Long before listicles were a thing, video game websites loved to publish their top game lists. Some of these truly were simple rankings of a hundred games, so the modern format with a bit of text for each entry potentially represents a slightly deeper take. PC Gamer has posted a new article this week about the 20 best space sims on PC. It's an interesting subject for a major publication to take up in 2015 as it shows how far we've come from the space sim barren '00s. This would have been a pretty unusual sight in 2009, but not so much today. Two-thirds of the picks do come from the last 5 years, which highlights the positive resurgence we're in, but it also remains to be seen if most of these recent releases will withstand the test of time.
The oldest game on the list, one of just four titles older than 10 years, is Wing Commander Privateer. The author says that Priv is their preference due to the game's edgy atmosphere and sandbox freedom. It may be worth noting that upon its release in 1994, Wing Commander 3 garnered PC Gamer's highest review score in history until it was surpassed by Half-Life in 1998. Later in the early 2000s, WC3 again ranked 19th and then 48th best game of all time of any genre, which illustrates how all such lists are usually quite temporally biased. That makes this week's acknowledgement of Privateer all the more special. I wonder if the reviewer was even born when it was released! Check out the full feature here. Thanks to Delance for the tip.
Wing Commander: Privateer
Developer: Origin Systems
Fans of the series will argue endlessly about which Wing Commander is the best, but we love Privateer’s darker feel. It’s a rich sandbox in which you can be a mercenary, a pirate, a merchant, or a mix of all three. You jump between systems looking for bounties to hunt and ships to rob, and the first-person dogfights are a thrill. There’s a linear story, but the real joy lies in doing your own thing.
More: Richard Cobbett explains why this one's brilliant in this Privateer retrospective.
Here's a couple of fake Wing Commander products that were too hilarious not to share. We would normally withhold direct links to counterfeit goods just to prevent people from profiting off this sort of thing, but in this case I'm not sure that the source for these wasn't just some shady weird virus installer.
It's tough to pick a favorite. On one hand, the Privateer art is gorgeous, but on the other, the sheer absurdity of cropping "Wing Commander" so that only "VIN MA" is visible might take the cake. The source for the WC1 logo actually isn't the popular pixelated WC1 title image that often makes the rounds. Rather, it's a specific smoothed variant made by Kilrathikiller for a wallpaper we posted back in 2008. Similarly, the Priv source image is this wallpaper. I guess you really can find anything on the internet!
Huntress Phone Case\'s Shop Hot Wing Commander: Prophecy Custom Hard CASE for Samsung
2015 Wing Commander Privateer Custom Hard CASE for iPhone 5/5s Durable Case Cover 749
Lloyd discusses the cult favourite 'Wing Commander' from 1999.
I've gotten the line-images compiled and uniformed so the various dimensions all line up. I took the files to Kinkos and got the full sized images printed out on 11x17 paper.
Because of the nature of this project, it's going to have several phases of intense work for little immediate result. This is one of those phases. Where I get to go through the line images I created, and begin extracting measurements. And measurements. and measurements. So far I have 25 measurements and I'm only... eh.... 80% finished. With the back view. I still have the front, side, top and bottom to do. And the top and bottom are going to be the big data-dumps! For reference, understand that the entire space the rear view takes up is 87.5mm high by 182mm wide while by comparison the top view occupies a space of 170mm wide by 305mm long. And the top and bottom views have a lot more detail then the rear. Still, gotta get started somewhere right? So what do I have to show today? Lots of lines and measurements, still have lots of lines and measurements to go.
Getting there guys...this morning I added the necessary menus for card drafting, and I've added a feature that will tell players how many cards are left in the draw decks as well as the current size of their hands. I've also added the game rules, FAQ and credits from the data here at the CIC (taking the time to correct the board layout; I'll do further proofreading later) and added all of that to mod.
Most important of all - I've confirmed that decks can be built ahead of game time, saved and loaded at will. This fact opens up the game in ways I'm pretty sure I haven't thought of fully...it makes it possible for y'all to share decks among members of the community...something I hadn't really intended when I set out to begin the project, but a delightful bonus. I guess I'll build a few decks to put up on the VASSAL page along with the mod when the time comes, so all of you can adequately inspect my suckage. Seriously - I drafted the first deck for the game this evening and I think that if I were to have had to play an actual game with that deck, I would've rapidly gotten my backside handed to me......
