Flat Universe Moves Past Initial Alpha

The Maslas Brothers have a status update on the development of their slick WC shooter, Flat Universe. Back throughout the spring time, the team conducted a very successful multiplayer alpha with some lucky fans. They were able to test out a wide variety of different ships across numerous star systems, and this proved out connectivity between Europe and North America. More recent development has focused on three key areas: music, navigation and a program updater. Here's more:
Right now the team is concentrated on three parts of the project.

a. Music engine. Cory, has made a serious progress on the music soundtrack of the project. Due to this fact we are working on how the music will wrap the project and how it will interact with the mission states and situations that the player might get into. Hopefully the next version will have interactive music.:rolleyes:

b. Charts/Nav system. For sometime now Kyrgiannis is cooking something and it smells good too!:cool: QGIS for those who have never heard of it before is an open source geographic information system that is used by many serious organizations and projects out there and it's becoming very popular between the analysts of geospatial data. We saw that a technology like this could be beneficial for the navigation system of FlatUniverse and now we are in the middle of implementing it into the game engine.

c. Patching/Distribution. You might remember that sometime in the past before we release the 0.8.5 version, we got our hands dirty on a patching system that should have been delivered with the 0.8.5 and it didn't make it. Fortunately, FlatUniverse is getting bigger and bigger with all the features that are going to be included. Unfortunately, a patching system has become an essential tool for the distribution of the project's patches and upgrades. Fortunately, this tool is almost ready to be shipped with the next version. In other words, smaller but more frequent version upgrades and in smaller chunks for faster downloads and installations.

Hopefully, in the upcoming days we will upload some screenshots for some of the points the we've mentioned above. Truly guys, there are times that I wish we could be developing games as a profession. But we have to work and feed our families from time to time.:D

the MaslasBros

Homeworld Mod Aims To Be First RTS To Kilrah

The Homeworld Remastered Mod was originally conceived with a major focus on Wing Commander 4, but it has grown into some interesting places over the years. L.I.F. is now working on campaign that recreates the historic events of Wing Commander End Run. That novel centers on the exciting adventures of the makeshift 'escort carriers' and their daring raid deep into Kilrathi space. It also allows the game to highlight more 'classic' designs such as the Rapier and Sabre. Screenshots below show off the gorgeous details, and since the game can't quite escape its roots, there's a Banshee for good measure!
I've started the work again on the End Run campaign, using the convoy defence mission I released earlier as a template. Working now on the first mission, which should be a tutorial of sorts, with the TCS Tarawa and temporary escorts (two Exeter and one Venture) getting some quickly arranged training for the CAG and gunnery crew, with the help of Armada's TCS Lexington some time before it leaves for its ill-fated mission to Kilrah. A cameo of sorts that I found adequate since both ships raced to Kilrah.

As you can see, I still have to get the icons and a few things, but the main assets seem to be working for this mission, so I will be able to experiment with the scripts. The idea is to get the player to familiarize with the use of each kind of fighter available, Ferret, Rapier and Sabre (it's crazy how small the Ferret is compared to those heavier fighters, but I checked the numbers with the displayed result and it does fit with the data we have on them), some useful commands such as the missile defence scripts, patrol and that kind of thing, then have mock combat against Lexington's air wing followed by a simulated attack on the heavy carrier and its sole escort (another Exeter), the mission culminating in a counter-attack from Lexington's Broadsword group. With this, the player should have a good hang on the game.

Maniac & Paladin Visit London Film & Comic Con

BrynS stopped in to share some positive Wing Commander experiences from this weekend at the London Film & Comic Con. He managed to meet Tom Wilson & John Rhys-Davies and get them to autograph his copy of WC3. Both were fantastic con guests, as usual, and they both seemed to enjoy talking about something other than the roles that they're more commonly known for. Only one day remains for fans who might want to get a chance to meet the actors in person, but for those not in London with the means to go, here's more from Bryn:
If you're able to get there I'd recommend getting your virtual ticket for both as early as possible. Both were were busy throughout the day signing when not doing photo shoots, although Tom in particular had a crazy and probably the busiest queue throughout the day by my reckoning due to the huge Back to the Future interest -- he was sitting alongside Christopher Lloyd and they did a bunch of joint photo shoots. I picked up my virtual ticket just before 11:00 for Tom and only got see him for an autograph shortly after 17:00.

