I know I've said this every year for as far back as I can remember, but Wing Commander fans are the best fans in the world! In 2007, we were truly blessed - from official releases like EA Replay, Wing Commander Arena, Wing One and Star*Soldier to the continuation of amazing fan projects like Standoff, Flight Commander, Gemini Gold, Saga and beyond... it's been a good year to be a WingNut. Pat yourselves on the back, it was your hard work that got us where we are today... and it's only going to get better! For nine years I've watched you write fan fiction, argue about continuity, build amazing mods, run RPGs, record music, construct websites and a thousand other things. I've watched many of you (myself included) grow up and become the best of friends - I wouldn't trade this community for anything in the world.
2007 also marks the tenth anniversary of Wing Commander Prophecy - the very first game we ever followed live (as cub reporters at Introspection's Wing Commander Home Sector). It may be best known for having dialed back the amount of FMV, but it was also the first Wing Commander title developed from the ground up for Windows and the first to take advantage of 3D accelerator cards. Add to that the game's focus on smooth, fun and action-packed gameplay along with its epic story, amazing art direction and generally stunning visuals and you'll see why Prophecy will be remembered as one of the true classics.
To celebrate nine years of WCNews.com and ten years of Wing Commander Prophecy we've collected the usual assortment of fun toys and cool oddities... check out the updates below to learn more! What's next for us? Well, you can see some of that from the new projects we're starting below... but first it's time for vacation! The CIC staff (minus Kris, who'll hold down the fort) is headed for Dragon*Con - and we're going big this time! Not only will we be running a 'fan table' to promote Wing Commander, but we'll also be leading a convoy right down the East Coast. If you're somewhere between Connecticut and Atlanta, GA and want to join in the festivities, be sure and let us know!
The Fatman, whose Wing One album is currently lighting up all of our Last.FM pages was also nice enough to send seasons greetings. He's also sent along information on an upcoming fundraiser for the University of Texas' new Game Archive being held by Richard Garriott and company!
Yeah, I Friggin' LOVE you guys! It's really fun to be able to dump this music onto the ears of somebody who knows and loves it. AND it's cool to be doing it in a way that keeps The Man from keeping us down. Well Done, my friends.
You can read all about the Game Archive event (and buy tickets) here. To borrow from Guy Clark, I wished I was in Austin...
In general, the CIC staff are old fashioned internet gentlemen. We don't advertise or Podcast or YouTube or MySpace or anything of the sort... and, on rare occasions, we've been known to turn up our noses at these new fangled things kids today love. Well, our readers have made one thing painfully clear in recent months: they want a Wikipedia.
On another topic, WC fans might be interested in knowing about the Game Archive that the Center for American History at UT....hey wait a minute, they know three of the four honorary committee dudes who are doing this!
It's me, Warren Spector, and Richard Garriott. And Bill Bottorf, who is cool but not a WC hero.
Anyway, there's a huge fundraising party coming up in less than a month, on Richard's property. Anybody got enough bucks to help out? I'm no expert, but I would guess that this would ensure WC's place in Actual American History.
AND the Captains of the Chess Team, my wife's nerd band will be playing, featuring three people who were deeply involved in Wing Commander:
my wife, Linda,
And fabulous THINGS will be auctioned off. Perhaps Richard will...never mind...I'll just BCC him...
At first we demurred - the concept isn't one we've ever loved. Let anyone who wants to change anything they went to about an encyclopedia? One needs look no further than the current Wing Commander entries on the Wikipedia proper to see that it doesn't always work. Then, we realized: it wouldn't just be anyone editing the database... it would be WingNuts, the best community in the world!
Nevertheless, we're going to do this on our terms: it's not a permanent open database, it's a project to create the greatest Wing Commander Encyclopedia ever... and it has a timeline - at this time next year, we absorb it into the rest of the site. You have to register to use it and we've selected a license that doesn't give all our work to the Wikipedia corporation.
Everyone who contributes can consider themselves Wing Commander grad students... and you get your degree when the whole thing is finished! For my part, I'll be there every part of the way, writing entries as frequently as humanly possible and checking everyone else's research to make sure it lives up to our impossibly high standards!
We've set up a blank page and made it look like the CIC -- you can begin creating the WCPedia here.
... and as for the name in the update subject? Heed its warning, lest KrisV hunt you down.
