Privateer Drifting Away?

If you dowloaded your copy of Privateer from GOG in the first hour or so it was available and you're having trouble with a driftig mouse cursor then you should redownload the game. GOG's expert technical staff identified the issue and patched the game to version 1.0.0.5 almost immediatey--but it's possible a few hardcore fans managed to get the game earlier.

GOG EA Trailer Available Online

GOG's trailer announcing the arrival of EA classics is certainly a little bit odd... but I'll be damned if my heart didn't skip a beat when Privateer was the first thing to appear on the screen. Now, it's available for rewatching. You can stream the trailer online here or download a copy here (44mb).

BREAKING NEWS: EA Store is Now Origin

... nothing else changes? Users attempting to access the EA Store are finding that it is gone, replaced with a message saying that it will be relaunched as ORIGIN at 9 AM PST. It also looks like EA has finally purchased Origin.com for the service! We will keep you updated as this develops. EA's E3 presentation will begin at 12:30 AM PST and more information should be revealed then.
Welcome to the EA Store, now called Origin! Our site is in the middle of an upgrade. Please come back at 9am PST to experience our new storefront.

Happy Privateer Day!

In honor of Privateer's release on GOG, we're going to be running updates all day talking about some of the game's history and also collect some fascinating odds and ends. Keep stopping by--new posts will appear under this one as they are ready.

Privateer Day: Read All About It

Origin published their first in-house Wing Commander book for Privateer, the Privateer Playtester's Guide. The guide includes detailed maps of every system in the Gemini Sector and introduces you to the whole Privateer playtesting team! There was also an unofficial guide in Germany, Das Privateer Piloten Handbuch by Peter Schmitz and Christian Schmidt. It has a cool space battle with a Gladius on the cover!

Privateer Day: How it Got Made

If you are interested in knowing more about Privateer's development process, from how an Origin game went from the spark of an idea to a box on the shelf, it is used as a case study in The Magic of Interactive Entertainment:
The main goals in the design of Privateer were to create a commerce trading system within the Wing Commander universe. Another goal was to provide a game with random missions that players could play over and over again. That freshness ensures the game never ends.

Some initial ideas never quite made it into the final game. One such idea involved player finances. The game initially enabled players to get loans from banks or other (less reputable) characters. In this scenario, you might run into debt, and be pursued by creditors or bounty hunters which were after the price on your head. Privateer took about a year and a half to make, and so during this period, many such ideas were dropped while others were developed and added to the game.

(Read the full chapter.)

Privateer Day: A Novel Idea

There's one other great literary connection to Privateer. Famed author Jerry Pournelle, who was once scheduled to co-author a Wing Commander novel, loved the game and frequently mentioned it in his BYTE column. As late as December, 1998, he still had stories to tell in the Privateer setting:
Early on there was a spinoff game called Privateer which used the original Wing Commander engine and some of the original ships, but had a free form universe you could explore until you stumbled across the story line. That was followed by an ad-on scenario called "Righteous Fire" that was the single most enjoyable action game I have ever played. I loved Privateer and Righteous Fire... I still wish they’d simply publish the specs for writing ad on scenarios to the original Privateer, though. If they want to improve the graphics levels, fine, but in fact that was about good enough; and it sure was fun. I can think of a number of stories I could write in that universe.

Privateer Day: How it Started

The game we know as Wing Commander: Privateer began life as Trade Commander, a game planned in 1992 to take advantage of the RealSpace technology being developed for Chris Roberts' opus, Strike Commander. The plan was to offset the tremendous cost of Strike Commander by quickly releasing other games built on the same engine--something that could be accomplished by beginning their development before Strike was ready. As Strike Commander ran into delays and overruns, it became clear the new 3D engine would not be available in time. Plans for Trade Commander were adapted to use the existing, less technically impressive Wing Commander engine. Trade Commander's sister project, Phoenix Force, was less lucky: it was unceremoniously cancelled and is rarely remembered today.

Trade Commander was formally announced, in typical Origin fashion, in 1992:

In 1990 ORIGIN revolutionized the industry when it introduced interactive cinema with the first Wing Commander game. In 1991 Wing Commander II carried this vision to new heights of game action, and with it new depth and sophistication. Now this year (we hope) will see the release of Trade Commander (now Privateer), a game that brings interactive entertainment software to a higher pinnacle of excitement than ever before.
(Read the full announcement.)

Privateer Day: WANTED!

Wing Commander Arena was full of Privateer references... but the coolest was this, the back page of the game's manual. It's a wanted poster for Privateer's lead character and it's full of Privateer jokes (the picture of an older, angrier Burrows was an earlier version created by Origin.)

