A quick review of Wing Commander 3 for the 3DO.
Super cool eBay find courtesy of Music Guru: Japanese 3DO stickers... with Paladin from Super Wing Commander!
Found a couple of Wing Commander-adjacent items at eStarland, which is a hidden treasure for retro gamers in Chantilly, Virginia. The ‘Game Guru’ is a Game Genie-style tool for 3DO games that specifically supports WC3! 3DO Game Secrets is a book with info on how to access the game's debug mode.
Super Wing Commander has a wicked debug mode.
DEBUG MENU: Go to the lounge screen. Press and hold the X button, then press B, B, C, C, A, A. You should hear a sound. Release the X button, press and hold the L and R buttons, then press the P button. The debug menu appears with a multitude of options.
Exit System Menu: Return to the lounge.
Change Sound Volumes: Change the volumes of every sound effect.
Change Music Levels: Change the volume of the background music at every point in the game.
Play Movie: Watch all of the game's video clips, including several that were removed from the game but left on the disc. (FILM.MOV and UID.MOV even have a live female actor.)
It's Friday, so listening to some grumpy gripes seems like a fitting end to a rough week.
Gray Ghosts Old Grizzled Gamers has written a quasi-review of Wing Commander 3, and as you might expect, they have some strong thoughts about it. The author is actually harkening back to the 3DO version of WC3, which has some exciting differences compared to the PC and Playstation editions. He starts off making fun of all the repetitive transitions, and while most of us quickly turned these off, I don't actually recall off the top of my head if this option was readily available on consoles. Of course, even those transitions were jaw-dropping back in 1994. Despite a few other aspects that haven't aged particularly gracefully, it's clear that they have a soft spot for the game and all its everlasting charm. Check out the full article here.
The space combat is what made the game engaging, but it isn’t what made the game special. Special is, of course, a relative term, but unless you were around for the golden era of green screens, it’s difficult to convey exactly how immersive those FMV sequences were. Between missions, you can gaze at fuzzily rendered stars rush by from the bridge of the SS victory while Flint reminisces about her homeworld. Or watch Captain Eissen try to remain stoic during panicked missions briefings. It makes the game’s branching mission structure and potential plot changes feel more vital than they should considering how hammy the acting can be. If you fail, you’re not just failing a bunch of pixels – you’re contributing to the deaths of people you’ve come to care about, or at least to more worry lines on Eissen’s forehead.
Toys R Us is in the process of closing, leaving many waxing nostalgic about childhood's spent at the beloved retailer. 1990s console gamers may remember needing to make purchases using a special security system: instead of finding a game on the shelf, you would take a printed card from a display to a 'lockup' where the physical media was stored. It turns out this process and the cards used were provided by a third party vendor called VidPro, which was based in Dallas. They would print the required cards and displays and provide them to toy and electronic stores as needed. Today, VidPro cards are considered a minor collectible, with ones printed for unreleased and especially popular games commanding a premium. In honor of TRU's final days, we tracked down a copy of the VidPro card for Mindscape's SNES port of Wing Commander I (scanned below.) We've also established that cards were available for Wing Commander III 3DO and Wing Commander IV PSX. It's likely (but not certain) that there were also cards for The Secret Missions SNES, Super Wing Commander 3DO and Wing Commander III PSX. If you have one of these in your collection, we'd love to see it!
Alien Gray has posted a nifty video of the GPD Win playing the 3DO version of Super Wing Commander. This device actually runs Windows 10, but it's using the Project Phoenix emulator to get the game running. This is just the latest in a fascinating string of modern handheld devices that have managed to get various WC games running. Back in the day, you needed a relatively powerful PC just to get DOSBox to run some of the original games, so we've come quite a ways to be able to play some of the more exotic WC variants on relatively cheap portable hardware. Other examples include games running on the nVidia Shield, LattePanda, Raspberry Pi, Open Pandora and Android phones.
Former Origin senior artist Denis Loubet reached out on Christmas to share some very cool Wing Commander artifacts with his friends and followers. He's got quite an assortment of team shirts from different products that he worked on. From left to right below, he's got shirts from Academy, Privateer, WC3 3DO (front), WC3 3DO (back) and Strike Commander, plus a variety from Ultima games and other unique items. He's posted the full slate at his Patreon page, where he maintains a pretty active stream of neat odds and ends for Origin fans. Over the years, I think we've spotted each of these WC patterns before, but it's cool to see them all in one place!
In Leiu of Christmas Sweaters...
How many of my Patrons recognize these shirts? I have them in various degrees of usage and discoloration, and post them here for your Christmas deliberations.
Happy Holidays! Enjoy my shoes!
Whistler has taken control! This dedicated WingNut has taken it upon himself to update and enhance our aging controls page... and he's started by adding the missing joystick controls for Wing Commander III 3DO and the missing analog scheme for Wing Commander IV Playstation. We'll continue to update the page and make corrections so it can be a reference for anyone just coming to Wing Commander (or anyone trying to master the often very confusing console port schemes.)
The image below is the first screenshot of Wing Commander III's gameplay ever released to the public. An Arrow flies past... a triangular Kilrathi transport. It's a design you know... but it's NOT a ship that appears in the game! (Triangle transports do appear in 'Kilrathi fleet' cutscenes, but they are generally rendered too small to identify at 640x480.)
What happened? For reasons unknown, the Wing Commander III team opted to cut the triangle transport from gameplay and instead use the 'tanker' model that had been created for a specific Behemoth-refueling mission as the generic Kilrathi transport. These 'skeleton' transports became familiar targets...
The triangle transport then immediately started appearing elsewhere. The 3DO port of Wing Commander III restores these noble wedges to their proper place as the game's main Kilrathi transport and the Wing Commander CCG even includes a card of them!
One of the first screenshots released for Wing Commander IV again showed the triangle transport, prompting much discussion as to the role of the Kilrathi in the game. We now know the footage is Melek's 'evidence,' proof that Admiral Tolwyn has been attacking innocent shipping lanes. (Interestingly, transport again does not appear in the game itself... only in the cutscene!)
The triangle transport is still hidden in Wing Commander III PC's files. Here he is in all his glory:
There's even a 'destroyed' version included in the game; unlike other 'lost' ships, the triangle transport must have been fairly close to finished. (Though there's no apparent location for turrets.)
Finally, Star*Soldier managed to name the triangle transport "Dukara," following the 'D' style name for transports introduced with the Dorkir and Dorkathi in Wing Commander I and II (respectively.) Note that the VDU image used in the magazine is NOT the image included in Wing Commander III 3DO.
Joystick was a major French gaming magazine which started in the late 1980s and lasted through to the 21st century. During the 1990s, Joystick covered Wing Commander extensively, going so far as to have separate multi-page reviews of b-sides like the 3DO and Macintosh ports! Today, we collect eight years of reviews. The magazine also ran a number of previews and guide features, which will be posted in a future update.
Issue #10 - Wing Commander
Issue #17 - Secret Missions 2
Issue #20 - Wing Commander II
Issue #24 - Special Operations 1
Issue #30 - Special Operations 2
Issue #35 - Wing Commander (Amiga)
Issue #41 - Wing Commander Academy
Issue #42 - Privateer
Issue #48 - Righteous Fire
Issue #49 - Super Wing Commander
Issue #52 - Privateer (CD-ROM)
Issue #53 - Wing Commander Armada
Issue #56 - Wing Commander III
Issue #61 - Super Wing Commander (Macintosh)
Issue #62 - Wing Commander III (3DO)
Issue #65 - Wing Commander III (Macintosh)
Issue #68 - Wing Commander IV
Issue #73 - Wing Commander IV (Macintosh)
Issue #77 - Privateer 2
Issue #89 - Wing Commander Prophecy
We have two more sets of scans from 'Videogames' magazine to close out the week. The first set (October 1995) is the most interesting, a report from the set of Wing Commander IV complete with an interview with Mark Hamill. The second pair of scans (November 1995) explain how to access the debug menu in the 3DO port of Wing Commander III... a cool tool that lets you select your mission, view any texture in the game and even play any movie.
Let’s close out the week with two more vintage reviews. These are from the difficult-to-Google VideoGames magazine, which covered console gaming in the 1990s. The November 1993 issue (pictured with cover) gave a positive review to Wing Commander: The Secret Missions for the SNES, while the July 1995 issue praised Wing Commander III for the 3DO.
Several weeks ago, we posted a collection of Wing Commander reviews from the heydey of Electronic Games Monthly. Today, we're following that with another two selections of Wing Commander articles. The first is an assortment of previews, which cover Wing Commander and The Secret Missions for the SNES and then Wing Commander 3 for the 3DO and Playstation. Issues included are: October & November 1992 (Wing Commander SNES), September 1993 (The Secret Missions SNES), May 1995 (Wing Commander 3 3DO) and April 1996 (Wing Commander 3 PSX.)
Then, it's time... to cheat! Before internet access was common, the place to go for 'game cheats' was magazines and hint books. EGM covered each of the SNES Wing Commander titles several times, posting both the real 'debug screen' cheat AND selections of 'passwords' to play other levels. Interestingly, you continue to see these same passwords (SPACEACE, ASSASSIN) in cheat indexes today... even though they're really just one specific player with that callsign's saved games. Whoever you are, Spaceace, we appreciate it! These cheats originally appeared in February and May 1993 (Wing Commander SNES) and January and February 1994 (The Secret Missions SNES.)
Here's a sad reminder of two games that weren't, straight from the pages of issue 12 of the United Kingdom's official 3DO Magazine. This issue follows a disappointing 1996 E3 presentation in which the 3DO company did not show any progress on their long-promised M2 console... the writing on the wall already being clear to everyone (except possibly the editors of the official 3DO magazine) that Sony's PlayStation had vanquished all competitors.
