Something Old, Something New…

Old vs. New
Old vs. New

As the team continues to march toward our playable demo release, we thought we’d take a minute and look at a few of the updates between the original game and the remaster.

We’ve spent a fair amount of virtual ink reviewing the assets themselves as we ready them for gameplay, but we would be remiss if we didn’t do some side-by-sides as well as mention all the amazing work done by our programming and audio teams; not to mention all the outstanding work to rescore all the original MIDI tracks by our composer (which is a separate article all its own). We wanted to take a minute to showcase some of the efforts that are being readied for launch in the very near future.

So, without further preamble…

Mayday! Mayday….

Blowing up giant capital ships is one of the most satisfying parts of the Wing Commander experience, whether it’s a series of high-speed gun passes, or the culmination of a harrowing torpedo run, there’s nothing more exhilerating than watching the big ships go up in flames.

We're going down!
We’re going down!

Naturally, a big ship crack up is high on the list of things we wanted to improve upon. We added additional debris chunks, updated the explosion effects with shockwaves and brand-new sound, as well as imparted physics on the debris.

Speaking of physics, the original Respace engine didn’t support physics in WC4, and/or large portions of it were fudged. Pedro has implemented actual physics in the Usagi engine. The spaceflight will feel more natural and we intend to expand upon it as we get into the atmospheric missions – more on that later.

Send Search and Rescue!

The litany of things that can go wrong for a Confed Navy pilot continues with updated ejection sequences. Mr.Coffeee has created an amazing custom audio sequence for us, complete with panicked breathing right before your pod pops you to safety, or capture – which depends a good deal on you.

Bail out!
Make sure I get picked up!

The art team created a highly detailed escape pod model which you can enjoy anytime you eject… but that enjoyment may be short lived after Pliers chews you out.

Should you fail to eject you can expect to be treated to an improved death sequence, complete with an updated death tumble and explosion. Don’t worry, the bad guys get it too.

As you gun down Pirates and Lancers alike, they will flame out while screaming their final curses at you before exploding into custom debris bits… ah, good times.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Jump

Ok actually, that’s a lie, thanks again to the hard work of our audio team. They have taken on the Herculean task of working with the original audio to expand it and make it more immersive, with the goal of really blurring the line between the full motion video and the gameplay. Sound design plays a huge role in any game, but it’s especially important in a title like Wing Commander IV where our goal is to bring you closer to actually playing the movie.

A pirate Frigate Jumps into action
A Pirate frigate Jumps into the fray

The art team has also been hard at work, reviewing the jump-in and jump-out sequences in the video to create a similar in-game effect and Pedro has also been very diligent about ensuring the timing and position of the emerging ship matches the full motion video timing.

We wanted the arrival of a new ship on the board to be something worth looking at, not just a flash on a screen as it were.

The team is looking forward to bringing you the playable demo in short order. We’re excited and we hope you are too.