I've been playing it for several weeks now and while I've gotten the hang of the game, others new to the series and/or the genre might find the numerous controls daunting. I've made up a guide on what I think to be the core Wing Commander controls and hotkeys. If you want to have an easier time with the game memorize and utilize the list found in this article.
Q – Equalizes shields. All craft have six separate shields. If you find a bogey has successfully positioned himself on your six and has worn down your rear shield to zero, pressing Q redistributes your craft’s overall shield energy to all its areas. You might get weaker front and side shields temporarily but at least you’ll have shield power restored to the area that has been rendered vulnerable.
The Krell is the Kiowan pirate clan’s heaviest fighter. While the Krell’s gull wing design is imposing, it is easily the lowest quality pirate heavy fighter in the Tri-System. Facing Ashearers or Tacons, the Krell comes in a distant fourth. Because of this, it is more rarely dispatched on traditional missions than the fighters of the other groups… but it is more common on patrols.
This is another remake of a really old model of mine ('04) based on the Krell. I know the wings aren't rotated nearly enough, but back then I just had one picture to go off of I think. Anyways I like them this way anyways. 2 mass drivers, 2 particles, 1 stormfire (which I can switch out for a dust cannon if needed to). I really liked how well the gun/engine hull smoothly connects to the wings.
The family has finally been re-united! After a decade gathering dust at my parents' house, I finally took the plunge and moved my entire model collection to my own place. There are many, many others I won't show here, since you guys will be interested in the Wing Commander stuff. So, without further ado, here they are:
You'll see they've been joined by a new member: The mighty Paktahn. I never posted pictures of it before since it is still unfinished. Hopefully that will be rectified soon.
I'm a long time model builder. I started off with plastic kits and I've since progressed to scratch-building my own designs from balsa wood. Building something from scratch as opposed to using a model kit obviously means you have to draw your own plans to work from. This involved hours of taking measurements from the game manuals and even from in-game screenshots to get the look right.
Blair woke me up from a nap. "They're here." he said, filled with reverence and awe.
He and was out the door before I could fall out of bed after him. Nearly the whole air wing was down in flight control, fogging up the LSO's viewports and pressing our noses against the glass until he chased us all out.
Even after a lifetime of experience flying them, I still get a thrill just thinking about those ships. Every F-44 Rapier was a classic. From A to G. And the postwar models are STILL holding their own too. They were-are a true artist's ship. Origin knows how to build 'em, man!
The commercial shows a boy studying the solar system using the Redshift planetarium software. He goes through several planets and recites facts about them; then he announces that it's time to "study the Kilrathi system," picks up a flight stick and instantly switches to an Arrow cockpit playing Wing Commander III!
It's amazing to think that 'Kilrathi' was a perfectly explicable word for a national TV spot in 1995. The footage itself is very interesting as well: of course, the instant switch between Redshift and Wing Commander III was impossible at the time... and eagle-eyed Wing Commander fans will also recognize that the game itself is a prettier mockup rather than the released version. The game mirrors the planetarium software with a lush planet image in the background and pairs of high resolution Arrows swoop past the view.
The Raptor came today. It's BIG. (6.2"!!) You could probably bludgeon somebody to death with it. They're a bit hard to photograph, some bright spots show up with the flash that aren't normally visible. But here are some shots with a camera that's slightly better than my phone.
But there was an even better way to listen to the early Wing Commanders! Roland sound cards enabled special effects and soundtracks. You can read up on some of the details here, or you can listen to the sample below. This particular clip demonstrates the difference between the Sound Blaster and the Roland MT-32 MIDI card. The first half is how the game sounds with Creative Labs, and the Roland music kicks in at the 4:26 mark.
'You might even call Michael "Scott" Juliano's Rogue System space combat sim "Falcon 4.0 in space," because that's the level of realism and system fidelity he's striving for.'
Andy Mahood - Gamespy
Rogue System is an attempt to bring the classic space-combat sims into the modern era of gaming. However it sets itself apart by blending the detail and fidelity of the modern hardcore combat flight-sims by introducing fully integrated ship systems and the click-able cockpit to control them.
Rogue System's "Core Module" will be a complete campaign-driven sim on its own. Later, "Extension Modules" will add even more gameplay. The first EM would be the addition of open-ended gameplay. Other modules will include enhanced FPS gameplay with breaching actions, new ship hulls and ship systems, multi-player, and new military campaigns to draw you back into that story from time to time.