Privateer Day: Yo Quiero Privateer

You don't need to speak Spanish to appreciate this awesome Privateer feature article from a 1993 issue of MicroMania! It's amazing to remember that there was a time when gaming magazines were both this comprehensive and just plain attractive:

Privateer Day: Don't Answer the Phone

Lead Erin Roberts tells a story about the talkie CD-ROM version of Privateer being cancelled and restarted so many times that he decided to stop listening to EA and have his team finish the game whether they were supposed to or not. Thanks to deals with companies like Dell and Gateway 2000, tt would go on to be one of the most bundled CD-ROM games ever made. Here's a great magazine review from 1994:

Privateer Day: Number Five with a Bullet

Privateer's four ship options are loved by fans everywhere, even the cheaper choices (internally, the game calls the Tarsus the 'clunker' and the Orion 'tug'--so they knew what they were doing)... but did you know there was originally going to be a fifth "speeder" ship? Here's a design sketch:

Privateer Day: Shirt off their Backs

Per tradition, design teams at Origin would create a team shirt for each product being developed. Working on Privateer's team would have earned you an especially cool t-shirt! Check out this awesome Centurion:

Privateer Day: Get the Point!

Origin's internal newsletter, Point of Origin, is a great way to trace development history... and Point of Origin was published very frequently during Privateer's development cycle! Here are links to every issue which mentions the game:

Privateer Day: A New Paradigm

In 1993, Origin released an amazing Windows 3.1 screensaver package called Origin FX. It was filled with modes from all the top of the line Origin games... including two from Privateer! In one, Privateer ships fly aroud your widows... and in the other the TCS Paradigm moves back and forth in space.

Privateer Day: That's-A-Polling

Here's a funny bit of data--numbers from a poll that Gamespot ran on August 10th, 1998... the day the CIC opened for business! At the time, it's clear that Privateer was the favorite Wing Commader game, with almost twice as many votes as the nearest competitor. Good choice, GOG!
Which is your favorite Wing Commander game?
Privateer: 37%
Prophecy: 21%
Wing Commander IV: 15%
Wing Commander III: 11%
Wing Commander II: 7%
Wing Commander: 6%
(8,505 respondents)

Privateer Day: Another Screensaver

Don't have Windows 3.1 running? Want a comparatively modern Privateer screensaver? Former Origin designer Captain Johnny created one! 3D Wing Commander ships fly around the screen... all while Privateer music plays! Grab a copy here (300k). It is eleven years old, so all bets are off as to whether or not it will run in modern Windows.

Privateer Day: Word to your Father

Ever want to have a closer look at the 'holo posters' that appear in various offices in the Gemini Sector? Thanks to the discovery of the original textures, you can--there are some truly bizarre jokes in there that no one could ever have seen.

Privateer Day: Early Light

WingCenter recently posted scans of a great Privateer preview from PowerPlay magazine. The most interesting thing, though, is that it's using early mockup images--check out the fully 3D ships in the cockpit image... and a cinematic scene with Demons!

Privateer Day: Raiders of the Lost Manual

Does the Privateer manual seem a little plain to you? There's an interesting story behind that--they actually produced a full set of Claw Marks-style line art for the booklet which somehow went unused! You can download the whole thing here (17 meg). A collection of faxes relating to this project is also available here (43 mb).

Privateer Day: Meet Mark Thornton

In 2007, we were contacted by someone named Mark Thornton about a technical issue with our web forums. I noticed a funny coincidence--the name appears as a fighter pilot in Privateer's manual. Was he a former Origin employee or somehow connected to the company? He was kind enough to share his very cool story:
I wrote Origin a letter a long time ago regarding opening my own custom software store, and asked them for any assistance about purchasing software, business licensing, etc... and they sent a HUGE mailer back to me with a bunch of stickers, promotion pages of upcoming games, and a nice letter wishing me good luck. Over the years though they were all thrown away, grrrrrrr. But I do still have all of their games! :) (thank you DosBox! :))

Anyway, Wing Commander Privateer came out soon afterwards and when I saw my name in the Flight Training portion of the manual, I FREAKED! It's great to be a permanent part of Origin's history!

You can learn more here.

Privateer Day: Now You See It

Privateer features four Kilrathi ships, all of which are versions of ships created for other games: the Gothri, Drathi, Kamekh and Salthi (in Righteous Fire). But what if there were a fifth ship? It almost happened! The art team also created a Privateer version of the Strakha stealth fighter--but cloaking devices were removed from the game, rendering its inclusion impossible. Here is what it would have looked like?

