Wing Commander 4: The Price Of Freedom

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Strategy Guide

                                The Unofficial

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           The Unofficial *F*requently *A*sked *Q*uestions list for
                    Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

                                     and
                    Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
                
                
                The Wing Commander III & IV FAQ, revision 2.30
                          Released December 03, 1995
                     Written and Maintained by Cory Fujimori
          Originally written by James Hogan, with help from Allen Kim
                               and Matt Newman
        
                
                Copyright (C) 1994, 1995.  All rights reserved.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Any minor sections which are new or have been updated since the last revision
are marked with asterisks (i.e., *10.5.* Revision history).


*0.*  FAQ v2.30 Preface -- A Word from the NEW Editor

1.  Introduction
   *1.1.*    Purpose of the FAQ
   *1.2.*    Trademark information
   *1.3.*    Copyright information
   *1.4.*    Disclaimer -- READ ME!
   *1.5.*    Acronyms
   *1.6.*    Organization of the FAQ
   *1.7.*    Spoiler warning
   *1.8.*    Obtaining the latest version of the FAQ
            1.8.1.  The WC3 FAQ Mailing List

2.  Background of Wing Commander III
    2.1.    What's this whole "Wing Commander" thing about?
    2.2.    Chris Roberts?  Who?
    2.3.    What were the previous Wing Commander products?
            2.3.1.  Wing Commander I
                    2.3.1.1.  Super Wing Commander
            2.3.2.  Wing Commander II
                    2.3.2.1.  The Wing Commander I & II CD-ROM
            2.3.3.  Privateer
                    2.3.3.1.  The Privateer / Strike Commander CD-ROM
            2.3.4.  Wing Commander Academy
            2.3.5.  Wing Commander Armada
            *2.3.6.*  The Wing Commander novels
                    *2.3.6.1.*  What are the ISBN numbers of the WC novels?
    2.4.    Who's this "Bluehair" guy?

3.  Technical questions
   *3.1.*   What are the system requirements for Wing Commander III?
            3.1.1.  How fast does my processor need to be?
            3.1.2.  What kind of video card do I need?
            3.1.3.  How much RAM do I need?
            3.1.4.  Do I need a CD-ROM drive?  How fast?
                    3.1.4.1.  Will I need to worry about disc swapping?
    3.2.    Does Wing Commander III take advantage of a math coprocessor?
   *3.3.*   Frame rates
            3.3.1.  What kind of frame rates can I expect?
            *3.3.2.*  How can I tell what frame rates I'm getting?
    3.4.    How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander III?
    3.5.    Does Wing Commander III support both a VGA and SVGA mode?
            At what resolutions?
            3.5.1.  When can I switch between VGA and SVGA modes?
            3.5.2.  Is the graphic detail level configurable?
    3.6.    Does Wing Commander III support the ReelMagic or any other MPEG
            cards?
    3.7.    What's the sound support like?
            3.7.1.  What sound cards are supported?
                    3.7.1.1.  Are the digital sound capabilities of the
                              RAP-10 taken advantage of?
            3.7.2.  Does WC3 have 16-bit sound effects?

            3.7.3.  Can WC3 play multiple digitial sound samples
                    simultaneously?
    3.8.    Does Wing Commander III use bitmaps or polygon-based graphics?
            What's the difference?

4.  Gameplay issues
    4.1.    Is the flight model in WC3 the same as in previous WC games?
    4.2.    What are capital ships and capital ship combat like?
            4.2.1.  Manual takeoffs and landings
            4.2.2.  Collision detection
    4.3.    What are the planetside missions like?
    4.4.    How many different ships comprise the Terran and Kilrathi fleets?
    4.5.    What new technologies are the Terrans armed with that I can use?
    4.6.    How much control do players have over the missions they fly (e.g.,
            their ship, wingman, weapons loadout, etc.)?
            4.6.1.  How does the weapon selection work?
    4.7.    How good is the artifical intelligence in WC3?
    4.8.    What other notable game features are present in Wing Commander III?
            4.8.1.  The 3-D navigational map
            4.8.2.  Power management
    4.9.    What game features _aren't_ present in Wing Commander III?
            4.9.1.  The "virtual cockpit"
            4.9.2.  VCR replay mode
            4.9.3.  Color communications consoles
            4.9.4.  Can you go back and replay specific missions?
            4.9.5.  Can you transfer old characters from WC2 to WC3?
            4.9.6.  Multiplayer modem and/or network support

5.  Cinematics and storyline mechanics
    5.1.    What distinguishes the cinematics and storyline in Wing Commander
            III?
            5.1.1.  In what ways can choices made during the cinematic
                    sequences affect the storyline?
            5.1.2.  Can wingmen actually die during an average mission, or
                    are there safeguards built in to prevent this?
    5.2.    How is live acting integrated into Wing Commander III?
            5.2.1.  How much live acting is contained in the cinematic
                    sequences?
            5.2.2.  Why don't some of the actors look like their characters?
            5.2.3.  How is the acting for the Kilrathi characters
                    accomplished?
    5.3.    How good do the final cinematic sequences look?
    5.4.    Who are the characters in Wing Commander III, and who are the
            actors and actresses portraying them?
            5.4.1.  Col. Christopher Blair                 (Mark Hamill)
            5.4.2.  Maj. James "Paladin" Taggart           (John Rhys-Davies)
            5.4.3.  Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn                (Malcolm McDowell)
            5.4.4.  Capt. William Eisen                    (Jason Bernard)
            5.4.5.  The TCS Victory's fighter pilots
                    5.4.5.1.  Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall  (Tom Wilson)
                    5.4.5.2.  Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters     (Jennifer MacDonald)
                    5.4.5.3.  Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas  (John Schuck)
                    5.4.5.4.  Lt. Laurel "Cobra" Buckley   (B. J. Jefferson)
                    5.4.5.5.  Lt. Winston "Vagabond" Chang (Francois Chau)
                    5.4.5.6.  Lt. Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez (Julian Reyes)

                    5.4.5.7.  Maj. Jace "Flash" Dillon     (Joshua Lucas)
            5.4.6.  Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis             (Ginger Lynn Allen)
            5.4.7.  Lt. Ted "Radio" Rollins                (Courtney Gains)
            5.4.8.  Col. Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux        (Yolanda Jilot)
            5.4.9.  The Emperor of Kilrah                  (Alan Mandell)
            5.4.10.  Prince Thrakhath                      (John Rhys-Davies)
            5.4.11.  Melek                                 (Tim Curry)
    5.5.    Do any other characters from previous Wing Commander games make an
            appearance in Wing Commander III?
    5.6.    Do I get to pick my player's name or callsign?


6.  The Wing Commander III demo
    6.1.    Is the demo playable?  If so, what do I get to do?
    6.2.    Obtaining and installing the WC3 demo
            6.2.1.  Where can I get a copy of the WC3 demo?
            6.2.2.  What are the system requirements for the WC3 demo?
            6.2.3.  Why did my system get faster ratings from the demo than
                    from the actual game?
    6.3.    What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running
            the demo?
    6.4.    Are there any undocumented and/or underdocumented commands
            available while flying?
            6.4.1.  Power management
            6.4.2.  Autoslide
    6.5.    Comparing the demo to the final product...
            6.5.1.  How does the demo's gameplay differ from the release
                    version's gameplay?
            6.5.2.  Will my frame rate in the final version of WC3 be the same,
                    better, or worse than in the demo?
    6.6.    Are there any screen shots available?
            6.6.1.  What do the screen shots contain?
            6.6.2.  Are those screen shots really from playable sequences, or
                    just cinematic scenes?
            6.6.3.  Where can I find the screen shots?

7.  Strategies and tips
    7.1.    General mission strategies
            7.1.1.  Is there anything I need to do at the start of a mission?
            7.1.2.  Any tips on power management?
            7.1.3.  I need some basic dogfighting pointers.
            7.1.4.  I keep getting killed by all those missiles the Kilrathi
                    launch.
            7.1.5.  Help!  My afterburners won't turn off!
    7.2.    Tactics for fighting specific ships
            7.2.1.  Those asteroid fighters are tough!
            7.2.2.  What's the best way to destroy a capital ship?
    7.3.  On an escort mission, after I finish off a wave of fighters, the
          autopilot light won't activate.  What am I doing wrong?
    7.4.    Dealing with enemy torpedoes
            7.4.1.  How do I destroy a Skipper missile?
            7.4.2.  I'm having trouble trying to stop the bio-missiles.
            7.4.3.  On a certain nebula mission, the Victory gets destroyed as
it
                    heads for an alternate jump point.  What happened?
    7.5.    Flash's arrival
            7.5.1.  How can I defeat Flash?
            7.5.2.  I just lost the duel against Flash.  Will he ever return to

                    the Victory?
    7.6.    Other mission-specific tips
            7.6.1.  Flint just made quite a rash decision.  What should I do?
            7.6.2.  How do I prevent the Behemoth from getting destroyed?
            7.6.3.  Thrakhath just sent me a comm message.  How should I respon
d?
            7.6.4.  The Victory is under attack, and I can't seem to control my
                    craft.  What's going on?
            7.6.5.  I'm having trouble passing the planet rescue mission.
            7.6.6.  How can I succeed in defending Earth?
    7.7.    The traitor just got away.  Should I go after him/her, or not?
    7.8.    The final missions
            7.8.1.  How do I keep my wingmen from getting killed off during the
                    last missions?
            7.8.2.  On the final leg, how do I kill all of the Sorthaks at the
                    last nav point?
            7.8.3.  I've passed the Sorthak fighters; how do I finish the last
                    part of this mission?
    7.9.    Is there a cheat mode built in to Wing Commander III?
    7.10.   What if these suggestions don't work?

8.  Storyline questions
    8.1.    What is the basic plot of Wing Commander III?
    8.2.    How do the events in the Wing Commander novels fit into the
            storyline?
    8.3.    The opening sequence
            8.3.1.  Why is the main character now called Christopher Blair?
            *8.3.2.*  How was the TCS Concordia destroyed?
            8.3.3.  Why is Blair transferred to such an old ship as the TCS
                    Victory?
    8.4.    Game physics
            8.4.1.  If space is a vacuum, why can I still hear the sounds of
                    combat?
            8.4.2.  OK, then why does my craft's speed decrease after using the
                     afterburners?
            8.4.3.  What are the units of measurement for distance and
                    velocity?
    8.5.    Skipper missiles
            8.5.1.  If the Kilrathi have cloaked cruise missiles, why don't the
y
                    just make cloaked "kamikaze" fighters with torpedoes strapp
ed
                    to their hull?
            8.5.2.  How about jump-capable Skipper missiles?
    8.6.    Why is (you know who) the traitor?
            8.6.1.  What exactly was in the missing scene?
            8.6.2.  Are there any other explanations?
    8.7.   Should I pick romance with Flint or Rachel?
    8.8.    The final mission
            8.8.1.  Why wasn't I swarmed by Kilrathi fighters on the last leg o
f
                    the mission?
            8.8.2.  Why wasn't Blair killed by the Kilrathi when they had the
                    chance?
    8.9.    Besides the scene described in section 8.6.1, was anything else
            from the script omitted from the released game?
    8.10.   What does the mission tree for the game look like?

9.  Information on Wing Commander IV
    *9.1.*     What is the story of Wing Commander IV?
    *9.2.*     What are the differences between the WC3 and WC4 flight engine?
              *9.2.1.* What kind of frame rates can I expect?
    *9.3.*     Is there a demo available?

              *9.3.1.*  is the demo playable?  If so, what do I get to do?
    *9.4.*     What are the system requirements for the WC4 demo?
    *9.5.*     What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when
               running the demo?
    *9.6.*     Are there any screen shots available?
              *9.6.1.*  Where can I find the screen shots?
    *9.7.*     How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander IV?
    *9.8.*     Will there be a Premire Edition of WC4?
    *9.9.*     What is that "Dekker" ship in the WC4 demo?
    *9.10.*    How many missions will there be in Wing Commander IV?
    *9.11.*    Interviews, statements, and rumors
              *9.11.1.* Chris Douglas, art director on Wing Commander IV
    *9.12.*    Will there be cockpit graphics in WC4?
    *9.13.*    Will there be pentium optimized code or support for 3d
               accelerated video cards?
    *9.14.*    How much video footage will be in WC4?
    *9.15.*    What will flying through Nebulas be like in WC4?
    *9.16.*    Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander IV?

10.  Other miscellaneous questions
    10.1.    Are there any "easter eggs" in Wing Commander III?
            10.1.1.  The hidden credits
            10.1.2.  The blooper scene
            10.1.3.  Crazy Gameflow
            10.1.4.  Is there a hidden code to view the cinematics separately?
    10.2.    What's this I hear about a "Premiere Edition"?
            10.2.1.  What does it contain?
            10.2.2.  Is the Premiere Edition multi-lingual?
            10.2.3.  Do foreign versions of the Premiere Edition come with
                    the "Making of WC3" videotape in PAL format?
            10.2.4.  How are copies of the Premiere Edition sold in Europe
                    different from those sold in the U.S.?
            10.2.5.  When I got my Premiere Edition, the front of the film
                    canister was blank.  Is this intentional?
            10.2.6.  I have a copy of the "Special Edition" of WC3.  Is
                    this the same thing as the Premiere Edition?
            10.2.7.  Will there be a Premiere Edition for the 3DO version?
    10.3.  What platforms is Wing Commander III available on?
            10.3.1.  How does the 3DO version differ from the PC version?
    10.4.    Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander III?
    10.5.    Are there different versions of Wing Commander III available for
            different languages?
    10.6.    How much does Wing Commander III cost, and where can I get a
            copy?
            10.6.1.  United States
            10.6.2.  Canada
            10.6.3.  United Kingdom
            10.6.4.  Australia
            10.6.5.  New Zealand
            10.6.6.  Singapore
            10.6.7.  Hong Kong
            10.6.8.  France
            10.6.9.  Germany
            10.6.10.  Switzerland
            10.6.11.  Japan
    10.7.    What was the budget for Wing Commander III?
            9.7.1.  How much has Origin made from WC3 sales to date?
    10.8.    Who developed and filmed Wing Commander III?
            10.8.1.  Who was involved with the cinematic side of the project?

            10.8.2.  Who was involved with the gameplay side of the project?
    10.9.    Other Wing Commander III-related merchandise
            10.9.1.  Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III
            10.9.2.  The Authorized Combat Guide to Wing Commander III
            10.9.3.  Wing Commander III:  The Ultimate Strategy Guide
            10.9.4.  The Wing Commander III novel
            10.9.5.  Will the soundtrack for Wing Commander III be released
                    on CD?
            10.9.6.  Will any of the other items from the Premiere Edition be
                    sold separately?
    10.10.   Will there be any add-on discs as there were for previous Wing
            Commander games?
    10.11.   What other Wing Commander products are scheduled to be released
            in the future?
            10.11.1.  Privateer 2
            10.11.2.  The Darkening
            10.11.3.  Wing Commander Armada 2?
            10.11.4.  Wing Commander novels
            10.11.5.  The Wing Commander Collectible Card Game
            10.11.6.  Wing Commander:  The Motion Picture?
        
11.  In conclusion...
     *11.1.*  Credits
     *11.2.*  Other sources of information
     *11.3.*  Contacting the FAQ authors
     11.4.  Where to find out more
            10.4.1.  Origin's tech support FAQ
     *11.5.*  Revision history
     *11.6.*  Conclusion

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*******************************************************************************
0.  FAQ v2.30 Preface -- A Word from the NEW Editor
*******************************************************************************

This FAQ was an ongoing project of mine for the better part of a year.  It
took a lot of work, a lot of research, and the efforts of a dozen people
to finally put together.  Since those first few revisions, though, time
has plodded on, and other commitments now prevent me from keeping up with
the project.

Therefore, this revision of the FAQ is being put together by someone else
-- a WC fan by the name of Cory Fujimori.  I hadn't met him before he
contacted me about working on the WC3 FAQ, but he appears to be doing a
fine job with it.  It's kind of nice to know that other people find the
FAQ valuable enough that they're willing to devote their own time to
keeping it up-to-date now that I can't manage it myself.  I guess I feel
that I've created a small legacy of sorts.  :)

At any rate, I just wanted to say thanks to all of those who have read the
FAQ before, and especially to those who have taken the time to write line
and tell me what they think.  Hundreds of e-mails have found their way to
my mailbox from every corner of the world.  It's nice to know that not
only was our work was appreciated, but that it truly had a global
audience.  I have faith that Cory will make sure the FAQ continues to grow
and provide a valuable service to the gaming community.



   James Hogan



Sooo.... welcome to version 2.30 of The Unofficial Wing Commander 3 & Wing
Commander IV FAQ. I'm not much for intro's, so I'll make it short.
Lemme tell you a bit about my past gaming experiences.... I've been playing

Origin games since Ultima 1. I bought WC1 & WC2 in 1992, and I've been
hooked since. I've written 1 sci-fi novel loosely based on Aruther C. Clark's
Rendevous with Rama. My online work includes a Strike Commander FAQ, and a
Wings of Glory FAQ. I did the logo for The Terran Confederate Underground
(one great Wing Commander-based WWW site), and I'm currently a member of
The Terran Confederation, an Internet Wing Commander club. My writing is
alot more casual and laid-back than James'. I try to keep it entertaining,
while informative. Well, thats all I've really got to say about myself, see
you in the next revision....



          -- Cory Fujimori

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*******************************************************************************
1.  Introduction
*******************************************************************************

*1.1.*    Purpose of the FAQ
============================

This FAQ was created to answer the more commonly asked questions pertaining to
the Origin Systems game; Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. Originally
written before the game's release as a means of keeping the gaming community
informed of what Wing Commander III would be like and how its development
was proceeding, the FAQ has now expanded to include known solutions to
technical problems, often-used strategies and mission tips, and more!
And with the inpending release of Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom,
expect the FAQ to be just as good as it was during its initial release!



