New GOG Sale Discounts 'Main' Wing Commander Games Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

GOG really likes having sales, and Wing Commander is no stranger to their special promotions. Their new Timeless Classics Sale is a little bit different than the typical fare because it doesn't reduce the price on the whole series. In this case, only Wing Commanders 1 through 4, Prophecy / Secret Ops and Privateer are marked 75% off. This leaves Academy, Armada and Privateer at full price. It's still a good chance to jump on the 'main' games. If you're trying to save a few credits on the others, we expect the rest of the lineup will probably see a markdown at some point in the next few months.

Spacedock Covers FTL Travel in Sci-Fi Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Spacedock has posted a new video about the different types of faster-than-light travel in science fiction. It's a wonderful breakdown of the different ways that different franchises do it. The type of visitors that frequent this site are probably going to be familiar with most of this information, but the organization is thoughtful and fairly comprehensive. Wing Commander, of course, gets a nod for its jump drive system. Check it out below!
Spacedock delves into Science Fiction's many flavors of Faster than Light travel.
Thanks to Rattler for the heads up!

Resurfaced Ian Kennedy Designs Compared to Redesigned Rapier Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Famous British science fiction artist Ian Kennedy passed away earlier this year, and fans were quick to post examples of his great work in tribute. One particular design from around 1983 circa Dan Dare/2000 AD caught our eye. It seems to bear quite a similarity to the remade Rapier II model that appears in Super Wing Commander and Arena. We know that the classic WC1 Rapier was heavily inspired by other media, so it wouldn't be surprising for its fraternal twin to have a similar origin. What do you think?! You can read all about Rapier fighters here.

Super Famicom Manual Includes Special Halcyon Welcome Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Goofing around with image translators I discovered that the Super Famicom Wing Commander manual has a section where Colonel Halcyon welcomes you aboard. Also how crazy is the future?
I am Colonel Halcon, commander of the carrier fighter squadron.
Permission to board Tiger's Claw.
As you already know, we are facing a serious crisis.
The war with Killers is getting worse and worse, and it is no longer a moment's notice.
I don't know what to do.
You boarded the aircraft carrier as a replacement for the lost aces.
It is a lot.
However, in this war situation, you will have to experience actual combat immediately.
It's not that easy.
You have information in every room of the ship, you have orders, and you're ready.
Have you sortie immediately. The defeat in this battle is directly related to the destruction of humanity.
It is a critical phase to conclude.
-I want you to struggle for the future of mankind.
I hope you all survive to Tiger's Claw.
I pray for a good fight, that's it!
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Lego Builder Launches Hornet Light Fighter Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's a new week, and we've got a new Lego starfighter by John Nelson! This time he's built the Hornet light fighter. There are some excellent elements here: the vertical stabilizers, large laser cannons and engines are spot on. I think the top-down curve of the wings also shows what a challenge this art is. Sometimes you have to make some compromises given the parts you have at your disposal (or exist at all!). Kudos again to John for making a recognizable and color accurate recreation of this iconic design!

Next off the assembly line is everyone’s first joyride the Hornet

The top of the fuselage I know is more slanted like a ramp on the blueprints but mine has that rounded look. Should I think of a better way with bricks out there I will re-model. Again, going from my best guesses from models and other artwork. Please enjoy.

Pliers (would) say, "For its day the Hornet was a prime light fighter. Clean turns to evade fire and with effort could cut through the heaviest the cats threw at us."

Privateer 2 Lineup Reveals Localized Actor Highlight in Europe Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dominus of Exult shared a pretty nifty finding when comparing the Privateer 2 boxes side by side. We've extensively covered how different the North American box art is compared to what countries like the UK, France and Germany saw on shelves. But there's one tiny difference that's gone largely unnoticed: each European version gets a tiny prominent actor highlight: Christopher Walken, Mathilda May or Jürgen Prochnow on the back. I assume that's because each was more popular or well known in the various regions. This carries over to the special editions as well where the image is also on the front. This is the kind of little detail we love!
Privateer 2 - The Darkening by Origin. The European versions differed on the back. The French showed Mathilda May, German Jürgen Prochnow, UK and all other localized boxes showed Christopher Walken.