The initial page at the VASSAL site for the mod is up. Not much there at the moment besides a few screenies. The mod itself is certainly not there (not yet anyway - give it time). As I've promised there, though, a "how-to" guide for using the mod is forthcoming.
Meantime - preliminaries: VASSAL has versions for Linux, OS X and Windows on their Download page. VASSAL is dependent on the Java Runtime Environment, so you'll need to install that before VASSAL will work. And you have to have VASSAL installed to run the mod, obviously. I say you have to have it installed - I've successfully been able to use VASSAL from a copy of the thing on my jump drive. Just saying. Windows users will be able to install the JRE during the VASSAL install if it detects that it's missing, Mac users have the JRE natively though if you're not using a version newer than 10.3 you'll only be able to install VASSAL 2.9.9. Linux users may or may not be screwed depending on your distribution; the VASSAL folks have links for the JRE for Fedora and Ubuntu.
I need to increase the size of that stack preview but that's no big deal. I think I also need to go ahead and rename all the cards based on their titles instead of their filenames (or just remove the piece movement reporting from the dialogue box; that would actually be easier to implement, IMHO.)
Alright - I still need to get the Power Point counters in, I still need to implement hands and I still need to set up card drafting, but there's been some definite progress today.
SciFi Tech Talk is a site that analyzes various science fiction products and attempts to pick apart the technology involved. The Wing Commander movie is their latest subject. All three commentators had different reactions - one hated it, one liked it and one thought it was about average. There are comparisons to Das Boot and the speakers touch on many of the obvious topics like sound in space and gravity aboard the ship. They don't have much knowledge about the game series, so the reviewers get hung up on such things as the movie being named "Wing Commander" despite the main protagonist not commanding a wing. There's even surprise by how "WW2 in space" it feels. Of all things, the space ships are their favorite part.
The podcast concept seems like it's a good way to suck the fun out of any film, and it doesn't even get into tech very much. Still, it can be interesting to hear some people's take from a slightly different perspective sometimes. It's just kind of amazing that they can carry on like this for almost 50 minutes! (with some bonus hating on Starship Troopers tossed in) You can listen in for yourself here.
Quick to make and it turned out pretty neat! A Dralthi from the iconic fighter series Wing Commander.
I will cover:
- Configuring the game for General MIDI
- Using VirtualMIDISynth and SoundFonts
- How to toggle subtitles
- How to change the language to German or French (Text only)
- How make the graphics smoother when moving around the ship
- Setting the perfect cycle speed to avoid some bugs
- Boost the sample rate for digital speech and sound effects
- Configure joystick as input device
- Configure joystick hat and rudder with the game
At the end you can watch me play the game a little bit (first mission).
- Space Trader: Dynamic chain of supply (each tradeship that lands on a port affect production), affected by events, piracy, supply/demand etc.
- Squad Combat: Real-time, WASD flight, mouse weapons control with Tactical Pause to issue accurate commands to your squad.
- RPG Progression: Player & NPC Progression via XP/skill trees as well as ships & a vast amount of modules.
- Complex Faction Dynamics: AI conquer & defend systems with fleet movements. Your actions, big or small, have a major effect on the tide of conquest!
- Dynamic Sandbox: A universe that is alive & responds to your actions, for good or bad.
Blair, a fighter pilot, joins an interstellar war to fight the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the universe.
It's a pretty slick little engine. I myself have used it to make nine mods (soon to be ten :) ), four of which are up on their site. The module for Dennis Sustare's Star Smuggler, a solitaire RPG, is one of mine (and arguably the most complex mod I've built to date). VASSAL can be used for practical purposes too - the nav maps I built for the Elegy campaign were all originally built with a VASSAL mod.
GREAT way of prototyping and playtesting a game without having to spend money on real parts. I've already had a thought about the possibility of expanding the CCG mod with new cards (or maybe ships/pilots/factions from different eras), but that's just a thought. Probably oughta get the basics in before any tinkering happens (if at all).
