Searching for October 1993 PC Player Cover Disk Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

German friends! We are still looking for this diskette. Do you know any packrats or collectors?
Requesting assistance from the German retro gaming community! It looks like the October 1993 PC Player cover diskette had a Wing Commander Academy campaign on it. Does anyone have a copy?
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Concordia Crosses the Horizon Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mac is back with a fabulous new wallpaper. It depicts Klavs' exquisite Concordia model with the sun at its back. This casts a dark and moody light on the superstructure of the ship while various running lights, engine components and weapon emplacements light up the landscape. There's also a full complement of Sabre and Rapier escorts in tow to round out this very imposing scene!
It is time. #wingcommander

One, Two, Three... Single Engine Fighters Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

A certain former president (not Jimmy Carter) recently said some goofy stuff about single-engine fighters recently which got me to thinking: do we fly any single engine space fighters in Wing Commander?

Most Confederation fighters have between two and six engines... but I can think of three exceptions! The Ferret in Wing Commander II and the Piranha in Prophecy are both single-engine patrol ships meant to seem like a cockpit glued to a rocket.

Prophecy's Devastator torpedo bomber also has a single engine but the visual intent is reversed: it's supposed to seem like a powerful ship with a powerplant that's similar to those of a capital ship. I will also note that the Ferret seen in Wing Commander Academy actually had three engines; must've been the A or B model! Why does the Academy Ferret look so unlike the game one when the other Academy ships are pitch perfect? It's actually modeled on a toy prototype created for the series which had for some reason been commissioned in advance of any reference material. 'But the Ferret wasn't around in 2654!!!!!' - listen, the Confederation Handbook has Ferrets in 2638 as part of the Iason's boat complement. Paladin flies one!
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Happy Birthday Wing Commander! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Happy birthday to Wing Commander I, which was released 33 years ago today! It marked an epochal shift in how computer games were played, made and sold... and I guess you could say it has been pretty big in my life, too!

It is often hard to assign a single date for when a game was released in the early 90s; it could be days to weeks to go from sign off to duplication to actually arriving in stores. There was no concept of a set ‘street date’ - but Origin celebrated “ship day” internally and that’s what we cite as a birthday when it’s known. Here’s an account of that day from Mike Harrison’s excellent contemporary making of piece:
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Goodbye David McCallum Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

There's sad news for the Wing Commander family of performers tonight: veteran actor David McCallum passed away earlier today. McCallum, 90, started his career as a leading man on television shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and went on to serve as a jack-of-all-trades who could pop up anywhere and everywhere. His nearly endless resume included a variety of guest appearances on cult genre shows including The Outer Limits, seaQuest DSV and Babylon 5. He joined the Wing Commander universe in 1996 in a short but memorable appearance in Privateer 2: The Darkening. You can find an obituary with a more complete retrospective of his career at Variety. McCallum appeared in Privateer 2's opening scene as the captain of the doomed freighter Canera. He commands Don Warrington's Helmsman, Nichola Cordey's Second Officer and stuntman Riky Ash's Communications Officer through the game's opening that ends in all of their fiery deaths. In the short, dramatic sequence he bravely attempts to command the Canera's crew to save the transport after it is ambushed before finally realizing the futility and resigning to his fate and crashing into the planet below.
For those that have trouble following Privateer 2's largely British-accented dialogue, the transcript follows:
HELSMAN: Crius planet control, this is cargo 1-0-4-6 Canera. On plan and requesting ejection marker 1-1-5.
CRIUS PLANET CONTROL: Very well, Canera. You are cleared for re-entry. Proceed to Mendra spaceport. Good day.
CAPTAIN: Who are those clowns?
SECOND OFFICER: We're in unequivocal commit! We can't even manage a skip out!
HELSMAN: So much for staying hypersonic. And we're too big for them to tractor in...
CAPTAIN: ... and keep us from bouncing. Range to Mendra?
CAPTAIN: Hit it now!
HELSMAN: Nothing left but altitude dials.
CAPTAIN: Launch all communications. Tell them to scramble all emergency equipment to Mendra. Nice try, Rog, nice try.
Although he has only four lines in a two minute segment his involvement in the project cast a long shadow and the fact that 'the Man from U.N.C.L.E.' was included in the game's all star cast was frequently cited in the game's marketing. He was included in Electronic Arts' press junket for the game, charming interviewers with his honesty about his single day of shooting. As a result, his involvement was recorded heavily in the press. British gaming magazine PC Zone attended McCallum's day on set and included a gonzo-style description of the work in their October 1996 supplement on the game:
In Studio Two they've already started shooting one of the spaceship crash scenes. David McCallum is rigged up to a complicated pulley system and six burly looking blokes are clutching the rope at the other end, tug-o-war style. The director screams for total silence and everyone holds their breath.