Privateer Day: Around the World!

Privateer was't just an American success story--the game was well reviewed around the world! Here you can see a Korean advertisement (left) and a blue Japanese DOS/V release of the game!

Privateer Day: A Tarsus Visits Babylon 5?

Privateer's famous Tarsus scout may have made a cameo appearance on Babylon 5--check out the ship below, which appeared in the episode "War Without End". After the episode aired, B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski admitted to being Wing Commander fan but not borrowing the Tarsus:
No, actually, I've never gotten into the Privateer stuff...I have the new Wing Commander, but my joystick is screwed up (others have made that observation before), so it's waiting until I can yank the computer out of its niche and install the Fancy New Joystick I bought that has fifteen thousand different plug-in points.

jms

Privateer Day: What Sharp Talons You Have

If you're heading to the Gemini Sector this weekend, you can expect to encounter a LOT of Talons--they're flown by the militia, the pirates and the Church of Man ("Retros"). But did you know that each type of Talon actually has a different paint scheme in the game? Look carefully and you'll see it! Here's a handy chart to help you pick them out (also pictured are the SWC Gratha and the Privateer 2 Talon).

Privateer Day: Haven't I Seen You Here Before?

You can be forgiven if a few of the ships in Privateer seem familiar--that's because Origin borrowed several from Wing Commander II... and then re-used several others in later games! Wing Commander II's Broadsword, Kamekh and Dralthi make return appearances in Privateer. The Dralthi, Salthi and Raptor models created for Privateer return in Super Wing Commander (the Gladius as a Raptor) and then again in Wing Commander Armada (as the Shok'lar and Gladius, respectively). Privateer's Demon also seems to have evolved into SWC's Raptor and then Armada's Banshee and Phantom. Strangest of all is the Talon model, though, which reappears as a Kilrathi Gratha in SWC and then again as a Talon for one mission in Privater 2!

But that's not all: Privateer's distict "comet jump" sequence would later be used in the introduction to Origin's Metal Morph, an obscure SNES sidescroller. You can find a video of the sequence online here.

Privateer Day: Remembering Brian Smith

In this day of celebration for Wing Commander fans, we should take a moment to remember one of Privateer's developers who is no longer with us. Artist Brian Smith passed way in 2007 and is greatly missed by his colleagues and fans. Brian was part of a small art team and did a great deal of the graphics in the finished game--including the Mercenary's Guild fixer who he modeled on his sister! Hopefully it is of some comfort to those who knew him that his work is still bringing joy and excitement to Wing Commander fans almost twenty years after the game was first released. You can find our online memorial here.

Privateer Day: Centurions Enter the Arena

Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed Privateer's signature Centurion heavy fighter in the logo art to Wing Commander Arena! It's true: the Centurion (and Gothri) were originally to be playable ships in Arena, but were cut during development. You can actually find the Centurion model hiding in the game itself--floating listlessly forever near a derelict Pelican.

Privateer Day: Know Your Foe

Learn your Privateer ships with this handy chart--and simply click on the target for more information!
Fighters

Tarsus

Demon

Orion

Galaxy

Centurion

F-38 Talon

Dralthi VII

Gothri

Salthi

F-71 Stiletto

A-15 Gladius

A-17 Broadsword

Drone

Scout
Capital Ships

Paradigm

Carrier

Drayman

Kamekh
Installations

Halsey

Pirate Base

Gaea

Agricultural Planet

Pleasure Planet

Oxford

Mining Base

Refinery

New Detroit

New Constantinople
Others

Weapons

Ejected Pilot

Food

Raw Materials

Fuel

Luxury Goods

Processed Goods

???

???

???

Slaves

Privateer Day: Sketchy Bonus

I don't know art, but I know what I like--and I like this! We've scanned and collected a large number of Privateer concept sketches--these are the drawings of all the ships and locations made by the team at start of the development process. Major bonus: the artists drew the Millenium Falcon in the area art where the finished ships would go! Download the ships here (26 megs) and the gameflow screens here (14 megs).

Privateer Day: Nice Spread

Here's a two-page Privateer advertising spread which ran in many magazines in 1993! Note the wrong date--2670 instead of 2669. Also exciting: this quick shot was the first experimental image taken by a new camera purchased today for an upcoming CIC secret mission.

