A Look Back At 2017 Update ID

The year 2017 is on the way out as I write this, so it's time to review what a wonderful year it's been. We got a taste of the action in yesterday's Fan Project of the Year roundup. There were lots projects that released some great things for the community over the past twelve months, including many playable adventures and multiplayer games. Since we just highlighted all those, this post will focus mostly on other news items, so be sure to go back and check out those if you missed them. We started January on a high note with the digital release of The Price of Freedom. It was followed by False Colors and Action Stations (whose cover we also learned more about). This rounded out the Baen novels, except for End Run which we hope to see in 2018. EA also added the Wing Commander games to its Origin Access Vault, meaning subscribers to their service can all play WC for free now. This helped add even more new fans to the mix. Although many German fans were already aware of this, few people in other regions had ever seen the version of WC4 with a nifty metal dog tag. These quickly became a hot commodity for collectors around the globe! And although it's been more than eight years since the final chapter release, we're still enjoying the fruits of the Wing Commander Standoff mod in the form of an alternate soundtrack that was shared with fans. February began with a cool treatment to the WC3 Behind the Screens documentary. It got some visual enhancements that removed a lot of the old graininess and compression noise and made it look good as new. We also learned about yet a new variant of a WC game. An exciting third type of WC4 DVD was discovered. This was an exciting month for me as we welcomed a new future Wingnut when my daughter was born. A big thanks to all of the rest of the CIC Staff that helped cover and kept the flow of news coming out seamlessly as always. Starting in the spring, the team at Cloud Imperium Games began producing some very cool historical livestreams on a variety of subjects. These included Pre-Christory, Privateer, Academy, Armada & Arena, WC3 and WC4. These were mostly anchored by LOAF and are a must-watch for in-depth commentary and insightful trivia. Fatman's Wing One soundtrack also hit the mainstream by appearing in both the iTunes and the Amazon music digital storefronts. WC artist Mike Winterbauer also successfully launched a kickstarter to get his classic video game art book printed. The Prophecy Demo also got some love via a graphical improvement patch and we found a new screenshot of the elusive WC2 for SNES! There were also some pretty cool April Fools gags, including a neat Privateer teaser by the folks behind Rebel Galaxy. And we found and released the shooting script for Privateer 2. The summer was amazing for crafty Wingnuts! djfx built a kick butt joystick rig and Alfred Wong made one of the best looking physical Arrow models ever made. It was a good time for music with Wing Commander also appearing in concert again, and George Oldziey's kickstarter relaunched. It was successfully funded, and a WC bar music recording session has been tentatively set for February. Some new prerelease WC2 footage was found, we ran across new Prophecy promotional art, Academy in Arabic was uncovered, and there was even a proposed Privateer in-browser game discovered circa 2013! In the later months of the year, Arena celebrated its 10th birthday, UO reached its 20th milestone in September and Prophecy also hit 20 in December. The Wing Commander Movie was also included in the Movies Anywhere initiative so it became easier to share your digital copy between different platforms. Movie fans also got a rare treat in the form of Wojo releasing his Pilgrim Legacy assets. Origin artist Denis Loubet also penned a pretty swanky Bluehair poster to go along with a slick Avatar sketch as an early holiday gift to the fans. Whew! Another great year in the Wing Commander community. We can't wait to see what 2018 brings next! We know one thing to look forward to - the CIC will turn 20 years old! We can't wait to celebrate with all of you!

