Magic DosBox Templates Streamline Configuration for WC Games Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mark Gabby-Li has recently been perfecting the methods to get Wing Commander games to run on Android devices, and he'd like to share the results with all of you! His DOS emulator of choice is Magic DosBox, which simplifies some of the setup and facilitates the unique controls. Almost all of the setup has been done already thanks to a handful of configuration and keybinding files that Mark has graciously put together. The associated .mgc file goes into the /storage/emulated/0/Games/Wing Commander folder on your device where "Wing Commander" could also be "Wing Commander II" or "Privateer" based on the title. Some screenshots of WC1 in action are provided below, alongside the config files. Have fun!
I've attached a set of templates for Wing Commander, Wing Commander II, and Wing Commander: Privateer that I made that can be used to play the games on Android devices with Magic DosBox. They are compatible with the GoG releases. These are more than DosBox compatibility settings: they include control bindings, touch controls, and help screens. To clarify, you import the MGC files into Magic Dosbox, and then you have to copy the game files to your phone separately into those directories I listed, which may be slightly different based on the phone. The MGC files are just metadata, they don't actually contain any of the game files.

You need to put the game files in:
/storage/emulated/0/Games/Wing Commander
/storage/emulated/0/Games/Wing Commander II
/storage/emulated/0/Games/Wing Commander Privateer

You also need a gamepad connected to the phone, but as far as I know once you have that setup, you can beat all of these games with these templates. I made them for the 8BitDo N30 Pro 2 on a Google Pixel 3XL. Other controllers should work, as long as they have the same set of buttons, though the touch control placement might be off in phones with different aspect ratios.

Oh, and here are some icons I made for them using art from the Wing Commander series documentation. They aren't included in the templates. The Rapier is for WC1, the Taurus is for Privateer, and the Talon is for Righteous Fire. I couldn't find a good icon for WC2 in those documents. Ideally, WC2 would be a Sabre, WC2: SM1 would be a Crossbow, and WC2: SM2 would be a Morningstar.

Classic Ad Teases Pending CCG Launch Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LOAF dug up a vintagel ad from issue #6 of The Duelist magazine. We've seen several takes on this same ad before, and it's centered on the key WC3 art, so no real surprises, but I wanted to pause and highlight the "Coming in August" part. This was long before most people were online, so print mags like this would have been how many Wing Commander fans found out that their favorite video game was getting a CCG. Can you imagine flipping to that page in 1995? So much exciting potential on the horizon! With that being said, there's still a lot of you out there on the fence about starting a CCG collection. I highly recommend it! eBay is your best bet for that first box, and then start here to trade with fellow fans. You can also learn everything there is to know about the game in our recently expanded WCPedia article! (Including this phenomenal post-launch ad.)

A No Crease Look at the Secret Missions Box Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

One of my favorite pieces of Wing Commander art is the stylized box of The Secret Missions for the Super Nintendo. It doubles down on the SNES ports' conversion of the Jalthi into a "green Salthi" and puts the new ship front and center. Players got a poster of this depiction when they bought the game, but it's folded into nine squares to fit into the cartridge-size box. elend set out to fix this and has created this nifty version that does away with the crease lines as well as all of the logos and fine print that cluttered up the bottom. It looks pretty slick like this! The thumbnail below pops open a 1080p version, but you can also get it in 5K resolution here (5 meg jpg).
There, no logos, no creases. I might exchange the WC Logo and Title with the vector versions, once I got around to vectorizing this. Also it's AI upscaled.

A No Bull Look at the Wing Commander Box Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

As part of Wing Commander's 30th birthday celebrations, people have had a lot of questions about the history of the franchise. A frequent topic is the famous box art used for the original game, which was highly unusual for featuring what purported to be a screenshot. Although it's not an actual reproducible image from the game, that's for good reason! LOAF goes into the details on why this is the way it is below. You can also find our previous coverage on this topic for a line-by-line rundown of what's different between the cover and what actually ends up in space!
I’ve seen a lot of folks talking about the “bullshot” used as the cover of the original Wing Commander and thought I’d try and provide a little background. First of all: yes, it’s “fake” and not as is sometimes rumored an early build with different graphics. The image itself was created in DeluxePaint by pasting together work-in-progress game elements to try and show how the finished gameplay SHOULD work. Some iterations: Basically, they collected the art that was finished—the ship tender, the cockpit frame, the stars, etc. and stitched it together like Frankenstein. But why? Because things worked very differently in 1990 as far as physical publishing went! When Wing Commander came out, desktop publishing was still several years away. That meant that things like box layouts were pasted together physically and then photographed. And they had to be ready weeks or months before the actual game might even play correctly! Even taking game screenshots was a careful physical process of photographing the screen with a film camera. Even if your game was playable, catching an action shot was a real challenge. Think back to 1990, though... the odd thing about the Wing Commander box wasn’t that it was a fake screenshot, it was that it purported to be a screenshot at all. Marketing typically opted to avoid these issues entirely by using a fancy painting or (groans) models: For Wing Commander, it was felt they had to show off how stunning and different the game really looked... so a whole bunch of bullshot were created for the marketing as early as possible. Here are the other two famous ones: Magazines and catalogs were FULL of screenshots like this back in the day... that’s why you so often notice little differences between the photos in a review (typically provided by the publisher in 1990) abd the real game.