Privateer Day: Trailer Parked

Did you know they had trailers for video games in 1993, decade before streaming video became a reality? It's true! You can download a copy of the extremely short Privateer video here. Here's the narration:
Origin presents Privateer, a next generation space combat simulator for the IBM platform. You'll move through an intensely cinematic universe experiencing the two very different thrills of reaching a hard bargain and real time 3D space combat. Make your own alliances and choose the life of a pirate, a mercenary or a merchant. Customize your ship, modify your weapons, armament and systems. Explore a complete universe with more than fifty bases and planets in almost seventy systems!

Privateer Day: Rumor Control

Privateer's bartenders are a great source for conversation--and they always have the latest rumor or tip. Some are just for flavor, some are red herrings and others refer to the game's ongoing plot. One in particular, though, shows up in online discussion time and time again:
Hey, I heard a good one the other day. Seems that there’s this hollow asteroid along the Kilrathi border... The thing of it is, the Kilrathi use it as a munitions dump! The guy who finds that dump can help himself to as much ordnance as he can haul!
So, to clarify once and for all: is there a hollow asteroid full of Kilrathi weapons hidden somewhere in Privateer?

NO

The rumor is meant to refer to the Steltek derelict! Stop searching the Kilrathi star systems--you will not find this asteroid!

Privateer Day: 3D, No Glasses Needed

Want to get a REALLY close look at the world of Privateer? You can, if you have a 3D rendering tool! Click here to download a massive archive of 3D models used in the production of the game--ships, weapons, environments, it's all there... and incredibly detailed. Every 3D model was created with high resolution graphics and then reduced to a small bitmap for the game itself.

Privateer Day: More Lost Arena

Here is another set of unseen Wing Commander Arena screenshots, showing the unused Centurion model in great detail. Also included are very early 'top down' shots of the game in action, which include both the Centurion and Gothri in action!

Privateer Day: As Seen on TV?

In 1995, Origin developed plans for a TV show spun off of Privateer! The idea was that there would be two further Privateer games and a weekly TV series which would all tell a combined story over the course of a year. You can find a copy of the series' bible online here. It was written by Claw Marks' Aaron Allston, who went on to fame and fortune writing in the Star Wars universe. We caught up with him at a convention some years later where he explained that the pitch actually made it to Hollywood--but that he was glad the project had died, as it was a shadow of its former self by that time (he specifically mentioned an episode about visiting a planet of half-naked Amazon space women).

Privateer Day: HCl's Privateer Tinkering

Wing Commander's certified genius, HCl, is no stranger to Privateer--although his tweaks are frequently overlooked! Here's what he has been hiding all these years in the archive area of his web site:
Privateer 1 Ship Viewer - Old program that allows viewing the Bitmaps of P1 ships.

Dralthi Patch - Allows you to fly a Dralthi, works with Floppy and CD versions of Privateer. Replaces the Tarsus.

Stiletto Patch - Allows you to fly a Stiletto, works with Floppy and CD versions of Privateer. Replaces the Tarsus.

Privateer 1 - TRE Format - This information file will explain the format of the TRE files Privateer uses. This is the same format WC Armada and Strike Commander use.

Test mission for P1/RF - A new mission for Privateer, Righteous Fire, where you have to search and destroy a Paradigm stolen by the Kilrathi. Pays 300k credits. Many thanks to RFBurns for the dedicated beta testing of this new mission and discovering a few bugs i didn't see in the first version!:) To install this mission, edit your rf.cfg file and add to the beginning of the file the line "=test.tre". Then start Righteous Fire and load the test savegame.

