Happy Father's Day Update ID

Many countries celebrate Father's Day today, and we know a lot of Wing Commander fans have recently become dads out there. My little one just turned 16 months old, and I'm happy to that see she grabs a controller and starts pushing buttons whenever she gets a chance.

The CIC is more of a news site than a blog, but it's also a community hub more than anything, and it feels right to share this personal story with the community. This Father's Day is a tough one for me because my Uncle Jim passed away yesterday.

The two of us used to play NES and Super Nintendo games frequently in the '80s and '90s. The Mario games were big, plus Zelda obviously, puzzle games like Tetris and Doctor Mario and Wing Commander on the SNES, of course. We learned together how to put together PC hardware and how DOS worked. Whenever one of us messed up a sound card jumper setting or couldn't get the drivers right for a game to run, we would call each other and work it out. I very fondly remember how eager we were to install Windows 95 when it arrived on a giant stack of floppy disks. He was very enthusiastic about new technology and helped put me on a path towards many of the cool techie things I'm engrossed in today. Plus, he'd recommend everything from books he thought I'd like to what the best shaving gear was. After my grandfather passed away when I was little, he was more of a father figure than anyone but my mom.

He had quite a story. As an underage teenager, he enlisted in the navy and served in the Pacific during World War 2. While going to school at the University of Washington, he worked 100-hour weeks for the gas company bringing heat to Seattle during the cataclysmic winter storms of 1950. And prior to retirement, he was an executive at Boeing, where I'm now a manager myself. His tales about how part of the city was on AC current and part on DC current when he was growing up were crazy, and the magnitude of technological change he witnessed in his lifetime is hard to imagine. Yet he was always so excited about what was coming next. He'd say that he wished he could come back in a hundred years and see all the amazing stuff we have then. A couple years ago at about age 90 I helped him set up his first smartphone - I hope I'm on top of the latest gadgets in the year 2070. Going back to the mid '90s, he gave me the computer that I used to get established in the online Wing Commander community, which I used to make my first Wing Commander website and eventually code the first pages here at the CIC. Had he not passed me down that machine, I wouldn't have been able to play Prophecy and Secret Ops when they were new with all of you. Who's to say if I would have been able to be engaged enough to help found the CIC, report news daily for the past 20 years, and make all of the lifelong friendships that I have. Life could have been very different.

So for helping make me the person I am today, so that I could be here helping keep the Wing Commander community going strong and being friends with all of you, Happy Father's Day Uncle Jim. I'll miss you very much.

The Attack Begins... Soon Update ID

There's tons of great Wing Commander fan projects out there, but it's not every day that we get a teaser for a new one. FekLeyrTarg has had a hand in quite a few different endeavors over the years, and his latest will be a new short fan film. Projects like these have been proposed a number of times over the years, but we haven't seen very many come to fruition. They have a lot of potential to be pretty cool, and FekLeyr even made a graphic to announce his reveal this Monday, so we're pretty excited to see what's to come!
On June 18 2018, 8 PM Zulu, a new short Fan Film is going to be released.

Wing Commander's Better than Super Mario Brothers Update ID

Who knew IMDB made little video shorts? They've just posted a clip to celebrate the recent 25th birthday of the Super Mario Brothers movie. It talks a bit about why the film was the way it was and how it was critically panned. Wing Commander gets a funny cameo as the film that's actually ranked one better than Mario Brothers in the all time IMDB ranking of video game-based adaptations. Check it out here.

May 28, 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of 'Super Mario Bros.' The very first live-action adaptation of a video game, ever, was based on the hugely successful series that helped pull the gaming industry out of the 1983 crash. But when it came to its big screen potential, only one man had the vision, producer Roland Joffé.

Games on Film Covers Wing Commander Update ID

The Games on Film podcast has recorded an episode that's all about Wing Commander. They spend more than 80 minutes talking about the franchise's background and the environment that existed in 1999. Then the commentators spend quite a bit of time talking through the highs and lows of the film itself. One thing that sets this review/discussion apart from the cliche comments you frequently see is that they thought the space action was on the boring side but were actually intrigued by the Pilgrim angle. Since their focus is all about video games that have crossed over into theaters, they make a good point that FMV-centric series seem to have an inherently difficult time gaining acceptance since it's so easy to break with cinematic styles that their fans are used to. You can check out the full episode here.
Harry and Rory journey into the deep reaches of space - and the even deeper reaches of the DVD bargain bin - for the most anticipated science-fiction film of 1999 (at least for the members of the Freddie Prinze Jr. fan club): Wing Commander. We compare the cast of the movie adaptation with the stars of its FMV-featuring source material, while talking beanie hats, mini disc technology, and alien space cats. We also discover Harry's number one fear - and it's not being forced to sit through Wing Commander again! This podcast contains SPOILERS for Wing Commander (1999).

