Spinning All the Classics on YouTube Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a pair of compilation videos by Michael Jean that showcase the European boxes of the Wing Commander series. It's pretty simple, but it's a nice change of pace if you're used to boxes from other regions. I do appreciate the charm of just recording a parade of Wing Commander like this. It's a nice and thorough rundown too with games like Academy, Armada and Privateer 2!

Privateer 2 Wingman Bio Purpoisefully Changed at the Last Minute Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

On the left we have a pre-release Privateer 2 screenshot published in the December 1996 issue of PC Review, seemingly from a review build. On the right, the same wingman listing for Delphinius from the finished game.

What does this tell us? Someone very, very late in the process decided to remove a SPACE FIGHTER PILOT PORPOISE from the game's lore. The final version is such a weird joke, too... it almost feels like it was written to cover up a bug but... Delphinius is just a normal wingman? Of course, we all know the Wing Commander universe has always been very, very careful to avoid borrowing anything from Larry Niven's Known Space. I wanted to make sure I was right about Delphinius being a normally skilled wingman, so I hired him and there we go, he's happily battling a pirate.
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Secret Missions Cheat Filed Under Classified Information Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's a throwback to a classic issue of Nintendo Power magazine. It comes from Issue 60 in May of 1994. I used to absolutely love the Classified Information section with things like cheat codes and passwords. This one is specifically for The Secret Missions. Press the Left and Right bumpers, plus Select and Start, on the second controller while on the title screen. Then press start on the first controller, and you'll go to the debug menu. This lets you pick what mission you want to play, turn on invincibility or play with the game sounds. You can do the same thing with the original SNES Wing Commander by typing "B, A, B, Y, B, Y, L, A, R, A" at the title screen and then pressing start. I've previously expressed mixed feelings about mag scans going into YouTube videos, but I happened to see this one through a Video Games Magazine clip, which is pretty neat!

Boom Goes the Kilrathi! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a glorious (4K!) wallpaper by Mac, of recent fan project fame. It's lit by an enormous explosion that highlights some immaculate texturing. Mac reveals that the reason we're looking at this particular view is because the underside isn't complete yet, but we'll take it!
Nothing makes for prettier fireworks then an exploding Kilrathi naval starbase as Admiral Tolwyn & Chris Blair will attest to. Good god, look at how pretty Hangar_B's Concordia is by the light of thousands of burning Kilrathi.

And the Winner Is... Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've been collecting votes for the last several weeks, and the winners of our annual Fan Project of the Year contest have become pretty clear!

It may come as little surprise, but we have a quite definitive first place choice for 2022. With a commanding lead in our polling, the WC4 Remastered project wins as our Fan Project of the Year! Congratulations to the team! If you haven't given it a spin year, you can still try out the playable demo. The project has generated quite a bit of excitement lately, and we can't wait to see what's in store for 2023!

As wonderful as our winner is, we had a whole slate of creative endeavors to choose from. Each one earned votes based on their own merits, and all are deserving of high praise thanks to their efforts to keep the WC community engaged and vibrant for another year. Two options bubbled up to the top and rank as our co-runners up this year.

The first is Mac's Lore! And to be fair, it's not just lore videos that he makes. There's a variety of cool wallpapers, animations and other fun shorts that he's put together that all add up to a complete package.

Our second runner up is the Gemini Sector RPG! They've frequently been nominated, but this is their first time in the winner's circle. They had a big year with a decisive conclusion to their long running campaign that helped push them over the edge. Congrats to all! And thank you to everyone for all of your many contributions this year and every year!

WC Ultimate Strategy Guide Gets Well-Deserved Praise Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We see a lot of reviews of Wing Commander games, the movie and even the TV show, but there is not a lot of discussion online about the books. What little there is focuses on the novels, but there's a whole universe of content packed into the various Wing Commander strategy guides. Sticks, Stories and Scotch recently took a look at one of them, the relatively unique Ultimate Strategy Guide to WC1&2. This one differs from most of the other WC guides because it's told in narrative form. It gives the protagonist a name, Carl LaFong, and follows the adventures of the the first few games in the series. You can read their review here. It's so good that it got the author hooked before they even actually played Wing Commander for the first time!

Survey Goes Out for Challenge Coin Second Batch Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Last year ZOmegaZ produced a pretty nifty Vega Campaign style collectible in the form of a two inch decorative coin. Now he's running a survey to see which challenge coin options would be popular enough to bring back in a second print run. Omega commissions small fan batches of these art pieces, and the results are pretty slick for about $13. If you missed out the first time around and would like to signal your interest in another set, you can find in the Google doc here. Hopefully there's enough interest to bring these back!