BANG! WHOOSH! The six blokes holding the rope tear across the studio and David McCallum flies into the air, landing a few seconds later in a heap on the floor.

Debris and smoke fill the set. The director screams "CUT!" and a flurry of make-up and costume people dash, coughing, through the smoke to swiftly patch up Mr McCallum's face and intergalactic apparel. The rest of the crew stare expectantly at the director, who just shakes his head. Shoulders slump and the crew automatically begin to set up the shot once again with an air robotic precision which, if you didn't know better, could easily be mistaken for abject boredom. David McCallum pulls himself to his feet and prepares himself for another re-take. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a very long time ago.

Approximately one hour later they are still shooting the same scene. Incredibly, once it's been edited and re-edited this small part of footage will last for no longer than a few seconds in the final game. It's already taken a whole morning to get this far and time is running out. Tension is understandably high and everyone's keen to move onto the next scene.
Electronic Arts also produced a number of interviews with Privateer 2's cast for interested outlets. This jovial video with McCallum was included in the January 1996 issue of EQ Magazine:
The Wing Commander CIC team is very sorry to hear about Mr. McCallum's passing; we'd like to send our condolences to anyone that loved him. He helped create a lot of timeless art in his career and we're honored that we can share so much detail about the one small part of that that we're responsible for remembering.
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Classic Reviews Cover '91-'93 Landscape Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a wonderful pile of old reviews from Maxi de Sokar. First up is a WC2 from the Spanish OKPC magazine. They give it a solid 85% and comes with lots of gorgeous screenshots. There's also a Special Operations preview, and although it's short, it packs in tons of great little references that really date game development to the era (1991-1992). Then we shift gears into a PC Review review of WC Academy. The game only gets 5 (out of 10, I suppose), but they had enough to talk about to fill a two page article. We often point out that there was genuine demand for something like this and it filled a niche that was pretty unique back in the day. With all that being said, the same author returns to review Wing Commander Privateer... and he also gave it a 5/10! So maybe that says something more about him than the game. In the end, I guess I'm not mad about Academy being rated on the same level as the world-renowned Privateer!

GOG Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Wing Commander Discount Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's autumn now where GOG is based, but they've already run their lengthy autumn sale. That's not a problem though, because they've just launched a big sale to celebrate their 15th anniversary! The Wing Commander series is discounted once again, and this is a "proper" across-the-board markdown. Each title is its customary 75% off, which means less than $12 for the whole series! Now's a great time to digitize your collection. Thank you to Drachenhannes for the tip!

WC3 Trailer Recovered from 3DO Sampler Video Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

AD found this one on a new YouTube channel, 3DO World. It's a trailer for the 3DO version of Wing Commander from an in-store video sampler tape. Like the full version of WC3 on this console, the video quality depicted here is pretty good with minimal artifacting and solid colors. The trailer is fairly short overall, and you only get a quick shot of the gameplay at the end. Although the engine might look low res like the Playstation port, a handful of missions and features have been jazzed up in a very compelling way. It's definitely worth giving this one a try if you get an opportunity! You can find our collection of different WC3 trailers in CIC Holovids!
This is a trailer of the 3DO game, Wing Commander 3. This appeared on a VHS tape titled "3DO Video Sampler 5" that was distrusted with retailers circa 1996 in the US.

Confed Project Talks Audio Updates & Texture Atlasing Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a new technical update on the Confederation project by AllTinker. He was aiming to deliver a release in time for Wing Commander's birthday on September 26, but that's looking pretty sporty now. Wing Commander fans are nothing if not patient, so we're just happy to get the status update on all the latest progress!
Just thought I'd post a quick progress update, mostly probably-dull semi-technical stuff - sadly some contract work is kicking my butt at the moment, so the 26th is looking kind of dubious... But things are still progressing steadily!

