Fat Privateer Ad Sees Gemini Still At War Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Vintage PC Ads has unearthed a really cool Privateer advertisement that we may not have seen before, but it has some striking similarities to a couple of other contemporary ads that were launched about the same time. The text starts off "In 2670..." which is a common issue dating back to some point before they cemented the game in 2669. Confed and the Kilrathi are "still at war" here, whereas "the war rages on" in other publications. We've seen "death, slavery or dishonor" elsewhere, but this text changes "a chance to make a quick buck" to "chance to make a fat living." Fascinating!

New Book Covers Development of Ultima Online, Privateer Online and More Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Former Origin veteran Raph Koster has just published a new book titled Postmortems: Selected Essays Volume One. Mr. Koster was lead designer for Ultima Online and went on to develop Privateer Online before its unfortunate cancelation. He then was hired by Sony as Chief Creative Office for Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest and many others. His new book goes back to look at the "postmortems" of the many projects throughout his career - after-action reports, lessons learned and critical analyses about what games did right, did wrong or could be improved on in the next iteration. It promises to provide some fascinating insight behind the scenes of game development. And in the run up to its impending publication, Raph has released a handful of snippets that tease various sections. Today's example provides a glimpse at his reflection of Privateer Online! The full book is available at Amazon.
My new book POSTMORTEMS is going to press soon: 700 pages of design articles on MUDs, UO, Privateer Online, SWG, Metaplace, and even Andean Bird. Tons of new material never published. Foreword by @RichardGarriott.

Today's snippet from my forthcoming book POSTMORTEMS is on the cancelled PRIVATEER ONLINE, which had some huge differences from other MMOs of the day. There's never been much info out there about this game, but the book has a detailed description (bet @wccic will be interested!)

Few game designers have shared as many lessons learned as Raph Koster. In a quarter-century of writings and talks, he has offered up game design lessons, online community theories, and candid self-evaluation.

This first volume of a three-book set of selected essays collects previously written postmortems and many brand new pieces. They are accompanied by historical material such as posts written for players, chat logs, speeches, design sketches, and more. The result is an inspiring historical look back at the development of virtual worlds.

Wing Blender Update Whips Up Models Twice As Fast Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wing Blender has gotten its first update in more than a year. The program is a Blender importer/exporter for ship models that allows for easier manipulation of the items in Wing Commander Prophecy or Secret Ops. It's been a useful app for fan project modders, and the new version 2.2.1 can easily cut import time in half! You can grab the program here and get tips on its use at the CIC Forums.
Anyway, if you've tried to use the importer, you'll know that it is sluggish as hell. I've been trying to work on that. I made a few optimizations to the importer recently, which mostly involve using flat typed arrays instead of lists of lists, and it turned out to be MUCH faster than what I had. With my most recent optimizations, I was able to cut the import time in half! Well, at least for the more detailed meshes. AST_S_01.IFF hasn't shown much improvement in terms of import time, but that's because the other bottleneck is the MAT reader, and I have no idea how I could optimize the MAT reader any further.


  • Allows you to do most of the work on the model in Blender and then export it without the need to use external utilities to set the collision sphere, radius, or hardpoints.
  • If a texture's filename is numeric, you will be able to convert it straight to a MAT file without renaming it. For example, if you have a texture named 424242.jpg, your model will reference 00424242.mat
  • Converts Blender "empty" objects to hardpoints and other VISION engine mesh metadata.
  • Collision sphere position and radius is automatically calculated, but can be manually overridden.
  • Child objects can now be exported along with the main object.
  • LOD mesh support

Wing Commander 'Arcade' Built for BritizenCon Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

BritizenCon is an annual event for fans of Star Citizen in the UK. In conjunction with JR Design & Fabrication, the main panelists at the event were able to sit behind a really cool desk inspired by a setting in the game. On top of that, the WC fans there also built a really cool arcade style kiosk with built-in Wing Commander games! They designed a cabinet around a 27" monitor and loaded up Wing Commander 2, Armada and more on the systems. Everything was topped off by a keyboard and joystick built into the frame so that fans could simply walk up and jump into the games. You can read up further on how everything came together here.
Second on the list was to recreate some of the trading consoles and re-purpose them as Wing Commander arcade machines. As soon as we had this idea it had to be done!!