The process of cleaning up the card images has begun. Really, all I'm wanting to do there is to clean up the edges a bit so that there aren't white borders around everything. So far I'm off to a bumpy start; I was working on the card backs yesterday and while I think the Terran back is okay, the Kilrathi back had a lot of noise in the border for some reason. I'm probably going to want some extra pairs of eyes out there once the cards are in to help look for stray pixels against the backdrop. 2 down, 312 to go...
Let me ask you guys - as far as a "tabletop" is concerned, I was thinking about going with a starfield, maybe with the "nav map" connections drawn on top of it. My current plan is to set up the Nav Point cards so that they can be randomized prior to gameplay. I've also given some thought to the possibility of having the four-player map in the mod somewhere; it wouldn't take a great deal of additional effort to add it, methinks.
Any suggestions or ideas about what needs to be in the mod or any wanted features would be most welcome.
No rest for the wicked. The UBW needs a second line fighter so here's a concept I've been noodling around on for a Rapier II; and there are some additional capships in the works as well. Curious what folks think of the fighter though.
Nice try Ryan... ...nice try.
Here's the Durango in her (original?) Confed livery circa 2665. This version is the TCS Delphi, DD-47 the original incarnation of the BWS Intrepid before she was sold to the UBW and rechristened CVL-06.
You've asked for it, and now you're getting it! I am FINALLY going to revisit Wing Commander: Privateer - Righteous Fire and finish this LP that I started 3 years ago! In this episode, our 'hero' has his Steltek gun stolen, and we have to figure out how to get it back! I also just go over a few mechanics to get things underway.
The Wing Commander Toolbox (WCToolbox) is a set of tools to work on Wing Commander game data. It is the same project as the Wing Commander Games Library, just renamed. Seems a bit more appropriate, especially if I continue to add or expand functionality. It is also a play on the name WC Workshop which seems fitting as it served as inspiration for this project. I thought I would recap the support that is presently available in the toolbox and I will also be doing individual post for each supported file format. Included in the WCToolbox:
* The API Library provides an application programming interface for the Microsoft .NET Framework v4. It is a fully documented set of types which provide read and write functionality to many of the game data formats. Consult the help file for additional information, including the underlying data structures of the data formats.
* The WC1 XML Converter is a console application which converts game data to/from XML. Once the game data is in XML, it can be edited and converted back to game data.
* The WC1 Extractor is a console application which extract assets (images, music, etc) from the game data files. It also outputs the content as text.
The following screenshot is a very quick test to see if it was possible to include extended characters. In the test, the diacritical marks are not very obvious since the font does not provide a lot of space for them, but it works.
Finally! Here she is, the finished Durango! The model seemed cursed for a while there, I lost the diffuse texture file twice (both due to sudden and unhappy power losses).
I went ahead and painted her up as the most well known of the class, the Evil I, but I'm also working on a few alternate textures for it: TCS Delphi and the Tango.
She has a fully modeled and textured hangar deck as well. I was going to write up some fun little in-universe blurb, but honestly right now I'm a bit brain fried... hope you like it!
Just found out about the Wing Commander mini game called "Wing 0" on the PC game System Shock. I searched online and could find almost zero info on it so I decided to play it and record it. I ended up with 45 minutes of footage. If you wanna check it out here is the link! Also my apologies for the lack of commentary. Issues with my mic, tried getting it working for about an hr and finally caved and just did the video without it.
As I played on and started figuring things out it actually really started feeling like Wing Commander to me. It's tough doing all the flying and aiming with only a mouse but being the nerd I am I had to check it out since I couldn't find any videos of it anywhere. It was fun but I don't think I will be attempting mission 10 again, that was too tough! I need some missiles and afterburner to take on all those fighters!
Greetings my VERY patient friends!If you haven't yet seen the documentary that chronicles the effort to get this music recorded, be sure to check it out below!
I hope you all enjoy the sample based bonus tracks that I'd promised you all. They obviously don't have the amazing breadth and, as conductor Allan Wilson so poignantly said in his interview, "soul and spirit" of music recorded with a real orchestra, I think they they are light years ahead of the original versions of 20 years ago!
Next step is to finish off the physical CD, which I promise to have shipped out to the appropriate tier levels by the holidays, along with the other bonus prizes that were bid upon.
Again, thank you to all of you for your amazing support! Shall we think about volume 2 for next year? :)
That time my kid played Wing Commander and @HamillHimself reminded him of Luke. From Percy Jackson. :(