Happy 30th Birthday Wing Commander! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wow, three decades since this title screen began gracing monitors around the globe! The Wing Commander series celebrates its 30th birthday today, and we're excited to have seen it through all this way. After all this time, what do we say? Countless articles have been written about how revolutionary the series was for its time and how well it's held up after all this years. I still appreciate the new ones being written even today as they help put the games in context for the continuously evolving gaming landscape. When I think back on all this time though, the biggest things that stand out are the friendships, community and sense of combined experience that Wing Commander fans share. Many of us have been part of the online world of WC for two dozen years, and the CIC itself has been established at for nearly three quarters of the series' life. Wingnuts don't just love Wing Commander, but they're into a whole host of related things that have provided countless hours of enjoyment. It's especially fun to see new fans join the fray, including many who were actually born after the CIC was launched. Older fans help with the historical framework while newer members bring fresh insight, and we have a great time.

Here's a fantastic anecdote LOAF pulled from the WC1&2 Ultimate Strategy Guide:

Late in the day on Friday, September 26, almost everyone in the company met outside near the picnic tables for what had become an Origin tradition - the ship-day celebration. It was time to drink a couple beers or soft drinks, grab a piece of the six-foot submarine sandwich, enjoy the sunshine, and bask in the glow of having completed one of the most complex projects in Origin history. Everyone was wearing a Wing Commander baseball hat and everyone smiled.
Back to matters at hand, dedicated fans continue to work on some amazing things to share with you all soon. I'm happy to report that we have positive news on the medical issue we mentioned yesterday too, so our party will likely be rescheduled sooner rather than later. And fans are still celebrating the series' birthday today in a variety of ways. Bonkus_Maximumus will be among the pilots broadcasting a play through of the original game tonight on Twitch. Check it out here at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern to follow along with that. We'll also be in #Wingnut on Discord all day, so feel free to drop in and say hello! And if you'd still like something fun to watch, here's an archive of last year's stream:

CIC Party Delayed, Excitement Builds for WC 30th Birthday Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Sorry for the sudden notice, but we need to announce a delay in tomorrow's Wing Commander CIC Birthday Party. Due to an emergent medical issue, the event will be moved out at least a week. We'll be sure to confirm details when we can firm up the new date. Thanks to everyone for being so flexible on this! On the bright side, we've reached out to a few of the Wingnuts who have been diligently prepping material for the event, and it sounds like the extra time will help them put some extra polish on a few things.

With that being said, tomorrow is still the actual 30th birthday of the Wing Commander series! Since we're always celebrating the franchise in #Wingnut on Discord every single day, you're more than welcome to drop in and commemorate the date with us! We just won't have a formal agenda or fancy front page slate tomorrow.

It's also great to see other places are starting to get in the mood as well! Steve Shivers tipped us off about a classy article that was just posted to celebrate the anniversary. They recap the immersive world, cinematic story, ground-breaking gameplay and more. The series is discounted by 75% this weekend at GOG, so DRM-free digital copies of all the major PC/Windows WC games can be yours for under $12! Check the article out here.

Award-winning games, a feature film, an animated TV series, and books - the franchise created in 1990 by Chris Roberts has expanded beyond imagination. The 30th anniversary of the Wing Commander release is the perfect opportunity to look back at the story behind one of the most famous space simulators of all time. ... All in all, if you want to immerse yourself in the Wing Commander series, you’ll have plenty of options with the games available on GOG.COM. So, let’s celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series in the best way possible - by becoming an ace space pilot.

Royal Marines Drop Wing Commander Overture Again Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Ever on the search for a new way to listen to Wing Commander, LOAF has found yet another album with a Wing Commander track! Back in 2017 we were pleasantly surprised to see the Overture from the Wing Commander Movie performed by the Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. It was possible to buy a video of that concert at the time, but apparently the track was also released on the Beating Retreat 2018 compilation! You can give it a listen below - it's an absolutely wonderful feast for the ears. It's also available on services like Amazon Music or iHeart Radio, and you can even pick up a hard copy here. Learn about a couple dozen other ways to pick up Wing Commander on CD here.
Fellow obsessive collectors of CDs with Wing Commander music on them: I have discovered this one which includes the Royal Marines playing the movie overture.

Kamekh, Shiraak & Snakeir... Separated at Birth?! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LOAF and Rattler were having a conversation on Discord recently and stumbled upon an awesome find! Rattler pondered whether the Kilrathi home carrier in Armada, the Shiraak, was inspired by the Privateer iterations of the Kamekh destroyer. Upon closer inspection and a wireframe LOAF dug up, it actually seems like they're even more similar than we realized!
Rattler: Looking at the Kamekh... I'm starting to wonder if that design inspired the Shiraak Carrier.

LOAF: Might be the same central hull model.

Just check out their similar lines: they both share the same fuselage with slightly sloping nose. There are indentations to the forward-middle sides for weapon cutouts. Both have the same double-crescent on the aft dorsal region between the engine nacelles (although it's been modified on the underside between designs). Several changes were made to adjust the scale so each ship appeared plausible in their intended roles at opposite ends of the capital ship spectrum. The cockpit/bridge viewscreen was removed from the Kamekh for scale. Obviously the wings are also absent from the carrier.

