Origin FX

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This article is about the sceensaver. For other uses, see Origin FX (disambiguation).

Origin FX
Origin FX - Box - Cover - Web.png
Platform Windows 3
Release Date December 16, 1992
Language English
Retail Price 39.95 USD

Origin FX is a 1993 screensaver package developed by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts. Origin FX comes with 26 different 'movies', the term it uses for screensavers. Several of the movies include elements from the Wing Commander Universe including an air show which has jets and spaceships zoom around your desktop and an asteroid field that soars through familiar Wing Commander space debris. The movies are all customizeable. Origin FX also includes an slideshow option which plays bitmap files; two renderings from Privateer are included with the stock bitmaps.

Origin FX was released nine months before Wing Commander Privateer and offered one of the first looks at the game's ships. The T.C.S. Paradigm movie includes unique Wing Commander lore. The package is named after the Origin FX gameflow system used in games like Ultima VI and Wing Commander. Origin FX was designed to be modular with future Origin games adding additional movies that would utilize to their resources. Strike Commander was the only Origin title released with such an option.


Box back cover

ORIGIN FX™ SCREEN SAVER is more than just a Windows utility that protects your mointor from burn-in. At the same time, it delivers enough entertainment to keep you enthralled fo hours. These modules reflect the creativity and technical ingenuity that have taken the WING COMMANDER and ULTIMA series to the top of the charts. ORIGIN FX is as versatile and exciting as it is useful; a modular screen saver with the graphics, sound and imagination that have made ORIGIN a favorite of computer gamers throughout the world.

ORIGIN FX incorporates images and characters familiar to fans of ORIGIN game worlds, as well as novel imagery created especially for this unique package. Unlike screen savers which use limited colors against a black background, ORIGIN FX brings the hottest color graphics in the entertainment industry to your Windows environment.


  • More than 20 unique modules, with a selection of both algorithmic and graphics-based screen savers.
  • Award-winning ORIGIN music and sound effects.
  • Engage and hot key combinations to activate the screen saver at any time.
  • Customizing options -- you set speed, color, sound and other options.
  • Slide Show module allows you to cycle through bitmapped images from any directory, in any order, and for as long as you wish.
  • As a special feature for owners of WING COMMANDER II, ORIGIN FX offers a module that plays the cinemat-ic sequences when Wing II is installed on your hard drive.
  • Players of the Ultima and Wing Commander games will recognize their favorite characters and space ships as they interact with your desktop.
  • Those new to ORIGIN's world will be introduced to the high quality graphics that made these games industry favorites.


System Requirements

Original Release (1993)

MS-DOS: 386SX, 386, Intel486 or 100% compatible PC system
REQUIRED: 2 megs RAM, hard drive, 256-color VGA graphics, Windows™ v.3.0 or higher, 4.5 megs hard drive space
RECOMMENDED: DOS 6.0 and DoubleSpace
GRAPHICS: 386/20MHz+ processor, sound board, Windows 256-color mode SVGA graphics
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS (optional): Ad Lib®, Sound Blaster®, Roland® LAPC-I/MT-32, or 100% compatible sound board
$9.95 exchange form enclosed for other disk formats

Box Contents


Role Name Source
Producer R. Scott Russo Game, Documentation
Executive Producer Dallas Snell Game, Documentation
Project Administrator Suzanne Taylor Documentation
Kirk Winterrowd Documentation
Programmer Jeff Everett Game, Documentation
Richard Dean Johnson Game, Documentation
Brent A. Thale Game, Documentation
Edwin Herrell Documentation
Lead Artist Whitney Ayres Documentation
Artist Nigel Pickhardt Game, Documentation
Bill Narum Game, Documentation
Denis Loubet Documentation
Chris Douglas Documentation
Richard Mather Documentation
Terry Manderfield Documentation
Bob Cook Documentation
Micael Priest Documentation
Jeff Dee Documentation
Jake Rodgers Documentation
Danny Garrett Documentation
Bruce Lemmons Documentation
Craig Halverson Documentation
Glen Johnson Documentation
Audio Marc Schaefgen Documentation
John Tipton Documentation
Kirk Winterrowd Documentation
Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance Leader Don Derouen III Documentation
QA Manager Jeff Shelton Documentation
QA Supervisor Scott Shelton Documentation
Quality Assurance Russel Byrd Documentation
Ben Potter Documentation
Starr Long Documentation
Charles Angel Documentation
Marshall Andrews Documentation
Michael Chenault Documentation
Dee Starns Documentation
Documentation Anthony Nichols Documentation
Packaging Craig Miller Documentation
Editing David Ladyman Documentation
Graphic Design Al Carnley Documentation
Special Thanks
Jeff Wilson Documentation



Marketing Flyer

Origin Catalogs

Print Advertising


Original Release

Electronic Arts originally published Origin FX in North America in 1992. Origin FX was the last Wing Commander game available on 5.25" HD diskettes.

