R2-Detailed: X-Wing Alliance Resurrected

By Alec Meer on April 16th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Now that I’ve got a massive and over-complicated joystick, the only games I’m interested in playing are games which are best-suited to a massive and over-complicated joystick. Yes, yes, I’ll get to Freespace and its total conversions, but first I had some unfinished business to take care of. TIE Fighter was my last substantial experience with Totally Games and Lucasarts’ revered series of Star Wars-themed space combat sims, and I had only a dim sense of how the flighty-fighty games had progressed afterwards. I elected to skip X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and go straight to the end, 1999′s full 3D X-Wing Alliance.

Pre-dating the dread age of the prequel movies by a whisker, it’s one of the last artifacts of a Star Wars universe centred purely around the original trilogy. As a result, flashing back to X-Wing Alliance hits the appropriate nostalgia buttons not just in terms of relatively rudimentary 3D games, but also in terms of recapturing a degree of the nerdly naviety and excitement so many of us were going through in 1999. A prequel movie! A new hope! Childhood revisited! How wrong we were. I wonder how those who still tie themselves to a Lucasian mast will be feeling come next Christmas: I myself am almost completely unthered from it now, so it is bittersweet to return to a time when I cared so deeply.

Ah, let’s move on from my own personal long time ago and far, far away. Point is that X-Wing Alliance was the last great Star Wars space combat game, and a morning’s tinkering reveals it holds up fairly well today. It supports my X52 Pro, analogue throttle and all, and there are assorted fan projects to make look it a little better and play nice with our fancy modern PCs and their messy modern operating systems.

Let’s do this step-by-step before I chat more about the game itself.

1) Hurdle the first: installing the thing, especially if you’re running 64-bit Windows. Follow this guide, basically. It’s a lot quicker and less involved than it looks like, promise.
2) Run the game’s launcher from its icon – you should be presented with a launcher. Dive into Hardware settings to set your control method (in my case, the X52 pro) and then create a new Pilot (which is your game profile). It’s very important to do this at this stage because you probably won’t be able to get the launcher to load at the end of this process. Play, grumble at olden graphics and possible display issues.
3) Go to this site, click downloads, grab the XWAU Craft Pack. Install it, see it grumble that you don’t have the 2.02 patch install, agree to let it install it for you, then run the XWAU Craft Pack installer again.
4) Now the slightly more complicated and risk-strewn bit. First, make a backup of XWINGALLIANCE.EXE and keep it somewhere safe.

Then you’ll be after the widescreen hack (which also sorts out a couple of other issues). Extract its contents somewhere, then make another copy of XWINGALLIANCE.EXE and drop it into the same folder as the widescreen hack files. Run 32bitmode.bat first, though please be aware that these will make in-flight menu and briefing screens all but unreadable. Not much of an issue in practice, though. Then run fixedclear.bat, which sorts out some display issues. Then the fiddlier one, changeres.bat. Pick one of the listed resolutions to change to your desired resolution – I found that changing the 640×480 entry to 2560×1440 or 1920×1080 didn’t work, but all was fine and dandy when I replaced 1600×1200.

Copy the now-altered XWINGALLIANCE.EXE back into the game’s install directory, overwriting the old one (which you remembered to take a backup of, right?) Then give ‘er a whirl by running XWINGALLIANCE.EXE – you might want to create a desktop shortcut for it too, as the official ones may not work now.

All good? No? Well, try different resolutions. There are also undo BATs for the other stuff, so try a process of elimination. For further issues I can only point you at wise old Mr Google, I’m afraid.

Finally, if you’re playing on an NVIDIA card you’re probably going to want this font patch too.

Oh, and to make it look even nicer you’ll need to manually fiddle with anisotropic and antialiasing in your graphics card driver settings. For the record Vsync and triple buffering stopped the game from working for me.