Listen to the 'Last of the Megacarriers' Update ID

FekLeyrTarg has a neat new audio treat for fellow fans. He's recorded a classic Star*Solder article to test out his new audio gear. If the story doesn't ring a bell, it's the one that details some of the exploits and fate of the final surviving Midway class megacarrier that fought in the Nephilim war. It's a very creative reading with music and sound effects layered in! You can find the original text on page 23 of the manual here.
In order to test my new semi-professional microphone and practice my skills in Adobe Audition, I produced an Audio Narration of "Last of the Megacarriers" from "Star*Solder", the manual of "Wing Commander Arena". This is the tale of the TCS Port Broughton, a Terran Confederation Megacarrier and sistership to the TCS Midway from "Wing Commander: Prophecy".

Check Out Spanish Wing Commander 2 Update ID

This is turning into a series! Christian Klein has found yet another DROSoft localization for Spain. This time it's Wing Commander 2. This one has a long of box text to translate, and the small instruction pamphlet has a very cool design with watermark silhouettes of all the ships on it. Relatively speaking, there's quite a few copies of Wing Commander 2 out there, but not this version of it! Really cool find!
Thanks Spain! I recently found another neat Wing Commander 2 version to add to my small collection.

Vision Engine Reaches New Graphical Heights with Glowing Emit Maps Update ID

DefianceIndustries has shared some exciting news about another amazing graphical upgrade developed by the community. Pedro and PopsiclePete have helped implement emit maps that will allow for proper glow effects in Prophecy and Secret Ops. This is a huge win for a game that's highlighted by dark spaceships adorned with eerie lights. There's also some great benefits for regular spaceships too. Coming soon to a Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack near you!
So...it isn't often we jaded MUP-pers get really excited over something, but this is one of those times. The dynamic graphical duo of Pedro and PopsiclePete have been hard at work performing dark magics and alchemy on the Open/GL patch and have given us a gift long sought after: Emit maps!

Up to this point we've had to be creative in how we do things like glowing windows and engines in the MUP. Kevin Caccamo 's awesome Wing Blender tools for Blender allow us to fake emitting surfaces by letting us use shadeless textures. But that means in things like capships we have to ensure that emitting surfaces are attached to other destroyable objects or fake it with a hidden CARGO chunk. Nephilim models were especially difficult because they aren't symmetrical. So we have to do really wacky stuff like use transparency functions on the windows and create a second "emit mesh" that lives just beneath the hull so when you view the model head -on the emitting mesh shows through the hull - and the emit mesh has to be attached as a destroyable chunk like CARGO so it can stop emitting once the ship dies. Because Vision inexplicably doesn't support destroyed base hull meshes or even texture swapping on a destroyed main object, some of this is still necessary. However for ships like corvettes and fighters, this is a huge win!

Why? a couple of reasons: 1) for some reason rounded objects like the engine on the barracuda (being one of the most obvious offenders) as well as the gun pods on the Nephilim fighters don't emit properly using the shadeless texture approach and 2) we are limited to selecting faces and creating shadeless materials for those faces - with proper emit mapping we can actually bake real glows onto the fighters and ships. Hangars can actually look like they're lit by the overhead lamps, hull around intakes can now properly render soft glows, etc. it will add a new level of visual enjoyment to the MUP.

Here are some new shots of everybody's favorite Maestro-killer - the Barracuda, using the new emit maps.

New Flat Universe Launcher Launches Update ID

The updated Flat Universe launcher is now available! This is the first step in the release of a special edition of the game that will facilitate the upcoming WCFU tournament. There are some additional bug fixes and compatibility assurances available as a part of this, and the recently hinted-at new features should be coming soon. Grab the update for yourself and start practicing at Daedalus Station here. Here's the flatulence straight from the Maslas Brothers:
Uninstall the previous version and install the current. Upon launch, it will ask you to download two updates. After that, you are ready to play the old multiplayer version of Flat Universe. For the time being of course.;)

Let me point some of the basic bug fixes that have been made:

  • It is tested to install and work correctly on Windows 10 with UAC raised.
  • The Launch button activates only when all the patches are fuly installed.
  • The news slider updates correctly without caching old rss news.
  • FlatUniverse will Launch after the FULG is closed no matter what.
Everything of the above has been tested on Windows, Linux and Mac. Make your choice! I will come back with more tasty news soon regarding the upcoming Tournament version.

Until then,

Have fun!:)

the MaslasBros

Command & Conquer Rivals Announced Update ID

E3 2018 is unfolding over the next week, and Electronic Arts held its press event today to highlight its new games coming in the year ahead. Battlefield V and Anthem have stirred some of the most interest and look fairly neat. No new Wing Commander games seem to be on the horizon for 2018, but EA did announce another mobile Command & Conquer game, Rivals, in the "Clash Royale" style. It's streamlined significantly compared to classic RTS games, but the fast-paced style will probably prove to be pretty popular. It looks fairly sharp graphically, and there seems to be a bit of depth in the form of different commanders and a complementary suite of tactics necessary to win. We shared the news about Red Alert Online earlier this spring and spent a lot of time talking about how this franchise seems to keep bouncing back. It doesn't surprise me anymore, C&C has more lives than a Kilrathi!

