BlogLearn historical details about development

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

New Media available

DATE: 2011.20.11

With the game getting ready to launch soon, we are working hard on ironing out remaining issues, so that you will get the game that you want and deserve.

Regarding our current progress: I will say the entire team is really psyched right now about the way things are coming together. We think that the energy and synergy we are finding right now will really show in the final product. So while you wait for the next chapter in the unique Wing Commander franchise, we've got some brand new screenshots to share with you. More after the jump.

In these screenshots you'll see some glimpses of various star system as well as our upgraded lighting and shielding system. For anyone hungry for more, we've also added some additional video material to our YouTube channel. Fans of the Wing Commander III designs will not be disappointed. Take a look!

Wing Commander Saga: Raw Gameplay Footage Wing Commander Saga: Raw Gameplay Footage Wing Commander Saga: Raw Gameplay Footage


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Meet the voices behind some of the characters in Wing Commander Saga!

DATE: 2011.08.11

Those of you that follow us closely will have heard the news that we have reached another yet another milestone. Last week we got the VO (voice over) work done. Our thanks to every voice actor that contributed to the development process. This milestone has inspired our new blog post: today we would like to introduce you to several actors behind some of the characters in Wing Commander Saga. Sitting atop the list of new voice talent is Sean Crisden as Sandman. Also joining the cast are (from left to right): Andi Kravljaca, April Lawrence, Danielle McRae, Edwyn Tiong Yung Ron, Jacob Barrens, Jamaal Ephriam, Jennifer Alyx, Jerome Santucci, Joel R. Putnam, Karen N. Kahler, Kevin P. McCulley, Kira Buckland, Kirby Kern, Lewis Roscoe, Mike Barton, Peter Sandon, Robert Benjamin Jr., Ryan Anderson (reprising his role as Ninja), Scott Stoked, Steven Richards, Ted Alexander, Tori Kamal, Zach Holzman...

Sean Crisden Andi Kravljaca April Lawrence Danielle McRae Edwyn Tiong Yung Ron Jacob Barrens Jamaal Ephriam Jennifer Alyx Jerome Santucci Joel R. Putnam Karen N. Kahler Kevin P. McCulley Kira Buckland Krby Kern Lewis Roscoe Mike Barton Peter Sandon Robert Benjamin, Jr. Ryan Anderson Scott Stoked Steven Richards Ted Alexander Tori Kamal Zach Holzman

...and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

It's been incredible to work with such a talented group and we can't wait for everyone to actually hear them in the game. Who was your favorite actor/character in Wing Commander Saga: Prologue?


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Saga has 11000 Lines of Dialogue

DATE: 2011.07.11

At the heart of fancy space combat action is always a good conversation - last week we got the voice over work done, and it came out fantastic. Wing Commander Saga will feature an incredible number of lines of dialogue recorded: between 10.000 and 11.000, versus Prologue's 700 lines. 11.000 lines of dialog sounds like a lot for a fan project. Voice recording ran for over seven months, amounting to nearly 100.000 words recorded – that’s almost 10 hours of dialogue.

The overall experience was amazing - as were the actors. These guys and gals just nailed it. I'm not going to pretend that my direction helped them - they really didn't need it.

One way in which Saga stands apart from any other Freespace SCP engine based game is the way we handle player's orders: any command issued by Sandman is fully voiced, making the overall gaming experience more immersive.

As a little treat, we're releasing new screenshots to go along with this news update. Enjoy!

As ever, tweet us or facebook us with thoughts and complaints. We need love.


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Latest beta update

DATE: 2011.18.10

Last month, we announced that the next phase of the beta test is about to start. Since then, we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of requests we’ve received to beta-test. We’ve invited a number of new testers in, but if we’ve missed you then don’t worry - we will continue to invite more testers as the release date draws nearer.

Over the months following the start of the beta test, we’ve continued to listen and monitor discussions and requests related to the game design. We are still quite open to ideas. As we are adding finishing touches and smoothing over any wrinkles the beta testers find, the game comes closer and closer to completion. As it stands we're about 67% through the beta test and we're close to mastering the first 18 missions.

We thought we would take a little time out to explain what we’ve changed, improved and added:

  • There are a number of small improvements, some are very subtle but all of them combine to make the game work smoother and faster.
  • Music is a wrap. The quality and effort our composers put into the production is to be commended.
  • Introducing new ships is always a challenge - a lot of game balancing had to be made to find the right gameplay dynamics.
  • We’ve also completely changed the way Saga handles player’s voice - his lines are no longer put through a radio filter to make them sound like they're coming over a low-bandwidth connection. This makes it easier to connect to Sandman and identify the lines which are spoken by “us”.  
  • We’ve redesigned the in-flight communication system. Everybody has commented on a marked improvement of immersion feeling by now. We’ll go more into detail in one of our upcoming update.

