Double Autographed WC Movie Poster is Sublime Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

LeHah scored another impressive Wing Commander autograph this weekend. Matthew Lillard was signing at the CT HorrorFest yesterday, so LeHah brought his previously-signed movie poster in order to score a rare Lillard/Prinze duo. It sounds like they had to eventually shut the line off due to demand and capacity limits, so he's lucky to have gotten in! Mr. Lillard always speaks fondly of his Wing Commander experience, so this must have been a fun one to get!
I then had him sign my Wing Commander poster which first confused and then elated him. “Wow, I’ve never signed one of these before. Holy shit, is this an original? Holy shit, Freddie signed this already?!”

Wing Commander Movie Discounted to Just $5 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

AD noticed that Microsoft is running an exciting sale that marks the Wing Commander Movie down to one of its all time best prices. They're holding a "Gamer Flicks" sale that brings WC and many other game-based films down to half off. In this case, Wing Commander drops from $9.99 to $4.99 in the US and Canada. This is the same price as the Canadian rental and just $1 more than a 48-hour viewing in the US. We don't see very many discounts of the film, so this is a great chance to fill out your collection (especially with the DVD/Blu-ray out of print!). As an extra bonus, MS is a part of Movies Anywhere, so if you buy it here, a copy also appears in your Amazon, iTunes, Google and Vudu libraries. Most of the shots below include the Xbox interface, but no console is necessary. You can buy the movie here, and it will play on your PC, mobile device, Xbox or HoloLens. Act quickly, because the sale only goes through this weekend!

Remastered WC4 Video Reaches New Heights Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

The WC4 Fan Remake team is back with a new article on what's been happening lately. Specifically, ODVS goes in depth with some of the video magic that he and Pedro have recently introduced. They've managed to overcome some of the obstacles to efficient file sizes by very cleverly leveraging technology. The net effect is that the video clips have the smallest file sizes but best visual quality yet. ODVS tells it much better than I can, so head over to WCRespace and read the latest! You can also watch this new video to compare the original WC4, Owen's HD pack 5.0 and a prototype pass for the remastered game. Blow the video up into a 4K stream to see the full improvement.
So what are the benefits to you, the player? You get the highest quality FMV we can deliver, looking as close to native HD as it possibly can, with file sizes that won’t hog your valuable hard drive or SSD space. Let’s run some numbers on how large these combined video files are:
  • WCIV DVD Edition: 6.931GB (360p MPEG-II VOB)
  • WCIV HD Pack V5.0: 6.918GB (1080p h.264 VOB)
  • WCIV – Remastered: 4.457GB (1080p 60fps h.265 MP4)
Our new FMV takes up ~64% of the storage space of both the original game’s DVD video and the latest version of my HD Video Pack. This is despite running at 60fps for smoother motion (Pedro has added a toggle to make this optional), improving the image fidelity and containing all three supported audio languages – English, German and French. I hope you’ll agree, that’s not a bad use of development time.

WC2 Speech Experiment Shows Promise Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

EmuMusicFan has a novel new technical proof-of-concept that he'd like to share. He's leveraged the WC Toolbox to find out how to trigger custom speech files during Wing Commander 2. WC2 was renowned for its revolutionary spoken dialogue in 1991, but there are only a few minutes worth of speech in the actual game. The standalone speech add-on pack added it in for spaceflight, but the majority of movie clips are still captioned text.

Emu's put together a couple of example clips that show how new speech can be inserted. Obviously this isn't just a recording placed on top of the video - he's managed to trigger the sound file to natively play. If you'd like all the wonderful technical details explaining how this is possible, check out his full explanation here. It would be quite an undertaking, but this demonstrates how it would be possible to do a full audio mod for the game!

