Wing Commander Academy

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This article is about the game. For the animated television series, see Wing Commander Academy (TV). For other uses, see Wing Commander Academy (disambiguation).
Wing Commander Academy
Academyfronthigh.jpg
Platform MS-DOS
Engine Origin FX
Release Date August 27, 1993
Language English
Retail Price 49.95 USD"USD" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 49.95. (1993) 5.99 USD (2013)


Wing Commander Academy is a 1993 space combat game developed by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts. Academy is primarily a mission builder based on technology and assets developed for Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. The game allows players to populate up to four nav points with a variety of objects including enemy spacecraft, asteroids, mine fields, data pods, ejected pilots, random encounters or space stations which may be defended. Mission designers can choose the AI level for the opposing spacecraft and players may choose to fly missions using one of nine spacecraft and four wingmen. Missions may be saved as files and traded to be flown by others. The game also features a "Gauntlet" mode which pits the player against fifteen pre-constructed missions which each consist of three waves of increasingly difficult opponents.

Players are said to be students at the Terran Confederation Space Naval Academy who are using a new simulator to train for space combat missions. While the game itself does not have a specific story line, its manual includes lore which suggests that it takes place shortly after the events of Wing Commander II. Academy is the first spin-off of the Wing Commander series and was developed as a budget title which could expect to turn a reasonable profit and keep the Wing Commander IP in players' minds during the expected lengthy development of Wing Commander III. The game features a single, short cinematic as its introduction and the majority of its graphics, sounds, speech samples and gameplay mechanics are recycled from Wing Commander II. Academy adds two flyable fighters, the Wraith and Jrathek, as well as three new gun types and an additional missile.

Description

Box Back Cover

A Stand-Alone Game — No previous Wing Commander experience necessary.

As a student at the TCSN Academy, you custom-design and fly unique combat, rescue, and search and retrieval missions from the CyberSchool's holographic simulator. In the Wing Commander tradition, the game features a dynamic musical score, improved bit-mapped graphics, and a dazzling array of customizing options. But Wing Commander Academy is not another cinematic extravaganza — it's an intense dogfighting marathon.

  • Custom-design a variety of missions that match your skill level as you place fighters, capital ships, mine fields, asteroid fields, data pods and ejected pilots - up to 10 in each of the four action spheres.
  • Save up to 24 games to disk and trade with your friends or upload them to bulletin boards to challenge others.
  • Request random missions where each action sphere yields an unknown number of enemy ships with pilots of varying skill levels.
  • Climb into the cockpits of the new Confederation Wraith or Kilrathi Jrathek fighters for a new combat experience.
  • Select a cybernet wingman — from a frightened cadet to a hotshot veteran.
  • Fly from the cockpit or try the chase plane view for a new perspective on the intense dogfighting action.
  • Sharpen your combat skills as you compete for high-point honors.
  • Engage the "Gauntlet" - a dogfighting marathon with 15 progressively difficult levels of attacking ships - including three flights of fighters in each level.

System Requirements

Original Release (1993)

MS-DOS: 386SX, 386, Intel486™ or 100% compatible PC system
REQUIRED: 2 megs RAM, hard drive, MS-DOS 5.0 or higher
SUPPORTS: DOS 6.0 and DOUBLE SPACE
GRAPHICS: 256-color VGA
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS (optional): Ad Lib®, Sound Blaster®, Roland® LAPC-I/MT-32, or 100% compatible sound board
DIGITIZED SPEECH and SOUND EFFECTS (optional; limited speech and sound effects in game): Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound board

Digital Release (2013)

System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Processor: 1.8 GHz
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended)
Storage: 2GB HDD

Box Contents

Credits

Role Name Source
Production
Producer Thomas Blom Game, Documentation
Executive Producer Dallas Snell Documentation
Development
Programmer Jeff Everett Game, Documentation
Brent A Thale Game, Documentation
Artist Whitney Ayres Game, Documentation
Glen Johnson Game, Documentation
Music John Tipton Game, Documentation
Kirk Winterrowd Game, Documentation
Sound Effects Marc Schaefgen Game, Documentation
Quality Assurance
QA Project Leader Perry Stokes Game, Documentation
Playtester Marshall Andrews Game, Documentation
Charles Angel Game, Documentation
Russel Byrd Game, Documentation
Jerrold Harrington Game, Documentation
Andrew Hofmann Game, Documentation
Bill LaCoste Game, Documentation
Starr Long Game, Documentation
Rik Packham Game, Documentation
Scott Shelton Game, Documentation
Packaging
Documentation Kristen Vaughan Game, Documentation
Editing David Ladyman Documentation
Documentation Design Al Carnley Documentation
Cover Art Chris Douglas Documentation
Jake Rodgers Documentation
Box Design Jennifer Davis Documentation
Thanks
Special Thanks The Wing Commander I and II Teams Game

Advertising

Key Art

Marketing Flyer

Origin Catalogs

Print Advertising

Versions

Original Release

Electronic Arts originally published Wing Commander Academy in North America, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in 1993.

