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Editorial

Aug 09, 2014

How To Play the X-Wing Series on a Modern Windows PC with a gamepad or flight stick

X-Wing (1994 DOS CD-ROM Edition)

This guide is for the 1994 edition of the game for DOS on CD-ROM which which has some differences to the transitions between missions and uses the iMuse MIDI-based dynamic soundtrack instead of the Redbook audio that is used in the Windows edition.

X-Wing 1994 DOS/GOG.com Edition Controller Setup Instructions

NOTE: If you need to install/setup the game, read the section below for full instructions.

What you’ll need

  1. The DOS/CD-ROM version of X-Wing. These instructions should also work on the 1993/1994 editions available on GOG.com. Do not get this confused with the Windows CD-ROM version or the 1998 GOG.com version. It was released on a CD-ROM in 1994, titled X-Wing Collector’s CD-ROM (1994). From what I’ve seen, the DOS CD-ROM Disc was commonly monochrome (Blue or Purple) and said IBM CD-ROM or Compatibles. There may have been other prints of this game, but if you want to track the correct version of this game down, be very careful of what you’re buying. I’ve seen eBay/Amazon listings claiming to be the Windows version of the game, but the picture instead is of the DOS CD-ROM version. I’ve also seen listings that say its the DOS CD-ROM version, but when you dig deeper, its actually the Diskette version.
  2. The following zip file: XWingCD-win7.zip
  3. A controller or flightstick, such as the Xbox 360 Controller (Wired or Wireless+Wireless Xbox 360 Receiver).
  4. A print out of the following Quick Reference Guide for playing the game with an Xbox 360 controller and a Keyboard: XWingCD-X360.pdf (Included in XWingCD-win7.zip).
  5. Alternatively if you wish to use a different controller you can print out of the following Quick Reference Guide: XWingCD-Blank.pdf (Included in XWingCD-win7.zip) and manually put in the control configuration you’re using in the blank space at the top right.

Controller Setup

  1. Ensure your Xbox 360 controller is connected and is the primary controller set up on your PC.
  2. Open the JoyToKey.zip archive from the folder where you extracted XWingCD-win.zip and extract it to a location where you’d like to store the program (i.e. C:\joytokey), ideally in a folder that is not controlled by Windows (Program Files, Users, etc). Run it and select the XWingCD profile. The DOS version of X-Wing by default only supports 2 or 4 button controls, and the 4 button controls are not ideal (for example Toggle Cockpit is one of the buttons mapped). So the way everything has been set up, is that X-Wing is only using two buttons. Everything else is mapping to the controller via JoyToKey. This allows a little bit more freedom with how the controls are mapped. Please refer to the controls reference to see how the controller is mapped using the DOS version.

Notes

…and enjoy! Remember to check out the Quick Reference Guide PDF and print it out for quick reference. You’ll still need access to your keyboard while playing the game to access some of the least common or least urgent controls. So if you plan on hooking your PC up to your TV to play, you will want to have a Bluetooth keyboard close by to enjoy this game.

The steering will be a little sensitive because the Xbox 360 controller doesn’t have a deadzone set whereas X-Wing doesn’t manage the deadzone either. But I still was able to play the game fine despite that. I’m sure with the use of some custom drivers you could tune the 360 controller better to work with this game, but I prefer my 360 controller to be recognized correctly in modern games that support it, so I’ve stayed away from using them.

The controls were mostly mapped using DOSBox’s internal mapper (ctrl-F1). Visit the DOSBox wiki for more information on how to use this utility if you want to change any settings. You can also edit the mapper-SVN-Daum.map mapping file manually from the XWingDosbox folder. I also used JoyToKey to bind the throttle to the triggers.


X-Wing 1994 DOS CD-ROM Edition Installation & Setup Instructions

What you’ll need

  1. The DOS/CD-ROM version of X-Wing. Do not get this confused with the DOS Diskette version or the Windows CD-ROM version. It was released on a CD-ROM in 1994, titled X-Wing Collector’s CD-ROM (1994). From what I’ve seen, the DOS CD-ROM Disc was commonly monochrome (Blue or Purple) and said IBM CD-ROM or Compatibles. There may have been other prints of this game, but if you want to track the correct version of this game down, be very careful of what you’re buying. I’ve seen eBay/Amazon listings claiming to be the Windows version of the game, but the picture instead is of the DOS CD-ROM version. I’ve also seen listings that say its the DOS CD-ROM version, but when you dig deeper, its actually the Diskette version.
  2. The following zip file which is a compilation of what you need to run the DOS CD-ROM version of X-Wing: XWingCD-win7.zip
  3. A controller or flightstick, such as the Xbox 360 Controller (Wired or Wireless+Wireless Xbox 360 Receiver).
  4. A print out of the following Quick Reference Guide for playing the game with an Xbox 360 controller and a Keyboard: XWingCD-X360.pdf (Included in XWingCD-win7.zip).
  5. Alternatively if you wish to use a different controller you can print out of the following Quick Reference Guide: XWingCD-Blank.pdf (Included in XWingCD-win7.zip) and manually put in the control configuration you’re using in the blank space at the top right.