But there was still hope for more Wing Commander. As of 1996, two 3DO ports were still in development and mentioned here: Wing Commander IV for both the original 3DO Multiplayer and the never-released M2 system. As the first page indicates, Wing Commander IV was intended as a launch (or near-launch) title for the doomed platform. It's unknown how much progress was made on either console, as no development work has ever surfaced.
Think you've seen every ship in Wing Commander III? The 3DO version of the game actually includes two models not present in the PC release! The first of these, shared in this post, is the Kilrathi Gun Platform. The 3DO port cuts the famous 'ground missions' and instead has the player attack bases orbiting targets on each planet's surface. Once they're destroyed, a cutscene showing the elements of the ground attack necessary to the story is played (the destruction of Kilrah, for instance.) These gun platforms are heavily armored and something of a tough nut to crack... and they're also very simple, essentially just a square with a pair of turrets.
The 3DO port of Wing Commander III is known for being unique, featuring significantly altered mechanics to improve console play. In addition to adding video and re-designing every mission, the 3DO port also put quite a bit of effort into updating the in-world UI the player uses to do things like save the game and outfit his ship.
First, note the updated main menu. The game actually includes three of them, one for each base you can land on. The names and registries for the Kilrah 2 and Kilrah 3 asteroid depots originate here!
Ship selection is also a welcome surprise, with a complete set of statistics for each option:
The ‘weapon selection’ screens are also redone, complete with missile stats and additional lore! Did you know the mines used on the Victory were “Porcupine Mk. IIIs (a nod to the original Wing Commander) or that the torpedoes were Lances? Note also the option to load a Vampire missile, the replacement for the Leech. Vampires open holes in enemy shields instead of disabling general ship systems. Vampire missiles were introduced in this port and not seen again until Wing Commander Arena in 2007.
Finally, major props to the UI designer for a revamp of the Victory’s trainsim menus. They’re sprinkled with lore, including who last played the gauntlet and what fictional software companies built each VR mission!
If Computer Gaming World was the PC gaming magazine of record int he 1990s then Electronic Games Monthly (EGM) was how the other half lived. EGM covered console titles and featured more of an 'in-your-face' vibe. Reviews were generally limited to small capsules as part of a 'Review Crew' system where a selection of personalities each gave their thoughts on a game.
These Review Crew scans cover the four Wing Commander console reviews we've been able to identify: The Secret Missions SNES (#54), Super Wing Commander 3DO (#58), Wing Commander III 3DO (#73) and Wing Commander IV PSX (#94.) Wing Commander SNES, Wing Commander III PSX and Wing Commander for the SegaCD would also have fallen under EGM's purview, but we have not found an indication that they were reviewed.
EGM may not have given us as much 'behind the screens' detail, but there were some pretty cool ads targeted to console players...
I remember this issue of 3DO Magazine, Bought Wing Commander with the console because of this. No regrets.
There’s a star system named after me in the Wing Commander universe. It’s the result of an overworked designer at Origin needing to fill a giant map with hundreds of names quickly, but it may still be the single thing in my life that I’m most proud of. But where there were hundreds of systems to fill in, there were only a handful of encompassing quadrants. They reserved the names for real legends: there’s a Roberts Quadrant, of course, and then each of the executive producers got one… Mark Day, Rod Nakamoto, David Downing, Adam Foshko.
And then a select few Maverick team members had the honor. Ghorah Khar, the treasonous Kilrathi planet from Wing Commander II, is located in the Isaac Quadrant, named after the genius behind the RealSpace engine. The Ladyman Quadrant, named after Origin’s master of manuals, encompasses the Terran Confederation’s leeward expansion. Half the battles of the original Vega Campaign took place in the Douglas Quadrant, after the man who redefined the look of the series’ ships in Wing Commander III. And my star, the Lesnick System? I’m proud to say it’s located squarely in the middle of the Shelus Quadrant.
Pete Shelus started his career at Origin working on Tactical Operations, the Strike Commander mission disk and quickly proved his mettle. His credits on Wing Commander III are confirmation of the whizbang engineer he’d quickly proved himself to be: “Polygonal Collisions,” and “Math & Algorithms Consultant.” He went on to help out with Wing Commander IV and to serve as lead programmer on the 3DO port of Wing Commander III, still to my mind the single greatest after-the-fact PC-to-console conversion ever developed. He worked on the plan for Chris Roberts’ aborted version of Privateer 2 and when Chris to form Digital Anvil he became the Maverick Team’s lead programmer on the so-technically-ambitious Wing Commander Prophecy. After all that, he went on to keep creating worlds with Warren Spector’s teams at Ion Storm and Junction Point.
But that’s all on MobyGames. I’ll tell you right here that Pete was someone special. One of my happiest memories was visiting Origin back in 1998, shortly after the Secret Ops release. Pete was one of a handful of Maverick Team members present that day, and he treated a scraggly teenage fanboy who was almost too nervous to speak like he was just as important as any journalist or executive producer. That meant so much to me at the time, and I try and carry it with me to everything I do today. By all accounts, that was the universal reaction to him. Check out his February, 1996 ‘Employee of the Month’ submission from Origin’s internal newsletter:
We stayed in touch, over the years, and he was always kind enough to answer some esoteric Wing Commander technical question or clear up some other bit of trivia from the old days. Long after anyone’s involvement with the franchise was a distant memory, he was still so gracious as to make it seem like you were making his day by writing to him to ask about this-or-that.
Several years back, after another one of these all-too-common tragedies, I put out a call for memories of the great 3D artist Paul Steed. Pete was among the first to reply with memories of his friend, and I sent him a note with my condolences and catching up. He wrote me back the following, which today brings me to tears:
Thank you and thanks to your team for keeping Wing Commander alive. I still remember the day I met Chris Roberts at some promotional event at some computer game store where he told me I should apply for a job at Origin. I did, and he hired me. How lucky can a guy be? Who gets to work on their favorite computer game franchise? Almost nobody. But I did.Pete, you were a great engineer and a better man. I’m glad to know that you appreciated those days at Origin, that you valued the experience that made so many of us happy and that you had pride in the incredible things you did and made. It’s always cold comfort, but the games and the stories your expertise made possible will live on past any of us. And you will be missed.
I'm forever grateful for my good fortune, the friends I made on the way (like Paul Steed), and people like you who support the game that started my career. Thank you.
If you have a memory to share or would like to include your condolences on WCNews, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is about bringing the Secret Missions 2 campaign from Super Wing Commander and 3DO, known as Secret Missions 1.5, to the PC. For a start, I'll just make the files available here that have been converted 1:1 from the 3DO version. That's possible due to the awesome work of UnnamedCharacter and many others who paved the way. The zip file contains a readme file with all necessary information and instructions.
So, by downloading and installing this zip file to your Wing Commander I, Secret Missions 2 installation, you should be able to play the full SWC Secret Missions 2 campaign, which is commonly referred to here on the forums as Secret Missions 1.5.
Gaming website, Edge, recently went back in time to review Super Wing Commander for the 3DO. In a positively glowing appraisal, the reviewer finds a lot to love in the effort Origin put in to re-dress the original game in the series. You can read the entire review here.
Wing Commander has enjoyed considerable success on a variety of formats, but this 3DO version is without doubt the best of the lot. Developers Origin could have chosen the easy option and simply ported the already excellent PC version, but that’s not their style. Instead, they’ve isolated the rougher aspects – including the scaling of the in-game fighters and the substandard Star Cruisers – and smoothed them out, while leaving the rest of the game intact...
...To describe Super Wing Commander as satisfying to play would be a grotesque understatement. Pursuing the enemy at close range, letting ‘em have it right up their exhaust port with your missiles and then watching them explode in a shower of twisted metal is disturbingly gratifying stuff...
...Once Super Wing Commander gets a grip of your senses, you’ll have to prise it off with a crowbar. So far, most 3DO software has been completely unworthy of attention; happily, Super Wing Commander avoids falling into the same category.
Hopefully this attractive cast of characters is familiar to you - they're the faces of Tiger's Claw heroes in Super Wing Commander! We've mentioned this Mac/3DO port many times over the years, so even if most Wingnuts haven't played it, they recognize the general look and feel. Some have questioned why the Asian characters look so white, why Shotglass is suddenly black and even why Paladin is sporting an eye patch... but the real question is, what's up with with their hair? It's not just that Iceman has transformed into a striking blonde. Half of our pilots are sporting some funky shaved lines on the sides of their head. The answer to this is revealed on the last page of SWC's Claw Marks (8 MB PDF). For the most part, Aaron Allston's original text is faithfully reproduced, but a final chapter was added that explains this fashion trend as a way to memorialize lost loved ones. That sure beats "they never existed!" But I still prefer Tchéky Karyo's Taggart.
9: A Shaving Off the Old Block
No matter what profession, everyone’s involved in the war ... doctors heal the injured, hydroponic farmers feed the masses, laborers construct new ships and people everywhere lend a hand. Still, the sobering facts remain. Families are wrenched apart as they cross the line from life to death. Wingmen are lost during battle. Friends never come home.
This war isn’t easy on anyone, especially for those who lose loved ones. Still, we’re all finding ways to remember what we’re fighting for.
For example, you may notice a change in some of your comrades’ hairstyles as the war progresses. In memory of family members who have died for our cause, many Confederation pilots are carving ‘memorial shaves’ into their temples. Vowing to keep the bald streaks bare until the war ends, they’re choosing to remember their loved ones by continuing the fight against the Empire.
So next time you see a newly shaven comrade, offer your condolences. And, be sure to count your blessings.
