If you want to play at being a pilot…

Original interlaced trailer

We’ve been going full steam on the remake project for slightly over a year now, and for the past two CIC birthdays we have produced trailers.

Rather than release yet another the team thought we would be better off targeting a first-playable demo. Provisionally we are targeting August 2021 for this demo, however we can never make any promises.

I suggest you find a virtual fun zone

Originally we had planned to do a first playable using mission 1 of the game, however LOAF of the CIC gave us a much better idea; to recreate the often overlooked original Wing Commander IV demo.

Most of us had never played the demo, but we were pretty excited for a number of reasons.

Gameplay footage from the original demo
Original demo mission

Firstly it is a great testbed; it opens with the trailer FMV, goes to a room on the Lexington, and then hops into space combat. All the important elements can be playtested so we can get player feedback and catch hardware specific issues early on.
Secondly it allows us to make a demo that doesn’t require the original game to be installed (and allows us to focus on issues other than supporting all of the various versions for the time being).

The demo is a time based gauntlet which should allow people to get a feel for the new flight engine and suggest changes early on. Additionally we hope to recreate the impact the original demo had on the community, with fans competing to get the high score.

If you’re interested in the demo you can download the original from the CIC here (when installing with dosbox be sure not to change the directory name and to mount the directory beneath the demo).

16:9 AI upscaled demo room file
16:9 AI-Upscaled Room with the demo only exit door

Fighting keeps us fit

The switch to producing a public release is not one to be taken lightly; a video can hide a multitude of incomplete features, the same can not be said of a demo.

We’ve already made a start; we now have mappings for mouse, keyboard and joystick (until recently the game only supported gamepad). You can now toggle between 4:3 and 16:9 for the room files (as shown here), as well as classic vs AI upscaled.

We were already well focused on the task of supporting the mission files, but now we are making something player facing we need to consider basic features like pause and option menus.

We will soon be adding a complete list of all the work we have to do to be ready for release – it’s intimidating but not overly so. Fans should be aware that it’s not going to result in many sexy news items, we probably won’t be focusing heavily on new effects or features.

For the immediate future our updates will largely be limited to showing off the additional models the demo requires.

Hopefully though the pay off will make up for slightly less regular updates.

One bit of good news is that we have new recruits to help us out with the audio, and more importantly the tools. Again these won’t lead to sexy updates but Definance Industries is very excited about the prospect of an improved particle editor.