Both him and John were signing like troopers all day pretty much right up to closing just before 18:00. I can only imagine the mental and physical exhaustion these cons must put on them, having to greet and chat with so many fans in an often conveyor-belt fashion. That said, I have to say that both were true gents and extremely courteous. I was the 360th signing of Tom's yesterday when I saw him and there was still a long queue behind me. While he signed my Wing Commander 3 box I just asked him if he had more Youtube videos in the pipeline and he said that we was planning more. If his signing queue hadn't been so busy I would have asked him about his comedy and some WC questions so I just thanked him after that and shook his hand. Great guy!

John's queue wasn't as constrained as Tom's and John was really gregarious and giving with his time, asking questions to each fan and regaling all with anecdotes from his range of work. Just before I was up to see him a member of Showmasters event team went up to him and said that some press wanted to interview him. John's response was that he would be happy to but not while there was a line of fans waiting to see him and they were welcome to wait in the line. What a gentleman! Both seemed pleased to be signing something other than Gimli or Biff photos too. John briefly talked about his Star Citizen work as well.

Anyway, I was able to get them both to sign my Wing Commander 3 box and to say I'm a chuffed Wingnut is an understatement; I'm still beaming!

If you're close by I'd definitely try and get there!

New Music Album Kicks Off With A Bang!

Composer George Oldziey's mission to reorchestrate a second album of Wing Commander music - this time with digital instruments and bonus bar music - is off to a great start. Over $5000 was taken in during the first 24 hours, which is ahead of the last campaign. And with a more affordable minimum bar for success this time out, the project is well on its way to becoming a reality. George has provided more information on his Latin Jazz Band, Gato 6, who will be performing the new jazz tracks. You can listen to some of their stuff below - it's really fun! And for Wingnuts with deep pockets, an additional premium tier was added to the contribution list where George will compose custom music just for you!
You all are TRULY the most amazing video game music fans in the world! We have reached more than 1/3 of the initial goal in less than 24 hours! I feel truly blessed! I promise to deliver you all an AMAZING musical experience!

Musically yours,

George

Wing Commander Music Kickstarter Relaunched - With Extras!

George Oldziey is back for a third attempt at creating a second album of reorchestrated music from Wing Commander 3, 4 & Prophecy. He's learned some good lessons from the last two trips out, and this time he's significantly retooled the effort with some exciting changes.


For starters, he's framing today's launch as Volume 2, Phase 1. This campaign has a much lower threshold for success at just $15,000, down from the previous $45K, so it's much more achievable. Initially, this will pay for the composition of all tracks on paper so they can be reproduced with high end digital instruments. While George still plans to eventually pursue the funding for a live orchestra in the future, today's more affordable endeavor will still enable fans to hear these enhanced tracks at much higher quality than the original.


And, as an all new super bonus, Mr. Oldziey will also be returning to some of the popular jazz music from the TCS Victory's bar. Several of these fan favorites will be tuned up and recorded live in Austin, Texas. What a treat! Digital downloads of all this start at $20, and there are some cool physical versions and bonuses for Wingnuts who are able to contribute more to help make this a reality. He's already earned $3,000 in 3 hours, so we're looking forward to it being a resounding success. Check it out here!

Happy Birthday Wing Commander Arena!

Today we're celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wing Commander Arena's release! We're used to a steady stream of 25th birthdays ticking by as the classics from the early '90s each reach a quarter century, but this one's a little different. The baby of the family has reached double digits, and while it really just seems like yesterday that we were eagerly awaiting its release, a lot of time has passed! If you weren't following us back in 2007, then this recap will help provide a glimpse into what it was like back then, and if you've been with us all along, then read on for a trip down memory lane!


Our story begins in the mid '90s when the CIC Staff cut their teeth on exciting news updates about the pending releases of Wing Commander Kilrathi Saga, Privateer 2, Prophecy, Secret Ops, the Movie, several novels and more. Things changed quite a bit in the early 2000s with the consolidation and eventual closure of Origin, and the community reinvented itself by intensely focusing on two priorities: archiving material related to the creation of Wing Commander games and an explosion of creative fan projects. Things got a nice boost with the release of Prophecy for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, but there was an even bigger surge in excitement for the all-new Arena in 2007.