The unfortunate thing is, this game was just not well designed for the flightstick pro. They still make you mess with multiple button combinations, which is actually harder than the standard 3do pad since the buttons are spread out even farther on the flight stick. They don't even bother to take a real advantage of the throttle wheel or the hat switch. And the analog stick itself doesn't offer much benefit as the movement is very stiff and two dimensional.
The game just seem overly designed for the regular 3do dpad, the auto aim they give you with the regular pad is also a big help. Kinda interesting to play but could be better.
Wing Commander 3 fares a bit better on this stick but not by much. Once again you still have to rely on ridiculous button combinations that were just much easier on the regular 3do pad with all the buttons close together.
Either way, hope you enjoy the vid.
Despite confusing Kilrathi and Dralthi and Drayman with space stations, this July 1994 review of Super Wing Commander for 3DO is lavish in its praise. From the graphics to the gameplay, everything gets a big thumbs up. So then it is a little odd that the final score is only seven out of ten. It's unclear where or what they are knocking points off for.
Anyone who's loaded a 3DO game before will know the procedure: 1. Insert disc. 2. Marvel at beautiful rendered images. 3. Gasp at wonderful sound. 4. Notice complete lack of gameplay and switch off in disgust. Super Wing Commander is exactly the same -- except for the last step.
Super Wing Commander for the 3DO doesn't have side views. You can swap between your cockpit, a chase view and a cinematic 'battle view.' But unlike Wing Commander I, there's no looking left, right and behind... and there are no sides to your cockpit. The Macintosh version actually includes (undocumented) the ability to look left and right but includes no window dressing graphics.
Or are there? While digging into the 3DO version's guts, HCl discovered something interesting: an assortment original Wing Commander I graphics of the 'surround' views... and, in two cases (Hornet and Scimitar) rear views in the Super Wing Commander style! They're inaccessible in the game itself, but they're hidden in the data files. The Scimitar view seems to be unfinished (it lacks the seat) but it proves that there was a plan to include the other views at some point in development!
We've had a lot of questions about what is going on with the Wing Commander computer project. When I started building the fourth Wing Commander computer I set a seemingly impossible goal: I'd like to add a 3DO Blaster to the setup. The 3DO Blaster was an ISA card which allowed PCs to run 3DO games in Windows. Because of the VGA connection it's absolutely the best way to play--and get screenshots from!--Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander III 3DO. Unfortunately, they're extremely rare today... running for upwards of $1,000 each on eBay when they do appear. They're also extremely awkward, requiring a specific model of circa 1994 CD-ROM drive, a particular class of Sound Blaster and an internal VGA feature connector.
Well, thanks to a very lucky Yahoo Japan auction I am proud to report that Karga now features a 3DO Blaster! A 3DO Blaster that WORKS! And there are no more worlds to conquer. Any idea what other rare bit of hardware I should start looking for? You can read the whole story here.
Chatzone member Decay has posted four videos of Super Wing Commander gameplay. Wingnuts can watch him play through three missions in the middle of the game: Lambda and Epsilon Wings in the Dakota System followed by Theta Wing in the Kurasawa System.
Super Wing Commander is a partial remake of the original Wing Commander for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. it was later ported to PowerPC-era Macintosh computers. It features full speech and entirely redone graphics of roughly the same quality and style as Privateer and the Strike series of games. The game is always a fun experience and worth tracking down for anyone who interested in a new Wing Commander experience. It's a bit difficult at first to reprogram your brain to see fighters you know as something else. Watching these videos, remember, that's not a Gladius. It's actually a Raptor.
Be sure to drop by the Chatzone thread and let him know what you think!
...let me know if I should do more videos of earlier missions or keep going with my current save game. I will keep uploading if you guys are enjoying it.
There's good news on the emulation front! 4DO, which is based on FreeDO, has overcome some major video rendering issues that have existed while trying to run the 3DO edition of Wing Commander 3 on a PC. Version 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124 apparently allow the game to function quite well now. Don't yet have a copy of the 3DO version of WC3? Then, you're missing out! In addition to enhanced video quality, the port includes new missions, weapons and gameplay designed for the console.
There is, however, a WC3 3DO demo! The CIC first posted it in early 2006 with the caveat, "Unfortunately, no 3DO emulator is yet capable of playing Wing Commander III... but the demo will still be available here when emulation technology catches up!" Now's your chance! Grab the demo here (357 meg zipped .iso) and FourDO here.
Wing Commander 3 video rendering fixed. It took me quite a while to track down the problems, but the video rendering in Wing Commander 3 is now fixed! Additionally, Viktor has added some freeze fixes to resolve several of the freezes seen when playing videos! As a result, the game is now quite playable!...
I dug into the CEL rendering logic and documentation enough to understand the bugs causing Wing Commander 3′s video issues. It took the whole week! I finally saw the resulting clean images at about 4:30am last night.
Freezes now occur much less often, but can still sometimes occur.
Can a game as massive as Wing Commander IV be ported to a console? The answer... is yes! Several ports of the game were released over the years:
Macintosh: The Macintosh port, done by Lion Entertainment, is a very close copy of the PC release. No big surprises!
Windows 95: Origin sold boxed Windows 95 versions of WC4 and also made an upgrade patch available for the original release.
DVD: The DVD version of WC4 was an incredible achievement. It was one of the first DVD games and featured a flipper disc of high quality movies. Computers at the time weren't up to playing the video, requiring a special Creative Labs decoder card be installed. A lesser known DVD version also exists, consisting of all six CDs of the normal game on one disc.
Playstation: The PSX version of WC4 was developed in-house, with an eye towards doing the game in a less confusing way than the complicated WC3 port. Unfortunately, a four disc limit meant that a good number of missions were cut from the game!
GameTap: Wing Commander 4 was one of three Wing Commander titles available through the GameTap service.
PSN: Wing Commander 4, from the PlayStation version, is currently available for sale on the Playstation Network. As a result, you can play WC4 on your PS3 console or PSP handheld!
One port was cancelled early in development--a version for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. That's really a shame, as the 3DO version of Heart of the Tiger was amazing.
The PC version of Wing Commander III was a massive success, spawning a host of ports on that generation's new, more powerful 32-bit consoles.
3DO: The 3DO version of Wing Commander III is one of the finest console ports ever created. Rather than tax the 3DO hardware trying to recreate the PC version of Wing Commander III, the 3DO version instead opts for a different experience--the graphics aren't as impressive, but the gameplay (including every mission) is redesigned for faster, more action-oriented gameplay. The result is an entirely new Wing Commander III experience.
PSX: The Playstation port tries to emulate the original release, with a great deal of success. Some cuts were necessary--including ground missions--but the larger size of the standard PSX discs did allow for more videos. Unfortunately, it has some difficulty running on modern iterations of the Playstation.
Macintosh: The Macintosh version is almost identical to the PC release. It was developed by Lion Entertainment in Austin, a group that worked closely with Origin.
Windows 95: The Windows 95 version of Wing Commander III was first included in 1997's The Kilrathi Saga package. The only major change in the release was a switch to digital music, which unlike the other Kilrathi Saga ports was not reorchestrated. In Japan, this version was sold separately.
At least three other ports were cancelled at some point in their development. When the game was released there was talk of doing a separate optimized version for Pentium computers. Another version, for the Sega Saturn, was announced and actually shown at a trade show but later abandoned. Finally, a version for the M2, sucessor to the 3DO, died with the console itself.
Interested in learning more about the 3DO port of Wing Commander III? Here is a VERY interesting 1995 transcript from an online chat that Origin held about the game. Some interesting stuff there, including the mention that work is being done on Wing Commnder IV for the M2. I wonder how far they got on that one...
LKoski: I have not bought WCIII but have seen and played it on my friends computer, exactly what changes were
LKoski: made for the 3DO version?
OSI: recompressed movies, faster load times, Higher color of the movies (64K colors instead....
OSI: 256), The audio is 16 bit stereo and it is in dolby surround, because we were able to ....
OSI: use the larger 74 minute CD capacity of the 3do format we could add footage that was not....
OSI: included in the PC version....
Want to see a Wing Commander III teaser in the most difficult way possible? Well, then, dust off your Goldstar 3DO system, burn this 3DO-version demo to a disc and try it out! This '3DO Interactive Sampler' (#3) was given away with consoles and magazines... and even sold for a few dollars at the time! Download it here. (Interesting side note: when we first posted this demo, it wound up on a list of 'April Fools Pranks' sent around the internet... despite not being posted on April 1st. It's real!)
Victory Streak, the Wing Commander III manual, includes a review of Hail SHODAN, a pretend movie in the Wing Commander universe that is a reference to System Shock. The 3DO version of the manual even includes a System Shock screenshot to go with the review! While digging through Mythic's System Shock archive, I happened to find the exact screenshot used... in full color! So, here for the first time ever is a still from the 2669 holovid 'Hail SHODAN' in color:
... the least appealing advertisement ever designed. "The big fish in 3DO games"? Really? That's what you're going with? Your ad campaign is designed to associate your games with a rotting fish carcass? The takeaway is the very special 3DO screenshot included below the... dead fish... it's not a cockpit used in the finished game!
So: in the world of Wing Commander, Crusader is... a movie? A movie based on real events? But wait, there's more--because everyone also also references System Shock! Welcome to the most confusing history of in-jokes taken seriously that you'll read today (unless Ultima Aiera decides to try and explain 'Mount Drash' this afternoon).
