PlayStation 2 PlanetPlayStation 2 PlanetXbox PlanetPC PlanetNintendo DS PlanetPlayStation Portable PlanetGameboy Advance PlanetGamecube PlanetPlaystation PlanetNintendo 64 PlanetDreamcast Planet Begin Document---------------------------------------------------- The Unofficial <<----------- \\ // || |||||\\ //|||| ----------->> \\ // || || || // <<-------------- \\ \\ // || || || || |||| -------------->> \\ \\ // || || || \\ . <<----------------- \\ \// || || || \\|||/ ----------------->> //|||| /||||\ |||||\\ |||||\\ \\ |||||\\ ||||\\ ||||| |||\\ // // \\ || || || || \\ || || || || || || || || || || || || || || // \\ || || || || ||||| |||// \\ \\ // || || || || || || // \\ || || || || || || \\|||| \||||/ || || || || || || ////////\\ || || ||||// ||||| || ==================== || || || || || || || || || ==================== && && && &&&& && && &&& && && && %%%%%% %% %%% %% %% %% %% %% %% %%%% <<----------- \\ // || |||||\\ //|||| ----------->> \\ // || || || // <<-------------- \\ \\ // || || || || |||| -------------->> \\ \\ // || || || \\ . <<----------------- \\ \// || || || \\|||/ ----------------->> //|||| /||||\ |||||\\ |||||\\ \\ |||||\\ ||||\\ ||||| |||\\ // // \\ || || || || \\ || || || || || || || || || || || || || || // \\ || || || || ||||| |||// \\ \\ // || || || || || || // \\ || || || || || || \\|||| \||||/ || || || || || || ////////\\ || || ||||// ||||| || || \\ // || \\ // || \\ // || \\ // || \\ // || \\ // ,--- /\ .--. |--- /__\ | | | * / \ * |_\| * -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The Unofficial *F*requently *A*sked *Q*uestions list for Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger and Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom The Wing Commander III & IV FAQ, revision 2.30 Released December 03, 1995 Written and Maintained by Cory Fujimori Originally written by James Hogan, with help from Allen Kim and Matt Newman Copyright (C) 1994, 1995. All rights reserved. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- TABLE OF CONTENTS: Any minor sections which are new or have been updated since the last revision are marked with asterisks (i.e., *10.5.* Revision history). *0.* FAQ v2.30 Preface -- A Word from the NEW Editor 1. Introduction *1.1.* Purpose of the FAQ *1.2.* Trademark information *1.3.* Copyright information *1.4.* Disclaimer -- READ ME! *1.5.* Acronyms *1.6.* Organization of the FAQ *1.7.* Spoiler warning *1.8.* Obtaining the latest version of the FAQ 1.8.1. The WC3 FAQ Mailing List 2. Background of Wing Commander III 2.1. What's this whole "Wing Commander" thing about? 2.2. Chris Roberts? Who? 2.3. What were the previous Wing Commander products? 2.3.1. Wing Commander I 2.3.1.1. Super Wing Commander 2.3.2. Wing Commander II 2.3.2.1. The Wing Commander I & II CD-ROM 2.3.3. Privateer 2.3.3.1. The Privateer / Strike Commander CD-ROM 2.3.4. Wing Commander Academy 2.3.5. Wing Commander Armada *2.3.6.* The Wing Commander novels *2.3.6.1.* What are the ISBN numbers of the WC novels? 2.4. Who's this "Bluehair" guy? 3. Technical questions *3.1.* What are the system requirements for Wing Commander III? 3.1.1. How fast does my processor need to be? 3.1.2. What kind of video card do I need? 3.1.3. How much RAM do I need? 3.1.4. Do I need a CD-ROM drive? How fast? 3.1.4.1. Will I need to worry about disc swapping? 3.2. Does Wing Commander III take advantage of a math coprocessor? *3.3.* Frame rates 3.3.1. What kind of frame rates can I expect? *3.3.2.* How can I tell what frame rates I'm getting? 3.4. How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander III? 3.5. Does Wing Commander III support both a VGA and SVGA mode? At what resolutions? 3.5.1. When can I switch between VGA and SVGA modes? 3.5.2. Is the graphic detail level configurable? 3.6. Does Wing Commander III support the ReelMagic or any other MPEG cards? 3.7. What's the sound support like? 3.7.1. What sound cards are supported? 3.7.1.1. Are the digital sound capabilities of the RAP-10 taken advantage of? 3.7.2. Does WC3 have 16-bit sound effects? 3.7.3. Can WC3 play multiple digitial sound samples simultaneously? 3.8. Does Wing Commander III use bitmaps or polygon-based graphics? What's the difference? 4. Gameplay issues 4.1. Is the flight model in WC3 the same as in previous WC games? 4.2. What are capital ships and capital ship combat like? 4.2.1. Manual takeoffs and landings 4.2.2. Collision detection 4.3. What are the planetside missions like? 4.4. How many different ships comprise the Terran and Kilrathi fleets? 4.5. What new technologies are the Terrans armed with that I can use? 4.6. How much control do players have over the missions they fly (e.g., their ship, wingman, weapons loadout, etc.)? 4.6.1. How does the weapon selection work? 4.7. How good is the artifical intelligence in WC3? 4.8. What other notable game features are present in Wing Commander III? 4.8.1. The 3-D navigational map 4.8.2. Power management 4.9. What game features _aren't_ present in Wing Commander III? 4.9.1. The "virtual cockpit" 4.9.2. VCR replay mode 4.9.3. Color communications consoles 4.9.4. Can you go back and replay specific missions? 4.9.5. Can you transfer old characters from WC2 to WC3? 4.9.6. Multiplayer modem and/or network support 5. Cinematics and storyline mechanics 5.1. What distinguishes the cinematics and storyline in Wing Commander III? 5.1.1. In what ways can choices made during the cinematic sequences affect the storyline? 5.1.2. Can wingmen actually die during an average mission, or are there safeguards built in to prevent this? 5.2. How is live acting integrated into Wing Commander III? 5.2.1. How much live acting is contained in the cinematic sequences? 5.2.2. Why don't some of the actors look like their characters? 5.2.3. How is the acting for the Kilrathi characters accomplished? 5.3. How good do the final cinematic sequences look? 5.4. Who are the characters in Wing Commander III, and who are the actors and actresses portraying them? 5.4.1. Col. Christopher Blair (Mark Hamill) 5.4.2. Maj. James "Paladin" Taggart (John Rhys-Davies) 5.4.3. Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn (Malcolm McDowell) 5.4.4. Capt. William Eisen (Jason Bernard) 5.4.5. The TCS Victory's fighter pilots 5.4.5.1. Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall (Tom Wilson) 5.4.5.2. Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters (Jennifer MacDonald) 5.4.5.3. Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas (John Schuck) 5.4.5.4. Lt. Laurel "Cobra" Buckley (B. J. Jefferson) 5.4.5.5. Lt. Winston "Vagabond" Chang (Francois Chau) 5.4.5.6. Lt. Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez (Julian Reyes) 5.4.5.7. Maj. Jace "Flash" Dillon (Joshua Lucas) 5.4.6. Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis (Ginger Lynn Allen) 5.4.7. Lt. Ted "Radio" Rollins (Courtney Gains) 5.4.8. Col. Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux (Yolanda Jilot) 5.4.9. The Emperor of Kilrah (Alan Mandell) 5.4.10. Prince Thrakhath (John Rhys-Davies) 5.4.11. Melek (Tim Curry) 5.5. Do any other characters from previous Wing Commander games make an appearance in Wing Commander III? 5.6. Do I get to pick my player's name or callsign? 6. The Wing Commander III demo 6.1. Is the demo playable? If so, what do I get to do? 6.2. Obtaining and installing the WC3 demo 6.2.1. Where can I get a copy of the WC3 demo? 6.2.2. What are the system requirements for the WC3 demo? 6.2.3. Why did my system get faster ratings from the demo than from the actual game? 6.3. What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running the demo? 6.4. Are there any undocumented and/or underdocumented commands available while flying? 6.4.1. Power management 6.4.2. Autoslide 6.5. Comparing the demo to the final product... 6.5.1. How does the demo's gameplay differ from the release version's gameplay? 6.5.2. Will my frame rate in the final version of WC3 be the same, better, or worse than in the demo? 6.6. Are there any screen shots available? 6.6.1. What do the screen shots contain? 6.6.2. Are those screen shots really from playable sequences, or just cinematic scenes? 6.6.3. Where can I find the screen shots? 7. Strategies and tips 7.1. General mission strategies 7.1.1. Is there anything I need to do at the start of a mission? 7.1.2. Any tips on power management? 7.1.3. I need some basic dogfighting pointers. 7.1.4. I keep getting killed by all those missiles the Kilrathi launch. 7.1.5. Help! My afterburners won't turn off! 7.2. Tactics for fighting specific ships 7.2.1. Those asteroid fighters are tough! 7.2.2. What's the best way to destroy a capital ship? 7.3. On an escort mission, after I finish off a wave of fighters, the autopilot light won't activate. What am I doing wrong? 7.4. Dealing with enemy torpedoes 7.4.1. How do I destroy a Skipper missile? 7.4.2. I'm having trouble trying to stop the bio-missiles. 7.4.3. On a certain nebula mission, the Victory gets destroyed as it heads for an alternate jump point. What happened? 7.5. Flash's arrival 7.5.1. How can I defeat Flash? 7.5.2. I just lost the duel against Flash. Will he ever return to the Victory? 7.6. Other mission-specific tips 7.6.1. Flint just made quite a rash decision. What should I do? 7.6.2. How do I prevent the Behemoth from getting destroyed? 7.6.3. Thrakhath just sent me a comm message. How should I respon d? 7.6.4. The Victory is under attack, and I can't seem to control my craft. What's going on? 7.6.5. I'm having trouble passing the planet rescue mission. 7.6.6. How can I succeed in defending Earth? 7.7. The traitor just got away. Should I go after him/her, or not? 7.8. The final missions 7.8.1. How do I keep my wingmen from getting killed off during the last missions? 7.8.2. On the final leg, how do I kill all of the Sorthaks at the last nav point? 7.8.3. I've passed the Sorthak fighters; how do I finish the last part of this mission? 7.9. Is there a cheat mode built in to Wing Commander III? 7.10. What if these suggestions don't work? 8. Storyline questions 8.1. What is the basic plot of Wing Commander III? 8.2. How do the events in the Wing Commander novels fit into the storyline? 8.3. The opening sequence 8.3.1. Why is the main character now called Christopher Blair? *8.3.2.* How was the TCS Concordia destroyed? 8.3.3. Why is Blair transferred to such an old ship as the TCS Victory? 8.4. Game physics 8.4.1. If space is a vacuum, why can I still hear the sounds of combat? 8.4.2. OK, then why does my craft's speed decrease after using the afterburners? 8.4.3. What are the units of measurement for distance and velocity? 8.5. Skipper missiles 8.5.1. If the Kilrathi have cloaked cruise missiles, why don't the y just make cloaked "kamikaze" fighters with torpedoes strapp ed to their hull? 8.5.2. How about jump-capable Skipper missiles? 8.6. Why is (you know who) the traitor? 8.6.1. What exactly was in the missing scene? 8.6.2. Are there any other explanations? 8.7. Should I pick romance with Flint or Rachel? 8.8. The final mission 8.8.1. Why wasn't I swarmed by Kilrathi fighters on the last leg o f the mission? 8.8.2. Why wasn't Blair killed by the Kilrathi when they had the chance? 8.9. Besides the scene described in section 8.6.1, was anything else from the script omitted from the released game? 8.10. What does the mission tree for the game look like? 9. Information on Wing Commander IV *9.1.* What is the story of Wing Commander IV? *9.2.* What are the differences between the WC3 and WC4 flight engine? *9.2.1.* What kind of frame rates can I expect? *9.3.* Is there a demo available? *9.3.1.* is the demo playable? If so, what do I get to do? *9.4.* What are the system requirements for the WC4 demo? *9.5.* What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running the demo? *9.6.* Are there any screen shots available? *9.6.1.* Where can I find the screen shots? *9.7.* How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander IV? *9.8.* Will there be a Premire Edition of WC4? *9.9.* What is that "Dekker" ship in the WC4 demo? *9.10.* How many missions will there be in Wing Commander IV? *9.11.* Interviews, statements, and rumors *9.11.1.* Chris Douglas, art director on Wing Commander IV *9.12.* Will there be cockpit graphics in WC4? *9.13.* Will there be pentium optimized code or support for 3d accelerated video cards? *9.14.* How much video footage will be in WC4? *9.15.* What will flying through Nebulas be like in WC4? *9.16.* Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander IV? 10. Other miscellaneous questions 10.1. Are there any "easter eggs" in Wing Commander III? 10.1.1. The hidden credits 10.1.2. The blooper scene 10.1.3. Crazy Gameflow 10.1.4. Is there a hidden code to view the cinematics separately? 10.2. What's this I hear about a "Premiere Edition"? 10.2.1. What does it contain? 10.2.2. Is the Premiere Edition multi-lingual? 10.2.3. Do foreign versions of the Premiere Edition come with the "Making of WC3" videotape in PAL format? 10.2.4. How are copies of the Premiere Edition sold in Europe different from those sold in the U.S.? 10.2.5. When I got my Premiere Edition, the front of the film canister was blank. Is this intentional? 10.2.6. I have a copy of the "Special Edition" of WC3. Is this the same thing as the Premiere Edition? 10.2.7. Will there be a Premiere Edition for the 3DO version? 10.3. What platforms is Wing Commander III available on? 10.3.1. How does the 3DO version differ from the PC version? 10.4. Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander III? 10.5. Are there different versions of Wing Commander III available for different languages? 10.6. How much does Wing Commander III cost, and where can I get a copy? 10.6.1. United States 10.6.2. Canada 10.6.3. United Kingdom 10.6.4. Australia 10.6.5. New Zealand 10.6.6. Singapore 10.6.7. Hong Kong 10.6.8. France 10.6.9. Germany 10.6.10. Switzerland 10.6.11. Japan 10.7. What was the budget for Wing Commander III? 9.7.1. How much has Origin made from WC3 sales to date? 10.8. Who developed and filmed Wing Commander III? 10.8.1. Who was involved with the cinematic side of the project? 10.8.2. Who was involved with the gameplay side of the project? 10.9. Other Wing Commander III-related merchandise 10.9.1. Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III 10.9.2. The Authorized Combat Guide to Wing Commander III 10.9.3. Wing Commander III: The Ultimate Strategy Guide 10.9.4. The Wing Commander III novel 10.9.5. Will the soundtrack for Wing Commander III be released on CD? 10.9.6. Will any of the other items from the Premiere Edition be sold separately? 10.10. Will there be any add-on discs as there were for previous Wing Commander games? 10.11. What other Wing Commander products are scheduled to be released in the future? 10.11.1. Privateer 2 10.11.2. The Darkening 10.11.3. Wing Commander Armada 2? 10.11.4. Wing Commander novels 10.11.5. The Wing Commander Collectible Card Game 10.11.6. Wing Commander: The Motion Picture? 11. In conclusion... *11.1.* Credits *11.2.* Other sources of information *11.3.* Contacting the FAQ authors 11.4. Where to find out more 10.4.1. Origin's tech support FAQ *11.5.* Revision history *11.6.* Conclusion -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 0. FAQ v2.30 Preface -- A Word from the NEW Editor ******************************************************************************* This FAQ was an ongoing project of mine for the better part of a year. It took a lot of work, a lot of research, and the efforts of a dozen people to finally put together. Since those first few revisions, though, time has plodded on, and other commitments now prevent me from keeping up with the project. Therefore, this revision of the FAQ is being put together by someone else -- a WC fan by the name of Cory Fujimori. I hadn't met him before he contacted me about working on the WC3 FAQ, but he appears to be doing a fine job with it. It's kind of nice to know that other people find the FAQ valuable enough that they're willing to devote their own time to keeping it up-to-date now that I can't manage it myself. I guess I feel that I've created a small legacy of sorts. :) At any rate, I just wanted to say thanks to all of those who have read the FAQ before, and especially to those who have taken the time to write line and tell me what they think. Hundreds of e-mails have found their way to my mailbox from every corner of the world. It's nice to know that not only was our work was appreciated, but that it truly had a global audience. I have faith that Cory will make sure the FAQ continues to grow and provide a valuable service to the gaming community. James Hogan Sooo.... welcome to version 2.30 of The Unofficial Wing Commander 3 & Wing Commander IV FAQ. I'm not much for intro's, so I'll make it short. Lemme tell you a bit about my past gaming experiences.... I've been playing Origin games since Ultima 1. I bought WC1 & WC2 in 1992, and I've been hooked since. I've written 1 sci-fi novel loosely based on Aruther C. Clark's Rendevous with Rama. My online work includes a Strike Commander FAQ, and a Wings of Glory FAQ. I did the logo for The Terran Confederate Underground (one great Wing Commander-based WWW site), and I'm currently a member of The Terran Confederation, an Internet Wing Commander club. My writing is alot more casual and laid-back than James'. I try to keep it entertaining, while informative. Well, thats all I've really got to say about myself, see you in the next revision.... -- Cory Fujimori -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 1. Introduction ******************************************************************************* *1.1.* Purpose of the FAQ ============================ This FAQ was created to answer the more commonly asked questions pertaining to the Origin Systems game; Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. Originally written before the game's release as a means of keeping the gaming community informed of what Wing Commander III would be like and how its development was proceeding, the FAQ has now expanded to include known solutions to technical problems, often-used strategies and mission tips, and more! And with the inpending release of Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, expect the FAQ to be just as good as it was during its initial release! Please be sure to read the Disclaimer (section 1.3). *1.2.* Trademark information =============================== ORIGIN, Wing Commander, ORIGIN We Create Worlds, Privateer, Wing Commander Academy, and Wing Commander Armada are registered trademarks of ORIGIN. Secret Missions, Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heart of the Tiger, and The Price of Freedom are trademarks of Origin Systems, Inc. ORIGIN is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts. *1.3.