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Beginners Guide to XWAU

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:44 pm
by Ace Antilles

If you have reached this site, it is likely because you have purchased a copy of the X-Wing Alliance (XWA) game, either on CD-ROM or Good Old Games, STEAM etc, and now you want to get the best out of it. For that we congratulate you! Regardless of what version you have, on this site you will find the tools and means to do just that.
The XWA Upgrade (XWAU) aims to improve the XWA experience - models, looks, effects etc, without impacting the playability (too much :D).

The XWAU team has been working on this effort for more than twenty years - a long time to learn our craft and continue exploring the possibilities. Today we are able to experiment with many new advanced functions, but quality comes first! Only after new features have been thoroughly tested and approved by the team will they be released to the public. XWAU is vast and there are many screws to tweak and fine tune, but don't worry! If your goal is to upgrade your game, without going too deep into the inner workings, the following guide will provide you with some simple information, which will allow you to play without losing too much time.

2020 has been a challenging year, for all of us. But it is in the darkest nights that the stars shine brightest. So let's take comfort in the some of the good things that are given to us. Things like the Mandalorian TV show and ....

XWAU 2020 Mega Patch:
Have you installed your original XWA copy successfully? Very well, then you're almost done. With the XWAU 2020 Mega Patch, available via the Download section, you will get all the models and effects created by the team over the years. You won't need anything else. Double click on the patch and follow the installation instructions.

Before installing we recommend you create a backup copy of your existing XW Alliance folder. If you have used the previous XWAUCP release then also uninstall the XWAUCP v1.6 patch from the control panel.
We suggest the best option to install the XWAU 2020 Mega Patch is onto a fresh original basic installation of XW Alliance.
You will need roughly 7GB of free space for installation. This is due to adding so many updates in one pack.

You have to make only one choice, namely the Aspect Ratio. XWA is an old game, born when monitors had the 4:3 aspect ratio. Now the most common monitors are 16:9 or 16:10, so make your choice!

New game options:
There you go! XWAU 2020 has now installed the baseline setup ready to be played. At this point, you could settle for that, stop reading and start playing...
...or you could try out some other configurations and activate your VR or TrackIR devices.
In any case, the tool to use is the "Launcher", which is activated when you double-click on the X-Wing Alliance icon on your desktop. From here you can choose to start the game, start it by skipping the initial video, OR run the configuration tools.

Babu Frik's Configurator:
Babu Frik is a nice little guy, able to modify your game according to your preferences. Thanks to him you can choose different versions of the ships available, configure the additional graphic effects and toggle the different options for VR or TrackIR. Try them all and enjoy!
The Configurator is a new program similar to the XWAU 2020 installer. It allows you to change the game to your liking. Thanks to the Configurator, you can change your preferences after installing XWAU 2020 whenever you want. It will not be necessary to reinstall XWAU 2020, you just go back and alter the options to whatever you prefer to use.
All the choices from the previous XWAU individual installers have been included in Babu Frik to give you tons of options to customize the design of your game however you like.

Palpatine Total Converter:
Emperor Palpatine will convert you too! Use this tool to load additional "Shipsets" or save a custom version of XWA.
Use the Converter to save one or two versions of XWAU 2020 modified by you, without the need to install multiple copies of X-Wing Alliance on your Hard Disk.
Things may get a little more complicated at this point, and it will be better to understand what a Shipset is before continuing. Palpatine is very powerful and can do a lot more things than I could explain here and now.
Start playing, consult the forum and when you understand how to use Palpatine, he will be there waiting for you. For now, let's move on...

VR and TrackIR:
When XWA was created, virtual reality was still science fiction, and XWAU seems to have been created specifically to turn science fiction into reality!
Use Babu Frik to activate the VR and TrackIR options. This step is required to use modern devices with the game, remember it's over twenty years old!

Do you want more?
Do you want to stay up-to-date on developments in XWA game functions? Make sure you always have all the updated "Hooks".
What is a "Hook"? A hook is a way to inject code into the game. It enhances, adds a feature or fixes a problem with the game. All the current hooks are automatically installed with the XWAU 2020 Mega Patch and future patches. Updated Hook information is posted on the Forum subsection.
If you want to keep your hooks up-to-date use from the Download page to easily get the latest versions.

1) Run XwaHooksSetup.exe.
2) It will create directories named "Hooks" and "Setup" and download the hooks from GitHub into these. To redownload the hooks, delete these directories.
3) Copy and Paste the new files from the "Setup" folder into the XwingAlliance game directory and you're done.

Do you want more?
The world of XWA extends beyond XWA Upgrade. There are various websites that can provide game models ("OPTs"), missions, sounds, videos etc which were not part of the original XWA game. The Forum is populated by authors who frequently release new creations, often contained in other expansion packs or single downloads.
Use the Links section to explore new worlds and learn how to use the "Palpatine Total Converter"

Do you want more?
You're already are on the path to be an expert! If you have any questions, please visit the FAQ section and our Wiki section.
If you still don't have the answer you want, use our Forum. Have fun!

Re: Beginners Guide to XWAU

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:51 pm
by Ace Antilles
YouTube user Calmputer has made a quite useful video Tutorial on installing the XWAU Mega Patch.
Check it out -

It's a little out of date in some places now but still has all the fundamentals needed :)
You don't need to add Beta patches if dated before the last Update or unless you have some issues.