Destroy a Concordia class Carrier - Ah, this was one of the first missions I made for WC2. IMHO it's not bad at all...
Destroy a Damaged Fralthra - Another mission for WC2. It's interesting too, but IMHO, not one of my best missions.
Destroy the Kabla Meth Starbase - More challenging than most WC2 missions. Try it.
Beat The Odds 1 - Simple, small mission for WC2. One nav point only.
Steltek Endurance 1 - This one puts you in an endurance test against about 15 Steltek ships, one at a time. Mission for Privateer FLOPPY version!
The Tarawa Mission - This is probably one of my best missions. You should try it :) (WC2 mission)
Good to their word, GOG has posted the original Ultima Trilogy, a package of Ultima I, II and III for just $5.99! As always, the games are DRM free and include scanned manuals and other materials. Purchase your copy here. The first three Ultimas were the work of Richard Garriott, working largely on his own before starting Origin. They're a bit older than Wing Commander, but they represent an amazing era in game history.
Be sure to check in with Ultima Aeiera today; the world's premiere Ultima site will surely be commemorating this event!
If you've never played Ultima, you probably think they're all dungeons and dragons. Not so! In fact, the first three games released today on GOG contain equal parts swords, sorcery, lasers and time travel. What's more, Ultima I actually features Origin's very first first person space combat game!
A major part of the game involves collecting enough money to afford a space shuttle! You then fly the shuttle to orbit and trade it in for the starfighter of your choice. Next you fly to different solar systems trying to shoot down enough TIE Fighters to impress a princess! The package is worth $5.99 for that experience alone.
We're proud to present you the next batch of classics straight from Electronic Arts' deep back catalogue of acclaimed franchises. With today's announcement we're releasing more from the two series that launched EA catalogue on GOG.com - Dungeon Keeper 2 and Wing Commander 1+2. But that's not all! 6 more great games are coming soon to GOG.com's ever growing catalogue of awesome games from the yesteryear, in the coming weeks. As announced back in July we have plenty of classics from Electronic Arts on its way, so stay tuned to GOG.com and give yourself a trip down memory lane!
Guys, it turns out that getting the rights for the expansions for the EA games is very, very, very complicated. While we are (of course) working on them, the rights clearance will not be resolved any time soon. In the mean time, though, two classic games that helped define the space shooter genre for $6 is nothing to sneeze at.Unfortunately, this doesn't square with the message from Electronic Arts. I spoke with a source involved in the release who had no idea this was even a problem--he didn't know Righteous Fire wasn't available and expected the Wing Commander I and II addons would be included. My best guess is that GOG decided on their own that the mission disks don't fall under the terms of their contract and are nervous about doing anything that might hurt this unprecedented deal. Luckily, Bioware Mythic's Paul Barnett is on the case. He tweeted last night:
Having a conversation to see if I can find out why the add ons for the origin games are not out. Wish me luck!And then:
Had a great chat with the GOG gods at PAX, we have a plan about the add ons for old origin games, hope it works out!Good luck indeed! Let's get this thing fixed.
Had a great chat with the GOG gods at PAX, we have a plan about the add ons for old origin games, hope it works out!There's ALWAYS hope!
Thanks to an extremely kind donation from an anonymous former EA/Origin developer, the source code to the PC version of Wing Commander I is now preserved in our offline archive! Because of our agreement with Electronic Arts, we're not allowed to post recovered source code for download--but rest easy knowing that the C files that started it all are being kept safe for future reference. Our offline archive contains material that has been preserved but which can't be posted, including other source code and budget data from several of the games.
As promised earlier in the week, GOG has released the next games in their 25-title deal with Electronic Arts. They are: Dungeon Keeper 2... and a two-pack of Wing Commander I & II! That's two of the greatest games ever made--arguably the two greatest games ever made--for just $5.99. Both games are DRM-free and configured to work properly in a modern Windows environment. This is the DOS version of the games and extras include both manuals, reference cards, the Wing Commander I blueprints and a scan of Origin's internal series bible!
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this is the best possible news we could be reporting today. Be sure and check the CIC later today, as we'll be celebrating the release of these games the only way we know how... with our own extra features on the history of these two incredible titles! In the mean time, pick up your copy of the original Wing Commanders... and codes to share with your family and friends!
The first indication the public had Wing Commander was on the way was this teaser image, which began to appear on the back of some Origin catalogs in early 1990. The game didn't even have a name yet--it wouldn't for a while--but Origin clearly recognized that they needed to get the buzz started early. Even in those days it was clear that Wing Commander was going to be a game changer.
By the year 2654 AD, mankind has spread throughout his section of the galaxy. Along the way, humanity has come in contact with a handful of sentient races. Soon after first contact, most of these races have proven friendly.Click here to download a high resolution scan, courtesy of Joe Garrity and the Origin Museum!
The Kilrathi definitely are not.
As development continued, a trademark search revealed that another company had already developed a game called "Squadron". The decision was made to change the name to "Wingleader" during development and initial promotion... which lead to many promotional screenshots, sell sheets and posters printed with the name. Origin decided late in the process that Wingleader sounded too similar to Microprose's concurrent game, Wingman... and the decision was made to change the name to Wing Commander! Here's a look at the original Wingleader logo:
Here's a great example of an early "Wingleader" preview, from a 1990 issue of Advanced Computer Entertainment! Since sell sheets and other material included the title, many magazines wrote stories about "Wingleader." Note the in-game logo!
Here you can see the evolution of the Wing Commander 'sell sheet,' which are pages promoting the game sent to retailers. Both the WingLeader and the Wing Commander version were published at different times, and then a combined release for The Secret Missions.
I can tell you the cockpits and talking heads were done in DeluxePaint, and the ships you fired at were sprites rendered in early 3D modeling packages like the old DOS 3D Studio version 1. (That was used for WC2, WC1 utilized an early Amiga program I can't remember the name of.) Hope this helps.Just imagining working with 3D models in DOS on a 286 feels like nails on a chalkboard to me. Those early artists had some patience! One thing we can announce is that we discovered the names of the outside contractors who did the Wing Commander I Amiga models during the Austin trip--we're trying to track them down now!
Unused material for the early Wing Commander is at a premium--few records of the game's development have been found today and a great deal of material cut from the initial release was added back to the Secret Missions packs. One very interesting piece has been found, though--a painting of a water planet created by Origin super-artist Dennis Loubet for the game. Take a look:
Here's something you haven't seen before, courtesy of Billy Cain--the original press kit sent to retailers about Wing Commander I! Enjoy these awesome sketches... and even some new continuity!
"My first office at Origin was a "fishbowl." It was on the second floor in an interior office with big windows into the hall. My desk was pushed up against one of those windows so it was a bit like sitting in the hallway. (Coincidentally the office directly across from me had a window into the hall too... and was occupied by Steve Beeman!) On about the third or fourth day at my new job, I heard the sound of Kazoos. Then down the hall came a HUGE bunch of helium balloons (obscuring the person carrying them) and a parade of people all playing Taps on their kazoos. Of course I had to join the parade and see what in the world was up. We made our way through the building to the smokers' porch. There the person with the balloons stood up and gave a speech commemorating the valiant work of G.I. Joe and his contribution (as the rotoscope subject) to the Wing Commander project. They went on to talk about how they were now sending him on to his next assignment. And sure enough there was a GI Joe tied to the bunch of balloons. He had a note tied to him, telling whoever found him to report his location back to Origin and we'd send them a copy of Wing Commander. Then with applause and laughter the balloons were released and GI Joe was lifted high in to the sky. And.. actually about six weeks later we did get a call. He'd been found in an oil field outside of Houston Texas!"
Want to learn more about the impressive array of spacecraft you'll be fighting and defending when you power up Wing Commander I? Check out this cool grid for more information!
|Wing Commander FM Towns|
1. Start Tuning|
3. Arcade Theme
4. Rec Room
5. Barracks - Go To Sleep You Pilots
6. Briefing Intro
7. Briefing Middle
8. Briefing End
9. Scramble Through Launch
10. Medium Damage Assessment
11. Flying to Dogfight
12. Grim or Escrot Mission
13. Strike Mission - Go Get 'Em
14. Goal Line - Defending the Claw
15. Ally Killed
17. You're Severly Damaged
19. Regular Combat
19. Enemy Ace Killed
20. Intense Combat
21. Missile Tracking You
22. Tailing an Enemy
23. Your Wingman's Been Hit
24. Minor Bravery
25. Major Bravery
26. Returning Defeated
27. Returning Normal
28. Returning Triumphant
30. Overall Victory
32. Debriefing - Unsuccessful
33. Debriefing - Successful
34. Medal Ceremony - General
35. Medal Ceremony - Purple Heart
37. Eject - Imminent Rescue
38. Eject - Imminent Rescue
41. Overall Defeat
42. Commander's Office
There is no more iconic image for Wing Commander than the box art to the original game. Everything about the game fired on all cylinders, of course, but the box was just incredible--all that you needed to know about Wing Commander was right there in that amazing rendering. It's no wonder it has been reused and parodied time and again over the past two decades!
The original Wing Commander holds a unique distinction among 'modern' games--more than six different ports during its lifetime! Before 1990, this was much more common, as games were released for a host of home computers and consoles... today, it is rare to see more than three ports of any one game
Amiga: The Amiga version of Wing Commander was actually announced alongside the original--but the man in charge of the port became deathly ill and it was delayed almost a year! The Amiga version is a competent port with music some consider far superior to the original... but unfortunately it ran sluggishly on the common Amiga 500s of the time. Still, many European Wing Commander fans got into the series through this release!
SNES: The Super Nintendo version of Wing Commander was developed under license by Mindscape in 1991-2. The game suffered from reduced colors... but still managed to do an incredible amount with the limited memory of the SNES! A second cartridge was also released, a stand-alone version of The Secret Missions. Both the US and the Japanese versions of the game have new cover art.
CD-32: The CD-32 version was an uprated edition of the Amiga port, featuring 256-color graphics similar to those in the original game. It was bundled alongside "Mean Streats" for the release of the CD32 console.
FM Towns: The Japanese FM Towns version of Wing Commander was very similar to the PC release, although it featured Redbook audio tracks of recorded music rather than the original MIDI soundtrack. It also has a beautiful new cover which shows a Fralthi in action!
Sega CD: The Sega CD version of Wing Commander I came out in 1994 and was similar to the original, with simplified controls. It is unique, though, in that it featured full speech--all of the game's conversations and taunts were recorded for the first time!
3DO: In 1995, Origin released "Super Wing Commander" for the 3DO, a completely revamped version of Wing Commander I. Hoping to introduce the series to a new audience, Origin created new artwork for every portion of the game, much of which confuses existing fans to this day.
Macintosh: With the 3DO in decline, Origin ported Super Wing Commander to the Macintosh (PowerPC). Unfortunately, modern Macs do not support the game.
