2021 Recovered Wing Commander Development Files
On January 17, 2021 a set of three hard drives belonging to an unidentified Origin Systems employee was recovered by Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum and Dan Chisarick. The contents included installations of Wing Commander I and II and a copy of DeluxePaint with several Wing Commander II-related animation files saved.
While the images were originally stored as ANM animation files they are actually collections of static images, likely grouped together as animations for ease of organization and/or presentation. Inividual unique frames have been saved as PCX files and exported as PNGs for the galleries seen below.
The copy of Wing Commander II appears to be a stock install of the original diskette release.
|SABRE.ANM||131,497 bytes||2-27-91 4:45:14||download|
|SABRE2.ANM||183,320 bytes||2-27-91 11:56:30||download|
|TURRETS.ANM||198,358 bytes||2-27-91 4:46:30||download|
|WCII.LBM||3,894 bytes||12-10-90 10:50:54||download|
SABRE.ANM includes concept images for all of Wing Commander II's player ships with the exception of the Rapier (which was already designed for Wing Commander I). These concept images use UI elements from Wing Commander I to show how they will function. A previously unknown cut ship named the Mongoose is included as the final design.
- The Ferret features two VDUs instead of the final single unit.
- The set includes a side view for the Broadsword with the note that it would not be needed for the final game.
Siobahn Beeman on the Mongoose (twitter thread):
I definitely remember the name. I *think* the original intent was for the Mongoose to appear where the Super Ferret does, but it got cut early on for budget reasons—not enough gameplay bang for the production and disk space buck.
I also remember earlier drafts of the story having a whole other series of missions take place at Gwynedd, and the Mongoose likely would have played a role there. Those missions were cut for pacing reasons—much more interesting to get Bluehair onto the Concordia sooner.
Hmm... there was also an intent to have a light bomber, with a single tailgunner position rather than the Broadsword’s three. That rear cockpit wireframe makes me think the Mongoose might have been that.
That seems really likely in retrospect—introduce bombers and gunnery in a second Gwynedd series, then bring bombers back later with the bigger badder Broadsword. Very much our style. Grinning face with smiling eyes But as I said, the pacing is better getting onto the Concordia right away.
SABRE2.ANM is a variant of SABRE.ANM with an alternate initial frame.
TURRETS.ANM includes layouts for Wing Commander II's three turrets and some of their UI. The color scheme used on the turrets is significantly different from the finished game.
WCII.LBM is a single DeluxePaint image which seems to be an incomplete title treatment for Wing Commander II.
The installed version of Wing Commander seems to have several small differences from the commonly released versions. The main executable and a renamed older version (WC_OLD.EXE) feature version numbers not commmonly available. MIDGAME.V05 (the The Secret Missions winning endgame) is also a different, larger file. The significant change seems to be that the release version is better compressed (the version found here repeats the same graphic of the Emperor and his guards for several frames while the commonly available version does not). There also seem to be differences in INSTALL.EXE and TRANSFER.EXE. The copy of The Secret Missions 2: Crusade installed seems to be identical to the retail release.
|WC.EXE||304,224 bytes||11-28-90 13:52:00||B3.0||download|
|WC_OLD.EXE||302,528 bytes||10-4-90 1:01:10||B2.6||download|
|MIDGAME.V05||239,200 bytes||11-19-90 21:57:32||n/a||download|
|INSTALL.EXE||51,230 bytes||10-4-90 1:07:12||n/a||download|
|TRANSFER.EXE||71,072 bytes||11-19-90 21:55:48||n/a||download|
Wing Commander I configuration, save game and other temp files belonging to the unidentified Origin employee are available here.
Wing Commander II
The copy of Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi installed seems to be identical to the retail release.
Wing Commander II configuration, save game, tape and other temp files belonging to the unidentified Origin employee are available here.
Copies of the full drives are available below. Note that Drive C was also recovered but has not yet been transferred from the Origin Museum. It is not believed to include any Wing Commander-specific files.