That's a Good Looking Heretic Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we have a very sleek Heretic model built by AdamKop. As you can see from the comparison shots beneath, the design stays close to the in-game model. It's a little bit less weathered than most versions we encounter, which comes across as nice and clean. The motion blur and engine effects are also a nice bonus! From left to right: the in-game model, the front box cover and a 1995 promo shot.

Sit Back and Relive Standoff with Justice Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Justice has kicked off a live-streaming playthrough of Wing Commander Standoff. Standoff is a spectacular fan mod based on the Secret Ops engine. It takes place during the events of the Fleet Action novel, which were exciting times ripe for further exploration. The game was largely released in the 2004-2009 timeframe across five main chapters. While it was one of the most popular mods at the time, there's probably a lot of people these days that either missed it or just weren't into fan games back then. The two videos below get about halfway through the story, which is pretty good progress. Now's your chance to get a taste of what you might have missed!

All the Dune References in Wing Commander Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This weekend was the big Dune premiere on HBO and in North American theaters, and it's been a hot topic on the Wing Commander Discord. Naturally, LOAF took a moment to run down all of the Dune reference and connections sprinkled throughout Wing Commander. Once you get sand in your Wing Commander, can you ever get it all out?
Someone had to do it and let’s face it, it was always going to be me. Here are some (very minor) nods to Dune in Wing Commander! Privateer let’s you send ‘joke’ one-liner comms to bases. You can tell New Constantinople that “my name is a killing word”, a quote from the David Lynch Dune film. Wing Commander IV has a scene where Maniac compares the sensor blackout at Peleus to “groping around like some pathetic sandworm on Isis VII!” Wing Commander Arena’s Star*Soldier manual has a casual mention that the Rigel system has “massive sandworms and powerful dust storms.” One of the three stars in Privateer 2’s Tri-System is named Irrulan (sic) after the Princess. Note that the guide description is incorrect, Hermes is not in the Irrulan System (I’m sure they meant Hephaestus). One more: Frank Herbert has a star system on the Universe Map included with Prophecy… in an area of the Enigma Sector full of familiar sci-fi authors. I’ll add more if I can think of any! Aside from the suspicious similarity between Lynch’s Duke Leto, Commander Gerald of the Tiger Claw, and Xavier Shondi....
And the trailer, for good measure. Check it out and help make a sequel happen!

Two Thrakhath Tracks for the Price of One Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We recently came across a remastered take on Prince Thrakhath's Theme by TiMidity and posted by davvigtu. This is one of the most epic tracks in the whole franchise, so we're excited to share each new take on it. There are certain tones in this remaster that come across a bit more clearly and it has a nice solid timbre throughout. If you'd like to compare how this sounds versus the original, you can find a nice rip of the Origin Audio Volume I version here (second from the bottom).
And not at all meaning to detract from the version above, but this is also gives me an opportunity to once again share Jason Walton-Young's masterful version:

It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The TCS Tiger's Claw! To ask a leading question: how many engines does she have? Let's find out!

Here's the line art from Claw Marks which was also what was provided to the outsource company that built the original game's ships. And it seems like that's our answer: like five enormous thruster cones, five engines. But wait! Here's the resulting sprite sheet that appears in the original Wing Commander. It has not five but SIX thruster cones. Six engines? Seems reasonable, maybe the Tiger's Claw, which is slightly larger, has an additional engine from other Bengal-class ships. But wait, again! Here's the more detailed sprite used in both the winning and losing cutscenes where the 'Claw either bombards an enemy planet or retreats from the Vega Sector (pictured). Now we've got SEVEN engines! So that's three conflicting configurations in one game. In 1994, the Bengal was re-imagined for Super Wing Commander. And you can see from the sprite sheet it has two pods of three thrusters each, so either two or six engines. In 1996, we revert to a riff on the original design for Wing Commander Academy. Except... now it has four engines! Finally, another redesign for the movie in 1999. You don't actually see the 'Claw from the rear in the movie, but the deck plan has two "engine arrays" and the concept art seems to show at least four large thrusters (two per array). So the answer to our question is... anything but three?
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More Love for Stylish Ships Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last week we got a great look at Mac's WC1/2 Rapiers and Excalibur, but that wasn't the end of the line for those beautiful ships. All three have now gotten new tech draft spec sheets. Mac's testing out how they look printed, and my guess is that the results will be fantastic! As an extra bonus, he's also provided the manufacturer logos as additional images.
I finally got around to finishing the other 2 Tech Drafts I wanted to do; The Rapier-G and the Excalibur. Their sized for 11x17/12x18 but I'm going to see how they look as 8x10 prints before I go big.