Please be sure to read the Disclaimer (section 1.3).


*1.2.*    Trademark information
===============================

ORIGIN, Wing Commander, ORIGIN We Create Worlds, Privateer, Wing Commander
Academy, and Wing Commander Armada are registered trademarks of ORIGIN.
Secret Missions, Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Heart of the Tiger, and The
Price of Freedom are trademarks of Origin Systems, Inc.  ORIGIN is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts.



*1.3.*    Copyright information
===============================

This article is Copyright 1994, 1995 by James Hogan, Allen Kim, Matt Newman
and Cory Fujimori.  All rights reserved.

You are granted the following rights:

I.  To make copies of this work in original form, so long as
    o       The copies are exact and complete
    o       The copies include the copyright notice and these paragraphs
            in their entirety;
    o       The copies give obvious credit to the authors


    Now, that wasn't that bad, was it? :)



1.4.    Disclaimer -- READ ME!
==============================

This FAQ is not a paid advertisement, nor is it even officially endorsed by
Origin Systems.  All information in this FAQ has, unless otherwise specified,
been verified by a reliable source (e.g., employees at Origin), but keep in
mind that it has been written by fans, not actual Origin employees.
Everything you read here could be a complete lie.  :)


1.5.    Acronyms
================

The following acronyms will be used throughout the FAQ, some more often than
others:


EA:         Electronic Arts
FAQ:        Frequently Asked Questions list
OSI:        Origin Systems, Inc.
WC:         Wing Commander
WC1/2/3/4:  Wing Commander 1, 2, 3, or 4
SM1/2:      Secret Missions 1 or 2
SO1/2:      Special Operations 1 or 2
WCA:        Wing Commander Academy
Armada:     Wing Commander Armada (I know, it's not an acronym; so sue me)


1.6.    Organization of the FAQ
===============================

The WC3 FAQ contains information useful to most anyone who has an interest in
the game, whether they have played it or not...

Section 2 is for those who are new to the WC series, or who missed part of it
somewhere along the line.  It includes a very brief summary of each WC product
to date.

Sections 3 and 4 are aimed towards prospective buyers; it answers questions
about the system requirements for the game, what features it has, what makes
it special, etc.

Section 5, which covers the cinematics, should have something of interest to
most everyone... those who are considering buying the game will get an idea of
what the movie clips are like, and those who have already played the game will
find out more about the actors who starred in WC3, how the special effects in
the game were done, and so forth.

Section 6 covers the WC3 CD-ROM/Downloadable demo.  If you're
seriously considering buying the game, you may want to check this out...
you'll learn where you can get a copy, what to do if you can't get it
running, how it differs from the actual game, and more.

Section 7 will help you get through some of the tough spots in the game; if
you're stuck on a particular mission, or can't figure out how to defeat a
certain enemy... read this.

Section 8 addresses storyline issues that WC3 players often wonder about after
they finish the game:  what happens if you choose different plot branches, if
it's possible to prevent certain things from happening in the story, why the
writers made something happen the way it did, etc.

Section 9 is dedicated to WC4. As it nears its initial release, more
information pops up, wether it comes from Origin Employee's/Marketing,
tv, newspapers, or rumors from WC fans all over the world. This section is
chock-full of compiled information from all these sources.
Once Wing Commander IV is officially released, this section will be entirely
rewritten.

Section 10 takes whatever is left over... where to obtain a copy of WC3 in
countries outside the USA, what the deal with the "Premiere Edition" is, what
we know about future WC products, and more.

                                        
1.7.    Spoiler warning
=======================

Some sections of this FAQ contain plot spoilers about certain Wing Commander
products (i.e., games and/or novels).  All of these should contain an obvious
"SPOILER" label in the header (e.g., [SPOILER -- PRIVATEER] to indicate
spoilers about the Privateer game).  Those who do not want to know what happens
in the story should exercise due caution when reading these parts.


*1.8.*  Obtaining the latest version of the FAQ
===============================================


The FAQ has many official distribution sites from which the latest version will
always be available:

*   The Midnight Netslave.  Send e-mail to netslave@midnight.com.au with the
    text "GET FAQ/WC3" (no quotes) in the body of the message, and a copy of
    the FAQ will be sent to your mailbox.

*   Internet FTP:  netslave.midnight.com.au, /pub/faq
                   ftp.aimnet.com, /pub/users/lordsoth/wc3
                   ftp.pooterman.com

*  WorldWide Web: http://acm.vt.edu/~bryantpe/underground
   The Terran Confederate Underground, the SITE of Wing Commander!

                

*   Other BBSes:  Sherlock's Haven BBS -- (516) 433-2093, 28.8k bps


    1.8.1.  The WC3 FAQ Mailing List
    --------------------------------

    I maintain a mailing list of people who are interested in receiving updates
    to the FAQ via email.  If you'd like to be put on this list, just send a
    message to netslave@midnight.com.au with the text

    SUBSCRIBE WC3

    in the body of the message.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
2.  Background of Wing Commander III
*******************************************************************************

Undoubtedly, many of the people reading this FAQ will have already played the
other Wing Commander games and know pretty much what they're about; but
there are probably some Wing Commander newbies out there, too.  Besides, even
if you are a veteran of the Wing Commander universe, a short refresher course
can never hurt... :-)


2.1.    What's this whole "Wing Commander" thing about?
=======================================================

Wing Commander, first released in 1990 by Origin Systems, is a simulation-
style action game interwoven with a cinematic storyline set in the 27th
century.  It does not attempt to model real-world physics with a completely
accurate simulation of space flight, but instead concentrates on providing a
fun, intense, first-person space dogfighting experience.  Several things
distinguished it from other games upon its initial release:  the graphics,
music, and sound were all revolutionary, surpassing most (if not all) other
competing products in the industry at the time.  The storyline, of which a
short segment unraveled after each mission the player flew, had many plot
devices that, although simple, had rarely before been used in a computer game
of its type:  character development, interpersonal conflict, ethics, and more.
To date, the series has sold a total of over 1.5 million units worldwide.


2.2.    Chris Roberts?  Who?
============================

Chris Roberts is the man behind the Wing Commander series.  His experience in
the gaming industry goes back to his teenage years... from the very beginning,
programming arcade games was Roberts' primary goal.  It started out as a simple
hobby, and then grew to be an actual source of income as he published several
hits for the BBC personal computer in England, including Wizadore and Stryker's
Run.


His big break occurred when he was in Austin, Texas, working on his latest game
,
Ultra Realm (which later became Times of Lore).  He wanted to find an artist to
do the artwork for his game, and ran across Denis Loubet, who was then doing
freelance artwork for Richard Garriot's Ultima VI.  Before long, Loubet showed
Times of Lore to some of the higher-ups at Origin, with whom Roberts eventually
signed an agreement to distribute the game.

During the next couple of years, he began to toy around with a first-person
space combat game on his own time using techniques that were fairly new to the
gaming industry.  After a couple of months, he had a basic working model to
show to the guys at Origin, at which point it officially became a sanctioned
company project.  The result was Wing Commander, and the rest is history.


2.3.    What were the previous Wing Commander products?
=======================================================

    2.3.1.  Wing Commander I  [SPOILERS -- WC1]
    -------------------------------------------

    Wing Commander I is the game that started it all.  In this first
    installment of the WC saga, the player takes the role of a young Lieutenant
    who has just been assigned to the carrier ship Tiger's Claw, the pride of
    the Confederate Navy.  The main plot of WC1 is the Confederation's campaign
    to take Vega Sector from the Kilrathi, which eventually succeeds.

    WC1 had two add-on disks -- Secret Missions 1 and 2.  SM1 focused on a
    new Kilrathi secret weapon, and the Claw's attempts to hunt down and
    destroy it.  SM2 told the story of how the Confederation made an alliance
    with the avian Firekkan species, and also introduced two new characters:
    Doomsday and Jazz.


        2.3.1.1.  Super Wing Commander
        ------------------------------

        A revamped version of WC1 has been released for the 3DO and Macintosh
        platforms, incorporating completely redone hi-resolution graphics, full
        speech during all the cinematic sequences, and more.  SWC follows the
        plotline of the whole WC1 series, including SM1 and SM2.


    2.3.2.  Wing Commander II  [SPOILERS -- WC2]
    --------------------------------------------

    The game begins with the Tiger's Claw being destroyed by three Kilrathi
    stealth (cloaked) fighters, and you are accused of allowing the carrier
    to be destroyed because of your negligence.  Your claims about the
    stealth fighters go unbelieved, your career is ruined, and you are
    assigned to a space station in the backwaters of the known galaxy.

    Ten years later, through a strange series of events, you end up on the
    flagship of the Confederate fleet (imagine that), the Concordia, where you
    meet up with some of your old pals who survived the destruction of the
    Claw -- Angel, Spirit, Paladin, Doomsday, and Jazz.  Eventually, you defeat

    the heir to the Kilrathi throne in a one-on-one dogfight (though he ejects
    to survive to fight again another day), destroy the Kilrathi headquarters
    in the sector, and find evidence that the stealth fighters exist, proving
    your innocence and restoring your career.


    WC2 also had two expansion disks -- Special Operations 1 and 2.  SO1
    introduced the character of Bear, the protagonist in the second and third
    Wing Commander novels.  SO2 reunites you with Maniac, with whom you team
    up to destroy Ayer's Rock, an asteroid which a band of human traitors is
    using as a base.


        2.3.2.1.  The Wing Commander I & II CD-ROM
        ------------------------------------------

        Origin has recently released the first two Wing Commander games,
        including all expansion sets (Secret Missions 1 & 2, the WC2 Speech
        Pack, and Special Operations 1 & 2) on a single CD.  WC1 must be
        installed to your hard drive, but WC2 can be played off the CD to
        save drive space.
                

    2.3.3.  Privateer  [SPOILERS -- PRIVATEER]
    ------------------------------------------

    Privateer puts you in the shoes of a different character -- a privateer.
    This game, which takes place in the Gemini sector of space, is essentially
    unrelated (in terms of plot) to the main Wing Commander games.  As a
    freelance trader and mercenary, you undertake various missions to earn
    yourself enough credits to upgrade your ship and advance in the storyline.
    Eventually, you discover an old alien derelict, and take a working cannon
    from it and mount it on your ship.  This prompts an alien drone to begin
    to chase you; in the end, you team up with Confederate ships to destroy
    the threat the drone presents to the sector.

    One expansion disk has been released for Privateer -- Righteous Fire.
    This begins with your alien gun being stolen form your ship, and
    concentrates on your attempts to retrieve it.  You never do.
                

        2.3.3.1.  The Privateer / Strike Commander CD-ROM
        -------------------------------------------------

        Another recent release of Origin's, this CD contains the enhanced
        versions of both Privateer and Strike Commander on one disc.  Both
        games come with their expansion disk (Tactical Operations for Strike
        Commander, Righteous Fire for Privateer) and full speech.  Strike
        Commander also has an expanded introduction sequence.


    2.3.4.  Wing Commander Academy
    ------------------------------

    A game with no plotline whatsoever, WCA was designed to appeal to the
    straight-out action gamers who prefer the dogfighting over the storyline.
    All the ships from WC2 plus a couple of new ones and a mission builder are
    included.


    2.3.5.  Wing Commander Armada
    -----------------------------

    Much as WCA was designed to appeal to those who wanted to be able to create
    their own missions, Armada is aimed towards those who want a multiplayer
    Wing Commander game.  Like Academy, there is no storyline to follow, but
    several new features not found in previous WC games are present.  Not only
    can the player fly in "Gauntlet" mode, a straight shoot-'em-up where wave
    after wave of increasingly powerful enemy ships is thrown at them, but a
    new "Armada" mode is present, which is a strategy game requiring the player

    to manage planetary resources and build up a fleet to hunt down and destroy
    his/her opponent.  Battle sequences in Armada mode place players in the
    cockpit so they can directly affect the outcome of each battle, creating an
    interesting mix of strategy and action.

    Most players agree that Armada's strengths lie in its multiplayer
    capabilities.  Using a high speed modem, NetBIOS-compatible network, or a
    split-screen mode on a single computer, two pilot jockeys can both climb
    into their own fighters and play head-to-head or cooperatively.  A recently
    released patch also adds a six-player mode and IPX network support.
    Needless to say, the multiplayer modes add a new dimension to the game not
    found in previous WC products.


    *2.3.6.*  Wing Commander novels
    -------------------------------

    Three novels set in the Wing Commander universe were published prior to
    WC3's release: _Freedom Flight_, by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon (the
    head writer for WC2), takes place during SM2, and has Paladin and Hunter as
    the main characters.  The novel goes into detail on the Kilrathi defectors
    who were  briefly mentioned in SM2 (and of which Hobbes from WC2 and WC3
    was the leader), and gives the reader a good look at Firekkan culture.

    _End Run_, by Christopher Stasheff and William R. Forstchen, features
    Jason "Bear" Bondarevsky (SO1) as the protagonist and tells the story
    of how he is assigned to a new ship, the Tarawa, which is sent on a
    suicide mission into Kilrathi space.  Other WC figures who are major
    characters in the novel are Paladin, Hunter, Sparks, and Admiral Tolwyn.

    _Fleet Action_, written by William R. Forstchen, is a direct sequel to
    _End Run_, picking up where its predecessor left off.  The Kilrathi launch
    a major counteroffensive against the Confederation, who must come up with
    a last-ditch plan to avoid annihilation.

    _Heart of the Tiger_ is a recently-released novel adaption of WC3.  Though
    not released until after the game, it is included here for convenience; see
    section 9.9.4 for more details.

                
        *2.3.6.1.*  What are the ISBN numbers of the WC novels?
        -------------------------------------------------------

        Several FAQ readers have asked me for more details on these novels so
        that they could order them through their local bookstores, so here they
        are:

            _Freedom Flight_, by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon.  Published
                in 1992 by Baen Books.  ISBN 0-671-72145-3.

            _End Run_, by Christopher Stasheff and William R. Forstchen.
                Published in 1994 by Baen Books.  ISBN 0-671-72200-X.

            _Fleet Action_, by William R. Forstchen.  Published in 1994 by
                Baen Books.  ISBN 0-671-72211-5.

            _Heart of the Tiger_, by William R. Forstchen and Baen Books.
                Published in 1995 by Baen Books.  ISBN 0-671-87653-8.

                
2.4.    Who's this "Bluehair" guy?
==================================


In WC 1 & 2, the player can choose any desired name and callsign for the main
character, who has no name of his own.  While these games were in development,
Origin nicknamed our hero "Bluehair," a reference to the dark blue tint the
artists gave to his hair.  Since then, the nickname has been adopted by gamers
of the online community as a convenient "handle" when discussing the main
character in the first two Wing Commander games.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
3.  Technical questions
*******************************************************************************

3.1.    What are the system requirements for Wing Commander III?
================================================================

    3.1.1.  How fast does my processor need to be?
    ----------------------------------------------

    The official requirement is a 100% compatible Intel 486DX2/50 or greater
    processor, though many people (myself included) have found gameplay
    satisfactory on a 486/33.  In other words, if you only have a 486/33, you
    should be able to run the game just fine, but don't say that Origin never
    warned you if it runs too slow for your tastes.

    It should be emphasized that non-Intel processors are NOT supported by
    Origin, though AMD chips seem to work fine with the game.  Cyrix processors
    have several known compatibility problems with WC3, and will not function
    properly.


    3.1.2.  What kind of video card do I need?
    ------------------------------------------

    The game runs on any VGA-compatible graphics card, though a fast VESA or
    PCI local bus card will help matters greatly.  Of course, an SVGA card is
    required to play the game in SVGA mode.

    Note that "Windows accelerated" video cards may or may not perform well in
    standard DOS VGA, SVGA, or both.  Since WC3 is a DOS-based application,
    with SVGA support provided through use of the VESA 1.2 SVGA extensions, the
    game's performance will depend on your video board's speed in these modes,
    which may not be as fast as its Windows performance. However, the normal
    VGA mode should run at acceptable speeds with almost any video board,
    assuming your system meets all the other requirements.


    3.1.3.  How much RAM do I need?
    -------------------------------

    8 megs are required; anything above that will primarily help cut down on
    the loading times before missions, cinematic cutscenes, and pauses in
    combat when the game loads sound effects for the first time (which is not
    necessarily a minor issue).


    3.1.4.  Do I need a CD-ROM drive?  How fast?
    --------------------------------------------

    Since Wing Commander III is a CD-ROM only release (no floppy version has
    been or will be released, like all of Origin's future products), yes, a
    CD-ROM drive is required.  The official requirement is a double-speed
    drive; a single-speed will run the game, but the video playback may be
    choppy, pausing every few seconds to let the CD-ROM drive catch up.  (On

    the other hand, I've talked to at least one person who was able to run
    the game with a fast single-speed and get very few pauses at all... proceed
    at your own risk, I guess.)


        3.1.4.1.  Will I need to worry about disc swapping?
        ---------------------------------------------------

        No.  Even though the game comes on multiple CDs, once you finish
        playing on a disc, you'll be able to load the game from the
        following disc every time thereafter.


3.2.    Does Wing Commander III take advantage of a math coprocessor?
=====================================================================

No.  If it did, then the game would not run on 486SX or SX2 systems, which
still represent a significant market share of Origin's target audience.  The
only other option would be to write two separate versions of the game, one for
486SX systems and the other for 486DX systems; unfortunately, this would have
added too much time to the development cycle.


