WC and the future of space sims.

Spien

Spaceman
I was just thinking about why Wing Commander hasn't seen a continuation for a while now, and it's occured to me that maybe continuing Wing Commander wouldn't be the best idea. That is, continuing it how most Wing Commander games continue... fast forewarding a few years into the future, giving you characters and a setting that you should be familiar with.

I can see why Chris Roberts went the route of the Lancer series. Wing Commander has ammased so much complicated history over the years that it's very unlikely that modern gamers would go back and play the old Wing Commander games to learn about the history of the series and its characters. If another continuation was made then only hardcore fans of the series would get the most enjoyment out of the referances and the characters, the new gamers would be a little alienated and thus not really willing to pick the game up. The last thing the space sim genre needs is more players scared away from it.

There's two routes that I can see future Wing Commander games going. Either they completely scrap the current timeline and create a new alternate one in its place or they go with my more favorable idea. I think new Wing Commander games should focus themselves towards the Kiltrathi war again, when I originaly saw prophecy and its generic bug aliens I was pretty dissapointed. Anyway, I think the best way to preserve the current timeline and make a new game is by showing us different parts of the war, putting us on a different carrier with different characters fighting different battles. In essence filling in the blanks of the Kilrathi war and not heavily referancing the characters and ships from the original games that are off fighting the fights that we've all ready fought so new players would be introduced to the soul and goodness of the original Wing Commander universe without being alienated and not being forced to play old games that they would be automatically prejudiced against.

Judging but what I see with the WC mods completed or in production, it seems the fan community has the same idea as I have. So, this is basically just a long winded rant of what I think future WC games should give us, enjoy it, ignore it, or just slap me.
 

Maeglamor

Spaceman
Hi all, I'm a HLP admin and have had very little exposure to the Wing Commander series, the only Chris Roberts game I have played is Starlancer (which I thought was quite good) but I've never had a chance to play any of the WC series.

I got into PC gaming quite late in the 90's and to be honest I never saw any copies of anything other than Privateer in my local games shop, I picked up Freespace 2 quite by chance one day in about 2001 and got pretty much swept up in it all. I am aware that Wing Commander has a rather deep background and is very character orientated (something I thought was lacking in FS2) but I'm pretty much oblivious to the story, I'd always wanted to get around to playing part of the series but as yet I've been unable to make time for it.

Anyhow, the reason I'm posting this is that I have been recently made aware of the whole topic of WC vs. FS, I'm not at all privvy to what ignited the whole thing (can someone fill me in if it's not too much trouble?) but I see so much hate revolving around something that I had hoped made people happy; gaming, particularly the space sim genre. I assume that the disquiet between minorities of the WC and FS communities is what stops the WC community from considering the FS source code as a means to creating more WC content for FS?

We have a WC conversion in progress at HLP at the moment which to me looks quite promising, is there much support for it here?

Sorry for badgering you all with 20 questions. :)
 

Spien

Spaceman
I'd rather not fuel the fire of WC vs. FS in my peaceful little topic since I've never played FS and I really have nothing against it so I guess I'm not the person to answer your questions.

As for the WC conversion you spoke of if you're talking about Wing Commander Saga then yes it has a whole lot of support and it has its own forum here http://www.crius.net/zone/forumdisplay.php?f=18 . There's a lot more on the whole WC vs. FS thing there as well and both CIC and HLP boards calling a truce on it and proclaiming to take action on any flamers, or something like that.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I assume that the disquiet between minorities of the WC and FS communities is what stops the WC community from considering the FS source code as a means to creating more WC content for FS?
Fan projects (mods) have always been treated like second class citizens to some extent by Wing Commander fans - partially because of a lot of early, over-zealous modders promising more than they could deliver. In Freespace, a well-intentioned mod team can recreate or (in many instances) vastly exceed the fun of the original game. Freespace fans can make a game that continues their story fairly seemlessly.

Wing Commander is limited in that extent. The games feature professional actors and video segments woven in between the space combat... no matter how great a mod like Unknown Enemy or WC Saga is, it's never going to appeal to the massive number of fans who are attracted to the game because they like seeing Mark Hamill fight space cats. (That's not a criticism, just a reality - the WC mod guys do a far more amazing job than I would ever have believed possible given the resources.)

As for the WC vs. Freespace debate - this thread at the WC Saga board presents it fairly evenly.

We have a WC conversion in progress at HLP at the moment which to me looks quite promising, is there much support for it here?
WC Saga is probably one of the three most respected current projects, alongside Standoff (for the Vision Engine) and Reckoning (for FreeLancer).
 

Maeglamor

Spaceman
Thanks LOAF, did a bit of reading especially on the WCSaga thread.

I remember getting a cover CD with a WC vid on it, it was a pick and mix of cutscenes from one of the upcoming games at the time (bear in mind this was years ago). It had a bit of commentary and I do remember seeing Mark Hamill and some rather good acted scenes. From that I can guess what you mean when you describe the difficulty for fans in portraying a universe without the faces that go with it.

