Classic Game Club #26: TIE Fighter!

So I have completed Battle One. Obviously it is the first campaign scenario, so not too tough mostly, but a nice intro. Mission 5 did give me some difficulty, mostly due to A-wings. The A-wing was always one of my favorites in XvT, and for good reason. That speed is deadly. Mission 5 puts you into a gunboat, which is basically the Imperial Y-wing. A decent craft, but taking on A-wings with it is tough to do.

Still I love this game. It just hits the sweet spot for me. The controls feel good, flight is tuned well, with the turning speed perfectly balanced. In fact it is quite the contrast to Wing Commander 3, the contemporary of TIE that I have played. In that game the controls were an obstacle to playing, with the joystick turning speeds unplayably low, with precision lacking. Mechanically this game also feels more diverse, with a wider variety of craft, and having many non craft objects like mines.

As for the music, it hasn’t actually made much of an impact yet. The imuse system seems to be a major point of admiration, but largely once I get in mission I don’t notice it. I’m going to pay more attention to it as I go forward, but for now I’ve been so enamored with the actual combat.

Technically it seems that mission failure isn’t really an impediment to progress. In fact I could have passed on mission 5 earlier, as I had completed the Emperor’s objective despite failing the primary ones. I have yet to do so. Going forward after failing a mission feels wrong somehow.

Still the game absolutely holds up as well as I’d hoped. XvT holds a high place in my memory, and I wasn’t certain how enjoyable the game would still be. Going by TIE Fighter, it absolutely would, as I am finding TIE to be very enjoyable to play still today. Is it possible to have nostalgic feelings when playing a game you have never played before? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m feeling here, and I like it.

Send E/S Red Knight home at the start of the mission since they’ll get replaced with GUN Tau. Call for reinforcements, too, just to stack things in your favor as much as possible. If you can snipe the turrets off the ISD when it shows up, you get that much less to worry about as well. Otherwise, it’s probably a waste of time to disable all the transports and bombers since (at that point) it doesn’t take much longer just to blow them up yourself.

Hah, not trying to depress you. The Force Feedback 2 has all of the axes you’d need to fully control Elite on its own, I just like the immersion of a full-blown HOTAS. I tried it once with just the stick and it played great. :)

I’ve never tried sending Red Knight home, so I’ll give that a whirl. Thanks!

Nope, sent Red Knight home, Tau never showed up. Ugh.

Just finished saving the Unanswerable Retort and had a chance to take Tie Fighter for a quick spin this morning. Took a couple tours through the training course in a basic TIE with the mouse and keyboard and then had a sudden urge to get a joystick working. I’m happy to fly without shields to serve the Empire, but I do need decent controls.

Just to depress you even more, the perfect Elite setup ought to have head- or motion-tracking hardware.

I think Brian is using Edtracker in that video above. I purchased an Edtracker Pro recently, and love it. If you already have something like TrackIR, obviously that works too.

I am using EDTracker, well remembered/spotted! It REALLY adds to the immersion. I’ll definitely get a Pro once mine dies (apparently the USB ports don’t last forever on even the pre-made models).

I went a little bonkers with GlovePIE trying to get most of the commands I expect to use mapped to a 360 controller. I was able to do it but did so by mapping lots of things to a DPad direction + button. Problem is that I can’t hit that and turn, and I’m pretty much always turning if I’m in a dogfight. Back to the drawing board I think.

What I did with XvT was put things like target switching on the d-pad. For the buttons I used fire, full throttle, match speed, full stop, dump power to shields, adjust shield power, adjust laser power. Obviously configure to your liking, but generally I only wanted targets on my d-pad since usually I’m only changing that out of direct combat.

Hey, would y’all be up for some XvT matches via Gameranger at some point? I took a break because there was one Balance of Power Rebel mission that we just. couldn’t. pass. But I’d love to return to it.

I’m intrigued by the idea, but last time you bailed on me Brian. sniff I only wanted to shoot some TIE Fighters Brian.

Kidding aside I would love to, but unfortunately my schedule will probably make that difficult. Been working 12+ hours a day, plus class, so I’m unreliable at best. That said I may be able to join, depending on the day. Wednesday or the weekend are my best bets.


A Long Time Ago, in a Thread Far Away…

Last November or so you tried setting up a regular multiplayer, you even showed me the patch to get my disks working (which was much appreciated!), but the couple times I tried to meet up it didn’t pan out.

