21st Century IRC Client Overview Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Internet Relay Chat or IRC may date back to the late 1980s, but it's still a great way to interact with people. You can chat with other Wing Commander fans in the #Wingnut channel on the CIC network (irc.wcnews.com). While this used to require a dedicated IRC client, it has never been easier to connect. Here's a quick overview of your options.
  • Our web interface is without a doubt the simplest way to connect. We've recently replaced the aging Java applet with a cleaner, slicker Flash application. Just direct your browser to www.wcnews.com/irc and pick a username. You'll automatically join the #wingnut channel.
  • The latest version (15) of the Thunderbird mail client supports various real-time chat protocols out of the box. Here is a tutorial for configuring an IRC session. Our server is located at irc.wcnews.com. Put a username of your choice and don't worry about the password. Once you are connected, join the #wingnut channel.
  • Dedicated IRC applications are still the most powerful. Once you are more familiar with IRC, you may want to upgrade to one of these clients. mIRC for Windows, LimeChat for Mac and XChat for Linux are just a few options for PC. Tablet and phone users can try AndroIRC for Android, IRC7 for Windows Phone or Colloquy for iOS.

Nothing But A Rich Man's Game Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's something of a surprise, a positive review of a Wing Commander product from PC Format! They are impressed with the cast of actors, the improvements in technology and even the gameplay! But of course, this being PC Format that can't last forever. After getting the year wrong, they list 2654 instead of 2669, they toss in some subtle jabs throughout the review. Their biggest whine, along with countless other Wingnuts of the time, is slow loading times. Most of us can remember watching Blair run down the stairs and climb into his fighter and then waiting as the mission loaded. Depending on your system specs this could sometimes take a while. Check out the whole thing below!
Wing Commander 3 is a rich man's game. It's expensive to buy, needs an expensive machine to play an, as is the case with legitimately acquiring enormous wealth, it requires the patience of a saint. It's the most ambitious game ever to grace a PC, with a budget of over $4 million, $2m of which went on Hollywood talent, the other $2m on programming skills. But it was all worth it.
Thanks to Pix for these great scans!

WCPedia IRC Conference - September 8 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

On Saturday, September 8th, at 7 pm EST we'll be holding a WCPedia IRC conference in #wingnut. We've got a number of issues to discuss as we start off another year with the project. We're going to review our article naming system for several categories, look at a number of organizational issues, and start prioritizing content that needs to be imported. This year's going to be a big one for WCPedia and we need to make sure we start it off right.

We encourage all wingnuts to drop into the channel. Even if you aren't working on the project, it's always a great time when the community gets together. It's always good to see a friendly ship, after all.

Buy a Piece of History! (and/or CyberMage) Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Former Origin developer Rhea Shelley is selling another collection of company memorabelia on eBay! The items are primarily Ultima-related, but there is also a nice copy of Wing Commander Prophecy. The real winner, however, is a Cybermage Poster. Can you afford not to own part of the CyberMage legacy? Especially a part featuring such a charming lie ("way, way better than Doom.") You can find the full list of auctions (which includes many non-Origin RPG items) here. The prices are currently very easonable... so bid early, bid often!
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Super Wing Commander Dripping With Atmosphere Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Despite confusing Kilrathi and Dralthi and Drayman with space stations, this July 1994 review of Super Wing Commander for 3DO is lavish in its praise. From the graphics to the gameplay, everything gets a big thumbs up. So then it is a little odd that the final score is only seven out of ten. It's unclear where or what they are knocking points off for.
Anyone who's loaded a 3DO game before will know the procedure: 1. Insert disc. 2. Marvel at beautiful rendered images. 3. Gasp at wonderful sound. 4. Notice complete lack of gameplay and switch off in disgust. Super Wing Commander is exactly the same -- except for the last step.
Thanks to Pix for letting us repost these scans!

Birthday Party Log Now Online! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Somehow it's already been more than two weeks since the CIC's Fourteenth Birthday! Fans have been asking where the IRC log is, because we were lucky enough to have series creator Chris Roberts visit us in #Wingnut this year. Wait no further - the complete log of all festivities has now been uploaded. This includes some terrifying, though exciting, chaos as the CIC redirects traffic to deflect the server load from dozens and dozens of fans simultaneously loading our birthday updates.

The large mass of party text can be a bit hard on the eyes, so a trick to easier reading is to save the file in mirc's log folder (well hidden under C:\Users\[YourName]\AppData\Roaming\mIRC\logs in Windows 7), and then viewing the log from within mirc. This will properly show all of the event's colors.

Mr. Roberts arrived later in the evening, and his Q&A session with fans has been broken out here! Once again, we'd like to thank Chris for coming by and answering so many questions. It made for a wonderful birthday party!

Now the countdown to the CIC's 15th begins...

Goodbye, Neil Armstrong Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Neil Armstrong, commander of the Gemini 8 and Apollo 11 missions, passed away today. Armstrong needs no introduction; as the first man to walk on the moon it is likely his will be one of the few--perhaps even the only--contemporary name remembered distant centuries from today.

In addition to his achievement unlikely ever to be surpassed, Armstrong should be remembered for his sheer strength of character. He spent the forty-odd years following the landing as a model hero. Taciturn to a fault, he opted to neither profit from nor dwell on his part in the Apollo program.

Origin Systems paid tribute to Armstrong in 1995 by giving the surname to the player character in Super Wing Commander. "Maverick" Armstrong replaced Christopher Blair in that remake of Wing Commander I.

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Gato Get George's New Album! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Origin's composer of classic (WC3-Prophecy) music, George Oldziey, has released his first solo CD! The genre for the album is latin jazz, and it sounds very warm, fun, happy, and maybe even a little bit familiar to Wing Commander fans. You can listen to a preview at Mr. Oldziey's Soundcloud page, or pick up a copy at Amazon.com, iTunes and CDBaby. His band, Gato 6, will also be holding a release party on September 7 in Austin, Texas. Sounds like fun!

Hi guys! Hope all is great on your end! Just wanted to let the Wing Commander community know that, after decades of composing music for other people (games, films, documentaries, etc.) I'm finally releasing a project of my own original Latin Jazz music on my band GATO 6's new CD, "El Viento". Yours truly composed (except for ONE cover), arranged, recorded and mixed all the tunes on the CD. It hits CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, and many other digital distribution outlets tomorrow (Thursday, August 23rd). If you'd like to get a preview you can check out my Soundcloud page.

Hope all is wonderful in the Wing Commander Universe!



GATO 6 - Latin Jazz Meets World Music in Austin

GATO 6, Austin's premiere Latin Jazz band, is a high powered, all-star ensemble that performs George's original music which draws on his myriad world music and jazz influences. The band features locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists such as Dennis Dotson on trumpet, John Mills on reeds, George Oldziey on piano, Wayne Salzmann on drums, Kris Afflerbaugh on bass, Luis Continho and Mike Longoria on percussion, and the incomparable Suzi Stern on vocals.

GATO 6's premiere CD, "El Viento", will be officially released on Thursday, August 23rd, and will be available at Austin's Waterloo Records as well as at Amazon.com, CDBaby and in digitally downloadable form from iTunes.


September 7th CD Release Party!

The date is finally set! Don't miss the premiere CD release party of the season! Friday night, Sept 7th will be the long awaited release of GATO 6's CD "El Viento". This event will take place at Austin's premiere jazz venue, The Elephant Room on Congress and 3rd St. CDs will be available for sale at the event. Hope to see you there!

GOG Update: Privateer Guide Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It turns out there is more exciting news today: GOG has added a scanned copy of the Privateer Playtester's Guide to their copy of Wing Commander Privateer. Users who already own Privateer on GOG can access the document immediately, while users who don't already have a copy can't be trusted to make rational decisions.

The Playtesters' Guide is an extremely cool book, the first Wing Commander guide developed in-house at Origin. In addition to general tips, a trading table and a walkthrough of the plot, the book's signature feature is maps of every star system which include statistics for every possible random encounter! How many places can you find a Paradigm in the Gemini Sector? You'll find out here!

Yhe GOG release of Wing Commander I & II has also been upated to include the initial "Squadron" proposal which was already available online. Now HOW ABOUT THOSE ADDONS?

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That Sure Is Some Expensive Tinsel Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today's review comes to us from the April 1996 issue of CD-ROM magazine. Besides a few comments how the gameplay is "more of the same," the reviewer is pleased with how the video sequences turned out. However, he's not thrilled that the gameplay hasn't changed since Wing Commander II in his eyes. The tinsel keeps getting prettier, but the tree stays the same I guess. Certainly one of the least snarky reviews we've posted over from Pix. Check out the full review below.

Dazzling Detail Graces New Fighter Images Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs' physical models are amazing, but technology hasn't reached the point where they can pop out of the replicator completely painted. Until we reach that day, his amazing new renders will have to do! The Hornet, Scimitar, Salthi and Dralthi form the vanguard of a new fleet of highly detailed Wing Commander ships that Klavs is working on. It's wonderful how the ships aren't just loaded with "greebles" or hull plates - they're genuinely interesting to gaze at.

I've started re-texturing and re-detailing the re-designed fighters, and I'll keep the updates posted here.

Hope I'm not boring you guys with more spaceships. :)

RPGs Span the Galaxy from Enigma to Enyo Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

capi3101 has continued to make steady progress on his elaborate Wing Commander RPG. The project recently turned one year old as Capi completed capital ship creation, and now he's delved deep into navigational data. In particular, the star systems of Sol, Enigma and Kilrah are being accurately modeled based on their depiction on the universe map included with Prophecy. Work on the "bestiary" is planned next.

My plan for this week is to continue work that should seed the rest of the planetary data I need for the Kilrah and Sol systems. I'm also investigating ways to adjust the images of the systems as they appear on the Prophecy map to match the data I'm presenting, so that I can include a picture of those maps in the chapter (as I was able to do with the Enigma system). I may still change my mind on that. Work on the Gemini Sector systems will follow that, after which I may or may not include a sample developed planet and community. Should I finish up work on the Chapter this week, I will proceed to the bestiary in Chapter 12.4, and try to get that out of the way.

I'm still accepting submissions for the game's non-canonical sections; just post your ideas to this thread.

Last, but not least, do be sure to check out Enyo, a standalone RPG that Capi released for the CIC Birthday! A free PDF of the game rules is available here.

On 2639.033, forces of the Kilrathi empire land on the human-occupied word of Enyo, putting a quarter of a million human prisoners under orbital guns. Thus began the Enyo Engagement, in which the Terran Confederation executed a masterful plan over the course of one week to drive the Kilrathi from the system.

At least, that's the way the history books say it happens. Whether or not it will actually turn out that way is entirely up to you...

Enyo is a miniature campaign developed for the Wing Commander Role-Playing Game. This guidebook contains all of the information you need to oust the Kilrathi from the Enyo System, including:

-A simple, yet flexible character creation system.

-A set of read-made characters, allowing players to jump right into the game.

-Customized ships and vehicles for use with the campaign.

-Flexible rules that allow players to play with as much detail and complexity as they wish.

Severals Squadrons Skillfully Sketched Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

NinjaLA has updated his roster of classic Confed fighter sketches, and he's even added Kilrathi and WC2 designs! The Kat ships are nicely embellished while still looking remarkably like the originals. Jalthi, Krant and Salthi receive some sharp lines that seem to be precursors to the style of craft we fight in WC3. The human designs also share common characteristics and exhibit some interesting progression from one design to the next. Let Ninja know what you think at the CIC Forums.
My big goal (aside from massive amounts of lineart practice) is proving that with little effort, just about all of the Wing Commander ships have similar styles.. even the Kilrathi fighters..