I'm currently knee-deep in the revised audio system, which (amongst other things) I'm hoping will be able to render the OPL2 (Adlib) sound effects and music purely from the original data. Things seem positive, but I'm not finished with it yet. My previous effort involved using some external data to send to the OPL chip emulation code, but it was a little janky and not ideal. MT-32/CM-32L emulation is already re-integrated and working (bring your own ROMs as usual :p).

Another thing I've been working on improving is the texture atlasing, which I'm using to support quite a broad set of GPUs (e.g. most from around 2006 onwards should work, plus weaker embedded/Intel ones). This is quite basic stuff, where you pack multiple textures into a single larger one, so the renderer doesn't have to swap between them while drawing - since as a rule of thumb the more things you can draw in one go (in one "draw call"), the better the performance. Even the most retro graphics can easily bottleneck on a top-of-the-line GPU without taking this sort of thing into account.

Creating atlases is more often done using dedicated tools and then shipped with the game, but since Confederation loads directly from the original game data I decided to pack the atlases on the fly. For instance this is the atlas in video RAM while running the OriginFX logo scene:

The generated atlas is different every time a scene starts, since it's assembled with some randomisation involved. On the technical side there's actually a fair bit going on to make this happen efficiently; it uses k-d trees and a genetic algorithm to hone in on an optimal solution, using all CPU cores to do so. It also crops out empty border pixels for each sprite, and pads out the colours to make sure there are no artifacts when rendering; here's the same atlas without the alpha channel: Anyway that's it for now - maybe some of that was interesting to someone out there :D; next update should have some gameplay video(s), if not the first test release.

Have a Little Wing Commander 4 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got another shortie from Retro Shorts. The Playstation version of Wing Commander 4 is noticeably less crisp in spaceflight than the PC edition, but there are some nice input (joystick) improvements and enhancements to the cutscenes. Also regarding the date, the original Playstation was released in North America in late 1995. It was the WC3 port that was released in 1996, and WC4 made it to the system in 1997.

Mythbusters: Wing Commander I Edition Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

