October 8th 2012
With the big reveal just two days away, we thought it would be fun to look back to how the ORIGINAL space combat simulator was announced to the world. What follows is the text of Origin Systems’ 1990 press release for Wing Commander I, which was then called “Wingleader”:
Groundbreaking 3-D Graphics
Spatially Realistic Stereo Sound
A New Cinematic Game Experience
The 3-D Space Combat Simulator™
Available Fall 1990: MS-DOS, 640K, VGA/EGA/Tandy graphics, sound board, mouse/joystick support
Chicago, IL — Consumer Electronics Show — June 2, 1990 — “You will never think the same way about space combat simulation again,” attests Chris Roberts, the designer of ORIGIN’s newest gaming innovation, WINGLEADER: The 3-D Space COmbat Simulator. Journalists and developers given an early peek at the revolutionary entertainment product have agreed with that assessment. All industry members will get their chance to see an dhear WINGLEADER for themselves as ORIGIN previews its Fall ’90 product line during the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, IL during JUne 2-5, 1990.
Leaving behind the cliches of previous “space games,” WINGLEADER decisively launches a new generation of audio-visual gaming which looks, sounds and plays more like an interactive, multi-dimensional theater experience than any conventional computer game. WINGLEADER unquestionably redefines the state-of-the art in MS-DOS entertainment software, featuring explosive 256-color VGA, bitmapped, 3-D graphics and a suite of specially created stereo sound effects and musical scores which, together, leave the player wide-eyed and gasping for breath.
The compelling sensory elements and fast-paced action of WINGLEADER will captivate players weaned on ordinary flight simulators and arcade shoot’em-ups. To create the realistic animated characters and scenes found in the game, Roberts emulated the cinematic technique of rotoscoping, staging the actions with human actors and shooting them on high-quality video. The video images were then turned over to ORIGIN’s computer artists, who defined and enhanced each animation frame for inclusion in the game. These scenes make use of moving camera angles and multi-level action to convincingly thrust the player into the WINGLEADER story.
In the story, the player defends humanity from invading extraterrestrial fighter squadrons, gaining experience which ultimately qualifies him to command up to four classes of starfighter. In all, over two dozen unique spacecraft ranging from friendly and enemy starfighters, spacecraft carriers, fuel tankers and transports are portrayed, each having been created through a complex process of 3-D imaging and ray tracing technology. Extensive research went into flight dynamics and 3-dimensional scaling, rotation and physics, creating a truly riveting and memorable ride.
Professional sound engineers have produced an extraordinary coordination between visual effects seen on the screen and the multi-voice, synthesized sounds and music being pumped through the stereo channels over such PC sound systems as the Ad Lib, Roland MT-32 and Roland LAPC-1. WINGLEADER boasts a musical score which, in composition, complexity and mood-setting ability, rivals those found in contemporary films of the genre. Also, the sound barrier is pushed further through the game’s elaborately coordinated special sound effects. Explosions boom from one speaker or the other, depending on the point of origin spatially relative to the player, and the engine noises of the starfighters pan from one speaker to the other as they buzz pas the player’s ship.
WINGLEADER must be SEEN and HEARD to be believed!