I have found a way to add speech-play operations to the game script. At present, this is modified by hand, so I only added a few lines (and the speech are found in other plots, please ignore the content). [FM Towns speech depicted] What is more, even in the FM TOWNS version, there is no speech in this plot. I use Shadow's communication speech here (in a new file named SPEECH.S30), plus Blair's opening speech.
You could hear Thrakhath's voice "Yes, my Emperor." at the beginning, where there was no voice and even no text in the original script. Thanks to UnnamedCharacter! The fantastic research makes this possible.

SpaceX Launches Successful Orbital Tour Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

For the third time this summer, a spacecraft full of private space travelers reached space this evening. What makes this one different is that it's a full orbital trip. Rather than cross the threshold of space in a suborbital flight lasting minutes, the four people aboard the Inspiration4 mission will be circling the globe every 90 minutes for the next several days. Although each of these trips has had a fortunate billionaire behind it, it really has become the year of the space tourist. Someone has to pay/pave the way and shoulder both the tremendous finance risk - not to mention risk to life and limb - associated with the research and development here.

It seems like people have been talking about this for decades and now it's finally happening. I don't expect to hop on a spaceship any time soon, but it feels really good to know that some people out there are. It's one thing to talk about fictional space ships here every day, but being able to write about real ones is something else. Privatizing space and creating economic incentives to go up and out will exponentially grow the space industry and all of the technology requires to go along with it. That's just grand. There's a lot of pictures of the smiling crew going around, but I'm most impressed by the engineers and scientists that manage to pull these launches off. There are a hundred thousand things that can go wrong and kill the occupants, but they somehow manage to bring these people home safely every time lately. Thanks to their amazing skill and talent, I'm optimistic this streak will continue.

Oh, and for what it's worth, Woz is getting into the business and he named his company after a Wing Commander game (yeah, yeah, I know what a real "privateer" is... but I'm not sure Woz does?).

New Script Streamlines Prophecy Installation on Linux Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Goku has put together a new automation that enhances the experience of getting Wing Commander Prophecy to run. The game can occasionally have some compatibility quirks on modern Windows, which could put off some folks who might be trying for a Linux install. It's possible to get a nice smooth setup running though, and this script does so by properly configuring Prophecy and Secret Ops. Then it adds in the enhancement pack, OpenGL patch, FPS tool and even high quality movies. We don't have a test rig here to try it, so we're anxious to hear from more folks with first hand experience. If this helped you or there are additional questions, hit the discuss link and let Keen Bean know! You can find the program here - click "Show unpublished installers" to expand the relevant section.
If anyone's on Linux and would like to test out my Lutris script for Prophecy, please head here. You will have to click edit on the "GOG + mods" script and hit Test this installer.

French Privateer Review Is a Visual Treat Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last week we got a peek at some fabulous French reviews for Wing Commander 2, including one from Generation 4 magazine. LOAF dug up the Gen 4 review of Privateer, and it's also a wonderful experience. You definitely don't have to read French to appreciate it: there' some crazy cartoon in the beginning and lots of artfully arranged screenshots. The ship component and dealer pages are especially cool! Privateer ends up with a nice 93% score in the end.
The Gen 4 review of Privateer is also absolutely off the hook.

New wcdx Update Adds Cockpit Damage & Static to KS WC1 Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Stinger has released the next big update to wcdx, the compatibility program that enables Kilrathi Saga to run smoothly on modern versions of Windows. In recent years he's moved on from just getting the game to run and has been steadily adding back in features that the DOS version had but were missing or not properly implemented in KS. With this new update, he's essentially completely restored everything missing from WC1, so now he can turn his attention more fully to WC2. The last big hurdle was cockpit damage. Although it can be annoying when your dashboard sparks and you lose radar, this is critical to the classic immersive Wing Commander experience. Now you too can struggle to request landing clearance through a busted comm system as we all did in the old days! Grab wcdx 2.2.1 here. Each thumbnail below is an animated gif of the new features in action, so give them an extra few moments to load.
Wcdx 2.2.1 is now released! Grab it here.

Cockpit damage is finally here! Now you, too, can watch your cockpit come alive as it disintegrates around you! Is WC2 too much of a cakewalk? Try it without your radar!