An additional step for me and my ridiculous flight stick was to create a profile that had its assorted buttons emulate most of XWA’s keyboard commands. A few did work straight out of the box, as it were, but my poor hands had to stray back to the keyboard constantly and rebinding with the in-game menu still left the majority of buttons unrecognised and unused. So using the original keyboard layouts here for reference, I got everything programmed and running just dandy, though it was a long-winded process with Saitek’s not-great profile editing program. If your joystick/gamepad/HOTAS/whatever doesn’t have a profile too, I believe joy2key is the way to go, though I haven’t used it myself.

There you go. It looks… okay. Certainly a lot better than it did, but it’s not exactly a glorious modern rebirth. I also found that a lot of the ships’ cockpits occluded far too much of the screen, but as Alice pointed out to me, you can’t screw with Lucas lore if want to make a Star Wars game, and Lucas lore is that you can’t see shit when you’re sat in A TIE Fighter.

As for how it plays, how it feels, it’s a completely different animal from the seat of the pants space japes of Elite Dangerous. Not that I’m claiming the two should be compared, but the dividing line between the space fantasies of the past and those of the near future is very plain to see. The starkness and emptiness of the skies is part of it for sure, but it’s the incidental stuff that keeps it feeling overtly like a simulation rather than reality – not much ambient noise, no sense of shaking and rumbling, complete reliance on meters rather than any other visual clues to show damage or danger…

Not that it’s sterile – not by a long shot. Familiar theme tunes play, familiar ships streak across the screen, cockpit controls look familiarly retro, lasers familiarly, reassuring, go pew-pew, and hyperspace contains all the iconic, elongating white lines it needs to. There’s a cleanness to the visual design too, none of the fussiness which blighted later space games. It’s Star Wars, y’know? As abused a brand as it is, those familiar elements still mean something, still reach something, even to one as jaded by it all as I am. Consider it an itch scratched, satisfyingly.

Next up, that Battlestar mod for Freespace, I think.

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77 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    hellboy says:

    Why this game doesn’t have a modern remake is beyond me

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Because EA has the license. Everyone is making space games atm. If Elite, Star Citizen et al prove to be successful EA will make one, sadly it will most likely be a cash-in on the new Star Wars films rather than a remake of this.

    • vodka and cookies says:

      In reality it’s because space shooters didn’t sell so well at the end of the nineties. If they had continued to be popular then the genre would have never died off.

      Now we have Kickstarter to give them life again but Star Wars is a very big license and not something you can get your hands on and EA is not the type to do a low budget game which is what this would need to be.

      Plus all the talent is gone, the X-Wing series were Larry Holland’s babies from inception all the way back to Lucasarts first flight sims developed by him, Larry doesn’t really work much in the games industry any more, his Totally Games last title was a 2008 rodeo simulator !

      It’s a pity we wont see this updated, I can only hope the new star wars movies are successful and someone foolishly green lights one of these type of space shooter games.

  2. GettCouped says:

    Le sigh. Tie fighter is such a pivotal part of my childhood. The idea of being a fighter in epic battles between capital ships and entire fleets. Flying through and dodging laser fire from their turrets, all while engaging in skirmishes with other fighters. On your way to accomplish your mission inside the conflict. Still have the collector’s edition CD.

    X wing and tie fighter are some of my favorites of all time.

    • Rolento says:

      Me too! I used to play it in a bizarre coop type way with my brother. He would fly the ship using the joystick and I would man the keyboard, sorting out power targets etc. Good times:))

      • Premium User Badge

        amateurviking says:

        Me and my bro did the same: me on the joystick, him on the keyboard. TIE Fighter was, I think, a bit of a watershed in gaming terms for me. It’s probably what I would write my ‘Gaming Made Me’ about, if you see what I mean.

      • Flank Sinatra says:

        Ha! I used to do this with my friends. They’d come over and fly using the joystick and I would play R2-D2 and divert power to shields. Good times man.

      • green frog says:

        Yes, I did this with my childhood friend as well. It appears that was a popular way to play those games!