The interview is well worth any Wingnut's time. Some of the highlights include some insights into the earliest concepts for Wing Commander (then called Squadron). Before the game became the classic we know and love it actually was more of a tactical top-down game that focused on capships. Chris also mentions still wanting to revisit the Wing Commander IP someday.
When asked about whether high resolution source videos for the Wing Commander 3 footage exists Chris points out that EA likely has it if it exists, but does mention that the game was mastered on D1 quality digital tape.
Chris also spends considerable time talking about the Wing Commander film. Starting at about the 42 minute mark he spends some time explaining the different look of the film and laments the movie's accelerated production schedule. He mentions how having to cut Merlin and the unusable Kilrathi footage meant needing to remove the traitor subplot altogether.
Perhaps more interesting is that he mentions during a brief discussion of Wing Commander Academy that Origin had originally planned on also going with Universal for the production company for the feature film.
The last 50 minutes of the interview focuses on Chris' Star Citizen project. You can download the entire interview from Space Game Junkie here.
Mr. Riccitiello was first hired after the development of Wing Commander Prophecy in 1997 and held the role of President & COO as the Maverick Team was eventually disbanded at Origin in March 2000. He was still in charge when Origin was officially shut down in February 2004, and he resigned from the company almost immediately thereafter.
Wing Commander Arena was developed during his absence, but he was rehired as CEO just before its launch in 2007. The follow-up to Arena and several other attempts to restart the franchise in recent years have languished during the time that John has led the company.
CEOs are often portrayed as out-of-touch with the daily operations of large companies, but Mr. Riccitiello described himself as a gamer with insight into the series that were green lit (or not!). Here's looking forward to some fresh blood that will invigorate the classic franchises that make up EA's legacy!
The early Arrows were usually restricted to the dissimilar aggressor/trainer role while the light fighter role was filled by the Hornets. We had an early one at the Academy. I was on the schedule to fly it right before graduation, but it disappeared one day and nobody could tell me where it went. I dunno, maybe somebody crashed it or something.Klavs was also asked what a large physical 3D print would cost. As this new technology is still a developing field, prints more than several inches in length can quickly ratchet up in price. The tally for a color 13" model is in the $1200 range! Needless to say, there won't be one made any time in the near future, but based on trends over the last few years, it's safe to say such amazing creations should be feasible someday.
Eventually they came into their own, getting bigger and bigger reactors to power all the combat shielding and weapons, and the late war version mounted four guns and eight missiles. Before the 'peace' that would have put it in the medium fighter category. They were great though, enough acceleration to tear your face off. In the F-27 you could handle stuff all the way up to a Vaktoth, as long as his buddies were far enough away and you had some missiles left.
I'm getting the feeling Maniac never met a fighter he didn't like. Note the differences between the Armada Version and the WC3 version. Finally explained that 2 meter length discrepancy!
Used the absolutely gorgeous Saga version as a reference, and did my best to rebuild her and make her my own. I hope I didn't ugly her up too much for you!
I wanted to use them to put together notional tactics diagrams for Star Citizen based on our current guestimations of how the physics and weapons will work. Since SC has a shortage of ship profiles, and I look for any excuse to reference the WC1/2 era, I reasoned that WC2 sprites would serve well as stand-ins.
Although after creating that I realized that the Hornet's turret might have trouble rotating to +90 degrees. I modified the tactic to be yaw based (shooting sideways) and threw the Hornet/Scythe graphics in there.
Thanks again for the sprites though. I'm still splicing them in everywhere on the flimsiest of justifications.
Second update has been the hangar. I have been taking over details mostly from the movie. Added the small red "whatever it is" storage and a placeholder for the flight control center to it. Also some struts and the hangar door and force field. It's all more or less WIP but allready gives a nice impression.
George A. Sanger: How come we didn't hear about this 'til now??!! Great job--great attitude, you really captured the intent, I think. AND you look like Dave (the composer) when you/he are on drums. I'll point him to the video, too.
I used to stare at the Wildcat statue at the Academy. I drew energy from it in a way, when times were rough. It got me back on track just to gaze up at that old bird for five, or ten minutes and remember why I was there. Which is why it wasn't really a big deal for me to walk off disciplinary tours in the square. Even in the rain, I could just keep marching, do an about face, and she'd be right there with me, cheering me on.
Objectively, the Wildcats weren't much to look at, a little ungainly, a little underpowered, and don't even think about an atmospheric dogfight in one. In space they could hold their own, at least in the early days of the war. To think of the history behind those early ships! Wow. I can still close my eyes and see that workhorse physique riding that durasteel exhaust against the sunset.
