The Amiga Love Twitter account recently shared this shot of the Amiga Wing Commander Installer icon. While some might look at this as incredibly trivial, we see it as an important piece of history imbued with memories of excitement and promise. Installers are something of a lost art and personal curiosity of mine. The first couple WC games were fairly simple, but by WC3 you had memorable moments such as the spinning Victory or Privateer 2's Tri-System backstory. The Command & Conquer series also did some fantastic installers around the same time.
It was wonderful when developers took the time to lovingly craft something that otherwise could be so mundane. In theory, gamers would only ever see these things once briefly before jumping into the actual play space, so it showed a high level of craftsmanship when they took the time to put some effort into the installer. And because players did only see these briefly, sometimes people forget some of the cool nods included therein. This Amiga installer icon would have been one of the earliest embellishments on a bare bones install program. It's pretty cool how they included the one-pixel wide main logo above the arrow and desktop unit. It's something that may not have been fully appreciated at the time, and very much probably wouldn't exist today, so we'll acknowledge it here. All of the tiny little finishing touches where developers went the extra mile and put in extra effort to top of some element of Wing Commander is why we're all here today.
You don’t see this every day. Origin /Wing Commander showing the glorious A2000 some love! I would have made it a tiny bit more accurate, but I’ll take it. :)
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The original Wing Commander has an embedded phonetic lip-sync track to match up the mouths of the Tiger's Claw crew to the game's dialogue script. While that is an absolutely amazing level of detail, it was only implemented on the first game. The Secret Missions and Wing Commander 2 just use repetitive filler text like "Buy more games like Wing Commander 2." At least, this is what we thought until today!
YPersonified has been using UnnamedCharacter's WC Toolbox to dig into how this works. He's made the exciting discovery that the first mission of SM1 in the Goddard System actually has a full phonetic script! Even more amazing is that it differs from the game's final dialogue! He's put together a few examples below as well as a full video to show off what the lip sync version of events is. Since it's his best interpretation so far, there's probably a few inaccuracies to smooth out yet, but this is still great work. You can help provide feedback to the translation at the CIC Forums here.
With the help from WCToolbox, I was able to look into GAMEDAT files from Wing Commander and managed to get a glimpse at how this game works.
These are generic phonetics, but Goddard 1 isn't:
These are probably well known lines which characters mostly say with mouths in The Secret Missions instead of thorough phonetics seen in Vega Campaign. However, anyone with keen eyes may find out that it works differently in Goddard 1. Apparently, it's the only mission with non-generic phonetics in the series. Still, it turns out that they do not match with the written script we see in-game after all, so I decided to interpret the bar, briefing and debriefing conversations by editing BRIEFING.001 with WCToolbox and make a video to show how it turned out. Many thanks to Shades2585's WCPhonetics for reference.
Since this is only my interpretation, it may not be 100% accurate. If you're interested, check out below and guess what Bossman's saying. Also, you can easily notice that these lip sync works are incomplete, as some of them are completely out of context - like Bluehair's self-compliment on bagging Lumbari, or the usual WC2 ads.
Another fascinating discovery for WC fans: Shotglass' last name!
You're just saying what we're all thinking, red HOOK UP stamp.
Has anyone seen this? By the way, this is not new, it's possibly quite old. I have seen an online reference to the Russian version of the game dating back to 2004, and the translated data files are timestamped as 1992.
Using the above font file as an example of the work involved in doing this: they unpacked the data file, decompressed the individual packets, decoded the font, added Russian glyphs, re-encoded the font, re-compressed the packets, and re-packed the file. And according the file stamps, they did this in 1992. Wow. Whoever did this was years, decades ahead.