3.3.    Frame rates
===================

    3.3.1.  What kind of frame rates can I expect?
    ----------------------------------------------

    These estimates, of course, are just that -- estimates -- and actual frame
    rates will vary from system to system; however, here's a chart (officially
    released by Origin) detailing how fast, in fps (frames per second), WC3
    should run on your system during an average combat mission with a few
    Kilrathi:

                 VGA     SVGA    SVGA (with fast local bus video card)

    486/33       12       4      10
    486/50       16      10      14
    486/66       20      13      18
    Pentium/60   24      15      20
    Pentium/90   24      15      24
    Pentium/133  30      20      29

    Note that the local bus SVGA figures are optimal; some local bus video
    cards are faster than others, so you may not get those numbers if your card
    isn't among the fastest available.  All of these figures are averages for
    space combat with other fighters... around capital ships, the game will run
    about 3-5 frames fps slower.

    Cinematics should run acceptably in VGA on any system that meets the
    minimum requirements, and can probably run in SVGA on a 486DX2/66 or
    faster.  Slower systems (i.e., a 486/33) will probably be able to run the
    cinematics in VGA, albeit with occasional pauses in the video playback.


    3.3.2.  How can I tell what frame rates I'm getting?
    ----------------------------------------------------

    During spaceflight, pressing Ctrl-F will toggle a little frame rate monitor
    in the corner of the screen.  Note that this is different than the Alt-F
    keystroke that was used to do the same thing in the demo.

    You cannot check your frame rate during the cinematics, but they should
    always run at a constant speed anyway.


3.4.    How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander III?
===============================================================

The game takes up FOUR CD-ROMs, so somewhere between 2 and 2.5 gigabytes.  A
minimum of of about 20 megabytes of hard drive space will be required for a
swap file that WC3 creates; you have the option of installing another 40

megabytes of data to the hard drive to speed up loading times between missions
and such.


3.5.    Does Wing Commander III support both a VGA and SVGA mode?  At what
        resolutions?
==========================================================================

Yes.  Though designed as an SVGA application, Origin made sure that WC3 runs,
first and foremost, as a VGA game in the standard 320x200x256 resolution.  The
high-resolution SVGA mode (640x480x256 in spaceflight, 320x400x256 for the
cinematics) is an optional feature that will run acceptably on some systems and
not on others (see the frame rate chart in section 3.3 above).  The user also
has the option of running the gameplay and/or cinematic sequences independently
in either SVGA or VGA mode... whichever is best suited for their system.

It should also be noted that if, during spaceflight, the system can't keep up
with the graphics at the resolution the user has set, gameplay is not slowed
down -- frames are skipped so that game time still passes at the same rate.  In
other words, the game will get choppier, but not slower (not much, at any
rate).


    3.5.1.  When can I switch between the VGA and SVGA modes?
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Any time you want.  You aren't limited to doing it only between missions
    or anything like that; it can be done with a single keypress at any point
    during gameplay.  The game will even (optionally) switch between video
    resolutions for you automatically, dropping down to VGA if the frame rate
    gets too slow, and then jumping back to SVGA when it climbs back up.

    Cinematics, however, can not be changed on the fly -- you need to wait
    until the clip you're watching is over, and then head towards the nearest
    computer terminal on your ship to change the game settings (or,
    alternately, you can run the WC3 setup program from DOS and change it from
    there).


    3.5.2.  Is the graphic detail level configurable?
    -------------------------------------------------

    Somewhat.  You can set the game to low, medium, or high detail, which
    determines the amount of texture mapping that is done (see section 3.8).
    On high detail, all ships and objects are texture mapped, medium detail
    takes the texture maps off the capital ships, and low detail has all
    ships drawn using only polygons.

    This detail level is independent of the VGA/SVGA setting.


3.6.    Does Wing Commander III support the ReelMagic or any other MPEG cards?
==============================================================================

No.  An MPEG version might still be released at some point in the future, but
this is unlikely.

                                                                        
3.7.  What's the sound support like?
====================================

    3.7.1.  What sound cards are supported?
    ---------------------------------------
        
    Wing Commander III supports the following sound cards:
        Ensoniq Soundscape
        Gravis Ultrasound
        Gravis Ultrasound Max
        Pro Audio Spectrum

        Roland Sound Canvas
        Roland RAP-10
        SoundBlaster
        SoundBlaster Pro
        SoundBlaster/16
        SoundBlaster AWE-32
        Any other General MIDI compliant sound hardware
        
        
        3.7.1.1.  Are the digital sound capabilities of the RAP-10 taken
                  advantage of?
        ----------------------------------------------------------------

        Yes.  (Many games use the RAP-10 to play music, but require the player
        to use another sound card for digital sound playback.  Not WC3!)


    3.7.2.  Does WC3 have 16-bit sound effects?
    -------------------------------------------

    Yes, all sound effects are in 16-bit stereo.


    3.7.3.  Can WC3 play multiple digital sound samples simultaneously?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes.  Wing Commander III can play 32 different digitized sound samples
    simultaneously.


3.8.    Does Wing Commander III use bitmaps or polygon-based graphics?
        What's the difference?
======================================================================

WC3, like some previous Origin releases (Strike Commander, Wings of Glory),
uses texture-mapped polygons instead of plain bitmaps (as previous Wing
Commander games did).  For those of you who aren't familiar with the
advantages of a polygon-based graphics engine, allow me to explain...

The first two Wing Commander games use bitmaps to represent the ships and
other objects in space.  The ships themselves are actually centered at a
single point in space, and their boundaries are defined by an invisible box
surrounding that point.  Note that their boundaries are defined by a 3-D
_box_, rather than the shape of the ship you see on the screen... that's why,
for example, gun shots that come really close to an enemy (but don't actually
hit his image on the screen) explode in the space next to him and still do
damage -- they hit the invisible box surrounding the ship.  As this box flies
around space and tries to shoot you, a 2-D image of a spaceship is placed on
it that is changed to reflect what angle you're looking at the box from.  Thus,
all of the ships in the first two WC games are actually flying boxes that just
have _pictures_ of one-man fighters slapped on them.

Still following?  Good.  Now, a polygon-based engine -- the kind WC3 uses --
is much different.  Rather than having their boundaries defined by an
invisible box, objects are made up of geometric shapes... a cylinder might
represent the body of a plane, two triangles could represent for the wings,
and so forth.  These boundary-defining shapes _are_ visible to the player,
unlike the flying boxes of WC1 and 2.  Since a ship made up of plain polygons
can look a bit ugly (take a look at some flight simulators from four or five
years ago), various techniques are used to improve their appearance.  WC3 uses
"texture mapping", which means that a texture (a "texture" being a picture of
anything from a sheet of glass to a certain color of metal to a picture of a
pilot in a cockpit) is placed on these bare polygons to give them a more
attractive appearance.


The final result?  Ships that still look really cool, but that are much more
clearly "defined."  There are many more advantages to this than just NOT having
your gunfire hit the space next to your opponent and still do damage... check
out section 4.2 for some examples of what is made possible by the use of the
polygon-based flight engine in Wing 3.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
4.  Gameplay issues
*******************************************************************************

In some ways, WC3 scarcely resembles its predecessors; the SVGA graphics make
everything four times as sharp, combat moves at a faster pace, and some things
(such as the capital ship and planetside combat) are an entirely new experience
altogether.


4.1.    Is the flight model in WC3 the same as in previous WC games?
====================================================================

Yes and no.  There are two flight models available in WC3 that the user can
choose between:  the traditional WC flight model, as in WC1 and WC2, or a new
flight model (similar to the one used in X-Wing) where your ship will roll
whenever you yaw (turn left or right).


4.2.    What are capital ships and capital ship combat like?
============================================================

This is one of the areas most improved over previous WC games.  The days when
all capital ships were little more than big, ugly-looking, sluggish fighters
that waited for you to fire your guns and blast them to kingdom come are gone.
In WC3, the capital ships are huge -- some are thousands of times as long as
your ship, in fact -- so when you fly up to one, you really are struck with a
sense of awe rather than a sense of boredom.  The detail on them is tremendous;
you can easily see little windows dotting the hull, or fly over and look at the
flight deck.  The really neat thing is, these aren't all just for decoration,
either... you can actually fly around _inside_ of a ship's hangar (this is made
possible by that wonderful polygon technology talked about in section 3.8).

Actual combat with capships is much more involved, as well.  Destroying a
carrier in the earlier WC games often involved little more than a few strafing
runs, unloading your guns each time, until you broke through the shields and
armor (or, in the case of some of the ships in WC2, sitting there until you got
a torpedo lock and _then_ firing).  Either way, it was fairly monotonous and
generally not very challenging.  In WC3, this is no longer the case... you'll
probably need to make several attack runs at a capship, dodging a flurry of
laser blasts and trying to pick off gun turrets with your blasters each time
before it's safe enough to try and destroy it.


    4.2.1.  Manual takeoffs and landings
    ------------------------------------

    In WC3, takeoffs and landings do not have to be automatic; you have the
    option to do them manually by adjusting your speed appropriately and
    steering your ship into or out of the hangar bay.  Not terribly complex,

    but more interesting than simply flying next your carrier and letting the
    automatic landing system kick in (though you can still do that if you get
    lazy.)  ;)


    4.2.2.  Collision detection
    ---------------------------

    Unfortunately, WC3 has some problems detecting collisions with large ships.
    Sometimes crashing into a ship will eat into your shields and send you
    careening off in another direction (as it should), but other times you will
    actually fly _into_ a capital ship's hull, turning the screen into an odd
    mess of polygons... and then probably crash trying to fly out.  This
    doesn't impede gameplay very much, since you don't often go smashing into
    capital ships, but needless to say, it doesn't do much for the suspension
    of disbelief...


4.3.    What are the planetside missions like?
==============================================

There are four ground missions in Wing 3, all of which are important to the
plot.  Planetside combat was designed with playability rather than realism in
mind, so the game doesn't take any actual aerodynamics into account... there
really aren't any real-world physics to worry about.  Your ship's "repulsors"
negate the effects of gravity, and you also don't have to worry about g-forces,
engine stalls, or other similar considerations present in most flight sims.
These same repulsors limit you to an altitude of 1,000-2,000 meters.  For all
practical purposes, planetside missions are just like space combat, though
you've got terrain to avoid crashing into and a special indicator that appears
on your HUD which monitors your orientation with respect to the ground.
Mission objectives usually include strafing runs on ground targets.

Unfortunately, the terrain is pretty barren; there are no forests, rivers,
deserts, oceans, or anything... simply an endless array of jagged mountains and
valleys, rendered in monochromatic shaded polygons with no texture mapping.
Atmospheric flight isn't particularly breathtaking, but it does at least serve
to add some variety to the missions you fly.


4.4.    How many different ships comprise the Terran and Kilrathi fleets?
=========================================================================

The Terran Confederation has five types of capital ships and fighters at its
disposal, two of which have rear gun turrets (complete with computer-controlled
gunners who take over for you when you're not using them).  The Empire of
Kilrah has a more varied population of ships in their fleet, with eight kinds
of fighters and seven kinds of capital ships.  None of the old WC1/WC2 craft
are used.


4.5.    What new technologies are the Terrans armed with that I can use?
========================================================================

In addition to the five new types of fighters in WC3 that the player will
have a chance to fly, the Confederation has also discovered the secret of
cloaking technology, so you'll be able to fly a stealth ships during one
mission.


4.6.    How much control do players have over the missions they fly (e.g.,
        their ship, wingman, weapons loadout, etc.)?

==========================================================================

You're allowed to choose who your wingman will be, what ship you'll fly, and
your ship's weapon loadout for each mission.  You won't be able to choose
which pilots fly on the other wings -- that's generally not even an issue in
the game.


    4.6.1.  How does the weapon selection work?
    -------------------------------------------

    The guns on your ship are fixed and can't be changed, but you always get to
    allocate your missiles however you like.  Unlike the weapon selection in
    Strike Commander, you have an unlimited supply of ammunition, and a heavy
    payload won't affect flight dynamics, either.
        
    This doesn't, however, mean that you'll want to load up your ship with as
    many Friend-or-Foe missiles as you can each time you fly a mission, because
    they're slower and pack less punch than other missiles (such as regular old
    heat-seekers) that are harder to get a lock with.  It's a tradeoff, and
    you'll have to make a decision about your payload based on what kind of
    opposition you think you'll be facing.  Choosing the appropriate weapon
    loadout for the task at hand may make a significant difference in your
    performance in battle.


4.7.    How good is the artifical intelligence in WC3?
======================================================

Excellent.  Not only are your wingmen very effective (you may have a bit of
trouble when you start out matching their kill tallies), but the Kilrathi are
intelligent, too, especially on later levels... they even employ group tactics
to try and fry you.

Different wingmen also have distinct flying styles, ranging from a reckless
near-suicidal approach to combat to a more cautious attack methodology.
        

4.8.    What other notable game features are present in Wing Commander III?
===========================================================================
        
    4.8.1.  The 3-D navigational map
    --------------------------------
        
    The first two WC games used a two-dimensional navigation map to show the
    area surrounding the player.  The obvious failing of this system is that it
    could not show Z coordinates; the map might have the player's ship directly
    on top of a jump point, when in reality he/she was a hundred thousand
    clicks _above_ the destination.

    WC3 employs an actual three-dimensional nav map to give the player a better
    idea of his/her surroundings.  The map can be rotated on all three axes and
    zoomed in and out so that the environment may be viewed from any angle and
    any distance.
        

    4.8.2.  Power management
    ------------------------
        
    You can allocate your ship's power among engines, weapons, shields, and
    damage control during battle.


4.9.    What game features _aren't_ present in Wing Commander III?
==================================================================

    4.9.1.  The "virtual cockpit"
    -----------------------------
                                                
    No 3-D cockpit was included in WC3, primarily becuase it slowed things down

    too much in SVGA mode and became more of a hindrance than a help.  The
    usual left, right, and rear views are present instead.

    You can still turn the cockpit off altogether, though -- the WC3 ships all
    have a HUD, so vital information remains on the screen when the cockpit
    graphics are turned off.
        
        
    4.9.2.  VCR replay mode
    -----------------------
        
    There wasn't enough time in the development cycle to include one.
        
        
    4.9.3.  Color communications consoles
    -------------------------------------
        
    They tried, but the space color palette didn't support flesh tones very
    well.


    *4.9.4.*  Can you go back and replay specific missions?
    -------------------------------------------------------
        
    Not technically -- though since you have a vast number of savegame slots,
    you can build your own mission library as you work through the game.


    4.9.5.  Can you transfer old characters from WC2 to WC3?
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Sorry, no.

        
    4.9.6.  Multiplayer modem and/or network support
    ------------------------------------------------

    Not WC3.  If you want multiplayer Wing Commander, then give Wing Commander
    Armada a try (see section 2.2.5.).

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
5.  Cinematics and storyline mechanics
*******************************************************************************

5.1.    What distinguishes the cinematics and storyline in Wing Commander III?
==============================================================================

There are two fundamental differences between the cinematics in WC3 and those
in WC1 and 2.  First, the live acting; all of the cinematic sequences are
played out in full motion video by live actors, rather than being hand- and
computer-drawn as in the first two games.  This has numerous advantages,
including the fact that a wider variety of camera angles is present, rather
than the frontal face shots that were used nearly exclusively in WC1 and 2.

Secondly, the cinematic sequences are no longer completely passive.  The player
can now choose how he/she responds in certain situations by selecting one of
several choices from a list of possible dialogue responses.  This, in turn,
alters the way the story unfolds, so two people who play the game with
different dialogue choices may experience quite a different plotline.  (A
normal movie script is about 120 pages; the script for WC3 is 300 pages long
so that all of the different outcomes and dialogue choices were covered.)


    5.1.1.  In what ways can choices made during the cinematic sequences alter
            the storyline?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are a few times -- maybe four or five spots in the game -- where
    choosing a particular course of action will have major ramifications on the
    rest of the story.  Your actions might inadvertantly cause the death of one

    of your wingmen, for example, or you may have the chance to start a
    romantic relationship with a shipmate.  The rest of the choices will only
    determine how the current scene is played out, and possibly have an impact
    on a pilot's morale, but this doesn't affect their flying ability
    drastically.  Grouchy pilots, however, are less likely to follow your
    orders... or, in the case of Maniac and Flash, are *more* likely to follow
    your orders.

    The importance of all these seemingly insignificant storyline choices,
    however, should not be discounted.  Though most of them have no major
    effect on the game outside of the cinematics, all of them help insure that
    Blair acts the same way the player would in a given situation.  Whether the
    player realizes it or not, these choices will make him/her better able to
    relate to his/her alter ego in the game (Blair)... a vital element for
    drawing them into the story.


    5.1.2.  Can your wingmen actually die during an average mission, or are
            there safeguards built in to prevent this?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    In WC1, when your wingman is shot down, he or she dies, no longer to assist
    the player in any future missions.  In WC2, in order to preserve the story
    continuity, a wingman would instantly eject before their fighter was
    destroyed (remember G.I.Joe?), since the way the story was written made it
    hard to remove a character without seriously disrupting the continuity of
    the plotline.

    In WC3, most of the missions follow the WC2 method of the "automatic
    ejection seat."  However, after a certain point in the game, if your
    wingman is shot down in combat, he or she will die, so there _is_ an
    element of danger involved.


5.2.    How is live acting integrated into the cinematic sequences?
===================================================================

All acting was done in advance in front of a green screen -- which is, as the
name suggests, a cloth backdrop spray painted green.  The background sets,
which encompass everything from the throne room of the Kilrathi Palace to the
hangar deck on your carrier, are rendered on Silicon Graphics workstations (the
same ones used in the making of Jurassic Park).  After the acting is done and
the backgrounds have been generated, they are overlaid on top of the green
backdrop in the film footage.  The result is a video sequence with live actors
in a very realistic-looking computer-generated environment.


