Possible To Love Just One Wing Commander?

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Shot, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Shot

    Shot Rear Admiral

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    I can’t say I expect too many fans of Wing Commander to quite understand the story I’m about to tell. It’s the fact that I couldn't quite grasp the integrity of the opinion as not only a Wing Commander fan, but taking that aside, I couldn’t understand it as just a fan of games, which is what brings me here. I’m really curious on how others might see this situation…and now, the story…


    Making videos on YouTube, and watching them long before that, I’ve come into contact with various characters. Some of them sort of end up being better friends than your real friends… Some of them you have to muster up quite the willpower to not go crazy on them.


    There’s one guy I’ve known for a long time who loves “a” Wing Commander just as much as any of us, perhaps more. I say “a” because he’s very particular in his tastes. He loves Wing Commander III, that’s it. On my Wing Commander IV review he commented in a way I really didn’t know how to not take offense to. Basically he said he watched the whole thing, loved that I took time to show off the alternate scenes, but also thanked me because it made it clear that he never needs to play it for himself… This in response to a review where although I mention some negative things about Wing4, I make it very clear that it’s a game everyone should play before they die. It’s an important piece of history, perhaps not everyone will dig it, but everyone should play it.


    He sometimes uses a still frame of Flint as his avatar. He’s got some very detailed and sad condition where he “knows” he should have been born as particular beautiful and famous women. For the purposes of this writing, I think Flint was the first woman he felt he should have been born as. I don’t pretend to understand that, but I feel for all those that feel.


    I mention that because I’m wondering how much his stringent love for Wing3 is dependent on his memoires of childhood. From what I’ve gathered over the years his first experience with Wing Commander was WingIII on the 3DO. He had the 3DO, a not too popular console at the time, and Wing3 was probably the single best game released on that console.


    I tend to want to go a little psychological on him because he’s said in the past about how great the 3DO version was, that it was in fact better the original… Which… Is not a fact… This is coming from a guy who adores Wing Commander on the Amiga, I love the dithered 16 colors, I love the music and think it’s better than the MT-32… That’s what I had as a kid and it made me fall in love with Wing Commander. I can love that version for all time and even prefer it, but I can still understand the original is the overall best version…duh…it’s the original… And I play the original on a DOS machine with an MT-32 because I adore it just like I adore the Amiga version. Also, despite Wing1 being my first experience, Wing3 is ultimately my favorite of them all, just like him.


    Yes, much like the Amiga with the first Wing Commander, Wing3 on the 3DO is a fantastic port that is worth playing. It’s not identical, it’s still very impressive, but it gives a slightly different experience, and I think that’s what us lovers of Wing Commander are after in a port, something a little different and special. The most obvious thing that’s better with the 3DO is the color clockpit videos, something I very much wish they would have put in DOS.


    Now I’m stretching with my years worth of knowledge on this one, but the 3DO might also have thousands of colors compared to DOS having 256. Don’t quote me, that’s just something that seems to be ringing true in my mind. Other than that, (and yeah, the missing Hobbes scene) the biggest plus for the DOS version is simply the resolution. It’s 640x480 SVGA at the best settings, both the video and gameplay. That’s at least double the resolution of the 3DO, which possibly was still using 320x200 or at the most 320x240. It’s so obvious just looking at the screenshots that it does not matter how many colors the 3DO has, you’re getting a better experience with DOS. Now Wing3 could still use 320x200, perhaps the 3DO looked better than that mode, but at 640x480 it’s pretty clear cut in my eyes. I don’t even need to go into missing ground missions, I do believe we can factually say Wing3 on DOS, the original, is the overall best experience.


    Again, not trying to put down the 3DO, if the system offered a little more I’d certainly have it and I’m sure I’d enjoy Wing3 on it. Should probably try to emulate it, because I certainly recommend all Wing fans try out the Amiga version, as well others like the SegaCD or SNES, hell, setup Wing Commander on DOS to use EGA graphics, try that one out!