In the Wing Commander universe, System Shock is a fictional movie based on a game. In Wing Commander III's Victory Streak manual, we are treated to a movie review of "Hail SHODAN," which describes the events of System Shock:
Hail SHODAN radiates with cyberpunk action and the good looks of Clint Mason. After streetwise hacker James Finn (Mason) accepts the challenge to punch deck into Citadel research station, he unknowingly removes the logic systems behind the station's artificial intelligence. Finn finds himself trapped in a steel jungle with nothing but his good looks and a few electro-magnetic grenades. The furious pace of this epic game-based HoloVid will send you reeling through the aisles ... the ending will astonish you. (2.24 hours) ***The 3DO version of the manual even goes so far as to include a System Shock screenshot as a picture from the film:
The most exciting revelation at this year's forum was the conference on Project: SHODAN, a previously confidential long-term research project of the Cybernetics Cartel, based in Chicago. SHODAN is designed to produce a program that's not only capable of human-like thought and emotion, but that also far surpasses human intelligence levels. Dr. Titania Omolu held spellbound the capacity audience in the 40,000 seat main auditorium of the Perth Hall of Commerce with her presentation, describing how a fully functional SHODAN AI could manage and maintain all the operations and functions of a self-contained orbital research facility housing more than 1000 citizens with only minimal human support.
You can read the full Topline newspaper here. Even more confusing, the paper references a series of movies called "I, Crusader" that seem to also be about Crusader. In Crusader.
And it gets worse! In System Shock itself, Wing Commander is a GAME! The CD version of System Shock includes a minigame version of Wing Commander called "Wing 0." Designer Sean Barrett says:
"...for the CD game I outdid myself with a relatively complete Wing Commander minigame, Wing 0--written just before Wing 3 was released, it's both an homage and a parody, featuring, for example, one pacifistic wingman who refuses to fight (and strangely never gets attacked either, because he's actually a traitor!!!), a mission where you get something like 8 wingmen, and a final 'aww, what the heck, let's send you out by yourself to defeat their entire armada' mission."
You can learn more about Wing 0 here.
(Finally, not to further confuse the matter, there's still Ultima! As we have seen recently, that series tackles the Kilrathi in two different ways in Ultima Underworld 2 and Ultima VII... but then Crusader also references Ultima as a contemporary setting! Crusader: No Regret features an elaborate easter egg which reveals an appearance by The Guardian.)
Edit: TopGun noticed another mention in the clip at 16:10!
Much of the motivation behind Ninja's sketch above came from watching the Temblor attack video included with the Playstation and 3DO versions of Wing Commander 3. As neither edition had ground combat, the final attack on Kilrah played out as an awesome FMV clip. You can find this cutscene, as well as dozens of other "lost" movies that appeared in special versions of WC3 in the Holovids section here. Scroll down to "Kilrah Ground Attack" or download the Divx (3.6 meg avi). Check them all out and see if they inspire you to create something for Wing Commander!
A long-lost treasure has been restored to the archives: the very earliest Wing Commander III screenshots! These were put out by origin in late May 1994 and they broke some hearts. It was immediately obvious to everyone that Heart of the Tiger was a spectacular leap from Wing Commander II in terms of graphical quality... and system requirements! Take special note of the oddly textured carrier flight deck and the 'triangle' Kilrathi transport. The triangular troopships did not appear in the PC release of Wing Commander III... but they did star in the 3DO version and appear in a famous Wing Commander IV cutscene.
Brand new Crius.net member Decay has posted a thorough video review of Wing Commander 3 for the 3DO. He's captured tons of video footage and narrates throughout. Unlike the Playstation port, the 3DO version of WC3 has quite a few differences from the PC version. In certain places it has slightly different missions and weapons, plus it adds in some very cool video cutscenes. These clips are higher quality overall, and even the comm vids are in color instead of green. Watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
For my first review, I look at one of my all time favorite games. Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger for 3DO.
Wing Commander IV is launched -- as is the Origin website which many of you may remember from way back when. There's even a picture... it certainly brings back memories of my misspent youth. Speaking of pictures, be sure to look at the actual PDF - it's chock full of Wing Commander IV and Darkening development team snapshots.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA--It was a first for Wing Commander, a first for ORIGIN and a first for Hollywood. Wing Commander IV was launched successfully Thursday at the new Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills amidst flashing lights, scribbling writers and rolling video cameras.
CNN was there, so was NBC's Today show, HBO and Delta Airlines' in-flight TV show. Axcess, Insider Magazine, Knutson Syndicate, Associated Press, the LA Daily News and other Los Angeles media were also there. They came to witness Wing Commander IV and see Malcolm McDowell and Mark Hamill donate their costumes from the game to Planet Hollywood. The costumes represent the first memorabilia from a CD-ROM game to be donated to the internationally famous restaurant. Within a few weeks, restaurant management will determine which of the 30 PH locations will become the permanent home of the Wing IV costumes.
After the presentation, the press got a first hand look at the new game. Many actually sat down to play it themselves while others just watched in amazement during the expert product demos from ORIGIN's own Frank Roan, Tony Morone and Patrick Bradshaw. Those who wanted to see WCIV in all its grandeur watched one of the game demos in a mini-theater complete with large screen projection system, plush theater chairs and outfitted in surround sound. George Oldziey's musical score never sounded better.
And they thought it was just another computer game. Let's just say that after last week's WCIV launch, there's a new found respect in Tinsel Town for the kind of movies you play on your computer.
Don't look now, but the Wing Commander IV media barrage is about to begin. Check out the article on the Planet Hollywood press launch on page one. Meanwhile, Mark Hamill has been busy drumming up hype for the game. Last week alone he made appearances pitching WCIV on Jay Leno and Mike and Maty. In the January issue of PC Entertainment, editors honored Hamill for his acting in interactive projects with a Lifetime Achievement award. Also, in the new PC Ace magazine, Steve Kent added more praise on the man who plays Col. Christopher Blair. In a WCIV preview, Kent wrote, "Mark Hamill has emerged as one of the first real stars of interactive motion pictures."
Believe it or not, WCIV's first review is out. EAUK send out a beta copy of the game to PC Zone magazine in England back in December. Thinking the game was going to sign off the day after they sent out the beta version to the magazine, PR folks in that office were stunned to learn instead that the game had been pushed back two more months. Despite the average score of 85, the writer of the article did manage to say some good things about WCIV in the cover article. "The most impressive cut scenes ever seen. The most cinematic gaming experience you will find." Bottom line, he says, "Great movie, so-so game." We'll see what he says when he gets the final version.
Point of Origin
Vol. VI, No. 2 - February 12, 1996
ContentsSpotlight: Stop the Press!
Across the Pond
Warren's Wacky Web
The Baltimore Connection
Kat's Korner of Phun Pfone Phacts
Introducing the Origin logo you all remember! That's right, the familiar blue and white 'marbled' starbust didn't show up until November 1995! All the details of its lengthy creation process can be found in this issue of The Point of Origin...
The December issue of Strategy Plus magazine (check out the picture accompanying this article) is the first of four magazines that will spotlight Wing Commander IV on the cover. Ben Chiu, who traveled to Hollywood in June to cover the production, wrote the feature article. "The amount of detail put into the sets and props, combined with the very capable and professional abilities of the crew, puts the overall production on equal terms with some of the best movie productions. Wing Commander IV has all the markings to be another big hit for ORIGIN."
During November, look for Wing Commander IV to be on the covers of Computer Gaming World, Computer Game Review and Interactive Entertainment, too. Thanks to Chris Douglas on the WCIV team for his work in getting most of this art together. Oh and, by the way, it's pretty spectacular looking art, to boot.
... Finally, they're still talking out there about ORIGIN games that have been on the shelves for a while. Joe Blenkle who writes for the Orangevale News in California had plenty of good things to say about Wing Commander III for 3DO. "Probably the most satisfying game I've ever played. The best title out there for the 3DO."
And ORIGIN had a couple of games listed in a new book out about multiplayer, CD-ROM Buyer's Guide from Signet publishers... About WCIII Sengstack wrote, "Wing Commander III achieves that perfect balance of arcade action and dramatic tension. It doesn't get much better than this."
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 10 - November 3, 1995
ContentsBrave New Logo
Points to Ponder
"Ultima Online: Mudders of Invention
Bits and Bytes
Kat's Korner of Phun Phone Phacts
The big news in the October 6, 1995 issue of The Point of Origin is the release of Crusader -- which seems to be a surprise hit. It's interesting how little attention the game has seen so far -- it kind of makes you wonder which of Origin's similarly original cancelled titles might have had the same impact.
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 9 - October 6, 1995
ContentsWay to Go, Cru Crew!
Creative Services wins awards
Heard and Overheard
Kat's Korner of Phun Phone Phacts
Monty, I'd like to pick freak number 3...
Staff Pick Up Butts
Future Origin historians looking for a specific 'everything changes' point need look no further than the July 28, 1995 issue of The Point of Origin. It's all there -- from the move to the final building to the addition of the Jane's and Origin UK lines to the first mention of the game that will change everything (Multima.) Another interesting thing to note is how quickly the amount of press for Wing COmmander III has disappeared, compared to previous product cycles where reviews and awards and best-of lists were still rolling in years later.
ORIGIN's endeavors across the great pond are starting to filter through the media. Jennie Evans and Brian Allen hosted three American journalists on a trip last month to catch the production of The Darkening at the UK's famous Pinewood Studios. Strategy Plus was the first to publish some initial impressions. "While this game's structure is similar to the groundbreaking Privateer, The Darkening improves on the strong points and fixes the weak areas found in that game." Ben Chiu called The Darkening "the most expensive interactive game ever produced." I guess he hasnt' rapped with Chris Roberts at Wing Commander IV, lately.
Speaking of Wing Commander IV, it just finished a nine-week production schedule and already has been seen on E! Entertainment's E! News Daily. The show on July 8 featured a story on WCIV and interviews with Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell. The game is also featured in this month's issue of Joystick magazine from France. That magazine visited the set of WCIV early in June and featured the sure-fire blockbuster on its cover.