International Releases

Wing Commander was not localized by Electronic Arts but was released in France and Germany with translated documentation. Electronic Arts sold an additional 500 copies through InterTAN (Radio Shack) in Canada; while these were assigned a unique EAN they have not been proven to have been physically different from the standard North American release. In Asia, a version without localization was published Taiwan by Soft World. DROSoft released a localized version in Spain.

CD-ROM Version

In 1995, Electronic Arts released a CD-ROM-to-hard drive version of Wing Commander Academy as part of the initial set of Electronic Arts CD-ROM Classics titles. In 1996, the same release was published again in a jewel case. In Europe, Ocean released Wing Commander Academy as one of the final titles in the Hit Squad series as a "£14.99 PC Prime Contender".

Digital Version

GOG released a digital edition of Wing Commander Academy bundled with DOSBox and configured for modern systems in 2013.

Compilations

Academy was included in a 1995 budget CD-ROM compilation called Mile High Club from Velocity. The package also included the original Wing Commander, F-14 Tomcat, Megafortress, MIG-29, Jet Fighter II, ATAC and The Heroes of the 357th.

Other

In March 1994, Origin Systems announced internally that they had partnered with CD Select to release a trial version of Wing Commander Academy which would be included on a CD containing a collection of applications and games. CD Select's system would allow those who enjoy the game to call an 800-number to pay and unlock the full program. It is not clear if this release ever made it to market.

Release Index

Platform Year EAN UPC Region Publisher Media Language
MS-DOS 1993 6908 0 17814 81611 6 United States Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English
MS-DOS 1993 United Kingdom Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English
MS-DOS 1993 Germany Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English, German docs
MS-DOS 1993 France Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English, French docs
MS-DOS 1993 5240 Canada (InterTAN) Electronic Arts 3.5" HD diskette (3) English
MS-DOS Spain DROSoft 3.5" HD diskette (3) Spanish
MS-DOS Taiwan Soft World 5.25" HD diskette (4) English, Chinese docs
CD-ROM Classic 1995 5449 United States Electronic Arts CD-ROM (3) English
CD-ROM Classic (Jewel) 1995 5713 United States GOG CD-ROM (3) English
Hit Squad 1994 United Kingdom Ocean 3.5" HD diskette (3) English
Mile High Pack 1995 United States Velocity CD-ROM (8) English
Digital 1993 Worldwide GOG Download English

Screenshots

Pre-Release Screenshots

These three images were provided to press in 1993 and were made available through Origin's BBS. Several differences are visible between these captures and the release build of the game. In ACTION, the Wraith displays a Morningstar's VDU, "leech" is misspelled as "leach" and the target being communicated with is identified as "Enemy 2" instead of a ship type. ENTRY has a darker cursor than the finished game and red menu text instead of blue. It also lacks the buttons to the quick start buttons located to left and right of the simulator. SELECT shows an entirely different set of wingmen (Rusty, Dingo, Gauntlet and Harridan in place of Hobbes, Angel, Maniac and Lightspeed, respectively) and seems to use the identifier "Zealous" instead of "Excellent". The VDU face shown for Dingo does not match any that appear in the final game.

GOG Release Screenshots

These twelve images were captured by GOG from the release build for their Wing Commander Academy sale page.

Community Screenshots

Development

Point of Origin

March 26, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 35

  • Joint Resolution: "Watch this space in the next issue for a look behind the scenes of Wing Commander Academy."

April 9, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 36

  • Wing Commander Academy: "Face it: there's a little egomaniac in every pilot who's flown a Ferret. The 'brag factor' is what makes Wing Commander Academy (the current working name) look like it could be a big seller. Basically, WCA is a do-it-yourself mission builder in the Wing Commander universe. Programmed-turned-Producer Thomas Blom explains it this way: "There's no real story line, except what you design for yourself. Each mission can have an objective; maybe you have to retrieve a data pod or ejected pilot, or maybe you just want to do some dogfighting. In any case, you have total control over the design. "WCA should really appeal to people who care about how good a pilot they are. After you design a mission, it will have a score based on its degree of difficulty. The files will be small enough so that you can dump the scenario onto a disk or post it online someplace like CompuServe. That way, you can challenge your friends or other players to try and beat you at your own mission. Players who whizzed through Wing Commander can actually create impossible missions, while other players may just want to use it as a way to play around with different kinds of spacecraft or study the way the Kilrathi fly." WCA has another couple of big selling points. First of all, it's not as hardware-intensive, so there will be a lot of happy 386 owners out there. Second, it will be at a reduced price point (currently $49.95 as opposed to $79.95). WCA is planned as a fall project. Right now, it has a lean and mean team. Jeff Everett and Brent Thale are working on the programming and Whitney Ayres on the art. Thomas' goal is to have it in the box by the end of June (perfect for CES)."