    5.2.1.    How much live acting is contained in the cinematic sequences?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    About three and a half hours of footage was filmed for the game.  Of
    course, you won't see all of this playing the game through just once, since
    it has a branching storyline.


    5.2.2.  Why don't some of the actors look like their characters?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    During the casting for Wing Commander III, the primary concern was finding
    actors who could accurately portray the Wing Commander characters'

    personalities; physical appearance was secondary.  While it was certainly
    nice to find an actor or actress who not only was able to play the role
    well but also looked like the character in mind, this wasn't always
    possible, as in the case of the actor taking the role of Paladin (John
    Rhys-Davies).


    5.2.3.  How is the acting for the Kilrathi characters accomplished?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Think "Darth Vader", and you'll have a pretty good idea.  An actor wears
    an elaborate costume (made by the same group who did the masks for the
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, by the way), and acts out the motions
    for his character in front of the camera.  Facial expressions and lip
    movements on the robotic masks are controlled by another technician
    off-camera, and voices are dubbed in later by a separate voice actor.

    The combination works quite well.  The Kilrathi _do_ look like puppets, but
    very convincing ones -- their movements, voices, and facial expressions are
    very lifelike, and it's easy to lose yourself in the movie and forget that
    they're just some guy wearing a mask.
                                        

5.3.    How good do the final cinematic sequences look?
=======================================================

This is obviously a difficult question to answer... not only because it's hard
to define in words, also because it's largely a matter of opinion.  My personal
views are that the video is very well done.  The video quality isn't the
greatest -- it's heavily dithered, and objects sometimes leave faint "streaks"
when they move around on the screen (this effect is difficult to describe if
you haven't actually seen it), but frankly, it still kills anything else I've
ever seen on my lowly 486/33, and most people I've talked to who own higher-end
systems were equally impressed.  Once I watched it for a few minutes, it seemed
almost as good as regular TV.

The acting surprised me the most; it's actually good!  No one's going to win
any Oscars for their performances, but they honestly aren't that bad... at
least as good as your average TV show, and certainly better than most (if not
all) computer games to date.  The artifical elements blend in really well,
too... the computer generated backgrounds do not look at all unreal once all
of the video has been overlaid, and while it's easy to tell that the Kilrathi
characters are fake (see section 5.2.3.), the facial expressions and
lip-syncing of the electronic masks are well done and their movements are very
lifelike.

Of course, these are my own opinions, and are subject to your own whims and
preferences.  Personal mileage may vary.


5.4.    Who are the characters in Wing Commander III, and who are the actors
        and actresses playing their roles?
============================================================================

Character names are listed first, with the name of the actor or actress in
parentheses.  In the cases of the Kilrathi characters, the voice actor is
listed.



    5.4.1.  Col. Christopher Blair (Mark Hamill)
    --------------------------------------------
        
    In Wing Commander III, the player takes the role of Colonel Christopher
    Blair, a veteran Confederate pilot who commands the fighter squadron on
    his ship.  Throughout the course of the game, you not only fly dozens of
    missions against the Kilrathi, but deal with intercharacter relationships
    with your shipmates as well -- you even get to choose your own love
    interest.

    Blair is portrayed by Mark Hamill, best known for his starring role as Luke
    Skywalker in the "Star Wars" movie trilogy.  He has also been seen in "The
    Guyver," "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," "Britannia Hospital",
    and others.  Voice acting work includes playing The Joker in the Batman
    animated television series and "Mask of the Phantasm" motion picture, and
    a role in Sierra's interactive adventure game, "Gabriel Knight."

        
    5.4.2.  Maj. James "Paladin" Taggart (John Rhys-Davies)
    -------------------------------------------------------
        
    Veterans of the first two Wing Commander games will certainly remember
    Paladin, the Scottish officer who has been serving in the Navy for several
    decades.  Taking this role is John Rhys-Davies, who has appeared as Sallah
    in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," and
    has also played characters in "The Living Daylights," "Firewalker," and
    others.  He is currently starring in FOX's "Sliders" as Professor
    Maximillian Arturo, and is the host of the Discovery Channel's
    "Archaeology."


    5.4.3.  Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn (Malcolm McDowell)
    --------------------------------------------------
        
    Those who only played WC2 probably remember Tolwyn as a hard-nosed, strict
    commander who never really seemed to care about much besides making the
    player's life difficult.  Those who read the WC novels should have a
    more positive impression of him; that of a just, honorable officer who
    places morality and ethics above authority and discipline.  (Yeah, it
    sounds cliched, but true.)

    Whatever picture you have of Tolwyn, he'll be present in WC3, played by
    Malcolm McDowell.  McDowell has been in movies such as "A Clockwork
    Orange," "Time After Time," "Britannia Hospital" (with WC3 co-star Mark
    Hamill), the recent "Tank Girl," and others.  He also played the role of
    the villain Soran in the recent "Star Trek: Generations" motion picture.


    5.4.4.  Capt. William Eisen (Jason Bernard)
    -------------------------------------------
        
    Eisen, the commander of the TCS Victory, is another newcomer to the Wing
    Commander saga, played by Jason Bernard (currently starring in the TV
    series "Herman's Head.")  Bernard has also appeared on "The Cosby Show,"
    "St. Elsewhere," "Knot's Landing," "Night Court," "The Flash," and others.

    Film credits include, but are not limited to, "War Games," "Blue Thunder"
    (with WC3 co-star Malcolm McDowell), and most recently, "While You Were
    Sleeping."



    5.4.5.  The TCS Victory's fighter pilots
    ----------------------------------------

        5.4.5.1.  Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall (Tom Wilson)
        --------------------------------------------------
        
        Another character from the earlier WC games, Maniac is a brash,
        unpredictable pilot who has a stubborn "to-hell-with-the-rules"
        attitude that has put himself and his shipmates in danger countless
        times.  He is, however, a highly skilled pilot, and the Confederation
        Confederation needs all the help they can get...

        Maniac is portrayed by Tom Wilson, who you've probably seen as Biff in
        the "Back to the Future" trilogy.  Wilson has also been in "Blood In...
        Blood Out," "Action Jackson," "April Fool's Day," and others.


        5.4.5.2.  Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters (Jennifer MacDonald)
        -------------------------------------------------------
        
        One of the possible love interests for the player, Flint is a member of
        your flight squadron who has quite a dynamic character hidden
        underneath her cool, calm exterior.  She is played by Jennifer
        MacDonald, who has been seen in "Terminal Force," "The Collector,"
        "Shades of Black," "Dream On," "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.,"
        and more.


        5.4.5.3.  Col. Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas (John Schuck)
        --------------------------------------------------------

        Originally assigned to be a bridge officer on your ship, you pull some
        strings to get him placed on your fighter squadron, where he again
        takes the role of one of your fellow wingmen as he did in the previous
        WC games.  Some of the other pilots don't like the idea of a Kilrathi
        crewmate, and racism is a problem you'll have to deal with as the
        Victory's Wing Commander.

                
        5.4.5.4.  Lt. Laurel "Cobra" Buckley (B. J. Jefferson)
        ------------------------------------------------------
        
        Cobra spent a great deal of her childhood in a Kilrathi prison camp,
        and though she eventually escaped, she harbors a great deal of pure
        hatred towards the cats.  The fact that Hobbes is on board doesn't
        make dealing with her any easier, either.

        
        5.4.5.5.  Lt. Winston "Vagabond" Chang (Francois Chau)
        ------------------------------------------------------
        
        He's a good pilot and a pretty decent guy, but there's something
        mysterious about Vagabond.  Large gaps in his personnel bio and his
        reluctance to talk about his past lead you to wonder if he's hiding
        something.  If so, what is it... and why is it such a secret?

        
        5.4.5.6.  Lt. Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez (Julian Reyes)
        -----------------------------------------------------

        Vaquero is about as nice as they come, and is the kind of guy who just
        exudes friendliness.  You'll find yourself quite at ease while talking
        to him, listening to his dream of opening a cantina after the war, and
        passing the days just sitting back in his chair and strumming on his

        guitar...


        5.4.5.7.  Maj. Jace "Flash" Dillon (Joshua Lucas)
        -------------------------------------------------
        
        The Confederation is in the middle of developing a new kind of fighter
        craft to add to their arsenal, and Flash is the chosen test pilot.
        Unfortunately, he's a bit of a hotshot who has never seen the horrors
        of war face-to-face, and his naive views make him a less than stellar
        example of what a military officer should be...
        
        Joshua Lucas, the actor playing Flash, is a regular on "The Man From
        Snowy River".  On the big screen, he has been seen in "Alive" and
        "Class of '61."


    5.4.6.  Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis (Ginger Lynn Allen)
    ------------------------------------------------------
        
    Rachel is a repair tech on the ship on which Blair serves, and is the
    second potential love interest for the player.  The actress who plays her,
    Ginger Lynn Allen, has starred in "Young Guns II," "Skin Deep," "Leather
    Jackets", and many "adult" films.  TV credits include "Silk Stalkings,"
    "Sunset Beat," and a current recurring role on "NYPD Blue."


    5.4.7.  Lt. Ted "Radio" Rollins (Courtney Gains)
    ------------------------------------------------
        
    Courtney Gains takes on the role of Rollins, the Victory's communications
    officer.  Rollins suffers from a heavy does of paranoia, convinced that the
    war effort is taking a catastrophic turn for the Confederaion.  As the
    story goes on, however, you may begin to suspect that he's not as crazy
    as everyone thinks he is...

    Gains has been seen in "Memphis Belle," "The 'Burbs," "Colors," "Can't Buy
    Me Love," and "Back to the Future," among others.  TV credits include
    "Seinfeld," "Tales From the Crypt," and "In the Heat of the Night," and
    more.


    5.4.8.  Col. Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux (Yolanda Jilot)
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Your girlfriend from WC2, Angel left on a top-secret mission for Confed's
    Special Operations divison, and you haven't seen nor heard from her in
    months.  The only things you have to remind you of her are a couple of
    photographs and a short holo-recording which you keep in your locker on the
    Victory...


    5.4.9.  The Emperor of Kilrah (Alan Mandell)
    --------------------------------------------

    The Emperor is back again, ready to lead the Kilrathi Empire on an
    offensive to crush the Confederation once and for all.  He makes a couple
    of brief appearances, once during the introduction, and once during each of
    the closing sequences.


    5.4.10. Prince Thrakhath (John Rhys-Davies)
    -------------------------------------------

    WC3 wouldn't be complete without your favorite old arch-nemesis, and sure
    enough, the heir to the Kilrathi throne is back for the latest installment
    in the WC series.

    Thrakhath's voice is done by John Rhys-Davies, who also plays the role of
    Paladin (see section 5.4.2).



    5.4.11. Melek (Tim Curry)
    -------------------------
        
    Melek is the Kilrathi warrior who is Thrakhath's second-in-command.  He
    makes scattered appearances throughout the game, usually at his Prince's
    side.

    Tim Curry, probably most easily remembered as the transvestite in "The
    Rocky Horror Picture Show," did the voice acting for Melek in WC3.  Curry
    also did voice acting in Sierra's "Gabriel Knight," along with WC3 co-star
    Mark Hamill.


5.5.    Do any other characters from previous Wing Commander games make an
        appearance in Wing Commander III?
==========================================================================

Aside from the characters mentioned in section 5.4 above, no one from previous
WC games makes an appearance, nor is anything mentioned as to their current
status or whereabouts.


5.6.    Do I get to pick my player's name or callsign?
======================================================
        
Your name (Christopher Blair) is assigned to you and cannot be changed.  You
can pick a callsign for yourself, though it is not used during the cinematic
sequences, since the spoken dialogue cannot change to reflect the callsign you
choose.  It is instead used in places such as the kill board posted on the
ship, while during the cinematics you are referred to by your "real" name
(Blair) or a title ("Sir," etc.)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
6.  The Wing Commander III demo
*******************************************************************************

6.1.    Is the demo playable?  If so, what do I get to do?
==========================================================

Yes, the demo is fully playable.  It allows the player to fly a Confederation
Arrow light fighter on a scouting mission during which you fight six Kilrathi
opponents.

The demo does not include the "gameflow" sequences in between missions that the
full release does... this means that you will not be able to walk around your
home ship, the TCS Victory, nor will you be able to interact with the many
characters that populate the WC3 universe.  However, the playable section of
the demo will give you an excellent idea of what the final version of WC3 is
like, as the gameplay is nearly identical (see section 6.5.1 below for a list
of differences).

The demo also contains a self-running introduction that gives you an idea of
the basic plot of WC3, and introduces you to many of the characters that you
will encounter in the WC universe.  The demo introduction is not the same as
(or as long as) the final version's introduction; the two share some footage,
but the introduction from the demo is made up of scenes from throughout the
game, much like a motion picture trailer.


6.2.    Obtaining and installing the WC3 demo
=============================================

    6.2.1.  Where can I get a copy of the WC3 demo?
    -----------------------------------------------

    There are several sources.  PC Gamer magazine bundles a CD-ROM filled with
    demos and patches with their magazine, and the December 1994 CD contains

    the complete WC3 demo.  CD-ROM Today also had the CD demo with their
    November-December 1994 issue.  You could order either of these back issues
    from the publishers to get a copy.

    A more convenient place, assuming you have access to the internet, is via
    FTP at ftp.funet.fi, in the /pub/msdos/games/demos/wc3demo directory, or at
    ftp.pht.com in /pub/msdos/games/demos.  You can also find it on the World
    Wide Web -- http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain, in the Direct Download
    section.

    If you decide to download the WC3 demo as opposed to getting it on CD, be
    prepared for a bit of a wait, as the complete demo is approximately 25
    megabytes in size.


    6.2.2.  What are the system requirements for the WC3 demo?
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    The demo requirements are the same as those for the release version of WC3:
    Intel 486DX2/50 or greater processor, 8 megs of RAM, VGA or SVGA
    (recommended), 100% Microsoft-compatible mouse driver, and approximately 25
    megs of hard drive space.  All major sound cards are natively supported.
    Note that even though a 486/50 is Origin's official minimum requirement,
    most users have reported that a 486/33 ISA PC is adequate for VGA gameplay.


    6.2.3.  Why did my system get faster ratings from the demo than from the
            actual game?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Both the demo and the full version rate your processor and video speed on a
    descending scale, with a score of 1 being the best.  It is likely that test
    results from the demo version will be better than results from the final
    version, but this does not mean that the game's performance will be
    diminished when playing the full game.  Rather, it indicates that Origin
    tweaked these tests a little bit in the final release by changing the
    scale on which your computer's performance is rated.


6.3.    What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when running the
        demo?
=============================================================================

The WC3 demo had not been as extensively tested as the final product was -- it
was released to the public as a work in progress, or just a taste of what the
final version was to offer.  It's reasonably safe to assume that any problems
present in the final version of WC3 are also present in the demo, but NOT vice-
versa -- bugs that are present in the demo may have been fixed by the time the
game was released.  Refer to Origin's technical FAQ (see section 10.4) for
detailed solutions to any problems that you may be having.

Gamers who are using the demo included with the PC Gamer CD-ROM may wish to
copy the entire 25 meg demo to their hard drive; this will provide speedier
loading times, and allow the player to bypass the graphical PC Gamer
front-end.


6.4.    Are there any undocumented and/or underdocumented commands available
        while flying?
============================================================================


Yes, there are several:

    ~                     Toggle afterburners on/off
    P                     Power management (see section 6.4.1)
    Caps Lock             Autoslide (see section 6.4.2)
    Alt-F                 Toggle frame rate counter
    Alt-1                 VGA mode
    Alt-2                 VGA "double-buffering mode" (*)
    Alt-3                 SVGA mode
    Alt-4                 SVGA "double-buffering mode" (*)
    Alt-L                 Automatic mode-switching for fastest frame rate (**)
    Alt-P                 Pause spaceflight
    Ctrl-X                Alternate flight control mode (***)
    Alt-M                 Activate keyboard controls
    Alt-J                 Activate joystick controls
    Ctrl-Left Arrow       Make demo darker
    Ctrl-Right Arrow      Make demo brighter

           (*)Double-buffering mode affects the way WC3 and your video card
              draw objects on the screen.  Under certain circumstances users
              will receive a faster frame rate with this mode turned on,
              usually if you have a local bus video card.

          (**)ALT-L will tell the WC3 demo to automatically switch from SVGA
              to VGA (and vice-versa) whenever an unusually low or high frame
              rate warrants such a change.
        
         (***)CTRL-X toggles between one of two flight models WC3 can use...
              see section 4.1 for details.


    6.4.1.  Power management
    ------------------------

    As mentioned in section 4.8.2, WC3 allows you to allocate your ship's power
    to different systems.  This is implemented in the demo, though it is not
    mentioned in the documentation.

    Pressing P will bring up the power management screen which consists of four
    blue bars, each with a letter next to it corresponding to one of your
    ship's primary systems:

      E -- Engines
      W -- Weapons
      S -- Shields
      D -- Damage control

    The [ and ] keys are used to change the amount of power allocated to the
    current system (indicated by which letter is highlighted).  You can select
    a system by pressing the P key repeatedly.


    6.4.2.  Autoslide
    -----------------

    As soon as you press the Caps Lock key, you will be able to turn your ship
    without changing the direction you are moving; this will continue for as
    long as you hold the key down.  The instant you release it, you will again
    start to move in the direction you are facing.  This makes possible some
    maneuvers that would be otherwise difficult to do.

    In the final version of the game, not all fighters can do this; it is only
    available in Arrows and the Excalibur.