But wait, there's more! The Armada carrier was actually borrowed from the Super Wing Commander take on the Snakeir. They're practically the exact same model - with some minor recoloring and maybe smoother engine inlets on the higher res SWC model we have below. Armada was made on a budget and made use of every part of the spaceship animal. It borrowed heavily from all over, and this is just one example, but it's pretty neat to see the lineage side-by-side like this!

Kamekh left, Shiraak right: And the Super Wing Commander Snakeir:

Make Room for Drastically Better Scenery Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

ODVS and the WC4 Fan Remake team have a great new article on the technical process of remastering the gameflow rooms. It turns out that this step is a lot different than upscaling or even using the AI-techniques that have allowed him to significantly enhance the video quality so far. The animations and how they interact with each setpiece are their own unique puzzle. How did they solve this issue? Read the full article at WCRespace to find out! There'a also an example video of their impressive output below.
As part of the ongoing Wing Commander IV Resmastered project (, I've upscaled and remastered all the game's rooms, environments and sprite animations using ESRgan AI/Deep Learning. These are a few samples, along with comparisons to the original 640x480 room visuals.
You might think that remastering the rooms and sprite animations for Wing Commander IV would be a similar task to remastering the videos – I certainly did before I started – but it’s actually a very different beast.

For a start, all the “shapes” (as the game files call them) are static images. I was expecting that for the room backgrounds, but not for the sprite animations (Eisen and Maniac on the bridge, Vagabond in the bar etc.). Yet when Pedro extracted the files from the original game and sent them my way, there they were – eight thousand, five hundred and thirteen TGA files, comprising the rooms, hangars, computer consoles, buttons, toggles and every individual frame for every character animation.

Upscaling static images using AI is quite different to upscaling video footage. When you have an image sequence in a video file, the AI can analyse groups of frames, identify similarities and changes between them, gather and analyse depth information from parallax motion and interpolate a lot of data to add to the image. With a static frame, you don’t get that.

As previously mentioned, the team is focusing on WC4, but occasionally they gain new insights with experimenting in WC3. Here's an upgraded gameflow demo Pedro recorded as well:

Goodbye, Rob Cobb Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Ron Cobb, one of the all-time great movie concept artists, has passed away at age 83 (obituary). Mr. Cobb was responsible for designing the looks and props of a wide swath of familiar genre films from the 1970s through today including all time classics like Alien, Star Wars and Back to the Future. Known for his lived-in, utilitarian design work, Cobbs' art continues to influence all varieties of artists today.

Concept art for the Rapier, Broadsword and Concordia.

Mr. Cobb's most direct contribution to the Wing Commander universe was as a very early artist on the 1999 Wing Commander film. Director Chris Roberts asked Cobb to develop a series of concepts based on the spacecraft needed for the script but ultimately chose to go a different direction. Producer Todd Moyer was particularly unhappy with Cobbs' work and pushed for a more budget-friendly option for the ships.

Concept art for the Diligent, Com-Con and Snakeir.

It was Mr. Cobb's immense influence that had the most impact on Wing Commander. Take, for example, the orange, plush chair he designed for ALIEN's Nostromo which found its way into our universe as the ejection seat for the fighters in the original Wing Commander.

And of course, what is Wing Commander's Raptor heavy fighter but another take on Rob Cobb's Gunstar fighter designed for THE LAST STARFIGHTER? Ron's incredible imagination inspired countless details, from high tech spaceships to little humanizing touches like the bucket collecting water from a leaky pipe in the barracks.

Mr. Cobb was also inadvertently responsible for one final addition to the Wing Commander universe: Starlog Group's heavy coverage of the Wing Commander movie which included three cover stories and a bespoke 'making of' magazine. That's a lot of focus on Wing Commander for a year when genre films included The Matrix and The Phantom Menace. It turns out the editor responsible had accepted the Wing Commander coverage because they thought it would give them an opportunity to interview Ron Cobb, who was in fact no longer with the production.

Starlog Visits the Wing Commander Movie, Starlog #260, Starlog #262 and Sci-Fi Teen.

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Ancient Camcorder Footage Sets Stage for WC Purchase Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a weird nostalgia trip! This is a video recording of an old computer store circa 1991, and Wing Commander makes a handful of cameos throughout. We post a lot of retro stuff like this, but rarely do we get so much of the peripheral environment. Everything from the neon clothes at 0:22 to the shirt and tie of the salesman at 0:51 screams early '90s. The clerk is standing in front of the game at 2:36 and familiar music permeates throughout, especially in the last minute. It's one thing for players born more recently to boot up their GOG copies and experience the pixelated goodness, but there was also a magic associated with checking out these haunts to learn about what was new. Keep in mind that this was years and years before anyone downloaded a trailer or found a release date on the internet! Thanks to Michael Klamerus for the find!
Last night while doing research for my game I came across video of a computer store employee demoing Space Quest 4 and Wing Commander to customers in 1991. Enjoy?
For retro computing enthusiasts! This was a small "mom and pop" computer and electronics store in the mall in 1991 called 21st Century Electronics. It was in University Mall in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and started in 1990 as a general electronics store, with a focus on satellite television systems, but evolved into a dedicated computer technology store. I worked there from 1991 to 1993, and I'm visible in the mirror with the VHS-C camcorder near the end. The store eventually moved, became 21st Century Computers, and lasted until the 2010's. This video is probably June 8, 1991, based on the baseball game on the TV (Montreal at Atlanta), and that it was on a VHS tape with other 1991 events.

