Diane Duane Discusses the Darkening Update ID

AD found an io9 interview from November 2010 that talks at length with Privateer 2 story writer Diane Duane. Ms. Duane is a very accomplished science fiction and fantasy author, and she took a moment to mention her Wing Commander credentials as well. It's a thoughtful article for people who are interested in some perspective on professional writing. Check out the full piece here.

You said you're an early adopter—are you an active gamer?

I don't play so much as build games. About 10 years ago I wrote Privateer 2: The Darkening for Electronic Arts. It was their first foray into interactive entertainment. They were almost trying to do choose-your-own-movie, with game modules to help you determine your path. And that left me with a very clear sense of how to structure a game. The EA people taught me an incredible amount about the structure of building computer games in general and this kind of interactive, flow-dictated game in particular.

And I certainly keep a close eye on what the field is doing. I have lots of friends who do game, and where necessary I pick their brains.

Inside Gaming Takes a Keen Look at id Software Update ID

AD found another article from Inside Gaming that explores the early days of id Software - particularly Wing Commander's influence on the company's growth (and Wolfenstein 3-D!). Many sources credit Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss as the 3D first person inspiration for the game, but it's easy to see where Wing Commander could have played a role as well. Wingnuts are mostly well aware of what Origin was up to in the early nineties, and this piece is a good review of what a contemporary was up to. Find the full article (and video) here.
But they wanted to be making their own games as well, and the dudes of id had a new inspiration. Wing Commander had released the previous year, taking the 3D mechanics popularized by Flight Simulator and adding a combat element into it. The result was a revelation to the guys, a three-dimensional vehicle shooter from the first-person persepective. Technically, this was nothing new: Battlezone had released all the way back in 1980 with the same basic mechanics. But Wing Commander had updated and modernized the idea, and made it look good. The problem was that it was slow. High-resolution graphics in three dimensions in real time was a huge burden on the processors of the time. But id’s resident programming genius, John Carmack, thought he could do better.

In April 1991, id made Hovertank 3D for Softdisk to distribute. It was a 3D vehicle shooter, in which a pilot had to navigate his tank through a maze to rescue citizens while fighting off mutant monsters. Gameplay-wise, it wasn’t a revolution over anything Wing Commander had done. Technically however, it was lightyears ahead. Carmack’s engine avoided the slow jerkiness of earlier 3D games, and presented the player with a smooth, fast world. While an important milestone for the company, proving that the guys could handle 3D game design, it didn’t leave a big impact on the industry. As a Softdisk product, it was only available to their subscriber base, and thus couldn’t spread by word of mouth the way id’s Internet-distributed Keen games could


Recent Updates


More Secret Ops Updates Coming

DefianceIndustries has announced the release date for the next big update to the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack. The new version will make its debut at the CIC 20th Birthday Party on Saturday, August 18! This should include the grand revamp of the TCS Midway, which we're all anxious to see. (2018-07-19)

Universe Map Origins Revealed in "Wing 5" Progression Map

Here's a peek at an interesting prototype of the Wing Commander Universe Map included with Wing Commander Prophecy. We first caught a glimpse of this during our 2012 trip to the University of Texas archive. While the final map detailed many sectors where most of the main events happened in the series, this appears to be a little snippet that just traces through the events of WCP. (2018-07-18)

One Month To Party Time!

Today we'd like to officially announce our annual Birthday Party for the CIC's 20th Anniversary! This year we'll be observing the event on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT). We'll be celebrating two decades of Wing Commander community at wcnews. (2018-07-17)

French Promotional Booklet Beautifully Highlights Wing Commander

Mail call! Here’s a wonderful press booklet from the Wing Commander movie’s French distributor, United International Pictures. 32 pages and about the size of Claw Marks! (2018-07-16)

Wing Commander Meme of the Day: American Chopper

Who knew the Admiral was so ripped? (2018-07-15)

Follow or Contact Us

Forums: Recent Posts

Current Poll

Where to Buy

WCPedia: Recent Contributions

Site Staff