Play X-Wing with upgraded graphics. Trust us: you should

X Wing - A wing vs frigate

Some games are just too good to die. Lucasart's classic Star Wars space sim X-Wing is one of them. A recent post on Reddit gathered together a series of mods that will let you play the old X-Wing campaign in a more recent engine, in high resolution and widescreen. We knew right away that it was time to blow the dust off a joystick and get it up and running. Here's a four step guide to getting the classic space sim working on a modern PC in full retextured glory. All you'll need is a copy of X-Wing Alliance and these four steps and you'll be locking onto Interceptors in no time.

1. X-Wing Alliance

The first step is to get X-Wing Alliance installed and patched up on your system. It may be an old game, but it still works fine on modern operating systems. It's worth noting that the and graphical overhauls we'll be using will not work unless your copy is patched up to version 2.02. You can grab the patch right here on Lucasart's support site.

2. Ultimate Craft Pack

Next up, it's the Ultimate Craft Pack, a mod that updates and reskins hundreds of craft with lovely new high resolution textures, and even adds a few new ships to the mix. During the installation process you'll be asked to select your preferred resolution and choose whether you want to use some of the custom sounds and laser effects added by the mod.

Now we've got a full working, souped up version of X-Wing Alliance on our hands. Stop here if you want to play through the Alliance campaigns, as the next step will overwrite them with missions from the original X-Wing.

3. X-Wing Missions

An old project called X-Wing Redux converted all of the original X Wing missions into updated versions that would run in X Wing Alliance, the trouble was, they were all in Spanish. Fortunately Waylon and a team of dedicated modders have localised and updated the old mod. Both parts can be downloaded here under the heading XWC3.1. Before starting a mission, it's a good idea to head into the menu and make sure that your graphics settings are maxed out, this will stop the game crashing when you launch a mission.

Now, if you start as a new pilot and enter the briefing room, you'll find yourself playing through the original X-Wing campaign. Heading to the flight simulator will let you play the Death Star assault missions. If you change your pilot to 'XWC' then you'll have access to a series of bonus missions that will put you in charge of some of the nimble A-Wing or the noble space-tank and bane of Star Destroyers everywhere, the sturdy B-Wing.

4. Widescreen Support

This is the most fiddly part of the whole process. There are two ways to hack the game and enable widescreen. The first uses xwahacker. To use this unzip the files from xwahacker you want into your X-Wing directory, and then run the xwahacker application. If this doesn't work then the alternative is to edit the XWingAlliance.exe using a utility called Be.Hexeditor. Details on how to do this can be found in the ReadMe of XWC3.1. Be sure to back up your .exe file before editing it, as it's very easy to accidentally break the file, which means reinstalling the whole thing again.

And there you have it. A joystick is still mandatory, but if you've got the equipment and the patience to get widescreen working then you're in for a treat. For more X-Wing Alliance mods check out Darksaber's X Wing Station, an excellent resource for additional ships and missions.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.