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!
We asked Sean Murphy to say a few words about Wing Commander Prophecy in honor of its tenth anniversary. Sean was one of the game's 3D artists... he created some of the game's most familiar ships, including the beloved TCS Midway. More importantly, he's always been there for the fans, even after all these years! Without further ado, Sean Murphy:
Wow, ten years? It seems like just a short while ago we were burning the midnight...and two a.m....and four a.m. oil! What an experience Prophecy was - we were a seasoned team of Wing Commander vets, but we were striking out into new territory without Chris Roberts behind the wheel (even if that wheel had often been half a continent away on the previous games!). We were pretty stoked to prove we had the stuff to make a Wing Commander that would stand just as proud in the company of Wing III and IV (not to mention the classics I and II!).
You can find some of Sean Murphy's Prophecy artwork here.
... and George Oldziey, who composed the wonderful musical scores for Wing Commanders III, IV and Prophecy, was also kind enough to take time out of his schedule to comment on the WCP's development! He gives a very honest - and I think important - commentary on the project:
It was a killer - no one who worked on the project would honestly say otherwise; but the fact is we bonded as a team in some pretty amazing ways. We went through a lot together, we kept each other going. Whether it was Captain Johnny's doughnut horn on Fridays (oh, how I miss the doughnut horn!) or movie viewings in Mark Vearrier's office (including THAT movie - remember, guys?) or a thousand other things the crew did to make the experience tolerable, we got through it - and at the end I think we produced a game that we were all as proud of as anything most of us have done before or since.
It's really pretty incredible that after all this time the work we did is still appreciated and enjoyed by you guys, the WCNews crew and fans. I know that I, for one, feel honored that the game I helped make ten years ago is still a source of delight to a group of fans out there.
Keep it up, and happy birthday WCN!
For me, the most memorable aspect of working on Wing Commander Prophecy was that it was the first WC game of the post-Chris Roberts era. In my opinion, Chris had gotten a bad rap from Electronic Arts, as well as internally at Origin, for "overspending" on Wing Commander 4. It was a very expensive project (over $10,000,000 I think), but it still garnered a profit for EA, just not what they had projected. It seemed to me that the heads at Origin, including the new WC producers, wanted to change up the overall look and feel of the game as much as possible without straying too far, all in an attempt to distance themselves from the Chris Roberts production values, which I thought were very successful. This revamping even came down to the music, as I was told by the new executive producer and his henchmen to make the music sound as little like Wing Commander as possible. "WHAT???", I thought to myself. In my opinion, all of the Wing Commander games prior to Prophecy had a very distinct musical sound, and I'd always thought it was my responsibility to be as true to that as I could. So, in the early stages of the composition of music for WCP, I was constantly being told that my music sounded too much like Wing Commander and had to be re-written. Needless to say, it was a very frustrating experience. I would look at some video, think about some mission music, and inevitably the WC "sound" would pop into my head for inspiration. To then have to go against that instinct almost drove me to the point of quitting. But cooler heads eventually prevailed and I was slowly allowed to make the music sound "reminiscent" of Wing Commanders past as long as I added some new elements. I agreed to that scenario and the music started to flow again. However, due to all that angst I have to say that WCP was my least favorite of the three games (WC3, WC4 and WCP) on which I worked, and thusly I think my music was perhaps less inspired than in the earlier games.
You can find some of George Oldziey's Wing Commander music online here.
We're also here to celebrate Wing Commander's bright present... and the guys at Electronic Arts responsible for Wing Commander Arena were also kind enough to send along some awesome birthday greetings. They say it better than I can, so read on:
Just fyi, even though WC3 was my first game, and was a magical experience, WC4 was my favorite. When I listen to some of that music I think some of it is the best music I've ever written.
Hey there Wingnuts,
... but wait, there's more! Producer Sean Penney, the guys at EA Arcade and the team at Gaia also have a special present for us to enjoy! One of the fan-favorite things we saw during the leadup to Arena's release were the amazing 'white' ship render wallpapers created by Gaia. Over the weeks and months we saw all eighteen flyable fighters, all three satellite bases and even the TCS Port Broughton... but two things were missing! Now, w e are pleased and honored to premiere the rendered images of the Confederation and Kilrathi battlecruisers! These bad-ass ships have quickly become the most popular part of Wing Commander Arena - massive warships that fight a giant broadside battle in the 'Capital Ship' game mode! If you haven't tried this part of the game, it's worth the 800 MS Points alone...
