Wing Commander Jazz Album Marches On Update ID

Following up on his recent release of the jazz and bar music digital recordings, veteran video game composer George Oldziey has sent out three more updates to his backers. George has exported the sheet music for several tracks from volume 2 of the orchestral project to video format. You can follow the score as the music notation is played back through the Sibelious sound fonts. The second update shows a preview of the artwork for the physical copy of the jazz album. It was made by community member SabreAce, who you may remember from his work on those awesome squadron patches a few years ago. And finally there was a response to a frequently asked question regarding the recommended listening order. If you backed this project, be sure to keep an eye on your e-mail or the Kickstarter page for the latest updates. Kickstarter e-mail updates always end up in my spam folder for some reason. The Victory bar music track has been released as a teaser, so check it out below if you didn't back the project!

Greetings! I was asked by several backers what my preferred, or recommended order would be for listening to the recent WC bar music files. I never really gave it much thought, until just now.

You all can obviously play them in whatever order you'd like, but MY preferred sequence would be..

  1. WC Victory Bar Music
  2. WC Bar Funk Music
  3. WC Bar Samba
  4. WC Bar Ballad
  5. Kilrathi Cha Cha (which I'm sure you already figured out was an adaptation of the theme from WC 3; Heart of the Tiger).

I've had lots of positive comments about the music, and I REALLY appreciate them!

All the best,

George

Origin Veteran's Postmortems Book Now Available on Paperback Update ID

Former Origin veteran Raph Koster recently published a new book titled Postmortems: Selected Essays Volume One. Available first in digital formats, you can now also get the hefty, 702 page paperback edition. Mr. Koster was lead designer for Ultima Online and went on to develop the ill-fated Privateer Online before moving on to Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest and many others. The postmortems book contains critical analyses and after-action reports on many of the games that he worked on throughout his long career. We've previously highlighted a few snippets on the proposed commerce system in Privateer Online meant to tease the various sections of the book. It promises to provide some fascinating insight behind the scenes of game development. The B&N Nook digital download is priced considerably cheaper than the Kindle version, while Amazon seems to have better pricing on the paperback version.

Few game designers have shared as many lessons learned as Raph Koster. In a quarter-century of writings and talks, he has offered up game design lessons, online community theories, and candid self-evaluation.

This first volume of a three-book set of selected essays collects previously written postmortems and many brand new pieces. They are accompanied by historical material such as posts written for players, chat logs, speeches, design sketches, and more. The result is an inspiring historical look back at the development of virtual worlds.

Decipher SciFi Discusses Wing Commander Update ID

Back in 2016, the Decipher SciFi podcast devoted an entire episode to the Wing Commander movie. The show starts off with an overview of the Wing Commander computer game series with a focus on Wing Commander 3 as a revolutionary interactive movie and the ever increasing production values and development budget up to Wing Commander 4. The show runners are all familiar with the franchise, having played the originals back in the 1990s on DOS PC or Amiga, and they even went to see the film when it was playing in theaters. The movie segment of the show touches on a wide range of topics, including unlikely fraternization, the traitor subplot getting axed, production challenges as a first time director with a limited budget, and Pilgrim pick-up lines. Check out the episode here.
As children of the 90s, we have to wax nostalgic over the Wing Commander video games. They were really, really important at the time. Ground-breaking, even. PC games pre-windows. FMV.

PC Zone Reviews Wing Commander: Armada Update ID

While flipping through the October 1994 issue of British gaming magazine PC Zone, noted retro gamer Pix spotted a vintage Armada review. The reviewer praises the graphics (a low resolution preview of the still upcoming Wing Commander 3) and was especially impressed with the hybrid turn-based/split-screen multiplayer feature, in which two players can go head-to-head on a single computer. The user friendliness of the menu system for setting up modem or netBIOS sessions also received a nod of approval. The five page spread contains ample screenshots of Armada's different game modes, although some space is reserved for a large inset preview of Wing Commander 3. Shortly after the game's release, the free Proving Grounds expansion would add support for IPX networking and six player sessions. A decade later, a fan patch by HCl enabled internet play. Scans below courtesy of Pix's Origin Adventures!

