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...
- In Print has the first media reports on Wing Commander III: "There seemed to be a lot of ORIGIN mentions in the June issue of CGW. In the Read.me section, the editors gave readers an early glimpse of what to expect in Wing Commander III. 'Names like Mark Hamill, Tim Curry, John Rhys-Davies and Ginger Lynn Allen will fill the credits of what will surely be one of the hottest games of '94,' they said. Turn to the back of CGW in the same issue and you'll find a nice write-up on Wing Commander, which is one of only 32 games residing in that magazine's Hall of Fame. Editors wrote, 'Wing Commander was and is, in many ways, the ultimate action game. Chris Roberts' design combined the smooth performance of a polygon-filled flight simulator with convincing bit-mapped overplays that were artistically superior to the ordinary flight simulation.'... The good news doesn't stop there. Super Wing Commander for 3DO has rushed to the top of the class as the number one selling 3DO title to date. The game magazines are singing the game's praises. The latest edition of Gamefan magazine has a three page write-up on Super Wing. '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,' That's the word according to Talko, the writer of this review. Talko goes on to talk, 'Super Wing Commander for 3DO has arrived and you've never had a challenge like this.'"
- EOM - Brandt is a Wing Commander veteran: "He was recently the Project Leader for the Pacific Strike CD, until that project was scrapped, and he's previously worked on Pacific Strike floppy, Super Wing Commander 3DO and the Strike Commander CD."
- Extra, Extra! collects some odds and ends: "Check out the trophy case in the lobby and you'll see seven new plaques from the Software Publishers Association recognizing significant milestones for ORIGIN's sales department. They are Gold Sales Awards, which signify that ORIGIN has sold more than 100,000 units nationwide for each of the recognized games: Ultima III, Ultima IV, Ultima V, Ultima VI, Wing Commander, Wing Commander II and Strike Commander. Kudos to the sales team and the development teams responsible for creating such great games!"
- ORIGIN GOES HOLLYWOOD is the latest from the set of Wing Commander III:
(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