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Star Wars: Empire at War
Publication information
Developer(s)

Petroglyph

Publisher(s)

LucasArts

Game engine

Alamo

Release date

February 16, 2006

Genre

Real-Time Strategy (RTS)

Modes

Single player, multiplayer

Rating(s)

ESRB: Teen (T)
OFLC (AU): M
USK: 12

Platform(s)

PC (Windows), Mac OS X

Chronology

Contents

Opening Crawl: Rebel Alliance Campaign

Empire at War
Rebellion! From scattered 
pockets of resistance across the galaxy,a group of 
freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance forms to 
challenge the awesome power of the Galactic Empire.

Relying on cunning and strategy to strike at Imperial 
targets,the Rebels have located 
prototypes of the devastating 
new X-wing fighter,and plan a bold raid to 
acquire them.

A ragtag Fleet of Rebel starships,led by Captain Raymus
Antilles in his specially designed flagship, the 
SUNDERED HEART,moves into formation for the assault....

Opening Crawl: Galactic Empire Campaign

Empire at War
The entire galaxy 
is under the rule of the tyrannical Galactic 
Empire. The only remaining  resistance
is a small Rebel Alliance
that dares to challenge 
their supremacy.

The impending creation of
the Empire's ultimate weapon
the DEATH STAR threatens
to crush the Rebellion.
Once operational, the
the Empire will have
the power to destroy an entire
planet.

Threatening to turn the 
tide of this struggle an
unknown Imperial traitor,
who deals military secrets.
The Emperor has tasked his
apprentice DARTH VADER with
tracking down and eliminating
this double agent....

Overview

Star Wars: Empire at War, (sometimes abbreviated to simply EaW), is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that takes place in the Star Wars universe. Promising to end the perceived mediocrity of past Star Wars RTS games (like Star Wars: Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds), Empire at War started from the ground up.

The game was developed by Petroglyph, comprising many former members of Westwood Studios (known for the Command and Conquer series). This company has developed a completely new engine specifically for EaW known as Alamo. It uses several higher-end shader effects such as soft shadows, specular lighting, and particle effects for dust clouds and explosions.

The game spawned an impressive mod community, and was followed-up by an expansion pack, Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, taking place between the aftermath of the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Endor.

Gameplay

The environment plays a significant role in Empire at War.

The game features a brand new style of play to make things a bit more realistic. Instead of building workers, gathering resources, and recruiting individual units, players are granted resources based on how many planets the player controls. Controlling worlds increases a player's cash flow and provide unique bonuses depending on the planet (ex. Armor increases, discounted prices, special unit production.)

Targeting an enemy's starship hardpoints to destroy that hardpoint is an essential to destroying the vessel.

Battles are carried out both on a planet's surface and in orbit. Whoever controls the planet's surface, controls the planet itself. There are different factors to keep in mind depending on your status as an attacker or defender. Attackers must secure Landing Points to increase the number of units they deploy, while Defenders may deploy up to 10 "units" on a planet immediately. Attackers have their advantages, though. They may call in bombing runs if they have Bombers in orbit. Likewise, ground-based installations (like the ion cannon and Hypervelocity gun) can fire upon units in orbit during space tactical battles. Unlike in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, shields will form an actual physical barrier that must be penetrated and protect bases from artillery and bombing runs. Assorted building pads litter the playing field in both space and land battles. These pads allow the player to build useful structures (e.g., turrets which can easily destroy enemy mechanized units.)

An Alliance Space Station under attack.
AT-AT Barges as seen in the game.

EaW takes place during the time between Episode III and Episode IV, concluding with the construction and possible destruction of the Death Star. Empire at War features three factions, although only two are playable. These factions are the Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire, and the Black Sun (playable with XML modding, see below.) Units in this game are a mix of Clone Wars-era and New Order-era. The Empire's advantages include powerful ships and swarms of TIE Fighters, while the Rebels, on the other hand, must rely on swifter ships and Raid Fleets (Small ground troop fleets that can bypass space defenses.) Like many RTS games, Empire at War features a "Rock-Paper-Scissors" unit usage style—for every unit there is a counter-unit. Brett Tosti, the LucasArts producer, has stated that this encourages players to create diverse armies and fleets with units that counter other units, as opposed to building a bunch of "super units".