Any help identifying the games and systems in the video is appreciated. One notable system spec sheet @ 03:21: 386/25MHz system, 64K cache, 4MB RAM on board, 40 MB hard drive, tower case, 200 watt power supply, 1.2 MB floppy drive, 1.44 MB floppy drive, VGA monitor, ARC 101 keyboard, 2 serial / 1 parallel ports, Microsoft Windows (3.0), DOS... $2429.00!!! LOL!

One Week to Party Time! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's hard to believe, but we're now just one short week away from the combined CIC Birthday Party and 30th Anniversary of Wing Commander! Join us next Saturday for an evening filled with fun, friends and plenty of Wing Commander trivia. We'll be observing the 22nd birthday of our time here at as well as commemorating the big 3-0 of WC itself. The main gathering area will be #Wingnut on Discord with the formal countdown starting at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT). The channel is always open, so you're more than welcome to come early. The party is always a blast - see you next weekend!

WC Games to Xbox Game Pass, Origin Storefront Phasing Out Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We're got more EA news for Wing Commander fans. Last month we reported that the Origin Access service was being rebranded as EA Play. At the time, the Origin name was to be retained as the virtual storefront for EA games. That has since changed, and the company has announced that it will be renamed the EA Desktop App going forward. For the time being, Origin still stands, but the EA Desktop App is now in beta testing and will eventually become the primary portal. As you can imagine, this has kicked off a round of "EA Kills Origin" headlines that gives us mild flashbacks to 2004. Ever-optimistic fans have wondered aloud if this could be a move intended to free up the name for a reboot of Origin Systems, but this is obviously unlikely. However, on a much more positive note, Microsoft and EA have jointly confirmed that subscribers to the popular Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service will soon be getting free access to the basic level of EA Play. This means that a vast new segment of gamers will suddenly find WC1 through WC4 and Privateer in their libraries. They'll get a lot of other games too so they won't all jump on Wing Commander at once, but we're very excited for the potential influx of new pilots!
We are teaming up with Electronic Arts to provide Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC members with an EA Play membership at no additional cost starting this holiday. This means Ultimate members can enjoy EA Play on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Windows 10 PCs, and Xbox Game Pass for PC members get EA Play on Windows 10.

Formerly known as EA Access and Origin Access, EA Play will bring the best of EA to Game Pass, including:

  • More than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games like FIFA 20, Titanfall 2 and Need for Speed Heat, as well as titles from some of EA’s most popular franchises like Battlefield, Mass Effect, Skate, and The Sims.
  • Exclusive in-game challenges and rewards, special member-only content, discounts on EA digital purchases for DLC, games, and more.
  • Access to trials of games for up to 10 hours from best-loved franchises and top titles like Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21.
  • Not only will EA Play titles be available on console and PC, this holiday, some of the best EA Play games will also be available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play on Android devices via the cloud at no additional charge.

Take an Accelerated Trip Through 3D Card History Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

ETPC spotted a fun Digital Foundry video on the history of 3D acceleration. It details the transition from software rending in the early '90s to the emergence of the dedicated 3D card and how it transformed PC gaming. Wing Commanders 2 and 3 get called out as examples of the prime time in market when CPUs did the heavy lifting. Things rapidly changed with the introduction of the 3dfx/Glide cards and their adoption by Quake. Wing Commander fans were at the forefront of this evolution thanks to Wing Commander Prophecy. WC4 and Privateer 2 produced impressive visuals in 1996, but by late 1997 Prophecy was able to add even higher quality transparency, lighting, smoke and other effects. WCP and Secret Ops ran in "software mode" for people without 3D cards, and they received a partial effects set if you had another Direct 3D compatible board, but the real treat was when you had a proper 3dfx Voodoo. Fans have since managed to emulate 3dfx with glide wrappers and even eclipse this old tech with the amazing OpenGl upgrade, but it was fun being on the cutting edge of technology for this when it was all new. The video below is a little long winded, but it does do a good job of capturing the complexity of all the emerging standards and how they affected your graphical results. Not all of us were lucky enough to have a 3dfx card at first, so it's also fun hearing familiar names like the ATI Rage, nVidia Riva and Matrox Millennium here:
John Linneman returns to the mid-90s and the arrival of the 3D accelerator boards that would revolutionise gaming as we know it. These days, we buy a new GPU, we play and play and it works, but things were very, very different back in the day...

