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In this section of the Wing Commander Saga webpage, you can find historical details about development of Wing Commander Saga.

A Look Inside WC Saga’s Beta Testing (Part 4)

FROM: Colonel IceFire, TCN ONI
DATE: 2012.03.03

With the final release date coming very soon, I thought it was time for a final beta testing update. WC: Saga is very much a finished product now with the last minor details being worked out.

Prologue Mission Testing

Many of you have played the WC: Saga Prologue and remember it well. Almost every detail of WC: Saga has changed since that time meaning that the Prologue campaign was looking a little out of date. No longer! Our beta testers have rewound the clock and are back on the TCS Wellington running through the updated Prologue campaign missions.

What Was Old Is New Again

The old missions have been given a new lease on life with updated autopilot sequences, the improved visuals of the final WC: Saga product, the tweaked AI, and some slightly updated story as a bonus. The new missions are an overall smoother experience and they lead naturally into the full campaign. Even if you are an experienced pilot, I think the introductory nature of the Prologue is worth the immersion into the atmosphere of the Wing Commander 3 timeline.

The kinds of bugs we’re running into right now:

  • Minor spelling mistakes and typos. They always crop up no matter how perfect you may be. Spotted and corrected!
  • Balancing has been corrected with the level of defensive fire from the Wellington during the last mission.

These are hardly show stopping issues, but we do want to see them corrected before release.

Spit Shine

We are nearly there and the testers are pulling out the last stops to what will hopefully be a near perfect release. Nothing is ever completely perfect but every effort is being made to make it that. Just today I was play testing the early campaign missions again and while there were always bugs, or missing voice overs, or other issues in earlier days, there is now a sense that this is complete and that it is nearly ready. Stay tuned for more news in the very near future!


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Campaign With a Twist

DATE: 2012.02.03

People are wondering how the Saga campaign is going to act. Well, here it is without giving much away.

The Prologue includes 5 missions. It's 50% instruction training and 50% combat related to the main plot. The reason why it's not a full-blown fight campaign is because many people will not be familiar with the FS2 controls. That's why this prologue's main purpose is to get everyone up to speed.

You are shifted through several squadrons throughout "The Darkest Dawn" campaign, which consists of 50 missions. Each squadron flies a different fighter (and only that fighter type). Each squadron has their own wingmen and a squad leader. During missions you fly with these wingmen, and the squad leader too if he's on rotation to fly a combat mission. There is a Wing Commander in charge of the air wing, and on occassions you'll fly among him in combat.

Just as Wing Commander, you fly patrols in elements of two fighters. If you are sent in a mission fully knowing there is going to be a stiff enemy presence, you go in flights of four. In more than one case, you fly as an integrated part of a strike team.

You will start off flying the Hellcat, then the Arrow, then Thunderbolt, then Longbow. You'll fly the Excalibur last. Due to the set FS2 engine programming there's not much we can do in terms of branching

Expect cameos from several notorious Kilrathi Aces of that period. We can't say which for now, but I will say that we made damn sure not to contradict the timeline, events and systems the Victory participated in during the official path seen in the WC3 novel.

Your carrier is the TCS Hermes. It fights in the forefront of virtually every operation of the Vega Sector Fleet, whether it is losing or winning. Some operations were mentioned in the WC3 guide, novel, and game.

Until next time.


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"Let's Play" - Khan's Darkest Dawn

DATE: 2012.24.02

Big news today! We've teamed up with Rurikhan to bring you some "let's play" footage from the final beta. The video shows much of the progress we've made since the original Prologue release. There's a lot more polish, all assets were remade from scratch, and the gameplay is much much tighter. A huge credit needs to go to Rui Modesto (a.k.a. Rurikhan) for cranking with the crazy editing skills. The floor is yours, Rurikhan!

Now, in an awkward segue from the gameplay footage to the actual status of the game, we are working as hard as we can to bring you the game as soon as possible, but small changes are still popping up. Thankfully, at this point, these changes are usually pretty minor, but the sum total of all the changes really adds up and increases the quality of the game.

Till next time and if you liked the "let's play" video and would like to watch a few more episodes remember to "like" or "comment" and to subscribe to Rurikhan's channel at


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A Look Inside WC Saga’s Beta Testing (Part 3)

FROM: Colonel IceFire, TCN ONI
DATE: 2012.05.02

We're almost there! The beta testing has been a long process for the testers and for the team but we can all see the end of this very long road. With ten years of development behind some of the team members this is an incredible project coming to fruition.

Final Mission Testing

I have described in earlier reports that the beta testers have not had access to the entire campaign but rather we have tested the missions in the same order that players will experience when the project is complete. After 15 beta versions we have now arrived at a content complete beta test and testers are working hard beta testing the final missions.

Scale and Scope

I've talked about before how the scale of the missions in WC Saga has a huge amount of variation. You can expect small skirmishes with a half dozen spacecraft at once or huge engagements with over a hundred spacecraft in combat at once. Keeping the player relevant in the melee is important. So is making sure that the battle plays out the way it should, provided the player is doing their job correctly.