6.5.    Comparing the demo to the final product...
==================================================

    6.5.1.  How does the demo's gameplay differ from the release version's
            gameplay?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are several small differences... missiles in the WC3 demo are not
    nearly as effective as their counterparts in the final version.  You will
    not have a wingman with you in the demo, whereas you will fly a solo

    mission in the final version only under special circumstances.
    Communications are not implemented, and the enemy AI in the demo is locked
    at "rookie", so the opponents you face will be little more than moving
    targets.


    6.5.2.  Will my frame rate in the final version of WC3 be the same, better,
            or worse than in the demo?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Most likely it will be slightly better.  The programming team at Origin
    made a number of refinements and optimizations to the WC3 code between the
    release of the demo and the release of the full version, resulting in
    slight improvements in the frame rate.  With the demo, an i486DX2/66
    VESA Local Bus machine, equipped with a speedy video card, can achieve a
    continuous frame rate of 20-24 FPS in WC3's VGA mode.  The same machine
    will provide a high-end of approximately 18 FPS in SVGA mode, dropping down
    to a low of 5 FPS or so when the screen is filled with capital ships,
    exploding debris, full-motion video, etc.  On a full-blown Pentium 90 or
    100MHz system with 16 megs of RAM, players of WC3 report near-religious
    gaming experiences.


6.6.  Are there any screen shots available?
===========================================

Maybe you don't have access to any FTP sites (or just don't want to download a
25 meg program), or would rather not go through the hassle and waiting time
involved in getting a CD copy of the demo.  In either case, there is still
another way to get an idea of what the game looks like...

Two sets of screen shots have been uploaded onto several major online services
by Origin.  The first were from some fairly early stages in game development
and did not accurately represent what the final product would look like, so
they were removed.  The second batch was uploaded fairly close to the game's
actual release and is still available for downloading.


    6.6.1.  What do the screen shots contain?
    -----------------------------------------

    Some external shots of a Confederate Arrow (a light fighter) flying in
    space and near a capital ship are present.  There are also some images
    from the cinematic sequences, including a scene with Blair and Paladin
    standing planetside, Rachel (the flight mechanic) on the flight deck, and
    Admiral Tolwyn leaning over a desk in his office.  No cockpit shots or
    enemy fighters are present in any of the images.


    6.6.2.  Are those screen shots really from playable sequences, or just
            cinematic scenes?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    Yes, the external shots of the Arrow flying by the Confederate carrier are
    are from the playable portion of the game.  It is obvious which of the
    pictures are from the cinematic sequences and these also reflect how the
    game should look on your screen.


    6.6.3.  Where can I find the screen shots?
    ------------------------------------------

    You can get them from the official Origin support forum on most online
    services, or from the Origin BBS (see section 10.4 for details).


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
7.  Strategies and tips
*******************************************************************************

WARNING:  Many questions in this section (though not all) contain major
spoilers.  It may be best if you only read the questions necessary to get you
past the place in the game where you're stuck, so as not to ruin the story.
Consider this an extra warning...  :)


7.1.    General mission strategies
==================================
        
    7.1.1.  Is there anything I need to do at the start of a mission?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
        
    Here's a checklist to go through every time you leave the Victory and go
    out on a mission:

    - Turn off the cockpit by pressing F1.  This is to increase the frame rate.
    - Press Alt-3 to switch to double buffering mode (as described on page 7 of
      the Installation Guide) and increase the frame rate even more.  NOTE:
      Some computers, especially those with slower graphics cards, will find
      that Alt-4 gives a better framerate than Alt-3.  Again, see the
      Installation Guide for details.
    - Adjust your power settings (see the following section).
    - Activate full guns by pressing 'F'.
    - Look at the navmap ('N').  (For curiosity; it's not necessary.)
        

    7.1.2.  Any tips on power management?
    -------------------------------------
        
    Power is divided into four areas:

    Engines: Below 25%, the maximum velocity of your craft will decrease.
      Above 25%, the maximum velocity will not change, but acceleration and
      deceleration will improve, i.e. the ship will respond to speed changes
      more quickly.
                                        
    Shields: This is how quickly your shields will recharge.

    Weapons: This is how quickly your weapon batteries will rechage.

    Damage: Every fighter is equipped with an automatic damage repair system.
      This vital system will fix any part of your ship that isn't destroyed at
      a rate proportional to how much power is allocated to damage.  Remember
      that the repair system will not be able to fix any system that is
      completely destroyed (100% damage).  Also, remember that armor cannot be
      repaired or regenerated.

    Most of the time, you'll want to turn off damage control and use the extra
    power in other systems.  You'll also want to keep engines somewhere at 25
    to 30 percent, since you'll want maximum velocity, but extra acceleration
    doesn't make much of a difference.  The rest of the power should be divided
    up between the shields and the weapons.

    Here are my preferred power settings.  Remember that the percentages given
    are just estimates, since the power display gives only bar graphs and no
    numerical data.

    Against fighters:  25% Engines
                       45% Weapons
                       30% Shields
                       0% Damage


    Against capital ships:  25% Engines
                            30% Weapons
                            45% Shields
                            0% Damage

    During combat, when my armor is hit, I always make sure to check my damage
    reports by pressing 'D'.  If anything is damaged, I just turn up the power
    to damage control by a couple of notches.  Then when there are no more
    enemies to worry about and I'm still sustaining damage, I crank the power
    to 100% until all the damage is repaired, then set my power back to my
    original settings.

        
    7.1.3.  I need some basic dogfighting pointers.
    -----------------------------------------------

    First of all, remember that a target that is constantly swerving is MUCH
    harder to hit than a target that moves in a straight line.  So whenever
    the enemy starts to pound on your shields, hit the afterburners and start
    moving your fighter in every possible direction except straight ahead.

    However, if you normally double-click button #2 to afterburn, you will not
    be able to swerve while holding down the button (i.e. you'll still travel
    in a straight line), since turning the joystick left or right will simply
    cause your ship to roll.  Try to get into the habit of keeping one hand on
    the joystick (or mouse) and keeping the other hand on the [Tab] key so that
    you can hit afterburners and maneuver at the same time.

    Secondly, try not to get caught up trying to chase down an evading Kilrathi
fighter.  One of the Kilrathi's favorite tricks is to have one
    fighter try to draw your firepower away while the others fly around to your
    six (or rear) and fire away.  To turn the tables and make their trick work
    in your favor, select an enemy fighter and start pursuing it with your
    guns.  After a few seconds, you'll notice that your selected target will
    start swerving around while the other enemy fighters move to your rear.  At
    this time, quickly hit 'T' to switch your target to any one of those
    fighters, then spin around to face your new target. Most likely, you'll
    find your new target flying straight at you with his guns blazing.  That's
    when you open fire and punch right through his shields.  Don't worry about
    the enemy's firepower; in a head-to- head engagement like this one, the
    enemy will not be able to aim as well as in other angles of engagement.

    Third, beware of those fighters with rear turrets, like the Vaktoth or
    Paktahn.  The Paktahn's rear mass driver is especially dangerous since it
    doesn't look like much until you notice that your front armor is starting
    to wear away.  Ideally, you'll want to engage these fighters from the
    sides, but a head-to-head pass can work, too.
        
        
    7.1.4.  I keep getting killed by all those missiles the Kilrathi launch.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is usually a problem in the higher difficulty levels like Crazy and
    Nightmare.  If you use a joystick, try to keep one hand on the keyboard.
    Keep an eye on your lock warning light, since the sound the alarm makes

    isn't too attention-grabbing.  When you see the warning, immediately hit
    'E' once or twice to release decoys.  If the missile isn't fooled by them,
    start evasive maneuvers while you release a few more.  If your scanner
    starts to show too many yellow dots (missiles), hit the [`] (backtick) key
    or hold down [Tab] to turn on the afterburners, and keep twisting your
    fighter around until the missiles give up.  Don't drop too many decoys on
    one missile, since the Kilrathi possess strength in numbers, and they will
    not hesitate to launch more missiles.  You'll quickly learn that you are
    never given enough decoys...


    7.1.5.  Help!  My afterburners won't turn off!
    ----------------------------------------------

    The tilde key (~) wlil toggle your afterburners on (in other words, so that
    they *stay* on until you run out of fuel), until you hit ~ again to turn
    them off.

    It's easy to bump the tilde while reaching for the Tab key to do a simple
    afterburner burst.  If you notice that your afterburners aren't turning
    off, try hitting ~ and see if it fixes the problem.


7.2.    Tactics for fighting specific ships
===========================================
        
    7.2.1.  Those asteroid fighters are tough!
    ------------------------------------------
        
    The Kilrathi asteroid fighters are tough to hit on a head-to-head approach
    since they tend to veer away from you earlier than usual.  They are slow,
    but pursuing their tails is often difficult, since they release a seemingly
    endless amount of mines as they evade you.  (Someone did notice that they
    do run out of mines eventually.)

    Remember, patience is the key.  Don't ever try to follow one on its tail or
    you'll be dodging mines for your life.  Just whittle away at its front
    shields during every head-on pass.  If your shields ever get too low, just
    back off for a while and let them recharge.  There is no rush.

        
    7.2.2.  What's the best way to destroy a capital ship?
    ------------------------------------------------------

    Use a torpedo.  You should be able to get a torpedo lock well before you
    approach within the range of the capital ship's turrets, though you'll
    probably want to make sure any fighter escort in the area has been
    destroyed first.

    If you don't have a torpedo on you, if you want to save them, or if you
    want to be a hot-shot, then go ahead and engage the capital ship with your
    guns.  Ideally, you'll want to take out as many turrets as you can before
    you start to work on the massive armor of the capital ship.  Use the 'R'
    key to select a turret, then fly in and try to take out that turret without
    getting hit too often.  You may want to configure your ship's power so that
    your shields will recharge faster (see section 7.1.2 above).  If the
    capital ship also fires more powerful shots, like the yellow antimatter
    shots, try to take out those turrets first.

    Once a majority of the turrets are gone, the capital ship should be a lot
    more benign.  You can also focus on eliminating the turrets on just one

    side of the capital ship, then making sure you stick to that side only...
    they'll be essentially defenseless, while you only did half as much work.

    It should also be noted that the sooner you can nail a capship, the better;
    sometimes, after you destroy a wing of fighters, a nearby capital ship will
    launch some more.  A good approach is to attack the capship after killing
    all fighters in the area but one, making your attack runs much easier.
    Once you dust off the capital ship, pick off the remaining fighter, and you
    won't have to worry about anyone launching reinforcements.


*7.3.*  On an escort mission, after I finish off a wave of fighters, the
        autopilot light won't activate.  What am I doing wrong?
========================================================================

Fly close to the ship you're supposed to escort.  Once you are close enough,
you'll get an acknowledgement message and your autopilot indicator will light
up (assuming subtitles are not turned off).


7.4.    Dealing with enemy torpedoes
====================================
        
    7.4.1.  How do I destroy a Skipper missile?
    -------------------------------------------

    As Captain Eisen explains in the briefing, the Skipper missile is a
    Kilrathi cruise missile that "skips" in and out of cloak.  It is usually
    launched from a Corvette.  When a Corvette appears in a wave of ships, you
    can take on one of two roles:

    "The Goalie":  Let your wingman take on the fighters while you hang back
    close to the capital ship you are supposed to defend.  Try not to let the
    enemy fighters draw your attention away from your escortee.  On your
    scanner, when you see the Skipper missile (a yellow dot) launched from the
    Corvette (an orange dot), quickly target it and head towards it.  If you
    stayed close to your escortee, you should be close to the Skipper missile's
    trajectory.  If (and when) the Skipper disappears, turn your fighter around
    and start heading back to your escortee.  This way, you'll be able to stay
    along the trajectory that the Skipper missile will take.  Keep pressing 'T'
    to cycle through your available targets until the Skipper missile reappears
    and you have it targeted again.  Head towards the missile and when it is
    within range, fire away.  You'll have to use guns; it's impossible to get a
    missile lock on a Skipper.  With luck, you'll be able to destroy it.

    "The Striker":  When the Corvette appears, quickly afterburn towards it.
    When you are within range, either open fire or launch a torpedo at the
    Corvette.  (You might be lucky enough to destroy the Corvette before it
    launches the missile!)  Keep one eye on the Corvette and one eye on your
    scanner so that if the Corvette launches the Skipper missile, you won't
    miss it.  Once this happens, target the missile and pursue it.  You should
    be right on the missile's six.  If it disappears, simply keep flying
    straight until the missile reappears.  Once it is within range, fire away.


        
    7.4.2.  I'm having trouble trying to stop the bio-missiles.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
        
    First of all, the best ship to use for this mission is an Arrow because of
    its speed.

    When you get to the nav point where the capital ship launches the bio-
    missiles, IGNORE the other ships for now.  Quickly target a missile and
    afterburn straight towards it.  Once the missile is within range of your
    guns, fire away, then target the next bio-missile.  There should be a total
    of three missiles; once they're destroyed, you'll get the "Mission
    objectives completed" message.  However, you'll still have to take on the
    fighters and the capital ship so that you can autopilot home.
        
        
    7.4.3.  On a certain nebula mission, the Victory gets destroyed as it heads
            for an alternate jump point.  What happened?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One of the Corvettes launched a Skipper missile at the Victory.  Use the
    same techniques as you did before with the first Skipper missile (see
    section 7.4.1 above).


7.5.    Flash's arrival
=======================
        
    7.5.1.  How can I defeat Flash?
    -------------------------------
        
    Flash tends to "joust" -- attacking head-on and immediately turning around
    for another direct pass.  His aim is excellent, so if you see him coming
    straight at you, fire off one or two volleys, then immediately turn away.
    Other than that, try to attack him from the sides or rear if you can.  If
    you wait long enough, he'll run out of afterburner fuel, greatly decreasing
    his maneuverability and making him much easier to hit.

    If you're still having trouble, just fire all your missiles at him (use
    the B key), especially when he's heading straight for you.

        
    7.5.2.  I just lost the duel against Flash.  Will he ever return to the
            Victory?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    No.  He's gone from the game for good, and so is the Excalibur he brought
    to the Victory.


7.6.    Other mission-specific tips
====================================
        
    7.6.1.  Flint just made quite a rash decision.  What should I do?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
        
    It doesn't matter whether you go after Flint or not.  If you do, you'll be
    greeted by more kitties.  If not, Cobra will have successfully retrieved
    her in time for the next cutscene.
        
        
    7.6.2.  How do I prevent the Behemoth from getting destroyed?
            [SPOILER -- WC3]
    -------------------------------------------------------------
        
    You don't.  It's part of the story.  As the Behemoth prepares for its
    attack run on Kilrah, it is ambushed by a fleet of Paktahns.  There is
    nothing you can do except destroy as many Paktahns as you can (for your
    kill tally) before the Behemoth destruction scene plays.
        

        
    7.6.3.  Thrakhath just sent me a comm message.  How should I respond?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    Your choices are either to return to the Victory or (prematurely) take on
    Prince Thrakhath.  Remember, if you don't return to the Victory in time,
    you will be left stranded in Kilrathi space, and you'll have to replay the
    mission... but even if you do successfully kill Thrakhath and make it back,
    he'll still be alive later on in the game, so fighting him is pointless.
        
        
    7.6.4.  The Victory is under attack, and I can't seem to control my craft.
            What's going on?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    Had a little too much to drink, eh?
        
        
    7.6.5.  I'm having trouble passing the planet rescue mission.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
        
    While in the atmosphere, you must destroy EVERY ground target you see,
    including the buildings and the laser artillery.  Each ground target is
    shown as an orange dot on your scanner, so you'll easily be able to tell if
    there are still ground targets left in the area.
        
        
    7.6.6.  How can I succeed in defending Earth?
    ---------------------------------------------

    You can't.  This mission is part of the losing path of the story, and thus
    is made to be unwinnable.  Back up to a previously saved game and complete
    a mission that you may have failed in the past.


7.7.    The traitor just got away.  Should I go after him/her, or not?
        [SPOILER -- WC3]
======================================================================

Don't worry about going after the traitor right now.  If you don't, you'll be
able to face him/her later.  If you do, the Victory will not be able to jump
out until you return, leaving it wide open for a Kilrathi attack, an
engagement in which Vaquero is killed.  In other words, the best thing to do
is to not go after the traitor at this point.


7.8.    The final missions
==========================
        
    7.8.1.  How do I keep my wingmen from getting killed off during the last
            missions?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    It seems that your wingmen must be killed off in the course of the last
    mission before you approach the surface of Kilrah.
        
    However, if you don't like the thought of your wingmen dying (especially if
    one of them is Flint), just don't take them with you!  When you're
    selecting wingmen for the last mission, move the cursor to the bottom of
    the screen until an option appears to leave without assigning any wingmen.
    Click it.
        
    You can also prevent their deaths by ordering them to go back home after
    you launch.  Remember that your wingmen will not obey the command if it is
    issued at the beginning of a mission leg.  Wait until combat, and then
    issue the order.


        
    7.8.2.  On the final leg, how do I kill all of the Sorthaks at the last nav
            point?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    You must enter the final nav point CLOAKED (press Ctrl-C).  Throughout the
    mission, keep checking your nav map (by pressing 'N') and when you see the
    message, "Activate cloak before approaching Kilrah, laddie," (this should
    show up at the third nav point out... ten guesses as to who left this
    message for you,) that's when you should activate your cloaking device
    before you enter autopilot.

    If you enter the last nav point cloaked, you should see only Thrakhath, the
    traitor (if you haven't killed him/her yet), and a few other fighters.  Now
    it is safe to decloak and finish off Thrakhath and his merry kittens once
    and for all.

    Remember, you don't need to cloak again after that.
        

