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Wing Commander 3 Reaches Ten Year Milestone

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the oh-dear-we're-getting-old dept.

Classic Games (Games) 104

An Anonymous Reader writes "The Wing Commander CIC is reporting on the tenth birthday of the classic PC game, Wing Commander 3. "Much like Wing Commander 2 with the sound card and Wing Commander Prophecy with the 3d accelerator, Wing Commander 3 encouraged a legion of PC gamers to go out and buy a CD-ROM drive for hundreds of dollars. In little over four years we went from a handful of floppy disks to a stack of CDs. Once computers had their CD-ROM installed, systems with only 8 megabytes of RAM sufferred 5+ minute load times before the missions. Still, we happily waited for one of the most incredible gaming experiences ever." Though the game obviously looks dated by today's standards, it's held up remarkably well as a vehicle of adventure and storytelling. It's amazing that it's already been ten years."

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104 comments

The Memories (2, Interesting)

Razman (223616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072993)

I cannot believe it has been ten years already!

I hope some games, like movies and music, are remade, with better graphics and such, hopefully without destroying the game we all came to remember. ;)

though it seems like space flight sims are not a popular as they used to be.

Wing Commander/Mech Warrior have all died off it seems.

Re:The Memories (2, Informative)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073210)

There's a remake project [solsector.net] for WC game "Privateer". Seems open source.

Wing commander 1-3 have been remade (but long ago) by Origin into the Wing Commander - Kilrathi Saga [google.com] product. Seems they did not much more than slow down the game for less ancient machines though.

Re:The Memories (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11081577)

Alternately, DOSBox [sourceforge.net] has gotten a lot better at running Privateer since 0.62 was released (current is 0.63). It went from really choppy and stuttery to playable at a frameskip of 3 on my P4 1.7 GHz machine. Since the game is designed to run at 20-30 fps, not much difference can be seen, especially since I played the game at slower framerates on a 386 originally.

Re:The Memories (1)

vsprintf (579676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11077882)

I hope some games, like movies and music, are remade, with better graphics and such, hopefully without destroying the game we all came to remember. ;)

I think the reason we remember a lot of those games is because of the great job they did with limited graphics like the original Wing Commander (1990?) at the time. Games like Beam Rider on the Atari were also pretty special because of the involved and busy graphics. Given today's multi-million dollar investments in a single game, high speed/resolution graphics, and the newer gamers' expectations, I don't think we'll see many true remakes aside from some of the quick-and-dirty arcade collection ports that some companies are selling for a few dollars.

never played it (1)

davez0r (717539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073001)

so anyone know where i can download that shizzle?

i downloaded a copy of dune 2 [flashback-aw.net] recently and was surprised that i was able to play it on a modern computer. no sound tho.

Re:never played it (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073066)

Dune 2 plays very well on Dosbox [sourceforge.net]. I should know, i tried the game not too long ago to see if it was as good as i remembered and spent a couple of hours playing, nonstop. I should've known better...

Re:never played it (1)

davez0r (717539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073148)

HAWT! now i just need that copy of wing commander and i'm good to go!

but oh man playing dune 2 in a window with sound...i might not get any work done again EVAR.

Re:never played it (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073160)

I find DosBox slow for most old apps, even on my 2ghz machine. As such, I always try with VDMSound first, since usually the soudn is all you really need to emulate.

Oh, and Star Control II will always be the best space fighter evar.

Re:never played it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11073458)

DOSBox should only be slow on a 2GHz machine if you're playing games from ~1995 onward, like Syndicate Wars and Crusader: No Remorse. Fiddle with the settings (increase frameskip and cycles) and you should get a better result.

Re:never played it (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073484)

Well, thats my point - if I have to frameskip, then its too slow. Well, for a convoluted definition of "slow".

Re:never played it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076380)

You often get a *dramatic* performance increase just with a frameskip of 1 or 2, and I challenge you to tell the visual difference between 0 and 1 frameskip.