      • watashi says:

        Hahaha, Oh man the memories.
        when i co-piloted for my brother whenever he would ask me some thing about the ship i would only beep and whistle, never actually speaking.
        Drove him mad, he would scream with rage, my greatest joy was when he got the ship banged up and i got to adjust the repair list, i can still here it now.
        “why the engines first, Give me some lasers!”
        *drawn out sad beep*

    • Flatley says:

      Anyone remember how the original release came with that book? And then the strategy guide was a continuation of the story? Those were the days.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      I got my original floppy disk version working recently on a Win7 PC with an Xbox controller, through Dosbox. It was terrible on my PC having to play on a huge monitor but IMO old games are what small netbook sized laptop screens are made for, it’s amazing how quickly one readjusts to a screen even smaller than the old 15” CRT monitors I first played this game on and when you can play it in your screen’s native resolution, the graphics look amazing… I do miss the analogue range of my old Thrustmaster though and blame the crappy console analogue stick for all my failures, of course :)

  3. Laurentius says:

    X-Wing Alliance is pretty great, still comes second behind Tie -Fighter but great.

    Freespace, geez, people, better play Starlancer campagin in co-op, now that’s satisfying.

    • Lemming says:

      I never really got the love for TIE Fighter post XvT. X-wing vs TIE: Balance of Power was the pinnacle of the series, IMO. X-wing Alliance was ok, but Balance of Power’s 2-sided single-player campaign was just perfect.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Agreed, I played XvT so fucking much. Got the box set with the expansion and it was so good.

      • Laurentius says:

        If Balance of Power was perfect then Tie-fighter campian had to be heaven itself.

      • Volcanu says:

        I heartily concur

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        Tie-fighter absolutely nailed the cinematic single-player campaign mode, which was the point of these games back in the day. The precursor to X-Wing and Tie-Fighter is of course Wing Commander – and while X-Wing had some of the elements of Wing-Commander it was mainly distinguished by the fact that it let you fly things from Star Wars. Tie-Fighter on the other hand, had all the immersion of a Wing Commander but none of the cheesy Top-Gun overtones. Your progression through the game was almost RPG-like, with sub plots and secret mission objectives aplenty. But beyond all of that, I think it struck gold because it showed us something that we wanted that we never knew we wanted. We all fantasized about locking the s-foils, and blowing up the death star in our x-wings but few of us ever really knew we wanted to play as a nameless, faceless, shieldless, tie fighter pilot – not until that game came along!

      • Damien Stark says:

        I hated XvT because I got it expecting awesome story campaign mode like X-wing and Tie Fighter (this was back in the days before there were sixteen Internet pre-pre-reviews on every game) and was massively let down to find that it was pretty much just multiplayer deathmatchy.

        Somehow I must have missed the release of “Balance of Power” expansion completely, and simply moved on to Alliance…

        • headless97 says:

          I felt the exact same way about Starsiege: Tribes. I loved Earthsiege 2 and Starsiege and bought Tribes the moment I saw the familiar logo on the box. Turned out to be an online multiplayer shooter only at a time when I didn’t play games online. Every Tribes game that came out after that made me want a return to the mech games that I loved so much.

          By the time Tribes: Ascend came out, I had been playing games online for years and ended up falling in love with the game but no one in the community seemed to know how to play it and the developers didn’t care what happened to the game so they let it die so they could sell SMITE.

      • lord_heman says:

        Oh, how I do agree! Oddly enough, XvT always seems to be overlooked and forgotten.
        For me, XvT was (is) THE game of all times, especially with the Balance of Power expansion. I played every single day with my brother, when he came home from school :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Chuckaluphagus says:

      Freespace, geez, people, better play Starlancer campagin in co-op, now that’s satisfying.

      Did you actually find Freespace to be unsatisfying? Is there a charitable research organization I can donate to that helps people with your condition?

      Just having fun :-) Never was able to play Starlancer – was it really that good?