Annual Community Vote Begins! Update ID

It's almost 2018, so that means it's time for our annual contest tradition! One tweak this year is that we're combining the Fan Project and Web Site of the Year categories into one. While there were some great Wing Commander updates on the web, we didn't get enough nominations to make that standalone grouping competitive. If that changes next year, we'll break things out again - or even potentially add a new contest next year based on what types of things Wingnuts are most engaged in. On the other hand, it was another huge year for fan projects. All of the game-related items below had playable releases this year, which is great. Without further delay, here are the nominees!
  • Dark Sentinel had a fantastic year with some of his most exquisite and creepy Nephilim designs ever. He added a variety of capships and fighters to his fleet, including some of the less common and more exotic variants. He capped the year off with one of the most detailed WC wallpaper images ever made.
  • Flat Universe had their long-awaited public multiplayer alpha launch this year. This was on top of a variety of other improvements to their base game, which is coming along very nicely.
  • The Homeworld Remastered Mod had another huge year. This year they added new gameplay mechanics, ships from WC1/2, a player guide and plenty of ships. All of this was incorporated into the playable game in frequent updates all year long.
  • Klavs' Fleet of Ships continued to see widespread usage with new inclusion in the Homeworld Mod as well as Crazycanuck's WC Saga spinoff. His famous Concordia is looking better than ever and he's got a new Waterloo in the works.
  • Ninja's Sketches are looking better than ever. This year he perfected layer mask techniques & gradient coloring and did new experimentation with painting 2D representations of 3D ship models.
  • Pix's Origin Adventures continued his streak of extremely cool WC projects. This year he delved into the Japanese FM Towns, the Japanese Mega CD and even got a Creative DXR Kit going for old school WC4 DVD.
  • The Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack had a tremendous year with more gorgeous models and playable releases. Kilrathi ships got more love in 2017, but their Confed and Nephilim counterparts weren't far behind. And it's not just about graphical upgrades, engine enhancements have reduced texture delay and capships have even gotten new features.
  • The Sins of a Solar Empire mod is a really cool fleet battle game that's recently gotten a new playable test. The Confed and Kilrathi have been fleshed out quite a bit this year, and both the Border Worlds and Nephilim are in work and planned for 2018 updates.
  • The Star Trek Armada 2 mod is a fun one to see back from hiatus. Work has picked right back up from where it left off a couple years ago and a playable Confed demo is already available.
  • WC Saga Plus / Deutsch Conversion got its first service pack to help simplify the installation of all the various patches and enhancements to the original game. There are new GUI enhancements, better tools for modders and help pages included now.
  • The WC Toolbox editor added preliminary support for WC2 and Academy this year. And it's just one piece of a suite of tools that includes things like the WC1 Live Viewer and French WC2 Conversion Patch. It's great to see all the tweaking still going on for the earliest games in the series!
And now it's time to vote! We know it's hard to pick just one!

TomVlog34 Travels East To West & Beyond Update ID

Tom Wilson has posted a couple new chapters in his ongoing YouTube vlog series. The first clip starts out with some insight into his daily life. He briefly conducts an interview for a documentary on his time acting in Freaks & Geeks, and he touches on a subject that would be familiar to fans of his Wing Commander work: while he loved his time working on the series, he's nowhere as well versed in the subject material as the actual fans. Then, among other things, he shares a look behind the scenes of the Salt Lake Comic Con. A full recording of his Q&A with Christopher Lloyd is separately available here. I've seen more than a few lifestyle videos like this over the years, and I have to say that Tom's are more clever than your typical fare. He's also put together a second video on the making of one of his iconic pop art pieces, the Mad Dog. Check them both out below!

El Simulador de Combat Espacial en 3-D: "¡Lo que ves es lo que juegas!" Update ID

Christian Klein, the Pixel Engineer, has added another rare version of Wing Commander 1 to his collection. This one has been localized for Spain by DROsoft. It has some pretty cool black and white play manuals as well as an unusual slip cover for the box. Nice find!
Woohoo! The postman has been today! This is a localized Wing Commander version for Spain. Neat! And btw ... I never saw Wing Commander in a sleeve box before. #DOSgaming

A Little Birdie Told Me... Update ID

The world of creative development has changed dramatically over the past couple decades, and it's absolutely routine for games or movies today to have a easy transparent access to the stars who make them. It was quite a treat to witness a rare IRC visit or newsgroup post from an Origin programmer in 1997, but consumers today have an endless feed of livestreams and tweets to look forward to. To provide a tiny glimpse into what we might have missed, Freddie Prinze Jr responded to this in a thread about the nifty SpaceX cloud last week. What else is FPJ up to lately? He's produced a celebrity cookbook titled Back to the Kitchen: 75 Delicious, Real Recipes (& True Stories) from a Food-Obsessed Actor. It's hard for me to speculate how good of a cook Freddie is, but he's got a cute family!
Most people know Freddie Prinze Jr. from movies (She’s All That, Scooby Doo, Star Wars Rebels) and as one half of a beloved Hollywood power couple with Sarah Michelle Gellar. But to family, friends, and costars, he’s always been a terrific father and skilled home cook who prepares delicious meals for his family every night.