All of WC4’s Flight Deck Damage Models in One Place Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Wing Commander IV dropped the traditional attaboy landing cutscenes but it did have visible damage states in its gameflow screens after a mission. Here's a little post with all of the ships!

The Banshee:

The Vindicator, which was always one of my favorites to fly. Jack of all trades, master of none! The Avenger bomber, the great flying brick: Here’s a Bearcat in various states of disrepair! The fearsome Lance (aka Dragon). I don't think I've ever suffered enough damage flying one to get either of the non-pristine versions after a mission! And here's one of those great Chris Roberts touches: there are damage states for the Hellcat even though you can only see it landed on the Intrepid once (after you defect). The Lexington fighters have damage states, too! Here's the Hellcat: ... and the Longbow! And a couple of special cases: Bluepoint Station, both carriers without a fighter present and a shuttle on the Lexington which displays at the start of the game and after Captain Paulsen arrives.
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Academy Goes Under the Microscope Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Prolific YouTuber Zaranyzerek has posted an in-depth "Closer Look" video at the Wing Commander Academy series on DVD. He shares with viewers a nice overview of what the show was about, the voice actors and how it fits into the Wing Commander universe. This actually isn’t the first time Zarany’s done a video on WCA. You can find the first in our archives back in 2014. As he’s mentioned before, not enough people know about Academy, so we love to see it get the extra visibility! Here we also get a nice and detailed tear down of the box and its contents from slip cover to disc art. Check the video out below and be sure to grab a copy of the season on DVD for just $8. You can also stream it on Peacock.

Broadsword Wallpaper About to Smash Your Desktop Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Yesterday was all about the Sabre, and today we've got a new wallpaper featuring the Broadsword. This one is Klavs' model once again, but it's been posed into an in-your-face perspective by Mac. This was actually made to complement the Broadsword lore video that he made for New Year's. You can imagine this might be the last thing a Ralatha sees before it goes boom!
Big Broadswords Bomb Battleships By Blackmane Base.

Sabre Spaceframe Spruced Up Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs has a few new updates to his impressive Sabre design. The center aft fuselage has been streamlined with sleeker curves for a sharper look. The results speak for themselves! It's really nice to have a high quality model like this where even the turret guns and exquisitely modeled.
I purposefully made the turret smaller/remote operated, but it's still there. The Sabre just seems like such a hotrod to me, it's a waste to haul around all that badonkadonk. Second pilot operating the turret remotely makes more sense, or even the primary pilot while the secondary pilot handles the torpedo lock.

Still, it's big enough back there you could imagine a gunner being back there if you really wanted to!

Google Play Store Finally Adds Freedom Flight Ebook Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We've got good news for completionists today! From early 2016 through mid 2018, the full lineup of Baen Wing Commander novels was released in digital form. And nowadays you take it for granted that you can just carry all this amazing content around in your pocket wherever you go, but it was quite a saga to get there. The CIC team and many others lobbied Baen for 15+ years to get a digital release for the series. And this wasn't just for convenience - it also allowed for preservation and access as some of the novels started to get harder to find. Originally they actually skipped End Run, which was one of the books in highest demand, and it was the last to be released online.

We were also initially impressed that the novels were hitting all six major ebook retailers, except for one quirk! As the first release, somehow Freedom Flight was left out of the Google Play Ebook store. So whenever we list out the links to each title and where to get them, there's always been that one conspicuous gap. But no longer! Google Play has finally added Freedom Flight, more than six years after their competitors. Better late than never! It seems like this was actually accomplished in August of 2022, but we just noticed recently. If Google Play is your storefront of choice, now's your big chance to complete the collection!

Freedom Flight
 - Baen Ebook
 - Amazon Kindle
 - Apple Books
 - B&N Nook
 - Kobo
 - ***Google Play***

Goodbye, Earl Boen Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We are sad to report the passing of a veteran Wing Commander actor. Earl Boen, who voiced two characters in the first episode of Wing Commander Academy, passed away on January 3 at age 81 after a battle with lung cancer. Mr. Boen is best known for his appearances in the first three Terminator films as psychologist Dr. Silberman who continually finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time with regards to futuristic android appearances. Gamers know him best as the voice of Ghost Pirate LeChuck through most of the storied Monkey Island series (he had retired from acting just prior to development of the recent Return to Monkey Island). He was beloved throughout the entertainment industry, appearing in dozens and dozens of roles in every medium imaginable. You can read more about his career in this Variety article.