You've probably heard of the famous 'thank you for playing Wing Commander' story. It claims that a programmer on the original Wing Commander was stuck getting an error message when the game unloaded its memory during a quit. Pressed for time, instead of fixing the issue he simply hex edited the memory manager's error reporting to print 'thank you for playing Wing Commander' instead. A funny and relatable story! The anecdote has made the rounds on the internet for the past decade and has even started to make the phrase "thank you for playing Wing Commander" synonymous with a dirty-but-functional hack. The most common version looks like this, sourced from Reddit's /r/shittyprogramming: Engineers immediately recognize this as a funny and relatable story; it's the exact sort of thing that anyone who has ever worked in software development can recognize immediately. A perfect example of the old aphorism that "if it is stupid but it works, it isn't stupid."1 Unfortunately, it has also in recent years become fodder for unhappy Star Citizen fans looking for reasons to complain about Chris Roberts' abilities. In many retellings, 'thank you for playing Wing Commander' is now supposedly an example of selling shoddy work instead of a funny, recognizable hack. (If the connection feels tenuous, the missing aspect is that unlike most other CEOs, Roberts continues to code on Star Citizen, an aspect of the project that makes it interesting to him.) Wing Commander I fans, meanwhile, have been understandably cautious about the anecdote and particularly the included screenshot. For one thing, Wing Commander I's default install direction isn't c:/wc1 and the game doesn't actually print "Thank You for Playing Wing Commander!" when you quit. Is the story even real? We decided to look into the history of the story and the game itself and after some work we've conclusively determined that the answer is… kind of. Our first task was to find the origin (no pun intended) of the quote and screenshot. Where did dozens of 'funny software hacks' articles around the internet find it in the first place? Was it even a real story or just a piece of mythology that had been handed down, perhaps not even really specific to Wing Commander I? Luckily, the original quote ended up being pretty easy to source: it was left as a comment on August 20, 2009 in response to a Gamasutra article called Dirty Coding Tricks by Brandon Sheffield (archive). Here is the original post, verbatim:
Back on Wing Commander 1 we were getting an exception from our EMM386 memory manager when we exited the game. We'd clear the screen and a single line would print out, something like "EMM386 Memory manager error. Blah blah blah." We had to ship ASAP. So I hex edited the error in the memory manager itself to read "Thank you for playing Wing Commander."
Gamasutra was a game development website popular among industry professionals. In 2021, the site was rebranded as Game Developer. The original article is still available at the new site but the comments appear to have been dropped in advance of the transition. The comment was, indeed, signed by Ken Demarest. Ken Demarest III was an ace programmer who started his game development career working for Origin Systems as a software engineer on the first Wing Commander. He would go on to be lead programmer on Ultima VII and would become the growing company's Director of Technology (at a time when that technology was becoming pretty exciting!). While the comment was left anonymously (in that it was not signed into a user's account) it's very unlikely anyone was impersonating a game programmer for the purpose of telling a funny story. Wing Commander writer Jeff George would later say that "other than Chris Roberts, who was the key man, Ken Demarest had more to do with the fact that the game came out than anyone else involved." So if anyone knows what was going on under the hood, it should be him! (Be sure to revisit Wing Commander I & II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide's making of section for a surprisingly thorough contemporary interview with Demarest). Eagle-eyed readers will immediately notice two minor changes between the original version and the 2015 Reddit version (which itself was sourced from a LinkedIn share by a third party in 2012): the original does not have the screenshot and the wording of the quit message has been slightly edited apparently with the intent to make the ending punchier. Most importantly, the screenshot added after the fact seemed to claim that the game had shipped with this bug which is not stated in the original story. So the original story, which has a reasonable origin, might be true! The next issue is the message itself. The seemingly daming fact is that Wing Commander I simply doesn't print "thank you for playing Wing Commander" when you quit. We tested this in DOSBox and on period hardware and we searched all of the game's binaries for that text, coming up with nothing. Hitting ALT-X simply returns you to the DOS prompt. There is one exception, though! If you quit by clicking on the airlock door in the Tiger's Claw's barracks… … then the quit process is different: you're given a y/n prompt and when you drop to DOS it prints "You step out of the airlock and into…", a joke directly relating to this specific method of exit. We quickly confirmed that this text DOES appear in the game's binary. Is it possible that this is where the crash happened and that the story, told 19 years after the fact, simply forgot (or for the purposes of a funnier punchline) changed the story? Supporting this idea in particular is Ken Demarest's other famous connection to that very screen: he's the person that implemented the water drop that drips into the bucket, long cited as the platonic ideal of Chris Roberts' famed drive for immersion. This felt like the most likely way to establish if the story was true: how was the game displaying this message? To try and find an answer, we turned to an incomplete copy of Wing Commander I's source code, archived by Electronic Arts. These source files were used for the release build of Wing Commander I and the archive was eventually sent to another team for development of the FM Towns port. Some material has not survived including, sadly, the memory management routines. But there's enough there to know exactly where this message comes from: This is from BARRACKS.C which sets the functionality of the barracks gameflow screen. Essentially the game unloads the memory and then prints the airlock message followed by a line break. Exactly what you see in action and not a case of hex editing a memory manager. The other method of quitting the game, found in COCKPIT.C, does not print a message. While discussing this on Twitter, Darren Xczek offered another possibility: Ultima VII DOES drop to DOS with a "thank you for playing Ultima VII" message. Ken Demarest was the lead programmer on Ultima VII–in fact, it was the job he was initially hired for before he was assigned to help get Wing Commander out the door! Is it possible the story was true but it applied to a different game? Ultima VII did famously have memory management issues, so much so that the game's internal system was named the 'Voodoo Memory Manager'! At this point, I decided there was only one way to solve this mystery: see if we could reach Ken Demarest and ask him. He very kindly responded to a Facebook request in about 45 seconds and made us feel like real idiots for not just asking him first:
In a way I would have loved to ship with that hack in there, but once we found the cause of the error message I couldn't in good conscience leave the hack in there. Besides which hand editing it added time to completing the build, which was inefficient.
And there it is! The best possible outcome: the story was true–it's something that was done during the game's development–but it was also fixed before the game actually shipped… so it's a clever engineering trick and explicitly NOT evidence of a shoddy product! 1 - Interestingly, the Internet frequently attributes this quote to a novel by Wing Commander novelist Mercedes Lackey; this is surely not the actual source but untangling that would take another article!
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Mark Hamill Talks WC Prophecy on Vintage Kilborn Episode Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got an old recording of Mark Hamill being interviewed on the Craig Kilborn talk show to promote Wing Commander Prophecy. Wing Commander was a rare crossover hit in the mid '90s with promotion on television shows like this. The interviewers would typically not have any experience with the material, which contributes to how out of touch they seem. The humor is super cringe and Kilborn is obnoxious, but it's an interesting look at the time. I do appreciate that it would be lost if not for people like jahwilly transcribing their old VHS tapes!

