X-ED Academy

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Licah's guide:


For a thorough understanding of designing missions in the X-Wing series, start at the simplest place (X-Wing) and work your way to the hardest (XWA).


Most of these items are applicable to all games, not just X-Wing.

Fleet missions

There are many different approaches to building fleet-wide missions, especially in terms of difficulty. I will teach my approach, but recognize that there are a variety of options.

Missions should be hard, but not impossible. They should also incorporate a specific strategy that is difficult at first to detect, but can be found through repeated flying. (Or, it could be determined easily by peeking at the mission in X-Ed, which unfortunately is what many of the "best" pilots of the PBF do and claim they are brilliant at strategy.) It should be the case that whenever you have a wingman, he helps in some key way; it should be to your disadvantage to send him home. There should be more kills available than are actually possible; this can be done through various ways, whether it be large numbers of waves (not preferable) or having some enemy ships go fight one of your capital ships unattended (i.e. you are required to be occupied elsewhere).

It's nice to mix things up; have SHUs and TRNs attack the player, for instance. They do not appear with 'r', and net you a low score for the difficulty in killing them, so they are a good slowdown for hotshot pilots. Anyone can nail a T/F in a hit, but ships like GUNs, SHUs, and the like make it much harder to just dodge enemy fire.

It's good to make the top scores achievable only via a certain way. This is especially helpful in a game such as X-Wing, where your mission parameters and the scoring system are at their most limited and you need to ensure that no one is cheating on the mission at all.

Be really good at the game you're making missions for; know all the top pilots' tricks. If these seems daunting to you, it really doesn't take much to go through a strategy guide or two and note some tips. You need to playtest your mission thoroughly, as various personas; a rookie pilot, an average pilot who's played plenty of missions before and generally knows what to expect, and a top ace pilot looking to squeeze the maximum possible score out of your mission. If you're not on top of exactly what's possible in your mission, these pilots will be able to just talk their way out of any cheating. You should know the borders of what's possible, and if pilots are approaching it, you may want to request video and/or very specific textual detail of key points of difficulty in the mission to confirm their run. They should be happy to provide it; it's a demonstration of excellent ability - flying that well approaches artwork.

Above all, and this should be obvious, nothing unexpected (to you) should happen in your mission. You should be in control of everything that happens. How do you make sure that is the case? Playtest. A key difference between an average and an excellent mission is the amount of playtesting that went into it. This may be an ITOD (note the "Interactive" part), but you should know clearly what will happen in that ITOD. By playtesting, and knowing all the possibilities, you ensure that your carefully constructed tour storyline does not fall apart because a few pilots found a large exploit in your mission, or two of your CRSes crash into each other twenty minutes into the mission. Play your missions!

Always make the allied starfighter AIs be Top Ace - that way there is the smallest difference when DOS users add their Top Ace wingmen, and X95 people don't have that option. And make sure capital ships always fire at what they naturally should, unless given a very valid reason by the storyline; you'd be surprised how often cap ships don't fire back in missions. It effectively kills the realism, unless the cap ship "has weapons out" or something, as denoted by the storyline.

A mission that incorporates most or all of the above guidelines is PBF 6.06.


Briefings are important. I cannot stress this enough. Your briefings should work perfectly, flow smoothly, and contain no grammatical mistakes. Any slight mistake will suddenly transport the player out of the game and back into an awareness of real life, recognizing a human error in the construction of the mission. A well-designed and executed briefing will prepare the player for the same quality of missionmaking, and mistakes will put the player on his guard against a mission that hasn't been tested thoroughly and had all its kinks ironed out to make a complete result.

X-Wing 95 and X-Wing DOS treat briefings differently. I always make my briefings look perfect in DOS, because then they will work (if not look perfect) in 95 too. However, 95 allows more space for text, which means that DOS often has text chopped off, leaving you to wonder what the rest of the briefing says. I recommend making two separate briefings, one for DOS and one for 95, for maximum effectiveness.