Longtime WingNut Shades has an awesome present for us - a Secret Ops specific version of the ICIS Manual and a host of Wing Commander Prophecy and Secret Ops DVD covers and disc artwork! I'll let him explain his project:
At long last it has been FOUND!
The Xbox 360 Contest went better than I could possibly have hoped - with people from all corners of the globe submitting entries of all sorts. Better yet, they're each incredibly unique - from drawings to interactive software to 3D trailers to physical objects - when we need to prove how diverse the community is, we need point them no further than this update. And the competitors (in no particular order) are...
A DVD cover, manual, and CD label for Secret Ops. I always felt the game deserved more credit and was disheartened when Origin didn’t include the on-line story for SO in Prophecy Gold. Once Karl “CFF” Frank created the off-line SO web site I knew I wanted to burn SO to disk. And what’s a disk without a label, case cover, and manual? This along with the SO Strategy Guide I recreated rounds out my Secret Ops project.
For the DVD cover I tried to give it the feel of the beginning of SO where the Cerberus was first scene around earth. To that end a big “Thanks” goes out to Greg Bock who gave me permission to use his picture of the Milky Way galaxy with “Mars in Scorpios”.
At the time the manual was created WCNews had not found the prophecygold.pdf and had to be typed manually I have also set it up in such a way that it will fit perfectly in a DVD case. (You have to print it on a duplex printer staple it and trim the edged.) Thanks to Wedge for proof reading it for me and catching the mistakes that always turn invisible after looking at something for too long. The ICIS border is what took the longest on the manual and went through four painfully long iterations but I’m very happy with how it came out.
For the CD label I tried to use the format of the Prophecy disks and of course the one new ship there is the Cerberus and I felt it deserved to be on its own disk. This copyright font size remains a problem in Photoshop but I can’t make it bigger and have it fit on the perimeter of the disk. (If somebody know how I can fix this let me know.)
Also, thanks goes out to the various people whom I bugged to get their input and help trying to find certain fonts. This whole thing took about two years of on and off work and through several variations.
Thanks to WCNews for their dogged determination in searching for, finding, and releasing to the community the Prophecy DVD! Thanks of course to HCl for his work on making a patch to make it all work. On that front I created a Prophecy DVD case cover and DVD label so we can all have our own case for this wonderful addition to are gaming collection and experience. I think I found the background at Space.com.
I am working on a few more things but they are not ready right now.
I hope you all enjoy is and I would love to hear your feedback.
MajorCam: "To run it the html file and px file need to be in the same directory to work. Open the html file in your browser and click on the WC: Arena logo to play. It'll probably prompt you to download the Photodex Presenter plugin, which it'll automatically start downloading once you hit okay (I had to do this on my machine that doesn't have the slideshow software I used to create this show). You'll also want to have your sound turned on, as there is a soundtrack." (Available here.)
David Kolesar: "Not exactly what I wanted to do, but I realized I wouldn't be able to finish my story in time.
(I would like to thank the Saga Team for the screen shot)"
SabreAce: "Even though I'm sure Confed was running a draft during the Kilrathi War, there's always the chance they were also running recruiting advertisements. This is how I imagine such an ad would appear if produced around 2667. The flags at the end are based off a design seen on the CIC a little ways back (itself based off the intro the WC Movie), and my own little tweak of the standard Confed star logo." (Available here.)
Ironduke: "This just in: Ironduke & The Lovebirds plan to release their brand new album "Memories from the Claw," including the smash hit single "Summer of '55" - due to hit shelves on 2668.250!
In other news: Well, since you're running that Xbox contest (not that I'd need one anymore...) and asked for some WC creativity, here you are! I wrote a song about our beloved Tiger's Claw - from the perspective of one of the Claw's survivors. Okay, so I didn't exactly WRITE that song - Bryan Adams did that for me. But you'll see what I mean when you're listening to it...
Unfortunately, I don't have professional recording equipment, so don't expect too much - but I think it's all right anyway. If you listen closely, you can hear our (my wife's) two lovebirds twitter in the living room - in case you were wondering about the "artist's" name. *g* (And yes, I know, this song NEEDS a guitar, but I can just play the piano...)
Have fun, and most important of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)" (Available here.)
