Holy Moly: Wings of Saint Nazaire Alpha

I'm no expert, but that guy in the distance looks in trouble.

Unity might be the most marvelous thing for web games since the retiring of Internet Explorer 6 – just look at how pretty that gunfire is! Wings of Saint Nazaire, along with continuing the tradition of difficult to pronounce indie games, is a space pew-pew simulator currently in playable alpha. The x-factor is the ability to be played in-browser via the mentioned and currently red-hot-popular development platform.

Developed by a three-man, one-beard team, it’s at a very much proof of concept stage but sweet ideas are beginning to shine through. Just flying around feels smooth, capturing that “I’m so fucking cool” sense while dodging between capital ship trenches and beams in pursuit of an enemy fighter that makes you wonder how the genre could possibly have “died” in the first place. Missiles home on targets with wonderful swirls, impacting with a satisfying explosion that sends permanent debris flying. I’m willing to let it go with an Alpha tag, but the method behind the beauty does begin to reveal itself if you get too close; ersatz-3D models showing their true form of cunningly manipulated sprites, ugly at the current running resolution of approximately ass by dick.

Interested? Excited? Positively turned on? For more information, check out the FAQ which intriguingly promises a high skill ceiling for the inevitable hardcore fans, among other tidbits.



  1. faelnor says:

    I absolutely love the pixelated graphics, which is a huge part of the appeal IMO. I’ll be watching this.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “ass by dick”

    My least favourite of all the resolutions.

  3. Chris England says:

    “Ass by dick” is not something that should be written on a British website. We are all far too easily embarrassed by such crudity.

  4. amateurviking says:

    Cunningly manipulated sprites like in Wing Commander 1+2?

    Interesting approach!

    • Shadow says:

      Yes, the principle is the same, but WoSN uses a lot more sprites (to cover many orientations) per object to create the illusion of 3D using 2D bitmaps.

      Just like PC gaming and turn-based strategy, the space sim genre never died. That’s something the competition has been saying (i.e. “X isn’t profitable”) over the years in a vile attempt to kill it.

      • Ben Barrett says:

        I agree that it never died, my reference to it was more a silent “or did it” than an agreement (on top of making note that the genre did decrease in popularity)

      • amateurviking says:

        I like the idea – another one of those approaches (like isometric perspectives in RPGs) that was hastily abandoned in favour of polygons despite their merits.

        I’d give this a go but I’m in Burkina Faso right now and the internet here is, well, not good.

  5. Bugamn says:

    As someone that play web games mostly on Linux, Unity plugin is as terrible as IE 6.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      As someone else who games on Linux… why don’t you just download the provided standalone?

      • Bugamn says:

        Do all Unity games provide a stand-alone?

        I didn’t even look the site when I read that the game was played in-browser.

        • Ben Barrett says:

          Thanks for mentioning this, important to remember in the future. I’ll make sure to mention standalones if they’re available.

          • Bugamn says:

            You are starting with the right foot, Mr. Barret.

          • frightlever says:

            Give it a couple of weeks, he’ll be alternatively obsessively talking to imaginary friends or insulting people’s mums. S’true.

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    I just downloaded this at the weekend.

    Somebody mentioned it on twitter and it took me an age to find it after forgetting the name.

    I never thought I’d feel nostalgic for the graphics of that era but these guys brought it on, the pixelated thing works a treat.

    From launching your fighter to the flash of weapon fire inside the cockpit the entire game is beautiful.

    The music is an absolute treat too.

    Someone tell me when I can fire off some money their way.

  7. Keyrock says:

    Ass by dick? We don’t do metric here in ‘Murica, how many Budweiser can lengths is that?

    • pandiculator says:

      About one by about six. The conversion factor isn’t precise.

      • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

        Six cans, eh? That sounds like imperial dick to me.

        • pandiculator says:

          No no, my good sir, the six cans being the “ass” measurement. Common mistake.

    • loquee says:

      American Budweiser can or can of Budweiser from Budweis?

  8. Felixader says:

    Ahem, the music: You go here link to wingsofstnazaire.com on their page and download that offered intromusic if you know whats awesome for you.

    It sounds incredible! :-)

  9. Howie Day says:

    I’m sorely temped to make the description of the default resolution “Ass x Dick”.

  10. Sic says:

    This looks ridiculously awesome. Love the art design.

    Anyone up for Kickstarting the purchase of a microphone for these guys, so they can stop using their toaster?

    • Howie Day says:

      Already purchased one! I apologize for the Real-Audio circa 1995 quality of that recording.

  11. Asurmen says:

    Retirement of IE6? Ha! My work still uses it :(

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Oh God I am so sorry.

      • Asurmen says:

        The worrying thing is, we’re the people collecting taxes :(

        • jrodman says:

          Which ones are you? Some of you are our customers.

          By the way, we dropped IE 6 support.

          • Asurmen says:

            HM Revenue And Customs.

          • jrodman says:

            Oh, on the *proper* side of the water. Not sure about you lot.
            Good luck with your IE6 and taking money from poms.

            (Wishing our taxes were so relatively painless, actually.)

  12. Jack--Dandy says:

    Holy god DAMN the graphics are pretty. I couldn’t believe at first, but all the smaller ships are just sprites. Very interesting way to make a space fighter game.

    I love it’s graphics style though, and I’ll definitely follow.

  13. Sidewinder says:

    Whenever I encounter someone saying “orientate” as though it were an actual word, my estimate of their IQ drops by twenty points.

    But that just makes this even more impressive.

    • Howie Day says:

      Hahahah, point well taken, Sir! I shall seek to further enunciate and clarify my usage of the Queen’s English in the next video we release!

  14. dagudman says:

    You should have put the video that was on their website here.

  15. Cim says:

    I think the ships could use a few more sprites to really complete the illusion of 3D, but it’s stunning how good this looks overall.

  16. ts061282 says:

    Wow. Cool. I was just thinking about Tie Fighter.

  17. NepenthesXD says:

    Why the name ?! (appart from Saint-Nazaire being a french city, an old shipyard, and an EADS facility…)