Basically, Shuttles Rock Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Cybot has some new designs to share with his fellow fans. These models are a mix of Kilrathi asteroids, Confed starbases and human shuttles. This combination looks like the perfect fit for anyone trying to build a scenario in the Fariss Quadrant or asteroid fields of Kilrah. Download these designs and many others at the CIC Forums here or here.
All models post here are free to use what ever you want to use them for. :)

The Brass Have Been Reviewing Your Record Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last week, we rolled out a new Chatzone medals system that awards wingnuts for their chatzone contributions. Over the last few days, we've added a dozen new medals and reorganized a few things about the existing ones. Wingnuts can view the updated medal list here. But that's not all! The CIC staff will also award unique participation and achievement medals to Wingnuts who make contributions to the community.

Chatzone ranks have also been activated. Wingnuts will see their ranks displayed below their Chatzone name unless you've entered a "Custom Title" on your Personal Details page. In that case, the Custom Title will show instead. If you want your rank displayed, simply remove the Custom Title from the Personal Details page.

The ranks are based on those used by the Terran Confederation Space Navy. By earning medals, Wingnuts earn trophy points which then determine their rank. Here's a breakdown of the system:

  • Spaceman (0 points)
  • Veteran Spaceman (150 points)
  • Petty Officer (300 points)
  • Chief Petty Officer (750 points)
  • Master Chief Petty Officer (1200 points)
  • Ensign, 2nd Class (1500 points)
  • Ensign (2000 points)
  • 2nd Lieutenant (3000 points)
  • 1st Lieutenant (4500 points)
  • Lieutenant Commander (6000 points)
  • Commander (7500 points)
  • Captain (9000 points)
  • Commodore (12000 points)
  • Rear Admiral (20000 points)
  • Vice Admiral (28000 points)
  • Admiral (36000 points)
  • Space Marshal (60000 points)

Head over to the CIC Forums and start ranking up!

Did You Ever Really Chair? Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Super Wing Commander for the 3DO doesn't have side views. You can swap between your cockpit, a chase view and a cinematic 'battle view.' But unlike Wing Commander I, there's no looking left, right and behind... and there are no sides to your cockpit. The Macintosh version actually includes (undocumented) the ability to look left and right but includes no window dressing graphics.

Or are there? While digging into the 3DO version's guts, HCl discovered something interesting: an assortment original Wing Commander I graphics of the 'surround' views... and, in two cases (Hornet and Scimitar) rear views in the Super Wing Commander style! They're inaccessible in the game itself, but they're hidden in the data files. The Scimitar view seems to be unfinished (it lacks the seat) but it proves that there was a plan to include the other views at some point in development!

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Fabulous Fighter Factory Fired Up Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has completed his latest physical model updates, and his Shapeways store now carries an extensive lineup of classic fighters. The Hornet, Salthi and Scimitar are available in one triple-pack of small 1/600 models, and they're followed by another threesome that includes the Rapier, Dralthi and Raptor. Each ship is also available in a larger 1/300 format, and this size also includes a swift Ferret as well. These look amazing! Who wouldn't want one on their desk? Hit up Terran Fleet Supply for details.

Ok guys, the new ship packs are live. All ships except the Raptor have been prototyped, so order that one at your own risk until I make sure that she prints ok.

I reiterate that these ships are available at cost, meaning I don't make any money off them, just want you guys to have them sitting on your desk if you want.

I really wish I could get the costs down. Costs are by volume of the model, so those pesky big cat ships are always a bit pricey. It's just not worth printing them in a lower quality material, you'd lose tons of detail and have to spend a million years sanding to get rid of the terraces.

The 1/600 scale ships are packaged like the old Scifi Micro Machines, it's cheaper this way for anybody that wants more than one, so that's why they're in packs of 3.

The 1/300 ships are printed singly. I can't afford to prototype all the 1/300 scale ships, but the new 1/300 scale Hornet looks great! Tons of details, more pics tomorrow. When the sun comes back up so I can get some good photos.

Kickstarter Corner: Jeff Dee's D&D Art Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Do you remember looking through the early Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks, with all their cool black and white artwork? It turns out much of that was done by former Origin artist Jeff Dee, who worked on Wing Commander II and a host of other classics! Now he's working on recreating that artwork which was sadly destroyed some years ago. Varying levels of donations give you different numbers and sizes of prints... but even if that isn't up you alley it's still a chance to donate a few dollars to support an Origin legend with an interesting project! You can find all the details here. Who knows, someone might be recreating the art from Claw Marks someday!
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Time to Claim Party Prizes Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

An exhausting, exciting and bittersweet weekend has come to a close, and now it's back to the grind. We have a few housekeeping things to take care of now, including getting prizes into the hands of our lucky and talented Birthday Party winners. In order to claim your prize, email your address here. Also be sure to include your IRC nick and real name, plus any size or preference choice associated with the item. If you also have an outstanding prize from a prior CIC event, now's the time to claim that too! Congrats to the winners!

  • Wing Commander Academy on DVD - FekLeyrTarg, Pedro
  • CIC Polo Shirt - Powell
  • CIC Glass - Ninja, Sylvester
  • CIC Playing Cards - Eisengard
  • EA Replay PSP - Ilanin
  • Eisen Hat - Quarto
  • Confed Replica Patch - PopsiclePete, FekLeyrTarg
  • WC CCG Starter Deck Box - NomadTerror, Powell
  • WC Novel - Sylvester, Sylvester
  • WC2 Game OEM - HowardDay, Ilanin
  • WC4 DVD - Vinman
  • New Design WC Movie DVD - Pix, Music Guru, Quarto
  • WC Movie Lobby Cards - Pix
  • GOG WC Game - Wedge, Death, Pedro
  • Privateer 2 autographed by Erin Roberts, Paul Hughes, Phil Mellor and Nick Elms - Goku

Goodbye, Paul Steed Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

There is truly terrible news to report today: world renowned game artist Paul Steed has died.

Paul was best known for his work on the Quake franchise, but he got his start in the industry as a concept artist at Origin. One of his first assignments was doing gameflow storyboards for Trade Commander, later Privateer. His impressive ability to draw beautiful women, which would later be one of his well-known trademarks, was already apparent in some of those sketches.

He quickly developed a preternatural talent for low-poly modeling, a burgeoning skill suddenly in demand in the early 1990s as gaming made the transition to 3D environments before home computers had the horsepower to render truly complex objects. Paul was the best in the industry, using his genuine artistic talent to manipulate simple shapes and low resolution textures into believable--and beautiful!--fighter planes, spaceships and skyscrapers.

His credits at Origin read like a list of games you should play: Privateer, Strike Commander, Tactical Operations, Wing Commander Armada, Wing Commander III, Wings of Glory, Bioforge and Wing Commander IV. Faced with the prospect of losing him to another company, Origin offered him a chance to pitch his own project. The result was a never-realized racing game concept called Cyclone Alley.

Paul went on to create many other famous worlds for Id Software and a host of other developers. He wrote books on 3D modeling and served as Creative Director for Microsoft, where he helped launch the Xbox 360, and Atari. He founded and worked for Exigent, a 3D art outsourcing company, for five years. In recent years he had returned to game development in Austin. Paul was also a veteran, serving six years in the United States Air Force before becoming a game artist.

I corresponded with Paul on occasion and can say that he was a genuinely good person and always willing to spare time to answer questions about the early days at Origin. The industry has lost a truly great developer and the world has lost an incredibly talented artist. Paul was an essential part of Origin during its greatest days and we fans are forever in his debt that he shared his talent to help build our universe.

Chris Roberts provided the following memories, which best sums up how truly important Paul's contributions at Origin were:

Here's a story from the beginning of Paul's career that illustrates the impact he made in the video games industry. We hired Paul at Origin just out of the Air Force to work on Strike Commander. We didn't have the budget to hire a "proper" artist but we liked Paul's attitude and saw talent when he came in for an interview so we invented an art design assistant position for him.

Strike Commander was my follow up to Wing Commander and we were pushing the boundaries of what you could do on PCs. We had gouraud shading and real 3D texture mapping before anyone else had tried it in games. Originally we didn't think we could make the planes look cool enough in real 3D so we were going to use sprites rendered out from 3DS Studio, which is how Wing Commander 1 & 2 were done. We had built a utility so we could model and texture low poly buildings and objects for the ground terrain (this was long before such niceties as API and SDKs in things like 3DS Max and Maya to be able to import meshes into your engine).

We gave it to Paul to build objects as an early test. He came into my office a few days later and said "I want to show you something" and then proceeded to show a beautifully built 3D fighter inside our engine. Because of Paul's work and talent we decided to junk the Wing Commander sprite rendering and everything went 3D, including the cockpits - many years before anyone else had done any of that in a game. That's a testimony to Paul's talent and vision in our industry.

I'll miss you greatly.

Pete Shelus:

I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with Paul Steed and the privilege to call him a friend. Some of my best memories of Paul are working with him on designs and ideas for Privateer 2, before our version of that project was cancelled at Origin. Like many great artists, Paul lived his life hard, created amazing works of art, and left us too soon. I will miss him.


Pete Shelus
Lead Programmer - Wing Commander: Prophecy

If you would like to share your thoughts or memories about Paul with the community, please contact us.

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Happy 14th Birthday, CIC! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If we'd had a kid instead of a Wing Commander community, they'd be starting high school right now. Let THAT sink in!

This was a good year to be a Wing Commander fan. Between the GOG releases of the series and the DVD set of Wing Commander Academy, everything is just plain available again in a way I never would have predicted. Who knows what kind of surprises 2013 will bring? As I look at our sister community getting their Origin franchise relaunched by EA and the core concept revisited by their games' creator, I just know the same will be happen for Wing Commander. And it could be soon!

But for now, enjoy the birthday! I'll warn you that we decided it just wasn't possible to top the 100+ updates last year... and our staff has been busy with several projects that unfortunately we can't reveal tonight. Nevertheless, you'll find an extraordinary array of Wing Commander history updates, fan contributions and all the old traditions in today's news!

Be sure and stop by #WingNut for trivia and chat through the night! It's great to be able to have one of these on a Friday night.

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Happy Birthday from Chris Roberts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We're honored to have a birthday message from series creator Chris Roberts for the community:
Happy fourteenth birthday WC News! I tip my hat to Ben, Chris, Barrie, Brandon, Kris, Aaron and Jason for keeping the dream alive. I’m humbled that a world I created because I wanted to feel the dream of being a pilot flying a star fighter with a mission to save humanity connected with so many people and grew into something so much larger. A lot of talented people contributed to making the Wing Commander universe what it is today, and that includes the people at WC News and the fans that keep its spirit alive today despite there being no new commercial “AAA” game for 14 years (sorry Arena isn’t a real WC – it has to be first person 3D and cinematic!). To see the continued discussions, ships being modeled and even a full featured game being made is amazing. Enjoy this day and many more to come!
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Happy Birthday, Ultima Codex! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

And a very happy birthday to our sister community's flagship site, the Ultima Codex (formerly Ultima Aiera)! They turned eight years old yesterday... so at least they won't have to go to the same high school as the CIC!
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SWC PSA Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Remember, Colonel Blair Armstrong says always use protection. (This is the actual medal case in Super Wing Commander; I miss the bikini girl.)

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Poll - Still With Us? Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We always start the next Wing Commander year (WCY) with a poll asking how long you've been with the community... and every year we're blown away by both the number of people who have been with us since WCHS in 1995 AND the fact that we still get new WingNuts today! So, keep the tradition going and vote!