At New Edwards I got a chance to fly one of the last ones around. It had been down for maintenance for almost a decade. The techs had fixed her up in their spare time, hoping to fly it as part of the heritage wing. I lunged at the chance to strap on a Wildcat. Can you imagine flying a Sopwith Camel, P-51 Mustang, or a CF-58 Peregrine? She was a classic. A true beauty, and I HAD to fly her!
I bribed MCPO Venkata with a case of Scotch and wound up with an ancient copy of the Wildcat NATOPS and a slot on the schedule for Saturday morning. The manual was dog eared, bookmarked, and covered from cover to cover in handwritten notes. Pre-war budgetary constraints had delayed much needed engine and spaceframe upgrades, as well as the replacement of fatigued or weakly designed parts. There were many, many provisos to the flight regime. The Wildcat was, to say the least, a soft touch. It's not her fault for having osteoporosis, she was a grand old lady, and I was going to get to fly her!
But, like dancing with grandma, you can't just start her off with the tango. You gotta limber her up a little. I showed up early. Preflighted for two hours, going through every patch, fastener and rivet. The run-up checklist? Did it twice. Taxi was done at a snail's pace. Takeoff was done at 60% of recommended throttle just to save on engine and lubrication temps. She ate up a lot of runway that way, but even shuffling along as she was, climbout was a dream. Turns were gentle and honest. I eased into a slow, 1G roll, and I could tell she wanted more. So we began to dance. Slowly at first, then we moved faster and faster. We were really having a wonderful time together when a missile trail scorched over my right shoulder as we entered a left turn.
The ship shuddered into a crab, snap rolled, spun, and twenty thousand feet later I finally started thinking again, "Someone is shooting at you! You took a hit!"
Recovering at about 200 meters AGL, I began climbing again and began looking around visually (there was no radar to speak of) for threats. Those old combat instincts die hard. Eventually realizing there were none to be seen, aside from my own very sick spacecraft. My CW panel was lit up like a Christmas tree, and I had some spectacular adverse yaw that I was able to mostly trim out using left and center engine gimbals.
The right engine had, apparently, become cleanly separated from the ship. It had shot out like a missile, still developing full power and scaring the crap out of me. I had permanently bent the spaceframe recovering from the spin, but everything else about the limp home was sweet and honest.
Even with one of her engines lying somewhere on in a smoking crater on the desert floor, she showed me three green on downwind and the two engine landing happened just like the checklist said it would. Bless her heart.
When we rolled to a stop in front of the astonished ground crew, I managed to escape the wrath of Master Chief Venkata and his crew by promising them even more more cases of scotch and, to my everlasting credit, a very humble apology. I honestly felt terrible for bending that precious old bird. Still, losing a month's pay beats a lynching any day, and I even managed to sneak in a kiss and a pat on the rear of that beautiful old lady before they wheeled her sadly back into the repair bay. She was, unfortunately, never to fly again.
Still, I smiled every time I passed her, sitting regally up on her pole at the main gate. I'd been her last fling, and we'd had a hell of a time.
-Excerpt from "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall."
And if that's not enough Hellcat/Wildcat, here she is next to a model of the real thing! The older fighter is super detailed and well textured. Although the classic craft looks great, I'm not so sure how she'd hold up against the Kilrathi!
Just playing around, I doubt this will ever appear as anything but a model in Commodore Tolwyn's quarters, but still fun. A lot smaller than the Hellcat, about 14 m long (I believe the Hellcat is 27). Compare that to the ancient original!
I wanted to create something that could have been that statue we saw in the Academy Cartoons, just a little more stylized.
Also the Loki (the Duress ["duress" is more of a verb than a name]). I had to take some personal liberties with it, mainly the intakes and gun mounts (2 particles, 2 mass drivers, 1 stormfire). I wish I had seen Hudson's version of the Duress earlier on. It's about the same length as the Hellcat, although (I) fixed the cockpit a bit, was way too big for the ship.
I originally had the a mass driver there. I was going to put vents where the mass drivers were. Then I was debating on deleting that section where the stormfire is now. Also fixed the cockpit a bit, was way too big for the ship.
The RPG's new Vespus campaign now has a formal Wiki page, and the preliminary missions outlined there sound really neat. In addition to addressing the Concordia's fate, there's some exciting setup for Wing Commander 3 at the end. The intent of the game is ultimately to entertain fans, and capi is doing a great job soliciting feedback from potential players. You can join in on the conversation at the CIC Forums.