NuAngel: "Back when I bought Wing Commander for the Super Nintendo, I was a little late to the game. I had to buy it used. And for some reason, nobody had ever hung on to their manuals. I was stuck learning the game on my own. Still, the controls were pretty straight forward, and very user friendly. However, my wingmen kept reminding me that they were ready to fight - but I was never able to turn them loose.
After copious amounts of button mashing, I resolved the issue on my own, June 17th, 1999. Still but 14 years old, I was proud of my accomplishment, and wanted to make a little 'guide' for the next person I sold the game to. I have attached the word document I made up in 1999, as a 14 year old with MS Word and Paint. While it seems plausible that the CIC may have scans of the Wing Commander / WC: Secret Ops Manuals somewhere on site, I just thought perhaps this could be handy, as the complex and annoying combination of buttons is certainly a tough one to stumble on to, and I thought maybe this child-made guide could be handy to someone else.
And, though it was created when I was a child, it was found after dismantling an old Packard Bell 486DX4, pulling the hard drive, and wiring it up to an external drive casing. Solely for the intent of finding THIS very document so that I could enjoy my games again. I was wondering if, perhaps in addition to making it some kind of 'news' if I could submit this as an entry to the WC Arena / "Elite" contest? If not allowable as a contest submission, I still submit it to you as consideration for just some random news on the site or something. " (Available here.)
Erkle: Erkle has written "No Medic Is Safe", a fan fiction piece available here.
matthew954: "Here is my entry to the CIC Birthday contest. The first ever F-36 Hornet Radio Control Profile Parkjet. Though what you see here is just the basic airframe. Whats great about this is that it is simple and cheap to build. This particular version is a prototype. I have been kicking around with the idea of building a Wing Commander fighter as a parkjet but didn't have the motivation to begin work on one, at least until now. This model design was derived from the Hornet Blueprints at the CIC. I scaled them up to a 20" wingspan. I can blow them up further but wanted to test the design out first. I would like to have presented the model completed but unfortunately the parts I need to finish it won't arrive until after the contest is over. Although soon enough I'll be launching off on my first sortie looking for some furballs he he."
Mekt-Hakkikt: "Here's my submission for the CIC birthday. Given my limited talent and time, I send you a picture (not even high quality I realize) of the Confed Star made with some of my CCG cards. And since the CCG feature the Star of the Armed forces (or isn't it?) and the Kilrathi logo and you get 3 logos in 1! ;-)
NinjaLA: "Here is my entry for the CIC contest. I wanted to do something that brought arena into the WC universe in a big way.. And what better way is there than glorifying the adrenaline inducing capital ship mode!"
Pedro: "I’m submitting for the competition. It’s only video (XviD format) of work in progress, one of a number of planned visual upgrades for Prophecy (I’m a programmer, its all I can do). I’d love to submit the whole graphics GL as an entry but as it has been in development for several weeks so I guess I can’t. The new nebulas however are a recent hack overriding the geometry and texturing. It will take some time to tweak them, and to override them all, so for now I am submitting only one video and one screenshot as proof that the work is in progress." (Available here. (19mb AVI))
Filler: "Also on behalf of Robbie Fowler, aka Filler, I’ve uploaded the first shot of his hi-res HUD in game. We had hoped to include this with the beta of the OpenGL patch, unfortunately some of the original 3dfx specific materials which the GL uses have only just been tracked down, too late for him to integrate them; for now a screenshot of what has been done will have to suffice. I asked him to replicate the original as closely as possible and personally I think he’s done an amazing job, especially considering this is just the first version."
Blitz: "I first had a Idea for a Virtual CIC then I thought how about a WC Museum, then I thought hmm, why not something combined. And thats what I have constructed after about 8 days and nights.
First Off Let me say that the engine I chose for this is not really made for it, its a Tactical RPg engine in the style of the old SSI Gold Box games of the late 80s. But even without knowing almost anything about the engine and not even having a manual I pressed on.
Its turned out fairly well, tho everything does seem to work I'd say it still needs some polishing which I plan on doing as I do believe I will update it. I call this version .073" (Available in two RAR archives here (665 mb ZIP) and here (303 mb ZIP) ).
Paragon: "Attached is my entry for the Xbox 360 Contest and a birthday present to CIC. It is the first of a weekly comic strip entitled "Wing Commander: Defiant". Enjoy (there will be another one soon)."