Last time we asked which Kilrathi had the coolest sounding name and the winner by a long shot was Dakhath "Deathstroke" nar Sihkag with almost half the total votes. It just goes to show you, being the candidate people have heard of before is a valuable thing!

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Infoburst Redux Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Fourteen years ago, CIC founders Chris Reid and Ben Lesnick, awkward teenagers both, sat down for an interview with Evan "Hadrian" Adnams to record an 'infoburst' (the term podcast not yet existing.) Justin "LeHah" Bielawa and Echo Sector's Keenan Weaver sat down with Chris and Ben again earlier this week and asked them the same questions. How has a decade and a half in the Wing Commander community changed us? Find out here (53 meg MP3).
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We Have to Go Back! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The CIC is going back... to Austin! Last year we celebrated the birthday from Austin, TX while visiting former Origin developers and studying material housed at the University of Texas' videogames archive. If you missed that adventure you're about to get a second chance: we will be in Austin the second week in October (during the Game Developers Conference.) There will be another archiving project, general hanging out and a variety of fun Wing Commander-related events. If you're interested in helping out or just meeting up for a good time, please let us know!

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Time To Rank Up Wingnuts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last year the Chatzone was upgraded to new forum software called Xenforo. One thing that was not possible to implement with it was the old rank system. The software continued to see updates over the last year and we can now announce that a new Chatzone rank and medal system has been implemented. Wingnuts can earn service ribbons, bronze, silver, and gold stars, along with other awards for Chatzone activities. Doing so, they will earn medal points. The number of medal points a wingnut has determines their ranks. The ranks follow the Space Navy's structure from Spaceman to Space Marshal. Wingnuts will notice when they log into the Chatzone that medals are awarded for retroactive achievements. Below is a breakdown of the medals. The point values are there for now. We're only able to test this one in the field so expect a fair number of tweaks. Once we see that the medals are working properly, ranks will be enabled. Maybe a week or so after release.
Campaign Ribbon
  • Posting 10 messages
Bronze Stars
  • Posting 50 messages (50 points)
  • Posting 100 messages (100 points)
  • Posting 150 messages (150 points)
  • Posting 200 messages (200 points)
  • Being registered for 30 days (50 points)
  • Logging in on your birthday (100 points)
  • Being registered for 3 months (75 points)
Silver Stars
  • Posting 250 message (250 points)
  • Posting 500 messages (500 points)
  • Being registered for six months (150 points)
  • Posting 750 messages (750 points)
  • Being registered for one year (300 points)
  • Being registered for two years (450 points)
  • Being registered for three years (600 points)
  • Being registered for four years (750 points)
Gold Stars
  • Posting 1000 messages (1000 points)
  • Posting 1250 messages (1250 points)
  • Posting 1500 messages (1500 points)
  • Posting 1750 messages (1750 points)
  • Being registered for five years (1000 points)
Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Has 5000 medal points (5000 points)
  • Posting 5000 messages (5000 points)
  • Posting 7500 messages (7500 points)
  • Being registered for seven years (7000 points)
Medal of Honor
  • Posting 10000 messages (10000 points)
  • Being registered for ten years (10000 points)
  • Has 50000 medal points (10000 points)

Wingleader Press Release Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Attached are pictures of the original Wing Commander press release... from when the game was still called Wingleader! This would have been sent to store owners who were planning on ordering new games from Origin.

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Wing Commander Movie Like It's 1991 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This is a special treat. In the past we've explored earlier drafts of the Wing Commander movie -- the pitch to Sony, the first, second, third and shooting scripts. We've followed the original through Chris Roberts' and Kevin Droney's rewrites and revealed how it became the movie we saw in 1999. But what if we told you there was a Wing Commander movie pitch before all that?

In late 1991, Origin worked on an internal Wing Commander movie project. The idea was that a team at the company could do a demo version to be shown to investors at CES. A script for the demo was written by G.P. Austin and a longer treatment for the entire movie that could be done with investment money was included.

If you've ever wondered if the Wing Commander movie would have been better without "Pilgrims" and done at Origin, the answer here seems to be... no. It's incredibly fascinating but it isn't a very good story: it tells about Blair's first missions on the Tiger's Claw and his quest to punish Prince Thrakhath for murdering his parents. In the end, he learns the true meaning of revenge.

Very little of this version survives to the 1999 film, but there is a little bit... especially, the name Forbes for a fellow Tiger's Claw pilot.

Download the treatment here (PDF)

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You Have New Orders Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

In the tradition of last year's selection of Wing Commander posters, here's something you can print at home: a copy of Blair's orders prop from the Wing Commander movie! It's interesting that some (but not all or even most) of the Wing Commander movie material considers him to be a Confederation Marine.

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Making the Games: Wing Commander 2 Story Pitch Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here we have Ellen Guon and Stephen Beeman's original script/pitch for "Wing Commander II: Cloak and Dagger," written in November 1990 shortly after the release of the first game. It's Vengeance of the Kilrathi, for sure, but it's Vengeance of the Kilrathi writ large... with many more elaborate scenes and ideas that didn't make it to the finished game. There are too many highlights to list, so let me just mention this: players get to watch a reporter talking about the state of the war between missions... a reporter that Tolwyn eventually punches in the face!

We apologize for the quality of the three Wing Commander 2 documents. We're hoping to have proper scans (or typed versions) available soon. But they're too cool to wait for!

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Making the Games: Wing Commander 2 Character Pitch Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Ah, the Wing Commander 2 pilots: Iceman, Minx, Turbo, Tomcat, Cirocco, Bogey... wait, what?! This fascinating document, glimpsed in the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide, introduces us to the characters Ellen Guon and Stephen Beeman initially imagined for Wing Commander 2. As with the script, there is a LOT here that didn't make it into the finished game!
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Making the Games: Wing Commander 2 Art Pitch Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Finally, we have the preliminary list of art assets needed for the initial version of Wing Commander 2. These are all the talking heads, background sets, special scenes and so on that Guon and Beeman believed the art team would have to create. Note that they're already thinking about saving money/time: there are notes about reusing things from Wing Commander I... and Ultima 6!
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Making the Games: WC2 Ship Codex Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

At some point during the development of Wing Commander 2, someone at Origin ran a text file of all the game's ship stats through a dot matrix printer. From there they marked changes as the game was finished--what ships were cut, what changed roles and so on. Over the years that printout yellowed, the text faded, the edges tore and it slowly disappeared... until it was discovered and photographed for this post!

The Wing Commander 2 ship codex, available here (PDF), is the archeology world's most important look at the development of Wing Commander 2's ships. Here are just a few of the amazing facts it has revealed:

  • The Kilrathi originally had a second transport named the LUMBAKH. Which solves an age-old question: what is the 'fatso' ship (pictured below)? It was found in Captain Johnny's 3DS collection with the other WC2 ships and labeled ANLUMBA.3DS. At the time we assumed it was an unused WC2 ship of unspecific class and had that name because it was then reused by Super Wing Commander (with different textures) for the Lumbari. We now know it was something else entirely!
  • For years debate has raged over what the 'tube' at the front of the Rigakh cruiser was intended to be. A launch tube, a planetary missile launcher, an anti-matter gun? Shockingly, as the ship codex includes the in-game specifications for the Rigakh, we now know it was intended to be a Phase Transit Cannon!
  • The Crossbow was originally a Confederation corvette! This explains why the original 3D model and the version in the Wing Commander Academy ship selection screen have Confed capship markings instead of the white and blue scheme seen in Special Operations 1. Also, why the Crossbow exists in the first place, seeing as it's incredibly similar to the Broadsword when used as a fighter. The corvette had two forward particle cannons and a pair of flak guns!
  • The supply depot from Special Operations 1 was originally cut from Wing Commander 2.
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Have You Ever Noticed... Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

... that the back of the box for Special Operations 2 has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens in the game?
The Confederation's electronic grapevine is running amok with rumors that vital intelligence has been withheld by the High Command. Luckily, Special Operations has its own sources of information, and they say the waiting game just won't cut it any longer. Someone has to lead the way, and you're getting the call!
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Memories of 1992 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

1992 was the first "down" year for Wing Commander. It's something of a surprise, after Wing Commander in 1990 and Wing Commander II in 1991, that there was no major game project. Privateer ("Trade Commander" at the time) was initially planned for a holiday release, but delays to the Strike Commander technology pushed it back to 1993. Instead, we now celebrate the twentieth anniversary of four smaller projects, all now considered true classics.

Special Operations 2, the final mission disk for Wing Commander II, pitted the player against the oft-discussed Society of Mandarins and allowed for a final showdown with "Jazz" Colson. Along the way, you encounter your old friend Maniac and test some hot new hardware.

Freedom Flight inagurated the Wing Commander novel series in a grand fashion. An adaptation and extension of The Secret Missions 2: Crusade, Freedom Flight put Hunter in the main character's shoes and followed his adventures trying to free a group of Firekkan prisoners. While lacking the military tone of the later books, Freedom Flight is perhaps the most accurate to the games at the time, written as it was by Ellen Guon.

The original Wing Commander was ported to two popular platforms by Mindscape: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Amiga. With the long-delayed Amiga port, Wing Commander finally gained widespread acknowledgement in the UK... and the SNES version introduced the series to a generation of more casual console gamers. Both were technological marvels, doing an enormous amount of work with very limited technical resources.

We've asked WCNews staff members to chime in with their memories of these projects. You should do the same in the forums!


1992 was probably when I got serious about Wing Commander. I remember I had some graph paper that I used to sketch out intricate reproductions of the various ship VDUs from the original two games (screenshots, who knew?) and I had pretty much committed the original Claw Marks to memory. There wasn't a big release, but it was a good year!

Special Operations 2, in retrospect, is a bit too much wish fulfillment. Special Operations 1 was sort of a subdued story: it continued the Ghorah Khar arc from Wing Commander II, the new fighter it gave us to play with was actually pretty dull (though pretty!) and the characters it introduced were actually just stopping by on their way to a novel. Special Operations 2, on the other hand: it's your old enemy Maniac... and now he's being disgraced! And the Morningstar with its best guns and super missile and light fighter speed and maneuverability. And of course now you actually get to KILL Jazz! It's all over the top, compared to Ellen Guon's much more nuanced Wing Commander II script. But I loved the hell out of all of that as a twelve year old boy. It's also important for what it represents from the creative side: the artists and writers who fashioned the first games were on their way out and others were taking over. Nothing signifies the difference between the 'anime styled' Wing Commander I and II artwork and the modern military look found in the later games like the Morningstar, essentially an F-15 in space.

Freedom Flight, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. As a kid I found it too juvenile. Where were the great military campaigns and the space battles and so on? As an adult I recognize it was the most true-to-the-game of all the Wing Commander novels and the only one lacking Dr. Forstchen's unnecessary politics. As I say in another update today, my favorite scene in all of Wing Commander now is Hobbes' wistful goodbye to Hassa on Ghorah Khar (of course, who knows how real any of that was? I choose to think it is, anyway.) Today I wish we'd had an alternate slate of novels with Ellen Guon and Mercedes Lackey's more humanistic take on the characters and their world.

The ports, on the other hand, I didn't play at the time. My mother would NOT allow me to have a game console and I don't think any American knew what an Amiga was. I do remember salivating over the box art to Wing Commander SNES in the video rental store (it's a different painting, look closely!) I once convinced a friend with an SNES to rent a copy so I could try it, but when we got to the store it was out. And so it was quite a few years until I got to play the game! What was really impressive about it, in addition to all those tiny details only Wing Commander fans will notice, is how much Mindscape managed to put into a tiny cartridge. It really is the Wing Commander I experience, through and through.