Re:never played it (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11081608)

And to preempt the obvious, I'll be sure to suggest increasing the virtual CPU speed. I have a slow-ass 1.7 GHz P4 and it runs most everything fine, including Privateer. If I had that 2 GHz machine, I could probably run Ultima 7 fine. Right now, it feels like it's running on the old 486SX laptop I used to have.

Need more like this (1)

TychoCelchuuu (835690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073067)

It's nice to remember games that make people upgrade, lest we forget how we can fall behind. Games like Far Cry, World of Warcraft, and Half-Life 2 have DVD options: the more high profile games that make the switch and don't go back, the less we are going to have to swap 6 discs when we install. Come on, everyone! DVD drives in your computers already! They're only like 20 bucks for a cheap one.

Re:Need more like this (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074084)

I think in Europe DVD only games are a bit more common, I don't think CD versions of Far Cry or Half Life 2 are availible. World of Warcraft comes on neigther, it's not out until next year.

Re:Need more like this (1)

L0k11 (617726) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078625)

and you are in which country?.... It was released 2 weeks ago in Australia... of all places

Of course its completely sold out... reminds me i need to go put a deposit down on a copy or i'll never have it for Christmas

But WC3.... now that brings back memories... played it on my macintosh powerPC 100mhz with 17inch trinitron av monitor, only game that ever made me really scared (when the kilrathi ace stabs his girlfriend in the stomach and lifts her up with his claws, the game cuts back to the mission, select all missiles and go for revenge!!!)

Oh, the horrible acting... (3, Interesting)

eviltypeguy (521224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073112)

Oh, the horrible acting...

But, it had John Rhys Davies, that makes it good right?

Oh, and Mark Hamil too!

But, the worst line from an actor in this game:

"Disintegrate me, so I may join my comrades..."

*dies laughing*

Re:Oh, the horrible acting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074719)

"Disintegration is not for you. Your fate will be different. The human cannot comprehend the honor I am about to bestow upon her, for she is not only a great warrior, but her lairmate is the Heart of the Tiger!"

Honestly, I've seen much worse acting. My only complaint with the game is Flint. She annoys me so much that it's infuriating that the game doesn't allow Col. Blair to hate her like I do. I chose every negative option in every conversation with her, but she was still an option in the kiss scene.

Installing Wing Commander 3 on a modern machine is kind of fun, though, because of the humorously short-sighted claim that your computer is faster than is possible.

Re:Oh, the horrible acting... (1)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075433)

JRD is awesome with his accents. He can do an arabic accent (Indiana Jones) to his scottish accent from WC3, to being a surly dwarf in LOTR (which I suppose is based on the scottish accent). Malcolm McDowell played a cool evilish admiral (Interestingly, he did WC3 during his apparent sci fi phase, where in 1994 he also did Star Trek Generations and the amazangly unpopular Cyborg 3 - The Recycler. [imdb.com] As for Hamil, lets face it, he was as good an actor in WC3 has he was in Star Wars, but a story that good can do wonders, like turning a carpenter's assistant on the set into Han Solo. And the guy who played Eisen was cool. The acting was decent I thought. I would have prefered a wing commander movie made with those characters and the story from wing commander 1, 2, or 3 more than the craptastic movie that Hollywood actually released. Hell, they could have actually made a movie with just the WC3 film clips. Just splice together all the movie clips, and toss in some CG space battle scenes, and you'd have an awesome movie.

Prophecy (2, Informative)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073118)

I didn't play wing commander 3, but i have many fond memories of WC Prophecy. The missions and space dogfighting were great, and an added bonus, Mark Hamill! Heh well the gameplay was still good.

hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073181)

I don't think it was III. I'm leaning towards II, but whichever one opened with an Origin "symphony" being conducted. Man, that put my Sound Blaster to the test. Actually it was the original Wing Commander, after checking out some of the info [wcnews.com] WCNews has on the game, it all comes rushing back: the Tiger's Claw... ah, the joys of youth.

Re:hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073510)

I remember that. back in the day i had an Adlib that i upgraded to a Sound Blaster (pro?) so i could get the voice pack. Was the sound blaster pro the bastard 12-bit sound card that creative put out?

Re:hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073648)

Was the sound blaster pro the bastard 12-bit sound card that creative put out?