It looks like the press just can't get enough of the Wing commander line. In June, Home PC magazine named Wing Commander III among it's top 100 computer products. "Hollywood magic and computer artistry combine to give you the ultimate science-fiction battle game. An all-star cast, gripping video and dazzling effects make for a roaring good time."
Wing Commander III 3DO is becoming a real hit among video gamers. In Video Games magazine, Chris Gore gave WCIII 3DO a grade of 9 out of 10. "The best flight sim available for 3DO. The story and special effects are breathtaking and the gameplay addictive. Wing Commander III is absolutely a must-play." And this from Electronic Gaming Monthly on WCIII 3DO, "The graphics are awesome, and the full-motion video is the crispest, cleanest I have ever seen."
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 7 - July 28, 1995
New Hires & Promotions
Off the Clock
What Is Your Favorite URL?
E3? Never heard of it... the May 5th, 1995 is the last issue before the first-ever E3 show! A lot of space goes to praising Bioforge, a very underappreciated 'interactive movie' title that maybe unfortunately was lost in all the excitement of Wing Commander III.
Of course, there's still plenty of press clippings coming in these days for Wing Commander III. Tom McDonald gave WCIII a grade of 5 out of 5 in the May issue of CD-ROM Today. "The age of interactive movies has arrived. Wing Commander III displays such a stunning virtuosity that, despite the familiar nature of the design, it will change how multimedia games are viewed."
In PC Magazine, Bernie Yee served up his comments about WCIII, while grading it 4 out of 4. "A unique mix of adventure story, dazzling space combat, and vivid Super VGA graphics make Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger the kind of game that redefines our entertainment expectations."
Meanwhile, writers at Playboy have taken notice of WCIII. "Until NASA arms the space shuttle and invites you on board, this is the closest you're likely to get to real shoot-'em'-ups in outer space. The promise of interactive movies has finally been caught in a box and put on store shelves."
And how 'bout another award for the WCIII crew. This time the honor goes to actor Tom Wilson (Maniac) who Computer Gaming World said gave the Best Male On-Screen Performance in Multimedia for 1994. "His scenes are crisp, comedic and convincing," editors wrote.
Finally, you've got to love the award given by Entertainment Weekly to Ginger Lynn Allen for her performance in WCIII. In the category for Most Convincing Performance by an Aging Screen Doxy, Allen beat out a list of nominees that included Margot Kidder (Under a Killing Moon), Grace Jones (Hell) and Morgan Fairchild (Celebrity Poker). Ty Burr wrote, "The winner is...ex-porn star Ginger Lynn Allen, proving there's more than one way to make a living out of interactivity." Ouch!
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 5 - May 5, 1995
Behind the Scenes: Technology Services
Off the Clock
With the Arena artwork finished it looks like we're going to have to do one of these every day until the collection runs out! This is the April 7, 1995 issue of The Point of Origin -- and Wing Commander III is still on everyone's minds.
Meanwhile the Wing Commander III juggernaut keeps on rolling. On March 22nd, WC3 was featured in a 4 1/2 minute story on NBC's Today Show. Jim Brown, Our Man in Austin (as he's called on the show), put together a nice piece that included interviews with Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell and John Rhys-Davies. Jim spent a day-and-a-half on the set of WC3 last spring and finally put his story on the air. Better late than never, especially when you're dealing with the millions who watch The Today Show. If you haven't seen the program, drop by media relations in the marketing area and check out a copy.
And the WC3 report card continues to show high marks. In Multimedia World, Vince Broady gave Wing Commander III a grade of 5 out of 5. 'Wing Commander III is one of the most addictive games I have played. (It's) a triumphant achievement that delivers a gaming experience that will enthrall you for weeks. Awesome on every level.'
Julie Cohen gave WC3 a rating of 3 1/2 out of 4 in the April edition of Home PC magazine. 'Heart of the Tiger,' she exclaims, 'quickly earns its stripes-and raises the state of computer gamer's art. A fully orchestrated soundtrack makes John Williams' sweeping film scores sound like elevator music.' Kudos to George Oldziey.
What's this, a couple more honors for ORIGIN products??? Throw 'em on the pile. This month Computer Gamine World inducted Ultima Underworld into its Hall of Fame... Underworld joins Ultima III, IV, VI and Wing Commanders I and II in the CGW Hall.
And at ECTS in the UK last month, Wing Commander III received Login Magazine's Game of the Year Award. Login is a Japanese-based computer gaming magazine that is widely distributed in Europe.
The crowd gathered around the phosphor screen upon which the multi-colored images danced. Their gazes were transfixed on the characters on the screen, compelling them to follow stories that, like most well-presented productions, took them through a whole series of emotions. In short, they were entertained -- but more than that they were involved. However, this involvement went much farther than the passive watching of, say, the newest television rage or film release. These people were participating in an interactive movie, playing on an IBM -- and they loved it. This was the scene at the 1995 South by Southwest Multimedia Festival that was in action March 14th-15th at Austin's Hyatt Regency.
The scene described above was particularly evident at the booth that ORIGIN had set up in the exhibitor's room, where Wing Commander III and BioForge continued to attract curious conference attendees thirsting for an interactive, yet cinematic, experience. In fact, it was obvious from the onset of the conference that ORIGIN dominated the event, even though many other Austin and other nationally based companies were represented. From the keynote address by Richard Garriott to panel discussions led by Chris Douglas, Randy Buck, Jennie Evans, C.J. Taylor and myself, with topics that covered everything from digital music and interactive movies to marketing strategies for multimedia products, ORIGIN's presence was strongly felt.
As if this wasn't enough, another first for SXSW was the presence of an interactive movie panel at the film potion of the conference. ORIGIN once again let its presence be felt with the attendance of several members of the Wing Commander III team. Throughout the presentation (which, by the way, drew a fairly good crowd) Chris Roberts, Chris Douglas, John McLean, Frank Savage, Galen Svanas and Mark Day fielded questions that ranged from the scripting of Wing Commander III and the rigors of developing interactive products to the potential future of interactive production here and in Los Angeles.
All in all, it is apparent that Austin is quickly becoming a mecca for interactive and multimedia development. It is also abundantly clear from our presence at this conference, and from the response of a public that thirsts for creative and cutting edge entertainment, that ORIGIN stands on the pinnacle of this mecca, poised to take the next big leap forward.
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 4 - April 7, 1995
Spotlight: Geeks o'Plenty! Our Wild Robofest Weekend
Off the Clock
Another little ORIGINite
ORIGIN Goes to the European Computer Trade Show
30 Fun Things to Do in an Elevator
The 1995 SXSW Multimedia Conference, ORIGIN Style!
A computer virus hits Origin in this February, 1995 edition of The Point of Origin -- surely a sign of all that the newly charted information superhighway will eventually bring the company. Until that happens, though, there's lots of praise for Wing Commander III...
Welcome to the Wing III stampede, folks. Yes, the reviews are popping up everywhere. We start with the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly. Bob Strauss gave WCIII a grade of "A." "Hollywood sci-fi stars soar in 'Wing Commander III,'" he wrote, "but it's the game's sophisticated technology that leaves other CD-ROMs eating its space dust." Strauss applauded ORIGIN for casting Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill in the lead role. "It may be just a computer game, but it boasts an early sequence worthy of Star Wars series."
The high grades continued with PC Gamer, which rated WCIII 96% in its March issue. Tom McDonald wrote, "Finally, what everybody has been waiting for, an 'interactive movie' that's both truly interactive and a good movie. ORIGIN has produced a title that succeeds so perfectly and on so many levels that it must be considered the new benchmark against which all interactive entertainment will be compared."
Hold it, don't turn that dial. There's more, much more. Russ Ceccola, who writes for Electronic Games, gave it an "A+" to Wing III in the March issue. Russ clearly was blown away by the graphics in WCIII. "The space combat scenes look like they were filmed, although it is certain that they are computer generated. It is very easy for players to focus on the screen and get lost in the game's world as they watch the dramatic scenes and action."
Strategy Plus is out with its assessment of Wing Commander III. "WCIII is a graphically stunning, entertaining action game featuring perhaps the finest integration of film and game seen to date," exclaimed Steve Bauman. "The multimedia gaming event of the year."
Overseas, they are also singing the praises of the latest installment of the Human-Kilrathi war. "The quality of a major movie!" gushed Frederic Marie in Generation 4 from France. He gave WCIII a score of 93%. Editors at another French publication, Joystick, gave WCIII a 92% score. "We have never seen a game so similar to a movie," they wrote.
Perhaps the best accolades came from the UK where Gary Whitta, with PC Gamer, gave WCIII a 95% score. "Believe the hype - the most cinematic game ever," he wrote. "Undoubtedly the most elaborate and ambitious PC game ever created, and the first to stake a legitimate claim to the holiest of grails, the term 'interactive move.'"
Other mentions for Wing Commander III have come from TV Guide, which referenced the game in an article about Mark Hamill and his guest role on NBC's Sea Quest. Also, WCIII was demonstrated a couple of weeks ago during the popular PBS program, Computer Chronicles. Doing the honors was none other than Wing IV co-producer Mark Day.
And while there's lots of hype surrounding the release of WCIII, System Shock continues to haul in its fair share of kick-butt reviews... PC Gamer is out with its year-end awards and System Shock walked away with Best Adventure Game honors for 1994... in case you're interested, Doom was chosen Game of the Year and TIE Fighter edged out WCIII for Best Action Game honors. Huh?!?!?
Next Generation, the new mag from GP Publications, is now on newsstands... In the same edition, Armada was given a grade of 3 out of 5.