Looking Forward to Classic WC Enhancement & Mods Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Prompted by a handful of questions at the CIC Forums, AllTinker has provided some updates that detail his ideas and plans for the Confederation project. It's some nice insight into what's in store to expand the capabilities of the original WC1 engine. Here's what he had to say:
I've been working on it on-and-off since 2016 or thereabouts, but posting about it (or more the community response) has been a big motivation boost. :)

I plan to implement [enhancements] gradually in layers, but yes - ultimately some kind of dynamic/strategic campaign system is exactly the sort of thing I'd like to implement. :) The current plan is that the first layers of that will actually be released prior to the WC1 campaign being fully playable; i.e. simple preset or dynamic scenarios to test things out.

Having the WC1 campaign fully playable is the primary goal until it's achieved, but the way we'll get there will be a little bit roundabout because of the nature of the project - e.g. I want to look beyond WC1 and make sure the core systems will scale up into the open world of Privateer.

Right now I'm churning through lots of dull-but-necessary stuff, e.g. polishing up the addon system (essentially a mod manager) which lets you add/overlay content; change the load order etc... Lots of stuff to get through, but good progress is being made!

I'll be releasing two optional addons to begin with, both for WC1 - my widescreen art package which is very nearly complete, and another which fixes the minor errors I've spotted in the WC1 art. Adding Halcyon's missing pips during the first medal presentation frame, removing a rogue pixel in Iceman and Angel's portraits, and changing "Dart" to Hunter, "Joker" to Maniac on their helmets:

If anyone's aware of any other art hiccups, let me know and I'll try to add fixes for them. :)

Just on the addon system, I've decided to go with a Quake 3 approach, where they're just renamed ZIP files. That should make life as easy as possible for people creating their own addons. New game modes, missions, campaigns, art, translations and so on wouldn't have to obey the limits of the original engine, since Confederation isn't based on the original game engine(s) at all; new content isn't stored in the old formats.

Virtually all of Confederation's high-level gameplay and game interface logic is written in AngelScript. All of the scripting is accessible in plain text and moddable via addons. So while I fully intend to work up an expanded gameplay addon (sounds like), it's by design that others can create their own addons to give a totally different experience; or just make minor tweaks to ship stats, whatever!

Mega CD Wing Commander Gets Some Love Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a fun review of the Mega CD port of Wing Commander. It's noteworthy for having fully (Japanese) speech similar to its (English) Sega CD counterpart. This piece was originally posted to Twitter by Baller Speeder and ZealousFoX, and I've formatted it into one block of text. I like to encourage people to appreciate Wing Commander across all platforms and media types, so I wanted to acknowledge this here!
Game review: Wing Commander (Sega Mega CD / 1994 Sega/Electronic Arts/Origin Systems/CRI/Game Arts/Bits Laboratory)

Yes, five companies worked on the Mega CD port of a Chris Roberts space flight sim classic. Oh well, the important bit is, this gave me the most fun.

Published by Sega themselves in Japan and ported by Game Arts in collaboration with CSK Research Institute (the guys behind the Mega CD port of Might and Magic 3) and Bits Laboratory (the Mega CD Prince of Persia guys), the player sees himself aboard Tiger Claw, a Bengal-class Strike Carrier. The player names the pilot and choose his call sign. The pilot rises through the ranks of the flight wing. The campaign will split to various different planets and scenarios depending on the player's performance.

