The CVE class had been a source of intense debate back in the Concordia's pilot ready room. This new class of ships was a rush job to try and plug the gaps after the heavy losses of the last campaign. Nine transport ships, already three quarters completed, were pulled out of the transport assembly stations and converted into escort carriers; and a single look at her convinced Jason of the folly of the whole damn thing.
If Captain Bondarevsky had been looking at an American escort or light carrier from the Second World War, his thoughts probably wouldn't have been much different. Escort carriers, in particular, were the type of ship only a parent could love. In both the real world and Wing Commander, escort carriers were stop-gap measures when larger fleet carriers were in short supply. The Wing Commander version actually combines the history of the escort carrier with that of another class of ship, the Independence-class light carrier, to create the background for the Wake-class.
2666 was a bad year for the Confederation. A large number of fleet carriers were lost in engagements with the Kilrathi and replacements were still a ways off. The Confederation needed something to fill the gaps in their carrier forces until those new ships came online. The solution was the
Wake-class escort carrier. Nine medium transport hulls were taken off the assembly line and prepared for conversion to escort carriers capable of carrying 45 fighters. Along with creating a flight deck and hangar area, the conversion also replaced the old transport engines with those from Gilgamesh-class destroyers for added performance and mounted a number of turrets to improve defenses.
The CVEs were designed with four roles in mind:
Fighter Transport: The transporting of fully assembled spacecraft from the factories to front-line units and installations.
Convoy Duty: Escorting convoys thereby freeing up other heavy ships for more important missions.
Space-to-Ground Support: Provide ground forces with close air support during secondary operations.
High Risk Deep Penetration Raids: CVEs are cheap and quick to build and above all else expendable and therefore ideally suited for high risk operations.
Three of the above roles are the same as those for their real world cousins. High risk deep penetration raids were not something escort carriers were used for during the Second World War. Along with almost no armored protection, they were far too slow, with a top speed of only 20 knots compared to the 32+ knots for the larger carriers, to undertake such operations. They would have had a hard time surviving any kind of raid, but especially one requiring speed. There were some wartime proposals, mostly from Admiral John H. Towers (Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet), to conduct deep carriers raids against Japan in early 1944 before the American offensives brought them to the doorstep of Japan in 1945. For the Wake-class, it was that fourth reason that made them famous. First with the TCS
Tarawa's raid on Kilrah in 2667 which not only caused the destruction of numerous ships under construction but also aided the Confederation's victory at the Battle of Vukar Tag. It was followed by subsequent raids by the TCS Enigma and Khorsan into the Kilrathi rear that did so much damage the Kilrathi were driven to call for a truce.
Admiral Towers pushed for deep raids against Japan in 1944.
The United States faced a similar lack of carriers before the Second World War. A year and a half before Pearl Harbor, the United States passed the Two-Ocean Navy Act in July 1940. This legislation called for a 70% increase in the size of the US fleet. However, even though it was passed 18 months before the United States joined the war, the first fleet carriers built under the law wouldn't reach the Navy until 1944 (wartime production increases had them start to arrive in 1943). While not a major concern in July 1940, it became one on December 7, 1941 when war came to the United States. On that day, the US Navy possessed seven fleet carriers (the
Langley had been converted to a seaplane carrier). Of them, six were suitable for operations in the Pacific. The USS Ranger (CV-4) was not due to defects in its design and low top speed. The Navy needed carriers, but where to find them? The answer lied with the former Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Wilson, now-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was instrumental in the development of the CVE and CVL
President Roosevelt proposed both types of ships that came together to help the war effort and provide the background for our beloved Wake-class. The first, the escort carrier, was proposed in October 1940. Escort carriers often get overlooked in favor of the larger carriers. And yet, out of the 151 carriers the United States built during the Second World War, 122 of them were escort carriers. America's first escort carrier, the USS
Long Island (CVE-1) was commissioned six months before Pearl Harbor in June 1941. She had been laid down as a cargo liner in 1939 but was acquired by the US Navy before being completed. She was then converted into an aircraft carrier. Experiments were conducted on her to show the feasibility of converting further cargo ships into carriers. They proved that such operations could be undertaken and provided an important foundation of experience for later escort carriers.