Nearly ten years had passed since Prophecy/Secret Ops, and it's not lost on us that another ten years have now gone by without another follow-up. The fact that a grand total of nineteen years have gone by with just one new WC game (!!) makes us appreciate it even more today. How and why did this thing come to exist? The stars aligned and we got lucky. There have been at least half a dozen credible attempts to 'bring back' Wing Commander since the fall of Origin, and Arena is the one that succeeded. It came at a vastly different time than the PC games of the 1990s. The franchise already had a long and beautiful history of console ports, but the preferred platforms and genres were evolving rapidly through the 2000s, and the XBox 360 made the most sense in 2006. That's where the growth in the market was at the time, and the nascent market for digital downloads was just about to take off. Of course, Secret Ops was one of the world's first digitally distributed games, but that game was at least half a dozen years ahead of its time. Electronic Arts commissioned several titles to test the waters, including Boom Boom Rocket which arrived first. EA chose producer Sean Penney to lead the product out of Vancouver BC, and Gaia Industries in New York was tapped to do the art and programming. We're eternally grateful for both the man in charge and the small team tasked with bringing his vision to life. They both demonstrated considerable passion for the Wing Commander brand and a strong desire to "get it right" with a shoestring budget and the technological constraints of the format. They crammed in a wide variety of single player modes, competitive multiplayer and even a cool cooperative capship battle within a 50 megabit limit. Just a few short years later, lesser DLC games would balloon to multiple gigabytes in size, so it's amazing how much they jammed into this tiny package. There were also half a dozen iconic fighters that each sported three variants, and they dug especially deep to pull the Rapier from Super Wing Commander. Further, ships like the Longbow bomber and Pelican transport made cameos in the background. Man, what a night the release was! We all went to bed on the night of July 24, 2007 with plans to wake up at midnight and play until morning. But since these were the early days of digital releases, the exact time of release wasn't as predictable. A flurry of messages went out when it was discovered that the game was available a few hours early, and Wingnuts from the around the globe scrambled to get online. These were the days before Xbox Live Parties made grouping up with friends easy, so everyone was organized via message boards and IRC chat to link up, form squadrons and blast away. It was a classic case of being easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Ace pilots started to climb the ranks. Fans dug around to understand how to unlock each of the 18 flyable craft. Groups of 16 banded together to unlock the cap ship battle achievement, and people played the ring game to show off their acrobatic skills. The top-down 2D perspective put off some people, but fans that gave it a try were rewarded with a surprisingly deep space combat sim for an ostensibly simple arcade shooter. Agile players could rock cool 3D evasive maneuvers, and careful energy management was required to keep all systems operating when you needed them. Each ship had different strengths and weaknesses and required different piloting styles to master. LOAF even placed 3rd in an official tournament with other professional gamers in order to win an XBox 360 that we were able to give out to a fan. And we haven't even touched on Star*Soldier yet! We were fortunate enough to help build a huge manual in the spirit of Tiger's Claw or Victory Streak with tons of supplemental fiction that filled in many of the loose ends left open after Secret Ops. This subject alone is worthy of dozens of posts, so check those out for all the details and download the actual manual here (still hosted on EA servers ten years later!). There were plans initially to include a single player component. Had the game been a bigger hit, the work done on the campaign would have been refined and released as an expansion or sequel. Sadly, that did not happen, but we were gifted with a considerable amount of Gaia concept art that shows off the unreleased Centurion and Gothri fighters, Kilrathi and Firekkan pilots and more. And while we never got more than the initial release, Arena is still available to purchase online and play on the XBox 360. Fortunately, Microsoft has demonstrated a greater commitment to its back catalog of games in recent years, and support is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Although it's a long shot, someday it's possible the game could even become compatible with the XBox One, which would give it some nice enhancements such as future compatibility with the One X, improved party support, built in screenshot and recording ability and more. So get some practice rounds in now - we'll see you in the cockpit!

Wing Commander Arena is a fast-paced space combat game where players can team up to attack other teams of ships. The game introduces the classic franchise to an arcade-style experience that allows up to 16 players online in battle at once. Players can propel their customized ship through space, fire torpedoes and unleash deadly gravity bombs as they try to climb the leader board. Online players will compete for Frag count, high score and dueling stats.