      • Premium User Badge

        Lambchops says:

        Starlancer is all sorts of fun. While the combat isn’t quite as good as Freespace 2′s it’s not a million miles off and it does a good job of letting you do lots of cools stuff while still feeling very much a cog in the military machine (and that wanker Klaus Steiner always gets all the bloody credit!).

        IF you love Freespace then you’ll have a great time with Starlancer for sure.

      • Laurentius says:

        Unfortunately my condition is uncurable, my eyes can’t abide space combat inside a rainbow while shooting candies. Plus thorwaway story doesn’t allow me to fell attached.

        Starlancer has solid all round mechanics, plus not a bad story with clever approuch where demo starts as a prelude to war that you fight in campaign. It has alos great feture of playing through campaing in co-op which is a blast !

        • Premium User Badge

          Lambchops says:

          Yeah the Starlancer demo always comes to my mind as the best demo ever (narrowly defeating Half Life and Darwinia’s second effort after Introversion cocked up the first one).

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      Look no further than here:

      http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=80688.0

      Mods I recommend:

      1. Wings of Dawn. Amazing. Absolutely worth a complete playthrough.
      2. The Antagonist. Really awesome.
      3. Wing Commander Saga. Need I say more?
      4. Diaspora. Short but sweet.
      5. Dimensional Eclipse. Anime/Robotech badass craziness. Great fun and really fast.
      6. Blue Planet. Super fun stuff here.

      That’s just a start. There’s plenty more but in the past couple of years Wings of Dawn was probably the most fun I’ve had in a space shooter in years. And it was made by one guy.

      Don’t forget the cockpit mods, HOTAS and Track IR.

  4. P.Funk says:

    I do love the sterility you get in many of the older space games. According to many modern space games humans have evolved, or been modified, to possess innate infrared vision.

    • bill says:

      Me too. The more ‘modern’ style games always seem too arcadey. Non stop pew pew and sparkle.

  5. Convolvulus says:

    I was already jaded after seeing Greedo shoot first.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    Horrible (but lovely) memories of that final trench run. Exhaust port. Whatever.

    • Syphus says:

      The trench run was in X-Wing. Alliance had the Battle of Endor.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    Funny, I don’t quite remember the HUD looking this purple. If it weren’t for the Falcon’s cockpit I would’ve thought that someone had expanded on Gangstas In Space.

    • LetSam says:

      IIRC you could change the HUD color in the options.

      • Spacewalk says:

        Was green the first colour on the list? It has to be, if it’s not purple it’s always green that’s the way it goes.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    Thanks Alec. This game was one I was hugely excited about on release but the campaign felt flat to me. I wanted yo be out there from the off in an X Wing, not a crusty freighter! As I remember, the Falcon and other freighters could be piloted by more than one person, so you could have a pilot and two gunners! Much fun.

    All said and done I actually preferred the streamlined online focused predecessor of XWing v TIE Fighter, probably because it was hard as nails and my first proper online multiplayer experience. While Alliance did have a mission builder, it just lacked the focus of Vs.

    Still, should try this definitely

    • Volcanu says:

      I had the exact same reaction as you. Absolutely loved XWing Vs TIE Fighter and likewise it was the first game I ever played online. I played the missions to death solo too.

      Then Alliance came out and I was incredibly hyped. But the ‘family’ missions in that awful freighter were a real drag and an annoyance. It got much better when you could focus on missions for the Rebellion it just forced you to do a lot of medicore ‘family’ missions before it would really let you get to the good stuff. Id love to try it again with those surgically removed….

      EDIT: The Balance of Power expansion for Xwing Vs TIE fighter added a fabulous campaign option actually. Did you ever play that?

      • bill says:

        I returned Xwing vs Tie Fighter for a refund after about 2 days. Maybe the only time i’ve ever done that in 20 years of gaming. So disappointed.
        So i never found out that there was a decent single player game in the expansion pack.

