Cyborg Reviewer Covers Video Game Movies of the '90s Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a cool video for your leap day enjoyment. The theboredcyborg has put together a mega review of all the major US-based video game movies of the '90s. The list includes Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. He saved the best for last and also covers Wing Commander as well. Although he owns the film and was somewhat familiar with the game series, he just watched the movie for the first time recently. Based on general internet sentiment, he went in with low expectations, but was very pleasantly surprised. The cast gets a big thumbs up and the CG space battles are a particularly high point. He's reasonably impressed with Chris Roberts' directing ability and came to care about the characters. Overall, his verdict is that it's a fun film with a lot of heart to push its simple story. We couldn't agree more! Jump to 25:42 in the video below if the auto-start doesn't take you there and you want to cut straight to the discussion on Wing Commander.

Preparatory Support for WC3 Added to WC Toolbox Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The WC Toolbox has grown once again, and the latest expansion adds the very first preliminary support for Wing Commander 3! WC3 is a drastically different animal than the earlier WC games, which presents some major challenges. As a hardcore dedicated Wingnut, UnnamedCharacter is of course excited by these challenges and jumped right in despite also recently introducing support for Wing Commander Armada. There's still tons to learn about Heart of the Tiger, which will be gradually discovered and dissected in the months and years to come. The first feature now available is a tree archive extractor for the game. This is an early step to make manipulation of the complex data files more accessible. You can read up on exactly what this means and how to go about tinkering yourself here. You can grab the new WC3ToolsCmd package here.
Although there is still work to be done for Armada, I have decided to skip ahead to WC3. I have been looking forward for a while now to start picking this game apart and it will probably involve plenty of work since everything changed in WC3: the tree archive format is different and so is the pack file format; a new compression scheme was introduced (big thanks to @Pedro for pointing me to functioning code); the shapes use a new image encoding and even the palettes are also encoded differently; and of course the addition of video. ...

For a little while now, I have been hacking away at these hashes to reverse them to their original file names. I have managed to reverse all of them and I am 98-99% confident on the names. Although in some cases I may not be able to determine the original name, the name that I use is correct in that it will produce the same hash value. Included in the download is a directory (.\external\wc3-hashes\) with text files containing a mapping of hashes to file names. So this update to the toolbox is small: tree archive extraction with reversed file names; but one that will greatly facilitate working with the large amount of data.

Amazing Lego Fleet Grows by Leaps & Bounds Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Bricks With Wings has massively expanded his Wing Commander fleet, and the results now set the stage for a huge Vega Sector battle. The Exeter has been added to complement the Tiger's Claw and her fighters, but the Kilrathi side also has a complement lineup in the form of the Fralthi cruiser, Ralari destroyer and five prominent fighters. Both sides even get a transport! We've seen a fair number of amazing WC Lego designs over the years, but including several gorgeous Kilrathi capships is a first. I especially like the Jalthi, and the new angles of the Bengal class carrier are exquisite too. saf0775 will be working on build instructions next! Keep tabs on the latest on Instagram.

Color Experiments Enrich Kilrathi Sketches Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

EmuMusicFan has expanded on his artsy sketches of the Kilrathi featured in Wing Commander Action Stations. He's now experimenting with color. Based on feedback from some initial concepts, the tones have been tinted slightly more reddish and brown to sync with known Kilrathi aesthetics. These are continuing to shape up pretty well, and they'll help provide some interesting context when we get around to our Action Stations book club! You can help provide feedback at the CIC Forums.
At first I didn't even know how to start. Then I found an AI-assisted coloring project and used it as the first step. Fortunately, the following works seemed easier... a bit. Jukaga‘s eyes are really difficult to paint. The eye color should be dark, but totally dark is not... so good. So I painted his eyes with gray. I know there are still many problems, technically with color matching. Please criticize and correct me.

Modeling Effort Under Way Inside Victory Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F. has begun outfitting the internals of his TCS Victory model in From the Depths. When complete, players will be able to explore the decks of the carrier and see all the familiar hot spots. There have been a couple projects that have started to do this in the distant past, but none got very far or had a whole lot of detail. Being able to freely walk around the inside of a Wing Commander ship is a tantalizing prospect, much like the enhancement between the old Myst game and RealMyst upgrade. There isn't a whole lot to see yet, but the first preview below is promising. You can make out the ship load out console, trainsim, flight control terminals and exits to the briefing areas and flight deck. The adjacent compartments are in work and will be up next!
And I've started working on the internals, starting with the ready room. Small level of detail as of now, since I'm not sure yet whether I'll have to redo a lot of stuff to stay within the hull limits (for example, I'll have to reduce its depth to get the payload computers closer to the briefing room's door before spending too much time on getting the lighting and the details right).