Of course, cockpit damage would never be complete if it didn't cause your VDUs to go all crazy. VDU static somehow never quite materialized in the Kilrathi Saga, but now it's here! Who doesn't love that brief flicker of static during comms messages?

I believe this completes the missing feature set for WC1. WC2 still needs a lot of work for cut scenes, and I think the input handling could be a lot better. Expect to see more updates in the future, though I make no promises on timing. It only took me... eleven months... since the last release to fix these two small issues. How time flies...

CIC 9/11 Update Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We don't usually write a news post about 9/11. Many others are doing actual September 11 memorials. But if we have a tiny relevant Wing Commander anecdote to share in the context of history, we're happy to do that. Just like with Oscar Mayer tweeting about the Wienermobile this weekend, there's a small amount of calm reassurance that comes along with everyone just doing what they're here to do. Our intent is never to exploit current events by finding how Wing Commander ties in to these things, but hopefully folks can appreciate the mission we're on. LOAF recalls this:
A bit of 9/11 trivia: [the evening of September 11th] had been scheduled to be the USA Network premiere of the Wing Commander movie with a rerun the next day. Instead USA rebroadcast news both days. Wing Commander finally aired a month later on October 14th.
One thing I've seen more this year is a complaint that people are "forgetting" about 9/11. At least here, tributes are everywhere, so I'm not sure how that could be. What could people forget? The date? Where it happened? I will note that, demographically, a quarter of the population here wasn't even born yet in 2001, and another 15% were too young to retain the complex symbolism of the day. By the 25th anniversary, the majority of the US population will be too young to have first hand memories.

In any case, I think when we said "never forget" twenty years ago, the thing we were talking about never forgetting was the sense of purposeful unity to work together to assault a threat and ensure safety for all. Ironically, I find the loudest voices pleading with everyone to remember happen to be the folks who aren't doing their part to safeguard the most vulnerable among us today. The world currently suffers a 9/11 size tragedy roughly every eight hours due to the coronavirus. The biggest thing people can do right now to embody the heroic spirit of 9/11 is to wear a mask in crowds and get your vaccine when eligible. Thank you to everyone out there doing their part to protect their families and mine. Stay safe.

Piracy is Trashy Business Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a funny little easter egg from Wing Commander IV: the pirate helmets (which you only see in a monochrome VDU postage stamp in the actual game) are the Confed helmet prop vandalized... with ROBERTS crossed out and replaced with "TRASHED"!

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Trio of French Scans Highlights Golden Era Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

To celebrate the recent 30th birthday of Wing Commander 2, Guybrush_SF posted several wonderfully colorful vintage reviews from French magazines. I've said before that I love the bright '90s aesthetic of this era, and the WC2 color scheme just adds to this. Tilt gave the game 19 out of 20, Joystick awarded a perfect 100% and Gen 4 was close behind at 98%. I couldn't agree with these epic scores more wholeheartedly! You can find some of our past coverage from Generation 4 magazine on both WC1 and WC3.

BWS Intrepid Recreated in Space Engineers Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Sarekh dropped us a line to share an awesome creation he's been building in Space Engineers. He's carefully constructed a life size replica of the BWS Intrepid from Wing Commander 4. There are a handful of liberties taken to fill in all of the unknowns, but the results look great so far. A few similar attempts have been made over the years, but this is one of the furthest along that I've seen. I wish more people would build things like this! You can follow the project in the Steam Workshop here!
Dear folks at wcnews.com!

I've worked for roughly a week on this and it's not completely done, but I created a 1:1 model of the Intrepid and some of her planes in "Space Engineers" - I don't know if this is noteworthy but I basically raided your website nonstop for reference material and I could not have done it without you, so thanks!

I tried to create a complete interior, that is (obviously) not nearly accurate, but hopefully at least fitting in terms of atmosphere - this would also be a peace-time pre-WC4 configuration with the upper decks intact.