Players are also able to call on reinforcements during battle, including heroes like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Players can also construct planet-borne ion cannons, factories, and space stations. Over forty locales are featured including Yavin 4, Tatooine, Dagobah, and others from the movies and Expanded Universe.

Much to the players' dismay, even if you mass a fleet on Alderaan's orbit, you cannot stop the destruction of Alderaan. It will happen no matter what. After the destruction, your fleet will automatically fly to a nearby star system.

Appearances

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Planets


Other locations

The entrance to Emperor Palpatine's secret storehouse inside Mount Tantiss.

Species and Creatures


Heroes


Other characters

Ground Units


Other

Space Units


Other

Structures


Other


Organizations and titles


Events


Miscellaneous


Hidden Items

The following are units and planets that were removed for the final version and are hidden or mentioned in the internal game files. Some have been unlocked via XML and MEG editing.

Planets

Heroes

Land Units

Space Units

Imperial Naval Troopers unlocked for EaW.

Missions

Rebel

Final box cover art

Imperial

Endings

There are two different endings to Empire at War's campaign mode depending on the side the player chooses to fight for. The end of the Rebel campaign closely follows the canonical ending of Episode IV. A cutscene shows Luke Skywalker's X-Wing destroying the Death Star and the award ceremony that follows afterwards. However, this ending should not necessarily be treated as canonical, as the final battle with the Death Star can take place over any planet in the game. Moreover, it is still possible for the Rebellion to "win," even if the Empire destroys other planets besides Alderaan, including Yavin IV.

The end of the Imperial campaign is non-canonical, as it is intended to be more of an "alternate history" in the vein of the Infinities universe. The ending cutscene depicts Darth Vader leading a ground assault on what is presumed to be the main Rebel base. The Rebel defenders are quickly crushed as Vader orders his troops to move in. Afterwards, a shuttle is seen flying to the Death Star, flanked by two TIE Fighters. In a scene reminiscent of the Emperor's arrival in Episode VI, an assembly of Imperial troops is shown waiting in one of the battlestation's hangars for the shuttle to land. As the shuttle deposits its contingent of Royal Guards, the Emperor disembarks, greeted by a kneeling Lord Vader. Palpatine congratulates Vader, claiming that the last Jedi and the Rebellion are defeated, and that it is all as he had foreseen.

Two other non-canon endings can be seen in Galactic Conquest mode. If the Rebels defeat the Empire without destroying the Death Star, or the player loses the game as the Empire, the ending cutscene depicts a pitched space battle over a ecumenopolis, presumably Coruscant. A Rebel fleet closes in on an Imperial Star Destroyer with Darth Vader on board. As the Imperial defenses crumble, Vader chokes the Star Destroyer's captain for his apparent incompetence and escapes in his TIE Advanced x1 moments before the ship is destroyed. From there, the same award ceremony cutscene follows that was in the campaign ending. Also, if the Empire destroys the last Rebel planet/one with Mon Mothma on it, the battle will be replaced by the Death Star destroying a planet, followed by the Death Star cutscene.

Modding

A screenshot from the Empire at War map editor.

As was revealed in early press releases and interviews, EaW is marginally open-source—with much of the game being controlled through text files (*.txt), XML files (*.xml), DAT files (*.dat), and LUA (*.lua). Anyone with the knowledge and software needed to alter these files can do so. The text files are easily edited in most text-editing programs (though Notepad is often the default editing program on the Windows platform) and control the unique ship names that appear on many of the capital ships as well as a fair amount of the stories used throughout the Galactic Conquest mode. The XML files control much of the data responsible for the appearance and behavior of units and buildings. These files are often, by default, launched in a web browser which allows for viewing only. For the purposes of editing XML WYSIWYG web editors (ie: Microsoft's Front Page and Adobe Macromedia's Dreamweaver), text-editors such as Notepad, or proprietary XML editors can all be utilized (though the latter two are most common due to their relative ease of use).

A wireframe TIE Interceptor from the fanmade ALO viewer.

DAT files require the use of software capable of reading the information embedded within. In Empire at War, DAT files are used to store almost all of the text found within the game. Lastly, the Lua files are used primarily for high-level scripting and AI. The decompiled files come with the Map Editor, and can replace the scripts in the EAW directory without having to compile them.

It is now possible to create new ground and space maps with the map editor released by Petroglyph. Included in the map editor download is a plug-in for 3ds Max 6 that can export models into .alo format used by the Alamo engine. However, 3ds Max 8 users that patch their software to the Service Pack 3 version are able to use the separately released 3ds Max 8 exporter in conjunction with the shaders provided with the map editor. Modified shaders created by EaW modder Mike.nl fixes an issue where the models in the viewports using Rskn shaders are invisible. 3ds Max 8 SP 3 is also necessary in order to use the exporter included with the Forces of Corruption map editor.

The community has been pressing forward in terms of modding, going so far as to implement diplomacy, create new particles, and even have detachments of transports assigned to a specific fleet in Galactic Conquest mode. There exist some fan-made programs to assist with the editing of what can be edited, such as an .alo file viewer and importer.

Mod Projects

There are many large mod projects now in the making, huge mod projects that add entire timelines.

  • Incomplete

PC Requirements

The following are the minimum requirements for the PC version of Empire At War.

Computer Required: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible computer

CPU:

  • Required: Intel P3 1.0 GHz or AMD Athlon 1.0 GHz
  • Recommended: Intel P4 2.0 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 2.0 GHz

Memory:

  • Required: 256 MB RAM
  • Recommended: 512 MB RAM

Hard Drive Space:

  • 2.5 GB

Graphics Card:

  • Required: 32 MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Transform and Lighting (T&L) Capability
  • Recommended 64 MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Vertex and Pixel Shader (VS/PS) Capability

Sound Card:

  • Required: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible PCI, USB, or Onboard Audio Device
  • Recommended: EAX 2.0 compliant Audio Device

CD-ROM:

  • Required: 8X Speed CD-ROM drive
  • Recommended: 16X Speed CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive

Input Device:

  • Required: Keyboard and mouse

Demo

Before the full game, a demo version was released. It consists of one Galactic Conquest mode not featured in the full version. In this mode only three planets and a few units are availiable. The story is set some time after the establishment of Echo Base on Hoth as the Rebel Alliance learns about an Imperial base in Vergesso asteroids. Fearing that it may detect their presence, the Rebels send Han Solo to deal with it. After the base is destroyed, Han is sent on a mission to liberate Tatooine. There he finds out that the Imperial forces are commanded by Boba Fett. The demo ends after the player captured the planet. This may contradict other sources as Tatooine appears under Imperial control until after the Battle of Endor. But it can be assumed that the Empire simply recaptured the planet later.

Expansion pack

Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Expansion.
Main article: Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption

An expansion pack was announced at E3 May 9, 2006. It adds 40 new units, 13 planets, a new faction and new warfare and features. It was released October 24th in the U.S.A and came out October 27th in Europe.

Inconsistencies with established canon

Some of the following inconsistencies could be considered an issue of game balance or mechanics.

  • Ackbar was discovered during the siege of an Imperial space station over Corulag.
  • A-wings are in use in the early Galactic Civil War. The R-22 Spearhead retcon partially reconciles this frequent inconsistency.
  • Antilles, R2-D2 and C-3PO all partake in a mission to Wayland, the Emperor's secret storehouse. No one in the Rebellion had even heard of the planet, much less operated on it, until Thrawn's campaign.
  • Imperial troops deploy from the AT-ATs underbelly rather than the sides.
  • Several Ship armaments and hard points don't match up with the descriptions of the ships i.e. the batteries on the side of the superstructure of an Imperial-class Star Destroyers are made up of turbolasers not ion cannons. Corellian gunships are stated in the game to have 4 banks of concussion missile launchers and 2 laser cannons when other earlier published games and media state the armament as 8 heavy turbolaser turrets, 6 quad laser turrets and 4 concussion missile launchers. Capital starships also have far fewer weapons than canon sources indicate.
  • Several ships seem to have more or less weapon hardpoints than they should; such as the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigates having 2 turbolaser and 2 laser cannon batteries and the Victory-class Star Destroyer's 2 enhanced turbolasers and single ion cannon battery.
  • Proton torpedos are falsely declared to be able to penetrate any shields, instead of simply being limited use heavy ordinances.
  • Most or all units in-game are scaled wrong, this being especially noticeable during space battles.

Trivia

Trivia sections are discouraged per the Wookieepedia trivia policy.

This article could be improved by integrating relevant items and removing inappropriate ones.