Make your briefings look as much like the ones in the original X-Wing as possible. Those were good, and generally perfect. I recommend a wait of 5 or 6 seconds for a 2-line map briefing, and perhaps 7 or 8 for a 3-line. Don't box and tag at the same time; wait a small amount before tagging (generally 0.3-0.6 is fine). Don't box more than one thing at the same time, because it distracts the eye. Try to have only one thing moving at once, unless they're nearby to each other, so the eye can keep up.

Highlight whatever you're boxing or tagging in the map text. And be sure to mention it in the map text, too. An example: "Two freighters are shipping supplies to Hoth." Highlight "Two freighters" and box it on the map with the real name of the freighters, e.g. "FRT Elephant".

Indent your paragraphs on the text screens with two spaces. This is all just following the format of the original X-Wing briefings.

Your maps should move and zoom at least once in most of your briefings - some briefings don't need this. A well-executed change of location is a hallmark of a good briefing. Beware that DOS and 95 move at different rates; you will need to experiment with this, and possibly use the suggestion above about making different briefings for the different versions. First move, then zoom; this creates a better effect. Important: At the very end of your briefing, move and zoom your map back to its starting location, and carefully set the running time to reset precisely when the map reaches that location. This creates a seamless transition that is rarely found in any custom missions, and if you see it, you will know that the builder took the effort to make a quality briefing.

Examples of two briefings I've made that follow the guidelines I've laid out:

Why make a good briefing at all? Why not just kind of throw something together in ten minutes and release that? There are two central reasons, I feel. The first is that you want your pilots (or whoever is flying the mission) to have the best experience possible; as a good commander, you want to take that extra step, go the extra distance for your people. The second is that when you create a mission, you are creating a work of art, and it is generally for posterity. You want to make something that people will still enjoy flying five years down the road, something that lasts the test of time. A good briefing will go a long way to making that possible. People will read the briefing, remember their expectations when they headed into the mission for the first time, and what actually happened; or, people discovering the mission for the first time (on, say, the X-Wing missions site will be able to determine what the story is and what they should do, even with no context or prior RS experience. Take the time and make your briefing a good one.


  • Use professional missions as examples;
  • Playtest your missions thoroughly;
  • Make professional briefings.

There remain many more things to say about the art of mission building, but these will get you started on the path to excellent missions that people will remember for years to come. When you are in doubt, remember: be creative, be professional, and play your missions! Good luck and have fun!

MBTD X-Wing Level 1

Opening X-ED

X-ED can be extracted to any folder in any directory.

If this is the first time you have used X-ED you will be asked to set a few preferences – the only ones that matter for now are the folder locations in the ‘Directories’ tab – set these and press OK.

Ships and Flight Groups

Near the top left of the screen you will see the default flight group > 1 x [ 1 ] X-W Unnamed as the only entry in the craft list.

  • It is coloured green as it is a Rebel flight group;
  • The “>” means this flight group contains the Player’s craft;
  • “1 x [ 1 ]” means one wave of one craft (the number of waves determines how many times this flight group will respawn once all ships in it have been destroyed);
  • “X-W” is the type of craft and
  • “Unnamed” is the flight group’s name.


  • X-Wing can only support 28 ships or objects in the combat area at any one time. If you have more than 28 ships, the most recent arrivals will not be created. You can have more than 28 ships scheduled for arrival in the mission, you just can't have more than 28 ships physically in the mission.
  • Because of the above note, “waves” are used to simulate a full squadron, e.g. a squadron of 12 TIEs is represented either by 3 waves of 4 TIEs or 4 waves of 3 TIEs.

Changing Basic Details of Ships and Flight Groups

To the right of the craft list you should see a series of text and drop-down boxes that let you edit all of these characteristics, except Player’s flight group and affiliation. When it comes to naming your flight groups you are not limited to the suggested names X-ED provides in the drop-down box. You can type in any name you like, however the in-game tactical display can only show a limited number of characters for flight group names, so try and keep them short or abbreviate, e.g. the Chains of Justice is often shortened to Chains or just CoJ in-game.


