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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