* Copyright information =============================== This article is Copyright 1994, 1995 by James Hogan, Allen Kim, Matt Newman and Cory Fujimori. All rights reserved. You are granted the following rights: I. To make copies of this work in original form, so long as o The copies are exact and complete o The copies include the copyright notice and these paragraphs in their entirety; o The copies give obvious credit to the authors Now, that wasn't that bad, was it? :) 1.4. Disclaimer -- READ ME! ============================== This FAQ is not a paid advertisement, nor is it even officially endorsed by Origin Systems. All information in this FAQ has, unless otherwise specified, been verified by a reliable source (e.g., employees at Origin), but keep in mind that it has been written by fans, not actual Origin employees. Everything you read here could be a complete lie. :) 1.5. Acronyms ================ The following acronyms will be used throughout the FAQ, some more often than others: EA: Electronic Arts FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions list OSI: Origin Systems, Inc. WC: Wing Commander WC1/2/3/4: Wing Commander 1, 2, 3, or 4 SM1/2: Secret Missions 1 or 2 SO1/2: Special Operations 1 or 2 WCA: Wing Commander Academy Armada: Wing Commander Armada (I know, it's not an acronym; so sue me) 1.6. Organization of the FAQ =============================== The WC3 FAQ contains information useful to most anyone who has an interest in the game, whether they have played it or not... Section 2 is for those who are new to the WC series, or who missed part of it somewhere along the line. It includes a very brief summary of each WC product to date. Sections 3 and 4 are aimed towards prospective buyers; it answers questions about the system requirements for the game, what features it has, what makes it special, etc. Section 5, which covers the cinematics, should have something of interest to most everyone... those who are considering buying the game will get an idea of what the movie clips are like, and those who have already played the game will find out more about the actors who starred in WC3, how the special effects in the game were done, and so forth. Section 6 covers the WC3 CD-ROM/Downloadable demo. If you're seriously considering buying the game, you may want to check this out... you'll learn where you can get a copy, what to do if you can't get it running, how it differs from the actual game, and more. Section 7 will help you get through some of the tough spots in the game; if you're stuck on a particular mission, or can't figure out how to defeat a certain enemy... read this. Section 8 addresses storyline issues that WC3 players often wonder about after they finish the game: what happens if you choose different plot branches, if it's possible to prevent certain things from happening in the story, why the writers made something happen the way it did, etc. Section 9 is dedicated to WC4. As it nears its initial release, more information pops up, wether it comes from Origin Employee's/Marketing, tv, newspapers, or rumors from WC fans all over the world. This section is chock-full of compiled information from all these sources. Once Wing Commander IV is officially released, this section will be entirely rewritten. Section 10 takes whatever is left over... where to obtain a copy of WC3 in countries outside the USA, what the deal with the "Premiere Edition" is, what we know about future WC products, and more. 1.7. Spoiler warning ======================= Some sections of this FAQ contain plot spoilers about certain Wing Commander products (i.e., games and/or novels). All of these should contain an obvious "SPOILER" label in the header (e.g., [SPOILER -- PRIVATEER] to indicate spoilers about the Privateer game). Those who do not want to know what happens in the story should exercise due caution when reading these parts. *1.8.* Obtaining the latest version of the FAQ =============================================== The FAQ has many official distribution sites from which the latest version will always be available: * The Midnight Netslave. Send e-mail to netslave@midnight.com.au with the text "GET FAQ/WC3" (no quotes) in the body of the message, and a copy of the FAQ will be sent to your mailbox. * Internet FTP: netslave.midnight.com.au, /pub/faq ftp.aimnet.com, /pub/users/lordsoth/wc3 ftp.pooterman.com * WorldWide Web: http://acm.vt.edu/~bryantpe/underground The Terran Confederate Underground, the SITE of Wing Commander! * Other BBSes: Sherlock's Haven BBS -- (516) 433-2093, 28.8k bps 1.8.1. The WC3 FAQ Mailing List -------------------------------- I maintain a mailing list of people who are interested in receiving updates to the FAQ via email. If you'd like to be put on this list, just send a message to netslave@midnight.com.au with the text SUBSCRIBE WC3 in the body of the message. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 2. Background of Wing Commander III ******************************************************************************* Undoubtedly, many of the people reading this FAQ will have already played the other Wing Commander games and know pretty much what they're about; but there are probably some Wing Commander newbies out there, too. Besides, even if you are a veteran of the Wing Commander universe, a short refresher course can never hurt... :-) 2.1. What's this whole "Wing Commander" thing about? ======================================================= Wing Commander, first released in 1990 by Origin Systems, is a simulation- style action game interwoven with a cinematic storyline set in the 27th century. It does not attempt to model real-world physics with a completely accurate simulation of space flight, but instead concentrates on providing a fun, intense, first-person space dogfighting experience. Several things distinguished it from other games upon its initial release: the graphics, music, and sound were all revolutionary, surpassing most (if not all) other competing products in the industry at the time. The storyline, of which a short segment unraveled after each mission the player flew, had many plot devices that, although simple, had rarely before been used in a computer game of its type: character development, interpersonal conflict, ethics, and more. To date, the series has sold a total of over 1.5 million units worldwide. 2.2. Chris Roberts? Who? ============================ Chris Roberts is the man behind the Wing Commander series. His experience in the gaming industry goes back to his teenage years... from the very beginning, programming arcade games was Roberts' primary goal. It started out as a simple hobby, and then grew to be an actual source of income as he published several hits for the BBC personal computer in England, including Wizadore and Stryker's Run. His big break occurred when he was in Austin, Texas, working on his latest game , Ultra Realm (which later became Times of Lore). He wanted to find an artist to do the artwork for his game, and ran across Denis Loubet, who was then doing freelance artwork for Richard Garriot's Ultima VI. Before long, Loubet showed Times of Lore to some of the higher-ups at Origin, with whom Roberts eventually signed an agreement to distribute the game. During the next couple of years, he began to toy around with a first-person space combat game on his own time using techniques that were fairly new to the gaming industry. After a couple of months, he had a basic working model to show to the guys at Origin, at which point it officially became a sanctioned company project. The result was Wing Commander, and the rest is history. 2.3. What were the previous Wing Commander products? ======================================================= 2.3.1. Wing Commander I [SPOILERS -- WC1] ------------------------------------------- Wing Commander I is the game that started it all. In this first installment of the WC saga, the player takes the role of a young Lieutenant who has just been assigned to the carrier ship Tiger's Claw, the pride of the Confederate Navy. The main plot of WC1 is the Confederation's campaign to take Vega Sector from the Kilrathi, which eventually succeeds. WC1 had two add-on disks -- Secret Missions 1 and 2. SM1 focused on a new Kilrathi secret weapon, and the Claw's attempts to hunt down and destroy it. SM2 told the story of how the Confederation made an alliance with the avian Firekkan species, and also introduced two new characters: Doomsday and Jazz. 2.3.1.1. Super Wing Commander ------------------------------ A revamped version of WC1 has been released for the 3DO and Macintosh platforms, incorporating completely redone hi-resolution graphics, full speech during all the cinematic sequences, and more. SWC follows the plotline of the whole WC1 series, including SM1 and SM2. 2.3.2. Wing Commander II [SPOILERS -- WC2] -------------------------------------------- The game begins with the Tiger's Claw being destroyed by three Kilrathi stealth (cloaked) fighters, and you are accused of allowing the carrier to be destroyed because of your negligence. Your claims about the stealth fighters go unbelieved, your career is ruined, and you are assigned to a space station in the backwaters of the known galaxy. Ten years later, through a strange series of events, you end up on the flagship of the Confederate fleet (imagine that), the Concordia, where you meet up with some of your old pals who survived the destruction of the Claw -- Angel, Spirit, Paladin, Doomsday, and Jazz. Eventually, you defeat the heir to the Kilrathi throne in a one-on-one dogfight (though he ejects to survive to fight again another day), destroy the Kilrathi headquarters in the sector, and find evidence that the stealth fighters exist, proving your innocence and restoring your career. WC2 also had two expansion disks -- Special Operations 1 and 2. SO1 introduced the character of Bear, the protagonist in the second and third Wing Commander novels. SO2 reunites you with Maniac, with whom you team up to destroy Ayer's Rock, an asteroid which a band of human traitors is using as a base. 2.3.2.1. The Wing Commander I & II CD-ROM ------------------------------------------ Origin has recently released the first two Wing Commander games, including all expansion sets (Secret Missions 1 & 2, the WC2 Speech Pack, and Special Operations 1 & 2) on a single CD. WC1 must be installed to your hard drive, but WC2 can be played off the CD to save drive space. 2.3.3. Privateer [SPOILERS -- PRIVATEER] ------------------------------------------ Privateer puts you in the shoes of a different character -- a privateer. This game, which takes place in the Gemini sector of space, is essentially unrelated (in terms of plot) to the main Wing Commander games. As a freelance trader and mercenary, you undertake various missions to earn yourself enough credits to upgrade your ship and advance in the storyline. Eventually, you discover an old alien derelict, and take a working cannon from it and mount it on your ship. This prompts an alien drone to begin to chase you; in the end, you team up with Confederate ships to destroy the threat the drone presents to the sector. One expansion disk has been released for Privateer -- Righteous Fire. This begins with your alien gun being stolen form your ship, and concentrates on your attempts to retrieve it. You never do. 2.3.3.1. The Privateer / Strike Commander CD-ROM ------------------------------------------------- Another recent release of Origin's, this CD contains the enhanced versions of both Privateer and Strike Commander on one disc. Both games come with their expansion disk (Tactical Operations for Strike Commander, Righteous Fire for Privateer) and full speech. Strike Commander also has an expanded introduction sequence. 2.3.4. Wing Commander Academy ------------------------------ A game with no plotline whatsoever, WCA was designed to appeal to the straight-out action gamers who prefer the dogfighting over the storyline. All the ships from WC2 plus a couple of new ones and a mission builder are included. 2.3.5. Wing Commander Armada ----------------------------- Much as WCA was designed to appeal to those who wanted to be able to create their own missions, Armada is aimed towards those who want a multiplayer Wing Commander game. Like Academy, there is no storyline to follow, but several new features not found in previous WC games are present. Not only can the player fly in "Gauntlet" mode, a straight shoot-'em-up where wave after wave of increasingly powerful enemy ships is thrown at them, but a new "Armada" mode is present, which is a strategy game requiring the player to manage planetary resources and build up a fleet to hunt down and destroy his/her opponent. Battle sequences in Armada mode place players in the cockpit so they can directly affect the outcome of each battle, creating an interesting mix of strategy and action. Most players agree that Armada's strengths lie in its multiplayer capabilities. Using a high speed modem, NetBIOS-compatible network, or a split-screen mode on a single computer, two pilot jockeys can both climb into their own fighters and play head-to-head or cooperatively. A recently released patch also adds a six-player mode and IPX network support. Needless to say, the multiplayer modes add a new dimension to the game not found in previous WC products. *2.3.6.* Wing Commander novels ------------------------------- Three novels set in the Wing Commander universe were published prior to WC3's release: _Freedom Flight_, by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon (the head writer for WC2), takes place during SM2, and has Paladin and Hunter as the main characters. The novel goes into detail on the Kilrathi defectors who were briefly mentioned in SM2 (and of which Hobbes from WC2 and WC3 was the leader), and gives the reader a good look at Firekkan culture. _End Run_, by Christopher Stasheff and William R. Forstchen, features Jason "Bear" Bondarevsky (SO1) as the protagonist and tells the story of how he is assigned to a new ship, the Tarawa, which is sent on a suicide mission into Kilrathi space. Other WC figures who are major characters in the novel are Paladin, Hunter, Sparks, and Admiral Tolwyn. _Fleet Action_, written by William R. Forstchen, is a direct sequel to _End Run_, picking up where its predecessor left off. The Kilrathi launch a major counteroffensive against the Confederation, who must come up with a last-ditch plan to avoid annihilation. _Heart of the Tiger_ is a recently-released novel adaption of WC3. Though not released until after the game, it is included here for convenience; see section 9.9.4 for more details. *2.3.6.1.* What are the ISBN numbers of the WC novels? ------------------------------------------------------- Several FAQ readers have asked me for more details on these novels so that they could order them through their local bookstores, so here they are: _Freedom Flight_, by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon. Published in 1992 by Baen Books. ISBN 0-671-72145-3. _End Run_, by Christopher Stasheff and William R. Forstchen. Published in 1994 by Baen Books. ISBN 0-671-72200-X. _Fleet Action_, by William R. Forstchen. Published in 1994 by Baen Books. ISBN 0-671-72211-5. _Heart of the Tiger_, by William R. Forstchen and Baen Books. Published in 1995 by Baen Books. ISBN 0-671-87653-8. 2.4. Who's this "Bluehair" guy? ================================== In WC 1 & 2, the player can choose any desired name and callsign for the main character, who has no name of his own. While these games were in development, Origin nicknamed our hero "Bluehair," a reference to the dark blue tint the artists gave to his hair. Since then, the nickname has been adopted by gamers of the online community as a convenient "handle" when discussing the main character in the first two Wing Commander games. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 3. Technical questions ******************************************************************************* 3.1. What are the system requirements for Wing Commander III? ================================================================ 3.1.1. How fast does my processor need to be? ---------------------------------------------- The official requirement is a 100% compatible Intel 486DX2/50 or greater processor, though many people (myself included) have found gameplay satisfactory on a 486/33. In other words, if you only have a 486/33, you should be able to run the game just fine, but don't say that Origin never warned you if it runs too slow for your tastes. It should be emphasized that non-Intel processors are NOT supported by Origin, though AMD chips seem to work fine with the game. Cyrix processors have several known compatibility problems with WC3, and will not function properly. 3.1.2. What kind of video card do I need? ------------------------------------------ The game runs on any VGA-compatible graphics card, though a fast VESA or PCI local bus card will help matters greatly. Of course, an SVGA card is required to play the game in SVGA mode. Note that "Windows accelerated" video cards may or may not perform well in standard DOS VGA, SVGA, or both. Since WC3 is a DOS-based application, with SVGA support provided through use of the VESA 1.2 SVGA extensions, the game's performance will depend on your video board's speed in these modes, which may not be as fast as its Windows performance. However, the normal VGA mode should run at acceptable speeds with almost any video board, assuming your system meets all the other requirements. 3.1.3. How much RAM do I need? ------------------------------- 8 megs are required; anything above that will primarily help cut down on the loading times before missions, cinematic cutscenes, and pauses in combat when the game loads sound effects for the first time (which is not necessarily a minor issue). 3.1.4. Do I need a CD-ROM drive? How fast? -------------------------------------------- Since Wing Commander III is a CD-ROM only release (no floppy version has been or will be released, like all of Origin's future products), yes, a CD-ROM drive is required. The official requirement is a double-speed drive; a single-speed will run the game, but the video playback may be choppy, pausing every few seconds to let the CD-ROM drive catch up. (On the other hand, I've talked to at least one person who was able to run the game with a fast single-speed and get very few pauses at all... proceed at your own risk, I guess.) 3.1.4.1. Will I need to worry about disc swapping? --------------------------------------------------- No. Even though the game comes on multiple CDs, once you finish playing on a disc, you'll be able to load the game from the following disc every time thereafter. 3.2. Does Wing Commander III take advantage of a math coprocessor? ===================================================================== No. If it did, then the game would not run on 486SX or SX2 systems, which still represent a significant market share of Origin's target audience. The only other option would be to write two separate versions of the game, one for 486SX systems and the other for 486DX systems; unfortunately, this would have added too much time to the development cycle. 3.3. Frame rates =================== 3.3.1. What kind of frame rates can I expect? ---------------------------------------------- These estimates, of course, are just that -- estimates -- and actual frame rates will vary from system to system; however, here's a chart (officially released by Origin) detailing how fast, in fps (frames per second), WC3 should run on your system during an average combat mission with a few Kilrathi: VGA SVGA SVGA (with fast local bus video card) 486/33 12 4 10 486/50 16 10 14 486/66 20 13 18 Pentium/60 24 15 20 Pentium/90 24 15 24 Pentium/133 30 20 29 Note that the local bus SVGA figures are optimal; some local bus video cards are faster than others, so you may not get those numbers if your card isn't among the fastest available. All of these figures are averages for space combat with other fighters... around capital ships, the game will run about 3-5 frames fps slower. Cinematics should run acceptably in VGA on any system that meets the minimum requirements, and can probably run in SVGA on a 486DX2/66 or faster. Slower systems (i.e., a 486/33) will probably be able to run the cinematics in VGA, albeit with occasional pauses in the video playback. 3.3.2. How can I tell what frame rates I'm getting? ---------------------------------------------------- During spaceflight, pressing Ctrl-F will toggle a little frame rate monitor in the corner of the screen. Note that this is different than the Alt-F keystroke that was used to do the same thing in the demo. You cannot check your frame rate during the cinematics, but they should always run at a constant speed anyway. 