A nice side effect of the feedback from our beta testers is a collection of testimonials that we can use to keep you up to date with progress and gameplay mechanics. Here are a few random quotes from six different testers:

«Wing Commander Saga will surely deliver the best experience you can get in Wing Commander Universe. Considering it is a mod based on the modified Freespace engine it is amazing, how the developers were able to retain the feeling of the original, introducing exceptional visual and audio, storytelling and gameplay. Diversity is it's middle name - you will not get bored with this one. Each mission is different and has its own memorable moments and characters (jokes and easter eggs also included as well as few cameos). The game is well thought out in every respect. You can see that the team responsible for this one gave it their soul, heart, sweat and tears. You can bet on one thing for certain - it is worth the wait... it is a rough diamond that needs to be polished.»

«When considering this game is being developed in the free time of the devs its professional finish is that much more amazing. The textures and lighting are incredible and the backdrops are gorgeous. The missions are incredibly well put together and the in game communications between the pilots and to and from capital ships is prefect. What makes the game shine though, is its voice cast. They're the (shiny) icing on the amazing cake. The graphics and music make you feel like you're there. But when the in mission banter starts you ARE there. You can't help but wince when you hear someone's ejecting and you feel obligated to help out your wingmen when they shout for help. The love for Wing Commander truly shines through during missions.»

«As a standalone game, WC Saga pulls you into the Wing Commander universe with modern graphics, a believable storyline, fighters and bombers you were familiar with as well as the next generation of fighters and bombers. Are there differences in this game and the other Wing Commander games? This game is running on a Freespace-2 engine and actually has better graphics than the original games. Other than that, the differences are no more than the differences seen from between each of the other Wing Commander games and their successor.»

«Playing through the Saga beta gives me a similar feeling to the old school games, which is a great thing. The initial atmosphere when you boot it up SCREAMS Wing Commander loud and clear. I love the revised interface of the main hall, it goes a long way to removing vestiges of "Freespace" and making this its own game. The soundtrack that greets you is also something special, kudos to the composer.»

«I stayed up too late last night playing the Beta. Cheating a little, I skipped around the missions a bit (to the good parts... the parts that I'm in), but I must say this is a LOT of fun to play! Any fan of WC3 or WC4 should have a blast with this. Early congrats to the entire programming team!»

«How Saga works at the moment is fine for me. It refines the very essence of WC and adds a lot of modern features (more ships at once, nice fs2open gfx etc.) and an unbelievable amount of heart blood. To be honest: I did never expect Saga to be this awesome. So I don't care about features that "could have been" in the game. If you had the time and would get paid for it you probably would have programmed a new engine to do everything from scratch. What we have already seen in this beta is far more than enough to say that this is one of the most ambitious fan projects of all time and I'm sure you've got one or another ace in the hole.»

There are still a few hitches and we are going to continue the beta test for a few more weeks. Once again, we would like to thank everybody who’s been involved with Wing Commander Saga so far. As ever, we look forward to your questions and comments: tweet us, facebook us or send us some abuse via email. Let’s go blast some cats!

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Saga Stats

DATE: 2011.25.09

In its current state, Saga has the following

  • Over nine hours of voice dialogue.
  • Approximately 70 cut scenes for a total of about 90 minutes of pre-rendered footage (not counting in-flight communications and command briefings).
  • Over 60 voice actors, some of whom are actual professionals.
  • 221 voice acting roles.
  • 55 missions.
  • Achievements (mission performance is evaluated and rewarded)
  • 90 models created for Saga.
  • Download size of 3-4GB with an installation size of 8-9 GB

What is our status? The game is fully playable, and we are currently in beta testing. Our beta testers have access to 60% of the game right now. We are using an iterational approach to the beta test. Every 14-21 days a new beta is released to our testers which incorporates new assets as well as bug fixes and improvements based on the feedback received after the previous beta release.

Comment us, tweet us, or facebook us if you're happy or unhappy about anything.


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Apply for Phase Two

DATE: 2011.11.09

We anticipate the next phase of the beta will begin sometime next week. All players who had access to the first phase will retain access. To participate, fill out the beta tester sign up form.

Beta testers need to meet the minimum computer specifications – detailed on the "System Requirements" page – and have internet access.