April 23, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 37

  • In Print: "People are already drooling at the concept and promise of Privateer. In the middle of it all we're going to throw some unexpected gems like Shadowcaster, Interactive Movie #1 and Wing Commander Academy at them out of the blue."

May 21, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 39

  • Pulse Check: "Things have been going well - we've got new blood on the phones in C/S, and some of the C/S flying aces have been testing Wing Academy in QA and are helping to rid the world of pesky bugs every day."

June 18, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 40

  • CES: The Gap Closes: "Not to say we didn't have an impressive lineup: Pacific Strike, Shadowcaster, Privateer and Wing Commander Academy... Look for Wing Commander Academy to be compared to X-Wing's Rebel Assault, while Aces Over Europe will square off against Pacific Strike... But the surprise hit and what could be our biggest seller this year was Wing Commander Academy. To a person, everyone who saw it wanted a copy of it right then and there. And talk about positioning - WCA was pitched as a non-traditional ORIGIN game: 'Less than 5 megs on your hard drive and runs great on a 386.'"

July 2, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 41

  • Pulse Check: "The QA side of the world has been busy, with 5, count 'em 5 games in test right now... We've gotcher U7 SNES, yer Runes of Virtue SNES, yer Wing Commander Academy, yer UW1 and 2 CD and the ever present and wondermuss Silver Seed add-on to Serpent Isle."

July 16, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 42

  • Kudos and Columns: "And, finally, positive comments on future games from Joystick: "Wing Academy: 'It is possible to play any side, therefore you can be a Kilrathi and waste the Confederation. This option by itself should bring a hell of a lot of joy to those who, on a regular basis, regret to only play the good guys, when, deep down, they feel bad & nasty.'"

July 30, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 43

  • Pulse Check: "The Silver Seed and Wing Commander Academy have signed off. They are both expected to ship in August. Guess we'll be oilin' up the phones."

August 13, 1993 - Vol. III, No. 44

  • Where Are They Now?: "First and foremost, kudos go out to Tandy Tamer Karl Kabler... What's next? He's already working on the Tandy buyer for Wing Academy and Silver Seed.... Whatever happened to Silver Seed and Wing Academy? Well, Academy is ready, but we're waiting on EAUK to get its stuff together in order for a simultaneous worldwide release..."

September 10 1993 - Vol. III, No. 45

  • Road Kills: "Karl blew out to the West Coast and met with all of the accounts there, showing them Academy, Privateer, the Speech Pack and all the promotional opportunities coming up. 'We've had some good results with those accounts,' Karl said. Snorin' Lee Moore linked up with him so the two of them could blanket the Midwest accounts like Josha, Navarro and American. They wrapped up the week with an Egghead show in Chicago, where 255 store managers from around the country got a good look at Privateer and Wing Academy. In fact, many of them ran to the phones to find that Academy had already hit the shelves back home and was moving well. Lee reported that most of the managers still regard ORIGIN as the leading edge of the industry, but with reservations. 'There's a little bit of distaste for our hardware requirements,' Lee said, 'Generally, they like the games but they say, 'My God, you guys take up a lot of disk space. My God, you guys are hard to configure for.' Next on Lee's itinerary is the San Diego Computer Fair. He's taking his own technical support in the form of Ben 'Styg' Potter. More than 50,000 consumers will get a chance to fly Academy, Strike and Privateer."
  • Another Bump in the Org Chart: "Meanwhile, two Wing Commander spin-offs, Privateer and Wing Commander Academy, are hitting the shelves while work on Wing Commander III is well underway."
  • Reviews in Revue: "Wing Academy gets a full-fledged two-page preview in this month's Strategy Plus. Will Johnson says he'd like to have a little more control over mission design and the ability to fly more Kilrathi ships, but all in all, he really likes it. 'If you want to get your blood pumping, this'll do it,' he writes. 'Drag out the good joystick because the cheap one won't last very long with this game.'"

October 13 1993 - Vol. III, No. 48

  • Start the Presses: "Egghead puts out a regular newsletter called Cue to about a gazillion of its customers every month. In a wrap-up of flight sims, Cue says Wing Academy is 'as thrilling for flight jocks as fantasy game fans.' One of the most bizarre, back-handed complimentary reviews we've ever run across is in the current issue of PC Games. In his look at Wing Academy, Cameron Crotty laments the loss of 'waiting to see what your next mission is, no more battles against impossible odds, no more clicking endlessly through useless and occasionally ham fisted plot scenes. Heaven, right? Maybe, maybe not.' Crotty says Academy is a lot of fun, but he misses Hobbes and Angel and the rest of the Wing universe. He says games like Wing and Strike 'blend adventure and action into an unbeatable combo.'"

