. As it is mentioned before, we've been working a lot undercarriage and the reason is simple; multiplayer. We are heading towards version 1.0 where Flat Universe will actually get into Beta state and the multiplayer features will be available and ready to play. Hopefully, from the next update you gonna have a premature taste of it.
As always, we'd like to thank for your support and interest and we are excited to say that 2016 is going to be Lot Of Fun. Stay tuned, there are a lot more to come,

the MaslasBros

International Option Added & Samples Posted For WC Album

Origin composer George Oldziey has added a new Paypal option for fans who didn't get a chance to secure their copy of the reorchestrated Wing Commander album during the original crowdfunding campaign. This allows Wingnuts based outside the US to donate and receive it either digitally or in physical form. Find all the details at Mr. Oldziey's website. He's also posted several awesome samples to give people an idea of what to expect - listen below!
In 2014 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to document the music I created for the Wing Commander games in the way I had originally imagined it: for full orchestra and chorus. 588 generous supporters helped me reach my goal! In late 2014 I traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia, where the 95-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and the 40-voice Lucina Chorus recorded this music under my supervision.

After months of editing, mixing, and mastering the resulting recordings the audio is now ready in both CD and digital-download formats. Please enjoy the samples below!

Another Bengal In The Shipyard; MUP Damage Discussed

DefianceIndustries has quite a few irons in the fire these days, and one of them is this snazzy Bengal class strike carrier. Like many other popular fan designs, it includes pronounced side launch hangars popularized by Wing Commander Academy. It's also quite heavily armed and could wind up in a couple of projects led by other talented Wingnuts. One place it probably won't show up is the Secret Ops model upgrade pack project, but that's also proceeding along very well too. There's been quite a bit of conversation about better ways to show off damage and destroyed capships. All of them sound like they'll take some complicated work, but the end result (better explosions and debris) should be worth it!
The HW mod is looking to add a Bengal to the UBW faction. So I'll move this up the chain a bit. This is still a rough clay, there are some fixes planned for it before its ready.
I had a destroyed Concordia-class lurking around from when I thought I was going to do some work in FS2. I tweaked the destroyed mesh (cut off half of it so it's only about 1,200 tris) added some hard points and created a quick destroyed texture and a victoryd ship.iff (might need some changes I quickly removed all the component and turret chunks). I bundled it in with the Victory model off of Killerwave's page since it's already in Vision Capship form. You can find the zip here. The ship is called vic_hulld.

Wing Commander Power Tool Updated

There have been two new beta releases of the WC Toolbox game data editing package since we last reported on UnnamedCharacter's undertakings. Feature-wise, the library now lets you modify the initial game state and rearrange the various damage and instrument displays in the cockpit. There have also been some minor tweaks and bugfixes. The package still includes a command-line tool for converting Wing Commander's binary data files to and from XML data that is easier to interpret and modify, but a recent release has added a convenient graphical interface (pictured below) to accomplish the same. You can find more tips on how to use the latest version of the program here and grab the software here.
Release 3.2.0-Beta.1
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of initial game state.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of cockpit damage layouts.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of cockpit instrument layouts.
  • Incorrect text output value for save game.
Release 3.1.0-Beta.1
  • Windows application (WC1Tools) providing functionality to extract assets, and pack/unpack data to and from XML.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of common and dialog text colors.
  • Incorrect decoding of certain character sequences for INTRO data files.

Homeworld Mod Ready To Lock & (Re)Load

L.I.F. has developed another major enhancement for the Homeworld Remastered mod. Version 3.5 and on now incorporates ammunition management into the engine. Rather than giving heavy fighters and bombers an infinite amount of mediocre torpedoes, the game can be set up to have each craft carry the proper ordnance, fire it off when an opportunity arises and then return to the carriers to reload. This will significantly up the immersion by making the game's fighters and capships act more true to form. It's already partly implemented in the new version online at Steam or over at ModDB.
OK, I have what is probably the biggest announcement of this mod since the inclusion of the Wing Commander Saga ships: The ammunition system works.​ This changes, well... everything. To explain, I just did a cycle with the following steps, in an unscripted environment, meaning it would work in any skirmish, with any ship correctly modified to do so:

1) The Thunderbolt VII takes off from the Confed HQ.
2) It goes to its target.
3) It drops a number of torpedoes, and after each drop, a special bar decreases until it empties completely.
4) At that point, the Thunderbolt VII is completely unable to drop any other torpedo but can still fight properly.
5) The fighter lands back on any unit capable of receiving bombers.
6) The ammunition bar gets replenished automatically as it finishes docking.
7) Repeat from Step 1, as the fighter can once again drop torpedoes.

I will work on an additional script to automatically give a return to base order to the emptied bombers, but... it works. That means I can finally give each bomber craft its canon amount of torpedoes, which will all be as potent as the others, instead of having a Longbow's torpedoes more powerful than a Thunderbolt's as balance. As soon as I get the secondary script working, I intend to shift all the factions to this new system, which will finally give carriers their proper role in Wing Commander, through fuel and ammunition management systems. If you go back in this thread, you will see how I intended for that since the very moment I put my hands on czacen's creation, and after dozens of hours of coding over almost a decade, it worked simply because of a weird bug someone reported to me. Quite symbolic, I'd say: we devs cannot do anything without the people on the other side. So, thanks for all the support here, on Steam and elsewhere, people!