The Amiga version I had no idea even existed at the time, but over the years as we came together online it was clear that there was an 'Amiga faction' of players who insisted that their version was better. Especially, they would repeat, it had amazing music. So of course that's why I won a troublesome Amiga 4000 today, to play that game alone. Now I'm sorry to say that it is NOT better. The music is spectacular, the game is a technical marvel... but the 32 color graphics just cut it down too much compared to the PC release. But it's still an amazing game with an amazing story (it was delayed a year because the SOLE programmed became deathly ill!) and I'm sorry we never saw further Amiga Wing Commanders.


1992 was a big year for me! I didn't have a computer good enough for Wing Commander in 1990 & 1991, but I did shortly thereafter, and I got into Wing Commander 2 big time! Every single day I'd come home and fire it up. Like many Wingnuts, I installed a Soundblaster just to hear the Emperor's voice, and it was just thrilling to have such a variety of ships to fly. It didn't matter if I resumed the previous mission or loaded a random savegame, I'd just play and love to fly around. Slightly off topic, but this same enjoyment is what made Wing Commander Academy (the game) so great. There was a huge demand for a flexible mission simulator in the gorgeous immersive Wing Commander spaceflight engine.

1992 was also the year that Wing Commander was released for ther Super Nintendo, and I also played that whenever I wasn't playing WC2 on the computer. It's a slightly trimmed down version compared to WC1 on the PC (green Salthis instead of Jalthis!), but it's pretty amazing what they were able to do both in graphical fidelity and gamepad controller input. To this day, I can still pick up this version of WC1 (once again popularized by EA Replay and its rerelease on the Playstation Network) and feel right at home.

1992 was the start of a golden era of Wing Commander *playing* for me. With relatively few distractions, I played the hell out of WC1, WC2, WC3, Academy, Privateer and Armada from 1992 through 1995. After 1995, much of my time has been devoted to a mix of Wing Commander experiences (novels, collecting the CCG, watching Academy, etc) and spending a huge amount of time discussing the series online with fellow fans. Sure, I can play Wing Commander games whenever I want now, thanks to the modern rereleases, but I have extremely fond memories of those early years when the series was new.


I didn't become a wingnut until several years after these products originally came out. My recollections are based on my first encounters with them.

I have an odd history with Wing Commander 2 and its addons. My dad brought WC2 Deluxe home from a yard sale not long after we got our first DOS box. After playing through WC2, for some reason, I was unable to beat the second mission you fly with Hobbes, Ghorah Khar B. So the game sat idle for longer than I care to admit while I played other WC games, before the Kilrathi Saga was released. That was the first time I played the early games in their entirety. It's hard not to love the story of WC2 and its expansions. Chasing down Jazz, blasting Kilrathi and traitors, then destroying an asteroid base, with a nuke no less, tell me where to sign! It's everything for a teenage boy to love. Trusting your front line pilots with what the Confederation considers "tactical" weapons is always an excellent idea. Others tried to replicate, but nothing beats the original Mace. The experience was amplified by being able to quickly swap stories with other wingnuts in #wing-commander. For me, it was a more of a social experience with the early games because of the ability to talk to so many others. It's definitely what I remember most about SO2.

I got Freedom Flight, End Run, Fleet Action, and The Heart of the Tiger novels all at once at some point in 1996. It might have been my birthday or Christmas. I read them in order and like most young boys immediately thought End Run and Fleet Action were the best of the bunch. They had everything you'd want. At first I thought Freedom Flight was good, but not great. Nothing special, if you will. Overtime though, you realize how great of a story it is. I didn't grow to love Kirha hrai Hunter nar Aussie from the brief reunion in Fleet Action. It was Freedom Flight that did that. I'm still partial to End Run because of the pure destruction wrought by the Confederation on the Kilrathi. Freedom Flight is a close second.


When I was in my teens a lot of my PC gaming was done over at a friend’s house. He had a fantastic 486dx66 and one day I went over to his house and he was playing something entirely new. I was used to playing flight sims and submarine sims at his house because that was all we ever bought. but this was a space sim. And the sim was Wing Commander II on the 1994 EA 'Top 10 Pack' which also had Chuck Yeager's Air Combat and Seal Team.

I was immediately struck by how gorgeous this hand-drawn game was and how different the combat was from a traditional flight sim. It was a mixture of arcade action and top gun style flying and it had a story told through cut-scenes! I was astounded. We took turns beating the Kilrathi in sortie after sortie and were glued to the screen trying to figure out who the traitor really was, I went over to their house every day for 2 weeks until we played it through with a trackball mouse controller.

My purchases after that were a bit out of order. The next game I got was privateer, then Wing Commander III, then Privateer 2, WCIV, prophecy, and finally the original. My lifelong addiction to Wing Commander was birthed by Wing Commander 2.


In 1992, my mom had uprooted me from our home and moved us several towns over. When you're 11 years old, that means you might as well be leaving to go live on the moon. You have to leave behind all your friends, your yard, all those hard fought trails in the woods near your house. All those little childhood victories meant nothing now. You had to start somewhere new. It was, in no small sense, traumatic.

As a bookish child, I tended to turn further inward and increasingly isolated in my new environment. I was going through books like nothing else, finishing Tolkien and Le Guin, Malory and Coleridge, Bradbury and Cooper all within one spring and one summer. Unfortunately, despite my passionate love for these writers the two things I really wanted at that age were banned from the house: video games and comic books. My mom did relent and let me have a Game Boy (whoop-de-do, mom) but everything else had to be kept at my grandparents - my NES only got played on weekends and my stacks of Spectacular Spider-Man were left only for Saturday afternoon reading.

Needless to say, feeling I had nothing to lose in this new environment and feeling a swell of teenage angst, I started sneaking comics into my house. It wasn't enough to be reading high fantasy every day, I also had a thirst for X-Men and Star Wars and (god help me, looking back on it) Savage Dragon. But sneaking them past my warden wasn't easy and I was frequently caught in the process. I'm not sure why she disliked them so much - I'm assuming because my mother thought I was dumbing myself down with them somehow? - but I eventually figured out that the one place she never looked was inside my bean bag chair.

So I kept my favorite ones hidden in that dumb, red bean bag chair, only taking them out when everyone else was asleep or when they went out to do errands. I read those issues over and over and over until the spines wrinkled like crows feet and I knew every line of art, every sound effect, every dot of printer's ink. I knew every issue backwards and forwards. I had to, you can only hide so many in a bean bag!

One of the things I remembered being especially interested in was the old Super Nintendo Wing Commander ad on the back of Marvel comic books:

So long before I actually had a computer (or a console!) to play a Wing Commander game on, the best I could do was stare at that ad and wonder what the heck the game was about. My only point of reference was Star Wars movies and I wondered how a computer could possibly do the same thing. I'd played plenty of other games but... looking out of a cockpit, shooting at an enemy? The idea was absurd at that time. Everything was a side-scroller or top-down. This was something entirely new and it wouldn't be for a week or two before I saw the original tech demo for X-Wing at a Software Etc with a religious awe. Going home and looking at that ad again fired my imagination but it would be another couple of years before I had my own computer that could run a Wing Commander game. Those were weird, wild, innocent times and I still have no idea how I got here from there.

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Selling Freedom Flight Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Ever wonder how Baen got the first Wing Commander novel into the stores? Probably not, but here's the answer to the question you didn't ask! It's interesting that there's really very little focus on it being a WING COMMANDER book and a lot on the fact that Mercedes Lackey has a whole host of successful fantasy series' to her credit. Bonus: it's very, very pink.

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Freedom Flight Preview Chapter Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Interested in Freedom Flight after twenty years but aren't sure you're willing to spend the $0.01 for a used copy on Amazon? We've got your hook-up: the preview chapter for the novel is now available online here.

This was originally included in copies of Wing Commander 2 Deluxe and features an edited version of the novel's first two chapters. It's nothing too exciting, but it does feature my absolute favorite paragraph in all of the Wing Commander novels:

Silence hung between them for a long time, as Ralgha fought his emotions again, and considered what she had said in as dispassionate a light as he could manage under the circumstances. "I will do this," Ralgha said slowly. "I must. I will not be forsworn. But I know what it means... I will never be able to return. I will never see you, or my home of Hhallas again." He looked up at the mountain above them, the first stars beginning to appear in the night sky. "Sometimes I wonder if we should ever have left our planet, Hassa. We were so happy there as children, we could have stayed there... perhaps I should have claimed you as my mate and bearer of my children when I had the chance. Years ago, before politics and soldiering claimed my life, and the Lord Sivar claimed yours."
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Strike's Lightning Twice Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's no secret that Chris Roberts' Strike Commander had something of a pained development cycle. Advertising promoting a Christmas 1991 release date (below) was so inaccurate that the final game's manual included a parody promising it would finally be out in 2011. One interesting fact is that Strike actually had a much more diverse selection of vehicles in the original proposal, including an attack helicopter and a P-38 Lightning which mercenaries of the future were somehow going to use as a ground attack aircraft!

As evidence of that, we've archived both versions of Origin's press release for the game. They're very interesting not only because of the changes (and the original line art!) but also because of all the detail they go into about the team and Chris Roberts' vision for the game. I can't really imagine a company today sending out bios of everyone working on a new title.

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Company Politics Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If you'd visited Origin's headquarters in 1992 you might have found this "editorial cartoon" taped to more than one office wall. We'll leave it to you to divine the meaning.

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Art of Wing Commander Academy: Characters Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

To help with the promotion for the Wing Commander Academy DVD set, we created incredibly high resolution scans of a number of animation cels from the series. None of them were used by anyone, and so here are four updates worth for anyone who is interested. The first shows off the series' main characters, including Blair, Maniac, Grunt and Archer.

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Art of Wing Commander Academy: Kilrathi Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The third set of Wing Commander Academy cels are the series' ferocious Kilrathi. Many consider the Wing Commander Academy Kilrathi to be the 'ideal' look for the alien race... even though some of them were purple and green.

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It's in the Cards Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The 300+ images on the Wing Commander CCG weren't all computer art. A great many of them were traditional paintings... and we've added high resolution scans of two to our collection in case you'd like a really close look at how making a card works. These pieces by Robert Daniels Jr., "Stabilizer Destroyed" and "Accidentally Shot Wingman" are traditional acrylic paintings.

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Super Wing Commander Raw Images Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

You've already seen the out-of-nowhere VDU image update above. Here's the story behind it: I was just trying to come up with something that looked cool for a birthday update and figured I'd see what it looked like if all the Wing Commander I VDUs were lined up. It quickly became clear that I'd accidentally discovered the coolest looking thing in the world. And so by Wednesday night I was frantically playing through Super Wing Commander on my PowerMac, Bertha, so I could be sure to include the SWC versions.

Then it occurred to me that people would probably enjoy seeing the entire Super Wing Commander screenshots, since most are unfamiliar with that game's artwork. So, here you can get a quick look at all the cockpits and many of the game's environments!

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My God, It's Full of Stars Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

With all the interest in both medals and Super Wing Commander, I thought it might be fun to show you what a full set of 'chicken guts' looks like in that release. The game will show up to three of each 'star.' The first gives you the medal, the second the complete bar and the third the small triangle on top. It is only possible to win one Medal of Honor (lower row, right) in the game.

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What the Hell is That? Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Wing Commander Prophecy soundtrack is strange enough: it's two tracks from the game and a dozen randomly licensed techno/industrial songs. But now look at this: the Wing Commander Prophecy OST--from 1997!--on a cassette tape.

It's a real thing: for whatever reason, cassettes apparently had a longer shelf life in Thailand... and in 1998 a company called Rock Records licensed and released the Wing Commander Prophecy OST there.