No, it had two 8 bit DACs and two 8 bit ADCs. That set it apart from the original Sound Blaster which had only one of each. This meant that the pro was stereo while the original was mono. It was also a full ISA (16 pin) card (well maybe some pins were unused) and had a ribbon cable connector at the back for connecting a CDROM drive and a controller chip for Panasonic style drives.

Re:hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073710)

Thnaks i did a litle link hunting it seems the DACs used on the erly creative cards were 12 bit.

Re:hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073658)

Yep. There was a symphony at the beginning of WC I. I played that on my dad's 286 with 1 MB RAM. Boy did I have to tweak MS-DOS to free up enough memory to make the game run at all.

Some years later, my dad got a Pentium 100 MHz, and I tried the game again. I

Re:hm... which one did I play back in the day... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073707)

Damned be all touchpads. I never clicked submit!

To continue the last sentence from the post above, the one starting with 'I': ^H^H The game was unplayable because it ran too fast. I could get the ship to stand still or run at warp speed, but nothing in between.

Word up, that's old school like the old school (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073871)


I remember the opening movie for WCII. There was this one scene of a large ship that kind of dipped down in a swoop while flying on the screen and it looked all 3d. We were in such awe.

And then there was my crappy machine that couldn't handle syncing the video with the audio. In the opening scene when one of those tiger aliens (can't remember their name for the life of me right now), makes this gesture like he's grasping something in mid-air, and he says something about having something in his hands, my machine would choke and he would make the motion a few seconds before saying the line. Ah, the good ol' days.

Re:Word up, that's old school like the old school (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074288)

I remember the opening movie for WCII. There was this one scene of a large ship that kind of dipped down in a swoop while flying on the screen and it looked all 3d. We were in such awe.

This reminds me, I used to watch that at my friend's house since he had a computer that could run it. Even these days I occasionally say "How goes the war against the humans?" as a greeting to him.

Re:Word up, that's old school like the old school (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075937)


Yes, I can actually hear that line now in my head. I wonder if there is anyplace you can download in game scenes like that in video form. That would be cool.

Re:Word up, that's old school like the old school (1)

Japong (793982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074676)

Kilrathi - that's the alien race. You were watching the emperor talk to Prince Thrakkath about the war. He's standing inside Ki'thrak Mang, a space station, and reaching for a planet he can see through one of the many windows left exposed on the ship.

Yeah, I was a little obsessed.

Re:Word up, that's old school like the old school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076028)

He's standing inside Ki'thrak Mang,

Don't you mean K'tithrak Mang?

Yeah, I was a little obsessed.

Not obsessed enough, methinks. Man, I used to have that whole intro sequence down pat. Let's see now...

"Arise, grandson. How goes the war against the Terrans?"
...damn, it's gone. @@

Ah well. I can still do Tie Fighter, if you like. "Welcome, Admiral Harkov. We have a matter to discuss. What is the location of your fleet? Now you shall pay for your treachery! Khhhhh, khhhhhh."

Those WC-Saga screenshots... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073190)

...look damn nice. Not that it's a surprise, since it's based on the Freespace 2 [freespace2.com] engine, a sadly underrated game, which looks incredible on modern hardware as well. I'm eager to try that one...

Re:Those WC-Saga screenshots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11073493)

FS2 was never underrated, you retard.

Re:Those WC-Saga screenshots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11073572)

It was. It never sold as well as expected, even for a space flight sim.

My question for the director... (2, Funny)

Aero (98829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073253)

If you hadn't gotten Mark Hamill to play Blair, would the final mission still have had the player flying down a canyon to drop a world-destroying bomb on a small target?

Re:My question for the director... (1)

vranash (594439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073284)

OMFG, I played that game like 10 years ago and never even thought of that x.x

Ah, memories... (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073307)

The game that caused me to buy a CD-ROM drive for the first time was "Return to Zork." Man, I had so much fun with that game... and the awesome graphics and movies... Wow. Memories... :-) I think my second CD-ROM title was "The 7th Guest." Things seemed more fun back then...