Painted and in place at the event they certainly went down well with the crowd and the people we spoke to really enjoyed the trip down memory lane playing through all versions of Chris Roberts' 90s games.

Happy Birthday Chris Roberts! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today is Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts' birthday! He's looking pretty good for fifty - video game development seems to suit him well. Still, hopefully he's able to take a break and enjoy the weekend!

We're Updating Our Privacy Policy Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Just kidding. Today actually marks fifteen years of continuous daily WC news updates. The last day we missed was May 25, 2003, short of the occasional technical issue that may have slightly delayed the daily news a bit. Back in the spring of 2003, we were all eagerly awaiting the imminent release of Wing Commander Prophecy for the Gameboy Advance.

Not every day features major breaking stories or unearths startling revelations, but there's always something happening in the Wing Commander community. That's thanks to how engaged and dedicated you all are every day. Where will we be in another five, ten or fifteen years? Probably looking back and wondering what the heck the headline on this post meant.

Games that Rock: Wing Commander 3 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Nerds that Geek has posted a quick flashback on the majesty of Wing Commander 3. The article's not long, but it captures the essence of what made The Heart of the Tiger great. The author credits the game for kickstarting FMV and next-level storytelling in games without compromising on the gameplay. He leaves off by encouraging people to pick up a cheap digital copy and relive the adventure. That's advice we can certainly stand behind! Check the full piece here.

Wing Commander Movie Model Rundown Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Atherin has been busy recreating nearly every ship in the Wing Commander film using SketchUp. There's really not much missing - we don't see the Kilrathi Concom, Diligent or some of the small background items, but just about all of the other major stuff is there. It's a pretty nice lineup! He's been uploading everything to do the 3D Warehouse so you can download copies for yourself here. Or you can find more comprehensive info on the ships that appear in the Wing Commander movie here.

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Hobbes Betrayal Crosses Over Language Barriers Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Most people are familiar with the infamous video cuts that were made to fit all of the video on the Wing Commander 3 discs. Helpful sequences such as the TCN news bursts and Hobbes explanation were omitted due to space constraints. Fortunately, these are now available here at the CIC, but for a long time, the main way players could watch the Hobbes scene was to track down a copy of WC3 on the Playstation or 3DO. But how many people have watched this clip in German?! It's a cool recording, since the German voice actor behind Hobbes is nearly as good as the original. FekLeyrTarg has posted it to YouTube so you can see it now!
In dieser Szene, die wahrscheinlich aus Platzgründen nicht in der PC-Version aber dafür in der Playstation- und 3DO-Version sowie in der Romanfassung von "Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger" enthalten ist, entdeck Colonel Christopher "Maverick" Blair (Mark Hamill/Frank Röth) eine Videobotschaft von Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas (John Schuck/Thomas Rauscher), in dem er die Umstände seines Verrats an der Terranischen Konföderation und an seinen besten Freund erklärt.

Vielen Dank an Wingcenter.net, wo diese und andere Szenen aus der Playstation-Version auf Englisch und auf Deutsch zur Verfügung gestellt worden sind.