Graphical Novel Project Dips Below Decks Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

EmuMusicFan has a new treat for fans following his graphical novel project. He showed off a really neat WC4 scene a few weeks ago, and now he's built on that by creating a new interlude that would have occurred during the game, but off-camera. This episode goes through a conversation that between Melek's crew and the Intrepid personnel. It's a hypothetical setup where they help Pliers better understand how cloaking technology works, which is a neat premise!
An excerpt from a semi-original plot. It is an excerpt from a semi-original plot. It's about what happened when Melek's mechanics aboarded the Intrepid to teach advanced cloaking technique to Pliers.

The approximate context: At Blair's request, Melek assigned a Kilrathi mechanic of common-born descent to board the Intrepid with his Varni assistant to teach Pliers advanced stealth techniques. Sosa joined the team as data support, and Catscratch volunteered to join for fear of Sosa being injured by the cat. Over lunch, they talked about Colonel Blair related topics...

Sorry I'm not a native English speaker. If there are any bugs in this scenario, please alert me to fix them. If you have any good ideas, feel free to let me know. Please note that this original scenario is only a small part of Chapter 2. If you would like to read the entire chapter, click here.

WC1 Voiceover Project Reaches Brimstone & Chengdu Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Earlier this year we reported on an exciting project to incorporate full speech into the PC version of Wing Commander. The game only got such a treatment on the Sega CD edition originally. While extracting the audio for that port has been technically possible for some time, finding a way to get it to correctly link and play in the appropriate places in other versions of the game has been an enormous hurdle. Wingnuts have made tremendous strides in modifying the original engine lately though, and we're now seeing the fruits of that labor. That's not to say any part of this is easy: Destro has had particular challenges categorizing the thousands of separate audio clips into the right order (not to mention coronavirus issues we are all facing!), so the work has been slow going, but he's got a great update to share below. There's even a new teaser of everything in action!
Since the last update I mentioned I was missing some audio files. I began the Gimle System and I found even more audio missing.. I cried inside but became determined, so I brewed several pots of coffee (and maybe a beer or two) and just put all 5000+ audio files in a playlist and just sat there for several hours listening. Eventually I did find all the missing audio. They were stuck in the middle out of order for one reason or another and through my scanning I must have just missed them. I rejoiced and filled in all the missing sections... Then all audio broke and nothing would play. I checked and triple checked my code, the scripting, the audio files for corruption anything to explain the issue, I even changed IDE's and compilers which took some time but nothing. I took a short break from it and came back and started deleting random lines and I found out that the placement of some audio files in my scripting cause a complete break in the system. I have no answer for what caused it but my guess is a memory leak somewhere in my code. I have some thoughts on where the issue might be but for now though, It's fixed, and long story short I'm back on track.

During this "broken" time I didn't want to distance myself from the project too much so I created a new menu system. It's still a bit glitchy but it's more inline with what my vision was and how I wanted it to work. Again all the textures are still place holders, even the music and sound effects, but just wanted to add a bit of flare to the splash screen. It's been a wild ride but I now have all the audio files I need and am moving forward. It will be a slower move forward for the next few weeks as I work on all my other projects but now there are less hurtles to overcome. Below is a progress report of sorts.

  • Funeral - COMPLETE
  • Medal - COMPLETE
  • Office - COMPLETE
  • InFlight Coms (WingMan) - IN PROGRESS
  • InFlight Coms (Taunts)
  • Enyo - COMPLETE
  • McAuliffe - COMPLETE
  • Gateway - COMPLETE
  • Gimle - COMPLETE
  • Brimstone - IN PROGRESS
  • Cheng Du - IN PROGRESS
  • Dakota
  • Port Hedland
  • Kurasawa
  • Rostov
  • Hubble's Star
  • Venice
  • Hell's Kitchen
I'm handling Wingman coms as they appear in the game and the Taunts I have to actually edit and export each line because the bitrate is super low to fit it all on a SegaCD disc. So the taunts will be the last thing I tackle. I also started making a little trailer for the project. I whipped it together in about an hour but might as well share it with you all. I'm going to continue hammering away at it on my free time but until then enjoy the teaser and stay safe everyone.

WC Toolbox Adds Console Support Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The WC Toolbox is branching out to even further reaches of the Wing Commander universe. UnnamedCharacter's latest update adds the first features to help crack open console ports. WC3 is first up: on the 3DO, prospective hackers can extract .bun(dles) and .str(eam) data files. For WC3 on the Playstion, it's now possible to extract .lib(rary) and .tai (voice) files. Regular PC WC3 also gets .pak and .iff support as well. I wouldn't know the first thing to do with these exports, but the WC modding community is very excited to be able to get their hands on even more in-game assets from The Heart of the Tiger! You can grab the latest tool kit here or learn about how the new functionality work at the CIC Forums.
I was not planning on making a release just yet, but I have noticed some interest in the container formats for console versions of WC games. Since I have working code to handle some of these files, I figured I would make it available even though I am in the middle of restructuring the toolbox and not yet done.

I have been making changes to improve large file handling, include support for the console versions of the games, and reduce the number of executables. I have also refactored some of the code and updated to .NET Framework version 4.6. See the first post for the download. Improving large file handling was becoming more important. In earlier games, all the files are small by today's standards and I would simply load the file content into memory and then process it. But in later games, the file sizes have considerably increased and I now only load the necessary parts. As an example of the difference, in the previous version of the toolbox, the WC3 intro movie extraction would peek at around 220 MB of memory usage, now it's down to about 10 MB.