If the player performs overall well, they eventually lead a strike on the Kilrathi High Command starbase in the Venice system and force the Kilrathi to retreat.

The Mega CD version of Wing Commander is superior to the SNES and Amiga 500 (and by extension the PC MS-DOS) versions in so many ways. I mean, this is an excellent game that is geared towards taking advantage of the Mega CD's strengths.

Why do I have to mention this? Because I already played Secret of Monkey Island on the same console and I was shocked at how badly ported it was compared to the PC original. The colours on that game looked much darker and the gameplay wasn't much fun on the console.

Wing Commander, in comparison, feels much faster and more energetic, is more colourful than the Amiga 500 version, and dare I say it, much tighter in terms of controlling Tiger Claw.

The biggest difference is in the music. The music here is vastly different to the PC original, and to me it seems more arcadey. The speech samples are clear and easy to the ears, though the vast majority of the tunes are generated by the Mega Drive.

I am unsure what sound driver Game Arts used in this port. Maybe it's the same sound driver used in Sonic 2? Or maybe they are using the same sound driver used in Tenka Fubu, I don't know.

Wing Commander is a stellar intergalactic warfare adventure in every sense of the word.

The Japanese version contains native dubbing for the speech as well as translated text to suit the market. Oh, and it has a really nice disc that should help lift your spirits up high if you ever want to be your own Tails and pilot your own intergalactic X-Tornado.

Wing Commander 3 Cutscenes (Blue) Versus a Modern 4K Movie (Yellow) Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I did this quick for a Discord discussion and thought it was pretty interesting: the difference in resolution between a Wing Commander III cutscene (320x160!) and a 4K movie. (AKA why they couldn't just reuse the game costumes, props, fx, etc for the movie...) You can find a complete index of downloadable source videos (again, in the original 320x160 format!) here. On the opposite end of the spectrum, ODVS has used his advanced AI editing techniques to enhance and upscale the footage to HD quality here.
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Have a Little Trainsim Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Sometimes a little shortie burst of Wing Commander just hits the spot, and today is one of those days! This is a look at the TrainSim in the Super Nintendo version of Wing Commander put together by Retro Shorts.
This might look like the TrainSim you're familiar with from the DOS edition of the game, but there are actually quite a few differences! It's fairly distinct on the PC versus Amiga versus Sega CD, SNES and SWC! You can learn more about these variations in LOAF's article here.

Digging in to Early Timeline Data Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Up for a little late night Wing Commander lore? Claw Marks includes the earliest published timeline. The late, great Aaron Allston imagined the major battles of the first two decades of the Kilrathi war. Including the 2639 “Enyo Engagement”: Claw Marks also establishes that Knight is a veteran of the Enyo Engagement and that it was where he earned his callsign. (I know what you’re thinking; Knight was a combat pilot for 15 years?!?!) Next, the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide, which heavily references Claw Marks, says that one of Blair’s Academy instructors was Lt. Col. Blakely, the man who planned the Confederation’s counterattack. Uh, don’t you mean Prankster and not Blair? Regardless of how you choose to deal with that, Blair being in Blakely’s class is mentioned in one of his yearbook signatures in the Kilrathi Saga manual: The second iteration of the Wing Commander timeline is published in 1994 in Armada’s Voices of War… which as you can see makes a pretty big mistake: it confuses the 2634 McAuliffe Ambush with the 2639 Enyo Engagenent! Enyo is never mentioned. The horror! Voices of War also gives us the only Kilrathi perspective on the battle. “Sun Year 5117” is base eight for 2639! Unfortunately this version was also the one that went into the licensing bible… so Enyo does not appear in the Baen novels. Wing Commander III’s Victory Streak continues to use McAuliffe… and it updates the story to establish that then-Captain Geoffrey Tolwyn was in command. Maybe this is the action he was knighted for! The final (so far!) version of the published timeline appears in Arena’s Star Soldier… and it splits the difference by having the Kilrathi attack both systems! Whoever did this must have been very handsome and interesting to be friends with. Enyo and McAuliffe are just a jump apart, so the story seems like a reasonable fix for an old typo! The day by day timeline in Star Soldier includes some details exclusive to the Super Famicom manual’s expanded version of Claw Marks. It’s likely no one at Origin had any idea this existed in 1994! A followup to Action Stations that follows Captain Tolwyn through the engagement pretty much writes itself; one of several WC novels I would commission in an instant if EA would lend me the license!
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Stunning Lego Bloodfang to Brighten Your Day Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we have a gorgeous Lego interpretation of Prince Thrakhath's iconic Bloodfang fighter. It was built by edgeofhearing on Instagram. This person makes tons of inspiring and clever little Lego designs, so be sure to check out their gallery. I'm especially impressed with how authentic it looks given the relatively compact size. It even has the right hull markings! You've got to really leverage those bricks to get the right look with limited options!
I only ever played one Wing Commander game, Academy, which didn’t have much to it besides a collection of spaceships. That was enough for me; my brother and I played it a lot (even though we remained very terrible at it).