3.4. How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander III? =============================================================== The game takes up FOUR CD-ROMs, so somewhere between 2 and 2.5 gigabytes. A minimum of of about 20 megabytes of hard drive space will be required for a swap file that WC3 creates; you have the option of installing another 40 megabytes of data to the hard drive to speed up loading times between missions and such. 3.5. Does Wing Commander III support both a VGA and SVGA mode? At what resolutions? ========================================================================== Yes. Though designed as an SVGA application, Origin made sure that WC3 runs, first and foremost, as a VGA game in the standard 320x200x256 resolution. The high-resolution SVGA mode (640x480x256 in spaceflight, 320x400x256 for the cinematics) is an optional feature that will run acceptably on some systems and not on others (see the frame rate chart in section 3.3 above). The user also has the option of running the gameplay and/or cinematic sequences independently in either SVGA or VGA mode... whichever is best suited for their system. It should also be noted that if, during spaceflight, the system can't keep up with the graphics at the resolution the user has set, gameplay is not slowed down -- frames are skipped so that game time still passes at the same rate. In other words, the game will get choppier, but not slower (not much, at any rate). 3.5.1. When can I switch between the VGA and SVGA modes? --------------------------------------------------------- Any time you want. You aren't limited to doing it only between missions or anything like that; it can be done with a single keypress at any point during gameplay. The game will even (optionally) switch between video resolutions for you automatically, dropping down to VGA if the frame rate gets too slow, and then jumping back to SVGA when it climbs back up. Cinematics, however, can not be changed on the fly -- you need to wait until the clip you're watching is over, and then head towards the nearest computer terminal on your ship to change the game settings (or, alternately, you can run the WC3 setup program from DOS and change it from there). 3.5.2. Is the graphic detail level configurable? ------------------------------------------------- Somewhat. You can set the game to low, medium, or high detail, which determines the amount of texture mapping that is done (see section 3.8). On high detail, all ships and objects are texture mapped, medium detail takes the texture maps off the capital ships, and low detail has all ships drawn using only polygons. This detail level is independent of the VGA/SVGA setting. 3.6. Does Wing Commander III support the ReelMagic or any other MPEG cards? ============================================================================== No. An MPEG version might still be released at some point in the future, but this is unlikely. 3.7. What's the sound support like? ==================================== 3.7.1. What sound cards are supported? --------------------------------------- Wing Commander III supports the following sound cards: Ensoniq Soundscape Gravis Ultrasound Gravis Ultrasound Max Pro Audio Spectrum Roland Sound Canvas Roland RAP-10 SoundBlaster SoundBlaster Pro SoundBlaster/16 SoundBlaster AWE-32 Any other General MIDI compliant sound hardware 3.7.1.1. Are the digital sound capabilities of the RAP-10 taken advantage of? ---------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. (Many games use the RAP-10 to play music, but require the player to use another sound card for digital sound playback. Not WC3!) 3.7.2. Does WC3 have 16-bit sound effects? ------------------------------------------- Yes, all sound effects are in 16-bit stereo. 3.7.3. Can WC3 play multiple digital sound samples simultaneously? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Wing Commander III can play 32 different digitized sound samples simultaneously. 3.8. Does Wing Commander III use bitmaps or polygon-based graphics? What's the difference? ====================================================================== WC3, like some previous Origin releases (Strike Commander, Wings of Glory), uses texture-mapped polygons instead of plain bitmaps (as previous Wing Commander games did). For those of you who aren't familiar with the advantages of a polygon-based graphics engine, allow me to explain... The first two Wing Commander games use bitmaps to represent the ships and other objects in space. The ships themselves are actually centered at a single point in space, and their boundaries are defined by an invisible box surrounding that point. Note that their boundaries are defined by a 3-D _box_, rather than the shape of the ship you see on the screen... that's why, for example, gun shots that come really close to an enemy (but don't actually hit his image on the screen) explode in the space next to him and still do damage -- they hit the invisible box surrounding the ship. As this box flies around space and tries to shoot you, a 2-D image of a spaceship is placed on it that is changed to reflect what angle you're looking at the box from. Thus, all of the ships in the first two WC games are actually flying boxes that just have _pictures_ of one-man fighters slapped on them. Still following? Good. Now, a polygon-based engine -- the kind WC3 uses -- is much different. Rather than having their boundaries defined by an invisible box, objects are made up of geometric shapes... a cylinder might represent the body of a plane, two triangles could represent for the wings, and so forth. These boundary-defining shapes _are_ visible to the player, unlike the flying boxes of WC1 and 2. Since a ship made up of plain polygons can look a bit ugly (take a look at some flight simulators from four or five years ago), various techniques are used to improve their appearance. WC3 uses "texture mapping", which means that a texture (a "texture" being a picture of anything from a sheet of glass to a certain color of metal to a picture of a pilot in a cockpit) is placed on these bare polygons to give them a more attractive appearance. The final result? Ships that still look really cool, but that are much more clearly "defined." There are many more advantages to this than just NOT having your gunfire hit the space next to your opponent and still do damage... check out section 4.2 for some examples of what is made possible by the use of the polygon-based flight engine in Wing 3. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 4. Gameplay issues ******************************************************************************* In some ways, WC3 scarcely resembles its predecessors; the SVGA graphics make everything four times as sharp, combat moves at a faster pace, and some things (such as the capital ship and planetside combat) are an entirely new experience altogether. 4.1. Is the flight model in WC3 the same as in previous WC games? ==================================================================== Yes and no. There are two flight models available in WC3 that the user can choose between: the traditional WC flight model, as in WC1 and WC2, or a new flight model (similar to the one used in X-Wing) where your ship will roll whenever you yaw (turn left or right). 4.2. What are capital ships and capital ship combat like? ============================================================ This is one of the areas most improved over previous WC games. The days when all capital ships were little more than big, ugly-looking, sluggish fighters that waited for you to fire your guns and blast them to kingdom come are gone. In WC3, the capital ships are huge -- some are thousands of times as long as your ship, in fact -- so when you fly up to one, you really are struck with a sense of awe rather than a sense of boredom. The detail on them is tremendous; you can easily see little windows dotting the hull, or fly over and look at the flight deck. The really neat thing is, these aren't all just for decoration, either... you can actually fly around _inside_ of a ship's hangar (this is made possible by that wonderful polygon technology talked about in section 3.8). Actual combat with capships is much more involved, as well. Destroying a carrier in the earlier WC games often involved little more than a few strafing runs, unloading your guns each time, until you broke through the shields and armor (or, in the case of some of the ships in WC2, sitting there until you got a torpedo lock and _then_ firing). Either way, it was fairly monotonous and generally not very challenging. In WC3, this is no longer the case... you'll probably need to make several attack runs at a capship, dodging a flurry of laser blasts and trying to pick off gun turrets with your blasters each time before it's safe enough to try and destroy it. 4.2.1. Manual takeoffs and landings ------------------------------------ In WC3, takeoffs and landings do not have to be automatic; you have the option to do them manually by adjusting your speed appropriately and steering your ship into or out of the hangar bay. Not terribly complex, but more interesting than simply flying next your carrier and letting the automatic landing system kick in (though you can still do that if you get lazy.) ;) 4.2.2. Collision detection --------------------------- Unfortunately, WC3 has some problems detecting collisions with large ships. Sometimes crashing into a ship will eat into your shields and send you careening off in another direction (as it should), but other times you will actually fly _into_ a capital ship's hull, turning the screen into an odd mess of polygons... and then probably crash trying to fly out. This doesn't impede gameplay very much, since you don't often go smashing into capital ships, but needless to say, it doesn't do much for the suspension of disbelief... 4.3. What are the planetside missions like? ============================================== There are four ground missions in Wing 3, all of which are important to the plot. Planetside combat was designed with playability rather than realism in mind, so the game doesn't take any actual aerodynamics into account... there really aren't any real-world physics to worry about. Your ship's "repulsors" negate the effects of gravity, and you also don't have to worry about g-forces, engine stalls, or other similar considerations present in most flight sims. These same repulsors limit you to an altitude of 1,000-2,000 meters. For all practical purposes, planetside missions are just like space combat, though you've got terrain to avoid crashing into and a special indicator that appears on your HUD which monitors your orientation with respect to the ground. Mission objectives usually include strafing runs on ground targets. Unfortunately, the terrain is pretty barren; there are no forests, rivers, deserts, oceans, or anything... simply an endless array of jagged mountains and valleys, rendered in monochromatic shaded polygons with no texture mapping. Atmospheric flight isn't particularly breathtaking, but it does at least serve to add some variety to the missions you fly. 4.4. How many different ships comprise the Terran and Kilrathi fleets? ========================================================================= The Terran Confederation has five types of capital ships and fighters at its disposal, two of which have rear gun turrets (complete with computer-controlled gunners who take over for you when you're not using them). The Empire of Kilrah has a more varied population of ships in their fleet, with eight kinds of fighters and seven kinds of capital ships. None of the old WC1/WC2 craft are used. 4.5. What new technologies are the Terrans armed with that I can use? ======================================================================== In addition to the five new types of fighters in WC3 that the player will have a chance to fly, the Confederation has also discovered the secret of cloaking technology, so you'll be able to fly a stealth ships during one mission. 4.6. How much control do players have over the missions they fly (e.g., their ship, wingman, weapons loadout, etc.)? ========================================================================== You're allowed to choose who your wingman will be, what ship you'll fly, and your ship's weapon loadout for each mission. You won't be able to choose which pilots fly on the other wings -- that's generally not even an issue in the game. 4.6.1. How does the weapon selection work? ------------------------------------------- The guns on your ship are fixed and can't be changed, but you always get to allocate your missiles however you like. Unlike the weapon selection in Strike Commander, you have an unlimited supply of ammunition, and a heavy payload won't affect flight dynamics, either. This doesn't, however, mean that you'll want to load up your ship with as many Friend-or-Foe missiles as you can each time you fly a mission, because they're slower and pack less punch than other missiles (such as regular old heat-seekers) that are harder to get a lock with. It's a tradeoff, and you'll have to make a decision about your payload based on what kind of opposition you think you'll be facing. Choosing the appropriate weapon loadout for the task at hand may make a significant difference in your performance in battle. 4.7. How good is the artifical intelligence in WC3? ====================================================== Excellent. Not only are your wingmen very effective (you may have a bit of trouble when you start out matching their kill tallies), but the Kilrathi are intelligent, too, especially on later levels... they even employ group tactics to try and fry you. Different wingmen also have distinct flying styles, ranging from a reckless near-suicidal approach to combat to a more cautious attack methodology. 4.8. What other notable game features are present in Wing Commander III? =========================================================================== 4.8.1. The 3-D navigational map -------------------------------- The first two WC games used a two-dimensional navigation map to show the area surrounding the player. The obvious failing of this system is that it could not show Z coordinates; the map might have the player's ship directly on top of a jump point, when in reality he/she was a hundred thousand clicks _above_ the destination. WC3 employs an actual three-dimensional nav map to give the player a better idea of his/her surroundings. The map can be rotated on all three axes and zoomed in and out so that the environment may be viewed from any angle and any distance. 4.8.2. Power management ------------------------ You can allocate your ship's power among engines, weapons, shields, and damage control during battle. 4.9. What game features _aren't_ present in Wing Commander III? ================================================================== 4.9.1. The "virtual cockpit" ----------------------------- No 3-D cockpit was included in WC3, primarily becuase it slowed things down too much in SVGA mode and became more of a hindrance than a help. The usual left, right, and rear views are present instead. You can still turn the cockpit off altogether, though -- the WC3 ships all have a HUD, so vital information remains on the screen when the cockpit graphics are turned off. 4.9.2. VCR replay mode ----------------------- There wasn't enough time in the development cycle to include one. 4.9.3. Color communications consoles ------------------------------------- They tried, but the space color palette didn't support flesh tones very well. *4.9.4.* Can you go back and replay specific missions? ------------------------------------------------------- Not technically -- though since you have a vast number of savegame slots, you can build your own mission library as you work through the game. 4.9.5. Can you transfer old characters from WC2 to WC3? -------------------------------------------------------- Sorry, no. 4.9.6. Multiplayer modem and/or network support ------------------------------------------------ Not WC3. If you want multiplayer Wing Commander, then give Wing Commander Armada a try (see section 2.2.5.). -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 5. Cinematics and storyline mechanics ******************************************************************************* 5.1. What distinguishes the cinematics and storyline in Wing Commander III? ============================================================================== There are two fundamental differences between the cinematics in WC3 and those in WC1 and 2. First, the live acting; all of the cinematic sequences are played out in full motion video by live actors, rather than being hand- and computer-drawn as in the first two games. This has numerous advantages, including the fact that a wider variety of camera angles is present, rather than the frontal face shots that were used nearly exclusively in WC1 and 2. Secondly, the cinematic sequences are no longer completely passive. The player can now choose how he/she responds in certain situations by selecting one of several choices from a list of possible dialogue responses. This, in turn, alters the way the story unfolds, so two people who play the game with different dialogue choices may experience quite a different plotline. (A normal movie script is about 120 pages; the script for WC3 is 300 pages long so that all of the different outcomes and dialogue choices were covered.) 5.1.1. In what ways can choices made during the cinematic sequences alter the storyline? -------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are a few times -- maybe four or five spots in the game -- where choosing a particular course of action will have major ramifications on the rest of the story. Your actions might inadvertantly cause the death of one of your wingmen, for example, or you may have the chance to start a romantic relationship with a shipmate. The rest of the choices will only determine how the current scene is played out, and possibly have an impact on a pilot's morale, but this doesn't affect their flying ability drastically. Grouchy pilots, however, are less likely to follow your orders... or, in the case of Maniac and Flash, are *more* likely to follow your orders. The importance of all these seemingly insignificant storyline choices, however, should not be discounted. Though most of them have no major effect on the game outside of the cinematics, all of them help insure that Blair acts the same way the player would in a given situation. Whether the player realizes it or not, these choices will make him/her better able to relate to his/her alter ego in the game (Blair)... a vital element for drawing them into the story. 5.1.2. Can your wingmen actually die during an average mission, or are there safeguards built in to prevent this? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- In WC1, when your wingman is shot down, he or she dies, no longer to assist the player in any future missions. In WC2, in order to preserve the story continuity, a wingman would instantly eject before their fighter was destroyed (remember G.I.Joe?), since the way the story was written made it hard to remove a character without seriously disrupting the continuity of the plotline. In WC3, most of the missions follow the WC2 method of the "automatic ejection seat." However, after a certain point in the game, if your wingman is shot down in combat, he or she will die, so there _is_ an element of danger involved. 5.2. How is live acting integrated into the cinematic sequences? =================================================================== All acting was done in advance in front of a green screen -- which is, as the name suggests, a cloth backdrop spray painted green. The background sets, which encompass everything from the throne room of the Kilrathi Palace to the hangar deck on your carrier, are rendered on Silicon Graphics workstations (the same ones used in the making of Jurassic Park). After the acting is done and the backgrounds have been generated, they are overlaid on top of the green backdrop in the film footage. The result is a video sequence with live actors in a very realistic-looking computer-generated environment. 5.2.1. How much live acting is contained in the cinematic sequences? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- About three and a half hours of footage was filmed for the game. Of course, you won't see all of this playing the game through just once, since it has a branching storyline. 