Bob McDob: "What can I say, I'm finally done, and quite proud of it at that. I think the image speaks for itself."
Jetlag: "Here's my printed and assembled Broadsword Behemoth poster. It measures 45" x
Happy Birthday, CIC!"
J. Chen: "Wing Commander is something I grew up with, but did not entierly get into until III. This was mostly because I was a bit young during WCI/II, so by III's release I was able to get into it properly.
This is my entry of a Wing Commander themed wallpaper. Done with a healthy mix of flash and photopaint. The Excalibur is a big favorite of mine, so there's no other option for me. A few inconsistencies, but I feel it is good enough to send.
The background was used with permission from http://heavenlyview.com/.
MChen: "This is my submission, two variations of the same picture in the attached zip file honoring three generations of Rapier fighter (doing the undersides was a pain, especially since there don't seem to be many clear shots for reference >_< ) along with my interpretation of what could be a post-Prophecy-era pilot in flightsuit, which is inspired by a few of the different flightsuits of the series.
I chose not to due color considering how much of a mess I'd make of it, though I hope everyone enjoys it still!"
Nob: "It's a short service history of the Rapier-II, didn't get around to getting anything done beyond the first two variants, but oh well." (Available here.)
... for his Wing Commander Arena drawing. The action scene was truly spectacular, capturing the mood of the Wing Commander universe down to the tiniest detail. Check out the Kilrathi nobleman in the Kiranka's windows, or the little tears in the Broadsword's Durasteel... that kind of extra work is exactly what we were looking for in this competition.
I can't stress enough that this contest isn't fair - because you're all amazing fans and you all did a great job here. I don't even mean that to make people feel better... had I the ability you would all get Xboxes. Just taking the time to enter a contest like this is something... but the hard work everyone put into it was above and beyond.
And now for the less-coveted 'second place' ribbon. This was a very close call, and at the end of the day I could have gone either way:
Ironduke: A hilarious Wing Commander song parody? A man after my own heart! Plus, you sang and recorded it very well... and you have to be a HUGE (and fearless) fan to sing a song like this. I hope you won't mind if we put this in heavy CIC Radio rotation. You win a CIC Polo, CIC playing cards, CIC Confed glass and a copy of Star*Soldier.
I'd like to take a moment to honor five other entries as special runners up. The prizes are all smaller, but your work wasn't - it was really razor close. I truly wish we had something for everyone.
Blitz: A FRUA-style dungeon engine used for displaying Wing Commander material? That's genius! It was a little bit buggy (and a big download), but the concept was great and the execution is absolutely in the right direction. You win a TCS Eisen hat and a copy of Star*Soldier!
Pedro: I'll be honest, I don't understand any of the science behind what you've done - but you sure as heck made Prophecy look good, and that's something that's going to help every fan in the universe. You've done a great honor to a great game on its birthday! You win a Wing Commander Movie soundtrack and a copy of Star*Soldier.
SabreAce: Wonderful concept, cool animated Rapier... and you can't beat those flags! You win a CIC glass and a copy of Star*Soldier.
Paragon: You're a great artist, and I'd love to see this continue! You win a copy of Star*Soldier.
matthew954: Hey, you already have a prize, a real Hornet! Never the less, that kind of dedication gets you a Star*Soldier.
... and at the end of a great night, we have some big thanks to make after a big year!
Sean Murphy and George Oldziey, for taking the time to send us their memories about Wing Commander Prophecy. We really do love the work you did, and hope that we'll still be finding ways to honor and remember it in another ten years.
Sean Penney, for his kindness towards Wing Commander fans and his dedication to this community during the development of Arena.
Ben Swanson and Andrew Green at Electronic Arts, for keeping us in the loop for the Arena launch. We hope we'll be working with you guys again in the near future!
Everyone at Gaia - you made an excellent addition to the Wing Commander universe.
The EA Replay Team - history will record that you got the ball rolling in terms of new Wing Commander releases!
The GameTap Crew - Thanks for the expert rereleases of Wing Commander 1 and IV... and for keeping our community in the loop! Now, lets see Privateer...
The Fatman - for (finally) getting his Wing One album to us!
You - well, you folks know how I feel. You're the ones who built this great community and at the end of the day this event is always about honoring what you've created.