Japanese Wing Commander 3 Boxes Compared Update ID

Noted DOS aficionado Christian Klein has posted some interesting comparison shots of the Japanese editions of Wing Commander III. We've covered these a couple of times in the past, but it's worth pointing out again that the game received a full audio dub (check out the intro here), and that Japan is the only market where a Windows 95 port of WC3 was released as a standalone product! The front box art for DOS/V machines (a version of IBM DOS with better support for the Japanese language) was pretty much identical to the Western release with some Japanese text thrown in, while the Windows 95 edition featured a more unique design (though certainly not as "out there" as some other Japanese box art). The same design is featured on the cover of the Japanese guide to WC3 for PlayStation. Christian also provides us with a look at the reverse side box art and the CD-ROM disc labels, which are more bland than the etchings on the Western PC and 3DO discs.

Lexington Stands Down From Silent Running Update ID

Forums member pahandav noticed a minor glitch with the DVD port of Wing Commander IV. The game provides transition scenes of Blair navigating the ship's passageways en route to hotspots like the lounge or flight control. Seasoned players usually skip these scenes to save time, so you may not have noticed that, on the DVD version, a few of these clips are lacking audio:

I was getting ready to do a stream of Wing Commander 4 and noticed that the walking videos on the Lexington had no sound. So, I extracted the audio from those videos from the CD version, and reencoded them to AC3.

To use these, you'll need to load SC_5150A.VOB through SC_5150G.VOB in AviDemux, go to Select Track under the audio menu, click on the box that says Track 0 from audio, and then click add audio track. Select the .ac3 file for the VOB file. Then make sure that the output format on the main window is set to MPEG-PS Muxer, and that the video and audio are set to copy. Do that for all seven of the files. Then, rename them to .VOB files and copy them to where you have your VOB files stored.

AD had already fixed up our Holovids entries with a similar method some time ago. Until we get a chance to patch the DVD Upgrade package itself you can follow the instructions above to restore the audio track on your copy of the game.

Kilrathi Saga's Wing Commander 3 Music Preserved Update ID

When the Kilrathi Saga bundle was released, it was met with a mixed reception. While it provided an accessible method for playing the classic trilogy on faster Windows 95 computers, it also contained a few technical glitches and oddities. One notable change is that the Wing Commander III port had its MIDI soundtrack swapped out for WAV audio recordings of the same, and not particularly high quality ones at that. Today, playing the originals through DOSBox provides a much better overall gameplay experience on modern hardware. But just as the Kilrathi Saga remains a must-buy item for collectors, we do want to preserve the KS WC3 music for posterity. Forums member Darkmage kindly exported the raw WAV music from the game's data files, and Whistler converted them to MP3 format for your convenience. You can listen to a sample track below and download the entire package here (9.1MB). It's a far cry from the MIDI originals on a good soundcard, not to mention George Oldziey's recent orchestral and jazz live recordings!

Tallahassee Model Supersizing in Progress Update ID

Adm_Maverick has posted a status update for his scratch-built papercraft Tallahassee model. He showed off a few images to demonstrate what he's done lately, and this includes a nice resizing up to a significantly larger scale model. The blueprints for his new design are displayed right next to his previous generation cruiser. We can't wait to see the larger results! He's also previously used different color materials to show contrast during the construction phase, which are clearly very different than any scheme we'd ever seen in game, but I kind of like the funky colors. There's some potential for some very creative artistic license there!
So what am I doing? Well, I'm sort of starting over... kind of. As I mentioned previously I lost the file that had all the notes for scaling so I couldn't finish the last version of the model I was working on. Well, I decided to take the first steps and go big or go home! I went back to the drawing board and re-scaled all of the parts. How big did I make them? Well... here's an example:

Here you can see the previous model laid on top of the page that has the part for the left side of the forward prow. You can see the prow itself is nearly as long as the entire previous model. If my numbers are correct, this should turn out to be about 24 1/4" long when it's built. I'm going for a large model to push myself and to give myself a good canvas for 'developing' details and materials for it. My ultimate end goal is to have a ship on a base with lights. Going for this large of a model gives me space to work with.