USS Long Island (CVE-1) and USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)
The other type was the
Independence-class light carrier. Believing American entry into the war was imminent, President Roosevelt proposed converting cruisers then under construction into light aircraft carriers in August 1941. The Navy, at first, rebuffed the president and said the conversions would not be successful. But, the president was not to be put off and asked the Navy to look into the issue more. Then December 7th happened and the Navy quickly took up the cause.
Nine 10,000 ton
Cleveland-class light cruisers were reordered for conversion into what became the Independence-class light carriers. Despite early misgivings by the Navy, these carriers proved their value throughout their wartime service. Displacing 11,000 tons (about a third of the Essex class), capable of making 31.5 knots, and carrying just over 30 aircraft, the Independence-class worked alongside their larger brothers throughout the latter half of the Second World War. Only one, the USS Princeton (CVL-23) was lost to enemy action during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.
USS Cowpens (CVL-25) steaming with a fellow CVL and the USS Princeton (CVL-23) afire during the Battle of Leyte Gulf
While exploring the real history behind the
Wake-class, I came across this quote from a pilot who served on the USS Cabot (CVL-28) which fits nicely with Bondarevsky's first impression quote and his thoughts after returning from Kilrah with the TCS Tarawa. I especially like that last line as Wingnuts are certainly familiar with the sight of two runways on a carrier.
At that time, I had not operated from an
Essex-class carrier, so to me it was routine to operate off a smaller CVL. The deck was much narrower. You had to be lined up coming in; there was no way to be off center and make your landing...but the width was certainly much less on a CVL, since a CVL was built on a cruiser hull. With all that flight deck added on top of it, it had a tendency to roll much more than the Essex-class, so in rough seas, you were fighting a pitching and rolling deck.
The operations were different in that, since we were a smaller unit, the air group knew the shipboard people, whereas on the Essex you could be there for a year and not know the first lieutenant. But, in our case, it just seemed that you knew you were more of a family-type affair than aboard the larger ships; the camaraderie was much better, I thought, than on the Essex-class. Other than that, a CVL pilot was always a CVL pilot; they were proud of it. A CVL pilot would come in on an Essex-class carrier and would ask which runway to use-just to put the needle into them, you know. "Right or left runway? Which one?"
The Standoff team is happy to release the
single package install (462 MB) for the CIC's 18th birthday. This file will install the complete game without the need to download multiple packages.
It's been an amazing journey for Standoff. Work on the game started in spring 2001. Wingnuts got their first taste of Standoff when Episode One was released on December 23, 2004. Episode Two came out on the CIC's 7th birthday in 2005. Episode Three followed on January 8, 2006 and the penultimate Episode Four was in Wingnut hands on September 27, 2007. The grand finale, Episode Five, came out on the CIC's 11th birthday in 2009.
As a team, we'd like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to the Wing Commander community for all the support over the years...and patience. Now get out there and save the Confederation...again!
It's been a good season for Joe Garrity and undiscovered cockpits! He found a second interesting artifact, but this one is a little more familiar than the one above. The first photo below comes from a disk labeled "1994 WINTER CES SWC." It shows an early version of the Super Wing Commander Hornet cockpit with an actual DOS-era Hornet targeting outline on the right VDU. The displays and readouts in the upper structure are also different than the final layout, which is pictured second. Joe also found a fun sample of the fight pictured on the SWC box. It comes unobscured by the cockpit structure superimposed in the final art. Pretty neat!
L.I.F. has been hard at work on the Homeworld Remastered Mod the last few months and has a special present for Wingnuts this year. He's added the single player demo mission back into the mod as well as a brand new feature: an anti-missile stance. When units are set into this stance, they will attack missiles above all other targets (save bombers). It works much like the guard order which means that ships set in the anti-missile stance will continue as escorts for any fleets or convoys you may have. To compensate for the improved defenses from the stance, turret fire's hit chance on torpedoes and missiles was reduced to 10%.