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 1 - February 10, 1995
ContentsSpotlight: ORIGIN catches the bug
Descent of a Champion
Could it be? After five years, the team behind The Point of Origin has learned how magazines are numbered! Vol. V, No. 1 of the company newsletter starts off 1995 in style -- with more positive comments about Wing Commander III than you can shake a cat at. We even have the first mention of Wing Commander IV...
Meanwhile the war between the humans and the Kilrathi continues and Wing Commander III appears to be everything that reviewers expected. In the latest issue of Computer Gaming World, Martin Cirulis gave WCIII a grade of five out of five. "A classic space combat game is mated with a competent movie -- and a new breed of gaming beast is born." Cirulis wrote.
In its February issue that was out for the Winter CES show in Las Vegas, Computer Game Review graded WCIII at 94, "Wing Commander III is obviously the biggest release of the year for ORIGIN; it also happens to be its best," wrote Kevin Perry. Ted Chapman summarized it this way, "The acting talent is nothing shy of stellar, and the sound and music are truly superlative. A must-have."
In the same issue the magazine named WCIII as the Simulation Game of the Year and also gave it an award for Best Full Motion Video of the Year. The only head scratcher game was when the magazine named X-COM as its Game of the Year. Go figure.
In Europe the early reviews show that WCIII is starting to mop up the competition. The magazines and their scores: PC Games (UK) 92%, PC Review (UK) 9 out of 10, PC Gamer (UK) 95%, Generation 4 (France) 93%, Games Machine (Italy) 96%, OK PC (Spain) 96%, PC Games (Germany) 96%.
Meanwhile, Wing III has been getting a lot of notice in the entertainment and general press in this country. It was included in a December 26 Newsweek article about new CD-ROM games. Adam Rogers wrote, "Even when the idea is to blow up bad-guy spaceships, as in the new Wing Commander III, the graphics still look better than the special effects on some current television shows."
USA Today listed WCIII third in its list of "Most Wanted Software Titles." It was listed behind Microsoft Bookshelf and Grolier's Encyclopedia and stood ahead of Iron Helix, Journeyman Project and Myst.
WCIII has been no stranger to television in recent weeks. It's been featured on VH-1's Flix, Entertainment Tonight, and CNN's Tech Guide. A feature on the game will air on Sci-Fi Buzz, a special segment that can be seen on the Sci Fi Channel. You can catch it when it hits the airwaves on January 22.
WCIII also has been featured in the New York Daily News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard Magazine and of course the Austin American-Statesman. Harley Jebens wrote in the XL Entertainment section, "It's $4 million worth of interactive battles, stunning graphics and live action. Austin's computer game juggernaut is on the move again!" If they could just have done something better with the picture on the front.
... Let's hear it for Wing Commander Armada. Scott Wolf gave Armada a B+ in his review. "And the hits just keep on comin'," he wrote. "Multi-player is the option that kicks this baby in the butt."
Martin E. Curtius also wrote about Armada in Computer Gaming World, "Armada is at least the graphical equivalent of any space action game on the market, if not the best-looking starfighter sim around these days. Beautiful to behold and a hoot to play head to head.
Dean Evans liked what he saw of Armada. He writes for PC Games in the UK. "Not just split-screen, but network, modem and serial cable options. A round of applause for ORIGIN at least."
Finally, some awards and honors. Wing Commander II was rated 13th among the 36 top entertainment CD-ROM titles according to CD-ROM World magazine, and the editors of Games magazine listed Privateer among their top 100 board and electronic games. We've already mentioned the award for System Shock from Strategy Plus. That magazine also gave runner-up status to Ultima VIII for Single Player RPG of the year, Pacific Strike for Flight Sim Game of the Year and Armada for Fantasy Simulation Game of the Year. So who cares about what some editors think, it's the readers and gamers who really count. That's exactly what PC Gamer thought, so they asked their readers for their 40 top computer games of all time. ORIGIN game in with four titles in the list. Ultima VII: The Black Gate was 38th, Ultima VIII: Pagan was 28th, Ultima Underworld II was voted 15th and Wing Commander came in as the 4th favorite game behind Wolfenstein 3-D (3rd), X-Wing (2nd) and Doom (1st).
Point of Origin
Vol. V, No. 1 - January 13, 1995
ContentsSpotlight: CES: Stocks and Bombs
Off the Clock
The Ratings Game
Point Goes Electronic!
The Point of Origin has an all-new look -- it's more professional, more fashionable and less home-spun. Is this the first sign of things to come? Let's see what's inside... (Actually, the honest reaction to Pacific Strike seems fairly interesting to me.)
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 57 - July 15, 1994
ContentsSpotlight: Summer CES: Back to the Future
Galen's Best & Worst of CES
A Bad(ge) Story
Off the Clock
The June 3, 1994 issue of 'The' Point of Origin has even more from the set of Wing Commander III -- and a few references to things happening behind the scenes, like the cancellation of Pacific Strike CD. The sad thing is that the voices were already recorded -- are they still out there somewhere? With the absence of an Origin flight sim community there's no one to fight for such things...
(Ed note--John McLean has been in Los Angeles for the past five weeks, working on the studio production segment of Wing Commander III. He files this report on the goingson when the lights came on at the Wing III set.)
(Los Angeles) Origin's most ambitious interactive title to date, Wing Commander III, has just completed principal photography at Hayvenburst Studio in Los Angeles.
Under the direction of Chris Roberts this live action portion of the game promises to inaugurate a new era of cutting edge entertainment, both for ORIGIN and the entertainment industry as a whole.
Some 60 hours of footage were recorded on two adjacent sound stages during the 25-day shoot. What's more, for the first time in cinematic history not a single 'real' set was used in the production. Instead, every angle of every background was created from scratch on ORIGIN's own computers. The WC3 art department under the guidance of Chris Douglas and with the assistance of Silicon Graphics workstations and Alias software generated the dozens of impressive sets in which the story takes place.
The production involved more than 80 experienced film professionals who put in 12 to 18 hour days in order to realize Chris Roberts' vision of the final chapter of the Terran-Kilrathi struggle. The name talent includes the likes of Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davies, Tom Wilson, Jason Bernard, Courtney Gaines and the ever popular Ginger Lynn-Allen.
Without exception, the actors were fascinated by the process of interactive moviemaking. After mastering the technical requirements of playing their roles while moving around an 'empty' stage, the talent began to take an active interest in the technology used to create Wing Commander III. This ranged from simple Hardware Envy of the formidable array of equipment the Origin team brought to LA (including an SGI Indigo, a Pentium, two Quadra 950s, two 486s and our ubiquitous lap-tops) all the way up to hands-on tinkering with our state-of-the-art AVID 1000 digital editing system.
Although always intense and frequently frustrating, the shoot progressed without any major complications thanks in part to a close monitoring of contracts, budgets and schedules by resident 'suits' in both Austin and San Mateo.
Taking advantage of a well-budgeted, live-action production is the free publicity the project attracts, and Wing Commander III was no exception. Due to the persistent effects of Origin's marketing department, the computer press turned out in force. Besides being dazzled by our technological feats of high-tech entertainment, they were visibly wowed by having the opportunity to sit down with household names such as Mark Hamill and fire off questions about the future of this new medium. But our press didn't stop there. Among other visitors to the set were representatives of the Today show, VH-1, the Los Angeles Times, Premiere, the Associated Press and USA Today. And if their reactions were any indication, the buzz on WC3 is that it's gonna be the hit software title of the year!
Meanwhile back in Austin...
Origin's programmers, led by director Frank Savage, have made rapid progress in building the backbone of the game itself. They've faced hurdles involving image compression, mission design and building a game that lives up to the hype--no mean feat.
In the weeks ahead, the live-action footage will be edited down to a tight 90-110 minutes of dramatic material. Final compositing will take place at Electronic Arts' D-suite in San Mateo and then brought back to Austin to be married with the remaining components of the game.
Look for Wing Commander III to hit retail outlets everywhere for Christmas of 1994.
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 56 - June 3, 1994
ContentsORIGIN GOES HOLLYWOOD
EOM - Evan Brandt
Dear Point Man
May 6, 1994: This isn't Point of Origin... it's The Point of Origin, now edited by David Swofford. What do these changes mean? A lot more Wing Commander, apparently!
(Ed. note: Adam Foshko gives us his first hand account of how the Wing III shoot is faring after one week.)
(Los Angeles)-In an immense area of stone, there is something evil afoot; a single razor-sharp talon caresses the young woman in the battle-worn fatigues. It removes a single blonde hair from her face, and plays dangerously close to her blue eyes. She remains frozen. The Kilrathi prince peers at his captive like a hungry cat stalking a mouse. He salivates at the thought of blood. She remains defiant, spitting in his face. After a moment of surprise, he regards his prize with renewed lust... his eyes dilate in anticipation and with a great roar, he strikes...
"Cut..." is heard from the mass of people, huddled around the playback monitor. Chris Roberts removes his headset and has a word with his Director of Photography, Virgil Harper. After conferring for a moment, a light is refocused on the character of Angel, (Yolanda Jilot). She smiles and nods as Chris adds a few more comments for her character. With that, Chris returns to his monitor and the Assistant Director, Harry Jarvis, again calls to roll tape.
Elsewhere in the large soundstage in Los Angeles, there is more activity: Blair, played by Mark Hamill, is sitting under the shade of a large umbrella running lines with one of his costars, Ginger Lynn Allen, who plays Rachel. A call from wardrobe comes down to them; it's time for them to change into their costumes for the next scene. They retreat back inside the facility, joined by Jennifer MacDonald (Flint), who also must change for an upcoming scene.