Windows 95: Wing Commander was ported to Windows 95 as part of "The Kilrathi Saga"--it was later separated from that package and released for free through a deal with PC Gamer!
GameTap: In 2004, EA licensed several Wing Commander games to GameTap, a digital distribution service. GameTap opted to switch focus away from classic games and unfortunately removed Wing Commander from their service. And when was the last time you heard of GameTap?
PSP: In 2006, the "EA Replay" collection for the PSP was published, including updated versions of the SNES port of Wing Commander I and The Secret Missions! Finally, Wing Commander I in your pocket...
... and now, GOG!
Wing Commander I and II were even released--legally!--in China! Here are some great shots of the Wing Commander I artwork, provided by Joe Garrity and the Origin Museum:
The Ultimate Strategy Guide to Wing Commander I & II includes a wonderful history of the making of both games called 'Software Meets the Movies'. Thanks to Pix's scan, we are able to post the 'Making of Wing Commander I' portion of the book! This is a fascinating look not at only how the game was made, but also at how Origin worked in 1990-91.
Wing Commander IBM PC Credits
Producers - Chris Roberts, Warren Spector
Lead Programmer - Chris Roberts
Programmers - Steve Beeman, Ken Demarest III, Paul Isaac, Herman Miller, Steve Muchow
Dogfight Choreography - Steve Beeman, Erin Roberts
3-D Space System - Chris Roberts
ORIGIN Graphic System - John Miles, Chris Roberts
ORIGIN Sound System - Herman Miller
Art - Keith Berdak, Daniel Bourbonnais, Glen Johnson, Denis Loubet, John Watson
Writers - Philip Brogden, Steve Cantrell, Jeff George
Music - Dave Govett, George A. Sanger
Sound Effects - Marc Schaefgen
Quality Assurance - Philip Brogden, Steve Cantrell, Greg Paul Malone II, Erin Roberts, Mike Romero, Marc Schaefgen, Jeff Shelton, Scott Shelton, Brian Tompkins, John Watson
Claw Marks Magazine by - Aaron Allston
Gameplay Documentation & Reference Card - Steve Cantrell
Ducumentation and Blueprint Art - Glen Johnson
Documentation & Reference Card Editing - Warren Spector, Ken Demarest III, Steve Cantrell, Jeff George
Documentation & Reference Card Graphics and Layout - Jackie Chapman, Mike Harrison
Packaging Design - Cheryl Neeld, Craig Miller
Wing Commander II features yet another iconic image--a Drakhri dive-bombing the TCS Concordia! Which, interestingly, can't actually happen in the game--and the carrier's registration number (CVS-14) doesn't match the game itself (CVS-65). But what care we for such things: it's a brilliant, evocative rendering that immediately introduces you to the bigger scale of Wing Commander II--stepping out of the cockpit and seeing the whole story.
Beeman talks about working on Wing Commander back in the day. She claims that she could reskin the character to female in 30 minutes.
...She could also test to see if women could buy it that way, and she was dismissed. "it's not worth you time"
It would be a hard sell for women to take interest in a flight sim, but today, she believes that there's a good niche for women playing.
Here's a cool treasure, courtesy of Joe Garrity and the Origin Museum. These original paintings by Dan Bourbonnais were used to create the interior of the Kilrathi space station in the Wing Commander II demo and later introduction! Check out how they compare:
There were fewer sell sheets for Wing Commander II--but you can see an unused mockup of a second version which promoted the undeveloped Genesis port of the game!
Following on the heels of the Wing Commander press kit posted earlier, this WC2 press kit updates the information for the entire saga. And it includes yet more cool art not seen in decades!
The best just get better--in Wing Commander II, ten years have passed and the fleets of the Terran Confederation and Empire of Kilrah have been extensively upgraded. Know your foe--read up on these ships:
In all honesty, the Wing Commander II manual is something of a letdown after the incredible Claw Marks--but it's certainly worth a second look! At the very least, I now absolutely love the World War II style silhouette images used for the ships (especially because they seem so out of place in space!).
Wing II also used rotoscoping for its cut-scene animations. Stephen Beeman recalls, "We used people around the office, filming them with a camcorder, capturing with a really primitive capture card, and painting over the vidcaps in Deluxe Paint, frame by frame.
"The best part of the rotoscoping came when we filmed the scene at the end of Wing II, where Angel punches Jazz. Jackie Chapman, one of Origin's marketers, was playing Angel, and we had Chris play Jazz. Needless to say, neither of them was a trained Hollywood stunt person, so when Jackie threw that punch, it didn't breeze past Chris the way we intended - it socked him right in the nose! Naturally, that's the take we used.
"The fans should be pleased to know Chris literally put his blood, sweat and tears into that game. The rest of us settled for just the sweat and tears."
|Wing Commander II FM Towns|
1. Start Tuning|
2. Missile Tracking You
3. You're Severly Damaged-Flounder
4. Intense Combat
5. Your Wingman's Been Hit
6. Overall Victory
7. Overall Defeat
8. Returning Defeated
9. Returning Normal
10. Returning Triumphant
12. Goal Line-Defending the Claw
13. Strike Mission-Go Get 'Em
14. Grim or Escort Mission
15. Flying to Dogfight
16. Regular Combat
17. Scramble Through Launch
22. Landing Music
23. Jazz's Escape
24. Topedo Lock Music
25. The Bridge
26. Angel Devereaux
28. The Flight Deck
29. In-Mission Jump
30. Off Duty
31. Upbeat O-Deck
32. Jazz's Storm Clouds
33. Neutral O-Deck
35. Main Theme
36. Inflight Combat
37. Duel With Jazz
38. Duel With Thrakhath
39. Prince Thrakhat's Theme
40. Victory Music
41. Depressing Barracks
42. Main Theme - Cloak and Dagger
Want to expand your Wing Commander II experience? Great! Do you have Windows 3.1? Origin's "Origin FX" commercial screen saver program included several modes for Wing Commander II... including a 'debris field' which displayed objects from the game (asteroids, mines, etc.) and a 'theater' mode which would play scenes from Wing Commander II in a frame! (A copy of Wing Commander II was required--otherwise it didn't have anywhere to get the movies.)
Unlike Wing Commander I, Wing Commander II didn't sell any special merchandise (other than the optional speech pack!)--but there was plenty of promotional swag. Just check out these unusual Wing Commander II highlighters, from the Origin Museum! The cool shirt, which reads "I survived the Tiger's Claw," was given to members of the Wing Commander II development team!
Amazingly, Wing Commander II has only two published ports: the Kilrathi Saga Windows 95 conversion and a rarely seen version developed for the Japanese FM Towns computer! The FM Towns version is CD-ROM based, but unlike Ultima VI it does not have full speech. The Redbook audio tracks, which replace the MIDI music, are also less impressive than Wing Commander I--they were recorded with a standard MIDI card instead of an MT-32/LAPC-I. It has one incredible saving grace, though: incredible new box art featuring a Drakhri, a Jalkehi (look closely!) and a unique take on the Fralthra cruiser!
Here are some Chinese Wing Commander II artifacts. The first image is a Chinese Wing Commander poster, the rest are the box art for the game and its addons as released there!
Here is the second part of the Ultimate Strategy Guide's 'making of' article. I think the Wing Commander II portion is even more interesting, with all sorts of behind-the-screens images showing how ships were rendered and how the character descriptions appeared in the script.
Wing Commander II IBM PC Credits
CD-ROM Shell Programming - Gary Scott Smith
Software Engineers - Bill Baldwin, Stephen Beeman, Charles Cafrelli, Reinaldo Castro, Richard Haley, Steve Muchow, Brent A. Thale
Story - Stephen Beeman, Ellen Guon
Script - G.P. Austin, Jeff George, Ellen Guon, Paul Arden Lidberg, Brian Martin
Art - Jeff Dee, Daniel Bourbonnais, Larry Dixon, Chris Douglas, Glen Johnson, Bruce Lemons, Denis Loubet, Jake Rodgers, Gary Washington, John Watson
Technical Design Assistant - Brian Martin
Sound Editor - Martin Galway
Sound Effects Engineer - Marc Schaefgen
Music - Dana Glover, The Fat Man, Dave Govett, Martin Galway, Nenad Vugrinec
Quality Assurance Leaders - Jeff Shelton, Kirk Winterrowd
Quality Assurance - Scott Shelton, Kevin Potter, Scott Hazle, Mark Vittek, Joel Manners, Ben Manners, Ben Potter
Development Services Manager - Sherry Cain
Documentation - Paul Arden Lidberg, Warren Spector
Documentation Design & Graphics - Craig Miller, Jennifer Davis, David Ladyman, Warren Spector, Gary Washington
Box Design & Graphics - Craig Miller
Assistant Director - Ellen Guon
Production Manager - Virgil Buell
Executive Producer - Dallas Snell
Producer - Chris Roberts
Director - Stephen Beeman
Dell Aldrich - Female Comm Officer
G.P. Austin - Prince Thrakhath
Wayne Bell - Doomsday, Stingray, Kilrathi Comm Officer, Kilrathi Fighter Pilot
Marten Davies - Paladin, Admiral Tolwyn
Denise Dee - Angel, Female Fighter Pilot
Ken Demarest III - Maverick
Richard Goodman - Hobbes, Kur
Clifford Haby - Rakti, Male Fighter Pilot, Drakhai Ace
Bill Harwell - Jazz, Male Freighter Pilot, Male Comm Officer
Paul Arden Lidberg - Khasra
Eiko Nagata - Spirit
Edin Neal - The Emperor
Lainie Whiddon - Major Edmond, Shadow, Female Freighter Pilot
Jackie Chapman - Angel
Paul Isaac - Maverick
Chris Roberts - Maverick, Jazz
Jason Templeman - Maverick, Prince Thrakhath, The Emperor
Wing Commander I and II predate the era of 'day and date' hint books; in fact, the guide to Wing Commander I and II is a single book, released after both games had already been released! It's actually written in prose like a novel and contains a great behind-the-screens section detailing the making of the games. The book was available in English and German, although the German release removes the extensive 'making of' segments. Unofficially, two other books were published--Secrets of the Wing Commander Universe, a comprehensive guide to every game through Privateer, in the United States and another unofficial 'pilot handbook' in Germany. Finally, the first three Wing Commander novels--Freedom Flight, End Run and Fleet Action--are based entirely on concepts introduced in the first games. The first two books even ape the Wing Commander I and II covers!