  • The Player cannot respawn and therefore setting more than one wave for the Player’s flight group has no effect.
  • The X-Wing targeting display can only display numbers one through eight, so you should keep the number in a flight group within this range.

Changing the Player’s Flight Group and Position within the Group

In the bottom right of the screen you will see a checked box labelled “Player’s craft”, select the Flight Group you want the Player to fly in and check this box. It will automatically uncheck in the Player’s previous Flight Group.

Next to this box is a numeral box labelled “Player pos:”, this is used for setting the Player as Flight Leader (position 1) or a wingman (position 2, 3, etc.), which effects where the Player flies in the Flight Group’s formation and also whether the Player can give orders to the other craft in the Flight Group.


  • The Player can only fly Rebel fighters, i.e. X-, A-, Y- and B-Wings.

Changing Missile, Shield, A.I., IFF, Colour and Formation Settings

In the right middle of the screen you should see the Craft box, which lists five attributes.

  • “Status” is used to limit the shield and missile capabilities of craft to add realism to missions.
  • “A.I.” sets how clever the computer pilots are; Rookies are obviously the weakest, while Top Ace is the strongest.
  • “IFF” stands for “International Friend/Foe” and allows you to choose what side this flight group will belong to, Rebel, Imperial or Neutral.
  • “Color” sets the colour of the details on Rebel craft and is used to add a little realism to a mission, i.e. it is nice to have Blue Squadron flying blue A-Wings.
  • “Form” sets how the ships will fly when they are in formation. Generally, before they break apart to dogfight Rebel fighters use the “Vic” formation, Imperial pilots use “Line Abreast”, and these two will do in most situations.


  • You cannot choose what sort of missiles your craft carry. X-, Y- and B-Wings and TIE Bombers carry Torpedoes and A-Wings carry Concussion Missiles .

Adding Ships, Flight Groups or Space Objects

To add a flight group click the button on the left of this toolbar that looks like a silhouette of an X-Wing.

Xed buttons.jpg

This adds another flight group with the default setting to the craft list, except for the fact that the Player’s flight group will remain as the first (denoted by “>”).

To add an object, click the second button from the left that resembles a star.


  • X-Wing can only support 28 ships or objects in the combat area at any one time. If you have more than 28 ships, the most recent arrivals will not be created. You can have more than 28 ships scheduled for arrival in the mission, you just can't have more than 28 ships physically in the mission.

Deleting, Copying and Pasting Ships, Flight Groups and Objects

To delete a flight group or object select it from the craft or object list and click the trashcan. To copy an entry, click the two-document button, and to paste a copied entry click on the clipboard-and-document button.

Xed buttons.jpg

Imperial Flight Group Names

Imperial craft in X-Wing tend to use specific Greek letters as their designations, listed here:

Craft Name

TIE Fighters

TIE Bombers TIE Interceptors

Assault Gunboats

Assault Gunboats / Transports

Assault Gunboats / Containers

Transports (inc. Shuttles)


Alpha Gamma Delta Beta Zeta Eta Theta Iota Mu Nu Rho Tau Epsilon Psi Kappa Lambda Omicron Sigma Upsilon Omega Xi Pi Phi Chi

Using this convention will give missions a more “familiar” feel, however there is nothing wrong with breaking it, as a good number of the original X-Wing missions do (usually having the craft named alphabetically as they enter the mission).

Setting a Craft’s Cargo

The Cargo Box is located in the bottom centre of the screen, select the Flight Group you wish to add a cargo to and enter it in the “Default” box here. This only works with Freighters, Transports and Corvettes.


  • Keep in mind that any text entered in the cargo boxes is limited in how many characters can be shown on the targeting display in-game.

Setting a Special Cargo

First make sure that your Flight Group has at least two ships (otherwise simply use the Default cargo option, see “Setting a Craft’s Cargo”), then specify what ship in the flight group has it. This makes the “Special:” box appear, enter the special cargo here.


  • Keep in mind that any text entered in the cargo boxes is limited in how many characters can be shown on the targeting display in-game.

Level 1 Award Requirements