October 22 1993 - Vol. III, No. 49

  • Pulse Check: "Taking a look at the period from 10/11 to 10/15, Privateer tops the list with 748 calls logged. The top categories for that game are: IRQ conflicts (26%), hints (24%), boot disk creation (17%) and joystick problems (12%)... PS Reps handled an assortment of other calls: U7 (126), Wing 2 (70), Underworld 2 (65), Wing 1 (60), Silver Seed (57), Underworld 1 (52) and Wing Academy (42)... Team lead testers are: Brian Wachhaus/Super Wing 3DO, Rik Packham/Pacific Strike, Don Derouen/Ultima 8 and Jerrold Harrington/Strike CD."
  • Big Bump in Profits: "Top selling new releases during the quarter were 'Jungle Strike(TM),' 'NHL Hockey '94,' and 'Bill Walsh College Football(TM)' for the Genesis system and 'Privateer(R)' for the IBM PC. Other Electronic Arts products appearing on retailer Top 20 lists during the quarter included 'General Chaos(TM),' 'Mutant League(TM) Football,' 'Bulls vs Blazers and the NBA(R) Playoffs,' 'PGA TOUR (R) II,' and bundles of 'Bill Walsh College Football and 'General Chaos' with the 4 Way Play adapter for the Genesis system; 'Syndicate,' 'Space Hulk(TM),' 'Ultrabots(TM),' and 'Wing Commander(R) Academy' for the IBM PC, and 'Wing Commander Deluxe' for the IBM PC CD."
  • Press Roundup: "The November Computer gaming World is out and includes Strike strategy tips from Tom Basham. Later on, Paul Schuytema takes on Wing Academy. Let's put it this way, the review starts out with: 'First, the bottom line on ORIGIN's Wing commander Academy: if you enjoy space combat simulations, you must have this game. Period.' It just gets better in the two-page spread peppered with screen shots. His 'quibbles': no scoring for individual missions, no flight recorder and he wants more control in mission design... Hot off the presses, the November COMPUTE has a review of Wing Academy. Dave Gerding calls it a 'great, all-action playground where you can keep you battle skills honed.'"

November 8 1993 - Vol. III, No. 50

  • In Print: "It's always great to start this article with a bang, so check out the Wing Academy review in PC Entertainment. 'ORIGIN seems to have taken every rational suggestion from the series' legion of fans and wrapped them into one gorgeous package,' Bill Trotter writes. And he ends with: 'Thank you ORIGIN; you have answered many prayers.' You can't top that."... The Tilt gang is a little more lukewarm to Wing Academy, giving it only 71%. 'Great quality, but the lack of scenario makes it quickly boring.' We've noticed that most European reviewers really miss the flicks and storyline."
  • Pulse Check: "Finally, Wing Academy had 16 calls, with 31% of them dealing with IRQ conflicts and 19% of them having to do with boot disks."

December 1993 - Vol. III, No. 51

  • Print and Prizes: "Japan's Pop Com has an ORIGIN product guide in which reviewer Toren Smith begins: 'ORIGIN, in my opinion, has never produced a dud game.' He tells all Wing Commander fans that they must have Wing Academy... Back home again, Privateer gets a good review (89%) in December's Computer Game Review. Editor Steve Honeywell takes to the high board to go off the deep end. 'Privateer is awesome,' he proclaims. 'It's one of those rare games you could see yourself playing years into the future and for twelve hours at a time. Truly cool!' In the same issue, though, Wing Academy gets a lukewarm review (80%). The writers basically say it's old technology and really best suited for already-hooked Wing fans. Academy fares a little better in the premiere issue of Electronic Entertainment (formerly PC Games). 'The Wing Commander juggernaut rolls on,' Bernie Yee writes, but he laments the lack of storyline and new technology. Usually, Bernie is a good reviewer, but this time, he just doesn't get it. The former editor of the former PC Games, Greg Keizer, includes Academy on his Christmas buying list in the December issue of Penthouse, cementing his reputation as a quality reviewer and solidifying our need to renew our subscription."

January 1994 - Vol. IV, No. 52

  • In Print: "COMPUTE magazine starts off the new year with nothing but good things to say about ORIGIN products. Several titles were recognized in the magazine's special section, 'COMPUTE's Getting Started.' Wing Commander games were listed among the article'stop 10 arcade games.'Dynamic space combat wrapped around acinematic storyline,' the author writes. 'Ferocious action scenes, featuring in-your-face 3-D dogfights.' Concerning Wing Commander Academy, the same author writes, 'Nothing but pure adrenaline-pumping action.'"

