Jul 022015

Putting this here for posterity and in case it’s useful to others.

Updated 2015-07-06 with clarifications for the re-orchestrated music section. New entries are marked with an asterisk.

Updated 2015-07-23 with specific instructions on how to apply the “Laser Patch” for Star Destroyers, so they actually shoot and general instructions on adding enhanced models to the game.

This specifically applies only to people who have the Windows CD version of TIE Fighter (the one released using the XvT engine). If you have the old DOS version or the GOG.com version, these instructions may/will not apply to you. These steps are directly adapted from this guide, distilled into the minimal form of the steps I followed. That guide also has instructions for the older DOS version and GOG.com versions, if that’s your thing. Additionally, this is specifically for users of Windows 7 x64. I make no guarantees of applicability to other versions of Windows.

Primary Instructions

  1. Download Tie95-win7.zip
  2. Extract Tie95-Win7.zip to a temporary location (henceforth %TIE95-WIN7_DIR%)
  3. Insert the TIE Fighter CD. Close/exit autostart if it opens.
  4. Open the TIE95 disc in Explorer instead.
  5. Copy all files on disc to your hard drive somewhere (henceforth %TIECD_DIR%)
  6. Run XCS_TIE95_MSI_v1.0.0.0.exe from %TIE95-WIN7_DIR% and point it at the place where you copied the game files.
  7. Run XCS - TIE Fighter 95.msi from %TIECD_DIR%. Accept defaults (or change them as desired; I didn’t try; henceforth, this install path is henceforth %TIE_PATH%).
  8. Copy tie95.bat from %TIE95-WIN7_DIR% to %TIE_PATH%. This file closes Explorer when the game launches (possible color issues) and restarts it again when the game exits. Do not be alarmed.
  9. Locate the TIE Fighter 95 shortcut in the start menu, right-click and choose “Properties”
  10. Change TIESTART.EXE to tie95.bat
  11. Click ‘Apply’, then ‘Change Icon…’, then select the TIE95.EXE and click ‘OK’
  12. Click ‘OK’ to close the properties window.
  13. In your video card profile settings (e.g. NIVIDA Control Panel), create a profile for TIE95.EXE
    • Disable anti-aliasing. Having it on leads to weird color flickering.
    • Enable 16x Anisotropic Filtering
  14. Open XWTIE95.zip from %TIE95-WIN7_DIR% and run XWTIE95.exe to prevent D3D crashes.
  15. Make sure the disc is in the drive
  16. Copy B6M3GW.TIE from %TIE95-WIN7_DIR% to %TIE_PATH%\Mission (official LucasArts patch for this mission)
  17. Make sure you have a joystick plugged in. Game won’t cooperate without one.
  18. Run the game from your shortcut

Reorchestrated Music

To get the original music and improved voice, you basically need to rebuild the TIE CD disc with the Reorchestrated data files.

  1. Ensure you have a way to create and virtually “mount” ISO and BIN/CUE disc images
  2. *Download TF95ReorchestratedMusic.zip
  3. Download TF95ReochestratedDatav1.zip
  4. *Extract TF95ReorchestratedMusic.zip (doesn’t matter where). You should have a .bin and a .cue file.
  5. *Burn the BIN/CUE image to a blank CD (DVD will not cut it). Critically, there is no data (other than an empty blank.txt file) on this disc! It’s writing audio tracks layered with a data track and the game is expecting to find these audio tracks. This is key to make the in-flight battle music play.
  6. *This disc is now the physical disc you must have present when you play, not your original CD. Instead, the following steps will replace the physical CD with a virtual one.
  7. Extract TF95ReochestratedDatav1.zip to %TIECD_DIR%
  8. Replace %TIE_PATH%\TIE95.EXE with the one in the Data zip’s INSTALL folder.
  9. Create an image of %TIECD_DIR% and be sure to name it TIE95 (so it matches the original game disc)
  10. Mount it as TIE95 using some kind of virtual mounting software.
  11. *Ensure the original game disc is no longer in your drive and you are instead using the newly-created music disc.
  12. Run the game from your shortcut
  13. You may get prompted that there is no disc in the original drive. Click ‘Cancel’ and the game should launch anyway. It will not show this warning on subsequent runs.