The shortcuts are entered on the command line, after the command that starts the game. The following command options are available:
Origin -- allows you to destroy any targeted enemy with the <ALT> <DEL> key combination. You must be careful when using the key combination, since you can destroy friendly ships as well as enemies. In addition, if you press the keys without targeting another ship, your own is destroyed
Example: In Wing Commander I, at the C:\Wing> prompt type: wc<space>Origin
In Wing Commander II, at the C:\Wing2> prompt type: wc2<space>Origin
NOTE: You must include this command. Other options are not enabled unless you include it. The command must be entered exactly as above, with a space between the game command and Origin. Origin must be typed with an upper case "O" and lower case "rigin."
s1 m1 -- allows you to access a specific mission. The number following s indicates the series The number following m indicates the mission number in the series. You can determine your series number based on the mission trees. In Wing Commander I and both Secret Missions, the series and missions are represented by a number. In Wing Commander II, the series is represented by a number, but the mission is represented by a letter (a, b, c, d). In Wing Commander II, ll of the series except the seventh contain four missions. Series seven has only three missions. In Wing Commander I, series one contains only two missions. Series 12 and 13 contain four missions each. All other series have three missions in each. In The Secret Missions, series four and five include three missions in each. All other series have two missions. In Secret Missions II, each series contains two missions.
Example (to access series 2 mission 2):
In Wing Commander I, at the C:\Wing> prompt, type: wc<space>Origin<space>s2<space>m2
In The Secret Missions, at the C:\Wing> prompt, type: wc<space>Origin<space>s2<space>m2<space>z1
In The Secret Missions II, at the C:\Wing> prompt, type: sm2<space>Origin<space>s2<space>m2
In Wing Commander II, at the C:\Wing2> prompt, type: wc2<space>Origin<space>s2<space>mb
Note: z1 is used at the end of the line to distinguish the first Secret Missions from Wing Commander I.
l (lowercase L) -- allows you to proceed directly to the launch sequence for the selected mission. ust type in <space> following your series and mission commands.
NOTE: After completing a mission you have accessed using this command option, the program automatically returns you to the DOS prompt. You cannot continue the game.
-k (dash and lowercase K) -- makes you invulnerable to damage from guns, missiles, asteroids or mines. Just type in <space>-k following any of the above portions.
Example: If you wanted to employ all the above options, and access the fourth mission in the third series in Wing Commander II, at the C:\Wing2> prompt, you would type: wc2 Origin s3 md l -k
NOTE: All of the above options are case sensitive. Everything in the command line, except the "O" in Origin, must be typed in lower case.
One area of WCPedia that has grown in the last year are what we call product landing pages. Each Wing Commander product has a landing page that will eventually link to all relevant information and WCPedia articles about that product. Wing Commander's landing page can be found here. The Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi landing page is located here.
Both pages are still works in progress, but already have significant amounts of information on them for wingnuts to explore.
Quick and accurate target identification is crucial in combat situations. Knowing your enemy and their capabilities can be the difference between life and death for you and your wingmen. For today's special edition of WC vs History we bring you a variety of target silhouettes.
The Confederation Class Dreadnaught entered service in the early 2660s. The class is easily identifiable by its distinct "fins" on the rear section of the dreadnaught. The desire for the fighter carrying heavy gun capital ship can be traced back to the first days of naval aviation. The Confederation class is an expression of that desire. Carrying over 100 fighters and mounting serious anti-ship weapons in its eight anti-matters guns and the Phase Transit Cannon, the Confederation class was a highly desirable target for the Kilrathi to identify and destroy. There are only two known ships of the class, the TCS Confederation and TCS Concordia. The TCS Concordia (CVS-65) joined the Fleet in 2661. She fought in many of the major engagements of the last decade of the war including the Second Enigma Campaign and the Battles of Vukar Tag, Sirius, and Earth. She was lost in a rearguard action in the Vespus System in early 2669.
Many of the most famous names of the war served onboard the Concordia during her decade long career including Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, Colonels Jeannette Devereaux and, future Commodore and greatest hero of the war Christopher Blair, 1st Lieutenant, future Rear Admiral and hero of Tarawa Raid, Jason Bondarevsky, and two of the war’s greatest traitors, Major Zachary Colson and Lt. Colonel Ralgha nar Hhallas.
The USS Wasp (CV-7) was the product of the interwar arms agreement known as the Washington Naval Treaty. Desiring to squeeze the largest possible air group into the smallest possible space, the USS Wasp was the result. She is the only ship of her class and the basic design is a smaller version of the Yorktown class with modifications that produced serious design flaws. The Wasp joined the Fleet in April 1939 and first served with the Atlantic Fleet in World War II. The Wasp delivered two deckloads of Supermarine Spitfires to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean in April and May 1942. Prior to the second run in May, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was concerned that Malta would be destroyed from the air by German and Italian forces and asked President Franklin Roosevelt if the Wasp could take “another good sting” at delivering the much needed fighters.
As the Battle of the Coral Sea was coming to a close in the Pacific, the USS Wasp and HMS Eagle made a reinforcement run towards the island of Malta in what was codenamed Operation Bowery. The two Allied carriers delivered more than 60 Supermarine Spitfire fighters to the besieged island. Following the operation Churchill sent a short and witty message to the ship’s captain and crew: “Many thanks to you all for the timely help. Who said a Wasp couldn't sting twice?"
The Wasp joined the Pacific Fleet in the summer of 1942 following the major battles in the Coral Sea in May and the around Midway in June. The Wasp was deployed to the South Pacific where on the seventh of August, the Wasp along with the USS Saratoga (CV-3) and Enterprise (CV-6) provided air support US Marines participating in Operation Watchtower, the invasion of Guadalcanal. The Wasp missed the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24th (Yesterday for those paying attention!) when it was ordered south to refuel by Admiral Fletcher because the Japanese forces had not yet been discovered at the end of the day on August 23rd.
The USS Wasp met her end as a result of what can be argued to be the most effective torpedo salvo in the history of warfare in September 1942. The Japanese submarine I-19, patrolling an area that would become known as “Torpedo Alley” because of the number of ships hit transiting it, fired six Type 95, a smaller version of the dreaded Type 93, at the Wasp. Three of the torpedoes struck home on the carrier. They had been noticed by crewmembers too late for any evasive actions to be taken. The torpedoes struck the highly explosive avgas storage and magazines areas of the carrier. The ship quickly burned and 35 minutes after the torpedoes struck home, Captain Forrest Sherman ordered “Abandon Ship.” Six minutes after the Wasp had been hit, the USS O’Brian (DD-145) was struck by one of the remaining three torpedoes fired by I-19. A minute after the O’Brian was struck the USS North Carolina (BB-55) took one of the remaining torpedoes. It was over 7 miles away from the Wasp when it was it! Both the Wasp and O’Brian would sink while the North Carolina would be out of the war for several months as she was repaired and upgraded before returning to the South Pacific.
More than one Confederation pilot has mistaken a Drakhri for a one of the Dralthi family of fighters and a Dralthi for Drakhri. While the two fighters look very similar because of their large semicircle wings the fighters have some significant differences.. The way a pilot can distinguish the two fighters is by looking for the over-the-cockpit missile rack. Only the Drakhri and the late-war model Dralthi VII use this configuration.
The Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” fighter was Japan’s premier and longest-serving fighter of World War II. It was designed to outrange and outfly any potential opponent which for the first year of the war it did extremely well. The Zero is identifiable by its rounded wingtips and distinct engine cowling. Often called one of the beautiful aircraft, its beauty hides its inherent weaknesses in lacking armor of almost any kind and self-sealing fuel tanks in order to save on weight. The difficulty the Japanese had in producing high quality aircraft engines meant they had to get savings anywhere they could. The armament of the Zero, while formidable on paper was truly only as good as the number of 20 mm cannon rounds remaining. The 7.7 mm machine gun rounds typically did not pack enough punch to take down more ruggedly built American aircraft.
The A-17 Broadsword was the standard Confederation bomber throughout the Terran-Kilrathi War. Every variant of this bomber carried multiple large anti-ship torpedoes and a formidable defensive armament. The three turrets found on later models were able to repulse multiple incoming attacks and allow more time for the pilot to complete the attack run. Even a single torpedo hit can be devastating to a capital ship. The Broadsword is easily identifiable by its large size, at 36 meters in length, it’s not difficult to spot the Broadswords among a force of Confederation fighters. The distinct wings and vertical surfaces also lend to easy identification.
The Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” was designed and used as a strategic bomber by the US Army Air Corps in all theaters of the Second World War. Carrying more than a dozen .50 caliber machine guns and having a range of more than 1,500 miles, early air power enthusiasts thought that bombers like the B-17 could win wars by themselves. The B-17 can be identified by its distinct nose section and large curved vertical tail. Later models had an additional chin turret to thwart head-on attacks that German pilots preferred because they discovered the lack of machine gun cover in that direction.
The Fralthra class cruiser was a Kilrathi heavy cruiser that saw combat in the Vega Campaign. It was a Fralthra that destroyed the famed TCS Beowulf. Fralthra often served as the center of carrier groups because of their large fighter complements. Multiple carrier groups formed around Fralthra were part of the 2667 attack on Ghorah Khar and Olympus. Fralthra are capable of operating even heavy fighters, with Jalkehi heaving been observed operating off of them. Possessing a similar silhouette with the Kamekh class corvette some pilots have been known to confuse the Fralthra and Kamekh, once even the TCS Concordia (CVS-65) made the mistake! Their designs are actually atypical for Kilrathi, lacking most of the “knife edge” aspects. Combined assaults are necessary to engage a Fralthra, the TCSNA's updated simulator program doesn't even allow students to roleplay single wing missions against Fralthra.
The Japanese Tone class heavy cruisers were the last two heavy cruisers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Tone class were to be the long range eyes of the fleet through extensive use of multiple floatplanes stored on the cruisers. Originally designed as members of the Mogami class, when serious faults were discovered in the original designs the Tone class was the result. The most distinct feature of the Tone class was the fact that all four of its main turrets were mounted in front of the bridge, the rear of the ship being utilized for the expanding flight operations.
The Tone had a long and mixed combat career, however its most famous moment came during the Battle of Midway when early on the morning of June 4. The Tone was to launch several floatplanes to search areas to the northwest of Midway. The scout plane known as Tone #4 was late in taking off due to unknown reasons. Not only was it late in launching, the scout plane most likely later flew directly over the American carriers groups but did not spot them immediately. The spotting report was then delayed for unknown reasons on the Tone before being passed to Admiral Nagumo on the Agaki. The Tone itself would be sunk by American forces at Kure in July 1945.here, and you can download the entire United States War Department identification manuals below for American and Japanese ships and aircraft:
The film, "Fat Kid Rules the World," is based on the popular young adult novel of the same name, and will be Lillard's directorial debut.
"Set against the backdrop of the Seattle music scene, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD is a coming-of-age story about two dysfunctional teenagers searching for something more out of their completely hopeless existence," said the film's facebook page.
There's word of another Northwest connection on the project with sources reporting that Pearl Jam's Mike McCready is set to score the film.