Festive Apparel For Any Season Update ID

Former Origin senior artist Denis Loubet reached out on Christmas to share some very cool Wing Commander artifacts with his friends and followers. He's got quite an assortment of team shirts from different products that he worked on. From left to right below, he's got shirts from Academy, Privateer, WC3 3DO (front), WC3 3DO (back) and Strike Commander, plus a variety from Ultima games and other unique items. He's posted the full slate at his Patreon page, where he maintains a pretty active stream of neat odds and ends for Origin fans. Over the years, I think we've spotted each of these WC patterns before, but it's cool to see them all in one place!
In Leiu of Christmas Sweaters...

How many of my Patrons recognize these shirts? I have them in various degrees of usage and discoloration, and post them here for your Christmas deliberations.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy my shoes!


Merry Christmas! Update ID

The Wing Commander CIC staff would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. We mark the occasion with one of Marc's clever Christmas themed wallpaper creations. The holiday season is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and catch up on some Wing Commander action. DOS emulation and various fan-made compatibility patches make it easier than ever to replay the classics on a modern computer. Thank you for sharing your holidays with us!

In The Spirit Of Christmas Future... Update ID

Christmas doesn't show up much in Wing Commander, but the novel False Colors does include a Christmas party aboard a derelict Kilrathi heavy carrier! Here's the excerpt to get you in the festive space spirit:
Bondarevsky had never been much for celebrating Christmas, beyond putting in the expected appearances at the festivities held by the people in his command. Born and raised on Razin, a distant frontier world settled by Russians of mostly Eastern Orthodox religion, Bondarevsky had been brought up to celebrate Epiphany, the baptism rather than the Nativity of Christ, and even yet he still was apt to keep the Twelfth-Night holiday rather than the more traditional Christmas Day. He and Kevin had a long-standing tradition of not exchanging presents until Epiphany. "No, I brought over a gift from all of the Liberators to all of you ... whatever it is you're going to call yourselves. Lieutenant, if you please..."

His assistant stepped forward and set the box down on the table. "Open it up, Jason," Tolwyn said.

He looked at the box for a long moment, half-expecting some kind of prank. Then he noticed that the lid of the box was pierced by half a dozen small holes, and that piqued his curiosity. Just what was Tolwyn up to, anyway?

Bondarevsky lifted the lid and looked inside. There, almost invisible in the shadows, a pair of green eyes regarded him curiously.

"Thrakhath!" he said. He reached in and lifted out the black cat, who responded by rubbing on his chin and purring loudly. That set off laughter from the officers clustered nearby. "Kevin, are you sure about this? I had the idea Thrakhath was kind of a favorite of yours. This one, at least."

Tolwyn grinned. "Yeah, I like him a lot better than I ever liked the one from Kilrah, but there's a dozen cats on Independence to keep our rodent population under control. And we thought you guys could use a mascot over here. Given your new home and all, it just seemed like a good idea."

Bondarevsky put the cat down on the table, but kept petting him. "Just as long as he doesn't cause as much trouble as his namesake..."

"Oh, he'll cause a lot more than that." Tolwyn grinned again. "And he'll bring bad luck to anybody who crosses his path. Like Ragark and his Kilrathi..."

"Or the confees!" one of the pilots called from the back of the watching crowd. "Or anybody else who gets in our way!" Tolwyn looked embarrassed. "Anyway, Merry Christmas from the Liberators to..." He trailed off. Bondarevsky's command had been officially designated as FW-137, but it didn't have a name as yet. The carrier hadn't even received a formal Landreich Navy name yet.