5.2.2. Why don't some of the actors look like their characters? ---------------------------------------------------------------- During the casting for Wing Commander III, the primary concern was finding actors who could accurately portray the Wing Commander characters' personalities; physical appearance was secondary. While it was certainly nice to find an actor or actress who not only was able to play the role well but also looked like the character in mind, this wasn't always possible, as in the case of the actor taking the role of Paladin (John Rhys-Davies). 5.2.3. How is the acting for the Kilrathi characters accomplished? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Think "Darth Vader", and you'll have a pretty good idea. An actor wears an elaborate costume (made by the same group who did the masks for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, by the way), and acts out the motions for his character in front of the camera. Facial expressions and lip movements on the robotic masks are controlled by another technician off-camera, and voices are dubbed in later by a separate voice actor. The combination works quite well. The Kilrathi _do_ look like puppets, but very convincing ones -- their movements, voices, and facial expressions are very lifelike, and it's easy to lose yourself in the movie and forget that they're just some guy wearing a mask. 5.3. How good do the final cinematic sequences look? ======================================================= This is obviously a difficult question to answer... not only because it's hard to define in words, also because it's largely a matter of opinion. My personal views are that the video is very well done. The video quality isn't the greatest -- it's heavily dithered, and objects sometimes leave faint "streaks" when they move around on the screen (this effect is difficult to describe if you haven't actually seen it), but frankly, it still kills anything else I've ever seen on my lowly 486/33, and most people I've talked to who own higher-end systems were equally impressed. Once I watched it for a few minutes, it seemed almost as good as regular TV. The acting surprised me the most; it's actually good! No one's going to win any Oscars for their performances, but they honestly aren't that bad... at least as good as your average TV show, and certainly better than most (if not all) computer games to date. The artifical elements blend in really well, too... the computer generated backgrounds do not look at all unreal once all of the video has been overlaid, and while it's easy to tell that the Kilrathi characters are fake (see section 5.2.3.), the facial expressions and lip-syncing of the electronic masks are well done and their movements are very lifelike. Of course, these are my own opinions, and are subject to your own whims and preferences. Personal mileage may vary. 5.4. Who are the characters in Wing Commander III, and who are the actors and actresses playing their roles? ============================================================================ Character names are listed first, with the name of the actor or actress in parentheses. In the cases of the Kilrathi characters, the voice actor is listed. 5.4.1. Col. Christopher Blair (Mark Hamill) -------------------------------------------- In Wing Commander III, the player takes the role of Colonel Christopher Blair, a veteran Confederate pilot who commands the fighter squadron on his ship. Throughout the course of the game, you not only fly dozens of missions against the Kilrathi, but deal with intercharacter relationships with your shipmates as well -- you even get to choose your own love interest. Blair is portrayed by Mark Hamill, best known for his starring role as Luke Skywalker in the "Star Wars" movie trilogy. He has also been seen in "The Guyver," "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," "Britannia Hospital", and others. Voice acting work includes playing The Joker in the Batman animated television series and "Mask of the Phantasm" motion picture, and a role in Sierra's interactive adventure game, "Gabriel Knight." 5.4.2. Maj. James "Paladin" Taggart (John Rhys-Davies) ------------------------------------------------------- Veterans of the first two Wing Commander games will certainly remember Paladin, the Scottish officer who has been serving in the Navy for several decades. Taking this role is John Rhys-Davies, who has appeared as Sallah in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," and has also played characters in "The Living Daylights," "Firewalker," and others. He is currently starring in FOX's "Sliders" as Professor Maximillian Arturo, and is the host of the Discovery Channel's "Archaeology." 5.4.3. Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn (Malcolm McDowell) -------------------------------------------------- Those who only played WC2 probably remember Tolwyn as a hard-nosed, strict commander who never really seemed to care about much besides making the player's life difficult. Those who read the WC novels should have a more positive impression of him; that of a just, honorable officer who places morality and ethics above authority and discipline. (Yeah, it sounds cliched, but true.) Whatever picture you have of Tolwyn, he'll be present in WC3, played by Malcolm McDowell. McDowell has been in movies such as "A Clockwork Orange," "Time After Time," "Britannia Hospital" (with WC3 co-star Mark Hamill), the recent "Tank Girl," and others. He also played the role of the villain Soran in the recent "Star Trek: Generations" motion picture. 5.4.4. Capt. William Eisen (Jason Bernard) ------------------------------------------- Eisen, the commander of the TCS Victory, is another newcomer to the Wing Commander saga, played by Jason Bernard (currently starring in the TV series "Herman's Head.") Bernard has also appeared on "The Cosby Show," "St. Elsewhere," "Knot's Landing," "Night Court," "The Flash," and others. Film credits include, but are not limited to, "War Games," "Blue Thunder" (with WC3 co-star Malcolm McDowell), and most recently, "While You Were Sleeping." 5.4.5. The TCS Victory's fighter pilots ---------------------------------------- 5.4.5.1. Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall (Tom Wilson) -------------------------------------------------- Another character from the earlier WC games, Maniac is a brash, unpredictable pilot who has a stubborn "to-hell-with-the-rules" attitude that has put himself and his shipmates in danger countless times. He is, however, a highly skilled pilot, and the Confederation Confederation needs all the help they can get... Maniac is portrayed by Tom Wilson, who you've probably seen as Biff in the "Back to the Future" trilogy. Wilson has also been in "Blood In... Blood Out," "Action Jackson," "April Fool's Day," and others. 5.4.5.2. Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters (Jennifer MacDonald) ------------------------------------------------------- One of the possible love interests for the player, Flint is a member of your flight squadron who has quite a dynamic character hidden underneath her cool, calm exterior. She is played by Jennifer MacDonald, who has been seen in "Terminal Force," "The Collector," "Shades of Black," "Dream On," "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.," and more. 5.4.5.3. Col. Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas (John Schuck) -------------------------------------------------------- Originally assigned to be a bridge officer on your ship, you pull some strings to get him placed on your fighter squadron, where he again takes the role of one of your fellow wingmen as he did in the previous WC games. Some of the other pilots don't like the idea of a Kilrathi crewmate, and racism is a problem you'll have to deal with as the Victory's Wing Commander. 5.4.5.4. Lt. Laurel "Cobra" Buckley (B. J. Jefferson) ------------------------------------------------------ Cobra spent a great deal of her childhood in a Kilrathi prison camp, and though she eventually escaped, she harbors a great deal of pure hatred towards the cats. The fact that Hobbes is on board doesn't make dealing with her any easier, either. 5.4.5.5. Lt. Winston "Vagabond" Chang (Francois Chau) ------------------------------------------------------ He's a good pilot and a pretty decent guy, but there's something mysterious about Vagabond. Large gaps in his personnel bio and his reluctance to talk about his past lead you to wonder if he's hiding something. If so, what is it... and why is it such a secret? 5.4.5.6. Lt. Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez (Julian Reyes) ----------------------------------------------------- Vaquero is about as nice as they come, and is the kind of guy who just exudes friendliness. You'll find yourself quite at ease while talking to him, listening to his dream of opening a cantina after the war, and passing the days just sitting back in his chair and strumming on his guitar... 5.4.5.7. Maj. Jace "Flash" Dillon (Joshua Lucas) ------------------------------------------------- The Confederation is in the middle of developing a new kind of fighter craft to add to their arsenal, and Flash is the chosen test pilot. Unfortunately, he's a bit of a hotshot who has never seen the horrors of war face-to-face, and his naive views make him a less than stellar example of what a military officer should be... Joshua Lucas, the actor playing Flash, is a regular on "The Man From Snowy River". On the big screen, he has been seen in "Alive" and "Class of '61." 5.4.6. Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis (Ginger Lynn Allen) ------------------------------------------------------ Rachel is a repair tech on the ship on which Blair serves, and is the second potential love interest for the player. The actress who plays her, Ginger Lynn Allen, has starred in "Young Guns II," "Skin Deep," "Leather Jackets", and many "adult" films. TV credits include "Silk Stalkings," "Sunset Beat," and a current recurring role on "NYPD Blue." 5.4.7. Lt. Ted "Radio" Rollins (Courtney Gains) ------------------------------------------------ Courtney Gains takes on the role of Rollins, the Victory's communications officer. Rollins suffers from a heavy does of paranoia, convinced that the war effort is taking a catastrophic turn for the Confederaion. As the story goes on, however, you may begin to suspect that he's not as crazy as everyone thinks he is... Gains has been seen in "Memphis Belle," "The 'Burbs," "Colors," "Can't Buy Me Love," and "Back to the Future," among others. TV credits include "Seinfeld," "Tales From the Crypt," and "In the Heat of the Night," and more. 5.4.8. Col. Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux (Yolanda Jilot) ------------------------------------------------------- Your girlfriend from WC2, Angel left on a top-secret mission for Confed's Special Operations divison, and you haven't seen nor heard from her in months. The only things you have to remind you of her are a couple of photographs and a short holo-recording which you keep in your locker on the Victory... 5.4.9. The Emperor of Kilrah (Alan Mandell) -------------------------------------------- The Emperor is back again, ready to lead the Kilrathi Empire on an offensive to crush the Confederation once and for all. He makes a couple of brief appearances, once during the introduction, and once during each of the closing sequences. 5.4.10. Prince Thrakhath (John Rhys-Davies) ------------------------------------------- WC3 wouldn't be complete without your favorite old arch-nemesis, and sure enough, the heir to the Kilrathi throne is back for the latest installment in the WC series. Thrakhath's voice is done by John Rhys-Davies, who also plays the role of Paladin (see section 5.4.2). 5.4.11. Melek (Tim Curry) ------------------------- Melek is the Kilrathi warrior who is Thrakhath's second-in-command. He makes scattered appearances throughout the game, usually at his Prince's side. Tim Curry, probably most easily remembered as the transvestite in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," did the voice acting for Melek in WC3. Curry also did voice acting in Sierra's "Gabriel Knight," along with WC3 co-star Mark Hamill. 5.5. Do any other characters from previous Wing Commander games make an appearance in Wing Commander III? ========================================================================== Aside from the characters mentioned in section 5.4 above, no one from previous WC games makes an appearance, nor is anything mentioned as to their current status or whereabouts. 5.6. Do I get to pick my player's name or callsign? ====================================================== Your name (Christopher Blair) is assigned to you and cannot be changed. You can pick a callsign for yourself, though it is not used during the cinematic sequences, since the spoken dialogue cannot change to reflect the callsign you choose. It is instead used in places such as the kill board posted on the ship, while during the cinematics you are referred to by your "real" name (Blair) or a title ("Sir," etc.) -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 6. The Wing Commander III demo ******************************************************************************* 6.1. Is the demo playable? If so, what do I get to do? ========================================================== Yes, the demo is fully playable. It allows the player to fly a Confederation Arrow light fighter on a scouting mission during which you fight six Kilrathi opponents. The demo does not include the "gameflow" sequences in between missions that the full release does... this means that you will not be able to walk around your home ship, the TCS Victory, nor will you be able to interact with the many characters that populate the WC3 universe. However, the playable section of the demo will give you an excellent idea of what the final version of WC3 is like, as the gameplay is nearly identical (see section 6.5.1 below for a list of differences). The demo also contains a self-running introduction that gives you an idea of the basic plot of WC3, and introduces you to many of the characters that you will encounter in the WC universe. The demo introduction is not the same as (or as long as) the final version's introduction; the two share some footage, but the introduction from the demo is made up of scenes from throughout the game, much like a motion picture trailer. 6.2. Obtaining and installing the WC3 demo ============================================= 6.2.1. Where can I get a copy of the WC3 demo? ----------------------------------------------- There are several sources. PC Gamer magazine bundles a CD-ROM filled with demos and patches with their magazine, and the December 1994 CD contains the complete WC3 demo. CD-ROM Today also had the CD demo with their November-December 1994 issue. You could order either of these back issues from the publishers to get a copy. A more convenient place, assuming you have access to the internet, is via FTP at ftp.funet.fi, in the /pub/msdos/games/demos/wc3demo directory, or at ftp.pht.com in /pub/msdos/games/demos. You can also find it on the World Wide Web -- http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain, in the Direct Download section. If you decide to download the WC3 demo as opposed to getting it on CD, be prepared for a bit of a wait, as the complete demo is approximately 25 megabytes in size. 6.2.2. What are the system requirements for the WC3 demo? ---------------------------------------------------------- The demo requirements are the same as those for the release version of WC3: Intel 486DX2/50 or greater processor, 8 megs of RAM, VGA or SVGA (recommended), 100% Microsoft-compatible mouse driver, and approximately 25 megs of hard drive space. All major sound cards are natively supported. Note that even though a 486/50 is Origin's official minimum requirement, most users have reported that a 486/33 ISA PC is adequate for VGA gameplay. 6.2.3. Why did my system get faster ratings from the demo than from the actual game? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Both the demo and the full version rate your processor and video speed on a descending scale, with a score of 1 being the best. It is likely that test results from the demo version will be better than results from the final version, but this does not mean that the game's performance will be diminished when playing the full game. Rather, it indicates that Origin tweaked these tests a little bit in the final release by changing the scale on which your computer's performance is rated. 6.3. What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running the demo? ============================================================================= The WC3 demo had not been as extensively tested as the final product was -- it was released to the public as a work in progress, or just a taste of what the final version was to offer. It's reasonably safe to assume that any problems present in the final version of WC3 are also present in the demo, but NOT vice- versa -- bugs that are present in the demo may have been fixed by the time the game was released. Refer to Origin's technical FAQ (see section 10.4) for detailed solutions to any problems that you may be having. Gamers who are using the demo included with the PC Gamer CD-ROM may wish to copy the entire 25 meg demo to their hard drive; this will provide speedier loading times, and allow the player to bypass the graphical PC Gamer front-end. 6.4. Are there any undocumented and/or underdocumented commands available while flying? ============================================================================ Yes, there are several: ~ Toggle afterburners on/off P Power management (see section 6.4.1) Caps Lock Autoslide (see section 6.4.2) Alt-F Toggle frame rate counter Alt-1 VGA mode Alt-2 VGA "double-buffering mode" (*) Alt-3 SVGA mode Alt-4 SVGA "double-buffering mode" (*) Alt-L Automatic mode-switching for fastest frame rate (**) Alt-P Pause spaceflight Ctrl-X Alternate flight control mode (***) Alt-M Activate keyboard controls Alt-J Activate joystick controls Ctrl-Left Arrow Make demo darker Ctrl-Right Arrow Make demo brighter (*)Double-buffering mode affects the way WC3 and your video card draw objects on the screen. Under certain circumstances users will receive a faster frame rate with this mode turned on, usually if you have a local bus video card. (**)ALT-L will tell the WC3 demo to automatically switch from SVGA to VGA (and vice-versa) whenever an unusually low or high frame rate warrants such a change. (***)CTRL-X toggles between one of two flight models WC3 can use... see section 4.1 for details. 6.4.1. Power management ------------------------ As mentioned in section 4.8.2, WC3 allows you to allocate your ship's power to different systems. This is implemented in the demo, though it is not mentioned in the documentation. Pressing P will bring up the power management screen which consists of four blue bars, each with a letter next to it corresponding to one of your ship's primary systems: E -- Engines W -- Weapons S -- Shields D -- Damage control The [ and ] keys are used to change the amount of power allocated to the current system (indicated by which letter is highlighted). You can select a system by pressing the P key repeatedly. 6.4.2. Autoslide ----------------- As soon as you press the Caps Lock key, you will be able to turn your ship without changing the direction you are moving; this will continue for as long as you hold the key down. The instant you release it, you will again start to move in the direction you are facing. This makes possible some maneuvers that would be otherwise difficult to do. In the final version of the game, not all fighters can do this; it is only available in Arrows and the Excalibur. 6.5. Comparing the demo to the final product... ================================================== 6.5.1. How does the demo's gameplay differ from the release version's gameplay? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- There are several small differences... missiles in the WC3 demo are not nearly as effective as their counterparts in the final version. You will not have a wingman with you in the demo, whereas you will fly a solo mission in the final version only under special circumstances. Communications are not implemented, and the enemy AI in the demo is locked at "rookie", so the opponents you face will be little more than moving targets. 