Graphics Tablet Unleashes New Wing Commander Artist Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Rear_Admiral_Platypus recently got a fancy digital sketch pad, and the first thing he set out to try his hand at were a variety of Wing Commander scenes. Up first is a stylized transport similar to a Diligent about to be met by a boxy WC3/4-era shuttle. It's followed by a flight deck scene stocked with Talons and Arrows. There's also a Privateer asteroid field and a cockpit scene. The admiral will be the first to admit he may not be creating traditional fine art, but these scenes have a pleasant Wing Commander charm to them. They're certainly good work for his first 24 hours drawing in a new medium!
I've just bought a graphics tablet. Can't draw, but now I have proof. :)

All Wings Considered - Episode 25 - LIVE! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The latest episode of ALL WINGS CONSIDERED is live now! All Wings Considered is the CIC's first ever streaming variety show which features news, conversation and gameplay relating to our favorite series. This week's Nav Points include:

  • Wing Commander 3 - Tamayo System - 3DO Version!
  • Privateer - More Postgame
  • Book Club - Heart of the Tiger, Chapters 5-8
  • NEW FEATURE: Ali Cats!

Missed the stream? The replay will be available below once it has been processed by YouTube. You can subscribe to the AWC channel for future notifications here.

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GamePro Article Highlights PC Standouts Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Weird and Retro posted this neat throwback to the June 1995 edition of GamePro Magazine. The feature is titled "Revenge of the PC Games" and highlights all of the the hot titles of the mid '90s and how they compare to the latest crop of gaming consoles such as the Saturn, PlayStation, 3DO and "Ultra 64." Wing Commander 3 is front and center as one of the star examples. While there's no question about where the best graphics and high end experiences were available, the article acknowledges the proportionately high price that PC gamers (or their parents) had to pay. They mention the typical machine was around $2,000, which is equivalent to $3,400 today. In comparison, the PlayStation launched that year at $299 ($500 in 2019 dollars). It's kind of amazing that so many of us were able to play through these games when they were new!
It Ain't Easy Being PC

What do you need to play PC CD games? If you don't already own a PC, the first thing you need is about $2000! (And you thought the 3DO was pricey.) Head down to the local computer store and start studying up on personal computers.

For the games listed here you need:

  • Either an IBM-compatible PC with a 486 processor running at 50 megahertz or a Pentium PC.
  • At least 8 megabytes of RAM
  • At least 20 megabytes of hard disk space (the more, the better)
  • Double-speed CD-ROM drive (or faster)
  • MS-DOS 5.0 (Microsoft Windows is also required to run some games)
PROTIP: Before you buy a PC game, check the box for minimum system requirements. You can also call game companies to see if you system's up to the task.

New New Constantinople the Same as Old New Constaninople Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a cool connection that we recently made on Discord and shared on the most recent All Wings Considered. It's a neat observation, so we wanted to share it with you here as well. This cool pre release shot of New Constantinople is actually a farther out crop of the final base that we see in the game. At a quick glance, it might just appear that the first screenshot below is a Constantinople-like base with a real cool skybridge, but compare them side by side and you can see that the in-game setting is a close crop from above the lower building area. It's pretty cool to think that this is all the same rendered environment from a slightly different angle! The wide shot appears in some of the print advertisements for the game as well as some of the concept art we've seen before. Like most of the locations in Privateer, it's just a beautiful place loaded with atmosphere!

Through the Moongate Part 2 Campaign Takes Off Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Andrea Contato and team have launched the Kickstarter for the Through the Moongate sequel. Part 2 is titled "From Wing Commander and Ultima VII to Portalarium" and promises to capture the historic significance of Origin's Wing Commander development in the '90s and beyond. Some 40+ former Origin employees were interviewed for this work, so it looks to be a very well rounded effort.

As an extra bonus, fans who opt to pledge for a hard cover copy of the book will also receive a special Wing Commander bookmark with new art by Denis Loubet, the senior Origin artist who led art direction on the first few WC games. That tier costs €50 plus an additional €24 shipping to many places, so it's not cheap, but who can resist an exclusive Wing Commander bookmark?! I'm sure the in-depth Origin story will be a fun read as well! Digital and soft cover editions start at €15 and €25 (but do not include the bookmark!). The project has had an enormously successful first day with nearly $19,000 of the minimum $27,679 threshold already taken in. There are some high dollar levels with cloth Ultima art, Akalabeth port and Lord British autographed certificate that are going fast. You can find the campaign and pledge here.