Interest in games -- especially space sims -- is an advantage, as is any testing experience you might have. Applicants have to be aware that beta testing is not just about playing and having fun with the game, and that there is work involved. Testers will be asked to devote several hours per week to testing and will be asked to test certain missions, weapons, or ships. Testers will also be required to send in bug reports and answer the occational test survey to be able to continue their participation in the beta test.

We are looking for people that can communicate their ideas clearly and have an eye for detail. During the testing process, you will have to explain to us how you found potential bugs and problems in the game and how to reproduce them. We will also ask for your views on game design and playability in order to improve the game. This gives participants several opportunities to contribute to the creation of Wing Commander Saga.

We can't overestimate the value of fresh play tester eyes on the product. As developers, we look at the thing all day, everyday, and to be honest, we lose perspective. When we're able to watch a new "fresh to the game" player run through the game, we get to see the game play out in a whole new way. We get to see when things are good, but more importantly, with the aide of our new set of eyes we can't hide from something that's just not working. We're forced to face it and fix it -  which leads to a stronger product.

- Tolwyn

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Beta Tweaks

DATE: 2011.29.08

It's been four hectic weeks for us. Our testers were looking for problems and tweaks that have to be done. A few voice lines still need to trickle in, but for the most part, we have our game now. It is stable and it is fun. Right now, we are in the process of finalizing the game, but small changes are still coming up. We're really trying to polish individual elements until they're really fun.

We got a lot of great feedback from our testers. The game has made significant progress since the very first beta: all placeholders have been replaced with final assets, we've done additional work on the AI, overall balancing and autopilot behavior.

One of the things we are really excited about is our music. It shouldn't come as a suprise that a good soundtrack makes a big difference, it adds to the overall atmosphere and helps accent the player emotions. Jeff Ball and Tim Janssens absolutely nailed it.

Keep your eyes on for future updates and don't forget to tweet us, facebook us or e-mail us comments, abuse or release date inquiries.


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We're getting close...

DATE: 2011.28.07

I wanted to take a little bit of time today and talk about our current progress. Those of you who have been following us closely on Facebook/Twitter have probably heard that we are just a few weeks away from being content complete. During the next few days we will be working on missing assets as we get ready to lock down. Right now our big focus is on balance tweaks, bug fixing and the little details that make the game feel more "real". The exciting thing is that we're actually wrapping this thing up.

This weekend we will also release next beta version to our testers. Things are moving really well for us and it is unbelievable watching everything coming together. There's a lot more polish since the very first beta, all the Prologue placeholder assets are gone, and the gameplay is much much tighter.

One issue that we had to crack, was the dialogue length. Most gamers don't want to listen to characters drone on in endless conversations, they want to play the game and to explore the story. So, on the one hand, we have to convey the message in the fewest possible syllables, and on the other, it has to be more than "Sandman, break and attack!". These opposing requirements make for some very interesting writing challenges. We want each character to be an actual character, meaning that all of them speak in their own manner.

The next couple of weeks will be very hectic. Best of all, we're making steady progress, but we are still remaining incredibly flexible. Honestly, that's one of the things I'm excited about: using beta feedback to adjust the game. We want to make the game you all want to play - after all, we're making it for you.


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A few words...

DATE: 2011.17.07

Origin LogoLike many of you, we have been excited to see the resurgence of Wing Commander in the form of the release of Privateer on Good Old Games.

Our project has never been an attempt to "remake" Wing Commander. Like all of you, the ingenuity of the Wing Commander games and the vision and hard work of their creators caught our imaginations and inspired us in many ways. Our efforts in making Wing Commander Saga have always been intended as an homage to Chris Roberts, Origin, Electronic Arts, and all who have been involved in creating Wing Commander.

It is our way of showing our respect and admiration for their work It has always been our hope that our efforts would show them how much their work is appreciated and how much there is still a market out there, ready and waiting for them, should they ever decide to fully revive the Wing Commander line.

We have been excited to see Origin reappearing in this way, and we hope to see it continue to re-emerge in other ways. We are hoping to release Saga within this year, and we hope, like many of you, to see the authentic Wing Commander continue to make a comeback this year and well into the future.


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Beta Enhancements

DATE: 2011.09.07

We have some exciting news! Our latest beta update is now available to our beta testers. With this release we have introduced a ton of new features including (but not limited to):

  • revamped launcher: revised UI and user friendly navigation
  • performance improvements in various areas
  • HUD enchancements
  • revised mouse control
  • sound system updates

And much, much more...

As always, we would like to thank you for your continued support. We’ll see you soon in space.


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