Wing Commander 3 as Seen From the 21st Century Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Sidequest has posted a thorough retrospective of Wing Commander 3. It comes from an interesting perspective. The author has a lot of experience reviewing games, but was born after WC3's 1994 release. As such, one of the first things he calls out was the game's low resolution and high compression in cutscenes. While there's no doubt that this is an issue, if you lived through it at the time you would recall how the high end graphics (both in flight and for video) brought hardware of the time to its knees as it was. He also struggles a bit through the lack of tutorial help in-game, which was also typical of the era. But it's wonderful to see how people power through these difficulties and nevertheless have a blast with the game!
Thanks to Spacedock for spotting this one!

WC4 Fan Remake Enlisting Programer Reinforcements Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

ODVS has put together a new promo for the WC4 Fan Remake, and it's a little different than most that we've seen. Watch it and let him know what you think. The team is also potentially looking for another programmer. If this might be something you could help with, hit the comment link below!
Are there any C++ / C# programmers out there left to recruit? We have two musicians but only one programmer. :) It's our only real bottle neck.

We're looking for tools. Now whilst many of the tools are in C# like all game engines the core is in C++ interop is going to be needed even for those.

I'll outline some tasks I think we could bounce to others here:

  • AI Behaviour Tree - New behaviours for space combat (Tool C#, game behaviours protocol buffers, behaviour implementations C++)
  • Model material editor: Leaning towards C++ using IMGUI to avoid complexity. C# is an option but would require a lot of interop The AI tool exists but needs to be redone to support per project behaviours and a focus on 3D locomotion. The material editor doesn't, material overrides are currently defined in yaml.
And here's a recent example of the reworked in-game audio, in case you missed it!

WC1 Fan Cutscene Visits Ardai Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Plywood Fiend has created a nifty cutscene to share this weekend. The setting with an iconic Dralthi wing broken off is a cool piece of art on its own, but he also made a corresponding animation with music and captions to turn it into a WC1 style cutscene. This kind of 30-year-throwback creativity makes it so fun to be part of the Wing Commander community!
I've always wanted to make one of these. Alas my pixel art talents aren't quite up to the original game's standards, but perhaps this'll make for a nifty, nostalgic thing for some.

Bit of a headcanon scene here. It takes place during the winning path with the Tiger's Claw finishing the Kilrathi off in Venice and other Confederation ships vanquishing the feline menace in other systems.

Act Fast for Discounted Wing Commander at GOG Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

GOG.com is having a sci-fi midweek sale that's briefly discounting Wing Commander - and many more space sims! Each WC package is just $1.49 or a whopping $11.92 for the entire set of DOS and Windows games in the series. Of course, most of the people reading this already own the games, but there's a whole new generation of gamers out there who barely know what Wing Commander is. The GOG sale ends late tonight, but their frequent discounts are an excellent opportunity to bring new people into the fold! Also, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is now included since it has been recently released on GOG. It's a wonderful WC-inspired game half off now for just $14.99! RGO makes it easy to pretend you're playing a brand new Privateer spinoff.

Perseverance Rover Successfully Lands on Mars! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We spend a lot of time in the world of science fiction here at the CIC, but when history is made in the real life realm of science and technology, we like to take a moment and recognize how incredible it is that the imaginary events of yesterday are actually happening today. As you've hopefully heard, the Perseverance rover successfully touched down today on the surface of Mars. Like its sibling in 2012, the maneuver was accomplished as the rover was gently lowered by a levitating aerial crane. The fact that this time the "rover" was a one ton beast the size of a car makes it all the more amazing. On top of the ability to search for signs of life on the surface, this probe packs a flying helicopter for the first time. This will provide unprecedented views and mobility for a craft on another planet. I can't wait to see what we learn in the weeks, months and years ahead! Congratulations to all of the teams who spent more than a decade working hard to get here (which includes Wingnuts like robotics programmer eddieb, among others no doubt).