Heh (2, Interesting)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073827)

I actually bought "Return to Zork" on floppies. Rather than real full video, you just had these strangely animated pictures.

Want some rye? 'Course you do!

Re:Heh (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074320)

OH MAH GAW.

that 'want some rye' line, you just awoke a part of my long-buried psyche man, that is awesome. god that makes me feel so old, i'm gonna have to see if i can find that cd tonight.

Re:Heh (1)

Luigi30 (656867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074641)

In Zork Grand Inquisitor, when you're playing as Lucy, read the bartender's mind. On the first click he says "want some rye" and on the second one he says "course ya do!"

Re:Heh (1)

GargoyleMT (9723) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074782)

If you play it, remember not to use "!" in the saved game name. On my copy, it exited directly to DOS. I later met one of the beta testers in collge and gave him some grief about it. ;)

Re:Heh (1)

ego093 (462550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078570)

Every day I would ask my friend, as we walked out from classes...

"Want a ride? Course ya do!"

And then there's the toast...

"Here's to us! Who's like us? Damned few! And they're all dead!!!!"

I don't think I've been to our local pub and NOT toasted at least twice to that one. Oh Zork, how you defined the lives of geeks.

Re:Ah, memories... (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074085)

Mine was for "Rebel Assault" and "King's Quest 6 Multimedia Version" (same as floppy version but with voice acting)

Re:Ah, memories... (1)

Rico_Suave (147634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074406)

The CD version of King's Quest 6 had a lot more than just voice acting - there was some pretty sweet CGI FMV for the time - I watched the opening movie over and over again - hi-res headshots (with lip-sync, no less) and interface, a full-length CD-quality song at the end, etc. A superb early CD-ROM title.

Re:Ah, memories... (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074469)

Oh yeah... I think I remember that too. It's been a while though, of course... All I remember for sure was the shopkeeper in the England-like middle ages land had a heavy Jamaican accent:

Good daaaaaaay Preeence Alexander!

Re:Ah, memories... (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11082219)

I don't think it was Return to Zork, that came a few years later after MPC systems were pretty common. It was Zork Nemesis (and I just reinstalled it the other day to play it again) IIRC.

Myst was claiming to be the killer app for CDROM (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073431)

And I would tend to agree. Myst had a wider customer base and you didn't have to have the sound on so your boss wouldn't know you were playing.

Re:Myst was claiming to be the killer app for CDRO (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073891)

And it came at least a year and a half before Wing Commander III.

Wing Commander IV, on the other hand, introduced the quasi-era of DVD games. I still have that game, sitting in a sleeve in a drawer somewhere. WC4 was one of two games that "ushered in" the "era" of DVD games, the other being Incoming.

Re:Myst was claiming to be the killer app for CDRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076074)

Wing Commander IV, on the other hand, introduced the quasi-era of DVD games.

What era of DVD games? I've been buying PC games steadily for about fifteen years now, and the number I own that are on DVD is precisely one.

Why are most games still sold on CD? God only knows, but they are. I work in a game store, and customers are always asking me why all the games we sell come on like three or four CDs when one DVD would be so much more convenient. I look forward to the day when I no longer have to mutter something random about not everyone having a DVD drive yet...

Re:Myst was claiming to be the killer app for CDRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079127)

Hence my use of the term "quasi-era"... >.>

Re:Myst was claiming to be the killer app for CDRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076881)

Myst can only be considered the killer app for CDROM's if you ignore all the sales that 7th Guest generated a year before Myst shipped.

Even better once you open the box - (1)

Japong (793982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073433)

Ah, the classics - this was right at the advent of the cd-rom revolution, of course, a time when games had just started to push the big-budget envelope.

They were actually offering a lot more at the time, too - the box not only had the game cds, but separate install and game manuals, which introduced your character to the TCS Victory, as if it were written in the fictional universe. The original games even had fold-out blueprints of the ships, complete with fictional statistics and flight characteristics. It's a level of out-of-the-box immersion that just isn't done anymore with these new-fangled microboxes, consarn it!