Privateer Day: Keep Me Companies

You may not put too much thought into who is offering you the auto-generated computer missions in Privateer... but Origin did! The extracted list below names all the possible options, which really helps to build a living, breathing universe without using up too much disk space. There are some classic Origin in-jokes in there as well, including Beto's Foodcorp (from the muffin-loving Strike Commander fixer), Ultima Resorts and even companies named Origin and EA!
  • The Merchants' Guild
  • The Militia
  • The Confederation
  • Anonymous Employer
  • Lynch Enterprises
  • Lynch Shipping
  • Lynch Mining
  • Lynch Security
  • The Exploratory Service
  • Private Citizen
  • Omni, Inc.
  • Cerberus Shipping
  • Blankenstaff Ltd.
  • Tsunami/Azuma, Inc.
  • Trebor Corp.
  • Tactical Micro Devices
  • Izanami Corp.
  • Omniscan, Inc.
  • Galaxy Resources, Inc.
  • Tetsuo Distribution, Ltd.
  • Cerebus Shipping
  • Tsumami
  • Azuma Weapons
  • Gemini Export
  • The Cardann Group
  • Beto's Foodcorp Unltd.
  • Tanya/Sepree, Inc.
  • Frontier Enterprises
  • United Distribution
  • TransComm
  • Confederated Mining
  • MegaCrunch Credit
  • Austin Entertainment Group
  • Russo Disposal Systems
  • Manners Arms and Shielding
  • Johnson and Cafrelli, Ltd.
  • Apex
  • Terraform Corp.
  • Hydroshock Manufacturing
  • Universal Imports
  • Transector Plus
  • Fellowship Systems
  • Skybird Scanners
  • Rolling Hills, Unltd.
  • Valle Brothers
  • Frake Packaging
  • Capri Mining
  • Nexus Mining
  • Taurus Mining
  • Saturn Mining
  • Deep Space Asteroid Mining
  • Dell Refineries
  • Nicholson Refineries
  • Hendershot Mining
  • Starfield Cruises
  • Maximum Pleasure
  • Ultima Resorts
  • Infrared Detection Systems
  • Total Eclipse
  • Merry Rover
  • Mycroft Mining
  • Middleton Securities
  • First Bank of Gemini
  • Gemini Savings and Loan
  • Jefferson Confederal
  • AllSafe Retrograde
  • Bridesmaid Enterprises
  • TDR Symposium
  • Borderline, Inc.
  • Averson Dynamics
  • Citation
  • Hawkeye Security
  • Renegade Weapon Systems
  • TipTop Systems
  • AntiStealth, Ltd.
  • MicroDeath Delivery
  • AutoNav
  • Second Star
  • QuarterMast Nav and Chart
  • Parsec Mining
  • First Strike, Inc.
  • Heistand Forecasting
  • Abyss Minerals
  • EnvironMental, Unltd.
  • Tarsus
  • MetroScan
  • The McLaughlin Company
  • Delta Resorts
  • Gamma-Way
  • Thermal Optics
  • Scorpio Consulting
  • Obsession, Inc.
  • The Outskirt Consortium
  • Big Bang Pharmaceuticals
  • Cannon Research Group
  • Capital Investments
  • Universal Charter
  • Martin Swig Distillery
  • FiberLink
  • Origin Systems, Inc.
  • Electronic Arts, Inc.
  • Lehman Carbonshares
  • Black Hole Retrievals
  • Triple Play Enterprises
  • Oxford Research Foundation
  • Castro Memorial Foundation
  • Grim Reaper Systems
  • Voight, Inc.
  • CyberSoft
  • Brainwave Instruments
  • Privateer Day: What is a Privateer, Anyway?

    Consider this a miniature "WC vs. History"! Earlier today you learned that Privateer was originally called "Trade Commander". The change was likely because, well, Trade Commander sounds dreadfully dull (there was actually another pitch at the time called Alien Commander--more on that in coming months)... but having changed the name, what is a Privateer?

    A Privateer was, during the age of sailing ships, essentially a pirate sponsored by a government. Nations could create Privateers by issuing a "Letter of Marque and Reprisal" (Wikipedia) to a private ship. The 'privateer' would then have government-sanctioned permission to fight and capture ships belonging to an enemy nation. For their part, they would profit from the sale of captured ships and material. Creating privateers was an especially important tactic in situations where a country might have a disadvantage in terms of sea power, such as the United States during the Revolutionary War.

    The background is largely left unsaid in Wing Commander Privateer (although letters of marque were later referenced in Star*Soldier)--but the assumption is clear: because of the desperate war situation, the Confederation has given your character special permission to fight the Kilrathi and pirates. Now let's see one of our talented fans come up with a 27th century letter to hang in our Tarsuses!

    Privateer Day: The Canonical Editors

    Lets step back into pre-history for a moment. From the very first moments that man stared up at the stars, he dreamed of editing Privateer in various ways. And even without high powered computers, access to developer informtion or a world wide web to share information across, early man managed to fashion these tools in a near-vacuum. Three Privateer editing tools were created and spread across the pre-internet landscape of BBSes and services like Prodigy and Compuserv. And today, these simple tools are just as useful as they were way back then.
    • PREASY - A Privateer 'trainer' for adding money to your savegames.
    • PREDIT - A detailed save game editor which allows you to change money, ship, location and more.
    • PRSHIP - A deceptively simple ship editor that's difficult to use but essential once you master it.

    Privateer Day: The Documentation

    Here's one we should have done 20 hours ago: PDFs of Privateer's documentation! The Playguide Manual is Privateer's deceptively cool manual, with its strange but fascinating bit of short fiction! And note that Privateer is the rare game where you do want to read the reference card--it has all the prices for ship upgrades on it!

