December 4, 2023

Developer Nightdive Studios has revealed some of the difficulties it is facing in its work on the remaster for Star Wars: Dark Forces. Speaking to PCGamer, project lead Max Waine talks about some of the technical aspects of the game.

According to Waine, one of the things that makes bringing Star Wars: Dark Forces to modern systems difficult is the fact that the game makes use of its own interpretations of technologies that would go on to become commonplace. Waine calls the game “heavily over-designed”, and reveals that the original developers behind the title even came up with their own version of multi-threading to make the game work.

Dark Forces has been difficult to change, from the technical end of things, because it is very heavily over-designed,” says Max Waine. “There were a lot of small details in how LucasArts did things at the time that made stuff particularly difficult.”

“They managed to do multi-threading effectively, using a task system in the mid-1990s. We had to use sophisticated modern techniques to be able to get it to work nicely, while keeping the same basic idea.”

According to Waine, the studio was able to work around these issues while still making the game run on modern systems thanks to the fact that Nightdive had access to the game’s original source code. Using the original code, the studio has been able to bring a game originally made for much older computers from the 90s on to modern systems.

Considering some of the more outdated design aspects of the game, Waine also talks about the interface in Star Wars: Dark Forces, which is much harder to modernise without taking away too much of the original game.

“The other thing that’s been difficult to appropriately modernise is the user interface that they had, in terms of menus and such, because the menus are all mouse driven in the original,” said Waine. “Finding an appropriate balance that feels faithful to how the original menus are, while being able to work while you’re on a controller, was quite difficult.”

Announced back in August this year, Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster is slated for release on February 28, neatly falling in line with the game’s original February 28, 1995 release date. It will be coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

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