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Aug 09, 2014

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

X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter: Balance of Power Campaign

X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (1997) was a radical shift from the previous two games. It was the first game in the series which featured multiplayer, and was mainly multiplayer focused. It did not include a proper campaign like it’s predecessors. It also did not support Mouse or Keyboard control and required a joystick. It was a change that many people didn’t take too kindly to, and thus the game sold poorly. LucasArts later released an expansion called X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter: Balance of Power which added a traditional campaign to the game. Later copies of the game came with Balance of the Power built in. LucasArts also released the X-Wing Collector’s Series (with the Windows 95/98 versions of X-Wing and Tie Fighter along with a stripped down version of XvT called Flight School) to garner interest in the game.

What you’ll need

  1. The X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Master Game Disc (original release) or X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Disc 1 (X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter + Balance of Power release)
  2. The Balance of Power Disc
  3. The following zip file which is a compilation of compatibility patches for the Windows 95/98 edition of Tie Fighter:
  4. A controller or flightstick, such as the Xbox 360 Controller (Wired or Wireless+Wireless Xbox 360 Receiver).
  5. A print out of the following Quick Reference Guide for playing the game with an Xbox 360 controller and a Keyboard: XvT-X360.pdf (Included in
  6. Alternatively if you wish to use a different controller you can print out of the following Quick Reference Guide: XvT-Blank.pdf (Included in and manually put in the control configuration you’re using in the blank space at the top right.

You can try obtaining X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (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. I’d recommend getting a version which has Balance of Power included, but if you can’t, you’ll have to get Balance of Power separately.


UPDATE: I’ve had troubles installing Balance of Power in certain configurations. Please check the Troubleshooting Section for solutions to issues you may encounter.
NOTE: Using this installation method, you will not need to install the original X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Disc first. It will install both the original XvT and Balance of Power together.

  1. Extract into a temporary folder on your hard drive.
  2. Insert the Balance of Power Disc into your CD/DVD drive. If the Xwing vs. Tie Fighter Setup Window opens, close it.
  3. Go to Start->Computer. You should see BALANCE as the label of the disc. Right click on it and click Open.
  4. You should now see the contents of the CD-ROM. Select everything and Copy it. Create a temporary folder called BALANCECD somewhere on your hard drive, and Paste the contents of the CD-ROM there.
  5. Open from the folder where you extracted and extract and run XCS_TIE95_MSI_v1.0.0.0.exe. Follow the steps and install it into the BALANCECD folder that you just created in the previous step. Click Yes to overwrite existing files. You may need to install Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 x86 Runtimes and Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package x64 for this installer to work.
  6. Copy niftyzip.bat from the folder where you extracted and paste it to BALANCECDSupport
  7. Run niftyzip.bat from BALANCECDsupport. You may need to install Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package x64 for this installer to work. It should take a few minutes to complete this step. Once its done, press any key to continue.
  8. Run Balance of Power.msi from the BALANCECD folder and go through the installation steps.
  9. Eventually the setup will say its looking for SCRIPTA.txt. At this point its actually looking for the X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Disc. So insert the X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter Disc into your CD/DVD drive. Then copy all of the folders plus the files SCRIPTA.txt and SCRIPTB.txt from the CD (labelled XWVSTIE1) and paste them into the BALANCECD folder. Overwrite all files. Once thats done, Click Retry in the Balance of Power installer to continue. Then click Finish
  10. Continue following the steps in the Setup section Below.

Note: Alternate instructions for Installation made by Markus Egger can be found HERE if you’re having problems with this method.
Note: Throughout the rest of the tutorial I may refer to C:\Program Files (x86). On 32-bit systems this is just C:\Program Files.


  1. Go to your Video Card Settings (for nVidia Right Click on the desktop and click nVidia Control Panel). Create a profile for C:\Program Files (x86)\LucasArts\XwingTie\BalanceOfPower\z_xvt__.EXE and ensure you Disable Antialiasing and Enable 16x Anisotropic Filtering. Apply the settings and then exit the Control Panel. If you have an ATI card, I imagine it shouldn’t be too different to do this.
  2. Insert the Balance of Power Disc into your CD/DVD drive
  3. Ensure your Xbox 360 controller is connected and is the primary controller set up on your PC.
  4. Run the game from the X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter shortcut in your start menu. The first time you run it, it will ask you to setup your 3D card, click yes to do it. Eventually you should end up in the XvT Launcher after going through those steps. Click Play Balance of Power
  5. Once you’re in the main menu, go to config and ensure the Singleplayer and Multiplayer Graphics options are setup like follows:
  6. Then click Joystick to go to the Joystick Configuration and set it up as follows (hit the keyboard key assigned to the action to quickly map it to the joystick control):
    Joystick Button 1: Space – Confirm critical orders
    Joystick Button 2: E – Target closest fighter targeting you
    Joystick Button 3: Alt-3 – Roll/Target ship in sights
    Joystick Button 4: T – Next target
    Joystick Button 5: W – Cycle weapon settings
    Joystick Button 6: Alt-2 – Fire weapon
    Joystick Button 7: F8 – Cycle Beam Settings
    Joystick Button 8: B – Beam On/Off
    Joystick Button 9: Enter – Match targeted craft’s speed
    Joystick Button 10: Backspace – Full Throttle
    Joystick POV U: X – Cycle Firing Settings
    Joystick POV R: S – Cycle Shield Settings
    Joystick POV D: F9 – Laser Recharge Rate
    Joystick POV L: F10 – Shields Recharge Rate

Then Click Back to Options. And then Click OK to close the dialog.

  1. Exit the game to ensure the Settings Save
  2. If you’d like to use your controller to navigate the menus, Open the archive from the folder where you extracted 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 (folders that are controlled by Windows are: Program Files, Users, etc). Run it and select the XvT profile. This essentially enables mouse emulation on the controller, so you can use this also to navigate your Windows Desktop if you’d like. Just make sure you don’t keep JoyToKey open when running other games in the series that support both the controller and mouse as that can cause input conflicts.
  3. To start the Balance of Power Campaign, go to Fly Solo -> Campaigns (left hand side) and then Begin Mission


…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 Tie Fighter 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.


  1. Markus Egger (Homepage): MSI Installer
  2. Craig Perry (LucasFiles): D3D compatibility Patch
  3. Ryo Ohkubo (JoyToKey English Homepage): JoyToKey

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