    Privateer Day: Wall of Honor

    Here's a very important update we often forget--the credits for Privateer and its related games. These are the people responsible for giving us thousands of hours of entertainment--we don't want to forget who they are. (Note that we have been completey unable to find the creits for the original Privateer speech pack--if you have a copy, please pass them along!)
    Privateer Credits
    Original Concept - Joel Manners, Chris Roberts
    Lead Design - Joel Manners
    Design - Tom Kassebaum, Anthony Nichols, Phil Wattenbarger
    Lead Programming - Ed Maurer
    Programming - Charles Cafrelli, Reinaldo Castro, Richard Dean Johnson, Arthur DiBianca, Edwin Herrell, Alex Jen, Jeff Wilson
    Graphics / Artwork - Chris Douglas, Robert Frye, Beverly Garland, Danny Garrett, Craig Halverson, Jake Rodgers, Brian Smith
    Music - Laura Barratt, Marc Schaefgen, Nenad Vugrinec
    Sound - Randy Buck, John Tipton
    Executive Producer - Chris Roberts
    Producer - R. Scott Russo
    Associate Producer - Erin Roberts
    Writing / Dialogue / Story - G P Austin
    Playtesting - Bill LaCoste, Starr Long, Dan Orzulak, Tobin Shelton, Dee R. Starns, Perry Stokes, Todd Wachhaus
    Special Thanks To - Whitney Ayres, Bill Baldwin, Paul Isaac, David Lawell, Aaron Martin, John Miles, Alan Perez, Kevin Potter, Zachary Booth Simpson, Suzanne Taylor, Jeff Wand, Jason Yenawine

    Righteous Fire Credits
    Project Leader - Arthur DiBianca
    Game Concept - Phil Wattenbarger
    Programming - Arthur DiBianca
    Design - Tom Kassebaum, Phil Wattenbarger
    Conversations - Arthur DiBianca, Phil Wattenbarger
    Art - Melinda Bordelon, Alan Perez, Brian Smith
    Music - Barry Leitch
    Quality Assurance Leader - Dan Orzulak
    Quality Assurance Team - Charles Angel, Jerrold Harrington, Kevin Kushner
    Graphic Design - Trey Hermann
    Documentation - Arthur DiBianca, Tuesday Frase, Melissa Mead
    Producer - Warren Spector
    Special Thanks - Ed Maurer

    Privateer CD Credits
    Project Leader - Arthur DiBianca
    Programming - Arthur DiBianca
    Voice Direction & Recording - Randy Buck, Arthur DiBianca, Scott Hazle, Phil Wattenbarger
    Voice Processing - Randy Buck, Britt Daniel, Stretch Williams
    Additional Voice Processing - Arthur DiBianca, Scott Hazle, Phil Wattenbarger
    Voice Talent - Kerry Awn, Marten Davies, Arthur DiBianca, Annie Greenwood, Lucinda Hinton, Bill Johnson, Colum Keating, Ev Lunning, John Meadows, Diane Perella, Marco Perella, Toni Perensky, Don Phillips, Shannon Sedgewick, Michael Stewart, Ron Tatar, Kirk Winterrowd
    Quality Assurance Leader - Jeremy Mappus
    Quality Assurance Team - Evan Brandt, Don Derouen, Mark Franz, Bill LaCoste, Dan Orzulak, Harvey Smith, Brian Wachhaus
    Graphic Design - Jennifer Davis
    Documentation - Melissa Mead
    Producer - Warren Spector

    Privateer Day: Standoff and Run Away

    We've already seem some interest in the 'Speeder' ship shown earlier in the day--the fast, nimble fighter cut from the finished version of Privateer. Well, a while back the Standoff team created a special patch that lets you fly the ship in their game's simulator!
    You can head on to the downloads section to check out this new ship, which we've dubbed Artemis-class, and which will be present in Standoff's next episode among the many civilian ships that fell to the Kilrathi offensive in orbit around Mars. This patch will replace the Raptor in Standoff's simulator with the Artemis, and will temporarily disable sending your scores to the online scoreboards (for all ships), but it can be uninstalled through the Windows Add/Remove program control panel.
    You can download the patch here (300kb).

    Privateer Day: Music to my Ears

    We had a request on Facebook for a little Privateer music. Instead, how about about all of it? The Privateer soundtrack really is spectacular. I can't hear the Perry theme without feeling a little pride in the Terran Confederation Navy...