Back in June, when we announced that Electronic Arts joins GOG's DRM-free Revolution, we made a promise. After releasing couple stunning classics like Dungeon Keeper, Crusader: No Remorse and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, we took some time off from EA releases, but promised to bring back more great titles from this publisher in late summer. The time has come to say farewell to the summer and take you all gamers back to the Old School with the release of more EA classic games. Be sure to check back this Thursday to see for yourself what the next batch from Electronic Arts and GOG.com brings!
"We do have a couple of old franchises that we're looking at right now... reimagining them and bringing them back," he said.
"We've got 25 years of good IPs and I've worked on a few of them in my career like Road Rash and the Strike series. So I have a strong affinity for a lot of the things we've done in the past.
"We kind of have a rule which is you've got to have a really good reason to bring something back - What can you do to it that makes it fresh and brings something new to the equation of the franchise?"
"I want to create a reincarnation and reinvent roleplaying yet again," he said, but "to get there, we're creating a series of products."
Said Garriott, "Hundreds of millions of players who haven/t played a serious roleplaying game and don't know they want to play a real roleplaying game, so we not only need to groom our own skills in understanding the new player, but we have to move the new player along in their evolution."
His company's first stepping stone is its Facebook game Ultimate Collector, which has a similar gameplay loop to popular casual social games but introduces some new elements to prime the player for gaming evolutions.
There's a thread / poll in the Chatzone asking wingnuts about their favorite Baen novel.
The seven Baen novels add a huge amount of information to the WC universe. From Freedom Flight's introduction of the Liege Lord concept to the inner workings of a Bhantkara carrier in False Colors, it's non-stop goodness.Make sure to drop in and comment!
So which is your favorite? What was the best moment? Made you cringe? Stand up and shout?
I went and made some models based of Wing Commander 1. There's no real story to these, other than the fact I was bored (and I wanted something I could eventually use in some sort of mod for Freespace 2 Open).
So, first up is the Hornet. This has 3 variants, the classic Wing Commander 1 green style, a Wing Commander 3 style, with uprated and smaller laser guns, and a Wing Commander 4 UBW style, with the uprated laser guns from the WC3 variant.
And finally, for now, is the Drayman Transport. I made this with a detachable cargo box, as it kinda looked like that was the case. This one is my favourate so far, but that might change with time. (oh, and the text on the engines is Terran Confederation Logistics Division, if you couldn't quite read it off the pictures.) I haven't made a WC3/WC4 style texture for this yet, but that shouldn't take me too long (hopefully).
I have recently bought some of Astro Commanders Models from his Shapeway site. Very nice stuff, just be sure to select ultradetailed material. ;) More soon!
Happy Birthday CIC!
Developer: Origin Systems
Genre: Shoot 'Em Up
Wing Commander is like TV's Battlestar Galactica played out through the eyes of fighter pilots, only with more World War II dogfights.
Capital ships are the cities, aces their champions, and the vacuum in between is where the fate of the galaxy unfolds. Plots are uncovered, patrols ambushed- it's always "quiet, too quiet"- and deaths are avenged by gatling guns and missiles. The narrative is unbroken throughout, the banter moving from the cockpit to the mess hall and back again, creating a sense of camaraderie in the drama.
Over the next nine years each of the games marks a turning point in noninteractivity, be it the groundbreaking animated cutscenes of Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, or the real-life actors and blue screens of Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. The format stayed the same but the balance of resources shifted, the player needing ever greater hardware while games demanded spiraling budgets. At a then-unheard-of $12 million, Wing Commander IV topped the lot.
Set during the aftermath of the Terran-Kilrathi War that preoccupied games one to three, The Price of Freedom is the second to star Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell. Filmed at broadcast quality using actual sets, its B-grade drama spanned six CD-ROMs, and had to be down-sampled (until a later DVD release) to play on hardware available at the time. It's a remarkably literal attempt to bring games and movies together which, like many of the interactive movies of the '90s, learns the pitfalls the hard way. It's actually hard to suspend belief when so much of what you're seeing is real, and even harder to withhold judgement of its writing and direction.
With 105 updates, you can't be right all of the time! Here are some important corrections to the historical material offered last week.
First of all, thanks to Paul Hughes: this member of the Privateer 2 team is not Nick Elms but in fact Nick Goldsworthy!
This year the Standoff team decided to let wingnuts finally get access to the strategy guide Dundradal had started to put together several years ago. Instead of just releasing the rough draft of the guide, the team decided to make it a community project by building it on WCPedia. The start of the guide can be found here.
If you'd like to volunteer on the project, swing by the Chatzone thread to learn how to help out.
After spending the last week in Austin, LOAF, ace and I are all traveling back home now. Thanks again to all the people who helped us out along the way, and we're sorry if we weren't able to link up (this time)! It was a jam-packed & productive week, and we had a ton of fun. Here's some pictures of Billy, Richard and Rhea kindly sharing their Origin memories!
"I definitely want to do another Wing Commander, and I have a very specific vision for it," Roberts said. "I’m looking at the games being made now and I go 'Yeah, they're really cool, and there's some really great stuff,' but I think I could come back and push the boundaries of cinematic storytelling again. I'm looking at some of the stuff that's been done and it's sort of, in my eyes anyway, falling short, and it's not because of the technology. It's falling short because of how it's been done."Just yesterday we spoke to Richard Garriott, who praised Chris Roberts' ability to simply sit down and envision an amazing game. It really sounds like he had something new and spectacular in mind. You can read the full interview here.
"I made Wing Commander because it was the game I wanted to play," Roberts told me. “I didn't make Wing Commander because I said 'Oh, this is something that's going to sell a lot of units,' or 'there's a gap in the marketplace,' it was just ‘I want this experience.’ The time where I could feel like I'm ready to engage in something is always when I have a personal feeling that 'Okay, I want to go and make a game that gives me this experience.' I feel re-energized, and I think I can come back... and push forward parts of the industry in terms of narrative and cinematic storytelling."
Wing Commander’s revolutionary approach to narrative presentation helped pave the way to the modern video game industry, and its design continues to influence game development to the present day. In order to help us celebrate the legacy of this famed franchise, creator Chris Roberts granted us his first games-related interview in over a decade. G4 is proud to present: The History of Wing Commander.
Welcome to the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 13th annual birthday party! Please join the fun on IRC, where we're having Wing Commander chat, trivia and giveaways! It's the social event of the season.
Wing Commander fans have a lot to be thankful for this year, from the release of Privateer on GOG (with more to come!) to the impending launch of the Wing Commander Saga fan mod.
For the first time ever, Chris, ace and I are celebrating this milestone in Wing Commander's birthplace, sunny Austin, Texas. You'll learn a little more about what we're doing below--and in coming months.
Every year I panic that this is the year we're not going to have enough to reveal for the community... but for the first time ever I'm not stressed at all. We have a truly huge slate of "presents" put together to celebrate Wing Commander's history and community. In the record number of updates below, you'll find high resolution graphics, mysterious sound files, updates on fan efforts and more.
Our big present this year is the release of the long-awaited tenth Wing Commander novel, Pilgrim Truth. Thanks to the diligence of Peter Telep and the willingness of Electronic Arts to work with us, the never-before-seen novel is now available online. And it is GREAT!
Scroll down and enjoy the updates--we'll see you in #WingNut!
Eleven years ago, HarperCollins angered Wing Commander fans everywhere by cancelling the third movie 'continuity novel', Pilgrim Truth. For more than a decade the manuscript written to bring closure to the Pilgrim storyline and the 'movie world' sat unread and unreleased. Today, we are proud to announce that it is now available.
Thanks to the efforts of Electronic Arts and the dedication of author Peter Telep, we are now allowed to release the text of the book for WingNuts everywhere to read. At the request of the author, the already-impressive book now includes all new artwork by NinjaLA. We've done our best to format the book like the great Wing Commanders of yesteryear--of which, of course, it is. You can start the adventure here.
Pay close attention to the end of the book, too--you'll find the answer to a question Wing Commander fans have been asking since 1997...
As you have heard, ace, Chris and I are in Austin, Texas looking at the University of Texas Videogames Archive. This museum collection includes the personal papers of Origin luminaries including Richard Garriott, The Fatman, Warren Spector, Gordon Walton and Billy Cain. Thanks to donations from our collections, there will even be a WCNews archive available soon! We don't have time for a full analysis yet, but I wanted to share with you some of the highlights:
The @WCCIC started off last year as an April Fool's Joke... but now it's the real deal! Kris has integrated Twitter into our backend, which will automatically notify readers of new CIC updates--and we'll be using it to post the usual array of Wing Commander jokes and references previously reserved for our personal accounts. Click the button below to follow us on Twitter!
You asked for it: the CIC has finally entered the 21st century with the addition of a "mobile" version of the site! Now you can get your Wing Commander news and information on the go without any awkward pinch-zooming. Point your tiny browsers at m.wcnews.com to get in on the smaller version of the fun!
You may have noticed that the Chat Zone was down earlier today. That wasn't to frustrate partygoers--it was because we've replaced the aging vBulletin board with a brand new Xenforo system! There's no need to create a new account and your old login will continue to work... but the new board is more secure, features an achievement-style 'promotion' system, support for mobile platforms and social networking, and can be integrated right into the CIC front page!
The Chat Zone predates the CIC itself, dating back through WCHS to the "Origin's Official Wing Commander Chat Zone" initially established by OSI in 1995. This will be the fourth type of board software, following Matt's WWWBoard, Ultimate Bulletin Board and vBulletin. A great history of the zone is available here.
“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.” - August 10, 2010
What a year the last one has proven to have been! WCPedia’s growth was well beyond my expectations because of the hard work of a group of dedicated and determined wingnuts. WCPedia now has over 2,700 content articles. It smashes our goal of 2,200 articles by more than 500! KrisV has been hard at work moving the CIC's Downloads section into WCPedia. Wingnuts can now find all the CIC's hosted files and others in the WCPedia Downloads category. We've already got more than 3,500 files uploaded and organized. We’ve made more than 27,000 edits and had more than 2.5 million views! Those numbers more than double where we were last year. The amount of information now available on WCPedia is astounding.
In the coming year WCPedia will continue to expand in a variety of ways to help improve the community’s ability to access information. WCPedia will become, without question, the greatest Wing Commander resource ever assembled. Our goal in the next year is to hit the same number of articles as the range of the laser cannon, 4,800. We are always looking for more contributors and this year we've asked NinjaLA to help spur involvement with our very own recruitment posters.
WCPedia has undergone some major structural changes in the last year. The project was split into two main content areas recently. The Wing Commander Encyclopedia is where you’ll be able to find all kinds of real world information about Wing Commander. Wingnuts can find landing pages for all the major Wing Commander products from which they can explore various areas about each product. The encyclopedia area also contains categories like Images, where we are building the most extensive Wing Commander image archive ever...modelers begin drooling, Cinematics, Behind the Screens, Downloads, and a number of others.