"We're really excited to deliver unparalleled multi-player arcade action," said Chip Lange, EA Vice President. "The design for Wing Commander will appeal to both long-time fans of the franchise and immediately engage anyone who wants the melee style action of an arcade shooter."

Wing Commander Arena will feature four styles of play: single player, multi-team, multi-player free for all and multi-player duel. Within the game there are eight game maps that include team maps, free for all maps and dueling maps, so Wing Commander Arena offers a gameplay experience for every Arcade gamer, whether they want a quick ten minutes of action or a longer more immersive game.

Light Carrier Arrives At Spacedock

The popular Spacedock YouTube channel has chosen Wing Commander as its latest subject. They are dedicated to profiling the specs and history of spaceships from across the vast swath of science fiction, and it's pretty cool to see the angle they took on this. WC's Yorktown class light carrier is the primary feature, and there's some fun highlights from WC3 pulled in for good measure. It would have been nice to see a bit more footage from the actual game, but the Homeworld mod screenshots that they mostly source are pretty too. This was a popular submission today - thanks to DeathSnake, HotT and Delance for the tip!

Gemini Workhorse Gets Upgraded

Here's a pretty sharp ship from DefianceIndustries' massive fleet. This is his impressive Talon model. He originally built the fighter several months back, so give him a poke and see if there's a finished version stashed away in some hidden asteroid base somewhere. I'm not thinking it'd actually be that great to fly, but it sure looks like an enticing target!
I'm working on something that probably needs no further introduction than: "Die by the very weapons you adore!"

Top Shelf Library Contains Wing Commander Music

On Friday, we shared the Royal Marine Bands playing the Wing Commander movie overture… and then we got to thinking: just how do you license music from Wing Commander, anyway? Investigation revealed that FOX Music handles licensing songs from composer David Arnold. The overture recieves two listings: one for the original soundtrack and one for a 2006 library of production music. That's right: it's another previously unseen CD that includes Wing Commander music! Top Shelf Library is a five-disc set of film music that includes the Wing Commander overture on disc 3 ("Action/Epic/Heroic.") This is an example of library music, which is where movie productions source non-original music. If, say, someone cutting a trailer or making a commercial wanted to use the track, they would pay FOX and take it from this disc. The process is digital today, but until the early 2000s involved actual libraries of CDs, like those pictured here. We've sourced our own copy, and will post a digital copy of the track when it arrives!

Lost WC3 Object Appears on Radar

Here's another cool lost 'ground target' asset from Wing Commander III: a Kilrathi radar station! It's not clear why this didn't make it into the finished game, but it's possible it was hard to place a wide flat object... or there may have been issues animating the radar dish as intended.

Wing Commander in Concert

Here's a crazy surprise: the United Kingdom's Massed Royal Marine Bands recently opened the annual Mountbatten Festival of Music at Royal Albert Hall with… David Arnold's Overture from the Wing Commander movie! The result is a brilliant live performance of the excellent overture, which is now available on popular music streaming services. Want a physical copy? The concert is available both as a CD and as a DVD! You can watch the entire performance below:

Arrow Kit for Sale!

Alfred Wong's Arrow model is here! The promised plastic model kit that allows you to build your own 1/48 scale Terran Confederation Arrow fighter is now shipping. The unfinished kit costs $165 Canadian plus shipping and measures 9.5" L by 7" W when constructed. As you can see below, the finished product looks truly astounding. Convinced? You can purchase the model here.

Countdown To Party Time!

An important date is fast approaching, and as we're just about a month away, it's time to firm up details for the CIC's 19th Birthday Party! The milestone technically arrives on August 10, but this year we'll be observing the event on Saturday, August 19. Everything gets going at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT) in #Wingnut on irc.wcnews.com or our easy web chat interface. The CIC Staff is now plotting out what goodies we'll have in store, but the best part will be celebrating online with all of you. There will be trivia to dazzle even the most knowledgable fans, lots of great memories and some thoughtful discussion on the future. Mark it on your calendars and don't miss it!