French Mags Reveal The Darkening Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dug up an excellent French Privateer 2 preview from the 1995 press junket (when it was still just The Darkening). I think this is the highest quality image of Mathilda May's cool space lady costume I've seen!

This one has some great in-progress renders from the landings and gameflow! And here's one more.
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Uncommon Settings Make Fun Sketches Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we have a couple of hand drawn sketches by AirenWoodmoon. They're both based on RPG notebooks that the artist drew years ago starring the characters from Wing Commander. We don't see nearly as many sketches like this as we used to, but of all the inspirations for such drawings, WC3 has clearly been the most popular. These are based on settings from WC1/2 and Prophecy, which makes them pretty cool and unique. I mean, Shadow and Doomsday? Stiletto and Kevin Tolwyn? What a deep throwback!
So every notebook needs a back cover, right? One of the original Pilots' Notebooks had an insert cover that I had done of the first group I started playing with in the Wing Commander Universe, way back when I was a kid. I've been obsessed with Wing Commander off and on my entire life, and I was indoctrinated watching my dad play the first two games on the Amiga, and playing myself when I was old enough. Anyway, the original insert cover was the crew that I used to role play by myself with when I was a kid and later dumped into the game with my friends. I decided to recreate that drawing for the back cover of the Christmas gift.

Pilot roster, left to right:

  • Ian "Hunter" St. John (WC1)
  • Tanaka "Spirit" Mariko (WC1/WC2)
  • Christopher "Condor" Blair (OC)*
  • Jeanette "Angel" Deveraux (WC1/WC2. I went with in game Angel though I like the movie girl)
  • Todd "Maniac" Marshall (WC1/WC2/WC3)
  • Elizabeth "Shadow" Norwood (WC2. You might not remember her. She died in the first mission of the game.)
  • Courtney "Jazz" Colson (WC2. And yes I changed his name. By this point he's half OC, but still the crazy traitor)
  • Etienne "Doomsday" Montclaire (seated, WC1)
  • James "Paladin" Taggart (WC1/WC2/WC3)
  • Ralgha nar Hhallas "Hobbes" (WC2/WC3)
So back in high school I was really into Wing Commander. Prophecy had just been released and I dove headfirst, pulling all my friends into this massive RPG campaign based on the Midway, even those who I had never role played with before. It was massive and glorious and spanned two years, the longest running campaign at that time. (We had ADD. The only reason it lasted that long is that we dropped any and every character we wanted into it.) It was glorious. :D

One of the ways we would play the RP was through passing a notebook around. Since we started it with a handful of Midway pilots the notebooks quickly became known as the Pilots' Notebook. Think of it like a massive chat board between a slew of characters, except done on pen and paper and passed around between classes. It was only a short period of time before we started drawing covers for these things. And so this is a redrawing of my original cover for the first Pilots' Notebook, showing the original group that started the whole thing.

From left to right, back standing row first:

  • Kevin "Lone Wolf" Tolwyn (yeah, not his in game/book look. I based him off Malcom McDowell’s Tolwyn)
  • Tom "Jinx" Winston (OC)
  • Lance "Frosty" Casey (Prophecy)
  • Nicole "Knife" Forbes (loosely based on Forbes from the book based on the movie)
  • Aleksei "Skull" Karovich (OC)
Group on the bench:
  • Emily "Babe" Babecock (OC, though I'm almost sure I took Babecock off the Prophecy pilot roster in game)
  • Max "Maestro" Garrett (Prophecy)
  • Jessi "Sugarplum" (Elrondofthewoodship's OC)
  • Jonny "Q-Ball" Quest (yeap)
Floor seating:
  • Erasto "Zero" Dodds (Prophecy)
  • Jean "Stiletto" Talvert (Prophecy)
This picture took me forever, but I'm really pleased how it came out. It was made for a Christmas gift, and I'm glad I get to finally share it.