Mr. Boen guest starred in the first episode of Wing Commander Academy, "Red and Blue", where he played two major roles: the Terran Confederation Space Force Flight School Commandant, a contemporary of Commodore Tolwyn, and the Kilrathi blockade runner commander who plots to steal the Academy's classified data. He was one of several Academy actors whose massively succesful acting careers overshadowed their Wing Commander parts; others include Dana Delany, Jessica Walter, Jennifer Hale and Ron Perlman.

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Fan Project Vote Under Way Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

We are cruising right through January, which means our annual Fan Project of the Year contest is moving quickly towards its conclusion. If you missed voting initially, you can still get your ballot in before the winners are called! Here are the nominees once again. Scroll down below to vote!
  • Challenge Coins - ZOmegaZ’s successful 2021 crowdfunding campaign resulted in these beautiful trinkets in 2022! He took fan feedback to balance the sizes of the ships in the design and the results turned out great.
  • elend’s Physical Models - elend is a master craftsman and his recently completed Dralthi model is high professional grade art. It belongs in a museum!
  • Emulation Technology - Whether getting DOS games to run on Linux, Mac WC games running on PC or Xbox games going on PCs, this has been another great year of technological advancement in emulation.
  • Gemini Sector RPG - One of the longest running and consistently playing fan RPGs, the Gemini Sector crew recently wrapped up a huge campaign with the TCS Majestic. They’re a great bunch to hang out with!
  • Graphical Novel Project - EmuMusicFan’s graphical novel project has branched out into a variety of artistic creations from sketches to comics to shorts. He does a great job capturing the Kilrathi spirit!
  • Klavs’ Models - Klavs was back to doing what does best, making updated versions of some of the most iconic Wing Commander craft. His models are also widely available to boost the graphical fidelity of numerous other fan projects!
  • Lego Creations - Lego builders had another fine year as well! From the Avenger to the Epee to the Broadsword and more, bricklayers built some truly impressive ships in 2022.
  • Mac’s Lore - Mac put together a whole bunch of fabulous lore videos that were big hits on YouTube, which helps spread the fandom far and wide! In between animating takes, he also made a ton of fantastic Wing Commander-themed wallpaper images.
  • Space Sandbox Mods - This was an unexpected surprise as well! Fans have gone far beyond Minecraft to put together highly accurate and functional versions of Wing Commander ships in multiple sandbox engines such as Kerbal Space Program and Space Engineers. We got not one, but two elaborate Tiger’s Claws in 2022!
  • WC4 Remastered - What more needs to be said? The team released their highly anticipated demo this year in a flurry of excitement around the CIC Birthday. Throughout the year they continuously published articles talking about the project’s ongoing development and where it will take this next.
With so many great projects, it’s hard to pick just one! Think about it and vote below!

From Fourth Redshirt to First Lady('s Friend) Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Bear with me here, this is one I did not expect. Here's a picture of former President Trump and his wife with his ambassador to the United Kingdom, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and his wife Suzanne...

... the press tells me that Mrs. Johnson is close friends with former First Lady Melania Trump. She's done a lot to use her position to support Ukraine this past year which is pretty neat... ... but in 1995 her maiden name was Suzanne Ircha... and she was an actress... who played Confed Redshirt #4 in Wing Commander IV! She's one of the young pilots in awe of Colonel Blair when he arrives on the Lexington! (Along with the always noticeable Casper Van Dien.) She also had a similarly brief cameo in an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9.
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A Pro Stick Paired With an Action Hit Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

I bought a joystick! Normally if it ain’t Thrustmaster I ain’t going, but I think they’ll forgive me for straying in this case... Look at the insane choice of screenshots! One is a clip of the box of a different game! Wild!
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Enhanced Hellcat Renders Ready to Move Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Nightball06 has a new set of Hellcat renders to share, and they've certainly come a very long way since his original 2D sketches. He tried commissioning another artist to take his designs to the next dimension, but now he's learned techniques to work with the model himself. There are a few liberties taken with specific elements, but the overarching space frame is pretty sharp. The textures are slick too. Now that this exist in virtual form, Nightball has plans to try his hand at animation next.
Thanks to the help from Mac, who gave me step-by-step instructions, I was finally able to render my "legacy"-images. :)

Looks pretty nice I think... So thanks again to all who helped me :) ... Next stop: Animation :)

Movie Flightsuit Provides Fun Opportunity for Collectors Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Here's something for the collectors out there. Scribbler ran across this listing for a Wing Commander Movie flight suit on eBay. These were relatively common in prop stores and auction sites in the early 2000s, but the supply has dried up in recent years. We've actually posted about this item before, but the price has come down about 25% since we reported on it a ways back. The current list price is 1500 Euros, which is pretty steep, but actually not that much more than typical prices were 20 years ago (!!) after you account for inflation. If this is on your WC collection bucket list, find out more info here.
Original Flight Suit, production used from the movie Wing Commander (1999)

Good condition. Uniform a bit worn and darkened in some areas as requested for the production of the movie.

