Happy Birthday CIC

Orlando Station
Orlando Station getting destroyed

And finally it’s time to see something from the actual game! I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “but Pedro how can you possibly get more exciting than UI?”

This year we won’t have a new demo or trailer, but it’s not because we haven’t been hard at work. We’ve been working hard to get everything needed for the full game in place, and now the first real mission is playable from beginning to end.

We’re running at 110%. We’ve already lost three ships

Some of the new features required for mission 1 included:

Light beams on Bluepoint (yes we are fully aware there’s very little for light to reflect off in space; however they’re there in the FMV so they’re there in our game).

Bluepoint Station
Light beams on the original rendering of Bluepoint Station

Protracted explosions with sub-detonations for the Orlando Depot (each explosion spits out its own debris field), but driven by a single particle effect to improve authoring speed.

We’ve also been working on sector definitions. We can read the locations of the original planets and nebulas from the original data, but rather than placing 2D billboards there we are opting for 3D models. No one will ever notice the difference I imagine, but there is very very slight movement on the cloud layer and a rim effect to mimic the atmosphere effect in the FMV.

Again, the visuals are first-pass and we may make the atmosphere its own layer in the future; but it’s working for now.

Cockpit view
Virtual combat reconfiguring whilst looking at Nephele

One of the issues we’ve had to deal with is that the original team never really had to think about matching up nebulae in a system. However like a hardcore fan desperately trying to piece the disjointed canon together we’ve been experimenting with skyboxes which are appropriately coloured in each direction to match the FMV. Due to the amount of cutscenes mission 1 is a worst case scenario here and we are happy with what we have as a proof of concept. That said, we would love help with these nebulae, if anyone fancies learning SpaceScape you can save the world from my programmer art.

New features such as virtual combat.

Seether jumping out after detonating Orlando

We’ve also added fighter jump-out effects (the demo only included jumping-in, and for capships), new engine flames for the fighters and autopiloting with your team mate. Note that we still haven’t done an effects pass, things will only get better.

Between all of these changes and the FMV/UI fixes it is now possible to play all the way through mission 1 and all of the subsequent gameflow.

Run at 120.

We’re making good progress but it’s time we set a release date. This is a project of passion so it would be far too easy to to just keep noodling on it forever. I’m setting a release date of February 12, 2026; the 30th anniversary of Wing Commander IV!

Working full time we could probably cross the finishing line in 1/6th that time, but as it is it is so ambitious we will initially be launching without some planned features at launch:

  • Classic mode will be limited to models at launch and not background/HUD.
  • PSX mission support will not be included.
  • VR support will be absent.

They are still planned at some point.

August 2023 Project Update

In the meantime here is a video of all our recent work come together.