The Fine Line Between Trash and Treasure (April 13, 2008)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
This is a sad tale -- with a happy ending. Some months ago Kotaku ran an update about our Wing Commander I blueprint scans. This prompted an anonymous EA employee to respond in the comments page that his division had just thrown out boxes of old Origin games and shipped other material away. He included some photos:



Prince Thrakhath himself, plus his helmet and armor! Unwanted and abandoned? Possibly thrown out? We were heartbroken -- he belongs in a museum. We rushed into action -- contacts at EA tried to find out what had happened, friends in the industry listened to us crying and so forth. No luck... until, a month later the props surfaced again at EA Mythic in Virginia. The helmet appeared here, in a short cell phone camera video documenting the development of Warhammer Online. We've since confirmed that a large amount of EA's archived Origin material was shipped to Mythic... and that it all safe and being cared for by people who appreciate its importance! Whew.


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Original update published on April 13, 2008
 
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AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I wonder what kind of other origin treasures they have there? They should let somebody go through it all... maybe the WC2 snes copy will turn up! Or some other design documents and scripts for unpublished titles!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well, I can now say that I have visited Mythic and spoken with the man in charge -- and he's going to give us access to the collection to help archive it all!
 

Starman

Rear Admiral
Great news LOAF!

Still I can't help wonder why EA Mythic have it. Did they request it for some development reasons perchance :D
 

ELTEE

Rear Admiral
Going to fall into a cliche feel-good moment here.

This is the kind of thing that really separates this site from others like it (or, I should say, others that try and be like it.) This is really cool news - I'm glad that we are able to help preserve and archive materials like this. As usual, if anything is needed, ask! :p
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Heh, sorry, I have to burst that bubble -- it was sent to Mythic because they're the studio responsible for Ultima Online at this time.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
This is the kind of thing that really separates this site from others like it (or, I should say, others that try and be like it.) This is really cool news - I'm glad that we are able to help preserve and archive materials like this. As usual, if anything is needed, ask!

Well, we're putting together a team to go in there and do the job right in a few weeks. People who are willing to spend a few days coming down and working on the project are welcome... and I'd also like to hear from anyone with knowledge of how to restore various types of tape backups...
 

ELTEE

Rear Admiral
Well, we're putting together a team to go in there and do the job right in a few weeks. People who are willing to spend a few days coming down and working on the project are welcome... and I'd also like to hear from anyone with knowledge of how to restore various types of tape backups...

Let me check on the tape issue. My father has been involved in audio engineering and post production his entire life, and still has access to a myriad of studios with just this type of equipment. I will let you know what I uncover...

Also - when you have a firm idea of dates, let us know! The 'ol schedule is always hectic, but if it can be done, it would be great to help out!

EDIT - Hey LOAF, had a preliminary conversation with him. What kinds of formats do you anticipate dealing with? Is the goal to have them converted to a digital medium for storage?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
That is the goal -- digital medium for storage and... you know, playing with. :)

At this point we're looking at three exotic formats (plus a bunch of ordinary ones - CDs, 3.5" disks, VHSes, MiniDVs, etc.):

- Exatape 8mm Data Cartridges (several - the one I snapped the reference pic of is '112m')
- SyQuest 5.25" Removable Hard Drive (many - sized 44MB, 88MB and 200MB)
- (2) 9-Track IBM Multi-System Tapes (looks like it came from a mainframe - I don't have a whole lot of hope for restoring this myself.)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I should also mention that it sounds like we've tracked down another 'holy grail' -- and hope to show it off at a little movie premiere party at the end of this job!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Complete in so far as only the top part existed to begin with. :)

Thrakhath and the Kilrathi helmet/armor were the only props... everything else was much, much more interesting.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I can't wait for the updates about all the cool finds. My fingers are crossed that the item warranting a movie premier is the original video for Wing Commader 3, it would certainly be nice to have a complete set of FMV grails.
 
Wow, this is amazing!! :) Great job, LOAF! :D

WC3 was a real game-changer and those props at least belong in something like a video game museum or (better yet) in a science fiction museum... thankfully they didn't end up in a landfill or on a barge to nowhere!

@LeHah: I love the indiana jones reference...I'm trying to envision LOAF holding the flight suit or Thrakhath's head while covered in spider webs running through an office building a la the Hovito scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I can't wait for the updates about all the cool finds. My fingers are crossed that the item warranting a movie premier is the original video for Wing Commader 3, it would certainly be nice to have a complete set of FMV grails.

Sorry -- although it's possible-to-likely that the Wing Commander 3 footage will be among what we recover from Mythic!

(The movie premiere would be for the original traitor cut of the Wing Commander movie.)
 
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