This release introduces support for console versions of the games. At the moment, it is mostly limited to container files, but hopefully support will grow. Before the toolbox can process these files, they need to be extracted from the disc images; there are various tools you can find online that do this.

I have also removed game specific console applications and consolidated all functionality into a single application. As a result, the command line interface has slightly changed and now all commands are of the form: "Game : Platform : Command" (without quotes or spaces), for example:

WCToolsCmd WC3:PC:ExtractTree CD1MOVIE.TRE -HashMappingFile:CD1MOVIE.TRE.txt​

You can consult the README file for a complete listing of all the games, platforms, and file types supported; or invoke a Help command:

WCToolsCmd WC3:PC:Help​

WC3 Research Leads to Better WC4 Remake Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The team behind the WC4 Fan Remake has put together another informative article on some of the unexpected bonuses that have spun off from their core efforts on The Price of Freedom. While working with WC3 assets to better prepare for their WC4 adventure, they've learned a lot about the game's background formats and FMV integration. Some of these experimentally upscaled WC3 artifacts are below. They've even made a high quality Arrow, since that ship also appears in WC4, and they naturally wanted to see what it looked like in WC3 colors! (Spoiler alert: it's gorgeous!) Check out the full article at the site here.
It was not our intention to port Wing Commander 3 yet, but rather unintentionally we’ve ended up with a bunch of Heart of the Tiger updates.


“Wait what? Wing Commander 3?” I hear you asking.

We don’t want you to get the wrong idea – we’re still only making Wing Commander 4 (for now), and were considering not showing the work done here; but the truth is if we didn’t show any of the work we did with Wing Commander 3 assets it’d keep us from sharing a lot of the process with you.

Why is that? In some cases it’s just low hanging fruit (such as the additional paint-jobs for ships appearing in both games), but often the quickest way to understanding WCIV’s file formats is to go through WCIII.

Space Sims Score Spot in Video Game Documentary Intro Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

One of Netflix's hot docuseries a few weeks back was the video game chronicle High Score. The show includes six episodes that cover highlights in video game history from the late '70s to early '90s. Although this doesn't leave much room to cover Wing Commander, there is a brief segment in its intro that is decidedly WC-themed. The third episode is also about role playing games, and Origin founder Richard Garriott is featured heavily throughout to talk about the Ultima series. If you missed the hype in late August, it's still a cool diversion to check out now! The intro is below. The Wing Commander style portion is from 0:15 to 0:25.
Netflix’s new game documentary series, High Score, doesn’t cover Wing Commander yet... but their spectacular pixel art intro certainly seems to reference it!

Another Take on Another Hornet Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has been making fantastic Wing Commander art for more than 15 years, so it's no surprise he found himself trading spaceship renders with a nascent Roberts Space Industries nearly a decade ago. Through these discussions he experimented with what would eventually become Star Citizen's Hornet fighter. Although his creation is a fairly preliminary take, you can see elements from both his familiar WC works as well as what ended up in Chris Roberts' game. The initial concept images below are his, and the final two are the official models. It's ancient history now, but still a neat story!
In 2011 I was lucky enough to leverage some of my Wing Commander fan art into a couple of lovely conversations with Chris Roberts regarding his new project. At the time it still wasn't clear whether or not it was going to be a new Wing Commander property or an entirely new thing, but I did my best with the skills I had at the time, provided a couple of models for 3D printing, and started exploring the CryEngine in anticipation of maybe contributing to my dream franchise!

At the same time, however, I was offered another job that involved flying real airplanes, so I had to let it go! I don't think this idea would have made it into the game, it's too buglike and derivative of the original Hornet design for what became Star Citizen, but I was grateful to the chance to talk to one of my childhood heroes and contribute in some small way to Star Citizen. I wish them the best (but I still wish we had a new Wing Commander game!). 9 years on, and having never signed an NDA, I feel pretty confident in sharing my little non-contribution to Star Citizen!

Magazine Time Capsules Capture Sense of P2 Development Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a pair of cool print previews for Privateer 2 that bookend the development quite well. First up is an "alpha" peek by Next Generation magazine in their September 1995 issue. At this point the game is still just "The Darkening" and hasn't yet gotten its official Privateer affiliation, but almost every inch of the article is about drawing comparison to its Wing Commander series "forebears." There's also a later 1996 article from the French Joystick magazine. Its focus is on Mathilda May, who had an oversized presence in marketing at the time compared to her screen time in the game. You can compare the background setting images in the two pieces to see how much closer this one is to the final product, including its lineup of ship models and gameplay mockups.
As Hollywood firms sign off precarious seven-digit budgets in search of the perfect "interactive" formula, Origin Systems has already blazed its own path with the successful Wing Commander series.

Erin Roberts, the game's 25-year-old executive producer (yes, he's Chris Roberts' brother) has envisioned a darkly complex, organic, eight-planet system.

"The technology we're using makes Wing Commander look like a dinosaur," said Roberts, whose $5-million budget is the highest for a video game (though Wing 4 is rumored at $7 million). The game will use SVGA graphics, accesses a more compact, and much faster engine than the one used in Wing 3, rendering graphics on-the-fly."

