LOAF was looking for a project the other night, and what better than an exploration of the history of the Dorkir transport?! There's probably more to it than you think! Read on for a full rundown:
It's your 1 AM meandering thread about the Kilrathi freighter with the absolute best name: the DORKIR! Dorkir appear throughout Wing Commander I configured as transports, tankers, command staff ships and troopships. Concept art:
A rare element cut (for space) from Wing Commander I is that there were originally separate 'sport and tanker versions of the Dorkir (which is why the briefings always clarify which is expected). The boxier 'freighter' version was reused for Secret Missions as the Lumbari.
The Drayman and the Diligent are the same story, reversed. Comparing the sprite sheets and you can see it's a common cab with a modular container that would change depending on role.
So things get a little weird when the Dorkir is redesigned for Super Wing Commander (1994). It's... well, in a word: balls.
What happened is that they retextured the Kilrathi listening post base model from Wing Commander II to be the new Dorkir. And... it's hard to tell which end is the front! Here are the sprite sheets for SWC and WC2:
A closer look at the source model preserved from an Origin hard drive just raises further questions. It's flanked by Christmas ornaments and says 'NC 4' on the side. Why?!
By the way, the Lumbari also appears in Super Wing Commander but there's no longer any similarity in the designs.
Super Wing Commander's Lumbari is actually a retextured asset created for Wing Commander II but cut from the game for space: the Lumbakh-class transport.
VDU images for both of the game appearances:
But that wasn't the end of the Dorkir story! Fans were delighted when Wing Commander Academy premiered in 1996 and it included this shot in the intro. The classic Dorkir design!
And Dorkir fans didn't have to wait long for the big appearance. The Kilrathi use a Dorkir as bait for pirates in the second episode, The Last One Left. Straight out of Claw Marks:
There's also a spectacular (by Wing Commander Academy standards) sequence where an Epee flies down the Dorkir's framework. And I made it into a cool GIF just for you!
But wait, there's more: the Dorkir has a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in the movie! Baker Wing is sent to attack the ConCom but Paladin knows they're being tricked. If you look at his VDU you can see what the ships really are (also confirms the plural is Dorkirs!)
Meanwhile: when Peter Telep was writing the movie novel he wanted to be sure and explain why Angel appears with the marines boarding the concom. He wasn't even sure it would be visible in the film but knew she would appear in the armor in some of the promo photos. He asked if I could suggest lore and I recalled the Dorkir staff ship in the Kurasawa series. We came up with some backstory that Angel had spent two months at the Academy flying a captured Dorkir and so was uniquely sorted to lead the marines aboard a similarly laid-out ship.
Of course, that was before we saw the finished concom design (later identified as Thrakhra-class):
Several different concept takes on the Thrakhra-class from different stages of the movie's development:
Finally, the legacy of the Dorkir's hilarious name was carried on with the Kilrathi transport that did wind up in Wing Commander II: the DORKATHI.
Taking things full pretzel, the Dorkathi model was then reused in Super Wing Commander as... the Confederation Diligent-class?!
I hope you enjoyed this excuse to look at some lumpy spaceships. If there's one lesson in all of this Dorkir talk it is that truly great world buildng also lets you get away with giving things the stupidest names.