There were also special versions in France and Germany. AFAIK there wasn’t an UK special box, though. Both boxes also showing "their" actor prominently

New Fan Art Highlights Galaxy Hauler Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we have a new take on Privateer's Galaxy spacecraft, one of the larger vessels WC fans get to pilot. This one was built by Pedro Ambrosi in Blender. A handful of blue tints and highlights have been added, which give it some nice contrast compared to the fairly monochromatic version we see in the game. It also has a bit of a metallic sheen. All of the major elements are well represented, from the top and bottom turrets to the maneuvering thrusters to the inward cant of the upper engine nacelles. The fiery glow of all the engine nozzles is also a nice touch!
This is a Little Pet Project of mine: Galaxy Ship from WC: Privateer.

Hope you like it.

Jason Bernard's Son Resurfaces Tribute Tweet Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here is a lovely tweet about and photograph of Jason Bernard, whom many of us loved as Captain Eisen in Wing Commander III and IV.
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WC4 Fan Remake Overhauls Autopilot Implementation Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

As the WC4 Fan Remake continues down the path towards being a functional game, there are lots of secondary elements that need careful consideration. Autopilot isn't something Wing Commander fans spend a lot of time thinking about, but it's critical in WC3/4 due to the spaces between nav points. The exterior autopilot camera is also handled differently than other perspective angles, so Pedro had to create a special camera configuration so that these sequences felt right. ODVS put together an awesome video to show all this in action! You can read more about the process at WCRespace here.
There was just one problem: all the action takes place at the second navpoint and we have to get there first! Unfortunately in Wing Commander IV the decision was taken to make space vast. Flying between waypoints manually isn’t the practical option that it was in WC1-2. There was no way around it; we had to implement the autopilot before moving forward.

Relive the Classic 486 Experience With Marco Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Italian YouTuber MARCO PLAYS DOS GAMES has published a super fun stream of himself installing, configuring and playing the original Wing Commander. We’ve seen a few of these types of clips in recent years, and there’s something magical about getting the game running on the authentic vintage hardware. In this case, the 486/66 is a little fast for the engine, but Marco has a turbo button that slows everything down to a reasonable level. I really like how much he pauses to enjoy things like the music aboard the Tiger’s Claw or relish his kills against the Kilrathi. He takes time to explain the emotional connection between these elements and his childhood playing the game for the first time in the early ‘90s. Good stuff!

Lego Fleet Grows With Sleek Epee Addition Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

John Nelson is back with another fun Lego creation based off a Wing Commander underdog ship. After previously building the Avenger and Scimitar, this time his attention is focused on the Epee. Once again he manages to get both the shape and colors impressively close to the source design given the bricks at his disposal. We're anxious to see what he tackles next!
Next on the building block is the coolest looking fighter you never want to fly, the Epee.

I had some pieces to add the sun ray paint job to the wings but I want to keep the Epee lean if I can. Again, going from my best guesses from models and other artwork. Please enjoy.

Pliers (would) say, "The Epee would be a great dog fighter if the armor didn’t suck. You really gotta know how to stick and move, but I haven’t worked on many cause so few of them ever make it back to base."

Happy CIC Easter! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Extra sharp Steltek egg this year! Hope you are all safe and healthy this holiday.

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

A common trick 'under the hood' of many games is to make use of something called LODs, or Levels of Detail. LODs are a system where a given 3D model has multiple versions that are called at different times to maximize memory and other resources. For example, each ship in Wing Commander III has a less detailed (and thus processor intensive) 'far away' version and a more complex close up version that the game only renders if the player is nearby. It minimizes the use of resources and lets you display more spaceships at the same time.

In addition to these two LODs, several ships in Wing Commander III and IV also have a separate mesh for their interior, the vaunted fly through areas. These only load into the game when you're very close to a ship in question; everyone has likely seen the Victory's hangar 'pop' from a static 2D image to a 3D bay as you approach the ship. By extracting these models we can get a neat look at what's 'inside' some of the game's largest capital ships... including a couple of secret passages you might not know about!