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!
We here at EA and Gaia just wanted to take a minute to say hello and
send a HUGE thank you to everyone in the WC News community for you
support, help and passion. Without you, the Wing Commander franchise
would not be what it is today and things like Star Soldier may never
have existed. We are all honored to be a part of your community and to
bring you Arena as Wing Commander gets ready to turn 18, we can vote!
(Taggart/nar Hhallas 08!) Being able to share in a game that has at the
same time such a rich, funny history (Ginger Lynn, really?) and such
awesome fans is truly rare indeed. Thanks again and remember, somewhere
between the Kilrathi Empire and the unknown, lies the future. Enjoy the
- The Wing Commander Arena team
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...
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...
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.
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.
To this day, a full decade after their arrival, the Nephilim remain largely a mystery. Their ships, however, are now a little better known... thanks to a behind-the-screens document left over from Origin! "Shipsalien.doc" includes specifications, histories, notes and sketches of all the Nephilim ships which appear in Prophecy! Want to know how long a Hydra is or what the original name for the Leviathan was? It's all there! We've translated the original Word doc into an article, which is available here.
Last year we opened the Holovids movie archive, cataloging everything from official trailers and interviews to fan created music videos. In an effort to make these easier to watch, we've adopted the Flash Video technology that made YouTube so popular. Many of our clips now offer immediate, inline viewing alongside traditional downloads. Some files could not be converted because they use a proprietary codec or because they are too large to offer in this format. If you want the best possible picture and sound quality, we still recommend the direct download option.
The other night an old friend called me with a normal question - was Prince Thrakhath right or left handed? Boy, I said, I don't know - right, I think, but we'd have to load up WC3 to see for sure.1 Has this ever happened to you? Sure... but never again, thanks to our new index of Wing Commander III videos! By combining new-age flash video technology with Wing Commander 3's extracted videos we've created a neat site which allows you to pick and watch any part of Wing Commander III at any time! Better yet, the quality is identical to that found on the CD-ROM. Find the mission series you want in the index, pick out the video... and you're good to go! We've also included extracts from the game's script for each video, so you can know what you're looking for without even playing the movie! You can find the index here.
1 - True story. For the record, he is right-handed.
These new videos were in the news over the past couple of months. They've now been given a spot in the video archive.
The Birthday always gives us good motivation to refresh some of our older sections, and Tech Support, which debuted at last year's party, has been updated! The section now contains instructions on how to get all your Windows games working on modern systems. Unlike with DOSBox, we're dealing with thousands of unique hardware and software configurations, so not every issue has a clear cut fix. Nevertheless, it's more than possible to get every single DOS and Windows game running smoothly on today's machines. Many of the common tips have now been brought together in one place, and it will be much easier to add new information here as we identify additional workarounds and fixes in the future.
Here's a quick feature old timers may enjoy - an 'On This Day in Wing Commander News' feature! Wondering what was in the news one, two, three... or nine years ago? You can find out here. So, what happened on August 11th? A heck of a lot of partying!
Here's an unusual sort of developer document to archive -- one we actually created! As some of you may recall, the CIC staff helped advise Raylight on their ground-up GameBoy Advance port of Wing Commander Prophecy. One of our jobs was to create a gameflow script from the extracted video and comm video files in the PC version. To explain how the game worked we created a 'no frills' website that walked the developers through Prophecy one step at a time, listing all the dialogue, mission locations, events, etc. Because Raylight originally planned to render cutscenes in their 3D engine, we also went about the heartbreaking process of choosing roughly one third of the game's story which should be cut (marked in red in the document). Thankfully that never came to pass! You can read it in its original web format here. It's not only a historical curiosity... it's also great for finding bits and pieces of Prophecy's dialogue.
In 1995 Chris Roberts and Origin Systems began pitching a Wing Commander movie to various film studios and investors. To help sell the project they created a series of lush painted storyboards to go with their presentation. Over the years several of these have made their way around the internet in generally low resolution scans from magazines - owing mostly to a PR release at Origin which accidentally claimed they were storyboards for Wing Commander Prophecy's film shoot. Today, however, we collect them all in their original format - showing everything from Blair in his space suit to paintings of the 3D Merlin character who almost was. You can find all 28 of them here.
