Looks like arakh leaf
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.
Or Ultimate, Tobacco or anything really...
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.
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.
Gotta protect those 'sports
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.)
I think we can all relate