Petty Officer
I was wondering why no one has ever but that your fighter could be fitted with external fuel tanks to allow it to fly longer every fighter that I know of has that ability. So why not put that into a wing commander game. For those that fly like I do they use more fuel using afterburners then missiles and wouldn’t miss two missile missing for there fighters inventory.


212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
I dont see what the point would be, in terms of gameplay. If you were given extra afterburner fuel - someone else would just ask the same question of why there isn't more of it.


Cry some more!
Starlancer had exactly that. Each fighter had X seconds of afterburner, and adding external fuel tanks increased the afterburner time.

Then again, missiles sucked hard on Starlancer.


Petty Officer
The is that the extra fuel extends the effective range of the fighter and no were in the wing commander universe have I heard of that being done and the idea of for game play is you lose a set of missiles and extra fuel tanks as a trade off. Its about adding a little realism to the game by say your ship can last this long in battle with this much fuel but now it can last this long because of the extra fuel tanks. And I know that with wing commander prophecy, secret ops and unknown enemy I could just use the ship editor but I was thinking of that option being added without the need of an editor to do that.


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Such a concept does exist in Wing Commander. You don't have to look any further than the Wasp in Prophecy. Afterburners are also extended in a variety of alternate ways from the generator powered system in Privateer to the ramscoop system in WC4.


Rear Admiral
The afterburner fuel paradox has bothered me about WC for some time.

It's been pretty well established that the majority of the fighters in the WC universe burn hydrogen for fuel, and are equipped with hydrogen scoops. The hydrogen scoop field serves two purposes: it picks up stray hydrogen atoms and sweeps them into the fuel tank (more on this in a second) and the impacts against that field allow the fighter to perform aerodynamically in a space environment. It also prevents infinite acceleration.

The fighter's mass and size of the scoop field are then used to calculate the cruise speed used in WC/WCII (the speed you see when you leave autopilot). In theory, anything beyond that speed should also eat at your fuel reserves, as you can't scoop up enough hydrogen to replace the burn rate needed to achieve that velocity. The impacts on the scoop field that allow aerodynamic flight should also slow your afterburner acceleration rate as the impacts become more frequent at higher speeds (assuming uniform distribution of hydrogen in space). Basically, acceleration should diminish up to a certain point when you can no longer overcome the force of the impacts (again, calculated relative to the vessel's mass and scoop field size), rather than gaining a predetermined velocity uniformly. Or one could argue that it's a predetermined maximum set by an engineer (it would still be a diminishing acceleration curve), but one would think that extra velocity could come in handy in a life or death situation.

Of course, it's a computer game from the early 90's using what is by today's standards a rough physics model (though fantastic at the time).

Okay, time for LOAF or ChrisReid to pick me apart...


Frog Blast the Vent Core!
There was a very good thread about all of this several years ago. I'm going to go see if I can find it for you. Although I'm not sure what it was under, but IIRC it was one where everything was nicely explained. Probably should have been turned into an FAQ like the the old jump theory one.


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
We wouldn't stick something like that, but if someone writes a good FAQ on something, we can put it in the CIC Articles section.


The afterburner fuel paradox has bothered me about WC for some time.

It's been pretty well established that the majority of the fighters in the WC universe burn hydrogen for fuel..........

Forget hydrogen fuel, what about their atomic batteries?! They should provide all the afterburner you could ever need and then some. Now I realize it's a joke referencing the old 60's Batman series, but it's still WC3 canon isn't it?

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
There actually are atomic batteries, though, in things like pacemakers... it doesn't necessarily mean they're super-powerful.


Real-life "atomic batteries" are the generators that power deep-space probes such as Voyager or Cassini. Basically they use radioactive materials to generate low-intensity heat for power--since the reaction is much slower than in a reactor, there is no worry about a runaway chain reaction. Their main advantage is not high power output (you can get at most a few kilowatts), but rather that they can run constantly for decades without refueling--Voyager 1 and 2 are still operational after thirty years.

"Atomic batteries" in Wing Commander, then, would probably function like the battery and starter motor in a car--they would provide the initial power to start the fusion reactor that is the main powerplant.


My question about the atomic batteries then is why there's a finite amount of afterburner fuel yet in-mission I've never seen a fighter run dry on engine power and shut down as a result. Anybody have a clue to as what the endurance on a middle-of-the-road fighter is, factoring out life support limitations? Do the afterburners run on the same fuel as the other subsystems?

I would side completely with rtheriaque here if it weren't for the fact that it leaves a baffling problem with how any space fighter could enter a planetary atmosphere (hellcat, excalibur, ekapshi, ect.) or even navigate a nebula, since any stray gasses entering the reactor could seriously screw things up from the inside (or at the very least starve the powerplant of necessary Hydrogen).


Rear Admiral
Scoops are turned off in an atmosphere, though the rationale was because they'd create too much drag. That's mentioned in End Run.

I'd assume afterburners, on a "classic" fighter (ie not the Dragon) are exactly what they sound like- dumping raw fuel into the outlet nozzle and igniting it- though hydrogen can also run fuel cells for electricity.