Nine years ago to the day, we launched our very first InfoBurst -- an interview with CIC founders Christopher Reid and Ben Lesnick. Originally a RealAudio show, the CIC InfoBurst returns as a free internet radio station. Tune in 24/7 to listen to random tracks from our music archive. Special shows including the 1998/1999 interviews with Chris Roberts, George Oldziey and Chris McCubbin have been archived in MP3 format. The new system allows for live broadcasts, so look forward to new special shows. We hope to set up a live broadcast from Dragon*Con next month.
Supported players include Winamp and VideoLan. Click here to tune in. Playlist and listener information is available from the InfoBurst section.
In 1997 magazines couldn't just log on to a press site to download screenshots and content -- the internet wasn't that complex yet. Instead, game developers put entire disks and later CDs of game information in the mail! Our own KrisV was able to track down the two special Electronic Press Kits which Origin released for Wing Commander Prophecy. They're packed to the gills with screenshots in obscure high res format. PSDs, TIFs and TGAs, oh my! What's in these mysterious files? We've converted a lot of the data into several updates below! But if you're especially adventurous then you can download the original packs here (heck, there are even some files in here that we couldn't figure out):
You've all seen how Electronic Arts releases Wing Commander Arena screenshots in bursts. Well, life in 1997 was the same way - with Origin offering precious few Wing Commander Prophecy in special bursts. We've managed to preserve three of these collections in better quality than has ever been seen before -- including eight amazing full resolution FMV photographs and twenty high res cutscene renderings! Some are familiar, some were thought lost to the ages... see them all here.
You've all seen them before, two Prophecy images you'll never forget: a trio of Wasps arrayed over a planet and a pair of Panthers exiting a bright green jump gate. They're beautiful and part of our shared Wing Commander culture... but did you know that Origin actually made over two dozen such promotional ship renderings? It's true - everything from Vampires to TOBY pods got the 'promo' treatment ... and many of them never appeared in public -- until now! You can check them all out here.
Would you enjoy... a little bit of new continuity? We've got it! What follows is part of a Prophecy 'teaser' story written by Origin for the press in 1997:
Following this revelation, Kt’Lan refused all offerings of food or drink from her accolytes and ordered them to prepare her K’Shrik-Non, or death den. On the third day of her fasting, before she was welcomed into the busom of Sivar, Kt’lan dictated her final words as the 9th Prophecy.
The coolest part? Because it was published, the tiny details can be considered canonical. So, if you're the kind of person who lives to learn the names of ancient Kilrathi Emperors or what the furball word for "death den" is then you need to read the whole thing here.
Rod Nakamoto, a former Sega executive, was brought in by Electronic Arts to run the Wing Commander franchise during the development of Prophecy. Worlds of Origin, the great Origin fan club, interviewed Nakamoto for a document which Origin later distributed to promote the game:
“As our hearts are consumed in sacrifice, a sound of thunder will herald the beginning of a new age. Our Great Loss will bring with it dark enemies of our clan who will seek to feast on our bones and will, like the savage wind, spread to the four corners of the sky and all that is. But yet in this suffering, we must be strong, for Sivar will send another messenger who shall bring redemption to our race and fill us with the Warriors Spirit and reunite us as a people.”
Is there anything you can tell us about the future of the Wing Commander line?
Read it all here.
This is a good crash course for those unfamiliar with Wing Commander Prophecy - the original press description of the game (and franchise) created by Origin's PR department to sell the game to newcomers:
I wouldn't want to spoil our surprise…All I can say is that a new Wing Commander product will be released later this year…and it will be AWESOME. As anticipated, it will be a strong single player game with a new multi-player component. If you're interested, I'll supply more information and previews as we get closer to our target.
The entire document is online here.
But what were we doing when Prophecy was being released? The CIC is only nine, and Prophecy came out a decade ago! Well, for those who haven't been with us for all those years: the CIC had a predecessor, a Wing Commander news site called the Wing Commander Home Sector. The basic setup was essentially the same - daily news, feature articles, fan developed content and more organized by a very young LOAF and ChrisReid. Unfortunately, the WCHS archives were long thought lost... until today! We're proud to give everyone a sample of what we were like way back when! You can find our WCHS web mirror here.