    7.8.3.  I've passed the Sorthak fighters; how do I finish the last part
            of this mission?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The idea is that you should fly low in the trench to avoid detection.  The
    second you fly too high, Ekapshi fighters will start harassing you.  (I
    don't know if the trench really leads directly to the target, though.  I
    found that I had to fly out of the trench anyway during the last bit of the
    flight path and make a direct run towards the target while evading the
    Ekapshi.)

    CHEAT:  There are a couple of bugs in the game that make the final mission
    much easier.  One allows you to recloak during the trench run... thus, you
    can fly out of the trench and head directly for the target without worrying
    about Ekapshi fighters.  The other lets you resume the game from the
    planet's surface -- with a full tank of gas -- when you get killed.  That's
    enough fuel to outrun the Ekapshi and afterburn almost the whole way to the
    fault line.


7.9.    Is there a cheat mode built into Wing Commander III?
============================================================

You bet!  On the IBM version, simply start WC3 by typing "wc3 -mitchell" from
the DOS prompt (as opposed to the standard "wc3").  The game will load
normally, but pressing Ctrl-W in combat will destroy whatever ship you have
targeted.  Ctrl-Alt-W will destroy all ships in the vicinity.

On the 3DO version, simultaneously press Left-shift and the Play/Pause button
to bring up the hidden cheat menu.  From here you can make yourself
invulnerable, fly any mission in the game, view any of the cinematic cutscenes,
and more.


7.10.   What if these suggestions don't work?
=============================================

Remember, you can always go into the Options Menu during gameplay by pressing
Alt-O.  Here, you can reduce the difficulty level and turn on invulnerability,
if you wish.  Changing these options will not affect the gameflow or the
storyline in any way.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


*******************************************************************************
8.  Storyline questions
*******************************************************************************

Any long, complex story will have holes in its plot. The Wing Commander
saga, spanning three primary installments and four expansion disks (all with
dynamic, branching storylines), is no exception.

This section attempts to "patch up" a few of WC3's plot holes, offering
suggested interpretations of events in the game that help maintain a sense
of internal consistency and continuity. Please note that these suggestions
are compiled from the minds and imaginations of the FAQ authors and other
members of the online community, and aren't endorsed by Origin or the WC
writers; future products in the series may very well prove our theories
wrong.

WARNING:  Like section 7, many items in this section contain major spoilers.
It may be best if you finish the game before reading all of these.  Consider
this an extra warning.  :)


8.1.    What is the basic plot of Wing Commander III?
=====================================================

The year is 2669 (two years after the end of SO2), and the Kilrathi have again
gained the upper hand in the Galactic War.  Your old carrier, the TCS
Concordia, has been recently destroyed, and you are reassigned to the decrepit
TCS Victory.  It is here that your adventure begins.

The Terrans have developed a weapon of terrifyingly destructive power called
the Behemoth, which they are hoping can tip the scales back in their favor --
but before they can use it, a traitor on the Victory hands the plans for the
weapon over to the Kilrathi.  Another weapon, the Temblor Bomb, is the
Confederacy's last hope, but its designer is now a Kilrathi prisoner, and
before the bomb can be completed you, of course, must rescue the scientist...


8.2.    How do the events in the Wing Commander novels fit into the storyline?
        [SPOILER -- END RUN, FLEET ACTION]
==============================================================================

First off, let it be said that the novels are considered _somewhat_ "official"
material -- that is, the general events that transpired in them are assumed to
have happened in the "real" (i.e., computer game) WC universe.  Among these are
the death of Hunter, the adventures of the Tarawa, and the Kilrathi fleet's
attack on the core Confederate worlds, including Earth.  (A very brief summary
of the events in the _Fleet Action_ can be found on page 12 of the WCArmada
manual.)

_End Run_ and _Fleet Action_ take place in the two-year gap between WC2 and
WC3.


8.3.    The opening sequence
============================
        
    8.3.1.  Why is the main character now called Christopher Blair?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    In WC3's full-motion video, the hero is frequently addressed by the other
    characters.  Obviously, Origin needed to give him a name for this purpose,
    which explains why players can no longer name their characters.  You can
    still choose a callsign, which will be used to display your stats on the
    kill board.  It won't, however, be used in the video sequences. (Blair is

    never referred to by callsign in the game; in the novel _Heart of the
    Tiger_ (see section 9.9.2), his callsign is "Maverick.")

    Why the name "Christopher Blair"?  During development of the earlier games,
    Origin staffers needed a "handle" for their hero, who would be names by the
    player in the game, so they referred to their character as "Bluehair"
    because of his characteristic blue and black hair.  The name "Blair" seems
    to be a contraction of "Bluehair."
        

    8.3.2.  How was the TCS Concordia destroyed?  [SPOILER -- FLEET ACTION]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the novel based on the game (see section 9.9.4), the Concordia is said
    to have been destroyed at the Battle of Earth that took place at the end of
    _Fleet Action_, but other events in _Fleet Action_ and the WCArmada manual
    contradict this.  Perhaps it will be cleared up in a future WC game.


    8.3.3.  Why is Blair transferred to such an old ship as the TCS Victory?
            [SPOILER -- WC3]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although Blair didn't know at the time of transfer, Admiral Tolwyn intends
    to use the Victory to escort a Confederation superweapon into Kilrathi
    space.  Therefore, he wants to make sure he has the best personnel assigned
    to the Victory, including Blair.

    However, Tolwyn doesn't want to get the crew all worked up or have rumors
    floating around, so he keeps them in the dark about the whole ordeal until
    they need to know about it; that's why he doesn't tell Blair about the true
    reason for his transfer right away.


8.4.    Game physics
====================
        
    8.4.1.  If space is a vacuum, why can I still hear the sounds of combat?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Come now, there must be a suspension of disbelief when playing any space
    action game, just like when you are watching a movie like Star Wars.

    One theory goes as follows:  the Confederation fighters are designed to
    reflect actual atmospheric flight, so each fighter has an audio system that
    makes appropriate sounds, such as a simulated whooshing noise when a
    fighter flies close by.


    *8.4.2.*  OK, then why does my craft's speed decrease after using the
              afterburners?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    If one were to look at the situation from a physics point of view, this
    doesn't make any sense, either.  Since space is a vacuum, there's no drag
    on your fighter craft, and therefore nothing to slow it down just because
    you let up on the throttle.  Like the "sound effects in space" issue above
    (section 8.4.1), though, the game was designed this way simply because it's
    more fun.  Having to turn around and apply reverse thrust every time you
    wanted to slow your ship down would be difficult and frustrating to
    control, and probably not appeal to most gamers.
        

    For those who like to have an explanation for everything, consider the
    possibility that Confed fighters are built to reflect atmospheric flight,
    so retro rockets fire and create reverse thrust the instant that the
    afterburners are turned off, making handling and maneuvering more intuitive
    for the fighter pilots.


    8.4.3.  What are the units of measurement for distance and velocity?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        
    In the ship stats section, the manual states velocity in kilometers per
    second.  In other words, a Confederation Arrow can cover over 500 km
    every second, which is 0.16% the speed of light.

    I like to think that the velocity measurements are actually meters per
    second, which would put the Arrow's maximum cruise velocity at 500 m/sec,
    which is equivalent to 1800 km/h or Mach 1.5.  These speeds make more
    sense.

    However, that would still mean that the Arrow can fly from the bow to the
    stern of the Behemoth in about four seconds, since the Behemoth is two
    kilometers long (I believe).  In the game, of course, it actually takes
    over a half-minute to cover that distance.  This puts the actual maximum
    speed of an Arrow (without afterburners) at about 240 km/h.  Although this
    estimate is closer to the physics modeled in the game, it does seem slow
    compared to, say, a 20th century F-16 Falcon.

    The bottom line is that the measurments of distance and velocity in the WC
    series are not internally consistent.  (But hey, the very fact that people
    are asking this question just goes to show you how a game like WC can turn
    into a whole universe for people to play in...)


8.5.    Skipper missiles
========================
        
    8.5.1.  If the Kilrathi have cloaked cruise missiles, why don't they just
            make cloaked "kamikaze" fighters with torpedoes strapped to their
            hull?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    First off, it needs to be understood that torpedoes aren't just big
    explosives; during an active lock, the torpedo adjusts to the target's
    phase shields so that it can cause much more damage than a conventional
    missile hitting the shields (this was covered in the WC2 manual).  If you
    want a torpedo to do its job, it _needs_ to be locked on the target,
    whether you've launched it or it's strapped to the bottom of your hull.
    Simply attaching some torps to your fighter craft and running into a
    capship won't accomplish much of anything.
        
    As explained by Captain Eisen, the the Confederation uses the designation
    "Skipper" to refer to cloaked missiles that must "skip" in and out of cloak
    to re-establish target lock. As has been established in other WC games,
    Kilrathi cloaking technology does not allow a missile to lock from inside a
    cloaking field.  Thus, even if directed by a pilot directly to its target,
    the torpedo itself would not be able to penetrate a capship's phase shields

    without decloaking to acquire a lock.

    Another possibility is that the interference works the other way around --
    that the locking signal a Skipper maintains somehow interferes with
    Kilrathi cloaking technology.  If this is this case, a torpedo locking
    signal used in the vicinity of a larger cloaking field might make the cloak
    become unstable, rather than the missile lock.
        
    Remember that in WC2, the Strakha stealth fighters always had to de-cloak
    before launching missiles at you.  Assuming Kilrathi stealth technology
    hasn't had any major breakthroughs in the past two years (and there are no
    indications that it has), this supports either of the two theories
    presented above.
        

    8.5.2.  How about jump-capable Skipper missiles?
    ------------------------------------------------

    Remember that jump engines are bulky and complicated to manufacture.
    That's why, in WC2, we saw only heavy bombers with jump engines.  The
    exception is the Morningstar in SO2, which was the first jump-capable
    fighter (but even those malfunctioned often; just ask Maniac.)  Consider
    too that such missiles would need long-range scanners, a huge fuel tank,
    and some sort of artificial intelligence able to choose appropriate
    targets, and it's clear that jump-cable Skipper missiles are beyond
    the technological capabilities of Kilrah -- or the Confederacy.


8.6.    Why is (you know who) the traitor?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
============================================================

In both the original script provided on the Behind the Scenes Interactive CD
(see section 9.2.1 below) and the _Heart of the Tiger_ novel (see section
9.9.2), Hobbes leaves a holographic message to Blair before he defects, which
Blair finds in his locker following the events between Hobbes and Cobra.
According to the script, the video was to have become available after Blair
either pursues Hobbes or chooses not to.  This scene was not included in the
final game, though it is in the 3DO version.


    8.6.1.  What exactly was in the missing scene?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Below is the dialogue from the scene that was cut, lifted from the WC3
    script.

    HOBBES (HOLO-IMAGE)
    Colonel, I am returning to my Homeworld -- but my admiration for you
    compels me to provide an explanation for my actions...
    (beat)
    You must understand that the Hobbes you knew was a construct, the result of
    an identity-overlay experiment, initiated long ago by Prince Thrakhath.
    Lord Ralgha nar Hhallas, you gave never truly met.  I myself never met him
    until I heard the Prince utter your Kilrathi title, 'The Heart of the
    Tiger.'  This was the trigger that awakened my true personality -- hidden
    for so many years. Once awakened by the words of my Prince, I had no choice
    but to perform his bidding.
    (beat)
    Kilrathi do not surrender, nor do we betray. And yet, in being true to my
    kind, I have betrayed you, Colonel... Know you are an honorable warrior...


    If we meet again... will have no choice but to perform our duties... with
    honor...
    HOBBES' IMAGE FLICKERS AND DISAPPEARS

    The above scnario, with enhancements, is integral to the plot of the novel
    _Heart of the Tiger_.


*8.7.*  Should I pick romance with Flint or Rachel?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
=====================================================================

It's a matter of taste.  The problem is that choosing one will cause the other
to hold a grudge against you.  If you pick Flint, Rachel won't help you on
fighter loadouts, and if you choose Rachel, Flint will refuse to fly with you
(though you can get around being shunned by simply avoiding the person you
reject in the bar and not talking to her for the remainder of the game).

Your choice here has an effect on which video you'll see at the end of the
winning track, as well as on wingman availablity for the remaining missions,
but not on your ability to win the game. The third option -- picking neither --
has the least impact on the game.


8.8.    The final mission
=========================

    8.8.1.  Why wasn't I swarmed by Kilrathi fighters on the last leg of the
            mission?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As you recall, you had to cloak before autopiloting to the last navpoint
    corresponding to planet Kilrah, but then you had to uncloak to fight
    Thrakhath (and Hobbes if necessary).  That meant that you had to approach
    the surface uncloaked.

    It's possible that when you uncloaked and started heading towards the
    surface, the Kilrathi were busy scrambling fighters to intercept you.
    However, before the fighters could pick you up on their on-board scanners,
    you were able to reach the trench, out of range of any long-range scanners
    which served as "eyes in the sky" for the Kilrathi fighters.  Those
    fighters then started to scour the surface in order to locate you, which
    explains why you face off against an unlimited amount of Ekapshis if you
    climb out of the trench.

        
    8.8.2.  Why wasn't Blair killed by the Kilrathi when they had the chance?
            [SPOILER -- WC3]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good question; after all, if I just captured a guy who just blew up my home
    planet, I'd plant his face to the ground!  ;)

    I suppose Melek is more mature than that.  He realized that, with the
    destruction of Kilrah, the only recourse for the Kilrathi is to surrender,
    cease the war, and devote their energies to rebuilding themselves.  It is
    ironic to see that Melek is one of the few Kilrathi who understands what
    "surrender" means.  (Remember that even Hobbes had trouble understanding
    the term.)


8.9.    Besides the scene described in section 8.6.1, was anything else from
        the script omitted from the released game?  [SPOILER -- WC3]
============================================================================

    Several newscasts (like the one Blair views in the shuttle at the beginning
    of the game) by anchorwoman Barbara Miles were to be included, appearing on

    the Victory's monitors at various points during the game.  These "news from
    Earth" segments would have emphasized the seriousness of the Confederacy's
    desperation as the war situation continued to deteriorate.  It seems likely
    (but unconfirmed) that these segments were actually filmed, but were left
    out to save space on the CD's.

    Another deleted scene takes place during the final series of missions, at
    the first secret refueling station. It would play only if pilots in
    addition to Blair survived to this point, and consists of Blair addressing
    them on the deck of the refueling station.  This text is reproduced from
    the Master Script section of WC3: Behind the Screens.

    BLAIR
    I read somewhere that the darkest of times supposedly brings out the best
    in men. (shrugs) All I know is this is what we've been waiting for since
    the very beginning -- the opportunity to put the Kilrathi out of business
    permanently. (pauses)
    (IF HOBBES WAS DEFEATED EARLIER)
    What else can I tell you? I want you to fly with all you've got.
    (IF HOBBES ESCAPED)
    Oh, and one last thing. Should we encounter one Lord Ralgha... Hobbes...
    he's mine. Good Luck.

    It is unknown whether this was actually filmed.


8.10.   What does the mission tree for the game look like?
==========================================================

The missions in WC3 are divided into groups, usually of three or four missions
each.  One mission in each group is designated as a "deciding mission," the
success or failure of which determines whether the player will proceed among
the winning path or the losing path in the mission tree.  The names in the tree
below represent the solar systems in which a particular mission group takes
place, with the corresponding number of the deciding mission in that series.

A player will fly about 35 missions on an average successful run through the
game.


                  CD1          Orsini-4
                                 /  \
                                /    \
                            Tamayo   Tamayo-2____
                                \    /           \
                                 \  /            |
                               Locanda-2         |
                                 /  \            |
                  CD2  Blackmane-1   \           |
                               |  \   |          |
                       Blackmane-2 | Blackmane-3 |
                               |   |  |         \|
                       Blackmane-3 | /           |
                                 \ |/            |
                              Ariel-1,2,3        |
                                 /  \            |
                         Caliban-1   Delius-1    |
                               |  \ / |          |
                         Caliban-2 | Delius-2___ |
                               |  \|  |         \|
                         Caliban-3 | Delius-3___ |
                                 \ |/           \|
                                 Torgo           |
                                   |             |

                  CD3           Torgo-2          |
                                   |             |
                                Loki-3           |
                                 /  \            |
                                / (stranded)     |
                               |                 |
                            Alcor-4_____________ |
                               |                \|
                  CD4        Freya               |
                               |                 |
                            Freya-3_____________ |
                               |                \|
                            Hyperion____________ |
                               |                \|
                            Kilrah-0 (pre-jump)_ |
                               |                \|
                               |              Proxima
                               |                 |
                               |                Sol
                            Kilrah-1 (post-jump) |
                               |                \|
                            Kilrah-2____________ |
                               |                \|
                            Kilrah-3             |
                              /  \               |
                             /    \              |
                          (win) (lose2)       (lose1)


(win)  : Kilrathi surrender. Fly home to Earth in shuttle.
(lose1): Ejection seat picked up by Thrakhath. Confederation defeated.
(lose2): No pick-up by Thrakhath. Confederation defeated.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
9.  Information on Wing Commander IV
*******************************************************************************

Origin has plans to do their own Wing Commander IV FAQ, and they have been
uncooperative to me, and many other WC fans. Witholding important information
on WC4. I did the best I could to make this "The Wing Commander III & Wing
Commander IV FAQ", and I'm sorry if it didn't turn out right. This is the
best I could do with the information I was given and searched for.
Again, my apoligies.


*9.1.*  What is the story of Wing Commander IV?
===============================================

Fighting for survival is a hard habit to break ...

... and some hard-bitten warriors simply don't know how to embrace peace.
Now that the bloody battle between the Kilrathi and Terrans has been
concluded, the Confederation doesn't have to look very far for their next
enemy. Civil wars and unrest have broken out on the home front. Colonel
Blair is recalled to help the Terran government stamp out the growing
fires.