Wing Commander Jazz Album Complete! Update ID

Great news for Wing Commander music fans! George Oldziey has finished processing the Wing Commander jazz and bar music recorded earlier this year by his awesome Latin jazz band, and the digital version is now available. If you backed his Kickstarter last year, you should have received a message with download links and a password, so log in and check it out! If you didn't back the project but still want to hear an awesome sample, the Victory's famous tune has been released as a teaser here. It's my favorite - I just love it! More goodies are still in the works, which George details below.
Greetings all. I'm terribly sorry for the LONG delay, but I just sent links to the digital media versions of the Wing Commander Bar Music recording to those that contributed at $20 and more to phase 1 of volume 2, so check your inboxes. The CDs and PDFs of the orchestral music will follow soon. The PDF's are all ready, and if you'd like to receive yours (if you pledged at the appropriate level) before the audio CDs of the bar music are ready I'll be happy to send you those.

I'll also be following up with video formats of the PDFs (generated by Sibelius) playing the mockups of the pieces that will be recorded by the orchestra.

Thank you SO much for your patience and wonderful support!

Musically yours,

George

Happy Fourth! Update ID

Today a larger than normal percentage of Wing Commander fans are outside lighting off explosives and various rocketry. If you're among them, please stay safe! Might want to keep a Super Soaker handy... or leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals. It's also Origin founder Richard Garriott's 57th birthday - Happy Birthday!

End Run Ebook Released! Update ID

We've very happy to announce that Wing Commander End Run is finally released! We've come a long way to reach this milestone as this completes the Baen set of Wing Commander novels - all are finally available to purchase digitally. The CIC has been lobbying the publisher for these for some fifteen years at conventions, on social media and through direct communications. We were extremely happy when it was announced in early 2016 that Freedom Flight was coming. Other books in the series followed, but not End Run. This was disappointing since End Run had a bit of a history as a slightly harder to find book in the later '90s. One even sold at auction for $85 during peak demand. So we got to the bottom of this and helped Baen realize their omission. It took a year for them to find a slot in their publishing schedule, but we're finally there! Pick it up at any of the major storefronts or direct from Baen. Google Play even seems to have all the WC novels that they carry (including ER but not FF) temporarily on sale for $5.38 each DRM free, which is awesome. Happy reading!


Freedom Flight
 - Baen Ebook
 - Amazon Kindle
 - Apple iBooks
 - B&N Nook
 - Kobo
 - Google Play

WCDX Update Improves Kilrathi Saga Compatibility Update ID

Stinger has released a long-awaited update to his WCDX patch for Kilrathi Saga. The program makes a number of critical updates to the game's DirectX implementation in order to improve compatibility on modern computers. WC1 has been the primary focus, but the last couple updates provide initial support for Wing Commander 2. This update refines that and improves stability and smoothness of your WC2 game in Windows. Grab the files here and give it a try!

General changes:

  • Patcher internals have been completely overhauled. Ideally, you won't notice any difference, but you should now get better error messages when things go wrong.
  • Due to implementation divergence in the underlying platform, wcdx now handles scaling of the game's graphics internally instead of relying on the operating system.
  • Restored mouse cursor positioning for all games.
  • Much better multi-monitor support.
WC2:
  • Fixed a couple of crashes in WC2.
  • WC2 saved games are now saved in the user's Saved Games directory, alongside wcdx WC1 saves.
  • Characters can now be transferred from wcdx WC1.
WC1:
  • Volume settings persist between games.

Indulge Yourself in New CIC Poll Update ID

A new poll is up, and this time it asks what your guilty pleasures are in Wing Commander. Everyone knows what the fun things are to do in the most popular games, but there are plenty of fringe activities that fans also enjoy. A sampling has been provided for you to vote on, but if we missed anything good, let us know!

The previous poll asked about the best years in franchise history. There was pretty solid support throughout the '90s, but both 1994 and 1996 came out ahead. Wing Commanders 3 and 4 were major heavy hitters in these years, but it helped that they were bolstered by a wide variety of new products.

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