X-Wing fan remake XWVM shows space combat in full glory

Video games have come farther in the last 20 years than we could've imagined, and games like Star Wars: Battlefront look remarkably close to their cinematic counterparts. Sometimes, though, certain titles are labeled "classics" for a reason. Cases in point: the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games from the '90s, much-loved by older gamers everywhere but that never received a modern-day remake. Hobbyist developer David Esparza Guerrero felt the same way, and decided to do something about it. He went to work remaking X-Wing, has recently posted a video of some of his ongoing work.

Guerrero built XWVM using the Unity engine and a combination of the original titles' assets and freely-available models. PC Gamer notes that the battle pictured in the video is a recreation of the an Y-Wing Historical Mission 6: Interception and Capture.

The biggest fear with a project like this is that Stars Wars owner Disney could bring its legal hammer down on the project at any moment. Guerrero's XWVM doesn't use copyrighted material and relies on the original games' data, but there's no telling how Disney's lawyers may look at it. The original thread about the remakes started back in 2014, and Guerrero continues to post updates as he continues his work. As long as Disney leaves him alone, that will likely be the place to watch for updates.

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    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    With Disney’s high budget being thrown into Star Wars, it’s about time we saw some good Star Wars games again.

    SW lego was fun, but it’s not really Star Wars.
    Battlefront is just a theme pack for BF4. There’s no story or campaign worthy of the Star Wars label there.

    Give us a new X-Wing, Disney! Give us a new Jedi Knight! Give us a new KOTOR! You want to make money? WE HAVE MONEY! Make cool SW games we can spend it on please 🙂

    • Kharnellius
    • 3 years ago

    Awesome….who here kept wanting to triple tap the “S” key to balance out his shields and hit Shift-F10 to redirect laser energy to shields?!

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    Impressed

    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    Looks cool but it drives me crazy that the ships fire at a really slow and perfectly steady pace. Totally destroys the feel of a star wars dog fight.

      • bthylafh
      • 3 years ago

      Fair. That’s about how it worked in the original games, though.

    • Kougar
    • 3 years ago

    The nostalgia is strong with this one.

    Even with the quirky mashup of random UI elements the original game was so old it still works. I really would like to see the entire game re-released with updated graphics. Maybe a few extra improvements, or even a new campaign since I’m already wishing for everything…

      • bthylafh
      • 3 years ago

      Heh, careful what you wish for. LucasArts milked the heck out of the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter: the original MS-DOS releases on floppies with a few expansion packs for each, then a collector’s CD-ROM version of each with all the expansions and high-res graphics, then yet another release for Windows 9x with primitive 3D acceleration.

        • Kougar
        • 3 years ago

        I can’t remember if my copy of Xwing was floppy or disc. My father saw I was awestruck (one of my first pc games and my very first online multiplayer game) and gave me the collector’s edition CD that Xmas. The 2x resolution on the graphics was a huge deal, but Tie Fighter was just so much sharper and cleaner on top of that.

        I’d never heard about the 3D-accelerated version, to be honest I never noticed FPS issues on the Win 3.11 Pentium box. I am still amazed that many of the online dogfights and starfighter brawls I got into were mostly lag free given everything was using mostly 28Kbps back then.

        But yes as you say LucasArts / Disney is still milking it, hence why it is on steam at crazy prices when all they did was package in DOS emulator and quick hacks to disable CD detection DRM. They could have an easily successful game if they’d actually do a remake with all the original content and many deep campaigns rolled into a single modernized game.

          • Krogoth
          • 3 years ago

          Exactly, Disney has a massive IP gold mine. They could easily re-package the Tie Fighter and X-Wing saga assets to a new generations of gamers over PC, Xbox One and PS4 platforms.

          The intro for my favorite star wars game. 😀

          [url<]https://youtu.be/puvD_FDS_jE[/url<]

            • Kougar
            • 3 years ago

            Audio is out of sync, but I’d have to agree! The MIssile Boat was fun, but have to say the Tie Defender is where it’s at!