A reference from Super Wing Commander, the Terran Knowledge Bank is the new name for the main content area of WCPedia. This is where you’ll find articles written in the style of a 29th century researcher stationed on McAuliffe VI. Users can find the major categories like Characters, Ships, Battles, along with dozens of others within the Knowledge Bank.
With the creation of the Terran Knowledge Bank, based on McAuliffe VI, WCPedia is putting out a call to all wingnuts. Like any unit in the Confederation, we need a unit patch. We are asking the community to come up with some designs for a TKB patch that would represent the efforts of the WCPedia team. We have some ideas in mind, but we'd like to see what you can come up with first. Do your part for the Terran Knowledge Bank today!
We've previously reported on a recent re-encode of the Wing Commander Movie Electronic Press Kit. That tape is available to download in it's entirety HERE. But until recently it's been one of the big holes in our Holovids section. As part of our WCpedia refit I've been spending time chopping up the tape into it's individual segments so that you can all enjoy it without having to wait for an enormous download!
You can now stream each segment of the EPK tape online at the WCpedia page HERE.
Highlights of the EPK tape include:
A big part of our WCpedia movie effort has been to include the various script drafts of the film for easy comparison. While some work is yet to be done, the labor intensive part is done and each draft can be read in it's entirety. All, four - yes four! - drafts are parsed and ready for you to enjoy. We've also provided links to the PDF scans if you would rather read the original copy. Note that the shooting script PDF was previously unavailable.
Special effort was put into entering the final shooting script into the WCpedia. This particular draft should be of interest to fans because essentially everything in this draft was shot and exists on film in some form somewhere. To better help you see what was changed in editing in the theatrical cut of the movie we've color coded the text. Anything in red-orange was deleted. Sometimes it's just a single line of dialogue that was removed, while others it's whole scenes. Anything in gold was changed either in a revision we're missing or in post production by means of ADR or other means. Any scenes headers or text in green indicates scenes or lines that got moved around in the editing.
One curriosty that's been reported in the past are that the production notes for the Wing Commander film have never been discovered in English. While entering articles into the WCpedia project we noted this sad deficiency and would like to rectify that. The CIC needs YOU!
You can read through the spanish production notes HERE, along with an extremely rough translation. Any help providing an accurate translation would be much appreciated (or better yet let us know if you've seen the English version of these somewhere... I know I haven't).
Have you ever wanted your own Wing Commander poster? Just take one of these super high resolution pieces of key art to a local print shop and you'll have a beautiful new decoration for your walls!
It's funny to think about a cutting edge game developer doing art and layouts by hand--but that's exactly how things worked before Origin switched to a digital process in 1994. In this set of images (originally addressed to Dallas Snell), you can see the creation of the corporate logo used on the boxes of the first several Wing Commanders. It looks like there were some interesting alternatives in the mix!
Also recovered from Origin's vault: print resolution versions of the art used in the magazine that started it all, Claw Marks! First up is the Tiger's Claw's intrepid crew:
If you were a video gamer in 1990 and claim you weren't impressed by the line art of Wing Commander's ships then you are a liar. This was, without a doubt, the first step to hooking me on Wing Commander.
And what's a birthday without dancing girls? ... and medals, missiles and ribbons.
For the first time ever online, here are Origin's "source" files for the famous Wing Commander I Kilrathi ace artwork! Dakhath, Khajja, Baktosh... they're all here! Also, Bhurak.
I remember being given Wing Commander II the Christmas after it came out. My family was celebrating at some relative's house and I was desperate to go home and play the game. It was the 'promotional' release that came with the speech pack and I was terrified that I was going to somehow lose one of the giant stack of diskettes before I could make it home.Dundradal:
It goes without saying that Wing Commander II set a new standard for gaming. I don't know anyone who had a sound card in 1991 and didn't use the introduction to show off what home computers were capable of. It seems impossible now, but just being able to listen to Thrakhath and the Emperor speak was such an amazing sea change.
Everything about the game shined--it hit you in the gut when Spirit died, you cheered when you saved the day... you blushed when Angel kissed you. For all the credit live action gets, I honestly don't think we have ever been closer to the "interactive movie" than those faces in WC2.
It made such difficult choices, too--opening by destroying the Tiger's Claw? What a shock! Refusing to explain what happened to all your original wingmen? That had to be gnawing at the writers, but it grew the universe so much. Swapping the satisfying-but-easy capship runs for the complicated but so much more rewarding torpedo mechanic? Brilliant.
For me, Wing Commander II has also been--and remains!--a 'holy grail'. I'll never forget the first time Captain Johnny showed us his Wing Commander II FM Towns. A port of WC2? With an entirely new cover? I had to get one, and I learned to use a deputy service to purchase Wing Commander items from Japan... which became a very expensive hobby. Today the quest goes on, for Wing Commander II SNES, a game some of Origin's finest developed but that never saw release. There's a prototype out there somewhere--and we're going to find it!
I’ll always remember when I first started playing Wing Commander 2 in 1995. My dad surprised me one day by bringing a copy of Wing Commander 2 Deluxe he’d found at a swap meet. I was in the middle of playing Privateer for the first time when it arrived. It had to take a back seat for a bit.
When I first played the game, I had not played the original Wing Commander. For me that experience wouldn’t come until later with the arrival of The Kilrathi Saga. When I first played Wing Commander 2 I thought the first mission you flew with Hobbes was impossible. For some reason I simply could not take out the Jalkehi! I remember getting so frustrated I stopped playing for a week, before giving it a try again, and it’s not a hard mission! Then the game’s story and gameplay sucked me in and didn’t let go for a considerable amount of time.
The torpedo run is what sets Wing Commander 2 apart from the rest for me. The game mechanics make it one of the most challenging and rewarding gameplay sequences I’ve encountered. Anti-matter guns firing, flak cannons bursting out rounds, all without afterburners most of the time! Now that’s a challenge! Even the attempt to create those runs in Wing Commander Prophecy pale in comparison to the original.
For me, Wing Commander 2 will always hold a special place in my heart among all Wing Commander games and product, and while I wish some of the more brilliant flourishes from WC1 made it into the overall design, it's one of those games where you can still pick it up today and be sucked in just as easily by the story and gameplay as ever.Chris Reid:
While I had Wing Commander on the peripheral since it was released, it wasn't until Wing Commander 2 that I could really call myself a true Wingnut. My cousin and I would play WC1 on their 286 and eject to see the cutscenes... we weren't particularly good at the game back then. His dad even bought WC2 though I don't really remember playing it. It wasn't until nearly 1994 and Wing Commander 3 was close on the horizon that we found the WC2 deluxe CD somewhere. I took it home and spent the summer playing it on our 386.
Each new mission was a challenge but one that was rewarding. Sometimes I would only make it through one mission a day. It seemed like the more times I died the load time got longer when I went to re-fly the mission. I can't think of nearly any other game that would instill that same kind of dedication in me. To that, I credit the story and art design. From then, there was no question about whether we would be buying Wing Commander 3. It was in my blood and we were going back to play Wing Commander 1 the right way. And as they say, "the rest is history!"
The twentieth anniversary year for Wing Commander 2 is a huge milestone for me! It still seems just like yesterday. I played WC1 on the SNES, so WC2 was my first PC Wing Commander. I remember swapping disk after disk and then letting the installer decompress for an hour just to get it installed. Like many other people, I invited friends over just to see the animated intro and hear the real voices throughout. It didn't matter what mission I played - every day I booted up the computer, hit the "resume campaign" button and launched into space. From the quick and light Ferret to the almost-capship Broadsword, the WC2 engine felt so rock solid, and the game's story and atmosphere were perfect. What a great game!ace:
Wing Commander 2 was great. It's probably the first thing my mind turns to when I think about Wing Commander.
When Wing Commander II came out I was very disappointed with the ship images in the manual. Black and white shapes compared to the detailed line drawings in Claw Marks? Twenty years later, it's clear I was terribly wrong--these get the feel of World War II identification silhouettes just right. From Origin's archive:
Here are high-resolution slide scans of two of Wing Commander's most mysterious images. The first, showing a young Blair in front of a group of photographers, appeared on the Wing Commander II box. In the actual game the scene was moved to Admiral Tolwyn's office and used the 'ten years later' Blair. That was all done to save disk space; as originally scripted, you would have seen Blair at his trial (some of the graphics for the court scene were later reused in Special Operations 2). The second is a smooth looking Gothri image which appears on various Special Operations-related boxes. Although the addon disks do introduce the Gothri, there is no cutscene such as the one indicated here (and the fighters don't look nearly as nice in combat).
This fall, we will be running a lengthy series of updates highlighting the various objects and layouts Chris photographed while visiting Mythic in 2008 (and we will forward Ultima-related pictures to Ultima Aiera). Kicking off the project in honor of Wing Commander II's 20th anniversary is a fascinating "sell sheet" developed by Origin's publications department. At first glance it looks like it's just an advertisement for Wing Commander II--but it's actually a 1994 publication designed to convince retailers to order a Sega port of the game!
Origin planned to release both Sega and Super Nintendo ports of Wing Commander II, both of which were to be developed internally. Production of the Sega version was actually cancelled early in the process and work done on (and employees assigned to) the project was rolled into the infamous unreleased-but-completed SNES version. As a result, no Origin games for the stock Genesis were ever released--a licensed port of the original Wing Commander having also been cancelled years earlier. It has long been rumored that this was due to a conflict with Nintendo over the Sega Master System port of Ultima IV.
Little bits of an earlier version of Privateer have slipped out over time--that nice 3D Gothri, the different intro cutscene and so forth. Here are all the screenshots, together for the first time and most of them never seen before. Note the Mercenary Guild secretary's lack of cleavage! Note the alternate intro scene involving a Galaxy and Demons! And, interestingly, they also prove that the "enforcer" scene at the start of Righteous Fire was originally created for Privateer.
Ever wonder how a game box was made? Lets take a look at everything that went into the simple Righteous Fire box! First, we're going to find a font for the new text logo. This one looks good! Lets sketch it into the Righteous Fire text, then finish it.
Nothing about Armada was quite like the rest of Wing Commander, from the speed of the gameplay to the ship specifications... and the logo, with giant green jello letters, was no exception. But how weird could it have been? Check out these candidates developed by Origin's publications unit! My favorite? The giant triangle--makes the game seem like a trendy 1990s nightclub!
[[YOU CAN DELETE THIS STORY AT YOUR DISCRETION]]You can look through the document itself here.
Remember the story you used to tell me when I was six? The one about how the astronaut launched into orbit to fight an alien, lost his ship, and was then rescued? It ended up that the alien only wanted a friend. Today I realized that your stories always had happy endings that took away my fear. The fear is still gone. Only now, I’m the astronaut and the alien doesn’t want to be friends.