Size
Top. from armpit to armpit 58cm and a height of 44cm
Pants (overall) 1,50cm Height and 45cm of waist

Stunning Confed Fleet Assembles Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Today we've got a couple of examples that show off Mac's latest work in progress. We see a gorgeous short animation of the Operation Back Lash fleet assembling, which hints at some of the epic scenes to come. There's also a preliminary shot of the Waterloo class cruiser, which is coming together beautifully. It's such a sharp design!
I also messed with texturing their Waterloo-Cruiser as I was learning how to texture. It's a lot simpler than I thought, once you learn how to work with Substance Painter. Having a bg in Photoshop helped too. This one is much further away from being finished, however.

Remembering Creative's Wing Commander Legacy Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Some sad news, RIP. "Sim Wong Hoo, the founder, chairman and CEO of Creative Technology, died on Jan 4." Creative's technology is massively important to the history of the PC... and their output in the 1990s was incredible! Wing Commander and Creative had a long and fruitful relationship and I thought it might be good to have a discussion about it.

The 1989 DOS port of Chris Roberts' Times of Lore was the first Origin game to include Sound Blaster support. The two companies' first official partnership was a small one: in 1990, Creative began including a Wing Commander I promo shot on the original Sound Blaster packaging.

But in 1991, Wing Commander spoke! WC2's Summer CES captured the world's attention by using a newly-released Sound Blaster Pro to present a cutscene where the evil Kilrathi actually spoke (hastily voiced by game developers recording themselves)! That September, the game included a fully voiced intro for Sound Blaster users and an optional 'speech pack'. It wasn't the first time a PC spoke but it quickly became THE way for enthusiasts to show off their hardware. Sound Blaster Pro's flew off the shelves that Christmas. Creative would later credit WC2 as part of the reason for their product becoming an industry standard overnight. Origin would go on to release five speech accessory packs for Sound Blaster users, stopping only with the advent of original CD-ROM development. But Creative picked up the ball in 1993, including Wing Commander games on two different OEM CD releases included in a dozen odd configurations of 'multimedia kits', all-in-one releases that upgraded a PC with a sound card, CD-ROM, speakers, microphone and more. These kits made multimedia affordable and introduced a LOT of people to both interactive entertainment and, thanks to the game compilations, several of Origin's worlds. Wing Commander 2 once held a record for most OEM copies of a CD-ROM in circulation! In 1997, Creative went even further by helping to fund the development of a DVD release of Wing Commander IV for their early Encore DVD kits (which required a special MPEG card!). It's because of this work that WC4's lavish videos are available in high quality today! For my part, I spent a summer in high school at a sleepaway camp for the blind for to afford the kit, the biggest purchase in my whole life to date. It was technically a volunteer job but you had a stipend for meals and entertainment… so I just didn't eat or have any fun! Creative went on to commission a DVD release of Wing Commander Prophecy from the same developer, Daylight. The release was finished but sadly never published. Luckily, copies leaked many years later and so the Creative Labs/Origin relationship left us with one final gift! Oh yeah! A minor one but for the sake of folks configuring old machines: LiveWare 2 for the Sound Blaster Live PCI card included a custom profile for Wing Commander Prophecy!
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Classics Sale Discounts Wing Commander Games Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Good Old Games' winter sale may have come to an end, but their winter classics sale is just beginning! Wing Commander is as classic as good old games can be, and they've been marked down 75% accordingly. That means the whole main DOS/Windows series clocks in at less than $12! Round out your collection with the links below!