Re:Even better once you open the box - (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074395)

Yeah, I miss all of that. They could even fit stuff like that in the microboxes too, but no one seems to want to write anyhing like that. I remember games like battle of britton and secret weapons of the luffwaffe coming with huge spiral bound books talking about the history of the war and the planes and menuvers.

I especially loved thumbing through the field guides for wing commander when I didn't have time to get on the pc to play (was my dad's pc).

Now a days you open up the box and you get paper slip covers with your cd's in them. Pretty lame if you ask me.

Actually it was Windows 95 (3, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073482)

I'm pretty sure it was Windows 95, and the 20-some-odd floppies required to do a clean install, that had people buying CD-ROM drives. The fact that the floppies were guaranteed to fail on disk 6, 7, or 8 after you used them a few times didn't hurt either ;)

I mean, I'm sure there are a few people out there who bought a CD-ROM drive just to play Wing Commander III, this is the same small yet profitable sliver of the market which buys GeForce 6800s to play DOOM III. But for the mass market, it was Windows 95 that led the consumer, grumbling, to the realm of the 2x Mitsumi.

Re:Actually it was Windows 95 (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073559)

Back in the day Origin always pushed new technology. You could always bet that any new Origin game meant you needed to upgrade.

Wing Commander was one of the first games to require Extended (Expanded?) memory to get extra in flight graphics. Wing Commander II pushed digital audio forcing (laugh) many gamers to buy digital sound cards. The same can be said with the Ultima series.

Lucas was often pushing the performance envelope too.

Extended/expanded (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073720)

Remember the problem back in the day: you can only address memory up to the 0xFFFF (65535) address space, so in order to add more, they added a "page frame", which was a chunk of space taken from the empty B7FF to EFFF (or therebouts) area and paged in and out. The memory manager for doing this was (natch) QEMM, or MS's EMM386.EXE.

Extended memory is simply memory added after 0xFFFF, but DOS couldn't get at it, being only 8 bit. In order to get at the extended memory, the CPU had to switch to protected mode, and then DOS apps had to use OS/2, or Win 3.0 in "enhanced" mode to run, because they needed a faked-out environment in order to call int 21 (DOS services). The OS would switching in and out of protected mode to make that happen, or emulate int 21 itself. The Win 9x branch thunked, but the NT branch emulated, so that whole marketing campaign about how Windows 95 didn't "have DOS under it" was a boldface lie.

Damn, I'm old.

Re:Extended/expanded (1)

SpinyManiac (542071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080053)

Didn't all the DOS games that needed XMS use the DOS/4GW [tenberry.com] DOS extender?
I didn't run my DOS games in Windows, and I still don't. I've got a K6-2 hanging around for the occasional blast from the past.

Re:Actually it was Windows 95 (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075179)

Heck yeah. I had OS/2 2.1 on 24 floppies for the longest time and only got to install it once. I kind of wish I had it back, I've got a couple more modern machines here I'd have liekd to experiment with it on.

CDRom Games (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073531)

When I think of the CD-Rom gaming age, I think of that HUGE company 'Rocket Science'. They had directors and modelers that helped make movies such as Alien. Wired even did a big story on them. What ever happened to them? I guess when they tried to jump on the FMV bandwagon they missed.

trivia (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073576)

random trivia: The first game to ever come on PC-CDROM was Loom from LucasArts. Also wasn't Wing Commander IV the one that came with a pile of CDs? I thought that 3 just had one or two.

Re:trivia (1)

Rico_Suave (147634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074370)

King's Quest V may have beat Loom to the punch.

Wing Commander IV came with 6 CDs... Wing Commander III came with either three or four.

Re:trivia (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074371)

WC3 had four CDs. WC4 had six, possibly seven, or it came on one DVD. WCP came on 3 CDs (better video compression, don'tchaknow.)

Re:trivia (1)

ChrisReid (613129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078112)

WC4 was six. There was a DVD version of WCP made, but not released. It was to be bundled with one of the Creative Labs DVD kits, but Creative ended up going with a different game for mass production.

Re:trivia (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080983)

I'll also point out that, if you can find them, some of the novels by William R Forstchen are good reads.