True playability of interactive movies is still questionable, and while The Darkening is only 15% complete and has the Wing series to live up to, it's got everything to make its forebears shiver in their knickers.

A Different Style of Wing Commander Longplay Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

After releasing six episodes of his Defiant Few audio series, Plywood Fiend has been out of the WC fan project world for a bit, but he's back with a new simpler take on amusing his fellow Wingnuts. It's essentially a live-streamed play through of the original Wing Commander, but it's been edited to include his own comedic take. He's already completed everything from Enyo to Venice, and they can be found in a Youtube playlist here. That's a lot to check out! The first mission and a couple of samples also embedded below.
My most recent whimsy-work is a bit humbler, but just a bit. I'm doing a let's play of Wing Commander 1, but one riddled with my own peculiar brand of humor in the (text only) commentary, and with peculiar, (usually) funny intro videos, snippets of which I'll include below, best I can. Rest assured that for those like myself who've played this game more times than they'd care to admit to, there's something new and innovative to see in this play-through. Hope this provides some entertainment.
The let's play and accompanying oddities are finished for now. The last video came complete with this fan reading from the Heart of the Tiger novel, complete with as good a display of video editing trickery as I could manage. I'll leave it here as it may entertain.

WC Art Campaign Meets Funding Goal, Ending Soon! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Mike Winterbauer's campaign to create an alternate art portfolio for his classic game art covers comes to a close this week. We can confidently project its success since it currently stands at 7.5 times its target amount. CIC staff members alone appear to have pledged more than the minimum threshold, so that helps too. Of particular interest to WC fans is a new spread that shows side-by-side depictions of his famous Super Nintendo Wing Commander art on the game's box as well as in print magazines. There are also several other similar collages involved for his other games, including Solstice, Power Blade and Might & Magic. As of this writing, the project has passed $1500. If it reaches $2000, pledgers will also receive a "Xeen Rises" sketch. Some of his past WC works are available in the lower tiers, or the new 16x24 inch metal print comes in at the $150 (plus shipping) level. Find out more here. Act quick: everything ends early Thursday!
Wing Commander Limited Edition Signed Metal Print Pledge!

Pledge $150 and get the amazing signed 16 by 24 inch Limited Edition Signed Metal Print and a letter of authenticity address to you! These stunning metal prints are ready to hang out of the box and are signed! This is a very cool collectible that is a Limited Edition signed and numbered! There will be only 500 of these awesome prints. This stunning collectible shows the cool Wing Commander original painting, logo painting and the cool box and advertising of Wing Commander!

Supersize Your Wingleader Creations Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The multi-talented elend (of Banshee model fame) has another treat for fellow fans. This one is quite a bit different, but artsy and cool nonetheless. He's vectorized the famous Wingleader logo so it can now be blown up to infinite proportions without any loss of quality. This was Wing Commander's working title between "Squadron" and the final name that we've come to know and love. The preview below is just a sample. Check out the actualize vector version in PDF form here (1.5 megs).
Hello internet friends. I vectorized the Wingleader logo for... uh... reasons. Maybe some of you have use for it.

Movie Style Cruiser Not Super but Still Neat Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

callitri is back to work on the design of his Movie era Concordia class super cruiser. This time he's mainly using the model as a reference to create a scaled back warship. If the cruiser version of the Concordia is so "super," then there must be a "regular" ship of the line, right? This is that ship. You can see below that both vessels share a lot in common, but the standard cruiser is slightly less armed and has proportionately less bulk. It has just enough to get the job done, but in this case that still includes three heavy double mounts on the dorsal side and another pair of heavy cannons ventral. There are plenty of smaller turrets dotting the superstructure upon zooming in. We don't see a lot of fan art based on ships from the film, so this is something different! You can check out the model in SketchUp here.
I am back with my never ending fiddling with the Concordia. Now she has a little sister as well. I wanted to make a a whole fleet of cruisers/destroyers based on the Concordia design. Thanks to the things we do not mention I had a lot of time on my hands in recent months. I named her TCS Fortuna. I (also) addressed the last area (so far :) ) of the original Concordia I didn't like, which is the underbelly.

Three Weeks to Party Time! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Even though interminable 2020 has seemed like a good twenty months or so long already, August zipped by fast and we are now already into September. That means the CIC Birthday Party is quickly approaching! As previously announced, we've combined our 22nd website birthday with the 30th anniversary of Wing Commander itself on September 26 this year. We'll have twice as many reasons to celebrate as normal, so we hope you can join in on the fun! The festivities will take place in #Wingnut on Discord at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT and 11:00 pm GMT). Stay tuned for more details as we get closer. It's likely that we will go live earlier than this official time so people will be able to drop in throughout the day and night. Mark your calendars - see you there!