Check Out Spanish Wing Commander Armada Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Christian Klein has found another rare and exotic Spanish Wing Commander translation by DROSoft. His last couple finds were for WC1 and the Secret Missions, but this jumps all the way forward to Armada. It would be a treat to see how they changed the Voices of War manual and how the English and Spanish versions would mesh over multiplayer. The Spanish Victory Streak is just there for fun and wasn't part of this set. Armada was ahead of its time and is a ton of fun, so it's great to see other regions that got it!
Just got this hard to find Spanish Wing Commander Armada. The box is in a good shape and the disks are still readable. It's added to the archive now. #DOSgaming

Trusty Tarsus Takes Shape Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Now that the Talon's out in the wild, DefianceIndustries' focus shifts to the Gemini Sector's other workhorse, the Tarsus. It's kind of a shame you don't actually run into them out and about, because the design is just so darn charming. Perhaps some of the allure is simply because it's your own unique home away from home out in space for so much of the game. There have been some amazing looking Tarsus models made over the years, but this is certainly one to watch!
Sorry boys, I'm just a tourist with a fragged nav console - can you tell me where I am?

Well..... you can't have a Talon without giving it something to shoot at.

Nifty Video Game Music Podcast Highlights George Oldziey's WC Soundtrack Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Composers Play podcast's latest episode is about Wing Commander 3. Scott Tobin interviews the original composers of major video games in his series of video game shows, and he's got George Oldziey on the line for this one. There's lots of great backstory about how Mr. Oldziey got involved with Wing Commander and what it means to him to be supporting the fans still after all these years. It's definitely worth a listen! Check it out below, and if you like this one, their previous episode was about the Crusader series with composer Andrew Sega.
Composers Play - "Wing Commander 3" with the composer George Oldziey!

Apologies about the audio at the beginning. Check out and support George's music.

Classic Joystick Evokes Hardware Nostalgia Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dennis Mull came across a hardware setup from the mid '90s that's a pretty neat time capsule of the era. The Quickshot "Squadron Commander" QS-202 is a very early example of a Hands-On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS). Lots of joysticks at the time were sold as "compatible with Wing Commander," and this one includes pre-programmed controls for Wing Commander, Wing Commander 3 and Strike Commander. Given the rapid pace of PC advancement during that time, it's pretty cool that you could regularly find equipment that worked with all of these games. The box even advertises Windows 95 compatibility. And there's lots of other titles besides the WC series listed on the box, which gives you an idea of how popular the flight sim genre was at the time. TheSynrgy also put together a cool unboxing of the unit if you'd like to see more!

Comparing P2's Ship Seller Before & After Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Check out this pre-release screenshot from Privateer 2 that AD discovered and compare it to one from the final game. The UI isn't as developed, ship icons are in color, BUY/SELL is named TRANS-ACT... and all of the ships have different names: JACKAL becomes Straith, FLEA becomes Shaman and MANTIS becomes Icarus. MULE and CORSAIR don't match ships in the finished game! Most interesting: your ship isn't pictured but is listed as a "TIGER SHARK." That's not in the final game, but it IS referenced in passing twice in the flavor text. Melissa Banks is said to fly a Tiger Shark named Fatale (she flies a Faldari when you rescue her).

This was part of the CD-ROM Interactive Entertainment previews recently discovered. It's worth comparing side by side here in greater detail, because the differences are so cool!
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WC2 Modding Leads to New Discoveries Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Fans continue to do amazing things by digging into the earlier Wing Commander games' code. One of the latest findings has led to the manipulation of the screen transitions between segments of the Wing Commander 2 cutscenes. They've found that there are ten possible ways to wipe the screen and launch the next clip - variants of wiping side to side, diagonally and circular from the middle. This is just one of many findings that Wingnuts have discovered recently, albeit a more visible one that's easy for us to highlight. If you'd like to learn about even more detailed hacking that UnnamedCharacter, delMar and lskovlun have revealed, check out the CIC Forums.
As for the wipe index, the following values are possible:

0: wipe down; horizontal line wipe (from top to bottom)
1: wipe left; vertical line wipe (from right to left)
2: wipe up; horizontal line wipe (from bottom to top)
3: wipe right; vertical line wipe (from left to right)
4: wipe diagonal (from top left to bottom right)
5: wipe diagonal (from top right to bottom left)
6: wipe diagonal (from bottom right to top left)
7: wipe diagonal (from bottom left to top right)
8: iris from center to edges
9: iris from edges to center