Wing Commander Tracked Down in Multi-Game Guides Update ID

I’ve been looking at the multi-game guide books that were popular in the mid-90s. This one has chapters on Wing Commander III and IV... but the very simple walkthrough only covers seven missions of the latter. These seem kind of silly today, but before the internet books like these were a neat way to find out about the games available for your system. They’re as much wishbook as they are hint book!

Prima updated this huge book of PlayStation game guides annually for years. Here’s WC3 and 4 still included the 2000 version!

Flat Universe Teases New Ships, Effects, Weapons & More Update ID

Fans getting ready for the upcoming Flat Universe tournament have noticed that the core game download has been temporarily suspended. This is in preparation for major updates set to launch soon that will be highlighted in the impending competition. On top of some major bug fixes, there will also be a host of new features and additions. It sounds really cool - I'll let the Maslas Brothers describe the specifics below. We'll be sure to share when the upgrade is available!
In a couple of days, we will release the final version of the launcher only which is going to be smaller in size and seriously debugged (No UAC problems, no compatibility bugs on Windows 10, no download loops etc). With the release of the new launcher you will, at first, be able to download the previous multiplayer version of Flat Universe, and during the weeks that will follow the launcher will upgrade you to the tournament release.
  • Two new light fighters to fly with given by DefianceIndustries. The Banshee and the Talon (the Retro version) with LOD, damage effects and custom cockpits as always.
  • The leech guns. With the introduction of the Banshee the Leech guns are also going to be available. Enjoy disabling your opponents and then take your time with them.
  • G-effects. Yup your pilot will fadeout on persistent hi G maneuvers.
  • Updated graphics engine with marvelous new explosions and damage effects.
  • Better calibrated Quality Selector that benefits the performance of the game on boxes with lower specs and capabilities. However, from now and on Windows XP will not be supported any more guys, we are really sorry for that.
This is just a taste of what is about to come. So stay tuned with this forum and Enlist Now! As always, thanks for the support and understanding.

the MaslasBros

Wing Commander Price Cut Arrives in GOG Summer Sale Update ID

GOG.com has kicked off their summer sale and the Wing Commander series is on the list. The entire franchise is now 70-72% off, which ties the best deals we've seen in the past year. Each individual title is down to $1.79 and the whole package of all DOS & Windows games is just $13.42. Boxed games might be nice for the collection, but digital copies are really quick and easy to download and play. These also make great gifts!

Approaching Fralthi Target Update ID

Here's a couple of striking Wing Commander Movie concept images from around LOAF's previous Cloud Imperium office. They feature the Broadsword and one of its primary foes, the Fralthi. Look closely and there's some interesting notes about how the reinforced bow could be used for ramming. We don't often see this tactic employed by Wing Commander capships - short of a rare last ditch self destructing maneuver - but it would be an interesting dynamic to add in to capship battles. Star Trek Discovery had a pretty impressive combat ram last year, and it'd be neat to see more of that.
Good old Broadswords; not fast, but they got you home safe.

Privateer Online's Commerce System Highlighted in Postmortems Preview Update ID

Raph Koster has posted additional snippets from his upcoming book on video game development, Postmortems. This time he provides a glimpse into the incredibly ambitious economy that Privateer Online was supposed to include. This includes complex guild mechanics, a virtual stock market and an offline web-based interface for certain tasks. Pretty wild for the time! The 700 page paperback publication is still slated for June 26, but ebook editions are starting to trickle out. The B&N Nook version is already available at just $20.
Another feature of Privateer Online that arose out of its heavily commerce-oriented gameplay was its in-game stock market... which may not have worked the way you'd expect. Long before Farmville, MMOs were exploring asynchronous play. There were player vendors in UO, of course, but in Privateer Online we planned to extend that to a fully player-driven economy. I mean, we were trying to support mercantile gameplay via the web into an MMO server (and back out) in 1999... no wonder the game got cancelled, who knows what EA thought of that (they cancelled it in favor of Earth & Beyond).

Talon Highlights Upcoming Flat Universe Tournament Update ID

The Maslas Brothers have revealed DefianceIndustries' awesome Talon in the Wing Commander Flat Universe engine. It looks great! Every angle reveals more beautiful detail. This is also a reminder and plug for the WCFU tournament coming up in two weeks. Sign up now to participate in the multiplayer extravaganza scheduled for June 23rd & 24th.
Are you a religious man? We've got you covered. The wait is OVER! The F-38R Talon is here with this... spread the word... of the Lord!

You gonna fly this baby on the tournament June 23rd /24th of June.

Enlist NOW and Die by the very weapons you adore!

the MaslasBros

More Movie Variants for the Collection Update ID

More copies of the Wing Commander movie came today: first, a German budget DVD (with Titan AE) and a US VHS with Spanish subtitles! The Spanish subbed version of the movie’s box changes the description to be about how Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard are friends in real life. WEIRD!

And Betty, when you call me, you can call me PAL. It’s the UK VHS release of Wing Commander!

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