      • Premium User Badge

        Monchberter says:

        Thought BoP missions were good, but the story again flat and not a patch on TIE Fighter. Still the final Rebel missions taking out Interdictor’s and the unfeasibly massive Super Star Destroyer with piddly B-Wings was all the right kind of epic.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    There’s a TIE Fighter Total Conversion for XWA that apparently is worth checking out. I haven’t played either game in decades, but I remember enjoying the TF campaign considerably more than the XWA one.

    http://www.maxgames.it/xwc/

    Edit: Having had a quick look, I’m not sure whether the files are all still available. Does anyone know more?

    • Premium User Badge

      amateurviking says:

      What was great about TIE Fighter is that, despite being an Imperial, you rarely did anything that was mega-dastardly/hyper camp doctor evil-style. You were a fairly innocuous jobbing navy pilot for a lot of the campaign. Which really helped sell the fiction.

      I could be misremembering all of this of course, it’s been 20 years ish.

      • jonfitt says:

        What about blowing up the freighters packed full of Bothans? So many Bothans…

      • Premium User Badge

        Rizlar says:

        That is how I remember it as well. More often than not you seemed to be defending people against rebel assaults. Seem to remember an early mission where you run into a distressed transport ship and your star-destroyer commander gets you to assist them. Like at the start of Star Wars Luke wants to go off and become an imperial pilot. They are obviously not all bad.

        Such a good game.

  10. Alien.Nated says:

    That top picture literally made my heart jumb :-D I sat their for at least a minute lost totally to nostalgic reminiscing. Kinda eerie actually Oo

  11. Schiraman says:

    I loved X-Wing and Tie Fighter back in the day, although I never got along with the later games.

    It’d be great to see a modern version, maybe with co-op – but focussing on a good story and scripted missions, rather than an open world or multiplayer.

    While we’re at it, can we have Freespace 3 as well please?

    • bill says:

      I’ve sometimes wondered how you could do a modern Tie-fighter.

      It’s one of my top games of all time, but even so I don’t think you could do the heavily scripted missions these days. The ones where you have to replay them 5 times to work out where each attack will come from, so you can be heading in the right direction even before they arrive. (and then probably die anyway from a collision and have to replay a 1 hour mission)

      If you could keep the exact same vibe, and keep it single player/co-op, but make use of modern tech for improved AI and dynamic missions (with the story integrated into them) then that’d be awesome.

      • Schiraman says:

        Excellent point, and good summary of how those missions used to play out :D

    • Syphus says:

      I’d rather have a proper Descent 3, rather than the half-assed one that came out.

  12. bill says:

    I loved this game. The campaign was probably too long, and the story wasn’t amazing (and had a few big plot holes), but it still managed to capture the ‘feel’ of the original movies. And this was back when I cared about the franchise too.
    It was about the last game that managed that star wars vibe before the whole vibe went to pot.

    Not as good as Tie Fighter, or course. But nothing really is.

  13. The Petulant Platypus says:

    X-Wing Alliance is a beautiful game, maybe not as wonderful as Tie Fighter was back in the day but it’s no slouch either.

    The greatest thing about the whole X-Wing series is that it always allowed you to engage in those wonderful mass space battles you saw in the movies. Those whirling spectacles that culminated in the awesome final battle in RoTJ. I remember sitting in the drive through watching The Empire Strikes Back and pretty much being convinced that my future was in flying the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field and shooting down AT-AT’s on Hoth. To a very young boy it wasn’t fantasy watching Luke take on the Empire in his X-Wing and Han beating the odds with style, they were career options.

    Of course it all fades away as you get older and reality sinks it’s boot in but when these games were released they elicited those wonderful feelings I had as a small one. As we all know, X-Wing was great but Tie Fighter just kicked it to a whole new level it was hellishly entertaining. The Ties were fodder (at least the basic ones) and it was a lot of fun to fly by the seat of your pants in the basic model through those space battles.

    I first played TF with a mate and we finished the game in one sitting (alternating between piloting and systems management) we decided to go get some victory chips and when we walked outside it was pitch black and was 5am, we had played for almost 19hrs without even noticing. No game has captured that for me since.