New Characters Come Together in Graphical Novel Sample Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I looked away for a couple weeks and EmuMusicFan made more tremendous strides in his interactive graphical novel project. He's added a ton of characters: most are familiar faces from the WC4 era, but he's even concocted a Varni for good measure. We've been showing off his cool artwork all year with occasional glimpses at what the finished product might look like, and Emu's made another sample video that does a great job of showing off the combined results. These are built in the Ren'Py Visual Novel Engine. In this sequence he's recreated a scene from Wing Commander 4, but obviously original stories are possible too. Even branches can be added!
Finally I've made a tiny episode with dialogue dubbed in. This way the basic functionality of this visual novel engine is even able to be demonstrated. The plot is the conversation of "high-tech pay-back". The voice clips are from the game.
Finally I've drawn a portrait of the third race... I think the Varni were only mentioned in the novel, right? I haven't been able to find the official portraits of Varni, so I am working on myself. I'd like to be corrected if there are any discrepancies.

My fan fictional character background story:

Kna is a fourth-generation of enslaved Varni. He no longer speaks Varni's own language. In contrast, Kna speaks the Terran language more fluently. His name is also derived from a Kilrah word, which is actually a number for him. Every Varni slave is numbered in order at birth, and he was the first of that batch to break shell, so kna is his number, No. 0. He is a slave of Haga Kaligara's hrai, along with Khajiit working as a mechanic's assistant on Melek's team. Except for the fact that every Varni slave was born with their poison glands removed, no other body parts of Kna were deprived. Haga Kaligara does not mistreat him. His engineering talent is outstanding and Khajiit needs his hand.

One detail is that his slave collar was fastened by Khajiit over the collar assembly of a flight suit, makes it more comfortable than wearing it directly around the neck.

Star Wars Squadrons Also Forming Up Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's been a fun week for non-WC space sim news, so we'll keep that rolling today with another look at Star Wars Squadrons. We briefly highlighted the game back when it was announced in June, and now we're quickly coming up on release. In the intervening months, there have been new videos released that highlight both the gameplay and story. It looks to be shaping up quite well, and the price is decent too. It'll be just $39.99 when it ships October 2. A bunch of Wingnuts will be flying in the game's cross-platform dogfights when they arrive next month. Stop by #Wingnut on Discord to see who's playing and link up!
This is a story of daring pilots and a deep-seated rivalry. At the start of the game, you’ll create two customizable pilots: one flying for freedom as a part of the New Republic and the other imposing the Galactic Empire’s vision of order. From both their perspectives, you’ll get to see how the war unfolded on both fronts, including the goals held by each faction’s leaders.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Ports Get Release Dates Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Double Damage games has finally announced a release date for the various ports of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, September 22! The game came out last year on PC to strong reviews. The development team includes Wing Commander superfans such as Travis Baldree and Howard Day, so our past previews have noted that the game is infused with tons Privateer-inspired spirit (and Easter eggs). This month's multiplatform launch includes Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. Target price is about $30. We know quite few folks who were holding out for one of these versions, so this is great news. Here's an overview of the game's first hour as well as a cinematic trailer for folks who haven't seen what the game's like.
Hello to our amazingly patient pilots! Once again, we want to give a big huge THANK YOU to all those who’ve been waiting for this news. We know it hasn’t been fun waiting — it hasn’t been fun for us, it definitely hasn’t been fun for you. There’s been a lot of things happening behind the scenes we’re not able to really elaborate upon, but know we have been pounding away on all the things needed to launch a title on consoles.

Today we’re sharing a little update: we’re passed the final hurdle with the final console (PS4) and nearly ready to launch on Steam. So…we’re pleased to share a release date for all three consoles and Steam: September 22nd! You can wishlist it right now on Steam — console pages will go up on release day.

We know things have been a little quiet and it’s frustrating when we have to go silent like that — there’s been a lot brewing behind the scenes to get these titles launched both in terms of the normal procedures and just crazy things happening in our personal lives (mostly good we promise!) Perhaps someday we’ll do a project post-mortem on the vagaries of launching a game during a global pandemic?

WC-Style Absolute Territory Released Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The space sim Absolute Territory was released today on Steam! It's a classic '90s style shooter by longtime Wingnut centaurianmudpig. The cockpit UI is simplified a bit and borrows some of the streamlined slider bars from Wing Commander 4 or Arena, but all the familiar elements are there. Everything can be controlled by either keyboard, mouse or joystick, and the setup makes it very easy to switch between or combine control methods. Wing Commander fans should be able to jump right in, but there's also a helpful simulator and tutorial missions to get everyone up to speed on the basics quickly. The engine has some speed to it, so pilots need to be accurate with their shots, but that's all part of the learning curve. Absolute Territory is its own game, but there are also a handful of Wing Commander easter eggs thrown in for fun. You can try out the demo or grab the game for yourself here on Steam. It's $18.99 normally, but there's a 10% off promotion running through September 7! Here's a quick overview by SquidofLove to give you another perspective:
Absolute Territory is the singleplayer space combat action game in a futuristic setting. Fly in World War 2 (WW2) style space fighter dogfights. Play in first or third-person views. Access all 11 space fighters across the Imperial Hegemony and Endophora empires, customize their weaponry, and create your own experiences using the in-game Level Editor!

Join the Imperial Hegemony and reclaim Bold Peace from the invading Endophora and restore Absolute Territory for your empire. Experience a story-driven campaign directed by briefings with 21 missions and 6 Imperial space fighters to fly with cockpit interiors.

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