    I’m just trying to understand why he so much wants to believe the 3DO version is the best. I tried to tell him about the resolution in a nice way, he wouldn’t have it… It feels like Wing3 is very important not only as a game he connects to this issue of his, but in terms of having the 3DO, perhaps missing out on a lot of games because of that, Wing3 is a very important game to him.


    But why does he have less than zero want to play or even look into any of the other games? Look, if you love Wing Commander, I can sort of understand why you might not want to look into the competing Star Wars games at the time and vice versa. By no means do I believe Wing fans should be ultimate fan boys and eat up anything Wing Commander, there was no need to buy, and indeed no need to make certain cash in products like Academy or Armada (though there was potential in Armada). But with the likes of Privateer Wing Commander was able to go outside the main series. But forget those other games, why would someone who loves Wing3 so much not only not love any other ones, but appear to actively reject the other games. I try to talk to him about how I played Wing1 on the Amiga first, but then I missed the 2nd one and went to Wing3. Went to Wing 4 and then got the Kilrathi saga where I finally got to play Wing2. I ate Wing2 up despite coming to it late. I’m not saying you have to play the first two to get enjoyment out of the 3rd one, but I am saying playing the 1st two will allow you to have more depth to the emotion. Hobbes betraying means a lot more when you’ve played the two special operations for Wing2. I knew Angel from Wing1 and was sad to see her go in Wing3, but once I played Wing2 the death of Angel sort of made me want to say to hell with both of the women…


    I never told him to expect to find a new favorite, I told him my favorite was also Wing3… But I did say I cannot understand why there is no desire for what seems to be your all time favorite game, to play the other games in the series… Which by most accounts, especially for a fan, are all good games. Perhaps you’ll think Wing4 goes a little overboard with the movies, fair enough, but it’s still something special. Perhaps Prophecy does not go far enough with the movies, again, fair – but they still managed something special, warts and all with that one. And yeah, the first two are not exactly marvels to look at today, but hell, they hold up a hell a lot better than most 3Dish stuff from back then. It’s space, you’re not zoomed in on the pixels much, it’s effective, and it was mind blowing for the hardware.


    Beyond the gameplay (which is arguably better in the first 2), the actual cut scenes and your base are very well done in terms of pixel art, they do hold up as art to this very day. Wing1 was less about story, more about just making you feel like you were a part of this bigger thing. May not have been a straight forward story, but damn did it let you know those Wingmen, and you felt terrible when they died. And they could all die… It’s a special game… Wing2 adds some strong story, it’s not always perfect, but again, it’s something special, just like Wing3, and after that, Wing4.


    Is it all his connection with the 3DO as a kid? With Flint as the love interest? Or is it just one man’s damn opinion and I should be a lot nicer about it all? I can’t help but want to delve into his thought process because it’s so hard for me to make sense of it logically or personally. I’m sure there are a few of you out there who may not care for the 1st two, or Prophecy perhaps. I’m also sure there’s a lot of you who find value in even the Academy game. But I doubt there’s anyone here that loves JUST ONE of the games. Even if that’s how it started, the memories of loving it on the Amiga made me excited for Wing2 even though it wouldn’t be on the Amiga, it made me excited for Wing3 later on… A couple years later, we’ve all moved on in terms of computing power, and I’m one of those select few who got the Kilrathi Saga to play those old ones on Windows. How is it the love of a game could make you want anything less than knowing all you can about those games?


    How can you watch a guy praising the drama and absolute space opera that is Wing4 and come away with that being the final nail in the coffin, it’s not worth it… Why wouldn’t you want to play that game yourself? Reviews can help, and my review said you should play it, why wouldn’t you have any desire to play it for yourself?