    XvT wasn’t overly great, was fun for multiplayer and not much else. X-Wing Alliance though had the better looks and an entertaining story, plus you could fly a YT-1300 – nerdgasm! Even flying the YT-2000 was great fun, flying a freighter and dealing with cargo was just a new aspect to an already solid experience.

    I’ve recently restarted playing XWA and it’s just divine. I would dearly love a new X-Wing game.

    Sorry for the waffling :)

    • Syphus says:

      XvT was great, just too early for its time. That game in the broadband era would’ve been perfect. However, Balance of Power gave it a soorley needed campaign on both the Rebel and Imperial side. The first time I saw the Super Star Destroyer in Balance of Power, it rivaled the best TIE Fighter missions.

      • Volcanu says:

        The mission where you destroy the SSD in Balance of Power is without doubt one of my fondest gaming memories.

    • Laurentius says:

      Oh I agree, I don’t really know what people see in XvT, for me it was medicore and Balance of Power was barly all-rightish but not coming even close for XWAlliance campaign. Man, but to compare it to Tie-Fighter campaign seems so surreal to me. Missions in Tie -Fighter were absolutly glorius, I still remeber so many of them.

      • Volcanu says:

        The dogfighting was brilliant and the multiplayer was the best of the series – if a little hampered by being more or less designed for multiplayer in an age where everyone was on dialup or ISDN and it was still a newish ‘thing’.

        I absolutely adore XvT – I thought Balance of Power was really good, much more consistent in quality than Xwing Alliance’s campaign which has a lot of tedious missions in it (albeit some great ones too).

        That said, its more or less impossible for me to be objective as it was the first Star Wars game I ever played and one of the games that got me into PC gaming. As such it completely blew my mind. I had no time to become jaded and I hadn’t experienced TIE fighter or Xwing before it.

    • Stazmo says:

      I remember rewinding the VCR to replay the Death Star battle at the end of ANH. I had it timed from the end so i could hit play just as General Dodonna was starting the mission briefing. So it felt like X-Wing/Tie Fighter was made specifically for me. :)

  14. Syphus says:

    If anyone really cares, there is a browser base X-Wing game of some sort that has come out. However, don’t play it because it is bad and will ruin all your memories of these games.

  15. derbefrier says:

    You know now that I have a massive and over complicated joystick myself I will have to hunt these games down and give them a shot. I dont think i have played any of the star wars space sims. Thats something that has to be fixed. Can you still buy these or will I have to put on my pirate hat? Also which one should i start with(preferably the best one)? I never had a joystick before so i completely missed out on these games and forgot they existed.

    • Premium User Badge

      amateurviking says:

      TIE Fighter is the pinnacle for many (me included), I’m not aware of them being on any DD platforms. You might be able to get disks from Ebay. Other sources are available. X-Wing is almost like a study for the later greatness of TF. Worth a ping but less accessible and rougher round the edges. X-Wing v TIE-Fighter I’ll admit to only having played a wee bit of, but is great for MP and skirmish-style play. And X-Wing Alliance is pretty good, but not, alas, the Hegelian synthesis we once hoped it would be.

    • pmh says:

      Also give the Wing Commander games a shot. They’re available on GoG.

  16. psuedonymous says:

    If you want some easier-to-run Star Wars space-combat goodness, then try Bruneras’ freely available Battle of Yavin and Battle of Endor games.

  17. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    Let us not forget the sadly hard to emulate rogue squadron games on N64 and Game Cube (I think there was a PC version that is similarly refractory to modern systems). They may not have had the depth of TIE Fighter but lordy they were good clean arcadie fun.

  18. MrStones says:

    “Next up, that Battlestar mod for Freespace, I think.”