The editing room (from where this account comes) is abustle with the cutting together of segments from the day's shooting. Roberts comes in for a moment to look at some newly assembled footage on the AVID. He likes it and makes a couple of suggestions for pacing. With that he is gone. He has to get back to the stage for a rehearsal. Donna Burkons, Line Producer, steps in to see how we are doing, followed by Pam Auer, the Production Manager. 'This footage looks great', says Phil Gessert (Editor), I have to agree. We stop for a moment to check a technical background question with Mark Vearrier (who, with Chris Douglas is supervising the SGI rendering for compositing on set). Richard Johnson, in the company of Mark Day from EA, also stop in on their way to the stage. We show another clip, during which another roll comes in fresh and hot from the set to be digitized and cut.
There is lots of action going on here, soon we are to expect other cast members: Tom Wilson (Maniac), John Rhys-Davies (Paladin), Malcolm McDowell (Tolwyn) and others to arrive. With 18 more shooting days planned and another stage for second unit work to address, we have a lot to do. However for now, as Michael Hood from Precision Effects (who built the Kilrathi creatures for the shoot) reminds me with one beclawed index finger, 'That's show business...'. Wrong, Michael, that's the interactive business.
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 55 - May 6, 1994
ContentsCover to Cover
On the Road
Bulldog Bytes from Marten Davies
A Note From Down Under (EA-Australia)
SEARCH and FIND, SHOW and TELL
Sharon on Email Etiquette
Lights, Camera, Kilrathi...
Dear Point Man
The March, 1994 issue of Point of Origin is full of interesting Wing Commander references, including a mention of 'trial' versions of Academy and Origin FX that I had not heard of before. The most interesting thing, though, is another passing mention of 'Bounty Hunter' -- here called "our most futuristic product." What was it?
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 54 - March, 1994
Off to Market
EOM Whitney Ayres
On the Clock
Dear Point Man
The promised 1994 'Valentines Day' issue of Point of Origin doesn't have much romance... but it does profile one past and one future Wing Commander developer. All in all, though, 1994 seems pretty quiet - with all the talk about Bioforge and Super Wing Commander, there's little to suggest the sheer size of currently-simmering Wing Commander III.
The editors of PC Entertainment got together and selected their top games of 1993 and Ultima Underworld II was among four ORIGIN games that made the honor role.
...William R. Trotter put Wing commander Academy among the best of 1993. 'One intense battle after another,' he said. 'Every afternoon I take a 'Wing Commander break' instead of a coffee break--it's cleansing, cathartic, and better for your heart...'
Do you think he liked it?
... And of course, what's a 'best of' list without Privateer? Once again Bernie Yee has the lowdown. 'General MIDI and Wave-Blaster support make for a state-of-the-art soudntrack, and the graphics are up to Origin's high standards.'
Speaking of Privateer, Compute magazine gave the award winning game a big thumbs up in its February issue. David Gerding proclaimed, 'On a fast 486 system, the animation can look downright gorgeous. A real accomplishment. ORIGIN has turned out a real winner.'
... In Japan, they like what they see of Wing Commander Academy. In Popcom, a Japanese gaming magazine, Toren Smith writes, 'Wing Commander Academy is like a dream come true for hardcore WC addicts.'
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 53 - February 15, 1994
Off-the-clock: Adam Foshko
EOM: Bruce Lemons
3DO to sharply cut Multiplayer prices in 94
January 28, 1994 - the first Point of Origin of the year! This one includes a big story from CES, where both Super Wing Commander and the Interactive Movie line were officially launched. There's also an interesting note in the In Print section... about an appearance by Privateer in the TV show Viper. The episode was apparently called "Ghosts," in the show's first season -- anyone have a copy?
And the good reviews keep coming in for Privateer. In January's edition of PC Entertainment, Scott Wolfwrites,'Privateer pulls you in gently, then holds you with an iron grip.' Wolf gives Privateer a 4.5 rating out of 5.
Al Giovetti likes what he sees with Privateer. Giovetti writes for Electronic Games and gives Privateer a 90 percent rating. Giovetti says, 'Graphics, sound effects, music and speech are all entertaining. Privateer may be the best Wing Commander yet.'
Speaking of the best, the writers of Computer Game Review liked enough of what they heard on Privateer to rank it number one for Best Sound of the Year in the mag's rundown on the best games of 1993. CGR wrote, 'What makes the voices so great in Privateer is that they don't sound like they were done by the same people that show up in a lot of movies they show on late-night cable. In other words t hey were right on as far as acting ability and intensity.'
And in case you missed it, Priateer made it's network television debut on the NBC program 'Viper.' Several months ago, program producers asked ORIGIN for a Privateer box that could be used as a prop. It finally showed up in the January 14th episode. One of the characters even mentioned Privateer by name.
.. COMPUTE magazine starts off the new year with nothing but good things to say abotu ORIGIN products. Several titles were recognized in the magazine's special section, 'COPUTE's Getting Started.' Wing Commandergames were listed among the article'stop 10 arcade games.'Dynamic space combat wrapped around acinematicstoryline,' the author writes. 'Ferocious action scenes, featuring in-your-face 3-D dogfights.' Concerning Wing Commander Academy, the same author writes, 'Nothing but pure adrenaline-pumping action.'
... The same magazine [PC Games Plus], which is published in Australia and distributed in Asia, Canada and the UK, alsohad some good things to say about Privateer. Michael O'Brien proclaims, 'Privateer is one of the most addictive games that I have played in a long time.' O'Brien closes by saying, 'To all the players who want a space game above the ordinary, Privateer is an excellent choice.'
Point of Origin
Vol. IV, No. 52 - January 28, 1994
EOMs: The Marks of Excellence
LOOK! NEW TRAINING CLASSES!
On the Clock
Dear Point Man
The Top-10 Things I've Learned While Working at ORIGIN
A Word from Sharon
Issue 51 ("December") marks the end of 1993 for Point of Origin -- and marks the start of some changes. From this point on the newsletter will be published monthly... so there will be fewer issues a year from the point on. That's good news for those who are eager to see Wing Commander III and IV's releases. That said, this issue is interesting for a few reasons - including being the surprisingly early first appearance of the beautiful Wings of Glory box artwork. Who knew that incredible game was in development for so long?
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 51 - December, 1993
ContentsViva Las COMDEX!
Print and Prizes
Dear Point Man
Employee of the Month
Most Popular Compuserv Cheat Programs
Changes in Store for Point of Origin
3DO! 3DO! It's funny to look back at all this positive press about the 3DO - because in retrospect it certainly feels like the initial pricepoint doomed the system before anyone even had a chance to try it out. Nevertheless, it gave us two excellent Wing Commander games... and this Point of Origin (November 8, 1993) raises the 3DO hype to a fever pitch!
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 50 - November 8, 1993
Contents3DO Does Dallas
Hire and Hire
Just a reminder...
Happy Halloween! This spooky issue of Point of Origin celebrates the release of Shadowcaster... will this unconventional 'not quite Origin' release live up to the company's past standards? In a word...
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 49 - October 22, 1993
ContentsShadowcaster Signs Off While Privateer Keeps Flying
Of Costumes, COoking & Christmas
Big Bump in Profits
Off the Clock - Trey Hermann
Humans & Resources
The September 10, 1993 issue of Point of Origin suggests that a lot of energy is being put into selling Privateer... and getting ready for Ultima VIII! Given the newsletter's reaction to slightly negative reviews of Strike Commander, the press response to that game next year should prove fascinating. In other news, Chris Roberts has been promoted to Vice President!
Karl blew out to the West Coast and met with all of the accounts there, showing them Academy, Privateer, the Speech Pack and all the promotional opportunities coming up. 'We've had some good results with those accounts,' Karl said. Snorin' Lee Moore linked up with him so the two of them could blanket the Midwest accounts like Josha, Navarro and American.
They wrapped up the week with an Egghead show in Chicago, where 255 store managers from around the country got a good look at Privateer and Wing Academy. In fact, many of them ran to the phones to find that Academy had already hit the shelves back home and was moving well. Lee reported that most of the managers still regard ORIGIN as the leading edge of the industry, but with reservations. 'There's a little bit of distaste for our hardware requirements,' Lee said, 'Generally, they like the games but they say, 'My God, you guys take up a lot of disk space. My God, you guys are hard to configure for.'
Next on Lee's itinerary is the San Diego Computer Fair. He's taking his own technical support in the form of Ben 'Styg' Potter. More than 50,000 consumers will get a chance to fly Academy, Strike and Privateer.
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 46 - September 10, 1993
From the HR Files
Reviews in Revue
Former ORIGIN General Manager Possibly Spotted in Bedrock
Dear Point Man
Goodbye, 1993 - you were a good year for Wing Commander. Issue 51 marks the last Point of Origin of the year, meaning that we're about to move on to Volume IV! Many consider 1993 to have been the greatest year of Origin's history... and it was certainly the most successful we've seen to date.
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 51 - December, 1993
ContentsPrint and Prizes
Viva Las COMDEX!
Leap of Faith
Dear Point Man
Employee of the Month: Michelle Caddel
Most Popular CompuServe Cheat Programs
Changes in Store for Point of ORIGIN
Bad news - Strike Commander isn't selling as well as expected. This issue of Point of Origin (May 7, 1993) advances several theories as to why... but lukewarm sales for a game that the company spent multiple years worth of development money on can't be good news. Another interesting point here is the first big news about 3DO - previous issues included speculation and rumors, but we hear for the first time now that both Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott have 3DO projects on the schedule.