If there's one interior everyone knows, it's the Yorktown-class light carrier TCS Victory. We all have fond memories of seeing 'inside' a carrier for the first time, with tiny details like deck markings, elevators and even little tractor vehicles. Blackmane Base appears early in the game in a dual series in which you are either protecting or evacuating the station. If you stick around after a mission to explore you'll find three different hangars you can fly into! This simple bay is the interior of the Confederation Theta II-class depots you use to rearm your Excaliburs in the final series (TCS Chinook and Apache, named in the 3DO port). The massive Behemoth is especially fun to explore: you can fly straight down the barrel and even navigate your way into a rear engine compartment. The Kilrathi counterpart to the Victory in the game's balance, the Bhantkara-class heavy carrier has an angled bay with rows of Dralthi and Darket fighters that can be destroyed on the ground. The Kilrathi supply depot seen in the Delius series has a complex series of corridors that's more Descent than Wing Commander. Nimble pilots can navigate one of two meandering corridors that lead to an internal reactor room featuring a brilliant, firey sphere. The Kilrathi Hvar'kann-class dreadnaught can only be encountered in the final losing mission of Wing Commander III... but in Chris Roberts tradition there's still a crazy amount of detail to explore. The dreadnaught has two bays and a secret passage that leads to a detailed engine room. Wing Commander IV's first carrier, the Lexington, is an upgraded version of the interior used on the Victory in the previous game. The game's second hero carrier, the Border Worlds' BWS Intrepid, features a much more complex interior with 'rooms' on either side. Note also that the Wing Commander IV textures have 'baked in' spotlights that at one point were intended to be part of a dynamic lighting system. The giant Vesuvius heavy carrier has a reletively simple bay. Even Bluepoint Station, the weighstation you arrive at in the first mission of the game, features a unique interior. Axius, the top secret Black Lance facility, features two decks one on top of the other! Finally, the Black Lance carrier which was cut from the game had its own internal bay. Did Wing Commander IV's team at one time imagine a misison where you would need to land on such a ship?
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Fierce Foursome of Rapier Wallpapers Released Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's only been a few days since Klavs released his new Rapier collection, but Mac has already eaten it up and built four dazzling 4K wallpapers around the ships. Each of the variants gets their own atmospheric scene that plays with light, shadow, angle and perspective. The high resolution allows you to really soak in all the glorious detail, and any one of these would make a fabulous wallpaper image.
Klavs finished his revamp of the Rapier line from Wing Commander. So I, being me, dropped what I was doing to play with the new models and get some nice looking "Glory shots" using them.

I present for your consideration, The Angels-44 series.

Rapier Four-Pack Available on Sketchfab Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has updated his official Rapier Sketchfab model with the four major variants that he’s shown off this year. He’s also provided a link to material that will help aspiring artists make their own custom paint schemes. This is a great resource for everyone from aspiring modders to people getting into 3D printing! Although the models are available to purchase in order to help with his family’s ongoing medical bills, Klavs has also made the files available for free to CIC visitors unable to pay. Have fun!
Hi everybody, the F-44 Sketchfab model has been updated to include the A, C, E, and G model Rapiers. If you purchased it previously you should be able to download the new version at no cost.

Also, here is a link to a bunch of different high resolution (8k) liveries, including generic grey ones, as well as the substance painter file, so you can create paint schemes to your heart's content! Also also, I appreciate the financial support if you can, but if you can't or don't want to pay, here are the 3D files for free.


WC4 Remake Adds Stormfire & Spaceflight Physics Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today's we've got a meaty new article with some exciting content updates for the WC4 Fan Remake. The team is currently working on recreating the WC4 demo, which is notable for including a Stormfire cannon pickup floating in space. Unlike in the full game, this gives the Hellcat a unique special weapon for the mission. They've also spent considerable time working out how the spaceflight physics will work. It will incorporate some interesting inertial cues from WC1, WC2 and Prophecy. You can read all about it at here.
As we work towards the demo release there are three main areas to focus on:
  • Applying all the now-known stats values to the game objects
  • Running the mission scripts for all of the objects
  • Improving the AI
The first of these is largely done and has driven a lot of new work; one piece of which is implementing the stormfire gun.

Lego Scimitar Ready To Slog Through Vega Sector Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a fun Lego Scimitar to share. This is the second in a series of Lego fighters put together by John Nelson, who built an Avenger last month. The Scimitar has a pair of fairly recognizable acceleration absorber pods jutting out the top, which helps make this design easy to identify. The back profile with triple engine exhaust nozzles is also pretty spot on. Like the previous model, this one also fairly closely mimics the appropriate color scheme. Just getting the shape right with Legos is a feat, but doing so in the right squadron colors is really something!
My next project was Confed's very own gun heavy slug - as Iceman called it - the Scimitar. Again color and proportions are a guess from the models used and other art. Hope you enjoy it. I’m planning on maybe the Dragon or Epee next.