For the last three days, I’ve wondered how to write this letter. I don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s likely I’ll never see you again. We’ve been sent into the farthest region of the galaxy. I can’t say any more, except that we’re going to be gone awhile.
I don’t mind telling you I’m scared, but it’s my duty to follow orders. I want you to take this picture I’ve enclosed and have it framed for Kev. It’s been awhile since I called, and I haven’t exactly been a decent big brother. Tell him I love him, and that he can have the Purple Heart hanging by my bed. And could you buy a bouquet of burgundy rose lilies for Pop’s grave? I always meant to do that, but it seems like I let all my chances slip away.
Give my love to the rest of the family ... you know I’m there in spirit!
... the least appealing advertisement ever designed. "The big fish in 3DO games"? Really? That's what you're going with? Your ad campaign is designed to associate your games with a rotting fish carcass? The takeaway is the very special 3DO screenshot included below the... dead fish... it's not a cockpit used in the finished game!
Check out these radical Wing Commander III and IV sketches, done by the art team to plan the ships and characters that would need to be rendered and costumed for a new kind of Wing Commander game. Some of these were included in Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III... but the Vesuvius sketch is as-of-yet unpublished! Seeing this sketch should better explain why the novel describes Vesuvius as being Kilrathi-like--its "prongs" are sharper and much more pronounced.
Here are a selection of cool high-resolution storyboards and script pages from Wing Commander III. Interesting to note that the storyboards have stronger language for Blair's final optional losing-track 'fell off' of Thrakhath. Special bonus--three images tracking how they built the 'gunnery' CGI set (I never even noticed the planet)!
Here is another great set of classy photography from the Wing Commander III film shoot, used in Origin's Official Guide. Colonel Blair sure looks confident for someone who can' sew his patch on correctly...
These incredible renderings were created by Origin for their Official Guide to Wing Commander III. Now you can see them at the highest possible resolution--and learn every rivet on the side of your Excalibur...
Get an even closer look at every crease and line of this sexy F-27 Arrow! Doesn't that 'straight on' shot have an unusual amount of weight to it?
Here are high resolution images of some of Wing Commander III's most iconic scenes. These were created by Origin for use across all branded products in 1994--from card games to Zanart! Okay, just the two.
Frankly, I think I got out of DC just in time!
This Wing Commander 'sheet music' was found on an Origin disc. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you can use it to play the Wing Commander III soundtrack yourself. ace says: "It looks like it's just the first 20 seconds of the WC3 escort MIDI. It seems to be the same MIDI file that's on the CIC and doesn't fix any of the oddities to make it more sheet music friendly. I wonder if Oldziey wrote this stuff out on paper or some other format before doing the MIDI. I have to imagine he had some format where he could play it all on the piano by himself or something. That would be awesome."
Take a moment to thank the amazing team of men and women behind Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. Here they are, in the flesh! They are: Adam Foshko, Chris Douglas, Chris Roberts, Craig Miller, Dan Orzulak, Frank De Palma, Frank Roan, Galen Svanas, George Olziey, Kirsten Maryott, Mark Chandler, Martin Galway, Nenad Vugrinec, Prem Krishnan, Tim Ray, Tony Morone, Tuesday Frase and the QA team!
Heavy CarrierAlso interesting--in every manual revision, the dreadnaught is 22,000km long, despite many other changes to ship specifications. Take what you will from that!
Length 1200 meters
Mass 35,000 metric tonnes
Max. YPR 1 dps
Max. Velocity 130 kps
Acceleration 2.5 m/s2
Say hi to the bartender for me!
Here's a craft project for you--make your own Wing Commander locker! To start you off, here are Blair's two photos of Angel from Wing Commander III... and his bikini picture from Secret Missions 2 (courtesy of NinjaLA). Next you'll need Super Wing Commander's space condoms--and you'll never have to use them...
We have seen some interesting 'road not taken' artwork before--but these early designs for Kilrathi Saga really takes the cake! It's very interesting to see the different attempts and how they clearly lead to the focus on the 'Kilrathi hand' graphic... which we'll look at in another update!
Here's a swath of Kilrathi Saga box art production examples--you can follow the rough idea (which includes a Bearcat and a Vindicator!) all the way through the individual ship renders to the finished box. Pay special attention to the version of the box that actually lists the addons as contents--that was published in PC Gamer in 1997 and confused a lot of people.
When it came time to design the Kilrathi Saga box's claw logo, Origin's artists didn't just render what they thought a Kilrath hand might look like... they dressed up in a real one to see how it would look! This set of test photos was taken to determine what the 3D rendering should look like--you can trace the development from the original picture of the emperor all the way to the render itself! Most impressive, the photo session seems to have lasted six hours and required multiple hand models.
It’s been a long time. I know things haven’t always been the best between us, and I imagine you still haven’t forgiven me for trying to get you pulled from flight school. But I pray you’ll keep this letter long enough to read it. I need to say something to you. Not as your father, but as a man.
Do you remember when I took you to see Faces of War? You were only eight, but ever since then, you’ve wanted nothing more than to fly. I thought you’d grow out of it, but you didn’t. Ten years later, your Academy acceptance letter arrived, and I felt that familiar fear sweep through me.
I know I’ve been less than supportive of your career over the years. I only wanted you to remain within safety’s reach. But I want you know that even though I fear losing you to this god-forsaken war, I’m damned proud of you. I didn’t have the courage to face death and empty space, but you do. And all I can do is pray your name never appears on that list that scrolls after each newscast.
You don’t know this, but your grandfather’s dying wish was to see me follow in his footsteps as a pilot. But I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to leave your mother a widow — like he left my mother. Maybe somewhere he’s watching you, and forgiving me.
This set of awesome sketches--created throughout the development of the first three Wing Commander games--originally appeared in the 1997 Kilrathi Saga calendar. Now you can see them all at their original resolution!
Here are two interesting images discovered among Origin's publications material. Both are high resolution renders not seen in the games themselves. The first seems to be a shot of the TCS Vesuvius' bridge, possibly intended for use as a menu of some sort... the second is the empty flight deck of a Kilrathi Bhantkara-class heavy carrier.
In fact, it sounded like a milk run. All they had to do was make an orbit or three around a small, insignificant planet the Kilrathi called "Vukar Tag." It was way out in the Kilrathi boondocks. Okay, so it was in enemy territory, but it was closer to the Fleet than to Kilrah, and they had the jump points very clearly mapped.
We are pleased to announce that the CIC has successfully recovered the Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger source code. Two versions of the complete source have been located and permanently archived. Our agreements with Electronic Arts mean that we can not make the source code available to the public at this time--but we want everyone to know it will now be preserved for future use and study. This is the first source code in our 'offline' research archive, which also includes budget documents for Origin's film shoots and the 'rough cut' of the Wing Commander film. We'll keep working to find more source code and, someday, it will be there when it is needed!
I've created two versions: A 480i MPEG-2 that can be directly burned to DVD, and a 480p H.264 MPEG-4 file for computer viewing. Both files are roughly 600MB, and both properly preserve the full 60 images per second present in the original source material.You can grab the videos here:
The *.mpg is an interlaced MPEG-2 file in a format that can be burned directly to DVD. Both files are roughly 650MB. If you want to play on computer, play the MPEG-4 *.ts file. If you want to burn to DVD or Blu-ray, use the MPEG-2 *.mpg file. I personally think the MPEG-2 file burnt to DVD and played on a set-top player looks the best, but I'm biased towards broadcast formats.
These Wing Commander IV sketches bridge the gap between Wing Commander III and IV--and hopefully confirm that the Intrepid was never meant to be two destroyers attached together (where did that rumor come from?).
These two great photos show the complexity of two of Wing Commander IV's most impressive sets--the courtroom from the introduction and climactic endgame, and Pliers' detailed workshop on the Intrepid.
These full color Wing Commander IV ships--source images created for Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander IV--make a compelling argument! This set includes the long lost Dralthi rendering!
Here's a magnificent render of the BWS Intrepid's flight deck--possibly an alternative to the 'top down' version used in the finished game.
In 1995, Origin created several beautiful magazine covers to promote Wing Commander IV. Rather than simply capture screens from the game itself, these renderings were unique works of art. Now you can see the original resolution images, as they were created before being sent off to the magazine editors! A fourth image was created for Electronic Entertainment, although the source file has not been located.
I don't know what this is... but it terrifies me.
Now meet the (very similar) team behind Wing Commander IV! They are: Andy Sommers, Chris Douglas, Chris Roberts, Frank Roan, Tony Morone and the QA team!
Here we have an impressive array of The Darkening concept art, showing the design for sets, establishing shots and even ships! Interestingly, the artwork isn't 'dark' at all--it's light and painted with bright colors. The first three were once available as "easter eggs" at Origin's interactive Privateer 2 website in 1996... the others have never been released to the public before!
This set of photographs includes a number unpublished (and somewhat arty!) photographs taken on the set of Privateer 2: The Darkening. Included here are Erin Roberts, John Hurt as Joe Kane, Clive Owen as Lev Arris, David McCallum as the Canera Captain, Brian Blessed as Uncle Kashumai and Mathilda May as Melissa Banks. Uncle Kashumai is just begging to become an "internet meme"...
This is one of four sets of Privateer 2: The Darkening pre-release images. These come from multiple earlier builds of the game and were used for both internal testing and in some advertising. This set is images of the 'booth system', and changes should jump out at you right away--different characters in the database, a full color intro screen, different icons for the guns and so on.
This is one of four sets of Privateer 2: The Darkening pre-release images. These come from multiple earlier builds of the game and were used for both internal testing and in some advertising. This set is images of the gameplay itself, and it's certainly the most fascinating. Check out some of the changes from version to version--there were no less than three different types of VDUs for ships! And the ship graphics and names change completely from shot to shot, too...
This is one of four sets of Privateer 2: The Darkening pre-release images. These come from multiple earlier builds of the game and were used for both internal testing and in some advertising. This set is images of the game's full motion video shoot. Although it didn't change much between the recording and the release, these do offer some unseen angles and much clearer pictures of sets than have been available in the past.
This is one of four sets of Privateer 2: The Darkening pre-release images. These come from multiple earlier builds of the game and were used for both internal testing and in some advertising. This set is images of the game's various planet menus--and also some renderings from the landing scenes with the "HUD" removed! You can see some of the planets change just in the course of these image--little things like the number of trees in the picture can change between versions!
This magnificent 3D rendered city was created for the British version of Privateer 2--it was the front and back cover of the Crius Hospital guide! Bonus: high resolution 'splash' images used for Origin's Official Guide to Privateer 2. You can make them out a lot more clearly here...
Like those black and white Wing Commander III renders? Then you'll love... every ship in the Tri-System!