February 1994 - Vol. IV, No. 53

  • Press Here: "The editors of PC Entertainment got together and selected their top games of 1993 and Ultima Underworld II was among four ORIGIN games that made the honor role. ...William R. Trotter put Wing commander Academy among the best of 1993. 'One intense battle after another,' he said. 'Every afternoon I take a 'Wing Commander break' instead of a coffee break--it's cleansing, cathartic, and better for your heart...' Do you think he liked it? ... In Japan, they like what they see of Wing Commander Academy. In Popcom, a Japanese gaming magazine, Toren Smith writes, 'Wing Commander Academy is like a dream come true for hardcore WC addicts.'"

March 1994 - Vol. IV, No. 54

  • EOM Whitney Ayres: "Whitney has had a more than a decent two year history at ORIGIN as a lead artist on Wing Commander Academy (the only artist actually) and as an artist for both Privateer and ORIGIN FX."
  • Off to Market: "Wing Academy and ORIGIN FX will be our first forays into electronic distribution. That's where somebody gets a slew of titles on a single CD, tries a program for a limited time, and then calls an 800-number for the code to "unlock" the program and d rop it to the hard drive. The company we're uisng is CD Select. It's sending 200,000 CDs to customers who have purchased through electronic distribution before. Both FX and Academy will also be on a separate disc, primarily filled with business applications, that will go out to corporate customers (they need entertainment, too)."

February 1995 - Vol. V, No. 2

  • The EOM goes to...: "Brent has been with ORIGIN since 1991, and has worked on Wing Commander II, Wing Commander Academy, and Super Wing Commander 3DO among other projects."

Team Shirt

The Wing Commander Academy team shirt features a school seal drawn by Origin System artist Paul Steed. The seal features planets, spacecraft, a book and an armored Kilrathi head. The text reads "established 1993" in reference to the release year of the game and gives the Latin slogan "fac ut gaudeam" which translates literally as "do it so I may be happy." The source of the slogan is the 1991 language book Latin for Even More Occasions by Henry Beard which gives "Age. Fac ut gaudeam." as a translation of Clint Eastwood's Sudden Impact catch phrase "Go ahead, make my day."

Patches / Addons

Configuration

Crash Fix

The GOG release of Wing Commander Academy triggers a hard crash when you select 'execute' to start a mission. This is because the game has not properly generated four temp files, AS.0 through AS.3. To eliminate the crash, simply save and then load one mission which will prompt the game to create the missing files and the crash will not recur. Alternatively, you can download the missing files here (888 bytes) and place them in your GAMEDAT folder.

munt

Wing Commander Academy supports the Roland LA MIDI standard which means that it can use an MT-32 or similar device to play its soundtrack as originally composed. In a modern Windows environment you can emulate an MT-32 using special software and then modify the game's configuration to use it to play the improved score with these instructions:

  1. Download and install munt, an open source LA MIDI emulator here: munt project page
  2. Download an MT-32 ROM (available here) and place it in your munt folder.
  3. Open munt, select "OPTIONS," "ROM Configuration" and then select the desired ROM
  4. Run the Wing Commander Academy Setup shortcut and choose "Change hardware configuration". Select "Sound Blaster AND Roland/LAPC-I" with the default values (Port 220H/ IRQ 7). Choose YES to save this configuration.
  5. Run DOSBox and type "mixer /listmidi" at the command prompt. Add the value listed for "MT-32 Synth Emulator" to the midiconfig section of the dosbox_academy.CONF file located in your Wing Commander Academy folder.

DOSBox Improvements

Changing the following values in your dosbox_academy.CONF in the GOG version of Wing Commander Academy file will make improvements to the quality of how DOSBox runs the game. Make these changes after configuring MUNT.

Line Default Change
sdl
fullresolution desktop your desktop resolution (ie 1920x1080)
windowresolution original 800x600
output overlay opengl
render
aspect false true
scaler normal2x normal3x
cpu
cycles 4000 fixed 8000
mixer
rate 44100 48000
midi
midiconfig device number of your emulated MT-32
sblaster
oplrate 44100 48000
joystick
joysticktype auto 2axis
timed false true

Speech

Because Wing Commander Academy shipped on 3.5" diskettes its digitized speech was limited to enemy taunts. Players can easily add speech to the game for Candar Station and three of the wingmen by copying and renaming files from Wing Commander II to Academy's GAMEDAT folder. You can download the files already renamed here. There is no speech for Lightspeed in Wing Commander II.

