Catch Up On The Movie's Cast Update ID

The website Arcade Sushi has put together a "Where are they now?" feature on the cast of Wing Commander. This is probably something we should have thought of first, but they beat us to it. Unfortunately the piece starts with some trite commentary on the talentless cast - before immediately proceeding to detail the acting prowess and storied careers of people like David Warner, Saffron Burrows and David Suchet. So the text is a bit disingenuous, but it's still fun to see how everyone's aged in twenty years! Check out the article here.

Flat Universe Downtime Over - Play On! Update ID

Prospective players who were trying to register for Wing Commander Flat Universe recently may have encountered an error while trying to set up their email/callsign. The Maslas Brothers dug into the issue and believe they have it fixed now. The team is working on some exciting multiplayer plans for the near future, so now's a good time to dig in and hone your top-down Wing Commander shooting skills. Try it out here.

P2 Ad Highlights Stylish British Prose Update ID

Here's a pretty slick Privateer 2 ad from the UK that LOAF recently ran across. Overall, advertisements for The Darkening are some of the most unique and clever out of the whole series. The left page is headlined by a more traditional "Trips worth taking" tagline, but the right side is a bit more tantalizing with extended text and pre-release screenshots. Check it out below!
Turn on, Tune in and Bug out.

Welcome to the Tri-System, where your life is only as precious as your cargo, and your future only as bright as your piloting skills. In search of your lost identity, you'll have to bargain like Shylock, explore like Sherlock, and fight like a Warlock if you're ever to escape the threat of the mysterious Kindred.

It's a trip not to be missed.

Playstation & 3DO Square Off In New Video Comparison Update ID

3dokid has put together a neat comparison that shows both the Playstation and 3DO versions of Wing Commander 3 playing side-by-side. PC players who might not be as familiar with the console variants might be surprised at the differences. The PSX game was a relatively faithful recreation of the DOS version. Ground missions were cut, but the larger discs allowed the inclusion of some awesome cutscenes that didn't make it in the computer release. On the 3DO, the engine was redone so it might not look quite as flashy as the original, but all of the missions were updated for a newer action-oriented experience. The weapons were tweaked with the Vampire missile replacing the Leech, and new UI/story elements were also added.
As a bonus, they also put together a "Top Five 3DO Games" feature a while back and Wing Commander 3 made the cut! There's additional footage of the game being placed with the full cockpit in place, which is still gorgeous. Jump to the 3:50 mark if it doesn't autoplay at the WC3 sequence.

End Run eBook Rollout Begins Update ID

As promised earlier in the month, the first half of Wing Commander End Run is now available for owners of the July 2018 Monthly Baen Bundle! This first release includes the entirety of the novella Milk Run by Christopher Stasheff and the first three chapters of End Run by William Forstchen. You can start reading here. The full eBook is also now available for pre-order via Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Nobles' respective eBook stores; we'll update once it's added to Kobo. The full novel releases July 3, 2018.

High Tech 1995 Preview Covers Wing Commander 4 Update ID

Here's another cool CD-based review from the Interactive Entertainment magazine. We shared Episode 19 with a Privateer 2 preview last week, and here's Episode 20 on Wing Commander 4. Like the previous clip, their 'articles' came on disc in audio format acompanied by a slideshow (and advertising). In these early days when few people were yet online, this was a tremendously cool way to see footage of the new game and hear about what it had to offer.

These previews also included a text article that differs a little from the audio/visual preview.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . .

. . . a guy named Chris Roberts, a game and movie fan, thought to combine his hobbies into a new sort of interactive entertainment experience. Fortunately, he worked for Origin at the time. The culmination of this wish was Wing Commander, which went on to become one of the most successful and highly-recognized PC game products in the history of the industry - and the first of a fruitful series for Origin.

Skip forward a few years, to the third game in the series. Incorporating digitized video of live actors (some of them QUITE well-known already in the film industry), computer-generated sets rendered on Silicon Graphics machines, and a state-of-the art space flight game engine, Wing Commander III set yet another benchmark for the gaming industry.

So what do you do for an encore?

