It is time. #wingcommander
It is time. #wingcommander
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.
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!
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?
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: Six hundred fifty.
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.
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.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.
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.
Wonderful! This is for Wing Commander III PSX which was localized for Japan.Japanese Magazine Ads and comes from the October 1996 issue of Jugemu magazine. You can find more advertising and promotional material in the CIC Document Archive.
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.
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:
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."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). 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'!
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!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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).This one is based on the WC2 version. Did you know there were three main iterations of the Bloodfang?
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.
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.
This is just one page from the Wing Commander Academy press kit. You can find read the rest here!
FLIGHT MEMBER DOSSIER
Name: Christopher Blair
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
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 pour over all the references and in-jokes. They even named some systems after especially handsome and well-liked fans! beta version on the WCP site for fans to comment on… and of course I saved it! 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: 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:
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!Kamrani corvette from LordTyrranus! game otherwise, here's a trailer with what it looks like!