What's in a Name? Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Did you know Dekker’s assault shuttle has a name? It’s called Hermes in the game files but it’s never mentioned in on screen. Here's an update created for WC4 Remastered:
This also happens with Prince Thrakhath’s fighter in Wing Commander II. It’s named Bloodfang but since you only ever encounter it flown by the Prince (an ace profile that supersedes the normal ship ID) you never see the name! Another good one: the surplus Kilrathi ships in Righteous Fire display as unknowns but they are stored as SALTHI.IFF. And what do you know, that’s the Super Wing Commander Salthi model! Huh, and two out of three of these had Ultima universe cameos too. Everyone knows the Bloodfang in the corn field but the Salthi also showed up attacking Trinsic in in an Ultima Online April Fools gag. Ultima Forever had a Dralthi/Drakhri type ship crashed on an island but it was never accessible. They were kind enough to send us a screenshot though, that game deserved better.
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Fan Project Vote Kicks Off Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

With 2022 now firmly in the rear view mirror, our last task is to conduct the annual CIC Fan Project of the Year contest! I hesitate to frame it as a competition, since everyone who contributed to these efforts and more are really all working to improve the fan community together. Nevertheless, we like doing this to recognize a small handful of amazing endeavors that brightened the landscape over the past year. Read up on the nominees below, and then scroll down to vote!
  • Challenge Coins - ZOmegaZ’s successful 2021 crowdfunding campaign resulted in these beautiful trinkets in 2022! He took fan feedback to balance the sizes of the ships in the design and the results turned out great.
  • elend’s Physical Models - elend is a master craftsman and his recently completed Dralthi model is high professional grade art. It belongs in a museum!
  • Emulation Technology - Whether getting DOS games to run on Linux, Mac WC games running on PC or Xbox games going on PCs, this has been another great year of technological advancement in emulation.
  • Gemini Sector RPG - One of the longest running and consistently playing fan RPGs, the Gemini Sector crew recently wrapped up a huge campaign with the TCS Majestic. They’re a great bunch to hang out with!
  • Graphical Novel Project - EmuMusicFan’s graphical novel project has branched out into a variety of artistic creations from sketches to comics to shorts. He does a great job capturing the Kilrathi spirit!
  • Klavs’ Models - Klavs was back to doing what does best, making updated versions of some of the most iconic Wing Commander craft. His models are also widely available to boost the graphical fidelity of numerous other fan projects!
  • Lego Creations - Lego builders had another fine year as well! From the Avenger to the Epee to the Broadsword and more, bricklayers built some truly impressive ships in 2022.
  • Mac’s Lore - Mac put together a whole bunch of fabulous lore videos that were big hits on YouTube, which helps spread the fandom far and wide! In between animating takes, he also made a ton of fantastic Wing Commander-themed wallpaper images.
  • Space Sandbox Mods - This was an unexpected surprise as well! Fans have gone far beyond Minecraft to put together highly accurate and functional versions of Wing Commander ships in multiple sandbox engines such as Kerbal Space Program and Space Engineers. We got not one, but two elaborate Tiger’s Claws in 2022!
  • WC4 Remastered - What more needs to be said? The team released their highly anticipated demo this year in a flurry of excitement around the CIC Birthday. Throughout the year they continuously published articles talking about the project’s ongoing development and where it will take this next.
With so many great projects, it’s hard to pick just one! Think about it and vote below!

Sabre Prepped for Next Sortie Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Klavs is kicking off the new year by sharing the latest update to one of his high quality Wing Commander models. He's been crafting a Sabre for a bit now, and this is the most refined version that we've seen. The ship finally has an updated set of textures, which closely mirror the paint scheme from Wing Commander 2. In addition to his own endeavors, Klavs' models are used in a wide variety of other Wingnuts' fan projects, so it's always nice to see things like this come together!
Still re-working the Sabre, extensively re-modeled and UV unwrapped, currently texturing in Substance.

Broadsword Bomber Profiled in Latest Lore Video Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

While most people were getting ready to party on New Year's Eve, Mac was hard at work putting the finishing touches on his new Wing Commander lore video - a man after our own hearts! This one is a thorough profile of the A-17 Broadsword. It focuses on the elevated role of phase shielding versus torpedoes in the late 2660s but also goes all the way to the ship's exploits against the Nephilim decades later. Check it out below!

Happy New Year! Update ID Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Happy New Year all! Today we've got our annual January 1 poll that asks Wingnuts for their expectations for the year ahead. As we saw in yesterday's news post, 2022 was a busy year, and we've got every reason to believe 2023 will be just as exciting! What do you think? Whatever happens, we're looking forward to sharing it with you!
The old poll was a Halloween-themed choice between ghostly named fighters. The powerful Vampire took the top spot, but the spooky Jincilla Skull was close behind. WC4's Banshee and the Wraith also did quite well. Sadly, almost no one likes the Phantom.

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