Brimstone Easter Egg Found 28 Years Later Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LotsoRobbinBear has found a long lost easter egg built into Wing Commander 1. He was playing through the Vega Sector in such a way as to hit all of the losing track systems when he came across something odd in Brimstone 3. When he kills all the fighters, things proceed as expected. However, if he kills Maniac as well as all the fighters, he is awarded a Bronze Star! Normally, losing a wingman (even Maniac) results in a reduction in medal points that would often disqualify you from an award. In just this system, the opposite is the case. This isn't random either! Recall that at the start of the Brimstone series, Halcyon gives you permission during the mission briefing to shoot Maniac down if he disobeys. This is apparently not just idle chatter - the game mechanics have been slightly tweaked to reward the player for following through! It's pretty neat that this has been hidden in the code all this time! Check out the CIC Forums for all the investigation and math that verifies this.
So I had a very strange experience that no information I could find on the internet could explain. I've searched the forums here and couldn't find anything directly relevant (so my apologies if this has been asked before and I missed it). I'm currently doing a 'losing campaign' play-through of WC1 (i.e. so I can play all the series you miss if you win all the time). I met the full victory conditions for Brimstone 1 & 2, but in order to lose the series I am not killing the Dorkir in Brimstone 3 (provided I can retreat from it before Maniac kills it).

Now in trying to accomplish this, my aim was to get 8 kills (i.e. 2 Jalthis & 6 Krants) then get back to base, while keeping Maniac alive. However, on one of my attempts Maniac died before I could kill all the Krants, so I went back to base with the 8 kills (leaving the Dorkir alive) just to see what would happen. Of course I get dressed down by the Colonel for failing the mission (he didn't care about Maniac dying lol), however for my failures I am rewarded with both a Bronze Star and a promotion!

Now Playing Podcast Covers Wing Commander Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Now Playing Podcast's latest episode is all about Wing Commander. They are obviously a movie show, but this installment actually approaches the subject from a comprehensive Wing Commander franchise angle. At least one of the commentators has a long history with the series including the games, knowledge of the TV show and the back story of the WC Movie itself. They poke fun at some of the sillier elements of the film, but they credit things like its pioneering first use of time slice "bullet time," which is cool. They spend a full 90 minutes hashing everything out, so they cover quite a bit of ground. Check it out for yourself here.
Game developer Chris Roberts was on course to deliver the first major science fiction film of 1999 when he personally piloted his massively popular flight simulator Wing CommanderPhantom Menace and The Matrix. Do fighter pilots Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard offer a new hope for genre fans as they clean the cat box of feline space invaders The Kilrathi? Or should Arnie, Justin, and Stuart quickly eject from this next entry in the Now Playing Arcade? Listen and find out!

"Drop your cargo before you blow, will ya?" Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

DefianceIndustries is hard at work cranking out the most plentiful peashooter of the Gemini Sector, the F-38 Talon. Unfortunately, they're mostly up to no good on behalf of the Retros or pirates, but occasionally the Confed Militia will trot a few out as well. The Talon might be a bland workhorse in Privateer, but these updated renders are gorgeous!
I finally finished up my F-38 Talon. These things litter the Gemini sector and everybody has at least ten. From the Retros, to pirates, to in-system security - you can't throw a rock and not hit one; even the Kilrathi have a few. But I currently only did two paint schemes. By far the most famous - and obnoxious:
And to counteract the crazies - here's a Confed ISS version: Best not be carrying any contraband around these guys - oh, who am I kidding, they're made entirely of tissue paper. Anyway - enjoy!

First Flat Universe Tournament Announced Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Maslas Brothers have announced the first multiplayer tournament for Wing Commander Flat Universe. They will be holding the big contest over the weekend of June 23-24 next month. More details will be announced as the date approaches, but pilots can register for the event here now. Head over the Daedalus Station to download the game and start practicing. It should be lots of fun!
The wait is over...