I find that the ones written to fill in parts not covered by the games are especially good; Action Stations and False Colors come to mind immediately. Fleet Action, I believe it's called, is another good one.

MPC (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073606)

Back in 1994-95 I Was working at Walden Software (EB) and the store directive said they would phase out floppies over the next year and all merchandise would be replaced with CD-ROM. Although I had recently purchased a Tandy Single Speed CD rom drive ($400) I thought they were crazy to set such goals for the common public. It was about this time that Rise of the robots and a few other games hit the market and took a little over 40 1.4 MB disks to install. Sure enough a year latter the store was converted and all new software was in fact selling of CD-Rom.

Does any one remember the old M(multimedia)PC 1&2 ratings they used to set that were supposed to tell the consumer if there computer was good enough to run new software?

Re:MPC (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073828)

Although I had recently purchased a Tandy Single Speed CD rom drive ($400) I thought they were crazy to set such goals for the common public.

Jesus. Why did you spend so much money on a cd drive in 1994?

I bought my cdrom drive in 1993 for not more than $150.

Although I remember that this was before ATAPI, and I had to upgrade my soundcard. (Back then, your cdrom plugged into your soundcard, not your IDE controller).

I remember buying the cdrom drive specifically to play 7th guest, and then being really happy when Day of the Tentacle came out later that year, because then I could get the cdrom version (which I still have) with the full voices.

Re:MPC (1)

VermifugeRT (461717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073877)

I think i had it for a long time. it was one of the first Cd-ROMS to come out. maybe it was 1992? It was a tandy drive and the Cd ROM woud slide in and out of the compuer's drive bay. I mean the WHOLE drive would slide in and out and you would lift a lid to put the cd in the top of the drive.

Not so auspicious... (1)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073657)

It's not such a great event. Wing Commander 3 heralded the death of the series, and the birth of video games like Metal Gear. They may have excellent gameplay, but when you have to sit through hours of dialogue to be able to get to the gameplay, it crosses from gameplay into interactive theater.

<rant>I use to love the Final Fantasy series, but there's more CG video now than gameplay. I mostly play platformers nowadays so I don't have to deal with that crap.</rant> That's one of the things I like about the Gamecube. The disc size encourages vast models with detailed textures, but definitely discourages streaming video...

I can't wait for the first person who loses their savegame state when playing Metail Gear on a PSP. Either you save it just before the dialogue, and you have to sit through it again, or you try to save just after, and the battery cuts out on you before you get there...

Did you play the original Metal Gear? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073885)

The old NES version required you to sit, read and TAKE NOTES on some of the radio sequences in the game. The gameplay was revolutionary but didn't win any awards with the masses. There was no help to call, killing any hostages accidentally or purposely would make it impossible to beat the game and if you missed a hint or radio number, tough. You can't call them back. If anything Metal Gear started the crossing of gameplay into interactive theater.

Re:Not so auspicious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11073959)

Strangely enough, WC IV was the first game that I disliked the actual gameplay...the missions were fairly boring, in my opinion, nothing like going on the side-mission Jalthi hunting in 1 & 2. Instead, I found myself rushing through the space sim action to continue the adventures of Blair and Maniac slinging backhanded comments at each other.

By the way, casting Biff Tannen (Thomas Wilson) as Maniac was sheer genius.

bah (1)

Hollins (83264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073666)

I remember playing the original Wing Commander on my Zerox 386/20 with 2MB of RAM and a 70MB hard drive. It used the PC speaker for sound.

And we liked it.

How goes the war against the humans? (2, Funny)

egarland (120202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073711)

How right they are about Wing Commander 2 and the sound card. I remember working to get a friends brand new SoundBlaster 16 working with Wing Commander 2. I listened to the opening enough that I now have engrained in my brain the phrase "How goes the war against the humans?" which almost always meets with puzzled looks when used. It's especially funny when talking to people who deal with desktop support.

For those who don't remember it I found an mp3 of the opening [geocities.com].

Re:How goes the war against the humans? (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074352)

I say that too, although only to people (well, one person) who knows what it refers to, and even then very rarely. But it does convey something that a simple "what's up?" doesn't.