If you’ve ever played a computer role-playing game (CRPG), chances are that Ultima played a part in its inspiration. Created by visionary Richard Garriott, and produced by his company Origin Systems, Inc., Ultima is one of the most important and influential CRPG series in the world. Through the Moongate illuminates the path of the Ultima games' history and the creative people behind this landmark series. It also covers some of Origin's other games, especially Wing Commander, and touches on several contemporary titles you may have missed. Many of these exciting tales have never before been told. If that intrigues you, then won’t you step with me... Through the Moongate?

As I traced the paths of the Ultima games and those who worked for Origin Systems, I began to realize the multitude of games that would not be possible without the influence of Richard Garriott, Origin Systems, and the Ultima series. To ensure their place in history, I've also included special coverage of the Wing Commander and Ultima Underworld series, plus other significant video games of the era. CRPGs, action, adventure, and strategy games such as Space Rogue, Wolfenstein 3D, Deathlord, 7th guest, Jane's Combat series, OMEGA, MUD1, Meridian 59, Lineage, and Tabula Rasa. I’ve also included a special look at cancelled titles such as Times of Lore 2 and Fire Horse.

New Freelancer Project Imports Beautiful WC Fighters Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F. was recently inspired to take a crack at importing Wing Commander ships into Freelancer. Back in the day there were a handful of pretty cool WC ship conversions for the game in the works, but it's been a very long time since anyone has attempted to take a modern high end crack at this. He's managed to get ahold of some cool modding tools that have helped the process along significantly, and there are some very impressive results already. He's sketched out some rough plans to integrate up to a couple dozen ships, which would make for a pretty rockin' mod!
So, after a Discord discussion that involved talking about Privateer, I kinda got the modding itch once again for Freelancer, but this time, I managed to get in touch with FL modders, who were nice enough to share with me their wonderful, wonderful tools (the kind of which I'm jealous as a HW modder). Long story short, I got told that the models designed by DI, Klavs and others are way too detailed for the game engine, which is probably a wise conclusion, but since I'm very unwise, I tinkered a bit and managed to achieve a pretty nice proof of concept with DI's F-107 Dragon/Lance:
The tech demo is available upon request on Discord (keep in mind it's really limited, just a replacement of one of the game's fighters with the F-107, without a dedicated collision box, for example). Don't hesitate to ask for specific fighters that you'd like to see receiving this treatment if you wanna go for a run of this great old game with a specific craft. :)

And on the matter of progress, it's going pretty quickly. Importing the Hellcat now, and once the Razor and Excalibur are in, the first part of the game will be properly turned in Privateer-lite. Long story short, it's just as I dreamed it could be, if not even better. Freelancer is one hell of a game.

GOG Weekend Sale Knocks $35.94 Off WC Series Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's an EA Weekend over at Dozens of games from Electronic Arts are discounted 75% through Monday morning. You might have the Wing Commander games, but there's also discounts on the Crusader series, Strike Commander, Ultima and more. makes it very easy to launch your WC favorites, so if there's a gap in your digital collection, this is another good chance to fill it! Check out the full sale listing here. Give these other Origin games a try if they're new to you!

Moment of Praise for the Amiga Wing Commander Install Icon Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Amiga Love Twitter account recently shared this shot of the Amiga Wing Commander Installer icon. While some might look at this as incredibly trivial, we see it as an important piece of history imbued with memories of excitement and promise. Installers are something of a lost art and personal curiosity of mine. The first couple WC games were fairly simple, but by WC3 you had memorable moments such as the spinning Victory or Privateer 2's Tri-System backstory. The Command & Conquer series also did some fantastic installers around the same time.

It was wonderful when developers took the time to lovingly craft something that otherwise could be so mundane. In theory, gamers would only ever see these things once briefly before jumping into the actual play space, so it showed a high level of craftsmanship when they took the time to put some effort into the installer. And because players did only see these briefly, sometimes people forget some of the cool nods included therein. This Amiga installer icon would have been one of the earliest embellishments on a bare bones install program. It's pretty cool how they included the one-pixel wide main logo above the arrow and desktop unit. It's something that may not have been fully appreciated at the time, and very much probably wouldn't exist today, so we'll acknowledge it here. All of the tiny little finishing touches where developers went the extra mile and put in extra effort to top of some element of Wing Commander is why we're all here today.