South Korean Wing Commanders are a Localized Treat Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Yesterday we were talking about collecting rare international versions of Wing Commander, and here's another prime example. AD found this awesome set of Wing Commanders 1 through 4 from South Korea. WC1&2 got an especially nice combo treatment with localized fighter blueprints and everything. We know it got a big promotional push at the time too from various artifacts that have cropped up over the years. The first package was done by SKC Soft Land, but I can't quite make out the details on WC3 or WC4. The originating post on this dates back to 2004, so the original poster is probably hard to find today, but if you've got experience with these, please share in the comments! It does appear that WC4 was censored in South Korea to remove the throat cutting, Telamon body and Tolwyn hanging to conform to local ratings pressure. This is a very cool find!

Mull's Hauls Add to Extensive Collection Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Classic gamer Dennis Mull has had a productive winter so far by adding a wide range of fantastic additions to his collection. What I'm most envious of is his German special edition of Wing Commander 3. Check out that t-shirt it ships with! Compare with the all black version that came in the Sam's Club edition, which he also recently obtained. There's also a double-pack of the Secret Missions. These used to be the type of thing that would eventually find their way into bargain bins in the mid '90s, but now they are a pretty nice find. After that it's a Greek release of Privateer 2, which is also really neat. Last, but not least, is a German set of Wing Commander novels. Moving on from Wing Commander items, there's also some great aerial sims from Origin. His latest Strike Commander find is a Spanish copy of the Tactical Operations expansion, which looks good along with its siblings. He's also got a whopping five different localizations of Pacific Strike, and this is without a Spanish copy that he no longer owns. I really admire people who try to dig up rare international editions of games - it's not an easy search!

'Prillard' Poster Promotes Podcast Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a fun movie poster from the Triple Threat Theater podcast. It celebrates the joint collaborations between Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard. Last year they dedicated an entire episode to the trio of She's All That, Wing Commander and the Scooby Doo movie, which all starred the duo between 1999 and 2002. This artwork was used to promote the episode, and they even did a neat making-of post that looked at the process from concept to finished design. That's always neat to see. As for the actual episode, you can probably skip it. It clocks in at two hours here with the Wing Commander portion lasting from about the 52 minute mark through about 1:15. They didn't quite understand the context of the 1990s and how big of a blockbuster game Wing Commander was in the years preceding the WC Movie's development. Instead, the streamers rehash the normal legitimate complaints about the visual design or Rosie's death, but they don't appreciate the talented international cast nor the special effects, which were very good for the time. Perhaps the most egregious point is the absolutely painful comparison to "Star Trek with space fighters" instead of the super obvious Star Wars connection - to the point where they try to compare the Pilgrims to some kind of mystical Mr. Spock instead of - duh - a poor man's Force powers. But hey, cool poster.

Screenrant Talks Wing Commander Remasters Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Screenrant has posted a new article proposing the novel idea that Electronic Arts remaster the Wing Commander series. We wondered when Command & Conquer's remaster was announced if now was finally the time. The author notes that EA's loss of Star Wars exclusivity may push them back towards their original franchise like Wing Commander and Mass Effect. He also muses that "if it were possible to upscale" the '90s video, then the whole thing might have a chance. Of course, as ODVS has proved time and time again, it's not just possible. The footage has already been remastered at a superior level of quality than that which was included with C&C, so that's not an issue. Surprisingly, they don't seem to know about the WC4 Fan Remake. The project is the top result in Google (and three out of the next four videos after that!) and well on their way to accomplishing a high quality new take on the game. Of course, we completely agree that EA should get on board with remastering WC, so if you'd like to hear more like minded ranting, check out the full article here.
EA has a host of franchises in its vault that could use a remaster, but not many feel more appropriate for the current moment than Wing Commander. A whole new generation of moviegoers just saw their own Star Wars saga come to a close, and those looking for something other than nostalgia could fall right into the authentically-retro space adventure of Wing Commander - something which might even give Electronic Arts another tool in its sci-fi arsenal besides repeating the tale of the Shepard.