Wingnuts can download it on
MODDB and Steam.
Kevin Caccamo's Prophecy/Secret Ops importer/exporter marvel, Wing Blender, has achieved full 2.0 release! This update further streamlines the process to manipulate ships destined for the Vision Engine. The feature list is below, and users can find documentation for the program here. Grab the app itself here (31 k zip). Happy modding!
Export child objects along with parent objects.
Customize LOD ranges.
Customize CNTR/RADI chunks of each mesh.
Improved support for varying forward/up axes.
More flexible LOD object naming schemes.
Support for flat colour materials.
Collision spheres and hardpoints in the scene root are ignored.
Better handling of numeric and non-numeric texture filenames.
Hot the heels of the WC Saga Deutsch Mod release and refinement, Luke and team have announced their project to port over all their numerous upgrades to the core WC Saga experience. The screenshots below show off some of the new features, from left: the new pilot welcome, extras menu, barracks, medals case, ship database, subtitle support, ready room, fiction viewer, text legibility improvements, and damage debris. These are just a sampling of the enhancements. Stay tuned for more info and development progresses!
What exactly is the Plus Pack? It contains all new features, improvements and bugfixes from our first project "Wing Commander Saga Deutsch" (short: WCSD) and will upgrade the international (english) version of WCS to WCSD level. [Above] you can see a few of these new features/changes.
Development and organisation will executed at our domain wcsaga.org. There we have a secure webspace, message board and some internal dev tools. FirstI I want to introduce the current WCSPP team members (in alphabetical order). In the next weeks/months we want to add more members for the departments like Beta test.
Death Angel - implementation, graphic design
Luke - implementation, programming
MajorSpawn - mission design, programming
RaudiXO - translation, implementation
In honor of Wing Commander 4's 20th birthday earlier this year, we have taken all of the cinematics from the DVD version of the game and put them in to our Holovids section! AD has converted all of the videos to the latest streaming formats, and these have been combined with the game's script as transcribed by Wedge for the best viewing experience possible. You can find all of the WC4 videos here. Don't forget that if watching the videos gives you a craving for actually playing, the full DVD version of the game is available on GOG!
The Maslas Brothers have provided this look at the work space where the magic happens. They've got a great collection of Wing Commander games to consult as reference and a couch to crash on after late night coding sessions. There's also a projector on the end when it's time to kick back and play. The shots below show off some of the classic scenes from WC1 and their counterpart areas from the Flat Universe game.
Photos from our little studio with some of our Wing Commander stuff and afterwards some photos of a Wing 1 play session on projector
Over the years, we've posted a lot of fascinating items that are in some way related to the development of a Wing Commander product. These might be never before seen draft scripts that are wildly different from the final story, early sketches of ships and characters, candid photos from the film set, or high resolution source files of things you've already seen in some form or shape. We tend to post this material around specific events, such as a CIC birthday or to celebrate a classic game being released on GOG, and it's not so easy to keep track of it after the news is gone from the front page.
Our goal for the CIC's
Document Archive was to make it easier for visitors to research the development aspects of Wing Commander games. In this section, we've sorted through hundreds of historic updates and categorized them under headings like "artwork", "design history" and "advertising." To celebrate our 18th birthday, we've added in a lot of interesting material from recent years that you may have missed, or have forgotten about. The list below provides just a smattering of the fascinating material that has been added for this update. As you browse the archive, you'll notice that the section is looking a little dated. An upgrade of the visuals and navigation of CIC Gray is on our todo list!