You don’t see this every day. Origin /Wing Commander showing the glorious A2000 some love! I would have made it a tiny bit more accurate, but I’ll take it. :)

All Wings Considered - Episode 24 - LIVE! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The latest episode of ALL WINGS CONSIDERED is live now! All Wings Considered is the CIC's first ever streaming variety show which features news, conversation and gameplay relating to our favorite series. This week's Nav Points include:

  • Wing Commander 3 - Tamayo System
  • Privateer - The Postgame
  • The secrets of Old New Constantinople

Missed the stream? The replay will be available below once it has been processed by YouTube. You can subscribe to the AWC channel for future notifications here.

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Phonetic Script Dialogue Discovered in The Secret Missions! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The original Wing Commander has an embedded phonetic lip-sync track to match up the mouths of the Tiger's Claw crew to the game's dialogue script. While that is an absolutely amazing level of detail, it was only implemented on the first game. The Secret Missions and Wing Commander 2 just use repetitive filler text like "Buy more games like Wing Commander 2." At least, this is what we thought until today!

YPersonified has been using UnnamedCharacter's WC Toolbox to dig into how this works. He's made the exciting discovery that the first mission of SM1 in the Goddard System actually has a full phonetic script! Even more amazing is that it differs from the game's final dialogue! He's put together a few examples below as well as a full video to show off what the lip sync version of events is. Since it's his best interpretation so far, there's probably a few inaccuracies to smooth out yet, but this is still great work. You can help provide feedback to the translation at the CIC Forums here.

With the help from WCToolbox, I was able to look into GAMEDAT files from Wing Commander and managed to get a glimpse at how this game works.

These are generic phonetics, but Goddard 1 isn't:

- Bimorgameslikwincamandertoo
- thisisalinofgenericfonetics
- uwilluvthesekretmissensframjahnandstev
- onleasuperpilotlikmarccanwinthismissinhaha

These are probably well known lines which characters mostly say with mouths in The Secret Missions instead of thorough phonetics seen in Vega Campaign. However, anyone with keen eyes may find out that it works differently in Goddard 1. Apparently, it's the only mission with non-generic phonetics in the series. Still, it turns out that they do not match with the written script we see in-game after all, so I decided to interpret the bar, briefing and debriefing conversations by editing BRIEFING.001 with WCToolbox and make a video to show how it turned out. Many thanks to Shades2585's WCPhonetics for reference.

Since this is only my interpretation, it may not be 100% accurate. If you're interested, check out below and guess what Bossman's saying. Also, you can easily notice that these lip sync works are incomplete, as some of them are completely out of context - like Bluehair's self-compliment on bagging Lumbari, or the usual WC2 ads.

Shotglass' Proposed Last Name Revealed Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LOAF found a great mention from a game design document for the original Wing Commander a while back. It includes a previously unspecified last name for Shotglass. He is listed as Major Sam Walker (retired). Previous speculation had guessed his last name could be Siegler after mention of his cousin in The Secret Missions. As interesting as this is, it's not necessarily the final official word since Colonel Halcyon's name is listed as Walter rather than Peter. And although not new information at this point, the references to Dart and Joker (who later became Hunter and Maniac) are fun inclusions as well. Anyhow, for anyone out there writing Shotglass fan fiction or for folks involved in the creation of a future WC product, keep "Walker" in mind!
Another fascinating discovery for WC fans: Shotglass' last name!

Catch Up On Wing Commander Music Albums Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dominus of Exult has been working on building out his Wing Commander musical album collection (check out that snazzy tape!), so he recently asked LOAF for a recap on what's out there. We've come a long, long way since we thought eight or ten CDs was all there was. Below is an exhaustive list of what LOAF has discovered and collected... so far!

These first three are the Origin Audio CDs, Vol 1 & 3. Volume 3 has US and EU pressings. Text at the bottom of the disc identifies them. “Signature Sounds” is a 1993 EA promo CD that includes tracks from Super Wing Commander and Privateer (and a few other Origin games.) Music from the Wing Commander Universe was a 1998 promo CD from George Oldziey. It includes some Ultima music, too! More recently, George Kickstarted these two additional Wing Commander albums. Immortal 4 is a two CD set of Amiga-related music that includes The Fatman’s WC theme. Water Logged is a compilation of surf music put out by an Austin radio station. It has a surf version of Fatman’s WC theme! The Wing Commander film score got a 1999 commercial release. Too Shelf Library is a five CD set of production music from FOX... stuff that companies can reuse for trailers and commercials. It includes the movie overture! The 2017 Mountbatten Festival of Music opened with a live performance of the film overture, too! Now the craziness of the Edel Prophecy soundtrack begins. First, there are three CD variations for the US, Canada and Germany. There's also the CD single that came with the special edition and the EP with remixes of the Prophecy theme. The limited edition of Cobalt 60s 1998 album Twelve includes a second disc of Prophecy music. Edel also put out Cobalt 60 Prophecy tracks on both of these compilations: These are in the weeds but they all include songs that were written FOR the Prophecy soundtrack rather than taken from somewhere else. So WC inspired music but not actually music from a WC game. This is a really odd one: Edel licensed a track from the WCP soundtrack for this German compilation... but not one that was written for it. But even though it’s a generic track the booklet claims it’s from WCP and uses WCP art. Finally, this Velvet Acid Christ album has a song that sampled Super Wing Commander! I think that’s everything I’ve found so far but I’m always on the lookout.
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Russian Translation Sparks Interest in Early WC Modding Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

In his never ending quest to further understand how the code of Wing Commander works, UnnamedCharacter recently came across a Russian translation of the original Wing Commander. His information suggested it was not an official release, yet it was quite elaborately recreated to integrate the Russian text. If not a genius mod, could this be from some lesser known obscure port? There's some screenshots below as well as the font he extracted for a look at how complete the changes were. If you have any more knowledge about this translation to add to the conversation, please hit the comment link below and share!
Has anyone seen this? By the way, this is not new, it's possibly quite old. I have seen an online reference to the Russian version of the game dating back to 2004, and the translated data files are timestamped as 1992.

Using the above font file as an example of the work involved in doing this: they unpacked the data file, decompressed the individual packets, decoded the font, added Russian glyphs, re-encoded the font, re-compressed the packets, and re-packed the file. And according the file stamps, they did this in 1992. Wow. Whoever did this was years, decades ahead.

Dig Into the History of EA & Origin's Merger Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Digital Antiquarian has posted a lengthy and exhaustive look at Origin history circa 1992-1994. The focus is on the company's acquisition by Electronic Arts, which is a great subject to dive into. Over the years, there's been something of a mythology built up around the topic with some assuming there was a hostile takeover, that it happened much later than it actually did, and that Origin was immediately stifled and had its creative freedom axed. The reality is more nuanced, and there were both significant positives as well as negatives as the deal unfolded.

At its core, rising development costs/longer development cycles, the cost of production/distribution of floppy disks and next-generation investment needed for the oncoming multimedia wave all contributed to the situation. Origin was at significant risk of being able to stay in business and fund many of the great things they did in the mid '90s, and Electronic Arts was the fuel for that growth. The article notes that within months of the transaction, Origin moved into its large iconic new campus and began a hiring spree that doubled the size of the company. Meanwhile, there were a handful of disappointments in the 1992-1993 area that very well could have prevented amazing games like Strike Commander and Wing Commander 3 (not to mention masterpieces like Wing Commander 4) from being produced in their final forms.