"The Black Cats!" a voice from the crowd declared loudly. Commander Alexandra Travis came forward and stretched out a hand to scratch Thrakhath behind the ears. The animal looked satisfied with himself and redoubled his contented purring. "What do you say, Captain? What better name for a Flight Wing operating off a Cat carrier, with Cat fighters, and probably in Cat space, sooner or later?"

There were plenty of comments from the others, and they all sounded favorable. Bondarevsky nodded. "All right, the Black Cats it is." He paused. "Mr. Harper, I am hereby appointing you as Chief Cat-tender, with all the duties and responsibilities that traditionally go with that post. And somebody else is going to have to explain all this to Murragh. I sure as hell don't want to tell him we've got a house pet named after his cousin."

"To hear him talk," Travis said, "house pet would be a step up from what Murragh's people think of their ex-Prince." She grinned. "But you know well be bad luck to anybody who crosses our path!"

Squadron 42 Relaunches With New Preview Videos Update ID

It's been a big week for Chris Roberts and the team behind Star Citizen. In addition to the big 3.0 alpha for the playable Star Citizen preview, they've posted the biggest reveal so far for the Wing Commander-style single player spin-off campaign, Squadron 42. Below we've posted both the two minute trailer that features Mark Hamill and the hour long gameplay walkthrough. Those who pledged towards the project five years ago get the final game when it was complete, although it was split off from the core Star Citizen in February 2016. A new website has been set up with all the details.
Pushing the boundaries of what's possible in real-time character rendering, Squadron 42 utilizes advanced performance capture techniques to translate all the nuance and power of the award-winning cast of actors including Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, Ben Mendelsohn, John Rhys Davies, Andy Serkis, and more to life. This was accomplished by using one-to-one facial scans to create hundreds of unique blendshapes along with animated wrinkle and blood flow maps. These work in conjunction with our high-fidelity facial rig and skeleton to bring a whole new level of realism to the more than 10 hours of performance captured for the game.

Guitar Medley A Tribute To Ultima Theme Update ID

We know a large chunk of Wing Commander fans out there are also Ultima fans, so here's a sweet audio treat. ChequerChequer put together this beautiful guitar cover that mixes the main themes from Ultima V through IX. Give it a listen and enjoy - even Richard Garriott liked it! You can follow the links in the video's description to find an mp3 download.
And today I bring you a quite simple, yet very beautiful theme, probably unkown to most of you all. It is about a online game for Windows and other microsoft platforms, called Ultima. I played very little of these series, but this song is the most famous from this franchise, so I had to give it a shot!

In this cover I finally truly felt a challenge regarding mixing, because usually I mix heavy stuff, with distorted guitars and all, and the mix in this one was very challenging, because a slight mistake and everything can get out of control, spacialy the compression. This cover showed me that I must study more and be more careful regarding eq and compression! I hope I didnt mess up with it and you enjoy it!


Clash Of The Medium Fighters Update ID

Last time we got characters, and this time it's ships. At first glance, you might think it's another Dralthi and Hornet, but it's actually a Dralthi and Scimitar! Another snazzy take on two classics.
Fun with layer masks (I just frikkin' figured out how they work after years of doing this stuff)

Debunking Bizarre Conspiracy Theory About WC Movie's Phantom Menance Trailer Update ID

Maniac536 has a YouTube channel where he recently went on an indignant rant about a story involving the Star Wars Phantom Menace trailer being shown before Wing Commander in theaters. For more than six minutes, he gushes at his nearly five thousand subscribers about how this is an epic fail urban legend perpetuated by lazy media. His evidence is that he saw the movie (only) twice at his local theater, and Star Wars was not attached. And that's entirely possible where he was. Trailers were still distributed as physical film reels in 1999, and smaller local theaters surely showed odds and ends that differed from the mainstream. Of course, as many of you are well aware, The Phantom Menance trailer absolutely was shown in front of Wing Commander, at least at major chain theaters. It was also available online, but many people still had dial up modems or no internet access at all in early 1999, and so seeing Wing Commander to catch the TPM preview was in fact a widespread activity.


As proof, here is a photograph I personally snapped on March 12, 1999 at an Austin, Texas General Cinema location that includes the text: "The latest preview for Star Wars - Episode 1 is being presented with Wing Commander. There will be no refunds after the Star Wars preview has been shown." So there. It was.