Greetings, Starfighter

Did you know that Lockheed Martin build a real starfighter to play Wing Commander? Well, kind of. Today we have an interesting oddity in Wing Commander history: the packaging for a Real3D Starfighter AGP graphics card. The Starfighter was an Intel i740-based graphics card created in coopration with the Real3D division of Lockheed Martin (really!) The first AGP version was released in early 1998, shipping alongside a special 'cut down' version of Wing Commander Prophecy (specifically, the first CD of the game, with a card at the end suggesting you purchase the rest from Origin.) A PCI version was released later, but it's not clear whether or not it included the Prophecy OEM demo. Want to play the odd version of the game itself? You can grab a copy here.

Lost Tank Found

What secret lurk in the heart of Wing Commander III's TRE files? Well, this Kilrathi missile tank, for one! The general design of this tank should be familiar to WC veterans… but you haven't seen it with a missile turret before! That's because while it's stored in the game files it is never used in a mission. Since a similar 'finished but unseen' model has been discovered of a Wing Commander IV-style frigate, it stands to reason that the missile turrets were either not functioning properly or causing balance problems… leading to multiple missile-turreted objects' removal late in development!

Super Wing Commander Trailer Hints at Lost Ship

Yesterday, we reported on footage of an early build of Wing Commander II digitized by the University of Texas. Today, we have a second treasure from a VHS provided by Origin producer Warren Spector: early footage of Super Wing Commander in action! The video clearly shows an early, unfinished build that has a more elaborate 'loading' screen for the VDUs (and is still using some Wing Commander I art as placeholders!) But look carefully, there's another surprise: during the course of the mission being demoed, the player faces several Salthi… and then starts to fire on a capital ship. But it's not a capital ship available in the final game!

But wait, you think, I've seen that silhouette before. You have: the ship in question was found in a file dump of 3D source assets from Origin alongside the other models from Super Wing Commander. The file labels it the Fralthi, but it is not the Fralthi which appears in the finished game. The model itself is an edited and retextured version of Wing Commander II's Sabre mesh, which may sound odd but was not an uncommon practice during the creation of Super WIng Commander's menagerie.

Adding to the mystery, no mission in Super Wing Commander has you fly a Hornet with Spirit as a wingman against Salthi and a Fralthi together. In fact, the only time Spirit, a Hornet and Salthi are present with a capital ship it's a Confederation Drayman in Enyo 2. Was this ship intended to be a Drayman or a Fralthi? Or something else entirely? (Interestingly, the Super Wing Commander intro incorrectly identifies a Snakeir as a "Fralthi target"... so there may have been quite a bit of confusion about Kilrah's cruiser.)

Early Wing Commander II Footage

The University of Texas at Austin's Briscoe Center for American History has digitized several VHS tapes donated by famed Origin producer Warren Spector including a VERY interesting tape previewing Origin's 1991 lineup. The tape, likely created for a trade show or as a preview for distributors, walks through all of Origin's current releases. It includes a lengthy trailer of the already-released Wing Commander I, The Secret Missions and The Secret Missions 2: Crusade… and then a VERY exciting preview of Wing Commander II.

Why is it so exciting? Because it shows an early build of the game that includes a number of different graphics, features and cutscenes! Pay special attention to the more complex turret interface, the 'profile' view of Blair in the comm room and a whole host of landing and takeoff scenes which do not appear in the final game… even a sequence showing the player landing their Epee on the TCS Agincourt! This is a video that's not to be missed.

Cheat Sheet: WC4 Turrets

This is a followup to our article on Wing Commander III capship turrets. Wing Commander IV did not include a printed manual with detailed ship specifications, so this is not so much a correction as it is an addition! These counts are most interesting where they differ from those in Wing Commander III; in several cases, the same ship model is used with a different turret setup.

The Concordia-class carrier is the strangest of the group, featuring nine laser turrets and a clearly visible 'space' for a tenth. In flight, this tenth turret always shows as destroyed (on both the Lexington and the Princeton) though it is visible in cutscenes. Another interesting change to call out is that the Border Worlds version of the Tallahassee-class cruiser lacks the 'twin' turrets on the center/top that are still included on the Confederation model. The yellow turrets found on the Vesuvius are often mistaken for antimatter guns; they are heavy photons.