    Not that it would matter, I’m pretty sure even if he did play it he’d just hate the rest of them… I can’t think of a single game I love where I automatically dismissed the rest of the series. There are games where there’s really only one good game while having several in the series, sometimes crap sells… But come on, 5 main games, several add ons, several spin offs… Can you get that far with games that all suck? I have come across many people who got into Might and Magic once it went 3D, and thus they only like MM6-8 (nobody likes 9). They also have no respect or desire to play 1-5… You do understand in order for 6 to get made there had to be some good ones before that, right? In fact the very first one is the only want to get true acclaim everywhere, it had the most awards I mean… The most ugly of them all, the one even fans would look at and shrug, yeah, that’s worth playing… I don’t personally understand those Might and Magic fans for not caring about the older games, but at least you can sort of say the change from 2D to 3D was such a big change that a lot of people might not like the newer or older ones.


    Still think they should give them a try… But regardless of game engines, all the Wing Commanders share a hell of a lot in common. Engaging characters, story, interesting space combat that can be frantic – That’s it. Perhaps it’s not for everyone but if you like one of them, you should at least be wanting to explore the other ones I would imagine.


    I would imagine I’m speaking to the choir on this so I’ll also ask if any of you have any examples of people you know who might love one game but refuse to look into the others. Does not have to be just Wing Commander, although I am very curious to hear anything anybody has to say about this… Am I just taking too much offence as a lover of so much that is Wing Commander? Love to hear any thoughts on the matter, thanks.
     
  2. Lilja

    Lilja Master Chief Petty Officer

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    Many people get stuck in the past, wether it be nostalgia, fear of growing up, ignorance, etc . . .

    I am slowly playing through Black Mesa and I'm loving it, and to be honest I don't think I would have bothered to play through Half Life again. Some people had enough love for the original Half Life that they decided to remake it rather than just endlessly replaying the original.

    The same can be said for Homeworld with the remake, a bonus of which is the WC mod that is bringing a new style of gaming to the community.

    As for loving one particular game well each person to their own, same can be said for music, films, TV, cars, the list is endless - IMHO much of it is down to association rather than the thing itself.
     
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  3. Pedro

    Pedro Vice Admiral

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    This is interesting to me; rather than sprucing up the old games again ala the OpenGL patch I've always wanted to just create a new engine (well adapt my existing one) to handle the old scripting formats, hardpoints etc and then recreate the titles from there with new assets. Unfortunately I always get talked out of it by people claiming they're only interested in playing the originals or modified versions thereof. Since titles older than Prophecy are so distant from how games are produced today, and given engine programming is my speciality I struggle to get enthused about patches and keep giving up halfway in.

    Would you be interested in a remake rather than a touch up from the Wing Commander series?
     
  4. DefianceIndustries

    DefianceIndustries Captain

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    I'd be all for a new engine, honestly. I think it would be cool to see what this community could do since we have a bunch of crazed mad-scientist modders here, with some of the shackles taken off. However, I'm sure EA would probably come down on that like a ton of bricks.

    But as an aside - whatever happened to that other thing we were working on?
     
  5. Pedro

    Pedro Vice Admiral

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    I would never put out anything that didn't require a copy of the original games, either Origin or GOG - EA never shut down any other Wing Commander fan work so I can't see them shutting anything down.
    As for the modding work, as I say it's been hard to find the motivation or the time, especially the time. It's a totally different avenue of work whereas I could merge a new engine in with the day job in theory. The past two years have been very stressful - I had hoped I could relax a bit now, but that doesn't seem likely.
     
  6. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    I think it's somewhat common; while most folks who seek out a site like this love the whole series, many more likely fondly remember whatever game they happened to have connected with at some time or another. There are probably a lot more people who chanced on Privateer because it was included with a joystick or a Gateway 2000 computer back in the day than there ever were hardcore fans of the series!

    As for loving Wing Commander 3 for the 3DO above the other ports, I get that too. It's a bit like how you love the Amiga version; technically, the graphics are 'technically' worse than the PC release... but you can feel all the love and effort that went into making them the way they were. For the 3DO Wing Commander 3, they rebuilt the gameplay from the ground up to work with the console, so while the graphics look worse it plays very differently (every mission layout is redone, it's much more action oriented; and it feels a bit like a cross between WC2 and WC3.) So if you happened to start with the 3DO version, it would be a transition to play the slower PC missions. (I'd have trouble imagining someone loving the Plasytation version more, since it's trying very hard to be identical to the PC release... but the 3DO version is almost a different game.)