Anyways, I frequently imagined how cool it would be if I could add my Lego spaceships into it. In this case though, I’ve taken a ship from it (the Kilrathi Bloodfang) and made it out of Lego. My flame yellow collection is a bit too small, so I had to stick to microscale.

This one is based on the WC2 version. Did you know there were three main iterations of the Bloodfang?

Modified WC Movie Scene Adds Nuanced Motivation Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Welcome to another Wing Commander edit. This scene never really worked for me in the theatrical cut. It feels like it's missing something, and while I'm no pro editor I do feel like it's missing a bit of connection. They tried to play up him being awkward and I'm not sure they ever quite get to him sounding sincere. More than that, this scene really should be motivating Blair to actually figure out what Pilgrims (and therefore his heritage) is all about. I haven't changed the scene drastically from the theatrical cut, but it has two minor additions. I've taken the opportunity to have a little fun with the edit and incorporate some alternate takes of some parts that help give the scene a different feel.

For the changes, I feel that Maniac directly referencing the Pilgrim's place in history is relevant. I think it's a nice addition. The problem with the way the movie is shot though is that some of the best takes in my opinion are only shot in the wider angle, so it does mess a bit with the style of the original editor who - typically - prefers a rhythm where the scene starts wide, goes to a mid shot and then is told almost exclusively in alternating closeups from then on. Still, I feel the scene works well enough here.

The other addition is the coda. This scene normally should be followed directly with the scene in Paladin's quarters. The scenes got juggled around in the final edit, but here I feel having Blair look at his cross and get out of bed helps sell the flow thematically between this scene and the next. As a side note, the shooting script has a small interchange with Merlin after Maniac leaves where Blair first asks Merlin for info on the Pilgrims. That helps spur Blair to go see Paladin. However, they do not seem to have bothered filming that merlin bit, and ultimately with Blair looking at his cross that interchange really isn't necessary

I think a lot of the way movies are made has evolved a lot since 1998. Everything is digital now so it's easier to review and update your footage. Productions make lots of notes regarding the DP and Director's choices for favorite takes and other elements like continuity issues, but going back to change footage you had previously settled on was probably more of a chore once you had already built a whole scene around a specific idea or set of complimentary takes. The final choices are often not necessarily wrong but are made to support changes or deletions of material.

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Last Weekend for GOG Discounts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It may still not be fall yet anywhere, but's long-running Autumn Sale is winding down. This is the final weekend. Rather than across-the-board flat savings for every title, there is some variation this time. Most Wing Commander games are still 75% off. Prophecy and Privateer 2 get a 70% discount from the usual $5.99 price, and Academy plus Armada are each reduced by 55%. We talk to fans every day who have gaps in their collection, and this is a perfect opportunity to plug those holes. But if you miss out, I'm sure the Winter Sale won't be far off!

Travel Down the Academy Press Kit Rabbit Hole Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Blair character bio Universal included with the press kit it so strange. His dad is a space hippie? And his grandma is a senator? He idolizes a World War I fighter pilot? Most of this is never referenced anywhere.


Name: Christopher Blair

Callsign: Maverick

Callsign Origination: Maverick received his callsign as a joke from Maniac. When after months as the "perfect" cadet at the Academy, Blair actually bent a rule, and Maniac sarcastically told him, "You're a real maverick, aren't you?"

