It’s not quite a total conversion mod (yet) and it’s certainly not a new game or an official remake (or even an unofficial remake), the XWVM mod for the original 1993 DOS release of X-Wing is a mod that updates the original LucasArts game for today’s modern sensibilities.
The mod is headed up by David Esparza Guerrero, and he’s working with a number of other part-time, mercenary designers who have a love for the original space simulator from back when LucasArts was interested in making and producing good games.
The mod has been steadily receiving a lot of positive feedback and media support after a video was posted earlier in December showcasing 14 minutes of gameplay from the original X-Wing running some of the new XWVM features from the Unity 3D game engine, including hyperspace sequences, improved space dust, space engine glow, sun flares, improved ship models, functional turrets on the capital ships, new mouse cursor designs, improved combat AI and accurate ship explosions.
You can check out the video demonstration of the latest build of the XWVM mod below.
A lot of old-school fans who grew up on X-Wing and Tie Fighter instantly fell in love with what Guerrero and the rest of the crew are putting together with XVM.
Over on the GOG.com forums, Guerrero explains that they plan on releasing a build of the mod for the original X-Wing game once certain features are put into place, but people need to temper their expectations, writing…
“There are a few features that would better get fixed before doing a release, because the game is currently in a really rough state. It totally is a pre-alpha build, and I cannot stress that enough.
“It’s a proof of concept, basically. I say this because most comments in those websites complained about it looking bad, missing features, or not being everything they expected.“
Other commenters quickly jumped onto the train of naysaying, conducted by negative Nancy. There was a lot of talk about the mod being shut down permanently by Disney due to it violating copyright infringement and that the project would likely be axed before it even gets released.
Well, Guerrero addresses the legality of the mod over on the XWVM’s ModDB page, where he states…
“The mod will require the player to own and have installation of the original Star Wars: X-Wing game, or have the GOG or Steam versions of X-Wing Special Edition (either the 1993 floppy, the 1994 CD, and/or 1998 Windows edition). XWVM neither contains nor distributes any copyrighted material. All game resource files (missions, voiceovers, SFX, iMUSE automaton, etc) are loaded from the player’s copy of the original game, or are original creations of our team, where the original resources are considered inadequate for today’s standards.”
So yeah… you can’t play this mod unless you have an original copy of the game.
Of course that doesn’t mean that Disney can’t swoop in and send out a cease and desist order, but they would literally only be shooting themselves in the foot, given that if the XWVM mod really takes off, then it will only make Disney more money from people who go out and purchase or re-purchase a legitimate copy of X-Wing.
In fact, it was mods like iCEnhancer and dozens of other creative creations from the community that helped push strong PC sales of GTA V. So if Disney was smart, they would let Guerrero and the rest of the crew keep their heads down and continue work on the XWVM mod.
Originally Guerrero didn’t want to broadcast the mod that much, but he mentions on the forum that a bunch of sites caught wind of the mod while they were still uploading test videos and whatnot, and things blew up from there.
At this point, they’re still getting acquainted with the latest version of the Unity 3D game engine, and will continue to work on improving code under the hood and implementing new art assets to upgrade the overall visual quality of the game.
If things turn out well enough they also have plans on adding VR support, which could turn out be really cool if done correctly. You can keep track of the development of the mod by visiting the GOG.com forums or by checking out the ModDB page. They have plans on releasing the first version of the mod soon.