How To: Mod X-Wing Alliance Like A Jedi Master

Published: December 17, 2015 12:00 PM /


2015-12-16 19_03_33-XWA Upgrade Main

Great news Ace!  You can bring X-Wing Alliance up to a pretty modern appearance and get it running in wide-screen too.  It's the most Star Wars fun you can have for $9.00 with the 3D acceleration on.  Unfortunately the GOG and Steam versions of TIE Fighter and X-Wing have the 3D options forced disabled, so the program ignores you setting it.  There is a hack that re-enables it, but I'm having an instant crash on launch with that, so I'll write up an article on those titles specifically once I sort that issue out.

So you don't miss this later, I'll just put it right at the top:  X-Wing Alliance Strategy Guide.

We're going to cook up a modern X-Wing Alliance experience in a few easy steps.   

  1. Obtain X-Wing Alliance.  I suggest the GOG version because they didn't monkey with the executable like the Steam version did.
  2. Download XWAHacker.
  3. Download X-Wing Alliance Upgrade.  I prefer Darksaber's 2.3 Ultimate package, since it has all the best goodies in it.
    (The download link is all the way at the bottom of the page.)

Ok, now you're ready to go.  First, install X-Wing Alliance.  It doesn't matter where you choose to install it, the upgrade will find it.  Next install the Darksaber Ulimate Craft Pack 2.3.  

2015-12-16 18_53_37-DSUCP v2.3 Setup

Changes to make to check boxes (optional):

  • Dreadnaught (JM version)
  • Lady Luck
  • TIE Defender MKII
  • TIE Fighter (A New Hope Edition)
  • TIE X/3 Warhead with Lasers
  • T-65C A2 X-Wing (Alternate Cockpit POV)

Pick your source: cdrom, GOG, or Steam.  Then choose cockpit resolution.  I suggest 1600x1200 if you're going to play in 1080p resolution.

The pack will install.  This takes a good while.  Once it finishes, uncheck the "run DSUCP now" box and click finish.

Next, run the XWAHacker.  It's going to warn you that the executable is modified and some options are unavailable.  What you're interested in doing is altering the original resolution choices to be whatever you want.  I've tested 1920x1080 (replacing 1600x1200) and it works flawlessly.  It's been a bit prone to crashing at resolutions above that, like my monitor's native 3440x1440.  You can re-run this tool any time to experiment with different resolutions.  

 2015-12-16 20_05_47-Select xwingalliance.exe to edit

2015-12-16 20_06_55-xwahacker-qt

The FOV sets how wide your viewing angle is.  4:3 aspect ratios are 86 degrees.  When you alter the vertical resolution in a pre-set you're also going to zoom the view in or out a bit.  Don't set 640x480 to 1920x1080 or you'll be zoomed waaaaay back.  Pick the closest resolution to what you're adjusting to as which original line to change.  1080p and beyond is best using the 1600x1200 line.  Now, the FOV should be tweaked to your liking.  90+ will give you a pulled back view of your cockpit, letting you see out the side glass but making distant objects that much smaller.  I actually find that taking the FOV down to 65 at 1080p works best for me.  Experiment.

Save and exit.  Now you can run the game using the "XWA DSUCP Launcher" shortcut on your desktop.

 2015-12-16 20_10_40-X-Wing Alliance Launcher

2015-12-16 20_10_57-Load Player

Under "Pilot Options" you'll note that a DSUCP pilot has been added.  This pilot has the entire campaign unlocked, which allows you to play all the missions in the game.  This is quite useful for skipping the "Azameen Family" missions, if you just want to get down to X-wing business.   Once I've got custom campaigns sorted out, I'll write up some instructions for getting those working as well.  Darksaber and friends ported the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter as well as the XvT campaigns over to Alliance years ago, but I'm not certain they're working with this new version of the game yet.

Here are some close-ups of the replaced ships in the mod.  They have replaced nearly every texture and model in the game at this point, and it's amazing to behold.

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2015-12-16 21_59_15-X-Wing Alliance

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1080p Examples - click to enlarge to full size

Many thanks to Darksaber, and the rest of the dedicated folks over at the XWAUpgrade project.

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