Wing Commander II File Rename Content
COMMUNIC.S16 COMMUNIC.S01 Candar Station
COMMUNIC.S03 COMMUNIC.S14 Hobbes
COMMUNIC.S01 COMMUNIC.S15 Angel
COMMUNIC.S36 COMMUNIC.S16 Maniac

ThrustMaster

ThrustMaster released a Wing Commander Academy profile for the WCS/(P)FCS which is available here.

Missing Profiles
  • The 1996 ThrustMaster website for the game also lists a profile for the FLCS/WCS, wca.zip, which has not been archived. The file listed for the FLCS/TQS is actually for Wing Commander Armada.
  • The 1997 ThrustMaster website lists a profile for the F22, wca.exe, which has not been archived.

Fan Missions

Wing Commander Academy allows players to save up to 24 missions. Saved mission files are stored in the MISSION folder and are labeled MISSION.001 through MISSION.024. Players can exchange missions by sharing these files. Over the years, many players have posted their own missions and even entire campaigns for download. Mission downloads typically include a text file which acts as a background and briefing.

Fan Made

Miscellaneous Files

Press

Previews

PC Games (Germany)

PCMania (Spain)

Reviews

Index

Publication Issue Pages Score
Aktueller Software Markt December 1993 37 8/12
Compute! November 1993 128-130 None
Computer Gaming World November 1993 162-163 None
Electronic Entertainment January 1994 108 6/10
Electronic Games December 1993 128 94%
MicroMania November 1993 54 90%
PC Format October 1993 64 76%
PC Games October 1993 42-43 76%
PC Joker October 1993 64 70%
PC Player October 1993 40-42 68%
PC Review October 1993 72-73 5/10
PC Zone October 1993 52 60%
Power Play October 1993 44 76%
Privat Computer October 1993 39 66%
Tilt October 1993 114-116 71%

Aktueller Software Markt (Germany)

Compute!

Computer Gaming World (USA)

Electronic Entertainment (USA)

Electronic Games (USA)

MicroMania (Spain)

PC Format (UK)

PC Games (Germany)

PC Joker (Germany)

PC Player (Germany)

PC Review (UK)

PC Zone (UK)

Power Play (Germany)

Privat Computer (Denmark)

Tilt (France)

Other

Compute! - December 1994

PC Player - October 1993

Softworld - October 1993

Not Yet Located

  • Strategy Plus - September 1993 - Preview
  • Cue (Egghead) - October? 1993 - Review
  • PC Games (becomes Electronic Entertainment) - October 1993 - Review
  • PC Entertainment - October 1993? - Review
  • PC Entertainment - January 1994? - Best of 1993
  • Computer Game Review - December 1993 - Review
  • Penthouse - December 1993 - Christmas Buying Guide

Lore

References

Wing Commander Academy is given an oblique reference in Chapter Three of Fleet Action which mentions that Jason Bondarevsky had briefly spent time at the Academy running the new simulator before rejoining the Tarawa: "Jason walked around the bridge one last time. It had been his bridge for really only a very short time. After the raid on Kilrah the ship had been laid up for a year. It would in fact have been far cheaper to simply scrap her and build a new one from scratch, but public opinion was dead set against it. During that year he'd been stuck Earthside, assigned to the fleet war college for advanced training, finishing up with a brief stint at the Academy to run their latest holo combat simulator training program. But the ship had sailed at last, only to serve in one final brief action before the armistice. Yet, it was his ship, it was in fact, since Kilrah, the only thing he really loved."

Music

Manuals and Game Documentation

Controls

Using a Keyboard

Between Missions - Use ↓, ↑, ← and → (or the numeric keypad) to move the arrow pointer. When the pointer’s shape changes into a cross, press ENTER to select functions.

In Space - Both the numeric keypad (with NUM LOCK off) and arrow keys are active for controlling flight.

Dive ↑ or NUM PAD 8 For sharp dives press SHIFT simultaneously.
Left ← or NUM PAD 4 For sharp turns press SHIFT simultaneously.
Right → or NUM PAD 6 For sharp turns press SHIFT simultaneously.
Climb ↓ or NUM PAD 7 For sharp climbs press SHIFT simultaneously.
Fire Afterburner TAB or NUM PAD * Hold for longer burn
Increase Speed PLUS
Decease Speed MINUS
Decease Speed Quickly BACKSPACE
Roll Left 0 / INS
Roll Right DEL
Fire Selected Gun SPACE
Fire Selected Missile ENTER

Using a Joystick

Between Missions - Move the joystick to maneuver the arrow shaped pointer around the on-screen picture. When the pointer’s shape changes into a cross, press button #1 to select functions.