The first Wing Commander Multiplayer Tournament will become a reality only if... YOU JOIN US

Do you feel the heat?
23/24 June 2018

Let's find out!

CGW Preview Stokes P2 Hype Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

FredDude posted this nifty sneak preview of Privateer 2 from the October 1996 issue of Computer Gaming World. You can see they're pretty excited. The author spends quite a bit of time talking about the dark and cutthroat environment that the game exists in. There's also some hints of the devious storyline highlighted by a number of star actors. They're almost more optimistic about it than WC3/4, and it's perhaps these lofty expectations that affected the general perception of the final game. You can find their somewhat disappointed final review here (although they did still end up being jazzed about the unique story).

Fun with Super Wing Commander Cockpits Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Friday night score! Happened across several pre-release Super Wing Commander screenshots. Note the older VDU graphics and the early cockpit that's more TIE Fighter than Hornet!

A preview build seems to have been provided to magazines in early 1994... wonder if it's floating around somewhere! Here's what the finished cockpits looked like. And here's some footage of a pre-release build, from a VHS trailer. You can see the same WIP VDU images... plus a cut enemy ship at the 28 second mark!
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Wing Commander Jazz CD Coming Along, Looking For Cover Art Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

George Oldziey checked in again to provide fans an update on his Wing Commander jazz album, which was recorded a couple months ago. He's recently overcome some delays and is now ready to check off some of the few remaining production-related tasks. One thing he's asking fans for help on is the cover art. Anyone who has ideas or input should hit the comment button below and let him know. The sooner this gets finalized, the sooner fans who supported his recent album campaign can get their music! Listen to a preview below.
Greetings WC music fans! Firstly, I have to apologize for not being very present here. Some life's challenges took my attention, but they have been resolved and I now have the music for the WC bar music CD ready to be manufactured.

But first! I would love suggestions for art work for the CD. If you have any ideas about what you think would be appropriate for the CD jacket let me know! I'd like to get this done in the next few weeks if possible, so please send me your thoughts!

Thank you again for your patience and support!

Musically yours,


Dragon Con '96 Ad Highlights Farmer Blair Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Death^_ tipped us off about a really cool advertisement for Dragon Con 1996 posted by Wade Haddock. The sheet shows off the various celebrities that would be in attendance, including Mark Hamill! Note that this is not "Star Wars' Mark Hamill." In fact, Star Wars isn't mentioned at all, which is funny since this appeared in a Star Wars comic. He is simply billed as Colonel Christopher Blair in Origin Systems' Wing Commander IV. Right on! That's what springs to my mind first too... Of course, this appearance happened just four months after WC4's release, so it was particularly relevant at the time.
Scan of an ad from the April 1996 issue of the comic adaptation of the Star Wars EU story "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" (third of four issues). Notice the Special Guest announcement on the bottom-right corner of the ad.

End Run Rollout Continues Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The final missing ebook from the Baen Wing Commander catalog continues to march towards release. As previously mentioned, the Milk Run story is available as a sample chapter to help get fans excited. Since we last reported, the novel has been added for preorder on Kobo, and we've added links to Google Play as well. End Run fully releases on July 3, 2018. Also check out the new and improved Book Grid that Kris and LOAF made. All the digital options you could want in your WC novel life are now at your fingertips! (except Freedom Flight on Google Play, apparently)

Freedom Flight
 - Baen Ebook
 - Amazon Kindle
 - Apple iBooks
 - B&N Nook
 - Kobo
 - Google Play

Prototype Wing Commander Box Highlights Minimalist Design Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LOAF recently found a nifty marketing prerelease snap of the Wing Commander 4 box. As the story goes, the stark geometric pattern of the main box eventually gave way to a slipcase sleeve with a more action-oriented center. You can see in the shot below that this bears a fairly strong resemblance to the final design. The core art and even font are in place, but the lettering was repositioned a bunch before production. Note that it just says "Wing IV" on the side though!