Original box art for Star Wars: Empire at War.
  • The in-game description for Maximilian Veers's personal AT-AT Blizzard 1 says his AT-AT cannot be toppled by Rebel Snowspeeders. However, in one of the recent patches, they stated that it was a bug and removed the feature.
  • In several sources, Fondor is misspelled as "Fonfor".[1]
  • Some sources also make the mistake of using the callsign "Base One" for Admiral Ackbar's Home One.[2]
  • The music was written by composer Frank Klepacki. The entire Empire at War soundtrack is available to listen to on his site.
  • The locations of many of the planets ingame are not exact. An example is the population of the Unknown Regions by well-known and canonically established planets, such as Taris and Thyferra. Differences such as these are due to game mechanics and are thus considered non-canon.
  • When choosing a side to play in the campaign, between the Empire and Rebellion buttons there is a sentence written in the Aurebesh. When translated, it reads "At Petroglyph we are dedicated to making top quality games that are extremely fun and innovative".
  • When clicking on Admiral Ackbar, he sometimes responds, "Beware of traps!" This is reminiscent of his famous phrase "It's a trap!" during the Battle of Endor.
  • Mining planet Kessel was named "Kossal" in the german version of the game, in correlation with the translation error, done by the localisation cast of Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

Reaction

Empire at War was well received by fans, and many considered it the best of the Star Wars RTS games. Gamespot called the game "The RTS fans had been waiting for." Others were disappointed that a sequel to Rebellion had not been made. However, some critics, at the worst, claimed the game to be shallow and repetitive, while others considered it fun but basic.

The game holds an overall rating of 79.88% on aggregate ranking site Gamerankings[3] and a 79 on Metacritic[4]. Individual websites such as Gamespot[5] praised the game's "epic-looking battles," "spot-on sound effects," and contrasting gameplay styles between the two factions, the Rebellion and the Empire. However, the game was not without fault as Gamespot found the battles somewhat repetitive and the land battles lacking compared to other facets of gameplay. Another popular gaming website, IGN[6] reviewed the game giving it a 7.6/10. They said that it provided "an authentic Star Wars experience," relating the experience to playing with Star Wars action figures as a child. IGN also complained of the game's repetitiveness and relative lack of variety, although recognized that the game's creators were somewhat hampered by the setting.

Voice Cast

  • Brian Bascle ... Kyle Katarn / Rebel Pilot / Rebel Trooper / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Carolyn Seymour ... Mon Mothma (voice)
  • Chris Cox ... Rebel Trooper / X-Wing Pilot / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Corey Burton ... Tie Fighter Pilot / V-Wing Pilot / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Denny Delk ... Narrator (voice)
  • Edmund Dehn ... Commander Ackbar (voice)
  • Gary Martin ... Interdictor Cruiser / TIE Mauler Commander / Additional Voices (voice)
  • J. Grant Albrecht ... Imperial Officer 1 / Rebel Field Commander / Additional Voices (voice) (as Grant Albrecht)
  • Jamie Glover ... Colonel Veers / Additional Voices (voice)
  • John Armstrong ... Han Solo (voice)
  • Kath Soucie ... Mara Jade / Rebel HUD (voice)
  • Lex Lang ... Scout Trooper / T4-B Tank Commander / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Lloyd Floyd ... Luke Skywalker (voice)
  • Nick Jameson ... Emperor Palpatine / A-Wing Pilot / Red Leader (voice)
  • Paul Darrow ... Grand Moff Tarkin (voice)
  • Rupert Degas ... Captain Piett / Imperial Officer 2 / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Scott Lawrence ... Darth Vader (voice)
  • Steve Blum ... Empire HUD / Stormtrooper / Additional Voices (voice) (as Steven Jay Blum)
  • Stephen Stanton ... Obi-Wan Kenobi / Capt. Antilles / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Temuera Morrison ... Boba Fett (voice)
  • Timothy Watson ... AT-AT Commander / Imperial Officer / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Tom Kane ... C-3P0 / Additional Voices (voice)
  • Wayne Grace ... Alliance Shuttle / Gallofree Transport (voice)
  • Christopher Corey Smith ... Rebel Briefing Commander / TIE Fighter Pilot / X-Wing Pilot / Imperial Soldier (voice)

Notes and references

See also

External links


This article uses material from the "Star Wars: Empire at War" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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