Joystick Only
Dive Joystick up
Turn Right Joystick right
Turn Left Joystick left
Climb Joystick down
Fire Selected Gun Press button #1
Joystick and Button #2
Increase Speed Joystick up
Decrease Speed Joystick down
Roll Right Joystick right
Roll Left Joystick left
Afterburners Double-click and hold button #2
Fire Selected Missile Press both buttons at once

Using a Mouse

Between Missions - Move the mouse to maneuver the arrow shaped pointer around the on-screen picture. When the pointer’s shape changes into a cross, press the left mouse button to select game functions.

In Space - When you move the mouse, a white, circular pointer appears in the viewscreen. Your ship homes in on the pointer. Maneuver by moving the mouse until the pointer is where you want to go. You travel in that direction until you move the mouse to a new position.

Mouse Only
Dive Mouse up
Turn Right Mouse right
Turn Left Mouse left
Climb Mouse down
Fire Selected Gun Press left button
Straighten Out Put white pointer inside green sights on viewscreen
Mouse and Right Button
Increase Speed Mouse up
Decrease Speed Mouse down
Roll Right Mouse right
Roll Left Mouse left
Afterburners Double-click and hold right button
Fire Selected Missile Press both buttons at once

Console Commands

Select ENTER Select feature currently under cursor
Next TAB Move to next command button
Clear C Clears action sphere
Ship P Selects ship
Wingman W Selects wingman
Load L Loads game
Save S Saves game
Execute X Runs mission
Escape ESC Returns to simulator room

Spaceflight Commands

To Fire
Gun/Tractor G Cycles through guns (or tractor beam)
Weapon W Cycles through weapon systems
Targeting Comp. T Selects targeting computer/changes target
Lock Target L Locks targeting computer (or activates ITTS, if available)
Chaff ALT-ENTER Fires chaff pods
To Fly
Afterburners TAB Fires afterburners for as long as key is pressed
Stop BACKSPACE Brings ship to immediate stop
Autopilot A Engages autopilot
Damage D Displays ship's damage screens
Communications C Selects communications panel (or clears incoming communication)
Video V Enables or suppresses comm video

Simulator Options

Message Duration M Change message duration
Music CTRL-M Toggles music on / off
Sound CTRL-S Toggles sound effects on / off
Score S Displays score (in gauntlet mode) on right VDU
Pause P Pauses game
Slower ALT-+ Slows speed of game
Faster ALT-- Increases speed of game
Exit ALT-X Exits to DOS
Eject CTRL-E Ejects from ship and re turns to simulator room

Camera Views

Front F1 Front view
Left F2 Left view / go to left turret if available
Right F3 Right view / go to right turret if available
Rear F4 Rear view / go to rear turret if available
Chase F5 Chase plane view
Battle F6 Battle view
Tactical F7 Tactical view
Missile F8 Missile camera view
Tailing F9 Tailing view; cycles through ships

Messages

"Attack my target." ALT-A
"Break and attack." ALT-B
Request wingman damage report. ALT-D
"Keep formation." ALT-F
"Form on my wing." ALT-F
"Help me out here." ALT-H
Random taunt to targeted enemy. ALT-T

Cheats

Wing Commander Academy uses a similar command line password to Wing Commander I and II but replaces Origin with ERTS, a nod to Electronic Arts' purchase of the developer (ERTS is Electronic Arts' stock symbol).

  • Start the game with "wca ERTS" at the command line to enter debug mode.
    Alt-Del destroys target. Alt-Insert destroys all enemies. Alt-I increases enemy intelligence. Ctrl-I decreases enemy intelligence.
  • Start the game with "wca ERTS -k".
    Same as above, plus invincibility.
  • Start the game with "wca ERTS -z".
    Same as above, plus invincibility, except for collisions.

Note that "ERTS" must be in ALL CAPS for the cheat to work.

Cutscenes

Ships

Terran Confederation

  • Fighters
Wc2ferret-vdu.gif
Wc2epee-vdu.gif
Wc2rapier-vdu.gif
Wc2sabre-vdu.gif
Wc2broadsword-vdu.gif
Wc2crossbow-vdu.gif
Wc2morningstar-vdu.gif
Wcawraith-vdu.gif
P-64 Ferret
F-54 Epee
F-44 Rapier II
F-57 Sabre
A-17 Broadsword
A-18 Crossbow
F-95 Morningstar
F-97 Wraith
  • Installations
Wc2starbase-vdu.gif
Candar

Empire of Kilrah

  • Fighters
Wc2sartha-vdu.gif
Wc2drakhri-vdu.gif
Wc2jalkehi-vdu.gif
Wc2grikath-vdu.gif
Wc2strakha-vdu.gif
Wcajrathek-vdu.gif
Sartha
Drakhri
Jalkehi
Grikath
Strakha
Jrathek
  • Capital Ships
Wc2dorkathi-vdu.gif
Wc2ralatha-vdu.gif
Dorkathi
Ralatha

Missions

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet is a series of fifteen scripted levels each with three waves of enemy ships intended as a challenge for players. The Gauntlet increases in difficulty beginning with very simple encounters and becomes extraordinarily challenging as it progresses. Players may choose to fly any of the game's nine ships and with any one (or none) of the game's four wingmen. Progress through the Gauntlet is scored based on the enemies killed and the ship flown. The player's shields are automatically recharged after each wave and ships are repaired and rearmed between levels. Top Gauntlet scores are displayed in the game's main menu and completing the challenge rewards the player with a unique screen.