After this post was initially published, Maniac reached out to clarify that he wasn't entirely serious and no disrespect was intended to his fellow fans. We appreciate the sentiment, and we're mostly just happy people care enough to make passionate videos about Wing Commander!

Get Your Wing Commander Gaming History Fix Update ID

The GaminGHD YouTube channel does a good job of highlighting the importance of various games and series, and Wing Commander is one of their recent additions. There's probably not a lot of new info in there for veteran Wing Commander pilots like you, but it's still a nice trip down memory lane!
Wing Commander - It’s been 27 years since the saga of Wing Commander began. In that time it rose to a height of popularity that few properties ever do. It was everywhere. The games were selling millions, it had a TV cartoon, it had a movie, it had a card game, it had books and sadly it had Electronic Arts. Now it only lives on in memories, in its fans, and in the works of the people who want to relive it just one more time.

French Conversion Patch Released For WC2 Update ID

UnnamedCharacter's latest nifty feat of programming skill is a conversion patch for Wing Commander 2. It takes the common English edition and translates it into the French version. There's also a German patch that performs a similar function. These aren't just for Europeans who happen to have the wrong copy of the game - English speakers who are interested in another language can use these files to get a bit of immersion training in their favorite series! Grab the patch here.
A while back I noticed there was a German language patch available for Wing Commander 2 and decided to do the same for the French version of the game.

Just unzip this file to the Wing Commander 2 directory and play. Floppy disk versions must already be installed on the hard drive, although the zip will translate the installation menu text as well. Note that this only alters subtitles (both cinematics and in flight) and not speech. It's always a good idea to create a backup copy before overwriting too.

CIC Helps Keep You Fully Hydrated Update ID

Dark Sentinel is back to once again astound us all with an absolutely gorgeous Nephilim render. This time he's recreated the promotional image featuring the spooky Hydra class cruiser as it unloads streams of Manta fighters. We got our first high resolution look at this scene from Mark Vearrier in 2004. At 1600x823, it maxed out everyone's screens at the time and was a popular high end wallpaper. Then we were able to post a white-border 3696x2521 version in 2011 that cranked everything up for 4K background images. Now Dark Sentinel's 5120x2880 creation would really show off the sharpness of a 5K display. And his model's probably a bit too high end to be included in a future Prophecy game engine upgrade any time soon, so this is a great way to enjoy it now!
Let us talk about cruisers.
Or rather, to hell with that, just stop and behold. (no, resistance is not allowed)

Done in slightly over 40k triangles and five texture maps (though two of them are Orca shared details), plus glow and bump for this render. The angle is certainly off, but who cares, since it still looks evil enough, right?

GOG Winter Sale In Full Swing Update ID

It's time for another GOG sale, and that means another opportunity to complete your Wing Commander collection for 70% off or to gift the entire series to someone for just $14. If you never happened to pick up that digital copy of Armada or Privateer 2, now you can for just $1.79. A variety of other Origin games are also on sale, plus some interesting space sims that have been in the news lately like Master of Orion and Rebel Galaxy.

Pretty Neat Find: Partial WCP Flight Suit Up For Bid Update ID

Jon Parise is an Origin veteran who was working on Ultima Online when he came across some boxes set aside during cleaning. One of them included the upper half of a Prophecy flight suit about to be discarded. Fortunately, he saved this collectible artifact, and more than a dozen years later, he's making it available on eBay for a fortunate fan to purchase. These don't come around too often, so good luck if you're thinking about bidding! For comparison purposes, you can see the entire suit (with pockets and pants) would look like here.
I worked at Electronic Arts on Ultima Online as they were closing down the Austin-based Origin studio, and I salvaged this from some storage boxes while they were cleaning out the building.

Because this is a costume, it doesn't have an official size. I fits me pretty well, and I generally wear fitted "medium" shirts and a 38 Regular jacket.

In great shape. No tears or broken buckles. I've kept it in its original condition, but it could probably use a careful cleaning after a few years of storage.

