Second Chance: Kevin Droney Talks Wing Commander Script Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Christian Genzel reached out to discuss a recent interview he did with Kevin Droney, the original screenwriter for Wing Commander. We indirectly linked to this conversation back in March, but we wanted to highlight it again. So much fascinating stuff happened during the development of the Wing Commander Movie, so it's always interesting to hear another angle. Mr. Droney talks at length about how a swap in the producer led to numerous changes in his script that disrupted the flow, especially in the beginning. Had he been given the opportunity, he'd have gladly gone to Luxembourg to help smooth over scenes. The general tone is disappointment rather than bitterness, and Kevin mentions that the original payment basically put one of his kids through college and he long got generous residual payments as a testament to the success of the film on DVD, Blu-ray and digital. You can find the interview here or here. Fast forward to about the 43 minute mark if you're just interested in the half hour Wing Commander segment.
In our interview, Kevin discusses how he created the story for MORTAL KOMBAT, a game that didn’t really have a plot, and how he focused on the mythological aspects of the game’s background. He talks about how Linden Ashby kept adlibbing lines and confusing his fellow actors, and he also talks about how his love for the Bruce Lee movies influenced the script. Kevin also shares his memories of developing the WING COMMANDER script together with Chris Roberts and exploring his sci-fi universe, and he discusses how the script got rewritten without his involvement and why the finished film doesn’t really represent his original script. We also talked a little bit about another film that Kevin wrote, a drama starring Raul Julia and Laura Dern called DOWN CAME A BLACKBIRD, a captivating, serious story about a clinic for survivors of torture that shows Kevin’s versatility as a screenwriter.

Cloud Surfing Hornets Rendered in 4K Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

And just like that, right out of the blue is a gorgeous new wallpaper from Klavs! It features two slick Hornets cruising above the clouds at dusk. If you look really closely, there's some details like running lights and painted sections that make the scene look more realistic. The image below has been produced at 3840x2160 so it'll look crisp on your high res monitor!

Space Sim First Look: Elite Dangerous Odyssey Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We haven't covered Elite Dangerous much over the years, but it's had a very good run since its release. The base game has sold more than three million units while a number of additional expansions have kept things going for more than five years. They've just announced another big upgrade for the game that will add planetary missions in early 2021. While not everyone is a fan of mixing genres and gameplay types like this, it seems like a practical way to grow a game that's managed to mature its core experience and is ready for something different. The game is available for PC and PS4/XBox, so it's also a good way to get players of all types interested in space sims. You can check out the new Odyssey teaser below and a fuller recap of the Elite game beneath that.
“Odyssey is our most ambitious Elite Dangerous expansion to date,” said David Braben, Founder and CEO of Frontier. “Extending coverage to the super-fine scale that is needed for on-foot gameplay while maintaining the vast raw distances measured in light years, is a huge achievement by the team, and greatly extends the already rich Elite Dangerous experience. We hope you will join us to continue this journey of discovery and adventure when Elite Dangerous: Odyssey launches in early 2021.”

More Academy Art Comes Together Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got more WCA-inspired goodness to share. DefianceIndustries polished up and shared three new ships in his cartoon texture style this afternoon. The first is the Kilrathi capship model that gets used for numerous different roles in the series. We also get a gorgeous Dralthi and the exclusive Sabre. Every ship in the show looks so gorgeous - they're a dream to look at, and it's great to see the designs put to good use here!
A few more animated ships for the collection - First up is the Kilrathi Omni-ship. Regardless of the role it's playing, I think it's one of the cooler Kilrathi designs. I had to arbitrarily derive a scale for it since the source material is all over the place on it, so I estimate it's slightly larger than an Exeter for a small destroyer/carrier hybrid - at least that's what I scaled the windows to (assuming an average Kilrathi is around 8 feet) First - The Universal Kilrathi Capship. It's a corvette, a destroyer, a carrier, and a battleship all in one! What can't it do? Stand up to a few Scimitars I guess... :p
Ok I got lazy and retextured my old Dralthi model. It's probably the most different from the WCA source, but it is still line-art accurate from Claw Marks so there's that. Besides I think it looked cooler.
Last but not least it's everybody's favorite WC2 fighter (yes the one you wish you had on all those Crossbow missions), the WCA take on the F-57 Sabre. As always Wingnuts feel free to comment :)

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:

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