    High Quality MIDI Recordings

    Various tracks These three MIDIs came from Righteous Fire--and were sent by the composer, Barry Leitch, directly! Finally, these Privateer tracks were actually released on commercial CD soundtracks! How cool is that?

    Origin Audio CD Vol. III

    Electronic Arts Music Sampler

    Privateer Day: The What Didn't Happen?

    Privateer did eventually get a sequel. Privateer 2: The Darkening is one of my favorite games of all time (and GOG willing, a subject for PRIVATEER 2 DAY)... but why wasn't there ever a direct sequel? The sad truth is that while many other Privateer followups were attempted, all met sad ends. Here's a quick rundown:

    Privateer 2 was a Chris Roberts project that would have been developed after Wing Commander IV. Chris left Origin instead and the project was replaced by The Darkening, already in development in the UK. Privateer 2 (and a sequel) were also part of the plan for the 1995 Privateer television series project.

    Privateer 3 was one of the saddest chapters in our history. Privateer 3 was deep in development by the Crusader team and ready to shoot its film segments when it was unceremoniously cancelled. Adding insult to injury, the cancellation came just days after a beautiful multi-page magazine preview had formally announced the game in the first place.

    Privateer Online seemed like a natural followup to Ultima Online, and all the more so after EA dictated that Origin go 'online only'. Sadly, after some development the game was cancelled and the team fired mere days before the release of the Wing Commander movie in 1999. Most of the POL group went on to do Star Wars Galaxies for Sony. The proposal actually talks about four games--Privateer Online, POL Gold, Privateer Online 2 and POL 2 Gold.

    Privateer Online (again!) was a second attempt at Privateer Online developed in 2000-2001. The game got far enough to have a very rough interface where players could walk around in an environment... but in the end, the budget axe killed it. This version would have reused elements from both Ultima Online 2 and Wing Commander Prophecy!

    Wing Commander Mercenaries was a Privateer pitch developed in 2005 by Origin veterans who moved to California with the UXO group. It was described as 'Battlefield meets Grand Theft Auto' and would have involved a multimedia franchise relaunch similar to that developed for Dead Space.

    Privateer Browser Game was a project explored by Electronic Arts in 2008, similar to what became 'Lord of Ultima'. It would have been a very simple click-to-play RPG, but absolutely thick with Wing Commander lore. Critical Mass did early concept work for the title but had a falling out with EA over rights.


    Wing Commander CIC - Visit the front page

    Official news, fan projects and topics of particular interest to Wing Commander fans.

    Happy Birthday Wing Commander IV!
    2016-02-12 -- There's been lots of excitement lately surrounding the Wing Commander franchise's recent 25 year anniversary, but such an extensive series has no shortage of milestones. Wing Commander 4 was released twenty years ago today. This anniversary carries a lot of weight as one of the very first that was played out online with a sizable audience of Wing Commander fans.

    Retro Review Fondly Remembers WC3
    2016-02-11 -- PlayerAttack has published a retro review of Wing Commander 3. Rather than someone newly exposed to the franchise through the digital rereleases, the author here starts by talking about his excitement the first time he saw the game in the early '90s. This energy shines through the remainder of the review.

    Plastic Turbines To Speed...
    2016-02-10 -- Voidshaper has taken a stab at another Lego Wing Commander ships, and the results are really good! His earlier Dralthi was pretty spot on, and now the flying pancake has a lighter sibling to play with. It's pretty impressive how closely the shape can mimic the original given the limited brick options!

    Ninth Issue Of Destiny's Way Released
    2016-02-09 -- The Maslas Brothers have released the first issue of Destiny's Way for 2016! It features a lengthy article about exploration on the frontier and plenty of easter eggs. Grab the full 8-page PDF here (4 megs) and stay tuned for more from the Flat Universe team soon.

    Defiance Industries Meets Douglas Aerospace
    2016-02-08 -- DefianceIndustries has put together a really nice Hellcat, and it comes in two varieties! In the shift from Wing Commander 3 to 4, the workhorse fighter didn't just get slightly different color highlights. The earlier variant has four clear underslung guns in the same mount.

    Who Would You Be?
    2016-02-07 -- We've got a new poll up that takes a slightly different turn than usual. Rather than asking what your favorite thing is, we're posing a question that asks if you could be a pilot besides Christopher Blair in the regular Wing Commander series, who would that be? To narrow down the options, we've selected a slate of eight pilots well known for their aggressiveness in the cockpit.

    GOG Discounts EA Games by 60-85%
    2016-02-06 -- Good Old Games is having a unique EA Completionist sale this weekend. While individual games are 60% off, if you opt to buy all of the EA titles missing from your library, the discount jumps to a whopping 85%. The GOG catalog is up to 42 different titles from Electronic Arts, but because the discount is so high, the full slate is $41.