Reflecting On Old WC Mod Assets Update ID

Athagen posted several screenshots derived from his early work on the Wing Commander Saga mod. They're also available in the archives at WC3D, and you can see these in action in a couple of the Saga's earliest preview trailers. He's arranged them in some cool poses for you to enjoy below!
Looking through some old CD's and found these meshes that I once worked with for a Wing Commander Mod.

WC Sketches Up Close & Personal Update ID

We've got several character sketches today from NinjaLA. Fans may be more familiar with all of his ship drawings, but he also draws quite a few people from the WC universe. The Confed dude has a pretty interesting uniform (I like the gold trim), and the black and white warrior is a very classic Kilrathi. Ninja says that the cats in the middle "aren't strictly Wing Commander related but, honestly, who doesn't love space cats. :D" Swap out the sword or cane for a Dor-Chak and you'd be just about spot on.
I like space cats.
Everyone loves space cats.

Happy Birthday Wing Commander Prophecy! Update ID

It's been 20 years since Wing Commander Prophecy arrived in stores! Longtime fans may remember some of the original games being released in the early to mid '90s, but Wing Commander Prophecy represented the first game to come out after the initial internet boom. Yes, it was possible to find WC4 information online in late 1995, but a huge influx of fans throughout 1996 and 1997 completely changed the landscape of this internet community. The Wing Commander Home Sector, precursor to the CIC here at wcnews.com, was up and running and you can still go back and read the excited news posts from December 1997. It's a bit surreal for me to go back and read the news from decades ago and see my name mentioned. Prophecy was a big deal in so many ways. It was the first game post-Chris Roberts, the first to feature hardware 3D acceleration and the start of a new saga with a new enemy, which broadened the franchise considerably. It was the first game to be made with real time fan input online when fans contributed to the creation of the glorious universe map. At one point it was even supposed to feature "intense multiplayer scenarios," which sadly didn't make the final cut (check out 1:13 in the video below to hear this mention). And the Vision Engine it ushered in still serves as the foundation for some incredible fan mods out there.
Wingnuts have taken the engine to new heights with upgrades like the stellar OpenGL patch, but there's one nifty demo that we'd still like to highlight. The game's regular demo, which has a series of supplemental missions, has been upgraded, but the Prophecy 3DFX Test is unique and originally required the special 3DFX hardware. It was a relatively simple gauntlet mission, but it was another way for Origin to get early feedback on the game and was the first sneak peek many of us got to share with our fellow fans. Released in November of 1997, the people who had upgraded to a 3DFX card in anticipation of the game were able to enjoy an early look at the Midway and some of the best Wing Commander effects ever. Those of us without the gear to make it work eagerly anticipated reports of people experiences, pored over occasional screenshots and stood on the sidelines as elite pilots one-upped each other's kill scores. Now it's possible to give it a spin with a relatively simple glide wrapper, which itself is a technique more than a dozen years old! We've come a long way - Happy Birthday Wing Commander Prophecy!

Hats Off To New FMV Record Holder Update ID

Games that feature full motion video have undergone a bit of a renaissance over the past two years with a handful of innovative adventures hitting the market since 2015's Her Story. Two decades of dormancy, however, let Wing Commander reign as king of the genre in a number of ways. Now, one game has passed Wing Commander 4 for quantity of FMV, and The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker has the Guiness World Record to prove it! They kindly note that WC4 was previous record holder, which would actually be news to me. I wouldn't be surprised at all if The Price of Freedom had the most, but I wasn't previously aware that this was a category that Guinness tracked. If so, and someone has the printout to show for it, we'd love to see! Wing Commander does hold the official records for First Speech Pack, First Multiplayer Space Combat Game, First use of an animatronic character in a video game and First Hollywood star (Mark Hamill) to top both film and video game charts. Records are made to be broken, and we're glad to see FMV making a comeback. Congrats Doctor Dekker! (not to be confused with Lieutenant Colonel Dekker!)