    You know I was just thinking to myself someone should rebuild Wing Commander I. Build a new engine that uses all the same game data... but as a multiplayer co-op game. Would be pretty neat to let people play through the same missions together instead of with an AI wingman! You'd have people competing for kills and medals, working together, etc. Way more work than anyone has time for, but it'd be an interesting experience!
     
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  7. Dyret

    Dyret Super Carrot!

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    With all the various weird indie attempts at space sims over the years I'm surprised no one's gone for the whole full on choose-your-own-adventure war movie thing WC1 had going on, co-op or otherwise. XCOM kind of did the same for tactics games and everyone's been trying to emulate it over and over for 20 years, but there doesn't seem to be much interest in doing it with shooters, space or otherwise. Hell, this day and age you could call it a Mass Effect inspired roguelite or something and sell thousands of copies regardless of quality.
     
  8. DefianceIndustries

    DefianceIndustries Captain

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    It would be cool if it could be done, though I'd argue more for team based awards to encourage proper wingleader/wingman play; if it were me, I'd also make the AI hard as hades, which would also encourage watching each-other's sixes.

    It's probably closer now than before, I mean you have an engine, you have ship assets (in the form of Klav's stuff) assuming you didn't want to go for a more literal interpretation, you'd need mission programmers, a composer, and some folks to work on the cut scenes/dialogue bits and voice acting.
     
  9. Shot

    Shot Rear Admiral

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    Seeing another big fan write that, I think I understand it a little more... but while I do love the Amiga version I can't honestly say I think it's better than the original when all things are considered. While I've never gotten the chance to play the 3DO version I have sought out videos and articles on it before, and I agree it's a similar effort to the Amiga port.

    But this guy, it being a personal thing because I've talked back/forth for years with him... Sometimes you start of hating someone because of the wrong impression or whatever, perhaps you grow to like them at some point, perhaps just one thing turns it all around in a good way... With him, sort of the opposite, really respected his opinions for a long time, and he seemed to unravel himself over this last year and then that Wing Commander comment felt like the last straw in terms of "why do I like this person again?".

    For me - Well I'm sure everyone out there can understand that our "real life" friends share little interest in our hobbies. They don't get it, they might even poke fun at it from time to time, but they don't have to understand our love to understand they probably shouldn't attack us on it, know what I mean? If someone in real life asks me my favorite games, I'm going to say Wing Commander... But do I tell every friend I built my own DOS PC and looked for months for an MT-32 mostly because of one game? Noooope....

    Not that I'm ashamed of it, it's just obvious they don't care about that stuff. I'm sure many of them are into things I would think are crazy... But "if" they knew about it or if I knew what they did, they would be pretty stupid to take me to town on my hobbies because I'm a nerd, I don't need no friends!

    - But then you've got a guy you've talked to about your hobbies, one that he shares (retro gaming)... It's not like Wing3 was simply a memorable and good game for him... He makes YouTube videos playing all sorts of games... He's into games... Wing3 was his favorite of all games... Utterly uninterested in the rest of the series.

    It's difficult as a fan of Wing Commander as well as gaming to understand that... although, if I happen to dig deeper on it all, to analyze it deeper, which is not always a smart thing to do, yes... I do kind of feel he'd have that strong connection for very personal reasons as well as nostalgic love for the 3DO... But the way he's been acting recently that regardless of his true feelings, he was more than happy to word it in a way that would piss me off.