WC1 Artwork: The "Wingleader" logo, high resolution art from Claw Marks
WC1 Advertising: Sell sheets for "Wingleader", Wing Commander
WC1 Design: The proposal for "Squadron", The "making of" article from the playguide
WC2 Advertising: The Wing 2 baseball cap, the full press kit
WC3 Design: On set candids, building the Kilrathi
WC3 Artwork: Early ship and character sketches, animatronic Kilrathi head
WC3 Advertising: The sell sheet, luggage tags, fly a MIG contest
WC4 Design: Party pictures, film set panoramas, storyboards, props
WC4 Artwork: Ship sketches, teaser art and box art source files, various renders
WC4 Advertising: Promotional magazine covers, ChromArt
Privateer Artwork: Gemini office posters, fifth player ship concept
Privateer Advertising: dev team t-shirt, early screenshots
The riddle included with this week's Flat Universe music teaser has been decoded! Fans who plugged the text into a base 64 decoder were treated to a surprise announcement that one of the original authors of the WC1 soundtrack, Dave Govett of Team Fat, will be assisting with Cory Fujimori's masterful reproductions. Here's the official translation of the coded TOBI message:
"This is a preview of the new soundtrack for Wing Commander: Flat Universe. Featuring themes from the original Wing Commander game newly arranged by original composer, Dave Govett, as well as additional work by composer Cory Fujimori.
How many people here know about the Maniac?"
Cory contacted Govett and he is on-board the project! He will rearrange several pieces for us and make a new version of the main theme so stay tuned! Happy Birthday CIC!
It's a CIC Birthday, so here's a CIC Birthday Cake!
It's time for our annual birthday poll that asks how long you've been visiting the CIC. We're celebrating our 18th party tonight, but some of you have been with us for a whopping 20 years already! Where has al the time gone? But whether you've been following us since 1996 or 2016, we're glad you're here with us now!
The old poll asked about your super weapon preferences, and it was an incredibly close match. The Behemoth and Flash Pak traded first place back and forth practically every other day and ended within one vote of each other. Clearly, two vastly different philosophies were playing out here. In contention for third place, both the Excalibur-carried Temblor Bomb and Dreadnought-mounted Phase Transit Cannon battled it out, playing out a very similar battle as the fight for the top spot. The Nuke'em came in last place. I suspect this is because people generally have less exposure to weapons from the Tri-System. Otherwise, who wouldn't love a bomb so powerful it has to
propel you forward in time to escape the blast?!
This horrible device emits a blastwave from the vicinity of your ship powerful enough to annihilate everything in close proximity but the most resilient dreadnoughts. The damage is worse near the epicentre, dissipating outward. The device carries a small synchronic temporal warp generator which at the point of detonation throws you marginally forward in time after the blast, giving you escape from the carnage. However, it does not extend this benefit to any cargo ships or wingmen you may have in tow, who will encounter a particularly terminal, and bad, day. The Campaign for Real Time considered this weapon to be a breach of most time laws and lobbied against its legality, until one day, quite by accident, a rogue Nuke 'em landed on their offices during an annual general meeting.
And that's our show, folks! We hope you enjoyed this year's birthday slate! Scrolling back through it all, we think it's a super fun lineup that provides a good cross section cutout look at what the community is up to. The birthday wouldn't be what it is without all your contributions and participation, so thanks for making it super memorable. We somehow manage to get 2,000 visits per day, which is absolutely amazing. The bump we sustained last year with Wing Commander's arrival on Netflix has been fairly permanent, which is awesome.
If you're reading this in real time as the update went live, there's still a bunch of party left to go in #Wingnut. Otherwise, we'll see you back here on Monday for the continuation of daily news posts. As we look forward to next year, we'll be holding out 19th Birthday in 2017. Amazingly, that'll actually be our
twentieth annual party counting the grand opening in 1998. See you there!
To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 18th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in
So point your Wingnuts from around the globe who are all still teenagers at heart!
New gameplay experiences brought to you by incredibly talented fans!
Never-before-seen sights from the depths of Wing Commander history!
Fantastic music that'll bring memories flooding back!
Hours of videos to feast your eyeballs on!
Trivia - from Arnold Blair to Zarya!
Prizes that will actually be mailed out to winners!
Cake... and more!
IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC check our #Wingnut section, or just use the web interface (even works on mobile devices!).