CapShip Missiles are used sparingly in Wing Commander IV, though the disclaimer from the WC3 article applies. THe Caernaven frigate fires up to three during Orestes 1. All stats are 'in game,' so while it's likely the destroyer and cruiser can carry the missiles (as the same designs mounted them in WC3) they are not mentioned below. Both warships are 'nerfed' from their WC3 state, replacing all previous anti-matter guns with lasers (presumably because the player must fight them regularly instead of defend them.)

Transport (Clarkson-class)
  • (2) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Transport (Evansville-class)
  • (4) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Destroyer (Southampton-class)
  • (9) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Cruiser (Tallahassee-class, Border Worlds Version)
  • (10) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Cruiser (Tallahassee-class, Terran Confederation Version)
  • (12) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Frigate (Caernaven-class)
  • (4) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (3) CapShip Missile Launchers

    Light Carrier (Durango-class Conversion)
  • (8) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Carrier (Concordia-class)
  • (9) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Heavy Carrier (Vesuvius-class)
  • (14) Dual-Mount Heavy Photon Turret
  • Cheat Sheet: WC3 Turrets

    It's easy to find 'mistakes' in the ship stats published in Wing Commander manuals. The biggest reason for this is that physical manuals needed to be locked down for print before the final testing and balancing of the games would have been finished. Changes to ship stats to better balance gameplay are common, meaning that a booklet like Victory Streak gives a better look at how the team thought the game would work rather than how it actually does.

    Case in point are the GIF listings for capital ships. The booklet lists turret counts for each one which often vary significantly from the final product... it even includes ships and installations that don't appear in any of the finished missions! We've gone through and tested all of the turrets in the PC version of Wing Commander III for this update. Feel free to pull out your Victory Streaks and compare!

    For those curious, as the game never directly states: the red bolts are laser cannons, the gray bolts are tachyon guns and the yellow are anti-matter guns. In every case but two, Victory Streak lists the correct number of turrets but not the proper types. The first exception is the Kilrathi Heavy Destroyer (Ralaxath-class) which lists fourteen (11 lasers, 3 tachyon cannons) but actually has only eleven (10 lasers, 1 anti-matter gun.) The second is the Kilrathi Supply Depot, which has no armament in Victory Streak and six tachyon gun turrets in the game. Both faction's transports are listed correctly in the manual.

    Victory Streak lists specifications for a Kilrathi starbase and a Confederation frigate which do not appear in-game. The frigate was intended to be Paladin's flagship; in the finished game, it is replaced by a destroyer labeled frigate. The frigate model can be found hidden in the game's files where it appears to be missing one of the three laser cannons mentioned in Victory Streak.

    Finally, there is the case of CapShip Missiles. CSMs are not assigned to ships in every mission; instead, they are scripted only for particular missions where they usually serve a direct purpose (either to destroy a target for the player or to serve as objects to shoot down.) In the cases where they are listed, they should be considered the minimum number rather than the authoritative total.

    Terran Confederation

    Transport (Clarkson-class)
  • (2) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Destroyer (Southampton-class)
  • (7) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (2) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret
  • (1) CapShip Missile Launcher

    Cruiser (Tallahassee-class)
  • (8) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (4) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret
  • (1) CapShip Missile Launcher

    Light Carrier (Yorktown-class)
  • (11) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (2) CapShip Missile Launcher

    Empire of Kilrah

    Transport (Sha'kar-class)
  • (2) Dual-Mount Laser Turret

    Corvette (Kamrani-class)
  • (4) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (1) Dual-Mount Tachyon Gun Turret
  • (1) CapShip Missile Launcher

    Destroyer (Ralarrad-class)
  • (7) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (1) Dual-Mount Tachyon Gun Turret
  • (3) CapShip Missile Launcher

    Heavy Destroyer (Ralaxath-class)
  • (10) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (1) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret

    Cruiser (Fralthi II-class)
  • (11) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (4) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret

    Heavy Carrier (Bhantkara-class)
  • (6) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (2) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret

    Dreadnaught (Hvar'kann-class)
  • (32) Dual-Mount Laser Turret
  • (6) Dual-Mount Anti-Matter Gun Turret

    Supply Depot
  • (6) Dual-Mount Tachyon Gun Turret
  • Tune in next time for a guide to the capital ship turrets in Wing Commander IV!