So we've been testing dozens of times to ensure that everything works the way it should. With large scal battles the complexity and potential for errors to appear increases so testers are making sure that these final missions live up to expectations.

Here's just a few of the bugs that we've been able to identify and eliminate:

  • A Kilrathi raiding party arrives with several capital ships. In one instance two capital ships arrive on the same trigger and appear inside of each other. The triggers were changed and now they arrive separately. Much to the relief of the Kilrathi!
  • In another mission the player receives a message to protect a Confed capital ship, however, if the ship is already lost the sound file is still played. Problem solved.
  • A missing voice over causes a bug in the message line up resulting in some dialogue continuing over an autopilot sequence. Voice over files found and problem solved!

For All Mankind

There is a definite buzz and a sense that something special is really starting to come together as we test the final missions of the campaign where the story comes to its epic conclusion. More missions are green lit and problems are found and solved.

It takes many years of serious work and commitment to get to this point and there will be more time and serious work to come. I think it will be all worth it. Stay tuned for more updates in the near future!


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There is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel!

DATE: 2012.06.01

By the end of next week, we will have finalized 48 of the missions from the main campaign, leaving only the final two climactic missions. In addition, we are also remastering and upgrading the original prologue missions to be released as a second, brief campaign as a part of the full Saga package. Beside that, we are finishing working out a few issues with the code, and of course we will resolve any issues that come up as we finalize the missions. We are just as anxious to be finished with the project as you are for us to be finished, but we are making sure to be careful and not take shortcuts on these final missions as we come around the bend on the last stretch to the finish line. So, while we do not yet have an exact release date because we cannot foresee what issues may come up as we make these last missions and code refinements, we are confident in stating that in a matter of weeks, Saga should be ready for launch.

After ten years of work, the end is indeed near!


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The Darkest Dawn is Almost Upon Us

DATE: 2012.29.01

We have reached an important milestone that has been a very long time in the making. All 50 of the missions in the main campaign are now finalized; The Darkest Dawn is now complete! We still have a bit of work ahead of us before Saga is ready to launch. We are currently working on significantly updating the missions of the prologue campaign (with updated game play, improved missions, refined dialogue, more characters in game, and a few other things to bring it up to par with the main campaign) which will be included as a small, introductory campaign in the full Saga package. We are going through our final rounds of beta tests, making sure everything is fully polished and as bug-free as possible for launch.

Keep your eyes open for a release date announcement soon!


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A Look Inside WC Saga’s Beta Testing (Part 2)

FROM: Colonel IceFire, TCN ONI
DATE: 2011.24.12

Hello fellow fans! I am back again with another Beta Testing update. This time I will be mentioning some of the progress made to date as well as talking about the “Green Lighting” process.

Beta Testing Progress

The beta testers and the WC: Saga team are as busy as ever as all of the crucial come together.

The latest round of testing takes us into the back half of the WC: Saga campaign featuring both small and large scale engagements. Larger numbers of fighters and sometimes epic capital ship battles are just some of the treats in store.

The increase of scale also means that testing is vital to ensure that the gameplay experience works well. If the player will be called on to make meaningful contributions to every mission and objective and that has to work no matter what is happening in the mission.

The last couple of weeks have seen a new build released to testers including several new missions featuring the Excalibur. The elite Confed heavy fighter is truly a fantastic weapon and players will enjoy flying this space craft when it becomes available. The WC: Saga Excalibur features everything from aim assisted guns to auto-slide and a judicious number of missiles – just what is needed to complete the next set of missions.

A couple of new issues to share since the last update:

  • One of the capital ships in the game had a missing floor on an observation deck inside one of the launch bays. Geometry fixed and model updated.
  • Your wingman on one of the missions decides not to fire on remaining Kilrathi fighters after achieving a main objective. Problem solved.
  • During a convoy escort the Kilrathi tend to ignore some of the transports. The solution was to add some additional bombers to beef up the attack. This will force the player to take action to defend the convoy.

Green Lighting

As testing continues there comes a time when the content has to reach a completed stage. For WC: Saga this process is called “green lighting”. When a mission reaches a certain level of polish then testers check the fine details to look for any lingering problems.

Here are just a few things that testers are checking:

  • All objectives are present.
  • Wingmen are behaving appropriately to the situation.
  • Voice and message text match.
  • Autopilot cameras work correctly (i.e. no ships fly through the camera for example).
  • The debriefing is correct and matches the end scenario.
  • Your wingmen don’t bump into you while taking off.

There are many more hurdles that must be completed before a mission has been fully checked out. Once a mission has passed all of the checks it can be green-lit and considered finished barring any last minute adjustments.

The Saga Continues

Progress continues on WC: Saga as testers continue to fly missions and discover bugs. Sometimes that means replaying the same mission over and over again to expose bugs or take different actions to test the mission outcomes.