Ladies and Gentlemen. On keyboards...
Mister Cory Fujimori.
Did you get Cory's message?
INIT TOBI v3.72 DOWNSTREAM
It's a great week for birthdays, and in addition to our own, we'd like to wish capi's WC RPG project a wonderful fifth anniversary! He hit the milestone a couple weeks back and modestly hid the mention at the bottom of one of his extensive weekly updates. Few fan projects have been able to keep up such a consistent pace year over year. Work continues on scene narratives, encounter details and ultimate direction for the story in his Elegy of Sivar campaign. Next he'll be working on translating the prologue and designing the base for the Demon's Eye Pack of Kilrathi pirates. While the Kilrathi expansion is taking a while to all come together, there are several completed RPG products capi has already finished and posted online. Check them out below!
My Plan for this week is to begin the effort to translate the prologue in Chapter 2.2 and to start work on Chapter 2.3. After months of putting it off, I'm finally back to the point where I need to begin filling in the details of the Demon's Eye base, starting with the completion of the base's desired statistics and details regarding the base's layout. That information in turn will be used to fill in the specifics of the mission in Chapter 2.3, where the players will be tasked with taking over the base.
I also noted in my logs that the fifth anniversary of the founding of the WCRPG Wiki was on July 23rd. Here's to five years of the WCRPG project; I'm looking forward to the next five.
Today officially marks 18 years since we founded the CIC here at WCNews.com! We'll be fully observing the celebration this Saturday evening, but we're certainly taking a moment today to reflect on the time that's passed. Back in the summer of 1998, none of us working hard to launch the site were yet 18 years old ourselves, so we couldn't possibly have imagined everything continuing through to this day. There were new games, books and a movie all in development, so reporting the news of the day was easy. Over the years we've gone through different evolutions to focus on all of your amazing fan projects as well as digitally preserve as much intriguing archive material as possible. Now, as we've spent most of our lives dedicated to the Wing Commander community, we're extremely proud of what has come together here thanks to everyone's hard work. Thanks for sticking with us - we'll see you at the party Saturday night!
If you're working on something to be released in conjunction with the Birthday Party, please
let us know! Saturday will get hectic, so the advance notice helps.
JD Harding makes covers of video game music, and one of his latest sets takes on WC3 and Privateer. He's done a really good job of giving each of the Priv locations their own unique tone, just as they had in the game. The Agricultural Base is soft and wistful, the Pleasure Base is a snazzy afair and the Game's Intro is tense and exciting. His interpretation of WC3's Space Background Music is also full of George Oldziey's classic sounding fanfare. If you like what you hear, JD has also covered Stones, Mysterious Murders and the Fellowship Theme from Ultima VII.
Kevin Caccamo has released the second beta preview of Wing Blender 2.0, the app that lets fans easily import and export Vision Engine models into Blender. He's tightened up the code operationally so that it matches the documentation, and issues with the hardpoint exporter have been fixed. The screenshots below demonstrate the troubleshooting process he had to go through to get an updated Vampire model working! Try it out here.
As a bonus, I made another attempt at converting the Vampire from Scooby Doo's (very) old FS2 model pack, and here's a few screenshots I took while trying to get the hardpoints working properly.
(2nd Screenshot): I thought I had it working correctly by now, until I added the hardpoint for the middle section. I then realized the EPODs were upside down.
(3rd Screenshot): That's much better!
It seems like just
yesterday that the Wing Commander Movie arrived on Netflix and Amazon Prime's free video catalogs in the US and Canada, but the film has been removed from both services after its one year contract expired. The delisting comes as no shock, since many titles regularly come and go from streaming providers, and we've started to see Wing Commander disappear from some of the European providers that got it first.
