Happy New Year Wingnuts! It's been another big year for Wing Commander fans, and 2014 should be even better. The biggest news stories often arrive out of nowhere, so it's exciting to think about what might happen next. But before we go charging forward, here's a brief look back at a few of the big stories from last year. If someone were to just look at a couple random days of WC news, it might not seem like a whole lot is happening - but skimming the weeks and months of news in our archives is amazing!
- The Austin office of Cloud Imperium Games was established around the beginning of the year, and developments poured out regularly thereafter. We're not a Star Citizen news site, but we do cover Roberts Space Industries events that are Wing Commander-related such as numerous ex-Originite hires, inclusion of a neat easter egg or the theatrical showing of the WC Movie at Citizen Con.
- Plywood Fiend's audio adventure in the Gemini Sector kicked off with scripting, casting and previews in January. Over the course of the year, several chapters were were released and the story is still going strong.
- In early February a German company demonstrated a new form of micrometer-scale 3D printing that could be used to build incredibly tiny structures. Many major magazines and websites ran with the story, so it got a lot of press. What did they build to demonstrate the technology? A Hellcat V!
- Pix's Origin Adventures helped reconnect with the fan who won a 1995 contest for the screen-worn Blair flight suit in Wing Commander 3. The suit has been well cared for over the course of 18 years and the winner graciously provided some cool pictures. Later in the year, we got a peek at quite a few artifacts that also decorate Chris Roberts' office today.
- Wingnuts have been 3D printing small miniature ships for years now, but the technology really took off in 2013! One of the biggest breakthroughs happened in March with Klavs' color 3D prints. For the first time, fans could go beyond hand-painting tiny figures and order large designs with relatively detailed color textures and decals. They have been extremely popular and dozens of sharp models were made in 2013.
- 2013 was huge for digital rereleases of Wing Commander games! The entire DOS/Windows saga was completed with the addition of Academy in August, P2: The Darkening in September, Prophecy & Secret Ops and Armada & Proving Grounds in November. Don't forget that Strike Commander was also added in March and Macintosh compatibility was expanded all year. As great as it is for a whole new generation to be able to buy Wing Commander cheap and easy, this also provided HCl an opportunity to flex his considerable programming muscle and add new features such as the deinterlace patch for Privateer 2 and DVD video upgrade for Prophecy. All of these enhancements even work for both the digital GOG releases and the old school disc-based versions!
- In April it was revealed that famous Wing Commander composer George Oldziey's music would finally be performed live in concert by the Austin Symphony. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the WC portion was ultimately removed from the planned October concert, but all hope is not lost! Stay tuned for more on this subject in the future.
Wing Commander FPS Unearthed
- Origin veteran Binky Launius uncovered "lost footage" of a first person shooter set in the Wing Commander universe. The project didn't get very far, but in 1997 it was considered and pitched at Origin. There's even a very rudimentary concept video!
- Flat Universe was one of several promising fan projects that were initiated in 2013. The Maslas Brothers worked with prominent Wingnut artists to import existing assets into their 2D engine. They also supplemented their project with a flashy website and electronic magazine.
EA Releases Ultima Forever
- Origin's other vaunted franchise received a boost this year with the release of Ultima Forever for iOS devices. Although we'd much rather see a new Wing Commander game, it's great to see a new title based on one of Origin's classic series. The game continues to receive updates and has a strong social media component. Supposedly it even includes an easter egg quest with a Kilrathi ship!
- capi's well-planned and meticulous role playing game was finally completed and released this year. It's not the only RPG project that was active in 2013, but what is remarkable is that the project set out with a very specific set of goals, set specific targets and then provided status updates with progress details on a regular basis. It's a model that many people could learn from - and it works!
- We proudly tooted our own horn in mid 2013 when the CIC reached ten years of constant daily updates. Around the time that Prophecy was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, the CIC Staff decided to kick things into overdrive and hunt something down to report every day. We now sit at about 3870 consecutive days of Wing Commander news on our front page! The material isn't always earth shattering breaking news, but this very roundup proves that quite a bit of exciting stuff does happen!
- George The Fatman Sanger updated his commercial release of WC1 music mid year when discrepancies were found with two tracks. This was the kind of thing that could easily have been ignored and left to sit for eternity, but Mr. Fat graciously avoided leaving Wing Commander fans in the lurch.
- On August 6, Wing Commander was finally released on Blu-ray! The long-awaited high definition physical media release did not include any extra features aside from higher resolution and detail, but seeing a brand new boxed Wing Commander product on regular store shelves with simply a joy to behold. Even the regular DVD was updated with an anamorphic aspect ratio, and the sound track was released digitally on iTunes/Amazon.
- August 10 marked 15 years of WCNews.com! Our birthday party was a huge success and ton of fun. We released a new OEM demo of WC Prophecy, modernized our video section, reported on tons of fan projects and posted some very interesting archive material. Here's to the next 15 years!
- Wing Commander and LOAF go together like Shotglass and the Tiger's Claw Bar, but he made room for a second love in his life this year! His CIC friends were there to share pictures from the happy event. It'd been nine years since the last staff member got married, and it was fun to see how much we'd changed in between (and stayed the same!).
- It was also a great year for modification of the first couple Wing Commander games. Most modding over the last decade or so has focused on the later games in the series, but HCl and Howard's additions to Academy and delMar's WCWorkShop site have reinvigorated interest in the classic titles. We're anxious to see this trend continue!