Scoring

The Gauntlet scores players per kill. Each type of enemy ship has a base value which is multiplied by a modifier determined by the type of ship the player has chosen to fly. As a result, a kill scored by a Ferret (125x the target value) is worth significantly more points than one scored while flying a Wraith (65x the target value). Wingman choice and enemy AI do not factor into the score and enemy spacecraft destroyed by wingmen or collisions do not count towards the player's total. Enemy bombers (Broadsword and Crossbow) have an additional scoring mechanic in which their value increases depending on the number killed in a given wave. The first is worth seven points, the second ten and any others are worth fifteen each. If the ERTS command line cheat is used to start the game then the player ship modifier is nullified resulting in a very low total score. The maximum potential score in the Gauntlet is 213,875 points for flying a Ferret and scoring every possible kill (if the three enemy ships scripted that do not spawn were available the maximum total would be 216,875.)

Kill Values
Type Base Score
Sartha 7 points
Ferret 7 points
Epee 7 points
Drakhri 10 points
Strakha 10 points
Jrathek 10 points
Rapier 10 points
Wraith 10 points
Jalkehi 15 points
Grikath 15 points
Dorkathi 15 points
Sabre 15 points
Morningstar 15 points
Broadsword 7 points (first), 10 points (second), 15 points (third+)
Crossbow 7 points (first), 10 points (second), 15 points (third+)
Ship Choice Modifier
Type Modifier
Ferret 125x
Epee 110x
Rapier 100x
Sabre 75x
Broadsword 95x
Crossbow 90x
Morningstar 80x
Wraith 65x
Jrathek 70x

Gauntlet Layout

This chart displays the types and AI levels of opponents scripted to appear in each wave of the Gauntlet. Two waves request more spacecraft than the eight simultaneous opponents game is capable of displaying. As a result, one of the Drakhri in Level 12, Wave 3 and two of the Sartha in Level 14, Wave 3 do not actually spawn.

Wave Opponents Skill Level
Level 1
Wave 1 1 Sartha 1
Wave 2 1 Drakhri 1
Wave 3 1 Jrathek 1
Level 2
Wave 1 2 Sartha 1
Wave 2 2 Drakhri 1
Wave 3 2 Jalkehi 1
Level 3
Wave 1 2 Grikath 1
Wave 2 2 Strakha 1
Wave 3 3 Ferret 1
Level 4
Wave 1 1 Wraith 1
Wave 2 2 Epee 1
Wave 3 3 Sabre 1
Level 5
Wave 1 3 Epee 1
Wave 2 1 Sabre 1
Wave 3 3 Broadsword 1
Level 6
Wave 1 1 Dorkathi 1
Wave 2 2 Crossbow 1
Wave 3 1 Morningstar 1
Level 7
Wave 1 1 Wraith 1
Wave 2 2 Jrathek 1
Wave 3 3 Drakhri 2
Level 8
Wave 1 3 Jalkehi 2
Wave 2 2 Morningstar 2
Wave 3 2 Sabre 2
Level 9
Wave 1 4 Grikath 3
Wave 2 4 Strakha 3
Wave 3 3 Crossbow 3
Level 10
Wave 1 4 Rapier 2
Wave 2 5 Epee 2
Wave 3 7 Ferret 2
Level 11
Wave 1 5 Grikhath 3
Wave 2 4 Wraith 2
Wave 3 4 Rapier 3
Level 12
Wave 1 6 Jrathek 2
Wave 2 2 Dorkathi 2
Wave 3 9 Drakhri 3
Level 13
Wave 1 5 Crossbow 2
Wave 2 4 Morningstar 4
Wave 3 6 Epee 2
Level 14
Wave 1 6 Jrathek 4
Wave 2 7 Ferret 4
Wave 3 10 Sartha 4
Level 15
Wave 1 7 Morningstar 4
Wave 2 8 Wraith 3
Wave 3 8 Jrathek 4

Weapons

Guns

Missiles

Defensive Weapons

Other Systems

Wingmen

Skybox

One update to the Wing Commander II technology is that Wing Commander Academy can display animated skybox objects which include rotating planets and stars.