What does it sound like? I have no idea, not having owned a cassette player since 1993.

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Who DAT Tapes? Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We are pleased to announce that an anonymous xOrigin employee has donated 36 DAT tapes... most of which are labeled Wing Commander 3 or Wing Commander 4! We have absolutely no idea what these tapes contain... and are not yet sure how or if they can be recovered. Do you have experience with this sort of data recovery? Please contact us immediately!

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Games that Weren't: Wing Commander Online Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Now it can be told! In early 1999, Origin laid off the Maverick team and cancelled their project, Privateer Online. In October, 1999 they hired back as much of the team as had not moved on to Star Wars Galaxies as they could to create... Wing Commander Online: Privateer. This enormous document is the executive summary for that game, created to convince Electronic Arts executives that it was a well planned project. It includes more details on the cancelled game than have ever been revealed before and even some full color artwork! Download a copy here (202 meg PDF).
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Games That Weren't: Cyclone Alley Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Paul Steed, an Origin artist who would later go on to fame working on the Quake games, once pitched Origin a science fiction game called Cyclone Alley. Paul explains:
Back in ’94, I was Project Director at Origin, and they knew I was going to quit and they said, ‘look, what’s it going to take to keep you here?’ And I said, ‘get me my own project, and I’ll stay. I want a team of people to do a project like I think it should be done.’ And they go, ‘okay.’ So they gave me a bunch of guys. So basically I sat down, and I closed the door to my office and I go, alright, I’m going to write down all the things off the top of my head that I like: I like motorcycles; I like rock and roll; I like women; I like violence; I like science fiction. So I took all that and rolled it into this game I called Cyclone Alley. Which basically was a racing game like Road Rash, except you’re on these Hover Bikes and you can do 360 loops inside these tubes and you’re in this space station in outer space. That was the general premise. It’s a good storyline where you’re this hero. One of the stories was, you were racing and you’re doing really good, and the whole time you get these emails or voice mails, which is how the game system runs, and some of them are cutscenes, and one of them was your girlfriend saying, “hey meet me here.” Lo and behold you finish the race and you get to this place and she’s been kidnapped and these guys are pressuring you to race for them, or throw some races or fix some races or whatever. They’re mafia in space. So that was Guido. Guido kidnaps Tanya, and if you win the race, well there was a whole intricate story. What I wanted to convey was Guido was just this sleazy guy and you need to save her.
Cyclon Alley was not a Wing Commander game... initially! Warren Spector liked the concept and pitched the idea that it could be mated with Privateer to create Privateer 2: Cyclone Alley. His pitch (and some sketches from Paul Steed's version) are below:
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Games That Weren't: Alien Commander Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

You may have heard of Alien Commander, Warren Spector's pitch which ultimately became the famous System Shock. What you don't know is how delightfully crazy it is: the game is set on the wreckage of the TCS Tiger's Claw and has the player face off against Double Helixes! Below are scans of the two-page pitch which is worth a read.

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Surprise Visit from Ginger Lynn Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

This was a birthday surprise even to us: Wing Commander actress Ginger Lynn Allen was kind enough to stop by the forums and answer fan questions! Here's what we've learned so far. If you'd like to ask her a question you can post here - hopefully she'll be back soon!

I've just found this site and thought I join and have the chance to talk to all the Wing Commander fans out there. This was one of my favorite acting jobs I ever had. Heck, I even brought my grandma on the set a few times! So much fun.

I've met SO many Wing Commander fans over the years, and each and everyone of you was just so nice. I know that talking to you here will be so much fun. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer them if I can!

It's pleasure to be here. I've never interacted with fans of WC in this format before. I'm not a computer guru, gamer or techie so please accept my apologies and take me along on your ride.

Thanks for having me.

WC III Heart of the Tiger was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Chris Roberts was hands on in every aspect and it was a pure pleasure. WC V was an entirely different experience. Though it was amazing, the absence of Chris as a producer, director, writer and game creator was very much missed. Not to say the experience wasn't wonderful, or the game wasn't terrific, but Chris was definitely missed. Still loved everyone involved from beginning to end.

Although I've not been approached to be a part of any future WC creations/productions, I would dive in head first at the opportunity. I've not heard the rumor that Chris is working on something new, but tell him to call me, my number hasn't changed!

Q: Which cast member do you think was your favorite to work with? Mark Hamill or Tom Wilson seem like obvious choices, but how about Jason Bernard or Malcolm McDowell?

Tom Wilson had me laughing my ass of from 6am till midnight every night we shot. John Reis Davis is one of the most brilliant actors I've ever worked with. Malcolm McDowell...glad I wore my chastity belt, and Mark Hamil shame on you.

Q: I guess the only question I can think of is the most obvious one: what were your fondest memories of shooting the games? Any in-jokes you can remember between cast and crew? Did you keep anything from the shoot?

Awesome to be here. You guys are great.

My fondest memory of the project is one that no one with the exception of me and my grandmother will ever appreciate the way I do.

Most of the sets were shot on a green screen. My grandmother, bless her sole, had a great fondness for lime green and dayglow purple. I invited her to the set nearly everyday we shot. And one day during dress rehearsal "Gram" walked across the green screen while the cameras were hot. The image everyone saw on the monitor was my grandma with her purple shirt and her grey hair floating across the monitor with nothing below the waist showing!

There was one cast member that was the butt of many, if not all of our jokes, but most likely for this person, they were too dunk to remember most of it. That's all I'll say about that.

If you knew me, you wouldn't ask if I kept anything from the shoot. I keep everything. I have every jumpsuit, uniform, toolbelt, nametag, t-shirt, sweatshirt, pair of shoes and everything underneath (yes I mean my socks) from the shoot. I have everything. That's how special these things are to me, and that's just the kind of girl I am.

Q: But yeah, what Nomad Terror asked... you worked with a lot of great personalities on the Wing Commanders... who were the most fun to work with, and what was the awesomest/most memorable thing that happened on the set?

In WCIII there was a scene where the player has to choose who the ships commander kisses. Flatulence was involved. Won't say who...

Q: How did you come to hear about the casting call for Wing Commander? What were you thinking when you tried out for the role?

It was a long time ago, but if memory serves correct, it was the same person who recommended me for the role of "Ginger" in "Casino" (a role I came in second to to Sharon Stone. I still have the original sides that I auditioned with and the original characters name was not named Ginger. However, if you've seen the movie, they renamed the character Ginger and that's how it appears in the film. With Sharon Stone.

Chris must have preferred me over Sharon Stone in this role...

Q: If the Wing Commander series was ever resurrected with a new game would you be on board to doing another game if they offered?

I'm so on board, I've chosen my weapons already. Have you?

Q: Anyway I recently got my DVD of the animated Wing Commander Academy TV series in the mail - which is finally available for purchase after all these years. They got Mark, Tom, and Malcolm to reprise their roles from the games. Did they ever aproach you about lending your voice?

Sad to say, I was never approached. Would loved to have been part of it.

Q: Neato, thanks for stopping by! Did you ever get a chance to play the Wing Commander games much? Wing Commander 3 was recently rereleased online so that it runs well on modern computers, and we'd be happy to send you a virtual copy if you'd like to try it (again?).

Neato, Guido, Speedo.

I have played the game a few times, and I could never get the ship out of the dock. I sucked at it. I probably shouldn't say that, but it's the truth.

Q: What were your thoughts on acting out Rachel's character? Did you do anything to get into character before filming? Who would win in a fist fight, Rachel or Flint, and why?

WC was one of the most challenging projects I've ever taken on. The script was 3-4 times the length of the "normal" Hollywood script. Each scene had 3-4 endings and it was so mcuh fun to shoot because it was just so different and exciting. Every imaginable ending I was able to live out and that was just exhilarating.

Well, Flint is taller, but I have 22 years of martial arts experience and several black belts. What do you think? But, in the end, I'm a lover not a fighter.

Q: Out of curiosity, would you have liked to have a role in Wing Commander 4?

I had such an amazing time in WC III and V that it would have been an honor to be a part of that and any WC games. Lock and Load.

Q: Have you ever read the novelizations of WC3 and 4? If yes, what do you think about both of them, especially about the backstory of Rachel leaving Blair, and in comparison with the games? And what do you think about the fan-made WC-Games and mods, if you've ever gotten a chance to play them (WC: Saga (+Mods based on it), Unknown Enemy, Standoff, Invasion, Privateer Gemini Gold, etc)?

I've never read the books. Sorry. But I do have autographed copies!

Don't know anything about the fan-made WC games and mods. Tell me more!

Q: What are Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell like; was it fun working with them?

Mark Hamill was....neverendingly....uh....entertaining.

Malcolm was also there..

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Tweet Tweet Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Did you know the CIC has a twitter account? It's @wccic. Now LeHah has set about creating a list of Wing Commander related celebrities who use the service. Know someone who should be added to this list? Let us know!



  • @davidgovett - David Govett (Wing Commander composer, unused Twitter account)
  • @TheMightyFatMan - George "Fatman" Sanger (Wing Commander composer)
  • @DavidGArnold - David Arnold (Wing Commander movie composer)
  • @BarryLeitch - Barry Leitch (Wing Commander II SNES, Righteous Fire)


  • @mercedeslackey - Mercedes Lackey (author, Wing Commander: Freedom Flight)
  • @petertelep - Peter Telep (author, Wing Commander movie novelizations,Pilgrim Truth & Pilgrim Stars)


  • @FreddiePrinzeJr - Freddie Prinze Jr. (Lt Christopher Blair - Wing Commander movie)
  • @BlameItOnGinger - Ginger Lynn Allen (Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis - WC3 and WCP)
  • @MatthewLillard - Matthew Lillard (Lt Todd "Maniac" Marshall - Wing Commander movie)
  • @HamillHimself - Mark Hamill (Colonel Christopher Blair - Wing Commander 3, 4 & Prophecy)
  • @TomWilsonUSA - Tom Wilson (Major Todd "Maniac" Marshall - Wing Commander 3, 4 & Prophecy)
  • @mindystimeouts - Mindy Hester (actress, Wing Commander Prophecy)
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Need for Creed Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

If you're anything like me you're constantly frustrated that the digital manual included with the CD-ROM edition of Wing Commander Academy does not include the cover art or the back page featuring the "Wingman's Creed." Thanks to a pair of high resolution scans from Sheppard now it does! We've inserted the missing pages into the digital version of the manual. It's a small update, but one I truly appreciate. Download your copy of the complete manual here. (PDF)
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On Manual Control Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

A lot of Wing Commander manuals are available as digital downloads... but you wouldn't know it for looking! Kris has cut through the disorganization and gone back and gathered up all the manuals we posted in single updates and then forgot about over the years. Remember the UK versions of the Privateer 2 manuals we posted in 2006? We didn't, either. But now they're all in one place! You can access the index here.

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Bragging About a Blaster! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've had a lot of questions about what is going on with the Wing Commander computer project. When I started building the fourth Wing Commander computer I set a seemingly impossible goal: I'd like to add a 3DO Blaster to the setup. The 3DO Blaster was an ISA card which allowed PCs to run 3DO games in Windows. Because of the VGA connection it's absolutely the best way to play--and get screenshots from!--Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander III 3DO. Unfortunately, they're extremely rare today... running for upwards of $1,000 each on eBay when they do appear. They're also extremely awkward, requiring a specific model of circa 1994 CD-ROM drive, a particular class of Sound Blaster and an internal VGA feature connector.

Well, thanks to a very lucky Yahoo Japan auction I am proud to report that Karga now features a 3DO Blaster! A 3DO Blaster that WORKS! And there are no more worlds to conquer. Any idea what other rare bit of hardware I should start looking for? You can read the whole story here.

