Aug 09, 2014
How To Play the X-Wing Series on a Modern Windows PC with a gamepad or flight stick
It’s been over a decade since the last proper Star Wars flight sim was released from LucasArts, and many of us who were fans of the original series have been patiently waiting for a new installment for quite some time now. With the new Star Wars movies on the horizon, what else would be better than revisiting these games?
UPDATE 2: The Tie Fighter Reconstructed page now has a version that is compatible with the GOG.com edition of the game. The GOG Editions of X-Wing and Tie Fighter are now available from gog.com– their release includes the original Floppy disk versions and the Windows CD-ROM versions, but currently does not include the DOS CD-ROM versions. Keep in mind that the GOG.com Windows versions have 3D Acceleration completely disabled (likely because these games do not run very well with 3D acceleration in Windows 8). This guide can help you get the original versions of X-Wing and Tie Fighter running with 3D acceleration, but only in Windows 7 or older.
UPDATE: The files from the Tie Fighter Reconstructed guide have been rehosted. In addition, some additional Troubleshooting notes have been added including for Windows 8, and the Balance of Power installation.
It has been puzzling for me as to why Totally Games didn’t ever try to bring the series to consoles after the popularization of dual analog controls. The (artificial) requirement of a Joystick was a limiting factor for X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (1997) and X-Wing Alliance (1999) and in my mind is what could have caused the decline in popularity for the series. But with dual analog controllers, with some streamlining of gameplay systems and some intuitive control mechanics (like a multi-function radial dial similar to what is in Mass Effect 2 on consoles), you could likely bring the controls over to a dual analog controller without compromising the depth of the game.
So having an itch to play these games again, wanting to show that these games are possible to be played on a controller, and also wanting to show gamers who have not played these games what they’ve missed out on lead me to write this guide on how to get the games in the X-Wing Series working on a modern computer while looking and sounding at their absolute best. Its not easy to get these games running on a modern PC either, so even if you have a flightstick that you’d rather use, you can still make use of these guides.
This guide can’t make controls context sensitive nor can it help you control the finer details such as deadzone settings and acceleration, and some functions on the controller are also locked down. So while this is definitely not the absolute perfect controller setup, it still is a great way to experience those games on a controller that most PC gamers should have. And if you don’t have an Xbox 360 controller, it is extremely easy to obtain now. Or if you’d like to use a flightstick, you can still use this guide to get the games running.
Unfortunately, the Windows versions of these games DO NOT run well on Windows 8 at all. That being said, solutions are provided in the Troubleshooting section to run these games on a Windows 8 PC.
One final note, these guides were tested on PCs running Windows 7 running nVidia Graphics cards. From what I’ve read, configuring these games shouldn’t be different on Windows Vista or Windows 7. There may be one issue in X-Wing Alliance that appears on nVidia cards that don’t appear on ATI/AMD cards either, but configuration should be nearly the same as well.
Table of Contents
- X-Wing (1998)
- X-Wing (1994 DOS CD-ROM Edition)
- X-Wing Reconstructed
- Tie Fighter (1998)
- Tie Fighter (1995 DOS CD-ROM Edition)
- Tie Fighter Reconstructed (restore DOS soundtrack on Windows version!)
- X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter: Balance of Power Campaign
- X-Wing Alliance
- X-Wing Alliance Graphical Upgrades
- Keyboard, Mouse & TrackIR Support
- Troubleshooting Installation & Windows 8 Solutions
Contact the author at @AbdulBCRT on Twitter if there are any issues with the guide.