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

Pedigree: Since the time of the American Civil War, the Blair family has maintained a tradition of wealth and influence combined with public service. Maverick's grandmother is a member of the Confederation Council, while his father is the chairman of StarPeace, an organization dedicated to promoting understanding among the inhabited worlds of the galaxy.

Flight Pattern: An old-fashioned man, a Jeffersonian gentleman, the cheerful innocent, conscientious and boyishly enthusiastic Maverick is motivated by a sense of personal and family honor, without snobbery, greed or petty ambitious. Though highly competitive, Maverick almost always maintains honesty and a sense of fair play.

Personal Turbulence: Some pilots dislike Maverick, doubting his sincerity, and mistaking his eagerness to do a good job for desire to curry favor with his superiors.

Standard Issue Quote: "I'm a Blair, sir. The Blairs never lie."

Idol: World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker

This is just one page from the Wing Commander Academy press kit. You can find read the rest here!
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Intrepid Art Perfectly Captures Animated Style Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

CMDBob is back with a pair of eye-popping Wing Commander art pieces. The look is slightly inspired by the animation style of the Star Trek Animated Series, and we can most definitely see the connection! First up is the BWS Intrepid, complete with battle damage. You can see a little Banshee fighter launching from the deck, which is depicted zooming out of the bay in the second picture. You can also find his recent Confed destroyer image here. I love this series!

Big Map Appreciation Post Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Awesome! We don’t stop to appreciate that Wing Commander Prophecy somehow managed to out-map Ultima.
Honor_KA: To all my Wing Commander fans and to those playing Star Citizen. Look what I just found doing some summer cleaning.
Here’s a born digital version of you want to pore over all the references and in-jokes. They even named some systems after especially handsome and well-liked fans! The map was developed by John "Captain Johnny" Guentzel. He was a designer on Prophecy and Secret Ops who was also, as you can tell, a huge cool nerd. In 1997, Origin put a beta version on the WCP site for fans to comment on… and of course I saved it! It was also the basis for the map used in the Wing Commander movie intro. Longtime Star Citizen fans may remember that this used to hang behind Chris Roberts in videos! This particular version was nicely relit by Klavs: Shocking but true: this was NOT the first time a Wing Commander game came with a standalone universe map! (Among numerous variations included in certain manuals) The FM Towns port of Wing Commander I came with this cool plastic fold-out map of the Vega Sector:
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First Wing Commander Designs Already Appearing in Starfield Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Starfield isn't even fully out yet, but those who purchase one of the premium editions have been able to play for the last few days. We've already seen lots of interest from Wing Commander fans, including the first designs inspired by Wing Commander ships!

One of the very first is a vessel based on the Banshee from Wing Commander 4, built by Chris Kabigting. You might recall that he was also one of the initial modders to create WC ships in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw among other projects. While these might not be pixel-perfect recreations of the originals, keep in mind that they are not conventional 3D models. This is what fans have been able to accomplish in just a day or two using the in-game ship customizer tools, which is amazing!

Here's another that is a great first attempt at a Kamrani corvette from LordTyrranus! If you haven't kept up with the game otherwise, here's a trailer with what it looks like!

One More Album for the Collection Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I found something recently that I’ve been looking for many, many years: the CD of production music that was the source of the diegetic clip in the Wing Commander movie where Paladin is listening to opera! I haven’t found anyone else who collects production music, but my CD is part of a lot of like twenty others from the same series and I’m happy to pass those on to interested parties should they exist. You can read up on the extensive discography of Wing Commander here!
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Comparing Editions of Wing Commander Armada Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If you caught last night's Voices of War stream, you saw how we discovered that the US and UK versions of Armada shipped with slightly different formats of the game's manual. The American edition has purple on the left and black on the right, and the British version is partially inverted with black and light purple on the left and darker purple on the right. The game's play guides are more similar to eachother with dimensions to match the slightly squatter European shape. I've added pictures of the exterior box as well (US, UK, CD-ROM Classics) for even more side-by-side goodness!

Voices of War Stream Tonight! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

TONIGHT! I’ll be streaming to talk all about Voices of War, one of the greatest game manuals ever written! 8 PM Eastern on YouTube. Here’s a PDF of the booklet if you want to study up!
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