Cake Commander Arena Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We were just talking about unusual places that the Wing Commander Arena logo was popping up, and here's another one. Collins Cake Creations makes themed cakes in Liverpool, and they've done a number of video game-inspired designs. Their latest is Xbox themed, and it's topped by a Wing Commander Arena cutout. You could nitpick and point out that Arena is a 360 game, that's an Xbox Series X controller and the rest of it are items from the Xbox One, but I love it. Hopefully someone has an awesome 40th birthday!

WC4 Sound Effects Getting Comprehensive Overhaul Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This week the WC4 Fan Remake team has an update on sound effects. They revealed last month that a new composer had signed on, but a specific audio effects specialist, MrCoffeeee, is now also on the team to punch up what you hear even further. This is one of those things that your nostalgia brain might think was just fine back in 1996, but when bringing those dated chirps forward 25 years, the quality don't match the stellar visuals and music that fans are creating for the remake. Check out the sample below to hear what the updated version sounds like! Don't forget to visit the full article over at WCRespace.com for more background on today's update.
Recreating sounds for Wing Commander 4 turns out to be a task on its own. When playing the old lady again in 2021, it turned out that the game holds some very cool sounds for its time but unfortunately in low audio quality. In order to save space in the 90s all sounds had low sample rates and hard compression. Some are missing or reused several times so it’s time to get a handle on them.

Malaysian DVDs Under a Microscope Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

AD was recently exploring the Malaysian internet for Wing Commander products, as one does, and came across a couple of fun finds on DVD. The first is a hilarious bootleg that uses the Wing Commander Arena logo as its title art. You can tell it's a fake because of the tiny Super Wing Commander-inspired Rapiers streaking away from the word ‘Wing’. The back also uses shots of the pilot nose art. The second version seems slightly less suspect since it appears to be from Speedy Video, which appears to have had some official ties to Fox. While we would naturally recommend people seek out legit versions wherever possible, we can also appreciate the creativities of WC fans in places where there are no other options readily available.

Wing Commander 3 Campaign Set to Stream Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Prolific game streamer and dedicated Wingnut Bonkus_Maximus is about to kick off a big series with The Heart of the Tiger. He's played plenty of classic Wing Commander on his Twitch channel before, but he's decidedly out of practice in WC3. This provides a prime opportunity to jump into the game anew for a fresh experience. You can join in live here on Twitch starting Tuesday at 8 pm Eastern time. There's also still an opportunity to vote at the CIC Forums on the difficulty level you think he should attack.
Fellow Wingnuts,

I'm going to start my full, expanded playthrough of WCIII (Including winning and losing track missions) on Twitch starting on Tuesday, February 9, at 8pm (20:00) Eastern time (GMT -5). I went through the Orsini missions just to be sure the game runs smoothly on stream, and I haven't otherwise played it for a long time. I wanted to start a poll for the difficulty level, which I will stick to as much as is reasonable. I will allow up to two (2) choices, so if you are uncertain, you can at least consider two options.

Note: Missions where we face Aces will be treated differently. I will play the mission up to the confrontation on Easy, then dismiss my wingmate and switch the difficulty to Nightmare in order to face the enemy Ace in a one-on-one duel.

Audio Remaster Enhances P2 Intro Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Stephane L has put together a nifty piece of music based on Privateer 2. It's a cover of the intro soundtrack. We don't see a lot of artistic works based on The Darkening, so this is really nice to see (hear)! It's definitely a more rich and fuller take on the classic, and we'd be very open to hearing more like it. I noticed that his Soundcloud name is "S Lev." I suppose it could be his own initials, but that would be quite a coincidence with Clive Owen's Ser Lev Arris. I know how to spot a P2 fan when I see one!

