Twirl Your Way Through '90s Nostalgia Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Big Box Collection is a really nifty website that has digitized hundreds of classic game boxes. Rather than just simply scan each side, they've created virtual 3D representations that you can spin around and examine from all angles. It's really cool! Some have appropriate backdrops like the Thunderbolt cockpit behind WC3. A lot of these, including the Wing Commander games that are featured, are the German versions so you might spot you've never seen before! Perusing your old games on a stroll down memory lane is a lot of fun too! Thanks to Space Game Junkie for the tip! Check out the gallery here.
You guys, this bloke put together an amazing virtual collection of classic PC big box games where you can look at a full 3D representation of each box. It's astounding.

Academy 'Toon Renders Make a Fantastic Scene Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

DefianceIndustries has some more gorgeous artwork to share today. In honor of Wing Commander Academy coming to the Peacock streaming service, he's created new versions of the WCA television ships. They even go one step further and have nifty cartoon style textures, despite being traditional three dimensional models underneath. It all comes together in a very cool new wallpaper image that's available in ultrawidescreen. A standard widescreen is also available at the CIC Forums - where you can also let him know what you think!
Ok so I spent some time devising a proper 90's style toon shader with some pencil lines. I'm oddly pleased with the results. I added an ultrawide render as well for those of you with more monitor than sense. ;)
I finished "Tooning" up my scimitars...get it? yuk! yuk!...Revel in the pure 90's cheese of it... I think the WCA Scim is probably the best version of it out there. The original is fun but the WCA streamlined it to make it look like less of a space potato. And of course - the WCA Bengal which is so odd. It looks a bit like a pre-dreadnought era battleship with some wings on it. Yet it kinda grows on you.
Speed modeling practice. I spend alot of time on conference calls...alot. Quarantine is good for sneaking in some multitasking. In honor of all the recent fun around finding Academy on Peacock, I figured I'd try a few WCA meshes for fun. I set timers for 4 hrs for each of these meshes (though I cheated on the 'Claw and rather than start completely from scratch when I borked it, I just reverted to a previous save and started from there). Naughty Defiance! Naughty! :)

New Video Experiments Dial Up Resolution Even Higher Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got a couple of impressive mega enhancements from ODVS to share today. His big video upgrades for WC4 & Prophecy take the high quality DVD editions and magically transform them into HD resolution. These are more than just upscales as new digital material is being generated to create crisp upgrades, but there's still a limit on what can be done. Nevertheless, ODVS keeps trying to push the envelope and reach even greater heights. The first video is another experiment at taking the low res 160p WC3 footage and cranking it all the way up to 1080p. Then he builds on these same techniques to grow a 360p WC4 clip all the way to 4K. The YouTube version doesn't quite do it justice, so you can also download the sample here (70 meg mp4).
I thought I'd apply some of the new techniques I've figured out working on the Wing Commander IV remaster and revisit the Rollins scene from Wing Commander III to see if they improve matters at all.

Unfortunately, it hasn't helped much with the eyes. I don't think there's much hope of improving that. The original footage is only 160p - so the eyes take up a total of maybe 5-10 square pixels each. It's not a lot for the AI to work with. Rollins' teeth do look far less freaky now, though! This version has a far cleaner 30fps conversion from the original 15fps source, though, so motion is much smoother.

Overall, considering this is an upscale of 675%, I don't think it looks that bad.

This, I think, is definitely a noteworthy improvement over what I've managed before. We've now upscaled from 360p to 2160p 4K - an upscale of 600%!

I've introduced a digital 4K 32mm film grain to give the eye more detail to absorb. Sadly, YouTube compression fuzzes out this extra detail. If you'd like to see the full 4K glory, you can download the pre-YouTube file here. Please note - do download it and run it on your computer. If you view the One Drive in-browser preview, it just introduces the same kind of detail-quashing compression as YouTube.

SpaceX Launches Crew Into Space! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

SpaceX made history today by being the first private company to launch astronauts into orbit. We love looking at all of the fantastic sci-fi space ships that frequently appear in the news, but it's worth pausing for a moment to appreciate just how special it is when those ships are real. The CIC has been following the incredibly ambitious SpaceX plans for ten years since we first reported on their ground breaking unmanned launch in 2010. Now it's 2020 and there are people in space right now flying the Dragon capsule. That's just fantastic. The exciting liftoff was streamed live to millions of people, but the crew is still up there beaming back tremendous footage. You might have missed this fun clip where they show off the interior cabin below. Feel free to drop by the #Wingnut Discord tomorrow morning as we watch the ship dock with the International Space Station!
Here's a nice recap for anyone who didn't see the festivities earlier today:

George Oldziey Live on Piano Tonight Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If you had fun watching Wing Commander composer George Oldziey perform jazz live a few weeks ago, you’ll be excited to hear that he’s got a live piano set planned for tonight! Just hit up this Facebook event and join the fun! Sorry for the short notice, but he’ll be going for a good 90 minutes. The party should be automatically archived as well. There should also be a virtual tip jar if you’d like to support Mr. Oldziey as an artist that’s been affected by a lack of live music gigs due to the coronavirus.
Hey guys. This isn’t terribly Wing Commander-ish, but I thought I’d let you know that I’m doing an hour and a half of solo jazz piano music tomorrow on FB live from 5 to 6:30 PM PDT. Here is a link in case you want to share with the Wing Commander universe.

Thanks,

George

On the Voice Acting Talents of Mark Hamill Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Shout out to this outer space pineapple person who appears in multiple Wing Commander Academy episodes. Like many of the show's supporting characters, he's voiced by Mark Hamill! Further research has revealed that his name is FALCON. The other pilot is TRIPOD, which is probably one of the better callsigns to get.

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The King of TrainSim Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

agiar2000 posted a neat video of what happens at the end of the TrainSim in Wing Commander 1. Everyone plays at least one short-lived round just prior to Enyo 1, but a lot of pilots never go back. There's a high score board you can place on, but you can also get to the end after four missions. Running through them all nets a score of more than one million points, which would put someone in first place with plenty of room to spare! The clip should start at 9:30 so you can see the happy conclusion.
Did you know that it is possible to win in the training simulator in the 1990 DOS game "Wing Commander"? I didn't until I accomplished it. I only recorded the last 10 minutes because I was using a 10-minute "instant replay" recording feature that constantly records a rolling 10-minutes.

Check Out WC Action Figures Unboxed Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a couple of unboxing videos for Wing Commander Movie action figures by Nerd4Life. These are Blair in his flight suit and the Kilrathi General. YouTube has a pretty good real time auto translate option now, so if you blow up the videos and turn that on, it's possible to get the message behind what he's saying. I have to say that I almost jumped out of my chair when he ripped the plastic shell off. Not everyone is as terrified about tearing the cardboard it seems, and perhaps the glue has lost some of its stick after twenty years. I'm not sure I ever had the heart to open any of my own figures. At one point I did separately purchase opened ones on eBay to avoid violating my originals!

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