A mysterious group of pirates, calling themselves the Black Lance,
has begun a reign of terror from the Border Worlds, blowing up innocent
civilian ships and plunging the Confederation to the brink of Civil War.


*9.2.*  What are the differences between the WC3 and WC4 flight engine?
=======================================================================


Origin promises WC4 will be a quantam leap over what they've been able
to do in the past. The flight engine has been improved vastly.
The collision detection bug has been fixed, a digitial music engine
has replaced General MIDI, and the engine has been streamlined to
put out a very fast framerate on most high-end 486's, without sacrificing
quality.

    *9.2.1.*  What kind of frame rates can I expect?
    ------------------------------------------------

    These estimates, of course, are just that -- estimates -- and actual frame
    rates will vary from system to system; however, here's a chart detailing
    how fast, in fps (frames per second), WC4 should run in normal spaceflight

                
                 VGA     SVGA    SVGA (with fast local bus video card)

    486/33       11       4      9
    486/50       15      10      13
    486/66       20      13      18
    486/120      24      17      21
    Pentium/60   23      16      22
    Pentium/90   24      17      24
    Pentium/133  29      20      28

    Note that the local bus SVGA figures are optimal; some local bus video
    cards are faster than others, so you may not get those numbers if your
    card isn't among the fastest available.  All of these figures are averages
    for normal spaceflight... in a battle with fighters, the game will run
    about 2-4 frames fps slower. This information comes from testing the WC4
    demo on serveral different computers with different configurations.


*9.3.*  Is there a demo available?
==================================

Yes! The demo can be found at Origin's FTP site (ftp.ea.com),
America Online; in the Sofware Library, and in the December issue
of Computer Gaming World. It is approximately 13MB...



    *9.3.1.*  is the demo playable?  If so, what do I get to do?
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, the demo is fully playable.  It allows the player to fly a
    Confederation Hellcat V on a search and destroy mission against several
    Black Lance fighters, including a captial ship.

    The demo includes a gameflow sequence in the hangar area of the BWS
    Intrepid where you are able to run playable mission, exit to DOS, or
    view a "teaser" movie. The playable section of the demo will give you an
    excellent idea of what the final version of WC4 will be like, as the
    gameplay is nearly identical.



*9.4.*  What are the system requirements for the WC4 demo?
==========================================================

The WC4 demo system requirements are as follows;
        
i486DX2/66 Processor or higher
8 MB of RAM (7 MB of XMS)
360K Conventional Memory
MS-DOS 5.0 and up
Double Speed CD-ROM Drive (300,000 bytes/second transfer rate)
VESA Local Bus Video Card
100% Microsoft compatible mouse
20 MB of free hard disk space

System Recommendation - VGA :

i486DX2/66 Processor or higher
16 MB of RAM (15 MB of XMS)
500K Conventional Memory
Quad Speed CD-ROM Drive (600,000 bytes/second transfer rate)
VESA Local Bus Video Card
100% Microsoft compatible mouse
20 MB of required hard disk space
Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card for Digital FX/Music

Joystick

System Recommendation - SVGA/Optimal :

Intel Pentium 75 MHZ or higher
16 MB of RAM (15 MB of XMS)
500K Conventional Memory
Quad Speed CD-ROM Drive (600,000 bytes/second transfer rate)
PCI SVGA video card
100% Microsoft compatible mouse
20 MB of required hard disk space
Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card for Digital FX
Joystick (Flightstick Pro or Thrustmaster)


*9.5.*  What performance issues or bugs should I be aware of when
        running the demo?
=================================================================

The WC4 demo has not been extensively tested, it was released to the public
as a work in progress, or just a taste of what the final version has to offer.

The WC4 demo seems to crash whenever the player enters the options screen
during combat. This is the most commonly reported bug.


*9.6.*  Are there any screen shots available?
=============================================

Yes!


    *9.6.1.*  Where can I find the screen shots?
    --------------------------------------------

    The screen shots can be found at Origin's FTP site, on Origin's software
    library on AOL, and on Origin's WWW site at http://www.ea.com/origin.html


*9.7.*  How big (in terms of disk space) is Wing Commander IV?
==============================================================

Wing Commander IV will be on 6 cd's, which will equal about 3.6 gigabytes of
data.


*9.8.*  Will there be a Premire Edition of WC4?
===============================================

There will be no Premiere Edition of Wing Commander IV



*9.9.*  What is that "Dekker" ship in the WC4 demo?
===================================================

Dekker is actually a Space Marine on the intrepid that Blair will use
to do recon on quite a few of the missions. He is actually a person.


*9.10.* How many missions will there be in Wing Commander IV?
=============================================================

The game has an intricate branching storyline. There are roughly 70
missions that you possibly can fly, compared to 50 in WC3. On a play-
through, you will fly approximately 35 missions.


*9.11.* Interviews, statements, and rumors
==========================================


    *9.11.1.* Chris Douglas, art director on Wing Commander IV
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    I'm always a bit wary about what I disclose (EA being a public company),
    but I don't think marketing or legal would have much trouble with the
    following:

    I'm not an expert on most of the technical stuff, but as production
    designer I can assure you that the look of the game is MUCH improved!
    We did a major re-working of ALL the art in the game.  There are many
    new ships, and even ships recycled from WC3 are completely re-textured and
    look FAR more realistic (I'm especially pleased with the new cap ships.
    The moment you pop into the cockpit and see the Lexington's flight deck, I
    think you'll know what I'm talking about).  Explosions and all other space
    effects (wormholes, shields, etc.) have been lengthened, re-worked, and
    are utterly spectacular.  Even the gameflow menu screens (ship load-out,

    wingman selection, etc.) have had weeks of art time put into their
    generation.  And maybe most noticeably the CG cinematic effects shots are
    an order of magnitude more sophisticated than what we had in WC3:  I
    think you'll be impressed.

    The movie compressor has been completely re-written and gives the
    cinematic visuals an icomparably better look than what you saw in WC3
    (you can easily see the difference between SVGA and VGA modes now, and
    much more detail is coming through).

    Plus there are new ships to fly, an all-new HUD-type cockpit display,
    MANY more personalized wingmen for spaceflight, new primary characters to
    see, and oodles of new weapons to blow stuff up with (the programmers have
    been having a lot of fun with that one.  I think they played too much
    "Descent").   And I like to think the story is much better than in WC3
    (though I'm a bit biased in this matter, as the plot is still about 70%
    true to an outline I wrote early in the project  :>=)  ). Needless to say,
    you can rest assured that WC4 is AT LEAST as big an improvement over WC3
    as WC2 was over WC1.  We have been busting our asses like I've never seen
    over the past year to make sure people will not be let down in the
    slightest, and I don't think you will be.

                                               -- Chris Douglas

*9.12.* Will there be cockpit graphics in WC4?
==============================================

No. Wing Commander IV will be using the full-screen HUD for enhanced
visibility. Personally, I'll miss the cockpits of yesterday. :)


*9.13.* Will there be pentium optimized code or support for 3d
        accelerated video cards?
==============================================================

Sorry, there will not be pentium optimized code, and will not take advantage
of 3D acceleration technology



*9.14.*    How much video footage will be in WC4?
=================================================

There will be over 5 hours of video footage. The shoot was filmed at
Renmar Studios. 38 sets were built to represent the TCS Lexington and the
BWS Intrepid.


*9.15.*    What will flying through Nebulas be like in WC4?
===========================================================

We all remember the Nebula's in WC3. They were just a bad gamma corrected
space. But the new nebula effect is incredible. Your ship components will
actually be affected. Communications, Power distribution, gun power,
shields, and more.


*9.16.*    Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander IV?
==============================================================

According to Origin, there will be no MPEG version of Wing Commander IV.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
10.  Other miscellaneous questions
*******************************************************************************

10.1.    Are there any "easter eggs" in Wing Commander III?
==========================================================


When working on a project, programmers often like to put in "Easter eggs" --
subtle little jokes that allow the writers to add their own personal touches to
the game.  Sometimes these are in a hard-to-miss place, though they are more
often hidden... but gamers almost always enjoy discovering one for the first
time.


    10.1.1.  The hidden credits
    ---------------------------

    In what has started to become an Origin tradition since Ultima VII (which

    featured a hidden list of quotes from the development team that was
    revealed after you won the game), WC3 has some hidden credits with words of
    wisdom from the programming team, and more.  You can get to them by doing
    the following:

      Start a new game of WC3 by running it from the first CD -- and by *not*
      loading a savegame.

      Access the computer console in Flight Control.  When it asks for your
      callsign, enter GYPSY in all capital letters.  Note that you must use the
      Shift key to get the capitals, not Caps Lock.

      At the console's main menu, you will see the usual TCN logo in the
      background.  Click on the stars in the logo in the following order:
      upper-right, lower-left, upper-left, lower-right.

    The hidden credits will begin to scroll.


    10.1.2.  The blooper scene
    --------------------------

    After you win the game, wait and watch all the credits scroll by.  At the
    end, the game will show a blooper from the film shoot with Blair, Flint,
    and Maniac.  This scene is also included in the behind-the-scenes CD and
    VHS tape that come with the Premiere Edition (see section 9.2.1 below).


    10.1.3.  Crazy Gameflow
    -----------------------

    After February 17, 1995, the game begins to display a "Crazy Gameflow" logo
    (essentially a green smiley face) at the end of the closing credits.
    Nothing special needs to be done to view this.  If you cannot get it to
    appear, check your system's date and make sure that it is set properly.


    10.1.4.  Is there a hidden code to view the cinematics separately?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not on the IBM version.  A rumor generated on the internet stated that
    holding down Alt-Del-F10 and pressing the letters L-O-R-D-B-R-I-T-I-S-H
    would bring up a hidden menu from which you could play any of the scenes
    in the game, but this is not the case.

    There is a way to do this in the 3DO version -- see section 7.9 above.


10.2.    What's this I hear about a "Premiere Edition?"
=======================================================

A special collector's "Premiere Edition" of WC3 is available as a separate
product.  While the game itself is exactly the same as the one in the regular
edition, the Premiere Edition contains several extra items you can't get
elsewhere.  Only a limited number of these were produced, though Origin isn't
saying what number that is -- so if you want one, get your order in soon!  :)


    10.2.1.  What does it contain?
    ------------------------------


    The Premiere Edition contains all of the items found in the regular game,
    plus (slightly modified Origin marketing propaganda follows):

    Special Film Canister Packaging:  As the inauguration of the ORIGIN
    Interactive Movie (TM) line, only the Wing Commander III Premiere Edition
    will be packaged in an authentic motion-picture film canister.
                
    Behind the Screens -- The Wing Commander III Interactive CD:  This
    multimedia tour plunges you into the very inner workings of the game.
    Conduct your own interviews to learn how Wing Commander III came together,
    page through the entire game script, check out original storyboards and
    character concept sketches, or have a laugh at the outtakes and bloopers
    from the film shoot.

    The Making of Wing Commander III:  A video documentary chronicling all the
    production aspects of the game, from ORIGIN to Hollywood and back.  In
    their own words, the stars and development team members take you through
    their quest to create a true interactive movie.  Approximately 25 minutes
    in length.

    Fleet Action -- a Wing Commander novel:  Written by William R. Forstchen,
    this is the third in the successful series of Wing Commander novels by Baen
    Books.
        
    Wing Commander III t-shirt:  XL t-shirt featuring the Terran Confederation
    insignia and classic movie poster cover art created by ORIGIN's Sam Yeates.

    ORIGIN Audio CD:  Volume 3 of the ORIGIN soundtrack series with award-
    winning music from games such as Wing Commander III, ULTIMA VIII:  Pagan,
    Wings of Glory, Pacific Strike, BioForge and Wing Commander Armada.
        
    Wing Commander III calendar:  A full-size 1995 calendar with scenes lifted
    directly from the game.  Something to use all year.
        
    Wing Commander III poster:  A full-color, 16.5" x 23" poster featuring the
    movie poster cover art.

    Full-color "Warbirds" sheet:  A handy fold-out reference sheet with
    pictures and detailed statistics on most every Confederate and Kilrathi
    fighter, the Warbirds sheet included with the standard game was only
    printed in black and white.


    10.2.2.  Is the Premiere Edition multi-lingual?
    -----------------------------------------------

    Somewhat; while some items, such as the Behind the Screen Interactive CD
    and the WC3 t-shirt, are in English only, others (such as all game
    documentation, the WC3 calendar, etc.) are either in French, German, or
    (in the case of the calendar) all three.


    10.2.3.  Do foreign versions of the Premiere Edition come with the "Making
             of WC3" videotape in PAL format?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, they do.


    10.2.4.  How are copies of the Premiere Edition sold in Europe different fr
om
             those sold in the U.S.?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

    Premiere Editions sold in Europe do not contain the Wing Commander novel;
    not only was it expensive to ship overseas, but since the same Premiere
    Edition was sold throughout the continent, and Electronic Arts deemed it

    inappropriate to include an English novel in a product which was also being
    sold in countries such as France and Germany.

    European Premiere Editions also came with the regular black-and-white
    "Warbirds" sheet, rather than the color one... EA fell behind schedule, and
    if they had waited for the color sheets to ship overseas, they would have
    missed their release date for the Premiere Edition.


    10.2.5.  When I got my Premiere Edition, the front of the film canister was
             blank.  Is this intentional?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        
    No; there's supposed to be a sticker with the WC3 cover art on the front
    of the film canister, but there were some cases where the sticker fell off
    during shipping.  Unfortunately, no more replacement stickers are availble.


    10.2.6.  I have a copy of the "Special Edition" of WC3.  Is this the same
             thing as the Premiere Edition?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No.  The Special Edition is a separate package only available through a
    select few retail outlets, such as Sam's Club.  The Behind-the-Scenes CD
    that comes with it is not the Interactive CD that comes with the Premiere
    Edition, but simply the Behind-the-Scenes VHS tape digitally recorded on
    the CD as a Video for Windows .AVI file.  The Special Edition also does not
    contain the WC novel, audio CD, or color Warbirds sheet.

        
    10.2.7.  Will there be a Premiere Edition for the 3DO version?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    No.


10.3.  What platforms is Wing Commander III available on?
=========================================================
        
WC3 is currently available for IBM CD-ROM and 3DO systems, though a Mac version
is also planned.  The PC version should run reliably on OS/2 systems with 16 or
more megs of RAM.


    10.3.1.  How does the 3DO version differ from the PC version?
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The 3DO version is optimized to take advantage of the 3DO's graphics and
    sound capabilities -- this includes smoother (though slightly less
    detailed) movie playback, color video in the communications consoles, and
    Dolby Surround sound effects.  There will be no installation program
    required (obviously), so you should be able to just jump in and start
    playing.  CD delays should be shorter, as well.

    Since the 3DO version also uses a better compression algorithm for the vide
o
    than the PC version does, more scenes have been packed on to the CDs.  One
    plot-critical scene involving the traitor on the Victory has been included,
    along with several newscasts that update the player on the status of the wa
r
    throughout the game.

    There are some drawbacks, however.  Planetary missions were left out, no
    adjustable damage control system on your ship, and capital ships are less
    detailed than in the PC version.  A few other minor features are absent, as
    well.



10.4.    Will there be an MPEG version of Wing Commander III?
=============================================================

Nothing is definite yet, but most likely no.  There may be one done for WC4.


10.5.    Are there different versions of Wing Commander III available for
        different languages?
=========================================================================

All versions of WC3 allow the user to switch on subtitles in French, German,
or English.  The French and German versions have also been dubbed and released
in those countries, with different voice actors re-recording the dialogue in
the appropriate language.


10.6.    How much does Wing Commander III cost, and where can I get a copy?
===========================================================================

We tried to find out as much information we could as to the price and
availability of WC3 around the world.  If you would like to order a copy, you
can call your domestic branch of Electronic Arts (see section 10.4), or if you
don't have one, maybe we can suggest some other places to try below.  Copies of
the Premiere Edition are ONLY available through Electronic Arts Direct.  If
there is no branch of EA in your country, your best bet is to call the closest
one you can find and inquire about international shipping.

If there is nothing listed in this section for your country, then you can try
calling Electronic Arts in the US at (415) 513-7555, at which they can accept
international orders.

Some of this information may be outdated.  No warranty, expressed or implied.


    10.6.1.  United States
    ----------------------

    List price is $69.95 for the standard edition, though several mail order
    outlets have been selling copies for under $50.  Check out the ads in your
    favorite gaming magazine for some mail order companies to try.

    The Premiere Edition runs for $99.95.  At the time this FAQ was released,
    there were still copies available.


    10.6.2.  Canada
    ---------------

    The street price for the standard edition is usually around Can$79.95
    plus tax, though if you shop around enough, you'll probably be able to
    find it for as low as $69.96 plus tax.

    You *cannot* get a copy of WC3, either the regular or the premiere edition,
    through EA Canada; all orders must be placed through the U.S. branch.  The
    Premiere Edition shipped from the U.S. will cost you US$89.95 + US$5.00
    (S&H) + Can$11.87 (duty + 7%GST).


    10.6.3.  United Kingdom
    -----------------------

    List price for the standard edition is 54.95 pounds in the U.K., and the
    Premiere Edition is sold out.  The "street price" of WC3 is around UKP
    37-39 if you look around enough.


    10.6.4.  Australia
    ------------------

    List price for the standard edition is $129.95, but it is available in many
    major retail shops such as Ozzie Discount and Downtown Software for around
    $90-$100.

    The price for the Premiere Edition is $199.95.


    10.6.5.  New Zealand
    --------------------

    The Computer Centre in Christchurch is selling the standard edition for
    NZ$149, including GST (approx. US$70 total).  Comparable prices are

    probably available if you look around.  Another route that could
    potentially save you a great deal of money is looking into getting a copy
    via international mail order.  Our foreign correspondent ordered his copy
    from a store in England and paid only 35 pounds (NZ$90)!