    Fusion Visits Wing Commander IV

    Fusion was a short-lived magazine which ran for seven issues from 1995 to 1996. The publication billed itself as the "magazine of interactive entertainment," which is about as 1990s as a gaming magazine can make itself sound! The November 1995 issue included a wonderful set visit report from the Wing Commander IV film shoot. Don't let the overly 1995 layout fool you: the article is extremely human and goes into great detail about the people putting the game's FMV sequences to camera. The final scan is from the next issue, in which a reader writes in to thank them for the article. Apparently Wing Commander helped him through a drug addiction (... though it's not exactly clear how.)

    More French Advertisements

    Here are three fascinating Wing Commander advertisements! The first is a 1992 ad produced by Electronic Arts for the European market, which does not have a US equivalent. In 1992, EA was particularly interested in establishing that they were now the sole distributor of Origin games (which had previously been put out by companies like Mindscape and Ubisoft on a case-by-case basis.) Wing Commander Academy was a good choice for foreign language magazine because the game itself didn't require localization. The second scan is a 1994 advertisement for the 'Hit Squad' re-release of Wing Commander I. This was a discount version released in several European countries (under several similar names, Hit Collection here) in a somewhat unique 'flashy' box. The third piece is a 1992 CD-ROM advertisement that shows the Software Toolworks edition of Wing Commander I!

    WC4 Remaster Reaches the Razor's Edge

    Pedro Is working on a pretty exciting project: a fan-made remaster of Wing Commander IV's gameplay! Today, he posted the first test images, showing one of the game's Razor pirate fighters… and you can certainly already see the possibilities! You can learn more about the project (including how you can help!) here.

    Arrow Scout

    For want of a bubble... Alfred Wong has updated on his upcoming Arrow model kit. The good news is that we're almost there; he's just waiting for the bubble canopies to arrive. Once available, Arrow kits will be sold through his web site. We'll let you know when they're listed!

    PCPLAY Reviews Wing Commander Prophecy

    TheOneZytel was kind enough to share a Wing Commander article from his country! This issue of the Croatian magazine PCPLAY reviews Wing Commander Prophecy positively (giving it a 90%.) And of course, the cover also has Lara Croft! TheOneZytel was also kind enough to translate the article, which is available below. We love seeing Wing Commander articles from around the world, so please feel free to share if you have any!

    Wing Commander: Prophecy

    RETURN TO THE ROOTS

    If we think of the first Wing Commander we will recall low resolution and a small number of colors, but if we think of it's previous sequel, The Price of Freedom, we will recall a SVGA resolution engine and a ton of video sequences. Wing Commander is a game that during its years on the scene didn't only follow the technological achievements, but it also stood out.

    It set standards that other games followed. The fifth Wing Commander has thrown away the numerical behind its name, so now it is called Wing Commander: Prophecy. Besides the numerical mark missing, the man who designed this game and is probably the most credible for its success, Chris Roberts, has also left Origin. Only time will tell how this is going affect the new version of Wing Commander and its future.

    After the war with the Kilrathi an even nastier race of alien has appeared. Ugly, slimy, with hideous plans and bad breath, but also with much more powerful ships the aliens should give you a lot of trouble. In any way, you must put a stop to them.

    This time you won't be a veteran pilot Blair (played by Mark Hamill in previous two Wing Commanders) instead you will start as a complete newbie who still needs to work his way toward success. Even though your character won't be played by Mark Hamill he will still make an appearance in the video sequences, as will Tom Wilson (also known as Maniac) and the lovely Ginger Lynn (your mechanic). Unlike the previous two Wing Commanders this one will not have a great emphasis on the video scenes (they will be shorter, but still made spectacularly) therefore a greater emphasis is on the game itself. Graphics engine will work in 16-bit color with various light effects. There will no longer be any unnecessary strolls around the ship, but everything will be accessible with a click of a mouse. Prophecy will bring more branching in between missions so that the game loses its linearity and there is a larger number of variants of mission objectives as well.

    The biggest novelty is capability playing multiplayer in cooperative and death match style. A support for playing over the internet is also in the works.

    In any case, Wing Commander: Prophecy brought lots of new things, even if that was not what you were expecting. The future of wether we will play Wing Commander games in the future will depend on it.

