Standoff's fifth and final episode is still on track for a Summer release. There have been steady progress reports as the project nears completion. Here is Eder with this week's update:
If you haven't already, now would be a good time to play through the first four episodes. You need the 112 meg Secret Ops starter pack and the 270 meg Standoff Episodes 1-4 bundle to play. Once you reach Episode 2, your training simulator scores can be tracked by our online scoreboard. Detailed instructions are available here. The installation of Standoff does not interfere with Secret Ops.
Another quiet week. Still clearing up mission bugs, and Quarto's still working on that final mission... assuming he's doing anything at all :-P. Still, a few more bugs did get fixed this week, and I imagine we'll soon be getting a whole new batch of bug reports, after the testers receive a new game build.
Meanwhile, Pierre is taking time off from fixing the sim missions, in order to implement semi-automatic game patching from the launcher (i.e,. an option to check our website for updates, and then download and install them if you so choose). Now, why would we need that, given that we keep on saying there's not going to be any patches after the final release? :-P Well, I hope this is something that never, ever actually needs to be used. But, given the amount of changes involved in the graphics upgrades, we have to be prepared for compatibility issues.
Well over a year ago, The Fatman published his Wing Commander soundtrack, "Wing One", through the Amie Street music service. Twenty-six tracks were released throughout the Summer of 2007. Thirty second samples of each track are available to everyone, and once you've bought a song, you can listen to the full version online or download it outright. These are plain old MP3s, free of DRM. The Amie service is a little unusual in that songs start cheap and rise in price up to $0.98 as they become popular. At the time of writing, most Wing One tracks cost upwards of ninety cents when purchased individually, but the full album can be had for just $8.98. Wing Commander fans who missed out on the original premiere of this album are in for a treat. The Fatman has six more albums in his Amie Street catalog, including the soundtrack to The 7th Guest. Check them out here. Office fans can also find some of Creed Bratton's music on there.
This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems. I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or has taken since. If you don't believe me, do the research. Try to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time! In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year. These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.
You will hear the authentic, original MIDI files, playing back on a Roland MT-32 sound module, as you would have heard if you were playing a Brand New Wing Commander game on The Best Game Sound-Equipped Computer Available At The Time. A touch of Roland Sound Canvass (in MT-32 emulation mode) was added just because it was easy to do and made the tones just a tad-bit richer. Other than that...Welcome To The State of the Art in PC Audio, circa 1990!!!!