6.5.2. Will my frame rate in the final version of WC3 be the same, better, or worse than in the demo? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most likely it will be slightly better. The programming team at Origin made a number of refinements and optimizations to the WC3 code between the release of the demo and the release of the full version, resulting in slight improvements in the frame rate. With the demo, an i486DX2/66 VESA Local Bus machine, equipped with a speedy video card, can achieve a continuous frame rate of 20-24 FPS in WC3's VGA mode. The same machine will provide a high-end of approximately 18 FPS in SVGA mode, dropping down to a low of 5 FPS or so when the screen is filled with capital ships, exploding debris, full-motion video, etc. On a full-blown Pentium 90 or 100MHz system with 16 megs of RAM, players of WC3 report near-religious gaming experiences. 6.6. Are there any screen shots available? =========================================== Maybe you don't have access to any FTP sites (or just don't want to download a 25 meg program), or would rather not go through the hassle and waiting time involved in getting a CD copy of the demo. In either case, there is still another way to get an idea of what the game looks like... Two sets of screen shots have been uploaded onto several major online services by Origin. The first were from some fairly early stages in game development and did not accurately represent what the final product would look like, so they were removed. The second batch was uploaded fairly close to the game's actual release and is still available for downloading. 6.6.1. What do the screen shots contain? ----------------------------------------- Some external shots of a Confederate Arrow (a light fighter) flying in space and near a capital ship are present. There are also some images from the cinematic sequences, including a scene with Blair and Paladin standing planetside, Rachel (the flight mechanic) on the flight deck, and Admiral Tolwyn leaning over a desk in his office. No cockpit shots or enemy fighters are present in any of the images. 6.6.2. Are those screen shots really from playable sequences, or just cinematic scenes? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, the external shots of the Arrow flying by the Confederate carrier are are from the playable portion of the game. It is obvious which of the pictures are from the cinematic sequences and these also reflect how the game should look on your screen. 6.6.3. Where can I find the screen shots? ------------------------------------------ You can get them from the official Origin support forum on most online services, or from the Origin BBS (see section 10.4 for details). -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 7. Strategies and tips ******************************************************************************* WARNING: Many questions in this section (though not all) contain major spoilers. It may be best if you only read the questions necessary to get you past the place in the game where you're stuck, so as not to ruin the story. Consider this an extra warning... :) 7.1. General mission strategies ================================== 7.1.1. Is there anything I need to do at the start of a mission? ----------------------------------------------------------------- Here's a checklist to go through every time you leave the Victory and go out on a mission: - Turn off the cockpit by pressing F1. This is to increase the frame rate. - Press Alt-3 to switch to double buffering mode (as described on page 7 of the Installation Guide) and increase the frame rate even more. NOTE: Some computers, especially those with slower graphics cards, will find that Alt-4 gives a better framerate than Alt-3. Again, see the Installation Guide for details. - Adjust your power settings (see the following section). - Activate full guns by pressing 'F'. - Look at the navmap ('N'). (For curiosity; it's not necessary.) 7.1.2. Any tips on power management? ------------------------------------- Power is divided into four areas: Engines: Below 25%, the maximum velocity of your craft will decrease. Above 25%, the maximum velocity will not change, but acceleration and deceleration will improve, i.e. the ship will respond to speed changes more quickly. Shields: This is how quickly your shields will recharge. Weapons: This is how quickly your weapon batteries will rechage. Damage: Every fighter is equipped with an automatic damage repair system. This vital system will fix any part of your ship that isn't destroyed at a rate proportional to how much power is allocated to damage. Remember that the repair system will not be able to fix any system that is completely destroyed (100% damage). Also, remember that armor cannot be repaired or regenerated. Most of the time, you'll want to turn off damage control and use the extra power in other systems. You'll also want to keep engines somewhere at 25 to 30 percent, since you'll want maximum velocity, but extra acceleration doesn't make much of a difference. The rest of the power should be divided up between the shields and the weapons. Here are my preferred power settings. Remember that the percentages given are just estimates, since the power display gives only bar graphs and no numerical data. Against fighters: 25% Engines 45% Weapons 30% Shields 0% Damage Against capital ships: 25% Engines 30% Weapons 45% Shields 0% Damage During combat, when my armor is hit, I always make sure to check my damage reports by pressing 'D'. If anything is damaged, I just turn up the power to damage control by a couple of notches. Then when there are no more enemies to worry about and I'm still sustaining damage, I crank the power to 100% until all the damage is repaired, then set my power back to my original settings. 7.1.3. I need some basic dogfighting pointers. ----------------------------------------------- First of all, remember that a target that is constantly swerving is MUCH harder to hit than a target that moves in a straight line. So whenever the enemy starts to pound on your shields, hit the afterburners and start moving your fighter in every possible direction except straight ahead. However, if you normally double-click button #2 to afterburn, you will not be able to swerve while holding down the button (i.e. you'll still travel in a straight line), since turning the joystick left or right will simply cause your ship to roll. Try to get into the habit of keeping one hand on the joystick (or mouse) and keeping the other hand on the [Tab] key so that you can hit afterburners and maneuver at the same time. Secondly, try not to get caught up trying to chase down an evading Kilrathi fighter. One of the Kilrathi's favorite tricks is to have one fighter try to draw your firepower away while the others fly around to your six (or rear) and fire away. To turn the tables and make their trick work in your favor, select an enemy fighter and start pursuing it with your guns. After a few seconds, you'll notice that your selected target will start swerving around while the other enemy fighters move to your rear. At this time, quickly hit 'T' to switch your target to any one of those fighters, then spin around to face your new target. Most likely, you'll find your new target flying straight at you with his guns blazing. That's when you open fire and punch right through his shields. Don't worry about the enemy's firepower; in a head-to- head engagement like this one, the enemy will not be able to aim as well as in other angles of engagement. Third, beware of those fighters with rear turrets, like the Vaktoth or Paktahn. The Paktahn's rear mass driver is especially dangerous since it doesn't look like much until you notice that your front armor is starting to wear away. Ideally, you'll want to engage these fighters from the sides, but a head-to-head pass can work, too. 7.1.4. I keep getting killed by all those missiles the Kilrathi launch. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is usually a problem in the higher difficulty levels like Crazy and Nightmare. If you use a joystick, try to keep one hand on the keyboard. Keep an eye on your lock warning light, since the sound the alarm makes isn't too attention-grabbing. When you see the warning, immediately hit 'E' once or twice to release decoys. If the missile isn't fooled by them, start evasive maneuvers while you release a few more. If your scanner starts to show too many yellow dots (missiles), hit the [`] (backtick) key or hold down [Tab] to turn on the afterburners, and keep twisting your fighter around until the missiles give up. Don't drop too many decoys on one missile, since the Kilrathi possess strength in numbers, and they will not hesitate to launch more missiles. You'll quickly learn that you are never given enough decoys... 7.1.5. Help! My afterburners won't turn off! ---------------------------------------------- The tilde key (~) wlil toggle your afterburners on (in other words, so that they *stay* on until you run out of fuel), until you hit ~ again to turn them off. It's easy to bump the tilde while reaching for the Tab key to do a simple afterburner burst. If you notice that your afterburners aren't turning off, try hitting ~ and see if it fixes the problem. 7.2. Tactics for fighting specific ships =========================================== 7.2.1. Those asteroid fighters are tough! ------------------------------------------ The Kilrathi asteroid fighters are tough to hit on a head-to-head approach since they tend to veer away from you earlier than usual. They are slow, but pursuing their tails is often difficult, since they release a seemingly endless amount of mines as they evade you. (Someone did notice that they do run out of mines eventually.) Remember, patience is the key. Don't ever try to follow one on its tail or you'll be dodging mines for your life. Just whittle away at its front shields during every head-on pass. If your shields ever get too low, just back off for a while and let them recharge. There is no rush. 7.2.2. What's the best way to destroy a capital ship? ------------------------------------------------------ Use a torpedo. You should be able to get a torpedo lock well before you approach within the range of the capital ship's turrets, though you'll probably want to make sure any fighter escort in the area has been destroyed first. If you don't have a torpedo on you, if you want to save them, or if you want to be a hot-shot, then go ahead and engage the capital ship with your guns. Ideally, you'll want to take out as many turrets as you can before you start to work on the massive armor of the capital ship. Use the 'R' key to select a turret, then fly in and try to take out that turret without getting hit too often. You may want to configure your ship's power so that your shields will recharge faster (see section 7.1.2 above). If the capital ship also fires more powerful shots, like the yellow antimatter shots, try to take out those turrets first. Once a majority of the turrets are gone, the capital ship should be a lot more benign. You can also focus on eliminating the turrets on just one side of the capital ship, then making sure you stick to that side only... they'll be essentially defenseless, while you only did half as much work. It should also be noted that the sooner you can nail a capship, the better; sometimes, after you destroy a wing of fighters, a nearby capital ship will launch some more. A good approach is to attack the capship after killing all fighters in the area but one, making your attack runs much easier. Once you dust off the capital ship, pick off the remaining fighter, and you won't have to worry about anyone launching reinforcements. *7.3.* On an escort mission, after I finish off a wave of fighters, the autopilot light won't activate. What am I doing wrong? ======================================================================== Fly close to the ship you're supposed to escort. Once you are close enough, you'll get an acknowledgement message and your autopilot indicator will light up (assuming subtitles are not turned off). 7.4. Dealing with enemy torpedoes ==================================== 7.4.1. How do I destroy a Skipper missile? ------------------------------------------- As Captain Eisen explains in the briefing, the Skipper missile is a Kilrathi cruise missile that "skips" in and out of cloak. It is usually launched from a Corvette. When a Corvette appears in a wave of ships, you can take on one of two roles: "The Goalie": Let your wingman take on the fighters while you hang back close to the capital ship you are supposed to defend. Try not to let the enemy fighters draw your attention away from your escortee. On your scanner, when you see the Skipper missile (a yellow dot) launched from the Corvette (an orange dot), quickly target it and head towards it. If you stayed close to your escortee, you should be close to the Skipper missile's trajectory. If (and when) the Skipper disappears, turn your fighter around and start heading back to your escortee. This way, you'll be able to stay along the trajectory that the Skipper missile will take. Keep pressing 'T' to cycle through your available targets until the Skipper missile reappears and you have it targeted again. Head towards the missile and when it is within range, fire away. You'll have to use guns; it's impossible to get a missile lock on a Skipper. With luck, you'll be able to destroy it. "The Striker": When the Corvette appears, quickly afterburn towards it. When you are within range, either open fire or launch a torpedo at the Corvette. (You might be lucky enough to destroy the Corvette before it launches the missile!) Keep one eye on the Corvette and one eye on your scanner so that if the Corvette launches the Skipper missile, you won't miss it. Once this happens, target the missile and pursue it. You should be right on the missile's six. If it disappears, simply keep flying straight until the missile reappears. Once it is within range, fire away. 7.4.2. I'm having trouble trying to stop the bio-missiles. ----------------------------------------------------------- First of all, the best ship to use for this mission is an Arrow because of its speed. When you get to the nav point where the capital ship launches the bio- missiles, IGNORE the other ships for now. Quickly target a missile and afterburn straight towards it. Once the missile is within range of your guns, fire away, then target the next bio-missile. There should be a total of three missiles; once they're destroyed, you'll get the "Mission objectives completed" message. However, you'll still have to take on the fighters and the capital ship so that you can autopilot home. 7.4.3. On a certain nebula mission, the Victory gets destroyed as it heads for an alternate jump point. What happened? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- One of the Corvettes launched a Skipper missile at the Victory. Use the same techniques as you did before with the first Skipper missile (see section 7.4.1 above). 7.5. Flash's arrival ======================= 7.5.1. How can I defeat Flash? ------------------------------- Flash tends to "joust" -- attacking head-on and immediately turning around for another direct pass. His aim is excellent, so if you see him coming straight at you, fire off one or two volleys, then immediately turn away. Other than that, try to attack him from the sides or rear if you can. If you wait long enough, he'll run out of afterburner fuel, greatly decreasing his maneuverability and making him much easier to hit. If you're still having trouble, just fire all your missiles at him (use the B key), especially when he's heading straight for you. 7.5.2. I just lost the duel against Flash. Will he ever return to the Victory? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- No. He's gone from the game for good, and so is the Excalibur he brought to the Victory. 7.6. Other mission-specific tips ==================================== 7.6.1. Flint just made quite a rash decision. What should I do? ----------------------------------------------------------------- It doesn't matter whether you go after Flint or not. If you do, you'll be greeted by more kitties. If not, Cobra will have successfully retrieved her in time for the next cutscene. 7.6.2. How do I prevent the Behemoth from getting destroyed? [SPOILER -- WC3] ------------------------------------------------------------- You don't. It's part of the story. As the Behemoth prepares for its attack run on Kilrah, it is ambushed by a fleet of Paktahns. There is nothing you can do except destroy as many Paktahns as you can (for your kill tally) before the Behemoth destruction scene plays. 7.6.3. Thrakhath just sent me a comm message. How should I respond? --------------------------------------------------------------------- Your choices are either to return to the Victory or (prematurely) take on Prince Thrakhath. Remember, if you don't return to the Victory in time, you will be left stranded in Kilrathi space, and you'll have to replay the mission... but even if you do successfully kill Thrakhath and make it back, he'll still be alive later on in the game, so fighting him is pointless. 7.6.4. The Victory is under attack, and I can't seem to control my craft. What's going on? -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Had a little too much to drink, eh? 7.6.5. I'm having trouble passing the planet rescue mission. ------------------------------------------------------------- While in the atmosphere, you must destroy EVERY ground target you see, including the buildings and the laser artillery. Each ground target is shown as an orange dot on your scanner, so you'll easily be able to tell if there are still ground targets left in the area. 7.6.6. How can I succeed in defending Earth? --------------------------------------------- You can't. This mission is part of the losing path of the story, and thus is made to be unwinnable. Back up to a previously saved game and complete a mission that you may have failed in the past. 7.7. The traitor just got away. Should I go after him/her, or not? [SPOILER -- WC3] ====================================================================== Don't worry about going after the traitor right now. If you don't, you'll be able to face him/her later. If you do, the Victory will not be able to jump out until you return, leaving it wide open for a Kilrathi attack, an engagement in which Vaquero is killed. In other words, the best thing to do is to not go after the traitor at this point. 7.8. The final missions ========================== 7.8.1. How do I keep my wingmen from getting killed off during the last missions? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ It seems that your wingmen must be killed off in the course of the last mission before you approach the surface of Kilrah. However, if you don't like the thought of your wingmen dying (especially if one of them is Flint), just don't take them with you! When you're selecting wingmen for the last mission, move the cursor to the bottom of the screen until an option appears to leave without assigning any wingmen. Click it. You can also prevent their deaths by ordering them to go back home after you launch. Remember that your wingmen will not obey the command if it is issued at the beginning of a mission leg. Wait until combat, and then issue the order. 7.8.2. On the final leg, how do I kill all of the Sorthaks at the last nav point? [SPOILER -- WC3] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- You must enter the final nav point CLOAKED (press Ctrl-C). Throughout the mission, keep checking your nav map (by pressing 'N') and when you see the message, "Activate cloak before approaching Kilrah, laddie," (this should show up at the third nav point out... ten guesses as to who left this message for you,) that's when you should activate your cloaking device before you enter autopilot. If you enter the last nav point cloaked, you should see only Thrakhath, the traitor (if you haven't killed him/her yet), and a few other fighters. Now it is safe to decloak and finish off Thrakhath and his merry kittens once and for all. Remember, you don't need to cloak again after that. 7.8.3. I've passed the Sorthak fighters; how do I finish the last part of this mission? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The idea is that you should fly low in the trench to avoid detection. The second you fly too high, Ekapshi fighters will start harassing you. (I don't know if the trench really leads directly to the target, though. I found that I had to fly out of the trench anyway during the last bit of the flight path and make a direct run towards the target while evading the Ekapshi.) CHEAT: There are a couple of bugs in the game that make the final mission much easier. One allows you to recloak during the trench run... thus, you can fly out of the trench and head directly for the target without worrying about Ekapshi fighters. The other lets you resume the game from the planet's surface -- with a full tank of gas -- when you get killed. That's enough fuel to outrun the Ekapshi and afterburn almost the whole way to the fault line. 7.9. Is there a cheat mode built into Wing Commander III? ============================================================ You bet! On the IBM version, simply start WC3 by typing "wc3 -mitchell" from the DOS prompt (as opposed to the standard "wc3"). The game will load normally, but pressing Ctrl-W in combat will destroy whatever ship you have targeted. Ctrl-Alt-W will destroy all ships in the vicinity. On the 3DO version, simultaneously press Left-shift and the Play/Pause button to bring up the hidden cheat menu. From here you can make yourself invulnerable, fly any mission in the game, view any of the cinematic cutscenes, and more. 7.10. What if these suggestions don't work? ============================================= Remember, you can always go into the Options Menu during gameplay by pressing Alt-O. Here, you can reduce the difficulty level and turn on invulnerability, if you wish. Changing these options will not affect the gameflow or the storyline in any way. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 8. Storyline questions ******************************************************************************* Any long, complex story will have holes in its plot. The Wing Commander saga, spanning three primary installments and four expansion disks (all with dynamic, branching storylines), is no exception. This section attempts to "patch up" a few of WC3's plot holes, offering suggested interpretations of events in the game that help maintain a sense of internal consistency and continuity. Please note that these suggestions are compiled from the minds and imaginations of the FAQ authors and other members of the online community, and aren't endorsed by Origin or the WC writers; future products in the series may very well prove our theories wrong. WARNING: Like section 7, many items in this section contain major spoilers. It may be best if you finish the game before reading all of these. Consider this an extra warning. :) 8.1. What is the basic plot of Wing Commander III? ===================================================== The year is 2669 (two years after the end of SO2), and the Kilrathi have again gained the upper hand in the Galactic War. Your old carrier, the TCS Concordia, has been recently destroyed, and you are reassigned to the decrepit TCS Victory. It is here that your adventure begins. The Terrans have developed a weapon of terrifyingly destructive power called the Behemoth, which they are hoping can tip the scales back in their favor -- but before they can use it, a traitor on the Victory hands the plans for the weapon over to the Kilrathi. Another weapon, the Temblor Bomb, is the Confederacy's last hope, but its designer is now a Kilrathi prisoner, and before the bomb can be completed you, of course, must rescue the scientist... 8.2. How do the events in the Wing Commander novels fit into the storyline? [SPOILER -- END RUN, FLEET ACTION] ============================================================================== First off, let it be said that the novels are considered _somewhat_ "official" material -- that is, the general events that transpired in them are assumed to have happened in the "real" (i.e., computer game) WC universe. Among these are the death of Hunter, the adventures of the Tarawa, and the Kilrathi fleet's attack on the core Confederate worlds, including Earth. (A very brief summary of the events in the _Fleet Action_ can be found on page 12 of the WCArmada manual.) _End Run_ and _Fleet Action_ take place in the two-year gap between WC2 and WC3. 8.3. The opening sequence ============================ 8.3.1. Why is the main character now called Christopher Blair? --------------------------------------------------------------- In WC3's full-motion video, the hero is frequently addressed by the other characters. Obviously, Origin needed to give him a name for this purpose, which explains why players can no longer name their characters. You can still choose a callsign, which will be used to display your stats on the kill board. It won't, however, be used in the video sequences. (Blair is never referred to by callsign in the game; in the novel _Heart of the Tiger_ (see section 9.9.2), his callsign is "Maverick.") Why the name "Christopher Blair"? During development of the earlier games, Origin staffers needed a "handle" for their hero, who would be names by the player in the game, so they referred to their character as "Bluehair" because of his characteristic blue and black hair. The name "Blair" seems to be a contraction of "Bluehair." 8.3.2. How was the TCS Concordia destroyed? [SPOILER -- FLEET ACTION] ------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the novel based on the game (see section 9.9.4), the Concordia is said to have been destroyed at the Battle of Earth that took place at the end of _Fleet Action_, but other events in _Fleet Action_ and the WCArmada manual contradict this. Perhaps it will be cleared up in a future WC game. 8.3.3. Why is Blair transferred to such an old ship as the TCS Victory? [SPOILER -- WC3] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Although Blair didn't know at the time of transfer, Admiral Tolwyn intends to use the Victory to escort a Confederation superweapon into Kilrathi space. Therefore, he wants to make sure he has the best personnel assigned to the Victory, including Blair. However, Tolwyn doesn't want to get the crew all worked up or have rumors floating around, so he keeps them in the dark about the whole ordeal until they need to know about it; that's why he doesn't tell Blair about the true reason for his transfer right away. 8.4. Game physics ==================== 8.4.1. If space is a vacuum, why can I still hear the sounds of combat? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Come now, there must be a suspension of disbelief when playing any space action game, just like when you are watching a movie like Star Wars. One theory goes as follows: the Confederation fighters are designed to reflect actual atmospheric flight, so each fighter has an audio system that makes appropriate sounds, such as a simulated whooshing noise when a fighter flies close by. *8.4.2.* OK, then why does my craft's speed decrease after using the afterburners? --------------------------------------------------------------------- If one were to look at the situation from a physics point of view, this doesn't make any sense, either. Since space is a vacuum, there's no drag on your fighter craft, and therefore nothing to slow it down just because you let up on the throttle. Like the "sound effects in space" issue above (section 8.4.1), though, the game was designed this way simply because it's more fun. Having to turn around and apply reverse thrust every time you wanted to slow your ship down would be difficult and frustrating to control, and probably not appeal to most gamers. For those who like to have an explanation for everything, consider the possibility that Confed fighters are built to reflect atmospheric flight, so retro rockets fire and create reverse thrust the instant that the afterburners are turned off, making handling and maneuvering more intuitive for the fighter pilots. 8.4.3. What are the units of measurement for distance and velocity? -------------------------------------------------------------------- In the ship stats section, the manual states velocity in kilometers per second. In other words, a Confederation Arrow can cover over 500 km every second, which is 0.16% the speed of light. I like to think that the velocity measurements are actually meters per second, which would put the Arrow's maximum cruise velocity at 500 m/sec, which is equivalent to 1800 km/h or Mach 1.5. These speeds make more sense. However, that would still mean that the Arrow can fly from the bow to the stern of the Behemoth in about four seconds, since the Behemoth is two kilometers long (I believe). In the game, of course, it actually takes over a half-minute to cover that distance. This puts the actual maximum speed of an Arrow (without afterburners) at about 240 km/h. Although this estimate is closer to the physics modeled in the game, it does seem slow compared to, say, a 20th century F-16 Falcon. The bottom line is that the measurments of distance and velocity in the WC series are not internally consistent. (But hey, the very fact that people are asking this question just goes to show you how a game like WC can turn into a whole universe for people to play in...) 8.5. Skipper missiles ======================== 8.5.1. If the Kilrathi have cloaked cruise missiles, why don't they just make cloaked "kamikaze" fighters with torpedoes strapped to their hull? ------------------------------------------------------------------------- First off, it needs to be understood that torpedoes aren't just big explosives; during an active lock, the torpedo adjusts to the target's phase shields so that it can cause much more damage than a conventional missile hitting the shields (this was covered in the WC2 manual). If you want a torpedo to do its job, it _needs_ to be locked on the target, whether you've launched it or it's strapped to the bottom of your hull. Simply attaching some torps to your fighter craft and running into a capship won't accomplish much of anything. As explained by Captain Eisen, the the Confederation uses the designation "Skipper" to refer to cloaked missiles that must "skip" in and out of cloak to re-establish target lock. As has been established in other WC games, Kilrathi cloaking technology does not allow a missile to lock from inside a cloaking field. Thus, even if directed by a pilot directly to its target, the torpedo itself would not be able to penetrate a capship's phase shields without decloaking to acquire a lock. Another possibility is that the interference works the other way around -- that the locking signal a Skipper maintains somehow interferes with Kilrathi cloaking technology. If this is this case, a torpedo locking signal used in the vicinity of a larger cloaking field might make the cloak become unstable, rather than the missile lock. Remember that in WC2, the Strakha stealth fighters always had to de-cloak before launching missiles at you. Assuming Kilrathi stealth technology hasn't had any major breakthroughs in the past two years (and there are no indications that it has), this supports either of the two theories presented above. 8.5.2. How about jump-capable Skipper missiles? ------------------------------------------------ Remember that jump engines are bulky and complicated to manufacture. That's why, in WC2, we saw only heavy bombers with jump engines. The exception is the Morningstar in SO2, which was the first jump-capable fighter (but even those malfunctioned often; just ask Maniac.) Consider too that such missiles would need long-range scanners, a huge fuel tank, and some sort of artificial intelligence able to choose appropriate targets, and it's clear that jump-cable Skipper missiles are beyond the technological capabilities of Kilrah -- or the Confederacy. 8.6. Why is (you know who) the traitor? [SPOILER -- WC3] ============================================================ In both the original script provided on the Behind the Scenes Interactive CD (see section 9.2.1 below) and the _Heart of the Tiger_ novel (see section 9.9.2), Hobbes leaves a holographic message to Blair before he defects, which Blair finds in his locker following the events between Hobbes and Cobra. According to the script, the video was to have become available after Blair either pursues Hobbes or chooses not to. This scene was not included in the final game, though it is in the 3DO version. 8.6.1. What exactly was in the missing scene? [SPOILER -- WC3] ---------------------------------------------------------------- Below is the dialogue from the scene that was cut, lifted from the WC3 script. HOBBES (HOLO-IMAGE) Colonel, I am returning to my Homeworld -- but my admiration for you compels me to provide an explanation for my actions... (beat) You must understand that the Hobbes you knew was a construct, the result of an identity-overlay experiment, initiated long ago by Prince Thrakhath. Lord Ralgha nar Hhallas, you gave never truly met. I myself never met him until I heard the Prince utter your Kilrathi title, 'The Heart of the Tiger.' This was the trigger that awakened my true personality -- hidden for so many years. Once awakened by the words of my Prince, I had no choice but to perform his bidding. (beat) Kilrathi do not surrender, nor do we betray. And yet, in being true to my kind, I have betrayed you, Colonel... Know you are an honorable warrior... If we meet again... will have no choice but to perform our duties... with honor... HOBBES' IMAGE FLICKERS AND DISAPPEARS The above scnario, with enhancements, is integral to the plot of the novel _Heart of the Tiger_. *8.7.* Should I pick romance with Flint or Rachel? [SPOILER -- WC3] ===================================================================== It's a matter of taste. The problem is that choosing one will cause the other to hold a grudge against you. If you pick Flint, Rachel won't help you on fighter loadouts, and if you choose Rachel, Flint will refuse to fly with you (though you can get around being shunned by simply avoiding the person you reject in the bar and not talking to her for the remainder of the game). Your choice here has an effect on which video you'll see at the end of the winning track, as well as on wingman availablity for the remaining missions, but not on your ability to win the game. The third option -- picking neither -- has the least impact on the game. 8.8. The final mission ========================= 8.8.1. Why wasn't I swarmed by Kilrathi fighters on the last leg of the mission? [SPOILER -- WC3] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ As you recall, you had to cloak before autopiloting to the last navpoint corresponding to planet Kilrah, but then you had to uncloak to fight Thrakhath (and Hobbes if necessary). That meant that you had to approach the surface uncloaked. It's possible that when you uncloaked and started heading towards the surface, the Kilrathi were busy scrambling fighters to intercept you. However, before the fighters could pick you up on their on-board scanners, you were able to reach the trench, out of range of any long-range scanners which served as "eyes in the sky" for the Kilrathi fighters. Those fighters then started to scour the surface in order to locate you, which explains why you face off against an unlimited amount of Ekapshis if you climb out of the trench. 8.8.2. Why wasn't Blair killed by the Kilrathi when they had the chance? [SPOILER -- WC3] ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good question; after all, if I just captured a guy who just blew up my home planet, I'd plant his face to the ground! ;) I suppose Melek is more mature than that. He realized that, with the destruction of Kilrah, the only recourse for the Kilrathi is to surrender, cease the war, and devote their energies to rebuilding themselves. It is ironic to see that Melek is one of the few Kilrathi who understands what "surrender" means. (Remember that even Hobbes had trouble understanding the term.) 8.9. Besides the scene described in section 8.6.1, was anything else from the script omitted from the released game? [SPOILER -- WC3] ============================================================================ Several newscasts (like the one Blair views in the shuttle at the beginning of the game) by anchorwoman Barbara Miles were to be included, appearing on the Victory's monitors at various points during the game. These "news from Earth" segments would have emphasized the seriousness of the Confederacy's desperation as the war situation continued to deteriorate. It seems likely (but unconfirmed) that these segments were actually filmed, but were left out to save space on the CD's. Another deleted scene takes place during the final series of missions, at the first secret refueling station. It would play only if pilots in addition to Blair survived to this point, and consists of Blair addressing them on the deck of the refueling station. This text is reproduced from the Master Script section of WC3: Behind the Screens. BLAIR I read somewhere that the darkest of times supposedly brings out the best in men. (shrugs) All I know is this is what we've been waiting for since the very beginning -- the opportunity to put the Kilrathi out of business permanently. (pauses) (IF HOBBES WAS DEFEATED EARLIER) What else can I tell you? I want you to fly with all you've got. (IF HOBBES ESCAPED) Oh, and one last thing. Should we encounter one Lord Ralgha... Hobbes... he's mine. Good Luck. It is unknown whether this was actually filmed. 8.10. What does the mission tree for the game look like? ========================================================== The missions in WC3 are divided into groups, usually of three or four missions each. One mission in each group is designated as a "deciding mission," the success or failure of which determines whether the player will proceed among the winning path or the losing path in the mission tree. The names in the tree below represent the solar systems in which a particular mission group takes place, with the corresponding number of the deciding mission in that series. A player will fly about 35 missions on an average successful run through the game. CD1 Orsini-4 / \ / \ Tamayo Tamayo-2____ \ / \ \ / | Locanda-2 | / \ | CD2 Blackmane-1 \ | | \ | | Blackmane-2 | Blackmane-3 | | | | \| Blackmane-3 | / | \ |/ | Ariel-1,2,3 | / \ | Caliban-1 Delius-1 | | \ / | | Caliban-2 | Delius-2___ | | \| | \| Caliban-3 | Delius-3___ | \ |/ \| Torgo | | | CD3 Torgo-2 | | | Loki-3 | / \ | / (stranded) | | | Alcor-4_____________ | | \| CD4 Freya | | | Freya-3_____________ | | \| Hyperion____________ | | \| Kilrah-0 (pre-jump)_ | | \| | Proxima | | | Sol Kilrah-1 (post-jump) | | \| Kilrah-2____________ | | \| Kilrah-3 | / \ | / \ | (win) (lose2) (lose1) (win) : Kilrathi surrender. Fly home to Earth in shuttle. (lose1): Ejection seat picked up by Thrakhath. Confederation defeated. (lose2): No pick-up by Thrakhath. Confederation defeated. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 9. Information on Wing Commander IV ******************************************************************************* Origin has plans to do their own Wing Commander IV FAQ, and they have been uncooperative to me, and many other WC fans. Witholding important information on WC4. I did the best I could to make this "The Wing Commander III & Wing Commander IV FAQ", and I'm sorry if it didn't turn out right. This is the best I could do with the information I was given and searched for. Again, my apoligies. *9.1.