Models & their textures, as always, by Hangar_B

Hellcat Ready to Leap off the Drawing Boards Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

NightBall06 is back with a final final drawing of his advanced Hellcat V concept. Unlike the majority of ships that we showcase, this one is a digital sketch (from multiple angles) as opposed to a rotatable 3D rendering. This time he's got a friend lined up to make a full fledged model, so we'll look forward to seeing that next. After that, who knows?
So - that's it... I'm done. It's funny - I only wanted to add a bottom view but ended up reworking almost the whole frame because I felt the overall height to be too high and the wing/main body proportions to be somewhat off. But now it's finished, and quite honestly I'm pretty satisfied with it. It looks sharp and fast (at least to me). What do you think?

And yes - this is finally the end of my drawing time! I already made contact with a friend who's a 3D artist from Volkswagen... He'll help me visualize this baby.

Lego Epee Zooms Off Drawing Board Into Reality Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got new pictures today of Christian Klein's glorious Lego Epee. The first images revealed last month were digital renders based on the design. In there intervening weeks, Christian has sourced all of the parts from BrickLink and actually built the physical model. The results are just beautiful - click below to get a good look!
From BrickLink Studio to reality. I had to fix some structural issues but the Lego Wing Commander F-54C Epee is finally finished. In real Lego bricks :).

A Thirty Year Old Salute to General Powell Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Upon hearing the sad news today that Colin Powell had passed away, LOAF reminded us that there was a Wing Commander ship actually named after him. It's an obvious reference in retrospect, but it stood out as odd to my ten year old brain at the time. I distinctly recall how unusual it was that the ship was named TCS General Powell instead of just something like "TCS Powell." If you played Secret Missions 2, you probably remember it too! The mission had an exciting backstory: a marine troopship on its way to save Firekka was captured by the Kilrathi. Then, Major Kristi Marks and a troop of Confed Marines managed to retake the ship and send a distress call. You had to go escort it back - in a captured Dralthi! It's one of the more memorable setups.
Did you know Colin Powell had a Wing Commander ship named after him? In Secret Missions 2 there’s a series in which you rescue the TCS General Powell, a Drayman troopship, while its crew fends off Kilrathi boarders. A reminder that SM2 was scripted DURING the first Iraq war!

Paul Hughes Shares Background Concepts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

P2 developer Paul Hughes has posted another exciting piece of concept art from Privateer. It's an intriguing foursome of background scenes for what would become Hephaestus, Bex, Crius and Hermes. The piece is even signed by the team, which makes it a priceless artifact in his collection. LOAF followed up with the final versions of each location. There are some unmistakable similarities, but also quite a few differences. It's a fascinating comparison!
Paul: Another blast from the past. Some concept art from Adam Medhust for Privateer 2 - all signed by the team.
LOAF: Now that made my morning! Here are screenshots of the gameflow screens where these CCN booth concepts that Paul Hughes so kindly tweeted are located in the release version of the game! (Hephaestus -> Bex -> Crius -> Hermes)

It's a Paladin Poll Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we have a new poll. Sometimes people ask why Chris Roberts "changed" Paladin for the Wing Commander Movie, but Paladin has a storied history of being reimagined from one product to the next. Why isn't he Scottish in the film? Well, Claw Marks explains he's not even from Earth. James Taggart shows up throughout the series in a variety of forms, but he always serves as a reassuring mentor who's got our back through thick and thin. This can make it hard to pick just one iteration as your favorite, but now's your chance!
The old poll was our annual survey on how long you all have been with us. Amazingly, the majority of you have been frequenting the site for some 20-odd years. Almost as cool: about 10% are newcomers that continue to inject fresh blood into the community!

