TIE Fighter: Total Conversion patch adds ray tracing, but honestly I'm way more excited about the animated concourse menu

Animated menu of star destroyer
(Image credit: TFTC)

Sometimes a couple screenshots and a list of patch notes just isn't enough for an update. Sometimes a new patch needs a proper trailer, and that's the case for version 1.3.3 of the Tie Fighter: Total Conversion mod. You can watch it below, and it's pretty glorious.

If you're not up to speed, the TIE Fighter: Total Conversion mod is a port of the 1994 LucasArts flightsim TIE Fighter into 1999's X-Wing Alliance engine, and as a wise man once said it may well be the perfect mod. Full disclosure: I was the wise man. And I wasn't exaggerating! It's more than just a remaster of a cool old game, it adds to and enhances it with tons of new features, improvements, music, and missions. Heck, it even supports VR.

And the modders behind TFTC aren't done yet. There's a lot in update 1.3.3, including several new star destroyer models and experimental TIE starfighters, improvements to flight controls, new explosion effects and visuals, and more. If you like shiny stuff, there's even the option to enable ray tracing now, so the already stunning mod looks even better.

But I have to be honest, I'm most excited about the main concourse screen. In the original game, that's the menu screen where you choose what you're gonna do next: go into the training simulator, pick which mission you want to play, fly in historical battles, examine different ships in the tech room, and so on. It was a mostly static screen, though hovering the mouse over the options would open and close the doors to the different rooms:

TIE Fighter original concourse"

TIE Fighter Total Conversion improves the heck out of that, just like it does every other aspect of the game. The new concourse is animated! You've still got stormtroopers standing at their posts, but you can also see officers strolling past, someone using a hovering cargo cart, a protocol droid walking by, maybe a few pilots hanging around waiting for their next assignment. It's somehow utterly nostalgic and completely new at the same time.

Tie Fighter Total Conversion"

You also have a nice view through the windows outside of a planet in the distance, some starfighters, and maybe another star destroyer slowly cruising by. And what you see in these new concourse animations will change depending on your level of progress through the campaign. That's some wonderful detail, especially considering this is literally just the game's main menu. I love it. I want to play through the whole thing just to see how the concourse changes.

Okay, I'm done geeking out over a menu. If you haven't tried out TIE Fighter Total Conversion yet, you really should. The mod is completely free but you will need a copy of Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance which is only $10 on Steam. And here are the complete patch notes for TFTC version 1.3.3. Good hunting, pilot! 

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.