Well crap I’m sorry, I’ll make it up you? you

I’m almost through with X-Wing Alliance, and yeah still plenty of this kind of BS. It’s almost like a puzzle game where you have to manage your time / what you’re devoting your attention to. The only thing Wing Commander had on the X-Wing series in the gameplay department was that it just let you blow some shit up without worrying about rigid mission design.

Sad, 'cause it’s the only thing holding back TIE Fighter and Alliance from perfection. Well, more fleshed out downtime like Wing Commander wouldn’t have hurt. But then these games could just leverage your memories of the movies to fill in the gaps, something Chris Roberts and co. couldn’t do.

I’ve been playing modded Freespace 2, and in some ways it’s the worst of both worlds. Plus the battles aren’t as big, and it doesn’t have the sensation of speed Alliance does. All the ships feel like they’re floating, and you keep running into enemies backsides.

It’d be hard for me to go back to TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance has the best graphics(especially with the mods), and the most ship variety.

Made a control script I’m mostly happy with. Might need to shove in radio commands some day, but it was enough to get me through the first Battle. I feel like I used to be better at taking out the A-Wings with the gunboat. Is that just a matter of being freer with my missiles? Anyway, here is the script in case anyone is interested:

Giant GlovePIE script you don’t really need to see

// Extended 360 GlovePIE Controller Script for Tie Fighter by Casey Robinson

// Loosely Based on Extended 360 GlovePIE Controller Script for FreeSpace 2 by Attic
// Maps the Xbox Controller to a specific set of Tie Fighter Keyboard and Mouse controls

/* Mapping

Left stick -- pitch, yaw
Left stick with left trigger down -- Roll, throttle

Right stick Up/Down -- throttle
Right stick left -- 0% throttle
Right stick right -- 100% throttle
Right stick button -- Match speed with target

Left Trigger -- Fire

B -- Target closest fighter/mine
X -- space key (target missle, activate tractor to end mission)
Y -- Target nearest attacking me

To cram more controls into 5 buttons, there is the ability to select modes
which change the mapping of ABXY.  To change modes, press and hold the right shoulder button
then single press the ABXY for the mode you want.  To return to the primary controls above, release
the right shoulder button.

The buttons for each mode are:
A -- Targeting
B -- Weapons
X -- Memory
Y -- Power

And the mappings in those modes are
A -- Nearest attacking my target
B -- Target next
X -- Target newest
Y -- Target prev

A -- Beam
B -- Select Weapon
X -- Transfer shield power to lasers
Y -- Firing mode

A -- Transfer laser power to shields
B -- Laser power
X -- Shield power
Y -- Shield orientation

Press and hold one of ABXY to remember a target, tap the button to recall it.


//////////////////// Always Available Controls /////////////////////////////

// LEFT STICK = Controls movement
// Note that the numeric value affects the speed of the turning, and we use a deadzone of 0.2 to prevent 'twitching'.
var.joyX = deadzone(XInput1.Joy1X, 0.2)
var.joyY = -deadzone(XInput1.Joy1Y, 0.2)
mouse.DirectInputX = mouse.DirectInputX + 25 * var.joyX
mouse.DirectInputY = mouse.DirectInputY + 25 * var.joyY

// RIGHT STICK = Controls throttle only. Push up to increase throttle, down to decrease throttle.
// Left for zero, right for full
// Press to match target
var.ThrottleDirect = XInput1.Joy2X < -0.8 or XInput1.Joy2X > 0.8
Key.Backslash = XInput1.Joy2X < -0.8
Key.Backspace = XInput1.Joy2X > 0.8
Key.Equals = XInput1.Joy2Y > 0.4 and not var.ThrottleDirect
Key.Minus = XInput1.Joy2Y < -0.4 and not var.ThrottleDirect
Key.Enter = XInput1.RightThumb

// Shift + Start = Hyperjump
Key.H = XInput1.Start and HeldDown(XInput1.LeftShoulder,100ms)

// Fire Primary
mouse.LeftButton = XInput1.RightTrigger > 0.5

// Roll, cursor targeting, throttle
mouse.RightButton = XInput1.LeftTrigger > 0.5