    Can’t pass by the words mod and Freespace without shouting out a recommendation for JAD http://www.hard-light.net/wiki/index.php/Just_Another_Day

    I played a LOT of Freespace 2 campaigns after I rediscovered my old joystick and JAD was hands down the most fun/intense combat of the lot and as a added bonus it’s bloody hilarious too, Never played a game/mod that made me laugh so hard and swear so much over so short a time.

  19. GameCat says:

    That title pun is stellar.

  20. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Ha, seems no one liked the freighter missions. It was my favourite aspect of the game. I wanted more. I loved just shipping crates and cargo about and wanted a whole game just like that.

  21. adot says:

    Since it looks like no one has mentioned is yet, Disney has an online space combat game called “star wars attack squadrons” in the works. It looks like it might be ok.

    Maybe Alec could get a little more info on that for us?

  22. TheManko says:

    When I bought a Logitech G940 I was devastated when Freespace 2 didn’t support pedals, even with mods. I still had a great time revisiting it and the various campaigns like Wing Commander Saga! I’m looking forward to the glorious space combat future where I’ll have both hands on joystick and throttle, feet on pedals and VR on my head. It’s too bad it’s unlikely we’ll have any brand new X-Wing or Tie Fighter games to play with our joysticks. Unless EA surprise us.

  23. Sidewinder says:

    Alec, these are words you’ll probably never hear about an X52 pro (unless you visit joystick forums, wherein whatever you have, no matter what it is, sucks), but it is lacking one feature that could improve one of those deficiencies- force feedback. You know what’s better than a sense of shaking and rumbling? ACTUAL shaking and rumbling.

  24. SuicideKing says:

    Well, FreeSpace 2 Open is much easier to setup, especially some of the campaigns with standalone installers.

    Alec, if you’ve played through the original two FreeSpace campaigns (or even just the second), then you might also want to try out Blue Planet.

    Correction: You must try out Blue Planet.

    EDIT: FS2 Open supports TrackIR too!

    EDIT 2: For all those looking for pointers on getting started with FreeSpace 2 Open, see:
    http://www.hard-light.net/wiki/index.php/Getting_started

  25. spaced says:

    “Battlestar mod…”

    Diaspora deserves some attention, both from press and from its devs! I came off the series last summer hungry for a Viper-sim, and Diaspora delivered, to an extent. Some bugs (and a nearly impossible to understand on-board DRADIS) made it a little hard to keep firing it up after a month or two. Plus there’s like less than five missions. Trying to finish a mission and then land on a Battlestar’s landing pods was an amazing feeling, and the sound effects and music were spot on, but it just didn’t feel cohesive, and I spent way too much time passing enemies, turning around, and trying to hit them, only to be passed again over and over. I’m no noob to space shooters, so I think it had more to do with the AI than user skill.

    Anyway, someone should pick that game up and fix it, or I guess we’ll just have to wait for the inevitable tie-in game for the new BSG movie Universal is planning to shit on fans with.

  26. TheBuff1 says:

    I literally started playing X-wing Alliance with these updates on Monday how spooky!!

    But absolutely loved X-wing back in the day – could never get very far in it though – it was rock hard!! And then Tie-Fighter came along! My god I played the hell out of that game. Still have it with the add-ons on CD somewhere. The missions were amazing – defending the Emperor in his pleasure yacht, using the new ‘beam’ weapon & the battles with capital ships, the new ships – missile boat and Tie Defender. Also loved the storyline with the defection of Admiral Zaarin and climbing the ranks both officially and part of the shadowy Emperors Hand bit. Damn I played it to bits. All with the mouse as well – never owed a joystick!!

  27. Tuskin38 says:

    Someone may have posted it already, but Direct3D mode for X-Wing Alliance and other games like Jedi Knight 1, won’t work with AMD Drivers newer then February 2013, if you want to play the game with the craft pack you will need to downgrade your drivers.

  28. KillahMate says:

    Alec, if you’re planning on playing Diaspora next, don’t forget to apply patch 1.1 to the install! The default installer is still 1.0 and the patch fixes and adds a LOT:

    http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=87289.0