WC1 Live Viewer Now Displays Medal Points Update ID

UnnammedCharacter has released an update to his WC1 Live Viewer program. The previous iteration of the app displayed game state statistics on flying objects throughout the battle space in your Wing Commander 1 game. It's not an editor, but rather, it can be paired with things like the WC Toolbox to help understand what's going on behind the scenes. In response to a number of recent questions on how the game grants medals, the mission's current medal point status is now displayed. This relates to a relatively complex formula that WC1 uses to score different actions and determine if the player achieves an eligible award for certain missions. The program works specifically with the Kilrathi Saga version of the game in Windows. You can grab it at the CIC Forums here.
Since there has been a few post recently about medal scores, I thought I would update the WC1LiveViewer. It has the same restrictions as before, only Kilrathi Saga is supported (WC1.EXE and wing1.exe).

To use it, start the game, then this program (WC1LiveViewer). If it recognizes the running process, it will populate the table with game data. Since the game data is continuously updating, I find the best approach is to keep pausing the game during gameplay.

Check Out Rebel Galaxy's Delightful Blueprint Update ID

The creators of Rebel Galaxy, already well known for their incredible Privateer April Fools commercial earlier this year, have made another awesome Wing Commander tribute. They've created a fighter diagram for the game's Coyote fighter that's a perfect match to the style of WC1's blueprints. Sure looks like Howie is having fun!
“Douglas McCall” is a WC nod, too! Douglas Aerospace and McCall Industries were ship manufacturers introduced in WC3. (Themselves named after WC ship artists Chris Douglas and Dean McCall!)
And hey, their space game looks pretty neat too! It's available from/for Steam, GOG, Xbox and Playstation 4 for $20.

Backers' Wing Commander Album Scores Released Update ID

Wing Commander fans who pledged for the second Wing Commander album at the $80 level and above now have a treat waiting for them. The PDF digital scores for the seventeen expected orchestral tracks have been released. Contributors can now log in to their Kickstarter Message Inbox for a special note from George Oldziey with a download link and access password. The image below is an idea of what to expect, although this sample is from the first album.
Greetings all! I've finally gotten all the PDFs of the scores for Volume 2 ready.

Thanks again for your wonderful support, and have a great holiday season!


Homeworld Mod Now Spoofs Missiles Update ID

Yet another new feature has been added to the Homeworld Remastered Mod. Electronic Countermeasures are now available to the fighter fleet so that they have a much more robust defense against large missile salvos. Check out this post for exact effectiveness percentages by model. Additionally, ModDB is hosting its annual Mod of the Year contest, and you can vote for this project here. Look for the big "Vote for this Mod" box and help support a very active WC mod! Last, but not least, some cool pictures of last week's skipper missile have been posted. We couldn't include the images in our previous update, obviously, because the missile was temporarily invisible.
And I'm uploading a small feature for the fighter combat. It was a bit tiring to see fighters getting wrecked on both sides by the first missile salvo, so I added an ECM system (Electronic Counter-Measures). From now on, all fighters and bombers will have a chance of defeating incoming enemy missiles as they arrive at close range. The chance... depends on the fighter or bomber.

OK, so what do we have: elite fighters and the Strakha have gotten a huge boost to survivability against both the "first salvo" and various capital ships. They are now a lot more dangerous against fighter spam, as they should be. But in addition to this, the Confederation gets a sensible buff: its roster of planes is much more homogeneous and it starts right away with what other factions would consider as their "advanced" roster.

The Border Worlds, once at Tier 2, will be on a much more equal footing with the Confederation, and their Banshee is really impressive when dodging missiles. The Morningstar gets a top-level ECM because, 1, it is canonically awesome and 2, its current model's real life inspiration has an ECM self-defence suite which is apparently stuff of legends in the aerospace community.

Then, we have the special case of the Zakhari Jammer, which has the only available medium-area ECM suite and might be joined sooner or later by the Zartoth once I find a way to balance it without going too far either way (much harder than one would think for this one). This new capability can be a really interesting addition to the fleet defence, as it offers a proximity defence against torpedoes and missiles in addition to the larger area debuff to enemy craft.