As I mentioned before I always thought that lack of character centric storylines was one thing that detracted from FS2, fortunately it's so much fun to play I found it easy to overlook the lack of character development. Thankfully as one of the people who gets to see the inner workings of the campaigns in progress at HLP I'm glad to see people creating believable characters. I think it's a good thing for FS and can see why it would make WC so enticing. There's nothing more emotionally binding than empathy for the characters you deal with in agood story driven game.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Dyret said:
I would like a privateer style game where you play as a kilrathi.
I'm not sure how possible that would be since commerical traffic seems to be controlled by the empire directly and not by any type of commerical entity, at most it might be divided between clans and the planets they control. However, as is seen in FA, the empire has the ability to take command of said transports if they needed, that's only if they are divided by clans and not just under direct imperial control...
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
Bandit LOAF said:
Wing Commander is limited in that extent. The games feature professional actors and video segments woven in between the space combat... no matter how great a mod like Unknown Enemy or WC Saga is, it's never going to appeal to the massive number of fans who are attracted to the game because they like seeing Mark Hamill fight space cats. (That's not a criticism, just a reality - the WC mod guys do a far more amazing job than I would ever have believed possible given the resources.)
For once i disagree with you, LOAF.
UE was great. The written fiction told the story alot better than the movies in Prophecy. :(
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Dyret said:
For once i disagree with you, LOAF.
UE was great. The written fiction told the story alot better than the movies in Prophecy. :(
Yeah, but are you 'the majority of WC fans'? Many of them lashed on later because Mark Hamill and Tom Wilson were there.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'm pretty sure I'm not talking about my own feelings - I think talking heads in WC1 and 2 were the best way of telling the story. But ultimately the vast majority of fans started with WC3 and 4 because of the live actors...
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
Other thing that helps FS modding is that there was always a FRED, an official resource for mission making and ultimately, modding. The release of FS2's source helped a lot too.
WC-engine based mods are only possible thanx to the huge amount of effort a few people have put into creating tools to allow mods and missions.

I'm not saying that FS is superior to WC, though, but it probably has a much bigger modding base than WC simply because it was made to be so.

Of course, FS was "born" after the explosion of internet based fan modding communites, while the web was just a far off dream when WC1 hit the shelves, in all it's 5 1/4 disk glory =)

Nevertheless, the few mods we have are outstanding. I cannot compare to the FS ones for I don't know them, but UE (even though it is not appealling to the unwashed masses, as LOAF pointed out) is a masterpiece.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Bandit LOAF said:
I'm pretty sure I'm not talking about my own feelings - I think talking heads in WC1 and 2 were the best way of telling the story. But ultimately the vast majority of fans started with WC3 and 4 because of the live actors...
Me, I liked the WC1 story, and the whole 'one pilot makes a real difference' sorta feel the games had. You KNEW the difference in the game, if you were flying in Kurasawa versus say, Hubble's Star - the air of victory versus the one of imminent defeat. Or Rostov, where things could go either way - and everything in the game changed, dialogue-wise, along with the feel of it and the missions you flew.

But yeah, the majority of people probably started because Luke Skywalker was flying missions. ;)
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Maeglamor said:
Anyhow, the reason I'm posting this is that I have been recently made aware of the whole topic of WC vs. FS, I'm not at all privvy to what ignited the whole thing (can someone fill me in if it's not too much trouble?) but I see so much hate revolving around something that I had hoped made people happy; gaming, particularly the space sim genre. I assume that the disquiet between minorities of the WC and FS communities is what stops the WC community from considering the FS source code as a means to creating more WC content for FS?
We believe Wing Commander is by far the greatest space combat sim for a variety of reasons, so it's just funny to rile people up who prefer other sims. I think a lot of Freespace fans, like yourself, just missed the Wing Commander boat in the mid nineties and would not have attached yourself to Freespace very much had your timing been different. But of course the space sim genre as a whole has experienced something of a downturn the last couple years, so we always try to spend time at the CIC front page promoting all new space sims in an effort to promote the genre as a whole.
 

Spien

Spaceman
Me, I liked the WC1 story, and the whole 'one pilot makes a real difference' sorta feel the games had. You KNEW the difference in the game, if you were flying in Kurasawa versus say, Hubble's Star - the air of victory versus the one of imminent defeat. Or Rostov, where things could go either way - and everything in the game changed, dialogue-wise, along with the feel of it and the missions you flew.
I agree, I also liked having my own name in the game instead of Christopher Blair. Wing Commander 1 really put you in the pilot seat, not another character that you were portraying. I really liked that feel to the game.
 
Haesslich said:
But yeah, the majority of people probably started because Luke Skywalker was flying missions. ;)
I'm older than most of you guys, so my perspective on WC is a little different. I remember walking into a software store in 1991 with my cousin (I think it was a Babbages) and seeing Wing Commander on the shelf in all of its 3.5" glory. I was really, really new to PC games, and kind of skeptical about their quality. I had a Sega Genesis at the time, and until that point I had used my new $3,800 Tandy 386SX-25 for graduate school projects only. But I eventually relented, added a joystick, a sound card, and 2 speakers, and I was ready to rock! And so, my cousin looked at the WC package and said something like, "If this game is only half as cool as the box says it is it will be worth the money." I bought it, took it home, loaded it, played it, and have been a devotee ever since.