    WC Toolbox Adds Ship Editing Feature
    2016-02-05 -- UnnamedCharacter has released a new version of his programming library for interfacing with Wing Commander 1's game data files. This newest beta release (3.3.

    Kilrathi Durasteel Polished For Homeworld Mod
    2016-02-04 -- L.I.F.

    Wing Commander Finally Gets Its Due?
    2016-02-03 -- Den of Geek recently ran an article on the 50 Underappreciated DOS Games. As one of the best selling and highest rated DOS games of all time, we'd probably agree with Space Game Junkie that Wing Commander doesn't really fit on this list. Rather, this instead seem like a missed opportunity to highlight something like Wing Commander Armada or perhaps Privateer 2.

    Ron Cobb's Wing Commander Concept Art Found!
    2016-02-02 -- LOAF recently uncovered several pieces of exotic concept art for the Wing Commander Movie! These treasures were drafted by Ron Cobb, who is famous for creating some of the iconic imagery for Star Wars, Alien, The Last Starfighter and more. Each is dated 1997 before Chris Roberts and producer Todd Moyer decided to go in a different visual direction, although some of the promotional material such as the 1998 SFX WC magazine still credits him with the "texture" of the film.

    Star Citizen Fan Creates Wing Commanderific Squadron 42 Box
    2016-02-01 -- Illusive_Man has mocked up a pretty clever Squadron 42 box based on the classic Wing Commander 3 art. It mirrors the original fonts, backgrounds and all of the arrangement. Mark Hamill and John Rhys-Davies' positions are the same, as is the placement of the catlike alien and their exploding ships.

    Annual Community Vote Begins!
    2016-01-31 -- We've left 2015 in the past, but there's one more thing to do as we move further into 2016. You've sent nominations in over the past month, and now we're kicking off our annual awards to recognize the fan projects and websites that had some of the most impact over the past year. We had an even larger number of worthy projects this year than normal, and we definitely wanted to get this out before the end of January, so excuse the brief listings of each choice.

    Medium Size Capships Get Visual Upgrades & New Orders
    2016-01-30 -- Back on the Homeworld front, L.I.F.

    The $6 Million Dollar Game Arrives on 3DO
    2016-01-29 -- Flashback Nation, a Twitter account dedicated to all things retro, recently put up this scanned cover page of the Winter '94 issue of 3DO Magazine UK. Wing Commander 3 is featured prominently on the cover, and the issue included a review of the "$6 Million Dollar Game." The coverdisk (which appears to be free sampler disk #1) would not have included the playable 3DO demo of Wing 3.

    Border Worlds Pilot Defies His Opponent
    2016-01-28 -- When DefianceIndustries isn't modding Secret Ops or lending support to other fan projects, what does he like to do for fun? Make a gorgeous wallpaper! This one sticks his excellent Banshee model front and center as he recreates one of the most famous advertisement renders for Wing Commander 4.

    MetalJesusRocks The Price Of Freedom
    2016-01-27 -- Today we have Metal Jesus Rocks' review of Wing Commander 4. This was actually created a while ago, and despite MJR's popularity, managed to stay under our radar until now. The quirky reviewer covers retro gaming with a dash of his own heavy metal soundtrack tossed in.

    "Ek'rah skabak erg Thrak'Kilrah maks Cheesy Balls"
    2016-01-26 -- LOAF recently uncovered a neat "alphabet" sheet for the Wing Commander Movie. It shows sixteen symbols of the type used in the alien scene translations. There are several very distinct Kilrathi writing styles observed from the dots and dashes in the SM2 Dralthi cockpit to the iconic Kiranka claw that debuted in Wing Commander 3.

    Universe Explored In A Flat Way
    2016-01-25 -- Space Game Junkie recently conducted a live stream playthrough of the Wing Commander Flat Universe fan game. We've posted lots of screenshots of both the top-down action as well as the flow sequences aboard Daedalus Station, but these images don't do the game justice. Videos like the one below are much better at showing off how cool it can be to just walk around in a familiar WC setting.

    Classic Opponents Engage In Aerial Dogfight
    2016-01-24 -- NinjaLA has combined two of the most iconic Wing Commander ships into one pretty nifty sketch. He's gotten some practice making both Dralthi and Hornets look really good lately, so it's no surprise that they're finally pictured together here. The Confed fighter needs to lean even heavier on its afterburner if it's going to avoid a pancake/wing collision though!

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