Had a thought for the first mission today - we've all had to do those gawdawful capship missile interception missions. You know, where the Cats have launched way more many missiles than they should've had available to them and you have to shoot them all down because if you let so much as a single one through your carrier explodes in a big fiery ball that's visible from the next star system over, a virulent plague breaks out that renders the entire Sector uninhabitable until after the heat death of the universe, and the gods of Wing Commander sneak into your house in the middle of the night to fill your shoes with Miracle Whip. Right?
So how about a gawdawful capship missile escort mission? Stick it to the Cats for once, eh? Eh?
The work plan's still moving along. My immediate goals are to finish up the remaining race profiles. I'm thinking that I'd like to keep some of the momentum I've got going and I know it's going to come to a screeching halt when I hit the next big page, so I'm thinking this week I'm going to try to isolate and finish as many of the remaining small sections of the game as I can.
It has been suggested to me that I try to make WCRPG an offering for the upcoming Free RPG Day (June 15th this year); given that I'd have to have the game to the press by May 15th to have it ready in time and that's only 64 days off at this point, I doubt that will happen. You never know, though...
The article hits the many highlights that helped make the Kilrathi a (gamers') household name: nonlinear missions, breath-taking storylines and cutting edge technology. It also gives the Wing Commander Movie a thumbs up, but, surprisingly, the highly acclaimed animated series a thumbs down.
A few minor clarifications: The third 'expansion' to Wing Commander 1, which is part of Super Wing Commander, was available on both the Macintosh and 3DO. Kudos to the author for knowing that it exists. And WC2's subtitle is "The Vengeance of the Kilrathi," not "The Secret Missions." WC2 is somewhat commonly misnamed because Secret Missions on the Super Nintendo is a standalone sequel, while the full WC2 for the SNES was lost in limbo. You can find the full article here.
I could talk about Wing Commander and its spinoffs for days, maybe even weeks. It is one of the finest examples of an almost-extinct genre of gaming, and if you’ve never experienced the series you’ve certainly missed out. So again I will remind you that the Wing Commander games are on GOG.com. You can get them for around the price of a fancy coffee. So don’t stop for one in the morning… you might be buying a game in the evening. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
"The word 'cavernous' gets overused a lot when talking about carriers, but the main launch bay is huge, around 35,000 m^2 of deck space, all dedicated to spacecraft launch and recovery. No ship is allowed on deck unless it is ready to fly. Eight elevators (four in the portside launch bays) provide access to the hangar bay below, which, while not as tall as the launch bay, is almost as spacious. I didn't get a sense of how much space that really was until somebody told me to visualize three and a half soccer fields end to end stacked over another three. Translate that into regulation sumo rings and you've got a whole lot of Dohyo!"
-Lt Mariko Tanaka, personal correspondence.
Thanks guys! There's about 80 bazillion lights in the scene, but everything you see is a raw render. I'm working on detailing more of the bays now, and rigging the scene so I can turn parts on and off to minimize render times for animation. There's lots of room on deck for a full load alpha strike, with 8 elevators (white squares) to bring up a few reserves from the hangar deck below. I still stand by my numbers of 60-80 craft, including shuttles and perhaps a few marine landing craft in keeping with the self sufficient 'strike carrier' concept.
To help drive the development of the new game, a new Kickstarter campaign has been launched. Early returns are very promising, and it looks to be on track to earn nearly $500,000 within the first 24 hours. Although the final product is intended to be a digital download, the Kickstarter is also offering a number of physical bonuses, which include a cloth map, collector's coin and printed documentation. Here's Richard to discuss the game.
The CIC gets frequent requests to highlight new Kickstarters, and like many sites recently, we've had to restrict which ones make it into the news. Our primary criteria include a history of contribution to the Wing Commander series, and Lord British certainly qualifies. Aside from his involvement at Origin, Richard has been a supporter of the Wing Commander community for a long time. Did you know he was credited as a designer and a playtester for the Wing Commander CCG? His current team includes staff that directly worked on almost every Wing Commander game, and he even temporarily donated his office space to Chris Roberts in order to help launch Star Citizen last October. If you're interested in supporting Mr. Garriott on in this endeavor, find out more here.