Dinky little Straith got you down? Why not pick up an upgrade for it... in high resolution! Look at some of the amazing detail that could never have made it into a game in 1996, like the lettering on some of the missiles!
The ships used to promote Privateer 2 are a unique group--their 3D models often differ significantly from those seen in the game itself! Check out this selection of beautiful Darkening 'out of engine' ships:
Between 'Privateer 2' and 'Privateer 2: The Darkening', it was known as simply 'The Darkening'--and here's a whole swath of potential box covers developed by Origin for the game! Note the prominent "Interactive Movie" logo in several... and the lack of Clive Owen!
Last--but not least!--are the official portraits for the Privateer 2: The Darkening team. They are: Adam Medhurst, Erin Roberts, Nick Goldsworthy, Paul Hughes, Tony Stockton and Brian Marshall.
This collection of very early Wing Commander Prophecy sketches was the first group created for the game, including art from Syd Mead and others. Look at the turrets on that beautiful Devastator drawing!
Ever wanted to learn how to land a starfighter? This series of gameflow storyboards done for Wing Commander Prophecy should show you how it works! Note some interesting references in there--is that Sparks and a Rapier II? Bonus--a rough shot of the MED mission editor in use!
The classic Confederation star should be familiar to everyone... but this Kilrathi logo is a bit more unusual. As far as I can tell it has only ever appeared in Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander Prophecy!
You've seen many of these before... but you've never seen them in this resolution! The most interesting, though, are the two fuzziest--which show the original design of the TCS Midway!
To prepare for Wing Commander Prophecy, designers collected examples of helmets used in previous Wing Commanders. I almost left this collection out, except for the awesome full color version of the pirate helmet... where you can see that "ROBERTS" has been crossed out and replaced with TRASHED!
More of the early planning for Wing Commander Prophecy. In these Visio sketches, a designer has plotted out how the game's multiplayer menus will work! Shame we never got anything to compare this to in the finished game...
Wing Commander Prophecy had some truly outstanding advertisements--beautiful panoramas of detailed human and alien ships. Now you can download high resolution versions of these ads, without words or logos in the way! They make great wallpapers.
This set of images--some of which are unfortunately very blurry--looks like the effort that birthed the Wing Commander Universe map! You can see a rough map as well as notes on the systems in Prophecy and two early missions. Pay special attention to the 'early' Midway model!
It looks like someone rendered out all the parts to make... and then never put them together! Can you take these images, match them together and make an awesome battle for Kilrah?
Here are three mockup covers considered for Wing Commander Prophecy. Dig that awesome font... but seeing the Panther permanently bend like that just kind of hurts!
Mac gamers have been able to play Windows games for a while now using Wine, an open-source Windows API emulation layer for Unix/Linux/OSX, but it's typically a somewhat long and complex process to set up. Using existing tools and some help from other Mac gamers on the web, forums regular wcnut made his own Mac wrapper app for both Secret Ops and Standoff ! That means playing those games is now as easy as clicking on the package file (.DMG), dragging the Secret Ops and Standoff icons whereever you want it stored on your Mac and click to play ! No more complicated Wine and application setup.You can download it here (700 megs), and leave your feedback on the Standoff forums. Special thanks for this goes to "johnniewaves" from the Mac Porting Team for his help.
PopsiclePete has released a new version (1.2) of the OpenGL renderer for WCP and SO. Built on the foundation created for the updated graphics seen in Standoff, the new patch sports several exciting features. This release also supports HCl's latest WCP enhancement pack, but there are still some glitches with DVD playback while the game is running fullscreen that were not able to be fixed in time for this release.
Pete didn't stop there though. He also made the effort to update the Wing Commander: Prophecy demo and his enhanced installer for Secret Ops to include the latest files and to fix various compatibility issues with UAC and 64 bits operating systems. You can find download links to all the files below along with some contrasting screenshots of the improvements you will see with this new update over the stock direct-3D mode.
- Fixed compatibility for Intel onboard video and some ATI cards
- Fixed other compatibility issues
- Added support for lighting effects: bloom and automatic specular
- Added high-resolution art, some from Standoff, some built especially for this package (ie. high-res cockpit elements)
- Edited the original launchers for easy access to the OpenGL setup
Did you know that when a game wins a magazine's "editor's choice" award that there is actually a physical award? Here's a quick look at a number of the awards won by the Wing Commander series, which are currently on display at EA's Bioware Mythic studio. We'll be looking in more detail at these and other Origin awards during our upcoming Mythic Photos updates series.
On 2634.155, Crown Prince Gilkarg, the Barons of the eight noble clans and the heads of several claw fleets gathered to observe the first demonstration of a ship-killed torpedo. The test went flawlessly, an Asjaka bomber destroyed a Butha-class cruiser in a single strike, and the secret weapon that would allow the Empire of Kilrah to begin a war which would be fought on a scale unlike any before it was in place. The germ of the torpedo concept, however, belonged to Kilrah's impending foe. The Terran Confederation first demonstrated the concept in 2622, during the Panama system war games. There, the Blue admiral succesfully sank all ten of his opponent's battlewagons using a simulated fighter-based weapon capable of penetrating shields. The move was disqualified and its success was classified; the win went to Red team. Nevertheless, key figures took note and whispers of the potential behind the weapon would find their way to the highest echelons of the Empire as a new war strategy was being developed to combat the powerful Confederation Navy.
Diagram 1 from US Patent 1,032,394 showing Admiral Fiske's Method Of and Apparatus For delivering an aerial torpedo and a CF-131 Broadsword bomber with external antimatter torpedoes.
Both sides developed the technology in the pre-war period, although the Confederation efforts were limited. Prototypes were designed, but no method to counteract changing shield modulations could be determined. The Kilrathi, or rather their army of Varni slaves working under threat to their families, solved the issue. And on Confederation Day, 2634 the potential of the torpedo was proven in combat and the future of space-based carrier warfare was assured. Yet the successful strike at McAuliffe was also the beginning of the end for Kilrathi technological superiority. A Kilrathi torpedo hit the TCS Concordia but failed to detonate, a slave-installed firing mechanism link having been put in upside down. Within hours the weapon had been scanned and in just three months the Confederation was producing their own rough parity ship-killers.
The standard torpedo requires a difficult locking period, up to thirty seconds depending on the type, while it determines a capital ship's shield frequency. In the original Kilrathi weapons, a fighter had to stop completely to fire the weapon. This limitation was soon worked out, but treacherous "torpedo runs" would be among the most difficult missions flown throughout the war. Bomber turrets and fighter escort tactics improved across the conflict--as did the defensive weaponry on capital ships, ranging from turrets to rapid fire flak cannons to anti-torpedo flechette batteries. The more powerful Mark IV and V torpedoes (ten meter long weapons) traditionally carried antimatter warheads; others would carry less powerful fusion or proton packs.
A Type 93 "Long Lance" Torpedo measuring 9 meters long and carrying a thousand pound warhead alongside a Mark IV torpedo with a fusion warhead.
The story of the war, or any war, involved a continued cycle between advances in offensive and defensive technologies. As fighter-capable weapons became more powerful, shield technology would react with a new system. This cycle occurred at least twice during the conflict. In 2648, the development of Meson Shields, replacing the original Phase Shields, meant that torpedoes would again become a necessity. Within six years, guns and missiles had caught up. Then, the opening roles of the war would be reversed in the heydey of the Enigma Campaign. After the Kilrathi premiered a new type of Advanced Phase Shielding, seemingly capable of preventing all fighter-based strikes for the duration, Confederation scientists designed an even more advanced type of torpedo locking system. Antimatter torpedoes could again penetrate enemy shields--and Kilrathi spies quickly leaked the weapons back to the Empire. The only change in the equation in the 2660s was that production of the newer mechanisms was more difficult; Confederation pilots were advised to preserve munitions as much as possible because of their rarity. By the last years of the war, torpedo technology had again fallen back, with more powerful guns and missiles developed to knock down APS systems.
Torpedoes continued to cycle after the war. In 2673, shield technology premiered on the TCS Vesuvius again prevented the use of guns and missiles. When the Nephilim invaded in 2681, damage could initially only be inflicted on their ships by torpedoes. A testament to the speed at which weapons technology evolves is the fact that the standard torpedo and light torpedo were already replaced with enhanced versions by the time the Midway arrived at Kilrah. And as that war went on, torpedoes underwent an unexpected sea change, from complex weapons requiring a lock to a mix between the form factor of the original weapons and the functionality of the civilian-grade "Proton torpedoes" which had been a cheap armament used by Privateers since at least the late sixties. By 2790, torpedoes behaved much like ordinary missiles--still locking, but with a much larger payload.
The man who first conceptualized the aerial torpedo was Rear Admiral Bradley Allen Fiske of the United States Navy. He received US Patent 1,032,394 on July 16, 1912 for a “Method of and Apparatus for Delivering Submarine Torpedoes from Airships.” In the patent he lays out the foundation mounting the torpedo and an interesting method of delivery. He proposed that torpedo planes would approach their targets from several thousand feet and then spiral down to the water when they were close to them and then release their weapons. He recommended this method because he believed it would help the strike planes survive any anti-aircraft fire sent up by a naval vessel. The concept of dive bombing, first exercised by the US Marines Corps in 1919, used this approach for accuracy, but it gave the advantage that Fiske sort for torpedo craft.
The concept of the aerial torpedo even made the New York Times on July 23, 1915 entitled “TORPEDO BOAT THAT FLIES. – Admiral Fiske Invents a Craft to Attack Fleets in Harbors.” It discusses Fiske’s ideas about dropping naval torpedoes from airplanes and attacking protected harbors with the same. While Fiske had thought of the aerial concept, executing it was far more difficult.
Naval torpedoes are complex machines. The successful operation of several systems is required for a torpedo to run “hot and true.” During World War I the lower airspeed of aircraft allowed torpedoes to have a fairly gentle entry into the water not much different from being launched from a ship. The first aerial torpedo mission was conducted by British Flight Commander Charles H. K. Edmonds on August 12, 1915 when he sank a Turkish supply ship. A handful more torpedo missions were conducted before the end of the war in 1918 with mixed results.
The United States Navy began testing aerial dropped torpedoes armed with dummy warheads in 1917. The first American torpedo drop was not a success. Instead of entering the water, the torpedo bounced off the surface and barely missed hitting the plane that dropped it. It was a portent of failures to come for American torpedoes.
A Grumman TBF Avenger Torpedo Bomber dropping a Mark 13 from its internal bomb bay and the Kilrathi Gothri heavy fighter could carry six ship killer torpedoes, a record at the time.
Admiral Fiske received US Patent 1,379,972 on May 31, 1921. This patent was for a purpose-built aerial torpedo, mounting it onto an aircraft and a method of delivering it to a target. The spiral maneuver was dropped instead for steep dive from 6,000 feet, releasing the torpedo at 1,500 yards from the target. Upon entering the water, the torpedo would dive to a preset depth and cruise towards the target at 35 miles per hour.