The features to expect are:

- each bomber has a different number of torpedoes, fitting the ones from the games, with the exception of the Sorthak that received 4 torpedoes.
- the Longbow is unique in that it fires two of its four torpedoes on each run.
- the bombers and torpedo-carrying heavy fighters are now bought one by one instead of flights. The prices, building times and cap limits have been modified to compensate.
- the Return to Base function is fully implemented and will also cover any compatible Wing Commander capital ship you happen to capture during a game. It prioritizes any compatible ship or station within 10 km and, if there isn't any, randomly selects a destination, allowing you only to choose another landing place and nothing else.
- the Return to Base function is automatically enabled at the start of the game, but can be disabled by building the "Dogfight" module on your mothership. As long as the module is there, your bombers will not autoland after emptying their torpedoes, so you can control them yourself.
- a small bugfix has been done for legacy fighters (from czacen's files) for those playing with the fuel management on.
- in addition, and for the 3D designers afraid of publishing their files, I implemented a security feature on the mod that will make it much harder to extract the files from the Steam version of the mod.

And because good news are like Darkets, always in pairs, I've been able to modify the new ammo script to get an optimized fuel script that will have the fighters show a fuel gauge. Expect it in an update this week. Happy new year, people! :)

New Visualization Imagines Exotic Double Helix Ship

Klavs' latest creation is a fascinating interpretation of what the mysterious Double Helix might look like. Rarely mentioned outside of the Comm Relay in Claw Marks, the unusual description of their ships has spawned years of curiosity from the fans. "From the information we have so far been able to interpret from H227's records, the Double Helix are a sentient race possessing space travel, and we are not ruling out the possibility they possess FTL drive technology. Physically, they appear to be carbon-based arthropods which communicate through scents and pheromones. Their name is derived from the double-helix shape of their spacecraft." Before he went to work on System Shock, Warren Spector actually put together a pitch for Alien Commander which would have been set on the wreckage of the Claw and had the player face off against Double Helixes! However, since that game was never made, this is the next best thing!
"Wayne, could you confirm the telemetry on H227 again please? We might need another pot of coffee, too. Looks like it's gonna be a long night..."

Wing Commander Album To Begin Shipping

There's great news from Origin composer George Oldziey. The physical copies of his Wing Commander music album have arrived from the manufacturer, and he's now prepping them for shipment. Copies should start going out over the next week for Wingnuts who pledged back in 2014. One of the most frequent questions we've seen over the last year is from fans who missed the original campaign but are still interested in obtaining a copy. The project is still not a commercial venture, but now that George has his final production lot and a better account of the costs (certain things like international shipping came out more expensive than projected), he's making a number of extra units available. Fans that donate $20 to offset the remaining costs will get a digital copy of the album, the collectible physical CD (including a digital copy) is available for those who contribute $40 and an autographed album is $60. Head over to his website to learn more!
Hi guys. I just received the shipment of Wing Commander orchestral music CDs. They look and sound great! I’ll be shipping them out to the donors at the appropriate tier levels next week.

Frontier Favorites Tested In WCSO

DefianceIndustries continues to stretch the Vision Engine. His latest efforts have resulted in a couple of his fine looking Border Worlds ships being successfully imported. Since his initial project is titled the Secret Ops model upgrade pack, DI's not trying to do any kind of elaborate crossover, but it's possible these ships could make it into the simulator for an interesting diversion. Sounds like fun!
I've been monkeying around with the update patch to see what I can shoehorn into the engine. Based on what I've been told, the below doesn't really stretch the limit but it's a good test. So I used my Banshee as a test subject, since in its original form it would blow up Vision (it has more polys than most of the WCP capships). I converted it to an .IFF directly with no changes and below are the results.

As you can see it's pretty faithful. I'll want to throw it into a sim mission at some point to see how they perform. This is sort of a tangent to the actual progress on the MUP; and it plays well to my magpie-like ability to chase the next shiny thing; but it will be useful to know this info as we go forward. As a fringe benefit, if anyone on the UE staff wants the .IFFs when I'm done and the patch is released to do, say, an update of their own... well... :)

My Durango has been languishing in "Gearbox Patch Hell" for the last several months, I was afraid she was going to go to waste... :) This was my second test of the new patch. Not quite Galactica-scale polys but a respectable 20K faces/ 48K triangles.

Introducing Wing Commander Prophecy Unlimited!

gr1mre4per has officially announced the exciting Vision Engine upgrade that DefianceIndustries teased last week. The project removes many of the hard limits in Prophecy and Secret Ops so that fan mods can take advantage of modern hardware and capabilities. It's initially designed to work with the WCSO model upgrade pack, but it has the potential to enhance other mods as well. Additional features will be incorporated over time, but check out a sample below!
Hi All, as you may have seen in DefianceIndustries' WCP:MUP thread I have been working on extending or removing some of the upper limits in the Vision engine.