I'm a long time Star Wars aficionado too (more of a Han Solo fan), so casting Mark Hamill as Blair did excite me- 2 of my more favorite Sci-Fi characters kind of being brought together in an interesting twist for a gaming series that I had grown to love. But I must admit that I would have purchased WC3, 4, and so on with or without Hamill's participation. Chris Robert's made me a fan from day one, and WC3 remains one of my favorite games of all time, an absolutely fantastic piece of work.

I won't sit here and claim to have an insider's knowledge as to why the Sci-Fi flight sim/space shooter lost so much popularity in the late 1990s: I don't have an indisputable answer, merely some thoughts and my own beliefs on the subject. Like others in this forum I tend to feel that there was no one chief reason. It was more of a secular trend away from the "genre" if you will, and finger pointing by either "side" is just that- finger pointing. Any company can get cold feet about an idea and pull the plug on a project when millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs are on the line, especially if they aren't sure how well it will go over with the buying public. I think it is safe to say that most of the Sci-Fi sims of that era, be they Prophecy, FS, or whatever, did badly in terms of retail sales when compared to the numbers their creators/producers had hoped for. That was industry-wide, not some aberration or phenomenon, and it inspired little confidence in the future potential profitability of such ventures. And yes, anything with the "Lucas" name affixed to it will be the exception rather than the rule 9 times out of 10.

I probably differ from most of you guys because I bought FS, FS2, and Tachyon, several years after they had been released. I wanted a WC type game with some different material. I was hoping to find something close to WC since Origin/EA hadn't released anything WCish in years. I've played around with Tachyon a bit but haven't loaded either FS game. I truly do look forward to trying them, though WC will always be my first love. I feel sorry for you guys who haven't had the good fortune to immerse yourselves in an important and engrossing chapter of gaming history.

Just wanted to share..... :)
 

Shipgate

Rear Admiral
Interesting thoughts from all of you. I first played Wing Commander when I was in 6th grade back in 1990. It was so magical to me. I even just loved the part where the composer was standing in front of the orchestra and they were all tuning their instruments and then they start playing and the camera goes by and then the logo appears.

Chris Roberts totally created something unique with Wing Commander and I'm such a huge fan partly just because of the memories I've had playing all of them as they came out. When Wing Commander 3 just came out, they were repeatedly playing the intro on these tv's all over the store and I already knew I was getting the game but I just wanted to keep watching it because I was so amazed with the live actors and sets and the huge step in graphics since WC2.

I always wanted to show other people the Wing Commander games because I felt like not enough of them were getting to see it. It just seemed so underrated to me. And when it became popular for games to use live actors, many ones that I played were kind of a joke with the quality of acting in them. But not with Wing Commander. If the WC movie had been just like WC 3 and 4 in terms of the style, music, feel, and ambiance, it could've have done so much better. I won't turn this into talking about just the movie, but I did feel saddened that for those who had never experienced Wing Commander games, that this was all they would ever know of the WC universe.

Anyway, with games these days, what's very big now is having characters that you can build and upgrade and develop. All these tons of fantasy genre games where you start out weak and become very popular. I think these are going to be the big thing for quite awhile.

As for Freespace and all those mods, I've still never played any of them. All I have is all my original WC games. Some work well some don't.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Anyway, with games these days, what's very big now is having characters that you can build and upgrade and develop. All these tons of fantasy genre games where you start out weak and become very popular. I think these are going to be the big thing for quite awhile.
They've always been popular. There was a time when Origin worried they couldn't sell Wing Commander because they were known as an RPG company - hence the 'from the makers of Ultima' logo on the original Wing Commander's box.
 

Karthik@KANE

Spaceman
Bandit LOAF said:
They've always been popular. There was a time when Origin worried they couldn't sell Wing Commander because they were known as an RPG company - hence the 'from the makers of Ultima' logo on the original Wing Commander's box.
And since that day, Wing Commander was then seen as game that could stand with its own feet! I'm kicking myself for trusting the shopkeeper. He told Wc3 and Wc4 won't run on 486DX4 100MHZ! DOH!!!!!
 

Spien

Spaceman
My first Wing Commander experiences was Wing Commander 2. I had heard of Wing Commander before from somewhere but it's been so long ago now that I can't remember where, the only thing I know is that I heard Wing Commander was an incredible game. So WCII became my second PC game and the story, the fighters, the capital ships, everything came together and had me hooked. One of my favorite classic Sci-Fi series was Battlestar Galactica and WC took elements from that show only made them more realistic and much deeper.

I went back later and played WC1 then moved on to WCIII when it came out and so on.
 

Ghost

Emperor
*Sigh*
I want a new space sim :(

I finished WCP and B5: IFH the sunday, and i´m currently playing SO and Macross VO (isn´t a space sim).

Is X2: The threat any good...because i'm thinking in buying it.
 
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