Something to Help Fix the Sunday Blues Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We're doing some back end testing today and needed a simple news post with four images. What four iconic images make for a perfect Wing Commander theme? The WC1 blueprints! These are 3K resolution samples, but if you need nice 5K copies for your ultra high res monitor, grab the blueprint pack (42 meg zip)!

SpaceX Rocket Takes Private Crew to International Space Station Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We're always up to take a break from posting sci-fi craft and instead share some real life spaceships. This weekend gave us a great opportunity with the first Axiom launch. Last year was big for space tourism and new companies launching their pods and planes up to the edge of space, but this represents the first time a fully private crew has traveled to the International Space Station. Four people launched yesterday aboard a SpaceX Dragon and docked this morning to join seven ISS crew members. This brings the total aboard to 11, which makes for quite a group photo! If that wasn't enough, another Dragon crew mission is scheduled to launch in just over a week. There are six vessels attached right now, including three crew vehicles and three resupply ships. It's really quite a spectacle!

We also need to mention that the first two images below show both the Axiom/SpaceX rocket as well as the Boeing SLS prototype in the same image. The SLS is currently undergoing tests with the ultimate plan to return humans to the moon in just a few years. With everything happening in the world lately, a lot of these advancements don't get major headlines in the news, but they are exciting nonetheless!

Source Art Reveals Creative CCG Cropping Techniques Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here’s an example of stretching the art budget on the Wing Commander card game: one painting becomes two cards! Mag Force 7 knew they needed to publish fast during the CCG craze and coming up with art to cover the 300-odd cards in a base set was the biggest expense going in. Another one: different crops of the same image provide two minefields instead of one!
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Retouched Winterbauer Cover Is a Delight Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Veteran Origin designer Paul Hughes has worked a little bit of his magic on a classic piece of Wing Commander art. He's touched up a scan of the iconic SNES WC1 cover painted by Mike Winterbauer. It's such a gorgeous piece that we didn't want to miss an opportunity to share it! The scene in question was actually at the heart of multiple crowdfunding campaigns led by Mr. Winterbauer in 2018 and 2020. You can find copies of the art books that came out of these endeavors at his eBay store here. Learn more at his official site: Winterbauer Arts
Cleaned up scan of Mike Winterbauer's Wing Commander artwork for the SNES - an iconic cover image...

French TV Show's Wing Commander Segment Resurrected Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a nifty French find that dates back to 2009. It's a retrospective clip about the Wing Commander series that aired on the Nolife TV channel in France. They cover the main entries from Wing Commander 1 through Prophecy, plus they mention the movie and spend a few minutes on WC Arena, which was relatively new at the time. It would have been really cool to catch this on television! The channel went off the air in 2018, but Génération Nolife has been putting old episodes online. If you don't speak French, anyone can use YouTube's built in auto-translate feature to add captions in their preferred language.
Released May 5, 2009

A great classic of space opera.

Retro & Magic (or RaM for short) was a retro-gaming section retracing the history of video games. The section was presented and mainly written by Julien Pirou, the music of the credits is taken from the game Rock'n'Rage and the design is by Radigo (the redesign of the design, by Simon and Etienne Périn). Retro & Magic was broadcast every Tuesday (with the exception of certain dates) in the show 101% from June 2007 to April 2018 on the Nolife TV channel.

Ship Length Comparison Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Ever wonder just how big Prince Thrakhath's enormous dreadnaught in Wing Commander III would be scaled correctly? To find out, we've put together a collection of Wing Commander III ship length charts which show three different scales: standard capital ships, capital ships and bases and then everything compared to the 22 km dreadnaught. Pretty interesting!

A Wing Commander IV version is also available. These charts use the in-game models scaled to known, canonical lengths. When a ship does not have an established length (such as the Intrepid or the Behemoth) it is not included.

As a bonus, here are the same type of charts using the sprites from Wing Commander, Wing Commander II and Super Wing Commander. Note that several of the ship lengths vary between Wing Commander and Super Wing Commander, including the Sivar, the Star Post and the Snakeir!