Did you play in the 90s? Did you wear your CD ROM drive out because you had to constantly switch through six CDs of Wing Commander IV?

Then you have come to the right place! Open up this world and hop into the B.W.S. Intrepid (06), flagship of the Union of the Borderworlds Militia! Use Banshees and Vindicators to scare off pirates and have a look for that jump point.

I tried my best to re-create the Intrepid up to what thin specs we have. Space Engineers was made to re-create the blockieness of Wing Commander capital ships, so I am pretty happy with the result.

I also gave her a complete interior - pre-game, that is, with an intact CIC and no destroyed crew-areas - this was surprisingly difficult as we have little to no information about what turned out to be quite the massive ship. So almost everything was left up to my imagination - additionally, some things don't make thaaaat much sense and I had to "correct" some parts...

For example: the "reserve bridge" clearly has a front window and is directly positioned before the operations deck where you choose your weaponry layout - and that clearly has a window pointing towards the main hangar - but there IS no window in the hangar - so I made it a screen - even if that is cheating!

So please forgive my interpretations, I just got carried away!

Additionally, I built a Banshee and a Vindicator fighter that are as accurate visibly as I could get them.

While they come with a Weapon Core setup, all three creations are mainly for show-purpose, not extended dog-fights. You might need to improve about the usability of all ships if you don't just want to "fly around a bit"

Very Nice WC Collection Gets Even Bigger Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

It's been a month since we last checked in on Dennis Mull's latest Wing Commander finds, and he's been busy adding to the collection all the while. Up first, he's gotten ahold of a European edition of the Prophecy/Alpha Centauri/Red Alert bundle. I love the white box and colorful blended artwork on this one. He's also finally added a Pilgrim Cross to the mix. This one is in excellent condition with a all contents in practically new condition. Dennis was also the winner of a set of CIC coasters at last month's Birthday Party, so it's nice to see those go to a good home too! Here we see an updated shot of Dennis' Wing Commander shelf. Not bad at all! Keep in mind that most of those duplicate copies are actually variants of the games from different geographic regions, so this is a diverse and extensive collection! And here's some love for other Origin/Chris Roberts games too!

Dive Back in to Prophecy Advance Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We see so few clips of modern YouTubers and streamers trying their hand at Prophecy for the Game Boy Advance, so I'm always eager to share the ones that I run across. Here's a mission from fastrun14. It doesn't really sound like they enjoyed the experience - the game controls take some practice to get used to - but it's wonderful to appreciate the technical aspects here. Check out the 3D autopilot effect and the paint scheme on those Piranhas! And wow to the "mission accomplished" spoken audio at the end. It's hard to avoid comparisons to the 3D accelerated PC version, but the game is running on something less than a tenth as powerful as the minimum PC specs here. What Raylight achieved never ceases to amaze!

After WC3 Success, WC4 Boots Right Up Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last week we saw Maiden Ariana upgrade a vintage computer in order to get Wing Commander 3 running. That one was a big hit, so she's moved on now to Wing Commander 4. I personally really like going through the install menus. They evoke so much of the anticipation of opening and installing a brand new game for the first time. WC4 was the first game in the series to have a fully graphical in-universe interface to walk you through the setup, and you usually only ever see it one time for obvious reasons, so it's a nice throwback to see here. Thanks to all the upgrades put in place for The Heart of the Tiger, The Price of Freedom just works in this case. A good chunk of the middle is rewatching the intro, and if watching a video of it playing on a 15" monitor leaves you wanting more, check out ODVS' remaster of that cinematic here. You can also follow Ariana's Twitch for some WC3/4 streams in the future. Thanks to Tarsus for the heads up!
Wing Commander 4 running flawlessly on actual vintage/retro hardware (no DosBox cheating here). Many more to come in this series. If you like what you see, please let me know below. I have a huge Retro collection and I am dedicated to sharing regular retro pc content here on this channel.