The doors to the briefing room are working, though I haven't linked them to logic systems and buttons yet, same for the glass door leading to the stairs set going down to the flight deck. Next step will be the briefing room and the CIC, then the elevator linking the various decks in the conning tower.

Cat Pack on the Prowl Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has produced a glorious sequel to his recent Bearcat wallpaper. This one features three Hellcats zooming through the air - of both the old and new variety. It's the culmination of a model we've seen Klavs working on for over the past year. Although the Hellcat doesn't strike me as the most aerodynamic design, there's just something about how it hangs in the air that looks really good. And while it's not the most powerful offensive force, a few of them can put down some solid firepower!
DefianceIndustries: Are those rivets done via texture or physically modeled?

Klavs: I do both nowadays, if they're flush they get bumped, if they're proud they're modeled. The rivets on the Hornet are all flush except in a couple specific cases. The panel lines are likewise modeled.

Throwback Achievements Developed for Retro Wing Commander Games Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a neat option for fans thinking about another playthrough of the console ports. Matt Harmon has put together an elaborate achievement slate for WC1 and Secret Missions on the SNES as well as Wing Commander 3 on the Playstation. He hopes to do WC4 in the future as well. Although I'm not quite clear on the exact details, RetroAchievements seems to have emulators available that can measure and record these milestones. Emulation might not be for everyone, but players on the original hardware might also find these fun. It's easy enough to just consider them a nice set of goals to accomplish and check off each one you hit. You can find all the games that Matt's built achievements for here.

Spanish Combo Disc Highlights High Profile WC3 Demo Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dennis Mull has posted another exotic Wing Commander find. This one is a Spanish preview compilation disc that includes the demo for Wing Commander 3. This was a big deal back in the day, as the package came in at a whopping 29 megabytes. Since 1994 was still the virtually pre-web era of dial-in bulletin boards, it's not something people could just easily download. It's even bigger than a bare bones install of Wing Commander 2! Even with a fast modem, it would have been tough to finish grabbing overnight. A stack of floppy disks for a demo would also be incredibly cost prohibitive, so this actually spurred the creation of the modern magazine cover demo disc and the very first PC Gamer magazine CD was famously inaugurated with this package. With that being said, a lot of people haven't actually played it before, and it's definitely worth checking out! You fly in an Arrow in a unique patrol mission, and there are some minor variations compared to the final game since it uses a slightly pre-release engine. You can grab it and check it out for yourself here! The thumbnail shot they use is one of the famous first five WC3 screenshots released.

File in Style, Part 2 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's about to be the weekend, so I know what you need: a Wing Commander 2 folder icon! On top of the WC Movie icon we've previously reported on, ZenOasis has created an icon starring Prince Thrakhath. It's perfect for storing the shortcuts to your favorite classic WC games! The main graphic is below, and an even more retro interlaced version can be found on DeviantArt. You can now commence your weekend - it'll be even better now than it would have been before! You're welcome.

Lego Bricks Replace Durasteel Beams Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

BricksWithWings has put together a phenomenal Lego Tiger's Claw. I'm continually amazed by the designs people manage to conjure up under the limits of Lego bricks, but this might be one of the most impressive yet. And if that weren't enough, there's even a squadron of mini fighters with the Hornet, Scimitar, Rapier and Raptor all represented! He even references some sort of game, although there's no info on what exactly that might look like. You can find more of his sci-fi designs on Instagram.
Some minis based on the 1990 PC game Wing Commander. Working on some rules to turn it into a mini game.

Action Stations' Kilrathi Warriors in Black & White Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

EmuMusicFan has completed another set of regal Kilrathi drawings based primarily on the characters of Wing Commander Action Stations. Prince Thrakhath's father and older brother, Gilkarg and Ratha, are up first, and since this is from earlier in the war, Thrakhath himself appears younger. We also see Second Fleet commander Admiral Nargth. Although he's not in AS, Baron Melek is also included as a bonus sketch. I think this art style is sharp, elegant and has a subtle Asian influence that is well suited to the Kilrathi.
"Va ka garga ka naru ha gara. Those not of the blood must have their blood spilt. "

WC Toolbox Adds Armada Support! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The WC Toolbox application has been expanded again and now supports digital analysis of Wing Commander Armada. UnnamedCharacter has added compatibility with a wide range of file types that make up the Armada data. He's also provided walkthroughs that illustrate how to extract things such as the game's cockpit art and complex font structure. On top of Armada, the program also works with WC1, WC2, Academy and Privateer. It's an invaluable resource for people who are interested in modding, extraction or just tinkering around in the classic games' data structure! Grab the new update at the CIC Forums here.
Work on the toolbox has continued. Took a little longer than I was hoping for, but this release begins support for Wing Commander Armada.

This update adds the ability to create or edit many of the Armada file types: IFF, PAK, PAL, SHP, TEP, and TRE. Most of the file types are common to Privateer and therefore make use of the same command format; you can view previous posts for examples. At the moment, there is no support for the 3D models.

Voxel Victory Ready to Rock Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F. has finished up the general hull of his TCS Victory model and it's now available to download and try out. Owners of From the Depths can grab the ship here. While the outside is basically finished, there are lots of internal improvements yet to come. L.I.F. projects that the "flight bay, hangar deck, living area, bar, flight control and bridge" will all be forthcoming in subsequent updates. We can't wait to see how that turns out!
The outer hull is finished! The first fittings were a pretty large generator and ion engines to keep the ship from falling down below, so if spawned in space, it should remain there.

There's Apparently Many Ways to Skin a Hellcat Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

NightBall06 recently decided to try his hand a several new Hellcat angles. Since his design is essentially drawn 'by hand' rather than being a 3D model, this took some artistic skill rather than modeling wizardry. The result is similar to his previous concepts at first glance, but these represent his most ornate takes and elaborate angles yet.
Well - A little update in short. Had the feeling I needed a perspective bottom view.... So here it is.

Break Radio Silence Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Live video may be all the rage right now, but did you know that the CIC also has its very own internet radio service? Tune in anytime of the day to listen to random tracks from our music archive. Listen through the embedded player below, or point VLC or any other compatible player here or here (https). Visit the Infoburst section for the recent track list and current listener count.

New Artwork Visualizes Off-Screen Kilrathi Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

EmuMusicFan was recently inspired to draw the characters from Wing Commander Action Stations. We don't actually know what most of them look like, so he's based his interpretation off the limited descriptions and cues from the text. The result is a really cool simplified brushstroke design that looks quite sharp. Visit the CIC Forums and let Emu know what you think!
I am not a professional painter. Actually, I haven’t been serious about drawing for a long time. My past experiences mainly came form graffiti on the notepads and class posters when I was a middle school student. I really love some scenes of Action Stations, and this book gave me the enthusiasm to pick up the pen again. Due to my lack of basic painting skills training, it is not surprising that these portraits have some technical problems. I would be grateful if you could give me criticism and guidance.

"My Emperor, my brothers of the other clans, I urge you to consider one point yet again. Now is not the time to wage war upon the Confederation."

Border Worlds Star Graces New Wallpaper Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

OliverInk has put together another gorgeous wallpaper image, and this one features the distinguished Banshee light fighter. It's titled "Cry of the Banshee," and you can almost imagine it screaming over the surface of a cold icy world in this setting. Of particular note is the highly detailed source model for the ship. It's not a creation I'm immediately familiar with, and may be a new fan design - perhaps by an artist named Black Chilla? It's very cool, nonetheless. Either image would make a fantastic wallpaper!

Academy in the PC Gamer Spotlight Again Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

PC Gamer is now rerunning celebrated articles from a decade ago, so I guess that means we can rereport on them! Up on deck today is Richard Cobbett's big retrospective on the Wing Commander Academy animated series. It was part of his original Crapshoot column and delves into the history of the franchise with a focus on the show. He walks through the pilot and gives a number of examples that illustrate what made the cartoon stand out in the crowd. I don't recall his scorn for certain products like WC Prophecy, but that's beside the point. The one inaccuracy that does need to be pointed out is that the show is available on DVD now. This piece was written in April 2011, and in September 2011 we found out the series was to be released on disc. Amazingly, it's still in print, and Amazon carries it for just $8. I guess they'll keep making it if we keep buying it. If you don't have a copy in your collection, be sure to scoop one up - someday they won't be so easy to come by and fans will regret owning a set of their own! Check out the article here.
Perhaps most notably, the usual cartoon rule that everything has to be wrapped up nicely by the end of every episode… is not in force. Academy isn’t afraid to end stories on a downer, or present war as something other a cheery, glorious adventure. In one early episode for instance, one of the main cast has to blow up a comrade who recently declared his love for her. In another, a legendary hero turns out to have taken a turn towards Nietzsche. In others, the show plays with the fact that the cast – as fighter and bomber pilots – aren’t privvy to the high-level tactical decisions being made elsewhere on the ship, and often have very distorted ideas of what they’re risking their lives for. None of this is desperately earthshaking for fiction as a whole, but for this timeslot, it’s good stuff. It’s also a rare case where this kind of spin-off has both slipped into canon, and generally been embraced by the fans.

Fun show. Sometimes, spin-offs really do get it right.

Delightful SNES Manual Now Online Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Garth Harmon has scanned and sent in a nice high quality scan of the Super Nintendo Wing Commander manual. Like many of the various iterations of the WC1 documentation, it's a derivative of Claw Marks, but there are some cool elements. It has some nice representations of the SNES controller (which later inspired a similar spread in the Arena Star*Soldier manual), and the initial pages with screenshots of the cockpits and Tiger's Claw are all in color. We previously had the Secret Missions manual in our archive, so it's nice to add this missing link. Grab a copy for yourself here!
Object of the Game

The game begins on your mother ship, the TCS Tiger's Claw. Onboard, you move from room to room to learn about your comrades-in-arms and your combat mission. Once you know your flight mission, you're off to fight the Kilrathi. If you fail, the dreaded Kilrathi will prevail as overlords on all human worlds. So get out there and kick some tail!

Victory Hull Nearly Complete. Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F. has made excellent progress in just a few short days on his TCS Victory model in From the Depths. The new shots below show the aft and underside sections coming together, so the entire exterior hull is about 95% complete now. That's pretty exciting, because it means the interesting interior bits will soon start to come together. L.I.F. has also remarked on the sense of size and scale. As a carrier, it's very big!
Current stats: 2.5 million resources, 142,344 blocks. I need to finish part of the bottom and then put the bottom engineering sections as well as all engines. Then the tedious part of interior decoration will start. Expect a 200,000 blocks blueprint once I upload it.

The most important realization for me is that Victory is BIG. It's a really, really big ship, which doesn't appear that clearly (at least it didn't for me) in the original game, considering we're mostly seeing it from the PoV of a fighter. Hell, I could put two dozen subs in the flight bay, or an Arleigh Burke destroyer laid on its side.

Avatar nar Hällas Featured on Album Cover Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Former Origin senior artist Denis Loubet has revealed his latest nifty project. He's painted the cover art for a new single by the Swedish adventure rock band Hällas. It features an Ultima-esque avatar rising up into the moonlight. I wasn't familiar with the band at all, but the name certainly caught my eye. Dennis happens to be the visual creator of none other than Ralgha nar Hhallas, so it seems like a good fit.
My latest cover painting! I've been sitting on it waiting for its release! Hällas is an Adventure Rock band from Jönköping/Linköping Sweden. If I understand correctly this art will be the cover for one of their upcoming singles.

It's no mystery that this cover looks eerily similar to the Ultima IX cover given that Lord British himself suggested that the band get in contact with me! Their covers have a fairly consistent set of elements: a wide landscape, a ruined castle, an armored figure, and a glowering moon. This was a lot of fun to do, with some nice color contrasts and landscape practice. And the only thing that makes this not an Ultima cover is the lack of an ankh!

I've been waiting impatiently to be able to show this to you, and just got the word I can release it.

The painting above is cool and all, but something like this would have been pretty awesome too: Don't blame me, I'm not like some kind of Photoshop guy or anything...

All Wings Considered - Episode 37 - LIVE! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We are BACK! 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 III - Loki System - 3DO Version
  • Righteous Fire - Sandra Goodin
  • A Never-Before-Seen Italian Wing Commander book!

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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Confed Fighters on the Prowl Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got an exciting triple pack from Klavs to share today. First up is the new Hornet that Klavs has been perfecting recently. It looks nicely battle worn without being dirty, which is a slick effect. There are also two wallpaper-style images. The first has both old and new flavors of Bearcat. It's also a good looking fighter. Finally, you've got a couple of Rapiers providing ground support for a handful of landing craft. Perhaps a Vukar Tag inspiration?
Probably a little TOO subtle with all the effects, streaks, rivets and fasteners, but here she is!

Wing Commander Bucks the Toilet Trend Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Bathrooms are treated really weird in sci-fi. Plenty of shows, movies and games just pretend they don't exist at all. Sometimes you might get a sink and mirror aboard a space ship, but almost never a toilet. AD recently noticed that Wing Commander once again broke new ground by including one aboard the Tiger's Claw. Some viewers may have been distracted from the background, since it's in the middle of the Rosie/Maniac romance scene, but there it is! There's even a toilet paper holder with a Confed logo on it, which is amazing. Wouldn't that have made for an amazing collectible/merchandising?

Since everyone loves toilets in space, here's one from the Wing Commander movie. In shot 2 you can spot a TP holder behind Holder's head. Shot 3 shows some junk in Maniac's medicine cabinet. The last is the original opening to Maniac and Rosie's bed scene...

TCS Victory Taking Shape in Voxel Shipyard Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

L.I.F has a proven record of bringing exciting fan projects to the community, and now he's launching into another adventure with the Minecraft-like From the Depths. His main objective is to recreate the TCS Victory. That's been done before in the original Minecraft, but this engine seems much more suited to actually building ships with an appropriate level of detail and functioning components. Just walking around the familiar parts of the ship sounds like a ton of fun, but there's a lot of potential to make this 'playable' and expand the interior into new areas we haven't seen before. We're looking forward to what he comes up with!
From The Depths is a pretty nifty voxel game (construction à la Minecraft) that is designed around building ships, submarines, aircraft and spaceships with armament, subsystems, sensors, etc., to have them fight. After building some other stuff, I've just started a quite ambitious project: a full scale recreation of the mythical TCS Victory in her 720 metres glory. Here's the current ship, pretty barebones but recognizable already.

As of now, I've got the internal flight bay (without details) and two thirds of the top part of the external hull (everything forward of the Bussard scoops top-side), the first step being completion of the outer hull to start working on internals, first the flight bay, then the conning tower as well as the turrets and finally elements not shown in the game (maintenance bay, engineering, that kind of thing). Of course, as soon as the external hull will be finished, I will upload the ship on the Steam Workshop to allow any Wingnut to walk around inside it.

3DO Sampler #5 Found with Wing Commander 3 Clips Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Nathan Sestrich has found and posted the 3DO Video Sampler #5 from 1996. As someone who worked in video game retail around the turn of the millennium, I find these to be incredibly nostalgic (and historic!) time capsules, but finding one with Wing Commander is a special treat. We previously reported on 3DO Interactive Sampler #3 which included a playable demo of Wing Commander 3 (that you can download from the CIC and play on your 3DO or a compatible emulator!). As WC3 was a superstar of the console, it's no wonder that the game shows up on multiple discs/video compilations. The 3DO port included revamped missions, graphics, weapons and features, so it's worth checking out. You can currently find LOAF and Dundradal playing through the game in the latest episodes of All Wings Considered. If the clip below doesn't autostart at Wing Commander, jump to 17:26.
3DO Company Video Sampler #5 VHS demo/sampler video from circa 1996. I believe this was issued to Electronics Boutique and/or Babbage's. Tried to list the included titles below. Video begins with an explanation/demo of the 3DO system's capabilities, then on to the titles below. I am pretty sure some of these titles never saw release, especially since they are referencing the Goldstar 3DO, which was at the end of the system's life.

Games featured include:

  • Blade Force
  • Killing Time
  • Captain Quazar
  • Battle Sport
  • Star Fighter
  • Golden Gate
  • Phoenix 3
  • Snow Job
  • PO'ed
  • Primal Rage
  • NHL Hockey '96
  • Space Hulk
  • The 11th Hour
  • Flying Nightmares
  • Foes of Ali
  • PGA Tour Invitational
  • Shock Wave 2
  • AD&D - Deathkeep
  • Ballz - Director's Cut
  • DOOM
  • Wing Commander III
  • Slam N' Jam '95

WC3 Inspires Text Test Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Christopher Lee has been learning how to use the Maya and After Effects programs for graphics animation, and here's one of his recent tests. He used the Wing Commander 3 introduction as a model to emulate. The results are pretty close! Of course, this also gives us an excuse to post the fantabulous actual WC3 intro for comparison, so enjoy that too. It never gets old.

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