            • bthylafh
            • 3 years ago

            Absolutely. I hated losing the T-D and having to go with the missile boat, because getting a lock on enemy fighters was a real bear for me.

            • Krogoth
            • 3 years ago

            Tractor Beam is your friend. 😀

            Missile Boat is hilariously OP and completely wipes the floor with anything.

    • blitzy
    • 3 years ago

    already better than star citizen

    • Mat3
    • 3 years ago

    The video should have some gameplay from the original, unaltered game so we can get a better idea of the improvements made.

      • bthylafh
      • 3 years ago

      I’m certain someone’s posted Youtube videos of the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter. Trust me, this looks /amazing/ in comparison, starting with realtime cockpit shadows and nearby planets & stars.

    • rechicero
    • 3 years ago

    Instead of suing they should just pay the guy and market the game. I would pay for a modern XWing vs TIE fighter, without more changes.

    And for all the Wing Commander Series (and Privateer) too. Just update the graphics and take my money.

    • uwsalt
    • 3 years ago

    For clarity and emphasis, I’ve lightly edited and reorganized some of the article’s statements (while preserving their plain meaning).

    “The biggest fear with a project like this is that Stars Wars owner Disney could bring its legal hammer down on the project at any moment.”

    Because of copyright?

    “Guerrero’s XWVM doesn’t use copyrighted material”

    Problem solved!

    “but there’s no telling how Disney’s lawyers may look at it”

    True, the scope of an owner’s copyright can be bit murky around the edges. Are we actually sure that he isn’t using copyrighted material? Is there some ambiguity here?

    “Guerrero built XWVM using . . . the original titles’ assets”

    “Guerrero’s XWVM . . . relies on the original games’ data”

    Wait, what? That doesn’t seem very ambiguous at all. Unless the original assets and data are not copyrighted (and by default, they would be), why did the article say (in the same sentence!) that XWVM doesn’t use copyrighted material?

    I now have a pretty good guess as to “how Disney’s lawyers may look at it:” as infringing.

    I love projects like this, I really do. And Mr. Guerrero appears to be doing great work. I hope he’ll be able to continue and release a polished finished product that does justice to the original titles and that fans enjoy.

    But I don’t understand why, if he is using assets from the original games, there would even be a question as to whether his work is an infringing derivative work. It plainly is. Disney would be well within its rights to insist, quite reasonably, that Mr. Guerrero cease and desist. Beyond that, I would hope that someone at Disney involved in such a decision would have the business sense to see the potential business opportunity.

    A low-investment / low-risk option would be to grant Mr. Guerrero a limited license to continue his work, leaving Disney with the right to any residual income and terminate the license at its option. On the other end of the spectrum, Disney could contract or hire Mr. Guerrero to help produce a full-fledged first-party reboot. Or Disney could explore something in between.

    But I doubt that Disney, especially in light of its reigning in of the unwieldy Star Wars “Universe(s),” will just sit idly by.

    *Edit*: Reviewing the creator’s original thread, it looks like he created an updated engine that requires and reads from an installed version of the original game. That’s not clear from anything in the article and should probably be mentioned.

    That’s fair less clear cut than a project that actually duplicates original assets. It may still raise some fringe (heh) copyright (or trademark) issues. In my view, such a project should not be treated as infringing, directly or indirectly. But, if the original game’s license precludes the licensee from using the game’s assets with a project like this, the licensee could be seen as infringing. In that case, if Disney were being (overly) aggressive, it could plausibly argue that this project has no purpose other than to enable infringement.

    I’d like to think that the folks at Disney would have enough sense to avoid going down that rabbit hole. The smart thing to do would be to buy XWVM or hire Mr. Guerrero to complete it.

      • Chuckaluphagus
      • 3 years ago

      If you read the forum thread (linked in the article) that documents the development of this mod, you’ll see why: Guerrero isn’t and won’t be distributing any of the original assets at all – you’ll need to have a copy of X-Wing (which can be purchased legally from GoG) installed in able to use what he’s building. It’s the same as a number of other completely legal update projects (BG Tutu, FS2Open etc.) that have been produced as non-commercial projects over the past twenty years. There isn’t a question of him infringing legitimate work because he’s not performing any infringing actions. He might be lying about that, but reading through 30-some pages of the project thread, it sounds like he’s been extremely careful in that regard from the get-go.