In Roberts' own words, "Polish." You take the tools you've developed and spend more time exercising your craftsmanship than you were permitted while you were inventing the wheel. From a technological standpoint, this means honing the tools you've already built. On the gameplay side, Wing IV should play faster and cleaner than Wing III, with bigger explosions, more detailed texture-mapping, and cleaner background music, thanks to the game's use of digital streaming audio. On the cinematic side Origin's code-wizards have cooked up a new compression scheme which allows for more cinematic techniques, like moving camera and zooming, as well as reproducing more colors and detail, permitting players to better appreciate the actors' performances.

From a storytelling standpoint, the developers were able to invest more time and energy in creating an experience that really gives you the feel of watching a movie. The game uses real sets ("practical," as they say "in the biz") to give the actors a better frame of reference, thereby enhancing the realistic atmosphere. It was shot on film, giving it a much more "movie-like" look and feel (Wing III was shot on Betacam, which doesn't reproduce quite as nicely, but is an order of magnitude cheaper).

Wing IV's script is bigger and more complicated than Wing III's (500 and a bit pages to Wing III's 400), and involves a more mature and emotionally-involving storyline. This time around, you're forced to make some serious ethical choices, which will drastically affect the course of the game.

Once again, you play Col. Christopher Blair. The Terran-Kilrathi war is over, however, and you've settled down on a quiet backwater to live out the rest of your days as a humble farmer. It's not destined to be, though. None other than your old pal Maniac appears on your doorstep one day to inform you that you're being pressed back into active duty. It seems a coalition of Border Worlds, demanding rights the Confederation was not ready to grant, is threatening civil war. Ships on both sides have been attacked. Things are getting hairy. Trouble is, Blair's not certain who's in the right. And then, there's the possibility of a hidden third party being involved . . .

Mark Hamill reprises the role of Col. Christopher Blair. Also returning are Malcolm McDowell as Admiral Tolwyn, Jason Bernard as Captain Eisen, John Rhys-Davies as Paladin, and Tom Wilson as the irrepressible Maniac. Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom should be available around the time you are viewing this episode of IE.

Saitek Profiles Recovered Update ID

During Wing Commander's heyday, companies like Thrustmaster and Saitek sold higher end programmable controllers that could be configured for a variety of different games. We've been doing some research on this vintage flight hardware, specifically trying to determine which joysticks, throttles and other equipment offered 'official' support for Wing Commander games in the 1990s. In the process, we've also started to recover some of the digital profiles that hardware manufacturers used to have available at their official websites. For today's update, we've recovered a selection of downloads that Saitek provided to add support for Wing Commander Prophecy for their original 1997-98 product lineup.

The Cyborg was Saitek's range of programmable game controllers which began with the Cyborg 3D Digital Pad gamepad and the Cyborg 3D Stick joystick. The updated Cyborg Stick 2000 also supports these configuration files.

The X36 was Saitek's HOTAS setup, comprised of the X36F stick and the X35T throttle (sold separately or together.) The X36F was fully programmable and Saitek offered a profile for Wing Commander Prophecy through their website.

The PCDash was a special keyboard billed as a "graphical command pad." The PCDash could be configured for different games by using printed 'Command Sheets' which would arrange different keystrokes and combinations in a manner specific to the chosen title. Command Sheets were available in a number of different ways: some shipped with the PCDash itself, others were included with games and still more were available for download through Saitek (players were also able to create and share their own.) Saitek's page offered both a simple 'text only' and a graphical version for Wing Commander Prophecy.

Note that these files are only compatible with the gameport versions of the listed products; Saitek did not include support for any Wing Commander games with their USB releases (which began in 1998.)

Relive Privateer's Ending Update ID

Privateer's been making the headlines recently not just as a memorable Wing Commander game but also a milestone in PC and space sim gaming as a whole. Everyone who plays has stories about upgrading their Tarsus and saving up for an Orion, Galaxy or Centurion. The actual campaign was completely optional, and occasionally you hear about fans who never made it through to the end. It's easy to find a list of the major fixers and their locations online, but it could be time consuming for someone playing in a vacuum. ytdlder is here to help with a recording of the final showdown between the Steltek Drone and Commodore Reismann's fleet (and your Steltek Gun). As a special bonus, he's also included the ending conversation with Admiral Terrell. It's a little anti-climactic compared to the epic conclusions to the main Wing Commander games, but it has a really clever presentation of the end credits. And I love Terrell's office!
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