Happy Birthday Wing Commander 2! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today marks a whopping thirty years since Wing Commander 2 first shipped to stores! WC2 was the first game I played on a brand new shiny 486 back in the day. I learned how to install a sound card just so I could hear the glorious full speech intro, and that opening theme music still gives me chills. This remastered WC2 soundtrack by Jason Walton-Young is still as one of my favorite fan creations of all time:
For many years, I could just fire up any random mission at any time and just lose myself for hours. I'd invite everyone to do the same to celebrate, but if you're not in a position to jump in the cockpit, re-watching out 25th anniversary livestream is the next best thing! Here it is broken up into several parts. That was a long night, but it was super fun!
Happy birthday to Wing Commander II, one of the greatest games ever made! Thirty years ago today we learned that our friends were all dead and that everyone else in the galaxy now hates us.

SideQuest Evaluates The Price of Freedom Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We'll keep this week of video posts going with a new retro review from SideQuest, who has returned to the Wing Commander series with Wing Commander 4. They covered WC3 earlier in the year, and while they could appreciate the earlier game, they came away as big fans of the sequel. I didn't catch exactly what version this was, but I suspect they were playing the GOG edition with DVD quality videos based on comments about the picture quality. The reviewer appreciated the variety of missions, improvements in storytelling and just overall polish and refinement. As for the extra wingmen, those are just tuckerized Origin developers. A handful of larger sequences need more wingmen, and pilots like George "Blade" Oldziey and Anthony "Yaeger" Sommers are there to answer the call!
Returning to the Wing Commander series now. While I appreciated Wing Commander III Heart of the Tiger a lot, I had heard Wing Commander IV The Price of Freedom was even better. Spoiler alert: it is.
Thanks to ODVS for the tip!

Prophecy Simulator Provides Additional Gameplay Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We recently talked about the Prophecy Demo and how it adds several additional missions to the game's official plot. Today I wanted to briefly plug Prophecy's training simulator and the ten missions included there. Over the years we've heard from a number of folks who just never did any of the bar simulators after exploding in the Tiger's Claw original TrainSim. Some people see these missions as just a remedial tutorial for new players, but there are also some interesting gauntlets with their own high score boards. They can even include little bits of lore. Most WC games don't have the luxury of shipboard simulators, so when you're playing through one that does (Wing Commander 3 is another good example), don't pass them up! Here's a video of Ben Horne playing level 7, a rousing carrier defense.
Level 7: Carrier Defense

Author: Colonel Jacob 'Hawk' Manly (typo!)

Overview: Protect the Midway against a sustained assault. Use her turrets to your advantage, but meet bombers at a safe radius.

  • Fighter Melee Techniques
  • Capital Ship Defense Techniques
Instructor Comments: Give them enough time to line up a torpedo, and you're already dead. Take the battle to the enemy.
The simulator is also where you find the wild techno soundtrack! Find the full playlist here.

LGR Unboxes a Creative/Origin 1995 Time Capsule Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got a lot of YouTube in this week's news slate! Today's video is a huge nostalgia trip by Lazy Game Reviews. LGR managed to get ahold of a brand new sealed Creative Labs bundle with a Sound Blaster, double speed CD-ROM, speakers and tons of awesome games. While quad speed drives were starting to hit the market and WC3 was starting to light up the sales charts, this would have still been a very nice set in early 1995. The $380 MSRP (nearly $700 in today's money) was a bit pricey, but not a bad deal. It was everything you needed to turn your boring old PC into a multimedia powerhouse! He goes through the unboxing of the exquisite machinery, then hardware installation and software setup. The included games are a win: Ultima VIII, Strike Commander, Syndicate Plus, Wing Commander II and more. And it's fun to see how much fun he's having opening all this!
2X CD-ROM! Sound Blaster 16! Speakers! Tons of software! This time on LGR we're revisiting the mid 1990s to unbox and install a Creative Sound Blaster Discovery CD bundle — new old stock! I drooled over these as a kid but owning one was never anything more than a dream. Until now, 26 years later!

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