“Richard and I have known each other 26 years when I first joined up with a small little company called Origin Systems. We had a lot fun being the small rebel upstart company and made some games that are still remembered for defining or creating genres even today. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Richard this energized about the world and game he is creating. Shroud of The Avatar, feels like the kind of game we would have made in the old days of Origin when we didn’t answer to anyone and just made the best game we could with no interference. That’s what’s great about Crowd funding. I’m backing and looking forward to being part of Lord British’s next great adventure” ~ Chris Roberts, creator of the best-selling Wing Commander game series
Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.
With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience. Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!
The familiar psychological profiling used to create your character, organically derived game-play responses to player behavior and fundamental virtues and consequence of actions will all play a huge role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players will be free to choose their path, but must then live with the consequences of their actions.
Shroud of the Avatar general features:
From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":
• Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
• Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
• Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
• Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
Dor-Chak Laser Rifle
The standard Kilrathi sidearm in shipboard operations is a light-energy weapon called the Dor-Chak (“Striking Bird”) in the Kilrathi tongue. It usually weighs about 6 kg, and measures 29 cm from barrel-tip to the end of the stock. (Some clans wield variant Dor-Chaks, which may look somewhat different from the standard model, but most function virtually identically.) It is believed that the Dor-Chak, in its modern form, was developed by the Kilrathi 50 to 100 years before contact with humanity.
The Dor-Chak is a multifunction weapon. There's a short-range, wide-beam setting (good for about 10 meters against unarmored targets, with a spread of about 2 meters), a long-range narrow-beam setting (able to penetrate an unarmored human target at 200 meters), plus a 1-meter torch mode, for cutting through hatches and bulkheads. Its crystalline power supply is good for about 20 minutes of continuous use, after which time it must be discarded and a new one slotted into place. Most Kilrathi warriors go into battle carrying at least five fully charged power supplies for their Dor-Chak.
Confed's M-47 semiautomatic laser, which is quickly becoming the standard weapon for planetary operations, is based directly on technology originally created by the Kilrathi for the Dor-Chak.
Bearcat and FekLeyrTarg reminded us recently about a cool ancient project that Jetlag undertook to screenshot all the various angles that were rendered for WC1&2 ships. This feat was accomplished with HCl's Ship Viewer program. We've shown off the WC1 lineup before, but the WC2 slate never made it into the news. Both are available below! Hopefully these are useful to some fan project out there - they're pretty interesting even as a reference.
Now that ya got 'em, whatcha gonna do with 'em? :pAnd if you missed the Targeting VDU Megapost last year, be sure to check it out too. Those images come from every game in the series!
They work!new poll that asks whether people would prefer he work on WC1 Kilrathi fighters, WC2 Confed fighters or WC3 Confed fighters next. Vote over at the CIC Forums!
The 1/300 scale ships will be just about the perfect display/zoom around the office size and should be pretty darn affordable (Around $35 for a 3" model) And you don't have to paint 'em! The Scimitar is 1/300 scale and the Rapier an odd 1/230 scale. (About 4.1 inches. I wanted to see what would happen at larger sizes)
They're hard to photograph, but I'm getting details like panel lines, Confed insignia, even hints of stencil markings and warning placards! The texture is a bit rough, like sandstone, but a little sanding on the rough parts evens out the minor "terracing" effect, and the colors are preserved. I painted the Rapier canopy as it was a bit light, and picked out some minor details with a sharp #2 pencil. I can't believe how well these worked.
It turns out the smaller scale ships won't work for the Hornet, Raptor, and Rapier without having to thicken the wings and fine details to the point of silliness. So the Scimitar, Hornet and Rapier will only be available in 1/300 scale for around $35 a piece. These scale out to around 3-4 inches long. Big enough to see plenty of detail, but not take up too much room on your desk. I did some major surgery on the (larger) Raptor and got the price down a bit (for its size). It's still in scale with the other ships. Hornet, Scimitar, Raptor and Rapier are now available on the Shape Ways store!
In the meantime I'll be running around the house making whoosing noises at the dog.
If this is Gen 1 color printing, I can't wait for next year...
Yes the "new" Bengal is very well armed indeed.
Small thrusters to turn the ship: I had these in an older version and realy liked it as a small detail to the overall design so they found their way back into the new version.
One of the techs was a fair hand with the art tablet and a master of programming the CNC sprayer. She came up with this great insignia, a big, black, mean lookin' winged guy on top of some red claw marks. which the Colonel immediately approved. The new Rapier squadron was to be the "Black Lions". All the ships were sprayed, and we flew the crap out of those awesome birds all the way to Venice, through Thor's Hammer, and beyond.
Excerpt from "Me: The Life and Battles of 'Maniac' Marshall."