In case the original tune isn't on the tip of your brain, here's a reminder of what it sounded like in 1996:

WC Makes Gridman Cameo Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's not often you spot a Wing Commander game in the back of a television show or movie, but on occasion it does happen. Xyzzy Sqrl caught a fun one in an episode of Gridman, The Hyper Agent. It's from episode 17, "The Lonely Hacker." Nice catch! As this was a Japanese show, what we're looking at is actually the DOS/V edition. As luck would have it, Christian Klein just added a brand new sealed copy to his collection a few weeks back. I love the plastic boxes that some of the Japanese variants come in.

Get Into the Game Zone Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a super retro mag shot from Super Retro Gamers. It dates back to the February 1993 issue of Nintendo Game Zone in the UK. Some of the edges are cut off, but you can get the gist of it. What I really like about these old timey Nintendo previews is just how unabashedly bold and colorful they are - just like the original Wing Commander itself! We get some nice screenshots here, which would have been really eye-popping back in the day. It also really sells the game well. Based on these descriptions of the game's features, I'd definitely want to play!

3D Printing Library Expands With Even More Ships Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got another batch of beautiful 3D printed models. These came from the collection of Arrow81, who posted half a dozen well-built ships to his Thingiverse page. Each one is a winner: there's a Vakoth, Paktahn, Darket, Dralthi IV and Excalibur (so he's obviously a WC3 fan!). The original digital files for each of these come from Astrofossil, who we've previously profiled in the news. I noticed that fossil's actually added a few more ships to his armada since the last time we checked. For some time he's been one of the most prolific designers of 3D printable WC models out there, and the results speak for themselves below! Scroll beneath Arrow's pics for links to all of his designs or find his gallery here. If you make a few of your own, send us the pics!
Thanks to elend for the tip! (He's an awesome modeler too!)

Explore the Excalibur's Historic Role Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mac's Lore has another video in his ongoing series in Wing Commander history. This time it's a profile of the fantastic Excalibur heavy fighter. Mac does a great job weaving together elements from both the Wing Commander 3 game and novelization to craft a singular narrative. The focus is definitely on its 2669 performance and stats, but we do get appropriate nods to its later postwar appearance and brief encounters with the Nephilim. Who doesn't love the Excalibur? If you're a fan, watch the video below!
Delance, the ball's in your court now!
The Excalibur to Christopher Blair is what the Defiant is to Ben Sisko, it's his motherf**** pimp hand. A whole (ex-) planet of Kilrathi can attest to that.

More Eyes on the Warrior King Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Jim Gisriel has made a fun video on the Saga of the Warrior King. This is an amazing bit of history that we've written about extensively over the years, so it's great to see the event getting more visibility. It all began in Street Fighter and continued in Savage Dragon and Mortal Kombat before concluding in Wing Commander. These four completely unrelated shows are brought together by a viking He-man voiced by Michael Dorn. Like everyone else, Jim is mystified by the origins and reason for this existing. It obviously took a lot of effort to coordinate, yet it was also wholly unpromoted. This video credits Wing Commander as being the top episode in this mini lineup as it nicely wrapped up the story. Check it out below:

Armada Intro Transformed into Visual Treat Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

FekLeyrTarg has been teasing us about his Armada video for a while now, and it's finally here! He's taken advantage of the high quality files in the WC2/Privateer/Armada-era Origin 3D Model Archive to recreate the Armada introduction in glorious 4K. Be careful: it might make you want an actual Armada update in 4K now. Those ships are simply gorgeous, and the music and logos aren't half bad either! The 3D archive really is a gift that keeps on giving...
Using the original assets by Origin Systems found in the Privateer 3D Archive, I remade the intro sequence of "Wing Commander Armada" in 4K resolution.

Models: Origin Systems (Privateer 3D Archive)
Vectorized logos: elend
Animation, rendering, cut: Fek’Leyr Targ
Music: Midian’
Reorchestration: Fek’Leyr Targ
Soundfont used: Timbres of Heaven 4.0
Programs used: 3D Exploration, Blender, Synthfont, Premiere Pro
Special thanks: Chris Roberts, Jeff Everett, elend, ODVS, Wing Commander CIC

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