    The Premiere Edition is no longer available in New Zealand.



    10.6.6.  Singapore
    ------------------

    Most places are selling the game for about S$69 (including GST), though
    the game is not in so many stores any more.  Those in the area may wish
    to check out South Asia Computing on the fourth floor of Funan Centre,
    where they offer a 10% discount.

    The Premiere Edition is no more, so if you want a copy, your best bet is
    to call a foreign branch of Electronic Arts and arrange for overseas
    shipping.


    10.6.7.  Hong Kong
    ------------------

    Most stores are selling the standard edition for about HK$320 (approx.
    US$40).


    10.6.8.  France
    ---------------

    The average street price for the standard edition is about FF 499, though
    you can expect some variation between retailers.  The Premiere Edition
    goes for FF 549.


    10.6.9.  Germany
    ----------------

    List price for the regular edition is DM 120; the Premiere Edition is sold
    out.


    10.6.10.  Switzerland
    ---------------------

    List price for the standard edition is sFr. 79; the Special Edition (not
    the same as the Premiere Edition, or the Special Edition here in the U.S.;
    frankly, I'm not sure what this one is) goes for sFr. 169.


    10.6.11.  Japan
    ---------------

    The regular edition costs about 7,800 Y (English), and the Premiere is
    around 12,800 Y (English).
                        

10.7.    What was the budget for Wing Commander III?
====================================================

No official figures were released, but estimates are in the area of four
million dollars ($4,000,000) -- the largest budget ever for a computer game.


    10.7.1.  How much has Origin made from WC3 sales to date?
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Again, no exact figures are available, but an April article in the Houston
    Chronicle reported that the game grossed twelve million dollars
    ($12,000,000) the first day of release.  Origin reports sales so far of
    about half a million copies.


10.8.    Who developed and filmed Wing Commander III?
=====================================================
        
    10.8.1.  Who was involved with the cinematic side of the project?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Over 50 professional filmmakers were on the WC3 team to help bring together
    the cinematic portion of the game.  Among the most instrumental were:

    Executive Producer & Director      Chris Roberts
    Producer                           Donna Burkons
    Screenplay                         Terry Borst
                                       Frank DePalma
    Art Director                       Chris Douglas
    Cinematographer                    Virgil Harper

    Music Composer                     George Oldziey


    10.8.2.  Who was involved with the gameplay side of the project?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Following is a list of the programmers who were responsible for the PC
    version of the game:

    Frank Savage (Project Director):
        * Spaceflight engine conversion
        * New technologies (i.e., Capital ships)

    Frank Roan (Programmer):
        * Spaceflight object system and weapon systems
        * Artificial Intelligence
        * Mission system

    Anthony Morone (Programmer)
        * Cockpit/HUD displays and interface
        * 3D Navigation Map
        * Communication system and sound effects programming

    Chris Todd (Programmer)
        * Gameflow programming
        * Cinematics integration

    Jason Yenawine (Programmer)
        * Full-motion video compressor and player
        * Memory management


    There is a second team of programmers in charge of the 3DO version:

    Charles Cafrelli (Programmer)

    Peter Shelus (Programmer)
        * 3D spaceflight and object systems
        * Artificial Intelligence

    Brent Thale (Programmer)
        * 3DO conversion of video compressor and player

        
10.9.    Other Wing Commander III-related merchandise
=====================================================

    10.9.1.  Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III
    ------------------------------------------------------

    Rather than the typical "Playtester's Guide" that Origin has released with
    all of their games of late, they've produced a larger strategy guide for
    WC3 similar to Mike Harrison's _Wing Commander I & II:  The Ultimate
    Strategy Guide_.  It has recently been released and is now available in
    stores or from Electronic Arts Direct (see section 10.4).  The Behind the
    Scenes Interactive CD included with the Premiere Edition is also packaged
    free with all copies of the Guide.

    The first part of the book contains a detailed walkthrough, full character
    stats, an explanation of how morale affects each character, conversation
    choices and the effects they have, fighter specs (both friend & foe), and
    10 pages of tips on playing.  Full mission analyses are also included,
    with one or two pages of information on each mission in the game.  The last
    section goes into the making of the game... a history of the WC series, a
    detailed interview with a Chris Roberts, and shorter interviews with other
    members of the WC3 cast and team.


    10.9.2.  The Authorized Combat Guide to Wing Commander III
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Another official WC3 book, this is similar to the Guide mentioned in 9.9.1
    above, but it concentrates solely on flying and mission tactics -- no
    behind-the-scenes info, interactive CD, or anything else.  This is also
    available in most computer stores or from Electronic Arts direct (see
    section 10.4).


    10.9.3.  Wing Commander III:  The Ultimate Strategy Guide
    ---------------------------------------------------------


    An unofficial strategy guide published by Prima, this book also contains
    some general flying tactics, mission analyses and strategies, and so forth.
    It is available at most computer stores, but not from Electronic Arts
    direct.


    10.9.4.  The Wing Commander III novel
    -------------------------------------

    The latest WC novel, entitled _Heart of the Tiger_, has also recently been
    released in stores.  As the title suggests, it is a novelization of the
    events in WC3.

    It is written by William R. Forstchen (co-author of _End Run_ and author of
    _Fleet Action_) and Andrew Keith and is published by Baen Books.  The ISBN
    number is 0-671-87653-8.


    10.9.5.  Will the soundtrack for Wing Commander III be released on CD?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                
    While a separate WC3 soundtrack won't be released, several tracks of the
    game's music are included on _The Origin Audio CD (Volume 3)_, which is
    available only with the Premiere Edition (see section 9.2.1).  This disc
    also includes selections from other recent OSI games.


    10.9.6.  Will any of the other items from the Premiere Edition be sold
             separately?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Behind the Scenes Interactive CD is packaged with the WC3 Guide (see
    section 9.9.1 above).  Some of the other items may be released separately
    as well, but which ones they are, how much they'll cost, and when they'll
    be available are still up in the air.


10.10.    Will there be any add-on discs as there were for previous Wing
          Commander games?
========================================================================

No.  There will, however, be a Wing Commander IV (see section 9.11.1 below).


10.11.    What other Wing Commander products are planned for the future?
========================================================================
                
    10.11.1.  Privateer 2
    ---------------------

    This project is already underway at Origin's headquarters in Austin and is
    being headed by Frank Savage (the same guy who was at the helm of the WC3
    development team).  It is going to use what will most likely be the WC5 (!)
    engine, and feature the same protagonist from the first Privateer game.
    Slated for a Christmas 1996 release, Privateer 2 will most likely be made
    to run under Windows '95.


    10.11.2.  The Darkening
    ----------------------

    While not exactly part of the Wing Commander series, a separate space
    combat game is in development, and is being headed up by Erin Roberts
    (Chris Roberts' brother).  Like WC3, it will utilize live acting for all of
    the cinematic sequences, and will use an updated version of the WC3 engine
    for the actual gameplay.  One of the head writers is Diane Duane, a well-
    known author who has written several successful "Star Trek" novels, among
    other things.  This game is being developed and filmed entirely in the
    United Kingdom.


    The current estimated release date is late '95 or early '96.


    10.11.3.  Wing Commander Armada 2?
    ----------------------------------

    There was a WCArmada for Windows project underway, but this has been
    cancelled.


    10.11.4.  Wing Commander novels
    -------------------------------

    Two new Wing Commander novels are in the works.  The first, which is being
    written by Ellen Guon (lead writer for WC2 and co-author of _Freedom
    Flight_), will jump back in time and focus on Hunter when he was still
    alive.  The third novel has been contracted, but the content has not yet
    been decided; it might be take place over on the Privateer side of the
    galaxy...


    9.11.5.  The Wing Commander Collectible Card Game
    -------------------------------------------------

    In the tradition of Magic: The Gathering, the Star Trek Customizable Card
    Game, SimCity: The Card Game, and a whole host of others, a Wing Commander
    Collectible Card Game is currently slated to be released within the next
    two months or so.  Few details are available as of yet.  It is being
    published by Mag Force 7, who have had one previous foray into the trading
    card game arena with Star of the Guardians.


    10.11.6.  Wing Commander:  The Motion Picture?
    ----------------------------------------------

    There's serious talk going around of an actual Wing Commander movie being
    made.  We're not talking green-screen acting with computer-generated
    backgrounds, either, but a real, full-blown motion picture.  Nothing is
    known about the content as of yet, though if it comes to pass, it may be a
    crossover with WC4.  Either way, most of the WC3 cast would be present.

    There has also been some talk of a Privateer TV series, though nothing is
    certain, and again, no other details are available right now.  Stay tuned.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*******************************************************************************
11.  In conclusion...
*******************************************************************************

11.1.    Credits
================

This FAQ has by no stretch been a one-man job, though it started out as such.
Alot of people helped with the writing of this FAQ, and I'd like to take the
time to point 'em all out. Even though this isn't James' FAQ anymore, all
these guys deserve to be recognized. :)

Allen Kim and Matt Newman have both been tremendous assets to the production
of the FAQ, and it quite possibly would not have come out for many more
weeks (if ever) without their help.  :)  Allen wrote the new sections on
gameplay tips and storyline questions -- with the exception of the mission
tree, which was compiled by Aubrey Chen and Klaus Weidner -- and Matt took
care of the section about the WC3 demo.  Both did an excellent job.

The FAQ's proofreaders helped to catch all the little errors we writers made,
and offered some great suggestions before this FAQ ever saw the light of day.
Special credit should go to Rich Clark, who definitely went above and beyond
the call of duty, offering tons of suggestions and rewriting many sections

without even being asked...
    Mike Christie
    Rich Clark
    Michael Santo

The not-so-small task of scanning all of the WC3-related threads on the online
services and filtering useful info to send to us FAQ writers was done by a
separate group.  You may not think this task significant, but these people
were very diligent in following through on a time-consuming (and in some cases
expensive) job:
    Michael Christie (Internet newsgroups)
    Brendan Lefebvre (America Online)
    Mark Nelson      (CompuServe)

Several people have kept me (James) updated about the pricing and availability
(and more) of WC3 in their country.  If you learned anything about the
pricing and availability of the game in your country from this FAQ, then you
probably have one of these foreign correspondents to thank:
    Bernhard von Allmen (Switzerland)
    Aubrey Chen         (Canada)
    Mike Christie       (New Zealand)
    Philip Langdale     (Singapore)
    Richard Poffley     (United Kingdom)

Richard Poffley has also provided me with coverage of the WC3 exhibits at the
ECTS's (European Computer Trade Show), other trade shows in the U.K., and
more... thanks!

Aubrey Chen is the only living Wing Commander encyclopedia I have ever met.
If there was ever something about the game or storyline I wasn't sure about,
it was a pretty safe bet that he could answer my question.  He also caught
countless minor factual errors about the game that would have otherwise gone
unnoticed.
                                        
Still others helped to distribute the FAQ throughout the online community:
    Dave Rubin
    Michael Santo
    Dave Stanworth

Extra thanks to those Origin employees who have taken time from their busy
schedules to answer my endless flow of questions:
    Eilenne McKeon Butt
    Tony Morone
    Frank Roan
    Frank Savage
    Galen Svanas
    David Swofford
    Chris Todd
    Chris Douglas
    Chico Marvici

And a big thanks to all the other people who have forwarded me info, given
me (again, James :))ideas, suggested a question or topic to cover, or
otherwise helped me with  the production of the FAQ...
    Nicholas Albright                 Ben Herd
    Nobu Aoki                         Pham Hoang
    Wayne Baker                       David Jakovac
    Ron Blancarte                     Dieter Janssen
    Nick Buol                         Lee Johnson
    Matt Burch                        Ingo Jungherr
    Mark Carlson                      Kan Keung
    Matthew Dusk                      Ted Liu
    Geoffrey Elbo                     Tommy McClain
    Paul Fleming                      Richard Scalan
    Lynn Forest                       Chad Stanek
    Nicholas Golusin                  David Thornloe
    Gary Goodman                      Chip Yamka
    Dan Hardwicke                     Chek Yang

This section was probably a lot bigger than you expected it to be, but everyone
in here deserves every bit of recognition they got, and more.  This FAQ
wouldn't be nearly as good as it is without their help.

Hope I didn't forget anyone.  :)


                                                
*11.2.*  Other sources of information
=====================================

Several magazines and other periodicals have included WC coverage.  If you'd
like to check any of them out for yourself, here's a (probably incomplete)
list:

    AP Newswire                     June 23, 1994
    Austin American Statesman       June 20, 1994
    CD-ROM Today                    August/September, 1994; December, 1994
    Cinescape                       October, 1994
    Computer Gaming Revelation      October, 1994
    Computer Game Review            July, 1994; August, 1994; October, 1994
    Computer Games Strategy Plus    August, 1994; October, 1994; November, 1994
    Computer Gaming World           May, 1994; June, 1994; December, 1994
    Computer Life                   January, 1995
    Daily Variety Magazine
    Electronic Entertainment        April, 1994; June, 1994
    Game Developer                  June/July 1995
    The Hollywood Reporter          May 17, 1994
    Interactive Entertainment       Episode 3
    Los Angeles Daily News          June 28, 1994
    Medina County Gazette           December 7, 1994
    PC Format                       July, 1994; August, 1994
    PC Gamer                        July, 1994; August, 1994; December, 1994
    PC Games                        January, 1995
    PC Power                        December, 1994; January, 1995
    PC World                        June, 1994
    PC Zone                         January, 1995
    Star Wars Galaxy                Fall, 1994


Several magazines have also already featured reviews of the game.  You can find
them in any of the following gaming magazines:

    Computer Game Review            February, 1995
    Computer Gaming World           February, 1995
    Electronic Entertainment        March, 1995
    PC Format                       February, 1995
    PC Gamer                        March, 1995
    PC Games                        February, 1995
    PC Power                        February, 1995
    PC Zone                         February, 1995


WC has also been featured on CNN, the Mulray Show, Censored TV Bloopers, the
Jon Stewart Show, Entertainment Tonight, The Computer Man, PCTV Users Group,
and was shown in some of Intel's Pentium commercials on TV.


11.3.    Contacting the FAQ authors
===================================

Do you have another bit of information you'd like to see added?  Did we screw
something up?  Have any questions you'd like answered in a future revision of
the FAQ?

If, for these or any other reasons, you'd like to contact the WC3 FAQ team,
send e-mail to coryf@ilhawaii.net  All mail will receive a reply!


*11.4.*  Where to find out more
===============================

Have more questions about WC3 that aren't answered in the FAQ, or just want to
find something out straight from the source?  Ask Origin directly:

    OSI Customer Support                OSI Marketing
    --------------------------------    ----------------------------------
    CompuServe: 76004,2612              CompuServe: 71333,136
    America Online:  OriginCS           America Online:  OSI

    Internet:  support@origin.ea.com    Internet:  marketing@origin.ea.com
    Phone:  (512) 335-0440
    BBS:  (512) 331-4446

If you have any questions about pricing, ordering, or availability, then call
your domestic branch of Electronic Arts:

    United States:   1-800-245-4525
    United Kingdom:  0753-549442
    Australia:       +61 (75) 280 800
    Canada:          604-451-3600
    France:          72 17 07 83
    Germany:         05241/24307
    Japan:           03-5410-3100
                                
If EA can't answer a question for you, you can also try to contact one of the
FAQ's volunteer foreign correspondants to get informations regarding pricing or
availability in your country:

    Canada         -- Aubrey Chen (akychen@flash.lakeheadu.ca)
    New Zealand    -- Mike Christie (m.christie@psyc.canterbury.ac.nz)
    Singapore      -- Philip Langdale (rogergl@singnet.com.sg)
    United Kingdom -- Rich Poffley (richard@anduril.demon.co.uk)

Note that these correspondents are not employees of Origin or Electronic Arts,
but well-informed WC fans who will still do their best to answer your
questions.


    11.4.1.  Origin's WC3 tech support FAQ
    --------------------------------------
        
    Origin has released a technical support FAQ that outlines solutions to
    dozens of common problems with WC3.  This is available via ftp at
    ftp.ea.com in the /pub/patches directory, or from Origin's official support
    forums on CompuServe, AOL, or their BBS (see section 1.7).


*11.5.*  Revision history
=========================

Version 2.30:   Added section on WC4. Wing Commander strategy guide
(12/3/95)       included in the distrubution package. Minor errors
                remedied. A new author.

Version 2.01:   Several minor errors and omissions remedied.
(7/30/95)

Version 2.00:   FAQ nearly doubled in size.  All old sections changed to
(6/24/95)       reflect the way the game actually is rather than simply being
                pre-release speculation.

                New sections on the WC3 demo, gameplay strategies and tips, and
                storyline questions added.  Countless other less significant
                revisions.

Version 1.10:   Revision history section heavily abridged so that it didn't
(10/24/94)      expand to five or ten pages upon this version's release.

                FAQ grew by about 50%; most new info was in section 4,
                including more detailed descriptions of what capital ship
                combat and planetside missions would be like.  A basic
                explanation of what a polygon-based graphics engine is was
                put in section 3.8.  Official information from Origin regarding
                estimated frame rates, and the WC3 Premiere Edition added to
                sections 3 and 6.  Several other less significant changes too
                numerous to list.

Version 1.01:   A few minor changes, including the addition of the WC3
(8/11/94)       periodical reference list and this revision history section.

Version 1.0:    Initial release.
(8/5/94)



*11.6.*    Conclusion
=====================

Well, thats all. I'll continue to keep the legacy going, as long as there
are Wing Commander fans all over the world. Thanks for reading the FAQ!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
                        

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