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Hardware Filter Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

For the past month or so I have been snapping Instagram photos of hardware going into the Wing Commander computer... and I thought it would be cool to see it all in one place! All of these boards, consoles and controllers help play Wing Commander games in some specialized way!

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Passing the Baton Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The CIC's deep content has begun the move to the WCPedia! Kris has been hard at work converting many of our sections to the new, easy-to-update format and the results speak for themselves.

The Books Landing Page now features information on all the novels, official guides and unofficial guides. It merges information from /background, /books and several articles. If you haven't seen them before, Germany has some cool translations and unique cover art. If you're in Germany, we'd love higher resolution scans!

The Music Landing Page features all the information from our /music and /albums sections. Additional tracks have also been added!

Individual Game Landing Pages are in the process of being set up and are available now. Patches and other downloads, music tracks, quick controls and manuals have been included with each.

A straight conversion of the Academy TV section has also been completed!

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WCPedia Yearly Progress Report Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Let's get it out of the way first. We failed. Not for lack of trying, we made a huge number of updates and edits with a decent number of new articles created this year. What we've been doing is going back and updating old articles to match new layouts we are working on. Finally settling on a ship article layout has been a major improvement. Wingnuts will eventually be able to quickly receive every piece of information about a ship. The articles themselves are still a work in progress with only a handful being close to complete. But the F-36 Hornet article shows off how we plan to do every article. Welcome to the future ultimate resource.

We've also added graphical navigation for the Confederation and Kilrathi Capship, Support Ship, and Fighter categories. We'll continue to improve navigation through categories wherever possible into the future. The remaining factions will have their graphical navigation added soon.

The WCPedia team's goal for the next year is to retire CIC Green. Iceblade has done a great job implementing the new ship template and stat tables into a number of ship articles. The team has still got a lot of ships to switch over to the new format and still a few to create. With the article template finalized, even Wingnuts unsure about wiki editing can learn fairly quickly how to create the articles and enter basic information. We are always looking for help! In the evenings, EST, you can typically find a number of the WCPedia team in #wingnut. I'm always willing to show someone the wiki ropes to get started. Feel free to stop and...

Enlist today! The WCPedia Project needs your help to become the ultimate Wing Commander resource!

Must Get Back To Work Here Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

One of the most iconic moments in Action Stations is the final communications between TCS Yorkshire and the remains of the Confederation force. The young executive officer of the Yorkshire, already heavily damaged from the attack on the Kilrathi fleet, gives the order to slow the ship down and draw in the Kilrathi. Doing so will buy much needed time for the other Confederation ships to flee the system and fight another day.

To honor the TCS Yorkshire and the rallying cry she created, NinjaLA has created a fantastic piece of art. He's rendered the final moments of the Yorkshire's battle against three Kilrathi battlewagons. Yorkshire was lost in the fight, but not before taking one Kilrathi battlewagon with her and heavily damaging another.

"Take as many of the bastards with you as you can, Yorkshire," she said, her voice harsh and cold.

"Most certainly will," Yorkshire replied. "Must get back to work here. This is Yorkshire. Long live the Confederation."

The image snapped off. Strange, "Long live the Confederation." Two days ago such a line would have seemed like a bad line from a vid, now the words nearly moved him to tears.

Ninja has really outdone himself this year. Those battlewagons look great!

The image is available in four sizes: 800x603, 1280x965, 1920x1448 and a massive 4431x3341.

Happy Birthday from Phoenix Roleplaying Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The crew of the Wing Commander: From the Ashes play-by-post roleplaying game were kind enough to send the community their birthday regards: "Phoenix Roleplaying, home of Wing Commander play-by-post game 'From the Ashes,' wishes wcnews.com a very happy birthday." They add that anyone is welcome to join their game, an easy to pick-up-and-play forum-based roleplaying scenario. You can learn more about their game and start playing yourself here.
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Welcome to the Enyo Engagement Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Forum member capi3101, known for his ongoing Wing Commander RPG project, is celebrating the birthday with a stand-alone role playing module based on the Enyo Engagement! Titled "Enyo," the document contains everything you and your friends need for a thrilling adventure circa 2639.

I am pleased to announce the release of Enyo, a WCRPG miniature campaign, in honor of the 14th anniversary of the founding of the Wing Commander CIC website. Enyo is a pseudo-historical campaign that allows players to participate in the Enyo Engagement, an event first mentioned in Claw Marks. The campaign plays a lot like a single "series" from the original WC campaigns; it is composed of a total of seven missions, with two missions on the "losing path" and two outcomes (either the players chase the Kilrathi from the system or vice versa). Players have a choice of eleven pre-designed characters from which to choose (including a young Joseph Khumalo); the character creation rules are included, so the option is there for them to make their own characters as well. Players may also have four fighters they may fly from that era - Arrows, Scimitars, Raptors and Wildcats. As with my earlier work, Prelude to Goddard, a light set of rules is included with the game and enough additional information has been included that players and GMs should be able to design their own pre-WC1 era missions.

Enyo is currently available from Lulu both as a free PDF eBook and as a paperback. The eBook is a free download, while the paperback costs $6.84 plus S&H; the cost covers printing only (i.e. I'm not making any money off of it). Please bear in mind that the versions currently up are the uncorrected proofs. I do have plans to create an ePub version for electronic download as well.


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Preview: Unknown Enemy Gets High Res Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I bet you thought you'd heard the last of Unknown Enemy, the grandfather of all modern Wing Commander fan projects. Well, you thought wrong: the team has been hard at work at a high resolution patch which will take advantage of modern advances in Wing Commander Prophecy improving science. The update isn't quite ready yet, but they were kind enough to send us this preview:

Way back in 2002, we released Unknown Enemy, the first major mod for Wing Commander: Secret Ops. Looking back on it now, it seems in many ways primitive and naive - certainly, it's hard to compare with what we achieved in Standoff. But this was how it all started, and that's what makes UE fascinating to look at. Sadly, compatibility issues make UE a difficult thing to look at. In Standoff, these issues never popped up, because the final Standoff release incorporated an OpenGL patch that added a new rendering mode to the Vision engine - and this still works today.

So, we'd been talking on-and-off about patching UE since the day Standoff was released. Finally, the CIC's 14th birthday kicked us into action: unfortunately, far too late. There was no way we could get the patch done in time for August 10th. Instead, what we offer now to the community is a glimpse of what we're working on, and a release date announcement: October 30th 2012, UE's tenth anniversary.

The idea behind this 10th Anniversary Edition is to make the game fully playable on modern systems, without unnecessary improvements. We don't want to pull a George Lucas. We know we could improve UE a lot, but what would be the point?

So, here's what we'll do:

  • Incorporate the OpenGL mode first seen Standoff. We will not be increasing texture sizes, replacing models with more detailed stuff, or adding hand-made specular maps. That would be going too far.
  • Drop support for software, Direct3D and Glide rendering modes. Come on - if you have a machine from ten years ago, you can just use the original release of UE. For everyone else, only OpenGL is needed, because the other modes hardly work for anyone, any more!
  • Incorporate the internal fiction viewer used by Standoff. This is a big change, and sadly it does involve Lucasesque improvements - we really can't sensibly integrate the fiction into the game without shortening it significantly and rewriting parts of it. But we have to drop the external viewer (again, compatibility issues), and UE just has waaay too much text to put directly into the game. But hey - to compensate for the changes, the original fiction will be available outside of the game, through the launcher.
  • Polish the missions. No balance changes. No new events. No new missions. But we do know there's a few small bugs in there, and we're gonna squash 'em.
  • Add behind the scenes stuff! Did you know that we had two new ship models ready to go for UE2? One of them could be seen in a wallpaper we produced for the CIC's 5th birthday. Now, if we were ever to return to the Border Worlds, we'd obviously need to create all the models from scratch, at a much higher standard. But still, if we already have these two models ready to go, why not at least add them into the object viewer?
  • Add more behind the scenes stuff! When UE started out in 1999, Hadrian produced this cool-looking CIC room. When UE restarted in 2000... for some reason, we decided it needs to change (I honestly don't know why!), so we asked Hadrian to produce a new one. He did, and it was just as great as the first one he produced - but isn't it a pity that the original was never seen anywhere? It costs us nothing to add it into the game, so that's what we'll do.

In the weeks to come, we will post (ir)regular progress updates at the UE forum here at the CIC. Do you know of any issues in UE that absolutely must be fixed for this final release? Drop by the forum and let us know!

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WC vs History - Capitol Domes Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

While the 200th anniversary for the Burning of Washington is still two years off, I figured why not get it in early. So for the CIC's 14th birthday WC vs History turns to the US Capitol Building and the Hall of the Great Assembly. The legislative hearts of the United States and Terran Confederation respectively, they are brought together in Wing Commander IV. Happy Birthday Wingnuts and enjoy!

The United States Capitol Building, located in Washington, D.C., houses the legislative branch of the American government. Comprised of the House of Representatives and Senate, the legislative branch is tasked with making law in the United States. The building itself began construction in September 1793, with construction lasting for a fair number of years. The Senate building was completed in 1800. The House of Representatives building was first occupied by the House in 1807, although the structure was not finished until 1811.

Construction on the Rotunda had not started, the two wings only being connected by a crude wooden hallway, when the United States went to war against Great Britain for a second time on 18 June 1812. The current dome was authorized in 1855 and completed during the American Civil War in December 1863 when the statue Freedom was placed atop the Dome.

The War of 1812 has been a little remembered conflict in the two primary adversaries for a number of years, although interest in the United States has ticked up with bicentennial celebrations starting this year. I’m sure our Canadian wingnuts are well-versed in the war. It’s one thing they can certainly be proud of.

The defeat of Napoleon by Spring 1814 allowed the British to divert a large number of ground forces to the war against the United States. British forces conducted an invasion of the United States in August 1814 on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The British easily defeated American forces in the Battle of Bladensburg on 24 August, nearly capturing the entire American federal government which was present at the battle, before marching onto Washington itself. The battle later became known as the “Bladensburg Races” for the panicked retreat of American forces. As the Americans fled the field, President James Madison sent word to his wife, Dolley, at the White House. She was to evacuate the White House immediately! The Red Coats were coming, again!

Dolley Madison, First Lady of the United States, was already a well-known entity to the American public. Considerably junior to her husband in years, she transformed the White House into the center of the Washington social scene. Her public profile was to grow considerably when word of her actions on the night of 24 August became known.

Mrs. Madison had the servants and slaves gather various important and valuable items from around the White House. As the British advanced into the city and closed on the seat of Executive power, Mrs. Madison called for the frame to be broken on the portrait of George Washington and had the picture cut from it. Loaded with the painting and various valuables, she as one of the last people to flee the city before the British entered it in force.

The British force, of over four thousand men and led by Rear Admiral George Cockburn (actually no, it's not pronounced that way) entered the American capital and began burning government buildings. This was not in retaliation for the Revolution, instead it was in retaliation for the American burning of the Canadian city of York in April 1813. The US Capitol Building, the White House, the Library of Congress, the Treasury and other public buildings were put to the torch by the British. The US Patent Office was actually saved from the torch by William Thornton, then Superintendent of Patents, by convincing the British not to destroy the building and patents within.

Before being burned, the White House was looted by British forces. Dinner was still sitting on the table in the East Room. The soldiers helped themselves to a meal. Various objects were taken, including a jewelry box which was returned by a Canadian man to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 who claimed it was taken by his grandfather.

