Welcome to the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 12th annual birthday bash! If you aren't on IRC chatting and winning trivia prizes... well, why aren't you?
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the original Wing Commander--that's a concept so huge I can't get my head around it... so I'm not even going to try. Let's just enjoy a good time with good frieds who make up one of the truly great online communities.
This year we decided to do updates 'my way'--they're all things things I completely dig about Wing Commander's history. I'm giving you thousands of pages of scanned documents, hours of archived video, hundreds of now-preserved photographs. If you're anything like me you'll have a lot to look through in the coming weeks.
Of course we have the usual updates, too, and some other surprises--greetings from the community, some impressive fan art... even a particularly awesome game you can play. Join us in #WingNut and read on as we travel back in time through the series...
When I was originally planning today's updates I had hoped to pick out one great 'present' for each game, walking back through that series. Now that fell apart as we found more and more cool stuff that had to be included, but right along side my list of official games with possible updates was one important note--make sure Wing Commander Standoff is represented. They came through with an awesome new trailer, available below. Here's the official word, from Quarto:
The trailer was actually created as a form of musical presentation, providing a visual backdrop for the music from Standoff, which Michael was presenting as part of one of his final university assignments (that's right - working on WC mods does get you good grades!).
Video game anthropologists take note, this may be Wing Commander's cave drawing! Here we have the earliest known piece of Wing Commander artwork: an action mock-up used at COMDEX which would eventually go on to become the basis for the game's box art.
While putting together the trailer, I found that most of the team thought it was excessively long, with too much story and the action starting much too late in the piece. This is a reasonable argument, and ever since finishing this piece, I have in fact been trying to find the time to re-cut it into a shorter, more action-oriented version. However, there are good reasons for the way the trailer was put together.
Firstly, I wanted to give Michael enough space for his music to unfold - just action, action, action would have meant that the whole piece would be, obviously, action music. This would help much to show off all the different themes of Standoff. A second consideration was the audience. I had to assume the people watching Michael's presentation would have no idea what Wing Commander is. The story of Standoff (which can be confusing even to WC fans, if they haven't read Fleet Action) therefore needed a lot of explanation. And finally, as great as the action is in Standoff, we always tried to emphasize the story - so it made sense to do so here, too.
All in all, we think the trailer turned out very well - but hey, judge for yourselves!"
The most obvious difference is Spirit, sans helmet and labeled "Lt. Sakara"--but the rest is actually very different as well. The hand is different and the entire cockpit is parallel to the viewer instead of angled. It lacks cross-hairs and laser fire, the Kilrathi ships sport different markings... well, see for yourself:
For our final update of the night we are proud to present, in honor of its incredible 20th anniversary, the game that started it all--the original Wing Commander, available for download!
If you're new to the original Wing Commander, be sure to check out our online copies of the Claw Marks magazine and blueprints posters... and if you're looking for an additional challenge you can pick up the Secret Missions
Please note that this is adapted from the Kilrathi Saga version; although DOSBox and related developments would make the original easier to run on modern computers, we are only permitted to post the specific release included on a 2000 PC Gamer coverdisk. I was able to play the game easily on a Windows XP machine while Kris had trouble with the speed limiter in Vista. I am confident that the Tech Support will rise to the occasion and help keep this version of the game running--so give it a try and post your problems so we can work it out.
Finally, to other webmasters and magazine editors: this is not a freeware release of the game--anyone wishing to include this download at their website or in their publication must contact the rights holders themselves.
NinjaLA is back for another year of awesome Wing Commander fan art, starting with an awesome 'Fleet Action' drawing! He says:
A friend of mine gave me an amazing compliment when I showed him this drawing, he thought it was so symmetrical it was a cell shaded render, I promise though, it is 100% hand drawn on real paper.. only the brightness and contrast have been adjusted.
It seems impossible to me, but it's time to tell some of my own 'behind the screens' story. One of the first 'serious' Wing Commander things I ever did was advise Peter Telep and an editor for Baen about continuity for the movie novelization and False Colors, respectively.
The Hakaga has one of the most interesting and unique looks of all the kilrathi carriers and make up one of my favorite book covers of all time. this is a tribute to that cover.
I recently discovered that I had saved an old mailbox with a record of this correspondence. Reading these e-mails is a great way to see the amount of work that goes into something that seems so simple--how much unappreciated effort and passion people like Mr. Telep put into making their corners of Wing Commander just right. Check it out here.
We've invited Dundradal, who has taken the lead on the project, to report on the status of the WCPedia:
“Welcome to the great experiment!”
It's that time again--if you missed our party because you had somewhere else to be, we still want you to have a prize! All you have to do is be the first to answer these difficult trivia questions and you'll win yourself a copy of Freedom Flight autographed by Mercedes Lackey! Good luck!
