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Wing Commander: Darkest Dawn — Fan-Made Goodness Reborn 83

MojoKid writes "Last week marked the launch of Wing Commander Saga: Darkest Dawn, a fan-built companion to Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger that's been in the making for the past ten years. It's a real labor of love. Now that the game is available, the question is, how good is it? "The game dropped on Thursday, I started playing Friday, and as of this writing (Sunday afternoon), my weekend chore list is gathering dust on the fridge. I've been too busy cursing my decision to chuck my Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 to notice. 'If I'd kept it just one more year I wouldn't have this problem,' I mutter, fingers splayed over the keyboard in a vain attempt to convince my Hellcat to bank like something other than a Centaurian Mud Pig. Wing Commander Saga is a fan-made game that's good enough to be worth paying for. Not only is it better than a lot of schlock companies expect you to pay for, it pays homage to its source material while improving on Wing Commander's classic gameplay and graphics."
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Wing Commander: Darkest Dawn — Fan-Made Goodness Reborn

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:00PM (#39478591)

    Wow, I think that's a bigger accomplishment than the game itself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What does an eight-hundred pound Tiger-man pay for licensing?

      Not ripping your chest open and feeding in the insides seems fair enough.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is even a newspost at the site discussing exactly that. They didn't get permission, it just looks like EA doesn't give a flying fuck.

    • by black3d ( 1648913 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:17PM (#39478715)

      No, they didn't. EA has been generally permissive (as in, not pursuing the small but extremely active community) for WC fan games throughout the years, but a Slashdot feature may change that. :\

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:23PM (#39478759)

      I also installed on Friday night, but have not done the literary "whatever" as seen in the article (I still shower on a regular basis, etc). Its a pretty good game.

      They do not have permission from EA. They're kind of ignoring each other. Kind of like my relationship with Canada... They're a lot bigger than I am, but we don't talk much. That is why I hurried up and downloaded last week, "just in case"

      Speaking of downloads, life sucks if you run windows. You cannot get this game by running "apt-get install wc-darkest-dawn". You have to visit all these slimy download sites where you have to wait and watch ads until you can download and unblock all scripting and flash so you can get infected. Supposedly there is a torrent... cool I'll go there and left click save and ... Oh noes... graphics art explosion fest... I can't get the blasted torrent file to torrent the darn game. And at least as of Friday there was no way to get to the torrent site and the goofy link wouldn't work with firefox. As I recall I got stuck at "push button to download torrent" or something like that. Lovely. I'm sure that after posting this tale of woe someone will provide a TPB link to it that "just works". That's the suffering of an early adopter... You get used to the idea that something "open" or "free" in the real computing world probably has easy to use mirrors instead of cruddy download sites but in the windows world its all about ad ladden ugly download sites. Ugh.

      One thing I noticed was they have a non-traditionally large amount of text compared to recent games. The tutorial is probably the equivalent of a traditional sci fi short story. Nice. Enjoying it. The tutorial is well made and non-traditionally its complete and actually works, at least so far. Most commercial games seem to have a release goal to make the tutorial suck.

      The voice acting is excellent. No obvious big names, they don't have the Rock or Lenord Nimoy. The gameplay is hacked up freespace, near as I can see. Since freespace was excellent, that means its very good. The graphics are fine. Nobody plays a game for more than 5 minutes because of the graphics anyway. I think it was optimized for a lower resolution than 1600x1200, but it still looks OK at my normal rez.

      • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:11PM (#39479651) Journal

        for the thing, then the developers could afford their own server and wouldn't have to put it on bizarre file websites.

      • Amazing. I visited one site, downloaded one file, dealt with no "explosions", watched no ads, and never had to block scripting or Flash in the first place.

        Having an ad run in a window that doesn't demand your attention or invoke its own audio doesn't count as being "forced" to watch it.

        Yeah, it sucks that companies use false Download links to get clicks. I hate it. If you're smart enough to install all that ad blocking, you're smart enough to figure out how to spot the accurate link amidst the crap. Does th

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Here's the magnet link for the torrent from gamershell:


    • Yeah that blew my mind as well, EA are usually the greediest of the greedy, right of there with Sony and Activision.

      I do have some questions though: Has anyone played it? How well does it control with a keyboard and mouse? is it easy to use or are you screwed without a flightstick? How is the performance? Does it handles widescreen well? sadly i don't have time to answer those questions myself as i got a shitload of games on the Steam Xmas sale and still haven't gotten around to all of them as all the DLC i

      • As the reviewer of the game and the author of the story this article links to...

        Yeah. I've played it.

        I miss a joystick. It's not necessary. And it scales to widescreen just fine.