// New Alt Mode Logic
var.ModeSelecting = (var.ModeSelecting and not Released( XInput1.RightShoulder) and not var.ModeSelected) or Pressed( XInput1.RightShoulder)
var.SelectingWeapons = (var.SelectingWeapons and not Released( XInput1.RightShoulder)) or (var.ModeSelecting and Released (XInput1.B))
var.SelectingPower = (var.SelectingPower and not Released( XInput1.RightShoulder)) or (var.ModeSelecting and Released (XInput1.Y))
var.SelectingTargeting = (var.SelectingTargeting and not Released( XInput1.RightShoulder)) or (var.ModeSelecting and Released (XInput1.A))
var.SelectingMemory = (var.SelectingMemory and not Released( XInput1.RightShoulder)) or (var.ModeSelecting and Released (XInput1.X))
var.ModeSelected = var.SelectingWeapons or var.SelectingPower or var.SelectingTargeting or var.SelectingMemory
var.Primary = TRUE and not var.ModeSelecting and not var.ModeSelected

var.Weapons = Helddown( var.SelectingWeapons, 100ms ) 
var.Power = Helddown( var.SelectingPower, 100ms ) 
var.Targeting = Helddown( var.SelectingTargeting, 100ms )  
var.Memory = Helddown( var.SelectingMemory, 100ms ) 

//////////////////// Primary Buttons //////////////////////////

Key.N = XInput1.A and var.Primary

// Closest Fighter
Key.R = XInput1.B and var.Primary

// Nearest Attacking Me
Key.E = XInput1.Y and var.Primary

// Yes, target that missile
Key.Space = XInput1.X and var.Primary

//////////////////// WEAPONS /////////////////////////////

// Cycle Systems
Key.W = XInput1.B and var.Weapons

//Cycle Firing
Key.X = XInput1.Y and var.Weapons

// Beam
Key.B = XInput1.A and var.Weapons

// Siphon Shield Power
Key.Semicolon = XInput1.X and var.Weapons


//Adjust Shield power
Key.F10 = XInput1.X and var.Power

//Adjust laser power
Key.F9 = XInput1.B and var.Power

//Adjust shield orientation
Key.S = XInput1.Y and var.Power

//Siphon to shields
Key.Apostrophe = XInput1.A and var.Power


Key.T = XInput1.B and var.Targeting
Key.Y = XInput1.Y and var.Targeting

Key.U = XInput1.X and var.Targeting

//Nearest attacking target
Key.A = XInput1.A and var.Targeting

///////////////////Target Memory/////////////////////////////
//////////////////Not quite right yet////////////////////////
Key.F5 = var.Memory and Released(XInput1.A) and not Released(HeldDown(XInput1.A, 400ms))
Key.Shift and Key.F5 = var.Memory and Pressed(HeldDown( XInput1.A, 400ms))

Key.F6 = var.Memory and Released(XInput1.B) and not Released(HeldDown(XInput1.B, 400ms))
Key.Shift and Key.F6 = var.Memory and Pressed(HeldDown( XInput1.B, 400ms))

Key.F7 = var.Memory and Released(XInput1.X) and not Released(HeldDown(XInput1.X, 400ms))
Key.Shift and Key.F7 = var.Memory and Pressed(HeldDown( XInput1.X, 400ms))

Key.F8 = var.Memory and Released(XInput1.Y) and not Released(HeldDown(XInput1.Y, 400ms))
Key.Shift and Key.F8 = var.Memory and Pressed(HeldDown( XInput1.Y, 400ms))


Finished battle 4 and got a brief (very brief) reminder of why I thought the A-Wings were easier… advanced missiles. Looking forward to having more regular access to those. In the mean time I’ve been enjoying* how completely heartless the game is when you’re in a basic TIE. So easy to pop. My usual stupid death is following a Y-Wing too close and ramming the debris right after I destroy it.

Also, the music has been stuck in my head all day.

Yeah, any mission with A-wing where I’m not in at least a TIE Interceptor is a pain. Battle One Mission 6 had me stuck for a long time, eventually I gave just had to call in reenforcements right away. The teammates were less than useless here, or so it felt.

Now I’m stuck on Battle 2 Mission 3, largely because the mission critical craft bugged out on me. You are supposed to protect a craft until it docks with your ISD, but the last two tries the ship didn’t move. Probably something I’m missing.

One thing that really gets hammered home is the importance of speed. Honestly most missions I would rather have a TIE interceptor than most craft. For example when I get stuck with a TIE bomber? A T/I can go 100 while having lasers charge one level. A T/B, however, only goes 72. That difference makes taking out mid sized craft much harder, as they are far more likely to shoot you.

That’s a bug with certain versions of the game. I seem to recall that the patrol craft starts moving somewhere between the 20 and 30 minute marks. You can set time acceleration to 4x after you kill everything and it’s supposed to eventually get moving, if I’m remembering this right, but it has been a while.