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FreeDOS 1.3 Released With Wing Commander Support Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

DOSBox has been the gold standard for running classic '80s and '90s games on modern computers for quite some time, but it's definitely not the only player out there. FreeDOS is another alternative for retro gamers looking for new ways to play. It's an entire operating system, not an emulation app, although you can boot to it from a portable device (thanks to EmuMusicFan for the clarification!). They've just released the long anticipated version 1.3. Folks like PhilsComputerLab have been running tests, and the results are promising. Check out the video below for a sample of what to expect. Privateer and Strike Commander show up in the 1:00-1:30 point and WC1-3 appear around 4:30 (along with the tip to select the second boot option to get expanded memory). This still may be more of a tinkerer's method to get the games going as DOSBox is more broadly compatible and easier to set up, but it's great to have options! I remember during the Windows 98/XP transition being very upset that future generations wouldn't be able to readily play the WC games, and I'm very happy to have been proven wrong there!
This isn't your father's DOS. Your correspondent booted the CD image under VirtualBox and was startled to see it acquire an IP address (and still have 608kB of free base memory). It installs to a FAT32 partition, with optional support for long filenames. It comes with its own full-screen text editor, but also Emacs and Vim. It has an IPv4 stack and basic IP connectivity, and the shell even does Tab-completion. The bonus CD includes a choice of GUIs including Digital Research's GEM desktop, web browsers, file managers, development tools, games and more.

The Best Gets Bigger Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F.'s recent 3D printing experiments have proven successful, so he's been able to take his exciting Excalibur model to a much larger scale. Now is't nearly 20 centimeters or 8 inches long, which is pretty respectable for such a detailed fabrication. The design is based on Klavs' Excalibur, which is a real winner. Keep it up!
And after 19 hours, here's the 20 centimetres long version. Really, really happy with it even though painting it will be a much more complex endeavour.

Thanks so much, Klavs, for this superb model of yours!

Last Weekend for Spring Sale, GOG Refreshes WC4 Art Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The GOG Spring Games Festival has been going on for a while now, so if you put off completing your digital collection because there was still time to spare, that time is coming to an end. This is the final weekend of the event, but there's still an opportunity to pick up any games you need at 75% off. The entire DOS/Windows lineup is under $12! Even if you own physical copies, the price can't be beat! Also particularly exciting for people like us: GOG has updated its Wing Commander 4 graphics! Tomorrow marks ten years since GOG first listed the game, so they must have figured it was time for an update! Here you can see their old banner followed by a slick set of new artwork. The updated imagery seems to be based off this key art. It adds the shadow of Seether to the mix against a stormy sky.

INTER-SECTOR DAILY NEWS: Wasps Lose Their Stinger Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Due to rising fuel costs, the Confederation Space Force has determined that the F-110 Wasp interceptor will now be launched into combat without booster rockets. This is after analysis has determined that 1400 kps is sufficient for most engagements. Studies are under way to determine if the craft's afterburners can be electrically powered going forward. After the drivetrain retrofits are complete, pilots will be responsible for plugging their craft into charging stations on the flight deck after each mission.
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INTER-SECTOR DAILY NEWS: CDC Advisory on Handling Nephilim Artifacts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

In light of the disturbing Epsilon Sector reports concerning the loss of the passenger liner Blue Horizon, ISDN conducted a Q&A session with a spokesperson from the Confederation Department of Contagions (CDC).
ISDN: Transcripts recorded on the TCS Belliard describe people who came in contact with Nephilim hardware and then contracted an itchy rash. The ship's chief medical officer noted, "Subject(s) died as a result of extreme complications caused by an unknown viral agent 14 hours after pick-up." What should people do if they touch Nephilim hardware?

CDC: Well, first determine the length of the contact. If it was less than five seconds, then the five second rule clearly applies and no action is needed. If contact lasts longer than five seconds, then run your hands under a faucet and be sure to get your fingers wet. If handwashing facilities are unavailable, at least brush your hands off on your pants for 20 seconds.

ISDN: What kind of hazmat gear do you recommend?

CDC: If you can socially distance in your Danrik KN02 fighter, that's the best. These are certified by Crius medical officials to efficiently filter alien toxins, even in the vacuum of space.

ISDN: Some people are comparing the recent reduction of containment standards to the circumstances that led to the plague known as Malacreaux's Bite. What is your response to this?

CDC: The loss of the Io Colony was clearly the result of Akkbar's Doublecross. Retaining the three-stage decontamination process would not have changed the outcome.

ISDN: Finally, do you have any comment on the recent news regarding Wasp interceptors?

CDC: Yes, we would recommend pilots over 50 actually get a second booster.

ISDN: There you have it.

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