It all started when I seen that DefianceIndustries was working on high definition models and slicing them in to parts to stay within Visions mesh detail limits. This method, although ingenious, has some issues, especially when working with cap ships, so I decided to try and find out why the game crashes when models are too detailed. After finding the cause and creating a fix I decided to expand to other limits that are hit when pushing the engine.

The idea is this dll can be used in new or existing mods to enhance the experience. The dll is compatible with Prophecy, Secret Ops CD and Secret Ops web release. Let me know if you are interested.

So far this is what I have:
  • Maximum normals (NORM/VTNM) per mesh increased from 1024 to 9999999
  • Maximum renderable objects increased from 256 to 30000
  • Maximum number of different types of objects increased (ships, bullets, asteroids)
  • Memory Management modified to allow the limit increases
  • Frame rate can be changed via config file
  • Frame rate counter can be enabled via config file
The intention is to continue to develop this patch, not only to extend limits as they're found, but to be able to modify options via the config file that were previously not configurable through IFF files. Ideas and suggestions welcome. Here's an image of what this patch is able to do:

60,000 triangles and running at 140 fps. This engine has a lot to give.

Special thanks to HCl for his dll patching tutorial and DefianceIndustries for helping with early teething problems with the dll.

Happy New Poll!

It's a new year, and that means it's time for our annual New Year's poll. Recapping all of the past twelve months' worth of news always gets me very excited for the potential ahead. And this year, we have 366 days to do great things together!
The previous poll asked about people's favorite ways to bring down capships. Many of the fancy exotic methods placed lower as a lot of people prefer using guns or flying through an open flight deck if available. Among all methods, the classic reliable torpedo run won out!

Happy New Year! A Look Back at 2015

Happy New Year Winguts! 2015 was once again jam packed full of fun stuff, and it's pretty impressive to go back through the archives to see exactly what was accomplished. If you don't have several hours to do that right now, here's a quick rundown!


Perhaps both the biggest and smallest news of the year was Wing Commander finally arriving on Netflix in the US in August. The move was expected after it began to appear throughout Europe and Canada. Most Wingnuts already have their copies, but this led to numerous awesome viewing parties and allowed casual fans to finally see what they'd been missing. Best of all, it brought tons of new fans into the fold to experience the rest of the franchise. Our traffic analytics show the unmistakable spike that coincided with the film making its streaming debut, and that surge has had surprising legs. Five months later, the numbers show very little drop-off and are holding steady at double the prior audience. Fans who wanted to own a digital copy also saw a nice across the board price drop, and Wing Commander appearing on Amazon Prime was just an extra bonus.

In new product news, 2015 also saw the completion of George Oldziey's Wing Commander album. The highly anticipated digital reorchestration took most of the year, but was released in October to round out the set. A behind the scenes documentary was also published, and the fully compiled physical albums have now been produced and are about to ship.

A different former Origin artist, Denis Loubet also forged quite a connection with fans in 2015 through a series of Q&A sessions at the CIC Forums. Through his Patreon page, he's undertaken some interesting projects inspired by his Ultima and Wing Commander days. A CIC visitor even won the last item!

It's also not every year that new easter eggs are found in the official WC games, but a little known technical database was found in the WC3 load out terminal. A few had stumbled across it over the years, but it was definitely not widely known. There's some wild stuff in there!


Recorded "Let's Play" videos continued to be a huge hit. Where prior years saw a lot of WC1 clips, in 2015 Privateer 1 and 2 and pretty much everything else finally got some time in the spotlight.

Live web streaming also took off thanks to services like Twitch. The biggest event was held for WC's 25th Anniversary, but we also managed to conquer The Secret Missions just last month. LOAF even played WC3 for charity early in the year, and he wasn't the only one to get in on the action. Expect this to continue to be a thing!


It was also great to see many fans' renewed interest in understanding and modding the original Wing Commander. New analysis on the art was done which led to a better understanding of how everything fit together. The same went for the coding side of things, which led to some cool tricks such as customizing the copy protection questions and even porting SM1.5 into the DOS/Windows game engines! Even old tools like the Armada editor were updated for 64 bit systems, and some of the Academy patches got renewed interest.

And all of this doesn't even really get into the fan projects and mods! We could easily write a separate and larger companion piece on those (and we will be soon for our annual awards contests), but just to very quickly recap: WCDX debuted for WC1, SM1 SM2 and now WC2, Flat Universe released a major playable update, Klavs made multiple new ships and inspired others, the Homeworld mod relaunched in a big way, Saga Plus saw numerous enhancements, Defiant Few released Episode 6, fans did cool new arts & crafts, a digital version of the WC CCG was released, Steven Petrarca was patched into SO, the German WC Saga was completed, WC Vega helped a new generation of fans appreciate WC, and the SO model upgrade pack project kicked off, just to name a few. Whew!


With so many fan projects really hitting their stride in the past few months, we have a very promising year to look forward to. Here's to a great 2016!

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