* What is the story of Wing Commander IV? =============================================== Fighting for survival is a hard habit to break ... ... and some hard-bitten warriors simply don't know how to embrace peace. Now that the bloody battle between the Kilrathi and Terrans has been concluded, the Confederation doesn't have to look very far for their next enemy. Civil wars and unrest have broken out on the home front. Colonel Blair is recalled to help the Terran government stamp out the growing fires. A mysterious group of pirates, calling themselves the Black Lance, has begun a reign of terror from the Border Worlds, blowing up innocent civilian ships and plunging the Confederation to the brink of Civil War. *9.2.* What are the differences between the WC3 and WC4 flight engine? ======================================================================= Origin promises WC4 will be a quantam leap over what they've been able to do in the past. The flight engine has been improved vastly. The collision detection bug has been fixed, a digitial music engine has replaced General MIDI, and the engine has been streamlined to put out a very fast framerate on most high-end 486's, without sacrificing quality. *9.2.1.* What kind of frame rates can I expect? ------------------------------------------------ These estimates, of course, are just that -- estimates -- and actual frame rates will vary from system to system; however, here's a chart detailing how fast, in fps (frames per second), WC4 should run in normal spaceflight VGA SVGA SVGA (with fast local bus video card) 486/33 11 4 9 486/50 15 10 13 486/66 20 13 18 486/120 24 17 21 Pentium/60 23 16 22 Pentium/90 24 17 24 Pentium/133 29 20 28 Note that the local bus SVGA figures are optimal; some local bus video cards are faster than others, so you may not get those numbers if your card isn't among the fastest available. All of these figures are averages for normal spaceflight... in a battle with fighters, the game will run about 2-4 frames fps slower. This information comes from testing the WC4 demo on serveral different computers with different configurations. *9.3.* Is there a demo available? ================================== Yes! The demo can be found at Origin's FTP site (ftp.ea.com), America Online; in the Sofware Library, and in the December issue of Computer Gaming World. It is approximately 13MB... *9.3.1.* is the demo playable? If so, what do I get to do? ------------------------------------------------------------ Yes, the demo is fully playable. It allows the player to fly a Confederation Hellcat V on a search and destroy mission against several Black Lance fighters, including a captial ship. The demo includes a gameflow sequence in the hangar area of the BWS Intrepid where you are able to run playable mission, exit to DOS, or view a "teaser" movie. The playable section of the demo will give you an excellent idea of what the final version of WC4 will be like, as the gameplay is nearly identical. *9.4.* What are the system requirements for the WC4 demo? ========================================================== The WC4 demo system requirements are as follows; i486DX2/66 Processor or higher 8 MB of RAM (7 MB of XMS) 360K Conventional Memory MS-DOS 5.0 and up Double Speed CD-ROM Drive (300,000 bytes/second transfer rate) VESA Local Bus Video Card 100% Microsoft compatible mouse 20 MB of free hard disk space System Recommendation - VGA : i486DX2/66 Processor or higher 16 MB of RAM (15 MB of XMS) 500K Conventional Memory Quad Speed CD-ROM Drive (600,000 bytes/second transfer rate) VESA Local Bus Video Card 100% Microsoft compatible mouse 20 MB of required hard disk space Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card for Digital FX/Music Joystick System Recommendation - SVGA/Optimal : Intel Pentium 75 MHZ or higher 16 MB of RAM (15 MB of XMS) 500K Conventional Memory Quad Speed CD-ROM Drive (600,000 bytes/second transfer rate) PCI SVGA video card 100% Microsoft compatible mouse 20 MB of required hard disk space Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card for Digital FX Joystick (Flightstick Pro or Thrustmaster) *9.5.* What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running the demo? ================================================================= The WC4 demo has not been extensively tested, it was released to the public as a work in progress, or just a taste of what the final version has to offer. The WC4 demo seems to crash whenever the player enters the options screen during combat. This is the most commonly reported bug. *9.6.* Are there any screen shots available? ============================================= Yes! *9.6.1.* Where can I find the screen shots? -------------------------------------------- The screen shots can be found at Origin's FTP site, on Origin's software library on AOL, and on Origin's WWW site at http://www.ea.com/origin.html *9.7.* How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander IV? ============================================================== Wing Commander IV will be on 6 cd's, which will equal about 3.6 gigabytes of data. *9.8.* Will there be a Premire Edition of WC4? =============================================== There will be no Premiere Edition of Wing Commander IV *9.9.* What is that "Dekker" ship in the WC4 demo? =================================================== Dekker is actually a Space Marine on the intrepid that Blair will use to do recon on quite a few of the missions. He is actually a person. *9.10.* How many missions will there be in Wing Commander IV? ============================================================= The game has an intricate branching storyline. There are roughly 70 missions that you possibly can fly, compared to 50 in WC3. On a play- through, you will fly approximately 35 missions. *9.11.* Interviews, statements, and rumors ========================================== *9.11.1.* Chris Douglas, art director on Wing Commander IV ---------------------------------------------------------- I'm always a bit wary about what I disclose (EA being a public company), but I don't think marketing or legal would have much trouble with the following: I'm not an expert on most of the technical stuff, but as production designer I can assure you that the look of the game is MUCH improved! We did a major re-working of ALL the art in the game. There are many new ships, and even ships recycled from WC3 are completely re-textured and look FAR more realistic (I'm especially pleased with the new cap ships. The moment you pop into the cockpit and see the Lexington's flight deck, I think you'll know what I'm talking about). Explosions and all other space effects (wormholes, shields, etc.) have been lengthened, re-worked, and are utterly spectacular. Even the gameflow menu screens (ship load-out, wingman selection, etc.) have had weeks of art time put into their generation. And maybe most noticeably the CG cinematic effects shots are an order of magnitude more sophisticated than what we had in WC3: I think you'll be impressed. The movie compressor has been completely re-written and gives the cinematic visuals an icomparably better look than what you saw in WC3 (you can easily see the difference between SVGA and VGA modes now, and much more detail is coming through). Plus there are new ships to fly, an all-new HUD-type cockpit display, MANY more personalized wingmen for spaceflight, new primary characters to see, and oodles of new weapons to blow stuff up with (the programmers have been having a lot of fun with that one. I think they played too much "Descent"). And I like to think the story is much better than in WC3 (though I'm a bit biased in this matter, as the plot is still about 70% true to an outline I wrote early in the project :>=) ). Needless to say, you can rest assured that WC4 is AT LEAST as big an improvement over WC3 as WC2 was over WC1. We have been busting our asses like I've never seen over the past year to make sure people will not be let down in the slightest, and I don't think you will be. -- Chris Douglas *9.12.* Will there be cockpit graphics in WC4? ============================================== No. Wing Commander IV will be using the full-screen HUD for enhanced visibility. Personally, I'll miss the cockpits of yesterday. :) *9.13.* Will there be pentium optimized code or support for 3d accelerated video cards? ============================================================== Sorry, there will not be pentium optimized code, and will not take advantage of 3D acceleration technology *9.14.* How much video footage will be in WC4? ================================================= There will be over 5 hours of video footage. The shoot was filmed at Renmar Studios. 38 sets were built to represent the TCS Lexington and the BWS Intrepid. *9.15.* What will flying through Nebulas be like in WC4? =========================================================== We all remember the Nebula's in WC3. They were just a bad gamma corrected space. But the new nebula effect is incredible. Your ship components will actually be affected. Communications, Power distribution, gun power, shields, and more. *9.16.* Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander IV? ============================================================== According to Origin, there will be no MPEG version of Wing Commander IV. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 10. Other miscellaneous questions ******************************************************************************* 10.1. Are there any "easter eggs" in Wing Commander III? ========================================================== When working on a project, programmers often like to put in "Easter eggs" -- subtle little jokes that allow the writers to add their own personal touches to the game. Sometimes these are in a hard-to-miss place, though they are more often hidden... but gamers almost always enjoy discovering one for the first time. 10.1.1. The hidden credits --------------------------- In what has started to become an Origin tradition since Ultima VII (which featured a hidden list of quotes from the development team that was revealed after you won the game), WC3 has some hidden credits with words of wisdom from the programming team, and more. You can get to them by doing the following: Start a new game of WC3 by running it from the first CD -- and by *not* loading a savegame. Access the computer console in Flight Control. When it asks for your callsign, enter GYPSY in all capital letters. Note that you must use the Shift key to get the capitals, not Caps Lock. At the console's main menu, you will see the usual TCN logo in the background. Click on the stars in the logo in the following order: upper-right, lower-left, upper-left, lower-right. The hidden credits will begin to scroll. 10.1.2. The blooper scene -------------------------- After you win the game, wait and watch all the credits scroll by. At the end, the game will show a blooper from the film shoot with Blair, Flint, and Maniac. This scene is also included in the behind-the-scenes CD and VHS tape that come with the Premiere Edition (see section 9.2.1 below). 10.1.3. Crazy Gameflow ----------------------- After February 17, 1995, the game begins to display a "Crazy Gameflow" logo (essentially a green smiley face) at the end of the closing credits. Nothing special needs to be done to view this. If you cannot get it to appear, check your system's date and make sure that it is set properly. 10.1.4. Is there a hidden code to view the cinematics separately? ------------------------------------------------------------------ Not on the IBM version. A rumor generated on the internet stated that holding down Alt-Del-F10 and pressing the letters L-O-R-D-B-R-I-T-I-S-H would bring up a hidden menu from which you could play any of the scenes in the game, but this is not the case. There is a way to do this in the 3DO version -- see section 7.9 above. 10.2. What's this I hear about a "Premiere Edition?" ======================================================= A special collector's "Premiere Edition" of WC3 is available as a separate product. While the game itself is exactly the same as the one in the regular edition, the Premiere Edition contains several extra items you can't get elsewhere. Only a limited number of these were produced, though Origin isn't saying what number that is -- so if you want one, get your order in soon! :) 10.2.1. What does it contain? ------------------------------ The Premiere Edition contains all of the items found in the regular game, plus (slightly modified Origin marketing propaganda follows): Special Film Canister Packaging: As the inauguration of the ORIGIN Interactive Movie (TM) line, only the Wing Commander III Premiere Edition will be packaged in an authentic motion-picture film canister. Behind the Screens -- The Wing Commander III Interactive CD: This multimedia tour plunges you into the very inner workings of the game. Conduct your own interviews to learn how Wing Commander III came together, page through the entire game script, check out original storyboards and character concept sketches, or have a laugh at the outtakes and bloopers from the film shoot. The Making of Wing Commander III: A video documentary chronicling all the production aspects of the game, from ORIGIN to Hollywood and back. In their own words, the stars and development team members take you through their quest to create a true interactive movie. Approximately 25 minutes in length. Fleet Action -- a Wing Commander novel: Written by William R. Forstchen, this is the third in the successful series of Wing Commander novels by Baen Books. Wing Commander III t-shirt: XL t-shirt featuring the Terran Confederation insignia and classic movie poster cover art created by ORIGIN's Sam Yeates. ORIGIN Audio CD: Volume 3 of the ORIGIN soundtrack series with award- winning music from games such as Wing Commander III, ULTIMA VIII: Pagan, Wings of Glory, Pacific Strike, BioForge and Wing Commander Armada. Wing Commander III calendar: A full-size 1995 calendar with scenes lifted directly from the game. Something to use all year. Wing Commander III poster: A full-color, 16.5" x 23" poster featuring the movie poster cover art. Full-color "Warbirds" sheet: A handy fold-out reference sheet with pictures and detailed statistics on most every Confederate and Kilrathi fighter, the Warbirds sheet included with the standard game was only printed in black and white. 10.2.2. Is the Premiere Edition multi-lingual? ----------------------------------------------- Somewhat; while some items, such as the Behind the Screen Interactive CD and the WC3 t-shirt, are in English only, others (such as all game documentation, the WC3 calendar, etc.) are either in French, German, or (in the case of the calendar) all three. 10.2.3. Do foreign versions of the Premiere Edition come with the "Making of WC3" videotape in PAL format? -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, they do. 10.2.4. How are copies of the Premiere Edition sold in Europe different fr om those sold in the U.S.? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Premiere Editions sold in Europe do not contain the Wing Commander novel; not only was it expensive to ship overseas, but since the same Premiere Edition was sold throughout the continent, and Electronic Arts deemed it inappropriate to include an English novel in a product which was also being sold in countries such as France and Germany. European Premiere Editions also came with the regular black-and-white "Warbirds" sheet, rather than the color one... EA fell behind schedule, and if they had waited for the color sheets to ship overseas, they would have missed their release date for the Premiere Edition. 10.2.5. When I got my Premiere Edition, the front of the film canister was blank. Is this intentional? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- No; there's supposed to be a sticker with the WC3 cover art on the front of the film canister, but there were some cases where the sticker fell off during shipping. Unfortunately, no more replacement stickers are availble. 10.2.6. I have a copy of the "Special Edition" of WC3. Is this the same thing as the Premiere Edition? ------------------------------------------------------------------------- No. The Special Edition is a separate package only available through a select few retail outlets, such as Sam's Club. The Behind-the-Scenes CD that comes with it is not the Interactive CD that comes with the Premiere Edition, but simply the Behind-the-Scenes VHS tape digitally recorded on the CD as a Video for Windows .AVI file. The Special Edition also does not contain the WC novel, audio CD, or color Warbirds sheet. 10.2.7. Will there be a Premiere Edition for the 3DO version? --------------------------------------------------------------- No. 10.3. What platforms is Wing Commander III available on? ========================================================= WC3 is currently available for IBM CD-ROM and 3DO systems, though a Mac version is also planned. The PC version should run reliably on OS/2 systems with 16 or more megs of RAM. 10.3.1. How does the 3DO version differ from the PC version? ------------------------------------------------------------- The 3DO version is optimized to take advantage of the 3DO's graphics and sound capabilities -- this includes smoother (though slightly less detailed) movie playback, color video in the communications consoles, and Dolby Surround sound effects. There will be no installation program required (obviously), so you should be able to just jump in and start playing. CD delays should be shorter, as well. Since the 3DO version also uses a better compression algorithm for the vide o than the PC version does, more scenes have been packed on to the CDs. One plot-critical scene involving the traitor on the Victory has been included, along with several newscasts that update the player on the status of the wa r throughout the game. There are some drawbacks, however. Planetary missions were left out, no adjustable damage control system on your ship, and capital ships are less detailed than in the PC version. A few other minor features are absent, as well. 10.4. Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander III? ============================================================= Nothing is definite yet, but most likely no. There may be one done for WC4. 10.5. Are there different versions of Wing Commander III available for different languages? ========================================================================= All versions of WC3 allow the user to switch on subtitles in French, German, or English. The French and German versions have also been dubbed and released in those countries, with different voice actors re-recording the dialogue in the appropriate language. 10.6. How much does Wing Commander III cost, and where can I get a copy? =========================================================================== We tried to find out as much information we could as to the price and availability of WC3 around the world. If you would like to order a copy, you can call your domestic branch of Electronic Arts (see section 10.4), or if you don't have one, maybe we can suggest some other places to try below. Copies of the Premiere Edition are ONLY available through Electronic Arts Direct. If there is no branch of EA in your country, your best bet is to call the closest one you can find and inquire about international shipping. If there is nothing listed in this section for your country, then you can try calling Electronic Arts in the US at (415) 513-7555, at which they can accept international orders. Some of this information may be outdated. No warranty, expressed or implied. 10.6.1. United States ---------------------- List price is $69.95 for the standard edition, though several mail order outlets have been selling copies for under $50. Check out the ads in your favorite gaming magazine for some mail order companies to try. The Premiere Edition runs for $99.95. At the time this FAQ was released, there were still copies available. 