Promotional Release

Electronic Arts offered stores the option to purchase a promotional display for the game which came with a free copy. The promotional copies featured a sticker indiating their origin.


In March 1994, Origin Systems announced internally that they had partnered with CD Select to release a trial version of Origin FX which would be included on a CD containing a collection of applications and games. CD Select's system would allow those who enjoy the game to call an 800-number to pay and unlock the full program. It is not clear if this release ever made it to market.

Release Index

Platform Year EAN UPC Region Publisher Media Language
Windows 3 1992 6628 United States Electronic Arts 5.25" HD diskette (3) English
Windows 3 1992 6629 0 17814 79511 4 United States Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English
Windows 3 1993 6832 0 17814 79511 4 United States Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English




Point of Origin

July 31, 1992 - [1]

  • New SKU Review: "Current plans now call for the top-secret ORIGIN FX Screen Saver to ship by mid-October, rather than the originally-scheduled Aug.-Sept. period, due to additional design modifications suggested by internal test-site staffers. The Bulldogs have big hopes for this one."
  • In, Up & Out: "Jeff Everett has been promoted from TDA to Programmer (with a capital 'P'). Jeff will be working on Phoenix Force and the screen saver. Congrats, Jeff."

October 23, 1992 - [2]

  • Road Shows: "Last week, salesman-at-heart Fred Schmidt joined the troupe for the Software, Etc. show in Denver. They cranked out 29 training sessions in just one and one-half days, teach-ing more than 250 store managers about our products. Karl said they were all drooling, especially over ORIGIN FX."
  • Press Here: "Jennie will be taking over from England with several 'euro-journo's,' as she calls them. THey are from PC Format and PC Review in the U.K., Gen 4 in France, and Power Play in Germany. They'll be checking out Strike, Privateer, Serpent Isle and ORIGIN FX.

November 6, 1992 - [3]

  • In Print: "First of all, thanks to all the teams who put demonstrations together for the 'euro-journos' and Stephen Poole, editor of PC Enter-tainment. The immediate response (and the long-term possibilities) are overwhelming. 'They had the most wonderful time,' according to Jennie Evans, our European Brand Manager. 'Didier Latil (from France's GEnera-tion 4) said it was the best trip he'd ever been on. Volka (from Germany's Power Play) agreed. All of the others looked 'shattered' (which is good in euro-talk). Remember, these are guys who go on press tours all the time. Jennie says that they were all par-ticularly impressed with Privateer and ORIGIN FX Screen Saver."
  • Misc... - "Info on Strike, UW2, Serpent and ORIGIN FX will be going out to 100,000 EA PC users and 75,000 ORIGIN PC users (culled from our respective registration card databases)."

November 20, 1992 - [4]

  • Fear and Loathing at COMDEX - "ORIGIN FX seems to be an up-and coming winner. Buyers and journalists who've seen it say that they think it will be a good seller. That means a lot when you consider the fact that other screen savers (such as Star Trek) are being debuted at this show as well."

December 4, 1992 - [5]

  • Return to Sin City - "If all goes well (and after all, why shouldn't it?), then we'll be taking almost-complete versions of Strike and Serpent as well as the finished products of ORIGIN FX and Underworld 2."

December 19, 1992 - [6]

  • 3, 2, 1..., 1..., 1... - "Even though FX shipped earlier this week, it likely won't make it to most stores until the mistletoe has come down and you're ready to return that Salad Shooter."
  • Misc. - "Both UW2 and FX are slated as part of a post-Christmas blitz. 'I want to send a free copy of FX to every single retail store in the country--every Egghead, every Computerland, every Electronics Boutique--I don't care if we have to send out two or three thousand units,' Fred said, 'The channel just doesn't realize yet how good this product is. But I know when they see it, they're going to want it, and so will their customers!' Wayne Baker and I (Galen) will also be working with the FX development team to see if there's some kind of 'teasuer' module or self-running demo that we can upload to the online services to give customers a first-hand sampling of this tasty morsel."

January 29, 1993 - [7]

  • Return to Vegas - "On the other side of the kiosk, ORIGIN FX really opened some eyes, among them those of EA President Larry Probst (check out 'Misc.' in this issue). FX is one of those products that's expected to have a slow and steady build. This was the first time many buyers and distributors got a chance to see it, and they seemed particularly taken with both the ingenuity of some of the modules as well as the original music. Screen Saver Scott Russo did a bang-up job of putting FX through its paces."
  • Hype and Schmooze Roundup - "Larry Shannon reviewed ORIGIN FX for the New York Times, calling it 'the hog of screen savers (in terms of size),' but well worth it."