Several months later, at the behest of General “Billy” Mitchell, the United States military held aerial attack demonstrations off the Virginia Capes in 1921. The sinking of the Ostfriesland on July 20 was the highlight of the demonstrations, however the Navy also conducted torpedo runs, again armed with dummy warheads, against a formation of US battleships traveling at battle speed. The torpedo planes scored well in the exercise although the results were inconclusive as to true damage potential of the weapons.
The United States began development of a purpose-built aerial torpedo starting in 1925. After many false starts the project eventually produced the infamous Mark 13 torpedo in 1935. The lean budgets of the interwar years, in particular those of the Great Depression, the US Navy did not test torpedoes with live warheads and detonators because of the expense of each torpedo. Because of this, the United States would not learn of major defects with the detonators on its torpedoes until World War II and even then it would not be until 1943 that the problems were truly rectified.
The Imperial Japanese Navy produced the world’s greatest torpedo of the time in the Type 93 “Long Lance.” This weapon earned a well-deserved reputation as a ship-killer during World War II. Its ability to inflict massive damage, at long range, while traveling at high speeds and not leaving a wake. Throughout the war, the Type 93 was unsurpassed by any of the world’s navies. The Japanese also produced an aerial equivalent in the Type 91 torpedo. The Type 91 was an extremely effective weapon that claimed numerous Allied ships during the war and inflicted a great deal of damage on a great deal more ships including a large number of carriers. It was on the Type 91 that the first wooden tail sections were installed to provide stabilization during flight into the water where they would then break away in 1936. Later wooden nosecones would also be installed to allow higher release speeds from the torpedo bombers. Both navies would make the use of wooden nose and tail sections standard practice during the war allowing for both higher speeds and release altitude. This gave the torpedo bombers a higher chance of survival in the face of the CAP fighters and the heavy volume of anti-aircraft fire put up by a naval task force.
The history of my Wing Commander fandom starts with the arrival of my family’s first “PC” in late spring 1995. After years as a Mac only houshold, my father - a software engineer - brought home our very first PC: A Gateway 2000, and with it my first Wing Commander experience. I’d seen ads for Wing Commander in PC Connection and PC Warehouse flyers that would come to our house every month, but at this point none of the games had been yet ported to the Mac. My father had also purchased several game packs that Gateway offered with their machines including a simulation game pack. The simulation pack included a joystick and Wing Commander Privateer/Strike Commander on one and Armada on another along with some other games. My Wing Commander collection would soon start to grow. Times were good.
The Terran Confederate Underground - an early CIC/WCPedia type site - was the first Wing Commander website I'd found. It was from there I found the IRC channel #wing-commander. I became a regular there, visiting almost every day after school and meeting many great wingnuts. My own transformation into a wingnut was complete. There would be some good times over the next 16 years.
When the CIC asked me to join the staff as the head of the WCPedia project and a news contributor, there was, of course, only one answer for a diehard wingnut. I can only say thank you to the CIC staff and to the Wingnut community. Keep up the good work and see you starside!
Every August we kick the Wing Commander year off with a poll asking how long you've been part of the community. Have you been hanging on since WCHS days or did you just get hooked on the digital release of Privateer last month? Let us know!
The previous poll wanted to know gave the best briefings. Unsurprisingly, the winner by a lap was Captain William Eisen, as played by Jason Bernard. Colonel Halcyon was up there and everyone else was split in the single digits. Poor Clippy...
Q1: What ships are rendered on the cover of Kilrathi Saga?Pretty hard? All the answers can be found in today's new features! Please do not post them in public. Good luck!
Q2: What planet's Privateer 2 landing sequence includes blimps?
Q3: Wing Commander III isn't a game--what is it?
Q4: What day does Pilgrim Truth begin?
Q5: Why can't we reinvent Wing Commander?
It seemed like an impossible goal--not to mention one sure to break the new mobile site and RSS readers everywhere--but we have just hit 100 updates for the night! To celebrate, here's the selection of images that I pulled out of the Mythic material as being important but that didn't really fit anywhere else. The first one is especially strange--I have no idea who Alex is, but his screenshot appeared on a Kilrathi Saga folder.
For the CIC's awesome 13th birthday, I'd like to say congratulations and thank you all. Some of you may know that other FreeSpace projects like Earth Defense have released all of their exclusive assets in case anyone else in the modding community may find a use for them. Me and the team have decided to follow suit and release a big modpack containing much of our exclusive assets (Ship models, cockpits, textures, effects) to the WC fans to celebrate the CIC's 13th birthday, and so that others who are planning or working on a WC mod have more toys to play with. The ship models included in this model pack may be freely used in your own WC fan projects, but please do not forget to give proper credit to the people who made them.
But that's not all! There are some missions included in the modpack as well to show off some of the ship models and some of the new features that will be in the WC: Hostile Frontier demo. I'm including the missions mainly to get feedback to help me improve the mod. Here are some notes on the missions included in the package:
WCHF-Tactrain - Tactics training simulator mission. Shows off the new ingame ship selection system and includes 2 branches.
gwenhyvar - Historical mission about the Gwenhyvar encounter. Thanks to FekLeyrTarg for this interesting idea.
CombatLaunchDemo - What it says on the tin. A Combat Launch inspired by the End Run novel and WC Prophecy. Would you like to see this feature in WCHF?
The ship models are available in OBJ and PNG format upon request. Also, if you'd like any Standoff ships retextured for your mod, please contact me on wcnews.com/chatzone.
Thanks, mom! This will be the first time the staff have been able to eat the birthday cake together...
Whew! That was a lot of work! A very special thanks to the talented group of people who helped do the 'birthday crunch' several weeks early this time so that Chris, ace and I could head to Austin knowing everything was ready. As always, the CIC Staff is the best group of people I know.
And again I have to single out KrisV for special acknowledgement. The work he does here will never sound as sexy as finding lost games and interviewing celebrities... but it is much, much more important. There would be no CIC without Kris' tireless efforts.
Special thanks to NinjaLA, Starman and PopsiclePete for supporting the anniversary this year and Wing Commander in general year-round. Ninja has gone above and beyond doing art for Pilgrim Truth and other projects... and we'll be seeing plenty more of him in the future! Pete didn't let years of Standoff drag him down, he's more active in the community than ever.
Of course, thanks to the thousands of Wing Commander fans who continue to support the CIC on a daily basis. We wouldn't be here without your continued interest.
2012 is going to be a bold new year for the site--so keep watching the skies!
To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 13th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT) in #Wingnut!
Here's some more pictures of my progress on the TCS Tiger's Claw. As you can see, I'm nearing completion. I just need to add conning towers, launch tubes, engines and turrets. Still not sure how I'm going to do the turrets...suggestions?
Enjoy the pictures and have a nice day.
Team CIC is on the ground in Austin - birthplace of Wing Commander - to celebrate our 13th year! Actually only half the crew got to come to Texas. The other half is busy making final preparations for our huge birthday event this Wednesday (or Thursday, depending on time zone). We're super excited to host our biggest celebration yet. There's less than 48 hours to go, and then y'all will see what we mean! (It's more than this hotel wifi connection can handle!)
Join us in #Wingnut beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern US time (Wednesday night, 4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT). We'll start with a countdown to midnight GMT, and there will be prizes and trivia throughout the night. RSVP via the Facebook Page to let everyone know you're coming. See you there!
Ok, it's finished, sort of. I haven't bothered making a proper cockpit, although there is room for it. I just don't see myself ever using this model, but I wanted to make it for completeness' sake. I took a few freedoms from the design for parts that looked terrible, like the giant blocks on top of the wings that connect the giant cylinder objects. Not sure what I'm gonna do now, maybe Confed capships or Kilrathi fighters. It'd be fun to do some Wing Commander Online designs as well. I'm also gonna go back and re-do the Raptor in greater detail. We'll see!
In a town that bills itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin isn't short on musical talent.
But while most musicians can be heard belting out tunes from the city's countless stages, George Alistair Sanger has crafted his career writing music for video games from his North Austin studio — a makeshift musical laboratory of sorts equipped with everything from a circle of keyboards and prototype synthesizers to old tube radios and a collection of guitars too numerous to count.
"I wanted to be the big hot shot here in Austin — I was going to be The Fat Man of Austin, which is where the name came from," Sanger said. "In one way or the other, I was struggling the whole time. It never did get easy."
Despite that fact that Sanger has composed music or designed sound for more than 250 games — including "The 7th Guest," "Wing Commander" and "Zombies Ate My Neighbors" — he's familiar with the woes of self-employment.
"When you are self-employed, you never have the exact right amount of work," he said. "It's either too much or too little, and you are always worried about whether you will have something to eat or be able to fulfill your obligations."
All in all we’re going well, but not a massive amount to update on, so in the spirit of a release on Koldcast and Youtube every three weeks, the Saturday Weekly Roundup will now be the Saturday Tri-Weekly Roundup to co-incide with the release of a new chapter, this way it will be full of news as more will have occured to report on... And stay tuned 'cos there’s lots more to come!
...it's kinda surprising how sometimes odd combos will actually work.
If you weren't already aware, Richard Garriott is up for personality of the year at the European Gaming Awards 2011. Given that none of the other contenders made it into space this year I can't think of a more worthy winner! Voting is still open for EU residents....
We're now just ONE WEEK from the CIC's 13th Birthday! I've seen the sneak-preview of what we have to share with you all, and it's absolutely astounding. You won't want to miss the big event on August 10! Join us in #Wingnut beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern US time (a Wednesday night, 4:00 pm Pacific and 11:00 pm GMT). We'll start with a countdown to the record-setting updates, and there will be prizes and trivia throughout the night. You can even RSVP via the Facebook Page. See you there!
How best do I describe our company?
Well, I’m biased, obviously, but perhaps if I start with the core components…..Nik Williams, possibly the best animatronics designer and mechanical engineer this side of the Atlantic, Tina Foster, the fastest, finest fabricator/designer in the Northern hemisphere, and me, Pauline Fowler, (no, not from East Enders!) speedy sculptor, sometime hair replacer, and, dare I say it, all round creative person.
We have been asked many times if we specialise in anything – the simple reply is yes…in everything. If the aforementioned supremely talented group can’t, then we hire in the best that can. Anyway, the point of this website is for you to see for yourselves, so don't just sit there - click something!
I've done some finishing work on the blocky wing things, here are two pictures of the overall progress of the model from top and bottom. There's still some glue drying on the bottom, but other than the conning tower, some clean up work and that random block near the engines, the bottom is about finished. Time to get the top built up and cleaned up. I've been spending a ton of time reinforcing just about every part of this model until it's about as sturdy as well, a battle ship. More pics when I make some progress. :)
Oh and there's my foot.