10.6.2. Canada --------------- The street price for the standard edition is usually around Can$79.95 plus tax, though if you shop around enough, you'll probably be able to find it for as low as $69.96 plus tax. You *cannot* get a copy of WC3, either the regular or the premiere edition, through EA Canada; all orders must be placed through the U.S. branch. The Premiere Edition shipped from the U.S. will cost you US$89.95 + US$5.00 (S&H) + Can$11.87 (duty + 7%GST). 10.6.3. United Kingdom ----------------------- List price for the standard edition is 54.95 pounds in the U.K., and the Premiere Edition is sold out. The "street price" of WC3 is around UKP 37-39 if you look around enough. 10.6.4. Australia ------------------ List price for the standard edition is $129.95, but it is available in many major retail shops such as Ozzie Discount and Downtown Software for around $90-$100. The price for the Premiere Edition is $199.95. 10.6.5. New Zealand -------------------- The Computer Centre in Christchurch is selling the standard edition for NZ$149, including GST (approx. US$70 total). Comparable prices are probably available if you look around. Another route that could potentially save you a great deal of money is looking into getting a copy via international mail order. Our foreign correspondent ordered his copy from a store in England and paid only 35 pounds (NZ$90)! The Premiere Edition is no longer available in New Zealand. 10.6.6. Singapore ------------------ Most places are selling the game for about S$69 (including GST), though the game is not in so many stores any more. Those in the area may wish to check out South Asia Computing on the fourth floor of Funan Centre, where they offer a 10% discount. The Premiere Edition is no more, so if you want a copy, your best bet is to call a foreign branch of Electronic Arts and arrange for overseas shipping. 10.6.7. Hong Kong ------------------ Most stores are selling the standard edition for about HK$320 (approx. US$40). 10.6.8. France --------------- The average street price for the standard edition is about FF 499, though you can expect some variation between retailers. The Premiere Edition goes for FF 549. 10.6.9. Germany ---------------- List price for the regular edition is DM 120; the Premiere Edition is sold out. 10.6.10. Switzerland --------------------- List price for the standard edition is sFr. 79; the Special Edition (not the same as the Premiere Edition, or the Special Edition here in the U.S.; frankly, I'm not sure what this one is) goes for sFr. 169. 10.6.11. Japan --------------- The regular edition costs about 7,800 Y (English), and the Premiere is around 12,800 Y (English). 10.7. What was the budget for Wing Commander III? ==================================================== No official figures were released, but estimates are in the area of four million dollars ($4,000,000) -- the largest budget ever for a computer game. 10.7.1. How much has Origin made from WC3 sales to date? --------------------------------------------------------- Again, no exact figures are available, but an April article in the Houston Chronicle reported that the game grossed twelve million dollars ($12,000,000) the first day of release. Origin reports sales so far of about half a million copies. 10.8. Who developed and filmed Wing Commander III? ===================================================== 10.8.1. Who was involved with the cinematic side of the project? ----------------------------------------------------------------- Over 50 professional filmmakers were on the WC3 team to help bring together the cinematic portion of the game. Among the most instrumental were: Executive Producer & Director Chris Roberts Producer Donna Burkons Screenplay Terry Borst Frank DePalma Art Director Chris Douglas Cinematographer Virgil Harper Music Composer George Oldziey 10.8.2. Who was involved with the gameplay side of the project? ---------------------------------------------------------------- Following is a list of the programmers who were responsible for the PC version of the game: Frank Savage (Project Director): * Spaceflight engine conversion * New technologies (i.e., Capital ships) Frank Roan (Programmer): * Spaceflight object system and weapon systems * Artificial Intelligence * Mission system Anthony Morone (Programmer) * Cockpit/HUD displays and interface * 3D Navigation Map * Communication system and sound effects programming Chris Todd (Programmer) * Gameflow programming * Cinematics integration Jason Yenawine (Programmer) * Full-motion video compressor and player * Memory management There is a second team of programmers in charge of the 3DO version: Charles Cafrelli (Programmer) Peter Shelus (Programmer) * 3D spaceflight and object systems * Artificial Intelligence Brent Thale (Programmer) * 3DO conversion of video compressor and player 10.9. Other Wing Commander III-related merchandise ===================================================== 10.9.1. Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III ------------------------------------------------------ Rather than the typical "Playtester's Guide" that Origin has released with all of their games of late, they've produced a larger strategy guide for WC3 similar to Mike Harrison's _Wing Commander I & II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide_. It has recently been released and is now available in stores or from Electronic Arts Direct (see section 10.4). The Behind the Scenes Interactive CD included with the Premiere Edition is also packaged free with all copies of the Guide. The first part of the book contains a detailed walkthrough, full character stats, an explanation of how morale affects each character, conversation choices and the effects they have, fighter specs (both friend & foe), and 10 pages of tips on playing. Full mission analyses are also included, with one or two pages of information on each mission in the game. The last section goes into the making of the game... a history of the WC series, a detailed interview with a Chris Roberts, and shorter interviews with other members of the WC3 cast and team. 10.9.2. The Authorized Combat Guide to Wing Commander III ---------------------------------------------------------- Another official WC3 book, this is similar to the Guide mentioned in 9.9.1 above, but it concentrates solely on flying and mission tactics -- no behind-the-scenes info, interactive CD, or anything else. This is also available in most computer stores or from Electronic Arts direct (see section 10.4). 10.9.3. Wing Commander III: The Ultimate Strategy Guide --------------------------------------------------------- An unofficial strategy guide published by Prima, this book also contains some general flying tactics, mission analyses and strategies, and so forth. It is available at most computer stores, but not from Electronic Arts direct. 10.9.4. The Wing Commander III novel ------------------------------------- The latest WC novel, entitled _Heart of the Tiger_, has also recently been released in stores. As the title suggests, it is a novelization of the events in WC3. It is written by William R. Forstchen (co-author of _End Run_ and author of _Fleet Action_) and Andrew Keith and is published by Baen Books. The ISBN number is 0-671-87653-8. 10.9.5. Will the soundtrack for Wing Commander III be released on CD? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- While a separate WC3 soundtrack won't be released, several tracks of the game's music are included on _The Origin Audio CD (Volume 3)_, which is available only with the Premiere Edition (see section 9.2.1). This disc also includes selections from other recent OSI games. 10.9.6. Will any of the other items from the Premiere Edition be sold separately? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The Behind the Scenes Interactive CD is packaged with the WC3 Guide (see section 9.9.1 above). Some of the other items may be released separately as well, but which ones they are, how much they'll cost, and when they'll be available are still up in the air. 10.10. Will there be any add-on discs as there were for previous Wing Commander games? ======================================================================== No. There will, however, be a Wing Commander IV (see section 9.11.1 below). 10.11. What other Wing Commander products are planned for the future? ======================================================================== 10.11.1. Privateer 2 --------------------- This project is already underway at Origin's headquarters in Austin and is being headed by Frank Savage (the same guy who was at the helm of the WC3 development team). It is going to use what will most likely be the WC5 (!) engine, and feature the same protagonist from the first Privateer game. Slated for a Christmas 1996 release, Privateer 2 will most likely be made to run under Windows '95. 10.11.2. The Darkening ---------------------- While not exactly part of the Wing Commander series, a separate space combat game is in development, and is being headed up by Erin Roberts (Chris Roberts' brother). Like WC3, it will utilize live acting for all of the cinematic sequences, and will use an updated version of the WC3 engine for the actual gameplay. One of the head writers is Diane Duane, a well- known author who has written several successful "Star Trek" novels, among other things. This game is being developed and filmed entirely in the United Kingdom. The current estimated release date is late '95 or early '96. 10.11.3. Wing Commander Armada 2? ---------------------------------- There was a WCArmada for Windows project underway, but this has been cancelled. 10.11.4. Wing Commander novels ------------------------------- Two new Wing Commander novels are in the works. The first, which is being written by Ellen Guon (lead writer for WC2 and co-author of _Freedom Flight_), will jump back in time and focus on Hunter when he was still alive. The third novel has been contracted, but the content has not yet been decided; it might be take place over on the Privateer side of the galaxy... 9.11.5. The Wing Commander Collectible Card Game ------------------------------------------------- In the tradition of Magic: The Gathering, the Star Trek Customizable Card Game, SimCity: The Card Game, and a whole host of others, a Wing Commander Collectible Card Game is currently slated to be released within the next two months or so. Few details are available as of yet. It is being published by Mag Force 7, who have had one previous foray into the trading card game arena with Star of the Guardians. 10.11.6. Wing Commander: The Motion Picture? ---------------------------------------------- There's serious talk going around of an actual Wing Commander movie being made. We're not talking green-screen acting with computer-generated backgrounds, either, but a real, full-blown motion picture. Nothing is known about the content as of yet, though if it comes to pass, it may be a crossover with WC4. Either way, most of the WC3 cast would be present. There has also been some talk of a Privateer TV series, though nothing is certain, and again, no other details are available right now. Stay tuned. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ******************************************************************************* 11. In conclusion... ******************************************************************************* 11.1. Credits ================ This FAQ has by no stretch been a one-man job, though it started out as such. Alot of people helped with the writing of this FAQ, and I'd like to take the time to point 'em all out. Even though this isn't James' FAQ anymore, all these guys deserve to be recognized. :) Allen Kim and Matt Newman have both been tremendous assets to the production of the FAQ, and it quite possibly would not have come out for many more weeks (if ever) without their help. :) Allen wrote the new sections on gameplay tips and storyline questions -- with the exception of the mission tree, which was compiled by Aubrey Chen and Klaus Weidner -- and Matt took care of the section about the WC3 demo. Both did an excellent job. The FAQ's proofreaders helped to catch all the little errors we writers made, and offered some great suggestions before this FAQ ever saw the light of day. Special credit should go to Rich Clark, who definitely went above and beyond the call of duty, offering tons of suggestions and rewriting many sections without even being asked... Mike Christie Rich Clark Michael Santo The not-so-small task of scanning all of the WC3-related threads on the online services and filtering useful info to send to us FAQ writers was done by a separate group. You may not think this task significant, but these people were very diligent in following through on a time-consuming (and in some cases expensive) job: Michael Christie (Internet newsgroups) Brendan Lefebvre (America Online) Mark Nelson (CompuServe) Several people have kept me (James) updated about the pricing and availability (and more) of WC3 in their country. If you learned anything about the pricing and availability of the game in your country from this FAQ, then you probably have one of these foreign correspondents to thank: Bernhard von Allmen (Switzerland) Aubrey Chen (Canada) Mike Christie (New Zealand) Philip Langdale (Singapore) Richard Poffley (United Kingdom) Richard Poffley has also provided me with coverage of the WC3 exhibits at the ECTS's (European Computer Trade Show), other trade shows in the U.K., and more... thanks! Aubrey Chen is the only living Wing Commander encyclopedia I have ever met. If there was ever something about the game or storyline I wasn't sure about, it was a pretty safe bet that he could answer my question. He also caught countless minor factual errors about the game that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Still others helped to distribute the FAQ throughout the online community: Dave Rubin Michael Santo Dave Stanworth Extra thanks to those Origin employees who have taken time from their busy schedules to answer my endless flow of questions: Eilenne McKeon Butt Tony Morone Frank Roan Frank Savage Galen Svanas David Swofford Chris Todd Chris Douglas Chico Marvici And a big thanks to all the other people who have forwarded me info, given me (again, James :))ideas, suggested a question or topic to cover, or otherwise helped me with the production of the FAQ... Nicholas Albright Ben Herd Nobu Aoki Pham Hoang Wayne Baker David Jakovac Ron Blancarte Dieter Janssen Nick Buol Lee Johnson Matt Burch Ingo Jungherr Mark Carlson Kan Keung Matthew Dusk Ted Liu Geoffrey Elbo Tommy McClain Paul Fleming Richard Scalan Lynn Forest Chad Stanek Nicholas Golusin David Thornloe Gary Goodman Chip Yamka Dan Hardwicke Chek Yang This section was probably a lot bigger than you expected it to be, but everyone in here deserves every bit of recognition they got, and more. This FAQ wouldn't be nearly as good as it is without their help. Hope I didn't forget anyone. :) *11.2.* Other sources of information ===================================== Several magazines and other periodicals have included WC coverage. If you'd like to check any of them out for yourself, here's a (probably incomplete) list: AP Newswire June 23, 1994 Austin American Statesman June 20, 1994 CD-ROM Today August/September, 1994; December, 1994 Cinescape October, 1994 Computer Gaming Revelation October, 1994 Computer Game Review July, 1994; August, 1994; October, 1994 Computer Games Strategy Plus August, 1994; October, 1994; November, 1994 Computer Gaming World May, 1994; June, 1994; December, 1994 Computer Life January, 1995 Daily Variety Magazine Electronic Entertainment April, 1994; June, 1994 Game Developer June/July 1995 The Hollywood Reporter May 17, 1994 Interactive Entertainment Episode 3 Los Angeles Daily News June 28, 1994 Medina County Gazette December 7, 1994 PC Format July, 1994; August, 1994 PC Gamer July, 1994; August, 1994; December, 1994 PC Games January, 1995 PC Power December, 1994; January, 1995 PC World June, 1994 PC Zone January, 1995 Star Wars Galaxy Fall, 1994 Several magazines have also already featured reviews of the game. You can find them in any of the following gaming magazines: Computer Game Review February, 1995 Computer Gaming World February, 1995 Electronic Entertainment March, 1995 PC Format February, 1995 PC Gamer March, 1995 PC Games February, 1995 PC Power February, 1995 PC Zone February, 1995 WC has also been featured on CNN, the Mulray Show, Censored TV Bloopers, the Jon Stewart Show, Entertainment Tonight, The Computer Man, PCTV Users Group, and was shown in some of Intel's Pentium commercials on TV. 11.3. Contacting the FAQ authors =================================== Do you have another bit of information you'd like to see added? Did we screw something up? Have any questions you'd like answered in a future revision of the FAQ? If, for these or any other reasons, you'd like to contact the WC3 FAQ team, send e-mail to coryf@ilhawaii.net All mail will receive a reply! *11.4.* Where to find out more =============================== Have more questions about WC3 that aren't answered in the FAQ, or just want to find something out straight from the source? Ask Origin directly: OSI Customer Support OSI Marketing -------------------------------- ---------------------------------- CompuServe: 76004,2612 CompuServe: 71333,136 America Online: OriginCS America Online: OSI Internet: support@origin.ea.com Internet: marketing@origin.ea.com Phone: (512) 335-0440 BBS: (512) 331-4446 If you have any questions about pricing, ordering, or availability, then call your domestic branch of Electronic Arts: United States: 1-800-245-4525 United Kingdom: 0753-549442 Australia: +61 (75) 280 800 Canada: 604-451-3600 France: 72 17 07 83 Germany: 05241/24307 Japan: 03-5410-3100 If EA can't answer a question for you, you can also try to contact one of the FAQ's volunteer foreign correspondants to get informations regarding pricing or availability in your country: Canada -- Aubrey Chen (akychen@flash.lakeheadu.ca) New Zealand -- Mike Christie (m.christie@psyc.canterbury.ac.nz) Singapore -- Philip Langdale (rogergl@singnet.com.sg) United Kingdom -- Rich Poffley (richard@anduril.demon.co.uk) Note that these correspondents are not employees of Origin or Electronic Arts, but well-informed WC fans who will still do their best to answer your questions. 11.4.1. Origin's WC3 tech support FAQ -------------------------------------- Origin has released a technical support FAQ that outlines solutions to dozens of common problems with WC3. This is available via ftp at ftp.ea.com in the /pub/patches directory, or from Origin's official support forums on CompuServe, AOL, or their BBS (see section 1.7). *11.5.* Revision history ========================= Version 2.30: Added section on WC4. Wing Commander strategy guide (12/3/95) included in the distrubution package. Minor errors remedied. A new author. Version 2.01: Several minor errors and omissions remedied. (7/30/95) Version 2.00: FAQ nearly doubled in size. All old sections changed to (6/24/95) reflect the way the game actually is rather than simply being pre-release speculation. New sections on the WC3 demo, gameplay strategies and tips, and storyline questions added. Countless other less significant revisions. Version 1.10: Revision history section heavily abridged so that it didn't (10/24/94) expand to five or ten pages upon this version's release. FAQ grew by about 50%; most new info was in section 4, including more detailed descriptions of what capital ship combat and planetside missions would be like. A basic explanation of what a polygon-based graphics engine is was put in section 3.8. Official information from Origin regarding estimated frame rates, and the WC3 Premiere Edition added to sections 3 and 6. Several other less significant changes too numerous to list. Version 1.01: A few minor changes, including the addition of the WC3 (8/11/94) periodical reference list and this revision history section. Version 1.0: Initial release. (8/5/94) *11.6.* Conclusion ===================== Well, thats all. I'll continue to keep the legacy going, as long as there are Wing Commander fans all over the world. Thanks for reading the FAQ! -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-