        • But how smooth is the KB/mouse when it comes to space battles? Is it one of those games where the layout feels intuitive, or is it one of those where you need a cheat sheet printed just to keep up with all the buttons? I have both Freelancer and Freespace II and honestly I almost never play Freespace II while I fire up Freelancer at least a couple of times a year because the controls in Freelancer are so much easier to pick up. With Freespace II I always felt like I was playing with a hand tied behind my ba

  • Loved the old ones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:13PM (#39478681) Homepage

    I'll have to try this out, but I sure loved the old Wing Commander games. I haven't replayed them to see how they hold up, but they did a pretty good job of balancing difficulty so that you could almost always succeed, but you always *felt like* you just barely succeeded.

    It's been a long time since I've played a flight/space combat game that hooked me enough to play more than a couple missions. I hope this game finds some success.

    • Eh, on most of the games except Wing Commander Prophecy (which was made for a broader audience), you generally did only just barely succeed. There were some missions which were nigh on impossible without getting lucky. :)

      • Maybe. I played all of them, and at least in WC3 and WC4, the only frustratingly difficult missions were the escort missions. Everything else felt like I just barely made it out in one piece, but I mostly finished the missions on the first try. Maybe I was really good at it, or maybe I just had it set to an easier difficulty than you. Hard to say since it's been so long.

        Still, I would totally play WC3 again if it were remade with an upgraded engine.

      • It all depended on which enemies you took out first. The guys who wrote the game could wipe out any horde of attacking space ships in no time at all and made it look like anyone could do. Sure they played the game every day of their lives but it was knowing which enemies to kill first that made the hard missions easy.

        Of course they didn't kill their wingman when they got too annoying as I sometimes did. That strategy never had any long term success.
      • Heh. I remember ejecting once to get past one of those missions. I thought I was smart until I did it again on another hard mission and, instead of moving on to the next mission, I was dishonorably discharged.

        I loved the attention to detail with those games.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      they did a pretty good job of balancing difficulty so that you could almost always succeed, but you always *felt like* you just barely succeeded.

      Freespace 1 was like that, I greatly enjoyed that about ten years ago! Freespace 2 was a little more annoyingly difficult. This new game uses the old freespace engine... I wonder if aside from all the graphic and sound stuff, the engine provides some adaptive gameplay mechanics.

      • Something that made Freespace great is that sometimes you didn't "succeed" in the missions. They had missions in the game where the story took a turn for the worst for the player. Unlike Tie Fighter and X Wing where each mission always had a positive outcome no matter how impossible it seemed in real world.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    People seem to have discarded joysticks as contollers right and left, but there are whole genres, like flight simulations, where joysticks are practically a necessity. Why is everyone so keen on moving to inferior controllers? You have people trying to play FPSs with thumbsticks, when mice are far superior, and so on. Seriously, what's up with that? Is there some memo I didn't get saying we all have to give up the best kind of controllers for a particular game, and use worse ones?

    • i mean, they could have a special edition just for tech hoarders. you know who you are. you have a set of 3.5 floppies that you have been 'meaning to transfer to CD' for about 15 years now. and an old sparc station with no network card, and a sparc network card that's the wrong kind that you were going to see if you could hack a driver for, then there's the silicon graphics indigo that is missing a power button... about 135 old cables of various sorts for equipment that hasn't been manufactured since 1987,

  • Space combat games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paul Townend ( 185536 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:27PM (#39478787) Homepage

    I'm amazed at how the space combat genre seems to have died a bit of a death in recent years (yeah, I know about the X universe, etc). Surely it's about time someone either rebooted Wing Commander or Tie Fighter, or else made a new game in a similar mould? With modern technology, it could be awesome.

    • by Moheeheeko ( 1682914 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:30PM (#39478817)
      There is a small ray of hope, lucasarts was recently hiring for "flight sim" game devs, im desperatly hoping for a new X-Wing VS TIE Fighter.
      • I assumed the job posting at the time might be for a Red Tails tie-in game, but it apparently wasn't that.

        • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

          I assumed the job posting at the time might be for a Red Tails tie-in game, but it apparently wasn't that.

          With the target demo, it would have made sense to make a version for the Xbox, not computers.

      • A modern Xwing vs TieFighter would be great. They could do it one of two ways to make it great I think: 1) A PVP laddered tournament approach with 1v1 and team games 2) A PVE freelancer style where you can buy up an armada and train wingmen over time.

        The best place they could have done this was in SWTOR for their space combat.
        • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:27PM (#39479277) Journal

          The best place they could have done this was in SWTOR for their space combat.