The article ends somewhat abruptly with the launch of Wing Commander 3, but for those who don't know the history, despite its unprecedented budget, it was an enormous success. This then had implications for Wing Commander 4 and ultimately Prophecy. Origin's endgame in the 1999-2004 years were an even more complex set of circumstances, but that's an entire story unto itself. Although EA was ultimately responsible for the decisions that resulted in Origin's demise, many of the great mid '90s classics that we enjoyed were made possible by the company's investment in OSI. For much more backstory on the topic, check out the full Digital Antiquarian piece here.
Origin had good reason to play it safe now in this respect and others. When the one-year anniversary of the acquisition arrived, the accountants had to reveal to EA that their new subsidiary had done no more than break even so far. By most standards, it hadn’t been a terrible year at all: Ultima Underworld II, Serpent Isle, Wing Commander: Academy, and Wing Commander: Privateer had all more or less made money, and even Strike Commander wasn’t yet so badly underwater that all hope was lost on that front. But on the other hand, none of these games had turned into a breakout hit in the fashion of the first two Wing Commander games, even as the new facilities, new employees, and new titles going into development had cost plenty. EA was already beginning to voice some skepticism about some of Origin’s recent decisions. The crew in Austin really, really needed a home run rather than more base hits if they hoped to maintain their status in the industry and get back into their overlord’s good graces. Clearly 1994, which would feature a new mainline entry in both of Origin’s core properties for the first time since Ultima VI had dropped and Wing Commander mania had begun back in 1990, would be a pivotal year. Origin’s future was riding now on Ultima VIII and Wing Commander III.
Thanks to Ultima Codex for the tip!

Can't Get Japanese WC Off My Mind Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last month we posted the cool blue cover of the Japanese WC1 Manual, and Christian Klein is back with another neat glimpse into Japanese Wing Commander. Here's a couple shots of WC2 with some pretty cool Japanese subtitles. Andi Green translates Shadow's text as "Requesting permission to attack," and the Sartha says, "We will kill all humans!" If you find these intriguing and would like to see more, here's a video of the Japanese Super Nintendo Wing Commander courtesy of GameCenter SE. I always find it interesting to find slightly different iterations of Wing Commander, of course, and foreign language translations have the dual benefit of helping you imagine people all over the globe having fun with these games.

The Late Night Session Stays Up With Wing Commander Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The Late Night Session has conducted a thorough retro review on Wing Commander. They set the stage for how revolutionary the original WC was by drawing the comparison to competitors that arrived years later. The immersive setting, tight controls and story all get credit for making the game a classic. It's nice to see people continuing to find that most aspects hold up quite well nearly 29 years later. In addition to the typical screenshots, TLNS put together a couple of accompanying videos, which is always a nice touch for a review! You can check out the full article here.
When playing it’s amazing seeing how much the developers got right in Wing Commander that would clearly inspire the many games that followed. Navigation points, wingman communications, even mission briefings… these admittedly were often a staple for military sims but seeing them executed in a space sim was a rarity. If you’ve played any Star Wars space sim that followed you’d recognise many of these features too. Having your pilot’s hands on the flight stick responding to your movements in the game does not get old.

Through the Moongate Sequel to Explore Wing Commander Development Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Andrea Contato has released the cover image for the second part of his Origin history book series, Through the Moongate. The first volume included an extra chapter with some interesting Wing Commander 2 material from Siobhan Beeman & Ellen Guon Beeman, but the new publication will include even more history "from Wing Commander and Ultima VII to Portalarium." A new Kickstarter for Volume Two is scheduled to launch on September 16. We're anxious to see what Andrea has in store! If you're curious about his original work, you can still pick up copies here.
Through the Moongate part 2 is coming soon.

Historic WC3 Review Resurfaces Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Heart of the Tiger found some old scans, including this neat PC Gamer review of Wing Commander 3. We've got WC4, Prophecy and many others in the archive, but my quick survey of things didn't turn up a WC3. Nevertheless, this is a famous article that's been periodically making the rounds for years, and with the game's 25th anniversary fast approaching, I wanted to make sure we posted it here. At one time, the 96% score below represented the third highest review rating in PC Gamer history. There were a great many reinstalls (print and digital) and retrospectives by the publication, but this was the original from the March 1995 issue. Brings back some fond memories!
I was rummaging though some of my very old HDDs when I found some very old(er) magazine scans. Enjoy!

Go Hiking With Maniac Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wing Commander fans have a special affinity for the actors and actresses who starred in the FMV WC games of the 1990s. Some of them have retired from the limelight while others continue to have vibrant acting careers, but most are not nearly as accessible as some of the current crop of celebrities who are well-connected on social media. One of a the few notable exceptions is Tom Wilson, who continues to maintain an engaging and funny vlog presence on YouTube. He's been especially active lately with half a dozen updates this past summer. His posts can range from him performing a song all the way up to following the Maniac along on a hike. Check out a couple examples below and find more here.

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