Update: TIE Fighter Compatibility

X-Wing fighter, inspecting a cargo container

A post of mine two years ago has gotten by far the most comments of any I’ve ever made in any of my blogs.  A lot of people loved reading “The Force is With Me! TIE Fighter 95 on Windows 7 x64”, but had trouble getting the compatibility shim to work.

I’ve found out a few things:  The original SDB file on LucasFiles was written for an older version of the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT).  I don’t remember which version I had originally used to read the file, but this file cannot be opened on it.  The 32-bit ACT Compatibility Administrator will report that it cannot open an x64 compatibility shim, but if you run the 64-bit version, it will say it can’t open a x86 compatibility shim.  I don’t use this tool very often and I’m not sure just how Microsoft deals with upgrades, but the original file was not going to be openable.

I used a utility called sdb2xml to extract the original SDB file to XML and read the settings.  I then recreated these settings in a new SDB file, uninstalled the old SDB file using Windows’ built-in sdbinst command and reinstalled the new SDB file.

I’ve made it available on my website.  Download xwtie95v2.zip.  Unzip the file into a temporary folder and run the batch file therein.  All that does is execute sdbinst xwtie95v2.sdb to bring the shim into the Windows compatibility database.

You don’t need to have the ACT installed to use the shim.   If you do have the ACT, you can open the shim with Compatibility Administrator (x86), not the x64 version!  (The 64-bit version of Compatibility Administrator is for fixing 64-bit applications.  Unless you were running 64-bit apps on Windows Server 2003 x64 or even XP Pro x64, you will almost never use this version.)

If you’re installing the game on 32-bit Windows (Vista or 7), the original installers should work.  If you’re on 64-bit Windows, the installer shims can be had from http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games.aspx.  You’ll copy the original game discs and use those to make a slipstream copy with a 64-bit-compatible installer.

The other Star Wars games, X-Wing Alliance, X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter, and Rouge Squadron, don’t need shims.

I’ve played a few missions in TIE Fighter with my shims and it appears to work.  The screenshot is from X-Wing because I could not remember for the life of me what the keystroke for screen capture is in either game, and I had X-Wing screenshots lying around.

Since TIE Fighter is such an old game, many of the websites devoted to it have disappeared;  finding information on old games is as much a challenge as is playing them!  But I found a few sites:

Allen’s site has a collection of homemade missions, which I have not tried yet.

I hope this works for those still having problems.  Happy gaming!