          I was very disappointed when space combat in SWTOR was not like X-wing or Tie Fighter. I figured that would be a gimme. They already own all of the IP and have developed the code. They could have just refreshed the graphics and called it a day. It would be ground breaking to have a "real" flight simulator / space combat game built into an MMO. It would be a nice distraction from questing / raiding.

          • It would be ground breaking to have a "real" flight simulator / space combat game built into an MMO.

            Uhm... []

          • Vendetta Online - been around for years, and they are a 'real' flight simulator / space combat game. it has a steady user base, but a tiny one. you can maybe argue that its because of the nature of the development team/company.

            but i am not sure. there might be something inherently 'non-popular' about flight-sim games, that means you cant have one thats a big MMO.

            Other examples:

            Warbirds, the WWII online combat sim. Amazing flight sim, but tiny user base.

            Tanki Onlin - a tank game. very popular, but again, no

            • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

              Flight/space sims take skill. Most MMOs (and their offline breatheren) are like FarmVille with a good story.

              I love Diablo, but after one or two play throughs it's as boring as farming.

            • And this is why, after a two-day Galaxies attempt, I abandoned MMOs. Especially since most of them don't include any actual roleplaying. It's sad, because even though the learning curve is tough in a real multiplayer flight sim (I was partial to Air Warrior and Aces High) It's more rewarding when you actually do achieve something.

              I will always remember the time in Air Warrior when I was flying an unarmed and unescorted C-47 and got chased by a BF-109. I dove into a valley and started flying as close as I c

          • by JTsyo ( 1338447 )
            Eve? Guess it's not fighters though.
      • Even if they do make a new one, it'll probably be optimized for consoles and made for 7 year-olds.
      • by mvdw ( 613057 )
        Have you tried out oolite?
    • I'm pretty sure the genre is on a come back.... Isn't that the whole point of angry birds: space? It's a sign I tell you!

    • Which doesn't mean good in this case, it means self reenforcing. It is a case of the few ones that do come out suck badly, so nobody buys them, so publishers don't think there's any money in them, so nobody good can get funding, so only crap games can come out.

      It's a vicious cycle, and some kinds of games can get it to it.

      • My understanding (which may be wrong) is that it basically boils down to, "We don't know how to make good games that captures the public interest, but we can keep churning out Call of Duty and Modern Warfare games and keep making money. Let's devote money there instead of anything riskier."
        • So is my understanding. But I hope that will break down some day (as in, eventually enough people will be bored by it that Call Of Duty 11 is no longer a success).


    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I am not a fan of WC games, but I loved those SW games. I'd would to love to see an updated version for today's computers. Of course multiplayer like 64+ players in total!

  • And Denise Richards can reprise her role in the first. With any luck I can also see Patrick Muldoon get his last neuron sucked out of his skull. They missed it back then.

  • INFO (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    from the FAQ

    Q: When will the game be released?

    A: When it's done.

    Q: Will the game be continuously updated with new content?

    A: Yes. A dedicated team will work on creating new content and make patches to the game after itâ(TM)s been released.

    Q: What will Wing Commander Saga cost?

    A: Nothing.

    Q: Will there be a Linux or Macintosh version?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Is Wing Commander Saga moddable?

    A: Yes. Using the SCP version of FRED 2, you can create your own missions and campaigns.

    Q: What are the hardware requirements?

    A: Mi

  • by TheRedDuke ( 1734262 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:32PM (#39479311)
    Wing Commander: Standoff has been available for some time now, and it's pretty great - unlike Saga, it uses WC: Prophecy's engine (and consequently needs Prophecy: Secret Ops to run - just need to download that too). Check it out - []
    • How is the game play? Because the voice acting on that is the worst I've ever heard.

      • Yeah, voice acting ain't so great, but the play is pretty good - feels like a souped-up WC2 with Prophecy-style controls. Missions are well-designed and if you can get past the cheese, the story is pretty cool too.
  • Hit F2 and set your joystick deadzone, this also controls your mouse virtual 'joystick' deadzone.
  • WC had mouse control in from at least 4, and very good it was too.

    But wait - shall I go upstairs and dust off the Sidewinder Force-Feedback, my only joystick? No, I won't - it's MIDI based, and so won't work under Win7.

    So, shall I play it using the keyboard?, think I'll play something else.

    I suspect this pattern will be repeated by many.

  • Unlike some of the commenters above, I was able to get the torrent to download. I just had to sit through a 15 second fabric softener ad. Right now the file is using the max bandwidth I've allocated for that purpose (1 Mbps) and it should be done in less than an hour. Stuff like this was made for the BT protocol. Note to the xxAA and their toadies in the various governments around the world who insist (and, in their hearts truly believe) that bittorrent exists only for pirating Ke$hia albums.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN