Happy Birthday Armada! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Happy birthday to... WING COMMANDER ARMADA! Armada was released 25 years ago today. It was a spin-off project that added multiplayer, turn based strategy and a true 3D engine to the Wing Commander canon! And in a series full of incredible lore manuals, Armada had perhaps the greatest of all time: Voices of War, a kind of Rashomon-like collection of documents which presented the Terran-Kilrathi war as it was seen by both sides. You can read it here. Armada is available digitally on GOG today and thanks to their work the multiplayer is even easier to get running than in 1994. Look me up if you ever want to dogfight or take on the Gauntlet! Armada also had a free add on called PROVING GROUNDS which you could download by dialing Origin's BBS. It added new game modes, six-player IPX multiplayer, in-flight pickups and ASTEROIDS! PG is pre-installed in the GOG release. Origin made a big push for Armada in Japan where it was ported to the FM Towns and the NEC PC9821 computers. They also developed a Windows 3.1 port which was finished but is sadly lost today... it allowed higher resolution gameplay matching your Windows setup! Armada was also the end of an era for Wing Commander: it was the last game to (optionally) ship on 3.5" diskettes. The original System Shock, released the following week, was Origin's last retail disk release! Here are the source renders for the handsome scenes on the front and back of the box. They make great phone wallpapers!
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WC1 Inspector on the Case Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

UnnamedCharacter has another new tool to add to his arsenal of powerful WC1 editing and informational programs. The new 'WC1 Inspector' app provides insight into what all is loaded into memory as a player goes through the game. This can help for modding, diagnosing issues or fulfilling simple curiosity. You can grab the file at the CIC Forums and just play around too. Here's more information:
I do not have an update for the Toolbox, but instead a utility program for viewing a snapshot of in-memory game data. It is an outgrowth of the WC1LiveViewer program, except not live anymore and with much more data. It is a bit slow, but it works for my needs.

The Data tab provides a fairly extensive hierarchical view of the game data set and can be filtered using keywords. The InFlight and Mission tabs provide a specialized view of a subset of the data.

As an example, let us enter an asteroid field. Using the data tab and filtering on hazards, we can see the values for the asteroid field. The game has populated in-flight object slots 13 to 20 as asteroids and from the in-flight tab we can see related values grouped together. If the object has an image block associated with it, a preview will be shown.

Graphics Tablet Unleashes New Wing Commander Artist Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Rear_Admiral_Platypus recently got a fancy digital sketch pad, and the first thing he set out to try his hand at were a variety of Wing Commander scenes. Up first is a stylized transport similar to a Diligent about to be met by a boxy WC3/4-era shuttle. It's followed by a flight deck scene stocked with Talons and Arrows. There's also a Privateer asteroid field and a cockpit scene. The admiral will be the first to admit he may not be creating traditional fine art, but these scenes have a pleasant Wing Commander charm to them. They're certainly good work for his first 24 hours drawing in a new medium!
I've just bought a graphics tablet. Can't draw, but now I have proof. :)

All Wings Considered - Episode 25 - LIVE! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The latest episode of ALL WINGS CONSIDERED is live now! All Wings Considered is the CIC's first ever streaming variety show which features news, conversation and gameplay relating to our favorite series. This week's Nav Points include:

  • Wing Commander 3 - Tamayo System - 3DO Version!
  • Privateer - More Postgame
  • Book Club - Heart of the Tiger, Chapters 5-8
  • NEW FEATURE: Ali Cats!

Missed the stream? The replay will be available below once it has been processed by YouTube. You can subscribe to the AWC channel for future notifications here.

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GamePro Article Highlights PC Standouts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Weird and Retro posted this neat throwback to the June 1995 edition of GamePro Magazine. The feature is titled "Revenge of the PC Games" and highlights all of the the hot titles of the mid '90s and how they compare to the latest crop of gaming consoles such as the Saturn, PlayStation, 3DO and "Ultra 64." Wing Commander 3 is front and center as one of the star examples. While there's no question about where the best graphics and high end experiences were available, the article acknowledges the proportionately high price that PC gamers (or their parents) had to pay. They mention the typical machine was around $2,000, which is equivalent to $3,400 today. In comparison, the PlayStation launched that year at $299 ($500 in 2019 dollars). It's kind of amazing that so many of us were able to play through these games when they were new!
It Ain't Easy Being PC

What do you need to play PC CD games? If you don't already own a PC, the first thing you need is about $2000! (And you thought the 3DO was pricey.) Head down to the local computer store and start studying up on personal computers.

For the games listed here you need:

  • Either an IBM-compatible PC with a 486 processor running at 50 megahertz or a Pentium PC.
  • At least 8 megabytes of RAM
  • At least 20 megabytes of hard disk space (the more, the better)
  • Double-speed CD-ROM drive (or faster)
  • MS-DOS 5.0 (Microsoft Windows is also required to run some games)
PROTIP: Before you buy a PC game, check the box for minimum system requirements. You can also call game companies to see if you system's up to the task.

New New Constantinople the Same as Old New Constaninople Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a cool connection that we recently made on Discord and shared on the most recent All Wings Considered. It's a neat observation, so we wanted to share it with you here as well. This cool pre release shot of New Constantinople is actually a farther out crop of the final base that we see in the game. At a quick glance, it might just appear that the first screenshot below is a Constantinople-like base with a real cool skybridge, but compare them side by side and you can see that the in-game setting is a close crop from above the lower building area. It's pretty cool to think that this is all the same rendered environment from a slightly different angle! The wide shot appears in some of the print advertisements for the game as well as some of the concept art we've seen before. Like most of the locations in Privateer, it's just a beautiful place loaded with atmosphere!

Through the Moongate Part 2 Campaign Takes Off Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Andrea Contato and team have launched the Kickstarter for the Through the Moongate sequel. Part 2 is titled "From Wing Commander and Ultima VII to Portalarium" and promises to capture the historic significance of Origin's Wing Commander development in the '90s and beyond. Some 40+ former Origin employees were interviewed for this work, so it looks to be a very well rounded effort.


As an extra bonus, fans who opt to pledge for a hard cover copy of the book will also receive a special Wing Commander bookmark with new art by Denis Loubet, the senior Origin artist who led art direction on the first few WC games. That tier costs €50 plus an additional €24 shipping to many places, so it's not cheap, but who can resist an exclusive Wing Commander bookmark?! I'm sure the in-depth Origin story will be a fun read as well! Digital and soft cover editions start at €15 and €25 (but do not include the bookmark!). The project has had an enormously successful first day with nearly $19,000 of the minimum $27,679 threshold already taken in. There are some high dollar levels with cloth Ultima art, Akalabeth port and Lord British autographed certificate that are going fast. You can find the campaign and pledge here.

If you’ve ever played a computer role-playing game (CRPG), chances are that Ultima played a part in its inspiration. Created by visionary Richard Garriott, and produced by his company Origin Systems, Inc., Ultima is one of the most important and influential CRPG series in the world. Through the Moongate illuminates the path of the Ultima games' history and the creative people behind this landmark series. It also covers some of Origin's other games, especially Wing Commander, and touches on several contemporary titles you may have missed. Many of these exciting tales have never before been told. If that intrigues you, then won’t you step with me... Through the Moongate?

As I traced the paths of the Ultima games and those who worked for Origin Systems, I began to realize the multitude of games that would not be possible without the influence of Richard Garriott, Origin Systems, and the Ultima series. To ensure their place in history, I've also included special coverage of the Wing Commander and Ultima Underworld series, plus other significant video games of the era. CRPGs, action, adventure, and strategy games such as Space Rogue, Wolfenstein 3D, Deathlord, 7th guest, Jane's Combat series, OMEGA, MUD1, Meridian 59, Lineage, and Tabula Rasa. I’ve also included a special look at cancelled titles such as Times of Lore 2 and Fire Horse.


New Freelancer Project Imports Beautiful WC Fighters Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F. was recently inspired to take a crack at importing Wing Commander ships into Freelancer. Back in the day there were a handful of pretty cool WC ship conversions for the game in the works, but it's been a very long time since anyone has attempted to take a modern high end crack at this. He's managed to get ahold of some cool modding tools that have helped the process along significantly, and there are some very impressive results already. He's sketched out some rough plans to integrate up to a couple dozen ships, which would make for a pretty rockin' mod!
So, after a Discord discussion that involved talking about Privateer, I kinda got the modding itch once again for Freelancer, but this time, I managed to get in touch with FL modders, who were nice enough to share with me their wonderful, wonderful tools (the kind of which I'm jealous as a HW modder). Long story short, I got told that the models designed by DI, Klavs and others are way too detailed for the game engine, which is probably a wise conclusion, but since I'm very unwise, I tinkered a bit and managed to achieve a pretty nice proof of concept with DI's F-107 Dragon/Lance:
The tech demo is available upon request on Discord (keep in mind it's really limited, just a replacement of one of the game's fighters with the F-107, without a dedicated collision box, for example). Don't hesitate to ask for specific fighters that you'd like to see receiving this treatment if you wanna go for a run of this great old game with a specific craft. :)

And on the matter of progress, it's going pretty quickly. Importing the Hellcat now, and once the Razor and Excalibur are in, the first part of the game will be properly turned in Privateer-lite. Long story short, it's just as I dreamed it could be, if not even better. Freelancer is one hell of a game.

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