February 12, 1993 - [8]

  • Off to Market - "ORIGIN FX and Ultima Underworld II will be featured in a related products catalog to be included in the next 300,000 MediaVision products to ship. The new catalog will be packaged with their ProAudio Spectrum 16 sound cards, CD-ROM Upgrade kits and video cards. ... He adds that the ORIGIN FX 'teaser' version is working wonders online. About 3 out of 5 people who downloaded it say they went out and bought the full version, even though some reported already having After Dark. ...'Creating worlds is hard work. Playing in them is just plain fun. New from ORIGIN.' That's the theme of a new point-of-purchase display and promotion that's being offered to the retail channel. The countertop display includes 4-ORIGIN FX, 2-Underworld II and 2-Wing Commander promotional editions. Purchasers of the display recieve a free promotional copy of ORIGIN FX."

February 26, 1993 - [9]

  • End-Quote - "ORIGIN FX gets a nice mention in France's Generation 4, which writes: 'ORIGIN FX is simply fabulous and easy to use. With all the options, even the new user can obtain impressive results.' Not quite how we'd say it, but okay."

March 12, 1993 - [10]

  • The Week in Reviews - "ORIGIN FX gets a nice mention in the March issue of Computer Game Review: 'ORIGIN's already established reputation for high-quality games has allowed them to produce a high-quality screen saver.'"

March 26, 1993 - [11]

  • Press On - "While only a few million people were looking, ORIGIN FX was featured on CNN's Future Bytes. Fortunately, one of the people was Alan Gardner, who slapped in a tape and even sacrificed part of his previously recorded 'Beauty on the Beach' contest from MTV. Now that's dedication! Future Bytes did a wrap-up of popular screen savers and showed FX modules three times, including Dicko's famous 'third-eye' man. The show said screen savers have become entertaining high-tech time-wasters worthy of a look (plus, they mentioned ORIGIN FX by name)."

April 8, 1993 - [12]

  • 'Review Revue - " the Chicago Tribune, Dennis Lynch named ORIGIN FX 'Best Screen Saver of the Year.' He wrote: 'FX gets the nod for its totally groovy psychedelic displays and stunning music.' We're not quite sure what he was smoking when he wrote that, but we hope he has plenty more."

May 21, 1993 - [13]

  • Global Press Roundup - "In the May issue [of PC Games], ORIGIN FX gets a nice write-up. 'If you think that good animation is not possible under Windows,' the editors write, 'you will be speechless after watching these little movies'."

September 10, 1993 - [14]

  • Reviews in Revue - "If your jaw is off the ground, get this--the October issue of COMPUTE also has a glowing review fo Strike... A few pages later, ORIGIN FX (remember that product?) gets a nice write-up, too. 'If you want variety in your screen saver presentation,' Charles Idol writes, 'ORIGIN FX does an excellent job.'"

March 1994 - [15]

  • EOM Whitney Ayres - "Whitney has had a more than a decent two year history at ORIGIN as a lead artist on Wing Commander Academy (the only artist actually) and as an artist for both Privateer and ORIGIN FX."
  • Off to Market - "Wing Academy and ORIGIN FX will be our first forays into electronic distribution. That's where somebody gets a slew of titles on a single CD, tries a program for a limited time, and then calls an 800-number for the code to 'unlock' the program and d rop it to the hard drive. The company we're uisng is CD Select. It's sending 200,000 CDs to customers who have purchased through electronic distribution before. Both FX and Academy will also be on a separate disc, primarily filled with business applications, that will go out to corporate customers (they need entertainment, too)."


3.5" Version

Patches / Addons

Demos / Addon

Origin effectively released two demos for Origin FX. The first is a version of the package which includes only the Daily Quote, Guardian and Main Street movies. It also includes the slideshow feature but only two of the original bitmaps, the Wing Commander Privateer and Serpent Isle key art pieces (presented as 'Coming Soon').

A second demo was included on Disk 8 of Strike Commander when it released later in 1993. The Strike Commander demo contains both a version of the package that has only a Strike Commander movie viewer and the option to add the Strike Commander viewer to the full release.


Origin released a pair of patches for Origin FX which fix issues with the volume being too quiet and adding support for Pro Audio Spectrum sound card users.

Other Documentation

Demo/addon installation instructions included with Strike Commander. European English/French/German version.

Running Today

Origin FX will not run in any version of Windows after 3.11. To use Origin FX today, first install a copy of Windows 3 in an emulator like DOSBox. Many groups have released preconfigured versions of DOSBox with Windows pre-configured.





Publication Issue Pages Score
Compute October 1993 149
COMputer May 1994 32
Computer Game Review
and CD-ROM Entertainment
March 1993 41
Generation4 February 1993 24
Joystick April 1993 131
Micromania May 1993 37
New York Times January 12, 1993 Section C, Page 8
PC Games May 1993 65
PC Mania May 1993 79
PC Player April 1993 25-26



Computer Game Review and CD-ROM Entertainment




New York Times

PERIPHERALS; The Waltz Of the Screen Savers

By L. R. Shannon
Jan. 12, 1993

MACINTOSH owners used to have all the fun. But Windows has brought a sense of play to sober-sided I.B.M. compatibles, and software developers have been quick to seize on the fact.

According to several accounts, screen savers are the fastest-growing programs in the entertainment category. Screen savers did not start off as entertaining. They merely, and dully, blanked the screen of a monitor if the computer had not been used for a specified number of minutes, to prevent an unchanging image from being burned in as a permanent artifact. (Whether a computer should ever be turned off or, indeed, whether there is any real danger of burn-in, are controversies that this writer stands firmly on both sides of.)

Three new programs push the screen-saving envelope.

Fanciful Fractals

Fractals are the beautiful and haunting images generated from the Mandelbrot Set, a bit of mathematical arcana that of course is unnecessary to explain here. A Touch of Chaos, from Bourbaki of Boise, Idaho, produces a slide-show-like series of these images that serve as screen savers. The company says that the program is "guaranteed to reduce productivity," and it is right; you are reluctant to press a key or move the mouse, which makes the patterns disappear, and get back to work.

A Touch of Chaos requires a computer running Windows 3.1, with a VGA or SVGA display. It is $39 when ordered directly from Bourbaki; telephone (800) 289-1347.

Theater of the Ridiculous

If A Touch of Chaos is sublime, Energizer Bunny is ridiculous. The tireless bunny in those Eveready Battery Company commercials struts across the screens of computers running Windows 3.0 or later. It may march, beating a drum, across a blank screen or in several other settings: a Western landscape, underwater, or parachuting through the clouds. You can pick your favorite bunny, or let the program select one at random. There are also five choices of "wallpaper," or screen background, and an option for having the bunny make guest appearances while the popular After Dark or Intermission screen savers are running. There is also a password feature to protect sensitive data.

The software requires Windows in standard or enhanced mode and a color monitor. With Windows 3.1 you will get sound of a sort through the regular PC speaker and better sound through a sound board. A sound board will offer clips from several Energizer commercials; one can hardly wait.

Energizer Bunny, a product of PC Dynamics of Westlake Village, Calif., should be widely available at retail software outlets. It is $24.95.

The Big Picture

If you think Windows grabs too much hard-disk space, not to mention modern word processors, spreadsheets and desktop publishers, meet the hog of screen savers: Origin FX Screen Saver for Windows 3.0 or later. If the whole thing is installed, it takes 4.5 megabytes of space. That would have been nearly half the storage room available on the original I.B.M. XT and its imitators.

It is worth it, though, if you can afford it: there are 25 movie-like sequences in the program and a half-dozen bit-mapped (static) images. The movies range from the familiar, like fireworks and psychedelic light shows, to the wildly improbable, like a main street that gradually builds up into a block of brownstones and office buildings, populated with tenants, autos and billboards. If Origin's Wing Commander II is on the hard disk, the screen saver will call up sequences from the game. And the slide-show module can use other bit-mapped images on the disk, not just those supplied, allowing the construction of individualized shows. There are many other ways to customize the program.

A so-called multimedia screen saver, that is, one with sounds as well as sights, is on one of the two disks included with the book "Instant Multimedia for Windows 3.1," by Kris Jamsa (John Wiley & Sons; $29.95). The book is a gentle introduction to the topic of multimedia, in which audio, video and text are combined in computer displays. You can do a certain amount of experimenting using only the regular PC speaker and the programs on the disks; when you are ready to graduate to a sound board, CD-ROM drive, or MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) device, Mr. Jamsa provides the background information needed to make intelligent choices.

Mr. Jamsa sees a not-too-distant future in which faxes jump, spreadsheets growl and word processors sing. Well, maybe.

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 12, 1993, Section C, Page 8 of the National edition with the headline: PERIPHERALS; The Waltz Of the Screen Savers.

PC Games


PC Player

Not Yet Located

  • Episode of CNN's "Future Bytes" covering screen savers - March 1993
  • Chicago Tribune - April 1993 - Dennis Lynch


Origin FX's Wing Commander II mode plays a pair of XMI files containing the Fanfare - The Main Theme from Wing Commander I and Main Theme - Cloak and Dagger from Wing Commander II. Additionally, disk 3 includes a Roland XMI file of Jazz's Escape which is not installed alongside the game. It can be copied directly from the disk and renamed to replace an existing piece of music in the package. The disk also includes a similarly uninstalled piece of Ultima VII music.


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