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!

16 Comments on “Update: TIE Fighter Compatibility”

  1. […] Once again, I’ve revised the SDB file.  Get it here.  And read my updated post.) LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. robzakes says:

    Hey, a quick question. I installed this game using the solutions you have on here. I was able to install it successfully, and got it to play. However, now that it’s running it’s having some issues. The sprite graphics of the space station and characters look funky, replaced by some sort of static. Also, the graphics in the game engine will just kind of disappear during animations. Is this a compatibility issue, Or something else? I haven’t been able to find other instances of this problem online.

  3. daniel says:

    your link “http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games.aspx” doesn’t lead to anything…got any other suggestions?

  4. Jag says:

    “http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games/Default.aspx” is the right page

  5. BKRUBY says:

    Hello, I was able to install the game, The TIESTART.exe works fine but the TIE.exe dosn’t work … just thinks for a few seconds but never actually starts the program. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for the help

  6. revjustinian says:

    Hi, I’m a complete noob so forgive this comment:

    I have tried to follow these instructions exactly, installed the Compatibility Administrator, run the .sdp file, downloaded the install pack from the Markus Egger site, burned original info onto a disk with patches, installed the disk etc.

    But it doesn’t work at all!

    When the install program is running, it claims loads of files are missing. And all the .exe files seem to be missing from the original disk, so is this something to do with the fact that I’ve got a 64-bit windows 7?

    I downloaded the sdb2xml utility as on this website, but not sure what it’s supposed to do. I can’t run the .sdp file on the x64 compatibility administrator…

    Any help would be really appreciated

  7. davidcmoisan says:

    I will post another update soon, but in a nutshell, when you use Markus’ program to make the new install CD, you have to be sure your CD–all of it–is copied to the directory the program uses to copy its installer. All the files must be there.

    Then burn the destination folder that has the MSI installer and all the original files.

    Then install.

    Then run my batch file with the compatibility shims.

    Then insert the *original* Tie CD. Do not run autoplay.

    Then run the Tie shortcut in the start menu.

    I have been very busy at my day job (SATV), but I will review my instructions. I want to try Tie on the new drop of Windows 8 but it’ll be a few weeks.

    I’ve also been meaning to mirror Markus’ install files on my site as well.

  8. Sean says:

    Thanks so much! I remember playing this game on my 486 with DOS. I got it to work but some of the colors are off in the animations. Any suggestions? Much appreciated.

  9. Jim says:

    “http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games/Default.aspx” is no longer a valid link. Does anyone have Markus’ install files available?

  10. TheBadPhantom says:

    Cant’t go to http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games.aspx because its down. Can someone provide me an alternative link?

  11. Yarazin says:

    I ran your shim as instructed. I did everything per Markus site, and when I try to fly a mission with 3d enabled, it crashes every time. Thanks for the help. Win 7

  12. Seph says:

    I run Windows 7 x64 but http://www.markusegger.at/Software/Games.aspx. is down and I guess will no longer be running.. I just bought the X-Wing Collector’s Series with Tie 95 in it. I was told this would be a much easier to install than my original Tie 95 collectors cd which it isn’t. Any alternate sites to download this 64 fix?

  13. Steve says:

    How about a simple one shot file download to install and play this great old game? I’ve tried these types of shotgun approaches before and they never work. Most of us out here have no idea what the blog owner means with all his tech jargon. Have Windows 8 and would also like to play Earthsiege 2 again

  14. Tobias says:

    First of all thanks for all this work. I have a lot of xperience with getting xwA up and running but now i bought tie95 from Good old games. it runs perfectly, but when i activate 3d acceleration nothnig happens. i just tried to apply your patch and nothing happenned. then i did the Whole ACT thing on this site and i still couldnt activate 3d accel. one thing did happen though; the colors in the concourse and intro video where off. please help, david. i want to play tie fighter with 3d acceleration!

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