That's it for now. Enjoy some great new screen shots and I'll be back with a third update on beta testing progress in the near future. Until then!


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Proper Widescreen Support

DATE: 2011.18.12

I think it's about time we brought you up to date with one of the changes that have been added to the engine recently: proper widescreen support. This means, that the game will no longer render HUD elements in the hard-coded 1024x768 resolution and then stretch the result to make the elements appear wider. Unlike its predecessor The Darkest Dawn does scale properly at screen resolutions that don't have a 4:3 aspect ratio. From now on HUD elements will be rearranged on the right and the left if you have a widescreen monitor, and look like the image below.

Another feature we are really excited about is the support for more cut scenes. Originally implemented two years ago, this allows the game to play movies before or in place of briefings, debriefings, etc. You all know that Saga does use this to some degree. Whether we were crazy enough to drop text based briefings completely and go for only cut scenes before each mission is another matter.


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A Look Inside WC Saga’s Beta Testing (Part 1)

FROM: Colonel IceFire, TCN ONI
DATE: 2011.07.12

Tolywn is hard at work coordinating the next stages of the Wing Commander Saga development so I thought I would give him a break from writing the latest news update.

Some may recognize my old call sign. I've been around the Wing Commander fan world for far too many years (I mean that in a good way). I was introduced to the original game back in 1991. I had to fight to make it to work on that now ancient computer but the effort was well worth it and I have been a fan of the series ever since. I played an extremely small role in getting the Saga team started but I can take very little credit for the hard work has been done by the core team of developers for the last several years.

Beta testing

Most gamers are familiar with the concept of beta testing. Up front it sounds glamorous and exciting to test the latest game and see the latest features. The reality is that the interesting parts are offset by the need to be precise and to test over and over. When something is (or isn't) found, the need to be precise and report the problem in as much detail as possible is vital.

The WC Saga Project's beta test operates on the same principles. The beta test for Saga started out with the first couple of missions in a very early build and subsequent releases have given the testers a deeper look into the game and each of its missions as the testing progresses.

Bugs, bugs, bugs

It is inevitable that no matter how good the developers are, there will always be some sort of error, problem, issue or artistic consideration that has escaped scrutiny. I was recently quoted as saying "I can't recall a time where Wing Commander Saga has been anything but completely stable in these beta tests." That would be true. Since the beta test began I've had absolutely no problems that caused a crash to desktop, a freeze, or other significant game-ending problems.

The kinds of problems you tend to have more on this project are gameplay related. Here are a couple of examples:

  • On one of the missions a Terran carrier arrives at a jump point along with its battle group. The carrier is last to arrive and unfortunately was following the same waypoints as an escorting destroyer. Due to game engine considerations the carrier arrives "through" the destroyer and proceeds to fly its waypoints unharmed. Fixed!
  • In another mission a group of AI piloted Thunderbolts is supposed to attack a couple of Kilrathi destroyers. The AI instead attacked any enemy craft. Order priorities needed to be altered to make the Thunderbolts do what they were supposed to do. Fixed!

Other problems include issues with the 3D model data resulting in problems with the arcs of turrets such as laser turrets firing through the ship they are mounted on. Identifying the problems is a huge part of the battle. Corrections are made, tested and introduced in the next build of the project.

Testing sometimes borders on the more artistic side as well. In the early beta tests, the mainhall music might have been described as "dramatic". Personally I had developed a habit of turning down the volume when the menu screen was about to appear, however, with some feedback and some fabulous work from the music composer, the theme now builds up brilliantly from a confident but slightly more subdued introduction into that dramatic theme I was talking about earlier.

Ongoing efforts

Testing continues for the WC: Saga project. It really is a monumental effort and everything is considered with a great deal of thought. This is a true fan project and a labour of love. I think that it will show in the final release.

I will be back next week with a few more sumptuous screen shots and a couple more peeks behind the curtain at the beta testing process.


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New Teaser available

DATE: 2011.24.11

Earlier this week, we announced on Twitter that a new teaser will be released very soon, which happens to be today. So, without further ado, we are happy to present to you the latest Wing Commander Saga Teaser.

It is a time of desperation and despair. Still reeling from the ghastly toll of the Battle of Terra, humanity finds itself pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction at the hands and claws of the savage Kilrathi Empire. The Confederation is trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of defeats, and hope is slipping away. Already, the Kilrathi are making their final preparations to finish off humanity once and for all.

The end, it seems, is near.

In this setting, human drama is at its most extreme intensity. Hope, fear, desperation, courage, camaraderie, and loss are part of the daily struggle for the people who refuse to stop fighting, even in the face of seemingly inevitable defeat. This is humanity's greatest struggle, its defining moment. This is the Wing Commander Saga.

The teaser has been embedded for your viewing pleasure. While it does not depict an explicit moment in the Wing Commander Saga's story, we believe that it captures its tone. The teaser lasts for about thirty seconds and gives you a glimpse of our CGI animations. Click here, watch, and enjoy! There is more to come soon.


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