Rapier, G and F-103 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mac is flexing some of his new expertise with Rapier in this fun new wallpaper. It arranges Klavs' original Rapier, Rapier G and Excalibur in a fearsome trio. There's some moody clouds in the background with complementary lighting. As an extra bonus, there's also some fun behind-the-scenes shots that show off how Mac got the Rapier flying in the WC Saga/Freespace engine. You can also find his full video on the Rapier here.
I've been spending this Canadian Thanksgiving messing with Blender and Photoshop doing #wingcommander stuff before the feasting commences later.

Fantastic Sale Discounts Arrow Model Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Fantastic Plastic is holding a flash sale that discounts the slick 3D printed Arrow model digitized by Alfred Wong. The original $70 price was a bit on the high side, but the marked down $55 plus shipping is pretty competitive with highly detailed models like this. We've seen this one pop up here and there, and it's a nice design! There aren't all that many current options to choose from, so this is a great opportunity to get into a physical model kit. Send us a picture once you've assembled yours! Thanks to elend for the tip!
About the Design

"Wing Commander" from Origin Systems was one of the most successful space combat videogame franchises of the late 20th century. Combining "Star Wars"-like action with sophisticated story lines, the game spawned five full videogame versions between 1990 and 1997, plus novels, an animated TV series, a collectible card game and a 1999 feature film starring Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard.

The "Arrow" light fighter was one of dozens of Terran and alien spacecraft created for the "Wing Commander" franchise. It first appeared in 1994's "Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger" as a point-defense fighter with enough fuel for long-range strike missions. Is carries a pair of ion cannon as well as eight missiles. The "Arrow" would be stripped down in later incarnations, finally used as a stealth fighter in "Wing Commander IV."

About the Model

Scale: 1:72
Material: Resin
Number of pieces: 19
Length: 7 inches (17.78 cm)v Pilot Figure Included
Pattern by Alfred Wong
Casting: Creative Cast Parts
Decals by JBOT

Watch Shatner's Emotional Reaction to Visiting Space Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Blue Origin launched Star Trek actor William Shatner into space this morning. At 90 years old, he became the oldest person to cross the threshold into space. As science fiction turns further into reality each day, these types of events have become commonplace, but this clip will still be the best thing in space, sci-fi, Star Trek or Wing Commander news that you'll see all day. Just listen to the emotion and wonder that drips off every word he has to say. Like the other recent Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic launches, these are suborbital flights where the ship spends just a matter of minutes weightless and above the atmosphere. But to hear him tell it, even ten minutes in space sounds like a transformative life-changing event. I'm so glad he got the chance to experience it!

Turkish Movie Poster Nicely Photographed Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

A Twitter account dedicated to Turkish Movie Posters has found a copy of the glorious design for Wing Commander - or Cesaret Kanatlari! It's a nice high quality image here, so we're happy to share it in this format. We've seen this art in more squished forms a number of times over the years for items like the VHS or VCDs, but I don't think I've personally seen the full poster quite like this before. Tchéky Karyo, who played Paladin, was born in Istanbul.

Resilient Rapier Rundown Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mac's Lore is back with a fantastic Wing Commander fighter profile. Everyone loves the Excalibur, but long before the F-103 came online, the Rapier represented the cutting edge of Confed fighter technology. Mac has really upped his game and has arranged all kinds of impressive custom visuals just for this video. There's some really cool schematic style spec sequences as well as lots of contextual history. There's even a shout out to the Arena variants! It's a nice thorough rundown of the fighter's known escapades, and he makes great use of Klavs' famous models. Check it out below:
Before there was the Excalibur, there was the Rapier. If the False Armistice never happened, we may very well have seen a Rapier drop the Temblor Bomb on Kilrah.

Happy Birthday Star Citizen! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's hard to believe, but today marks nine years since the official unveiling of Chris Roberts' Star Citizen to the world. Due to the pandemic, the festivities have been virtual, but that means everyone has easy access to all the content they've prepared. The party is primarily being hosted over on Twitch and RobertsSpaceIndustries. I've posted one developers panel below so you can get a taste. Lots of SC fans are going into further the detail of all that, so I'll just leave you with a cool behind-the-scene pic from Sandi Roberts. It shows Chris in his Tiger Claw hat and WC crew jacket while getting ready for the reveal in October 2012! Here's a couple more throwback pics - we were young!

Appreciating Asymmetrical Aerospace Art Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we celebrate off-centered spaceship cockpits: the Tarsus and Galaxy from Privateer and the Kor-Larh from Wing Commander Armada! Now we'd be able to display these double cockpits head on with a fancy widescreen monitor.

There was a question on Twitter:
Marc Callan: Interesting that in the Privateer side-by-side cockpits, they put the pilot's seat on the right. Wonder what influenced that decision?

LOAF: Wow, interesting question! Odd choice as planes are typically flown from the left seat. And a US-based team so it’s not based on a car. I went back to the concept art to check and found it was originally a single-seater and that the double seat idea originated with the Galaxy!

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Space Sim Options for Nintendo Switch Owners Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Nintendo shipped its new aptly named Switch (OLED Model) today, so we wanted to point out a few options for Wingnuts with the new console. These are all perfectly valid for existing owners of the prior revisions as well.

Space Commander: War and Trade is an interesting newcomer. It looks kind of like a modern combination of Wing Commander Arena and Privateer. The game employs a version of Arena's first person mode that sets up some fairly simplistic but engaging space combat. It's also a medium scale Privateer-style sandbox game, which is a novel pairing with this type of engine. The Nintendo World Reports review below describes how the economy isn't set up great, but it's hard to go wrong for just $10.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is a fan favorite among Wingnuts. We've talked about it extensively in the past, and if you haven't tried it out on PCs or consoles to date, it's an easy recommendation. Regardless of your platform, it's the closest thing to a full fledged WC game released in the last couple years. There's so many easter eggs and throwbacks that you can practically convince yourself that you're playing a modern Privateer.
Nintendo World Reports helps out here again with an entire recap of 10+ games for space sim fans on the Switch - with old school WC fans in mind. They did a lot of research to highlight all of these, so check this out for sure!

Freelancer Gets AI Upscale Enhancement Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's another video that I wasn't at all expecting but am very happy to see. ODVS has further branched out from the core WC FMV games and has created an impressive 4K 60 FPS enhancement to the cutscenes included with Freelancer. There aren't very many, which helped make the work pretty manageable. All of the prerendered portions look fantastic. The engine-rendered bits show the limitation of the models used at the time, but everything still gets a very nice upgrade here.

Freelancer was made by Chris Roberts and a number of Wing Commander vets out of Digital Anvil. Cruising around its open Sirius Sector sandbox was a popular pastime for quite a few Wingnuts through the mid 2000s. Maximize your window and make sure the 4K stream is selected to see the full effect below!

Freelancer: not directly Wing Commander-related, but it is a Chris Roberts game... so maybe a Wing Commander cousin?

Anyway, I was playing around with the game files on Sunday night and (with the help of some info online) managed to tweak a few .ini files to get it running at 4K, 16:9 without any stretching.

Then, while poking around, I found that the three FMVs used at the start of the game are all Windows Media Video files (because, of course, Microsoft bought Digital Anvil) - which made them very easy to replace. So I did a quick 'n rough upscale/remaster on them and got them working in-game, too :)

Kickstarter Launched for Wing Commander Challenge Coin Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

ZOmegaZ showed off an artistic mockup for a Wing Commander challenge coin a couple months back, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Many people asked how they might be able to get one, and now he's close to making that happen. He's put together a good solid design with a Confed star on one side and the Tiger's Claw on the other. Since revealing the prototype, a Hornet fighter has also been added for good measure - which is a nice touch! This is part of a combined project where he's also designed similar coins for Babylon 5, Star Trek, Serenity, Farscape, Frasier and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. You can mix and match as needed. WC coins are $11 plus shipping, which is very reasonable for a custom trinket like this. ZOmegaZ isn't marking these up for profit - it's basically just the manufacturing and shipping costs to get something cool in fans' hands! You can learn more and support the project here. In order to get this in front of as many folks as possible, the campaign will run for two months through December 5.
This is a very straightforward project. The artwork for all seven coins is done, quotes have been obtained for manufacture. All we need is enough backers to cover the costs of production and shipping, and we can place the orders. Once I receive the coins, I'll ship them to all participants. I've previously had successful runs of Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica challenge coins, and everyone was very satisfied, so the process is pretty well down.

Gun & Armor Heavy Cruisers Race Into Battle Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If you liked his Arena-era Midway last week, then you're going to love DefianceIndustries' Indomitable and Kiranka class battlecruisers. It's exciting to think about where we might see these pop up in future fan projects. I really like the broadside angles on the Confed version that show off the ship's ridiculous armament. The Kilrathi take isn't as far along, but it's a fun one too. This makes me want to fire Arena right up - along with fifteen friends - and have the fleets go at it (Achievement Unlocked)!
That's the Battlecruiser. Or as I call it, the Nope Brick. These are my current state WIP shots of the brick.

WC2 Experiment Tests 1080p Video Enhancement Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This is something I definitely was not expecting. ODVS is well known for upscaling the full motion video includes in Wing Commander 3 and beyond, but this time he's taken a crack at Wing Commander 2. This is more just an experiment than anything - there are no plans for a wholesale enhancement, but it is interesting to see what his AI/neural net tools can do. The sharp pixel edge is removed and some fairly decent smoothing is applied to get the clip up to 1080p. It's honestly better than I was expecting. Even when upscaled, the cutscenes still retain their vintage look!
I decided to follow EmuMusicFan's suggestion and see how the AI handles the cutscenes in WCII.

And the answer is.. it's OK.

It's better than I was expecting, in all honesty. It's not perfectly pin-sharp or anything; but once again, I'm surprised by how well the AI can calculate re-drawing shapes based on what amounts to a mosaic of blocky square pixels.

Thanks, as always, to Elend for the vector recreation of the logo in the thumbnail :)

Intriguing Board Game Invites Wingnut Feedback Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This one isn't strictly WC-related, but longtime Wingnut and CIC visitor Vidmaster has released a free tabletop game that looks pretty neat. It's a work in progress that's ready for prospective players to print and play at home. He describes it as a "near future space exploration board game." The universe is built via a grid of tiles that you assemble, and there are plenty of detailed cards and interface pieces to get acquainted with. Everything you need to go get going is available here. Vidmaster is looking for feedback from Wing Commander fans who might be into this, so you can help follow up at the CIC Forums. It makes me wonder what possibilities are out there for fans who want to take something like this in a WC direction!
I made a super-niche board game again. It is free. This time, it is a solo-experience, that is a board game played by one person only (something I considered ridicolus myself just a few years back, but when desiging for it, it actually is fascinating). All you need is a printer, some wooden cubes or meeples, a coin and some dice. Details, downloads and so on are here. I am always looking for more feedback, so take a look if you are so inclined. A tabletop simulator version exists too, maintained by a fan (aka not by me).

Space Engineers Revisit Gemini Sector Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

SpiritPlumber has put together a good first cut at a Tarsus in the game Space Engineers. The craft depicted here is still in the relatively early stages of construction, but the basic spaceframe and cockpit have come together pretty well within the limitations of the engine. We've touched on this program before and how it allows players to build their own craft without traditional modeling experience. That sounds great to me - we benefit from having more pictures of WC ships! Quite a few fans have actually experimented with this over the years. In our archives you can also find the Intrepid, a Galaxy and the Tiger's Claw. It's particularly cool how well the interiors turn out!
A bit of love for the Tarsus in Space Engineers. this one is scaled so the interior is accurate. Unpainted because my eyes don't work well for that, but I did the insides.

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