One of the most elaborate websites ever created (with one of the worst URLs ever registered) was Origin's wingcommanderprophecy.com. The game offered extensive details about the game, including a section where pilots logged in as TCS Midway fighter pilots! After many years, we've been able to recover many portions of the site! Unfortunately the site just doesn't work in a modern browser... so we'll link you individual sections:
Check out how different some of these VDU shots are from the finished game!:
Wing Commander music videos... we've all seen them. From touching tributes to Blair's death to heavy metal set to giant space battles to Ashlee Simpson narrating the Wing Commander IV trailer, fans are good at making them (except for that last one). Did you know there was an actual Wing Commander music video? It's true - Cobalt 60's 'Prophecy' song was set to a scripted video of the game's first mission! The video was released on the Prophecy OST and saw a limited amount of play in some areas of Europe. Most interesting to fans is the fact that a very early build of WCP was used to create it - check out different VDUs and a Fralthi II wreck that's actually on fire! You can download it here (102 mb, MOV) or view it in the new Holovids section here.
Rookie academy pilots Casey and Maestro report for their first tour of duty aboard the experimental capital ship TCS Midway. On the ship they meet the crew, including senior fighter pilot Maniac, and special military advisor Col. Christopher "Maverick:" Blair, both of whom formerly served with Casey's war-hero father Iceman (from Wing 1). Before the new pilots can adjust to their first assignment, word comes down of an attack on an unarmed Kilrathi colony. Soon, the Midway finds itself on the front lines of a full-scale invasion: a mysterious alien race is pouring into confed space, literally out of nowhere. And what does the new menace have to do with ancient Kilrathi Prophecy?
Wing Commander is an original space combat series that stunned the gaming community with its debut in 1990. It continued to set new technology and design benchmarks with Wing Commander II in 1991. Wing Commander III built on this success in 1994, and added the highest quality interactive movies ever seen by the industry. In 1995, Wing Commander IV combined everything that ORIGIN had learned, to provide the gaming market with the smoothest synergy of Hollywood and gaming ever seen. Wing Commander : Prophecy, due in late 1997, will continue in the Wing Commander tradition, delivering the same standards of quality and innovation that Origin's audience has come to expect.
Annual poll time! At this time each year we ask our readers: how long have you been among our ranks? Is anyone old enough to remember WCHS? Did you come aboard for Secret Ops, Prophecy GBA, Standoff or EA Replay? Let us know! I'm willing to bet there are some new fans thanks to the release of Wing Commander Arena. You can find old 'longevity poll' results here.
Our last poll asked you which Wing Commander Arena single player mode you were looking forward to. A majority chose Gauntlet as their 'most excited' game type... not surprising, since it includes a familiar Midway-class ship! Melee, which pits the player against a host of AIs in the middle of the familiar space station map, came in a close second.
We didn't post a big picture full of birthday prizes this year, and we got a lot of questions about it! Nothing's changed though - we're still giving away tons of prizes at the party right now! And here's a peek at this year's loot!
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!
Mark Smids has a cool Prophecy-related surprise for us - a song! He writes: "For a while now, I've been recording some of my guitar songs. One of these tracks that I wrote a while ago, is a funny song dedicated to Wing Commander. It's a Tom Wilson style acoustic guitar song, describing lt. Casey's first day aboard the Midway. Since the daily newsposts include a lot of music lately, this might be a nice addition. I hope you all like it." Pretty darned cool - fan-made songs are a rarity, and this one is very cool! You can pick up the song yourself here (2.7 mb, MP3).
An anonymous WingNut has sent us a neat little birthday present - enhanced versions of several Wing Commander 1 conversations. This neat tech demo adds a fan-recorded voice track and morphs the mouths and moves the heads of the characters to make them look like they're actually talking. These are pretty amazing -- although... Spirit has sounded better!
Kevin Caccamo has released a new stand-alone version of the Wing Commander 1 Remake for Flight Commander! Here's the official word and some pretty, pretty screenshots:
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.
The Wing Commander 1 Remake is an individualized attempt to re-create the same gameplay and action that was seen in Wing Commander 1, only this time in three dimensions. Wing Commander 1 Remake has evolved steadily along with Eddie Benowitz's game Flight Commander.
You can download it here (67.2 mb).
We did did it before... and we'll do it again! If you missed our party because of work or other commitments, we still want you to win a prize! All you have to do is be the first to answer these very hard trivia questions and you'll get yourself a copy of the rare-as-isometal Wing Commander IV DVD! Good luck!