      • Azrapse
      • 3 years ago

      Hi.
      I am the author of the video.
      Thanks for taking the time to elaborate such a thorough post.

      The X-Wing EULA has this paragraph relevant to this subject:

      [quote<]If a Disney Service is configured to enable the use of software, content, virtual items or other materials owned or licensed by us, we grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-sublicensable, non-transferable license to access and use such software, content, virtual item or other material for your personal, noncommercial use only. You may not circumvent or disable any content protection system or digital rights management technology used with any Disney Service; decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble or otherwise reduce any Disney Service to a human-readable form; remove identification, copyright or other proprietary notices; or access or use any Disney Service in an unlawful or unauthorized manner or in a manner that suggests an association with our products, services or brands.[/quote<] From what I understand: [list<] [*<][b<]We get permission to use the game's content for personal and noncommercial purposes[/b<]: the mod is 100% free and for personal use. [/*<][*<][b<]We are't allowed to circumvent content protection[/b<]: X-Wing has none since 1994. [/*<][*<][b<]We aren't allowed to decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or basically obtain the source code from the game[/b<]: We aren't doing anything of this. The flight-engine is being reimplemented, that is, built from the ground up without access to the original sources, only by using external observation and comparing results. [/*<][*<][b<]We aren't allowed to remove copyright notices, or other identifications[/b<]: We are leaving exactly the same ones that appear in the original game. Not removing any or adding any (not adding ourselves to the credits, for example). [/*<][*<][b<]We aren't allowed to use the game for illegal practices, or suggest that they are associated with us[/b<]: We obviously aren't doing this to commit any evil, neither we try to fool the player to believe that Disney is backing us. [/*<] [/list<] I am no lawyer, but I take this very seriously and have been paying attention from the very beginning so that we do not upset anyone at Disney, Lucasfilm, EA, etc. Besides what is said above, we aren't distributing a single bit of the original content. The player needs to own the game and have it installed. The mod just steps in to "run" the content with its rebuilt executable, instead of the old original MS-DOS or Windows 95 executable. The only reason we are doing this is because we love the old X-Wing game and want it to run again with its original content and design on modern hardware, while removing some wrinkles from it. It is a personal project, and it will be completed four ourselves even in the scenario that Disney decides to ask us not to distribute it.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    I’d assumed from the picture and video that it was FSOpen, it doesn’t look like unity at all.

    Sadly, it’ll probably still run like Unity on slower hardware 🙁

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    Since nobody has said it yet…that looks amazing, and thanks to Mr. Guerrero for his talent, hard work and dedication to updating a classic game. I wish him good fortune in completing it and hope that it can find its way to old fans and new ones.

    • hasseb64
    • 3 years ago

    LOVED the original! On my top ten list!

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    YOU KNOW THAT SCENE IN THE FORCE AWAKENS WHERE [spoiler<]WHATSHERFACE HAS THOSE FLASHBACKS?[/spoiler<] I JUST HAD FLASHBACKS TO THE 90S! The nostalgia is strong in this title.

      • drfish
      • 3 years ago

      [spoiler<]WHATSHERFACE?!?![/spoiler<] Really?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        [spoiler<]Maz Kanata is Jar-Jar's mom[/spoiler<]: CONFIRMED

          • drfish
          • 3 years ago

          In other news, comment-reply email notifications don’t respect spoiler tags. Not that it matters to me in this case, but I hadn’t considered it before.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            Good to know before I actually spoil something.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 3 years ago

      Phhhhht! Nostalgia is a thing of the past–but I miss it anyway.

      • rechicero
      • 3 years ago

      I try to forget that… thing… they call “Star Wars” movie. Rogue One helped me just well 🙂

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