Re:How goes the war against the humans? (1)

gerddie (173963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076722)

Actually, the phrase that was burned into my brain is:
Speak of you plans - not of your toys!

Re:How goes the war against the humans? (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079907)

Um... Let's see... I plan to buy lots of toys!

:)

That was a good quote too.

WC3's true legacy . . . (1)

superultra (670002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073842)

. . . was not the CD-Rom aspect. Most people had picked one of those up either for Myst or for Encylopedias. Rather, what WC3 brought to gaming was the first (attempt at) a truly cinematic experience in a video game. Sure, Cinemaware had done the same thing years prior, but it was hard to call those "cinema" when the characters only had 500 pixels. WC3 was more movie than game, yet it really did create an interactive cinematic video game. Something else a lot of people don't realize is that its blue screen virtual sets predated those of Phantom Menace by several years.

Sidenote: it's odd that gaming media complained so much about FMV and bad acting, but that generally ended when developers starting using pre-redendered CGI, with acting that was equally as bad. What is about bad real people acting that is worse than bad CGI acting?

Ah... (1)

Golantig (231102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073880)

...this was one of the first games I ever bought.

I remember that if you completed it, but lost the last mission, Hamill (Blair?!) got killed by the Kilrathi chap sticking his claw in to his guts and lifting him off the ground - at the bottom of the screen you could see someone's hands around Hamill's ankles to help lift him up!! :)

5 Minute load time is high (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073926)

The 5+ minute load time mentioned is a bit high. I don't recall the low end spec for the game, but on the family 486DX2/66 with 8 megs of RAM I got it down to 90 seconds to load a mission. There was an 7-8 meg mission file that you could copy over on install that would speed it up considerably. If you didn't copy that file over it would be brutal (but I doubt even 5 minutes unless on a 486/33). And actually, compared to Wing Commander 2, this game was pretty weak in terms of gameplay and story, yet it was still solid. I have every wing commander released for the PC (and the Sega CD) and I consider WC3 to be the weakest.

Re:5 Minute load time is high (1)

Rico_Suave (147634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074435)

No, that's pretty accurate from my recollection :) I played it all the way through on a bare-bones system (486DX/33, 8MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM), and the load times were excruciating. But worth it... what a game! One of the only games where I was at the local Babbages before the store opened on the day it was to be released.

Re:5 Minute load time is high (1)

ChrisReid (613129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078162)

Yeah, I did a dejagoogle search before originally citing that 5 minute figure. That seemed to be a common wait time back then, at least for most of the later missions. I recall it to be about 5 minutes from my experience, sometimes even longer. This instantly dropped when you played on a computer with 16 megs of RAM.

What I remember of the series (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073935)

I remember that the switch to CD Rom fixed some of my complaints about the earlier Wing Commanders.
Wing Commander II took nearly an hour to install on my 386, without the speech pack
Speaking of the Speech pack, WC3 had it built in so no need to spend another $15-20 on an addon that only added speech to the subtitled text.

I remember that Wing Commander 1 was the first program I had that required XMS and I had to get QEMM to play it. Shortly after that DOS 5.0 came out with XMS support built in.
While I don't think WC3 was the killer app that made people upgrade to cd rom (for that I would say Windows 95/Office 95 with a stack of floppies a foot tall), it sure made installation a lot faster and easier. I played it through a few times and after winning the initial time, the next time I deliberately failed a couple missions so I could play the losing path missions.

Games don't keep me awake all night anymore. (2, Interesting)

bromodrosis (639957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074222)

I can remember coming home from the bars and playing this until 3 or 4 AM then getting a few hours of sleep and trudging off to work again. WC 1, 2 and 3 lost me weeks of sleep.

Wow (0, Troll)

Zemrec (158984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074430)

Wow, I'm looking at this thread with all you nerds reminiscing about all crap you had to put up with on PCs to get games to work.

At the time I was playing most of the same games on Amiga and then later Mac. I got the same games but with enhanced sound/graphics/interface and none of the technical support headaches.

I never even owned an x86 PC until 2000. I'd used them at work and school of course, but didn't have the money or inclination to get one until then.