Laser Patch

The original release of the game had a bug wherein ISDs wouldn’t shoot anything other than missiles. As you might imagine, this has/had a rather deleterious effect on mission balance for several missions (Battle 11 Mission 2, in particular, is all but impossible without your Star Destroyer dishing out firepower alongside you). This problem was fan-patched back when it was first discovered, but with all the binary file changes involved in the above, those patches don’t really work. I managed to figure out where in the executable the patches made their changes, though, by comparing byte-code before and after of a binary that I could patch. If you’re feeling brave and want to edit hexadecimal byte code directly, follow the following instructions.

  1. Obtain some way to edit binary files. I like frhed.
  2. Make a backup of your TIE95.exe file! I cannot stress this enough. If you screw up the binary, you’re SOL and will have to repeat everything above all over again.
  3. Open TIE95.exe in your hex editor.
  4. Locate offset 00dd89c and change these four bytes from 34 35 35 37 to 34 36 36 37.
  5. Locate offset 00ee834 and change the first of the four bytes at this location from 00 to 03.
  6. Locate offset 00ee844 and change the last of the four bytes at this location from 35 to 34.
  7. Locate offset 00ee848 and change these four bytes from 02 00 03 01 to 00 45 03 21.
  8. Locate offset 00ee84c and change these four bytes from 00 03 1c 0c to 00 04 00 fa.
  9. Locate offset 00ee850 and change these four bytes from 84 03 00 00 to 00 7d 00 00.
  10. Save your modified binary.
  11. Give it a spin. Star Destroyers should now shoot.

Enhanced Ship Models

It is possible to use more advanced ship models, such as those in XvT, XWA, or the high-quality models produced by the XWAU project, in TIE Fighter. I’m not going to enumerate every step involved, but you’ll need a program called OPTech (the site’s hideous, but the tool’s good), which can read and write OPT model files in both the format used by X-wing Alliance and the older XvT-style format used by the Window release of TIE Fighter. Create a new project in OPTech, import an OPT, save it as XvT format, rename it as necessary, and drop it into your %TIE_PATH%/IVFILES directory, deleting any OP1 files that may also share the same name.


Stormtrooper Accuracy

 Posted by at 00:26  No Responses »
Oct 152010

It’s time for a good, old-fashioned nerd rant!

Stormtroopers get a lot of shit. It’s become a fairly widespread public perception that they’re a laughably incompetent bunch for a supposedly indomitable galaxy-spanning military. They can’t shoot straight, which makes the line “Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise” comical. A legion of the Emperor’s best troops get taken out by teddy bears. Obviously, the Rebels were destined to win.

Except all of those things are wrong.
Continue reading »

Sep 202010

TIE Fighter case artIf that post title got you excited, I apologize.

For a while now, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some kind of Star Wars fan film, being both a Star Wars nerd and an amateur filmmaker. One idea that popped into my head recently, while recollecting fond and cherished memories of playing the TIE Fighter computer game, was to adapt the game’s story into a TV (well, web) series. The game was story-driven enough that I think it could work, and had enough characters that it could be interesting. I’m not suggesting I’m going to do this. I barely have the time and energy to do all of the current projects I’ve saddled onto myself, let alone adding something as megalithic as this. But it’s still fun to think about.

According to lore, the TIE Fighter player assumes the mantle of Maarek Steele. Seems like a good choice for the series’ protagonist. As the game progresses, a number of major secondary characters and antagonists are introduced. Among them are then-Vice Admiral Thrawn, the rogue admirals Harkov and Zaarin, and Darth Vader puts in a cameo, too. Including the Imperial officer that briefs Steele before each mission, as well as the member of the Emperor’s Secret Order that provides secondary objectives, might work as well.

In terms of adapting the game, I think I’d first just go through the game mission-by-mission and isolate the major story components from each. These would get woven into the major arc of the series, which itself might even be split into seasons to mirror the distinct campaigns in the game. Once that had been done, the next step would be to pick out key bits of dialog from the game and weave those into the episode script. Nostalgia, man! It wouldn’t have to be line-for-line, but it’d be a fun callback to hit some of the key lines.

I might visit the idea some time in the distance future. TIE Fighter stands as my favorite game of all time (yes, even over WoW), and it nicely dovetails with the desire to do a Star Wars fanfilm. Of course, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to commit the amount of time doing an entire series would require. But hey, it’s fun to dream.