Point of Origin
Vol. III, No. 38 - May 7, 1993
ContentsStrike: In the Air
The Public Eye
From the Library
Employee of the Month
3DO: Birth of a Notion
Immigration: The Huddled Masses
Korruptor has found an obscure Wing Commander reference. A ScrewAttack video about the "Top Ten Super Games" quickly flashed the Super Wing Commander box while introducing its concept. SWC doesn't rank a spot in the top ten, but it's neat to see someone remember that it existed. If you aren't familiar with the game, it was a 3DO and Macintosh port of the original Wing Commander which included all new graphics and full speech. The short sequence is available online here.
Veteran Wing Commander artist Sean Murphy has some memories to share with us... about a game not many people have heard of. In 1995-6 Origin developed Prowler, a 3D mech game for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer and later Sony Playstation consoles. It wasn't a Wing Commander game, but it was certainly for the same audience -- sci fi combat in a distant future. Unfortunately, Prowler didn't make it -- it lasted all the way to E3, where it was shown next to another lost game, Wing Commander III Saturn. Sean was nice enough to scan a boatload of original sketches and to write up an article explaining his involvement in the project. You can read the whole thing here -- it sounds like it was a pretty cool concept! Here's a sample:
After Super Wing Commander shipped, the team had some down time. We weren't sure what we were going to be working on next, so Glen Johnson and I started fleshing out an idea we'd been tossing around for a mech game. We wanted to see a Gundam-style game, with fast and agile robots leaping about the countryside, as opposed to the heavy, plodding Mechwarrior-style games we'd seen.
Thanks to HCl (of course), we've unearthed some exciting starships, hidden for over a decades in the bowels of Wing Commander III and IV. We'll be showing them off in a series of five updates -- so get ready to see some lost ships! The first of the five is a special Dralthi IV - one flown by Dakhath "Deathstroke" nar Caxki. Check out that stunning red paint scheme. While Deathstroke appears in the manual, he does not appear in the PC version of the game. He's in the 3DO port... but that version does not have special ace fighters.
I'll end this article on a personal note. I have always been a gamer, and have often ran the debate through my head about the value of upgrading my computer for gaming versus investing in a console instead. Back in the days of Wing Commander III, I considered buying a 3DO, but instead put the cash into a new motherboard and video card, which I think was the right decision.Was that the right choice regarding III, though? To its credit, the 3DO port features more cutscenes and higher quality video. Still, Wing Commander has long driven PC gamers to upgrade -- from the very first game, which required a 386 for the best quality gameplay, on, Wing Commander has always pushed the envelope. Maybe the real problem with PC gaming in 2006 is that there aren't any new Wing Commander games...
Here's three more full page Wing Commander-related advertisements, courtesy of Alkarion. You can see the last sets here and here. The first shot shows the classic Wing Commander III artwork, making the bold claim that it is "THE INTERACTIVE MOVIE." The four inset screenshots are taken from the first set Origin released to the public, well before the game's release. Note the "also available for the 3DO" logo -- Origin was taking that port seriously very early on.
The second is for 1993s ORIGIN FX screensaver package. OFX seems like an odd product in retrospect, but one must remember that this was an age dominated by After Dark's iconic Flying Toasters... Origin certainly hoped their flying pigs would earn them a piece of that pie. The release included several Wing Commander modules, including a customizable debris field, a set of spaceships that fly around the screen and 'TCS Paradigm' - a well rendered Paradigm flies back and forth across various space backgrounds. The advertisement reads: "Special Bonus: For owners of Wing Commander II, ORIGIN FX includes a module that plays all of WC II's cinematic sequences when the game is installed on your hard drive. And that's just the beginning - look for add-on ORIGIN FX modules shipped with future games, to showcase their cinematics, as well." Strange as this sounds, it actually happened - Strike Commander shipped with this feature. Too bad the project was abandoned by the time the FMV titles were released...
The final advertisement was part of 1995s 'interactive movie' push, which included System Shock, Ultima VIII, Wings of Glory, Wing Commander III and Wing Commander Armada. "Hunt down the meanest aliens in dozens of different galaxies -- without having to guess what they really look like."
I found a few more things you guys may be interested in. Got a couple of Wing Commander 3 scans: a one page and a two page ad. The origin muesum fellows have the master copy, but I figured people may want to see these.
The Game Manuals section has been updated with a variety of documentation for the console versions of Wing Commander III & IV. The new PDFs include compact versions of the WC3 Warbirds poster and WC3 3DO reference card. We've also added standard instruction booklets for WC3 PSX, WC3 3DO and WC4 PSX. The Wing Commander IV pack includes both the Battle Book and harder to find New Officer's Handbook. For simple instructions, a partial listing of game controls is presented in a concise section here, and you can also check out dozens of other Wing Commander manuals here.
We've had some questions about 3DO Wing Commander games recently, and Geebot helped us narrow down a Penny Arcade update as the source. The two titles for the 3DO were Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander 3. GameFan produced a comprehensive review of the SWC version here. We also have an article on the advancements in the 3DO WC3 here. One of the most notable things about the game was its inclusion of deleted scenes from the PC version.
Jonathan Stone has a Super Wing Commander review for us today from June 1994's GameFan. Their typical review was a one-page deal, so the space they devoted to SWC is impressive. The article specifically covers the 3DO version of the game, and they give it a very positive spin. There are lots of screenshots that cover a diverse set of areas within the game, and it's pretty refreshing to see the Wing Commander designs splashed all over the pages in such a way. I'd sure want to go play after checking out the review.
This game takes the basic idea of Wing Commander and adds more animation, more speech and communication, fluid movement and an AI systems for the Kilrathi that has to be played and played to be truly appreciated. Super Wing Commander is a rare game that will have you completely engrossed in its story telling and its ability to keep you involved in its combat scenarios... The story is rich and deep and, because of the complex control system and the importance placed on communication between Confederate pilots, there are many pieces of information that you are going to need before you hit deep space... The beauty of this game is in the details. If you get to a point where you can begin to appreciate the tremendous depth in this game, then you are playing SWC like Chris Roberts and his team intended.
LOAF has unearthed a ten year old log that the Wing Commander 3 3DO development team conducted on AOL in July 1995. The 3DO version of WC3 didn't just feature higher quality video and deleted scenes. Entirely new missions and features were added for this special edition. There were also Easter eggs that let players choose any mission, cutscene or communications video to play. There were also viewers for in game objects and sprites. Some features from the PC version were curiously missing however. The log helped clarify the reasons why. We've updated with partial bits of the log in the past. You can now find the full log here.
LKoski: I have not bought WCIII but have seen and played it on my friends computer, exactly what changes were made for the 3DO version?
OSI: recompressed movies, faster load times, Higher color of the movies (64K colors instead.... 256), The audio is 16 bit stereo and it is in dolby surround, because we were able to .... use the larger 74 minute CD capacity of the 3do format we could add footage that was not.... included in the PC version....
Asum: there was talk of a 'movie' movie deal, how would you guys feel bout that? do you think it would defeat the purpose of an interactive film??
OSI: Its something that we will always want to do, however we haven't figured out how to finance it yet.... Don't forget that a movie of this type would cost big big bucks...
ErinFritz2: Why were the ground levels left out? Was it because many thought those were weak levels in the PC version? Or was it due to technical problems?
OSI: The biggest thing was the time constraint. We though it was bettter to work on the space.. engine instead....And we think that they turned out pretty good.... :)
Quite a lot of fans have never experienced Super Wing Commander, and one of our most important tasks here is to highlight Wing Commander products such as this. SWC was a Macintosh and 3DO revision of Wing Commander 1 and the Secret Missions. Significantly improved graphics and full speech were added, and an entirely new Secret Missions set now takes place between the destruction of the Sivar and the Firekkan affair. The amazing Captain Johnny has created a video introduction to the game. The events occurring in his clips should be incredibly familiar for fans of the first Wing Commander, but the look and feel might be all new. There are five clips from the intro through the first mission.
Tolwyn has sent information regarding Super Wing Commander operating in Windows XP. If you're not familiar with SWC, it was a special Wing Commander game produced for the Macintosh and 3DO. It followed the chronicles of Wing Commander 1 and Secret Missions 1 in a completely redone graphical engine on par with Privateer or Armada. It also introduced a new campaign between Secret Missions 1 & 2 where you hunt down the shipyards that produced the Sivar Dreadnought.
You may be interested to know that it is possible to run Super Wing Commander on a Windows-based platform using the Basilisk 2 emulator. If anyone is interested I could provide configuration data.A few people have had varying levels of success getting SWC to run on different platforms before, but Tolwyn sent along some screenshots of the game in action. here.
Last week Delance notified us about an interview that GameSpy published with the guys from Penny Arcade. It turns out that it's quite old now, but we don't remember seeing it before. According to the PA guys, when they first met they would sit and play Wing Commander 3 on the 3DO.
Tycho - Yeah, the 3D0 was great. Wing Commander 3 came out first for the 3D0. We hooked up a stereo, and we had it set up with surround sound. Gabe didn't grow up playing computer games, that was me. It was all consoles.You may remember that back in August when I visited Chris in Seattle, we met up with Tycho. Chris forced him to play Prophecy Advance and gave him a CIC pen for his troubles. I stood around irritating him with a video camera. Anyway, you can read the interview here.
While sorthing through my vast and pointless archive of random text files, I came across this list... these are all the Origin games (pre A-10) which were cancelled during their development.
Strike Commander II
Pac Strike CD
WC3 and WC4 Saturn
Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander 3 were both thoroughly involving, great-looking space-combat epics. But even without Wing Commander 3's FMV cut scenes and flashy 3D graphics, Super Wing Commander was the superior game. Super WC's characters were more fully fleshed out, and therefore more interesting; it had many more missions (followed by impressive debriefing sessions); and it posed much more of a challenge for the player. Both games supported the CH Flight Stick, which delivered precise control.