Glad I bypassed all that crap. :)

GURU Meditation Error anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074498)

Riiiight.

Re:GURU Meditation Error anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076250)

Ah, the Amiga. :)

That brings back memories. And the fact my A2000 is sitting in a box in storage for some reason. I could get a SCSI card for my PC and use that 44mb SysQuest drive!

Bring back WC (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074491)

I loved that series. I remember playing WC2/WC3 and hooking my PC up to a 700 watt PA amplifier with JBL concert speakers, shutting all the lights off and hearing the whole house rumble when I was fired upon in a dogfight. That was a cool game.

I've been looking for something comparable to Wing Commander, but it seems the only space-combat title that continues to evolve has to do with the Star Wars universe, which I find a bit on the boring side and too diluted from being endlessly milked.

Re:Bring back WC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079339)

The only game that has come close to the "fight" experience since the WC games are Chris Roberts' latest (last?) iteration in the game Freelancer. Loved the game....brought me back to the days of yore on the 386sx with 4MB or RAM.

How much did you pay for your CD drive? (1)

planetsphinx (712454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075515)

I think I remember paying about $350 american for mine.. good ole Mitsumi 1x CD drive, complete with pull out tray and 16bit ISA controller card!
Hmm.. I wonder if I can find a picture of it..

Hobbes! (1)

dczanik (713788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075676)

Is it just me, or did anybody else feel cheated by Hobbes (If I remember his name correctly). I really liked the character during Wing Commander II, and in WC III when he turned - I never saw it coming. I was shocked and angry!

I loved the Wing Commander series. I played WC2 on my "super fast" 386. Trying to get DOS games like that (and WC3) to work helped teach me enough about computers to help me get a job in IT straight out of highschool. :-)

10 years later. I remember my flight mates fondly. Paladin, Maniac, Iceman, Angel, and even Hobbes -- Cheers to you!

Re:Hobbes! (3, Interesting)

Slider451 (514881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076132)

I, too, was shocked and disappointed when Hobbes turned. He was always my favorite wingman.

Looks like Origin is responsible for producing more than a few IT pros. Between tweaking bootdisks, soundcards, and CD-ROM drives for the WC series, and 10-base-2 and early 10-base-T cards (NetwareLite, anyone?) for Doom deathmatches, I was all set to start my IT career in 1994.

Thanks Origin and id!

Re:Hobbes! (1)

ChrisReid (613129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078184)

The PC version had the Hobbes explanation cutscene removed from the game. It was restored in the 3DO version. ftp://ftp.wcnews.com/files/wing3/wc3ms%20-%20hobbe s.avi

I just waited until CD-ROM was *cheap* (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11077081)

There wasn't a quintessential game/software package that made me want a CD-ROM drive. I found a dual-speed drive at CompUSA for $150 and jumped on it. I didn't own a CD-ROM game until a few months later when I bought (ironically enough) the Wing Commander II Speech Pack.

I miss WC... (1)

NRP128 (710672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11078080)

My copy of WC Prophecy is messed up, i haven't the energy to set WCIV up on here, and WCIII is just a bitch without a dedicated DOS Box, i miss simulated piloting :(

Animation (1)

Wtcher (312395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079441)

Ah... good memories abound. Especially of the earlier two games, I would have to say they were my favourite. I could never really sympathize or connect with the characters in the later games - they often just seemed so one-dimensional and I think the FMV aspect ruined it for me. Granted, the later games were still great space sims, but I much preferred the look and feel of the cutscenes in Wing Commander 1 and 2. Privateer (the first one) was quite good as well. When the animated characters were replaced by actual actors, I felt a lot of them lost a lot of their defining features about who they were. It was like watching new people make the old motions. I guess that's sort of true since they replaced most of the characters every game iteration, but... ...I just finished Prophecy recently. The bad end-game clip is memorable - mostly because it is one of the worst I've ever seen. >_

Oh, yeah. If you look at the CIC website, you'll notice that they have the episodes from the animated show online. I've been downloading them singly over the past few months and I must have to say that they're pretty decent.
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