While it's disappointing to see it come to an end now, it was certainly a very productive run. The movie made the "popular on Netflix" trending circuit for some time, got lots of positive press on social media and spawned numerous fun
And on the bright side, this marks the
viewing parties. Fans continue to have access to the film on a wide variety of platforms with digital prices around $6.99 and the Blu-ray hovering at $12 or less. Amazon is also offering a new promotion where WC is included in a subscription to STARZ.
end of Fox's distribution rights. As scheduled, Chris Roberts has regained the rights in English speaking territories after 17 years. Although he's still super engrossed in Star Citizen for now, Chris has mentioned before that he'd love to return and recut the film for a modern audience!
We haven't covered
Shroud of the Avatar very much over the years, but Richard Garriott's spiritual successor to Ultima appears to be coalescing nicely as it drives towards a full fledged release. Last week the team conducted its last "wipe" of the pre-release servers, and the world that players are now exploring is the game's final persistent universe. Crowdfunding pledges will also sunset in a couple weeks as the various preorder bonuses expire. A new Star Citizen cross-promotion also caught our eye that offers up some nifty steampunk gear with the SC logo.
Speaking of Star Citizen, most exciting to us is that LOAF's
recovery is going well and he's back on the job at Cloud Imperium LA. Their office move and subsequent futuristic remodel has been complete, and it's looking really cool. They've finished the shoot for the Squadron 42 story and audio elements, which is an important milestone for the campaign aspect of Star Citizen. The team is now focused on preparing a big status update at Gamescom in Germany later this month. There are still a variety of cool ships being turned out as well as some neat merchandise that have pushed them past an amazing $115 million.
Meeting up with your favorite Wing Commander actors isn't always easy. A few make occasional convention appearances, but you might only end up talking to them for a minute or so in an autograph hall. One notable exception is Tom Wilson, who continues to regularly make the rounds in the comedy club circuit. The CIC Staff did happen to first meet Tom at his Dragon*Con autograph table in 2003, but other fans have more choices to seek him out around the US today. Wingnuts near Irvine, California have a chance to catch the Maniac this Sunday evening at the Irvine Improve Comedy Club. A limited number of free tickets are available with the promo code '2TOMS'. His shows come highly rated, and fans often report that he appreciates people who are familiar with his non-Back to the Future history in things like Wing Commander. If you get a picture with him signing your copy of WC4, send it in to us!
The Homeworld Remastered Mod continues to improve based on the feedback of beta testers and the constant refinement that L.I.F. has applied. There have been many bug fixes, formation improvements and updates to fuel and ammunition scripts. He's also made the test release more widely available at MODDB for players who've purchased the game at places like GOG. Steam owners can grab it here. All of your feedback and bug reports for the new version help make the game better for a big release planned later this month, so get to playing!
This is the new version of the mod, revamped and reworked to be compatible with the versions 2.0 and 2.1 of HWRM. It currently has only the Confederation and the Kilrathi working, further updates will be coming to restore full functionality. Right now, I'm fixing the bugs in the current release as the testers report them. The goal is to have something cool for the birthday.
AD found one more classic Korean Wing Commander article on the Old Game Scan blog. This Privateer review appeared in the January 1994 issue of 마이컴 (MyCom). At a length of 14 pages it's pretty substantial, and it appears to cover all aspects of the game. There also seem to be some spoilers! Unlike the Korean reviews of Prophecy and Armada we reported on earlier, this article does conclude with a rating: sound gets four stars, graphics five, and "difficulty" four.
For this week's peek inside the continued development of Wing Commander Flat Universe, the Maslas Brothers have pulled the curtain back to reveal what it looks like as the game is being made. The screenshots reveal some of the coding that goes into potential mission/cinematic design and how these sequences can be observed. It looks like a lot of work to me, but the final product is sure to be impressive!
This snapshot was taken during the benchmarking/debugging phase of the navigation and formation AI of Flat Universe. As a matter of fact, this is what my displays are showing for the past few days.
Jason Walton has been doing some experimentation in Garage Band - with impressive results! He's remixed the Wing Commander 2 intro as well as music from Ultima VI. The way the original was combined with the Vengeance of the Kilrathi cinematics and especially speech really helped cement it in my mind. It's one of my favorite in the whole series!
Playing with Garageband...
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