Exploratory WC1 Mod Tweaks Game's Graphics Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

There's been lots of great work in the last couple years on researching the file formats used in the original Wing Commander games. Digging continues on that front, so while there's some neat things to see, not much is playable yet. Rehsin has built upon some of that knowledge to create a proof concept mod for WC1. He doctored up some of the hairstyles, animations and backgrounds slightly just to begin to show what's possible. It's pretty awesome that people are still tinkering like this and that the field of WC1/2 modding is actually growing. Check it out and learn more at the CIC Forums here.
Hello, I made a few changes to the Wing Commander 1 graphics.

A Little Lego Quickie Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Scimitars may not be known for going fast, but blink and you might miss this one. Hit the gear in the lower right and you can slow the clip down in slow motion. At 0.25 speed you can admire the design a little more. This is just one of the Wing Commander fighters that Stephen Fender is working on. He's got four Confed and four Kilrathi ships coming together, and with that he's considering putting together a Lego movie or comic. Whatever form this ends up taking, we'd love to see it!
A little LEGO model I designed in Lego Digital Designer, converted to 3DS, then imported into Lightwave for a quick test render.

Richard Garriott Successfully Reaches North Pole with Kids Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Origin founder Richard Garriott recently led an expedition to the North Pole. He conducted various science experiments on behalf of the Explorers Club and also helped make history by bringing along the youngest adventurers to ever make the trek - his children Ronin (3.5 years) and Kinga (5 years). The pictures below show them unfurling an Austin flag at the pole and conducting some very cool ice cave exploration. It sounds like modern technology makes the trip far less burdensome than in years past, but there is still difficulty getting the airplanes in and out. Richard had to stand on the return flight due to how crammed their plane was! I'm glad they were able to pull off such a cool trip safely. Check out Spectrum News here and here for more background.
Back in Svalbard with the youngest boy ever to the North Pole! Everyone happy & healthy, happy to have power & internet!

Wing Commander Easter Eggs Spotted In WoW Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dowlphin spotted a couple of nifty easter eggs in a recent World of Warcraft quest. Wing Commander Black and a blue-haired Kilrath make appearances as a couple of Orcs in a story mission. These aren't random gaming references either - WoW executive producer J Allen Brack is a major Wing Commander vet. He got his start in the industry as a QA tester on Wing Commander 3 and went on to work on P2, WC4, Kilrathi Saga, Prophecy and Secret Ops. There are likely numerous such gems hidden in the game. Another player spotted Wing Commander Mulverick a while back too.

Secret Ops Transport Gets Major Overhaul Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack has a new Nephilim transport. Thanks to some graphical magic by Dark Sentinel and DefianceIndustries, the Triton goes from being an ugly gray tube to an exotic alien worm. It looks like a lot of fun to blow up! Here's the explodey version!
Update time true believers! Today we are showcasing another great Nephilim ship brought to you by Dark Sentinel. The Triton (aka Leatherback) transport. Essentially a giant cigar case with guns, DS has done a great job making it look more like the original concept art, good and buggy! He's also bringing spines back. That's right spines! This ship is loaded with them! If you don't like spines, go home! Also I got the fun part of blowing it up, and so can you! Look for this and other exciting Nephilim additions in the next patch - Coming soon!

Rare Version of WC1 Appears to Show Hunter's Prerelease Name Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Avid Wing Commander collector Christian Klein has found another rare artifact. He managed to locate a British copy of the game on 5.25" low density disks that may be an earlier release than the mass produced copy most of us are familiar with. In it, Hunter is named "Dart," which we know was an original placeholder name for the character. The first screenshot below shows this, and the second is from the British 3.5" high density disk release. LOAF points out that the name change came late in development, and both Hunter and Maniac actually have "Dart" and "Joker" nameplates on their helmets in all versions of the final game!

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