STAR WARS: X-Wing Alliance Receives A Facelift 20 Years In The Making

STAR WARS: X-Wing Alliance Receives A Facelift 20 Years In The Making

Classic Lucasarts space flight simulator, X-Wing Alliance, receives a beautiful fan made update, twenty years in the making.

Lucasarts released the classic PC game Star Wars: X-Wing in 1993. This wasn’t just an arcade shooter but a space simulation best played with a proper joystick.

This was followed up with Star Wars: Tie Fighter, another simulation but with a story told from the Empire’s perspective.

Star Wars: X-Wing vs Tie Fighter finally allowed those multiplayer battles we always dreamed of and later mission packs were released to give the game a single player story element that was lacking from the original release.

Finally, we come to Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance released in 1993, the last of the space simulation series. In a story that features you as part of a family trading business that unwittingly becomes entangled with pirates and the Empire, you join the Rebel Alliance and fight back.

The game featured hardware accelerated 3D graphics with higher resolution textures than previous games and looked great for the time. Cockpit graphics were now 3D rendered models rather than the 2D flat drawings of games in the previous series (not that they looked bad at all!)

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance is still available to play now via services such as Good Old Games and is still a great game, just looking a little dated. However, some dedicated fans, the X-Wing Alliance Upgrade, has been working hard on that…

Twenty years ago, a group of fans came together with the intention of just upgrading the 3D models within the game to give them a higher level of detail. As the years have passed, they have changed so much, there is barely anything of the original game left!

XWA Upgrade - X-Wing

Look at the difference!

Not only have they upgraded the 3D models within the game but space now has beautiful galaxies as a backdrop. There is now VR support, fully dynamic and interactive cockpits and of course the game runs in widescreen on modern computers and in higher resolutions. This is the original 1999 game 3D engine customized and pushed to its limits!

This comparison video showcases the hard work that has been achieved over the years.

To achieve this, you simply need a copy of Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance from either Good Old Games, Steam or maybe that original physical CD-ROM copy you have sitting on the shelf.

When I first tried this back in August, you needed to patch the game with multiple files (42 of ’em!!) which was time-consuming and a little confusing making sure you have every patch for every graphical upgrade.

This has all been made incredible easier with the XWAU 2020 Mega Patch! This is 20 years of hard work and further updates since August bundled together in one 2 GB patch file and the results are very much worth it!

The following video details how many improvements have been made in the last three months alone including brand-new 3D ship models and the new holographic message system that makes it easier to track what is happening in your current mission.

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance was great twenty years ago and now it has been bought forward to the modern day looking better than ever! Considering the fan made update is completely free and the game is less than £3 to buy, why are you still here reading this? Highly recommended!

John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves film, and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990s. Whilst that website became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. He's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.