Early on the morning of October 12, 1996 Wing Commander Academy Episode 4 premiered on the USA Network. The cartoon was made with delicate care to ensure that various elements of the Wing Commander universe were brought together in a cohesive way. Many exciting elements of the series were also highlighted for the first time during Academy's run. This included our first visual shots of the fighting at Repleetah. Some of you are familiar with the nasty trench warfare that occurred on that planet, but do you remember the crazy underground tanks? These machines bored under the snow and through the ground's surface to attack unsuspecting Confed troops. A double-barreled laser turret popped up beneath the drill to attack. They also caused a bit of controversy among Wing Commander fans online who were stunned to see such devices for the first time.
Hector Paz was paralyzed after successfully placing a satchel charge on one such tank. Although the paralysis was recurring, he was able to hide the disability and join the space forces to become a pilot.
A new alien creature was also added to the universe on this day in 1996, googly eyed sea monsters with a taste for humans and Kilrathi. If you encounter one of these in person, keep your laser rifle handy and head for high rocky ground.
You can download Word of Honor and the other episodes of WCA here.
Baphomet_irl was among a number of Wing Commander fans who noticed the new Origin article at Escapist Magazine. The Conquest Of Origin covers quite a bit of history from the company's founding to how it came to be influenced by Electronic Arts. This is one of the few articles that goes into details surrounding Wing Commander Online versus Privateer Online and how they related to Ultima Online 2 and Earth & Beyond. The author has a collection of quotes from a diverse lineup of former Origin veterans as well. It's a good read if you haven't followed some of the general history behind Origin, but readers should be careful to draw their own conclusions about certain events.
You can find the full article here. They also interviewed Warren Spector back in August. Users running in 1024x768 and lower resolutions might have to play with the site to get it to format properly on their screens. Thanks to LeechMachine and Tim Peel.
Founded in 1983, Origin was a creature of the dawn. Garriott had already gotten rich in high school, from a game he coded in BASIC in his bedroom and sold in a ziplock bag. Founding Origin with $70,000 in family money, he and his brother Robert created a culture that prized creative vision and expansive, thoroughly developed game settings. The company later took the slogan "We create worlds."
Origin project director Stephen Beeman recalls, "Origin's cardinal virtue was its commitment to do whatever it took to ship the director's vision. We had a motto for it: 'A game's only late until it ships, but it sucks forever.' If the game's creative vision demanded a megabyte of graphics, and the only way to load that into memory was to write our own operating system - " (the dubious "voodoo memory" scheme Origin created in 1992 for Ultima VII: The Black Gate) " - well, that's what we did, and damn the risk to the schedule or the consequences to the budget, not to mention the programmers' lives."