The Capitol Building continues to stand into the 27th century. At some intervening point in time, a new structure was built on the eastern side of the building, roughly in an area just beyond the location of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Hall of the Great Assembly was a massive construction. Housing thousands of senators and spectators, the Hall had a large dome enclosing the entire structure. Those in the speaking well had a view of the Capitol dome along with the numerous flags of Confederation worlds.

On 2654.148, the Hall of the Great Assembly suffered a Pilgrim terrorist bombing that killed a large number of people, Pilgrim Truth explains:

"We interrupt this recorded broadcast to bring you a special report from CNH, Vega and Sol sectors." The news hub emblem faded into the grim countenance of a young captain in dress blues. "This just confirmed from CNNH Sol sector: Three days ago CST, Pilgrim saboteurs gained access into the Hall of the Great Assembly, where they detonated a CF-three-two-seven-A explosive device, killing two hundred and twenty-nine senators, including the Assembly Master himself, Pequin Gydideron, and three representatives from the Pilgrim enclave Triune. The facility has been declared a disaster area by President Vasura, and as per the constitution, Vice-president Harold Rodham will assume the duties of Assembly Master until a new master is elected. Rodham has called for an emergency meeting of the surviving senators. Not since the first Pilgrim War have so many of our leaders been killed in one event." President Vasura appeared in the holograph, standing behind a podium before throngs of reporters. "The Confederation we will mete out punishment to those behind this act of cowardice. The saboteurs themselves were merely instruments and gave their lives for their cause. Believe me when I say that those who sent them will make the same sacrifice."

With the public outraged, Bellegarde expected that the surviving senators and interim senators would whole-heartedly support the destroying of all Pilgrim systems and enclaves by one-five-eight. Anything to make their constituents happy.

The US Capitol Building has suffered several terrorist attacks, including two on 1 March of different years. In 1954, four Puerto Rican separatists fired 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols into the House chamber before being arrested. Five members of the House of Representatives were injured in the attack. The Weather Underground, a 1960’s far-left political organization, staged a bombing of the Building in March 1971 to protest of the US invasion of Laos. The Capitol also saw a terrorist attack on 7 November 1983. The US Senate Building was bombed by a group claiming to be called the “Armed Resistance Unit”. Six people were later arrested and tried in the “Resistance Conspiracy” case with also bombing the Washington Navy Yard and Fort McNair. The Capitol Building was also the likely target of United Flight 93 on 11 September 2001. The passengers of United 93 fought back against the Al Qaeda terrorists who crashed the plane rather than allow the passengers to succeed in retaking control.

Washington, D.C. next appears in the Wing Commander III losing endgame. We are treated to the crushing sight of a Kilrathi fleet cruising over the Capitol Building, while looking at the building’s East Front, and the remains of D.C. itself. It seems that at some point in the next six hundred years the construction height ban is abolished by the various skyscrapers scene.

The first view of the Hall of the Great Assembly comes in Wing Commander IV. The Hall appears to be sunken into the ground off the East Front of the Capitol Building. The top half of the Capitol Dome is visible through the Hall’s own transparent ceiling, along with a empty space between the skyscrapers which is most likely the National Mall. During the endgame, Colonel Christopher Blair flies a commandeered F-104 Lance heavy fighter towards the Capitol Building from the Lincoln Memorial side of the Mall, swinging to the left to avoid the Washington Monument, before heading towards a landing near the Capitol Building. The camera cuts away before we are able to see what must surely be a massive dome over the Hall of the Great Assembly.

WC vs History - Lost Edition - Introduction To Carrier Raids Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The reason there are two WC vs History's for the birthday is rather quite simple. LOAF lost this one in his email. I sent him the history parts asking for some WC polish. So it's sat idly for months. But we are now able to present it to you complete! And it's almost rather timely, with Confederation Day being a few weeks off.

“In the annals of naval warfare, no naval surface ship had greater revolutionary impact on the art and concept of war at sea than has the aircraft carrier.” Admiral T.H. Moorer, 1974

The Raids on Pearl Harbor and McAuliffe, in 1941 and 2634 respectively, ushered in the Ages of the Aircraft and Space Carrier. These were not the inaugural operation of the respective capital ships, both types of carriers had existed for a number of years prior and had participated in both combat operations and training exercises. However, the respective raids helped to define the place and role of the carrier within the Fleet. They were not instantly crowned Queen of the Seas over the battleship, which had reigned supreme for a considerable time before the newcomer with wings arrived and offered a challenge. However, in order to challenge the battleship some developments were required in both situations.

The Raid on Pearl Harbor was not made possible by a specific technological breakthrough as the Raid on McAuliffe was aided by. Pearl Harbor was possible because of a doctrinal development. The credit is given to Genda Minoru for seeing the potential for a multi-carrier force. He said his inspiration for the idea came from, of all places, an American movie newsreel showing the battleships and carriers of the US Fleet steaming in line together in the late 1930s. By grouping the carriers of the Imperial Navy into a single striking force the Japanese created a new weapon, the fast carrier task force. The large number of aircraft available to a multi-carrier force allowed it to conduct powerful strike operations. Kido Butai (Mobile Force), as the Japanese called the 1st Air Fleet, conducted its first operation at Pearl Harbor and continued with a string of successes across the Pacific and Indian Oceans in early 1942.

The carriers of Kido Butai (Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku) embarked more than 350 aircraft on their six flight decks. In December 1941, this was the most powerful aerial force the world had known. Armed with the devastating Type 91 aerial torpedo and modified 16” naval shells as armor-piercing bombs, the planes of Kido Butai inflicted grave damage on the ships of the Pacific Fleet. It was not the first carrier raid, that honor belongs to the British in World War I.

The British began operations with ships capable of carrying and launching aircraft in 1917. HMS Furious was the first ship declared an “aircraft carrier”. HMS Furious was not an aircraft carrier in the classic sense as built. It was a battlecruiser that was modified during construction to have a short “flying-off and landing deck” in place of the forward turrets. You can only take your hat off and salute Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning who landed in that manner twice before being killed on his third attempt while attempting to find a better approach solution. Furious returned to port to have her aft turrets removed and a dedicated landing deck and hangar installed.

Operation F.7 was conducted from HMS Furious on 19 July 1918. The raid targeted a German airbase at Tondern, Germany. Seven Sopwith Camels from Furious struck the airbase and destroyed two zeppelins for the loss of one man. The Tondern Raid was the inaugural combat operation of capital ship-based naval aviation. However, the British raid that helped the Japanese in terms of Pearl Harbor was the Raid on Taranto in November 1940 as discussed in the previous WC vs History.

The interwar period saw experimentation with carriers by the three major navies, Britain, the United States, and Japan. The British tended to operate their carriers independently of each other whereas the United States and Japan operated their carriers in pairs. The United States and Japan developed different doctrine for operating their carrier pairs that was the result of several factors but air group size, as a result of the carrier’s physical size and where aircraft were stored onboard, played a large role. The American Navy developed what is called the “deck park”, something still in use today, where aircraft are stowed, armed, and fueled on the flight deck opposed to the hangar deck. The hangar deck is typically reserved for maintenance operations or stowage in poor weather. Stowing aircraft in this manner allowed for a greater number to be carried onboard American carriers. The Japanese stowed their aircraft in the hangars, just as the Royal Navy did with its carriers. Hangar stowage gave some protection to the aircraft from the elements and attack, but greatly limited the number of aircraft onboard. Most British carriers carried less than 45 aircraft (in some cases Royal Navy fleet carriers had air groups as small as 36) as a result of the armored flight decks and hangars. These afforded great protection to the ships (especially during 1945 when Kamikaze attacks did far less damage to British carriers than their American cousins) at great cost in terms of strike power. The Japanese attempted to resolve the problem by building their carriers with two-story hangars. This increased the number of aircraft carried, however the cost came from elevator cycle times bringing aircraft up and down. In World War II carrier warfare, time was critical.

Even though the Americans and Japanese operated their carriers in pairs in the interwar years, does not mean they operated the same. True multi-carrier operations were not undertaken by American forces in the interwar period and did not begin in the Second World War until mid-1943. American carrier air groups operated independently of each other, even if in direct sight of each other, during missions. The smaller air groups of the Japanese carriers and the usage of the hangar for stowage presented the Japanese with a problem and pushed them into thinking about multi-carrier operations. They were incapable of spotting their entire air groups on the flight deck at once. Instead they had the ability to launch roughly half the air group. This forced the Japanese to come up with a solution to power projection problem. The first option was to launch the first part of the air group and let it circle while the second group was spotted on deck. The problem with that method is that it takes forty-five (thirty if they are really moving) to spot the flight deck for launch. That’s forty-five minutes of time and fuel burned circling the carrier. This method was unworkable. The solution was to use the ability of each carrier in a division to launch half its aircraft to create a combined strike. One carrier launched its dive-bomber squadron and a number of fighters for escort, while the other carrier launched its attack-squadron (torpedo) and additional fighters. Using this method the Japanese were able to put up combined strikes from their smaller carriers that packed a considerable punch. If another wave was to follow the first, the carriers simply launched their remaining squadrons, which still produced a balanced strike package of dive and torpedo planes.

The development of Kido Butai, and the fast carrier task force, revolutionized naval warfare. It allowed for operations like Pearl Harbor to be considered, planned and executed. It gave Japan a “leg up” in this regard, as almost no American considered an attack on Pearl Harbor possible. It was supposed to be a of the “Gibraltar of the Pacific”, like British Singapore and Japanese Truk. The US Pacific Fleet, hundreds of Navy and Army aircraft, sheer distance from Japanese possessions, all made it seem the least likely target. It also made it the perfect target.

When planning the Raid on McAuliffe the Kilrathi had doctrinal and technological problems. Much like the pre-World War II navies of the world, there was the “black shoe vs brown shoe” debate (Naval aviators wear brown shoes, whereas Line officers wear black). Was a lightly armored carrier to replace the massive guns and armor of the battlewagon? How? Certainly the shields and armor of the battlewagons along with its defensive turrets would swat away any fighters dumb enough to get too close. They needed a new weapon and a plan to use it.

Dr. William Forstchen based his Wing Commander prequel, Action Stations, on Pearl Harbor and its surrounding events, down to a narrative structure patterned after Gordon Prange's At Dawn We Slept. It should be obvious from summary alone that this was the inspiration: the novel tells the story of the Empire of Kilrah's surprise attack on the Terran Confederation's major naval base at McAuliffe. Interestingly, the scenario was not Dr. Forstchen's invention: he works within the confines of history established in the original Claw Marks manual (which itself borrowed the McAuliffe code breaking story from the Battle of Midway.)

Many of the characters introduced or otherwise adapted in Action Stations are based on figures from the actual history. The Kilrathi Crown Prince Gilkarg and his second fleet commander, Nargth, echo the 'black versus brown shoe' debate of the US Navy. Gilkarg insists that space carriers were the way of the future while traditionalist Nargth believes that nothing will overpower the battlewagon. Much of the book forms around this argument, the same one naval tacticians had in the interwar peroid. Before 2634, the role of carriers was for performing reconnaissance and support missions as well as space-to-planet bombing. With the development of the torpedo at McAuliffe--foreseen by Gilkarg as well as Tolwyn, Richards and Turner--the dynamic changes to the one we are familiar with in the games. As in real life, it is the development of a successful torpedo that makes spacecraft capable of destroying large capital ships... and teething difficulties created by unreliable early torpedo technology causes a great deal of drama, such as an unexploded torpedo impacting with TCS Concordia.