Hornet Zooms Towards The Action Update ID

NinjaLA is back with a nifty sketch that shows off his "gradient mask coloring" technique. There are two images this time so you can see how things begin as a simple pencil sketch... and progress into a very sleek Hornet! And be sure to blow the picture up to see the cool mix of glossy and speckled textures being employed here (not to mention the cute little Dralthi kill tallies).
Experiments with gradient mask coloring: original and 'colored' versions for comparison. I still have some experimenting to do before I am any good at it.. but it's really easy since you can apply gradient masks in layers. Getting some cool effects so far. Just gotta do cleaner masks around my edges. :P

Recording Session Set For WC Bar Music! Update ID

There's a pretty sizable update on the progress of George Oldziey's second Wing Commander album today. A date has been set now for early February to do the live recording of the WC bar music. It'll be performed in George's personal studio in Austin. After this session occurs, the album will be close to finished. That's still a few months off, but eager fans who pledged for PDFs of the orchestrated tracks have that to look forward to when it goes out in the next few weeks!
Greetings my friends! I just wanted to update you on what will be happening with the WC music recording project Volume 2 in the near future. We've scheduled a recording session for the WC bar music for February 10th at my studio in Austin, TX. In attendance will be the illustrious musicians from my Latin jazz band, GATO 6, who will be recording transcriptions from the original bar music MIDI files. Also in attendance will be the donors who pledged at that level. I will have the MIDI mockups of the orchestral music that will be recorded after phase 2 is complete (more on that schedule later) finished by the Feb. 10th date, and once the bar music is mixed and mastered I'll be sending out the CDs of that music as well as digital downloads shortly thereafter.

Also, the PDFs of the orchestral music that will be part of the eventual Volume 2 CD will be ready before the holidays, so those of you that pledged at that level will be receiving those scores very soon!

In the mean time, I hope you and yours have a truly amazing holiday season! I can't wait to send you the fruits of your faith in me!

Musically yours,


The Voices Of War Speak Many Languages Update ID

Christian Klein, the Pixel Engineer, has dug up a really cool version of Wing Commander Armada. This one's made for the Japanese PC-98 computer. There's so much to love on every inch of the box here, but my favorite might be the dark red disks with Japanese text. It makes me want to start building Banshees right now!

We're Number 239! Update ID

Polygon has put together a massive a feature on the 500 best games of all time. Wing Commander has made many, many such lists in its time, but this might be the longest - and furthest down - that we've seen it ever rank on. I can imagine it's really hard to qualitatively score a hundred games across many disparate genres, let alone five times that number, so it's kind of interesting to scroll through and see what they ended up with. If you ignore the numbering, which was originally the point of course, you still have a pretty cool list of 500 noteworthy games and what makes them special. Wing Commander 1 ranked number 239, ahead of both Ultima IV and VII. A proper tally would have included Wing Commander 3 and Privateer somewhere nearby, and many other series did see various sequels included, so that's one particular disappointment. And unfortunately, WC1 came in behind the 3DS title Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. At least it beat out 261 other games, including Quake 3, Diablo 3, X-Wing and Microsoft Flight Sim!
239. WING COMMANDER (1990, PC, others)

Highly expensive and highly successful, the visual precedent set forth with Wing Commander marked a shift for many in game development. Many games that followed had to live up to the graphical and mechanical panache of this space combat simulator.

Wing Commander Teaches 3D Update ID

AD found a nifty Wing Commander feature in Isaac Kerlow's The Art of 3D: Computer Animation and Effects which includes snippets from the Wing Commander Movie. The shots are interesting because they break down certain scenes into the various elements that get composited together to produce the finished frame for the film. The book was published just a couple years after WC was released, so computer animation was still a groundbreaking field. As such fifteen years on, the information here seems a bit basic by today's standards, but it's wonderful to see Wing Commander used to advance the medium. There's some five hundred other pages besides these though, so there must be some educational stuff in there! You can pick up a hard copy at Amazon.
An insightful, up-to-date look at creating in the digital environment In a practical, easy-to-understand format, The Art of 3-D Computer Animation and Effects covers every aspect of creating and outputting fully rendered three-dimensional computer still images or animations, including visual effects for live action. Along with helpful insights into the newest techniques available in the latest software programs and hardware, this new edition provides solid conceptual and critical basics through a combination of technical explanations and creative technique

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