    I still can't think of one game where I loved one installment but refused to look into the others... The closest is maybe Battletech. I loved Battletech on the Amiga, it was my first exposure to an RPG... I can't stand the 2nd one... BUT... It was also one of the first games I remember looking into in the late 90's when I was going back to some older games. "Wow! There was a 2nd Battletech! Gotta get me that!" - But Battletech 2 is NOT an RPG. It's not a sequel, it has nothing in common with the first game other than the universe... Hate that game... But I dig Mechwarrior, even though I would have rather them gone the RPG route, so, even with that game, I love the 1st one, hate the 2nd one, but I still explored them all.

    hmmmm...

    As for a new game engine with the full original story/missions; I guess I'm one of the people that just want to see the originals modded/hacked... - I do not get the same impression about "most people" wanting that though... Besides this newish patch inserting the secret missions 1.5 storyline into the original game engine for DOS, I have for YEARS wondered why nobody bothered with the original games. As far as I know that's the only "real" mod for the first 4 games that really added anything to the actual game. I believe there's been several small mods but they never really made me want to install them. I'm pretty sure I've seen a few mods for Prophecy, and a whole lot of mods for Freespace (I think) that insert Wing Commander elements into that engine, but that's about it. Am I missing something? I guess it's kind of hard these days because there are no game engines that would fit Wing Commander at the moment, you'd have to build one... Which, hey, if someone wants to take the time to love Wing Commander enough they would build their own engine AND insert the original story into it... I might be longing for hacks of the original games but I would surely take note of that as well.
     
  10. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    I'd probably chalk it up to him both having a strong connection to whatever actors/characters are in WC3 and the more arcade styling of the gameplay. If that's your first entry into the series it can be jarring to try and go back to the cartoonish looks of the earlier entries. And the jump to WC4? As much as I love WC4, I can kind of understand not wanting to get into it as the game puts some people in a moral quandry. I really didn't want to kill Confed (or specifically human) pilots. Shooting down humans and not Kilrathi felt wrong. The game puts you in morally ambiguous territory from the get-go (which is kind of the point... You're supposed to question the legitimacy of the orders you're being asked to carry out).

    Mass Effect is an interesting case study in branching storytelling. They got half way through the first game and realized it's really hard (or that's what it seems like). The Noveria levels in ME1 have quite a bit of variation and different ways to complete the missions, but the rest of the locations feel really simplified in comparison. The many choices you can make in ME1 also lead to some differences later but nothing really substanial in later games in the sense of different missions or locations in the way you would get differerent missions with the winning and losing paths in WC1.

    I know they had talked about 'drop-in co-op' for Squadron 42 early on in the campaign, and that also seems to be on the backburner at least until after the initial campaign release mainly due to the complexity of letting other players mess up your campaign. If done right though a WC project that allowed players to fly on each other's wings would be interesting.
     
  11. Pedro

    Pedro Vice Admiral

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    I do get this sentiment - and I'm not saying it can't work. I'm currently enjoying Brutal Doom 64, an excellent mod. It's amazing just how well such an old title holds up with the right TLC. But without access and permission to use the source code it's a tricky proposition.
    The other issue is, whilst Doom is one engine for 3 games - Wing Commander changed radically over the years, work done on one game wouldn't translate to the others. It's also really hard work to make the old games play better as many of the issues are down to how fractions were represented, and bumping up the framerate would expose the low precision.

    Personally, if there was interest - whilst I know I don't have enough time to make a full mod, I would be willing to try and put out a foundation for others to build on, say the first mission of Wing 1 in VR.
     
  12. Dyret

    Dyret Super Carrot!

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    Yeah, there were probably also cost considerations, especially when they were a fresh IP. Series probably pushed the whole 'your choices matter'-thing a bit hard for its own good, though, especially the third one.
     
  13. LeHah

    LeHah 212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"

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    Much like James Bond movies, the one you grew up on is always your first choice for the character - be it Connery, Moore or Dalton.
     
  14. hardwired

    hardwired 1st Lieutenant

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    Actually my first Wing Commander 3 play session was on a PS2 with a copy of the Ps1 Wing Commander 3 (in 2001 if I remember correctly)... I admit it was interesting but ultimately unremarkable experience at that time.

    Now that's something I would be on board with!!
     

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