Vakka nar Jukaga, father of the famous Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra, echoes Yamamoto by arguing that the Empire should not go to war with the Confederation. The Empire of Kilrah is similarly said to be a hollow shell, failing to assimilate what they conquer. General Long, in charge of the ground installations at McAuliffe, is a play on Pearl Harbor's General Short. The "Panama War Games," in which the Confederation is said to have experimented with fighters capable of destroying enemy capital ships, is based on the US Navy's Fleet Problem IX.

Some of the novel's references are more on-the-nose. The Confederation fields a carrier named the TCS Soryu, borrowing from one of those which served with Kido Butai. Admiral Nagomo, head of the 7th fleet at McAuliffe, is a play on Nagumo. The novel argues that he is not fit for the job, similar to that used against Nagumo who was a non-aviator second in line for the Japanese command. He should also not be confused with Admiral Nagano, who was part of the Imperial Japanese Navy General staff during the war.

The Kilrathi "Jak-tu" attack style, springing from concealment to defeat a larger foe, is similar to that which the Japanese had successfully used against Russia and China in the first third of the century and hoped to repeat at Pearl Harbor. Here the Kilrathi have used it for generations, defeating races like the Wu and the Varni and hope now to crush the industrialized Confederation before it can arm for war. As with the Japanese in the Pacific, the Kilrathi plan to strike McAuliffe while other fleets spread to grab territory and tie up Terran forces.

The Kilrathi briefing shows they have clear maps of McAuliffe, down to the base's weapons layout. At Pearl Harbor the Japanese gained ship movement information through a Honolulu newspaper and a single spy on the island, at McAuliffe we are told it was broadcast on an open vid channel. The Kilrathi are seen practicing their attack plan over and over, just like the Japanese pilots.

One significant difference is that the Confederation is strongly against mobilizing for war, even though limited war had already been declared. This is more Dr. Forstchen's particular modern politics than a commentary on history.

Finally, Dr. Forstchen invents "Confederation Day," a holiday similar to the Fourth of July on which the Kilrathi can strike. This is based on the fact that the Japanese attacked on a Sunday morning when the Navy would be at its lowest readiness. On Confederation Day, crews are on shore leave and can not be recalled in time to fend off the attack. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Navy staged its own series of mock attacks on the base in the 1930s. One of those the US Army bitterly protested the attack coming on a Sunday morning, not only because the Navy was able to give a black eye during the exercise, but it was Sunday! "Who attacks on a Sunday?", they'd argued. Someone who knows the Fleet tends to be home on Sundays.

Trivia Redux Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Like we do every year, we want to offer up some trivia and a prize to those unable to make the 'party.' The first person to correctly e-mail us the answers to these five questions will win a copy of the Wing Commander Academy DVD set! (... but you should all have bought a copy already, anyway.)
Q1: Who created Cyclone Alley?
Q2: When was Strike Commander originally scheduled for release?
Q3: What was Major Edmonds' unusual original callsign/nickname?
Q4: What two Washington DC landmarks appear in Wing Commander IV?
Q5: How many years has WCNews.com been in business?
Remember, the answers to all these questions can be found in features released today!
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Final Word: Thanks! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I hope you enjoyed all of that material! The most sincere thank you to the thousands of Wing Commander fans who continue to make this site worthwhile. It sounds corny, but we wouldn't be anywhere without you.

Thank you to the rest of the staff for making the day and day-in possible: Chris, Dundradal, AD, ace, Hades. You are the best friends someone could ask for. And as always, WCNews.com would absolutely not exist without Kris' quiet competence.

Thank you to NinjaLA, LeHah, PopsiclePete and NomadTerror who continue to support the Wing Commander community in myriad ways and who all help make #WingNut a joy to come home to. And a personal thank you to Trelane, who has always been there for me.

And to all the former developers who continue to share their history with us! I learn something new about Wing Commander every week because of their impossible kindness.

Now let's make 2013 the best year yet.

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You are Cordially Invited...
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To the Wing Commander Combat Information Center's 14th birthday celebration! TONIGHT at 7:00 PM Eastern US (4:00 PM Pacific and 11:00 PM GMT) in #WingNut!


  • We will get very drunk and swear quite loudly, and act much like Maniac or Hunter. At least for an hour or two.
  • Never before seen behind-the-screens material!
  • Trivia - from arakh to zu'kara
  • More prizes than a Steltek dig site
  • Includes Confederation Oath of Service
  • CAKE!

So point your IRC client to irc.wcnews.com, channel #WingNut! If you need help with IRC check our #Wingnut section, or just use our Java Client.

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Seven Years And Several Sequels Later... Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wingnuts should remember Chris Anderson from a story last month reviewing the original Privateer. It seems he was PC Zone's inhouse Wingnut. All the better for us given the rest of the British gaming press of the time. His review of Wing Commander Prophecy in the January 1998 issue is positive, at times almost glowing, in its remarks. He does take Prophecy down a few pegs when talking about the actors and their performances, besides Mark Hamill of course, noting they all seem "too cheesy and forced." He won't get much of an argument from here. His major sticking point is that he thinks Privateer 2 was the best Wing Commander game because of its open-world nature. So, he admits, this jaded his impression of Prophecy just a tad. Still, he knows wingnuts will love what they get when the pop in Prophecy and see what that several hundred dollar 3Dfx card can do!
The Kilrathi prophecy warned the Confeds that evil plans were afoot, and it looks as if they were right because here come lots of alien scum to kick your head in.
Thanks to Pix for allowing us to repost these magazine scans.

Wing Commander 2 - Now In Cinemascope! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The December 1991 issue of PC Plus brings us a full page review of Wing Commander 2. They like the game, but the major sticking point is about system upgrades. Many of us can fondly look back at every new game release and realize that along with the $50 game there might also have been several hundred dollars of system upgrades coming as well. Wing Commander games have always pushed the system requirements to the edge with each release. Reading the extra blurb at the bottom of the review about system requirements is a great look back through time. 7 megs for sound! Unreal!
Put simply, WC2 is spectacular...but don't expect the complete experience on a bog-standard PC. It pushes computer gaming to the limits and then some, which may be OK in the States where 286's are considered old technology, but I wonder whether some Brits won't be reluctant to devote so much of their system to a game. Of course when CD-ROM becomes standard such reservations will become obsolete.
Thanks to Pix for allowing us to repost these great scans.

Spitfire Salthi Storms the Sector Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has revealed his next ship, the exquisitely detailed SM1 Salthi! This version of the craft was made popular by the promotional materials included with the Super Nintendo version of The Secret Missions (not to be confused with WC2 for SNES!). All of the fine details make the little light fighter very alien and aggressive looking. The ship is pictured below next to his Dralthi and Hornet designs.
I always loved the Secret Missions box art Salthi. Looked like an aging, alien workhorse compared to the sleek Dralthis and Krants. So, tried to do it justice! No wonder we could scrag them so easily with just a couple of laser hits!

It's Birthday Week! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The CIC staff has kicked preparations into high gear as days melt away before the big celebration! There's still tons left to do, but everyone is excited for Friday night. We're especially lucky that this year's event falls up against a weekend, so more fans in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia have a shot at joining the festivities during their early Saturday morning. See you there!

Congratulations JPL and Curiosity! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Late last night, the Mars Science Laboratory mission successfully delivered the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars! Watching the telemetry live in #Wingnut was exhilarating, and the results are just fantastic. Preliminary images (pictured black & white below) show the rover on flat solid ground, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter even snapped a shot of the landing vehicle with its parachute deployed. Color photos should start to come in later this week when the robot deploys its camera mast. The multi-year mission is just beginning!

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.

"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030's, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal."

Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.

Standoff for Mac Running in Mountain Lion Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

wcnut reports that the Wing Commander Standoff for Mac OS works in the new version, Mountain Lion! There's a few little things to address when starting up for the first time: a specific prompt needs to be clicked through, and XQuartz must be installed for the Wine wrapper to work. Great news for Apple fans! wcnut has the details below.

Just to let you know that the wineskin port still works with the new Mountain Lion release. There is however one caveat: in order for the application to run in gatekeeper, you must right click on the application and click open. It will say "are you sure" and click "yes." Fortunately you would only need to do this once. Unfortunately due to the very nature of wineskin, there is no practical way to code sign wrappers. Not to mention code signing requires that the file integrity inside the application be the same at all times. It would simply break as soon as Standoff created a new save file or changed a preference.

Also there is one other caveat, as of now xquartz must be installed, which it is no longer by default. Due to a missing library the wrapper would just bounce up and down and not launch. This will be fixed with a wineskin update, but I fear newer versions would drop the 10.5 support. But I will upload this new version when it is out as it also should be more stable and fix a "grey screen of death" issue I have been having in lion/mountain lion with other wrappers.

Good Luck Curiosity! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Late Sunday evening, Pacific Standard Time, the latest NASA rover, Curiosity, will land on Mars. NASA coverage starts at 8:30 pm PST with the landing itself happening roughly two hours later. Wingnuts can watch the landing live online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl. Stop by #Wingnut to watch it with us! You can also check out a cool video about the landing here. Curiosity will use a landing procedure that has never been tried before. The video above and image below explain how the new procedure will unfold as the probe descends to the surface. It's worth checking out.

Here's wishing good luck to the entire NASA team including local NASA Wingnut and Flight Commander creator, EddieB on a good mission and safe landing!

One Week to Go! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

July has quickly come and gone, which means the Birthday Party is almost here! The Wing Commander CIC turns 14 years old at midnight GMT, the night of August 10. We're really looking forward to hosting you in our chatroom, #Wingnut! Stop on by next Friday night (7:00 PM Eastern US, 4:00 pm Pacific US and 11:00 pm GMT) to be part of the countdown. The anticipation is building now, but it'll be absolutely palpable during the live countdown!

In Space No One Can Hear You Sound Your Horn Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we go back more than twenty years to February 1991, showcasing the PC Plus review of the original Wing Commander. The reviewer provides a brief rundown of the game's mechanics. It's a fun read looking back at someone explaining the simulator and rec room then moving into the barracks and the missions themselves for the first time. Who hasn't been in a tough spot, guns gone, ejection system destroyed, comms down, and been cursing the Kilrathi that did this to them?

There's an amusing, and unintended, foreshadowing found in the review. We can only wonder what he thought of things later in the game series. Giving Wing Commander a score of 4 out 5 in "Lasting Appeal" category was a smart move as well. Chris Roberts has previously said he'd leave the original game alone because it "came together so smoothly and felt so right." You'll get no argument here.

While Wing Commander can be run from floppies, you'll require three high density or eleven standard 5.25-inch! However with a hard disk and good graphics it can be highly recommended.

Wing Commander IV Revealed To Be Sequel! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Another visit to PC Format, another snarky review. This one comes to us from April 1995. It seems that deep down they did actually like the game, but really want readers to know they aren't happy that "Wing 4 is basically Wing 3 with better production values." As has tended to be the case with PC Format reviews, the last paragraph does have a number of nice things to say about the game. Thanks to Pix for allowing us to repost these.

Ready for K'Tithrak Mang Reenactment Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's some new shots that reveal the updated Bengal class carrier to be featured in the Enigma 2666 mod. The ship largely resembles the design from WC1, but it also includes the side launch bays featured in Wing Commander Academy. Check out the slick middle image that shows a wide variety of Confed craft taking off. It also includes a close-up of the WC3/4-style engine intakes that have been added.
Kevin help me here out with the update from Cybot78. But perhabs he can change the size of the bays a bit. The bombers (yes I call a Raptor a bomber ) did not fit into the bay. Perhaps you now can imagine how the Bengal can carry 104 fighters with those "useless" landing zone. Under it its a big bay like the WW2 and modern aircraft Carrier. I put some windows on the sides and then the ship should be done

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