Three years ago today the CIC launched WCPedia with these words. The
project’s goal was to create the authoritative database of the Wing
Commander Universe. Every piece of canon and every aspect of the universe
would be uploaded into one place so that some future work (fan or
otherwise) might build upon the information contained within. This goal
was to be accomplished not by a massive gaming company with vast
resources, no this project was to be completed by the Wing Commander
community itself. The great experiment indeed…
In three years we’ve uploaded almost 1,100 content articles, uploaded 700
files, made 10,600 edits and had over 1.3 million views. We’ve got
detailed character entries looking into our favorite pilots lives as well
as articles that provide immense amounts of information on the game series hundreds of missions and of course everyone’s favorite, ship entries. This project will be, perhaps, our crowning achievement. It is without question a labor of love as any contributor will tell you. By this time next year I hope to have doubled the size of the project at a minimum. We’ve made some huge strides in the last three months alone and I know in the next twelve we can easily meet this goal.
We are always looking for more people to contribute. You do not need to be a WC expert or own every game and product. We have a variety of projects that any fan can do, one just need ask.
To quote Ben Franklin, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
Q1: Name a Wing Commander II character used as reference during the construction of Wing Commander III's Kilrathi creatures.
Tough, eh? Luckily the answers are all somewhere at the CIC! The first person to e-mail us the answers between midnight EST tonight and noon tomorrow wins the prize. E-mail your responses here and please do not post the answers in public.
Kevin Caccamo has birthday missions, too--for two different games! Take it away:
Q2: How many music tracks are there in Wing Commander Arena?
Q3: Name one asymetrical spacecraft from Wing Commander Armada.
Q4: What type of jet could you win a flight in by buying Wing Commander III?
Q5: What is the logo on Freddie Prinze Jr.'s hat in the "Sneak EPK" update?
Happy Birthday, CIC! Here's what I've been working on for the past few days: An update/mod for Wing Commander Saga with stuff from Hostile Frontier and a small mission for Standoff.
Lt. Overload has built a Wing Commander Secret Ops mission in honor of the birthday. Here's the, ah, description:
To install the WCSaga mod
1. Create a folder inside your WCSaga Prologue folder and call it "3612mod"
2. Download the mod and extract the files into the "3612mod" folder.
3. Download the 3.6.12 Inferno build and Launcher 5.5f from here, and extract the EXEs into your WCSaga Prologue folder.
4. Open up the launcher and click on the "Browse" button at the top right. From there, select fs2_open_3_6_12_INF.exe.
5. Go to the MOD tab, press "Select MOD", and select the "3612mod" directory.
6. Run the game.
To install the Standoff mission
1. Download the mission here.
2. Extract the TRE file into your WC Secret Ops folder.
3. Make a back up copy of stan_1.cfg
4. Open up stan_1.cfg in notepad and add "all stdfmsn.tre 5" before "end"
5. Run the game, enter the simulator pod, select MISSION 2, and enjoy.
I may not have had enough time to fully test these, but if there are any issues that come up, I will try and fix them.
COMBAT INFORMATION SYSTEM
TCS Reid Plunkett-Class
Several hours ago the Murphy-Class TCS Lesnick sent out a distress call, stating it was under attack by unknown vessels and most of her fighter complement was destroyed. Meet up with the Lesnick at NAV 2 and escort her to the Reid.
Happy birthday, CIC. :)
We always start the 'Wing Commander year' off with the same poll question--how long have you been visiting the CIC? Since the pre-history WCHS days or did you just start today? Let us know how long you've been hanging in there!
The last poll asked for everyone's favorite console-based Wing Commander--a surprising majority said the utilitarian Playstation ports of Wing Commander 3 and 4. I guess it's the most familiar console! Do yourself a favor, though, and splurge on a used 3DO Interactive Multiplayer... Super Wing Commander and WC3 3DO are something else.
Well folks, you've just lived through history: a new record for number of CIC updates in a single day! We've smashed through 2007's birthday, which featured 35 stories. What will we do for an encore? As always, I would like to end by singling out some extraordinary folks for special thanks.
I'll start this year with the CIC Staff. If there's a more dedicated, competant group of people in the world then I don't want to hear about it. I can't take credit for putting this team together--magic did that--but damned if we don't make each other look good every day.
Of that group I would be remiss if I didn't take a minute to honor KrisV in particular. You guys may know Chris' obvious dedication or LOAF's personality or AD's quiet competence... but in truth the CIC stays alive because of Kris' constant, underacknowledged effort.
Dundradal deserves an enormous nod for taking over the WCPedia project when I wasn't available. I can't tell you exactly what I was doing, yet, but I couldn't have asked for a better replacement on the wiki.
A big shout out to Joe Garrity, who actually provided a lot of material this year (he just doesn't remember doing it!). Joe's a hell of a guy and I want to archive video game errata with you forever.
On a personal note, my good buddies Frosty, Trelane, ace and LeHah. These guys have been with me through tough times in the last year and I can't thank them enough for being my friends. Even if they're jerks. Which they are.
And hows about all the folks who keep fan projects alive, whether they're single sketches on cocktail or elaborate impossible games? The good news is that there's too many of you to list right now, so I won't even try. You know who you are.
See you next year, everybody!