In the standalone release of WC1 Remake, mission briefings, as well as green comm videos were included. Also, new pre/post-briefing videos were included. The Raptor ship has been scaled down for the player's convenience. And at last, but not least, the weapons have been modified to more closely match their counterparts from Wing Commander 1.
Q1: What are the class names for the two battlecruisers in Wing Commander Arena?
Really, really hard? Well, yeah - but the answers are all somewhere in the CIC... so seek and ye shall find! The first person to e-mail us the correct answers before noon EST tomorrow wins the prize. E-mail your responses here. Please do not answer in public.
Q2: What is the designation for the Skipper missile, as shown in Wing Commander III?
Q3: What was the name of War-God Sivar's first High Priestess?
Q4: The Nephilim's Triton transport was originally named after a kind of turtle. What was the name?
Q5: Wing Commander Prophecy PC features what is now a 'politically incorrect' destination for the rerouted convoy in the G'wriss series. What is the colony?
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...
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 29".
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.
As you heard yesterday, we recently won an Xbox 360 Elite system to give away in the Wing Commander Arena community tournament event... and it's going to the readers who've supported us all these years! Now, we're absolutely adamant that this prize has to go to a Wing Commander fan, so we've tried to come up with a contest that lets you show your colors!
In short, you have ten days to make something relating to Wing Commander! Something? Anything - whatever you're good at! Draw a picture, render a ship, record some music, film a video, write a story... bake a cake! Just make sure your entry is in by NOON EST on August 10th, because we'll be sharing every entry with the community at our ninth annual Wing Commander Combat Information Center birthday party! The CIC staff will vote on the best entry and that person will receive the Xbox 360... and we'll throw in some CIC prizes for the runners up, too!
Make sure your entry expresses that you're a Wing Commander fan - that's the only real requirement. We also ask that you make something new. If you've already started a fan project which has been featured in our news or forums, it isn't eligible... not because you wouldn't deserve to win but because it's an unfair advantage. Everyone should start on an equal footing right now!
Also, note that this is an American Xbox, meaning that it's the type that runs on the power and TV systems found in the United States. We welcome entries from all around the world and will judge them equally... but if you're from another continent then be aware that you might not be able to use the system upon winning it. Games are also region locked, so this system can only play American releases. Even if you aren't interested in winning the system, we'd love to see your creative work on our big day!
Submit your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. If they're too large for our inboxes then contact us at the same address and we'll arrange an FTP login for you. The winners will be announced at our annual birthday party which takes place in #WingNut and will then be announced on the front page news. All material submitted will be posted for the public to see (no naked pictures, please)!
(Disclaimer: Electronic Arts hasn't actually sent us the Xbox yet - the prize can't actually be awarded until we receive the system to give away.)
The pendulum turns! Today we have a set of Wing Commander Arena reviews that are entirely positive. It's an odd situation... but it seems pretty clear that the more time people spent with Arena, the more they like it. One might reasonably compare the game to the recent Pac-Man CE XBLA release, which quickly went from being considered a cheap ripoff to being a true classic. In the scary world of Podcasts, Achievement Junkie performed an audio review of the game:
Host 1: It is a fun game...
AD was kind enough to extract the Wing Commander portions - they're available here here (2.92 mb). The entire report (Episode #48) here. Here's the real prize, though: UGO has published an incredibly positive review:
Host 2: The very strange thing about the game is that it didn't seem like it would appeal to me at all... but when you play it more and you start to do some of the combat stuff... it's actually kind of fun.
Host 1: ...I was totally surprised by it too, because I'm not a driver or a plane flyer, I'm not a pilot by any means... but this is definitely a cool game. The multiplayer is going to be exciting...
You can read the entire article here.
Arena is the first XBLA game to support 16 player multiplayer matches, and once you jump into a packed capital ship battle you really see why they put the legwork in. Seeing 8-on-8 ship-to-ship battles as massive, half-mile long capital ships slowly blast each other to bits is an experience I never expected in an XBLA title. There are also straight deathmatch modes and even a one-on-one duel which is a great addition for two friends with the game.
It’s hard not to sound surprised when I talk about how well this game turned out. I honestly thought that EA was just trying to cash in on the Wing Commander franchise with a quick, trashy arcade game. I’m happy to report that that’s not the case, and XBLA fans should seriously consider plunking down $10 for Arena, as it’s not likely to disappoint.