    Pros: Greater emphasis on the game itself, network play
    Cons: As always, This Wing Commander requires a strong hardware too

    Upper image: One of the crafts you will control
    Right image: These effects will appear in the rendered clips and in the game
    Left image: The man who worked at the design of aliens and their craft has also worked on several well known movies. As you can see they look very original. Besides the crazy design they also have an ability to merge several smaller ships into one large so they increase the fire power. If you see a similar example run to the nearest black hole.

    This is Rank

    Ever wonder how much thought goes into something as simple as the rank insignias characters wear? Today, you can examine the original 'pitch' for ranks in Wing Commander III made as the plan for the game's full motion video was being established. Many of these are familiar from the game itself, such as Captain Eisen's solid gold Captain's bar. Still others, like the Lieutenant Commander, Commander and most of the flag ranks, were changed in later games (you can see all of the known canon insignia here.) Others, like Ensign and Ensign, 2nd Class, have never been used 'in lore'! The accompanying document was eventually turned into the GIF on ranks included in Victory Streak. This seems to be the origin of one long-running error: having Major General listed as above Lieutenant General (while a Major is above a Lieutenant, the general officer titles are revesed in real life.)

    Joystick Previews & Guides

    Following up our earlier update, here is a great selection of Wing Commander articles from French magazine Joystick, including interviews with developers and actors, game previews and even some impressive game guides!

    Issue #18 - Wing Commander II Preview

    Issue #27 - Wing Commander II Guide

    Issue #44 - Richard Garriott Interview, Super Wing Commander & Wing Commander 3 Previews

    Issue #51 - Wing Commander III Preview

    Issue #53 - Mark Hamill Interview & Wing Commander III Preview

    Issue #62 - Wing Commander IV Preview

    Issue #65 - Wing Commander IV Preview

    Issue #71 - Wing Commander IV Guide

    Issue #74 - Privateer 2 Preview

    Issue #93 - Wing Commander Movie Preview

    Issue #94 - Wing Commander Movie Preview

    Ubisoft on the Mindscape

    During the process of collecting French Wing Commander reviews from Joystick, we collected several interesting French advertisements! Before the Electronic Arts buoyout, Origin games were published in other territories (such as Europe) by other companies on a case-by-case basis. Wing Commander was published by Mindscape in Europe, with Ubisoft (!) handling distribution on France for the first two games. Here you can see French versions of the 'sales slick' ads for those games, followed by a variant for the later Amiga release. Look closely at the bottom: as Ubi was not publishing the Amiga version, they literally blacked out that portion of the design. The final ad is for the major French chain FNAC showing Wing Commander II.

    Joystick Handles Wing Commander

    Joystick was a major French gaming magazine which started in the late 1980s and lasted through to the 21st century. During the 1990s, Joystick covered Wing Commander extensively, going so far as to have separate multi-page reviews of b-sides like the 3DO and Macintosh ports! Today, we collect eight years of reviews. The magazine also ran a number of previews and guide features, which will be posted in a future update.

    Issue #10 - Wing Commander

    Issue #17 - Secret Missions 2

    Issue #20 - Wing Commander II

    Issue #24 - Special Operations 1

    Issue #30 - Special Operations 2

    Issue #35 - Wing Commander (Amiga)

    Issue #41 - Wing Commander Academy

    Issue #42 - Privateer

    Issue #48 - Righteous Fire

    Issue #49 - Super Wing Commander

    Issue #52 - Privateer (CD-ROM)

    Issue #53 - Wing Commander Armada

    Issue #56 - Wing Commander III

    Issue #61 - Super Wing Commander (Macintosh)

    Issue #62 - Wing Commander III (3DO)

    Issue #65 - Wing Commander III (Macintosh)

    Issue #68 - Wing Commander IV

    Issue #73 - Wing Commander IV (Macintosh)

    Issue #77 - Privateer 2

    Issue #89 - Wing Commander Prophecy

    Here There Be Dragons

    Dragon is best known as the official magazine of Dungeons and Dragons. It was started in the mid-1970s and continues to this day as Dragon+, a digital spinoff. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dragon also reviewed new computer games. In 1990, Dragon reviewed the original Wing Commander and famously gave it a six star review… out of five! Origin was quite proud of the review, which was followed by similarly glowing coverage for The Secret Missions, Wing Commander II and even the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide! Scans follow.

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