You can try obtaining X-Wing (or one of the compilations it came in) from eBay or Amazon. Unfortunately, this game is currently not available on any digital platforms for download. Make sure you get the correct version as there are also DOS Diskette and Windows CD-ROM versions of this game.

Installation

  1. Extract XWingCD-win7.zip into a temporary folder on your hard drive.
  2. Insert the X-Wing CD-Rom into your CD/DVD drive.
  3. Open XwingCDDosbox.zip from the folder with the extracted contents of XWingCD-win7.zip and extract it to the folder where you’d like to store the game, ideally in a folder that is not controlled by Windows (folders that are controlled by Windows are: Program Files, Users, etc). I will refer to this folder as the XwingDosbox folder for the rest of this guide.
  4. In the XwingDosbox folder, open xwingcd.conf in Notepad (or your preferred text editor), and scroll to the bottom. Ensure that the line MOUNT D [CDROM Drive Letter]: -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl corresponds to the Drive letter that your X-Wing CD is in. For example, if its in G:, the line should be changed to MOUNT D G: -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl. Do this for installxwingcd.conf as well
  5. If you want to use MT-32 emulation (best music quality, but requires custom ROMs that are not available for free), edit xwingcd.conf and installxwingcd.conf and change the line mididevice=default to mididevice=mt32. You also need to put the MT-32 ROMs (MT32_CONTROL.ROM, MT32_PCM.ROM) into the XwingDosbox folder
  6. In the XwingDosbox folder, run installxwingcd.bat. If you’re asked for DOSBox to access your real CD-Rom press Y and then hit Enter.
  7. Select Install Required Files on Hard Disk.
  8. Select C: to install the game to.
  9. Hit Enter to Install the game to C:\XWINGCD.
  10. Press ESC to go to back to the Installation Menu. Then Select Set Sound Board Configuration. Then press C to go into Custom Setup.
  11. Go to the Advanced Menu
  12. If you want to use MT-32 Music and have edited the config file and put the MT-32 ROMs in the XWingDosbox folder, Select Roland from the Music Options and then Set the Port to 330. If not, select General MIDI and then set the Port to 330. Hit Test Music to ensure everything sounds normal. If you selected MT-32 and it sounds like the music is missing some instruments, it might not be set up correctly.
  13. Set Digital Sound to Sound Blaster 16, Port 220, IRQ 7, DMA 1 and Stereo Reverse 0. Then select Quit to exit. Press y to Save Current Options
  14. Ensure Machine Speed is set to Fast.
  15. Select Exit and then Press N to finish setup. If you ever need to go back to set up Music settings, you can use Setmuse.bat or SetmuseMT32.bat depending on whether or not you want to use MT-32 Music.

Setup

  1. Run the game by starting xwingcd.bat in the XWingDosbox folder. Once you’ve started a mission, hit the Esc key to go into Inflight Options. Click the Right Arrow to go to Inflight Detail. Turn on Planets and Galaxies, and put all of the Detail Level sliders to full. Then click Return to Simulator.
  2. You can then press H to exit out of the mission, and then go back to the main register screen before pressing Esc and then Exit to DOS to make sure the settings save.

Controller Setup

  1. Ensure your Xbox 360 controller is connected and is the primary controller set up on your PC.
  2. Open the JoyToKey.zip archive from the folder where you extracted XWingCD-win.zip and extract it to a location where you’d like to store the program (i.e. C:\joytokey), ideally in a folder that is not controlled by Windows (Program Files, Users, etc). Run it and select the XWingCD profile. The DOS version of X-Wing by default only supports 2 or 4 button controls, and the 4 button controls are not ideal (for example Toggle Cockpit is one of the buttons mapped). So the way everything has been set up, is that X-Wing is only using two buttons. Everything else is mapping to the controller via JoyToKey. This allows a little bit more freedom with how the controls are mapped. Please refer to the controls reference to see how the controller is mapped using the DOS version.

Notes

…and enjoy! Remember to check out the Quick Reference Guide PDF and print it out for quick reference. You’ll still need access to your keyboard while playing the game to access some of the least common or least urgent controls. So if you plan on hooking your PC up to your TV to play, you will want to have a Bluetooth keyboard close by to enjoy this game.

The steering will be a little sensitive because the Xbox 360 controller doesn’t have a deadzone set whereas X-Wing doesn’t manage the deadzone either. But I still was able to play the game fine despite that. I’m sure with the use of some custom drivers you could tune the 360 controller better to work with this game, but I prefer my 360 controller to be recognized correctly in modern games that support it, so I’ve stayed away from using them.

The controls were mostly mapped using DOSBox’s internal mapped (ctrl-F1). Visit the DOSBox wiki for more information on how to use this utility if you want to change any settings. You can also edit the mapper-SVN-Daum.map mapping file manually from the XWingDosbox folder. I also used JoyToKey to bind the throttle to the triggers.

Credits

  1. Ryo Ohkubo (JoyToKey English Homepage): JoyToKey
  2. ykhwong (Homepage): DOSBox SVN-Daum (with MT32 support)

Contact the author at @AbdulBCRT on Twitter if there are any issues with the guide.