HCl and Howard Day have released a playable preview of their Hellcat in Wing Commander Academy. Just unzip this file (115 k zip) into your WCA data directory. It will overwrite the game's Wraith, so back those two files up if you'd like to restore everything afterwards. This is only a very preliminary test, and future updates should include more ships, more features and a smoother interface. Ship stats place the Hellcat roughly on par, if not a bit better, than the standard F-44G Rapier II. It's an amazing proof of concept, and we can't wait to see more! If you'd like to follow the latest news on this topic, there's a lively discussion on modding classic WC games at the CIC Forums. There's a lot of smart Wingnuts there!
That's actually a very interesting idea. :) If polygon-based 3D did not take off the way it did, I wonder if other approaches would have been considered. For example, imagine WC1 with terrain support. A hybrid sprite / voxel engine (essentially expanding the WC1 engine with a voxel component) could have been very interesting, with sprites being used for fighters / capships as usual and voxels being used for terrain (not unlike Commanche Maximum Overkill). I'm guessing of course, but I think it could have worked very well!
Anyway, research on the engine data is continuing. I think I managed to locate the exhaust coordinates in there, but there's still a lot of unknowns that I need to solve before I am able to generate a new chunk. I suspect it will still take me a few days to figure things out.
In the meantime, however, since the Hellcat already has stats, I thought it would be fun to upload what I have so far, so you could take the ship for a ride and see how it feels in WCA. Just keep in mind that the engine exhaust placement is not final, and still has to be adjusted. As for the VDU guns, I ended up changing the gun icons to the WC2 mass driver icon, for both the MD and Neutron guns. The Neutron gun icon of the Crossbow was just too wide. Plus, this helped "unclutter" the cockpit area a bit. I think the end result is good!
Watch Hamill Receive His Star
As we reported last month, Wing Commander hero and prominent voice actor Mark Hamill recently received his star on the Hollywood walk of fame. George Lucas and Harrison Ford also helped present the honor, so it looks like it was quite an event! Check out the fun below:Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker from 'Star War' received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (2018-03-23)
Upper Memory Block Walks Down Memory Lane
The Upper Memory Block podcast has kicked off a fun play-through of Wing Commander 2. Game streaming is a common pastime this days and there are lots of folks out there recording their Wing Commander sessions, so we don't highlight them all. But UMB is a big fan of the Wing Commander series, and they have a lot of similar contemporary interests to Wingnuts. (2018-03-22)
Homeworld Mod Deploys Black Lance
It's a big week for the Homeworld Remastered Mod! Their long-awaited Black Lance upgrade has now been released. Fans can grab it at either the Steam Workshop or ModDB, but users with a current copy will get the update automatically. (2018-03-21)
New WC Toolbox Expands WC2 Campaign Support
The WC Toolbox has gotten smarter with another new update. Version 4.2. (2018-03-20)
Kilrathi Fleet Gets Large Scale LLOD Upgrades
A couple of monster models have made their way into the Last Line of Defense project. Using some newly discovered information, Deathsnake has scaled up his fearsome Rigakh cruiser. Fairly credible stats imply it's even larger than the Confederation class dreadnought! (2018-03-19)